Thursday, June 28, 2012

Northern-ness, crushing defeats and whole bundle of randomness.

What a week. Full of high hopes and diappointments and pleasant surprises.

I went back home last weekend to see the parentals and catch up with some friends and actually had a fabulous weekend. Sometimes I'm chomping at the bit to come home, mainly due to my mum pecking my head in, but she was actually on fairly good behaviour this time.

Saturday I met up with two lovely ladies for lunch in the beautiful Standish (posh part of Wigan....or so they would have you believe....ha ha), who were both late, so as I sat waiting, right next to the dessert stand (and they're both on Weight Watchers....ha ha, I'm so cruel.) I couldn't help but jot some things down.

I ordered a Sprite before they arrived, not knowing if we were drinking or not and I had to giggle to myself (yes I realise people probably thought I was a crank). They brought a plastic sprite bottle with a 99p sticker running all around it, and when I checked the menu it was £1.95 for a Sprite. Well, I guess we know how much profit they're making on each one of those. I also had to giggle at the menu, as after years they still spell arribbiata like this: Arabiratta. Part of me wants to tell them, the other part sort of enjoys the fact that I can come back every two years and still find that very cute mistake. Char also pointed out the many apostrophe mistakes throughout the menu and being a adult learner in literarcy and numeracy, you can see why it pulls her chain. Still, in all fairness, it was a lovely meal and a great dessert and Weight Watchers went flying out the window.

Two bottles of wine later and I'm knocking over glasses. Oooops. Not used to that drinking in the afternoon feeling anymore.Great afternoon!!!

It's weird though, everytime I venture into Standish, something's changed or a building's being demolished, or rebuilt or rennovated. Something has moved, changed, upgraded, extended....... It's just odd. Part of me feels that nothing should change. That time should stand still now I'm gone, because all of my memories are there and so once I return I can just pick up from where I left off. (But I do realise how selfish that is and I'm not complaining or anything.) It just feels like the place that held all my childhood memories is gone and my identity there, with it. (Whoa. That's way too deep for 7.30am)

And so, Sunday saw the parentals and I heading off to Liverpool and the new Turner, Monet and Twombly exhibition at the Tate. The exhibtion was great, but even better was my mum and dad in the Tate. Ha ha. The Richards aren't exactly known for their art conosseuir-ism...........

My mum kept getting really close up and almost touching them. I was like, for god's sake it's a Monet. And most of the Twombly ones she just kept saying, "my kids could've drawn one of those". I kept looking around for someone about to lamp her one. There could have been some mega Twombly fans there and she was just dissing him to her heart's content. He he. Was hilarious! Anyhoo, a very random day but good fun and a sunny but blustery Albert Docks. Love the scouse accent!

Fact: It is really difficult to listen to the radio online on a train!
Trust me to be travelling on England's Quarter Final match. Gutted! The only saving grace (or so I thought) was that I had a First Class ticket (darling) and would get free wi-fi. So I figured I could stream it or something. A suggested radio rather than picture as it could screw up, so I went with Radio five live.
Oh my word, it cut out at first, every two or three seconds and sometimes would come back on straight away and other times would cut out for up to ten minutes. ARGH! Bloody Virgin Wi-fi. Surely you should have perfected the idea of seamless wi-fi on journies. It's impossible to do anything if it cuts out every few metres of track. Of the first half I must have managed ten minutes of actual commentary and the rest I had to guess or just make up.

Don't they get it? It was England in a Quarter final. England V's Italy for a chance in the Semi-final of Euro 2012. Surely Virgin Trains should have arranged big screens in each carriage or something. I mean, I was in first class. Now that would be first class service. Something to think about Mr Branson........

Bless the train manager though. At 9.09pm he announced over the tannoy that England were nil nil. I bet he got better reception than I did. Oh, and then there was a tunnel just as England had a free kick, 15 minutes before the end of normal time. And it cuts out......ARGH. It was along tunnel too.

Less than five minutes to go, my stomach's tied in knots and it cuts out again.......

And again with three minutes to go.......

And another tunnel with 2 minutes of stoppage time. And it's a really really long tunnel. And I know it's over and possibly going in to extra time, but I'm oblivious to the facts.

And once we go to extra time, I'm thinking, please don't go to penalties. We are biologically incapable of taking penalties. It must be something in the English blood that makes us cave under the pressure of penalty taking. And we know before we even start that we're going to lose that way........depressing.

And so we arrive at Euston, just as the first period of extra time is coming to a close and I'm running through the station, desperate to get home. I even try to get wi-fi on the platform to figure out what the hell is going on but by the time I register and all that bollocks, my train's already here. Felt like the longest journey ever and once I was out, I ran through Kentish Town, yanking my trolley along with me, praying that someone had scored. Anyone, just to avoid the heartache of penalties.

