Monthly Archives: October 2016

Boy .v. girl (again)

A has got a project to do over half term about Antarctica. T had to do a similar project in Year 7. He spent a few hours typing it up with a bit of guidance from me and then I helped him make it look more presentable. Job done. A insisted she knew what she needed to do. I gave her a bit of advice (work out your headings, collate the info into bullet points and then write it up….) and left her to it. This was yesterday morning. At 4pm today it was still not finished. She spent 2 hours on her cover. Two hours!! Either she is rubbish at searching the internet (seems to manage when it’s craft or baking or music related) or she is like her mother and she procrastinates. A lot. I used to spend hours making my revision timetable look amazing only to find I had no time left to revise. Oh dear, I have created a monster. Actually, I think it is probably more that she is a bit of a perfectionist (definitely doesn’t get that from either of her parents) and also wants to impress. T is still of the persuasion that less is more and if he’s asked to spend half an hour and write 2 paragraphs then that is what he will do. No point doing more if the teacher doesn’t want to have to mark it. I’d quite like them both to meet halfway and put in a bit more effort to show willing but not take 2 days on something that supposedly should take an hour and a half. By god, if she doesn’t get an amazing grade after this I dread to think of the heartbreak that will follow. On the other hand if that is the case then maybe next time she will rethink her strategy and do a bit less?

I never imagined my kids could be so different. I’m a firm believer in nurture over nature but, apart from things that I couldn’t stop myself from doing like dressing them in sex-appropriate clothing, I have treated them – nurtured if you will – the same. I always knew A was of a slightly different temperament (devil child to be precise and then alternately the most loving child you can imagine; whereas T is just chilled and caring and alternately annoying) from a very young age but had no idea that they would have such different approaches to school work and life in general. Apart from the universally pleasurable habit of “winding mum up” they don’t have much in common. They like music, but I don’t even know what you call the sort of music T likes (apart from s**t) whereas A is much more eclectic like me and listens to all sorts from Tom Odell to P!nk to Michael Buble with a bit of Little Mix thrown in because she is 11 years old and not 44. They like films, but of very different genres – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Mamma Mia! for A whereas T is stuff like American Sniper or DC Heroes films. A loves to read; T not so much (unless it’s a tech magazine).

I  have to try and find a way to deal with my workaholic, but tearful when it gets too much, daughter. I have enrolled myself on a free workshop for parents of children “struggling” with the pressures of school work. I don’t know if they mean that the parents are struggling or the child or both, but I reckon even if it gives ME some coping strategies then it has to be worth it. The last 2 days have been quite stressful – A’s fiercely independent streak that I have nurtured has come back to bite me on the (rather large at the moment) arse and I am very, very glad that we are taking time out for a few days at the end of the week with no school work to think about. (Oh, apart from the Art homework that she has decided to do while we are away – so long as there is a tree in the garden of where we are staying…….)






Music and monkey leg

On Monday night A was part of her house choir for House Music at the Alban Arena. I’ve not been to this event before as (funnily enough) the boy doesn’t do singing. Unless it’s in a piss-taking way of the music I like to listen to. What an evening! I didn’t expect it to be as brilliant as it was. I had heard it was a great event but was a little sceptical based on previous experiences of Recorder assemblies and Guitar performances at Junior school. this was a whole different league. Some really good singers, some good musicians and a standout performance by the Staff Choir (with a side-splittingly brilliant rap section by T’s maths teacher). A’s choir did really well and she sang with her usual wide smiled enthusiasm. The evening was all the more enjoyable as it featured two of my favourite songs – It Must Be Love by Madness and Hey Jude by The Beatles. The best part of the evening for me was the collective reactions from the students when their houses were on stage – the noise and the shouts of encouragement were deafening.

Today T and I were back at the fracture clinic with all fingers crossed for the cast being removed. And it’s off. Apart from an offensively smelly foot and disgustingly flaky skin on his leg it looks great. It’s also INCREDIBLY hairy. So hairy it looks like it belongs to a different body to the other leg. It’s basically the leg of a gorilla (not technically a monkey as in the title of the blog but I claim poetic license). But frankly I couldn’t care what it looks like or how bad it smells (not now as it was, of course, cleaned the moment we arrived home and will be soaked in the bath for at least an hour this evening). All I care about is this ten week long logistical and at times painful nightmare is over. He needs to take it easy for the next 2 weeks and use his crutches but in 4 weeks time we are expecting him to be discharged from the clinic for good. Hurrah. I have to confess to feeling a tad emotional about it all. I still can’t think back to “that day” without getting a little bit wet-eyed. I haven’t really allowed myself to imagine the day when the cast came off as I’m such an err-on the-side-of-caution person that I only imagine the worst most of the time. It’s such a relief and it may seem that I’m being overly dramatic but hope that those that know me well enough know that “drama Queen” is not really my style. What is my style is normal, run of the mill, plodding along nicely and broken legs and full leg to thigh casts don’r really fit in with that. This is also not all about me as it’s T that has had to deal with the worst of it all. But I feel his pain so much and hate when either of my kids are hurt of unwell. It’s just not how I want things to be. So, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

Roll on this time next week when we will be cosied up in our little mini-break (I’m not allowed to call it a holiday) cottage with the log-burner going and my little world will be as close to back to normal as it can be.




Swimming, peacocks and envelopes

Three things that have made me smile today


I’ve been for a swim before work. Yes, I know I seem to be coming up with some new exercise or diet thing every other week but this one MIGHT actually take off. On the days when I am not doing the school drop off I have decided to leave when the kids go and do some lengths at the pool at the hotel down the road and then get to the office or back home to start work. I really enjoyed it this morning and can feel muscles that haven’t been used for a while so that has to be good.


We have had the radio on in the office as usual at work today and Jeremy Vine was on at lunchtime – we normally turn over as he makes us all rant too much normally. Today (among other things) he was interviewing some people about the suspected killing of a village peacock called Pat. The whole 15 minute long section made me nearly cry with laughter. You had to hear it to get it, but trust me, for someone that lives in a village where complaints of crowing roosters (is that right?) and rampaging cows this was genius radio.


I had a customer send me a very ranty email (to be fair a lot of them are ranty but this one was particularly ranty) with no full stops in the entire 10 line long email. She was complaining that the free envelopes she was expecting with her order had not been sent. And she expressed this over 10 lines. She used the word envelope at least 20 times and I got the gist that she wasn’t happy. Luckily I know my ink (sad but true) and know that the envelopes are in the pack with the free paper and suspected she just hadn’t looked properly. I sent her some polite advice. While waiting for her reply she has become quite real for us in the office – we have been imagining her cats that she lives with, what they are called and the slippers that she wears. She has since emailed again, apologising for her error and praying that I will reply soon as she is really very sorry. I might leave it a few hours before I reply. Cruel? Me?

God, I’m easily amused.