Thursday, 27 May 2010

Today the children at school wrote their own books. They have done loads of hard work lately, and this was a free choice afternoon for them to write a fiction or non fiction tome of their own. I was delighted with the responses, and as they took them home, most of them keenly to finish them off, it meant no marking for me at a time when I am marking assessment pieces and writing reports, plus planning a trip and a unit of english. Not thought about maths yet. Anyhow, I was delighted with the books I saw, which included a non fiction book called 'Football Shooting Strategies' and a version of a Nick Sharratt book, you know those ones where you open half the page and get something funny, like a cheesy princess, cos half the picture goes with the other half of another picture. Well impressed, I was! My favourite title was from an adorable boy who does not find writing easy. It was called 'The dragon and the nit'. Why should a dragon be bothered by a nit, I thought. Then I realised that he has not yet grasped the igh sound, or the i-e way of writing it, and silent k is a mystery beyond him at this tender age. So yes, it was not an original piece about a dragon with a nit infestation, but the classic Knight in shining armour slaying a dragon story.

I got back on the Slimming World wagon on Tuesday night. Despite all my exercise, my weight has crept up to 2.5 lbs above my target zone. And I think now is the time to get it back down in that zone, rathe than when its a few more lbs to deal with. I think with all the cycling I have got complacent and eaten more flapjacks, cakes etc than I would previously have done. So its back to Muller lights for me! In my absence from a Slimming World class ( over 2 years) they have gone all digital, with cards you get your data stored on, a great website with easy syns online to look up and a little reader thingy for the consultant to see your stats at a glance. i am pleased to say, for those of you who love the classic Slimming World set up, there is still a raffle with tickets and a basket of fruit for slimmer of the week. Claire, who runs this class and a million others around Hedge End, is one of the nationally amazing consultants, and is inspiring and lots of fun, and the sister of my ex job share partner at Berrywood, would you believe!

Things that made me laugh lately included cycling around the Isle of Wight. You have to read my other blog at Bike Radar for the full cycling story, but it was the most beautiful day out in the sunshine, 10 hours in the saddle, with the lovely Vicky and Rachel, two of the NCT gang from pre Hannah days. Their bikes were not really up to Millook standard, so to spite me they made me go further up more hills while taking a cross country short cut.

R and H had a great sailing day on Saturday, they were on the water for 5 hours, then H spent a further 2 hours in the water, playing with 4 other girls who she seems to get on really well with down at the club. I had a very special A day, with lots of walking in the woods and going on the train and eating ice cream together ( solero, 5 syns). We were walking along a board walk and got to a bridge. It was narrow, so I asked her if she wanted to go first. She said yes, quickly changed to a 'no, mummy, you go first, there might be a troll. ' So its ok if I get eaten by a troll. She was also concerned that there were crocodiles in the pond and wasn't convinced by my assertions that crocs and alligators don't live in Hampshire. We stamped loudly over the bridge to scare the troll off.

All my cycling is leading to a cycling tan, which goes up to just above my knees, and the bottom two thirds of my arms, despite all the suncream I slap on. I am going to have to try cycling in either my winter leggings again, or a thong, to get a more even colour. I don't know which would be worst option.

Today I had some time at the gym with Andy, the inspiring instructor who believes in health for life rather than doing something cos you ought to. We just have a chat about how things are going with my various events and training and he helps me to think about balance and what I enjoy. I commend him to you. He does sports massage as well if you ever need it, so he tells me.

Apart from work and exercise, I am reading a book by Henri Nouwen called The Prodigal Son. Clearly I am a bit slow on this bandwagon, but having read the Prodigal God by Tim someone twice back in jan/feb, this particular story still has strong messages for me and Henri writes so honestly and is easy to read, and gets me thrilled to the fingertips with the message of God's acceptance and love for me.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Without giving away too many juicy details, I can tell you that I did not win the triathlon today, but I didn't come last either. I was dead in the middle of the pack in terms of the 60 females, out of 300 entrants, and was pleased with my time and with the fact that it turned out to be a 4 mile run, not 5. I came 255th overall. I was pleased with my 'sub 10 min' swim time, and I beat R on the run by 8 seconds. He beat me overall by 8 mins. Doing this one has fired him up for triathlons big time, so he may just now have another string to his sporting bow in terms of international mega stardom. The winner of the Salisbury triathlon was called Mr Goodhusband. What a fabulous surname. I hope he lives up to it.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

R is out playing tennis tonight for the county or similar. Last night he was out sailing for Team GB ( again, or similar). He should have gone to a private ( public) school and become the internationally acclaimed sports star that he was destined to be from a young age. Apparently the Surrey Cricket developement squad did not look at boys from state schools. Too bad his dad was spending all the cash on records and not on school fees for Harrow or somewhere eh? Still, he would never have met me! R that is, not his dad, although I guess that follows.

I, meanwhile, was never destined to be a sports star from a young age and skipping at Brownie camp and learning to play two ball was as good as it gets. I found out that this Sunday's triathlon involves a 5 mile run. I thought it was 5k, and those of you with a working knowledge of measures will know which is longer. So I did 5 miles on Tuesday, around Hamble Common and Netley. On Monday I did the best ride I have done so far, a 30 mile round trip from the gym out to Beacon Hill which is on the south downs ridge and back, with the best stop ever for a view, and then the best descent ever down a lane to Exton, with clear views and no hedges so no nasty cars sneaking around. I only saw 4 cars on the entire first 10 miles, once I had got out of Hedge End and to where I feel my rides start, Durley. Seriously, people go on holiday to far less beautiful spots than this section of Hampshire and I commend it to you.

