Saturday, 29 March 2014

Weekly Review

How are we all, bloggy friends?

  1. I meant to update last weekend, but I got busy with other things, had half a post written, and then got distracted and never posted it.  And reading it back now, it's too out of date to post.
  2. This past week has been a busy one.  Actually made busier by the fact I only worked 4 days of it.  The reason being that I was out on strike on Wednesday.  Unfortunately the strike has happened to fall in the middle of the busiest week of the term - assessment week.  I ended up spending the 4 days I was in work, grabbing children whenever possible to come and read with me, then marking, marking, marking.  Then there were 2 nights of parents evenings, and then a Friday night at helping out at the school disco.  Thus I pulled 11+ hour stints at work, which wasn't much fun.  I'm hoping that this coming week is a little more relaxed.
  3. Looking forward to the Easter holidays at the end of this coming week very much!  Touch wood, but after a tough first half term, I've enjoyed this past one, having mostly got the children settled, and learnt how to work with particular colleagues.
  4. Next term looks to be very different.  There is a new teaching assistant coming in to support my most demanding child, who has both autism and ADHD.  He's lovely, and very bright, but very intense and a real time-suck away from the other children who are just as needy.  There is also going to be a final placement PGCE student joining the class for me to mentor.  I have never been a PGCEr mentor.  And as my own PGCE placement was so memorable for so many reasons (and I am still in touch with my own mentor), it a little bit feels like coming full circle in some ways.  Like...  I have my own skills to pass on now?  Gosh.  And the class I have now are VERY similar to the class I had on placement, particularly in terms of behaviour.  They aren't going to give the student an easy ride, that's for sure.  ;)
  5. Tomorrow the parentals are coming to town.  Mum has an invitation to the 90th birthday party of an elderly friend of hers tomorrow night.  And as it's mothers day as well, they thought we could all do something. :)  For some reason, it seems like a particularly long time since I last saw them.  I guess it was Christmas, so it's 3 months.  Which is a long time actually!  But then I'll be seeing them again a week later when I head up to Shropshire for a few days.  I always make the Shropshire trip completely school-work free, which I'm very much looking forward to!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Weekly Round-Up

