Welcome to family, friends and visitors. Here you will find interesting (hopefully) pictures of my part of the world, news of our household and probably, long ramblings about anything that catches my interest.

Friday 30 November 2012


It was cold this morning but not as bitterly cold as yesterday which had been a bit of a shock to the system. As I drove to work the first streaks of sunrise lit up the sky. It's been a while since I used the manual settings on my camera and the cold was numbing my brain and fingers so it took a number of tries before my photo looked like the reality. And as fast as I found the right exposure time the day was getting lighter and I had to adjust the settings once more.
It rained during the day which was not fantastic but bearable. I was just congratulating myself on having a good day; good rehearsal of the Christmas play, choreography sorted for the second dance, lovely creative work done for a big display, children safely home and classroom tidied up when disaster struck. I was happily cutting out some of the children's pen sketches of bugs when I bit down on a piece of chewing gum and half my tooth fell off! That was not good. There was still time to get to the dentists' where I was able to make an appointment for Monday. I asked if I could wait and see any of the dentists to have a temporary fix so that nothing worse happened over the weekend and after a little wait I saw my regular dentist. Unfortunately it was the doomed tooth that had broken so she put on a permanent temporary filling? and said that when that eventually gives way it will be time to pull the tooth out. I'm not at all worried about actually having the tooth out but it is the £2,000 + it is going to cost for an implant that is painful. Never mind, at least I don't have to pay for any medical treatment and I've certainly had my money's worth in that department.

Thursday 29 November 2012


Tonight's moon.
I didn't leave school until  4.45 when it was already dark. Early morning had not been much fun either. It was bitterly cold and there was ice both outside and inside the windscreen. It took some time and copious amounts of de-icer before I could get going. Luckily the roads were dry and were clear of ice except for a few frozen puddles. I've covered the windscreen tonight so it should be a bit easier to get going in the morning.
I had a fun day in school. Being Arts Week I was free to plan a day of creative activities based on rain forests. That class will be performing 2 dances in the Christmas production so in the morning we went through one of the dances so that I have an idea of what they are supposed to be doing and can keep on practising with them. 

Wednesday 28 November 2012


 Morning Skies.
The sun made a welcome appearance today and I have been able to enjoy some very varied skyscapes. I had the morning at home and as I went up to feed the hens the sun shone like a spotlight on the tops of the highest trees. Later the sun shone, the sky was blue and it was warm enough for the children to play outside without their coats on. I had a lovely afternoon with the reception children helping them to sew felt Christmas stockings. As well as the lunchtime staff meeting I went to the after-school staff meeting as it was a refresher on using Numicon for maths work. As I left school the sky colours ranged from deepest midnight blue through to sandy orange with lines of black clouds above the horizon and looked very dramatic. After a quick shop at the Co-op all colour had gone leaving the full moon and a few stars in a black sky. Driving out of town the moonlight lit up the clouds to create a beautiful but eerie skyscape.
I took some photos with my camera resting on the roof of the car which created an interesting reflection of the sky. I think that's Jupiter next to the moon (at 7.00).

Tuesday 27 November 2012


Yesterday I had a phone call asking if I would work all day today which naturally I accepted. It was to take a class out to Exmoor Zoo for the day. That's a great place to go but it is quite stressful being responsible for 29 children. I spent a lot of time counting heads because it is an easy place to lose a child. Fortunately no one wandered off and I brought home the same number of children as I set off with. Exmoor Zoo is a lovely zoo, in recent years they have replaced a lot of the enclosure walls with glass panels which are excellent for viewing but not so good for taking photos.
Down by the lake three pelicans were waiting to be fed, this chap looked as though he would swallow a glove or hat if we got too close.
These tapirs were like a slow motion pair of puppies as the further one tried to grab the stick which was being chewed by its companion.

It was a bitterly cold day up there on Exmoor and these little silky bantams were huddled up trying to sleep under a bench. The children got to see lots of new animals and had a special talk on the Rainforest as that is this term's topic. 
Those that wanted to could stroke a giant stick insect, a snake and a hissing cockroach (I passed on that one). Coming back down from Bratton Flemming I got to enjoy a spectacular view right down to the sea, 15 miles away and out across the bay to Hartland Point. 

