Tag Archives: school

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It’s been a while since I last wrote to you or had a letter from you in your distinctive writing and I miss you. I miss your letters, your adventures, your wit, your friendship, your laughter, our conversations, our gatherings.  

I miss you.  It’s been a year since you died and I think of you lots. From the moment we met at school to the day I saw you before you died you were always there, just there.  In another dorm, on another table, in a different classroom, in another country.  Now you’re somewhere else.  As you said about dying you were going somewhere and it’s not going to be a case of being able to write home and tell us all about it.  You’ve gone somewhere we will all follow at some time and when we get there you will greet us with a grin and show us around. 

My world is very different now.  In your last months you softened me!  I was so angry that you had a brain tumour, but you weren’t angry – you were positive and in turn your positivity changed me and how I see things.  You didn’t just accept that your life was nearing an end you positively grabbed what time you had left and gave your family and friends so many happy times.  You never made us sorry for you, you carried on being you but you with a brain tumour – in a wheelchair at times.

Even when you were tired out and felt crap due do the medication or discomfort you never once said you didn’t want to see us, you always chatted on the phone asking about our lives and our families.  When you heard from people we’d long forgotten about you joined in with the banter we knew so well.

When I saw you that last time I knew your bags were packed and you were ready for the off.  You lay in your bed, eyes closed and they twitched, your hand moved in my hand and at that point I knew.  I knew that wherever you are you will always be in our hearts and nothing or no one would ever take that away from me.

Dear Charch – it’s been a year and I’ll speak for the others when I say we miss you.

Xxx

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Starting the day

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Woke up at 545am, looked at the clock and jumped straight out of bed, wandered downstairs, made a cup of coffee and opened the back door.

What’s so blogworthy about that?  Well nothing really, apart from the fact it’s the first day of the Easter holidays and by rights I shouldn’t be waking up before the ‘alarm clock that wasn’t even set because it’s the holidays’ but I did!

I’m what you might call a broken sleeper.  Waking up is not something I enjoy doing in the normal Monday to Friday run of the mill because I never tend to wake up before anyone else these days, no matter how hard I try.  Imagine – you’re fast asleep, cosy and dreaming when you are woken up by the door slamming against the cupboard as it has been pushed open with some vim & vigour and the first words you hear are what’s for breakfast – that.  That’s why I like to wake up before anyone else so I can get going in my own time!  Which is why this waking up AND getting up bright and chipper this morning has taken me by surprise.

But it’s a nice surprise because in the last hour or so I have emptied the dishwasher, put it on a cleaning wash (I know domesticated so early in the morning), the washing is on the line (not sure if it will try by elevenses but it’s on the line), had a good long critical look at the fridge contents and most of it is now in the bin or compost, written a shopping list, swept the kitchen floor and wiped the work surfaces down.  IN PEACE.  No radio, no music, no bickering, no barking, no noise, no nothing, nothing!

Everyone in the house is exhausted with school, college and work.  Laree has returned from a residential trip with a very husky voice meaning she’s either been on the Capstan full strength or has been talking all night with her school friends plus her tooth fell out so she will be hugging her pillow a few hours more, Loops & Mook are teenager dirt bags and will appear bleary eyed with hair all over the place and Big Welsh although tired will probably bounce out of bed shortly to go for a lengthy cycle ride.  Which means the house will be quiet again.

Until everyone wakes up, throws open the bedroom door which will slam against the cupboard as it has been pushed open with some vim & vigour and the first words they mutter are what’s for breakfast – to an empty room!

And then the day will begin again!

Chasing tails & herding goats

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The return to education was staggered this term with Loops starting college with odd hours, Mook & Laree going back on the Thursday and clubs not starting until the week after the first full week.

It’s taken some getting used to this academic year. I’ll be honest. There’s more planning, more work, more bags and more hanging around. Loops goes on the train and hangs around hopefully for a lift to the station, Mook had been constantly tired and Laree well quite frankly she never sits still so all in all I feel like I’m chasing my tail and herding goats.

When they were little I didn’t give much thought to how their schooldays would pan out and quite what impact it would all have on the day but now I think of nothing else! As I sat down earlier and glanced at the clock it was approaching midday, noon, 12 o’clock. That’s really not a long time, not really. Oh I can achieve great things in 3 hours but I can’t overrun. As I dropped off early that morning I thought great I’ve got an extra half an hour, in reality I probably wasted that extra half an hour by idling with my first cup of coffee.

Now all the clubs and tea invitations have started I can breathe a sigh of relief that on at least 2 days of the week my day is a bit longer and on those days I can plan my diary effectively. Less chasing tails and herding goats.

I didn’t count on Mook getting glandular fever though so I’m now at home nursing a taller than me child who wants to Cwtch up and recuperate with Mama. When she’s settled I can get on. Chasing my tail before the school day ends and I’m chasing goats. My tail. My goats.

Today but also forever

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Well it’s here, GCSE results day. I’m feeling as nervous now as I was when the exams were happening but I’m also feeling brave and that’s what those who are awaiting the envelope should feel.

These results are the paper proof in the pudding for two years of work but what’s written on them isn’t the end. Regardless of the results there’s always opportunity and opportunity should be seized with both hands, an accepting mind and a brave heart. Crikey my results weren’t going to stop me being alive, living or making plans, I just had to think more about what I was going to do and at 16 I had no idea! I either wanted to be a vet or join the Police as a child. Well I never became a vet but I’ve had a fun and varied career.

