Monthly Archives: May 2008


Well, I survived the night, despite being asked every three minutes by a concerned Smudgelet whether I was still OK, and despite every kiss from Tiddles being on the spot he usually kisses – right on my forehead – and every snuggle being on the left hand side where my hip was decidedly bruised. However I don’t look like road kill this morning, amazingly, and had a good night’s sleep.

The good news is that Paddy has a new home to go to and so fears of getting too attached are easily allayed. (No, Jack, I remain resolute. I do!) But we are all very much besotted with this lovely boy… who is turning out definitely to be a bit of a mummy’s boy! :o) We walked him again yesterday with great pleasure, and it was lovely how pleased he was to see us. Mind you, poor old Smudgelet had another disappointment – despite us taking a lovely new ball for him to play with, Paddy was determined to spend his off-the-lead time having a snuggle with me rather than a play with the Smudgelet, despite all attempts to persuade him otherwise.


Train of thought

Bother, I forgot this path is uneven.

Quick, onto other leg, regain your balance.

No good, get first leg straight to recover your equilibrium before you fall.

Bother, edge of kerb. I’m going to land on the road.

Don’t break your collar bone, but protect your head.

Sacrifice your hands if necessary.

Don’t break your collar bone, but protect your head.

Sacrifice your hands if necessary.

Ouch, that hurt my knees and both my hands. Wonder if they’re bleeding.

Still, at least I kept my head safe.

AGH! No I didn’t. Momentum… don’t let it hit the road hard… don’t let it hit the road hard… OUCH! Gosh, that hurt.

Am I still conscious? Yes. Am I still alive? Yes. Does anybody care? No, not really.

Well, that was thorough. Knees. Hip. Palms of Hands. And a whacking great egg appearing on my forehead. Not to mention an interesting drip or two of blood.

And before you tell me off, I KNOW I was an idiot to drive home. But I’ve been very sensible since then. Honest, Gov.

Bet I ache tomorrow, though!


Last weekend was the weekend we took Tiddles to look round the college open day. Great fun was had by all. I just had to share a photo or two of some of our favourite things…. not that they had very much to do with learning (and indeed I think that taking Tiddles there when there were loads of fun things on was a bit of a mistake too – I’m not sure I trust his motives for deciding he really wants to go there!)

Watch that boy go!

Come on Tiddles, pus some effort in Go Smudgelet, go,,, you're winning the race

And this was, in my opinion, the coolest game of table football ever. It was like a bouncy castle with metal poles stretching from side to side, and on the poles were cylinders of strong material with handles attached. This material would slide left and right along the poles so that the team members holding the handles could move from side to side like the players on a table football game. They were not allowed to let go at all, and one playing moving would move the rest who were attached to the same pole. You’ll notice Tiddles played in goal. We will not discuss how many goals he let in, or which team won. Smudgelet decided he wasn’t too keen on playing. I was just thinking of having a go when the last place was taken (I hesitated only because I thought Smudgelet would want to play and my idiot elder son had brought his laptop with him for the day and I had to mind it!!!)

The best game of table football ever!

No, I haven’t gone mad. We’re NOT having a dog.


When Tiddles was having his introductory talk at the RSPCA, the boss said that he’d be walking the dogs as part of his daily routine. They have a policy of ensuring that every dog is walked at least once a day, preferably twice, even if it’s only for five minutes and five minutes’ play in the compound. It’s such a time consuming task that they rely on volunteers to help out and give the dogs that bit more attention. Although not a dog lover by any means, I took myself straight to reception and filled out a volunteer form.

The RSPCA is a short drive from home through pleasant countryside. To become a dog walker provides three opportunities. It gives Smudgelet the experience of the company of dogs without the inconvenience of us having one (which I am not doing under any circumstances – troublesome, noisy, smelly things that they are!). It gives me the chance to do something worthwhile in my week. And best of all, it’s the perfect way of motivating myself to get a bit more fresh air (fresh?) and exercise.

On Tuesday I had my induction where they showed us the route we have to take (a bit monotonous to have to stick to the same way round the same circular walk all the time, but it’s through a lovely bit of wooded land so it could be far worse), where the enclosures are where we can play with them off the lead, what the rules are for dog walking, and how to pick up poop! We took Barney on three laps of the walk, the RSPCA chappy accompanying us for the first walk and then doing two laps on our own. I managed to escape needing surgery to relocate my shoulder blades, but only just. Barney’s strong! He’s lovely, though, and well trained, and by the last lap was walking nicely by my side instead of dragging me round from sniffing post to sniffing post. The funniest thing was, when we took him in the enclosure to let him off the lead, after him pulling me at high speed round the walk, he became calm and sedate and not the least bit interested in playing or running. Not until we got his lead back on and were back on the track….

