Monthly Archives: September 2014

All change?

I had my very first ever staff meeting today at work. Was slightly nervous as not been to a proper grown up work meeting for years. Even when I got the job working for Dan most of it was done in the supermarket and then by phone or email. So it was a new experience for me.

And very interesting. Dan’s business partner wants to get more involved in the day to day running of things and really wants to get the business moving onwards and upwards so we had a meeting to discuss their plans and to see where we fit in. The biggest thing is the introduction of an office. We will all be able to work at the office and can basically come and go as we please and as our lifestyles dictate. I’m really excited about this and am looking forward to the change in routine and the new challenges ahead. It’s going to be very different and take some getting used to but it will be good to have the chance to talk stuff over with the team and see more of them than just emails and infrequent calls. I love working from home and the flexibility of my job but I’m not going to be tied to a desk in the office and I will have some human interaction other than the school run (and the beloved buddy bench!). Bring it on!

All over too soon

What a brilliant weekend. I’m officially knackered but amazed at how much we packed into 3 days. Yesterday we had a delicious cooked breakfast after packing up the car and returning Grandad’s bike. Then a very entertaining round of Adventure Golf – I managed a hole in two, but still didn’t win! Grandma and I had our nails painted while K took the kids swimming (again!) and Grandad had a sit down. We left about 4.30pm and were home for 5pm. Fantastic. Unpacked, washing done, bags ready for school and tea eaten. Quick catch up on Strictly and bed!

I promised a picture of A’s creation at the pottery painting session and here it is. And a few from the weekend.

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Ten again

Another brilliant day yesterday.

Swimming again in the morning while G&G relaxed with a coffee. This time we had agreed that I would not have to partake in any extreme slide activities, but I must have got some courage from somewhere (perhaps like the lion in the Wizard of Oz) and I decided to give the 2 man raft slide a go with my boy. And it was great! I’m never going to be an adrenaline junkie but I’m definitely not going to say no to things all the time now. More Rapids and more relaxing on the lazy river and a good time all round.

Met up with G&G for a quick sandwich before T, A and I headed off to the Activity Centre for a spot of roller-skating. A had asked for skates for Christmas and has only used them twice so my idea was to try and get her confidence up on an indoor rink before trying it out on the pavements at home again. When I was about her age I basically lived with my roller skates attached to my feet. I would have worn them to bed if I’d been allowed. So I was quite excited, although very nervous, about giving it a go! I’ve tried ice skating as an adult recently and was terrified of falling (but more worried about losing a finger or two than breaking a limb). This could have gone horribly wrong with me clinging to the sides of dear life and losing any shred of credibility I have with my kids.

We got padded up and helmets on, then on with the skates. And it was like I was ten again! The way you have to move your feet and using the stoppers to kick off all came flooding back and I was off! Not very speedily I grant you but I didn’t fall over and I didn’t cling to the sides apart from to get my breath back. T was a bit tentative but soon got the hang of it (he loves ice skating so was ok with the concept) but A was still very nervous and no amount of coaxing by me, the instructor or K would persuade her away from the safety of the barrier but she did stay upright and she did manage some gliding with K holding her hands. So much fun and so proud of us all for trying something new (or old as the case may be).

We then collected A’s masterpiece from the pottery room (picture to follow) – she really did an amazing job and the colours she chose were perfect – before her hair braiding appointment. She cunningly chose school colours in the hope that she won’t be asked to remove it! She was desperate to have it done during our summer holiday but the opportunity never arose, so when she saw a child having it done yesterday I agreed she could make an appointment. She’s thrilled with it and I have my fingers crossed that it won’t have to be taken out on her return to school.

A short relax back at the lodge before grandma and I headed off to the spa for a well earned facial. And very relaxing it was too. I always enjoy a bit of pampering and it’s nice to share the experience with mum.

Barbecue night back at our temporary home and a glass of vino before being dragged back to the pool again for a go on the rapids in the dark. So glad we did as it was a totally different experience at night and the kids had a whale of a time. And we were back in time for bed and Downton.

The only negative point all day was having to get our holdalls packed ready for putting in the car in the morning. We are going to make the most of the day here today but it’s always disheartening to have to pack up and ready ourselves for the off. Still, we have all said how it feels like we’ve been here longer than we have (in a good way!) and how relaxed we all are.

Scaredy cat

The Beddoe four and G&G have come to Center Parcs for the weekend. We’ve been to the one in Elveden several times together over the years while the children were younger but as they’ve got older it’s become increasingly difficult to take them out of school so had resigned ourselves to not going again. But with the new one on our doorstep we were able to collect the kids from school and be here by 4.30pm on Friday. I have told A’s teacher that she will be absent on Monday and I am going to ring T in sick (since I’ve had no response to my email – see previous post – my guilt levels are minimal).

The excitement at just being here on Friday was at fever pitch. We’ve always had such a brilliant time before, we really love the “no cars” environment – the kids are so safe cycling here – and the woodland setting is so peaceful. G&G were already settled into the lodge when we arrived and we quickly unpacked so we could go off and explore our surroundings. Grandma and A found a little pond just along from our lodge and T went off scouting round on his bike. The centre is a ten minute walk 3 minute cycle from our lodge and all of us but grandma have got bikes, but she’s a super speedy walker so she’s almost always only 3 or 4 minutes behind us!

The new setting is just as good, if not better, than Elveden and we’ve really enjoyed finding our way around and investigating all the new areas. We were so familiar with Elveden that this is a real new adventure for us.

