Monday, 30 November 2009
Problem No. 1: my car was iced up including the windscreen. Deal with that. Drive down lane to main road, come round last bend....
Problem No. 2: a low loader was blocking the lane whilst decanting a caterpillar. All the time in the world they had! Talk about 'no hurry in Africa', there wasn't much hurry in Leitrim either! I suppose the wonder of it was that I was only five minutes late.
In school some of the little people insisted on making odd squeaky noises instead of singing, the same happened after break with 4th class, and now B is emptying the dishwasher with a whole series of squeaks, quacks, squeaky quacking and quacky squeaking. Did I miss something? Is today the Official Funny Noise Monday? Or would it be the effect I have on children....?
Did I mention that the school keyboard plug went up in smoke (literally) last week, so we are now dependant on pianos? As a result I have to keep asking teachers if I can use their room whilst they move their class to another piano-less one. Luckily there are three pianos between eight classes but its getting a bit embarrassing. A new keyboard adaptor plug must be bought!
After school I went over to the folks to catch up on their weekend news. Dad was delighted to have been at the Rugby to see Ireland beat the Springboks! He said if it had been less misty he and bro would have seen more! Mum and the sister went house-hunting in Dublin but it wasn't very successful. They seem to have had a good weekend together, and at least the folks travelled on the train which was running on time, unlike the buses.
Tomorrow my Fiat Punto has its NCT to see whether it is roadworthy for another two years. I have my doubts whether it will pass straight off...there could be a lot of bad words...please cover your ears at about 9.30am tomorrow?
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Having an Advent Wreath in Church is not traditional for us, but it helps to think about what it symbolises so each Sunday in Advent two children light another of the candles. Last year one of them almost set the Dean's surplice alight but luckily he can move fast! (all those years of playing rugby I should think!)
The First Candle symbolises Hope, the Hope we have in Christ as well as the Hope the Prophets had in their prophecies of the Messiah.
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Isaiah Ch 60 v 1-3
Just as a footnote, this is our traditional way of counting off the days in Advent.
Much as we enjoy Advent Calendars, gift boxes and wreaths, this is the way we do it, usually lighting the candle at supper time when we are all sitting at the table. When the candle burns down to the pin it begins to tilt and it is blown out for another day. To me nothing beats the excitement of watching the candle burn down to the pin!
When you sit watching a candle you can see why the Church used to pagan symbolism of a Lamp for the birth of Jesus, Light of the World. You can also see why so many faiths have Celebrations of Light, Diwali I know from East Africa, but Light in all its symbolism is important to everyone.
I wish the Hope of Advent to you all this week.
In Timeless Treasures I am putting up a Jesse Tree. Please visit?
Saturday, 28 November 2009
You make 'yeti foot shaped' pancakes (I quote!) while arguing non-stop and singing all the Disney songs you know!
The last few days I've been working on a doll for a little girl. Its my 'Poppy' pattern, I was going to use the 'Penny' pattern but was afraid the doll would turn out longer than the little girl!
Friday, 27 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
I wondered about skipping the Thankfuls this week as its been difficult and I didn't think I could come up with anything much or honestly mean it, and if I can't be nice I prefer to be silent. But I thought hard and I have managed to come up with five Thankfuls, and, what's more, I feel the better for it. I guess Sonja knew she was doing what God wanted when she started this!
1. I'm thankful for friends who encourage. This week especially, its been you bloggifriends who have helped keep me going. Thank you so much!
2. Thankful that Sos did the washing up last night- since starting College she seems to think chores are for other people so this was major!
3. Thankful for a dry-ish sunny-ish day today- I'd almost forgotton what the hills look like...
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Yesterday I went with the folks to Enniskillen to do the main grocery shop for Christmas. It's better to get it in now before places are too crowded. B and Sos came for an outing and we all had a very productive day with everything being achieved. Quite a feat, I'd say! (All Civil Servants in the Republic were on strike yesterday so no School or College.)
The drive was interesting as the various lakes are so full. In Enniskillen town they had lined one road with sandbags and were pumping the water out so that it was drivable- interesting to watch.
I got some thread and the dinkiest angel! Today I taught Music until lunchtime, combining several classes at a time. One song with disastrous timing was sorted with the help of the oldest class, and for the rest we were working on accurate entrances and melding the different voices together into a unified sound. It was difficult and required intense listening to themselves but the children worked very hard and very successfully, although by 12.30 we all felt like limp rags!
The temperature dropped considerably throughout the day and this evening the wind is cutting. We've had sun, rain, hail, strong winds and more hail. I sound like my sister who is on a trip to Antarctica, and sent a postcard from the Falkland Islands giving us a weather update! Is it perhaps an Irish characteristic to be obsessed with the weather?
Monday, 23 November 2009
At breakfast B decided she was unwell and wouldn't go to school. I decided she was swinging it and that she would. Into the car and by the time we got to the school gate she was crying and in such a state I took her to Mum's to calm down. So she stayed in bed there whilst I went into school for Music, then I collected her afterwards and brought her home. Seven years of dragging one or other reluctant, sometimes fighting, girls to school. I am so tired of it. Had I the choice over I'd definitely go for home-schooling, my children just do not fit in the system. Another three years to go, not counting the next six and a half months. My Mom says not to wish my life away- I'm not, I'm wishing away the school morning fights.
