Saturday, 28 April 2012

Make em laugh, make em cry! Oh go on then!

And make em cry I did.

In my defence your honour, it was not intentional.

Our school have adopted and embraced the scheme of work designed to help the type of families and children we work with in our poverty stricken demographic. It's called SEAL.

 SEAL stands for Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning. It is a prescriptive programme designed for the whole school from Reception to Year 6.  ( There is also a Scheme of work for Secondary schools )

Because the Government changed and therefore the Education site - I am struggling to get you a link if you'd like to learn a bit more.

* It took me AGES to find you a working link but hopefully if you would like to have a look - it's all here

  Before I begin I would like you to know that I know I am making sweeping generalisations ( one of my UTTMOST favourite things to do EVER - even though I know recpients can find it insulting etc - but the thing is with sweeping gens is that they are mostly true! ) when I speak about the children at my school.

The children who come from the typical  family  I was brought up in are very much the minority.  There WERE children from horribly deprived backgrounds at school with me. I was one of them!  Ok I am kidding slightly; there was that one boy who was ridiculed for always having seconds at lunch, and for wearing filthy clothes. I am ashamed of myself that I know I was guilty of perhaps joining in and not sticking up for this boy - now I know what I do and now I know how this boy when he came to school, he was safe and warm and fed, I feel wretched.
My mum and dad worked hard, but money for  treats and holidays was rare - somehow I managed not to turn to a life of crime and drugs to compensate. However I digress....

Basically there are a set of themes that the whole school work on each half term, beginning in Reception and then building  year on year equipping our children with the coping mechanisms that somehow  in the 1970s and earlier our parents taught us without us knowing and there was a  way we absorbed things by osmosis that these children can't grasp automatically. 

These are the things that we need to be able to function in a society, all of the unspoken rules that make day to day life workable.  Not many of these children have  natural empathy -  they are always quick to blame, won't accept responsibility and have an almost too strong instinct of 'It's not fair - he/she was talking/fighting/messing too but you are not picking on them - again - the idea that the adults are PICKING on them rather than actually being in charge and kids you have to do what the adult says sorry - that's asks is just crazy! maybe it's just our school? Our parents? You have met some of them here before - the three hyenas?

 Some children do have empathy but don't  know how to express it. A lot of them need to come to an adult in school and offload a shitload of crap about their bloody awful morning  that some of you would find so shocking and incomprehendible you would not believe it, before they can even THINK about settling down and learning in school.

They might have stuff to offload that you only see in dramas past the watershed. These children are part and parcel of it. This SEAL programme is designed to try  help them HOW to go about  dealing with it it and gives them the tools, the language and the skills to do it. Some of the older children, before we began this scheme would only ever offer 'happy' or 'sad' as words to tell us how they were feeling. They would not even offer up how they are feeling. There are resources to support the whole family - which is where school needs to  head because a lot of our parents need this SEAL work too.    Every single primary school in this area is in the same boat.

This half term we are working on Relationships

 I was delivering the first session to a class in lower KS2.  They are an adorable little bunch. every single one of them and they are one of my favourite co horts in school right now. Have been from day one. Sure there are children with severe EBD, ADHD, ASD - heck a WHOLE ALPHABET of disorders but they are just so scrummy. The feeling is mutual becuse every day I am asked,
"Are you teaching us today?" with hugs and yays if the day is a Tuesday or a Friday!!

( Ok they need to work on their memory skills, don't we all)

The Learning Intention was " I can tell you about someone or something important to me "

I brought in a beautifully framed photograph of my children and my nanna. I spoke about them. They asked questions - mainly about my nanna - they know lots about my children because they like to hear about them particularly if I've been telling them off for messy bedrooms etc. So a few boys put up their hands and told me they liked their nannas because of the expensive games ( video probably something violent aged 15+ ....) they got them. So I waxed lyrical about my darling nanna, who had no money, but gave me her time, picnics in the park, songs at bed time.

 It was difficult to talk about her as she died five years ago. I love her so much and miss her dreadfully, but I managed it. It's only now I can even look at her bungalow as we drive past - but if I give her too much brain space I start to break down so I , as now, actually quickly compart her off and shut down my brain. I am very good at this. I have so much locked away. It is too painful yet to let out.

ANYWAY, I was very professional, I didn't get too emotional and simply explained that she'd been very old and very ill and sadly she had died, but it was ok ( It isn't you know ) I have my lovely memories, photos etc etc. I then focussed the conversation on special people and animals.

Now don't you fret about these little treasures. They are very much at one with their feelings. NOTHING gets bottled up in here........

I always tread carefully here becuse there are so many children with different family circumstances. I am certain there are less than a third of the class in married/ mum n dad  working households with no stepsiblings. We had a lovely sharing session ( where the words happy and sad are BANNED ) and then they had to go produce a picture of their special person or animal and write the feelings words around it and examples of why they were special. Children who had difficulties writing were allowed to draw these things.  The children were sent off to go about their task.  Literally within two minutes as I was getting my things tidied away  before working at a table with some children- someone came and reported that child 1 was crying.

