The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Horay!

I handed in my notice at work today:-) :-) :-) :-)

Well, actually I sent the letter, but it says that I have ceased work as of yesterday, as they owe me well over a months leave (with TOIL included), and I only have to give a months notice.

I feel very relieved, despite the fact I have no other job lined up yet. This one was causing me so much stress that it really wasn't worth continuing in. I wasn't doing it properly, completely disagreed ethically & professionally with most of what I was doing, and was not really doing anyone any favours by continuing.

I have three months worth of self-employed work booked, the kids are no longer attending nursery which will save me a fortune, and good old Nanny A has promised to baby-sit on friday's so I can continue with college. I have a couple of job applications in (one for a FT job with LOADSA money, and one for a out-of-school hours job for less money, but with a company I worked well with before). If neither work out by the end of February, I'll be sending begging letters to all the all-night garages locally (I did that all through my student years).

whatever, i am sure it is the right decision. a scary one, but the right one. It's only for a few years, and it's time to stop trying to tear myself in two every day. I'm a real SAHM now (well apart from college & my own business!) - something I absolutely NEVER imagined I could/would do in my wildest dreams.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Work, work, work again

More work today. My mother is visiting for a couple of days (amazingly, Aggie seems to have suddenly found some really long meetings to attend, in various parts of the country), so after dropping Mstr A off at school, we all bundled into the car & headed off to Paignton (which is laughably called the English Riviera), as I had a meeting at the school there.

Sadly, the A380 at the bottom of the M5 was closed for some unknown reason. They did put up a sign that said "Follow diversion", but then failed to put up any further diversion signs to follow! This meant that I was 30 mins late for the meeting. I did phone ahead to warn them, but it was not good as this area has been a cause of some problems in my work for, um, well, at least 20 years!

There are two very good clubs within a couple of miles of each other. Historically one was a break away from another, then there was some poaching of athletes and coaches, and generally a ongoing fight over the limited resources of the local authority, LEA & sports grants. This has ensured that not only do they refuse to talk to each other, but they actively go out of their way to cause problems for each other & happily plant complaints about the other club with every person they meet.

The sports college is really caught in the middle. they had been doing some really good work with club A when I came on the scene. i didn't want to cause any further problems, so tried to work through club A to meet with the school, but just kept getting fobbed off. apparently the school asked to meet with me a few times too, with the same result! Then club B complained that they weren't being involved in any discussions. I managed to get all three people into the same room a couple of months ago, with the result they all hate me now:-) But we do have an area wide development strategy, involving both clubs, all schools & the Local Authority. I've given up tip-toeing around the two clubs & myself & the PDM at the sports college have agreed just to get everything sorted to our own satisfaction then tell the clubs once it is a fait accompli:-)

Anyway, the meting was a success. we got much decided, & I'll write it all up & sort out the finances before leaving in a couple of weeks. My mother managed to babysit the girls well enough while I was in the meeting, then we popped off to club B to infom them of the outcome of the meeting & had a lovely late lunch in a pub on the way back.

we made it home just in time to go fetch Mstr A from school & the kids have all spent the evening playing hapily. They are all fed, bathed & ready for bed now. Aggie is still stuck on the M5 trying to get home, and I'm looking forward to a quiet evening in chatting.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

AWAT

Another Week, Another Tenant:-)

This week I have chosen OneManBandwidth, a blog written by an American Professor in China, full of fascinating facts & insights into Chinese life.

So go give it a click & have a nose around. Even better, leave a comment saying I sent you.

As usual, a fuller review will follow in a couple of days, but I'm way too knackered & brain dead after yesterday's shenanigans to try & write a sensible piece today!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

It's Party Time

It's LMD's first Birthday party today (her birthday is on Monday). Sister S (she of guest blog fame) and cousin G arrived yesterday to help celebrate the big day, and this afternoon I've rather stupidly invited millions of children to my house to have a party.

I thought I'd be clever & invite people that have siblings of similar ages to Mstr A & LMB, but when I was working out who was coming yesterday, I realised that means there are going to be LOADS of children. I've only invited four or five families, which semed ok at the time. They all have three kids. I have my three, plus cousin G. Damn, that's like 20 kids! And it's freezing - I can't throw them out in the garden like I do for Mstr A & LMB's birthdays!

I'm also completely not organised for this party (I'm only having one because Mstr A desperately wanted her to have one). The house is still a mess, I haven't got any food sorted out, I haven't even thought of games and stuff!

It's going to be a busy morning.

Still, sis & I had a lovely long chat last night (Aggie played Eve all night!), and treated ourselves to Chinese take-out - the first brought meal of the year, which tasted even better because it was a treat. Hopefully Nanny A will arrive nice and early & help tidy a bit:-) Especially since CQ refused the invite - some rubbish about being ski-ing;-)

UPDATE 7.30pm - well it's over! 11 children turned up all together, ranging from 9months to 6 years old. Complete chaos ensued for 2 hours:-) There were many tears, but always easily dried, all the kids ate plenty of rubbish food, lovely presents were recieved, the playhouse door was broken:-( A delightful child pooed on our stairs then happily walked it around most of the house before we noticed, causing me Aggie, Nanny A & Sister S to spend half an hour on our knees scrubbing the carpet! My head hurts. My throat is sore. The house is not as bad as I thought it might be, but certainly needs a bloody good tidy up again before my mother turns up tomorrow afternoon!

In future LMD's birthday parties will be held somewhere else:-)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Easy reading

So Vics over at Rosevibe has asked all her readers to write a post linking their three favourite/best/most embarrassing posts because sh'e too lazy to go searching through everybodies archives:-)

Well, lets be honest, most of us don't bother reading through archives and just jump into a blog at whichever point we find it, so this seemed like quite a good idea.

