Monthly Archives: January 2009

Z prepares to Bring, Share, and be a Wallflower

It was a long cold day and I don’t really feel like going out tonight. I’d rather curl up in an armchair with a book, music, glass of wine and a juicy steak. Well, you don’t exactly curl up with a steak, you sit up and eat it nicely. A crackling log fire, also not with me in the armchair, would be the rest of my most desired evening. But I bought those tickets for a ceilidh, so to that we must go for the friend I bought them from would otherwise think I’d just been polite in buying them, whilst actually I was being friendly. At least, I thought, I wouldn’t have to get dinner ready and there was food in the fridge for Ro to prepare his own.

During the afternoon, I got out the tickets and looked for the time it is to start. I saw those words that are the bane of the churchgoer’s life. “Bring and share supper”.

‘Bring’ – it’s a good word, a giving word. ‘Share’ – how generous and friendly. Sometimes it means embarrassment, when you’ve made some hasty cheese sandwiches and bring them along to find everyone else has been spending the day cooking. Sometimes, you go to more effort and find that everyone dives happily at your home-made smoked salmon mousse and chocolate brownies, leaving you to the Tesco’s Basic Pork Pie, quartered and ignored. However, if it’s a friendly get-together, you don’t mind, it’s all part of the occasion. But when you’ve paid to go and you aren’t going to dance as your knee is more than usually achy and the Quasimodo Lurch is not a desirable part of Strip the Willow and you’re tired and hungry, the thought of being fed, preferably with a nice plate of hot chilli or shepherd’s pie, or even macaroni cheese, is an appealing one. I’d have paid an extra fiver happily for it.

I trust it’s a dress-down occasion. I’m not climbing out of my jeans and into more elegant clothes, not for nothing nor no one.

Z is Inspired by Minimalism

I’ve finished the governors’ link week at the high school. Although I didn’t have enough time for everything and I’ve made an appointment for a meeting next Thursday and am doing another lesson observation next Friday. I have also, it seems, offered to do anything I can useful for French. I half-offered to learn German, to be useful there, but thank God I don’t think I was taken too seriously.

The Sage has been plaintively asking me when I’ll be free to do some work for him for the last three days. I’ve said, not in the evenings. So, Sunday at earliest. Because, tomorrow Al is busy all day (new governors’ training, which lasts 8 hours) so I’ll be in the shop.

Al and Dilly are out tonight at the theatre, so it’s very quiet around here as Ro is babysitting. Not that he’s loud, but usually the television is on or we’re chatting or something. The Sage is on the phone in another room. The only sounds in here are Tilly’s sleepy breathing and the crackling of a log fire. And the tapping of the keyboard, of course. I may put some music on.

Ooh, that reminds me. Year 10 music classes have been studying minimalist composers, such as Philip Glass and Steve Reichs. Others were mentioned but as I’d not heard of them I didn’t remember them. I liked the piece she played for them to analyse (which was used as an exam piece – in the listening exam, it would be far too hard for GCSE students to play).

I’m thinking I may let Mahler lie for a bit and investigate Adams. I don’t know much about him, except that he wrote Nixon in China, but it could be a good time for me to find out.

Z is kissed!!(!)

I made a pudding. As I told the Sage, his face lit up with happiness. He approached. I was thoroughly kissed.

I wouldn’t want to be taken for granted, so he doesn’t get rhubarb crumble and custard every week. Sometimes, therefore, he is obliged to kiss me anyway. But when I’ve made a pudding, he actually wants to.

Better than a Bat

You may remember, a few months ago, our burglar alarm being set off by a bat flying around in the dining room in the middle of the night. We never did find out how it had got in, and there were some suggestions that the Sage and I had dreamt the whole episode. Which we hadn’t of course. Absolutely, surely not.

The difficulty with bats is that they are very small and almost impossible to catch, and can make themselves flat enough to hide behind pictures, furniture, any small space at all, that they fly so fast it’s not easy to follow the flight with your eyes and that they have radar.

So, when the Sage came in and asked me to help chivvy a wren out of the kitchen, I did at least think we’d be able to do so.

I think a wren is my favourite bird. They are so sweet, with their little upturned tails. It’s a pleasure to see them hopping around finding little insects in crevices, and they aren’t that easy to spot as they are so small and such a plain brown, so it’s always a treat.