A texted as I was almost home with the one word I didn't want to see.....penalties xx

Argh! I pegged it and managed to make it home just in time for the first penalty. Man I was stressed and the stress didn't exactly decrease. I really thought after Italy missed their second, that we could have it. But then we missed one and another and.......They think it's all over, it is now!

Ah well. World cup in 2 years??? Euro 2016???? Eeek, that's depressing, I'll be 32 then. Urgh!

I picked up my Olympic tickets on Monday. Yes I managed to get some. It was all very exciting and it sort of seems real now. Hockey tickets on the main Olympic site, so we'll get to wander around and soak up the atmosphere. Whoop!

Keep having random book ideas and I know it's just my head's way of refusing to finish my second novel. It's frustrating but I guess it's good to know there are still an abundance of ideas swirling and forming. I ain't no one trick pony. Oh no.

Some classic kiddy things from yesterday:

One of my kids has recently been circumcised and he'd never said anything afterwards, but yesterday during our work cycle, he flashed me. "Hey Helen. Look at this." And then he said (after I'd told him to put it away), "There's a hole, 'cause I went to the Doctors."  Oh, I did laugh.

And later another kid (whom a lot of these quotes are usually from....He's a ledge!) announced at the lunch table, that he can't touch earrings. "If I touch earrings, my willy hurts."

You really just can't make these things up.

Finally, went out for tea last night before a gig and we ate at Byron burgers. I hadn't been before. Nice burger but way too fake over friendly staff. A said, "Nice waitress." I said, " I have some thoughts about that. I'll tell you when we go outside." And my thoughts basically were, "I don't want to be your friend, I just want my burger." She was sitting on the couch at the side of me, asking me where I was going and telling me about her boyfriend. I realise we live in an age where they are trying to reinvent customer service and probably trying to do it American style, but please, I don't want your life story. I just want to eat and tip and leave. And I did tip. I'm not evil (though others may argue that point). I don't know. Maybe it's because I'd had a shitty day at work. Maybe It was lots of things, but I'm suspicious of strangers asking me for information and trying to talk to me. I guess I'm a closed book. Hardened. Weathered. And used to the London attitude of refusing to talk or even look at people. So now when people do talk to me, it feels wrong and I immediately feel suspicious. Bless her, she was just doing her job, but really I just wanted my god damn burger and chips. Thank you.

Oh and the Saint Saviour Gig was amazing at St Pancras Old Church. We ended up on the front row, not that there were many rows, the church is tiny. But really you should check her out. Absolutely incredible voice. SO so so so so so so so so so jealous!!! There were a few bits too much like Katie Bush that it offended me a little. There's only one Katie and she's my ultimate Goddess, but really you should check her out. She's also completely nuts, so I could defnitely relate to her on that level. Really though, supreme jealousy. I'll never sing like that......sob!

And on that note, it's time to do the washing up and get ready for! I think I'm going to have a meeting with my manager today....who knows what might happen????????

Have a great Thursday. It's hot out there.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tesco bags, superglue and kings, kings, kings.

Blog 22/6/12

Highlights of the last couple of days:
Guy with a Tesco bag on his head to protect his dreads from the rain! Genius.

One of my staff super gluing her own hand. Ha!

Purchasing Tori Amos tickets for her October tour, avec orchestra. *giddiness*

Ahhhhhhhh, the lift has been fixed, just in time for me to leave the building with my case and venture up North for the weekend. It's freakin' ridiculous. It's been 2 weeks and whilst it's annoying and slightly tiring for me, imagine the poor pregnant woman on the seventh floor. I bet she's been having a lovely time of late. Not to mention all the kids and families. Nightmare. Anyhoo, they finally got off their arse and fixed it, but not without pissing off every resident in the building. There's talks of a reduce in maintenance fees and such, but who knows.

Now if things could just stop breaking that would be fab!

Oh, I've also finally reached the bottom of my washing basket (dusty bin). Whoop. God that stuff must have been there for a good month, if not 5 weeks. Nice.

Been teaching my kids about South America this week and the last two days we did about the Rainforest. We talked about camouflage and defense mechanisms for animals, such as the brightly coloured poison dart frogs. We had a blast and all the children were going home talking about the frogs. "We can't eat them because they will make us sick!" "Stop. Don't eat me!" It's so nice when you realise they've taken something in, they've listened to you and understand a concept. Plus it's the rainforest, so it's well exciting!

Today I taught them about South American landmarks and we made our own Easter Island statues out of play dough. They were awesome! And then we proceeded to draw pictures of various animals to place on our Rainforest display board. We just chatted and shared ideas and drew pictures and had a blast. Now that is a day at work that I like. Just being with my kids and teaching and chatting. They really are amazing, my little flock.

Anyhoo, enough niceness, it's enough to have you vomiting.

