Category Archives: General

Grandchildren

Grandchildren can bring such laughter. This week, in Sainsbury’s, S (who is very nearly 5) was telling me that the following day people would be giving up things they like. I asked him if this meant things like chocolate. He told me it did but that he wouldn’t be giving up chocolate. After a quiet moment of thought, he said ‘I think I am going to give up …….wine’. Cue everyone in that aisle bursting out laughing.

Then yesterday S  was in the car with mummy. He told her that he had now decided who he was going to marry. Naturally she was curious so asked him who the lucky girl might be.
‘I am going to marry X’ he told her. Mummy asked why he had chosen this particular girl.
‘Because she is so helpful’ replied S.
Mummy then asked what she was so helpful with. 
‘She helps take my clothes off’ was the reply.
Mummy was now feeling a sense of alarm so probed further.
‘When we do PE she helps me with my buttons and things. Then after PE, she helps me again. She folds all my clothes carefully and puts them back in my PE bag.’
Definitely ‘wife’ material then!

Incidentally, two weeks ago he told me he was going to marry Y and they were having one little boy who they would call ‘Mario’. Apparently she has now been ditched as ‘She is too bossy’.
Aren’t grandchildren brilliant?

Virtual Friends

Most of my friends and family know that I love twitter. This is really odd because in my early days of using a computer, I would run a mile from any form of communication with ‘strangers’. Well, twitter changed all that. I love the conciseness of it – if you can’t say something in 140 characters then don’t say it at all. But most of all, I love the fact that you can pick and choose who you interact with. My twitter friends are mostly teachers and even though I have now retired, I still maintain a healthy interest in education. In my last working years I was heavily involved with Enterprise Education and then set up my own business as an Enterprise Education ‘consultant’ (I hate that word!). The pressure on schools to jump through hoops added to the cuts in budget and loss of additional funding for Enterprise (thanks to you, coalition) mean that it was more than a struggle to make it a comfortable income. On top of this, I found it difficult to do the ‘business’ part as in ‘taking money from people’. My business still has one outstanding debt that I gave up on because I’m just too much of a softie to keep pestering. The joy of it now is that I can happily help people find solutions without charging them and I find this much more ‘me’.

So……twitter. I read a lovely post from one of my followers this week about friends. Read her blog – it’s really good. You’ll find it here: http://highheelsandhighnotes.wordpress.com/ and the entry I’m referring to is Day 31. She refers to ‘virtual friends’ meaning those who exist for us on the internet via social networking. A few years ago I would have laughed at this but twitter has taught me otherwise. I have built up the most amazing collection of people over the years. When you feel down they respond within seconds with just the right words. If you are happy about something, they pat you on the back and congratulate. Of course, it isn’t always positive. Last year brought an example of the dark side of social networking as referred to in my blog in August  2012 under the title ‘The Strangest Four Days’. I don’t want to go over the whole sad tale again as it still hurts but you can read it if you wish to know more.

Twitter has taught me that there are a lot of good people out there that we may never meet. I have met some of my twitter followers though and they turned out to be just as I’d hoped and expected. Who was it said ‘Facebook is for people who are friends but you wish they weren’t but twitter is for people who aren’t friends but you wish they were’? Well, something like that, anyway. I pick and choose my Facebook friends very carefully, so if you are on my list please don’t take that last statement as meaning you!

This week was a sad twitter week in some respects. A lady I follow has been counting down to retirement and finally retired at Christmas. However, her husband was admitted to hospital before Christmas and sadly died this week. At times like that, kind words and thoughts and prayers from twitter peeps can make a difference. I find her in my thoughts a lot over the last couple of days.  There has been a lot of good news this week too as many of my twitter friends were shortlisted for NAACE Awards. The shortlist read like a Who’s Who of my twitter ‘friends’.

I don’t follow celebrities really. I can’t see much point as there is little or no interaction. I do unfollow people who irritate me and have been known to block people too. (Blocking means they can’t see your tweets.) I don’t like bad language on twitter and sometimes have to fight the urge to correct people’s spellings (once a teacher, always a teacher). My other pet twitter hate is people posting using auto tweets, telling me how far they have run, walked or swum and how many calories they have burned. In fact, I hate auto tweets altogether. For me, twitter is about people. I also get a bit narked when people retweet praise that has come their way. I’m not really a ‘look at me!’ sort of person.

Here are some of my favourite twitter people. I wonder if you can spot yourself in this list:

The lady who is married to a Head Teacher and has a great sense of humour. I feel we would be great friends if we ever met.

The lady who  went through cancer treatment and is always there now for anyone having similar health issues – as well as the rest of us.