Monday 26 November 2012


Not much change in the weather though parts of the day have been relatively dry. I was up early and working outside tidying up the path around the little pond while the rain held off.  I had planned to smooth over the holes in the walls left by the insulation people but although I had the tools all to hand I had forgotten to check if there was any filler. I'll have to pick some up next time I'm in town. 
We seem to have come through this latest spell of wet weather relatively unscathed. This morning there were about 300 flood warnings and the same number of flood alerts (just checked - warning = expected, alert = possible), over the country. A month's worth of rain due to fall in a single day on ground that is already saturated is not good news. Things should get drier and colder by the end of the week and I heard that dreaded word ICE being mentioned. With early starts on Thursday and Friday I'll have to keep a check on the forecasts. 

Sunday 25 November 2012


Yesterday evening with the rain set to get heavier again I went out in the dark to reinforce my defences against the water that flows down the road. I dragged out the old diving board (from the days when the scree garden was a swimming pool), and laid it right across the road filling the gaps with clay soil. That's not something that can stay there permanently but it saved the drive from being washed away by last night's torrential rain. Today the weather has varied from light rain to medium rain to heavy rain. Not a day to spend much time outside. Peter got a call asking if he wanted to row again today, funny how they get many people didn't want to go out on a day like this, so of course off he went. Once more I've spent my day pottering in the kitchen and making a chicken curry for when Peter gets home. 

Saturday 24 November 2012


Oh the joy of a lovely warm house. Even with the boiler turned right down the place is as warm as toast. With the constant rain it has been no hardship to spend the day indoors. I finally finished sewing new soles to my favourite sheepskin boot-slippers. Last year I used carpet pieces but the drawbacks were that I couldn't pop outside in them and the wool I used eventually frayed. This time I used nylon fishing line to stitch on soles from a pair of slippers from the pound shop. I know it sounds crazy but those slippers are just so cosy. The rest of my day was spent tidying,ironing and cooking dinner, pork in beans with baked potatoes, a good hearty meal for Peter who has returned rather wet from rowing.

Friday 23 November 2012


Another full day in school. Things are beginning to get less frantic as I become more familiar with the children and the classroom. This morning one little lad came in clutching a heavy backpack. It turned out he had brought in 8 large baking potatoes. At first I wondered if the class teacher had asked for potatoes for an art or science project but no, these were just to 'show'. I don't know if his mother knew about this or if maybe she was wondering where the family supper had disappeared to. So we looked at the potatoes, talked about them and then I made sure he kept them safe until hometime.
The trees behind this classroom are home to a number of squirrels,  very disruptive when they scamper past the window during lessons. As I walked past the children's vegetable plots one squirrel was engrossed in burying nuts under the leaves not even being bothered when children walked along a path 6ft away. I ran and got my camera but not surprisingly the squirrel had gone by the time I got back.
By the time I had cleared up the classroom (no teaching assistant on a Friday afternoon), marked work and left everything in order for the class teacher it was 5.00 and the sun was going down. I dropped into the Co-Op but no spectacular bargains today so I bought a few essentials (and a treat or two for me) and headed off home. It has been dry today but things are due to worsen with more heavy rain due tomorrow and Sunday. There were over 90 flood warnings in force today and the authorities are getting all the heavy pumps ready, sandbags are being issued etc. We have turned our central heating on, LUXURY! to drive out any dampness in the rooms and put some warmth into the walls. It's also good to test that the boiler is working properly rather than when we really need it. So far so good. After the weekend we'll turn the heating off again and see how much difference the new cavity insulation makes.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Torrential Rain.

