Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm gonna master all kinds of kung fu.

I spent last week with some oddbods. A woman who spoke about herself in the third person, an enormous woman who talked about her horse endlessly (I hope it has reinforced steel legs) two young men who whistled, tapped and played with their phones every minute of the day. A fragile blonde psychology teacher, two teaching assistants and a slight, fragile buddhist girl. All of us there because we need a maths qualification. A more unlikely gathering of people you can't imagine, but commonly, thickos when it comes to maths.
Maths. I can't trust anyone that can do maths. Like celery eaters, they are - well, weird.
The man taking the class was brilliant. Faced with the prospect of getting seven duffers through GCSE Maths in one week, you might think he would've been verging on the edge of panic. He was however, the most patient person I've ever encountered, going over and over the same points endlessly, trying different tactics to get things to 'click' for us in some way.
I have spent my entire life freezing up at anything remotely mathematical, teacher after teacher have tried to din the most simple formulas into my head. Even my oldest most favourite, gentlest teacher used to bang his head on the desk when faced with my brain freeze. My second year junior report said "Pesk still insists on trying to take the top line away from the bottom". It's a metaphor for my life I think.

Anyway, I needed this qualification to teach - I have a BA (hons) degree (2:1), I dont need to know about maths, but no - I must have it. I have A levels and GCSE's coming out of my ears - not enough. So I bit the bullet and booked a week off work to take this 35 hour course. Start to finish, from simple addition to algebraic calculations in 150 easy steps. And I actually did it. And passed. I can't tell you how amazed I am. How proud I am. Having been told I was stupid (harsh) to discalculaic (sympathetic), I have done the impossible. I'm more chuffed than when I got the degree, I really am. It makes me feel that now, anything is possible. I could really, do anything couldn't I?

Registering now with the GTP agencies. Whoo... watch out kids, here I come.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You know who you are...

Spines are on special offer at Morrison's this week. Call me when you treat yourself to one.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Something like a Pagan Wedding ...

I have been outside with my (on loan from my dad) Garden Groom. A hedge trimmer advertised as 'ideal for the elderly and ladies' (I know) it is a marvellous looking thing. Fish says it looks like an enormous flip flop. Lightweight plastic, it is the hovercraft of the privet shearing world, zooming and zipping over the hedge seemingly of it's own accord. The intimation is that all the operator has to do is hold it down. A kite, one might say, with teeth. Here it is -

The tail attached to the clipper - sorry, groom, inflates and the whizzy lightweight ( lie - more later) blades shoosh and suck the clippings (which are chopped into mini pieces) down the tube and into that black bag that you see at the bottom. What could be finer, easier, more fun than this? At seven am I am awake, eagerly peering out of the window in search of hedge grooming weather. Eventually it stops raining and I go outside the the short yet overgrown 6ft hedge out front. It's windy and the tube lashes back and forwards like a giant angry cobra, I am spattered with bits of chopped privet and the dog is having an epileptic fit at the noise. I retire with faintly shaking arms for a cuppa and then go out the back to the 300ft long hedge. I call Wibs to come help, and Bonny to hold the bag at the bottom of the tube. Smash slash heave, we are a team. Wibs goes on ahead with the shears lopping off the big bits, Bonny solemnly and slowly walks with the bag and hose, she is a bridesmaid. Slash whip grind, bits of the hedge are decimated. We get halfway down. More tea. Bonny has to make it, I am Parkinsonian with effort, my hands are vibrating like a navvy's pneumatic drill and I am liberally covered with a confetti of garden mulch. I look like the Green Man.

Suitable for the elderly and laydeez eh? There is a slowly dawning sense that my father has played an elaborate practical joke on me. I shall get my revenge.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Domestic Daze

Innocently reading one of my favourite blogs the other day, I was assaulted. I know that some of our Sisters over the Pond can do and say things that show us Euros what madness goes on in that wild ol' frontier land, however this little gem was linked to in all seriousness as a wonderful thing.
I hardly have words to describe this ... take a minute to feast upon the free sample page.

Now, is it just me? Is this completely fucken bonkers? There is even an option to purchase a version which not only plans out the time you spend cutting coupons (wtf?), but slips in a rota for scriptural reading, so that you can read the ENTIRE BIBLE IN A YEAR! Whoo! Go sisters. Change the hand towels, cut the coupons, plan the menus, weep for Jesu? I really can't get my head around it. Are housewives minds being so eroded that they need a calendar to prod them to clean the oven, check the toilet rolls and play with the children?
I might do one myself. It might look something like this.

Sunday - Make tea and toast, go back to bed.
Ring the pub and find out what time the carvery starts.
Read blogs.
Read the paper.
Go to the pub.
Come home, wash uniforms, read blogs.

Monday - Wake up, congratulate self that only work part time.
Make tea, go back to bed.
Make pastry for pie, congratulate self at housewifely skills.
Read blogs.
Go to toilet. Ten mins later realise there are no toilet rolls, shout kids to bring tissues.
Play Disney Triv.
Check watch, pour wine. Watch film. Flick through magazine.

