Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The Blue and the Grey.

When I was so much younger than now I used to play in a concert band. I played clarinet and, my favourite instrument then and now, saxophone. My Mum said it was a good way of letting us get out in supervised surroundings whilst also keeping us out of trouble. We spent at least 6 hours a week practising and often another 2 hours at a concert. Summer weekends passed in a haze of fetes and garden parties while the pleasures of a bi-annual band swap in Germany taught us that teenagers the world over are the same.

One of my favourite pieces was a collection of American Civil war songs called 'The Blue and the Grey'. With classics such as Marching through Georgia, Aura Lee (Yes, the boys thought that was rude, but I never got the joke. Boys can be so infantile sometimes) and the Yellow Rose of Texas it was a real good toe tapping collection and made me happy. We used to joke that the only thing missing was the cannon fire.

Then one July night we played for the Mersey River Festival's opening night. They put us out on a dock in the middle of the water. Then the fireworks started. I can honestly say that I have never been more frightened and excited in my life. OK, I know what the music sounds like with cannon fire now, and I don't need that experience again. It didn't put me off, though and the American Civil War remains one of my favourite periods in History.

But the Blue and the Grey of my title isn't just that. No sirree. Yesterday and today I have made sure that blue (ish purple) and grey will feature in my life for some time to come. See here, see here.

(imagine a group of lavender bushes here)
These are lavender bushes waiting for the rain to stop and my streaming cold to let up so that I can plant them in my bare front yard. This summer I will love to walk past my wall and brush my hand over clouds of perfectly blue-lilac flowers. Can't you hear the droning bees and see the butterflies as they hover over the intoxicating scent? And imagine the children passing by to school getting a lungful of God's own aromatherapy? In January as we wait for snow (This week? Next week? Sometime? Never?) planning the glories of my garden holds an enchantment that actually doing the sodding thing never gives.

(imagine six perfect Persephone books here)
And these little grey wonders are mine. A late Christmas/early Valentines present to myself; six months worth of Persephone treasure to read and inwardly digest like finest ambrosia. A little parcel of thoughts, hopes and dreams every month until July. And then, I might do it again!

I have placed an order for six books, the top six on my Persephone list, and I will so enjoy getting the post. I have had a bad couple of weeks reading wise, I've been very slow and not inclined to open a book. Then yesterday I took my book du jour, 'Mercy' by Jodie Picoult and read half of it in the day. Bingo! Bitten by the bug again. Perhaps I'd just not been reading the right stuff. I have got tired of all the frothy Chick Lit books. I cleared a whole load off my shelves. I will never read them, I hate the ones about career women agonising over their biological clocks and sleeping around, it just seems so trite. I really would rather find a book about what I am, a happy if haphazard domesticated soul, happily married and with nothing to worry about apart from the children, house and job (in that order probably) So I search on for books that I will enjoy and that will be more than just words, words, words. Perhaps the mistake was watching Shakespeare (Branagh's Hamlet) and realising that ..... well, good stuff is good stuff, innit?

and... apologies for the bareness of the post. My photos uploaded to the puter but won't move over to my post. Typical, innit?

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Crazy Brenda and a pot of tea.

Wow! I celebrated 1 week of really useful teaching yesterday with a trip to WH Smith's.... Miss Potter and National Treasure being (ahem) within my limits for DVDs I want to buy, they came home with me. I watched National Treasure last night with the children, but this afternoon I have sat for about an hour watching Miss Potter. I like Ewan McGregor & I find Renee Zellwegger's english accent fascinating, so it's quite easy to waste time watching, when I have bedrooms to sort, a new blanket to crochet and 'things to do' that don't involve sitting down and resting. But, perhaps I needed to rest. Perhaps I needed that hour to help me relax and think things through. Like a decent walk, it's a break.

I am enjoying my work, thank you. I have some small groups to teach and a little Chinese lad who has fallen behind and needs one to one just for 20 minutes a day. It is so good to spend time with children and see them learning. I came home today buzzing because I could see an improvement just from last week. And tomorrow I get to spend time in reception, my favourite year.