Except - I don't blog to write. Most of my posts are just mindless drivel about my thoughts or feelings on that particular day, so it was quite difficult for me to think of three specific posts that would bear re-reading. still, I rose to the challenge, and have perused my archives, so here are my choices:

No 1 is easy. Bodily functions, motherhood & a little political rant:-) This is definitely the funniest piece I've ever written, so go have have a giggle here. It was also one of the first posts I wrote, so everybody got a very false sense of my writing skills!

No 2, I think I'll go for this one about how we met, which will give you some background about me & Aggie

And no 3, umm it's getting difficult now you know! How about My addiction post here Just because I hoped that writing it down would incentivise me to actually do something about it, but the power of blogging is no match for the power of addictions:-(

Have fun reading.

If any of you decide to take up the challenge, let me know in the comments & I'll link to you here.

Other Easy reads:
Vancouver Calling
Rosevibe
Spilling The Beans

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Still a way to go yet

I have been thinking long and hard about Mstr A since meeting with the Ed Psych's, and I'm not sure they've really got him yet. I mean, it's nice to hear that your child is "gifted", and that explains all his problems, but a) he's not really IMO and b) it doesn't.

This is why I think he's not really gifted. Mstr A was/is nothing like that. He's bright, he asks lots of questions, he walked early & read easily, and he's ahead of his age-group at the moment. But.....he does not "just understand" new concepts, he can't hold "adult" conversations, his grasp of the world around him is typical for his age (he has no concept of what a magistrate is, let alone pretend to be one!).

Both myself & Aggie were very bright at his age - I had to get special permission to learn division aged 5 as I'd finished all the maths books that didn't have it, and to use the junior's library twice a week, as I had read every book in the infants one. But over time, my peers caught up. By 11 I was merely one of the brighter ones, by 14 I was slipping in a number of subjects, and by the time the important exams came round at age 18, I'd realised I was really only slightly above average. Now I'm all grown up my IQ rarely makes it much past 100 (although I balme my complete lack of spacial awareness for the low scores), and I would class myself as only slightly above average intelligence. I think Mstr A will be similar.

However, his behaviour is not normal for a 51/2 year old. He is completely incapable of following instructions without constant reminders. He still runs around in public completely naked, without even noticing. If he doesn't get his own way, he throws himself flat to the ground and screams. If he hurts himself he sits down & cries until cuddled better. He expresses frustration through physical violence. He can not share or take turns without supervision. He makes a constant noise (humming, singing, talking, yelling). He has a good understanding of the biological differences, but otherwise sees boys & girls as exactly the same.

This all points to a child who is either very behind in his social skills (a good two years or so), or has something else wrong. As he appears to be OK emotionally (he can do the faces test wiothout problem, can empathise with others if asked about situations etc), and his humour is apparently advanced for his age, I feel it can not be a simple case of being backwards.

I think I am going to have to do some more research before I meet with the EP's again, and push a bit harder. Still, at least he is getting some assistance now, and any work they do with him has got to be helpful. But I think they just jumped on the first pidgeonhole they found for him, and I'm just not convinced.

So what?

Simon Hughes has admitted he has had male & female partners in the past. So what? In what way does that affect his ability to lead a major political party in the UK?

They have (I assume) all been consenting adults. Both hetrosexual and homosexual sex are legal here. Non-marital sex is legal here. Why should it be an issue who he has slept with, when, where, how many times, or what exactly he did?

Clever him for coming straight out and saying it. It's one of the reasons he's my choice for the next leader of the Liberal Party. Lets hope the media doesn't make this into something it isn't!

Thursday 13 - Weston

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Weston-super-Mare

1. The name Weston is made up of two Old English or Saxon words meaning the west tun or settlement. Because there are several places called Weston in Somerset descriptions were added to tell them apart. What is unusual about Weston-super-Mare is that the descriptive part of its name has remained in medieval Latin. Super (with small s) means on or above, and mare is Latin for sea

2. By 1600 Weston had its own manor. The estate was sold off in 1914. The title "Lord of the Manor" was sold in the 1970s and there is nothing left of the estate

3. The first hotel was opened in 1810

4. Weston's first guide book for visitors was written in 1822. The population was then 735

5. Weston's population is currently just over 70,000

6. Famous modern alumni include John Cleese (yay), Geoffrey Archer (boo), Rupert Graves (looking forward to V for Vendetta), Jill Dando (I was there when groundforce did the garden you know), and Ritchie Blackmore (from Deep Purple).

7. We also claim Bob Hope and Roald Dahl, although neither were born here:-) They both spent a few childhood years in the town then scarpered as soon as possible!

8. Bill Byson wrote 9 pages (in my copy) about WsM in Notes From A Small Island, mostly complaining that it was wet & boring, but concluding that the people are loverly:-)

9. Famous historical alumni include Arthur Stanly Eddington (Astrophysicist), and Albert Victor Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough (just across the road from me, otherwise I'd never have known!)

10. Weston is the administrative head quarters of North Somerset, a county that isn't a county (being part of Somerset).

11. We have two theatres, a cinema, two piers, a golf course, a mini railway, a helicopter museum, a Lambretta Museum (and a normal museum), a FE college and hundreds of places to stay, drink & gamble. It's still as dull as ****

12. It is often referred to by those who know it well as Weston-super-Mud, due to it's incredably dangerous mud flats that stretch as far as the eye can see most of the time. This ensures the sea is a fantastic brown colour on the odd occasions it does come visiting, although the wide expanse of open beach is also great for kiting, sand castle building, Motorbike scrambling & beach pop concerts.

13. I love living here.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens! (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Dariana

Mar


WendyWings

Norma
Better Safe Than Sorry





Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Oh for goodness sake!

I mean, it's all very well us Brits giggling at the stupidity of Americans who believe in creationism, and that the world is only 6000 years old, but sometimes you don't have to look very far to find complete loonies in positions of power.

