Monday, 30 March 2015

Back in Charge?

Last week I was laid up with the 'flu (or a very, very bad cold).  I had a temperature of 102 for two days, I was shivering and shaking most of the time and had earache, sinus trouble and headaches, and spent most of the time sneezing and coughing.  I have lost 5lb and still feel sick and can't eat much, just Weetabix.

I stupidly tried to go to work last Monday, but was sent home early and spent the next two days in bed.

Being a teacher it is very difficult to be off ill.  The lessons continue.  Someone has to take my classes, I have to try and think of work they can do, the marking piles up and I know my classroom will be a tip when I get back, never mind the hundreds of e-mails. Also, my classes can't learn without me (I'm not being arrogant, I teach maths and really, honestly, they can't teach themselves quadratic equations or parametric differentiation, they need a teacher).  On Wednesday night I dragged myself out of bed to enter my classes' grades into the school database because they were due and my HoD had e-mailed me to do them ASAP.  School does not wait for sick teachers.

So on Friday I decided I had to go back in.

I got out of bed at 7am, coughing and spluttering, put on my work clothes and headed to the kitchen.

That's when it happened.

The barrage of requests from hubby.

All the things he expected me to do again now that I was "better".

I responded with:

"Just because I'm wearing a dress doesn't mean I'm back in charge"


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Sunday, 29 March 2015

When the Boot's on the other Foot

I think I've mentioned before the last minute requests that daughter presents me with because she's forgotten to tell me when she was told.

I went beserk at the "I need a superhero costume tomorrow" request.

Two weeks ago her "I need to wear something red for Comic Relief tomorrow" (we are a house that supports City so there are no red items of any kind) was met with "wear the cake ribbon from Christmas".

I'm still waiting for her to tell me she needs £38 for Guides tomorrow (I had an e-mail from the Guider in case the Guides had forgotten to tell us), if she doesn't tell me, she doesn't go to the sleepover at Legoland.

Usually hubby says I overreact.  

She's just a child. Just find something.

Well, this week I've been laid up with the flu (temp of 102 for two days and have lost 5lb) and have spent most of it in bed.

On Wednesday he picked daughter up from aftercare at 6pm and when they got home I heard

"I am very, very angry with you"

amongst other things he was shouting at daughter in the hall.

"I wonder what she's done", I thought.

Hubby then appeared at my bedside, furious.

"She's just told me what she needs for her costume for the school play and she needs it tomorrow.  She's known for weeks.  Where can I get a white t-shirt, black leggings and black pumps at this time?"

Aha!

When she does it to me I'm overreacting, but when mummy's stuck in bed and daddy has to deal with it, it's a different story!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Clarinet and Flute Disasters

It's been a time of musical instrument disasters this week.

Firstly, my friend's daughter left her family heirloom, very expensive flute on the school bus.  No-one handed it in, of course, it's probably in a second hand shop somewhere now for £50.  I have lent her mine (to use solely at home!) until my friend can buy her a new one.

And then there was this:

Tomorrow daughter takes her first ever clarinet exam.  So tonight she did her final practice and then she dismantled her clarinet while I cleaned it.  I put the special cleaning cloth through the upper part, pulled the cord and ............. stuck!

Oh no!

It wouldn't budge.

So I asked for husband's help.

He used brute force to try and pull the cloth through the clarinet and then it was well and truly stuck.  He then decided to use a chopstick to try and force it through, rammng it in rather like a soldier loads a cannon.  It was not pretty.

By this stage daughter was in tears.

"Shall I try?" I said.

"Well, if I can't do it, you can't" he retorted.

"But I've got more patience than you"  I countered.

He left me to it.

After using a jewellery screwdriver to remove one of the keys to see if I could remove the obstruction inside the clarinet, I realised that it was never going to go through, it needed to go back the way it came, but hubby had stuck it fast.

I used the chopstick and a hammer (I kid you not) to try and force the cloth back down the clarinet, until I could manoeuvre a sliver of cloth down the clarinet via the holes with the jewellery screwdriver to the other end, where I grabbed it with a pair of pliers and pulled it back out.

Phew!

Disaster averted.

At least we don't have to buy a new instrument.

If anyone sees a Yamaha flute for sale too cheaply in the Manchester area, please let me know.



Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Voice

No, not the BBC programme; my voice.

This week I had yet another parents' evening and it was really hard work.  Despite having a bottle of water on my desk and constantly sipping it, I lost my voice a couple of times and by the end of the evening my throat was burning.

The following day my throat was still sore and I had a hundred children to teach.  No chance to rest my voice.

On Friday I was beginning to worry that I'd done something terrible to my voice, which is, after all, my job and my hobby, and something I can't afford to damage.

Then yesterday, in the beautiful sunshine, I took daughter for a walk in Dunham Massey and whilst we were walking my chest tightened up, my throat went dry, I started coughing and then I started sneezing.

Uh oh.

Another bug.

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So I went to bed at 6.30pm last night and I'm currently tucked up on the sofa with a blanket and a packet of paracetamol.

Ugh.

There's still two weeks and one more parents' evening to go before the Easter Hols.

Maybe chocolate will help?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

How was your view?

Yesterday was the eclipse.

