Friday, 30 September 2011

Wordsworth got it wrong

Spring's OK but I've never been a big fan of yellow or daffodils come to that but Autumn's where it's really at. Azure blue skies, crisp mornings, conkers, that musky smell of fungi in the park, blackberries the size of plums ... need I go on ?

Incidentally how do cats know when you've had your carpets cleaned and why do they choose the week after to throw up ? Sixth sense or are they just downright cussed ?

At the risk of turning everyone green with envy , I've just had the perfect weekend. I generally hate those smug Sunday paper articles about the subject but as it only happens once in a blue moon I feel justified in bragging.

In no particular order , here's what last weekend involved :
Birthday, friends, a lot of laughing, chocolate, gin and tonic, red wine, curry, shopping, scrapbooking, cake, scones, more laughing ... you get the picture.

I have Sandra to thank for the following quote from a fabulous book she gave me ....
" The best sort of husband is healthy and absent " So true.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Rug Doctoring

That's what I've spent my day of rest doing. Sounds vaguely like money laundering , only not quite so lucrative.

For those of you familiar with this little miracle device that you can hire from Homebase, for the price of a takeaway curry, you'll know that my arms now ache and yet I'm left with a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Three smelly carpets have been transformed from grubby to , well if not spanking clean , then at least refreshed. The water which I tipped from the last gazillionth tank was light brown as opposed to the colour of treacle and I have culled enough cat hairs to knit a large jumper and possibly a scarf to boot.

DH was perturbed that I might disrupt his planned viewing of Downton Abbey tonight , should the telly room carpet not dry in time. He informed me of this from his sick bed as he's currently suffering from flu aka the common cold. Maybe I should have glugged some Night Nurse into the cleaning tank instead of the carpet shampoo and he would have cleared both nostrils and hopefully nodded off to sleep from the medicated fumes.

Aside from the irritation of having a man down in Team Fader all weekend, the thing I hate most about other halves being ill is the hourly update on symptoms. I will know precisely the exact nature of each and every ache and pain by the middle of next week as doubtless he'll be passing on his germs to me as I write.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Feeling Very Blessed

At the risk of sounding cheesy , I'm feeling very blessed right now at having found what it is I really want to do in life.

I'm 2 weeks into term and I'm loving every minute. I see 12 pupils a week of various abilities, ages and stages and help them to understand what the hell Maths is all about. It never fails to amaze me how many people tell me that they HATE maths. Usually its because they were taught badly, sometimes its because they missed a vital stage at school and fell behind and sometimes its because their brains just aren't wired to deal with it. Occasionally, sadly, it's because their teachers humiliated them at school and left them feeling at best intimidated and at worst downright scared.

Fear is a funny thing. It can paralyse you. If you are always telling yourself that you can't do something, or worse , someone else is telling you you're not able to do something then unsurprisingly, eventually you'll believe it.

Anyway , doing what I now do , tutoring youngsters in maths, I have the golden opportunity to put things right. Nothing beats that moment when they smile wryly and say " Oh, I get it ! ".

Having spent a year in the classroom last year, hide bound by the ridiculous rules that now govern state education, NOTHING in the world would induce to get behind a desk in front of a class again. Having the freedom to teach instinctively is liberating. As the old Chinese proverb says " Tell me and I'll forget. show me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand". So true.

Sometimes, it  takes an awfully long time but we get there in the end and boy does it feel good.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Defrosting the Fridge

Not the kind of headline grabbing title that might inspire you to read but the I like to blog about the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.

It's Sunday . Eldest son upstairs with girlfriend, youngest glued to the X Box having done 'bear minimum' homework. I'm mid defrost and have just discovered a dead wasp and a mini Mars bar  on the bottom shelf. Not sure how either got there.

If you ever want to know how much oil one tiny jar of pesto contains, try dropping one on a hardwood kitchen floor. The house now smells like an Italian restaurant ( no bad thing ) and also on the up-side , I may never ned to wax that floor again. How many bottle of chilli sauce does one fridge need and why are they all in the fridge anyway? Aren't these thing so choc full of preservative that they'd last a lifetime and beyond ? The rest of the contents reads like a diary of my life. There are un-drunk cartons of Cambridge Diet banana milk, a dozen condiments from last Winter's Sunday roasts, for some reason at least 5 packs of pepperoni, ancient vegetables that have almost taken root, assorted sizes of egg and of course David's beers.