I've just found this on Wonkette's blog, from The Times no less. Ok they're Scottish, but get a grip!

I particularly liked this quote: "Jeannie Fox, council chairman, said: “I do believe in fairies but I can’t be sure that they live under that rock."

Just read it again. This is the council chairman speaking!

C'mon people

Go visit my tenant, Spaghetti Harvest. I choose these people carefully for your enjoyment and education you know, and nobody's clicking on her!

I chose SH as my tenant because she's got a good mix on her blog - politics, parenting, problems with thechnology, personal opinions and any other P's you can think of:-)

Plus I like her title (and if you're not old enough to know tht spaghetti grows on trees, go look it up LOL). My mother told me the story when I was just a wee bairn & I was still cleverer than 1950's Brits:-)

So C'mon people, go click on her pretty brown thumbnail over there to the right. You'll never even know what you've missed if you don't!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Self pity

I'm feeling very sorry for myself today. With no good reason, so I can't even expect sympathy from those around me:-(

I've pulled a muscle in my back, which is annoying, but hardly the end of the world. The kids have been extraordinarily boisterous today, but then they're usually pretty loud & energetic.

I've got my quarterly meeting with my line manager & co-workers tomorrow, which probably isn't putting me in a great frame of mind, but I manage to get through them every couple of months.

The house is a mess, and I spent a lot of effort tidying everything up last week. I even tidied the back room this morning, but you wouldn't know it from the state of it now. But lets be honest, my house is usually a mess.

I'm just pissed off really. Ho hum.

In other news, Mstr A had his hearing test yesterday. Surprise surprise, it came back as A OK, although I saw a poster for the National Assoc of Gifted Children while I was there which fit Mstr A's behaviour perfectly, which in it's own way is just as depressing. There's no branch anywhere near us either. I was watching him play today and he is such a typical three year old. Unfortunately he is the size of a typical five year old, and very, very physical & completely unable to comprehend the idea of personal space, or treating different ages differently (he expects LMD to react & play in the same rough & tumble way as me or Aggie), which makes him even harder to control.

I'm off to a PTA meeting at the school tonight. I'm sure nothing will really change, but at least I know what is going on in the school (a bit) by attending.

I had a lovely wekend, finding time to read the Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan. It was a good read, pretty obvious plot-lines, but well written, easy to read, and enough questions to keep me interested. It seems ages since I've had the time, energy & inclination to read properly, and I felt really rejuvenated by it. Hopefully it's the start of trend, now LMD is nearly weaned.

She's down to one feed a day now. It was hard work, but we got there. I dropped a feed a week since Xmas, but she still refuses to drink any milk out of a cup. I've tried cold, warm, cup, bottle, mug, cows milk, formula & expressed breast mil & she turns her nose up at everything. If I insist, she throws a hissy fit & chucks the drink on the floor. She certainly knows what she wants! Shame she doesn't want what she should have. I guess it's lots of yoghurts, cheese & instnat whip for her.

Oh well, time to throw them in the bath now. Hopefully I'll feel more positive tomorrow.

Oh, well, maybe the day after, thinking abaout tomorrow's meeting.

Monday, January 23, 2006

My Utopian World part 6

Well, to be honest this has become bigger and has been taken far more seriously that I ever imagined! So this week I thought I'd flesh out my Transport Policies, which were briefly mentioned in the original post:

The main thrust of my Transport policy is to encourage the use of public transport as opposed to private cars, and to reduce road use in general, both for ecological, environmental & financial reasons. Therefore the first law still applies:

Frieght & Commercial Goods should not be transported by road if any other alternative is available. No frieght road journeys should be longer than 50 miles.

The railways will be renationalised (yes I know this scares investors off from investing in other public services. I don't care. And no, I won't compensate the current useless operators, they've skimmed enough off already & business is a risky business!). Ticket prices will be subsidised so that it is cheaper to travel by rail than by road.

Every Village will have daily bus (or other public transport) services to it's local towns, all towns will have regular trains, and all cities will have an internal transport network (trams/light railway etc). (the definition of Hamlet, viallage & town is already set out and refers to the number of dwellings)

Road tax will be abolished. The aim is not to penalise people for owning cars, but to encourage them to use them less. The MOT will be more stringent & a criteria for keeping/using a car on the public road. Garages found to be issuing illegal MOT's will not only have their licence removed but will also be charged with attempted corporate murder. That'll stop 'em!

Tax on petrol will remain stupidly high:-)

Aviation fuel will be taxed at the same rate as diesel (yes I know the world will fall apart if we can't buy plane tickets for £1, everyone will be bankrupt & Stelios will be very annoyed. Tough!)

All government car parks will have electric re-charge sockets available on a pay as you park basis.

All commercial food outlets will recieve advice on converting their used vegetable oil into bio-fuel, and grants may be available for smaller businesses.

Driving licences will have to be renewed every 10 years, by re-taking the driving test.

That's about all I can think of right now. I'm sure some more will occur to me in time, as new news stories break, or following the comments I recieve.

As always, you are welcome to express your opinion in the comments, and I will try to explain my reasoning, although as supreme, beloved and lifelong dictator, I do not need to take your views into consideration when writing my utopian world laws:-)

In case any of you are new to my world, you can check out previous posts by clicking below, or read the whole thing by clicking the link in my sidebar.
My Utopian World Part 1 - Introduction, Freight & Drugs
My Utopian World Part 2 - Immigration & Welfare
My Utopian World Part 3 -Childcare & Parenting
My Utopian World Part 4 - Crime & Punishment
My Utopian World Part 5 - Education

Sunday, January 22, 2006

WOW!!!!

Aggie's doing some DIY - He's building some walls in our bedroom!!!!!!!!!!

*recovers from daze*

I suggest you all go look see at my new tenant while I take some time to get over the shock. Real review coming soon.