Yesterday we were booked in for the family treasure trail on bikes. Grandad decided that he would be fine on his bike despite his leg still not being quite right so he came along as planned while grandma had a look at the shops and sat with a coffee and her kindle. It amazes me how competitive some people are. It was a family thing with clues around the whole village that you had to answer to get a series of letters to then have the chance at winning a prize. Just a bit of fun? Oh no! One group of youngish people (with no kids) were behaving as if they were in a battle of the fittest and determined to win. Which of course they did, but we just enjoyed cycling around in the sunshine, having a bit of a laugh and the kids were both pleased with their keyring compasses that they received for taking part (we came 4th).

Then after a refreshment stop the Beddoe four headed for the pool while G&G headed back to the lodge. The pool is not just a pool. There are slides, Rapids, a lazy river, raft slides and a wave pool to name but a few things. We headed for the lazy river where you sit yourself in an inflatable ring and drift along a stream bumping into people and having a bit of s chuckle as you go. Good fun. (Slight incident with K having to semi-rescue a small child who had been left to her own devices and had fallen down inside her ring while clinging on for dear life with her head just above the water, floating along unsupervised – luckily there are lifeguards at regular spots and one dragged her out with K’s assistance and the parent was located).

Next stop: the Rapids. A slightly more exhilarating experience involving “white water” streams and twists and turns and drops into deeper pools before being swept away again. This one takes you outside and you are unaided – just you and your uncontrollable body. This was great fun and slightly scary in places until you’d been round s couple of times. You can’t help getting slightly closer to complete strangers than you’d perhaps prefer but I suppose that all adds to the fun?!

Having thought I’d conquered one fear (I hate getting thrown around in water) I decided that yes I could be brave and would accompany my family on a four man raft slide. T and K had given the 2 man one a go and said it was very mild and I would be fine. Oh dear. It would seem that the 4 man version was far more terrifying and involved being launched into a tunnel (we started high up on a platform so should have realised there would be an element of height involved) and going hell for leather down and round towards a vertical drop and then propelled almost upside down before finally shooting out into shallow water where we were greeted cheerfully by the attendant/lifeguard – by which point A and I were practically sobbing in fear for our lives.

Needless to say I wasn’t keen on taking any more risks after that and A and I headed back to the lazy river to calm down. I give kudos to A though for giving the 2 man version a go with K later on. I still refuse to consider it.

A much more sedate afternoon with a pottery painting session for A (with me and grandma along for advice) and a Segway experience for K and T. Good times had all round. Then off for dinner.

Lovely first day and we feel like we’ve been here for days. Bring on today’s challenge! Will I face more fears?! Watch this space…

Taking liberties?!

I’m going a bit blog crazy today I’m afraid but I’ve got to get this off my (inadequate) chest.

Yesterday at school T was rostered to do Office Duty. This involved missing 3 lessons in order to help the admin staff by running errands. He missed IT, French and Science. K and I were both quite astonished by this, especially as if was for 3 hour lessons. Seems extreme. This wasn’t a punishment – I think it’s deemed as some sort of perk!

Anyway, after much discussion we decided an email to the school might be in order to establish the reasoning behind this idea. I was all set to write one this afternoon but needed to wait for T to come home to get the email address of his form tutor.

He arrived home with the very surprising news that he had again been doing Office Duty as the rostered student was ill. So today, he has missed Maths, English and PE.

Now, at the end of last school year T came home with a letter to say that he needed to improve his maths grades or risk being moved down at October half term. This was not great news but not wholly unexpected as it’s not his strong point. He’s worked hard over the holidays going over old ground and started the year feeling positive. However, this weekend he had some homework which he going difficult and which K and I could not help with. So T spoke to his maths teacher yesterday and she reassured him she would cover it in today’s lesson. WHICH HE MISSED BECAUSE HE WAS DOING OFFICE DUTY!!!

Am so cross and an email has been sent (with major misgivings on T’s part) and I eagerly (?) await a response. Watch this space.

On another (related) note I have been feeling guilty about my planned deceit of ringing him in sick on Monday so that we can enjoy our long weekend at Center Parcs. I fully accept the schools conditions about attendance and agree that absences are not good. However, this week the school closes at lunchtime so that the staff can prepare for their annual open evening, and will open late on Friday to give them chance to get sorted out afterwards. Along with his 2 sessions of Office Duty T will have missed nearly a whole day and a half of schooling. So my question is: should I feel guilty?! I’m starting to think: no.

Cheer up!

Been a bit off par for the last few days and still not 100%. Still got this sore throat and now seems to be developing into a full-blown cold. But I’m not one to wallow so I’ve been cracking on as usual. No-one in my house really seems to notice much when someone else is feeling a bit rundown, so I’m not expecting any special treatment!

However, there are little things that cheer me up no end and coming home from dropping A at school this morning I noticed that my little slate heart in the kitchen has a new message on it. Bless my boy, he’d written me a little message before he went off to school. Made me smile.

Girls Night Out

When A was in year 3 she was one of a few children who were given the opportunity to work more closely with the teacher for an hour a week looking at their maths. Her friend N was also involved in this little group and as a way to encourage the girls, N’s mum (H) and I agreed that at the end of the 6 weeks we would take them out to tea somewhere like proper grown ups to celebrate. Unfortunately, the 6 week programme stopped after about 3 weeks (with not much in the way of explanation) so the celebration tea never happened.

However, the girls have never forgotten our promise and for the rest of year 3 and the whole of year 4 would now and again mention the “tea that never happened”. So,┬áduly shamed, H and I finally arranged the tea, and we went out last night. We only went to a pub up the road that serves pretty bog-standard chain pub-grub, but the girls couldn’t have been happier. It was a lovely evening, especially with the unpleasantness of last week. A had a lovely time and we have agreed that we will do it again. We shouldn’t need an excuse for a Girls Night Out!