Phew! What a day. After only 3 hours sleep I was up bright and early, 6.00 to be exact, to prepare for a full day of teaching. I was in school soon after 7.30 but even with nearly an hour and a half to prepare we were rushing to get everything ready before the children came in to start their day. I have only taught that class once before so as well as trying to remember 28 names I wasn't familiar with where things were in the classroom and everything took that bit longer. Luckily they are a nice bunch of kids and they will soon get used to the fact that I put things, usually papers, down and then can't find them when I need them. At lunchtime I wrote up reading records, made notes on the morning's maths and drew a 6ft forest tree for the afternoon's work on rainforests. Then I had a 5 minute break before starting the afternoon.
The forecast this morning was pretty dire with 70 flood warnings but the rain held off until mid-afternoon. When it did arrive it was accompanied by strong winds and the playground looked like one enormous puddle. So for once the children stayed indoors at playtime. The weather worsened just before home time which wasn't fun for the parents waiting to collect their children. We do have some covered outside areas but the wind was driving the rain right in. I'm teaching all day in the same class tomorrow and normally I would have stayed in school to prepare as much as I could but I suddenly realised that I might be facing flooded roads on the way home. So I abandoned everything and jumped in the car. There was already a flood across the road just after Shirwell but I was able to drive through it and make my way home. Although there are a number of different routes I could take to get home each of them has one or two places that is prone to flooding. 
Once home I reinforced the dams on the road, peered nervously at the stream and checked out the latest weather reports. Oh joy! there will be a respite in conditions and then the severe weather will return on Saturday. As well as the floods the high winds have blown down trees, blocking roads and taking out power lines. Well there is nothing more I can do so we shall just have to sit it out.

Wednesday 21 November 2012


We had  lot of rain in the night and although the dams on the road were still in place some water had come down the drive and made a few ruts in the gravel. For a more permanent solution I set a concrete lintel across one side of the drive to divert water into the central channel which I cleared and widened. 
It was back to school at lunchtime for our weekly lunchtime staff meeting and then an afternoon playing number games with the reception children. After school I stayed on for the 4.00 staff meeting. Usually I only go the the lunchtime meeting (nearly an hour long), where we go through the diary and general school business. The 4.00 staff meeting has been moved to Wednesdays to make it more convenient for people doing job-shares and it is usually on a single topic but that does mean 2 staff meeting in one day. As I am only contracted to work 6 hours a week I only go to those meetings when they are training sessions and will be useful. Tonight we had 2 teachers from another school come and talk about they get the children working in 3's with the associated speaking & listening and learning objectives which sounded very interesting. It looked particularly effective for maths as they have to be able to explain to each other and to the class their problem solving strategies. 
I didn't leave school until 5.30 by which time it was pitch dark. I dropped into the Co-Op to check out any bargains and though there wasn't much left (the best time is around 5.00), I still got baking and new potatoes, honey roast ham, bagels, wraps and a pesto pasta salad for 75% off. I had the pasta salad for my supper finished off with a Danish pastry which was only reduced by 50%.
Coming home I turned on the local news to see that there had been severe flooding all across the region with 2ft of water in some towns, the Great Western Canal had burst its banks and flooding and landslips had shut down the railway. Peter said that our roads were really bad in the morning and even in his 4WD he only got through one flood by driving close behind a big truck. It's a good thing that most of it had gone by the time I went out because my little Micra sits quite low to the ground.

Tuesday 20 November 2012


The day started windy and mild so I gave the place a good airing by opening all the doors and windows. It's difficult to notice any difference with the new insulation because it has been so warm but this evening the bedrooms didn't have that cold clammy feel when I came home from work. My morning was spent hoovering the whole house and continuing with the tidying. At least with only two of us at home things stay tidy without any projects being left spread out on the oh so handy cleared surfaces. Not to mention items that  will be needed soon/ this week/ sometime. And then the wails of horror when said items were put away by the house slave. Naturally any 'lost' items were missing because Mum had moved them. I am so in awe of anyone who can keep their home tidy while living with youngsters. I never did.
The rain had set in by lunchtime and there were the usual streams running down the sides of the country roads but it held off enough for us to have a dry playtime at school. Today I taught the Year 2 class, phonics, PE and drumming. The drumming sessions are going well with the children enjoying drumming to traditional Zulu music. (My brief was African drumming and I happen to have a cd of Zulu music.) Tomorrow I'm with the little children.

Monday 19 November 2012

Wet & Mild.