It's been a typically busy week!  But it seems as if Spring is finally beginning to arrive in Northamptonshire!  We had 2 days of very dense fog mid-week, but the temperatures have been much better, and just about warm enough to go out without a coat!  I'm not currently quite brave enough to go to work without a coat (it is still March after all, and I leave the house at 7:15am.  I might think differently if it were, say, 8:30 instead), but it is just about warm enough to leave work at 5-ish with my coat tucked under my arm, or slung over one of my many bags.
  • This past week, as background noise, I've been playing our family DVDs.  It started off last Saturday night when I felt a bit sad for no reason (I've put it down to female hormones) and just needed some idle comfort.  Watching some old, well-loved clips and hearing some well-loved voices cheered me right up.  And I suspect the 2 large glasses of wine also helped.  This was confirmed when I found myself laying on the sofa, drunkenly narrating the video to some invisible companion. ;)
  • So pleased that Gogglebox on Channel 4 has started up again.  It first started up about 2 years ago, in a late-night slot (on a Sunday) I think.  It felt like no-one apart from me had even heard of it, never mind enjoyed watching it.  But it is clear that many people actually DID love it.  Because it's now back for it's 3rd run, in a prime time, 9pm, Friday night slot.
  • Did my weekly food shop early yesterday morning and went out without a coat.  For some reason, the warm sun, but slightly chilly breeze reminded me of being a child.  I couldn't really put my finger on what the memory was, but at the same time, it felt very clear.  Perhaps I'm associating this sort of weather with about the time of year I'd start spending more time out in the garden, or playing out with Melanie and Michael as I did from about age 9-11.  A lot of happy memories from the hours I spent with those two.  But that's another post for another time.
  • Whilst out at Tesco yesterday, I noticed and bought my first bunch of daffodils.  Daffs are my favourite flowers, by far, and during these short couple of months where they are available, I like to have them in my house as much as possible.  A pound a bunch, once a week, is so very worth it to me.  They are now in a pint glass on my window sill, catching the evening sun which my flat gets flooded with.  They aren't really open yet, but it seems that they open a little more every hour.  I love them.
  • Yesterday I took a little afternoon stroll over to the garden centre 5 minutes walk from my flat.  It is probably the most middle-class place on earth.  I stayed for a pleasant hour, looking at the assorted gift items, candles and books, and then had a mocha and a toasted sandwich in the Costa Coffee branch that has opened up in there.  One of life's biggest (but also smallest) pleasures is a nice coffee, in a comfy seat, with an interesting book.
  • There is a programme on Channel 4 tonight in which the International Space Station does a live stream as they go round the Earth.  I really hope the footage focusses on the view of Earth from space, rather than "chat with experts".  The programme is over 2 hours long, and could either be beautiful, or ghastly, if they get the focus wrong.  It's either watch that, or the 2nd part of the latest Top Gear special, but that is easy to catch up on iPlayer later in the week...  Because I think this space programme might lose it's magic if it's not watched live.
  • I've been disappointed with the lack of coverage of the winter Paralympics.  A 30 minute catch-up programme wasn't what I wanted.  I wanted what the BBC did for the winter Olympics, and did a 2-hour programme at the same time.  Which was perfect for me to have on in the background as I did school work.  The Channel 4 Paralympic coverage didn't fit my schedule in quite the same way, and as a result, I've seen next to none of it.
  • A strange night last night...  I'd stayed up a bit later than intended, having poured a large glass of wine rather later than planned, which I then drank rather slowly, whilst perving over Benedict Cumberbatch, my latest muse, on Pinterest.  I finally went to bed shortly after 11, and around 11:30 was disturbed by an engine running outside for quite a long time.  In the end I got up for a nosy.  Outside was a lorry, 2 men, and a car.  For some time they fiddled around with the bins, and then proceeded to transfer a washing machine and a fridge freezer from the back of the lorry, into the car.  Making them fit...  Somehow!  I found the whole operation rather strange.  Particularly as this was 11:30pm at night...  Needless to say, I did take down the lorry's number plate.  I thought it wise.
  • Continuing on the strange events of the night.  I can't have been asleep long when I was hit by something that has not happened to me for a number of years.  I can only liken it to something between sleep walking and a hallucination.  Basically, I was woken with a start, convinced I was in a hotel room, and that Andrew Scott, the actor who plays Moriarty in 'Sherlock', had broken into my room and was standing at the foot of my bed, trying to steal my duvet.  I came out of it quite quickly, and fell back asleep again.  Only to waken again later hearing someone singing a mindless tune really loudly in my ear.  I couldn't get them to shut up and couldn't open my eyes.  I had to reach up and physically open my eyelid to break out of the moment.  Both very strange.  But made perfect sense in the middle of the night.  I can tell you a few other stories of this, should you be interested.  But, like I say, this is the first I can remember of this happening since I was at university.
  • I think that's it for this weekly round-up...  Same time next week?
  • Sunday, 9 March 2014

    Childhood Memories

    A post I read via Feedly this morning got me thinking about photographs.

    They talked a bit about the modern technology of today, where, via Google Maps street view, you can revisit places that have special memories for you.  Via this medium, you can revisit childhood homes, old schools, the houses of old friends, and every other place that was once important to you, and the centres of your very existence.

    This led me to thinking about photographs.

    Children today live in a different world, when it comes to photography.  With pocket cameras, and decent phone cameras, every moment is “snap-able” in an instant.  This wasn’t the case in my childhood.  Even 20 years ago, photos were reserved for “occasions”.  Birthdays, holidays, family get-togethers, Christmases.  There aren’t that many of the “every day” moments that children today get snapped doing.  That being said, Mum was pretty snap-happy, and there are some.  And we are extremely lucky to have quite a large collection of video clips from big sister aged approx. 6 months, up to me about age 8 (which continued on and off until I was about 12, before stopping completely for unknown reasons).  I love to watch those videos and have done for many, many years.  I have also observed with interest how MY interest in them has changed and evolved as I’ve gotten older.

    Anyway, I found myself today, thinking of the things that don’t exist in photographs.


