Monday 28 May 2018

A new chapter begins

Well, it's official - I've retired!  It still seems a bit unreal and as it's half term this week, all my work colleagues aren't in the office either but next week and they are all back and I'm not - that's when it will hit home.  In addition to a very generous amount of John Lewis vouchers, I was given a framed poster of memories of the 17 years I've been at the school.  A few private jokes, a few of the work projects I've worked on and even Brad Pitt. Whenever I look at it I will smile and remember the relevance of each comment.

So the thing I've been asked the most is 'whatever will you do with all that spare time?' and my answer has been 'I really don't have any hard and fast plans'.  I'm thinking that my days will sort themselves out as time moves on and hopefully we will have a sunny summer where I can have impromptu trips out - on a weekday!  I've already decided to do a daytime exercise class which I'm hoping will make it less of a chore - those classes that don't start until 7pm can sometimes be a bit of an effort. A 10am start should find me more enthusiastic and less tired and hungry. 

One thing I will definitely be doing is joining in with the Summertime Scavenger Hunt organised by Mary-Lou.  I love this project!  You can find the details over at Mary-Lou's blog, come on, join in, it really makes you keep your eyes open for that elusive photo.  

Bank Holiday Monday here (although every Monday will be like a Bank Holiday from now on!) and we had a flying visit from our son and his wife last night.  They'd hired a car to go to the Hay Festival in Wales and needed to get it back to the rental company by 11am today.  They hadn't factored in how long it would be to drive home after the last event that they had booked for so the message 'Can we sleep at yours tonight?' was quickly followed by 'we should be there sometime around 2am'.  Thankfully they managed to come in quietly and not disturb the dog so we weren't all awake in the early hours!

Enjoy your Monday!

Sunday 20 May 2018


I bet I wasn't the only one who spent their Saturday evening in glorious sunshine wearing a Queen Elizabeth II face mask.

It was lovely to watch two people who are obviously so much in love with one another make their vows in such a magnificent venue.  Windsor looked spectacular and the atmosphere there was overwhelmingly happy.  The mix of traditional with modern, British with American was so well done.  Whatever your opinion of the Royal Family, I think that it really was a fabulous day - and a great excuse to open a bottle of bubbly and celebrate!

It really does make me wish that I could lip read when I watch an occasion like that on the tv, I know some media have tried to guess what Harry was saying to Meghan at the altar and my money's on 'You look amazing'.  I think, and hope, that this marriage will be one which breathes new life into the monarchy; you've chosen well Harry.  

Sunday 13 May 2018

Pick yourself up and dust yourself down ...

... and start all over again.  π„žπŸŽΆπŸŽΆ  That's what the song says isn't it?

There's a quality that we do our best to encourage at the school in which I work.  It has nothing to do with qualifications or talent.  You can have bucket-loads of those but without this missing quality you won't necessarily reach your optimum performance.  It's a huge part of our school ethos 


The capacity to recover from difficulties.  Because no one ever floated through life on a series of wonderful things happening and things just falling into place.  Contrary to youthful popular belief, life is not just what you see on Instagram.  For every up there is a down.  It's how we deal with things when the carpet has been pulled from under our feet that is important.  We have many inspirational quotes around the school from the likes of Einstein and Nelson Mandela like 'do not judge me by success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got up again' - 'If plans a & b didn't work, there are still another 24 letters in the alphabet' and 'if you ever judged a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid' or 'a person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new'.  

It's such an important thing to have.  To teach someone that 'yes that did happen, but we can't turn back the clock, we can't change what happened, we've got to draw a line under it, learn from it and find out how to move on'.

And a prime example of this happened on Saturday night.  I'm not a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest but my friend's daughter was the UK representative so of course I had to watch.  I could not believe my eyes when mid way through her performance, a guy jumped on stage, ripped the microphone out of her hand and shouted protests before security marched him away.  Now, Susanna (Surie) is an alumni of our school and she obviously listened to all that resilience talk in lessons as she demonstrated the most amazing resilience.  She barely missed a beat, she turned away, drew a deep breath, took the replacement microphone that was handed to her and got right back into the song.  She must have been shaken and shocked but talk about 'Keep calm and carry on' - she fiercely sang out as loud and proud as ever.  

Of course we didn't win, the voting is a bit too political for the best song or singer to come first nowadays, but there's no doubt who was the most resilient person out there on that stage.  She may not have won the contest, but she sure won the admiration of thousands of people by the way she reacted.  

Monday 7 May 2018

Me on a Bank Holiday Monday

You know how us Brits love to talk about the weather, well this May Bank Holiday Monday has given us something good to say

Rumour has it that this could be the warmest early May Bank Holiday Monday on record!  Whilst it would have been nice to spend it by a beach, the thought of getting in a car and possibly sitting in miles of tailbacks along with everyone else who fancied being by the seaside was enough to make us stay at home.  With the sun shining it was lovely to be out in the garden tidying up before we added some summer plants.