Tuesday - Wake up, lean back & look out of window. If sunny, get up. Find bikini.
Walk to hammock. Lay down.
Go back inside six hours later. Find aftersun, make evening meal.
Go to bed.


Really, do people need to be told what to do? My house is tidy. My kids are happy. I am happy(ish). We are all well fed and clean. Why does this thing exist?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Enough Already.

Unless you are between the ages of three and twelve, I promise that you look like a twat.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Today, I shall be mostly saying....

£1 a 1lb if you pick them yourself... no, bring them back here and I'll weigh them when you're finished... yes, plenty over there just before the raspberries...

It's not my day for the farm shop, but I agreed to do it after looking at the weather forecast (cloudy). Of course, the day dawns and it's not bloody cloudy at all, it's brilliant blue sky. I hate the BBC. I could do a better job of predicting the weather with a handful of raisins, a wet copy of the Guardian and a sodding pine cone. Still, it's all money.

Click on the picture and look at the lovely signs... notice that there isn't an aberrant apostrophe in sight. Am I letting the side down? I might add some for the hell of it today. Strawberry's... Cherry's. I might even put some quotation marks around things too, 'Carrot's'.

My grocer has a sign which says 'Plumb's'. You have to go a long way to beat that one.
The Ex Files

Went to the beach again... yesterday was fabulously hot. This time we stocked up on longer teeshirts, buckets and spades and factor 25. It was busier than the previous day, but somehow quieter, which was good. Ex husband came down midway through the afternoon which felt a bit odd, but nice as he went off exploring with the girls while I was left with my mp3 player, a bottle of beer and my book for some real peace. Managed to catch a picture of Wibs early on. Wibs hates being photographed and often looks sullen and scowly on pictures. This grieves me as she is a smiley beautiful child. I managed to get this as the camera was on my knee. She didn't realise.

Bonny has no such qualms and regularly stands gurning and demanding a picture. In my Czech Republic teeshirt - it looks so much better on her.

That sky was so blue. We played a game of I spy later - SS? Soggy sandwiches.
Today is cloudy, I can do some housework without a grudge.
Working tomorrow. It better be cloudy then too.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Flap, Rattle n' Burn

After consulting Lord Hog who advised that the weather was bad, we journeyed into town and bought a 7ft x 13ft windbreak. Nothing stands between us and the beach on an August weekend.
It whipped around like a bastid as I hammered it in with the rusty headed claw hammer I found in the garden. Never mind. Settled down with my bottle of budvar and The Interpreter, and sent Wibs and Bonny off to collect shells. The weather picked up. The book was good, the soundtrack of the Enormous Stripy Windbreak gusting back and forward in an east coast typhoon was slightly annoying, but ah well. Beach eh? Living by one, you know, you just know, that it's crap really. You spend an hour in the kitchen boiling eggs and lovingly packing your baps (into a coolbox, not a swimsuit) and off you go, you and the children all thrilled with the notion of a Whole Day at the Beach, because a whole big long cold winter followed by the wettest early summer ever has made you forget about annoying things that will definitely be there. Like wasps. And warm eggy baps with boulder sized bits of sand inside them. And the fact that your beer goes warm in a nanosecond. And that jellyfish have invaded. Again. And that other people will park their arses right next to you and then yell JASMINE I'LL SMACK YER ARSE IF YER DON'T BRING THAT BOTTLE OF FIZZY POP BACK NOW over and over again for three hours. Still, I'm steely. The raffia windbreak flapped and flopped at fifty decibels, but oh, we stuck it out. I'm sat here now, very carefully typing, because to move is to die in a writhing sunburnt agony. Yes, I did it again.

And tomorrow, we have 30oC. Guess where we're going?

I like eggy baps.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Reading Matter(s)

When I finished uni, I swore that I would never read a worthy book ever again. That anything I read from that point on would either have a pink jacket, or a title spelled out in glittering prismic letters. And I did try for a while, the summer after finals saw me stretched out in the hammock reading Tesco specials, you know, books bought on a whim with groceries. But like eating burgers and plastic cheese instead of asparagus pie and Camembert, the kitten heeled heroines began to leave me not only unsatisfied, but feeling mildly nauseous. I still tried, only paying even less, I bought them in Oxfam and Cancer Research. 50p copies of Lets Meet on Platform 8 cooed to me, "we're not so bad... we're built for the hammock and a glass of red, come on..." Daisy Falls in Love, It's my Party, FourPlay, I've brought them all home with their fluffy promises of an easy read, a pally gossip in the garden. They just don't cut the mustard. Now I once again work hard at my books. Uni ruined me for fluff. Thanks uni.

Beach day today. The local BBC weather forecast promises us a decent enough 25oC, the fat faced full little sun last night loomed off the webpage grinning and pointing at the picnic hamper. So at 9pm I merrily drove to the Co op and bought mini sausage rolls, hummus and egg custard ready to pack up. 4am this morning saw me awakened by the sound of a wind usually only captured on 1930 black and white films about the Russian Steppes. It has time to cheer up though, no? I shall make the eggy sandwiches and then choose my book to take.

Now, Painter of Signs, or Faye King Goes to Town?