Saturday, 29 November 2008

although out on a limb, we are still loosely members of Southampton Vineyard Church, so I though I should get up to date with the latest ideas. Sorry, couldn't bear to listen to the songs, sure they are great but I don't like sitting in front of computer listening. Just my preference. Anyway, 2 things:

firstly, some of the leaders other than Matt need to get their 'thoughts' up on the web page, please! I always enjoyed reading my own most when I wrote there.

secondly, the jubilee ideas sound sound, if you know what I mean, and I am glad to see that once again my way of life is being ascribed to with a call to vegetarianism for a month!!!! Oh the irony!

Other things are that when you go to Tescos early on a Saturday morning, thinking that everyone else will still be in bed, you will be wrong, and they will all have had the same thought. Even the RETIRED people who can go to Tescos on any other day of the week - so why do they go on Saturdays? If I was retired ( which I am aiming for pretty soon - our mortgage is down under 10 years!!) I would go to Tesco on Tuesday mornings. Although I probably would not go at all and have time to go to Iceland on the bus.

Recently, in a reverse jubilee shift we have become a one car family again, as we were a half car family. (do you like my pun on reverse and shift, both terms to do with cars). We have given our car away (it was too embarrassing to try to sell it) and bought my dad's 10 year old Astra which he has had from new and has done under 50k miles. Now, after buying it, I remembered why we had bought a people carrier. It was to lug spare kids about. So now we have to calculate carefully and not take too many. Which is good for me, as I invite everyone to everything. Also remembered that when we had an Astra before I didn't like reversing it because it has a very thin back window. It still has, but I am improving - only once got the metal bars outside our house and haven't told R.

Today I took our girls and 2 more children to see Wall E at the cineworld, the £1 a ticket bargain show. It was good, in that it was warm, and dark, and as I had taken popcorn and drinks the whole thing came to £7. ( Parking was £2). Anyhow, the film was OK, not very funny, more pathetic really, and a bit of a parable for our times about the environment, but I did like the captain's realisation that he wanted something different - 'I don't want to survive - I want to live!' That encapsulates some of my feelings of recent 'post cancer' months - and the Robbie song with similar sentiments does it too. I have a new way of looking at the world and my life, and a tendency to do what I want rather than what I ought. Interestingly, after a few months of that feeling uncomfortably selfish, I now find that the things I want to do are the things that I used to ought to do! So, instead of feeling that I SHOULD invite people over, or cook a meal for someone less well off or whatever all those good Christian works are, I WANT to cook for people and invite people to do things and see people who I haven't for a while. Does that make sense? Maybe I am telling you too much, but I observe a shift in my thinking that is important, nay, seminal.

I am still on the bus user group, for Thornhill residents, but have not been on a bus for ages so feel a bit of a cheat going along. Should I go or not?

Friday, 28 November 2008

There's a job going, as a 'anti social behavour coordinator' in the New Forest. Clearly, the thugs of the New Forest need a little help getting things together. I could do that job. 'OK you guys, bash the grannies over at the bus stop while I take these guys off to smash the windows at the Chinese.' R said that looking after his tutor group would come under the category of Anti social behaviour coordinator and he was already perfectly qualified.

At school we have studied angels. The children had to write about angels, their own ideas without any input. Most involved haloes, wings, heaven, God, Jesus ('angels look after Jesus because he's the youngest' was a nice comment. But the best most bizarre one was: 'angels live in hotels and eat fruit'. Clearly, he's been watching Charlie's Angels??

On our flights from and to Salzburg, Granny Mary was distinctly unimpressed with the food offered to the girls as 'children's choice' - a cheese and chutney or chicken curry sandwich. She wrote a letter to BA, and the girls included their lists for the chef of what children do like in sandwiches. And, ta da! £100 of vouchers to spend in the duty free on the plane, or you can do it online. another pseudo win, rather like my ipod shuffle which I 'won' for recommending R to the same gym. Had a yummy mummy day today! Went to work for an hour this am, and then Pilates, an introduction to the power plate and a quick dip in the pool before a jacuzzi, steam and sauna. Fridays are turning into my spa days EVERY WEEK! So, after cycling home (up a very steep hill) I made some scones and entertained the lovely Hattie for a cuppa. She had a pot of double cream in the fridge, so along with my homemade strawberry jam, the scones went down well. Did I tell you about last week when I won a metre of chocolate fingers - next to each other sideways, not end to end) and a Horrid Henry annual? All in one day?

Sorry if you didn't win anything this week. I have to say that my winning ways do not extend to the lottery, or worse still scratchcards. I consider them evil and one of the curses of our society, an addiction that attracts the poorest people in our society. In my world, newsagents who sold them would be shut down, instantly.

I saw a sign today about parking in a private car park, it said 'Offenders will be clamped'. which implies to me that the person in the car would be clamped, as a car can surely not itself be considered an offender? Its an interesting question.