UPDATE for those of you who've not been reading long enough or carefully enough:-)

When we moved in (4 1/2 years ago), the house was missing a few vital elements, stairs, walls & ceilings being the most obvious. Then we ripped out most of what was here anyway. Our bedroom used to be two rooms, which we knocked together & Aggied built the internal framework for a walk-in wardrobe & an en suite bathroom (in the english sense - with a bath!). A couple of years later, I finally managed to persuade him that the wooden framework needed covering with some plasterboard, and between us we ensured the walls were no longer see through (or over). Since then he's been promising to bang up some panalling to cover the plasterboard, and I've been slowly tiling the bathroom & painting the wardrobe. When LMD was born he did one wall, so we could put up bookshelves and turn our library into a bedroom for Mstr A (LMB got Mstr A's old room, & LMD went into the nursery). So it's been a year now, and the other three walls are still bare plasterboard. He has forbidden me to do it (something about not trusting me with power tools), so I am still waiting to have a bedroom that doesn't look like a builders yard. Today I got another 1/3 of a wall covered - mostly because we got lots of books for Xmas & have run out of shelf space again, so we need another wall finished to put up more shelves to store our books!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Brrrrr!

I trundled off to work bright & early this morning, braving the cold weather at an unreasonable hour. I was teaching another short 1st Aid course, for a local authority youth service this time. I've done a few courses for them, they're regular customers, usually booking one or two courses a year. They like to move the courses around the different youth centres, so that it's always very local to someone, and today it was in one I'd never been to before.

I arrived nice and early, and was pleased to be met by the security guard ready & waiting with keys, but the centre was basically one large, pre-fab hall with a concrete floor & was absolutly freezing! I found a heater & turned it on, but to be honest, it didn't make any discernable difference. add in the fact that there was no carpet or matting, and most of the floor space was taken up by big heavy snooker tables, and you'll get the idea that it wasn't the ideal venue.

To top it all, I had brought tea, coffee, milk, sugar and cups with me, but after a thorough search failed to turn up a kettle, we couldn't even warm up that way.

The course went well, and I had good feedback, but it was a bit miserable for everyone:-(

I think I'll ask for the nice new-build youth centre just down the road from Nanny A's next time!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Ouch!

Damn my legs hurt! I don't know if was the bike* or my muscles** but the cycle to college was inexplicably difficult today, and the ride back just made it worse!

Plus my lecturer was off sick, so we were given a test, some revision and a couple of assignments to do, so I've come home to use the internet in peace.

* could have been the bike, it was making funny noises, and when I checked it over once I got to college I found the mud guard was pressing down on the tyre, making it ride like I had the brake on all the time

** could have been my muscles, complaining that LMD has woken up at 5am for the past three days!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My first Thursday Thirteen

Well I thought I'd give it a go, cos it might be a nice way to sum up the important things in my life each week. But then I thought maybe I should do an introductory thirteen to get started, for those of you who don't know much about my life, so here goes:


Thirteen Things about Mrs Aginoth
  1. I have three kids, all under 6 years old. I was told I couldn't have any, and planned my life accordingly. I'm only just getting over the shock really.
  2. I live in Somerset, England, in a big Georgian house that still needs a lot of work done on it, but within walking distance of the train station, shops & beach.
  3. Weston beach has a lot of sand and mud, but very little sea, sun or culture!
  4. It's good that I can walk everywhere, because we are now a one car family & Aggie uses it for work every day.
  5. Our one car is very big!
  6. I am employed by idiots as a half time regional development officer. I like my work, but hate my employers. I am hoping to leave soon.
  7. I also run my own training company teaching 1st aid, sports coaching & leisure qualifications. I love this, but don't make enough regular money from it to rely on it as an income
  8. Just in case I get bored, I also study law at my local college one day a week.
  9. I have just withdrawn my kids from formal childcare!
  10. I hate tidying up, so there is always "stuff" lying around with no proper place to live. This is my excuse for doing very little housework too.
  11. Aggie works full time as a civil servant. Except when he's off sick with his various ailments!
  12. I have three brothers, three sisters, and amicably separated parents. Aggie has five brothers, separated parents, numerous step-families, and uncountable/interchangeable cousins.
  13. His family is still less complicated than mine!

    Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

    WendyWings
    Kimmy & Jacob
    Kdubs
    Mar
    Whiskey
    Jane
    Petite Mommy
    Carrie
    Vancouver Calling

    CrazieQueen

    Shelli

    (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)



    Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


    The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!




      Waiting for Godot

      "Nobody comes, nobody goes, nothing happens..." Pretty much sums up today actually.

      Not that I'm complaining mind. And I have turned my phone off for the day. But I can't really sum up the energy to do much either. You know, like clean up the mess in the play-room ready for a child-minding interview I have tomorrow. Or make something nice for supper. Or write some letters asking for work.

      LMB's at nursery, Mstr A's at school, LMD's asleep. When she wakes up I have to go into town for some bits & pieces, but until then I'm going to enjoy the silence.

      I suggest all you guys go look at my tenents blog instead. It's much more interesting today, with a post about freindship & guts (the squidgy type, not the courage type!). If you look down the page at all, you can find out what exactly dogs hide under their tails, and why you should never say you can code HTML just because you can make things bold!

      Tuesday, January 17, 2006

      Better

      Another work day today, but a better one:-)

      I was off at the inaugaral meeting for one of the new County Sports Partnerships (I've mentioned these before somewhere I'm sure). This is a bit of a complicated situation as the region has 6 major counties (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset), which each have a CSP. There are also a number of other local authority area's that are not Counties - Bath & NE Somerset (a bit of which falls into Somerset, and a bit of which doesn't!), North Somerset, Sth Gloucestershire & Bristol. These used to be the hated county of Avon, but are now mostly unitary autorities. It took a while for the powers that be to realise that the CSP's had left a geographical gap, so they invented a new CSP to cover the 4 area's, called West of England CSP!