The lady who was a surrogate mum for her friend. She is one very special person to help a friend like that.

The lady who has to live far from home for work and is having a pretty tough time with her school at the moment.

The man who runs a careers information business and always makes me laugh with his tweets.

The lady who lives on an island and despite the loss of her husband at a young age, is always positive and lovely.

The retired Head who has become an amazing influence on so many schools via blogging.

The bubbly, crazy woman from Wales who is a brilliant artist and SEN specialist.

The lady from Yorkshire who works for an education company and had a lovely baby girl last year

There are many, many others – too numerous to mention. All special people and all appreciated very much. I may not meet any of you in the flesh, but will always think of you as my friends.

And that is the beauty of twitter!

Video

Another Apple fanboi!

J (18months) is getting really good fine motor skills by using the iPad. He loves Duck Duck Moose’s ‘Wheels on the Bus’ and ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’.

A long time coming

I have been thinking about moving all of my blogging to WordPress for a while. I’ve dipped my toe in the water a few times and then chickened out. Today though, I took the plunge. It doesn’t do exactly what I want it to but then I could have paid for an upgrade which might have done. I did invest some extra on getting a personalised URL though. Only time will tell whether it will be an improvement for me – but right now I feel happy and just need to do some more blogging and get back on track with the 100 Word Challenge as well.

Well that was a bit of a boring post but gave me the chance to try it out!

Oh my goodness!

Well, just look at that.  How long have I neglected my blogging? I have excuses, of course. I moved house, I’m now a full-time carer for my 82 year old dad and BT have given us nightmares with our order for a landline and broadband. (47 days in and still waiting!)
However, enough of the excuses. It is time to get back on track and writing again.  The book I was writing is still sitting there waiting for a suitable ending but I do intend to complete it. I really want to take part in this week’s 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups and also in the Gransnet competition to write a children’s bedtime story.  So, I must get motivated and get cracking!
Watch this space and feel free to nag me if I don’t do as I say!

The Strangest 4 days

I feel I really have to document what has happened in the last 4 days. To say they have been emotional is an understatement. Those who know me know that I really enjoy and see the value of Twitter. I have made many ‘friends’ there and find it a hugely supportive and helpful network. I have actually met several people that I follow and they are just as lovely in real life. But as with any social network, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. I have a very trusting nature and really care about people. Now you might think that’s a good thing, right? Well yes, it is most of the time but occasionally that nature is exploited and I have discovered that I am very easily taken in and duped.
At the weekend I was told that a blog I followed last year was fake. I was so shocked that I’d been taken in by it and even donated money to help those people who were stranded far from home with a very ill premature baby and mounting bills. They had also exploited another couple with a genuine story and used their blog to highlight their own ‘dilemma’. This was bad enough but what followed next was devastating.
Another trusted and lovely ‘friend’ had documented her terrible time over the last two years. I won’t go into details because most people reading this know the full story. She called me her twitter mum and I felt honoured to be so. We shared tweets, texts and emails. We travelled with her through births and illnesses, marriages and deaths. Nobody could believe that one family could suffer so much hardship. I sent gifts. I donated to The Meningitis Trust. I tried to always be there through the bad times to console and through the good times to congratulate.
Then Wednesday night brought a flurry of Twitter activity revealing the deception we had all been subjected to. Photographs of someone else’s twins from their blog – that was bad enough – but later in the evening, photos of the alleged wedding a couple of weeks ago. They were indeed someone’s wedding – but not that of the person who drew us in. Even worse, I collected all the tweets on the wedding day, along with some of these photos and made them into an Apple album (which was not cheap!) and posted it to them. This means that I also used someone else’s wedding photos without their consent.
The Twitter community was affected terribly. We had grieved, lit candles and shared some pretty raw emotions and were left with incredulity that someone could do such a thing.
Even now, in my own heart, I am confused about which bits were real (if any) and which were pure fantasy. I’m shocked that anyone could use others’ photos and wonder how these people will react when they find out – as they most certainly will. 
I can’t understand the reason behind this and won’t even try. But I hope I have learned from this. I won’t run away from Twitter because there are so many lovely. genuine people on there. But I will certainly be much more careful about investing any emotion on people I have never met.

