Monthly Archives: November 2010


I’m not breaking any rules of confidentiality by saying that the high schools in Lowestoft aren’t some of the most successful in the county.  As a result, we have a busful of pupils coming over to our school every day, whose parents have opted out of their local school.  These students are very motivated to do well and the ones I’ve met are delightful.

And a group of girls today, in conversation, discovered that I and Weeza share names with two of them.  “Where does your daughter go to school?” another girl asked, which was so charming.  I explained that my daughter is old enough to be her mother.  “My mother’s 32, she said” (she’s 13).  “Ah” I said, feeling very old.  “My mother’s 52” said another girl of 13.  Then someone asked my age.  I hesitated for a minute.  It’s not a usual thing to ask – but they weren’t being rude, they were being friendly, I’m not a teacher (that would have been inappropriate) and so I told them, 57.  They were so sweet, they assured me they would have thought anything down to 40.  “I didn’t think you were that old” said Ellie, knowing it was a two-edged remark, and laughingly friendly.

There’s no doubt about it.  Different generations should mix together.  It does us all good.

Z still enjoys the snow

We’re finally back on our internet booster, wirelessly.  The router doesn’t quite have the gumption to get to both our drawing room and Al and Dilly’s house without it so, whilst we were able to use that, we had to be in the kitchen.  The options on the booster website were beyond my comprehension, but I hadn’t felt able to bother Ro last week as he was really busy at work, and Dora was leaving for Thailand to visit her brother on Sunday, so I didn’t want to interrupt his weekend either.

Today, however, we helped each other out.  I was going to Norwich to pick up Zerlina’s present, and offered him a lift home afterwards, to save a long walk with shopping.  I had a bit of a decision-wobble in the afternoon because of the weather, but the snow stopped by the time I was at my destination and hasn’t started again yet here, although apparently it has in Norwich.

However, let’s start at the beginning.  As so often, I was awake early and up late, and found there was a pleasing amount of snow – not enough for us to be snowed in (this often has happened in the past) but a decent couple of inches.  So, later, when the sun began to shine through, I trotted out to build another snowman.

Al and Pugsley had already been busy.  The little chap who’d been built at the weekend was decently dressed, and he had a companion.

It was a lovely day, and the snow was starting to drip from the tree branches, so I spent the next happy hour making my snowman in case it melted further.

 Al had been asked to mind the shop for a couple of hours, so he left Pugsley with me.  He was quite happy roaming around in the snow while I worked, but he didn’t think much of my attempt to sculpt arms.  He thought I should have used sticks.  It was snowing quite hard by the time I finished though, so I hastily gave him a face, took his picture and went indoors.

This evening, Ro was talking me through the procedure when we got cut off – the landline phone rang a minute later so I thought it was him, but it was Weeza.  Then Ro rang back on my mobile.  I promised to phone Weeza back, got the internet working, phoned Al to ask him to check, phoned Weeza, then Al rang back – I needed extra ears and was about to run out of telephones.  Still, all is jolly good and we are hoping to get together at the weekend.

Snow permitting, of course.

Under the influence

So, today – I was up first.  Actually, I didn’t get up until 8 o’clock, though I’d been awake for a couple of hours reading.  I have half a dozen books on the go on my phone, and today’s choice was Tom Sawyer.  I’ve read it several times already, of course, but not for a few years and I’d rather forgotten how frightening a character Injun Joe was.  There’s a Facebook meme been going around of which authors have influenced you in some way, and several of us have chosen Mark Twain amongst others (one of mine was Saki, of course).

When I went out, about 9 o’clock, the wise Sage was still in bed.  As I left the house I heard bantams chatting to each other about the breakfast they expected any minute.  I didn’t have time to soak their bread in hot water, their usual breakfast, but I went back to get a dish of corn for them.  They are all clustering together at this time of year rather than going off alone – warmth and safety, I guess.  They all hurried to greet me, anyway.