It was third time lucky today when the cavity wall insulation men actually managed to drive their van down into the yard. 
The van was rather long and they did have some difficulty turning it around when it was time to go (having made one unsuccessful try at reversing up the drive and around the bend). They would have found turning a lot easier if they had started in a better position and not ended up with the front almost inside the little wood shed. But who am I to advise 3 burly men? I stayed inside and hoped they wouldn't hit any of the garden walls. They didn't but there are some big ruts in the grass.
The work itself was not too messy though as the stone facing made it difficult to drill through from the outside they drilled all the holes, loads of them, from the inside. They tried their best to hoover up as they drilled and gave the sitting room a hoovering at the end but I need to go over everything. At one point the air in the sitting room was hazy with dust so my first job this afternoon was to wipe down all the surfaces that hadn't been covered with dust sheets. Most things have been put back now and when the cement they put in the 2+cms holes has dried I will have to fill, smooth and paint them. There are over 20 of these holes in the sitting room walls and probably the same upstairs. It's a good thing that I have left over paint from each of the rooms I decorated this year. Now we have this insulation, the place should be a lot warmer and we are hoping that it will stop the damp in the bedrooms. And all this has been virtually free, (£49 instead of £1,250) paid for by a government initiative to ensure that the country's houses have the maximum insulation which will reduce the overall energy being used for heating. We don't put our heating on unless it is really cold but it does mean we will be more comfortable.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Sunny Then Cloudy.

The day started beautifully sunny but by the time we got out to the coast the clouds were rolling in. Peter was not in the best of moods as after months of training, both on the water and in the gym when it came to race day, ie today, his arthritis had flared up and he had to back out. The reason he was so grumpy was that he had told his team leader several times that the job he had been moved to was affecting his joints but as it is a job no one likes doing he kept being put there. He finally went to HR and then to Occ. Health who immediately have said that he is not to do that job as it wasn't what he was employed for anyway. That's good for the future but it is sad that it had to get to this stage. And then to top it all I had messed up recording last week's Archers omnibus (it got rescheduled) so we didn't even have that to listen to. (i-player takes forever with our line speed).
We only did the short walk around Morte Point. The path was quite slippy and we had to watch our step on the mud. We had to walk crab-wise on the stone sections with our feet placed carefully across the rock ridges as they too were slippery. But it was good to get out and breathe the sea air. 

I was able to get some photos of a sparrow hawk as it hovered almost motionlessly above us. Better out here on the cliff than in my garden hunting small birds.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Some Sun.

There was a little more sun today but it was a bit colder than yesterday. I had a long session gardening on my hands and knees clearing moss and weeds from the scree garden. I like moss but left to grow it spoils the beauty of the stones. Sometimes the moss came away easily, unravelling like a piece of knitting but at other time I had to pick it off piece by piece. I consoled myself by thinking that each little piece removed was that bit less to grow through our damp winter. 
As well as leaves in autumnal shades brightening up the garden there are still a number of roses on most of the climbers, a handful of geranium flowers and the pink and red garden lilies are still in full bloom. So when the sun shines briefly into the garden it is quite a cheery place. But for most of the time the sun hits the tops of the hills and our valley stays sadly in the shade.
I've noticed recently that the cats are becoming more and more like children in that they constantly beg to sit on my lap. It is quite comical when I sit at the PC and they vie with one another to see who gets the favoured spot. I have learned that it is not a good idea to let 2 of them sit on my lap together as when one inevitably falls off I risk getting raked by falling claws. Out in the garden Speedy kept begging for a cuddle but I was determined to keep on with my gardening. When leaping up onto my shoulders resulted in me shrugging him off, twice, he went and sat on a chair and wailed most piteously. He finally got the message and when I came back indoors he had found himself a spot right on the Rayburn (which is always warm). I just had to sneak some photos before chasing him off because that is the food side and cats are NOT allowed. I'm surprised he didn't burn his ear because the although the hot plate is under the silver covers the whole of the top is usually too hot to touch. That's another reason why I dislike the Rayburn as any spills get baked on, you can't use a wire scourer on the enamel surface and I find it impossible to keep clean.