Nasty tube journey this morning. It was rammed from Kentish Town to Kings Cross. It was literally elbow in cheek bone, shoulder in nose, someone pressed up against one side, another person on the other. Everyone was really tall, it was like a jungle of limbs. At one point I thought I was going to have a panic attack. I couldn't even see a patch of space. Everything was closing up around me and my panic button was hit. Luckily at the next stop, a couple of people got off and I was able to rearrange enough to have a small patch of emptiness. It didn't last long, invaded by another set of limbs, another head, someone else sucking my oxygen.

I've never been so relieved to leave a tube before. And then randomly, the Piccadilly line was deserted in comparison. Which never happens. What a pleasant surprise. I probably could have done a cartwheel in there without kicking too many people in the face. But, I will report that I didn't.

Oooo, almost finished second book of Game of Thrones: A clash of Kings. Another brick to carry around (which could explain my sore wrist, though it could be lifting too many heavy children.) but legendary. Some of the characters are just so real, you can taste their victory, feel their defeat. I should finish it this weekend and have even brought book three with me so I can continue straight on. Muhahahahahaha. It's quite funny because I know what's happening and A doesn't. We watched the first series and then I started reading the books but we ain't seen season 2 yet. So he has no idea. He he.

Busy train journey back but got there in one piece. Some guy locked himself in the bathroom for like an hour and in the end the train manager had to come and bash on the door. I didn't catch everything but I think he could smell pot. Rebels on the virgin trains. Never a dull moment, especially when you're going up north.

Well, I'm looking forward to lunch with my ladies, Char and Nic. Hopefully no more announcements, I'm not sure I can cope with any more pregnancies or marriages. Ha ha. There's six mums at work that are pregnant. I'm definitely avoiding that chair.

Have a wet and windy weekend and COME ON ENGLAND tomorrow night, though in advance, my apologies as I'll be on my train home. Although, I am in first class, so I'll have free wi-fi, so maybe I'll be able to live stream it or something???? Hmmmmm. The possibilities.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Get ready for the splurge

Not a great day. I feel a splurge rant coming on. Just a splurge of thoughts. No method to the madness.

So I'm supposed to leave at four as I'm on the early shift this week and I've got all my paperwork done for the day and it's 3.55 and I'm thinking 'get in, I'll be able to leave on time.' I've set up the tables for tea, done everything I need to.....goodbye. And that's when my manager says, 'can I just have five minutes before you go?' Ahhhhhhhh, those words I hear so often which are usually followed by an hour in the office. Great, just as I'm about to leave.

Right about here is where a 'no' button would come into play quite nicely, but as yet I am not fitted with one. I hear nowadays they come fitted as standard. Damn you youngsters and your attitude problems and unwillingness to do anything for anyone but yourself. And damn those polite, lovely genes that show respect and kindness to others. They basically mean you'll spend your life as a doormat.

My manager asks me if I'm okay? She says I've seemed really stressed recently. Well yeah! Of course. How could I not be? If it's not new children throwing themselves on the floor or beating the crap out of their friends; it's being over ratio. If it's not children giving you two days notice before they leave or SEN paperwork, then it's people coming around telling me I have to have my portfolios up to date or the world will crumble around us. They pile on the stress in droves. I was up till 1.00am doing children's portfolios. Then they wonder why I'm tired and snappy the next day.

They seem to think that there's all this time to spare in the day that we're not utilising. Believe me, I wish there was, but sadly no. Some days there's barely an opportunity to drink or pee, let alone update portfolios. I just think most people that don't directly work in the classroom, doing the teacher's role, shouldn't be allowed to pass judgement on it. Unless you're in there, up to your elbows in piss and snot then how the hell do you know what's going on. If you can descend from your throne on high, with your nice clothes not covered in afore-mentioned bodily fluids and presumably paint, chalk and whatever they had for dinner, then it's difficult to take your opinion seriously.

So yes, I'm stressed.

Then she asks me if I'm happy. She says I don't seem happy. Wow. She really knows how to hit this thing on the head. I know what this is. It isn't concern for me, my sanity or my increasingly greying hair. It's simply to gauge out if I'm going to leave or not. Now of course, I want to. I even told her that I'd wanted to leave for the last four years (my current employment length.....4 years and 2 weeks) and tried to shrug it off as a joke. Though sometimes I don't think everyone quite gets my humour. Well. Their loss.

So I skirt around the edges as usual, not really giving much truth, throwing in a sarcastic comment or two. But then we get the part when I'm told I need to be coming in in a good mood, because I work with children and that's what should be happening and that I shouldn't take out my annoyances on the children. And that I shouldn't shout at the children because she doesn't like that. In response, I said that I always come in in a good mood, I just lose it by about 10am. (No laugh.....tough crowd). I also add that if I do shout, I bring my voice straight down afterwards and I only do that as a last resort. But I felt like I was having to defend myself.

