Monthly Archives: February 2008

Mothers’ Day…er… treat?

That’ll teach me – in future remember to ask the question that’s hovering at the back of your mind, Smudgie, instead of simply taking things for granted.

It will be strange this year – my eldest will not be at home for Mothers’ Day. He goes back to school tomorrow. I shall miss him as we’ve had a lovely week together and I really like (as well as love) my growing-up young man when he’s in the mood he’s been in this holiday. He’s been amazingly organised too – and I happen to know that for the first time ever he’s independently arranged a gift for me for Mothers’ Day and made sure that my friend, Honorary Auntie M, knows where it is so that I get it on the day. Of course, I know nothing of this – it is a secret.

As he won’t be here next week, and as M and I are both preaching and will be rather busy on Sunday, I decided that we would go out for a special meal today instead. We took M with us as she fills a large part of the gap that my mother left – my mum and I were incredibly good friends as well as mother and daughter – and she has no children of her own. And I decided we’d try out somewhere new.

There’s a new hotel opened in what used to be a nursing home in Albert Cottage, in the Osborne House estate. The building itself was once the home of Princess Beatrice (the daughter of Queen Victoria, don’t you know), although the approach isn’t quite as luxurious as I was expecting. It is now a training establishment – run in conjunction with the college to provide a working environment for those training for the catering trade. I’d heard someone talking about meals there – a cream tea at just under £4 which seemed quite reasonable, so I didn’t ask the other question…..

The meal was delicious (although my lamb was rather tough, much to my surprise).

Absolutely delicious.

The atmosphere was delightful and the service excellent.

But I should have asked when I rang up to book, shouldn’t I? I really should….

It’s a good job I’d taken my credit card!

But I’m worth it.

I blame Chelley

Not that I’m sure that I agree with this – you probably wouldn’t too if you could see me at this time of day! But the answers I’d give to the questions just weren’t there – they never are, are they?

Oh alright then

See my devotion to you, gentle reader(s)? I should be asleep really. Mind you, I probably wouldn’t sleep for motherly nightmares about my babies being taken from me by cradle-snatching females. So here are the photographs I so frustratingly lost the other day.

I felt a burst of shame actually – I had been looking enviously at Deeleea’s holiday photos and other people’s photos of exotic (to me) places, and envying too my sister and my friend who are currently respectively exploring the delights of New Zealand and America… and yet when I looked at my photos I realised that I too live in a place which is outstandingly beautiful and it is a real honour to live here. The Island’s motto is “All this beauty is of God” and I have never known a motto that so utterly encapsulates the feel of a place. All this beauty is of God and it is here free for me to enjoy every single day of my life.

Enjoy it with me through these photos:

Small boy on long walk homeAlum BayChairlift and steps down to the Alum Bay beach

View from the Military Road towards FreshwaterView from the Military Road towards FreshwaterWho's that down there?

Strata in the chalk faceChalk cliffs and hidden beach at the NeedlesYes, there they are


Heaven help me

I seem to be living in Valentine’s Central. How will I keep my sanity, surrounded by two young males utterly smitten by Cupid’s bow? Tiddles has rediscovered an old flame – met by chance this afternoon – and brought her home to meet me, and has talked about her ad nauseam ever since. And I mean ad nauseam! All the family plans for the week’s holiday are now thrown into the air: “We want to spend as much time together as possible before I go back to school”.

As if that weren’t bad enough, Smudgelet came home from school on Feb 14th with a gleam in his eye and an irrepressible grin having received his first ever Valentine card – a lovely handmade card and a gift to match, together with an invitation to go to the cinema (with chaperone, thank goodness!). “It appears I have an admirer -it feels good to have a bit of romance!” (Pah, as if I’d know!) So now every other sentence involves the name of Valentine-girl and the reason he didn’t finish emptying the dishwasher was “I got distracted dreaming about my wedding to Valentine-girl”.

Pass the bucket, please!

(By the way, is it unforgivable of me to encourage Tiddles, unknowing, to take “Flame-Girl” out to the cinema on the same afternoon as Valentine-girl and Smudgelet are sharing a bag of popcorn there? Mwahahahaha)


Hmm… I did keep my promise, honest. I had a post all ready to save with the photos from our lovely walk, but obviously clicked on SAVE just as someone was twiddling the knobs at Wiblog Central. In totally sensible mode, I highlighted my screed and copied it so that I could simply paste it in again later once things were all tickety-boo. But I just opened up my admin page and clicked “paste” in this box and what should appear? “Jock McKenzie Tutor Book for Young Brass Players”.

That’ll teach me to go ordering a music book for a tuba-ist while waiting for the wiblog!