I asked child 1 to come to me and asked what the matter was. I was told between sobs that she missed her grandad who died last year. I told her it was ok to feel like this and upset. It was only natural. Talking about them can help sometimes. ( YES I KNOW< I DO NOT PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH )  Did they want to choose someone else to draw and write about. No, child 1 was going to do her grandad, she was happy he was in Heaven looking down on her. Off she went, tears dried.

 In the meantime the sound of sobbing was intensifying by the second. Like a game of emotional dominoes rally they were going down in order!

 Child 2 came to tell me that the man she called grandad, but he wasn't really her grandad but my mum says he's like a grandad had died the night before. WHY O WHY had the Class Teacher not informed me of this before I went blundering in with my huge size 4s?

Child 3 sobbing his heart over the man who was his older brother's dad, who had died before he was born, he was crying because he was sorry for his brother not knowing his real dad.

Child 4 crying because her special person had moved to the next street. THe NEXT STREET!
Child 4's friend was crying because child 4 was crying.

Then came child 5.

This one tops the lot...... grab a tissue will need it....... no seriously, go grab a tissue....OK you were warned.....

Child 5, heart wrenching wracking sobs, approaches.

Me - WTF was I thinking? Why did I not choose music to deliver? I wonder if Sainsbury's need shelf stackers?

Child 5 - I am sniff, upset, sob because waaaaaaaaiiiiiiilllllllll

Me - sorry I didn't understand that, take a breath, and tell me again ok? *gives reassuring smile*

Child 5 - osniffksniff sniff sob, hiccup, snob, squeeze a tear out, sniff, huh,huh,  chest heaving up and down looks at me with huge pale blue watery eyes and says my, huff, doggy, sniff, got put dooo oooo cry, ooownnnnn. wails and weeps like wailing and weeping is going to be banned and therefore needs to get all her weeping and wailing done NOW

Me - ( inside trying not to think about when we lost our darling rabbit ) awww that's very sad news ( YES I KNOW I USED THE S WORD> )

Child 5 - I knoooowwwwww

Me - Here's a new tissue, what was your dog called?

Child 5 -  Calming down now. She was called Fido ( Obviously not but I have to be very careful about identity in these stories )

Me - Was Fido a good dog? Dogs are lovely aren't they? What colour was her collar?

Child 5 - stopped crying by now , she had a red collar and a basket.

Me -  Feeling confident that child 5 is gonna be o.k. Red is the best colour for a dog collar. Did you take Fido out for walks?

Child 5 - WAILS LOUDLY noooooo , she had bad legs that's why mum took her to the vet to get put dooooowwwwwwwnnnnnnnn. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Me - !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My mouth opened, but no words could come out.

Then fortunately the class teacher arrived back from his PPA time to take charge! I quickly explained our lesson. He laughed and said thanks for leaving me with this!!! I said you may get parents in! Nasty Miss Radiostar making our offspring cry.  He'd had no idea about Child  2s grandad. Child 2s parents obviously could not tell us! He was very supportive and replied that this stuff needs dealing with! And off I skipped back to the safety of upper KS2 where I was ready to deliver a mental maths test!!! Different kind of tear inducer!!

Want to know what lesson 2 is all about next week?
Learning Intention is " I can tell you about loss and how it affects me"
The lesson content includes a story about Lynford. Lynford is a hamster. Things do not go well for Lynford.

I think I might be *sick* next Friday......

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Sunday & a photo of Harry for Fostermummy!

This post WAS started on Sunday. It's now Thursday and I am ignoring cleaning the bathroom in order to get it on my blog! I should go through and change the tense as it's now very past! I shan't be doing however! Right a few more pics to put on then hit publish :) I did do tons of laundry - but the basket is overflowing again. I didn't bake. I haven't begun the knitting. I really do sometimes resent how work gets in the way of free time! European Junk Mountain got a bit higher.

Today is the day I get the back to work blues. My freedom will be halted in it's tracks.
So I quickly write this as I listen to the neeeeeyooooommmmm in the background. Mr Radio watching the Grand Prix on BBC1.
The sun is shining. I am going on a laundry hunt as it is a good pegging out day. I am also going to bake as my dishwasher is fixed so the clearing up is so much more pleasurable. I have a new knitting project in mind. Also I will finish the sorting out of the European Junk Mountain in my room!

Yesterday I re posted the story of Harry's birth. Fostermummy quite rightly said he is gorgeous so I am going to post a few photos of him here taken throughout his first year.
Warning - you will be reduced to ahhhhs and the urge to pick him up and just cuddle him. He is just so beautiful - as all babies are - but because you know he is fighting a battle not many have to contend with, it makes you want to snuggle him a little bit more.

