Tuesday 29 May 2012

not your average day in the office

One of the jobs I do at school is to help co-ordinate work experience placements.  Our girls go out for a week in the June of their Year 10 when they are aged between 14 and 15.  My colleague who has recently taken over the overall responsibility for this from the teacher who previously did it has totally revamped the presentations to the girls.  And roped me in too.  That never happened before.

"Can you help me do the final briefing for Work experience on Monday"
"Yes of course"
"I think it would be helpful if we showed them examples of what is suitable work wear and what is not appropriate" (last year we had a girl turn up at a primary school wearing a little vest top and shorts - we're not letting that happen again!)
"Good idea"
"Can you rifle through your daughter's wardrobe and find some 'good' clothes and some 'bad clothes'
"No problem, she's left almost a whole wardrobe of clothes behind"
"And I thought you could wear a sarong"


"A sarong?"
"Yes, as an example of inappropriate clothing.  I'm going to wear a ball gown"
"Can't I wear the ball gown"
"No.  You're the assistant, you wear the sarong"

Last week, she gave me my script.
"Here's your script for the role play"
"You never said anything about role play"
"I thought it would be handy for us to do an example of ringing up to arrange an interview"
"Do I have to?"
"Yes, it's more effective if we act it out"
"And you're playing the part of Mr Pitt"
"Mr Pitt?  I'm a man?"
"You like Brad Pitt, I thought you'd be happy"

Today we set up the hall.  Two microphones and a laptop on the same level as 160 seats.

"Will you be ok getting up on stage in that sarong?"
"Getting up on stage?  No one mentioned getting up on stage"
"You're only little, they'll see you better if you get up on stage while you are showing the different right and wrong clothing"
"But my sarong may slip while I'm going up the stairs"
"In that case I'll change my speech to "This is a suitable white t shirt, that is an unsuitable white vest top and those are Mrs K's most valuable assets"

Happy to report I finished the hour with modesty intact and all assets still firmly under wraps!

Monday 28 May 2012

Less Pinterest - More Do

Last Monday, Cate over at Life Behind the Purple Door posted a sketch she had found and invited people to join in with doing their interpretation of it.  I liked the sketch and thought I would like to participate so here is my take on it
I've never really used teal and pink as a colour combination before I think it works and I think I'll be using it again!  It has a good summery feel to it.  I even got the sewing machine out of hibernation to copy the scribbly, wobbly border to the grid.  
Thanks for the suggestion Cate!

Sunday 27 May 2012

Week 21

As I make these 365+1 collages it keeps jolting me to think how quick we have reached almost the half way point of the year.  They do say that the time goes faster as you age and I have a horrible suspicion that they may be right ...
A wide variety of words this week:
Minimalist - I don't really 'do' minimalist but I guess the style of the table lamp and the fact that the table top isn't cluttered fits the bill
Ornament - I'm not a great ornament collector, I don't have many places to put ornaments, we have patio doors in our lounge and dining room so no window sills to clutter display things.  These two Nao girls were my mum's and I keep them on the shelf of the unit in our dining room.  It's nice to have a few memories here and there to see on a daily basis.
Restful - memo to husband, keep an eye on the time when you decide to have a snooze in the sunshine while your wife is at work.  When she returns at 4pm there is no way she will believe you have been busy in the garden if you are discovered snoring in the patio chair.
Artificial - a pretty display of fake flowers in a local shop
Soft - a real cuddly cushion 
Boring - the words 'audit sheets' fill the bill here.  Files on my desk at work
Cleanliness - it's so lovely to be able to hang the washing out in the sun to dry after months of using the tumble drier.
So that's me for this week.  I'm off to learn how to tie a sarong tightly as I have a starring role in tomorrow's Year 10 assembly on the topic of 'Inappropriate clothing for your week of work experience'.  I do hope there will not be a Judy Finnigan moment .... (British readers may remember the hostess of a popular daytime chat show going up to receive an award only to find that her dress had slipped down to her waist on the walk up to stage and she was displaying all her assets to the audience) I was never a Girl Guide so my knowledge of knots isn't very good.  Wish me luck.

