Sunday, December 31, 2006

Homeward bound

"..... oh I wish I was, homeward bou ...." Wait I am home! What a journey ~ the channel's a bit dodgy tonight!! However, I have a stomach like a zoo-keeper's boot and I was fine :o)

Anyway, a lovely week away .... photos of stunning ice-bound French france and nice (but not stunning) shorter, new haircut to follow. Until then let me take this opportunity to say to you and yours ...

"Have a very Happy New Year
full to the brim with
good health, joy and happiness!"
Love & best wishes
~ Jo ~

Friday, December 22, 2006

*rubs eyes tiredly*

See, this is why I like to fly! It's 2.22 am for goodness sake! I want to go back to bed, but the ferry is @ 4.30 and we have to be there 30 mins before! It's freezing! Right, turning PC off ... goodbye broadband *sniff sniff, sob* hello Dover!

BTW, don't forget to go and answer the Q.o.T.D. while I'm away :o)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thirteen things happening tomorrow

  1. Tomorrow morning I wont be here.

  2. I'll be in the car or maybe on the ferry or back in the car (but on the wrong side of the road) or navigating the hell that is the Périphérique. Actually I'll be fine, Simon will be having kittens.

  3. I'll be going "home" for Christmas!

  4. I'm off to France because that's where the family is, so that's where "home" is!

  5. The car is going to be full of all kinds of strange essentials ... a turkey, stuffing, parsnips and salad cream to name but a few!

  6. You can't get any of these things in France ... well I'm sure you could get the turkey if you looked hard enough but this is an M&S turkey and her with the husky voice says it's better than anywhere elses!!

  7. I have all the Christmas presents that I am going to get a chance to buy.

  8. They are mostly wrapped.

  9. So if I need anything else ~ hard luck!

  10. AAAGGGH!! French Dial-up Internet!

  11. I am not looking forward to not being able to blog properly. It might It'll make me a tad tetchy. I might will have to go out and find an Internet Cafe somewhere ;o)

  12. I have all the cold weather clothes I could pack ... it was freezing last year. I also have some sun-screen ... I got burnt the year before :o)

  13. I'm hoping there'll be a hot cup of tea waiting when I get there and not a boxed Christmas tree to put up like last year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

*well duh*

So, this morning I am doing a little school work ... working on some assessment data and figures etc. I have a Word document open on the PC and a big old calculator to work out percentages. So I know that 12% of the children in one year group are working at level 5. And I'm typing it into the box and it's not appearing!!

I hate technology!

And then *blushes* I realise that it's not appearing because I am typing on the calculator and not the PC keyboard! *blushes again* I'm going to go and do something else right now!

p.s. I have moved to the new version of Blogger *touches wood* so far, so good!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blog Fodder #4

Blog Fodder continues to fight writer's block, one post at a time. This week's question was submitted by Shane, at Reflekshins.

What is the best practical joke you have ever participated in, or one that was done on you?
I'm not much of a practical joke person to be honest. I get one of my mother's favourite adages running through my head "it's not big and it's not funny!" Or that other favourite, "someone is going to get hurt, someone always does!"

However, I do remember the last week of school. The week before my final exams were due to begin. What should have been a critical week, asking those last minute important questions and checking on the final bits of study we needed to do. We had a geography teacher who was a little different from the others ... not particularly young* but he treated us like adults. Took us to lectures @ the local university, to the pub afterwards. So did we respond like young adults?

NO!! Don't be daft! On that last day ... I and another girl on the course distracted him "Umm, Sir, about the essay style you suggested last week. I'm not sure I really understand, could you go over it again?" Whilst we were doing this the 7 others on the course went out into the playground and found his car. Between them they bounced it across the school lawn, up the stairs and into the reception hall of the school. They hit the fire alarm and legged it. Of course this emptied the school ... mostly through the front entrance and there was his car for all the world (well all the school, including him and us) to see :o)

Bollocked? Of course they were! Was I bollocked? Still, to this day nobody** knows I was involved!!

