Thursday, 26 February 2009

An Inspector calls

Today my maths class was visited by an inspector.

I was surprised because I was told that he wouldn't come to my group. I am temporary (on account of our imminent move) so I suppose it was thought that there's no point in observing a temporary teacher. I was pleased because I go into major panic if anyone comes in to officially observe my lessons. I can be happily going about my teaching, perfectly capable, perfectly lucid, perfectly knowledgeable and in control. The minute I am observed I turn into a gibbering wreck and question everything that comes out of my mouth. I can't explain the simplest concept and start sweating profusely. Then I make the whole thing much worse by making nervous jokes to dispel the tension. The children look at me as if I've gone mad and I want the floor to swallow me!

But.....this time.....he came, I gulped, he saw my group and watched me teach. They were doing a really good activity (for very low ability maths). It was practical and they were enthusiastic. He asked a child what they were doing and, thank goodness, it was my one child that has a bit of brain (sorry, un-PC). She answered clearly and made me look good. I was sat on the floor surrounded by children, 3D shapes and hoops (don't ask) and remained calm and unsweaty throughout. He left. The head complemented me. Job done.

I suppose it was because I didn't know he was coming and I didn't have time to work myself into a frenzy. Also, being temporary, I don't feel the pressure quite the same.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad it happened because I feel pretty good about myself right now.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Things I love about Britain No. 3

The Robin

It's cute, it's friendly and it reminds me of Christmas.

I know it's aggressive and territorial with other robins but it never fails to lift my spirits to see this visitor to my garden.


Okay - we have accepted an offer on our house! 'They' are buying it.

9 months after we put it on the market we have finally sold it. Of course, it might fall through. The dreaded survey is still to come. We may have damp rot, dry rot, subsidence, cracked rafters, woodworm, rats and weevils for all I know but hopefully not. Hopefully it's the beginning of the end of our emigration plan.

After the end of the end of the plan comes the beginning of the beginning of the actual move which ends when we have our own home the other side of the world.

And then after that comes the beginning of the beginning of trying to feel 'at home' which ends when I don't cry every time I see a robin, an oak tree, the Queen, a union jack, oxo cubes, a traffic jam or a hoodie.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 20 February 2009


Just wanted to say a quick "hello" to Trish, Joh, Pam and Farah who follow my blog. I'm thrilled and slightly intimidated by the fact that people actually want to read what I write.......

Of course "hello" to Barkers too - he's the other half! And to my mum who assures me she reads it. xxx

Pride before fall situation

Oh how smug I felt when my cinnamon rolls came out of the oven.
Oh how disappointed I was when the Lemon Pudding I'd made for dinner with a guest came out very brown (black, if we're being picky) and rather than the lovely lemon sauce that was supposed to be underneath the sponge, all warm, runny and citrusy, there was rubberised lemon goo. So, so, so disappointed. My darling husband tried his best and even had seconds (surely the mark of true love), but I knew that it was an unmitigated disaster. Next time I shall listen to that small voice that says "Gosh, 45-50 minutes seems like a long time to cook this", and put it in for less time.
I may even do the whole pudding again tonight, just to prove to myself that I can.

To perk myself up - here are mug, bowl and plate that I bought on sale (£3.50!) after Valentine's Day - aren't they fab!

Thursday, 19 February 2009


I made these yesterday.

Inspired by Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls but slightly frightened by her enormous quantities (of ingredients!) I combined that recipe with one from this site and voila! This is the first time that I've made anything with yeast that actually rose and looked like it does in the picture.

We ate loads yesterday and then I warmed two in the microwave and had them for breakfast this morning - yummy!


We are in Half Term. This means a week off school - yay!

We are, at present, waiting for an offer on our house. 'They' came to see it on Saturday, and then a second viewing Sunday and were really keen. Reeeally keen - which was quite strange as I always thought you should keep your cards close to your chest, so to speak, when it comes to house buying. Anyway, we hoped we'd get an offer on Monday, but 'they' were talking to their financial advisor. Then we thought maybe on Tuesday but now 'they' are doing their sums and will be back to us on Friday. So this week off school has felt very heavy with expectation - we have been waiting all week. I can't believe anyone will buy our house because it's been so long and we've been so unlucky, which is irrational I know but I need to protect my fragile emotions with pessimism. But always there is a tiny ember of hope.......we shall see.