Today my dad had Guinness for breakfast

Those who are close to me know my feelings about care for the elderly. My father opted to go into residential care of his own free will and having received a good pension on retirement he’s paid his own fees for the last ten years. That amounts to a lot of money when most months cost £2200 at his home. Do the sums – it’s quite scary.
He has been through the Southern Cross fiasco and survived. It was a bit of a blow to realise that the company which took over were also in dire financial straits and were bailed out by a financial institution but we had faith and gave them time. I now do all of his washing as he was sick of losing clothes in the laundry. But recently there have been more worrying issues. A while ago there was no butter. He was served dry bread. There are two issues here. One – in my humble opinion, no organisation should run out of an everyday essential like butter. Two – if it had run out, someone ought to have nipped down to the shop to buy some. Today when I visited the issue was bread. No bread for supper last night (run out) and then again for breakfast this morning as the delivery was late for some reason.
By this time my dad was in a strop. When the bread arrived later, he was offered it but refused in protest. He then went back to his room and opened a can of Guinness and had it for his breakfast.
I know that he can be a bit of a tinker when crossed but I think he is right to be more than a bit angry when he feels he is simply not getting value for money – a huge amount of money actually. It is also worrying that he is losing weight rapidly as he eats less and less. I must add that this is not solely down to the choice and quality of food but also the issues he has with digestion and teeth.
We decided to take my dad in to live with us but need a bigger house. Unfortunately, the house we wanted went to someone else today (that’s a whole other story!). In the meantime we will move him to a new place where hopefully he will be given a better deal.

Beautiful Blogger!

 
 
What a lovely surprise to hear from Sally-Jane that she had nominated some of us for a Beautiful Blogger Award.
You can find Sally-Jane’s blog here http://sjbwriting.wordpress.com/.  She writes beautiful pieces for the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups and is a talented lady in many other respects – teaching, dancing, boxing and French being just a few!
There are some guidelines to getting this award. First, you should link back to the person who nominated you. Second, you must suggest 6 or 7 people to pass the award on to. Third, you should tell people ten things about you that they may not know already.
So, here goes:
The people whose blogs I read regularly are as follows:
I got to know Harriet through Twitter and she has become so much more than a friend to me. Her blog tells of life as a new mother of twin girls, one of whom survived meningitis in her first year. Harriet’s blog has made me laugh and cry in equal measure and I love her dearly.
I suggested to Kate that she ought to blog to help others going through the same challenge that she is – the desire to have a baby when the odds seem stacked against you.
Martin blogs in several categories but my favourite is his Reflections blog which is totally random. That is what I love about it.
Ronnie loves gardening, taking beautiful photographs, blogging and drinking wine. She started blogging as she approached 60 and had continued since then.
Ross Mannell:  http://rossmannell.com/
Ross is an Australian who takes part in the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups. I love to read his writing as it almost always reflects my own feelings about the importance of family life.
Now, 10 things about me you may not know:
1               I was once kissed hundreds of metres below the sea
2               I learned to speak Japanese when teaching young people from Japan so I could understand what they were saying about me.
3               I have been known to dress in leathers and cling on to my husband on the back of his motorbike.
4               I once phoned my future mother-in-law and pretended to be a policewoman, telling her that her son had been hit by a steamroller.
5               I was once stung by wasps twice within 30 minutes. One had crept down the front of my dress. The second climbed up my leg and stung me on the upper thigh. My father entered the kitchen just in time to see my husband ripping off my dress to allow the wasp to fly away.
6               When my husband asked my father’s permission to marry me he said ‘No!’.
7               I was once electrocuted in the classroom trying to repair a thermostat on the wall. I flew backwards about eight feet during afternoon registration and the kids didn’t even notice.
8               I was once hit by a cyclist while crossing the road. He flew over the handlebars and ended up head first in a ditch. This was in the days before compensation culture!
9               I once got very drunk on gin and ended up in someone’s kitchen broom cupboard crying.
10           I once got top marks at school for sewing a denim skirt – but actually my mum had made it as I was useless at sewing.

My Wednesdays

I was born on a Wednesday. ‘Wednesday’s child is full of woe.’ I’ve lived for 2986 Wednesdays and can count on one hand the number of them that have been woeful. I have been blessed – a good man, two amazing children, the best two grandsons in the world. I’ve worked hard and earned enough to be comfortable in a job I truly enjoyed until the last few years. I’ve hopefully escaped the curse of breast cancer that took my mother in her early 50s. I plan to see many Wednesdays as I grow old disgracefully, but if not, I can’t complain.

Hope for Hollie

The photos you can see to the right are the candles we all lit tonight at 7pm to show support for Scott, Harriet, Hollie and Alice.  Hollie, who is Alice’s twin sister, is very ill in hospital.  We are hoping and praying that she will recover and they can all be together at home again as soon as possible.  Please spare some time to think about them and pray for Hollie’s fight against meningitis.