Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Wednesday Wind up

I didn't get the post of Reading Champion. I did get through on The Chase and may be called to film a programme at some point this summer.I had a filthy cold last week that kept me from doing anything apart from work, sleep and sneeze and, yes, I am desperate for the holidays. Ours don't start until Thursday. That's Maundy Thursday, so as close to Easter as it could get. I'll be back with plenty to post about when I can breath.

And relax.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"

Sometimes a poem just gets the right words, the words that you cannot summon up yourself. That's poems like this. Keep peace in your soul. With all its ... drudgery... it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. 
Strive to be happy. Amen!

Friday, 20 March 2015

It came and it went and it was fun!

I was working today, but fortunately working in a school means lots of people are obsessed with teaching children about special events, so we went outside, we held our pinhole cameras and we watched. And I took my camera.

And you knew I had to show you this!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Wednesday Wind Up

Seriously, how easy is it to lose 2 weeks from your life? I feel like I've been in a cave or asleep, or just on another planet, or abducted by aliens. I wrote a blog post, turned around and... wallop... two weeks later I'm back.

And this is Wednesday Wind Up again and I can't remember whether anything of consequence has happened or have I spent the time in a work-induced coma. I will do my best.

What am I reading this week?
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. I've only just begun reading this. We're doing it for bookclub the month after this one; so next April, actually. It sounds quite good, I like the whole seeing something off the train/bus/rear window idea and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops.
I'm also reading Demelza by Winston Graham. It's good fun, and quite reminding me of my (ancient) History O level, which was political history and the Georgians. I like to say I passed my O level on Georgette Heyer, but I think if I'd met these it would have been a close-run thing.

What have I watched this week?
Apart from Poldark? Well, on Sunday we watched Hidalgo together as a family. It's a good old fashioned horse chase film, about a race through the desert and a man desperate to save the wild American horses. It was good enough to keep all three of mine (who had never seen it) happy. And it had a young Viggo Mortensen in, so I wasn't complaining either.

Where have I been this week?
Sudley House Art Gallery in Mossley Hill, Liverpool. It's one of the National galleries and Museums in Liverpool, but it's such a small place. there are literally three decorated rooms downstairs, an exhibition suite upstairs and a tea room. We really went for the tea room (chocolate cake) but there are a couple of beautiful pre-raphaelite paintings that I could happily spend a few years in front of.

How has my spending gone this week?
Badly. I have a new obsession and it is fatal to my expenditure. I have no time to post at the moment (full time this week, in a Year 5 class as TA) so I will show and post at a future date.

What are my WIPs this week?
What were they last week? They're the same. I have barely time and energy to sleep, let alone create. Which is fatal, since I always feel better when I create.

Any Other Business?
Oh, yes!  Pull up a chair!
On Monday I have an interview for a job in a secondary school as a Reading Champion. I want the job only for the title, which I shall put in big letters on all my stationery. It's for promoting reading as pleasure across the whole school and the community around the school, running bookclubs, reading challenges, and promoting reading as a fun activity. It's outside my comfort zone in as much as it's in secondary school, so I'm not dead confident. But since I know my current role is coming to an end in the summer whatever, I  want to find a new role in the place where God wants me to be. If you're a praying person, please throw some up for me. I know God has the right place for me planned and ready. I just need to recognise it.
Next Wednesday I am in town for an audition for The Chase. It's a first audition, but it does mean I stand a chance of getting on one of my favourite programmes (with Pointless!)
There was a WI quiz night last Monday, so I raced to cook tea and get there because I loves me a good quiz. And loud music. And a new book. And when we got there we learned something good; the WI regional quiz we had in January had been counted, checked and worked out and.... we won!! You are now blogmates with the 2015 Lancashire Federation Regional Quiz champion. No, I can't believe it either. And I don't know whether we have to compete at a higher level as well, but I'm ready! BRING IT ON!!!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Wednesday Wind Up

What am I reading this week?

Poldark, by Winston Graham. I picked it up (virtually speaking) this weekend and I have been enjoying it ever since. I'm looking forward to watching the series when it starts on Sunday. 
I've also been reading The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover. It's a book about honouring my femininity and working in rhythm with the seasons, my life cycle and nature to achieve balance and harmony. It's heavy on Yoga and Buddhist tenets of meditation, but that's no bad thing in the modern world. If I can align myself a little more with the natural cycles of life (apparently I may be entering my perimenopausal phase and need to honour the passing of fertility and the approach of wisdom. I'll let you know if I have any wisdom at all when I find out) then  I may be a better and happier person. I'm enjoying reading it, and I have to say the chapter on periods was interesting. We so often feel obliged to rampage on with life and not let our monthlies stop us doing anything; is that a good or a bad thing? I know (when I was having proper periods, before my coil) that I was literally wiped out for two days a month, ready to sleep and do nothing. Thank God I was on supply after I had the children and they grew so much worse, and able to write off those days as days to stay at home and do little. 