I was so annoyed. In all honesty, most of the things that piss me off are parent or staff related. Let's face it, a 2, 3 or 4 year old couldn't get you that narked. It would have to be an adult. And that my dears is why I work with kids. They're much easier to get along with than adults and much more on my wave length. And if I am ever grumpy I always apologise afterwards and I find a way of cheering myself and everyone up.

What I loved was the fact that it started off as though she was genuinely concerned about me (though we all know she just doesn't want me to leave) and then it turned into me getting told off. Oh and guess what time it is now.......4.15.

But then even better, guess what I'm greeted with as I go back in the classroom.??? Oh Helen, one of the kids turned on all the taps and flooded the bathroom and the floor's all wet. So who stays to mop it up and gets on her hands and knees cleaning the floor to make sure no one slips???? Yes, you guessed it, me! And do I get a thanks?????? Do I bollocks.

That, right there is one of the many things that ticks me off. You wonder why I'm unhappy. Because I do anything for anyone and no one gives a rats arse about me and all the time I give up for that place. If I was given all my time back, I'd probably be off the next two weeks. But I never say anything and now it's just the running joke that Helen can't leave on time. Well. The joke will be on them, when I start leaving them bang on 4.00, with no intention of staying a moment later, not even if they're stressed and over ratio. Not even if nine parents come at the same time for feedback. No. From this day onwards, if I'm supposed to leave at 4.00, then I will leave at 4.00 and beware anyone that gets in my way. If this is the only way to get through to people, then I'll do it. I'll become a dragon. Because it's just not worth it anymore, especially when most of my kids are leaving me. Kids that I've had for up to 2 and a half years. Attached doesn't really cover it.

It's just not worth it to work myself to the bone and then still get told I'm not doing enough. For some people this is their vocation in life, but not for me. This is something I stumbled into and happened to be good at and at certain times I can really enjoy. But most of the time it's just a major headache. I love my kids so much and I love the teaching elements of the day, but that just isn't enough anymore. I want to write. I want the freedom and head space to allow my thoughts to form and develop. I don't want to be constantly thinking that I should be doing something else. Always having your mind on numerous tasks is pretty exhausting and it's partly why I don't sleep longer than 6 hours and partly why I'm always knackered.

The poor washing machine. It's just finished it's sixth run since being repaired on Friday. The red light is blinking another competed cycle. Well done. We're really testing that new motor. Though I'm still only just reaching the actual washing basket (dusty bin). I've cleared the mountain above it but there's still everything inside it. God knows how long it's all been there. At least a month. Lucky I don't smell too bad. (No comments to the contrary please. I'm not sure I could take it today.)

Really obese people walking up the 175 steps at Russell Square station and complaining is hilarious! Ha! Just wait for a bloody lift next time.

Making burgers tonight for the big match. Come on England. Cheer me up! Let's get through to the Quarters. That's reasonably credible and would be a great boost for the country pre-olympics. Apparantly my Olympic tickets were delivered yesterday but I have to go pick them up from the depot as I was at work of course. Still I think it might be more exciting when I can hold them in my hands. I don't quite believe they're real yet until I can hold them without them turning to gold dust.

Let's hope A's eurostar is on time tonight. I am hungry and in need of a heartily massive burger!
Come on England.

Hope you enjoyed the splurge. I think I may need a glass of wine now, or a cheeky vodka and lemonade. Muhahahahahahahahahaha.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Slow walkers; out of order lifts and willy's that are just too long.

Firstly I'd like to say after 5 weeks, I finally have a working washing machine. 5 weeks. Bloody Indesit bastards! I'm sure they've had the motor for ages, they were just making us wait. Forcing us to dig to the bottom of our drawers and the recesses of our wardrobes and wear those clothes that you haven't even seen in at least three years. Bastards.

Anyhoo. Many random outfits and hand washes later, we are finally working through the mountains of clothes stacked precariously on top of our (dusty bins) washing baskets. Does any one else refer to their washing basket as dusty bin? I can't remember the exact reason but I'm getting vague flash backs of it being a character from the 80's. My brother had the original one I think. I still call it that now, without even thinking why. Old habits die hard I guess.

The only trouble now is that we have plans to go and watch the Czech Republic match tonight at our friend's house - he's Czech - and I have no jeans. My measly four pairs of jeans are all in the wash, literally as we speak. Ha ha. So I'm hoping this motor is a good one and can dry my jeans in the next couple of hours, otherwise I'll be pant less. Or I'll have to wear a skirt or something, but it's not exactly football watching clobber is it? Ah well. I made Cranberry, white and milk chocolate cookies to accompany our football night and along with some beer and cider, it should be a great night.

Well done England last night. A good win, though as usual the nails are bitten down to the stump. (a slight lie as I've never bitten my nails, but I did chew on them, especially in the last fifteen minutes.) They like to keep you in suspenders don't they, but for once England came out on top. Now that doesn't happen very often. It's about time!