See that long green pole in the centre of the photo?  It's my husband's favourite ever supermarket purchase.  A couple of years ago he went to Aldi to buy some vegetables and came home with an extendable tree lopper with saw - at the bargain price of £8.99.  It's seen a lot of use since then and it was out in action again today.  While he was busy with that I decided to tackle the ivy which is steadily taking over our walls and fences.  If I had a pound for every metre of ivy I cut down today I'd be a very wealthy lady!  There's a definite improvement but still more to come down.  We had to stop after we had filled the whole brown rubbish bin plus two large garden sacks.

It's fair to say we had earned a well deserved lunch in the garden with a glass of chilled white wine.

Did you have a busy or relaxed Monday?

Wednesday 2 May 2018

A sentence a day for April

Joining in again with Leslie to document my month in just one sentence a day (not always as easy as you may think πŸ€”) I know I'm a little early for the official link up, but it's my day for having our grandson and he's just fallen asleep for his afternoon nap so I'm taking advantage of a little time to myself.

Day 1: Easter Sunday which also happened to be April Fool's Day which summed up quite nicely what a fool I was to think that I could stick to Slimming World healthy eating when presented with a couple of large Easter eggs.  {I figure that I'm going to eat the chocolate anyway so does it matter if I eat in in a few large quantities or a little bit every day for a week?}

Day 2: Step away from the chocolate - ignore the chocolate - you do not need to eat the chocolate - if only I could listen to those voices and not the one that says 'Go on, you know you want to ...'

Day 3: Babysitting Leo day - he is obsessed with writing and drawing and sadly I don't have any drawing talent - there is little difference between my dogs, horses or dinosaurs!

Day 4: I've been moaning about being bored with my hairstyle for ages so I took the plunge today and had lots of layers cut into it and about 4" cut off the sides 

Day 5: Met up with a couple of old schoolfriends for dinner this evening - we've been friends for about 48 years and still meet up regularly and never run out of things to talk about!

Day 6: Our son stayed over last night as he wanted to use the Mum and Dad taxi service for an early morning check in at Stansted airport for his weekend in Copenhagen - we do have our uses.

Day 7: After a morning of mundane weekly shopping routine, my husband finally got to try out his new toy - a patio power cleaner - I had forgotten how many subtle colours there were in the patio stones underneath a winter's worth of grime. While he's busy out there I must put a bottle of wine in the fridge for later, he'll have earnt his relaxation time tonight!

Day 8: When it was my birthday, my workmates gave me a voucher for the nicest restaurant that we have in town so we took advantage of someone else cooking dinner for us and it was absolutely delicious!

Day 9: Starting to think about the clothes I need to pack for our weekend away at the end of the week but a mixed weather forecast is giving me clothing dilemmas, if only we weren't travelling hand luggage only.

Day 10: Treated myself to a manicure - at least I'll have nice nails even if I don't have the right clothes for the weather in northern Italy!

Day 11: Paul volunteers one day each month over at the local country park so today I had Leo all by myself, that boy has got far more energy than me - but then again he is a whole let younger.

Day 12: Suitcase open and clothes packed; I realised my holiday wardrobe needs updating, maybe a little shopping in Italy will be needed (well if the weather report says rain from time to time, where better to shelter than in a shop?).

Day 13: Alarm on early for the taxi ride to Stansted, breakfast in the UK, lunch in Italy.

Day 14: According to my phone, I clocked up 27,000 steps today!

Day 15: Sightseeing, food, drink, more walking, more food, more drink etc etc

Day 16: Our last day in Bologna, time to make the most of that Italian sunshine and fill up on their amazing gelato.

Day 17: Back to work - so painful after a lovely long weekend away.

Day 18: Sun is shining, Leo is here for the day full of mischief.

Day 19: Today they have drafted the advert for my job - I wonder how many people will apply for it - part time jobs in schools are always in demand.

Day 20: Friday night meal out at our favourite Turkish restaurant with a couple we have been friends with for about 40 years - great food and great company.

Day 21: Charity quiz evening in support of Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) - we came a respectable 5th.

Day 22: Watching the London Marathon as my line manager is taking part and we have lived through her training schedule ever since she found she had a place - she finished in just under 4h 30m, and on the hottest London marathon on record.

Day 23: Went into town on the hunt for some comfortable summer sandals, returned home empty handed and disappointed.

Day 24: In one month's time this will be my penultimate day in the office - forever!

Day 25: Took Leo into work for show him off to my workmates, he had a lovely time especially when Lucy let him play with all the buttons on the photocopier.

Day 26: Ashamed to say I didn't go to my Fitsteps class tonight as when I got home from work I had a strange pain in my knee and didn't want to injure myself, however it may have been my imagination as when the evening progressed, the pain disappeared - oops!

Day 27: Busy day at work trying to get as much work as I can done before I leave - currently working on jobs I normally don't do until June.

Day 28: All the family will be here for lunch tomorrow so a busy day preparing as much food as I can in advance - I want to be able to enjoy their company and not be the one stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is in the lounge catching up on people's news.

Day 29: I love having all the family around the table for Sunday lunch, of course the littlest one is the centre of attention and oh how he loves an audience!

Day 30: Took Leo to his 'Tiny Tempo' class where we danced and sang and played musical instruments, I'd forgotten how noisy a hall full of toddlers can be.

And that was April!