Friday, 19 April 2013

Re - cycling

I just found out that my daughter can swim 400m in 6mins 14 sec. I can not do that. She can, because she practises more than me. I have started my spring cycling training though, ie this week I cycled home from work twice. It is exactly 17 miles, 14 of them uphill, I am convinced. I would cycle there but would arrive sweaty and without a shower handy it would be just wrong.  Cycling home is odd, it feels different to 'going out for a bike ride' even though it is across similar country to where I would just go out riding. It feels less fun and more like a chore. I need to vary my route for two reasons ; 1, to make it fun, and 2, to avoid stalkers.  Desperate to get at least a reasonable ride time on my tri I cycled home from Winchester on Saturday to count towards the hours of training. It was really wet, the kind of weather you do not see anyone else cycling in. Really grim. Hardly anyone out in a car.

 I have recently joined Linked In, after finding out there was another Kay Bowen I needed to let her know she can't have it all her way.  I do not think I am the kind of person they are aiming at because I am just not going to list my CPD for all to see. It would just not make sense to anyone other than teachers and even then might not.

On Wednesday I found R in Hanble school and whisked him off to have dinner at the Bugle. I really wanted to see the sea. I see it on my way to work every day, which is a blessing, in fact this is my third school out of 4 where I got to see the sea or be very near it and could have popped to see it in 5 minutes. I am very grateful for that fact. If you do not live near the sea I guess you get used to that but you are missing a trick. It is instantly calming and healing. And that is before you get in/on it.  Speaking of which, R and I have new boat hulls and they seem to be winning for us, as in we won a sailing race - such a rare event it deserves national press coverage, however Margaret Thatcher seemed to be hogging the news rather churlishly.  We only did one race as it got really windy and we had a bad start (over the line - or were we?) and I lost my concentration and then had a bit of a panic moment and forgot what to do. However, it was really windy so I can be forgiven, I think, for retreating early.

 I was glad to fit in a dinner date as every night this week I have been working, mainly marking and planning maths lesson for the next day. As I am teaching pretty much full time at the moment I have been trying to make the classroom a more lived in space in terms of using the walls for display, getting the children to interact more with the displays, that kind of thing. Maybe I should put that on my Linked In as an interest - staple gunning. And maths planning.

We have a lot of dog news. On Monday she slipped in the garden and yelped, I carried her indoors ( quite impressive if you saw her size) and then R found a wound about a cm wide on her leg. She does not have too many spare legs, you may recall.  R trotted her off to the Out of Hours vet for a stitch. We have pet insurance, and as the paperwork had come through we were delighted that we would just pay the £60 excess. Until we found out that as it was within 14 days of the policy starting, we were not allowed to claim the £334 it cost for a stitch. Coincidentally, the next day, the credit card company sent a letter telling us they were upping our monthly limit by a grand. Might as well get the dog her own credit card. Ouch. I have never understood people spending money on their guinea pig to treat its stomach cancer, or for a rabbit to be brough round from liver failure. Now I understand. These animals draw you into loving them and then you would pay anything for them. Bah. Tonight A R and I were dancing in a comedy fashion and Lacey wanted to join in, she got very excited and had a dance with R. She loved it, but did not know what to make of our dancing. Which is a fair point.

As well as cycling I am doing a bit more running   - did two laps of the woods last night, which is highly unusual, I did not have too much trouble with my left side, after Sarah Zaki the osteopath genius had done her magic on me.  So that is two runs in 2 days! Wow. Get me...