Friday 25 May 2012

Happy Mail

I recently took part in the Mail Art Exchange organised by Ginger  and today I came home to find this waiting for me 
Such a pretty printed envelope, and look how the scruffy little dog in the bottom right corner looks just like my daughter's puppy!  Even the back was perfectly stamped
and inside was a pretty note-let along with 2 little Scottie dog inspired cards
So a big thank you to Carol Anne!  This happy mail was perfectly timed as I needed something to make me smile after a stressful day at work.  A colleague has resigned and will be leaving in 3 weeks and while they find a replacement, we are having to organise ourselves to absorb her work into our already busy days.  Another colleague was ill today and I had to urgently schedule 163 seven minute appointments for our incoming Year 7 girls over the space of 4 days. 
 Plus it's still exam time and the stress is starting to tell on our sixth formers.  So many of them are asking to sit in the front row because they are feeling panicky and don't want to feel claustrophobic.  If they ever get round to building us a new school (this one is over 100 years old and well past it's 'use by' date) we will need one very wide, short exam hall.  90 seats, all in the front row.  

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Fancy joining in?

Cate over at {life behind the purple door}has uploaded a page layout to her blog and is planning to do her version of it as part of her 'Less Pinterest, more do' campaign.  She's inviting others to join in and see how different people interpret the same design.   The design of the layout really appeals to me and I think I'll be joining in, do you fancy it too?
No strange exam requests today although with the sun now shining brightly and temperatures of 24 degrees forecast, they'll soon be swooning in the aisles and demanding iced water.  
We have a few exam related jokes pinned to the wall of the office and I will be adding this one to it tomorrow. I saw it on a friend's daughter's facebook page and found it on google images.  It appeals to the part of me that has a phobia of maths

Monday 21 May 2012

Best exam season request of the year so far.

Some of you may know that I work in a school, and divide my time there between being a secretary in the main office and being assistant to the exams officer.  It's mighty busy in both offices at the moment and today we had a lot of exams going on.  A parent rang in at 9am to say that her daughter had woken with a migraine and although she'd come in for her exam she was going to take a new medication that she hadn't tried before and wasn't sure what side effects it may have.  {Not the most sensible thing to do an hour before an important exam in my opinion, best to try new things at a less critical time but hey ho.}  She then went on to say that the instructions on the box said they should be taken with a cup of tea and could we please make her daughter a cup of tea at the start of the exam.  We always do try to make our girls as relaxed and stress free as we can during exams time but honestly, cups of tea?  I just hope the other 319 girls taking exams this morning don't get to find out about it, otherwise I have visions of me going round the hall with a tea trolley in the future!

Other news from here is that Alison has very kindly given me a rather fab award.  Thank you Alison!  
1. show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them. (Done)

2. reveal your five picks for the award and let them know. To qualify you need to have less than 200 followers, so ...my choices are:
Ruth at Everyday Life of a Suburban SAHM, Ruth is one of the kindest, most generous people I have 'met' through blogging 
Rhona at Life in General, check out her blog today and you'll be greeted by the sight of a most delicious chocolate cake!
Denise at Den's Crafty Diary, one of my oldest friends - not in age I hasten to add but in amount of years we've been friends!  Also a really talented scrapbooker and card maker
My namesake Deb at Paper Turtle, I would love to one day meet this lady, I feel as if I know her already and I know that if fate had put us on this planet to live close to one another, we would be firm friends and share many margaritas in the sunshine
Finally, Deb's daughter Carrie over at Rosalind Revival. Just as I think Deb and I would be friends, I think Carrie and my girl Rachel would be too.  I love her zest for life and I've found many interesting things via her Five Favourites Friday. 

3. post about the award on your blog. (done)

4. bask in the love from the most supportive people in the blogosphere!  {aka your followers} (feeling the warm glow already)

5. finally have fun and spread the love!  (done)

I always find it hard to choose people to give blog awards to, because I follow so many great people and don't want to leave people out!  Have fun clicking on the links and checking them out today, and if you make the recipe for Rhona's cake, let me know and I'll come round and help you taste test it ;-)

Sunday 20 May 2012

365+1 another week ...

Was it really a week ago that I was making my 365+1 collage?  It must have been because it's now time for the next one!
What a variety of pictures I have here!
Portrait of a woman - this is the last photograph taken of my Great Grandmother.  She died a few months after I was born but lived with my family in her last years.  She was officially the oldest inhabitant of our town, and I think she was 95 when she died.  This photo was taken when she was asked to plant a tree in Mulberry Green, Old Harlow.
Faceless portrait - this is typically me on a Monday lunchtime.  I always eat my main meal at lunchtime on a Monday as I have my fitness class in the evening.  And always spend the time checking my phone to see who has updated Facebook or Twitter!
Portrait of a stranger - We get many dog walkers going past our house en route to the park and normally it would have been easy to photograph a stranger.  However, this day it was pouring with rain and I had to wait for ages for a hardy dog walker to appear!
Candid - took a sneaky photo of the husband working on his laptop in the kitchen
Group - my niece wanted to have some balloon dogs for her daughter's birthday party and I helped with the balloon modelling.  The blue one has a rather disproportional tail!
Flower - Love the delicate nature of forget-me-nots and the colour is just beautiful.
Interior - this is a fab new shop that has opened in town, full of all kinds of unusual things.  Including a rather brilliant, very large dolls house in the window.  Not sure we have room for that!
Sunday lunch beckons so I think my blog browsing will have to resume after that.  Looking forward to a lazy afternoon of checking up with what everyone else has been doing.