Oh, and Crazy Brenda? Well, when I was 18 and never likely to get married ever (there was only one boy I liked and he was too shy to ask me out) we went to Hilltop in Sawrey and saw Beatrix Potter's place. I read her biography, and my heartless, mean brothers teased me that I, too, would end up an old maid and marry a lawyer when I was ancient. Ha. But their nickname for her was Crazy Brenda (Potty Beatrix, you see?) and it has stuck so that even now we in the family call her Crazy Brenda. Tales of Crazy Brenda, has quite a ring, don't you think? See y'all now!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

I should be working, but....

DH has taken the kids out, I'm on the computer and, like the chocolate biscuits in the barrel, the blog page calls my name. What's a girl to do? I cannot spend time today looking....much as I would love a Sunday afternoon with my friends.... I must get letter cards cut and laminated by 9am tomorrow when I want to use them in a lesson..... farewell, cruel world. I'd forgotten, teachers get homework too!
(The image is from this website..... but used without permission. Will they forgive me?)

Thursday, 10 January 2008

I'm ready for that Friday Feeling!

I haven't had a proper Friday feeling in 10 years. Tomorrow I am so looking forward to walking out on a Friday knowing I'll be back on the Monday and that there are two glorious days of endless possibilities ahead (which translates into a mad dash to get the washing, ironing and clothes mountains cleared before I make tea for my Ma and Dad who have a funeral to attend on Saturday)

Mmm, that Friday feeling. I am having a good time in this job; so far this week I have taught in 5 different classes and 2 different age groups. No rest for the wicked, I know. But I will be teaching small groups on Monday in my own little base where I can finally finally have a little teaching space of my own. And they are a friendly bunch. Today I got asked did I want to stay for lunch tomorrow because on a Friday they have sandwiches to celebrate Friday..... and cake for people's birthday, and Christmas chocolates and biscuits in the staff room, and they all don't mind pointing me in the right direction and I like work more than I thought I would, but not enough to want full time yet. But this is before they pay me, too, which will be better.

And tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

What would you least like to happen to you on your first day of proper work?

That is to say, temporary part time, not permanent full time (or even part time which would be lovely!)
I have a two term contract to provide sen support and PPA (planning preparation and, er, whatever) cover at a local school. Today was my first day so what would throw me most;

a. The Princess throwing a fit and refusing a pair of tights on the flimsy technicality that they were too small?
b. My car dying on the path... no lights, no painful chug chug as I turn over the engine, no nothing?
c. The complete absence of taxis on a road that, usually, has a steady stream of the blasted things?
d. All of the above.

Ah Ha! The answer is NONE! Well, they all happened and, yes, life would have been easier had they not but I am a fully functioning Human Being and I rose above. Ha Ha Ha. I cadged a lift to school off DH (I love him) and got there just in time (muchas apologias) and then walked 3 or three and a half miles home. I am strong, I am invincible, I am Woman. (with blisters and sore calves. You don't sit down as a teacher anyway. You can have too much of a good thing)

And Mr AA (I love him, too. No not really, just metaphorically) came to rescue Rocky. Apparently when we moved the seat to fit in the Billy bookcase I got at the YMCA shop in Rainhill for £25 instead of a full-price £70 (completely perfect order, too!) the battery connection was jiggled off kilter and, so, it died. Rocky is on probation. I have warned him that any misbehaviour will be severely reprimanded with a replacement (when I have a proper job) so he had Better Watch Out.
And I can drive to work tomorrow, and meet DH for lunch afterwards as planned today. Not cancelled, just postponed.

The photos are from Barcelona. We went in December and I will post a report.......

Thursday, 3 January 2008

OK, OK, I'm cheating here.... cut me some slack!

My days of Christmas have been published retrospectively... which is to say, I sit here writing them in January and changing the dates so that they look like I had a. the time b. the energy c. the photos to do them in December. Ho Ho Ho. I'm also enjoying everyone elses' Christmas retrospectively, too. For the past 3 weeks my 'puter and I have not had a chance to get together... (I must put a light in the study. Or light some candles. What a wonderful juxtaposition of technology and tradition that would be!) But come Tuesday 8th January, normal service will be resumed as the children get locked away between the hours of 9 and 3.30 every week day. Yeah! (Love them dearly & have enjoyed having them off.... but you know what I mean? When I have done enough days I am going to buy myself a laptop just so I can sit upstairs and fiddle. Bah humbug!)

And the photo? That's my three wishing you all a very happy and peaceful New Year. May your house overflow with happiness and prosperity, may your heart overflow with love and laughter and may your cake tins overflow with fairy cakes and frosting! God bless!