It was hopping along the line of saucepans hanging against the beam against the kitchen wall. We shut the door, but there’s a hatchway into the next room and (because the internet hub is in the hatchway) it is awkward to shut it quickly. So I stood with my arms raised on that side of the room while the Sage opened a window. Then we advanced on the little fellow from two directions, hoping to direct it. Of course, it made a dash over our heads towards the door. Then it flew back – I was very worried it’d land on the hot Aga – and shot out of the open window.

Poor thing had been sleeping in the front porch and followed the Sage in when he went to fetch a log for the fire. I hope it finds its way back, as that’s on the other side of the house from the window it left through.

Anyway, following that small drama, I’m going to read the paper and have an early night. All this full day’s work malarkey is tiring me out.

Troubled by enthusiasm

I throw myself into things, rather. Although I was on the Finance committee at the village school, I’ve never been on that of the high school, but stuck with the Teaching & Learning committee and being the Special Educational Needs governor. I’ve done other things sometimes, but not long-term. A year and a half ago, I took on the link with Music and enjoy it so much that I’ve threatened a tantrum if anyone tries to take it from me. That’s still all right, half a morning a week regularly and the pleasure of always going to concerts and the like.

But we were a bit short on the committee, so I said I’d take on Vocational Education and Languages. I’ve not been to Voc Ed yet, that’s for tomorrow and Friday, but I’m getting worryingly into the languages. And today, I went to a Finance meeting for the first time, just as a guest. And I found it really interesting. I do know the terminology and what money comes in ring-fenced and for what (although you turn your back and something new happens) because of past experience which helps, but I had rather expected it to be a matter of duty rather than anything else. Fortunately, looking around, there is already a strong committee and I’m not likely to be needed. So I can just forget about it and just enjoy reading the balance sheets every so often.

Let’s hope I find Voc Ed a bit dull, eh?

And the worst

I really loved Murph. I love the way his scribe, Drew Peacock, writes too. One only has to consider a few of his finer aphorisms – Norfolk and Good, Far Kennel, The Dog’s Blog Rocks – to know he will both entertain you and force you to consider life in an altogether new manner. Murph didn’t make it home from the vet’s today and has played his Last Post. Sympathy and best wishes to his family, Drew, Kath E Rine, Oz and the Lilster. Dogs matter. They never blame you when you really screw up, even if they’re the ones to come off worst, and you miss them forever when they’re gone,

When I met Drew, round at Dave’s, we touched on the subject – theoretically, at that point of course. I have to say, although (I hasten to assure you) Tilly is fit and well, it worries me no end that one day I’ll give you bad news. And you’ll be upset, and so will I, and we all try to be happy bloggers…but there it is. We share the good times and the bad.

Bless you all, darlings. I do appreciate you, even those of you who read and never say a word so I don’t know who you are (you’re more than welcome, we’re libertarians all on this blog and stand up for free non-speech).

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the lesson I had in A level German, which was conducted in German so I didn’t really get much of it, and the governor training session I took on How To Sack A Teacher. Theoretically. Tomorrow, Finance, Years 9 and 10 French and A level Music. And a PCC meeting. I lead a rich, full, life (she said ironically).

G’night all

The best news Z has had for ages

You’ll have had to be reading this blog for a long time and have been interested enough to remember this, specifically, too (I think Dandelion will, because I’m sure she commented at the time) but I wrote a long time ago about a friend of mine who was in hospital, having lost a dramatic amount of weight, and who was having difficulty accepting that she suffered from an eating disorder. Well, she survived and learned to believe the truth of the situation and worked on overcoming it. Although still thin and unable to eat with other people, she gradually regained some weight and strength and returned to work. I see her every so often (her parents, whom I don’t know, live locally but she doesn’t) and she’s looked quite well but still thin.

She is a friend as I say, but I met her through mutual friends to whom she’s closer, and I knew that they had been away to a graduation ceremony last week. Today, they were excited to tell us that they had been to celebrate with Claire and her family her receipt, or is reception the correct word?, of her doctorate. Which is in Medical Statistics or something, which is a bit of a downer, but there you go. Actually, several of her friends kept a food diary for a few weeks and sent it to her to analyse (it was nearly 2 years ago, I eat rather less now than I did then), which she decided to do to help her to see how what she believed was normal eating was actually much less than everyone else ate. This was advised at the specialist eating disorder clinic in Norfolk, which I’m sure saved her life.

