Monthly Archives: May 2007


How often does one need to do a decadent thing before one becomes a decadent person?
I have just been to England again. All this foreign travel – I have lost count of the times I have crossed the Solent this year, after a year of hardly ever crossing it at all.

Today’s trip was courtesy of Smudgelet and Honorary Auntie M. Some time ago the church hosted a children’s workshop for which they had only one person apply. No prizes for guessing who. Yes, Smudgelet was commended for his enthusiam and, as the workshop was cancelled, he was offered the chance of a trip out as reward/compensation. Delighted, he opted to take Honorary Auntie M up the Spinnaker Tower. (I wimped out. There is a part of me that really enjoys going up high places and part of me that absolutely hates it, and in this case the latter half won!)

As he also had a £10 gift voucher to spend in Woolworths, we decided that I would go over at the same time, we’d meet for lunch, and then we’d go to Woolies together. Hmmm, I wonder what a person at liberty in Portsmouth might do with her time…….. oooooh, did somebody mention shops?

A wonderful time was had by all, them going up the tower and me not going up the tower. (Tiddles stayed home and worked at the stables all day, which he also enjoyed immensely). We did have a little altercation with the place we chose for food. Service was polite and friendly, the food was excellent and the prices fairly reasonable, and it was rather nice to sit in the sun and enjoy a leisurely meal. The fact that they forgot to bring Smudgelet’s pudding, even after we had asked for it TWICE was rather irritating, however. The fact that they overcharged us by four pounds, that we had to wait ages while they sorted it, and that they failed to apologise at all, was incredibly irritating (and what they’ll do when the place is full in the summer I do not know, as they were absolutely run off their feet serving the slow trickle of customers that wandered in), but the biggest irritation was caused really by insult to injury. I appeal to you, dear wibloggers, to confirm my suspicion that they were breaking trade descriptions here. We questioned the bill because the notice outside the restaurant said this: “Kids eat free. All day every day. When eating with two adults who spend over £5 each on food, one child under 12 eats free from the kids’ menu”. We queried the bill as they had charged us for Smudgelet’s meal. They reluctantly refunded us the cost of his cheeseburger and chips. We then pointed out that he had also had (eventually) vanilla icecream, also from the children’s menu. “Oh no, the desserts aren’t included”. Now, I don’t like to quibble over 95p, but to be told that it was unreasonable to expect there to say somewhere, even in small print, “apart from the only dessert on the menu” it, I feel, a little bit naughty… especially after they’d charged us for his whole meal anyway and we’d had to wait ages for them to bring it, to the extent that we nearly missed our ferry! I feel a niggly letter of complaint coming on 😉

And talking of letters…..



The theme of this month’s contemplative and creative worship day was the Fruits of the Spirit.
Wonderful. I love these days, but they really convince me that the sooner they replace the pews with chairs and tables, the better. And I find it difficult to still myself completely or get engrossed in an activity when there’s no sense of isolation – either aloneness or in a crowd of people – and especially when my kids are running round playing and interrupting me every five minutes. But I managed it while sitting in a quiet corner and reading 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 13, and for a few moments at the individual “fruit stations”.

The fruits I chose to pray for were peace and patience. I wonder why.

No post today.


A poem that came from nowhere. I am not, repeat not, in the habit of writing poetry. Well, not since my childhood days when I was studying Alexander Pope and was set the challenge of writing satirical poetry about a person of my acquaintance. Oh, and the amazing songs I compose when driving in the car with my children such as “It’s time to go to bed” and “I wuv my wikkle wabbit” and “It’s chilly, chilly, chilly, chilly, chilly”, all of which I consider major works of art.

In the light (and torrential rain) of day, my unsettled feelings last night have past although I still don’t feel particularly happy about the current situation. A life with a bit of normality to it would make a bit of a change for a while. A very welcome change. But I guess there are moments in every parent’s life when they wonder, given the chance, whether they’d really do it all again. And I guess the answer is almost always “yes”, even in my case, though I might have done things differently (like stick to my guns in saying “no” to a placement from this locality)

Meanwhile I sit here at my computer, Smudgelet playing with LegoLoco in the background and Tiddles up at the church preparing the lunch for a special event today… and all of us on the edge of our chairs waiting for the post with a mixture of anticipation and dread.