Friday 16 November 2012


The valley has been filled with cloud all day long. From indoors it looked very gloomy indeed but once I got outside things weren't so bad. After cleaning out the hen house and putting down a bed of fresh wood shavings I spent most of the day cutting back the sedums and artemisia in the scree garden and making a start on removing the leaves and moss from the stones. A summer of neglect has let the moss grow unchecked and weeds have also appeared. I foresee many happy hours on my hands and knees getting the scree garden back into shape.
It was peaceful out in the garden. Every now and again the air was filled with the sound of high pitched chink, chink, chinks as a flock of some small birds took over one or other of the surrounding trees. At other times I was serenaded by a solitary robin hoping that I would do some digging and unearth a few worms.
By mid-afternoon my back had had enough and the cloud had settled right down to ground level so that gentle rain was falling. Time to go indoors and relax. I have been referred to the hospital as I still have hip problems which don't appear to be associated with my back problem. When I rang the first available appointment  was in January! 

Thursday 15 November 2012


It was a quite damp and misty morning so I decided to stay indoors, tidying up the kitchen. The place is beginning to look pleasantly bare as more and more things are put away or got rid of. That is of course relatively speaking. I don't think I would ever achieve any sort of minimalist look but I am quite happy to strive for a modicum of tidiness. It was a losing battle when the boys lived here so I simply picked up the worst of the mess and hid things behind closed doors if we had visitors.
School was fun with my other Year 2 class having their first drum lesson. The drums were a double edged sword as some children got overexcited by the sight of 10  djembe drums in the class. Little hands kept reaching for the drums with many none too surreptitious thumps but then there was the threat of not being allowed to play the drums if they misbehaved. With 30 children in the class I was able to keep swapping the groups over so they had plenty of hands-on fun. 
After school I made yet another visit to the Post Office, finally got a couple of bags of wood shavings from the college and did some shopping at the Co-Op before driving home in the dark.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Golden Evening.

How time flies when you're having fun. I spent a happy morning on my hands and knees picking up sedum leaves and even found a patch of sun to work in. It was only when I went indoors for a cup of coffee that I found out it was 12.00. That was 10 minutes after I had planned to leave for work. It wasn't a major disaster as I was out of the house and off to work in 10 minutes flat and I always give myself plenty of time to organise myself once I get to school. I drove down the main road at 60mph (that's the speed limit on the country roads), until I got to the village where the limit drops to 30mph. I'm usually very good at keeping within the limits but I was nearer 40mph when I spotted the yellow jacket of a policeman with a speed gun in his hand. I quickly slowed to below 30mph and luckily didn't get stopped. That would really have made my day! My afternoon was spent with the little children in reception. As usual we started with phonics (even for 4 year olds) followed by snakes and ladders, playtime and a story. 
The day had started cloudy but soon gave way to sunshine. Coming home the countryside was bathed in a golden light but even by the time I got to the top of the drive the light was fading and it was dark half an hour after I got home.

Last year I bought a couple of Japanese maples on sale in Tesco's and one of them is making a bright splash of red contrasting with the grey of the wall and a metal statue.

Tuesday 13 November 2012


The morning was dry and mild so I couldn't resist doing some gardening as well as giving my poor muddy car another wash. It's high time I cut back all the flowering sedum stalks as the leaves are starting to fall and they turn to a revolting mush in an instant. I even managed anther hour after work before it got too dark. Things were a bit hectic at school as my plans were changed at the last moment. I didn't mind but it meant that the children only had time for a brief introduction to drumming before they went into the hall to watch some students from the college perform short pantomime type plays. The end result was that the children got overexcited and I had to be rather strict with them.
I don't know if it is just my imagination but the autumn leaves seem brighter this year. Apart from ornamental garden trees we don't have red leaves around but the beech trees in particular have moved from gold through to orange rather than the usual drab brown.

Monday 12 November 2012

Soft Rain.