      Poor old WESP is now months behind it's sibling CSP's in getting plans written, procedures in place & priorities assigned, but still has to hit the same deadlines as the other CSP's, so they have been rushing through the consultation process. Today was a big forum for all intersted partners to get together & say what we want the CSP to do. I've been through the same process already with Devon, and a little bit with Somerset & Cornwall (They weren't as good at the consultation bit).

      It was a lot of discussion & debate, but I always find these things relly interesting. Both from meeting the other people involved in sport, networking, and seeing other points of view, and in having a dirtect influence over future policy. That's the bit I really like I guess. I feel that I can make a real difference to a lot of people, and that is what makes the job worthwhile.

      Anyway, it was a good day. Lots accomplished, I met old & new colleagues, felt optimistic about the future for a while, and got a free lunch:-)

      I got home just in time to put all the kids to bed & eat the fantastic meal Aggie had cooked. Now an evening of Blogging & Stargate beckons.

      On another note, I'd like to say an enormous thank-you to Nanny A, who looked after the kids today until Aggie got home. If it wasn't for her, there is NO WAY I'd be able to work at all, my house would be even more of a mess, and the kids would mostly be naked:-)

      Thanks Nanny A!

      Monday, January 16, 2006

      Wasted day

      Work, work, work today.

      Lots of phone calls made - most not answered so just messages left. There's no real point as I almost certainly won't answer the phone when they call back.

      Three seperate complaints from clubs about my employers unprofessionalism fielded. Not terribly well, because what can I say? Yes it's awful that three months after you paid your membership fees they haven't sent you your Public Liability Insuarance certiicate. Yes I know it's a legal requirement that you display it. yes I will chase it up, but no-body has got one yet.

      A couple of letters written. Half an application form to re-register as a childminder completed. Loads of financial stuff sorted out so that we can re-mortgage to pay for the roof.

      Hours at the bank spent re-mortgaging.

      I recieved an official complaint about the exam a few weeks ago. Bastards. So I've got to write an offical explanation now.

      A nice stew made & eaten.

      Thats pretty much it really.

      Boring, no fun, grown up stuff. Bleugh!

      Sunday, January 15, 2006

      Using my brain

      I've been off doing real work today. A short 1st aid course for a club over in Swindon. Nice place, easy course (although it was a slow one this time!), happy me. I really love my self-employed work. I feel I am really doing something useful, I enjoy it, I'm good at it (well, all my evaluation forms seem to think so), and it pays loads more than the shite my employer grudgingly hands out each month!

      Aggie was left home alone with all three kids. He's not usually very goos at coping with all three, but it seems he managed admirably today. They were all fed, washed & the older two in bed by the time I arrived home. LMD just needed feeding, then she went down too. I dropped another feed this weekend, so she's just on one evening feed a day now, making life much easier. I'll have her off the breast by a year:-)

      In other news, I bet these were researched by men!

      The guardian says that having a baby increases your brain power. Memory skills increase during pregnancy? Having kids makes you vigilant & alert? Yeah, sure. As long as the baby comes with it's own nanny, chef, chauffeur, maid & laundry! Otherwise you are too ****ing tired to know if it's morning or yesterday.

      The Telegraph has a much more likely story: Having children is bad for your mental health. No! Parents are more likely to feel depressed than childless people. Duh, do you think maybe that would be because we have to consider others before making any decisions. Or in other words, parents often find themselves having to do something they would not personally have chosen to do - therefore playing tug-of-war with their own minds all the time.

      My mother told me years ago that having children means going to bed feeling guilty every night.

      I never wanted any, being much too self centred.

      I was right.

      Can I give them back now?








      No, of course I don't mean it. I love them to bits. I wouldn't want anything to happen to them, and I definitely would not want to lose them. But I wouldn't have minded the doctors being right either. A childless life could have been more fun!

      Saturday, January 14, 2006

      Crazie Party on The Island

      We've had a crazie afternoon & evening over here in casa Aginoth today. Meaning CrazieQueen, RCA, Cyberkitten, & sleepy Pete all wandered our way for an afternoon of blogging, chatting & DVD watching.

      CQ made great progress with LMD, who didn't cry as soon as she entered the house, waiting a good 5 minutes before whinging a bit. She gradually go braver as the evening progressed, assisted by CQ offering food:-) By 8pm they were giggling & playing together - even when I left the room! Hurrah.

      We watched Scooby Doo with the kids, then I made supper of Pasta bolognase for most of us & veggie stuff for the veggies (CQ & CK). It was my first attempt at a veggie bolognase, but they said it was OK, and ate it all, so it couldn't have been terrible.

      We have four internet caperble computers in our house, and at one point all 4 were in use by bloggers - how sad is that? Although to be honest at least one computer was being blogged on at all times, which is even sadder.

      Once the kids were in bed, we put The Island on. Well it started with some glaring plot holes & stupidity, then got worse. By the end it was really annoying me by having so many continuity errors, plot-holes, & major misconceptions about theoretical possibilities. Still, it was jolly good fun to watch & shout at once. I have no wish to see it ever again though:-)

      All in all it was a lovely evening. Good friends, good food, good conversation & good fun. We don't get to do it nearly as much as we should, being busy people, but it's nice when we do.

      Welcome

      It's time to welome a new tenant on my blog again, so after you've read my drivel, why not pop over there, pull up a chair and have some infinite pie. It's sooooo easy. Just click the pretty box over there on my sidebar. Yes, I know you know how to do it now, but have you done it?

      Anyway, I haven't time to do a full review today, cos Aggie has invited ll the crazies over here today, then taken to his bed sick, so i have to sort out the kids, tidy up, prepare for work tomorrow & organise my paperwork for the new venture I am starting next week. But Pie's a great site, full of thoughts, musing & ramblings about stuff. You know, just the stuff that we all have churning around inside our brains every day, but don't talk about much:-)

      Oh, go have a look see for yourself. I can't explain things very well today - I'll do a proper review later in the week. I promise.

