Monthly Archives: July 2003

Typical !

Holiday temporarily on hold.

I was a bit headachy and shivery and nauseous at the weekend, but put that down to a touch of nerves. Now I know better. Looks like the eardrum may be perforated again, and fighting the infection has made my body resort to glandular-fever type symptoms. So instead of moving on to the next stage of our holiday, I find myself spending a bit longer at my sister’s yet again! Hopefully not as long as last time we visited, when I ended up in hospital for three weeks!

At least the boys are tired so they were quite happy to draw and watch TV all afternoon.

It was the till’s fault, I tell you!

I definitely pressed the right buttons to put in 1x30p SUBTOTAL CASH. It was the till that decided to charge the customer £48. I mean, anyone reading my wiblog will appreciate that I am an organised and efficie…er… Oh, OK, point taken. But I still swear I didn’t hit the wrong key!

This weekend is the County Show. It’s been very quiet today, actually…. nowhere near as many people as usual, and there didn’t seem as much to see, either. Mind you, wandering round on my own I didn’t have the oohs, and ahhs of the boys to distract my attention. I fobbed them off on the respite carer for the day while I work in the Churches Together Tent serving refreshments. It’s a job I really love and I spend all weekend there, alternating between the drinks counter (making teas and coffees) and the till.

This year we have a real till, usually I have a cashbox and mental arithmetic 😀 Pete says I was a liability with the till! Not sure quite what he meant. Did it have something to do with me giving up using it, and just opening the drawer and putting the money in? 😉 He surely can’t have been questioning the huge amount of money we apparently took? (I did the £48 trick a couple of times!)

I was a bit of a liability doing the drinks too, seeing as I stuck my finger in the urn and scalded it. It was my poorly finger too. If it was hurting before, it’s certainly hurting now! How on earth did I manage to scald the middle finger on my left hand and leave the others unscathed? (As I said afterwards, perhaps I should use a different finger to stir my coffee in future, or even a spoon)

Tomorrow I have been blackmailed into providing the music for the open air services. I hope my poorly finger is up to it. Apparently I am the only “musician” available to play. For that read “The only mug who can be persuaded to play”. I have a list of hymns to practise frantically tonight. Still, I was offered considerable payment – a kiss and cuddle from my friend’s gorgeous husband, the vicar. I wasn’t expecting payment in the middle of the tent, but it was rather nice 😉 Perhaps that’s why I overcharged him for his cup of coffee!

Tomorrow I am there again, with the boys this time. And on Monday they are going to borrow Tiddles to help with dismantling the marquee. He’s finished at school now for the summer, Smudgelet has three days to go, to his disgust! I’m taking him off a day early to start our three week “UK Tour” on Tuesday.

How on earth will I get this place sorted by then?

I survived

School finally came to an end yesterday.

Wednesday was a wonderful day, much as I’d been dreading it. We took the Key Stage Two kids to Robin Hill, all 165 of them. The potential for disaster was great, but they were wonderful. Perfectly behaved and lovely company. I spent the morning at “Base Camp”, sitting in the sun and chatting with colleagues, writing a couple of postcards, drinking coffee and eating cake, while the kids occasionally went running past with a wave and an “awroight miss?”

After lunch a group of us – staff, that is – went on the Time Machine, a rather impressive simulator. It was great fun. Sadly the one member of our group who was most reluctant to go on didn’t manage to go on – I was the last person and the gates closed in front of her. This, of course, meant that we all had to go on again so that she would have a go! We sat either side of her and held her hands firmly (no, not to reassure her, but to stop her waving them in the air which was the signal to the operator to stop the ride). Then off we went on a rollercoaster ride through the middle of a volcano!

We then went on to the toboggan ride. That was brilliant fun as we went at breakneck speed down the slope. I hadn’t got a child with me as an excuse for excess use of the brake so I went full tilt, which was more exhilerating than I could have imagined. Can’t have been going that fast, mind, as Becky nearly rammed me from behind. I am beginning to tell why she can’t pass her driving test!

The kids saw a slightly different side to me when one child hurt her ankle and the icepack had to be used. No, not the caring compassionate side. Never fear! No, I managed to grab a fallen icecube and drop it down one of the helper’s backs. There then ensued an ice-cube battle… first between me and B, then a few of the kids were enlisted as support. I managed only to have the icecube down my back once…. and they never succeeded in getting it in the front of my t-shirt, though I did have to tickle a few in self defence!

It was a sharp contrast on Thursday and Friday to find myself in charge of a colleagues class. Year Eight. Leavers. Off timetable and interested in nothing. Determined not to play games or watch a video, only wanting to cause trouble. Their language was totally obscene, they were destructive and challenging. They suddenly took it into their heads to grafitti each other’s clothing. The Head was furious at them having writing all over their shirts and jumpers. I had questioned it with a senior colleague who had told me to leave them to it. But I could hardly believe my eyes when it went from signing each other’s shirts, to boys writing obscene messages on girls’ breasts and girls writing lower down on boys’ shirts, to pupils actually drawing breasts and genitalia on the clothing.These kids are twelve and thirteen. We might have giggled behind the bike sheds and talked dirty under our breath at that age, but these kids are blatent and talk of nothing else. I don’t know how the Year Eight teachers turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to it. Happily a good telling off from the Head (he sent them home to change, or made them wear shirts from lost property) and my decision to tolerate nothing (even though the other teachers were giving them free rein) seemed to do the trick to some extent.