Now, without Tiddles here, who’s going to make me a cup of coffee? Better be me, I suppose.

The post came today…

A bill and a present from a holidaying friend (You know who you are. THANK YOU!)

We are going mad.

Today the urgency has increased. A chance encounter with someone who poses a degree of risk to our family; a someone who has some reason to hang around our village; a someone whose presence is unsettling, unnerving, has made it hard to settle tonight and has, by their sheer existance, robbed me of an easy night’s sleep.

Why do I fear thee, shadow of the past?
Is it perhaps that I know deep down I hold your highest card.
The criticism I dare not show, the refusal to pop the bubble of fantasy
that burns hidden deep within my boy.
My boy? Yes, my boy. Not stolen away, you’d lost him long before.
But that’s not the stuff of fairy tales, is it?
It doesn’t reconcile your guilt. His guilt.
Unfounded and yet profound.
And so that tantalising, forbidden fruit beckons
with a thousand unanswered questions
and I have to stand aside and hope.
Hope that the power of love runs deep enough
to shine a beacon to guide him home and light the shadows.
Would that I could lighten your shadows too.

Here endeth the girly weekend :(

Oh well, it was really really nice while it lasted!

This morning I woke with a migraine. I expect a lot of the others woke with aching heads and nausea too, but probably from quite different reasons. After a little time parting company with my breakfast, (T.M.I!) I returned to bed and slept through until now. I’m just experimenting with a bite of lunch before returning to my bed for another half hour to try to clear the residual headache. (Why am I online with a headache? Stupid woman!)

Still, at least I was awake when the phone call came. My poor babies: the camp has had to be called off due to torrential rain. They’ve been looking forward to it for so long. I’d been looking forward to it for so long! So later this afternoon I have to get up and dressed, hope the head is clear enough to drive safely, and go and collect Smudgelet from the campsite. Tiddles, with the older ones, is headed back to Scout Headquarters to camp on the floor overnight there and return tomorrow to help take the sodden tents down. At least it means I can get them bathed and into a snug warm bed and their clothes through the wash separately. But that’s my weekend gone 🙁 Oh phooey! And Oh phooey on their behalf too.

I am now totally engrossed in The Eyre Affair (and like the anonymous commenter, am convinced I’m missing half the jokes, so will doubtless have to read it again).

Footloose is a modern musical set in America about a boy from Chicago who has to move to a small town in the middle of nowhere with his mum when his father walks out. He discovers that the town is ruled by the town council, led by the vicar, and that dancing is banned by law. I was afraid it was going to be all about how stuffy and staid and out of date Christianity is… but it isn’t directly so. It really looked at the dilemma the vicar faces in leading the flock he cares for in the right path and learning that he doesn’t always make the right choices, although he does it for the right reasons. Similarly his relationship with his wife and his daughter. It’s pretty standard fare, but I liked the fact that his love, integrety and motivation shine through. Of course, the main thrust of the story is the boy’s rebellion, and his relationship with the vicar’s daughter who’s also rebelling.. and the music and some pretty impressive dancing. And yes, this is the musical with the song Footloose, and also “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” and… oh the memory comes flooding back.. “I Need a Hero!” during which the stage was invaded by four rather hunky men in rather limited attire…. a fireman, a lifeguard, a pilot and, oh no, I can’t remember what the fourth one was dressed as. Shocking! ;o) (of course, they were all too young for me!)