      Friday, January 13, 2006

      An Interesting Case

      That's what the Educational Psychologists called Mstr A today. I'm quite pleased really, as the whole class was assesed in November, Mstr A was assessed by the senior EP in Dec, then she asked if a trainee could assess him again earlier this week. Naturally I said yes. I'm all for trainees getting the "hands on" training they need, they usually have more time per case, they are always fully committed to doing absolutely everything possible & they have a built in double check & sounding board in their trainer. I got doubly lucky this time as the trainee is only a couple of months off being fully qualified.

      Anyway, it meant that the senior EP saw him for about 90 mins last term, and trainee EP saw him for 3 hours on Weds - 90 mins in class & 90 mins one-to-one. They wanted to meet with me before writing thier report "to get a feel of how he behaves at home", or in other words to decide if my parenting was the problem;-) So we met up this morning.

      I think we established fairly quickly that Mstr A is the same at home, school or elsewhere. They also immediately agreed that there was no sign of ADD/Hyperactivity type things, even though his behaviour sometimes looks similar. In fact his concentration levels were slightly above what is expected at 5 years old. Trainee suggested that some of the problem was that he was so far advanced academically - something I've refused to contemplate as how arrogant can a parent be? Hearing a parent say, "oh, he's not naughty, it's just that he's a genius" makes me want to slap them usually.

      I pointed out that it was only when I told the teacher he was ahead academically that she even set him any work, as he refused to do any of the tests, so she assumed he couldn't. Trainee suggested that in her one-to-one he would only perform tests if he could understand the purpose of them, so he'd probably refused to do the starting school ones because they were boring & pointless to him. She is going to re-test him in all subjects using a more flexible approach, to get a proper level for him.

      They also said that although he was very behind socially in some ways (playing with other children, recognising when to start/stop doing things, understanding the difference between doing an activity with a baby/child/adult etc), he was emotionally advanced in other ways - they cited his sence of humour which was what they would expect from a 7/8 yer old! Wierd huh?

      So...... We don't have a "diagnosis", but they have agreed there is definitely some good work they can do with him. They are talking to his teachers tomorrow, then will write up the proper report which should be with me (& the school) in a week or so. Good progress all in all I think.

      Thursday, January 12, 2006

      Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear

      Conversation while walking to school this morning.

      Mstr A, "mum, can we play a racing game?"
      LMB, "I race too"
      Mstr A, "we all have to line up, and the first one to the lamp-post is the winner"
      LMB, "I win. I first"
      Mstr A, "I'll be Princess Peach, because she's the fastest"
      LMB, "I fastest"
      Mstr A, "who are you going to be mum?"
      Me, "I'll be (quick, wrack brains), um, who can I be?
      LMB, "I Mario."

      Great, my 2-year old knows more about computer games than I do!

      Wednesday, January 11, 2006

      Another quiet one

      Another night alone. The house is starting to feel very quiet now. Aggie's back tomorrow evening, which is great, cos two nights is nice & relaxing, any more than that & I start going a bit wierd. I don't do very well at living on my own, as any of you who were reading while Aggie was in Hospital in November might remember.

      Having said that, I'm looking forward to another quiet evening - although no sleep for me tonight as the final two episodes of Lost series 1 are on, so I'm staying up to watch them both. No spoilers please, I've made it this far through the series avoiding the US blogs/reviews/debates, and I want it to be a surprise:-)

      I had a long chat to my mum this morning about work. She is a volunteer for the company I work for, and has a long history with them (when I applied for the job I wasn't sure if her name would be a benefit or a detriment to getting it. I still haven't decided!). She has had many fallings out with my bosses - although being a volunteer they can't sack her:-), and recommended I stick it out & just tell them what I will & won't do & ignore everything else. I wonder if that will work? I have twice put in writing my intention to work fixed days (I'm even happy to flexible on the hours, but it costs me £90 childcare each day, and I'm only paid approx £175 per week, so extra days of childcare=a net loss), but I still get "compulsory" meetings arranged for me on other days. I wonder what they'll do if I just refuse to go to a "compulsory" meeting. Or even worse, if I insist on overtime pay!

      I may have to start using public transport to get everywhere too, as they have refused to give me a car (breaking the UK employment law in the process) as I am part time. They have aknowledged they are breaking the law (verbally), but tell me "it's our policy". I know I should have persued this, but I just didn't have the time or energy. I've been through an (almost) industrial tribunal before & it's stressfull!

      I have pretty much given up any hope of getting a decent reference off them when I do leave, and they can't make my life much more difficult than they are doing, so there's no real point
      in being nice any more.

      On the plus side, I had a succesful meeting today. Another ClubMark one - a first session to explain what they have to do. They were much more organised than I thought they would be, so I'm hopefull they should be well on their way to gaining the award in a couple of months. I need to try to follow up some other clubs too - but one is in Penzance, and one in Ilfracombe & they are both buggers to get to! Maybe I'll try kicking some of the closer ones that have stalled instead:-)

      Tuesday, January 10, 2006

      It's oh so quiet....

      It's all silent in the Aginoth House. Aggie is off on some Leadership course for three days., staying in a plush five star hotel - 15th Century I think! I reckon it must cost the Government £500 a person (without the tutor fees, lost work time etc), so now you know where all your hard earned tax Punds are going. Do you think they'd just give us the £500 & let Aggie stay in some dodgy B&B instead if we asked? It would be much more useful.

      Anyway, the kids are all in bed. I'm having cheese & jam sarnies for supper (yum, but Aggie doesn't think it counts as real food, so i never get to eat them usually), playing a bit of civ, then having a long bath, a good read and an early night.