I am sure Lisa will tell me if they are out of chronological order but here he is ..
Newly Born Harry - age 7 minutes old and his considerably older Hanty Rach

Day of diagnosis

 Ever smiley despite the chemo

This photo made me cry and it still moves me to tears.  So tiny, so weak, so pale, so desperately ill. Harry was in hospital mid chemo fighting off a life threatening bout of Septicaemia. I honestly thought Harry might not come home.

But he did and here he is after yanking out his feeding tube for the nth time! Little monkey!

Here is Harry with MY beautiful daughter who selflessly organised and completed a triathlon to raise funds for MacMillan - the just Giving page is still live and active on my home page.

This was taken on July 1st 2011 - the day of MY diagnosis!
My common Bile duct was blocks and I was slightly jaundiced and on the cusp of just about the worst six months of my life.

Here is a photo when we went to Birmingham in the summer. It must have been after I'd been in Hospital and I was recovering still. Here his hair still hasn't grown back and he still had weight to gain. He was also very weak - could  roll over, lie on his tummy and hold his head up - but not for long.

Here is in in bed with me having early morning snuggles! So smiley - yet an hour later he was in theatre :(
This is on the way home - I love this photo - look how beautiful he is and look how long his eyelashes are!

Here he is all cheeky having just woken up.

This was taken on yet another journey back from Birmingham Children's Hospital, which is where he goes to have his laser treatment.
At Christmas, sitting up alone! He does have two legs!
Here is the birthday boy. A very special day as he was baptised too.
Feeling those peggies!
Here he is a few weeks ago showing off his gnashers! He will bite and giggle wildly if he can!
and finally , loving life in the sunshine, his first time in a swing and we are all thankful he is here to be able to do that. He is the most lovable little darling ever. SO squishy and snuggly and cuddlesome and I'm not even just saying it because I am his Aunty. O well ok, I might be!
I hope you have enjoyed seeing Harry's first year. He still has a long battle with effin cancer. Follow his mum's blog and his story as she tells it as it is. Lisa's Blog - Harry's Journey

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Harry's birth , DIY Beauty Treatments and a Jumper

I decided to go through some old posts, combine them and repost them.

Well, my new nephew finally arrived with his Hanty Rachel waiting to gently guide him into the world then cut his cord.

It'd been a fraught LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG wait. Friday morning was my sister's routine community midwife check and after she'd been admitted on the 19th Dec with a very convincing false alarm she was concerned that she hadn't felt the baby move.

So Lisa was packed off to the maternity ward for close monitoring. After a while, the FEMALE ( This is important for later on in the story) consultant said she was concerned about a few decelerations on the trace and as soon as there was a bed ready on delivery Lisa, who was 3 cm and soft, would be put on a hormone drip to move things along.

The first I knew of this was the text message I got at the end of the day. I was at school. My phone displays the first part of the message. The bit I saw said
" I am in hospital having the baby"
I nearly screamed and dropped my phone! Composing myself I picked up the phone and on opening the text discovered it said..
" I am in hospital having the baby checked over, Will ring you later!"

After work I went up to the hospital with to see what was happening. Poor Lisa was STILL attached to the trace monitor - so for the whole visiting time ( Me, D, Ma & Pa ) our eyes were glued to the digital numbers and graph paper. We didn't speak to Lisa at all. I was expanding my medical training.

The lovely midwife popped her head round and said that Lisa would be going down to delivery shortly. Visiting ended at 8pm so ma & pa left and D and I stayed because as birthing partner I would be going down with her.

10pm that night. Midwife came to say MALE consultant wasn't alarmed with the trace, it seemed OK now. As there were a million other inconsiderate woman birthing downstairs Lisa could jolly well wait! So
D and I went home for a good nights sleep though we we only too acutely aware that being baby number 4 this could happen at ANYTIME.
First thing Saturday morning.

We drove up to wait till I was allowed in at 9am. Lisa had texted to say she'd been up most of the night with pains and her waters had gone about 6am.
What followed was a day of laughter and hilarity!

Come on out little baby!

We chatted, did crosswords, drank tea then decided to go for a wander to the cafe to try and help things along. Lisa said walking sideways up and down stairs was good for opening the pelvis. They didn't have this in the 90s when my children were born! Oh the advances of technology.
I walked sideways up and down ALL the stairs to no avail - nothing happened!!! Well apart from nearly tripping over my long floaty skirt which now, having lost a bit of weight, trails on the floor - so I mainly walk around like a Victorian lady now holding up my skirts. Lisa did say I should have a crinoline. I am seriously considering. I was BORN to be Victorian.

We were at the top of one set of stairs ( very stairy is our hospital) and I asked Lisa if she had ever given herself a self Brazilian . We were discussing surfboards. Our pet name for sanitary pads - the hospital ones Lisa was using to try and contain the flood of waters she was leaking were HUUUUUUGE.
Please note there are no fullstops in the next paragraph. This is intentional.