Friday 18 May 2012

Wise words

A few months ago one of the 14 year old girls who went to the school at which I work, died in an accident on a railway line.  Where I live there are a few un-manned railway crossings where there is simply a gate and flashing lights to warn pedestrians of approaching trains.  This rather brilliant young lady had become complacent about the amount of time it took to cross the track and in a moment of misjudgement, lost her life.  She was a girl who had such promise and was well liked by students and staff alike.  Whilst being a talented scholar, she also had a tremendous sense of fun and it is so wrong that in the blink of an eye, she is gone.  As a school we wanted to commemorate her life and use her as an inspiration for others and it was decided that from this year forward we would have a school award in her name to be given to other students who contributed to the school and community as she had done.  We asked her friends and family for a quote that we could have engraved on the award and they came up with this, from Mahatma Gandhi

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Wise words that we should all remember.  

Monday 14 May 2012

365+1 Week 19

I think that taking part in 365+1 is making this year whiz by, I can't believe that today's prompt was for day 135.  But enough of that, here's last week's contribution
Bumpy - roof tiles seemed to fill that criteria
Woven - a chenille blanket that we keep on our spare bed
Prickly - a cactus that we brought back from Lanzarote about 15 years ago.  It still flowers every year even though our climate is nothing like the Canary Islands!
Woolly - a warm knitted cardigan that has seen much wear during these last few cold and miserable weeks
Sandy - oh I struggled with this one and finally had to go for a page from 'A Simples Life' by Aleksadnr the Meerkat.  (bought for me as a joke one Christmas)
Unforgettable - a picture of a photo taken at my niece's wedding a few years ago.  Our daughter was a bridesmaid, our son played guitar during the meal and I iced the cake.  A real family occasion and such a lovely day.
Self Portrait - quickly took a photo in the mirror before I left for Saturday's crop.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Back in one piece

What a lovely day we had yesterday.  My trusty Tomtom and co-pilot penguin guided me round the busy roundabouts, correct lanes in dual carriageways, down country lanes and brought me safely to the Scrapmates crop.  It was so nice to see Denise and Karen again.
{Funny how some people/penguins always like to be the centre of attention}
Even though it's early on a Sunday morning, I seem to have woken WIDE awake and decided to share our day with blogland.  Penguin wasn't happy to be woken up and made to help with photographing the layouts I had done.
I had printed off a couple of sketches from the Scrap365 website to work on


After a tasty packed lunch provided by Ann, we settled down to work on the layout she had created for the crop.


She had told us that it was a ‘pretty’ flowery layout so I lifted a photo my daughter had put on Facebook that was taken when she went to a friend’s wedding with her boyfriend.  As you can see penguin is sulking here as he hates it when someone else pulls off the black and white theme better than him.

Friday 11 May 2012

Venturing into the unknown

I'm not proud to admit that when senses of direction were being given out, I was at the back of the queue.  Probably in a different queue altogether, one that ended up with a coffee and a bag of doughnuts, but the truth of the matter is that I can get lost anywhere.  Not just on road journeys but in buildings too.  I have worked at the school now for 11 years and there are still parts of it that are a mystery to me.  It doesn't help that when I think I'm lost, I panic.  So it's not often that I try to find new places on my own.  
But Denise has been to the monthly crop organised by Ann Freeman (you can find her here) over in Enfield.  She's a rather talented lady, and I've been to a couple of classes that she has taught over at Eclectic Keepsakes; which is run by another rather talented lady, Karen (you can find her here). I've been assured that this new crop is "easy to find" and the journey is "very straightforward".  As the husband has finally given in and bought a Tomtom, I'm going to try my first journey into the unknown tomorrow.  
My bag is packed already, my photos printed and I've trusted my loyal co-pilot with plotting our journey 
If I'm not home by tea time could someone send out a search party?

