Sunday, 23 July 2017

Photo 55

Tomorrow we are off to the van and I can't wait. I've not been in it half as much as I would have liked to this year. There will be trips home for various reasons during our 3 week break but the majority of the time we will be over on the Fylde coast.

Plans for the first week include walks along the front, tennis, pitch and putt etc. The second week I'm trying to make it more holiday-ish so maybe a couple of days out and possibly a show and the third week back to our routine of lazing around taking each day as it comes.

The internet isn't brilliant where we are so to reduce stress levels of "why won't this bloody thing load", I won't be blogging. But in the spirit of my 'photo a day' I will be posting on Instagram which comes up on the blog anyway.

And feel free to leave a comment on here if you fancy as I shouldn't have a problem using my phone to 'talk' to people or to keep up with what you're all doing.

Right, off to finish my packing now which to cover all eventualities includes a full winter and summer wardrobe because after all this is a British seaside holiday and brollies and sunglasses will probably both make an appearance at some point over the next 3 weeks! 

See you soon. I'll bring you all a stick of rock back :)

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside!
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play, "Tiddely-om-pom-pom!"
So just let me be beside the seaside!
I'll be beside myself with glee
and there's lots of girls beside,
I should like to be beside, beside the seaside,
beside the sea!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Photo 54

We never did go strawberry picking. Typically we can sit here most weekends with nothing to do, yet when we do want to do something other things crop up.

Never mind, I haven't missed out, I've just been buying them from the supermarket instead. I bought a punnet from Lidl on Thursday and I've had a bit of a strawberry fest today. 
It started with breakfast - natural yoghurt, blueberries, figs, walnuts and strawberries. Delicious.
Then I made a small pot of jam to take to the van with us for those homemade cream teas that are very much part of any holiday regardless of where I am. 
And I kept half a dozen to one side and whipped up some cakes.
Not bad from one punnet at a cost of £1.39.

In between the baking and jam making, the rest of the day has been spent playing Monopoly. Thomas has just bought 3 hotels, Amy has a stash of money that keeps growing and I've got houses on Bond St, Regent St and Oxford St which should bring me £450 every time somebody lands on them. Can you believe nobody has landed on them yet. So frustrating!

Hope you've all had a lovely Saturday. 


Friday, 21 July 2017

Photo 53

Second day of the summer hols and Thomas is full of a cold. Sienna started with a sticky eye yesterday afternoon so I'm wondering if she's passed something on to him. Not that he really went near her but they were in the car together on the way to park. Mind you, it could be the fresh air and outside germs that he's not used to!

Anyway, it was Middleton today with Mum and he wanted to come with us. He sold some games and skylander figures a couple of weeks ago and got a voucher for them so he took that with him. He wanted to go off on his own while we did our shopping which I was fine with, so off he set with his voucher, £2 and my phone. When we met up he'd bought a poster, a Wii U Game, a sausage roll and a drink. The fact he's confident enough to do all that is brilliant. Before anybody has visions of him wandering around on his own in somewhere like The Trafford Centre, Middleton shopping centre is very small and a good place to start your first solo shopping expeditions.

Back home I very conscientiously entered all my expenditure on a spreadsheet I set up at the beginning of July. I've been meaning to do this for years - no exaggeration. I start off well but within a few days I get bored and stop or lose receipts and don't know where I'm up to, but this month I've stuck to it. 

Oh. My. Goodness. I've bought 'nothing' but have so far managed to spend £362 and the only proper bill in there is 2 weeks of shopping. What an interesting exercise and what an eye opener. If you asked me what I spend at Lidl I'd reply about £70 but not really think about the top up shop I do at the butchers, Iceland or the bits I buy from Bury. If you asked me if I've bought anything out of the ordinary, I'd say no, because already I've forgotten about the teacher's gifts, Thomas' prom outfit and bits for his bedroom when we decorated. If you asked me have I been out, I'd say, just for a meal with my friends, but that meal, plus coffees with Mark, Amy and Mum has seen me hand over £50 this month. 

