Category Archives: Ava Whinge

Levelling

Now some of you reading this might think that this is about allocating a number and letter to a child. No! I’m talking about getting things level. I have spent the day sweating buckets digging up grass, preparing the ground for an arbour. I thought I’d sit it on four small paving stones to make it firm as we are covering this area in decorative gravel. How hard can it be to put down four paving stones and sit a wooden arbour on top? Well I can tell you – very hard. Armed with my large, yellow spirit level I was like a woman possessed. In the end, I gave up and will tackle it again tomorrow. That darned bubble taunted me by just slipping towards the right of the middle section. No matter what I did, it laughed in my face in a bubble sort of way, refusing to slide just a teensy bit to the left and sit nicely in the middle. 

Anyone else would have said ‘That’ll do. Close enough.’

It’s hard being a bit OCD sometimes.

Reinventing the wheel

All through my teaching career I have watched the same old ‘new’ ideas go round and round. Take French as an example. When I was at school, French was drilled into you. Good old Whitmarsh served us well but it was hardly exciting or stimulating. Then we moved into an era when teaching grammar was considered bad and children learned entire phrases without truly understanding which bit of the sentence was what. Next came ‘using the target language’. All lessons had to be conducted using only French. The naughty pupil with the stink bomb at the back had to be disciplined in French and he had to give his excuses in French. If someone wanted to go to the toilet, they weren’t allowed to until they asked in the target language. Oh how the caretaker laughed, mopping up those puddles under chairs! Oh how the language of the children improved.

Hand up.

Oui, Simon?

I want to go to the bog.

En français, Simon?

(shout) I want to go to the bog.

Non, parlez en français, Simon

If you don’t let me go to the f*****g bog I’ll p**s myself.

Happy days. Then suddenly, grammar became important again. Teachers everywhere wrung their hands, remembering how they used to do it ten years before.

So, this morning we hear of ‘new’ vocational education. With employer engagement and work experience and everything! I sit here crying at my laptop, remembering BTECs and NVQs, Diplomas, Connexions, City & Guilds, YOPs, ROSLA and ONCs and wondering how much money has been wasted reinventing the wheel, training staff and deceiving our children into believing they are doing a qualification which actually means something today and will still mean something in ten years or twenty years from now.

Weather forecasting

Is it possible to get a weather forecast that is the definitive version do you think? I listen to the radio first things and it tells me that the maximum temperature will be 15 degrees. I come downstairs and the TV weather tells me that it will be rainy on and off and 18 degrees. Then up pops a weather account on twitter which says sunny intervals and 20 degrees.

I know that meteorology is a difficult subject but do the various media not start with the same data? Who would have thought that they could all interpret it so differently?

So, today I’ll wear a vest top, covered with a long-sleeved shirt and pop a long cardie on top just in case. Now, where’s me wellies?

Calendar

My calendar is usually quiet-ish. I have the odd thing dotted here and there and that is probably just as well really. With an elderly man to care for and two active little boys in my life, I do enough considering this is retirement.

This week, however, is fast becoming a bit of a nightmare. Each day is being squeezed as a rash of dentist appointments, blood tests, parcel deliveries and hospital visiting slots battle for space. Where myself and Mr. Whinge have overlapping appointments, we are swapping vehicles, removing baby seats from one vehicle to another, ensuring that we each know the other’s movements and scheduling that around actually making time to do things together whilst my dad is in hospital –  a rare treat when he is at home. Tomorrow a parcel is coming. I am at the dentist and Mr. Whinge is at the doctor’s. We also have an active 23 month old boy with a bad cold to look after. What do you bet that the parcel (which has to be signed for) arrives at that precise fifteen minute overlap while Mr. Whinge is out and I haven’t yet got back from drilling and filling? 

I sometimes wonder how I coped with constant pressure at work. In retirement, I find I’m seeking an easy life but feel a lot more stressed when it doesn’t turn out that way.

Flies

Thanks to @NuttyA10 for this one.

Why do flies fly at just the same height as an opened window?!

More to the point, once they have entered your home, why can they not do the same trick on the way out? They buzz round and round landing everywhere, bouncing off ceilings and curtains in their excitement at getting in. But can they find that same open window? Oh no. The skill they had on the way in now seems to have disappeared.