Let’s go back to then …..

I’d spent the best part of the summer with my then boyfriend and his family in Estepona, together with said boyfriend and brother we’d gone to my grandparents in Bath for a few days and generally geared up to go back to 6th form at school. My results weren’t great and the Headmistress had offered 3 options – go down a year, stay for a term or leave. I took the middle option and returned to school and did retakes. Ok and then went to a crammer to retake the ones I’d inadvertently failed. I hated crammer and was pleased to leave. That summer I bumbled and flopped around before heading off to secretarial college where it clicked. I knew what I was doing.

I worked hard and played hard, I knuckled down and got my diploma before heading off into the commercial world where I stayed until I went on maternity leave.

Back to today ….

As I woke up with a pit in my stomach realising what day it was I also thought “I’m ok, I’m still here, I’m alive” and whilst the results weren’t what I actually needed at that time they were good enough for me. So for Loops and all of you getting your results “if they’re good enough for you then they’re good enough for me” and “que sera, sera”.

Good luck.

Today

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Teachers’ Strike. Today. So there you go. I’m not affected by the strike in as much as my day is hugely disrupted or I am scrabbling for childcare, but I do have one child at home whilst the other two go to school. School is a place of learning, it is not my childcare arrangement. My children being in school allows me to get on with my day without my children but it is in no way childcare in my mind.

I do have sympathy for teachers who do much much more than teach, they spend hours – long hours – working into the night to the detriment of their family and home life. I saw that first hand whilst trying to drag Mabel* out to play but no she couldn’t as she had marking to do. *not her real name

It’s wrong that the travel industry increases the prices in school holidays so is it any wonder people take their children out of school? That’s an issue the Government should be addressing.

The teachers who strike today won’t get paid.

I want my children taught by experienced, invigorated teachers who have the energy and enthusiasm to inspire and encourage them. I have friends who have left teaching just a few years before retiring, one is going part time to reduce her stress and one isn’t looking forward to working until 68. I don’t want my children to be constantly taught by supply teachers with no continuity, I don’t want my children to be taught by burnt out teachers, I don’t want my children’s prospects ruined by disruption.

There is a lot of discussion about the strikes and I appreciate everyone’s opinions but this post was written by me and it’s my understanding of today having spoken to those friends who are teachers. I’ve chosen not to chat to political friends as they are not teachers, or Gove himself as he is not a teacher.

I have written as a mother and a friend. I am not a political animal and I will neither agree nor disagree with some teachers who have made the decision to strike.

Edible & enjoyable gift ideas

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We’re heading into the final few days of rehearsals, end of term performances, Panto, school reports, mock exam revision timetables and a teenage birthday party to throw into the pot, never mind the shopping, planning, housework stuff and day to day busy life that I might complain about but I thrive on!

However, I’m going to stop for a moment over the weekend and do a double check of what I’ve got, haven’t got, should have got and must get.  I will be armed with a notepad (pretty much like this that my fabulous friend Vicki got me from notonthehighstreet), pen, wrapping paper, tape, ribbon and tags, listening to tunes or the children, with a glass of wine and a mince pie.

It wont be any mince pie, oh no!  For years we have eaten mince pies from Warings who are both local and friends, I should imagine for many more years to come we will continue to do so. I’m no expert on mince pies, yes I can make them but when someone else makes them so much nicer than you then you’d be mad not to delegate!

There’s 2 types of mince pies on offer from Warings, I can’t choose which is my favourite one though!  I will leave it to you to choose – do let me know!  

Here’s a few gift ideas for you, incase you are in need of an edible and enjoyable gift ….

Grab a few packets of mince pies, pop a few in a nice tin like this one from Bodlon or a decorated box, tie up with a nice bow and a thoughtful tag and look see it’s a delicious gift.

Baking Masterclass – what’s not to like?  I have been saying for ages to Alan Waring that I will do a Baking Masterclass and as yet I have not got round to it, but next year I will make a big effort to as a) it’s a year of birthdays with a 13th, 45th, 50th, 16th and 10th and b) I’m going to!!

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Friends and power ballads

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Recently Charch, a friend from school, posted on Facebook that she had a tumour, was back in the UK and living with her mum.  I looked at her status for a while and then replied “what on earth” or words to that effect.  I kept getting alerts to say people had replied and it was lovely to see some names of friends I see or hear from regularly, keep in touch with only on Facebook or friends I have not heard from in ages.

Shortly after reading Charch’s status the emails started to flow as we made plans to go and see her in Cardiff, there was a thread on FB where everyone chipped in with some ideas for visiting options, items we could take and suggestions of people to contact.

I’d not seen Charch for a number of years, but it didn’t matter we’d kept in touch through email, letters, sometimes Facebook, others had seen her and reported back, she always wrote a long letter at Christmas with a paragraph or 2 in her distinctive writing.

The writing that had not changed since I first met her at boarding school back in the (cough) early 80s.  That’s how long I’ve known her.  That’s how long I’ve known a lot of my friends and they are known as school friends which doesn’t give them a more specific title than that.  Those 40 or so girls I lived with through the 80s have a bond so strong and it shows right now.

I can appreciate that for some their school days weren’t their most favourite time but for me I had a riot of a time and I’m still surrounded by my friends who have forgiven me for my big hair, my teenage angst and my dodgy dress sense.

These words from a power ballad of the 80s are perfect for what I really want to say ….

“when the chips are down I’ll be around with my undying,
death defying love for you”