It's very interesting when you think you don't spend any money how much you do actually spend and on what.

There have been a few 'no spends' as well, she says, feeling all virtuous. No flowers this week because we're at the van and the lisianthus I bought a couple of weeks ago have been cut down and are still pretty. Plus I keep cutting what seems to be a never ending supply of sweetpeas from the garden.

No chocolate because after happily munching my way through all my birthday treats I've decided to take a break from the sweet stuff for a while.

Nothing from The Works because as well as having a break from crafting, I also have several books in my reading pile that I need to work through. 

And no wool, because I've two balls in my stash and that's all I need at the moment to finish my poncho.

Actually, if we could all just forget about the £362, I'd say it's been quite a frugal month so far!

Do you keep a tally of what you spend, try to and fail, or not bother at all? 


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Photo 52

First day of the summer hols YIPEE! No lie-in because we were on baby-minding duties BOO! - to the lack of lie-in not Sienna. 

I made a point of not organising anything for the next few days, I was just going to let Thomas enjoy the first few days of the holidays at home. At 12.30 he came out of his room and said those fatal words "I'm bored". 

Sienna was asleep so we spent half an hour trying to make an origami swan, as you do, then resorted to good old fashioned paper aeroplanes. After she'd woken up and been fed, I made him get dressed, bundled them into the car and we went out to Heaton Park for a couple of hours for some fresh air. He's hard to get out of the house but enjoys himself when we do go out although I'm not sure he'll tell me he's bored again any time soon.

We had a lovely walk around, went to visit pets corner, made a plan to go back and hire a boat on the lake when we don't have Sienna, picked up a leaflet for treetoptrek which he's really keen to do and treated ourselves to ice-creams.

It was a really nice afternoon and I'm hoping there'll be lots more fresh air next week over at the Fylde coast.

Thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday, you are such a lovely bunch of bloggy friends.




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Photo 51

It was Thomas' leavers assembly this morning. We'd been warned by the Head to bring plenty of tissues and he was right, it was quite an emotional hour. 

They were all presented with a hoodie with the names of their class mates on and a USB stick with a copy of their play, Pirates of the Curry Bean, photos from their bowling trip and photos of them at their prom which is a lovely memento.

There were special achievement awards and certificates and attendance badges. Ironically, after receiving a D for attendance on his report Thomas managed to get a bronze award for not being absent for a full term. 

It started at 10.45pm and finished at 12 noon. And that was it. Primary school was over. It hasn't been the easiest ride for Thomas but the best thing we ever did was move him to a new school in Y3. He's come on a treat since then, not least because the staff have been brilliant with him. 

Unfortunately, there were no extended celebrations because we had to rush home and get changed for a funeral. My Uncle collapsed in his garden a few weeks ago and never regained consciousness. The consultant told my Aunty that the bleed on his brain meant he would probably never come round and he didn't. But it took 12 days of her sitting by his bed before he slipped away. The last 72 hours he was moved to the hospice my dad died in and me and Mum went to see him which was very emotional.  

My Uncle was my Dad's sister's husband. She's in her mid 80's and has outlived all her siblings who died young, 24, 46 and 47 and now her husband. Her son was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago so she is also dealing with that. I just hope and pray she doesn't outlive him as well. 

We all went to the funeral, Amy and Thomas included. They were given the choice and decided they'd like to go. I've been to plenty of cremations but this was a burial and I've only been to one of those before - my cousin. 

It was a lovely service in what I suppose could be called the family church. My grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles all got married there. We were christened there and it was where my dad and grandad had their funeral service. As is usual at these events it was a chance to meet up with relatives who sadly we only seem to bump into at funerals these days. It doesn't help that nobody seems to get married any more so we don't tend to meet up under anything other than sad circumstances.