Girly weekend

Today I have found myself.
OK, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, seeing as I knew where I was anyway. But it’s been really nice to spend the first day in ages simply being me. No kids. Nobody to look after or worry about or even think about. And, for the first time in ages, the chance to say “yes” when a girly group of friends from work asked me to join them for the day for a friend’s hen do.
The lot of us invaded England for the day – and I don’t think England quite knew what had hit it! I won’t go into details. I am not in my natural element in girly party type environment, but I had an excellent day. We hit the shops first. I had deliberately taken only sufficient cash to buy lunch and a coffee mid morning, and had carefully extracted my credit card from my purse before setting off, but had in my bag a number of vouchers which I was happy to spend either actually or virtually (I tend to like doing the latter even better than the former, and often can’t bring myself to spend the voucher because I know that then the tantalising pleasure of planning what to spend it on will be over – sad person that I am). So window shopping it was, of which the best half hour was when we decided to split up and I and my book token and coffee money took ourselves off to Waterstones… who were doing three for the price of two offers on almost all their books. I am now the proud owner of: “The Eyre Affair” (One I’ve been wanting to read for years, ever since a good friend recommended it); “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” which I’ve wanted to read ever since it came out, especially after working with children with autism, and which I was reminded about by the recent meme; and, thanks to Cal (well, I hope so, any way), “The Handmaiden’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. And what did I do after buying them? I settled down in the cafe with a large cup of coffee and read the first two chapters of The Eyre Affair, with a blissful grin on my face.

After lunch came the treat – Footloose, at the Mayflower Theatre. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of it, but I loved it. Absolutely loved it. The music was great, the dancing amazing, the actors superb, and it was nice to see a Christian setting where Christianity was treated in a normal way and didn’t make me squirm. Standing ovation at the end, and I almost found myself dancing – not a natural response for me who finds spontaneous dance a bit too, well, er… spontaneous for my liking. Highly recommended – and rather nice to be out in a lively group who all knew each other well.

The boys? Oh, they’re at camp for the weekend. Spot the inane grin :oD

8 random things about me me me

On the subject of memes, I declared my intention of picking up a tag from Rosamundi and I won’t sleep unless I do it tonight. This is because I am actually too tired to go to bed.

Here goes:

1) I know I’ve mentioned this before but, having forgotten to take my tablet the other day and suffered the consequences it is at the forefront of my mind: I have dermographic urticaria. This means my skin responds to touch by developing red, itchy weals and has the added interest that it is possible to write messages or play noughts and crosses on my skin.

2) I tend to get a “wobbly” tummy just before it snows.

3) I learned several languages including Turkish to qualified translator level but can now only say useful things like “one red apple” and “how are you?”

4) I have climbed the mast of a tall ship, been up the CN tower, climbed a 50 foot tree, and stood on top of Lincoln cathedral. I am somewhat scared of heights.

5) I have played the piano accordion since teaching myself at the age of fifteen.

6) I am all-but tee-total, but can occasionally be tempted to indulge in Baileys, a snowball, the weakest bitter shandy in the world, or cinzano and lemonade. However I would much rather have Appletize, J2O, or a nice cup of coffee.

7) I am a renowned chocoholic but do not like chocolate things: e.g. chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate milkshake etc. I do make an exception for hot chocolate, however.

8) (If this sounds self-pitying, it is not intended to. While it frustrates me at times, at the moment it’s “just one of those things”) While I have never met anyone for whom there has been a mutual attraction and, at the grand old age of 21 and a bit have never been kissed, I seem to have an unerring knack of attracting the totally unsuitable or unavailable.


Did I mention I was a bit dopey today?

I teach four classes on a Monday, three for maths and one for English, to three year groups. The mathematicians amongst you will work out that one year group I have for both Maths and English. This group is made up mainly of the same children, with one or two variations, though there are far more in the maths group than the English.

I went to lesson one. The class of ten was lined up beautifully outside my classroom so I signalled them in. A colleague who was administering important tests in the next room asked me to run to reception to check on the presence/absence of a child who was supposed to be sitting the test, as the teacher in question could not leave the class, so I signalled to my little lovelies to read their reading books until I returned. Lovely kids – no worries at all leaving them unsupervised for a moment or two.

I returned to the classroom. I set the majority of the group a piece of writing to do while I took off two absentees from the previous week and administered a spelling test which they’d missed. Then I returned to the whole class – all ten of them – to continue with another English task.

Whereupon the girl at the front said “Er, Miss. You do realise this is a maths lesson, don’t you?”