*He'd been a marine and a London bobby for a couple of years before returning to Swansea to teach.
** By nobody I mean my mother!

Monday, December 18, 2006

*singing* Frosty the snowman

Brrrr! First proper job frost of the winter. Everything looks crunchy outside and white! I think I'd like to stay right here, all warm and toastie-cosy BUT I have to go to school to get some work done so that I don't have to take any with me on Friday when I go to France.

I've just rung Ruth to ask what time I should pick her up. 2 1/2 year old Kristina answered the phone. We had a lovely chat and then I said ~ Is mummy there?

Kristina ~ Yes!

Me ~ Can I speak to her?

Kristina ~ Yes!

Me ~ Ok, see you later! Bye bye!

Kristina ~ Ok, see you later!

Kristina ~ It's Aunty Jo!

And nothing, nada, rien. She must have been telling Cinderella (on the TV) or her dolly that it was Aunty Jo ... because she certainly wasn't telling Mummy. The phone was put down on the sofa next to her! So next time I'll remember to say "will you go and give the phone to mummy please!"

Dinner yesterday in Walthamstow was lovely. Even the drive over there was no great problem, straight through Greenwich and into the hell that is the Blackwall tunnel ... thank God I don't have to do that everyday! And I don't half pity the poor sods who have to! And then up past Stratford, Clapton, Bow and the Hackney marshes (not necessarily in that order). Geoff cooked dinner ~ roast beef and all the trimmings .... delicious!

We shared Christmas presents and traded news, gossip and scandal! Simon's mum bought him a very natty dressing gown and I got 2 tickets to see the Lion King on stage in London in February ... no guesses as to who got the better deal on that one eh? Let me think dressing gown vs tickets; tickets vs dressing gown?

I spent yesterday morning before I left putting together some new Thursday 13 headers (see below or @ the Thursday 13 forum) before my version of Photoshop trial runs out. I'll be buying a full version but when finances allow because I am considering that a luxury right now .... so if you are a TT-er please feel free to help yourself! Right I'd better move, have a good one today ;o)

tt rocks resized

tt skin resized

tt bamburgh resized

tt canoeing resized

tt leaf resized

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Unconscious mutterings #202


I say ... and you think ... ?

Hardball ::
Sleepless :: in Seattle
Graduation :: ceremony
Presents :: Christmas
Toe :: nail
Lotion :: sun
Snicker :: peanuts
Eve :: Adam
Investment :: bank
Pain :: No pain, no gain!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sketch #10 ~ 5 Boys

So this week I used family photos to complete Pencil Lines Sketch #10. My free trial for Photoshop Elements is going to run out and I am going to have to buy a copy because I am officially addicted!

5 boys

I am off to Heathrow today to drop Leah-May off so she can fly home to Chicago ... I must be mad ... it's the Saturday before Christmas! Just look at this! But she's worth it :o) My mum and dad will be back from Wales tomorrow morning ... we've had to cancel dinner @ Helen's tonight because they don't have keys! BUT we still get to go to lunch with Helen, Geoff, Laura and Simon's mum tomorrow ... unexplored territory in the depths of Walthamstow.

Blog Fodder #3

Blog Fodder ~ fodder for the blocked blogger and this week’s topic submitted by Judy, over at Welcome to my World of Dreams is ...