And so to a week of randomness and general annoyances and some grand discoveries:

General annoyance number 1: Slow walkers.
Now, I'm not just talking tourists here. The guy walking in front of me on Friday morning was obviously a local and was off to work with his saw in one hand and a massive golf umbrella in the other hand. I tried to get past him, but it was saw in face or pointy end of umbrella in face, plus a mass congregated around the bus stop. There was no way I was getting past him without some sort of injury. So I had to wait and and walk ridiculously slow behind him. Not impressed!

General annoyance number 2: The broken lift.
It's been broken for five days now and still, every morning and every night I walk to it, see the yellow tape (a la Big Bang theory) and groan. I don't mind the five flights of stairs up and down, it's just that my mind blocks it out and I completely forget and then I realise and I think, oh bugger. Mainly because I normally have at least two heavy bags with me, but also because the journey home is ingrained into my legs. I barely have to even think about where I'm going or what I'm doing. Most of the time I just drift away and lose myself in a story or my music and then lo and behold, I'm home. So re-routing my brain to include the stair case instead of the lift is actually way harder than you think. I really don't have much of a short term memory, Ha ha.

Grand Discovery number 1: Adults are really rude.
I went to two early years training courses this week. One about sensory processing in children with Autism and one supporting practitioners that work with children with down syndrome. The first one was particularly interesting and knowing both the tutors through my SENCo work was great, but what was even more interesting was that adults are really rude! Bare in mind that everyone there either worked in early years or primary schools and so were teachers or educators of some variety. Most of the women there easily had fifteen years on me, but what I lacked in years, I made up for in common courtesy and manners.

They all talked over each other, interrupted, talked amongst themselves whilst the guest speakers were presenting and made snide comments under their breath. It was just like being back in school but instead of joining in, I was sat there thinking, is this real? Are these people really that rude?

What's funny is that we teach children to take turns, listen to others and wait to talk, but as adults quite often we ignore all that and just loose all sense of social decorum. I was really interested in the subject matter and the guest speakers as they are really top of their game in their respective professions, but I mostly found myself distracted by murmured comments and hushed voices. We really should just go back to raising a hand if we want to talk. Yes it makes you feel like a kid but it mainly worked. Besides it helps to stop those people that hog all the conversation too.

Randomness number 1: "Your willy is too long."
He he. Two of the children were in the bathroom having number 2's at the same time, as they like to. And when one had finished he went into the other cubical to see the other child, as you do when you're four. They are no social boundaries here, no sense of social etiquette. One announced to the other. "You're willy is so big. It's too long."

Out of the mouth of babes. He he.

Grand Discovery number 2: It's hard getting back into running after two years off.
Fairly self explanatory this one. Am slowly getting back into the half marathon training, with the help of the broken lift. I'm up to about 40 minutes of continuous running or exercise which isn't great but it's getting better. I only need to increase to 2 hours and I'm set. Ha ha. But I'm getting there and I'm managing to fit in writing and training and everything else, I just need to keep going, keep increasing the mileage.

Finally, the excitement is mounting for our holiday much later in the year when we head back to the states. But I received two of the guide books the other day and am now in crazy excitement mode, planning and deciding where we want to go. Am so giddy. Well, anything to take my mind off work, which is shockingly shite at the moment and will only get worse as I have to train up new staff. Urgh. I was going to say, worst part of my job, but I think others would argue that vomit, poo and wee were the worst parts of my job.

And so, here's to a lovely weekend for all, whatever you may be up to. Enjoy the football, give your dad a call on father's day, or a cuddle if you're there to see him. Wash your clothes, if you can and walk up the stairs for a change. And enjoy the wind. It's pretty crazy out there.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ants in pants, experimetal stumbling and wind swept barnets.

Ahhhhhh, that good old Friday rant. I feel like I haven't had one in ages. (Okay, I know I've had plenty of other rants on other days of the week, but there's something so satisfying about a Friday whinge.)

I've just come back from the hair dressers. I hear you gasp in shock. But hadn't your magic handed Italian God of hair, left? Yes. He has and it took me a further two months after I found this out to pluck up the courage to go back and try someone else.

To be fair though my hair was fast resembling straw and I was too embarrassed to wear it down. I've even taken to wearing bandanas and all sort of scarves, intricately woven into and around my hair, just to detract from the actual hair itself. And it seemed to be working, although the kids did keep asking me if I'd hurt myself. They thought the scarf was a bandage. Ha ha. When I wore my skull bandana they called me pirate Helen all day. (Was kind of awesome actually! ARRRRRRRR!)

Anyway, so after a particularly shitty day at work (well a particular shitty few weeks at work, but we'll get onto that later.) I went in on whim yesterday and just thought, if they have space for tomorrow, then it's meant to be. And lo and behold, they did.

I got there early, thinking I would have time to take my hair down -  no mean feat, taking a while due to clips and pins and scarves knotted and wrapped around several times - but of course I get in there and it's completely dead and they're ready for me. Then I felt totally embarrassed as she watched me disassemble the hair do, revealing my straw head. She had the most gloriously long hair, straight and gorgeous of course.