Tuesday 8 May 2012

365+1 comes round again

Another week bites the dust 
Sometimes I know exactly what I'm going to use for my photos and other times I have to give it much thought and then it gets to bed time and I panic "I've not taken my photo today!"  I say as I'm getting ready for bed.  "Take it tomorrow" says the husband "no one will know."  "I will know" .... and I grab my camera in search of inspiration.
Rough - the bark of a tree
Lights - my dining room ceiling light
Dessert - chocolate mousse.  What else?
Beautiful - The bleeding hearts are in flower in the garden, such a pretty flower.
Grunge - Denise gave me some Tim Holtz grunge board hinges a while ago.  The inspiration was in the name of the product!
Smooth - The eureka moment came while I was ironing.  What could be smoother than a freshly ironed garment?
Futuristic - ummm ... well .... does this qualify?  3 little mettalic men that my daughter has hanging from her cooker hood.  They have a certain futuristic quality about them.  Don't they?

Sunday 6 May 2012

Storytelling Sunday - H.R. Pufnstuf

I came across this picture that someone had pinned on Pinterest and it brought back such memories that I knew it would be my background picture for Storytelling Sunday.
This is a still shot from the TV programme H.R. Pufnstuf that was on the television between about 1969/70.  I loved it.  Partly because it had Jack Wild as one of the main characters and I had really fallen for him when he was the Artful Dodger in the film 'Oliver'. 
At the time of my story I was 12.  I had been on a school trip during the day and had come home with raging stomach ache.  I was really ill all evening, and got even worse overnight.  My mum rang the doctor in the morning (even though it was a Saturday and she didn't like to bother him at the weekend) and he came round.  Mum was convinced I had eaten other people's sandwiches on the school trip and something had disagreed with me.  I knew I hadn't but she wouldn't believe me.   The doctor took my temperature, poked my stomach a bit and suggested that mum and dad rang for an ambulance - immediately.  Why had they left it so long before calling?  he asked.  The 'we didn't like to bother you at night time' comment was received with a stern look and raised eyebrows.  Dr Booth told them that I was not making a fuss over nothing, that it wasn't anything to do with food, that I had been really brave putting up with the pain overnight (Dr Booth was by now my most favourite doctor in the whole wide world.  Well, apart from Dr Who of course) and that he thought I had appendicitis and we needed to go to hospital fast as if it had gone on overnight, it may be close to rupturing.  I'm pretty sure that if I had felt a bit stronger I would have pulled my 'See - I told you I hadn't been eating anyone else's food' face.
So into hospital I went, an emergency appendectomy was performed, mum felt suitably guilty and I felt better.  But this was back in the olden days when an appendectomy took 10 days recovery time in hospital, a 4" incision and a whole bunch of stitches.  What made it even worse was that I was going to be in hospital when H.R. Pufnstuf was on and there was no TV in the wards.  Told you it was the olden days didn't I?  When mum and dad came to visit the next day, they brought in a tape recorder on which they had recorded the whole episode for me.  Although I couldn't see it, I could get the gist of the episode from what I heard.  Poor old dad had to sit right up close in front of the television for half an hour holding a microphone up to the speaker so it would record.  Of course being such a long time ago, video recorders had yet to be invented!  I sat in my hospital bed for hours on end listening to that recording and imagining what was happening, and it was the absolute best Get Well Soon present anyone could have brought me.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Mailing day

Today I experienced something I have never experienced before.  I went into the Post Office and there was no one else waiting.  I walked straight up to the counter and was served.  No 20 people in front of me, no one sending off 50 parcels all to opposite ends of the earth, no one at all.  The lady behind the counter was surprised to.  Not at seeing me, but the fact that she had no one else to serve.  I had, apparently, timed it 'just right' and 'just missed the busy period'.  So what was I posting?  Well, I signed up for Ginger's Mail Art Exchange and have to get my pretty package off to it's new owner by the week of May 7.
I've had to cover most of it to so as not to give too much info away.  I also had a package to send off to my penfriend's daughter.  I follow her on Twitter and her location tweets kept coming up as 'Erica is at Thornton's' which made me wonder if she was more of a chocoholic than I am as over here Thornton's is a chocolate shop.  When I sent her a message to ask her how much chocolate she got through in a week, she sent back a reply to say that Thornton's is a petrol station in the US.  So I thought that as a surprise I would send her some Thornton's chocolates so she can tell me which Thornton's she prefers!  I would show you what is inside the other package but I need to wait until the recipient receives it, just in case she happens to pop by my blog.  I really wasn't sure what to send as a) I'm not very artistic and b) I've never done a mail art exchange before.  Oh well, it's in the post now - too late to change my mind!
I've just this minute realised why the post office may have been empty, postal prices went up in the UK yesterday by a considerable amount, obviously I'm the only person in town still sending things!