Thursday, 23 October 2008

A moment to blog

I've kept trying to find a moment to blog but already it's two weeks since I last posted. This will only be a quick update.

All the webcasting is finally completed. It all ran smoothly and the kids are still talking about it. It is on the internet for them and their friends to see and has gone a long way to raising the self-esteem of many of our students.

The German Exchange was largely successful. There are always some problems, and this year was no exception, but by and large everyone had a good time. On Sunday morning as they departed there were plenty of tears and already plans are afoot for some of them to go back in the summer. I hope they manage to organise this for themselves and the two groups (English and German) did seem to have got on really well.

One more day and then it is the holidays. I have got to do some work in the holidays but in amongst all of that the bathroom is getting fitted. I really cannot wait now. The stuff is bought and in the garage. Now it's just a case of getting it put in the bathroom.

My Grandma is now back at home. She was supposed to have her leg long pot taken off today. I've just spoken to her and the ambulance arrived without a wheelchair and stretcher, so it will now be another week before she can have the pot removed. Suffice to say, she is none too happy. I'm afraid it's another issue for me with the NHS. I know that it has its merits, but surely it is bad planning to have the ambulance booked and not the equipment to do the job. I'm going to see her this weekend. I couldn't go last weekend because I was occupied with work stuff.

In the holidays I'm also planning to do some spinning and knitting. I'm also going to do some reading and I hope to have some lie-ins. Nothing exciting is happening, but that's no bad thing.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Proud as punch

The last time I posted I was talking about work and putting off doing things. After posting I managed to get on with my work. Each day this week I've been at work for 7.30am and today is the first time I've been home before six. I've certainly put in the hours and I'd like to say it's all been worth it.

This week is Local Democracy Week and some of our students have been preparing for this in their Citizenship lessons. Citizenship is one of the many things I am responsible for in school and I was approached June time regarding some webcasting. Basically, a lot of meetings later and I've been taking groups of students to speak to important people in the county regarding public matters. Yesterday they questioned the police, today it was the transport authority and next week it will be an MP. These meetings took place in a conference room with posh equipment to film and webcast the event.

I thought I was going to cry with pride at one point today. The students have behaved so maturely and done themselves and the school proud. The people involved, including local councillors, have commented on their positive attitude and thanked me for my involvement. It's been one of the best experiences of my teaching career and has clearly benefitted the students involved. On a personal note, it's been great to organise something so unique and memorable. I've felt really tired throughout this week, but it's really felt worthwhile.

Next stop will be my German exchange. I've thirty students arriving tomorrow and there are trips organised all next week. Let's hope that goes as well as these trips have done so far.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Putting off the inevitable

I've got to do some work today and I really cannot be bothered so I am doing all sorts of jobs to avoid doing what I need to. It's not a great idea because I'm not enjoying the things I'm doing for guilt of what I should be doing. I've promised myself this blog post and then I'll get on with my work. Let's hope that does happen.

I've finished a hat for Ezzie that I started last year. It was to be a Christmas present but I didn't get it finished, so it sat neglected in my knitting bag for a year until I looked at it on Friday night and thought "it would be nice to finish you." I took it to Esther's with me on Friday night and made good progress completing it. I worked on it a little yesterday and finished it this morning and then took it to the allotment for Ezzie to wear. He looks rather pleased with it. It's Rowan Baby Alpaca and is beautifully soft. I have a few balls left over as it was originally to be a scarf, so I think I might make some house socks for Ezzie with the remaining balls. I'm not sure they will be hardwearing, but they will certainly be warm.

Yesterday I went to visit my Grandma. She is out of hospital and now in a care home, which is a lot closer for my family than the hospital. She looks better, but is feeling as frustrated as ever. It is going to take a lot of time before her knees are mended but at least she is not in the hospital now. I'm not used to seeing my Grandma look frail because she is such an independent and fiery character. Normally we speak to each other just before I go to bed and I'm finding it difficult that I can't speak to her like that at the moment.

This week is going to be pretty manic for me. We have two of the webcasts this week and then my German students arrive on Friday. I'll be so glad when these two projects are completed, it's half term and the new bathroom is completed.

Ok, that's enough procrastinating. Back to the old grindstone.

Friday, 3 October 2008

A war of words

Does anyone else have this problem?

Miserable receptionists at their GP surgery? I am so annoyed by the people working behind the desk at my doctors who are rude, unhelpful and shouldn't be working for a service if they don't like people.