So no shopping: B still needs new school shoes (hers disintegrated in the wet),
no cereal for breakfast (toast again I guess),
no doll stuffing trip to Cliffoney,
nothing to eat either due to a stomach knotted with anxiety over B.
Sure isn't Motherhood great?!
Sunday, 22 November 2009
In the words of the old hymn: (one of my favourites)
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Friday, 20 November 2009
Meanwhile 'Concern' and other charities have appeals out for drought victims in Kenya, parts of Australia are suffering their worst drought in a long time,and a great number of places would love some of our rainfall. Things really are topsy turvy and people at both ends of the spectrum need our support.
Yesterday when visiting Ulla's 'Vintage Thursday' I was most entertained to see her dressmaking patterns...which are much the same as the ones of Mum's I'm still using, not just for myself but also my teenage girls! Which made me think, and take a look at the tools I use every day, and the one item which I immediately noticed was my crochet hook.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
1. Thankful for Craft Shops- that sounds awfully acquisition-is-ish but really they are full of ideas too. I spent ages in the craft shop this morning and the ideas were pouring in think and fast!
2. Thankful I have two good hands! I can sew, knit, quilt, crochet, play the piano and a lot else. I am so thankful for my hands.
3. You can laugh at this one if you like- but I'm thankful for buttons! I love buttons, ever since I was tiddly, looking, arranging, cutting off old clothes, sewing them onto things, the button display in craft shops, big ones, small ones, shell, wood, plastic, funny shapes.....I LOVE buttons!
4. This is an odd one too- I'm thankful for the National Geographic Magazines which have been landing on my mat every month since January 1985! Through them I travel to fascinating places, meet great people, learn about this great planet we live on, gasp, sigh, gaze, admire. And over the years I have used them to teach from in schools too. To me these magazines constantly remind me of the diversity and bounty of this world- who could ever become blase about that? In fact, and you can gasp at my daftness for this if you like!, when we returned from living in East Africa I couldn't bear to part from my Nat Geogs and packed up all 15 years worth to bring home! They are muddy, torn, battered, students have written in them and traced from them...I look at back issues and I remember taking this one on safari to Lake Magadi, that one to the Coast, this one into class to amaze my students. I so enjoy these magazines.
5. I am thankful for my dog-people. They're not pedigree or beautiful or well-trained, but they love me unconditionally and on my worst days they are there for me when everyone else fails. They very often literally hold me together, and yes, they are completely mad in the head- like everyone else in this household!
So there you are- this week's Thankfuls.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
This morning in School was good. The children are enjoying preparing the Christmas Music and classes almost sing themselves. This is the good time, when they are excited, and before they become too tired. The weather continues to be terrible so music and art projects are particularly popular just now.
By the way, I just noticed that this is my 100th post! If I'd noticed earlier I might have had a celebration. I'll think of something for another significant number!
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Now a multiple choice question:- if you walked into a kitchen which looked like this would you-
a) exclaim 'Wow! What a creative person you are today!'
b) shriek 'Goodness! Was there an accident?'
c) ask politely 'Are you moving house?'
d) remark sarcastically 'I guess we're eating off our knees tonight.'
e) turn right around and walk out with the comment 'I'll come back when you've tidied up.'
'a' would be the correct response. Thank you very much all of you who answered correctly!
(Actually, if you want the truth, when I stopped for a minute yesterday evening and saw the mess I'd created, even I was a bit shocked...)
Monday, 16 November 2009
1. the School Inspector was in the Junior Infant room and
2. it was lashing rain!
The school was built in the '70's with five rooms linked together in a circle, and the six newer classrooms are in a separate line of single prefabs. One class had to hurry from a prefab, and the other three had to take the long way round inside, avoiding the JI room- all 112 children carrying chairs as the floor is tiled in the GP room! It was quite funny actually, and apart from the Inspector everyone is used to working with weather restrictions. At least only one room is leaking rain at present...Don'cha love Schools? and Ministers for Education?
Now I'm home with the stove lit and about to start working on some more decorations! Yummee!
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Look! The packet I won at Paulette's place arrived in Friday's post! Isn't it lovely? The red braid is about to go on some little Christmas decorations I'm making, and the pattern is wriggling about trying to get out of the bag and be stitched....or is that me wriggling....? Thank you so much Paulette!
Thursday, 12 November 2009
1. Thankful I won a prize on Paulette's Draw last week- its SO exciting as I seldom win anything! I won No. 4!!!! A packet from Canada!!
2. Thankful for friends who are prepared for my 'good' days for lunch and company, and understand that much of the time I have trouble going out. Lunch on Tuesday was great fun!
3. Thankful the Rayburn man came to service our stove so heating, cooking and hot water will continue over the winter!
4. You can laugh at this one as its really obvious; but every morning I am thankful for a hot shower, and even more so now the weather has turned cold! Bliss!