We've just got in and I'm having an hour before I'm off out again to meet my friends for our end of term catch up. I'm looking forward to it actually. I could do with a good chat and a bit of lightheartedness and the only tears I want to be shedding tonight are tears of laughter. 

   Taken in his first term in                                        Taken on his last day of primary
      reception class 2010                                                             19.7.2017


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Photo 50

I'm feeling back to normal today thank goodness. One day of dragging myself around is more than enough for me.

Not that I've had to drag myself anywhere today as it's been one of those days where I never seem to have been out of the car. 

First was a trip to the doctors for an appointment Amy had. Next was a trip to Sainsburys which was a waste of time as I couldn't find what I was looking for, then it was down to Middleton to drop Amy at work, then back down to Middleton to pick her up. Mark got Thomas so at least that was one journey I didn't have to do. 

Thomas asked for an autograph book this morning at 8.40am! I can conjure up a lot of things at the last minute but an autograph book isn't one of them. Not that it mattered because he said a shirt would be fine. That I did manage to come up with. It was for him to take into school for teachers and friends to sign.

I remember Amy doing this and I've also signed a fair few myself in my school office days. 

I vaguely remember taking an autograph book into school on my last day of primary and getting it signed. In High School up here throwing flour and eggs at each other seemed to be the speciality, while down South they were much more refined and ties were tied to the school railings and set on fire!

Miss Bevan was his Y3 teacher and we'll always remember her. Mrs Greenwood is his TA and the message she wrote was lovely.

Anybody remember doing anything similar on their last day of school?



Monday, 17 July 2017

Photo 49

I've not felt 100% today. I have days like this although thankfully they are few and far between. Even walking round the house seems hard work and my arms and legs feel like lead. I'm not coming down with anything, sometimes I think the medication just affects me.

There were still things to do though and one of them was sports day. I think Thomas is glad this is the last one he'll have to take part in as participating isn't compulsory at his High School. Luckily his races were over within 20 minutes of us arriving and he motioned that we could go, so we did. 

He came home with his report today. A's in everything apart from attendance where we have a rather sad looking D due to the fact he was marked absent because he's been to physio a lot and missed registration. There was a time when this sort of thing would annoy me, but he's leaving and I'm past caring about percentages and numbers that seem to rule every aspect of school life lately.

It was his 'school do' tonight, which although billed simply as a 'leavers party' has somehow morphed into a mini prom regarding dress code. Thomas wasn't sure he wanted to go this morning as I think there has been a bit of pairing up with the opposite sex over the past week for the event and it put him off. But he changed his mind at the last minute which I'm glad about, not least because I have a lovely photo of him for the album. When we dropped him off all the girls were in their sequins, sparkles and heels looking beautiful and the boys were dressed up to the nines as well in their suits, waistcoats and ties. Some of the lads had roses and chocolates with them which I assume were for their 'dates' which I thought was lovely. A girl is never too young to receive gifts and I think it shows the boys as being real gentlemen.

I'm just going to make myself a brew now and sit in the garden for a while before we pick him up at 8.30pm. I don't think I'll be long out of bed after that. 

I'm hoping tomorrow I will wake up feeling a lot better. This sort of feeling rarely lasts more than a day thank goodness.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Photo 48

Thomas is allowed to stay up with Amy at weekend and last night we went to bed leaving them both playing a game in the Xbox room. 

Suddenly, he came barging into the bedroom all of a dither. Amy had stood up, knocked his laptop on the floor and as he'd leaned forward to catch it, the dish he had on his knee dropped onto it and crack the LED display thingy leaving a lovely rainbow effect on the screen.

You have to be careful with Thomas, even a normal reaction of  'bloody hell' can reduce him to panic and tears, so we told him to turn it off, go to bed and we'd deal with it in the morning. 

Luckily we took out a care plan when he bought it, mainly because it wasn't cheap and he'd bought it with his own money that Tom had given him. I was against doing it as we don't bother with any plans or insurance for anything like this normally, but Mark insisted and I'm glad he did. We've already had a hardware problem with it and we just took it back and handed it over to be fixed. Same this morning. We handed it in and we can pick it up again in a week.

