Showing posts from 2011

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible....

I'm back. Thank goodness. Full time was fun (well, the pay packet was, anyway) but it is soooo time intensive. I was sad to leave but mostly because in 7 weeks the children become 'mine' and it is hard to pass them on when my instinct was to stay and teach them. But the new teacher is lovely and I wish her nothing but well. She will enjoy a lovely, bright and lively class.
And me? I'm back in my house. I'm looking forward to spending time with my cupboards and tidying before Santa delivers more stuff. The Family Room is offending me; I can't sit in it, I can't see past the piles, so next week is a clear, bin and box week. My spare time will be spent in there and, hopefully, this time next week it will be very different.

It's beginning to dawn on me...

I only have 5 days left of work this half term.
I have enjoyed it, but it is sooooo time intensive. God knows how anybody does full time and craft and have kids. Any ideas?
I finish at this school a week on Friday, but I am at an interview Monday. Fingers crossed, it would be a longer and better job. Full time again, but nearer to home so no child care/early start issues. And I know the TAs and they are nice. Thanks for your support, the job got easier when I got ornery and decided that blow it I would do what I wanted to anyway.  5 days. Only 5 days.

Confidence goes puff....

Why do I let myself have these crises of confidence? Why does one person get such a hold on my fragile ego? Begone, foul pest and let me feel brave again. Let me channel my heroes and stand against the forces of fear and failure to be the teacher I can be.
Just let me get through the next 4 weeks without being rude to the Teaching Assistant who makes it clear that I don't rate as a teacher in her (experienced but biased) eyes.

Oh My! Where am I?

Back soon.... busy at work..... that's 5 days a week paid teaching ! (for 7 weeks!) Still trying to find a work/blog balance (and failing!)

The most iconic sight in Paris...

My Lina (like 9 year olds do) had a fascination for the Eiffel Tower. Everywhere we went in Paris she kept on getting out her camera and just taking one more view of it; from the Louvre

The Arc de Triomphe

From the Musee Rodin

To just about any high point we could reach. (Centre Pompidou was a good'un)

My favourite view of it was this one.... almost centrally underneath

And this one from the lift going up

And the stairs going down.

I love the idea that when it was built for the 1889 exhibition it was as a temporary exhibit, and supposed to be dismantled after 20 years. I love that Gustav Eiffel bought the rights to visit his tower back and that he put a radio mast at the top so that it couldn't be taken down.
And I love that the Tower is on everything and in everything; t shirts, snow globes, keyrings, bags, bottle openers and all manner of tourist tat that 9 year old girls (and their Mummies) can't resist. I feel like a posh lady when I whip out my Paris mirrors to apply …

Before we could read....

We could read churches.

I have always loved the ideas that churches and cathedrals in particular are the Bible written for illiterate people. That stained glass and sculptures tell the story of God from early days to Kingdom come. I spent 4 years studying how to teach reading to little children and one of the first things we learned (thanks to Marie Clay having a prominence in pedagogy then that she seems to have lost now) was that every child can read, but just not words.

 The example oft quoted back then (and more true today) was that a 3 year old would recognise the Golden Arches as the symbol for McDonalds and that reading is really just advanced symbol deciphering.

I wonder how complete illiteracy would affect me. Would I seek to make sense of the things and pictures around me? Would I stand and look at the windows and wonder who all the people were? Would familiar stories jump out at me and say, 'here is Noah, here is Abraham, look, see Jesus being baptised'.

Would I be …

Versailles; what a holiday home that would be!

I know, I know, Versailles was the permanent base for the French court rather than a summer palace like the Austrians and Prussians had, but it must have been chosen for its position atop a hill as a gentle breeze blows even on the hottest Parisian days. We visited twice, once to see the gardens and once to join the shuffling queue through the palace.

I know that the space and vista can never be replicated in a small garden, but I love the fact that even on such a grand scale, Versailles and a small garden can have things in common.

Water features


A reasonable view of the house

and children playing with a pile of iron.

The most beautiful thing in the world...

When you're only 9 years old, this is a good candidate. Little Princess really appreciated the magic of Paris. So did I.

My Heart belongs to.....

I (like a lot of women) have to admit to occasional longings to be a french woman, or rather, more specifically, a parisienne. I never will be; I look rather more like an English carthorse than a slender french poodle, but dreams aren't rational. I wear a scarf occasionally and have french crushes when I read and watch as much as I can. And I dream of my alternate life where I live in Paris and absorb by osmosis the style and bugger you attitude they have. And occasionally I get to indulge in a visit to the city of Love (and stinky sewers, strange food that smells bad and mopeds swooming past as you try to cross the road. It's not personal, it's just Paris.)
This year we decided that a foreign jaunt was, at last, on the cards for our whole family. Where does one take a 13, 11 and 9 year old on their first foreign holiday? The seaside in Spain? Disneyland Paris? Florida? No. We went mad and found a house for rent in Chatou, about 12 km outside Paris. We went and live…

My best friend for afternoon tea....