We hadn’t expected many people to brave church, but were surprised.  On the fourth Sunday, it’s a café-style do, with Communion first for the few who prefer the Book of Common Prayer, then coffee and bacon sandwiches, and later a very informal family service.  You’d hardly say service really.  The children were decorating Christmas baubles and doing various puzzles and painting and that sort of thing.  Cake and grape juice were served.  I played the clarinet – not in a soloish way, but to lead the singing.  Several friends of about my age turned up sans any children, and the youngsters ranged from babies to teenagers.  All very sociable and seemed to be enjoyed,  I played the last verse very fast (this was appropriate, it was that sort of song) and was applauded good-naturedly.  We were in the church rooms, but we’ll be in the church next week so I turned up and on the heating, to check it was effective, and set the timer for the Christingle service and for next Sunday.  Neither of the churchwardens have mastered the timer yet, so I’m still doing it,

This afternoon, I was playing Scrabble on my phone (the phone was the opponent) and went into the kitchen to think what to cook for dinner.  When I looked at my phone, it had turned itself off – which is normal, it does so if not used for a few minutes.  However, it didn’t come back on when I pressed the button.  Deeply alarmed, I pressed the main button – nothing.  I was sure there was juice in the battery, but put it into the computer to recharge and it didn’t show up on iTunes.  I was shocked and appalled.

At this point, Weeza happened to ring up.  I made polite conversation for all of two minutes before telling her my woes, and logged on to the Apple website while still talking to her to make an appointment to get it sorted out.  However, first, I looked at the troubleshooting advice, which was just as well, because it soothingly explained what to do.  And now all seems fine.  So, a ten-minute storm in a teacup, but it made me quite anxious at the time.

It was very cold overnight, but no more snow yet.  I might go over to Norwich tomorrow, to buy Zerlina’s Christmas present.  Most other things will be bought online or in Yagnub or Selcceb.  Possibly Notselrah, but that’s harder to pronounce.

Snowy Z (as Chris would say)

Well, there was enough snow for me to build a snowman.  A little one, admittedly, because I didn’t get around to it until the afternoon, by which time the sun had been shining and some of it had thawed.  If we get more snow, I’ll build a bigger one.

Al and the children built one too – Al being the smart one of the family, he managed to get arms to stay on. In fact, it was good building snow, sticking together well and not too powdery.

I’d quite forgotten, by the way, that I never wrote final “bringing on the wall” posts – if you read Dave’s blog, you’ll know that he and the Sage put in a couple of final sessions at the start of this month to finish it off.  They finished exactly four weeks ago and ended with a celebratory bonfire and fireworks, it also being Bonfire Night weekend.

My friend is still seriously ill and they hope to fly him back to hospital in this country in the next day or two.  He is in intensive care, but they have not been able to diagnose what the cause of the problem is yet.  Very worrying and we feel for his wife too, living in a hotel so far from home.  His daughters have flown out to be with them; one of them has a paraplegic husband and a young baby, but the husband has to have full-time carers so it’s not as difficult as leaving an invalid usually would be, in practical terms anyway.

You’ll want snowman photos, of course.  Here you are – it was a brighter afternoon than these show, but I took them on my phone, which is always a bit dark.  There are a couple of pictures of the wall too.  As you see, not much snow was left by 2 o’clock this afternoon.  But we can still hope!

Oh, and congratulations to Simon (Eddie 2-Sox)’s son, Sam, on his success in the kuk sool won UK championships in Liverpool today.

Cl@r10r Ust@ R0g0

I’m still doing the rota.  It’s a bit difficult, because the person who’s ill – he’s my fellow organist, and his wife also reads lessons, makes coffee and will be sidesman if necessary – I’ve eased their burden for the next few months, but I don’t want to leave them off altogether in case it makes them feel sidelined.  But if he’s fine and wants to do more, he can always take some of the jobs I’ve put myself down for in their place.

Today was Founder’s Day.  The school was founded in 1565 which is rather splendid, because they’ve celebrated Founder’s Day ever since.  Whole lots of Old Boys turn up, though not as many as usual because of the snowy weather and several cried off.  I don’t know at what point you’re invited, most of them are knocking on a bit.  They included a previous Head, Deputy Head, two other teachers and someone whom I really tried to persuade to be a governor but haven’t managed yet.  He’s so excellent that he’s in demand elsewhere, I do understand – what a handicap being nice is.

Anyway, I was clearing snow off the windscreen at 8.30 this morning to go to the special assembly, and returned for lunch with the Old Boys (and girls).  I was meeting the Head later, so browsed in the library for a while and made notes of a book I’d like to give someone.  He came for me while I was jotting the name on my phone and was amused.  He and I think the same way about a lot of things, professionally – we do chat about the odd family matter, but tend to keep to school matters most of the time – it is such a pleasure to work with someone where there’s mutual respect and liking.