Nothing that would actually constitute a meal unless one whipped up a chill sauce omelet, deep fried in beer batter with mint sauce and horseradish on the side. Which is probably why I've just eaten a mini mars bar for my lunch. I stopped short at the wasp.

If anyone has a recipe for something that requires 5 different types of mustard, most of which are past the sell by date, please let me know.

So new fridge rules ...

One type of mustard only , it has to be Colmans.

Vegetables to be composted before they take root.

Orange juice only , who needs pomegranate and mango.

You can have enough tubs of Philadelphia Extra Light , it's probably only whipped air in any event.

Buy new parmesan grating tub - enough grated parmesan spilled on the fridge floor to keep a pizzeria n business for a year.

Stockpile mini Mars bars , they come in very handy for lunch.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

How would you like to be contacted ?

I had to fill in a form this week  I'm starting a course at my local Adult Education College next week.  Funny isn't it how learning is a joy in older age - if only we could convince our children of that.

About 8 pages in , I came across a lengthy list of contact preferences. How would I like to be contacted in the event of ...

The options were endless , I could be contacted by post, email , telephone, presumably carrier pigeon if so desired. The circumstances under which they may wish to contact me were equally lengthy but the one that entertained me the most read ....

' How would you like to be contacted in the event of .... death.' I'm not sure I'd care by that stage but the maverick in me made my insert the words 'ouija board' .

On the form went relentlessly. The section about my employment status was equally entertaining. Apparently I could describe myself as unemployed intentionally, unintentionally, by choice, by circumstance or a squillion other options. there wasn't a column for just plain old 'Mum' or 'stuck at home doing ironing and cleaning' so I opted instead for 'economically inactive'.

Trouble is,  that's a slight misnomer I'm actually rather active in the economy . Trouble is the flow of money is mostly out and not in.

So next week I'll be going back into a classroom with a new pencil case and a banana for break. Can't wait for that heady scent of disinfectant and pencil shavings that will transport me back in time.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

From this ...

... to this ...

... in just a weekend. Mind you, I can hardly move today as my back is aching but it was worth it. 

I've evicted DH from his office, if you can call it that, and replaced all the dusty cupboards, junk and ancient paperwork with some (ancient but still serviceable) Ikea storage cubes and the old desk from my scrap room. This is my new 'Tutor Room' as I now like to call it, ready and waiting for my pupils to arrive for the new Autumn term.

I absolutely adore it and it has the best view in the house. I can "yoo- hoo" down to postie when he arrives with a pizza box shaped parcel of scrapbooking stash. It looks out onto trees and the goings on in the road at the front of our house.

The best bit about it is that it's all sourced from furniture culled from just about every room in the house so it hasn't cost a penny. The Ikea storage cubes were probably the forerunner to the ubiquitous Expedit cabinets. I think they count as 'vintage' Ikea - no doubt they'll be appearing on ebay and year now marked up as "rare' ... then again maybe not. These seem to have stood the test of time, unlike a lot of other Ikea stuff that seems to have a built-in obsolescence factor of about 5 years.

The desk is also ancient Ikea and almost fills the room which is tiny but it works perfectly. From my ( also ancient Ikea ) swivel chair I can spin round and access all of my teaching resources that are now neatly stashed away in labelled storage boxes, or reach up and access all of my books and paperwork on the 2 shelves above. The carpet is pretty shot but then you can hardly see any of it underfoot as the furniture covers almost every available square inch ( you can tell I'm old school ) .

The walls are painted in my favourite Farrow and Ball hue called Bone and the lamps make it really cosy. Haven't filled up the shelves yet as you can see from the photos but that won't take long.

I had my first pupil in this morning and the room worked a treat. 

Of course the best news is that I can now go splurge on a replacement desk for my scrap room. I'm planning on having a raised height bench, almost like a kitchen work-top as I like to scrap standing up. My poor old scrap room looks like a tip now and DH is now squeezed into an even smaller box room upstairs but as he only needed room for a small desk and a filing cabinet, he's happy enough.