5. And this one might be a bit odd but...Thankful for cartoon artists and their quirky take on life. Every one has different humour but there is probably a cartoon for everyone out there, and we need all the humour we can get! The friend I was at lunch with on Tuesday showed me her newly 'decorated' downstairs loo- a whole wall covered in cutouts of all the cartoons and funny cards she could find! What FUN!
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
At 11o'c the man is coming to service the Rayburn. Its two months overdue because of B needing two new pairs of glasses back in September, which was of more importance at the time. But now the cold is settling, and since the Rayburn runs our heating, winter hot water and cooking it's a bit essential that it is in full working order.
Friday, 6 November 2009
The Hub lit the stove yesterday morning so the house was lovely and warm when I returned from school. The singing went fine, it was the first session this term with all four senior classes- 112 children. Its always exciting for them and me when we start getting eveyone together and yesterday was no exception.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Here's a funny to start: Last night I was seasoning the soup for supper when the top flew off the jar of chillies. There wasn't much I could do so I added a few more potatoes and hoped for the best...served it...and...my family had their heads blown off! Aaagh! We are still in orbit, and that's from one spoonful each!
So if you hear tell of a nuclear incident in the west of Ireland it was just me making supper!
And now for this week's thankfuls- I've struggled a bit to find five since the week has come hard to me:
1. Thankful there's been no damage to the house after two storms this week. At the weekend the winds were blowing gale force ten apparently.
2. Thankful the school children are excited about starting the Nativity songs. They are so 'into' it they have organised their music themselves and are even excited about learning song-words for homework! Miracles do happen!
3. Thankful for a weather-proof, warm and comfortable house to live in. It hasn't always been so for us so we are all so thankful for the comfort.
4. Thankful for several bids on the eBay items I've made. That may sound silly but it matters to me.
5. Thankful for the fun yesterday with the Music classes I taught, the children are really keeping me going at the moment. One of the songs has a high-ish note some of the older boys were struggling with yesterday so one of them suggested that breathing helium might help! Another classroom became really stuffy so I opened a window, to see three seagulls on the rail of the bridge outside watching us. The children thought that was really funny, and even funnier when four more seagulls arrived, so they sang the whole song to the seagulls! A whole new meaning to 'for the birds'?
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Yesterday I pulled out the scrap trunk from under my bed with an idea to making a few scrap quilts, but I got sidelined with trying out a patchwork drawstring laundry bag instead. I'll show you when its done as at present I'm trying to figure how to make a circular base which fits the tube I've assembled- Maths was NEVER my strong point, as my Dad will despairingly attest (he had to coach me through all my school Maths classes!)
I also thought I'd try out the triangular ruler I got last Thursday. As you can see the line is a bit wonky, but I'm on the third one now and its significantly straighter!
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
As usual I've managed to get the photos in reverse order- the flooded field was meant to be first, then the tree against the sky and then the amazing sky-scape after the next paragraph: oh well!
There's long been a joke in Ireland that when the RTE News and Weather people aren't sure what to forecast they just say 'There'll be sunny spells and scattered showers.' However the joke is frequently on us because its amazing just how many days in the year that forecast describes! Today is one of them, and in between the lashing rain there is beautiful sparkly sunshine.
Mary Black sang a song called 'Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers' though I can't remember who wrote it. Anyhow my sister was at a Concert of Mary Black's in England several years ago and she said that when she sang that song she brought the house down there were so many Irish people in the house!
I was in School this morning doing the photocopying for tomorrow's teaching, and handing round timetables and suchlike- even if everything gets changed around later, I find it's easier to have times and places down on paper first. The Principal was laughing at me with all the bits of paper, including copies of the songs I decided on for the Little People, who are taught by two other teachers.
Yesterday's comments were really kind, and interesting too if you want to look. As a sort of general answer, here's the background to the Music 'thing'!
I trained as a primary school teacher, with Music as my main subject, which in England, is pretty much like doing two degrees simultaneously- one in Education, and one in your main subject. I've taught on and off over the years as a Primary Class teacher, a Secondary school English teacher, and an all-over-the-place Class Music teacher. I have to admit that whatever I've begun as in any school I've always somehow ended up doing quite a lot of Music.
Over the years as my health (mental and physical) has gone down the tube I've had to give up general teaching, but I have clung to the Music. Since there is no provision in this country for part-time or subject teachers within the primary system I now teach Music on a voluntary basis in a local National School. The Principal is a school friend (the retired Principal remembers us both since we were five years old, and occasionally has the heebie-jeebies at what we are doing to her school!) and gives me a fairly free hand with the Music, and BOY! do I enjoy the ensuing chaos! I do chaos really well!!!
So once a week I go in to play the hymn for Assembly and teach the upper classes, and then scattered through the year I work them toward performances. From now until Christmas I'll be teaching two or three mornings a week preparing the children for the Carol Service, and later taking groups to sing at some of the Churches in town. I see it also as an opportunity to make Christianity alive for the children and for singing and Church to be a regular part of their lives. I love it, most of the time, but just now I am wrestling the 'black beast' so it comes harder to get on with my commitments.
Anyhow, there you have it. Photocopies of lists all over the place and working from three Music books. I typed up everything last night so am feeling terribly well organised...don't worry it's temporary!