Back to the DIYBrazilian....ladies - have you ever been in one of those ( deep breath)

OOOH dear I should have had a wee 4 hours ago when I was at work, instead I held on till now and oh bugger, where's my bloody keys, check coat pockets, rummage desperately in handbag, tip handbag upside down, find keys and bring them up into the light triumphant, like Golum and his ring, grasp keys hurriedly, stuff everything back in bag, sit on garden wall and compose yourself for a second, oh need a wee need a wee, fumble with keys, can't get the key in door, cross legs bend knees squint eyes, clench pelvics, oh for crying out loud key get in the effin lock, dance dance jiggle dance, nearly break key trying to wrench it out and slam door behind you, much swearing, re open door and pull coat out of way, shut door again, cross legs run sideways past all the crap in the hall ( windows, doors, skirting boards, radiators, corrugated steel - all DIY projects in the waiting , run up stairs like Linford Christie ripping your coat of and swearing as your arms get stuck, pausing to dance riverdance routine on landing with legs triple wound round each, other pelvics clamped as tight as they can whilst singing now ooo come on come on ooooo, you then shuffle legs twisted feet together into the bathroom desperately having to yank down undergarments ( I would say knickers but the Victorian in me refuses it ) so fast to avoid accident - only to remember milliseconds too late that a
a) wretched unwanted relative aka in my house as aunty from america here, therefore
b) super duper, absorbent .freshness included, cotton soft,, feels like velvet ultra with wide ( super glue non slip non moving)WINGS ensuring they stay in place ,even in all those , tennis matches we play, horse riding, parachuting, jogging, disco dancing activities we do in skin tight white trousers( Whhhooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaa bodyforrrrr mmmmmm) that we do at these times of the month  pads is in situ
c) Lady garden extremely unruly and one of those must do jobs but never cba

result - extremely painful self waxing accident.

Well Lisa and I laughed and laughed and laughed. We were almost crying. The more she laughed so did I . She was contracting. I wasn't helping. The couple on the stairs were looking alarmed and got the hell off that stairwell as fast as they could!!! I think they thought she was having a baby!!!

We made it back to the ward and were finally told we could go to delivery. We were signed in and Lisa finally conceded that she needed gas and air. We just chatted and laughed the day away. I locked myself into the toilet much to the mirth of midwives and Lisa. She bounced on a birthing ball. I had a go, nearly rolling off  it.

 As Lisa decided she needed the toilet ,the midwife agreed it would be a good place to open up "that little bit of pelvis".
Lisa PLUS  a BIG gas n air canister PLUS Drip and drip holder PLUS midwife PLUS me on plastic chair squished into that tiny bathroom.  She endured toilet contractions like a trooper - a swearing trooper,  to open up that last little bit of pelvic area ( doesn't sound painful when typing it) but from the cries and tears and the vice like grip on my hand I think it was a little bit hurty.
Lisa went into transition at 8.02pm. We were still in the bathroom at 8.02pm. We ( the midwife and I were giving ourselves bloody hell this baby is going to be born down the toilet look ) made a  "dash" back to the  bed as  her contractions were just crescendoing one after an other. WE moved as one, me, Lisa, Midwife, gas canister, drip trolley, and we had a  clamber onto the  the bed. When I say clamber, it was a heave and a shove . There was  much weeping and "Give me an epidural" and "I can't do it",and "I'm not doing it" and "I'm going home now" and "I can't do it" and "Get me a doctor and let them get it out" and "Just get it out " ( pauses whining to knock concerned sister's hand out the way from mopping fevered brow) and "It hurts and I'm tired" all from Lisa - with the tennis match being counter struck with Midwife Mutterings. " Lisa, it's too late for epidural." " Lisa you are doing so well." Lisa it won't be long." Lisa keep upright." Also Midwife Rachel mutterings. " Lisa quit using your time between contractions to REST". " Lisa, you are NOT having an epidural. " Lisa you can do it." " Lisa you WILL do it." " That's it....BREEEEATHE" In the meantime Midwife Rachel was trying to hold her precious labouring sister ON THE BED as Lisa was intent on getting off  and going home!She was, she was going home, she was trying to rip out her drip cannulas, shift the midwife out of the way because she was NOT STAYYYINNNGGGGG.