Anyhoo, I told them the usual completely uninteresting style I wanted and she got to it. And I have to say it looks great! She even blow dried it with a little curly bit at the end, which lasted as long as it took me to pay, because then I ventured out into the tempest. The wind was brutal and my poor beautiful hair soon became a mess, but oh well. I know how it really looked before the wind took hold and that will have to do. A texted saying he couldn't wait to see it when he got home, shame he never will. Ha ha.

My word I've had some shockingly (or not so shockingly) shit days at work recently. Everyone wants something from me, whether it be paper work or files updating,, or new children starting or a freakin' birthday party. I'm being pulled in that many different directions I don't know which is up and which is down.
And that's making me grumpy, which in turns makes me not want to be arsed, which then in turn makes me want to just sit on my ass and do sweet FA.

I'm sick of people interfering and trying to tell me that after 4 years (yes I've been in London and my current job for four years - anniversary was yesterday.) I'm not doing my job properly, or I'm not doing things the way the other branches do. Quite frankly I couldn't give a shit about the other branches. I've never even seen them and I don't know anyone there and I've never had any complaints from Parents about how I run the place or how I do my portfolios. URGH!

We've had some particularly interesting new arrivals in the shape of paddying, throwing themselves on the floor and banging their heads, repeatedly, and every time you ask them to do something or try to help them they just scream NO! Also we've got a few language barriers and some hitting, pushing, kicking.etc. Lovely.
So we're all having a great time at the moment..........Not!

On top of that I've got all the usual pooh, wee, sickness and dribble, oh and a cup of water down my back, the other day when I was on my lunch break typing. Thanks for that one. One of the children tripped and splashed it all down my back. Lovely.

Can't believe how bad it's been this week and we were only there 3 days. I think if it had only been Wednesday now, I'd definitely be calling in sick tomorrow. I literally could not force myself to go there and do it all over again another two times this week. I'm exhausted and fed up! Sometimes I wish there was just ten kids and me. We would have the best time ever. I could have an assistant who would cover my lunch and help put them to sleep and that would be it. Awesome. And it would only open 9-4. IN MY DREAMS.

Ha ha. That's a lie, because in my dreams I'm a writer and I don't have to bother with this going out to work bullshit. My table and my laptop and my self-discipline are my work place. In my dreams I also continue my music lessons in various places around London. It's fun to dream.

Anyhoo, enough about work, let's talk about The Offspring. Slightly bizarre change of subject but oh my word how good were they live on Tuesday night at Shepherd's Bush Empire????? They were awesome! And barely seemed to have aged (well Noodles had a bit) since the last time I saw them at the MEN in Manchester, when I was 17. Ha ha. Just 11 years ago then.

If you've never been to the Empire before, it has 3 levels of seating/standing and the stalls area which depending on who you're going to see with have seats or standing. Now of course for The Offspring it was standing but A got us 1st tier seating as he figured I wouldn't see anything on the floor as everyone would be taller than me, besides I'm not so young anymore that I want to particularly be rubbing up against tall strangers, seeing only the back of people's heads or having people crowd surf over me, knock my glasses off and destroy them, (Yes that did actually happen to me at a Skin gig in Manchester Academy 3, years ago. But with glasses as beautiful as mine, that's not even a remote option.)

Well Dexter still has it.........Yum Yum! Check this out.

I thought we'd be partying with the oldies, seeing as how The Offspring have been around for years, but I was disappointed at the amount of kids there (and of course by kids I mean 18-22). Ewwww they were everywhere. Ha ha. I like it when I'm the youngest there and everyone's older, it's nice. It's always like that at Tori gigs and I'm kind of hoping it will be like that at the Marilyn Manson gig in July (slightly scared I will come away injured from that one.).

But what was really irritating was how much they couldn't keep still. They were up for a drink every twenty minutes or up to the toilets. It was like being at work again. And this was throughout the gig, whilst The Offspring were playing. I mean, did they not pay to listen and watch? I sure as hell did. Even if I was busting for a piss, I'd still be there cross legged, squeezing for all I was worth. I can't miss a second of something that I've paid for. Call me tight arse, but I just can't and not only that but I don't want to miss anything.

Anyhoo, kids with ants in their pants aside, we did have a good laugh at the guy that was completely caned and possibly out of his head on drugs too. He was doing some sort of experimental dance which often consisted of him falling or stumbling and/or whacking innocent bystanders in the face. What a dick! He was standing up at the balcony and was blocking most people's view. Everyone on our side was getting pissed off with him and one guy kicked off with him and then he ended up getting chucked out by a steward.