My school had really embraced this once (or twice) in a lifetime celestial event and we were all equipped with our school branded, commemorative eclipse glasses and went outside to watch the amazing event.
(Ours had the school name and crest on the sides and the date on the bridge)

Our astronomy club had even set up pin hole cameras and binocular projections for us to view with.  They were so excited, it was infectious.

There was enough break in the clouds for us to get a really good view of the changing shape of the sun as the moon moved across its path.

It didn't go as dark as I was expecting, but what surprised me was how cold it went.

I didn't notice the lack of birdsong because there were hundreds of children making enough noise to drown out a herd of elephants!

Afterwards I e-mailed hubby to see if he'd witnessed it and I added:

"I hope daughter got a good view"

"Of course she did," he replied, "she's a foot taller than every other kid!"

True.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

How to Survive Mothers' Day

You know I have this theory that Mothers' Day only really exists for those mothers whose children have grown up and flown the nest?

They get taken out for lunch, lovely bouquets of flowers and waited on for the entire day.

For the rest of us still in the throes of motherhood, we may get breakfast in bed, but the gratitude ends there.

There is still the washing and ironing of school uniform, the cooking of dinner, the supervision of homework and piano practice and ferrying offspring to activities/parties for the rest of the day.

Same old, same old.

Over the years I have learned to lower my expectations and then I can't be disappointed.

Well, this year I'm going one better.

This year I am escaping!

On Sunday I have a rehearsal for a concert of Mahler's Second Symphony in May.

I shall be leaving the house and all its responsibilities behind and going to sit in a rehearsal room, sing and listen to a lovely orchestra.

Yay!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Family Fun

Since hubby has stopped working on Saturdays we have tried to have more family time.  Our Family Days Out are written into the calendar and we each get to choose various activities.   We've been to museums, NT properties, the circus, parks, anything that will interest and amuse us (and has a cafe with a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the end!).

It's proving to be really good fun.

Well, today hubby had to go to work just for the morning and daughter had a party in the middle of the day, but I was undaunted:

We would have a Family Evening Out instead!

Later we are going into Manchester to go on this:




and then here:

 (using Tesco vouchers, of course)


I shall never be defeated!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Times Change

It doesn't seem two minutes since daughter started school age 5 and yesterday she got a letter offering her a place at Senior School.  Scary!

To celebrate we gave her a present.

After much deliberation and talking to other, more experienced parents than us, we decided it was time to give Izzy her own phone.

She has been looking forward to getting a phone for ages, but we held off until we thought she was ready for the responsibility and while we still had enough control over her to set some ground rules and good practice (and to confiscate it if needs be!)

I tried not to be offended when she said:

"No offence, mum, but I don't want one like yours"

I don't know what she means, this is my phone:

(I call it retro) 

Anyway she got this phone:
Is it normal for your kids to have a better phone than you?



Wednesday, 25 February 2015

See the paintings of "Framed"

When we were in London daughter wanted to visit here:



How have we raised such a cultured 10 year old?

We haven't.

She has read this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Framed-Frank-Cottrell-Boyce/dp/0330452924

  and wanted to see the paintings that were featured in the book.

So we headed into the vast edifice, collared two unsuspecting employees and interrogated them as to where we could find the paintings (at one point we did say "this isn't a test").

Apart from the Mona Lisa, which is, of course, in The Louvre in Paris, and The Umbrellas by Renoir which spends half its time in Ireland, all the other paintings were in the National Gallery.

In case anyone else has an inquisitive 10 year old, and doesn't want to mither the poor curators of the Gallery, here's where you can find them:

The Ambassadors, Hans Holbein the Younger, Room 4

A Grotesque Old Woman, Quentin Massys, Room 5

The Manchester Madonna, Michelangelo, Room 8

Still Life with Oranges and Nuts, Luis Melendez, Room 39

Bathers at La Grenouillere, Claude Monet, Room 43

Sunflowers, Vincent Van Gogh, Room 45

The Wilton Diptych, Unknown, Room 53

The Arnolfini Portrait, Jan van Eyck, Room 56

A Greek Captive, Heriette Browne, should be in LG2, but was in storage when we went.


Enjoy!

Friday, 20 February 2015

London - City of Culture?

It's half term and we've just returned from a few days in London.

It's only two hours on the train from Manchester for next to nothing (daughter's return fare was £10), so we booked a four star Best Western hotel in Earl's Court courtesy of Tesco vouchers, ordered our Visitors Oyster Cards on-line and away we went.

So what did we do?

Well, what didn't we do?

We did Hamleys, an open top bus tour, The National Portrait Gallery, we saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on Drury Lane, went on a river cruise, did The British Museum, The National Gallery and The Science Museum and walked from Buckingham Palace down the Mall and spotted Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on the balcony at Clarence House (I wasn't convinced it was her, but hubby was adamant).

My favourite thing was the British Museum with the Rosetta Stone, the Sutton Hoo Helmet, the Elgin Marbles, Lindow Man and the beautiful Lewis chessmen:

  (I love how fed up the Queen looks!)


........ but unfortunately, my family are not as cultured as I am.  

Here they are in the amazing British Museum, with all its wonders of the world, and I catch them taking a selfie with an Easter Island head:



I just despair!