      Heaven.

      Monday, January 09, 2006

      The Root of all Evil

      We've just been watching this on channel 4. Much shouting at the TV was involved. Some scary, scary stuff was shown. Aggie has also blogged his thoughts on it here.

      As some of you may know, I have been arguing on a number of blogs over the teaching of Intelligent Design in (US) Science Class - most noticiably on Simons Blog, here, here and here, but also on a few others.

      Now I am an atheist. Not a wishy washy agnostic, or a spiritulaist, or a lapsed believer, but a true can not understand what all this is about, when you're dead you're worm-food, before you were born you were nothing, aetheist, and have been since a very young agae. Atheism is not my "belief", it is just a fact of life, like volcanoes being caused by a build up of magma, or earthquakes due to plate tectonics. I am willing to look at evidence to the contrary - science is always being proved wrong. When I was young the idea that a meteor could have wiped out the dinosaurs (65 million years ago!), was considered ridiculous & I was taught it was just silly. I read the laymans evidence & the scientists opinions as they changed, and now agree that seems perfectly likely. I haven't yet been shown any evidence that can be replicated for Gods existance. I am happy to be proved wrong.

      The US fundementalists (I hate that word) are arguing that Intelligent Design/Creationism (thats the one that says the world is 5000 or so years old & was created, as is, by God, in 6 days), should be taught in their schools science class as an alternative theory to evolution - as both are "just theories".

      Apart from the fact that it shows a woeful incomprehension of the scientific term "theory", it sounds perfectly reasonable, which is why it is suceeding so well. I am a tolerant person & believe everyone has the right to be heard, as long as it doesn't hurt others, so I think they have a right to teach ID in US schools if they want. However, I believe it should be taught in Religious Studies, as one of many religious theories. Evolution should be taught in science as a scientific theory, with it's supporting & detracting evidence, research methods and empirical basis.

      Can anyone out there in blog-land tell me why this is not acceptable?

      UPDATE: OK, It's nice that there are people out there who agree with me, but this was a real question. I know I have some devout Christian readers. I definitely have at least one creationist reader. Lets have some of your input:-)

      The youth of today!

      Oh dear, at age 11 months LMD is starting to pick up quite a few words (although she still needs a parent to translate for her). She knows:

      Mama, Dada, That, Yes, No, Yum, Drink, and her new one for today - Dora!

      Less than 10 words in total, and one is a TV character!

      I'm shaking my head in despair, and topping up my glass of vodka as I contemplate her future:-)

      Tagged Again!

      Another week, another meme:-)

      I was tagged by Dave for this one, so here goes...

      Four jobs you’ve had in your life:
      Retail Cashier/supervisor - from way too young to work legally, through school, college & some of uni.
      Sports Coach - at first voluntary, I then discovered I could get paid for it - and paid well. A much more lucrative job throughout uni and beyond
      Leisure Centre Manager - My career. Big & small, public, private, trust & contract, I've done 'em all:-)
      Sports Development Assistant/Officer/Director - been at all ends of the spectrum of this job, and seen the good & the bad

      Of course that's only counting the jobs I've been paid for. I could include; daughter, mother, wife, carer, chicken farmer, kitchen assistant, and general dogsbody in.


      Four movies you could [and do] watch over and over:
      I've sure I've answered this one on another meme? Do I watch any fims over & over out of personal choice? I'm not sure. Let me think, how about:
      The Blues Brothers
      The Princess Bride

      Labyrinth {I know, but David Bowie makes up for it all;-)}
      Fifth Element (it was panned, but I like it)

      Four places you’ve lived:
      For how long? Lets go with more than 3 months or so shall we?
      NE London - age 3-18 years. Oh what fun. I left the afternoon of my last exam.
      Israel - I spent 3 months on a Kibbutz, and a further three working here and there.
      Southampton - My uni years
      Scotland - 5 months in a little town between Perth & Inverness, 4 months overlooking Loch Lomond.

      Four fiction books you can’t live without(well your favourites anyway):
      Yeah right, I can name just four! Here's some that I re-read over & over:
      The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett
      The Deverry Series by Katherine Kerr
      The first three of the Magician series & Empire series by Raymond Feist & Janny Wurts
      The Caterbury Tales by Chaucer


      Four non-fiction books you consider essential:
      Not much of a non fiction person really, but let me see:
      My cookbook
      Bill Bryson
      Encyclopeadia Britannica

      Up to date First Aid Manual

      Four TV shows you love to watch:
      Lost
      QI
      Stargate (and Atlantis)
      BBC News

      Four places you’ve been on vacation:
      Sri-Lanka
      Mexico (not Cancun, but on the Mayan Peninsula)
      The USSR (back when it was still the Soviet Union - just)
      Eire

      Does bumming around with a backpack & a thumb count? If so, most of England, Wales, Scotland, Eire, and bits of France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Israel, The Sinai, Italy.


      Four websites you visit daily:
      BBC News
      Aggies blog
      My work homepage (not linked, cos that would be stoopid!)
      Most of my blogroll


      Four of your favorite foods:
      Chocolate in any form
      Lasagne
      Beef Medallions & Potato Dauphinoise from Flute De Paris, my fave restaurant
      Pasta

      Four places you’d rather be:
      On Holiday, anywhere
      Mexico
      China
      (never been, would love to go)
      Visting all my blogfriends

      Four albums you can’t live without:
      No, sorry can't do this one. It's not that I don't like music, but have no real personal interest or knowledge. I listen to whatever is on.

      Sunday, January 08, 2006

      Another reason to quit!

      Being such a hard working and conscientious employee, I spent this afternoon (A Sunday) traipsing of to our local branch of Staples to buy some stationary. I have to use Staples as the company has an acount with them. I am only allowed to buy stationary in large amounts as they get upset if I send in lots of smll invoices, and I've been officially told to wait until I really need lots of things.