It's been raining softly but continuously  all day long so as a consequence there is a lot of water on the roads. I had to go into town so on my way I gave my car a 'Devon Car Wash' (driving fast through the less muddy puddles to try and wash off some of the mud) a few times. On the way out the road had flooded right across by the Lewis' so I drove very slowly through the flood having twice drowned my car near that same spot and had to be hauled out by a tractor.
I had a list of places to go to this morning, the dentist's for a check up, the dump to get rid of the last bits of metal, the college to see if they had any bags of wood shavings (which they didn't) and the Post Office. I thought I was doing quite well at the dentist's, a couple of sensitive spots where I have some bone loss round the teeth but nothing else even when the dentist tapped my teeth. 'Great', I thought that's it for another 6 months but that wasn't the end. She showed me my x-rays and pointed out some decay right down in the root of one of the few teeth I have that isn't filled or crowned. Unfortunately because it is at the side of the root it isn't suitable for a root canal filling and she was pretty sure any attempt to work on the tooth would result in it having to be pulled out! 'And then what?' I asked. My choices would be to pay more than £2,000 for an implant or have a bridge clamped to the neighbouring teeth on the NHS. As I have no pain at all with that tooth (cause it hasn't reached the nerve) I asked what would happen if I left it. She said it would get worse but it would not affect the other teeth or the jaw so I'm going to leave it until it becomes a problem. By which time I might have reconciled myself to spending that much money. All I can say is thank goodness we don't have to pay for medical treatment. Back home I spent the rest of the afternoon going through my cds and writing up plans for African Drumming lessons which I have never taught before.

Sunday 11 November 2012


The sun was out today so we went down to Barricane for a stroll along the beach. When we got there the tide was in so we didn't do a lot of walking, more pottering about. At this time of year the beach was almost empty apart from one family who had left their belongings on the sand and were off rock scrambling. Peter and I amused ourselves by attempting to skip stones though the choppy water made it hard to get the stones to jump. 
The sea always brings in something new and today there were a number of totally clear jellyfish. Looking them up in my book I think they are dead moon jellyfish which usually have 4 lilac circles in the middle. I put one in a pool and it became almost invisible in the water.
We sat up on the cliff and enjoyed  listening to the crash of the waves while the sun provided some welcome warmth. It is generally seems sunnier down at the coast while inland the clouds gather gloomily.
Looking across to Woolacombe there was a lot of sea spray being blown onto the beach. There were many hopeful surfers out in the water but the best sets were coming in where we sat. Anyone trying to surf there would end up being washed onto the rocks.
We got home in plenty of time for Peter to go out rowing while I finished the tool clearing. At Last! I have to admit to one small box which will have to be labelled 'Really Random Stuff' but I am so relieved to have finished that job as the back room has been bugging me for years. Not only did we have our own tools but more stuff from Peter's dad who used to be a builder and stuff from my mother who was a sculptor. Now everything is in a labelled box and if it isn't there we don't have it any more. Next job -the conservatory.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Sun & Showers.

We have had some bright sunny spells today, and showers too but I got so engrossed with my tool tidying that all of a sudden it was too dark to take photos. But all the tools have been sorted and put away in labelled boxes. The job isn't quite finished as a few trays of odd items remain piled in the corner of the kitchen. I've already got a box labelled 'random tools' and I think I'll have to have a 'random fittings' box too. Here's hoping I'll be able to work my way through those tomorrow.
Rowing this weekend is in the afternoon which is better for Peter but not so good for me as it is hard to fit in a walk. Peter always gets soaked from the feet upwards as they have to wade into the river to launch the gigs but today he also got soaked from the head downwards due to rain and hail. But he still enjoys it and it has kept him fit and trim. I hope for the same results when I start rowing sometime in the spring (I don't do cold and wet).

Friday 9 November 2012


I didn't go into work today but instead I have been quite busy. I made a trip to town which included the usual visits, dump, charity shop, bank and library. That was quite enough for one day.

Thursday 8 November 2012


I didn't get up quite so early this morning but I still had time to sort through the last (almost) boxes of 'stuff'. I wish I could simply bring myself to empty out the collection of nails, screws, bolts, nuts and other assorted junk straight into the bin but I just can't do it. I feel compelled to pick out the good stuff 'cos you never know when it will come in useful. Then it was time for work where I more or less repeated Tuesday's lessons with the other Year 2 class.
 Coming home a sunset was trying to happen with shafts of light reaching down to the sea.
At least the roads were in better condition on my journey home with the mud slick that extended for about a mile from the top of our drive having dried up somewhat. The local dairy farmer is muck spreading on all his fields and with the recent rain the clay soil sticks to the tractor and spreader wheels and ends up on the road. Going out to work I had to be careful as I didn't want to end up skidding right into the hedge. Needless to say my once clean car is now muddy right up to the windows.

