Daily Archives: April 17, 2007

My life….

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

OK Dave, have you been spying on Smudgie Towers?

Not in any way wanting to disappoint the lovely people who sent it to me or the lovely people who put it in place and plumbed it in (Fear not – I will get someone in to look at it), I have sadly to report that my lovely new washing machine has kindly washed my kitchen floor for me.

Suspicious character…

This would be really funny except that it could have been really not very funny at all.

It was lovely waiting for Tiddles at the airport this morning. I’d arrived about an hour before his plane landed and was sitting quietly with a drink and a puzzle book, my mini-rucksack on the floor beside my foot, and just people-watching. I was surprised to see some young dogs cavorting round the airport, and realised quite quickly that they were trainee sniffer dogs and that the rather handsome t-shirted gentlemen accompanying them were dog handlers. It was really interesting to see how they trained these dogs – taking them round the airport as though playing a game. One handler had the dog on a lead and clearly did not know what they were looking for, one handler had a tennis ball which he threw to the dog as a reward, and sitting inconspicuously in the terminal was a stooge with a bag containing whatever it was the dog was being taught to sniff out. When the dog finally found her, the handler threw them the ball and gave them a lot of fuss.

I was thinking what fun it would be to be the stooge. I’d actually noticed her before they started tracking because she was sitting at the internet computers but not using them, just reading her newspaper instead. I had thought it was strange! When the first of the dogs tracked her down and started attacking her handbag, the penny dropped! Then that dog was rewarded and taken away and a new handler arrived in the terminal with his dog and the whole process started again.

The last dog (luckily) was a real beauty and quite a softie too. She was so sweet as she bounced her way excitedly around past my feet. Then she turned and came back. I was tempted to stroke her but thought it might not be the done thing. Then she went for my bag. She pushed it round and round with her nose, getting more and more excited. The handler came over and she signalled to him that she’d found something. I was very relieved to know she’d made a mistake, but wondered what on earth would happen, so I just waited patiently, letting her sit on my bag and waiting for the handler to sort it out – well aware he may need to search it but not too bothered. He asked if I had any money in my bag and I said I had quite a bit (still having some of the wightmeet money in there) and showed it to him. Apparently this little dog had a tendency to confuse the smell of money with the smell of drugs. They apologised and went on their way, the dog then running straight to the stooge and getting her reward.

I sat there smiling… until suddenly my heart hit my boots rather suddenly.

I had completely forgotten… two months ago I had placed in the hidden pocket in my bag a pack of loose tobacco I had confiscated, a pack the contents of which I was not too certain was just tobacco and had intended to ask someone to check. Needless to say, I am now a bit more certain of the contents and they have now been well and truly destroyed. The certainty of the matter is that if they had searched my bag they’d have found that pocket and I somehow don’t think we’d have been visiting any schools this afternoon…….

A bit scary, actually.

School

This morning I met Tiddles from the airport after his month’s sojourn in Scotland. He started to miss me by the end of the four weeks, despite a quick trip home mid-month… though this may have had a little more to do with the argument he had (and, needless to say, lost) with my brother. He’s home full of good intentions. It’s a balancing act – if I greet them with scepticism then that would be completely wrong and totally blow all chance of them succeeding, but there’s a big part of me that has to be realistic and protect myself from being sucked in too deeply until I see the evidence. It’s a fresh start where a line has been drawn underneath what’s gone before rather than simply erasing it all and pretending it didn’t happen.

Killing two birds with one stone, I bundled him into the car (after a hug and a kiss, of course) and we set off across country… or rather, would have done if I hadn’t taken a wrong turning out of the airport… we then set off again across country… and again… honestly, the sooner Tiddles learns to mapread properly the better. He starts off navigating and then loses interest so you say “What’s the number of the road I’m looking for?” and he replies “What? hmmm? Oh, the road? I dunno… which page is it on?”. But it was a beautiful day for a drive in the countryside and the route was absolutely gorgeous, so we couldn’t really complain. It did strike us both, though, how very far away from our little island we were driving – a thought that neither of us really liked to voice too specifically.

The aim of our journey was to visit a boarding school. I think God has his finger in the pie – I woke one morning knowing precisely the kind of school Tiddles needed but also knowing that no such place would exist and that I’d never be able to track it down, even if it did. Discussing it with a friend in MSN, we meandered through a few websites and both fell upon this place at the same time. It’s perfect. Not your average “we prepare children for Oxbridge” school, not your “only the wealthy need apply” kind of place, but a practical experience aimed at helping children gain in self-esteem and responsibility first and encouraging their academic progress alongside it regardless of their starting point. It’s a bit basic there, but it’s perfect and we both fell in love with the place the minute we drove up the drive and heard the birds singing and saw the flowers. What it offers is ideal, if only Tiddles can seize the chance and make the most of it.

What was particularly impressive was that one of the pupils was given the job of giving us a guided tour. He was an incredible ambassador for the place. If Tiddles ends up like him, I’ll be well pleased.

Mind you, I must admit to getting the giggles when I saw a huge pile of clothes and towels under a notice which said “please name your lost property”. I couldn’t decide which was funniest, the mental image of someone saying “I name this towel Sir Percy, good luck to all who dry with it” or the fact that you couldn’t put your name in something you’d lost, it had to be found property before you could name it! Neither Tiddles nor our lovely guide could quite see what was amusing me so I just giggled quietly under my breath.

We have an application form to be filled in by Tiddles, myself, and… sharp intake of breath here… his previous school. If the head teacher thinks he has potential (oh please, please, Mr Headteacher, please think he has potential) then he will call me and Tiddles individually for interview.

Wightmeet

Hmm… I’ll do this one later, when I’m not waiting to go to bed.
And when I’ve checked out my photos to see if there’s any that can come anywhere near Auntie Doris and Rosamundi’s masterpieces.