 In the pain and nightmare of transition she was truly  completely out of all conscious thought. She was moving around like a ( sorry Lisa but it's true) wounded bull elephant. The two lovely midwives were opening packets and filling out paperwork - I was relaying this - " Lisa they are getting the pack ready - it won't be long you are doing really well keep going not much longer etc etc etc. Then she declared she was too tired to go on I said I WILL RING MUM. she got up on her haunches, leaned her head into the bed and PUUUUUUUUUUUUSHED and I could see the head. " "LisaIcanseetheheadIcanseetheheadwelldoneIcanseethehead. " Midwife was saying listen to your body you can do it. She squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezed and out came this perfect little head.
We waited for next contraction and Harry was delivered all safely and perfectly at 8.06pm. I declared " It's a boy" I think we all breathed a sigh of relief.
TIME TAKEN FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE FROM BATHROOM DASH -( I do use that word completely tongue in cheek - we were tripping over the drip, the gas and air and the midwife and I were doing that communicating with our eyes as to not alarm Lisa as in SHIT SHE IS READY!!!!! - TO BIRTH - FOUR MINUTES!!!!

Phew - it only seems like a moment ago. I think it was more painful and frantic than the birth of his older by 14months old brother William. :)  When her waters broke spectacularly and she hit the wall across the room! The midwife did make a point of saying see you next year girls, Lisa said NO WAY!
How mean of her to deny my further hands on learning Midwife career.

Little did we know what would be in store for our little treasure x

Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday 13th -does it bother you?

Are you superstitious?

I like to think that I'm not. After all, I am expecting..

OOOO I was cut off mid sentence by the knock on the door of the person I was expecting! My hero aka Mr Dishwasherfixerman. The nice one.

He took apart my machine and found what is hopefully the problem. Yes Les n his mate had fitted the new parts - I never had  problem with that. They simply hadn't wired them back in! Something that I think an electrical engineer, working on an electrical  appliance that requires electricity to make it go would check! So he reattached the wire then reprogrammed the on board computer to my machine. This consisted of lots of holding the buttons in in different combinations whilst he squinted at his laptop screen to check he was doing the right thing! He finally altered my salt settings. Which was very kind of him!

So ... it's now purring nicely and I m waiting, biding my time, before I go to check if it is heating up and the water is HOT instead of ice cold!
I have his mobile number! He is only round the corner! I have been instructed to call him if all is not well! So....those of you who are superstitious and those who are not, cross your bloody fingers for me that when I go down in approximately 13 minutes time - warm water is present.

Sooo Friday 13th. Lets have a quick round up of common superstitions my Nanna taught me.
NEVER EVER EVER put new shoes on a table. I have no idea what dreadful demise this causes because I have never ever put new shoes on a table.
Ears hot n itchy?  Then people are talking about you. Left for love and right for spite.
Palms hot n itchy? It is money. Right to receive ( yay) Left to leave. I am pretty sure I have the world's itchiest left palm.
Never cross anyone on the stairs. and if you meet someone - they have to go up - you NEVER EVER go back down. The devil is probably waiting for you.
Spill some salt - then throw some over your left shoulder.
There was one about dropping cutlery on the floor but I can't recall it fully. But it was probably linked with a long, slow death.
Do not walk under a ladder.
 Do not walk on mirrored floors. (I LOVE THIS ONE)
The black cat one I was never much good at. Did it HAVE to cross your path in order for you to be lucky? I have pissed a lot of cats off on this one - always getting in their way.

I have some Chinese customs that interested me in the 90s when everyone went Feng Shui bonkers.  I say some - I actually meant one. It was the money behind the front door lined up in order of value which was supposed to welcome money into your home. I was always nicking it for my bus fare and the milkman so it did not work.

And my particular favourite that Lisa and I both do  - and when we are in the car together we do it simultaneously - synchronised Magpie Saluting!.
If I see a lone magpie - one for sorrow - I have to salute it and if I am alone I will say out loud, good morning/afternoon Mr Magpie/. If in company I ALWAYS say it in my head and always get asked
"Who are you waving at?"

So Lisa and I were off in the car somewhere and we both must have seen the same magpie because we both used our left arm to salute him. We then laughed as we noticed what we'd done and we were both then discussing how our men folk always ask the Who are you waving at question as we were doing this we both spied a magpie on the other side and in pure synchronisation we saluted the bloody thing with our right hand! It made us laugh a lot!
It's quite good arm exercise for me at the moment because we have a lot of magpies round here but they rarely are seen together!


11.06am - WE HAVE HOT WATER!!!! Um admittedly some of it was on my kitchen floor. I am confident this is not supposed to happen! I called Dishwasherfixerman to say we have heat and also leaks now - which we didn't have before!  But HUZZAR for the hot water!

Superstition also happens to be my very favourite Stevie Wonder song. So here it is for us all to enjoy!  Even better it's LIVE and on SESAME STREET! I just love the brass section. It is funkeeeeee! I also like jungle bookie for the same brass funk it's got going on!

What are your favourite superstitions?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

What is on your agenda for today? Mine is mostly made up of rambling!

Rambling as in chatting away about a lot of stuff and nonsense on here then rambling down to the bus stop to the sea side and a ramble along the shore. Despite what the weatherman said - it has turned out nice again.

Mine so far included being woken up by the LOUD radio alarm. I m not at work and I was not READY TO BE WOKEN AT 6.18am. Normally I am a morning person but today it was just a tad to morning -y - for my liking. So Poor Mr Radio got snapped n snarled at! Don't feel sorry for him, he is used to it.