Do you have any memories of a childhood illness?
These are short memories, little snippets ... I guess because you don't feel well at the time and therefore you don't take all that much notice of what is going on around you ... does that make sense?
So aged about 7 I ended up with a really bad bout of tonsilitis. The kind where the doctor came to see me at home instead of going to his surgery. This led to a kidney infection and I remember that I slept a lot of the time and people kept urging me to drink ...there was lemon barley water in a covered jug on the bedside table. And then on the Sunday morning (it was one of my dad's traditions to walk down to get the paper and then stop for breakfaast @ his friend Gino's Italian cafe) Dad brought back a bowl of ice-cream from the cafe just for me. And it was so lovely and cool on my throat. And my brother didn't get any!!
I ended up with Scarlet fever when I was about 9 or 10. Another doctor to the house moment. I'd been sent to bed looking perfectly normal and told "if you don't feel well stay there." * So the doctor arrived (not our normal doc, quite young and good looking if I remember correctly **) and when he asked me to poke out my tongue it was bright red like a strawberry & he made me lift my nightie up and the whole of my body looked like it had been painted red. Another week in bed :o(
And finally, I remember going into school one morning aged about 12 (I was at senior school at least) and noticing a wart on my thumb and being disgusted because at the time I thought "warts are just so ugly!" And I felt tired and crotchety all day. And by the time I got home my stomach and chest we're covered with a crop of warts and I in fact had a huge dose of chicken pox instead. They were everywhere ... up my nose, in my hair, between my toes & right down there! And my mother painted me pink from head to toe with caladryl.
Like all children I know I hated being ill because it disrupted the flow of my life ... not the whole school thing but time with my friends. Here's to hwyl and iechyd da!
* They probably thought I was trying to pull a fast one.
** I obviously wasn't that ill because I remember that much :o)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thirteen number thirteens posted by me on Thursday Thirteen so far!

I saw this over at a Flyover Blog where she made her 13th TT a list of the 13th item on all her TTs to date ... so being the thieving blogger I am, I nicked it! I did tell her I was going to though :o)

1. Thirteen things on my desk included a pair of chopsticks. They're still there too! But they are pretty chopsticks ~ honest!

2. The thirteenth in the long list of reasons I am still married to Simon (the week of our wedding anniversary) was that he loves me and the feeling is mutual.

3. My French shopping list consisted of Marigold vegetable bouillon ... amongst other things! In fact that was the 13th item!

4. In June during the World Cup I gave you 13 things about Football day in school, #13 was a complaint about a lesson observation when I was heard to mutter ... I used to like her you know :o(

5. Number 13 of my great-grandparent's children was my gran Gwyneth, born in 1904.

6. The 13th item that needed removing from the kitchen counter was a birthday card for nephew #4.

7. In half term the 13th thing I did was à la Fizzy (ie a roll of bin bags and stay in here until your finished) tidied the home office, causing Simon to have minor coronary due to shock!

8. Number 13 in the list of artists regularly on my playlist was the fabulous Miss Joni Mitchell!


9. My 13th drink I wouldn't say no to at different times of the day / week / month was unfortunately Alka Selzer.

10. The 13th place to drink a great cup of tea or coffee was at my kitchen table! Come on over!!

11. I wouldn't want to be a headteacher, that was number 13 in the list of jobs I have had or wouldn't want to have ... ever, ever!

12. 13th in the list of things that you'll catch me saying a lot is I'm so going to blog that!

13. So here I am, week 13 and I love Thursday Thirteening. They're sometimes a week long job, as they take a while to write .... but hey, they keep me out of the booze/liquor aisle at the local Tesco's so they're performing a public service for the community!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

So ....

Tonight is office, well work, party night! Hurrah!

But I'm driving! Boo!

But I'm going with Ruth! Hurrah!

But it's blowing a hoolie! Boo!

But I have a new outfit! Hurrah!

And the photo must mean ... I have a new camera! Double Bloody Hurrah :o)

I'll try really hard to stay away from all of the tit-tape and tomfoolery this year!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Battered and bruised

I was spoken to by 2 separate parents this morning about their children. Both of whom had been in accidents over the weekend and ended up with visible injuries ... a badly bruised chin & a battered nose. Both wanted to stress that the children had had accidents and it was nothing to do with them. Isn't that sad? That a parent has to stress that this was an accident, because otherwise I / one of my colleagues is going to believe that the child was hurt by the parent. But I do understand the reasons behind it. The failings in the system that allowed the death of Victoria Climbie should not be allowed to happen again ... but the parents who came to speak to me yesterday are not the ones I am concerned about.