On the way back we stopped at the shops and I picked up the last of the gifts for his teachers. 

When I asked him how many I needed to buy for he said 4. Then there's the 2 office staff, a lovely man who goes in and listens to them read every week, a teacher who runs lego club, plus his Year 3 teacher who I will never be able to thank enough for helping Thomas through a difficult time.

We decided on bottles of wine for the office staff and his Y3 teacher as I know they're partial to a glass or two of vino, biscuits for the man, and a little goody bag of wine, chocolates and stationery for the rest. I favour nobody staff wise. I know what goes on in schools and everybody works hard.

The rest of the day has been spent doing bits and bobs. Amy has been in work and Thomas has been practising skipping with my dressing gown cord for sports day tomorrow. He's also in the 3 legged race which makes me and Mark smile. He walks with a little bit of a limp so it will be interesting to see how he fares trying to run with one of his legs tied to a friend's. But he volunteered for both races so he must think he's capable.

After raining all day yesterday, it's been lovely today so Mark has been re-grouting the patio. He found some filler on line where rather than mixing cement and having to work your way around on all fours, all you have to do is wet the patio and brush the filler into the gaps then leave it to set. 

I've spent the day doing not very much, which has been rather nice. 

Hope you've all had a lovely Sunday. 



Saturday, 15 July 2017

Photo 47

Over the past couple of weeks I've been aiming to get all my charity projects done and dusted before Thomas finishes school and more importantly I've made a point of not starting any new ones. 

After the dresses and ponchos had been sent off I just had the angels to finish for the Tigerlily Trust, so for the past few days in between everything else that's been going on, I've made a concerted effort to work on them. 

Bodies have been knitted, heads have been stuffed, wings have been crocheted and sewn on and halos have been attached. I just need to buy a few more of these and they will be finished. 

And here they are. A heavenly host of 50 angels who will be winging their way to Cumbria by the end of next week.

With everything finished this means while I'm at the van I can continue crocheting my poncho and also the cute little sunshine Sadie sent me. I'm also taking a cross stitch that Sue from Suffolk posted to me and I'm hoping to make a start on Sienna's (whisper) Christmas card. 

I've really enjoyed making the angels, but it will be nice to be rid of that niggling feeling of having to finish something off.

So, do any of you have projects on the go at the moment that you need to get on with. Knitting, crocheting, quilting, gardening, decorating - the list is sometimes endless isn't it. And are you enjoying them or like me is the fact they're hanging around beginning to get on your nerves? 



Friday, 14 July 2017

Photo 46

Why is it that when you get rid of something you suddenly need it. Photo of the day is simply a red t-shirt but there is a little story behind this.

Before Thomas' room was decorated I gave it a good sorting out but I still needed to go through his clothes. 

In the pile I'd sorted for charity I added a red t-shirt, which I thought I'd bought for Comic Relief, although they didn't end up doing anything this year. I dropped it all off at the charity shop on Monday. 

Last night he brought home the school newsletter and sports day was mentioned with the add on of "can the children all wear t-shirts in their house colours" which for Thomas is, yes you've guessed it, red. As soon as I read it I remembered why the t-shirt was in the wardrobe. I always buy one at the beginning of the year for sports day and other house events, of which there have been none this year, so it's just been hanging there. Why it never crossed my mind that he would need it for sports day I don't know. 

Anyway this morning I went to retrieve it from the charity shop thinking it would still be there but it had already gone along with some of his other things. I know because a couple of his t shirts were still on the rail. I know the manager of the shop well enough to have a few words with now, as I'm always dropping something off and I was toying with the idea of asking her if I could 'borrow' it back for the weekend :)

I ended up having to buy him another one which he will never wear again and which no doubt I'll be dropping off at the YMCA again within days. 

All I can say is they better not be rained off on Monday. 

