Monday, 30 November 2009

Friday night was a game of two halves. One half ridiculous, the other sublime.

Amanda announced that she had met one of her brothers and lent him her bus pass. She agreed that she was an idiot to do this, as he is not known for his word being his bond, and a 'lend' and a 'steal' are closely linked concepts in Family Fagan. Anyway, she hassled her mum who hassled brother 1 who sent brother 2 ( aged 13) round on his bike with a fiver and some tobacco. Not a bus pass. And a flat tyre. R mends tyre in hall while Amanda hassles her mum a bit more to hassle her bro no 1. Bro no 2 sets off home on working bike. R and I set off for a am dram play in Curdridge Village Hall called A Tomb With a View. It starts at 7.45pm.

We get there at 7.45pm (being held up by bike repairs and various stresses of a Rippon variety) and find we are late - ie the lady is on stage introducing it, and has sto stop and say ' Oh, lets let these late comers in' before we creep from the door at the front by the stage to the back row. Then we sing the national anthem before the proceedings begin. For am dram it was excellent, it was a murder mystery and I guessed correctly! It was a different world from the one we had left 10 minutes away. Literally, that is all it takes to get from the bizarre world we inhabit here to a genteel, country life existence where the good and the great of Curdridge get together in the Reading Rooms to watch a play. It was a sea of grey. We were the youngest people apart from one youthful cast member who stripped down to his pants in a rather untoward twist in the play. No twists in his pants, as far as I could tell, and I was at the back. At half time we could buy a packet of crisps and a glass of wine or a cup of tea. The only thing was that it was 2 and a half hours long including an interval, which is a long play, you get your money's worth in Curdridge!

It struck me very much how most of the people in that room had probably never been to Bitterne, and probably didn't know where Thornhill was. Despite it being less than 5 miles ( crow measuring) it really is in another universe, and I seem to be inhabiting both of these worlds. Which is odd.

AJ moved house this weekend, and it is a beautiful new 3 bed end of terrace, really spacious and just a fabulous move away from the stress and being cooped up of a 2 bedroom flat for 5 people. I am so pleased for her, and for myself that she is hanging around Thornhill for a long time now. If I lived in that house I wouldn't be going anywhere fast.

Today I jogged to the Post Office and then through the woods to the gym, where I swapped my wet trainers for my tennis shoes and had another lesson, during which I learned how to serve and how to do better footwork to be balanced for my swing. I feel greatly encouraged and am going to try out a women's class where there are about 8 people learning at a variety of levels, mostly just beyond beginner like me I hope. He said nice things about my natural serve and good progress, but then he would wouldn't he?

I spent the morning catching up on various home admin things, like doing the online shopping for tomorrow and for the week before Christmas, to avoid that awful having to go shopping on Christmas eve thing, hopefully. We are planning chicken nuggets and chips and Chinese for our Christmas dinner this year.

Yesterday we went to Vineyard church, for our stint at leading the first half, which we are getting very professional at, and miracle of miracles, everyone arrived at or within a few minutes of 9am! And we are so good now that we are all ready by 9.30 and then get to stand around and wait for the catering team to make the tea. There are lots of young people there these days, think its the student influx, good on them, make me feel old having them around and that's great. When I drove past Wessex Lane Halls of Residence a few weeks ago and the new students were going around with their mums, I identified more with the mums than the students. And I could, as Amanda loves telling me, just about be her mum. Yipee!

On Saturday we popped to the Berrywood School Fair and I had lots of mums and teachers and LSAs and dinner ladies waving and smiling and generally being lovely, and it made me miss it more, in that I had been there for a long time and was well known, even had Year 6 children smiling and saying Hi, who had been in my class in Year 3. I felt a bit sad at all the good friendships you get working somewhere which can't be sustained when you leave. Other things on Saturday were a run with Sarah, same route pretty much as last week, a Pilates class and 40 minutes of tennis practise with R. Hope Pilates, tennis, running and swimming are OK sports to partake in with you all? Phew. I thought as much. You are thinking that if I do two people's exercise, that saves you doing any! R also took the girls swimming, oh and I went to Hedge End library, finally coinciding my visit to Hedge End with its opening hours. Read the Saturday Guardian which is becoming a bit of a habit, my favourite section is the Family bit, then the money problem page. Bought the paper, didn't read it in the library as they didn't have it.

H wanted to do some pottery painting with me yesterday, so we went to Crockery in Eastleigh which is very spacious, but the cost of the £4.50 studio fee makes even the smallest coaster weigh in at about £9. We made 6 tree decorations, at £3 each they are probably the most expensive we have ever bought. We have advent calendars and nativity set and Christmas books out, and A is practising her carols for the Rainbow Nativity next Monday. She is Joseph, and is wearing the Shepherd outfit that she is wearing next Wed and Thur for her school nativity play. Tomorrow she is singing songs from the show to the mayor, and on Friday to the unsuspecting public in West Quay. So if you are in town on Friday, head to M and S and Gap at about midday to be serenaded by a lot of 6 year olds. She goes to choir and really loves singing, H will be joining choir as soon as her street dance class finishes, as they clash. H is also in the school orchestra - I just love that our school has an orchestra! When I worked at Crofton Hammond it had an amazing orchestra of about 12 or so different instruments, I don't think Kanes Hill is quite up to that level but still awesome to have an orchestra.

Just watched Robots. What a great film! 'You can shine, no matter what you are made of' - hey - isn't that straight out of Romans? A great message film, I loved it, very funny too and straight into my top ten films of all time. You recall that I only own two DVD that are all mine, so not much competition. I looked at our DVD collection, it is Moulin Rouge, The Miracle Maker, Mary Poppins, HSM 3 , The Sound of Music, Enchanted and Mama Mia. Finally had a lesson from R and written down instructions for how to play a DVD so might watch one or two of them now!

Am reading 'The History of Ukranian Tractors' and 'How to build confidence into girls'. Will let you know how I get on.

Made a fire the other day, and as I was screwing up newspaper remembered my granny, who would be 108 this year if she hadn't died in 1993. Alice, who H is named after (her second name, not her first clearly). Anyway, Granny Alice was born in 1901, lived in the countryside in Sussex and at 14 had to go into service and get up and make the fires at 5am and all that kind of thing, in Brighton I think and then in London, where she did the shopping in Harrods. She got married when she was 30 something and had her two children, my mum the youngest, a war baby, born in 1943. Family legend has it that Fred (my grandad who died in 1967 so I never met him) sold his motorbike to buy a pram. Fred was a cow man, and by this time they were living on a farm in Woking, Surrey, and then to another Woking farm, where my mum set light to the haystack and they didn't have electricity, and then to Claygate, where Fred got a job at Loseberry Farm. My mum drove a tractor when she was a girl. Anyhow, my points are:

1. There was no Income support in 1915 and if you left school you got a job or starved I guess.
2. My granny worked incredibly hard doing housework and then bringing up children and doing farm stuff and then she used to clean other people's houses til she was 80
3. So you wonder where I get my work ethic from? Look no further than Granny Alice. I'll tell you about the other one another day. Now, she never stopped talking....

Oh, and a PS about my granny. She played with children at their level, she would play with us for hours and nothing was too much for her to provide us with the best she could. We were utterly loved by her. She was a natural, gifted with children and would have been a great teacher, had she been born in a world where social mobility was a possibility.

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