One lad commented “This school is just like a prison”. I was very good and bit back the comment “Who says school doesn’t equip you for the life ahead?”

At last the two days came to an end, though. It was with great sorrow (honest, honest it was) that we waved them off…. having first checked their bags for eggs and water bombs, and put sentinals on duty in the car parks. And then we were freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Then off for a pleasant hour or two at the local vineyard for a meal at the Head’s expense, sitting on the terrace overlooking the vines and chatting and relaxing and getting into the holiday mood.

I LOVE the holidays!!!!! (sorry Maddie)

What a week that was!

Did I tell you about the time a colleague stormed into the staffroom and wrote on the notice board “Does anyone here actually KNOW what they are doing?” before storming out again and a show of hands from the entire staff gave only three yesses? Well, last week I think those three would have admitted defeat! The words “organised chaos” would have been giving chaos a bad name!

The problem? The transfer days had been organised by two teachers, who were not communicating with each other, and one of whom was away on a school trip. Staff, rooms, activities such as PE and ICT had all been planned without reference to the relevant people. So, for example, I turned up with my class to work in one room, only to be met by the other class who had also been timetabled to be in there. The ICT lesson that was planned for our groups did not coincide with when the ICT coordinator and the technician were in there to show the new children what to do.

The classic was when I was asked to cover the registration for someone who was off sick. I was quite happy to do so, but was a bit perplexed as to which class he was supposed to be registering. I asked everyone, including the head, and nobody knew. I toured the school in vain, only to suddenly be told he was supposed to be with 6G, so I ran to their room, only to meet them coming down the stairs to go to first lesson. I ushered them back (amongst much protesting) up the stairs into their room for the register, only to find that someone had already done it and sent them on their way.

And that was just the start of it!

Still, one more week to go. It could be a bit chaotic, that. My last lesson with each of my groups tomorrow. Feel a bit sad about the Year Eights who will be off to High School. It’s been hard work building a relationship over the course of the year and we’re really there to a great extent. I’ll miss their banter and the challenge of getting any work out of them whatsoever.

I have a school trip to look forward to, too, with about 160 year five and six in a huge park. The organiser’s idea is to send them off into the park in groups, vaguely unsupervised, and meet up with them for a picnic lunch. I don’t know how else I’d organise it, but I feel a bit dubious about this approach. I think I shall buy myself a T-shirt which says “They’re not with me”.

I had a lovely activity all planned to do with the three Year Six groups I have to “entertain” for a lesson each next week. I had done it before with the Year Sevens and it had gone really well. This morning it occured to me – I had done it on transfer day, so the Year Sevens who had done it with me had been the current Year Six! Wonder if they’d notice if we did it again ! 😉

Ominous envelopes

Worrying letter arrived this morning… an official envelope containing a very official looking letter addressed to “The Parent of Tiddles, 5B” After a moment of pacing, I decided that there was no putting it off, I had to read it.

“Dear Miss Smudgie,

At this time of year it is customary for us to hold an award ceremony at school for those who are to be awarded a certificate of excellence. Your son Tiddles is one of those selected to receive such an award and we would be delighted if you are able to attend to see him receive his certificate from the Bishop.

Yours sincerely,

Headteacher”

Any wonder I have been walking around with a smug smile all day? He’s a star and I’m dead proud of him. 😀 Now all I need to do is find a mug… I mean a volunteer… to cover my lessons on Friday afternoon.

Also in the post was another official looking envelope which, on opening, revealed some free tickets for Alton Towers. So now it looks like the Roller Coaster Meet may be a must. I’d better start working on my coat-holding muscles.

Still no luck on the babysitter front, after two more abortive phone calls. I mustn’t sound bitter – these people all have their own lives to lead and really good reasons why it’s not possible (I mean, you would have thought my friend would have abandoned her trip to Anguilla, wouldn’t you, and another friend postponed his birthday). It just feels a bit as though everyone’s happy to say “You really need a break” but not quite so willing to step in and make it possible. Still, the holidays aren’t far away. And today I booked the ferry tickets !!!

I was rescued today from the ordeal of having Year Eight for the last four days of term. How crazy to go off timetable for four whole days! The Key Stage Two team noticed my impending doom and swooped to the rescue, demanding the use of my services with the younger children all week, including a day trip to Robin Hill 😀 That should be really nice. It means, though, that I now only have three lessons left with my Year Eight class before they go swanning off to High School.

Some idiot on the staff who shall remain nameless has come up with a really bright idea that the staff should all dress in school uniform for the last day. Great idea that one, I don’t think! I might add that this also includes the staff lunch at the local vineyard. I will leave it to you to guess whether I am going to go along with this bright idea.