What have I watched this week?
Netflix. How did I not know about Netflix before? We have a load of boxsets and films that, for 30 days are available free and after that for £6.99 a month we can watch as much as we like on two devices, including our (apparently) smart TV. The Princess found Pretty Little Liars was on Netflix and talked me into it for a few months instead of investing in any more of the box sets. She watches PLL pretty nearly as much as she can, but I am planning a season of classier viewing. House of Cards, and then Suits. Oh, yeah baby, Bring.It.On.

Where have I been this week?
To Hack Green Nuclear Bunker. I wrote about that already. Aside from that I had a trip to Dunelm Mill for Mother's Day. That is, I went to buy for me, not my Mum. I'm going to take her out for Mother's Day, and treat her to afternoon tea.

How has my spending gone this week?
Pas mal. I haven't spent a lot, I have bought my own Mother's Day present but not a lot else.

What are my WIPs this week?
The circus blanket grows apace and in small pockets of time I have been making a little something to cheer up my fireplace over Easter.

Any Other Business?
Not really. I have plans to set up a homeblessing system, probably mostly based on the Flylady but I'm searching out ideas first and hoping to use some time this weekend to begin a binder for the house. I have an A5 Filofax Domino to set up, and some cute plans to do it.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Meal Planning Monday... again

Joining in with At Home With Mrs M!

Monday; Roasted chicken, peppers in olive oil, mash
Tuesday; Sausage and pasta
Wednesday; Spicy Bean pot and wedges
Thursday; Chilli Beef Noodles
Friday; I Have No Idea
Saturday; Probably a meal at Ma's
Sunday; Roast Pork with gratin potato and yorkshire pudding. If Jo at Through the Keyhole can have yorkshire pudding whatever roast she does, I don't see why I can't either!

I can't believe it's March already. I rushed my planning this weekend, so there are still gaps to fill when I may have to make it up on the hoof. And I can't believe it is already March in my life! Where has the year gone? I was planning March and thinking that by the end of the month the weather will be so much better, the food will be so much lighter and we will finally be coming out of hibernation! Although I can't wax lyrical about spring yet... after all, it's entirely possible we may get a big blast of snow for Easter yet!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

For one weekend only, I had an only child.....

And it was not fun.

No, seriously, I really am built to handle more than one at a time. Or perhaps I am attuned to a more vocal child. Son Number 2 is a sweet and deep thinking, quiet person who enjoys explosions and a good dose of science. having just him without the voice of his elder bro is weird. He doesn't step up and talk louder. He just smiles a lot more. And getting him to say what he wants to see or do or eat can be next to impossible. Except pizza. He likes pizza.

So we had a family day out that was chosen for him but not by him. It has to be science-y based. It has to be interesting. It has to be a short drive away because although we had all day we didn't want to spend all day driving. Thanks to your lovely advice, we chose a secret nuclear bunker in the heart of the Cheshire countryside.

Hack Green Nuclear Bunker was built at the height of the Cold War fear of nuclear war and only decommissioned in 1993. It was one of a set of secret bunkers from which the UK government (or those that survived) could run the place afterwards. It had radio studios, dormitories, tracking systems and supplies enough to keep the staff safely out of harms way for a while. And now tourists visit for £8 a time. This is the link to Trip Advisor. It had been on my must do list for a few years. Having only my little scientist at home seemed like the best chance to test it out on him.

And it was interesting. I'm not old enough (thank God) to remember the 60's Cold War, but I do remember the 80's, and the very real fear that if Reagan and  Breshnev/Andropov kept on the way they were then nuclear war was a real possibility. Protect and Survive leaflets were made, programmes on TV showed people who had stocked up ready for the disaster and does anybody else remember being told to shelter under a door or table if the alarm goes off? It was scarey. For a young teenager, very scarey.
And Hack Green has enough bits n bobs from the time, enough posters, leaflets, information, clips of Government advice programmes and clothing to give you chills down the back. It has information about what happened after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a bunker with sound effects and flashing lights to simulate a strike and well enough quotes and thoughts of many people who must, now, be glad they never lived to see the desolation.

Worst of all/most striking of all/ scariest of all is the BBC programme, War Games made in 1965 and going into what would happen in the UK in the event of a nuclear attack. I lasted 10 minutes of the 45.  No wonder it was banned for 20 years. It was not nice.

But does this review make the place sound bad? I hope not. It was really interesting, like looking back on my past through a dirty lens. Things I have forgotten came back to me. I remembered what my Mum used to say; that she would rather go at once than last out with radiation sickness, and that she would hope we were altogether when it happened. I remembered trying to make a pact with God that He wouldn't let the nuclear strike happen until I'd had a chance to see The Empire Strikes Back all the way through. I remember reading Z for Zachariah and watching the TV version (Anthony Andrews) although I see a new film version is due to be released later this year.

I never joined CND, and I don't know now whether the situation in Russia is beginning to grow ever more cautious with the Ukraine and the return of ... well, unusual ways of killing people coming back. I know the nuclear genie is out of the bottle and cannot ever go back in, but I worry we will be living on the edge again, living in fear that something happens and in hope that it never will. That's my deep prayer, that the fear of what the war would do to civilisation is enough to stop anybody from unleashing the dogs of hell. Only a madman would.....