The weather report said rain. SO I looked out of the window for my own weather report. NOT raining. Washer went on. laptop went on. Today I needed to look up something  and not just faff about on it like normal.

It was on a proper go slow, my Internet security was on a tea break I think - so I did what any self taught technology expert did - I restarted it - and WHAM - one of eleven updates installing GRRRR no wonder it was slow.

So as minute by minute dragged by, I used the time wisely. I whinged about it on twitter. I pegged out one load of washing and set another going. I put the pots away. I did some tidying of stuff. Then I pondered how laughable my impatience really is. When you REALLY REEEEALLY think about it, the Internet actually is a bit mind blowing. ( even more mind blowing than the self stripy wool I bought to knit my socks with - one done one to do!) .

We need faster, more up to date information. I am laughing about myself now as when I click a link - or wait for a page to load - ( THIS BLOGGER BEING A GOOD EXAMPLE ) , I am all " come on come on  hurry up" 

Instant information. - But this is to the detriment of children in  Primary Education theses days IN MY EXPERIENCE. Research in Y6 can be dreadful. They have no clue where to start - and normally I have do do a lesson on what to type in and what to search for! Some of them in Y6 can't use an index in a book. You  know A BOOK - hard cover paper inside - words and sometimes pictures on the paper) Then when they have selected a suitable search word - they cannot be bothered to read and sift through the information. They are so quick to say  whinge
"I can't find it" to this I sigh, ask them to scroll down and read for the information they want. EVERY single time we go into the ICT suite I remind them that I DO NOT WANT THEM TO COPY AND PASTE CHUNKS OF TEXT BECAUSE I KNOW IT'S NOT THEIR WORK!
"How do I know? "one barely scraping a L3C child asks - after I look at his work  - text box after text box filled with crap off Wiki.

I have stopped taking them in so much.
They love it because in our lessons I give them books to look at! They actually really like them! They still copy and  paste scrawl  information onto paper but books slow them down. Even looking at photographs, they really pore over them. When looking at the same info on a computer screen it's all too easily clicked away.

Their ultimate favourite text book as a class is the new Atlas. They actually moaned whan it was tidy up time! I actually used them as a "if you get your work finished you can have an Atlas" bribe! It used to be you can go on the computer! Even the reluctant readers!

They never cease to amaze me! 

 I cannot believe I have only one day of the holidays left. I never count the weekends as I get them anyway!!!

My job hunt is still a hunt. I do love my job, but I hate all the crap that goes with it. Our school has embraced the Creative Curriculum and everything is skills based. But in Y6 I wish we followed a more rigid timetable. When I taught  delivered History as History  a few years ago - they became Victorian experts  - I took them on three trips Educational Visits. They knew what we were studying. They could probably have it as a subject on Mastermind. But now? Sure they have lots of learning about History SKILLS - but great big gaps in their knowledge!
When I delivered The Vikings, we went to our fantastic local museum, the children became Vikings for the day and learned a lot hands on. Back in the classroom I brough in Viking food and my colleague and I LAUGHED til we WEPT at their faces as they tried Buttermilk, herrings and rye bread for the first time ever. The children LOVED it! Sadly I don't get to deliver this anymore as the Class Teacher teaches the humanities within the Creative Curriculum umbrella.

When I was at primary school, back int the black n white days I think THAT was the real era of the Creative Curriculum. It was a nice day? The teacher would take us all down the canal for sketching, pond ( canal) dipping and exercise.  Was it in her short, medum and long term plans? Nope. Did my mum know? Not until I got home! Did my teacher have APP sheets to fill in in her PPA time? Gasp no. But she managed 35 of us on HER OWN ( doing myself out of my two jobs here folks) . There were NO BEHAVIOUR ISSUES like these days. We used to ply out when it was spitting too. guess what - we never melted. And I remember when we COULD have melted becuase we had Chernobyl rain raining on us ( don't bother checking dates - I used it for comedy effect )

* Goes to check Chernobly dates for own curiosity - (the internet DOES have it's uses....back in a bit)*

One minute later - 26th April 1986 - I was nearly 15 - I don't recall 'Playing out' as such at The Grammar School!!! But I will have been rained on.....

Now we daren't even THINK about filling in the 150 page Health and Safety forms for going near the canal.

Rambly old post indeed - I have tangents firing off in my head and no time to grab hold and give them direction! Bad Blogging but it's MY blog so I don't really care!!

Have fun whatever you do today - heck - drop me a comment and tell me all about it!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Feedback to Hotpoint update...

Well, I almost feel sorry for poor Les as he is going to be "dealt with internally!" I mean the poor boy no harm. Just common decency and manners would have been acceptable. Mr Customer Service man took what I was telling him very seriously indeed and he himself would not have accepted such shoddy service! He must be very good at his job because I duly feel appeased and at one with my dishwasher!