But there is one! One who I speak to our Family Liasion Officer about every week. One who who drops her 3 year old on her own, cold, dirty and often unfed in the playground, instead of bringing her to our door. One who leaves her littlest tot (18 months old) alone in the car outside school to collect her three other children. She who is suing Social Services because they wont give her respite care away from her children. What other family gets respite care for their children if there are no major special needs involved?? God she makes my blood boil!!

I spoke to the little girl with the bruised chin *winces ... it's a corker* I'm so glad we're not doing school photos this side of Christmas!

Me ~ What happened Emily?

Emily ~ I fell off the window sill!

Me ~ But what were you doing on the window sill?

Emily ~ Flying!

Ok ... so what do you say to a 3 year old with imagination? I looked at mum and raised my eyebrows and we laughed. I'm going to put pillows on the floor under the windows in the nursery just in case :o)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Busy week of numbers ahead

What a week it's going to be starting this morning with the first of ....

2 Christmas assemblies, followed tomorrow by
1 night of poker and then there's
3 Christmas presents to buy and wrap before
2 Christmas parties, which means theres at least
9 pass the parcel parcels to wrap before
1 grown-up Christmas dinner (what did I order?) and with
78 Christmas cards to write and
4 grown-up presents to buy and wrap before school finishes on Friday .... I really don't know when I'll have time for the
1 whole set of school assessment data that needs analysing and print off!

So, tell me, why do I think I have the time to sit here and blog about it??

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Unconscious mutterings #201


I say ... and you think ... ?

Research :: Scientist
Chuck :: dooce
Insert :: foot in mouth, something I do too often
Bang :: Do you remember that song? Bang bang, the might fall, oh wo oh! Who the hell sang that? Why can I only remember the first line and then not completely? Off to Google! Or Wiki. BRB :o) Aha B.A. Robertson, know there's a blast from the past! I remember him on Saturday Superstore ... showing my age again!
Lousy :: awful
Rehearsal :: play
Critics :: newspaper
Memory :: A memory? I was talking to my mum yesterday morning, saying how I wished that I remembered what my days in nursery school were like. There followed a long conversation about the yellow cupboard (a 3' high wooden cupboard, painted bright yellow that you were sat on top of if you were naughty. If I think about the H&S implications I shudder!! And who would do that to a 3 year old anyway?) Going in my pram to collect the dinners from the canteen of the factory over the road. The hugeness of the room. That's it. All I remember. Shame really :o)
Squid :: Cooked quickly with a little chilli & garlic, sprinkled with parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Delicious!!
Remove ::

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday, round-up

So mum and dad arrived last night, I truly didn't think they would. The weather in the channel and throughout Kent has been so awful that Operation Stack* is causing havoc once again. Obviously the captain of their Speed Ferry was feeling brave yesterday and they arrived in time for curry and beer ... well perrier for dad!

Mum needs to shop today. I really can't face Bluewater ... but can probably encourage myself to go to the Dockside Outlet ... they do great hot chocolate @ the Outback Cafe! I haven't really started my Christmas shopping yet and I so need to bloody-well knuckle down and get on with it! Well, we'll see how it goes eh?

Other than that and a bloody gynaecologist's convention @ my bedside** during my hospital appointment on Thursday that you really do not need to know anymore about, not a lot happening .... so I'll leave you with a truly brilliant song. Happy Saturday folks :o)

* It took Simon 1 hour + to do his normal 20 minute journey home up Bluebell hill ~ happy bunny I hear you ask? Umm, no would be the polite answer!
** Do you think they travel in packs?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday's Thirteen #12

I say, I say, I say

A list of thirteen things I say a little sometimes occasionally a lot!

  1. Ooops-a-daisy!
  2. *complete with actions* Show me two empty hands please.
  3. Mynyffyrny (Welsh, swearing-ish ... bit of a bloody hell!)
  4. Can you reach that for me please? (He's 6' 2" and he hung the kitchen cabinets, I'm 5' 5 1/2" ... a minor inconvenience!)
  5. Buggeration! (said in the closest approximation to a Yorkshire accent I can do.)
  6. Have you booked the ferry?
  7. Hello pet.
  8. I'm just going upstairs to check my email.
  9. Is it my turn to go to Tesco's or yours?
  10. Simon!
  11. WTF?
  12. What do you mean the bottles empty?
  13. I am so going to blog that!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blog Fodder #2

Submitted by Nikki-ann, this week's Blog Fodder topic is going to take a bit of thinking out and writing!