Tonight has been a busy one, with H back from Brownies, plus a friend borrowing an alien costume, the window cleaner, the Sainsburys delivery man and Aleesha from up the road wanting to 'borrow' some wrapping paper. I was tempted to ask for it back but she wouldn't have got the humour. Luckily they did not all turn up at once or it could have been a bit of a muddle with people leaving and going with all the wrong things. I had cunningly engineered the Sainsburys man to come at a time R was going to be in and I was going to be out, because I would have liked to have come home to all the food put away by someone ( anyone!) else. I had forgotten that it was the warm ups for Wimbledon tonight and R would be out playing tennis with Federer. Serves me right, I got to put the food away.

I finally finished the last book in the Robin Hood trilogy written by Stephen Lawhead. I liked the Merlin ones and like these too, I am reading them cos R likes them, and actually I do too although I would never choose them. I won't ruin the ending, but its good. I am going to see the new Robin Hood film at the new cinema in Eastleigh, which I am over excited about.

I met a man in the sauna who was a body builder and told me I should carb load before Sunday. I don't really know what that means but just had a peanut butter sandwich and am hoping somehow it helps me go faster. Although why would it still be lingering 3 days later? I should think a 3 day old sandwich of any variety would slow one down.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

H's first sailing training session today. I was on bar duty for R, and usually it is really boring doing bar as no one buys anything. Not on a junior sailing day. We had to make hot drinks for all the instructors and children, and then lots of parents were keen on our coffees, and then people wer buying chocolate and fizzy drinks at the end of the day. Even 3 pints of beer were sold. So I was tearing around making hot drinks and getting H in and out of her wetsuit, plus a quick trip to buy some lunch in Netley. When I was getting H out of her wetsuit, I pulled her legs so hard she fell off the bench and bumped her bum on the floor, in a 'You've been framed' kind of moment which had us all giggling in the end. The weather was a flat calm, so the sailing experience was limited, but she got to go out on her own in the Topper and seemed confident and happy. Luckily for me, Granny M was there so she took A on the mini train and to the park and generally kept her busy and happy. R, meanwhile, was sailing in Swanage, in a national championships of a style of sailing he had never done before today. It seems that in sailing, if you have the right type of boat, you can enter the nationals of that class. I was thrilled to meet several real sports people in the last two days. One of the mums from my class is also a member of the sailing club, and was in the Olympics in 1996 for sailing. An Olympic sailor! Last night I was at the gym and met a couple who do gym cross training nationally, and she is in the top 3 women in the UK. Good eh? My own training has been so inspired that I got up at 6.45am to go for a bike ride. And was at the gym til 10pm last night.

Work has been a bit fraught this week, I have done some really long days and worked in the evenings, we are mid SATs, which is a lot of work with marking and anlaysing data - plus have planning to do for the trip and next half term, plus guess what - reports are due in June 11th. ha ha. Apparently the system for doing them does not cope with doing them at home and then bringing them in and putting them back on the network, so I intend spending my days off in school typing away. Yipee. That's when I am not tearing around the countryside trying to be a better, faster and more efficient cyclist. Still, I guess you all have your own work issues so I won't go on about mine.

I didn't want to get up on Friday morning after the political situation on Thursday and the dread of Johnnie boy Denham not being back in. He made it, just, by less than 200 votes. Which is scary, that nearly as many people wanted to be represented in Westminster by a gentleman who goes by the name of Royston. Royston? That sounds like a range of sanitary ware, not a person. Relieved ( spot the pun) to find that we do not have a ***** called Royston representing the people of Southampton East. What is really weird is that a student teacher at my school went to the trouble of looking up the education manifestos for all parties, and decided against the Tory one - and then DIDN'T VOTE! I kid you not. I didn't realise quite how much I detested the Tory boys with their arrogant ways until this election. I mean, I didn't like them much at uni, but for the last 13 years they have been so whispering and ephemeral, but the idea of being governed by Royston and his mates is beyond what I can cope with. I might have to leave the country. The difference the new deal has made to Thornhill people and the opportunities for children in Thornhill now compared to 10 years ago is immense and I can't see deprived council estates being top of the Tory list of places and people to transform and empower.

So apart from my entirely impartial reporting on the General election, what else to tell you about eh? H had Brownie camp last weekend, which was a rite of passage and reminded me of my own experience of a week in a village hall in Thursley on the occassion of the Queen Mother's 80th birthday. I learned to skip and had a tea towel with elephant jokes on it. not much has changed - H went on 3 treasure hunts and to a campfire and had to take a tea towel and a cake or a packet of biscuits. A was there on Rainbow fun time as well, so R and I got a rare bike ride together, and then as I had cunningly organised for A to have some sleep overs with friends, a rare tennis game without the girls and a night out at the cinema. We saw a film called Dear John, a slow moving, pretty romance with tinges of sadness and a twist at the end. It kept me thinking the whole of the next day, so one to watch on DVD I think. I still have not seen Avatar, thanks for asking. A boy in my class aged 7 asked me if I had seen it, and then whispered that it had lots of swearing in it. What rating is it? I find myself really disturbed by children of 6 telling me they play Battle of Glory or whatever that war game is called. I know I am really anti violent games and films, but I struggle to see who could think it was ok to let 6 and 7 year olds do these things.

Meanwhile, I am letting my 6 and 8 year olds watch Britain's got Talent, which some would aruge in just as bad. Saturday night TV is great for families. We can watch from 5 til 9pm - Total Wipeout, you've been framed, the full 19 yards and then BGT. Having previously thought that TV meant CBeebies, watching the adverts with the girls is interesting, they play a game called 'Guess the product'. Nice idea I thought.