I disputed that Nice Engineer on Monday missed something because as I said last post - it WAS WORKING! As in switched it on, water rushed in and comforting dishwashery noises were heard. Not anymore.

It's Tuesday of the second week off work. I have done lots of housewifey type jobs and downstairs is visitproof - so of course I will have NO visitors .
Plus if we were to be inspected by the UBP*  we would pass with flying colours. Of course I now have bags of rubbish to store until Bin day swings around again in a fortnight. Why do I never feel the urge to clean and tidy before they are due?   I've been tweeting a lot and one of my newest Twriends is a lovely kindred spirit called Lynda. Her tweets really do make me laugh and as I was rather boringly tweeting about my tidying she started #housewifegambling - whereby she saw my laundry folding and raised me the ironing etc. Silly simple fun that makes me smiley!

The sun is beaming in as I write this so I shall not loiter at the keyboard. I have knitting planned. Ingredients with which to make cherry scones and weeding to do. These, are my unexciting, non - extreme, pointless day to day holiday loves. Pretty unremarkable but exactly my cup of tea.

I might just have a look at tickets to gigs....not been to one since Muse at Lancashire County Cricket Ground where I was RIGHT at the front, popping my mosh pit cherry and I have to admit the lure of the crowd is calling me....just got to be the right band! ( And the right price!)

So cheerio for now. I wonder what exciting things you got up to today whilst I was pottering around my house?

*UBP = Under Bed Police

Saturday, 7 April 2012


Well, as I am sure a few of you know, things in this house have not been going tickety boo dishwasherwise.To those of you in the dark - I am going to vent explain.

I have had my Hotpoint dishwasher a good few years past it's official guarantee . It was working fine, until one day I noticed that the pots were not quite clean. Now my first instinct, was to blame poor Mr Radio because ten times out of ten it IS his fault.  ( Whatever is it. )
We are guilty of having dishwasher stacking arguments, because he does not do it properly.

However, I re stacked and set it going again - but I noticed the water was not getting hot. So I ( I have blogged about this before.....Whinge about dishwashers is mid paragraph on this post from January 2011  ) then naturally did nothing about it for a very long time! See the post link!

In a nutshell, I rang Hotpoint who said I could either pay a one off fee of over a hundred quid and have it fixed, or sign up to a 12 month contract for a small amount each month. This does in fact work out more than the one off fee - but it IS only a small amount each month, my whole dishwasher will be covered and if it breaks  they will replace it with a new one. SO I signed up -

only to have my beloved come home and say lets get a new one! But the boiler is living on borrowed time - so we figured we'd save our pennies for then.

**********************self preservation disclaimer alert*******************************
I know, I know, I know and I hate myself for it but I know how spoilt n bratty I sound whinging about a dishwasher. But I HATE washing up. HATE it. It's so time consuming. I use a LOT of hot water. I am lucky to have hot water etc. But until you have a dishwasher and like it, taking it away is like taking your LAPTOPS/MOBILES/PCs/CHILDREN away.


SO A really nice chap arrived on Monday , just after the really nice Gasman left ( I bet the neighbours were talking!!)  - he asked me what was wrong with it.
I explained that it works, each program runs all the way through - but the water does not get hot. He was chuckling as I explained how I was an expert at googling stuff and getting my dad in to fix things - but we were all stumped with this machine and how to get into it!
I made him a cup of tea. He ordered the parts, showed me how to get into the machine. Asked if he could look under my washing machine as he was desperate to get his hands on a Direct Drive!  And left. All jolly lovely, hearts and flowers, unicorns and rainbows.


The engineer would be here between 11am and 1pm.

THEY arrived at 12noon in a cloud of cigarette smoke. They stank of stale fags. SO that immediately got my back up. Good first impression? Nope. The way he swaggered straight into my house with this other bloke traipsing behind him? Good second impression? Not bloody likely. Did he introduce himself and his mate? Three strikes - they were nearly out!

I followed them into the kitchen and was answering his "What's up with it?" as he cut me off, switched his Ipod on and said I gotta have music to work! The ONLY thing that saved him here was that it was Brandon Flowers he had playing.
Unbeknownst ( Bloody hell I love that word) to me, Engineer Organ Grinder had already whinged,
" O I bet its the dishwasher I hate doing them!" to Mr Radio

Trainee engineer Monkey sheepishly bleated "O hello - I am just learning how to do these. He was pleasant enough, but was not wearing company clothes, which I found a bit odd.

He was wearing clothes I hasten to add, because dear reader - that would have been very odd! He just had on scruffy jeans and a jumper.

Then I was informed that my machine was in fact Bosch. Was I supposed to be impressed?

Organ grinder then set to work - explaining bits and bobs to his monkey. He sent Monkey out to the van to get some parts. He asked me to use my bathroom - which for some reason I wanted to refuse but said yes. Where had my backbone gone???