Nine days to go ! (Sorry Maddie!)

Boys!

Lost – one hairbrush, gained – one towel and a tube of toothpaste. Not bad going really.

Mind you, I know how he did it. He hasn’t taken anything out of his bag. Clean clothes (esp underwear) still intact. Soap and flannel and toothbrush untouched. Typical boy!

Tired? Understatement of the year. He could hardly keep his eyes open to eat his tea, ravenous though he is. “I’m blinking” he declared,”…er… long blinks.”

Did I miss him? Yes, I did. A lot. And it’s lovely to have him home – though less lovely to have his bag of washing… and I must admit that after a while the cuddles lost their attraction once the novelty of having him home waned and I started to become more aware of his….natural aroma! Needless to say, he is now in the bath, with two bottles of disinfectant and a fumigation spray. Any minute now he’ll be off to bed, and I reckon he’ll sleep for England.

Me? I’ve had an unproductive day, but a nice one nonetheless. I have managed to do a few jobs, although it’s been too hot to sustain interest in it for long. I have cleared out the boys’ room, though, and it finally looks more like a room and less like an earthquake zone.

I took Dad out for lunch – not 100% successful, but a lovely meal and nice to spend some time together. The downside of it was that the pub was packed – somewhat unexpectedly. And not your average diner, either. A charity cycle ride decided to stop off there for lunch and copious amounts of alcohol – about forty or so of them, somewhat interestingly attired in tutus and carrying pump-action water pistols. Hmmm….. I can only hope they were planning to stay some time and let the affects of the alcohol wear off before proceeding with their bike ride or there may have been some disasterous effects.

Now, to shovel the boy off to bed and enjoy an hour or two before the other one returns to the fold.

Bother

Will nobody agree to have the boys next weekend? Who else can I ring, and how will I say “no, that’s fine, don’t worry about it… it was only a long shot” one more time without letting the wobble show in my voice. Just one tiny weekend away? Not even that… just bedtime Friday to breakfast time Sunday? And they’re never even any trouble for anyone else.

Please?

Hmmm

Wow – freedom!

It’s the weekend, and last night I took my eldest to Cub Camp. One excited little boy, I can tell you, especially as he’d thought he might not be going. Mind you, did I feel a great sense of relief at having a little bit of a break? Of course I didn’t …. I miss him! There’s no pleasing some people, is there? He’ll be back tomorrow afternoon, though, and I’ll have a lovely afternoon reading my book and surfing the boards with a free conscience while he sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. To make this possible I have arranged my first respite session for Smudgelet tomorrow.

I seem to be going through a funny patch at the moment. It’s as though my sense of humour has been sucked away. I know the cause for most of it – children, father, work…. typical stuck in a rut stuff. It just seems as though there’s not much chance for a bit of fun. Even the Ship seems uninspiring just lately as far as fun is concerned.

I intend to rectify that soon though with shipmeets and holidays. I am currently trying to sort out going both to Cheltenham and Winchester next weekend for a bit of “grown up time”. Then it’s only two and a half weeks until we go away. Must remember to make some phonecalls tomorrow. I know what we’ve got planned for the three weeks we’re away, but I haven’t actually told the people we’re going to stay with yet!

Had a bit of a giggle at Smudgelet’s swimming lesson. They were having “fun night” and the instructor was running (tut) along the side of the pool holding a hoop and dragging the children at high speed through the water like a speedboat. Suddenly the assembled parents realised that one little boy was zooming along towards the deep end, but his trunks had stayed motionless at the shallow end of the pool!!! Not that the instructor noticed… he just wondered why the lad was sooooooo reluctant to get out of the water at the end!

Today I ordered the book my friend has just had published. It should be here by Tuesday. I had to buy it, not to show solidarity with Sue, but because I am apparently mentioned in the acknowledgements… and she won’t tell me what she’s said, just laughs in a knowing way. Hmmm.. if I tell you her childhood nickname for me was “maggot”, you’ll know why I am so keen to know the worst! The first chapter of her book I’ve already read online and, to my delight, it’s actually not bad. Wow, just to think, I’m friends with a real live author!

Right, back to Everlasting Sentences to see if anyone has posted…. then check whether the Ship’s afloat again…. and curl up with my book and a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Ooops, forgot to give this a title

Poor kids – can’t be much fun having a teacher who’s a miserable old battleaxe!

It took four hours, a whole bar of G&B white chocolate (donated by a helper who had to work with me and thought the sacrifice worthwhile) and a tremendous victory in the inter-staff tables test challenge (ninety-eight random two digit multiplication sums correct in five minutes!) to change my mood from utterly obnoxious to faintly irritable. By the afternoon, mind, I was sweetness and light. Possibly to do with not having a class to teach.

Our toilet floor is a skating rink tonight. My dear sweet Smudgelet thought it highly amusing to fill the liquid soap bottles with water. To do so, he first had to make room. Bless him. Oh, how I laughed with him at his merry jape ….