So, have you got rid of anything only to discover that even though you've not used it for ages, you suddenly need it?

By the way, I've not bothered ironing the tag down because, as you all know, it will have to be cut out! 


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Photo 45

Thursdays are all about baby minding these days.

I woke up this morning to this little lady giving me a big toothy grin. Sometimes I give her my phone to play with and she knows exactly which button to press to turn it on, then I make it so she can see herself and by default she takes a few 'selfies'. 
We always have a walk around the garden looking at the 'pretties'. The most beautiful rose has bloomed over the past few days.
A packet of these gives me 10 minutes much needed R&R. You can do a lot in 10 minutes but gone are the days where I'd run around trying to fit in a few jobs. Instead I sit quite happily in the chaos of baby minding and enjoy a brew instead.
Curry. Thursdays call for a quick and easy tea. So it's sauce out of a jar and rice out of a microwavable packet. Still delicious though and if I really needed an excuse I wouldn't be able to think of one apart from it's quick.
Stories and nursery rhymes at the library never did work out with her sleep pattern, so we tend to just go out wherever we feel like going to pass an hour. Today was just to Middleton. I'm desperately trying to spend my gift voucher and bonus points in The Works but they have a problem with their tills and can only take cash at the moment. Amy very kindly treated me to this book with her wages. In return I bought the coffees and peach iced tea in Costa. 
And that about sums up today. Just waiting for Mark to return home from dropping her off and then we'll try and catch an hour of something on TV. 



Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Photo 44

It's Thomas' school leavers play tonight. They're performing Pirates of the Curry Bean. He didn't want a part so volunteered for back stage crew and from what he's told me he seems to have had a brilliant time organising props, scenery and the 'actors'.

He brought a letter home last week saying that the children would be kept in school at the end of today and given something to eat to save parents having to come backwards and forwards picking them up and dropping them off. It's a good idea even if there is an ulterior motive. Sometimes children go home and don't return, even if they have a main part which can cause big problems for staff. 

So everybody is staying at school - that is, everybody apart from Thomas, because of his food issue. I had to ring the teacher and explain that he comes home ravenous every day not having eaten a thing and while I'm OK with that because I feed him as soon as he gets in, there's no way I can let him go for 12 hours without eating anything. 

So, every other parent is having a nice break while we've picked him up as usual to feed him. I've just taken him back so he can get a quick rehearsal in, then we'll be going again at 6.45pm to watch the show. 

If he ate his packed lunch I would have sent him with 2 so he could stay but he doesn't  eat at school full stop so there's no other way of doing it. 

And after all this to-ing and fro-ing we will only see him right at the very end when he comes on stage to take part in the last dance. 

I'm patting myself on the back here for being a very supportive parent tonight lol. 


Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Photo 43

It's been very doggy orientated at Number 38 today. Sparky and Wendy went to the groomers this morning. Sparky had the full works, a wash, dry and cut. Wendy just had her paws and ears done.

Grooming day is all a bit of a faff really. It takes 20 minutes to drive them there, then 20 minutes back home. Within 3 hours they're ringing me to collect them so that's another 20 minute drive I have to do each way. Sparky hates the whole thing. He's so nervous about anything that isn't routine that it feels cruel to put him through it. But he's a poodle and poodles need grooming regularly. To try and alleviate some of his stress I've booked a home groomer in for their next session to see how that goes. He still won't like it, but at least he'll be in familiar surroundings.

Poor old  Sparky. He's had a rough day all in all. The past couple of days he's been scratching and nibbling his tail. I took him to the vets about this at the beginning of the year and they gave him steroids which helped. 

Anyway, when I picked him up from the groomers you could see he's nibbled himself red raw under his tail and there is a nasty red patch on his back as well. I rang the vet and managed to book him in this afternoon. When she gave him a good looking over we could see his skin is in quite a bad way so he was given another steroid injection and an antibiotic injection. He's also got both in tablet form for the next 7 days. 