You’ll have to wait now. I’m far far too busy to type it all in again today!

I was a blessing

It’s been a beautiful day here. Smudgelet and I decided to go to a different church this morning, one on the south coast which we’d not been to before, so that straight after church we could walk to the Needles. Driving through the Island countryside as the sun streamed down through the bare branches of the trees, the sheep grazed in the green fields, the first of the wayside flowers peeped out amongst the buds of green on the branches of the hedgerows, and the sea reflected the clear blue of the spring sky, it was a blessing of itself and I felt my heart lift and couldn’t help but sing as I drove along – much to the disgust of Smudgelet, which made it all the more fun! :o)

The amazing thing was, when we got to the church I found it was my friend who was preaching. She’d been praying and praying about the service, which she’d been dreading, especially because she really wanted to do a sketch but none of the congregation would participate and she was trying to work out how precisely she was going to do this four-person sketch on her own. And then Smudgelet and I walked in and her prayers were answered! It was funny, actually, as there were four churches we could have gone to on the way to the Needles, but I’d felt convinced that the one I wanted to go to was this one and couldn’t explain why.

Our walk was a delight. We indulged ourselves first of all in buying a bag of sweeties from the sweet manufactory at Alum Bay, somewhere we’d never been before but will certainly be visiting again! Then we walked along the clifftop. It’s only three quarters of a mile and fairly approachable walking, though a little nerve-racking when you slip on a loose stone and feel your ankle go slightly wobbly beneath you and you realise just how far down it is to the sea below! It’s an amazing view, though, of the multi-coloured sands of Alum Bay behind you and the pure crystal white of the Needles outlined against the blue of the sea stretching out ahead of you. I think it’s one of my favourite walks on the Island… especially when the teashop is open. The teashop is amazing, so tiny and so high up, with views out over the rocks to the lighthouse and free binoculars to keep you occupied as you gaze out. The Battery itself was closed, sadly, as it’s great fun going underground into the very rock, though we did see where they launched the space rocket and also where Marconi did his radio testing, so it was still fairly educational. But the lemon drizzle cake was what made it all worthwhile, and the fact that it was so warm that we abandoned coats AND jumpers. Is it really only February? (And was it really that cold in Australia? Tee hee!)

Pictures to follow, when I can work out how to download them from my new camera.

Quotes of the week

In a conversation about the untidiness of teenagers’ bedrooms (a necessary part of an algebra lesson, you’ll understand), I asked the librarian how many of the class would, in her opinion, have untidy rooms. She commented that she thought it would be about half the girls and almost all of the boys.
Immediately one of the lads piped up, in all earnestness, “Isn’t that rather sexist, Miss? I’ve noticed that all women are really sexist like that!” :o)

In a conversation about the approachability of algebra, I was pointing out to the class that they’d actually been doing algebra since they were really quite tiny, it had just never been explicitly pointed out at such. They’d done calculations where the missing number was represented by a square (into which they wrote their answer). I went on to say that they now used letters “because you’re all growed up now and it’s a more growed up way of doing it”.
From the front row, a voice said, in a tone of disapproval, “Don’t you think, Miss, that seeing as you’re a teacher you ought to use proper English?”
“Why, J, did I say something incorrect? What should it be?”
“Grew, Miss. It should be ‘all grew up'”


Try googling “Isle of Wight school reorganisation”.
The island is not happy. Not happy at all. And the teachers are not happy either. Especially not at our school.

The news I couldn’t mention earlier is that our new boss, who started last September and made quite radical changes, is leaving. Next week.

Because of the impending changes ahead of all Island schools, there hasn’t been the luxury of advertising for and selecting a new headteacher to appoint. So next week a seconded headteacher will arrive to take over the reins for the coming year and a half until the school closes – and to manage the redundancies which are to take place this year.

Suffice to say that I am counting the days to the half term holidays, and my heart isn’t quite so light each weekday morning when I wake and get ready for school.

You’ll be pleased to know I’ve had a shower

Yes, I am clean and sparkly and not in the slightest bit whiffy, apart from the gentle aroma of lavender.
However, this is not the reason for my delight.
No, no, no.
I’ve had a shower……
…… my new wetroom! :o)

It’s nearly nearly nearly finished! My brother went home yesterday (picking up Tiddles en route and taking him to Scotland with him for a few days to give me time to get sorted) and will return in March to do the final bits of finishing off like fixing the closer on the door, filling round the skirting boards, and helping me peel the protective covering off the floor. He’s also planning to make a start on reclaiming the garden if the weather permits. He is wonderful. And my new extension is wonderful too.

No photos till it’s finished, though!