I have three children; two boys and a girl. It took me until last (cold) winter to get any of the lads to drink any warm drink and even then it was hot tomato soup in a mug because, "Hey, Mum, it's a food, not a drink."

But my daughter is a mini-me. If I do something it must be good. If I swear, it must be allowed, if I wear my jimjams to put out the bins then, hey, wearing jimjams all day must be good. Actually I let them away with that at least once every holiday, although it's really more a winter activity (or lack of) than a summer one, when the sun shines and getting outside is the best course of action. But I digress.

My mini-me does what I do. And this year that has included drinking tea. Chai, Earl Grey or Assam, she doesn't mind (although Earl Grey is her favourite)

She loves tea shops

and mugs of the hot nectar
and just acting like her heroine.

(at the moment, as a Hama making Mama that's me; but I know one day it will be someone else)

FYI; the tea s…

Friends just pick up where they left off.

My friend has been and gone. She visited for 5 days and then moved on. And what a good time we had!

This is my friend Karin. I've known her since we were 13. She stayed at our house as part of a cultural exchange visit between two bands. Our St Helens band used to go to Germany and the Handharmonika Spielring used to visit St Helens.
This is a picture of St Helens.

This is a picture of Holzminden.

Go figure who had the best side of the deal.

But we wrote to each other and kept meeting up through visits and trips. Karin worked in Middlesborough for 15 months and we kept meeting up in Durham.

Sometimes we didn't keep in touch.... at all. I'm sorry for the missed time.
Sometimes all we did was a Christmas card or a short email.

But when we get together we know we're friends. And we talk.... a lot..... drink tea and coffee..... go places ("No museums. The only culture I need is a cafe culture.")
And when the stay is over it hasn't been too long.


For my friend from Germany. She's driving up from Stanstead and then, I think, a lunch out and a trip to the supermarket before afternoon tea on the lawn and a restful evening of gossip. A weekend of friendship still fresh after 30 years.

A real basket case.

OK, admit it, who hasn't lusted after one of these?

Or these?

But £30 for a basket, even a lined one, is too much. I love the style of Cath Kidston but I hate the prices so I try and adapt as much as possible.

I went thrifting on Friday and found this in the local Barnardo's. It was 3.99 and in top condition, but the lining was light and cream, not my style at all. But that never puts one off, does it?

It came home with me, of course, and I set off making it a basket fit for a really well planned holiday in Paris (shortly to be experienced)

The lining material is Michael Miller's Eiffel Tower in red. I couldn't resist it.

 The old lining became the pattern, cutting and sewing was a cinch and the hardest part was sewing the lining to the basket.

I was afraid I'd need a thimble but my long needle worked well enough without. I had 90 minutes and it took me 100.
By the time I had picked up the kids I just whipped the last part of the lining to the basket and sat down. I…

Life goes blah....

I hate money.
I hate it so much I don't want to keep it. If I get any I have to get rid of it. Right away. It burns me and makes me feel dirty.
But it follows me around.
It creeps up at the end of intershopping and reminds me that I need it, otherwise that lovely red top cannot be mine.
It laughs at me when I look at books. I need its paper to buy more paper.
That I need it for the food I want to make tonight.
That I need even a little for a packet of sweets to give my kids.
And it leaves me in a never ending stream of bills and expenses that just grow and grow. No matter that I paid the gas last year, I have to pay it again. The phone bill creeps into my bank and takes the price of my top away.
The water rates creep around and shoe horn themselves into the gap where my holiday spends should be.
Even the union takes the price of a coffee and a croissant off me.
Oh how I wish I was the Queen, who never sullies her hands with filthy lucre.
Or perhaps a vampire who doesn't need S…

My my how time flies....

I can't believe it's half way through the year already. And I'm behind already. How does that happen? I have a list of things to do today and it doesn't include a quick post here. And yet, here I am.
I wanted to post yesterday and had no time.
Happy Father's Day to anybody who is or stands in place of a father to somebody.
I have two special fathers in my life.

My Dad, who has had a bad year so far. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in March and since then life has been a round of doctors, operations, radiotherapy and struggling to get better. He still can't taste things, still has pain (more of an ache now, thank God) when he swallows and finds the tiredness of being ill tiring. He was never a sit still man and was working 3 mornings a week until they finally dragged him in for the operation. But..... it was throat cancer, thank God which has a good prognosis. And he should be OK again afterwards. Love you, Dad.

And my hero, the Father of my children.

We ga…