I needed a repeat prescription recently and because I have been working late I would not arrive at the surgery to ask for the prescription. I confess I have lost the form you are supposed to put into the letterbox, but it's hardly the end of the world, is it? So I phoned up and asked if they could ask for the prescription for me. Quite simply, they couldn't. It was too much trouble for them. I explained that I need the prescription and that if she would write it down it would help it along. Still no. I know that they have rules to follow, but the manner in which you are spoken to is unbelieveable. I think these people (and doctors as well, actually) forget that the majority of people work the same hours they do and cannot easily get to the doctors.

Anyway, I was told to write the information myself and put it in the letterbox. So yesterdayI set off for work a little later and to my surprise the door was open. I went in and a receptionist was there and she just looked at me. She didn't even say 'hello' and that is the experience I always get there. How unacceptable is that? I asked her who the head poncho was and I've decided to write a letter of complaint. I think that these people need some humility and humanity. It's the National Health Service; for me that means you'll be working with and working to help people. It gets me so angry that that is the way in which they speak to people and I've seen them do it to other people there.

I know it might seem trivial, but these tablets help me sleep and my sleeping pattern has been messed up now and my prescription won't be ready until Monday and both Ezzie and I arrive home after the surgery is open so getting the prescription is not so easy. I'm really cross about it all. I'm waging war on those people.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Do not squander time

One of the things that I say to the kids at school is: 'Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of'. It's apparently a quote by Benjamin Franklin, but my knowledge of this comes from the Gone with the Wind film. The contradiction for me is that at the moment I would really love to squander a bit of time and do nothing. Doing nothing can actually be a really good thing sometimes.

With two grandparents in hospital at the moment mine and Ezzie's time has been taken up by that. My grandma is fed up. She is incredibly independent at home and is finding being in hospital very frustrating. She manages a couple of steps a day with a walking frame, but it's painful and she is making slow progress. We don't know what is going to happen yet, but it's clear to me that it will be a while before she is back home and will have to have some sort of respite care when she leaves hospital.

Ezzie's grandad is feeling similarly frustrated. They have found some polyps which they are doing a biopsy on and we are awaiting the results.

Work continues to be as crazy as ever and the webcasting project starts in earnest next week. I'm starting to feel quite worried about it and hope that everything works out. There have been press releases about it so we should have some local media coverage, which is exciting but also daunting.

Mandarin is proving to be slow progress. It is incredibly difficult. I knew it would be because it is so removed from our own language, but I'm really struggling with pronunciation and the four tones. You can have a word and say it with four different tones to create four different meanings. I've been practising the tones with my neighbour who speaks Mandarin and he just laughs! I'm going to stick at it, but I'm wondering about getting a private tutor so that I can make greater progress and practise what I'm learning in class. I've bought alsorts of CDs and books but I need to practise with a person for it to click.

I have managed to do a little knitting recently, and today we even have photos. Back in May I showed you this wool which Esther bought for me.

They have knitted up into some lovely warm socks which should come in this winter. I had only a little wool left at the end of the second sock, which was luck rather than judgement. I was worried I would have to knit the toes in a different colour, but in the end I pulled it off and am really pleased with them.

These were a particularly enjoyable knitting project because they were the first socks I knitted on my recently purchased Knitpicks needles. I bought these at The Wool Baa and they are nothing short of amazing.

This photo does them no justice; it must have been the light at 5am this morning because in the flesh they are stunning. They are the most beautiful needles ever and I think I am going to buy the set of straight needles I also saw at the 'Baa. A knitter needs a bit of bling from time to time and they are divine in the hands.

At the weekend Ezzie and I also went to buy the stuff for our new bathroom. We chose the suite and tiles a couple of weeks ago and have now made the deposit and are waiting for things to arrive. It is going to be gorgeous and I cannot wait. It's amazing how crazy you can go with a bathroom, but ours is so awful that we want and deserve something nice. I wanted a 'bat cave' with dark slate coloured tiles but I've had to compromise with lighter grey tiles instead. It will look really nice and it looks like it will be fitted when I'm on holiday from school so I can keep an eye on things. I'm really looking forward to it now.

As you can see, no one could accuse me of squandering time and being a layabout but sometimes it would be nice to do nothing. I think when the holiday does finally come some lazing about is definitely in order.