Saturday, 29 October 2011

Train toilets - no one's favourite place to be, on the way home from Waterloo today ( pun intended) I walked through the carriage to the loo, followed by a man. As I opened the door to the loo, he stood behind me and as I went in, said 'Number one or number two?' I could not believe my ears. Here was a stranger asking the nature of my intention in the toilet. Did Jane Austen have to put up with this kind of thing in the stage coach from London to Southampton??? I begged his pardon and controlled my urge to retort with an in depth detailed account of my expected movements and said 'we'll have to wait and see'. A reply I thought suitably enigmatic. He then explained that he was in two minds as to whether to wait for me or head on up to the next carriage. He headed on up to the next carriage. What ever next? Can you imagine the reception he would have got from someone less charitable than myself, ie someone carrying a gun or knife, or even someone a bit miserable. He might have tipped them over the edge and how could they be held responsible for the actions in the light of such preposterous nosiness in their private business. The guns and knives feature in my thinking because on the last night we were house sitting for our dear godly friends the Parson family, I started reading a book about gangs in south east London. I am glad I read it on the last night, as they live in South east London and I was feeling rattled enough as it was, staying in an area less leafy and green than I am used to. The problem with London is that it is a victim of its own success and is too busy. The buses are packed, the traffic is fast, the people are fierce and stressed and even the cyclists go storming over Blackfriars bridge so fast I thought there was a special event on, maybe a time trial, but no, it was just the 'rush' hour. I have never seen so many bikes apart from on a triathlon or sportive. Everywhere are people, and the fact that we did the Science and Nat History museums at half term did not help, as they let in about a billion people to each museum so they are busy too. We rushed straight to the dinosaurs, which are so utterly spellbinding that I was lost for words. We looked at the obligatory half a million stuffed birds and animals, and really enjoyed the inside the earth bit about gemstones and rocks and volcanoes and fossils, really well done and interesting. The Science museum included a fabulous educational show about bridges, and meeting up with the cousins which is always a hit. Seeing Stephenson's actual Rocket, and the Apollo pod ( looks like it was made by Wallace and Gromit) is amazing too. How did the british end up with a piece of USA history like that??? Did it land off the Isle of Wight and we said 'Finders Keepers?'. We enjoyed Hyde Park, and walked all the way back via Buck House and St James Park to Westminster bridge to get the bus home to the delightful Old Kent Road. We also did a walk around Spitalfields with Elise, and the Museum of London which is also in the city and worth a visit next time you are up in town. The Parsons family home contained a worthwhile range of reading material and we also watched a favourite old film, Shooting Fish, which is not about fish or shooting and is really fun to see if you have somehow missed it so far.

So, home to the green and pleasant land of Thornhill.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The days have been full, as Calvin or Hobbs would say, however, not as full as theirs - just many many hours at work, 3 days a week, from 7am until at least 5pm, usually 6pm. Two days, don't get in until 8.15am and leave at about 5pm. Then a couple of hours in the evenings. No sympathy needed, I signed up for this crazy deal. I have, however, been keeping my weekend fairly work free, you will be pleased to hear, thus being able to keep my sailing career afloat, boom boom. Double pun there, as you get hit by the boom if you don't move your head down quick enough. Boom boom.

Unfortunately, the training for triathlons does not mix so well with being a full time lackey, I mean teacher. I am cycling to work most days, and have done another 66 mile New Forest sportive, on the baking hot 1st of October, but apart from that the cycling is a bit shelved. I am missing it. I am enjoying lots of the features of my new job, but other bits are hard. R is being a domestic god, making chutney, keeping on top of the ironing and shopping, making much nicer dinners than I ever did. He has been busy with bike business, a steady flow of work coming in, sometimes one night he thinks he will not have much the next day and then he gets a call and has a job to do. He is reducing the stockpile in the shed on quiet days, and selling refreshed bikes to ebayers. Today he had dog company, Noodle, who did a lot of poo in the garden. The rest of my family want a dog, however I have stipulated so many regulations to be met before a dog moves in that I think I will die before a dog comes to live here. After only one doggie day, my kitchen stinks of dank dog. The poor goldfish are starving and forgotten, the dog would go the same way within a week, limp and lifeless in the garden with the RSPCA knocking on the door. Not that the goldfish are in the garden, limp and lifeless. They are in the playroom slash bike work room. And the RSPCA were at the door last week, which I noticed when I saw that R has signed up to pay them money every month to protect pets from their owners. Could have given them the fish and saved the money and their trouble.

Anyway, today was a big day, as after trailing around a few secondary schools, and lots of discussion, and then some, and then an analysis of the benefits of each school according to H's criteria ( number of stairs, friendliness of teachers, ease of transport links, etc etc etc ) we have finally submitted the application for secondary school. We will find out on 1 March, and any of our 3 choices would be fine, so if number 1 says no, we would be happy with 2, and likewise 3. Which is a good place to be in, and why the choice was hard, as we genuinely would have been happy with any of the three options. Including our local comprehensive, which when we moved to Thornhill was a real sink school for the authority to send all its troubles to. Now, its our number 2 and was very very close to being number 1. Its a big day, thinking about secondary school, when it feels like only yesterday that I turned up at Kanes Hill with a two year old and six month old to look around before we moved to our new house. Now here we are in Year 6, Chair of the school council, netball team member and doing everything extra curricular the school can throw at her. Yikes.

R did his half iron man triathlon a few week back, thank goodness, he sruvived and did it in a time that he was happy with - i.e. within the day. We planned to do a stay in campo at Sandy Balls the triathlon venue, the night before, but I booked the wrong night. So we stayed in our own beds instead. But made it up with a campo trip to the sailing club for the hot weekend at the start of October for the girls's last sailing course. Hurrah, a stage 1 and a stage 2 sailor in our midst. I have had the joy of crewing for some very patient catamaran sailors and learned a lot more about sailing from them, despite spending most of my time hung on the edge with a wire. It is quite a good analogy for faith, you have to trust the wire to take your weight and just kick out and get on with it. Trusting utterly in the helm is vital too, if you are with a good sailor who you know is trusting their boat, watching the wind and waves and in control, then you don't need to worry. I can feel a book coming on here.

A reads a Salvation Army comic every week, and wants to join their bible club, and was looking at the form to fill in. It asks ' church attended' and she said 'well I go to several, I am not sure which I attend, do we attend a church mum? '