Our first friend

(Not a good picture as Smudgelet is too young to be allowed to hold the lead and wanted to be in the photo)

Then yesterday, in torrential rain, we arrived just a little later than planned so had to do two short walks, first with Barney again and then with the most endearing (if strong!) little fellow called Paddy. He was so full of fun and energy that we intend to get there earlier today and try to get time to play as well as walk. He loved a fuss, too, but the word “walk” wasn’t in his vocabulary. In the end I gave up and jogged alongside him – the most exercise I’ve had in days!

Do you get the impression I’m rather enjoying being a dog walker?


Bank Holiday

I didn’t really mean to leave you on a cliff hanger. While Ian isn’t looking, I’ll tell the rest of you that my little tuba player, who only a few weeks ago was giving up because the tuba was too difficult (I only found out he’d been skipping his lessons and the windband when I told him I was getting the tickets for the next wind band concert and asked what time he needed to be there!), came home with an uncontrollably inane grin and a piece of paper declaring that he’d lost 13 marks. Dreadful! 😉 87 percent and some rather complementary comments and I have to say a rather pleased mummy!

At the same time I heard that I had definitely passed Section A of my local preacher training (at last) with some rather pleasing marks too – though none so good as 87 percent! Only three sections to go!

It’s been a busy week.

Smudgelet had his first ever camp as a Scout this weekend, in the mud and rain. He came home brown from head to toe (a combination of mud and hot chocolate!) and with a bag full of soggy, muddy, grimy, smelly belongings. Needless to say, his boots were rammed in the bag with his sleeping bag and pillow – bless him. He had a fantastic time, despite coming home covered with scratches and cuts from having to rescue his tent from the brambles which prevented it being blown away altogether in the middle of the night! Thank goodness he and his patrol were able to relocate to the First Aid tent. He also, much to my dismay, passed his Knife and Axe Proficiency which now permits him to carry a penknife…. and, to my great amazement, came second in the competition for most helpful Scout of the camp. Obviously he’d been storing up his energies for this one, and has now run out completely.

That's my boy - the latest addition to the Boy Spouts

Tiddles meanwhile is home and doing his work experience at the RSPCA. He enjoyed it thoroughly up until yesterday but, with two more days to go, has now declared that it’s boring because there’s nothing new to do, he’s just doing the same things again! ;o) He’s fallen in love with ferrets, though, and is desperate to persuade me that we want one. Failed! Now, it’s a good job that neither of them realise how easy I’d be to persuade to have a rabbit!

The big job is constantly reminding the two of them that I do not, ever, intend to have a dog. Nor, until Charlie goes to the big cattery in the sky, will we be having another cat, no matter how adorable and appealing they are. In fact, the big job is reminding ME that we will not be having another cat. Oh, but there are some real cuties there. :o( At least we can be fairly sure that, being so adorable, someone is bound to fall in love with them soon and offer them a far better home than we could at the moment. I don’t want a dog under any circumstances, though. But…

Hmmm, the cliffhanger bit doesn’t really work when the newest posts appear above the older ones, does it?

Another One Bites The Dust

I didn’t tell you, did I, of Smudgelet’s End-Of-SATs treat. Well, he’d worked so hard and kept so calm and sensible about his SATs tests that I thought he deserved a special treat, even though he had a special weekend planned for his birthday. So, as he’d asked for a CD of QUEEN on his birthday list, I booked tickets (at great expense) to take him to a concert by a tribute band called Mercury.

I felt a bit out of place. Outside the door were loads of real fans, dressed to the nines (many of them smoking and many more were drinking in the bar). I like Queen’s music, but I’m not really the sort of person who gets all hyped up about rock concerts – I prefer a nice bit of classical, me. And I’m really not into tribute bands. Seems a bit sad, really, these people prancing around pretending to be someone else rather than having the confidence to use their musical talent to make it as themselves. The guy who was “Freddie Mercury” prompted a rather giggly reaction from me. But the music was amazing. The chap on keyboards was particularly good as he had one arm in plaster and was playing literally single handed. And the effects were really quite atmospheric.

Did Smudgelet enjoy it? I kept looking at him and he looked more and more pale and miserable. He held my hand tight and wouldn’t let go. As I got more and more into the music and the atmosphere, he slumped in his chair in distress. The reason? Well, even with earplugs in, the whole experience was just too too loud. I’d forgotten that he has a bit of a hypersensitivity to sound. (Since taking the battery out of the smoke alarm I haven’t witnessed the tears and distress for a while). He begged me to let him go home. 🙁

Compromise: a word in the ear of a kind and considerate steward, and we find ourselves sitting in a dark corner of the floor just outside the theatre by the icecream stall. We couldn’t see, and had to promise we wouldn’t try to peep round the curtains over the doors. But we could hear. And it was just the right volume, with the soundproofing of the theatre and these thick thick curtains. All of a sudden my boy’s eyes brightened and he really enjoyed the remainder of the concert. The souvenir salesman felt sorry for him and gave him some souvenir posters free of charge. As for me, I got pins and needles!

All change

There seems to be a lot of change on the agenda.

