Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Rushed home from Bitterne to tell you the latest news!

Bitterne has an amazing market on Wednesdays! Its so exciting! The place was heaving, and the usual desolation of the precinct was swarming with life. OK, so maybe not getting you going there .... wait for it .... the new WOOLWORTHS is nearly finished! I had to have a sit down. Imagine! My own handy Woolies! What a fantastic shop - see, all my efforts for the Bitterne Marketing Board have come to fruition, with this joyful day when I see a Woolies and a market. I never thought I would live to see this day, I feel like Simeon and Anna, the old prophets in the temple, whose eyes saw the baby Jesus and knew salvation had come to the Jews!!!! WOOLWORTHS HAS COME TO BITTERNE! That's good news if ever I heard some.

I am setting all my faithful followers (thats you!) a challenge -BUY A BITTERNE CHRISTMAS. You have to buy all your family and friends Christmas presents in Bitterne.

Its easy! I have nearly done it! Imagine, not having to go humping heavy bags around town and on and off the bus - a convenient bike ride or walk to your very own precinct of joy.

Granma - stripey socks from the market
Children - toys from market stall ( or Sainsburys have a good range)
Dad - cable ties from the market
Mum - dodgy market stall perfume
Husband or other male - slippers from market stall ( NB STEVE's MUM)
Friend who is a bit hippy - scented candles from market stall
Postman - I dunno. Stamps from post office?
Dog - meat from the market geezer in a trailer with a microphone - yes, we even have one of those.

You can even buy fresh olives - yes, olives - who the hell do they think is going to buy those? Jamie Oliver? Excuse the unintended pun! This isn't Portobello Road, but anyway, they have them, next to the out of date sweet stall.

Make a day trip! The bowling alley is closing at Christmas so worth popping along while you can, and there are some great places to eat on the market - Chinese, Panini, and a burger van you can smell from outside my front door. Oh the joy of this experience. I was jumping up and down in Superdrug!

Not so good news, is that the wonder kettle replacement thing that I got free with my Nectar points has been intermittent at working. I rang Nectar, and after the obligatory shouted, one syllable conversation with someone in a call centre with an elementary grasp of spoken English ( try telling someone your 'Tefal Quick Cup is not working' in one syllable words) I got through to a nice lady called Mandy, who said they had a number of similar calls, and are arranging a pick up and my points will be refunded onto my account. So, out comes the old kettle, and I have enough points to get to Bali or somewhere. But an old kettle, not a new clever one.

Yesterday I had parents' evening, and a migraine afterwards. 17 sets of parents with no break. Luckily they were as charming as their offspring, so all went well. I really do have the nicest class in Britain. Today we were reading lots of poems, and discussing how poems work. Poems really get children going - no need for punctutation or paragraphs or any of that dull stuff, and you can write them in shapes if you want to. I am being serious, they are adoroble children, and there is nothing better than spending your days with 30 fun, enthusiastic and creative individuals. I am serious! I LOVE IT! Why would I have ever done anything else?

Monday, 6 October 2008

Had a go at the German tonight. That's the language, not a native I keep handy for ranting at. I have been struggling with my commitment to 15 mins a day since the start of term. In fact, regular listeners will observe I have been struggling with blogging since then too.

On Saturday we had a little tea party for S, a friend who I met in the library, and who lives with her 3 year old son and comes originally from Ivory Coast, English is her fourth language, so my pathetic attempts to learn German look even worse compared to her superhuman grasp of 4 languages. Anyway, she invited her friend (met in Bitterne Leisure Centre - a friend of mine already) and she ( friend A) was married to a man ( good start) who translates bibles. In Sholing! I thought it was just a zig zag of roads to get lost in, not a hotbed of bible translation. This gentleman comes originally from Niger, and I mentioned that I knew of a missionary in Niger ( from the 1980s in my church in Surrey). Anyhow, against all odds they know each other well! I seriously only know of one missionary in Africa, and it was one of those conversations that Americans are supposed to have with us, assuming we know the Queen. Actually, bizarrely on that subject, we had a wonderful lodger from Oz once, called Hamish, and he went to Great Dixter to visit the old guy who lives there, who was friends with his mum. The chap is dead now, but was famous for his garden at Great Dixter, and Hamish didn't get why it was funny that he should be personally visiting the owner of one of the great gardens of the south east, when the rest of us pay and eat cream teas on his terrace.

Which brings me nicely to my cream tea, not on the terrace due to the inclement weather, but at the Rhinefield house hotel, near Lyndhurst, which was a gift on leaving my church job, and which R and I enjoyed on Saturday. We ate loads, scones and sandwiches and cakes and meringues and moose or is that mousse? The chocolate kind, not the wild kind. Anyway, more fatty foods consumed in one hour than in the rest of our year. We read the papers and did our books and watched the fountain and it was very chilled. Busy day on Saturday, as in the morning we went to the Nuffield theatre for their children's show, which was awesomely brilliant. The one this Saturday is even better, Andrea tells me! We went for free, as I was reviewing it for a magazine (Solent Families) so got freebie tickets, and it was a great show and I can wholeheartedly recommend you go along to the Nuffield on a Saturday at 11. Before that, the girls and I did Aldi and M and S, two ends of the shopping spectrum, but it saves doing anything in between. We were waiting outside Aldi for it to open, having been banished at an early hour for the men's breakfast. Somehow we stupidly asked for some swaps and have some women's breakfasts coming up, instead of our usual Friday night wine fest. Will have to have vodka on the branflakes.

Back at work today, with the angelic Year 3 s charming as usual - I am not being sarcastic, they are adorable! We were doing measuring, and I had set up some weighing and capacity and some games and worksheets, for them to do on a cycle, working with a partner to get through all the jobs. At our meeting in the morning, I volunteered my children in my maths group to cut up 9 pieces of string each, 50cm long, for an activity we are doing later in the week. Oh, joy! They got in such tangles! Assessment was easy, just line up the pieces of string and see if any dangle down longer than the rest. It was a brilliant maths lesson, if I do say so myself. Everyone was learning actively and I had time to teach specifics of reading scales to pairs of children. And the cutting up string is for a real purpose, and they are learning how to measure. I love maths.