I felt really uncomfortable around them, but being British, I didn't like to say anything! I made them a coffee - he asked me if I had caffeinated when I'd said it's decaff! Er no - you are really starting to get on my tits boy. ( Yet still I said nothing!! )

After a while I left them to it and went upstairs to get ready to go out once they'd finished. Whilst upstairs I heard the door - looked out to see them at the van. I assumed they were getting more parts or tidying up.

 I came back downstairs and said to my beloved Oh, have they finished ?- fully expecting them to come back to me, to tell me what they'd done and to show me that it was fixed and working! Imagine my surprise when I was told they'd  just walked straight out of my house and when asked, Mr Radio was told O your receipt is on the side. I was frankly affronted!!!

Manners dictate you say goodbye to someone before you leave their house. The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 says "carry out the service with reasonable care and skill" well judging from the banging and crashing that was coming from my kitchen and the fact they asked me for MY large bath towel and mops to clean up the water covers the reasonable care bit and the FLAMING OBVIOUS POINT OF NOW THE MACHINE DOES NOT WORK AT ALL covers the skill bit!!

When I went back into the kitchen, they'd helped themselves to MY tea towels and left them soaking wet in the sink - there was water everywhere, the dishwasher rack was on the floor and they'd stuffed their rubbish in MY bin! Now I know this sounds really pathetic and petty - but as Mr Radio pointed out - when he goes to work in people's homes he does not ask them to put their own dust sheets down, he has to clean up and leave the home in the same state ( and a lot of the times ) a darn site cleaner than it was and remove all rubbish. Had they asked me if I could dispose of the rubbish, I would have obliged and recycled all the different stuff, but they had just SHOVED it into my bin.

 It was at this point I was strongly suspecting I had been secretly filmed for the BBC programme Rogue Traders. I was sincerely hoping not because my hair was a right state. I checked the street. No I could not see Matt Alwright badly disguised , hiding in my neighbour's hedge.

I can feel my dander getting up now!  Back to the story ....

I decided I would load up the dishwasher and set it going once I got back from town and off we went.

I was giddy at the thought of gleaming glasses and cutlery. I put new rinse aid and salt in and thought I would just run it on a quick wash empty. I pressed the machine on. red lights came on. red lights is good - they are supposed to be red. I pressed the button for the quick wash, stood back, held my breath and looked forward to placing my hand on the machine in ten minutes and feeling HEAT. But. nothing. Nada, nil, zero, do not pass go, do not collect £200, do not collect clean plates because NOTHING HAPPENED. I stood.Incredulous.

It was ok, I wasn't hyperventilating yet. I had my manual.  I turned to Trouble shooting. I looked up -
Problems - When the appliance is switched on Appliance does not start up.
-Fault with fuse in plug? Nope.
-Plug not inserted into plug socket?  ( I bloody checked - even though the big clue that there was electricity running through the machine was the RED LIGHTS) - nope
-Appliance door not closed properly? Yep it was closed. I opened and closed it about ten times to check. It was closed .
-Water tap not turned on? - It was turned on.
-Blocked strainer in water intake hose? Nothing was blocked.
-The strainer is situated in the supply hose connection - ummm don't think so
-Ensure fill hose is not kinked. - Nothing was kinky in MY kitchen!

Looked at the receipt they had left. According to my data they had replaced the heater unit and the module unit.

I rang the help line. It was CLOSED. So I ranted and raared and was generally pissed off about it all night!

This morning, I was calm and collected. It wasn't the customer service team's fault. So when I got through ( no waiting on hold for ten hours listening to muzak - that may have just tipped me over the edge ) I explained that I now had a none working dishwasher and I would like to give them feedback on the service I had received.
The lady was very nice. She apologised and said I could have my original nice man engineer but not till next Friday. I said that was fine. She did offer me the engineer who came on Friday...but accepted that may just be a tad awkward! She made a note of my concerns and asked me to file an official complaint on Tuesday when the relevant people would be back at work. She also made a note on my file that Organ Grinder ( she was not sure who the monkey was ) would NEVER EVER darken my doorstep again! And probably no other doorstep in the land if that was how they  behaved.

Now I am not an unreasonable ogre. Had the bloke said to me, look |I have replaced the parts but now it's not working at all, however I have another appointment to get to, please ring to arrange another call out - I would have been narked but not enraged. But the fact he hot footed it away SMACKS OF GUILT. He should have handed my receipt to me in my hand, pointed out details on it to me and SHOWN ME THAT HE HAD FIXED MY MACHINE!!!

Come on I am ready for you all to outpour your service engineer angst. Please tell me all your appliance rage stories. It's over to you!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday....

....if DISHWASHERFIXERMAN arrives between 11AM and 1PM AND FIXES IT, he will become DISHWASHERFIXERMANHERO and today will be good.