I think that confidence has a lot to do with it.  If you are secure in your self-awareness, you will not feel threatened by someone who is good and ambitious, but encourage them.  If you have any insecurity yourself, you might not give credit where it’s due or try to squash initiative.  I find this sort of thing very hard to work with, and there is no question of it here.  Very much the opposite, which means there is a strong and ambitious team who aren’t afraid to come up with ideas and who will be given resources to carry them out if they put up a convincing case.

The school motto, by the way, is so hard to translate that an explanation has to be given with it.  Excuse the disguise, but I am easy enough to identify without giving the game away to the idle googler.

I’ve been working on the rota in between writing.  It’s so dull that I have to give myself little treats every so often.  But it’s done now.  I’ll email it out and watch a DVD before bed.

It’s déjà vu all over again

I had finally, after six years, got rid of the church rota.  But now the chap who has taken over the job is ill, and in hospital on holiday, which is worse, so I’ve said I’ll do the next one.  And of course I couldn’t possibly mind, he and his wife are kind and helpful and completely took over all my duties while I was out of action last winter.


The photos didn’t get taken today.  The IT boys couldn’t get the camera to work.  Heh.  No, we were all really nice about it.

Snow fell in Norwich and on Dave early in the morning, and on Somerleyton and maybe other places around here, but didn’t arrive in these parts until late morning, briefly, and then the sun shone.  Snow returned later, however.  It was quite thick on the car when I left the meeting just before 5.  I had to go to the supermarket, then for petrol, and every time I opened the car door more snow fell on me from the roof.  I was ever so glad I hadn’t gone on my bike (because I needed petrol) because it was slushy and slippery on the way home and I would have been afraid to bike it, with a porcelain hip.  It’s true, I’m more nervous of falling heavily than I ever was.  I could shatter.

The Sage took my and his tax stuff to the accountant this morning.  Dave will say this is months late, but it’s in plenty of time.  This evening, I asked if he’d said how much I was likely to owe (I paid tax for the first time evah last year).  The Sage said not, he’ll write.  “There’s plenty of money in the TSB” he said reassuringly.  “It’s all right, I’ve been saving up” I said, not without a hint of resourceful pride.  “So have I” he said, evidently not having had a lot of reliance on my forethought.

He just came in the room.  “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked.  “Ooh, what gadget do I want?” he said.  And then decided he was fairly gadgetted up for now.  He’s thinking about it.  He didn’t return the question, which might mean he’s already decided or, more likely, that he won’t think about it until he panics in four weeks’ time.  Actually, both of us are a bit too independent, if we really want something we buy it rather than mark it to be asked for.  Since we’re both pretty frugal, day to day, this rarely happens though, the shopping, I mean.  Though I couldn’t be doing with a husband who looked askance when I did buy something.  If I come home with something new, he’s really pleased.  We encourage each other to be frivolous.

Z nearly outstays the daylight, but just keeps within her welcome

I’ll write early so that I won’t spend most of the evening in the kitchen.  Last night, I remembered a whole lot more work to do and was here until 11.30.

Friends of ours moved house back in the summer – he is a good friend of mine in particular, and had asked me to drop in any time I was passing.  Well, I’m not very good at dropping in so had been diffident about it, and a few weeks ago he reminded me.  Then, last month, I finally had a week with some spare time, and then I got a cold, then it was our auction, then I was on holiday, then I had a lot to catch up on – anyway, the upshot was that I finally called in today.  We’d exchanged emails the other day – he’s the one thinking about buying an iPad – and I suggested today could be The Day.

I stayed for lunch and nearly for tea, I finally rolled home at 4 o’clock.  The Sage had been out and phoned to find out where I was and to say he was going out again – I haven’t seen him since he kindly brought me a cup of tea in bed this morning (you see, Roses, it does sometimes happen).  It’s a lovely house, though quite awkward, having a lot of steps between rooms, for someone who has rheumatoid arthritis and walks with a stick, but I can quite see why they loved it.  It is situated on the edge of the town, so it’s got the river running by the garden, you can see the road from the front but people can’t look in and no one can see into the delightful garden at all.  The lovely deli and wholefood shop, and the post office, are within 20 yards but you don’t feel you’re in the town at all.  In addition, it’s Georgian and very attractive.  Not entirely practical, but I see no reason to be overly sensible either.