We also had the two kids (again must have been 20ish) that decided it would be really fun to strip off, until the stewards came to tell them off. Then everyone in the stalls started cheering and booing the steward. I was just thinking put your clothes on. Let's face it, they didn't look like Dexter. But what was the weirdest thing was that, okay we were in seats but still surely you'd make an effort to move. It was hardly a stationary kind of music. I couldn't keep still. I was stamping my feet, shaking my head and having a good old boogie in my seat. But when you looked out most people were just sat still. Zombies?

I think I may have a new business idea. I could teach people how to dance in their seats. It's a new art form and I seem to be at the forefront of it. So if you want to learn more about the seat dance and it's many intricacies, call me on 808-seat dance or visit the website

Anyway, enough randomness for one evening but I did enjoy my Friday rant and I feel slightly better, even with my wind swept barnet and aching thighs. Looking forward to chicken with prosciutto wrapped around. Sometimes having a boyfriend who cooks is the best thing ever!

Have a great weekend everyone. Don't get blown away. If you have a garden fence.....beware!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mini milk trees, castles and gelato. It can only be three days in Italy. Oh and not forgetting the Jubile concert.

A combination BLOG that should keep you entertained.

Just back from three days in Italy, visiting A's family. So the blog begins from 1/6/12.

Ah. Does anyone remember reading the fabulous book 'The Little Vampire?' I loved it as a kid and A has them all in Italian. So he thought it's be a great way for me to learn some more Italian as after 7 and a half years I am still a rem.

Of course, after one sentence I fell flumoxed. The literal translation was something ridiculous like He informed himself. What? That doesn't even make sense. He'd asked his mother a question so surely it should have said he asked, not he informed himself. I don't get it. I hold my hands up. I don't get it!

Anyhoo, that lesson didn't last long. But the next day we took a road trip with A's parentals to the lovely Lago di Garda (Lake Garda) and the little penninsula bit called Sirmione. Very nice and apparantly George Clooney lives there most of the year, but we didn't see him.

Check out the mini milk trees:

Anyone that doesn't remember mini milk, they were an ice lolly you used to be able to get for about 5p when we were little. You could get milk, strawberry or chocolate and they were yum! But these trees really are the exact shape. (Made me laugh anyway.)

Oh yeah, and check out the awesome castello (castle):

And a trip out in the blistering heat (when Helen didn't have her suncream) wouldn't be complete without some roman ruins:

At this point I was actually melting. I know shame on me for forgetting the sun cream but we got some on the way back to the car and I rapidly applied.

We hopped off to Verona and one thing I must stress at this point was that I was struggling to use the toilet as they were the evil standy-uppy ones. If I wanted to stand up and pee, I'd get a penis. Honestly, it's barbaric. So, I was definitely doing the wee dance in the streets of fair Verona where we set our scene.

We went to see the balcony of Juliet. Oh dear Lord, it was hideous. There was chewing gum all over one wall and graffiti everywhere. Granted the balcony itself was lovely, but the lead up for horrific.

Anyhoo, in fair Verona where the toilets are really expensive........70 cents for a piss. It's worse than London. (30p at most train stations.) but at least I could stop the toilet dance, I'm not sure Verona was ready for it.....ha ha.

Grabbed a sneaky gelato!

 Nom nom.

And so, our visit to Italy culminated in an Earthquake or Terramoto. Luckily not too high (5.1) but still another one in an area already blighted with them in the last two weeks. I hope they stop soon, it didn't affect us so much but it was still pretty freaky. Made me think of those we had in Manchester when we were at Uni. I remember the cafeteria at the top of the Adelphi building shaking side to side. Craziness.

We arrived back today and watched Murray in the French Open. How rude were the crowd? Oh my word, they had to be shushed so many times. I tell you what, that wouldn't have happened at Wimbledon. No way. Bloody booing the winner as well. It ain't panto. They were like a bunch of obnoxious kids. Really disgusting!

And so, I'm here again with a run down of a long concert. Forget Eurovision, this is the Queen's diamond Jubilee. (I'll try and be brief, though we know how that usually goes.)

Awesome opening from the Royal Scot's Guard. Interesting long trumpets, with keys. I hadn't seen those before. Still, a great build up to.........Robbie Williams....(disbelief) He's a bit old now and seems to have little to no voice left.

Will.I.Am cannot sing, therefore should not be on the stage and should never be allowed to give criticism on others for singing. Therefore he should not be a judge on any sort of talent show. Jessie J on the other hand could sing, I just don't like her. And like A said, "There's nothing interesting about her face. I would walk straight past her in the street." (To be fair he'd walk past a lot of people. Ha)

I would like JLS to grow a pair of balls between the 4 of them. Just if they could try, I'd appreciate it!

Oh dear Lord, why did Gary (actually fairly talented) Barlow ever agree to try and harmonize with that. Cheryl you disappoint me. More than that, you disgust me. That was the weakest vocal performance I've probably ever heard and I think one note was in tune the whole song. Her only saving grace was that fantastic blue eye makeup. I'll have me some of that please. It's all about the blue eyeshadow!