Wednesday 7 November 2012


Another busy day. Before my morning appointment at the doctors I made a batch of flapjacks and some phone calls one of which was to arrange a check up at the dentists. Normally you have to wait weeks to see the dentist but this time, unfortunately, I was offered an appointment next Monday. Oh well I suppose it's better to get it done sooner rather than later. After the doctors I got rid of more stuff at the dump then went into Tescos for a new microwave. After an unfortunate popcorn incident the old one needed replacing, it was also a bit rusty inside where the paint was flaking off. I only wanted the very basic model so with my £31 worth of vouchers it cost me £4. Our last one was also a basic model from Tescos but now they are making them that bit smaller. It's like the sneaky reduction in package sizes that manufacturers make to increase their profits. All the cheaper microwaves were the same capacity but annoyingly it's too small for the two plastic bread boxes we normally keep in the microwave.
Then it was rush rush to school for an afternoon with the youngest children. Some of them are so small and they seem very young. Our task for the afternoon was to print Christmas cards using potatoes cut into shapes. It got a bit messy when someone decided to cover the whole of the potatoes in paint! I stayed on at school for nearly an hour making a giant poppy from the cut out hands the Year 2 children had made. They had written messages on these hands and some of them were very touching especially those written by the children of serving soldiers whose fathers are regularly sent to Afghanistan. Children from Year 2 will be attending the Remembrance Day service at the local war memorial.
Vytas' and Sally's new home is in the Toowong district of Brisbane.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Some Showers.

I had a busy morning before heading into school for my first afternoon back since my operation. While I have enjoyed the tranquillity of home it was nice to meet up with my colleagues once more.
The first job of the day was to wash my car. It had got so muddy it resembled a farm tractor. I don't really mind what the car looks like but all that mud kept catching on my clothes as I got in and out of the car. Car washed I then got on with the tool sorting. Today I had the satisfying job of labelling boxes and putting them away in the cupboard under the stairs. There's still a lot to go but the end is in sight. I took a break and as I saw that Vytas was on-line I made my first attempt at a Skype call. When we got connected Vytas didn't have his web cam and for some reason the microphone on my pc wasn't working. (I had tested it when I first set up Skype.) I didn't know about texting messages (I do now) so we worked with a combination of Vytas talking to me and me nodding and writing on a piece of paper which I held up to the camera. I managed to switch to the microphone on the web cam so at least we were able to have a conversation. He and Sally have found a house to rent and should be moving in in a couple of days. Right now they are concentrating of finding jobs.
Going in to work this afternoon I was struck by the warmth in the classrooms. A bit of a change from this chilly house. We have students from the local college helping in the classrooms and the 2 I had kept complaining how cold it was because I had opened 2 windows to cool down the whiteboard projector which was overheating. I was still feeling hot with just a vest on while they were wearing several layers. Our afternoon was spent talking about Remembrance Day so for PE I drilled them like soldiers. They got into terrible arguments when I split them into groups of 5 and let them take turns at drilling each other.
A lone daisy on my leaf strewn lawn.

Monday 5 November 2012


The sun made a welcome appearance this afternoon. It doesn't stay long in our valley but at least I can see it if I look up.
It's back to work for me this week so I'm officially ending my convalescence. I'm not yet fighting fit, I suppose I can thank my cough for a good part of that, but I have my arsenal of strong painkillers to keep me going. This morning I got up in good time and made myself a list of jobs to get through. Most of them got done and a few extra like clearing the gutters at the back of the house again. I was hanging up a bird feeder when I happened to glance up and see the gutters filled with leaves once more. I could have left the job until tomorrow but it could be raining so I changed back into work clothes and scrambled up and down ladders and got rid of those pesky leaves.
Our DIY stuff is still not quite sorted. It's like a tide flowing and ebbing in the kitchen. I discover another yet more boxes of mixed junk/tools/bits and bring it into the kitchen and then sorted stuff flows out to the charity shop or the dump and Peter has been taking some materials to his friends who can use them. Today I tackled the cupboard under the stairs. The carpet on the floor was a bit nasty as damp had got in through the back wall but I hauled it all out and bagged it for the dump and generally cleared the cupboard. So there are still some more boxes for Peter to sort through but already I have started to put boxed and labelled stuff back into the backroom.