Friday, 12 April 2013

wetter washing

Now the washing is all done and dry I can talk Devon. It has been a bit of a trauma but we cope. We were not sure whether to go as the weather looked bad, but decided we would make the best of it etc etc and on Monday we packed up the camper van with bikes and headed west. We were aiming for Salcombe, last visited by R and K in 1993, in a hot and sunny summer trip around the west country. Famed for big argument on long walk to Hope Cove. I recall the argument was about sailing, or more precisely it was about R's assumption that a sailor, seen for a cliff top, was male, and my not letting it lie that his assumption showed his implicit sex discrimination. We have had similar arguments many times since, as R does not think that it matters if you use 'he' to talk about a person whose gender is unknown. I think it does matter, and even struggle with God being a he. Anyway, I digress, and luckily for R, we do too  and are not continually stuck in this argument. Phew. Anyhow, I decided it would be lovely to go down to Salcombe, or more specifically, Hope Cove, for a few days in the balmy april weather. It would have been, wouldn't it, last year or the year before.  But not this year, with no green shoots to be seen, nervous daffodils bobbing in the wind and wishing they hadn't bothered. So, all was going well until the brakes failed near Dorchester. R was driving, thank you God, and nursed campo on to the town centre where we found a garage and left her in good hands. It was an overnight stay, so the girls went to the cinema while we drank coffee. Then we found a hotel, then we found a very authentic Italian restaurant. The wine drinking started. After a busy night in a huge bed ( Amy was sharing too and I woke up feeling like I had been kicked all night - oh - I had) I went for a quick jog around the town. After reading the paper and doing the crossword, sitting in a coffee shop, buying lunch, playing games in all the shops in town and A and R visiting Tutankhamun's burial lair (which is bizarrely situated in Dorset, methinks?) we had almost done all there was to do. True, we did not do the teddy bear museum, the Chinese Warriors (what is it with Dorset that all the wonders of the ancient world are there?) or the dinosaur museum. Sometimes you can't keep me down from museumtastic life, but I was not feeling the love, it was raining, we had spent £650 unintended pounds on brakes, plus the various costs of hotels and coffees and I was tempted to join H and call for a turning for home.

A hauled me back from the brink of giving up with a quote from Reepicheep ' There is no honour in turning away from adventure'. On we grimly drove, into a danker and damper west of England. The roads past Bournemouth west are nothing more than cart tracks. Luckily for us our campo has a top speed of 66 mph so it copes well with carts. Once I had to overtake someone (in a sports car!) and had to psych myself ( and the van) up for it. Karageen is a lovely campsite in a pretty spot and should be enjoyed in the sunshine. We are 4 other campervan/caravan owners were enduring it in the rain. And the wind. We cycled into Salcombe and ate an award winning pub lunch, Then cycled home in the rain. We played games invented by A, including the homonym game and hunt the finger ( it is quite easy to find a finger as it is attached to your hand). We watched a couple of DVDs as R had brought a TV (I had ridiculed the idea initially but was glad to have a few hours of watching Swallows and Amazons in my sleeping bag in the end).  We watched Arthur and the Invisibles, which is better than I imagined it would be. Perhaps helped by the wine.  After a few hours of this warmth and toasty campo time the wind got up and along with the rain battered the awning on campo to such an extent that we had to take it down and stow it in the toilet. We decided to go home in the morning. So, to summarise:

Do turn away from adventure sometimes if it is raining.
Do not accidentally stay in Dorchester unless you are on some weird quest to spot the most wonders of the ancient world in the wrong places.
Do draw a line on a map (about next to Swanage) which says 'Here are no further!' when it comes to planning camper van holidays.

We are NOT going to Scotland in the camper van. R is talking about selling our share and getting a folding tent thing. I am not selling my share yet, I love waking up in my camper van more than waking up anywhere else. But I have to say that I love waking up in my camper van in Netley more than waking up in it anywhere else in the world. 3 miles from home strikes me as the perfect driving distance to avoid brake trouble and cart tracks. I am not saying no entirely to R's folding tent on wheels but I will need a lot of persuading that it is cuter and more funky than campo.

an old but favourite photo

When we were at Winchester museum a few years back the other people looking round thought I worked there. Can not think why. When I retire ( if I get to such an old age) I am going to be one of those people who dress up in museums and educate children. I have my eye on being Mrs Earwicker at Manor Farm but need to pile on the pounds between now and then to achieve that particular ambition.  
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Dog still happy

The dog experiment is going well. I am still in love. R is even more in love. She is still good. She has been spayed, and was a minor celeb at the Blue Cross when I took her in for the op. She has been on her first holiday, to Surrey, to stay with Aunty A and cousins A and N, and their cat, who I doubt was impressed. She really is as good as it says on the tin, and when she is not around I miss her. Can you believe that I am saying that about a dog? Me - the least dog loving person known to dog kind! I have had a road to Damascus conversion to dog life.