The time he's been in the house today he's spent scooting up and down with his head under the sofa trying to scratch that itch. Hopefully his skin will start to feel better over the coming days. 

What with the grooming and the vets I've managed to get through a fair whack of cash today. The vets are very good though. She prescribed a tablet then found a different one that wouldn't cost as much. I was told not to make a follow up appointment unless the skin doesn't heal and she mentioned skin samples being taken but in the same breath told me not to bother at the moment. 

They never run to time but you go knowing that and it doesn't matter because they never rush you during an appointment. It's very rare that you are in and out again within 30 minutes. So all in all it's a brilliant service. Better than the GP sometimes!


Monday, 10 July 2017

Photo 42

Have you ever thought, if only I'd know that years ago. I've had one of those moments this weekend and it all stemmed from Tania over at Frugal in Essex doing a post which mentioned a bread base quiche.

I love quiche but don't really like making pastry, the quick mix packet ones still involve the mess of rolling out and I'm never organised enough to have any in the freezer. Anyway, I decided to give it a go but instead of using bread I used tortilla wraps.

All I did was butter one side of 2 wraps and line a lightly greased dish with them. Don't bother about neatness, I overlapped the base and cut strips for the sides and just pressed them together. Then I made the quiche filling as I normally would, poured it in and into the oven it went. 

I wasn't sure what it would taste like or if the texture would be weird but I have to say it was delicious. I can be quite fussy myself about certain things but you really couldn't tell the difference. If I'd known how easy quiche could be I'd have made them a lot more often.

So thank you Tania for a top tip and if you like quiche it's definitely worth giving the bread/wrap base a go.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Photo 41

Today went at a much gentler pace for which I was very thankful.

It started with a good cup of tea and breakfast cooked by the man of the house. A fry up is the one meal I don't cook because Mark is better at it than me - well that's what I tell him.

Then it was down to the tip to get rid of all the stuff we'd sorted out yesterday. There was a slight drama when Mark wasn't concentrating and followed me to the cardboard skip and threw our normal rubbish in. The man had to get a long grabber stick and hook it out! In future I think I'll just go on my own like I usually do. 

When Mark is having a clear out he'd throw everything away but I can't do that. I like to sort things into charity and tip piles. I did a drop off at the charity shop on Friday and I'll be doing another one tomorrow. I also have a couple of things that need to go on Ebay, but I find that a faff so maybe they'll just go back on the shelves until I feel like listing them. 

I emptied all the shelves in the Xbox room and tomorrow we'll do the shelving and the furniture. Thomas spends a lot of time in there so we thought we'd leave it til the last minute. 

I made a point of sitting in the garden for a while, knitting up a couple of angels and I was going to watch some tennis this afternoon until I realised they weren't playing today.

I've just cut a few more sweet peas for the vase and I'm about to water the garden. Then I'm on countdown to Mr Poldark. 

All in all another productive but not as energetic day. Hope you've all had a lovely Sunday. 



Saturday, 8 July 2017

Photo 40

Today I feel like I've moved house without actually going anywhere. I have pushed and pulled furniture, turned mattresses, dropped a football shirt off to be framed, picked it back up, stuck a gaming decal to the wall, hung up blinds (twice - back to front then correctly!), wiped, cleaned, scrubbed, mopped, sorted and thrown away yet more 'stuff'. 

Mark has helped with all of the above, but I've also had to carry on with the usual washing, ironing and cooking.

The bathroom has had a suitcase, a big plastic storage box and a travel cot in it for the past 3 days so that's had a clear out and clean. The airing cupboard has been pared down and I've also cleaned our bedroom. 

Mid afternoon I stopped for an ice-cream. The only ones in the freezer were chocolate and I'm not a fan but I ate it anyway I was that hot and bothered. 

On Tuesday we're having new carpet in the Xbox room which means tomorrow we have to remove all the shelving units and the suite. More mess. 