I am pleased to say that my tickets for the Keith Harris and Orville production of Dick Whittington at Ferneham Hall have been secure since June, but I have been drumming up sales amongst my thornhill friends. I am gutted to hear that it is the last time EVER that Keith is coming to Fareham. Gutted! He is a fantastic classic cult status hero of the broadcasting world, I would say on a par with Dusty Bin and Jim Bowen. It is such a good panto, don't bother going elsewhere, Fareham has it all.

It is alleged that M and S are having another 20% off day this Thursday. DON'T tell anyone, its a secret. But if you need to do some last minute Xmas shopping (mine all wrapped and have sent some off last week) now is your chance. Who can fail to be delighted with a Lily of the Valley bath set?

Oh! I was on the radio last Sunday! I don't imagine you listen to Georgina Winsor on Radio Solent (not even her mum does) but I was on after Billy Joel and before U2. They were singing, not guests in the studio like me. I was a bit worried that I might blaspheme or something but was only talking about gardening. Was tempted to burst into 'Do they know its Christmas time?' but resisted.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A bittersweet trip to Bitterne today. We had a visit to the Dr, our old one, Dr McKay, the one who says our names really slowly when he calls you in. Anyhow, that bit was without incident. As a treat, I said the girls could choose their own tea in Sainsburys. They chose Heinz tomato soup, which we had at home anyway, so a bit of a long drawn out trip for some soup. However! We found out that Bitterne Bowl is CLOSING THIS SUNDAY. Get down there NOW for a last ever bowling experience in the heart of Bitterne. We are going tomorrow, its £6.50 for 3 games and a drink, if you get there by 6pm. There is a new bowling experience opening in March, in Eastleigh, of all places. So, this, guys, is your last ever call to use the facilities of Bitterne's AMF.

However! The new Woolies has opened, is HUGE ( well, bigger than Woolston and Portswood) and bright and has wide aisles and is generally a pleasant example of the genre. No longer will I have to go to Woolston for my fixes. I can stroke plastic kitchen ware, marvel at the chrome bathroom accessories and the pick and mix in the comfort of my own precint. Its not bigger than the WHOLE of Woolston, just bigger than the woolies in Woolston.

And, the Bitterne village traders are putting on a Lights switch on extravaganza. Its a 6pm on Friday 21st of November. I only mention it for Duncan's benefit, as DAZ AND CHAVE are doing the entertainment. I assume they are a Chas and Dave tribute band, which I think is good reason to be there, Duncan, if the myriad of other reasons to shop in Bitterne aren't already enough.

At school today we were writing surveys because tomorrow we are going to Hedge End to survey how busy the shops are and how much things cost and so on. The children came up with lists of vehicles to put on their tally chart whichwent something like this:
learner drivers
444444 cars ( thats a taxi to you or I)
mobility scooters
ice cream vans! Not many of those in Hedge End in November!

The list of people to survey included: men, women, children, people on skateboards, disabled people ( I pointed out that they, too, had gender, so should be counted as disabled men or women - and how would they know if someone was disabled? So, they changed the category to people in wheelchairs, which I think is an interesting observation on children's perceptions of disability). Then children, children in buggies, and babies. One group in the another class genuinely and without malice put 'midgets' on their list of people to survey. Their teacher had a similar, sensitive chat with them. But what an interesting piece of work to do with them and find out how they perceive difference.

I had to teach more rugby this afternoon. I hate rugby balls, and spend as little time as possible showing them what to do, and as much time as possible with them running around throwing balls at each other. I am not very good at throwing or catching anything, especially not balls which are unpredictable and don't bounce.

The girls were chuffed to be out after dark - I love it! 'Look the first star!' and tonight, 'Look, a fully grown moon!'

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Today we benefitted from a free lunch at Tesco,as their till was not working. Surely, they could have shut the cafe, or had cash only, but hey - I'm not complaining! We had spent a fortune in there, as all our electrical equipment broke this week ( well not all, but the TV, digi box, DVD player, printer and a lightbulb). Not all at once, some had been pretty much dead for a while. A new DVD player is on its way from R's dad, who has a surplus of electical equipment, so we just bough a 42inch plasma screen with surround sound system. ONLY JOKING! Its actually 48inches. The printer is blacker, noiser and bigger, but apart from that the same as the old small, quiet grey one. The lightbulb seems fine. While I am on the subject of electricals, I have 'won' an IPOD shuffle, which I will not know what to do with. They look great, I have seen people with them on their arms at the gym, but how do you get the CDs to fit in to that little circle? I chose a blue one, as I fear it might soon end up as R's Xmas present and he doesn't do pink as much as I do. I 'won' it for refering R to the gym, so now we are all officially posh, and yesterday tea time had a fabulous outdoor family swim by moonlight. I was there in the morning, for a sunlit swim too, and a quick prance around in the gym. In fact, yesterday I was the lady who lunches, as after gym and swim at 'The Club' I had an aromatherapy massage and lunch in Romsey. I then popped into Waitrose for essentials, dahling, before carefully reapplying my lipstick and tying up my headscarf and making my way home in the Discovery.