Tell us about somebody who has changed your life, even if just a little bit.

Right ... who to tell about? Who do I consider has changed my life? Family or friend? Both I suppose, in different ways. But I think I'm going to tell you about a friend of mine.

I moved to Kent in late August 1997 to take up a teaching post @ a large local primary school. I moved into a small flat and began my first teaching job with no real idea of the changes that were about to take place in my life! I was one of three new teachers starting that year ... and Ruth was one of the others. Ruth & her daughters had moved to Kent from Glasgow, a huge move, away from family, friends and support.

But actually this huge move was really the second part of a well thought out escape for her and her girls. It had started nearly 5 years earlier when she had made a decision that she wanted to re-train and had applied to the University of Strathclyde to join their teacher training programme. Her already physically abusive ex-husband was vehemently against this idea and his abuse changed and became physical against her girls too.

Knowing she had to protect her daughters, she acted. As she started university in the autumn of 1993, so she moved out of the marital home and into local authority housing. Her ex-husband gave up his job and went on the dole so that he wouldn't have to pay any money to the CSA for his children's upkeep and ignored her and the girls in the street. But she carried on, got her degree and amazingly applied for and got a job at the same school as me in Kent.

I was struck by Ruth @ our first meeting. She was so positive. Even though she had moved hundreds of miles from all her support structures ~ family, friends and loved ones ~ the glass was always half full. She was always laughing. She was a good listener and incredibly kind. Eventhough life was hard .... good god money was tight and we both lived in awful houses, she looked for the little things that made life great and celebrated them .... her wee golden moments.

So there, my best-friend Ruth. She changed my life. Made me look for the positive. Helped me celebrate my glass as half full and never half empty. Taught me to sing out loud and dance as if it was my last day on earth! And I love her for that and so many other reasons!

Life has moved on now. She is still my best-friend. Still laughing. BUT there have been major changes in her life. She is happily married to a guy called Ian, has a third beautiful daughter and now works with me again. At the same school, back together! And the ex-husband ... still an arsehole!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We put the Christmas tree up in the nursery yesterday! And did our first rehearsal of our Christmas assembly .... Mary wee'd on the floor! I've got less than 2 weeks of school left .... and then it's the holidays! So I guess Christmas has officially arrived Chez le Laquet :o)

Fancy some eggnog?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sketch #9 ~ Juxtaposition

African Baptism

This is my attempt @ Pencil Lines' Sketch #9 ... hard getting the circle thing looking right. I wish I could do wavy lines to soften the edge of the photos but thats beyond me at the moment!! Any Photoshop magicians out there who know how to do that ... please let me know :o)

A busy weekend ... the school Christmas Fair (I was on the groceries stall ... what an eye-opener), making Christmas hats / cards, a mad dash to London yesterday to rescue Simon's mum, demolition and re-building of the spare room (needs to be finished or at the very least habitable before my parents arrive on Friday! I think I'll be very glad to go back to work today.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Unconscious mutterings #200

mutter, mutter, mutter

I say ... and you think ...?

Hello :: *singing* I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello!

Flinstone :: Fred Flinstone
Corn :: on the cob
Interview :: questions
Deviant :: behaviour
Concept :: idea
Bridge :: *singing again*
Sur le Pont d'Avignon
Karen ::
*and again*
Karen Carpenter
Encounter :: meeting
Biological ::

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Scrap booking

I have been playing about with digital scrapbooking ... like ordinary scrap booking but with less glue, no paper cuts and a mouse!

Oh my god it's addictive!! I've made a new header or two! And I've just had my first bash at the weekly outline on Pencil Lines! What fun :o)

hoar frost