(NB Any housebuyer/viewer will be known as 'they' - impersonal and objectifying)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Things I love about Britain No. 2


I grew up in Plymouth. Dartmoor was where we went on a Sunday afternoon to walk. It's wild, untamed, stark, brooding, empty,granite, windswept and very, very beautiful. I love it.
Here's a great photo, not one of mine, of Sheepstor which is an area I particularly love.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

All you need is love

It's Valentine's Day. A day for celebrating love. As a child/teenager I dreaded it because I was one of those that never got a card (secret ones from mum don't count!) and yet I always, always hoped.
Now, of course, all my days are filled with declarations of love from and to my husband and children and I know that I am so lucky. I wish I could have told teenage me that this would happen - it would have saved a lot of heartache and disappointment.

I made 'cards' for my lot. Actually they are heart pockets and I got the idea from maya*made. I was going to put sweets in them but forgot to get any in time. In the end I wrote love notes for them all and tucked them inside which was much nicer than sweets. I think they were touched.

I'm happy that I'm still creating and, yes, it does make me feel happier and more fulfilled.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Granny squares-a-go-go

Here's how my crocheting is coming on.

I'm becoming quite speedy and can now crochet a square of five rows/circuits in less than an hour. Quite a long way to go before I've enough squares to make a blanket.

Mum versus teacher

It's a funny old thing being a teacher in the same school that your own children attend. It's even funnier when you teach them for some lessons.

Good points

*I know what is going on even if my children forget to give me letters/information.
*I can usually find lost homework sheets and obtain them by stealth so my children don't have to go to their teachers and confess they've lost the one they were given.
*I see them everyday, which is lovely and I can 'spy' on them in the playground and see them in a situation not many parents get to. They've never let me down. I wouldn't like to see them in the playground bullying or behaving badly! (I'll point out that I don't actually spy on them, just occasionally have a little peep!)
*I can plead their case if things have not been done on time.
*I always get convenient appointments for parent/teacher interviews.
*I always know 'the method' for maths.
*I can ruffle their hair when I pass them in corridors. They like this at the moment, they are not embarassed yet.

Bad points

*I hate having children home for tea and for sleepovers. It's like being back at work.
*It can be awkward talking to parents of their friends, especially if they moan about teachers or another aspect of school.
*I sometimes step in for them if they've not done homework etc. It's good that they don't get punished but bad because they're not taking responibility for their actions (or lack of action).
*When I get home all I want to do is hear silence, not children bickering or whining. My fuse is shorter than it should be.
*Living in catchment means that lots of the children in my school know where I live. Has never been a problem up to now but you never know.

For me, the good points outweigh the bad points. I love, love, love seeing them every day and I make a point to seek their faces in the crowd during assembly. They seem to cope really well but I wonder what they would write if they noted good and bad points about having their mum teach at their school.......

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Things I love about Britain No. 1

I've decided to post British things that I particularly love. It's easy to focus on the bad weather at the moment and people are constantly saying "Bet you can't wait to get to Australia!" to me. Well the truth is that yes, I'm looking forward to finally (when the house sells) starting our Oz adventure, but there are so many things I love about Britain that I feel the need to start cataloging them. So here goes......

Terry Wogan. Yes I know he's actually Irish but I love his morning radio programme, his self-depreciating wit and his wry observations. Thank goodness for being able to listen to the radio over the internet here.

Friday, 6 February 2009

A bonus day

Can there be anything nicer than being given an unexpected day off work? At the moment I can't think of anything that could have given our family the joyful boost that a 'snow day' on Monday did. So rare is a decent carpet of snow in the south that everything ground to a halt and it was deemed too risky for teachers and pupils to attempt the journey to school. We live within a 5 minute walk from school and so could easily have made it in but that seemed only to give us the impression that we'd been given an even bigger gift.
We made the most of our family day. We ate cake, had a snowball fight, made a snow penguin, enjoyed a roast chicken dinner together and watched Prince Caspian by the log fire. It really seemed as if it was Christmas Day.

As the children get older I savour these days when they are happy and able to spend a day with us. I am becoming ever more aware of the passing of time and the fast track into 'teenagedom' which, although I am looking forward to seeing them blossom into adults, I slightly dread as it will mean the end of an era that I have loved.

Monday, 2 February 2009

I did it!

I've been creative over the last couple of days and here's the evidence!

My visual journal entries for the weekend.

Bernard the snow penguin

Coffee cake and fruit loaf, baked for Sunday tea.