So, we were terribly pleased to hear about her academic success. But what pleased us more was the picture of her in her gown. She is now plumper in the face than I’ve ever seen her. She looked healthy and happy and pretty and I really think that she may have started her life all over again. Isn’t it wonderful?

They went out for lunch afterwards to a vegetarian restaurant (she has been vegetarian for years and the start of her problem was when she became almost unable to eat any living food, and had to live, pretty well, on fruit) and she ate cheerfully and normally. She and some friends have formed a veggie dining club and they try out all the vegetarian restaurants in the area, eating together once a week. As so often, friendship has helped her to work through her problems, but the real achievement is her own.

Z isn’t born to be a knitter

I’ve knitted a yard of scarf and now all I have to do is find out how to cast off. It’s all right, I have a Library Book and can look it up. However, I also have a ball of wool left and am contemplating making a hat to go with the scarf to keep me from getting frostbite on my ears when I’m cycling. The recipe I looked up on the internet says it’ll be very easy but I need circular needles. Oh. And there seem to be a lot of techniques.

Techniques: (I quote)
– casting on
– the knit stitch
– the purl stitch
– stockinette stitch (alternating knit one row, purl one row – but when knitting in the round, knit all rounds)
– 2 x 2 ribbing (*knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches* repeated across entire row/round)
– knitting in the round (using circular needles and double-pointed needles to create a round piece of knitting)
– decreasing (knitting 2 stitches together to make knitted piece smaller)
– seaming
– weaving in ends

Maybe I need an easier recipe.

Actually, having read several sets of instructions, I feel depressed and timorous and I think I’ll just make my scarf longer, which has the added advantage of giving me a few more days before I have to learn to cast off.

Z is a bit too busy to visit blogs and apologises

I feel a bit harassed, which is good practice for next week. I’ll be busy every day and all day, which is most unusual. I don’t think there will be time for a single leisurely lunch or afternoon nap. You can see how aggrieved, in advance, I am.

Still, I have various meetings and lesson observations planned and a whole day in Learning Support, as well as my first (in this school) Finance meeting, so I hope I will have a wonderfully jolly time.

This afternoon, I visited Weeza and Zerlina. They were to have come over here, but Weeza has a cold and Dilly isn’t better, so it was decided not to mix germs (except possibly via me). Zerlina’s first teeth are not through but are visible through the gums and she can roll over from back to front. She greeted me with big grins and open-mouthed kisses.

Tomorrow, the Opening of the New Parish Office. Then, out for dinner in the evening. I am vastly cheered at the thought. The diet is suspended for the weekend.

Poor Dilly

Dilly isn’t very well. She has got one of the stomach bugs going around, not to any spectacular extent but she feels generally miserable and has stomach ache and if she tries to eat it gets substantially worse, so she’s not eating at all. So she didn’t go to work today. I took Squiffany to nursery school and then entertained Pugsley for the day, which was planned anyway. He went trouser and pant less for the day, as he is fine at using a potty as long as he isn’t wearing anything, but if he is, he forgets it isn’t a nappy and there is the risk of a Little Accident. Anyway, all went well and he ate a substantial lunch of salmon, pasta and cheese sauce. Cucumber and lettuce were served which he likes in theory but rarely actually eats. He did have half a banana and some orange juice though.

In the afternoon, Dilly got up and cuddled Pugsley on the sofa, and I went to fetch Squiffany. We went and bought some biscuits and crisps. Dilly needed to sleep again, so I suggested the children took food into their bedroom. Squiffany, who is a practical and cheerful little girl, started to spread out a crocheted blanket on the bedroom floor. “We can have a picnic, it’ll be more fun!” she explained. We turned on the radio, spread out the food and put out cushions to sit on. I had to go to a meeting, but they said they’d play quietly.

My meeting, well, can’t really say anything (this confidentiality nonsense) but I must say that all of us there, of whom I was by far the least important (this is not modesty at all, but simple truth, if only in this instance *ahem*) wouldn’t get very far if we left it to the people whose job it is to help, but who merely get in the way. There are doers and there are pen-pushers.

I made a lovely fish pie for dinner. Dexter is on later. I shall do some knitting in the meantime.

Oh, by the way, I’m finding Mahler a bit dull, to my surprise. Shostakovich is going well, however. I haven’t tried to learn a poem yet and I haven’t done anything new or met any bloggers. But it’s still January and I’ve the whole year, after all.