Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sharing resources

Pluto very kindly sent me a video of a French lesson from his school to help me as I cover a maternity leave in French.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Phil Packer

Major Phil Packer, an officer in the Royal Military Police, was injured in a rocket attack in Basra on 19 Feb 08. As a result of the accident he lost the use of his legs and is now a paraplegic with what are classed as catastrophic injuries.

Originally told he would never walk again, there have been positive improvements and it is his aspiration to walk the Flora London Marathon from the 26th April this year over a two week period, on crutches.

He does this in an attempt to raise £1million for Help for Heros, a charity launched in October 2007 by a group of friends and service relations who wanted to do something to help the wounded coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq.

This makes my 'dander for life' efforts pale into total insignificance. Please, consider sponsoring him

I'm in love

The most perfect partner a girl could ask for; good-looking, intelligent, slim, sexy, entertaining, musical, does exactly what you want and doesn't answer back. Or snore.

We are inseparable

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ohhhhh la la!

So I am teaching French. Finally all those years of intensive study of the French and their rugby physique has paid off.

And I kid you not, the first unit I am teaching is parties du corp! Well, my accent might not be up to scratch, but you should see my visual aids :-)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

View from my window

The offending tree

Hey-ho, hey-ho; it's off to work I go

I am about to start a long stint of work. Tomorrow is the first day of a maternity leave I am covering which will keep me gainfully employed until next January! Although it seems like a long (very long!) time, it has the advantage of being broken down into two sessions; the first from now until the end of June and the second from September until January, so that will help it seem just not quite so intensive.

Of course, I don't get paid for July and August, that's because being a substitute teacher, I only get paid for the days I work and not holidays. Not that this worries me as I have a bit of a Joseph thing going on whereby I store up during the time of the fat cows.

Resigning a very well paid, full-time job with nothing to go to was a big step off the edge of a high cliff, but one which, for health reasons, just had to be taken. However, if you believe things are 'meant to be', then this was definitely one of those things.

Since I resigned, I have been extremely fortunate in that I have had plenty of substitute work and could have in fact been gainfully employed virtually every school working day. And there's the added advantages of having the flexibility of being able to say 'no' if or when I need to and of having much less stress and therefore no more brain-rot. But don't for one minute think that I take any of this for granted - I know there are subs out there who are getting little or no work.

So it's off to work I go. Anyone care to guess what subject I will be teaching ..... ;-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009


A couple of months ago we started (another) new project called Postcrossing. Basically, you send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!

It's been a big hit with the kids and we are charting our progress on a big world map on the wall of the playroom and here on our special Postcrossing blog.

Worth a look if you are into collecting stamps, postcards, or have kids who like the idea of penpals but not the enthusiasm for writing long letters!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Update on No. 2395

In preparation for 'Dander for Life', I bought my first pair of trainers in 25 years last week. Do they ask everyone if they want life insurance with them?

I have some frankly unbelieveable news to share about my fundraising. Sit down and get yourselves a cup of tea or a whiskey before you read on.

When I set the total I hoped to raise at £100 I reckoned that, although ambitious, I would at least be able to make up many mysterious donations to myself in order to achieve that total and not lose face!

I can hardly believe that, so far, I have managed to raise a jaw dropping £124.00 for Cancer Research UK. And although some of the names on the list look pretty mysterious, I swear none of them are me!!

Together we are helping Cancer Research UK work at preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. What can I say, other than a big, BIG thankyou for your support.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Here's politician I would vote for

There's been talk of having a homecoming parade for the regiment of two soldiers shot dead in Antrim last month. Surprise, surprise - Sinn Féin was the only party to object.

The motion was put forward by the Ulster Unionist councillor Adrian Watson. You got to love his response to Sinn Féin:

"You don't have to get out of your lazy bed to come down and be offended, just stay away."

Couldn't have put it better myself. Well, OK ... I might have used something a bit stronger than 'lazy'.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Lightning; it does strike twice

Why do I always get the Minis who want to 'Mini adventures' all on their own? Some of you may remember this story about my previous Mini, Mini Mouse.

Well today, not to be outdone, new Mini, Mini Sidewalk had an adventure all of her own.

The kids and I had just returned home from a few jobs we'd had to do on the first day of the holidays. Dolly was helping me carry the shopping into the kitchen and Michael was putting his rugby balls away in the garage.

