Friday, 26 May 2017

Last week's surprise

was spotting an over-size, brightly-chequered football rolling and bouncing in a foolish fashion along the gutter of the left-hand lane dual carriageway. "Free at last", it seemed to be saying to itself. Or maybe "Help, help, I've fallen off my car and can't catch it!" Whatever.

It's a fast and furious piece of road and the mid-morning traffic was brisk; I was extremely glad to be in the right-hand lane away from any encounter with it.

I wonder what I would have done if the football had suddenly swerved in front of my car. Would I have driven right at it? I reckon it could have been about 2' 6" in diameter - too big to drive over. Would it have bounced right over my car and then caused conniptions behind me?

Should I have bothered to phone it in to the police? I did anyway - it took ages to get through the various switchboards and "press 1 for emergency..." loops.

I said it was a very large, over-sized football, but the bored voice at the other end probably only heard the word "football" and kindly informed me that they wouldn't really respond to an incident like that.

So I carried on to work and hoped for the best.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sunday 21st May - Half-term ahoy

This coming week is the run-up to half term...

Last week was the last (just about) of the shuffled rescheduled weeks. It took a fair bit of concentration to make sure I was in the right place - and during the week I managed to find

the missing pencil-sharpener/rubber (inside the lid of the piano where I had been teaching the previous Friday)

my mp3 player (in the bag I take to drumming on Friday evenings)

my "piano-teaching" pencil case, packed with all sorts of necessities such as reward stars, post-it notes, mini folding scissors, pic-n-mix activity cards, dice for use with the cards, coloured pencils, pencil, but no pencil-sharpener/rubber as I had already lost that (left behind in a school where I don't teach piano - how did that happen?)

I know that things have drifted too far from routine when I start losing things all over the county.

"Unusual events" this week were a school music festival, which meant moving one school to another day, and a day up in London for routine clinic appointments which meant rescheduling four piano lessons, to earlier in that week, or into the coming week. It all makes for a lively time!

The clinic appointments were all very reassuring - routine check-ups along the lines of "no change, carry on as you are". I had been a bit apprehensive (to be honest, each time I usually am) in case things have altered, so I left the clinic happier than when I had arrived. When we had arrived. Of course he came too!

Afterwards, after lunch, we caught the bus back into the centre of London, stopping off at the National Gallery. We have a celebration coming up later this year, and we're working on various scenarios. One is that we just announce a date and location for afternoon tea somewhere, and the gallery was a thought. I don't know, maybe I just wasn't in the mood for art. We had a look round the Chris Ofili exhibition  because it was free

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/art/what-to-see/chris-ofili-weaving-magic-national-gallery-irresistible-pagan/
but all the Titians and Rubens and Grand Masters were too colourful and too intense and too Greek Legends and Too Much. The only things that caught my attention were Frank Auerbach drawings and sketches in the Espresso Bar. I've tried to find the ones he made of Turner's painting of Calais Pier

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/joseph-mallord-william-turner-calais-pier

but I can't. You'll just have to google around until you trip across one. Then we had a nearly-good cake and drink in the cafe. Through the window we could see an old friend.


Wherever we pick for the celebration it probably won't be the National Gallery!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Saturday 13th May - Two weeks pass in a flash

Hi everyone,

Where have I been? Well, here actually, but it's been a pretty harum-scarum couple of weeks.

Monday 1st May was a Bank Holiday - we didn't do anything much, as far as I can remember, (but I could be wrong...). It was very pleasant to be "unscheduled",

no, hang about, I remember, my father walked up on the previous Saturday afternoon when it was bright and sunny - why? was it just for a walk and say hello? Anyway, it came to supper time, and he took us to a local pub for steaks (I had sea bass), and a pleasant afternoon turned into a convivial evening. All the better for being unexpected and what's that word for "as a surprise" or "Off the cuff". I'm losing my vocabulary....

The following week my work was spent playing "catch-up" because all the Monday schools now had to be moved to Friday, and "could I go on another day because the school photographer was coming in" and so forth. My paper diary looks like a trendy modern scribble picture.

Last weekend - what happened then? We went round to a friend's, with our lawnmower, as their was out of action and the new one wouldn't be arriving for a while. In return for cake and tea and strawberry tartlets (oh yes indeedy, strawberry tartlets) we, or rather BB mowed the grass, while friend and I set the world to rights.

The week that has just gone past, was spent playing "catch-up", no, wait, didn't i say that about last week? It was the week of school SATS weeks, so, once again, morning schools got rescheduled or cancelled. That turned out to be a lucky thing; I was feeling a bit trepidatiorous about my car's handbrake. I have had the handbrake fail completely, when I was waiting halfway up a ramp to exit a car-park, and some impatient old buffer was tailgating me up the ramp. I had to sit and Think Very Carefully about how I was going to persuade my car to zoom up the ramp without rolling back onto the buffer's bumpers or rocketing out into the traffic at the top of the ramp. I did manage it, leaving a cloud of black smoke behind to blind the buffer, but it was a torrid experience. So, wondering if I was being a bit over-sensitive, I drove to the garage. It was quite pleasing to be told that yes, a new caliper was required. That feeling of satisfaction of being right was almost (but not quite) worth the cost of the repair.

I've planted out my sunflower seedlings, and so far the slugs haven't eaten them.



I've harvested a handful of spinach leaves, and one pak choi, and sown some carrot seeds, surrounded by tiny basil seedlings which I hope will keep the carrot fly away. This vegetable gardening thing is very exciting! This is what it looks like now;



And here is how the bag nearest the camera (spinach and spring onions) looked at the end of April - what a difference. Totally amazing. The pellets are made of stinky wool - the smell goes after a few days - and do a brilliant job of keeping the slugs off.


And here's the pak choi back in April - it is in the bag behind the spinach and spring onions.



I've reached the weekend now, with all deadlines met, had tricky discussion with my boss about some of my work (that went ok), careful emails to parents who might, or might not have paid me for lessons (they had) and another potentially sticky situation also avoided. Apart from blog posts, and a couple of lesson write-ups, and a phone call to a parent to arrange the next lesson date, and some lesson plans to email in, and a couple of appointment times at my next hospital check-up to clarify, and a bit of re-organising in order to fit a zimmer frame in my car (I'm giving someone a lift to church, and she has recently acquired a zimmer frame) I think I may well be pretty much in the clear now - or is that a really, really foolish thing to say????

Roll on next week - it will be almost normal, apart from a music festival and a hospital check-up day causing the rescheduling of two schools and extra lessons to compensate for the day out of school.

This term is not going to run to a "normal" timetable until after the Halfterm break. So, harum-scarum is how it is going to stay for now!