Birthday completed

I mentioned that my birthday would go on and on. I think it has ceased. Before I go there, I must mention a comment made on my last post. It said that my Christian values were strongly apparent in my blog ( REALLY? I always feel they are too well tucked away) and did I feel that they were compromised in my job. In a Catholic school? Who's asking? It would be a very worrying indictment of my school/faith/church if I said yes! The short answer is no.

Now, the last two weeks have been Easter holidays. I know that teachers get too much time off blah blah blah so won't tell you how hard I have been working - I enjoy it and do it every weekend as well and like working hard at what I do so don't mind if you think I am a workaholic - one great  thing about the holidays is being able to read about education etc a bit more thoroughly. I bought and read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, an astonishing and interesting book that I could not put down. I was bough a novel for my birthday, which is novel, and have started it and found that interesting so far although out of my normal reading comfort zone.

Our Easter holidays started worryingly with mum having a stroke and being admitted to St Peters Hospital, Chertsey. This is conveniently situated just off the M25 between J8 (M3) and J10 (A3) so well done mum for choosing the easy to get to hospital. Not knowing much about strokes we all feared the worst but mum has been working hard on recovering and was home within a week and came to some of my birthday weekend! Ta da! She is magic! The bit she came to was very popular, the cream tea. It was at the sailing club on Sunday. It was really windy and so not sitting outdoors weather, instead the bar was crammed full and cakes were provided by two Anges and a Mary ( bit religious sounding when you put them toegether!). The cakes/scones were extrememly popular and I did my best social butterflying. That was part 4 of the birthday weekend.

Part 1 on Saturday morning was not so popular. A bike ride at 8am. I think 8 of us started and 7 finished ( H gave up at Upham pond and daddy rescued her). The weather was gloriously cycle perfect sunshine and I felt very blessed to be out there on my bike on some of my favourite roads, albeit not at the level of cycle fitness I have enjoyed in previous years. Loved being there anyway, my usual group position of fast downhills and then overtaken by everyone up hills. Very nice bunch of cyclists who were quite well matched (or the good ones were polite). Back at Bowen HQ R was on fierce pancake duty and doled out pancakes to several families who turned up on the premise that their dad had been on the bike ride.

After lunch and scone making (ACTUALLY it was mainly granny Mary who did that) and a nap in the sun it was time for the party evening. R was now furiously on singing duty, it was amazing for me to watch the band set up from nothing to ready in 40 mins. They did a great job and lots and lots of people said 'Iddidn't know Rob sang/played guitar  -a man of many talents! After that initial 'Oh no no one is going to turn up' moment of course heaps of people did turn up and I was a social butterfly and still didn't get to talk to everyone. But loved it. I should have parties more often, I love everyone I love being in one place at once. Hopefully that is what heaven is like. Or should I say that for me, a party where everyone I know and love is there (or invited, anyway, even if they couldn't be there) is heavenly. That is what we always say is wrong with Netley Heaven - not everyone we love is a member! Lots of people had gamely worn sports wear as requested, and Bradley Wiggins made an appearance, along with a Grand National jockey and horse, and all sorts of other sportss people. I  felt very loved and valued, I have heaps of bottles of champagne to drink so might have to invite some more friends round to help. 

After finally getting to sleep (was having a finance panic, R laughed in the morning and told me not to worry about money - I will go with that) it was time to get up to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for sailing at 10. Weather was perfect, sun and wind, and R and I were in the zone. We were second Dart in both races, and in the second race third overall. This result is nothing short of a miracle. I have found the secret to success was to talk R up all the time and tell him how he has made good calls, is thinking ahead strategically etc etc. Which was all mostly true. We need to work on our stamina to race back to back in longer races for nationals.  Oh and not to mess up my little contribution at tacking time. After saying last week that we did not like sailing the cat and were going to sell, we are thinking again.

So, birthday is now finally officially over apart from the champagne to consume. It is a bit weird to have a big 41st birthday so very glad I made the most of this one. I have so many people in my life who  I like so much but don't get to see too much, that it was really really great to have some of them all hanging out together. With me. Even if we didn't get to talk much.