It's just gone 6pm and I've been on the go since 8am. I am officially knackered with a big fat capital K. I've made myself a brew and I'm going to sit down now for the rest of the evening. 

Hope your Saturday has been less busy than mine. 



Friday, 7 July 2017

Photo 39

I am super-excited today because The Works has opened a store in Middleton. If I really didn't want to I wouldn't have to leave town again for the rest of my life now although I would have to use on-line shopping for clothes. 

The decorator has been and gone and taken his whistling with him. He's a lovely bloke, always cheerful and happy but he whistles constantly. That in itself isn't so bad if he'd only whistle a tune but it's just random notes - All.The.Time. Thankfully he only works mornings so I've only had to endure 4 hours of it at once.

Anyway, the dining room is finished although it doesn't really look any different. In fact Mum sat here for a good 10 minutes yesterday before noticing the new paper probably because I chose a red floral again. It's a different pattern but it's not obvious which I knew it wouldn't be but I'm happy with it. I really just wanted the room freshening up rather than a change of look.

Thomas' room is also done, although he's yet to move back into it. He's been on a mattress next to our bed for 3 nights which has made for a lot of laughing, messing around and late nights. He is such a chatterbox when he should really be going to sleep! We need to do a couple more things in there like shelving, blinds, lighting then tomorrow he'll be back in. It doesn't look too bad actually, if I look at it quickly then look away! 

The kitchen is next but not until we come back off holiday and trust me it will be a much gentler on the eyes. 



Thursday, 6 July 2017

Photo 38

Thomas came home with his SATS results last night. He did really well and we're very proud of him. 

Unusually for a boy his marks for English, reading, spelling, grammar etc were higher than his maths. There wasn't much difference in the marks but I've always said I'd rather they were good at English because I think it's really hard to grasp that subject if it doesn't come naturally. 

With maths I tend to think as long as you can do the basics the rest is about memorising formulas etc. even if you need a bit of extra help doing it like Amy.

His results have given him a big confidence boost although we totally underplayed the whole SATS thing and he has it all weighed up really. Amy was a godsend as well. She told him not to bother about the marks too much because you spend the first fortnight in High School being re-tested anyway. 

The cut off mark for pass/fail was 100 and one of his friends got 99 in a subject so has failed. I think schools use terms such as 'not met required standard', but the pass/fail words are being used by the children so they may well be used in school. Thomas said the boy was really upset and didn't speak all day. I know Thomas would have felt for that boy missing out by just one mark. 

I hate that bloody F word. These are young children we're talking about aged 10/11 years old. Who needs a pass or fail label at that age. Just give them a mark and then put them in the relevant sets at High School. 

If anybody has children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews who have had their results then I hope they've done well. If they've not managed to meet the required mark then I really hope that they're not affected by it too much. And for any teachers and teaching assistants reading this I'm sure you've managed to convey to every child in your class that they're all stars in their own right.

I wonder what changes will take place yet again in our education system before this young lady reaches Y6. 


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Photo 37

I had a letter through the post today from my pension company informing me I was fast approaching retirement. Talk about suddenly feeling old.

Their query of whether I was on the right track for the retirement I wanted made me think, well if they mean do I have enough fabric, wool, baking ingredients and free time to potter around doing what I want in my autumnal years, then yes, I am definitely on the right track. 

Of course, that's not what they meant at all. Their question had far more boring connotations and was obviously financially loaded. Normally I file anything like this in my "still a spring chicken, can't be bothered dealing with that now so I'll look at it later" pile then in a few weeks bin it thinking "plenty of time left to think about that".

Only this time, seeing my retirement age of 55 in black and white it suddenly didn't seem that far away, so I had a read.

According to the paperwork my fund will be worth a nice amount by 2022 and I can do 3 things with it. Take is as a one-off payment, take regular payments from the fund or get a regular income for the rest of my life. 