Suddenly Dolly started screeching 'mummy, mummy, mummy!!' and I ran into the hall just in time to see Mini Sidewalk roll down the driveway into the garage wall.


And yes, before you ask, the handbrake was on. Needless to say, Mini Sidewalk now has an urgent appointment with the mechanic.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


My number. For 'Race for Life'. I sustained a training injury this week - I got a blister.

Please sponsor me

Proud as Punch

Dolly was selected to play in a Mini Rugby Tournament today. It was a rotten old day weather wise but she didn't let that deter her and she played a blinder, even though she was soaking and freezing.
Here she is enjoying a post tournament hotdog after a hard mornings graft. Please also notice my lovely candy-stripe wellies!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Did you know

Stansted airport is one of the most secure airports in the world? If you've ever been there, you'll be as bemused by this statement as I was when I was told.

I fell in with a security man at the airport on Tuesday night as I was heading home from London. As I was walking down to my departure gate he called me over to inspect my boarding pass. As he checked, he looked both ways up and down the corridor, leaned towards my ear and whispered 'President Obama is landing here within the hour.' I think I even got the wink. I gave him the honour of feigning suitable excitement but stopped just short of performing the happy dance.

I did, however, ask the obvious question ... why in the world would he fly into poxy Stansted Airport? (Although, obviously I didn't use the word poxy as I didn't want to hurt his feelings ... or be arrested) Well, apparently Stansted is one of the most secure airports in the world! My new conspirator tells me it has it's own permanent SAS presence and a tank battalion on site. Not so poxy, eh??!

When I got to the gate, in an attempt to beat Obama's arrival, our Ryanair crew did everything bar tell us there was £50 notes sellotaped to the aircraft seats to get us on board as quickly as possible, but it was no good. We had to wait on the apron whilst Airforce One landed and the President cleared the airport by helicopter. A major delay by Ryanair's standards.

We got to watch Airforce One land, big wow. Well, I didn't find it that exciting but the man across the aisle from me was fairly interested and moved into the empty row behind me for a better view.

When we eventually got clearance to 'go ... go ... go ...!' a stewardess arrived and instructed the man he 'must move back to his original seat on the other side of the plane for the correct balance of the aircraft.' Everyone looked up, expecting to see a big ten tonne tussie squeeze himself out of the row and across the aisle, and this wee weed of a thing appears ...

We did experience some mild turbulence on our flight home and every time we had a wee bump or wobble, everyone glared at our friend who had dared to move seats, blaming him for the temporary imbalance of the aircraft.

Finally, on the subject of airlines ... this from Pluto:

A man is sitting in the bar in departures at a busy airport. A beautiful woman walks in and sits down at the table next to him. He decides that because she's got a uniform on, she's probably an off-duty flight attendant. So he decides to have a go at picking her up by identifying the airline she flies for, thereby impressing her greatly.

He leans across to her and says the Delta Airlines motto:'We love to fly and it shows' The woman looks at him blankly. He sits back and thinks up another line. He leans forward again and delivers the Air France motto: 'Winning the hearts of the world'. Again she just stares at him with a slightly puzzled look on her face. Undeterred, he tries again, this time saying the Malaysian Airlines motto: 'Going beyond expectations'.

The woman looks at him sternly and says; 'What the %*$&*# do you want?'

'Ah!' he says, sitting back with a smile on his face. "Ryanair."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I think that when you meet someone for the first time under a 20 foot high Freddy Mercury that's a sign it's you're going to have a mad time.

'Well,' says Judy after a few minutes confusion and a phonecall to get us both to the same tube exit at the same time, 'you know London better than me - you'd better show me around.' LOL! What a start!

And so, as we tramped down Oxford Street, we fell into conversation as if we'd been meeting each other for lunch for years.

Judy takes me to the local Internet cafe

We had such a laugh I couldn't possibly start to go into it all here, but a personal highlight of the afternoon, in particular for those sitting around us in Starbucks at the time, had to be when we both rolled up our trousers to the knee and compared varicose veins and dodgy ankles, as you do!

And, if you ever have the opportunity to meet Judy, ask to see her moonwalk. Extraordinary, and that's just the facial expressions!

After a great afternoons craic, Judy had to rush off to realign her garden lights to simulate the runway at Stansted in the hope O'Bama's plane would land in her back garden. As you do.