    ^ This was my first childhood home. 

    Things that aren’t photographed:

    • In my mind, it is always sunny in Combwich.  In virtually every memory of the place, it is warm and sunny.  In the two times I have visited since moving away 25 years ago, it has been blazing sun, so I have no reason to think it is anything BUT sunny in that little Somerset village.
    • The day I “ran away”, got about 200 feet down the road with my pink cotton-lined straw basket, only to turn and see Dad meandering down the opposite side of the road behind me.  He suggested I “play running away in the back garden”, to which I enthusiastically agreed.
    • Being in the house of an old woman down the road, who dressed Hazel and I in old fashioned outfits to sell lavender sachets at church events.
    • Walking to the local shop, over the bridge, with my 20p pocket money, to buy penny sweets.
    • Keeping my pocket money in an old Boots prescription paper bag.
    • Being pulled across the school playground in a hurricane by an 11 year old, to go to the toilets.
    • Getting my foot stuck under a cupboard at school, and being too embarrassed to ask the teacher for help.
    • Not being able to spell the word “a”.  Getting confused, crying, and being told to go and play with the Barbies instead.
    • Failing to work out how to put on a t-shirt so that the logo was on the front.
    • The cheesy biscuits they would occasionally serve in the home corner at playgroup.
    • My weekly bag of Monster Munch to eat in the car on the way home from shopping. 
    • One week, instead of my usual Monster Munch, I got a Double Decker chocolate bar, and didn’t much like it.  Regretted the purchase.
    • Seeing Pound Puppy for the first time in a shop in Bridgwater.  Wanted it immediately.  Got it for my birthday some time later.  Still have Pound Puppy today.  She’s asleep in my bedroom.
    • Enjoyed playing a game that consisted of wrapping up my toys in scarves, like they were presents.  Being confused that mum didn’t seem to enjoy the game as much as me, very quickly getting bored and making excuses to go elsewhere.  One of the first times I realised that people might not always like the same things as me.
    • Dancing in the dining room to my nursery rhymes record.
    • Using the cassette tape flap as a home for my playmobil people, and getting a shoe stuck in there.
    • Dad spilling gravy on my head.
    • Sitting on the loo, thinking that I’d been 3 for a really long time.
    • Visiting “the maze” at the bottom of the road.  I liked it there, even though there was a bit where you had to step over a bit of water, which made me nervous.
    • Running ahead one day during a trip to the maze, and falling over.  Regretted running ahead when mum wasn’t immediately there to pick me up.
    • At the park, trying to swing as high as possible to see over the bank.  Never quite got mum to push hard enough.
    • Being jealous that Zoe at playgroup’s hair was long enough to fit through the toy bridal veil we had.
    • Taking my cup of apple squash to playgroup, because I didn’t much care for milk OR water.
    • Standing on the bank at the back of our house, nervous because it seemed to slope into the water very steeply, so clinging tightly to the chain-link fence, but not wanting to miss seeing the ducklings/goslings.  Always a little relieved to get back into our mercifully flat garden.
    • Winning at races at the playgroup we had to drive to.  Because all the other children were disabled.  I did indeed go to a playgroup for children with special needs.  And it never once dawned on me that the other kids there had anything different about them.  The same goes for Jack, who lived in our village.  A year older than me, and badly burnt in a barbeque explosion.  To us kids, he was just “Jack”.  Yes, he looked different, but not “bad different”.  Just different.  So innocent.
    • Getting bored during Sports Day and wandering off with a friend to ride tricycles around the playground, with no adult supervision.  Found some time later by an adult, who was very unbothered to find two 5-year olds unaccompanied on the playground, whilst the rest of the school were on the field.
    • Wearing an eye patch to school to help my lazy eye.  Realising that during “hands together and eyes closed” prayer time in assembly, that I could shut one eye, and keep the eye behind my patch open.  It felt like the ultimate in rebellion.  I was meant to take it off mid-morning, but often forgot, finding myself still wearing it as I played outside at lunch time.
    • Must have been one of my first days at school, playing with a duck in the water tray and wondering why parents were still hanging around and some children were crying.