Today we were blessed with the presence of my bro and his treasure little boy, who came for the day and took A out to Play Shack for her birthday treat. You may have noticed my brother is the next big thing in the blogging world. Or maybe not, as i am his only reader. Anyhow, he is, if you are interested in the hots and colds of life as a plumber in the home counties. He is very funny, must have been having Mr Clucas for an English teacher that has led to his intelligent style of writing.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

K, H and I near a lake in a wood in Austria.
A on her birthday pony ride! This was the best thing she had EVER done!
H was very proud to be on the ORIGINAL Sound of Music tour, and standing next to the fabulous coach looks as pleased as Maria on a moutain.
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sorry its sideways. this is the real gazebo where Liesl and Rolf danced and sang I am sixteen going on seventeen in the film. This is FamilyBowen standing outside it, it is locked after an accident with an octagenarian trying to leap between the benches and falling through the window.

This is me looking excited and H looking nervous before the Parcours rope course.

This is A about to make ripples in a lake.

This is H and the man who had to rescue her at the end as I was only good for self preservation.
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Saturday, 1 November 2008

Safely back from our jet set week in Austria, stating in Grundlsee, about one and a half hour's drive from Salzburg, since you ask.

Beautiful, photos will follow, but the battery is flat on the camera and I am not technologically able to download flat pictures. Girls got carried away with the video feature on the camera, which uses up a lot of energy, so we have lots of clips of H walking through woods talking to camera in Kate Adie style.

My German efforts were almost useless, in a land where the number one industry is tourism they are well geared up for the Brits and the Americans so English is widely spoken, I did get a few chances to ask for a fork and to order a drink, but that was about it. No Wie kommen ich am besten zum Bahnof, but then I didn't take a train anywhere, as we had a super hire car to take us everywhere we didn't walk. We did walk quite a lot of places, down to our local lake, and around three other lakes, and on a walk in between two lakes - you get the theme. If you like mountains and lakes, I can absolutely endorse Austria as a holiday destination. We want to go back in the winter, as there is a ski slope a 10 minute walk from the flat we stayed in. Probably takes longer in the winter with skis. You can also ice skate on the local lake, in the winter, so worth a trip out there just for that. Probably more economical than paying for the Southampton one! We want to go back in the summer, as you can swim in the lakes, and there was a great looking swimming pool complex in Salzburg, and a palace called Hellbrun with trick fountains, probably best done in the summer and not on a cold day in October. The food was great, with the girls getting Shnitzel and fishfingers and pizza (not all on same day) and R getting his meat fix for the year, in a country where everything is served with cream, butter or both. Yum. Back to the diet tomorrow then!

I am going to try really hard to get a good variety of photos up here for you all and will talk about them to try to give you a flavour of Austria. But, in short, our holiday included horseriding (all of us had a lesson - the girls had 2!) boat ride on lake at sunset, and the scariest thing of all, the Parcours high rope adventure course. I talked our fearless eldest daughter into it without giving her or me a chance to look at it, and it was bad. If you are going to attach yourself to a rope by two dangly ropes 30ft high in the trees and walk over rope bridges, give yourself, and your precious offspring, a sporting chance of survival by doing it in England, where you can comprehend the finer details of the safety talk. All I got was 'orange' and I had to do it all by guessing. Not the best start for clambering up scramble nets and so on. H was utterly fearless and encouraging to Miss Scaredy Pants herself - yep, thats me - until we were near the end of the first loop of the big course, when she started crying and the man in charge had to help her. Other children were being helped by their parents, but H had the misfortune of a parent who was using all her effort in self preservation and had no spare hands or ideas for anyone else. It was a big adrenaline output morning, and we had lunch and called it a day, neither of us fancying another loop on the even harder bit. Yes, I would do it again! I need to get a bit braver if I am going to achieve my ambition of kite surfing! Or even sailing in a boat with R without hitting him for going too fast.

Incidentally, and I know its a bit horrid to mention it, but the person who wrote the travel guide '100 things to see before you die' had died, aged 47, only having done half the list. Bit galling, that, but a salutory lesson for the rest of us, methinks. Not quite as ironic as the Atkinson guy who did that stupid diet of eating meat and no carbs dying of a heart attack. Anyhow, as my ambitions get rapidly struck off the list I add on extras, so after riding a horse (round and round indoors, but I did trot and stand up and stick my arms out) I am now aiming to tame a wild wolf and learn to sew clothes properly on my sewing machine. Not all in the same afternoon. The panto will have to wait.