I've worked out that if I opt for an income for the rest of my life I'd have to live until I was well over 100 to get my lump sum back. With my medical history and the none too life changing monthly income being predicted I think I will live dangerously and take the whole lot. 

Decision made for now, I've filed it under "done and dusted". I do love my simple filing systems :). Now I'm getting back to practicing retirement which today has included knitting and wandering around the garden admiring my sweet peas.

So, who's still young enough to file anything like this in a 'deal with later' pile, who's fast approaching retirement like myself and needs to start thinking about this sort of thing and who's already there and enjoying every minute of it? 



Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Photo 36

It was Thomas' induction day at High School today. They're supposed to make their own way there either on the bus or by walking but as we're not on a bus route and it's just short of 2 miles away, Mark dropped him off and he made his own way in. 

He's not even walked to the shops so there's no way I'd be happy letting him walk on his own just yet, not knowing whether he'd arrived safely or not. Amy started walking with a friend in Year 8 so it will come. Plus it takes about 30 minutes at a good pace - Thomas would take a lot longer.

Anyway, he had a great day, he likes his form teacher, he's with some friends from school and he's met up with a couple of friends from his old school again.  

Tonight I'm going to the parents meeting. Here I will be told how wonderful the school is and get to meet his form tutor. If it's a repeat of Amy's induction evening I will also be told that the school is in the top 12 in the country. When I first heard this I thought 'that can't possibly be true', so I looked it up. What they'd omitted to say was 'in the most deprived boroughs'. It's really not what you say but what you don't say isn't it lol. It doesn't bother me. I tend to think all schools are as bad as each other. Amy was pretty happy there and we didn't have any issues from a teaching/staffing point of view. She came out with good grades and the staff seemed dedicated, supportive and on the ball. 

Just while I'm talking about school again, I received an e-mail from the Deputy Head about the £35 trip money. 

She answered all my questions and said she understood how frustrating it was that 'disadvantaged children' (her words not mine), would be getting lunches and trips for free. I replied that yes, it was frustrating on a number of counts - that certain children will always be financially favoured throughout their school life yet aren't necessarily 'disadvantaged' - that a lot of working families are struggling but don't meet financial criteria for help and they're expected to find the funds - and that most frustrating was school had in effect spent £35 of my money without asking me and now wanted reimbursing for a trip that seems unnecessary.

I also mentioned that as it was educational and taking place in school hours no child, regardless of whether they receive free school meals or not, had to pay and queried why that information hadn't been forthcoming yet the information about free school meals was typed in bold. 

She offered to ring me and discuss the matter or meet with me. I politely declined both offers because I'd made my point and I'm sure she knew where I was coming from.

I will obviously pay for Thomas as I can afford to. But once again, it's not what's said but what isn't said....I guess now she knows that I know that. 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Photo 34

So today the bedroom makeover began. I cleared and cleaned the room ready for the decorator tomorrow then donned the sunglasses in preparation for the purple onslaught awaiting me and started to re-vamp Thomas' bedside cabinet. 

The idea to paint the drawers came to me last night at 3am when I was still awake absolutely shattered but unable to sleep. These sleepless nights are getting on my nerves. I go to bed tired yet within 5 minutes I'm wide awake. Of course this morning, I had to force myself to get up.

Anyway back to the bedroom. I think the last time we decorated Thomas' room he would have been about 5. Back then mummy knew best and I chose blue for the bottom half, white for the top and a football border and bedding to finish it off. We bought a wooden wardrobe and a blue bedside cabinet. 

Six years later Thomas has his own ideas about such things, hence the purple. Anyway, I did 2 drawers and have to say I actually really liked it. 

Then because I can't help myself, I upped the ante. I decided the 3rd drawer would be black, then got really carried away and painted the wooden unit as well because the drawers with the wood really didn't look right.

I actually think it's OK for a boys room; not something I could sleep with but then sleep evades me quite a lot lately, so who knows. 

Today, my little boy blue has become a purple and black, about to go to High School young man. Where did those years go?