Cliff.Cliff. (Shakes head. Tut.)

Lang Lang. Yes yes! Played some classics. Rhapsody in Blue. Mwah!

Alfie Bo. Big belt buckle. Though when he tried to rock up the cornetto song, I think we all heard Pavarotti turn in his grave. What the fuck?

Lovin' the random drunk shots of the crowd. "I love flags me." He he. Excellent.

Jules and Ruby. Great voice Great piano playing, but slightly slow and boring. (Just saying it like it is.)

GRACE JONES.......LEDGE! What amazing legs and to be hula hooping the whole time. Absolute quality! She's 64 and shit hot! Well done love. She didn't drop that hoop once.

Ed Sheeran kind of reminds me of my ex. Cute little ginger thing. Has a beautiful voice, though he must be sick of singing that song by now. Felt it wasn't really appropriate for the party spirit though.

ANNIE LENNOX.....another ledge! Loved the wings and was one of my favourite songs as a kid. She looked good and she definitely still had the voice. It wasn't pitch perfect but she was going for it. She gave a performance and she winged it.....(ha do you get it? Surely I'm almost as funny as all the compering that was going on tonight. For comedians they had a distinct lack of comic timing.) Oh and great female guitarist too. whoop for the ladies!

Rolf Harris. Dear Lord.

Renee Flemming. Excellent voice (or as A said - Boring enough to go and cut some strawberries. Mmmm, and they were yummy too.) I hope some of my kids were watching as she did some fabulous vibrato sections and I'd been teaching my kids about musical ornamentation and we'd been shaking our bodies around to make them vibrate. Her way may be more effective but our way is definitely more fun.

TOM JONES. Mama told me not to come. Anyone remember his duet with Kelly Jones from Stereophonics....yum! Delilah (The weetabix ad). Of course he had to do this. Awesome voice, you big white haired fox.

Oh and finally Harry's enjoying himself. Everytime the camera panned on the royal box he had a face on, but this time he was smiling. He just needed a bit of Jones.

Hey, finally the queen's arrived. She's missed half of it already. She looks different without a hat on. So cute and small.

Robbie Williams again? I was sceptical but he was actually good with the big band. Sung in tune and fairly convincingly, plus he seemed like he was actually enjoying it.

Okay, the SING thing. HMMMMM. It was so thin, the overall sound, considering there were 200+ people on stage. Whoever the red haired woman was, she couldn't sing for shit and whilst it was kinda cute, it wasn't great.

And cue SHIRLEY. Amazing! What a voice, what a dress and yes, she's still got it.

Who would want to follow Shirley? Certainly not me. But Kylie gave it her best shot and I have to say 'step back in time' was great. Made me feel like a kid again.I would say though, who decides how many songs people play, because some of them had four, some only one and some of the ones that did one should have done at least two. I dunno, felt a little unfair.

ARGH, thought they might murder a song from West Side Story (My favourite musical) but I guess they didn't. At least they picked people who could actually hold a note. And the light show on the palace was really something. Plus there was a great 'shit, I'm supposed to be singing moment' from Alfie Bo, which cracked me up.

And finally, Mr ELTON JOHN. A was happy at this point.  Pink and twinkly Elton today. He was rockin' on the piano and considering he had a respiratory infection 2 days ago, his voice was really good. Such energy, such passion and those crazy fingers. I really liked his purple mic. He's still got it!

The Princesses were havin' a lovely time at this point.

Rolf was being a right kiss ass and they were clearly stallin' for time. But the Queen wasn't arsed. I don't think she was even listening to half of it.

And cue Stevie. Excellent voice and of course he did the classics, but why would he bring out Will.I.Am, again? As if he deserved to be on stage twice. Ewwww.

And finally the Queen is smiling. It just took a little bit of Wonder.

And now the bit I'd been waiting for the whole night.......MADNESS on the roof! Whoop! They really are too cool for school. They are essentially a load of geezers in funky suits, just jammin' and chillin'. I love it. Really amazing light show too, but the ultimate disappointment that they didn't play Baggy Trousers. BOO!
I'm sure the Queen must have had a pair at some point.

Random and nice to see Peter Kay and then Mr McCartney whose voice was not great, but he did play a couple of classics. We even managed to catch the fireworks from the communal hallway in our building. We could only see the tops of them but it was still pretty cool.

And there ends my coverage from the Jubilee concert. It was actually quite good. The golden oldies were all my favourites though: Madness, Grace Jones, Annie Lennox, Shirley Bassy, Tom Jones and Elton. The young 'uns, not that there were that many of them, but they kind of let the side down. And really Cheryl Cole should never be allowed to murder another song, unless it is one of her own. Sorry love but I'm saving you from embarrassment in the long run.

And so, I think its approaching bed time and woo hoo, no work tomorrow either. Thanks Queenie.