Now I’m basically a pacifist and it grieves me to actually kill anything. Even though flies are spreaders of disease, even though they have walked all over a pile of poo before arriving in your home and paddling all over your work surfaces, I’d rather let them out rather than swat or spray. I actually feel upset if I spray them and they lie on the windowsill buzzing in circles on their backs, presumably in agony. I have stood there for ages, encouraging said fly to find the widely opened window by various hand waftings but the little blighters always double back and fly into the depths of the house again. Its mission then is to fly around various rooms randomly for days until exhaustion finally sets in – but not before it finds its way upstairs to the bedroom and waits until you have turned off the light. It then dive bombs your head and bare shoulder, just to remind you that you didn’t manage to get it out of that open window.

Flies are definitely worthy of a Daily Whinge.

Whingers

Yes, I realise the irony of this post. I write every day about a particular whinge of mine – but honestly I have to really scrape the bottom of the barrel sometimes. How I’ll keep this up for a year I really don’t know.

However, there are people who can get an Olympic Gold medal for whingeing. Every little thing is negative and the whole world is against them. Day after day they tell their tales of woe, craving sympathy, sucking the emotion out of others.

No more. I reserve the right to claim back my emotions. I am now being proactive and choosing to follow only those who bring me hope, joy, positivity and calm.

Pronunciation

I know I’ve touched on this before but I’m about to do it again. I’m not talking about accents here. I like accents and realise that each accent has its own nuances. I’m talking about words which are changed through lack of correct pronunciation into different words.

This started yesterday on twitter with a comment from @digitalmaverick about the word lackadaisical. Not laxadaisical – which is the incorrect version. This led to a torrent of other commonly mispronounced words from @Langwitch.

We started a list.  This is what we came up with:

Febury (February)

Wensday (Wednesday)

secutary (secretary)

bowkay (bouquet, being a French word, should be pronounced boo-kay)

tenderhooks (tenterhooks)

sikth (sixth)

lonjuray (lingerie – another French one)

weary (when it should be wary)

There are sure to be more. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.

Shopping

I used to love shopping but over recent years I have stopped loving it. I find it much more frustrating and now prefer to shop online whenever possible. For some things though, online shopping is not an option for me. For example, when buying clothes or shoes, I have to try them on. Something which looks good on a model might look like a sack of potatoes on me. I have already blogged about my shoe problem so won’t repeat that.

What annoys you most about shopping? For me it is this:

People who dawdle and block aisles.

People who assemble in groups catching up on news and block the aisle.

People who don’t watch where they are going and ram their trolley into your ankles.

The great unwashed who stink of sweat or worse.

Parents who don’t control their children in a public place.

Inconsiderate parking – especially those who use disabled or child spaces without reason.

Trollies that go sideways.

Supermarkets that change where things are regularly.

The fact that when I have no money, I see loads of things I’d like but when I have some money, I can’t find anything I’d like.

I’m sure there are more. Feel free to add your personal shopping nightmare to the comments below.

Clocks

In my house I have eight clocks. There are also clocks on our laptops, tablets and phones. This brings the total to about 15 devices plus a video player, oven and microwave which display the time.

So why is it that at any given time of the day, each one of them seems to tell a different time?

Clutter

I hate clutter. My idea of Hell would be living in a house full of ornaments, floral wallpapers, patterned carpets and curtains. For an ‘older’ person, I have quite modern taste. I like clean lines, minimalist decoration and plain colours. It has been a lot of fun moving into a beautiful, perfect brand new house and working through room by room, making colour choices and buying furnishings.

I watch a lot of home makeover programmes and it never fails to amaze me that people put their houses on the market and take so little care over how their house appears to the potential buyer. It is hard enough to sell property in the current climate so you have to do something to make your house stand out from the crowd.

It got me wondering whether this principle should extend to life itself. I have gone through times of feeling life was full of clutter and gazing at those with more simple lives with envy. Perhaps we try to fit too much in and sometimes we should step back and reflect on areas of our lives which need a ‘Spring clean’.

This came on a day when a new twitter friend was tidying out her garage and finding it hard to part with some of the things therein. At the same time another twitter friend is coping admirably with terminal cancer,  agreeing with her medical support services that her life should concentrate on fun because laughter really is the best medicine. Time to simplify and declutter.