First of all, I am totally reorganising my lounge, yet again. My brother had the brainwave of moving my computer desk nearer the window. It was an inspired suggestion. It’s made for a lovely place to sit and work (work?) as well as opening the lounge up considerably. It’s rather chaotic in the meantime, though. And next on the agenda is completely reorganising the Smudgelet’s room.

Also the IOW council has finally made their mind up, sort of, as regards the reorganisation of education on the Island. They are now keeping most of the primary schools open by relocating them completely into the newly empty middle schools. Hmmmm…. the school stays open but moves? Our school, of course, closes… as do all the middle schools. I have to decide which way to jump. I’ve selected a move to the older age group, though with reservations, because the other part of the announcement is that the secondary schools will themselves be two-tier, with completely separate Junior High schools for ages 11 to 14. That, I think, is where I will be most able to maintain a sensible work/home balance, if not where I will be happiest. But then I am an ardent supporter of the Middle School system and really would rather be staying in that type of school.

The new Key Stage Three curriculum is coming in too. It’s hard to get enthusiastic about it and invest a lot of time and energy into planning for it when we know it’s only for two years! But it looks good. I think I may be quite involved in working in Key Stage Three for my remaining time as a middle school teacher.

And the last aspect of change – I seem to have swapped sons. Smudgelet is not here. He is at camp. In the wind and rain! Friday to Monday, including being invested as a Boy Sprout on Monday lunchtime (Bother… that means I have to go to collect him earlier than I’d hoped!) And Tiddles has arrived home, via his friend’s house where he spent today shearing his first sheep (plural) and saving the life of a lamb who had got tangled in the electric fence. It’s good to see him. He’s all on edge as his work experience starts tomorrow. I can’t believe he’s old enough to be doing work experience. He was keen to show me his new-found muscles by doing situps and pressups before bed – most impressive, I must say. He said he’s learning to lift weights too, but I wasn’t so impressed with that – he couldn’t even lift me a millimetre off the ground.

Walk the … well, a bit of the…. Wight

Have you sponsored us yet? What do you mean, no? Honestly, where’s your loyalty? If I could remember how to do links, I would direct you to and leave the rest to your consciences!

It was Smudgelet’s 11th birthday last Sunday. His birthday last year was postponed as Tiddles had his interview at his new school that day and I had to take him across to the North Island (commonly known as the mainland) for the weekend, leaving poor Smudgelet with Honorary Auntie M who proceeded to spoil him rotten. But it’s not right, not having your mum there for your tenth birthday, is it? And the previous year was even worse. His party and celebrations at reaching the grand old age of 9 had to be cancelled as my Dad was rushed into hospital and we were gathered round his bedside awaiting the worst (needless to say, the Comeback-Kid recovered and was with us for another seven months, praise God). So this year we were determined to celebrate in style.

And celebrate in style we did. I mean, a birthday party with several thousand people can’t be bad! You may remember Tiddles doing half of the Walk the Wight a couple of years ago. This is a massive sponsored walk which crosses the Island from East to West – 23 miles in total – and raises money for the hospice here which cared for us as a family as well as for my Dad through the last months of his life. I can’t sing their praises highly enough. The walk, over some serious hills, was rather daunting but this year they tapped into the large number of people who just can’t manage something so strenuous and did a mini version. 8 miles along the cycle path from Sandown to Newport. And this the Smudgelet and I decided to do.

To our pleasure, Tiddles happened to be home for the weekend and came with us. I use the term “with us” in its loosest possible sense. Within a few paces he’d disappeared off into the distance, accustomed hill-walker that he is, and waited for us only at the watering holes en route. This was quite agreeable to us, who had a lovely mother-son natter as we walked…. except for the fact that on Tiddles’ back was the rucksack containing all the water and provisions to provide energy and, more importantly, morale boosts. Still, we had to walk all the more determinedly in the search of our chocolate eclairs.

It was lovely. The weather was just right and the cycle track went through the most beautiful countryside. Everyone was in holiday mood. The first four miles were easy. The next three miles were not too bad. The last mile…. er… erm…. Keep your eyes on the road in front and hobble on, knowing that each limping step brought us one step nearer the brass band playing so encouragingly in the distance. Total sponsorship raised so far… just under £300 (hint hint).

And the rest of the afternoon. Well, yes, hot baths and snoozes in the chair did feature rather highly on our agenda for Smudgelet’s birthday afternoon. But it was worth it. A really lovely day. Same time, same place, next year?

Persona not very grata

I am in Smudgelet’s bad books.
Woe is me.

As his school is merging with another and will, come September, have a completely new uniform, I refused to invest in a full set of summer shirts and bought him just two, saying that he could wash them in between if he wanted to wear summer shirts more than twice in a week. After all, there’s only seven weeks to go until the holidays and for the last week most of the days have been pretty chilly. I washed his summer shirt last night.

Anyway, I don’t know what he’s complaining about. A little variation in colour adds interest and variety to a school uniform. And he’s in touch with his feminine side, so I don’t see why pink’s THAT much of a problem!