So, that’s about all I’ve done today.  It was only 4 when I got home, as I said, but the evening had already started because it was starting to drizzle and the light was failing.  Can’t wait for the government to drop GMT.  I will feel as though I’ve gained an hour in every winter day.

This evening, Dilly is tutoring and Al has a governors’ meeting, so one of us will babysit.  I probably will make soup for supper, I’ve some lovely stock in the fridge and plenty of vegetables.

Z prepares a half smile

Got a bit of a problem with the wifi.  That is, it suddenly locked us out.  Since the Sage and Al need the internet constantly for eBay (well, I exaggerate, but the Sage isn’t quite happy unless he has his evening fix, and Al had stuff he was selling that finished last night) they weren’t pleased.  Since, among us, my poor knowledge is the best going, it turned into my responsibility.  I’ve fixed it up to an extent, but will need more advice from Ro before we’re going properly.  As it is, we are all using our computers in the kitchen.

The complexity of school governor stuff is increasing.  And likely to increase more.  Ho hum.  Still, I daresay it’ll be interesting.  A governors’ meeting on Thursday and we’re having our photos taken.  Such is the paranoia about safeguarding that now everyone has to have photo id. Pity.  I’m rather attached to my present name badge, which has a little Happy Face sticker on it, courtesy of my friend Caroline who is a teaching assistant there.  Still, I’ll bear the experience with good nature, if not good cheer.  I’m not too fond of having a photo taken of me.

Why is it, by the way, that ‘official’ photos, for passports and suchlike, are always so dreadful?  In my passport, I look terrified.  On the Sage’s driving licence, he looks frightening.  I’ve never seen a good one yet.  The really depressing thing is that they are actually accepted as a likeness.

The Sage is home

I overslept. I switched the light off around 1, woke around 7, slept again and was woken up by the phone ringing at 9.30. So it’s fair to say I caught up on some sleep. It left me in a hurry to get going, but I arrived at the funeral in Oulton Broad with more than half an hour in hand. All the same, I was too late to sit in the church and had to go into the connecting hall, where there was a video link. It was standing room in there by the time the service started, there must have been 400 or 500 people there altogether. It seems so sad that it’s a mark of how much people think of you, that they can only show it at the last by coming to your funeral.

The Sage got back after a successful trip this afternoon. So things are right around here again. I shall go and cuddle him appreciatively when I’ve written this.

A friend is considering buying an iPad. He has suggested I go with him to try one out. What a good idea. I don’t know quite what he wants out of it, but that’s up to those nice people at the Apple store to discuss with him. I’m quite happy just to have fun. As usual.


I was writing to a friend and didn’t notice the time.  It’s nearly midnight.  I’ll have to adjust the time to make this Sunday’s post.

Last night, I didn’t sleep.  I whinged gently on Facebook every hour or so, and eventually got up to make tea and fetch my phone recharger, because I’d been using it for so long I’d run the battery down.  Usually, reading on the phone sends me off to sleep quite quickly, but not this time.  Eventually at about 4.30, I put some music on and managed to drift off for 3 hours.  So I confidently expect a sound night’s sleep tonight.  I went up to put the electric blanket on an hour ago so I won’t have cold feet to keep me awake.

All quiet here, not a lot to say.  The chickens all came running when I took their breakfast out and again for lunch (bread and maize respectively – they also have a feeder filled with wheat grains in their run).  This afternoon, I went out to shut up the henhouse when it was getting to dusk – a fox has been seen on the field so we’re being careful.  Most of the chickens roost in trees, we think they are safer that way so don’t clip their wings, but a few like to sleep in the henhouse.  I came back in and there seemed no good reason not to just lock the door and settle down for the evening.  No dog to let out or take for a walk last thing.  When I went out at 8, several bantams were strolling about on the drive so I knew all was well there.

Not too busy a week coming up.  A funeral in Lowesoft tomorrow, then nothing in the diary until Thursday and Friday, both school things.  I wonder if I’ll manage to get something productive done instead of just faffing about. I usually faff, to be honest.

I’ve just realised there are a couple more emails I meant to write – Weeza, the Sage and Wink have all been on the phone chatting to me this evening, I haven’t got everything done.  Tomorrow morning will be good enough though.  Really is time for bed now.