      Back in August I tried to buy some stuff and had the card refused. It was pretty annoying, but the summer is a quiet time for us, so I assumed it was an oversight due to staff holidays, reported it, paid for the most urgent stuff myself & put it on my expences.

      In September I went back, desperately in need of lots of stationary, including some presentation things for a new client. I spent an hour collecting the stuff & waiting for a till operator to turn up (Staples is crap at actually having staff there), just to be told that the card was refused as the company still had not paid their bill - since May.

      I was pretty angry this time & sent a seething email into my head office, pointing out that I was leaving the country in two days & needed the equipment by then to look even remotely professional. I got an apology & a guarentee that it was all sorted out, they had spoken to Staples Account Services, and I could go back that afternoon to buy the things I needed. I went back the following morning and guess what? THEY HADN'T PAID THE BILL! The card was refused again. I spent over 30 minutes on the phone to account services begging them to make an exception, just this once. Much against her better judgement, the nice lady at Staples HO did that. She also said that no-one from my company had spoken to her about the issue at all, at any time. I sent a fuming email to my HO, but then forgot about it.

      Today, I needed some fairly vital supplies - paper, pens, envelopes etc. The total came to about £75. And what do you know - THE CARD WAS REFUSED. Again. Still.

      I can not lay out that sort of money, especially since I'll be lucky to get it repaid within 6 months judging on past experience. I also don't see why I should. So now I have to work without being able to write, print or send anything by post!

      How hard can it be for a national company to pay an invoice, sent directly to their scoounts department each month? Or at least to send an email out to all card holders that the account is suspended so that we don't have to embarrass ourselves & waste time in the shops?

      Grrrrrrrrrrr

      Only 3 weeks to go.

      Saturday, January 07, 2006

      Farewell to Kennedy

      Charles Kennedy has resigned from the Liberal Democratic Party today, following his revelation that he was undergoing treatment for a drink problem.

      It is a shame that he had to go, although his position was untenable the moment he admitted the truth of the rumours that he had been so vehemently denying for the past 18 months.

      Despite everybody saying that he was a terrible choice for leader folowing Paddy Ashdown' retirement in 1999, being both Scottish & Ginger:-), he led the party to it's greatest ever election result in 2005, stood at the forefront of British politics throughout his time in parliament, and relly did offer an alternative view of politics in many areas.

      So now we're in for yet another mainstream party leadership election. I hope this is not the start of tory-style tabloid spin, and that the Lib Dems elect themselves a strong leader who will stay the course.

      The moral of the story is to tell the truth when you are first asked. If he had admitted the problem 18 months ago, had treatment & implemented a leadership election then, I reckon he would have stormed home with a sympathy vote.

      FWIW, My money is on Simon Hughes, unless Lembit Opik stands, which would make it interesting.

      My new tenant

      I have a new tenant for your delectation & delight.

      I got a good number of offers again, and chose Ninja Poodle as she's got something for everyone: Cute kids, eye-candy pictures of film stars, a georgous puppy that fits into the palm of her hand (ahhhh - & I don't like pets, but ahhhh), and a little bit of politics, all wrapped up into a eclectic blog that's easy and interesting to read.

      So go give it a click and have a read for yourself.

      That's not fair!

      LMD slept through the night agian - third night in a row!

      I woke up at 4am, unable to breathe, nose streaming, throat feeling like someone had been sandpapering it all night, with uncontrollable sneezing.

      Life sucks sometimes!

      Friday, January 06, 2006

      A new year meme

      I saw this one over at Palm Tree Princess and thought I'd have to give it a go, just as a piece to keep & look back on in years to come! Of course, it's a bit late, but not too bad:-)

      1. What did you do in 2005 that you’d never done before?
      Hmmm, that's hard. It's been such a loonng year! Had a third baby?

      2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn’t make any resolutions last year. I’ve posted some for this year a few days ago though.

      3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
      Me - does that count? No-one else in 2005, they're all waiting for 2006:-)

      4. Did anyone close to you die?
      My paternal grandmother.
      My Maternal Uncle.
      Various great aunts & uncles (It was a bad year for that side of the family)

      5. What countries did you visit?
      Stayed in the UK all year:-( Got to visit the Scilly Isles for the first time ever though. And Wales, if that counts (not for the first time).

      6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
      A proper holiday. We keep looking at brochures, but it's so not going to be viable for years yet.

      7. What dates from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
      30th Jan - LMD born.
      16th May - the General Election. I kept looking for my brother.

      8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
      Damn, I can't think of one. Making it through the year sane?

      9. What was your biggest failure?
      Not getting a new job

      10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
      Who hoo, a healthy year for me

      11. What was the best thing you bought?
      The gas guzzling 4x4 8 seater monstrosity that sits outside our house. It turned out to be not such a gas-guzzler, that 4 wheel drive is dead useful for our lifestyle and 8 seats is only just about enough half the time!

      12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
      Aggie - I still have no idea hy he puts up with me, but he does, and hardly ever even tells me off for being a whiney cow.

      13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
      My mother. The debacle over the summer holiday's is what made me start this blog, in an attempt to rant it out of my system. I will never be able to forget the way she treated Mstr A that day, and forgiveness is not enough if you can't forget.

      14. Where did most of your money go?
      On the kids. Eating out (naughty us). Buying a big new car.

      15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
      My birthday - the first one for years that I felt like celebrating on.

      16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
      Why do all meme's ask for songs? I don't know"! That crazy frog thing, that must have been 2005, & mstr A sings it very loud! Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? I found it repulsively irritating at fiorst, then read someones blog about how they, as a gay man, sing it to all the straight guys in a bar. absolutely hilarious & made the whole song take on a much better meaning:-)

      17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
      a) happier or sadder? Some happier (I'm not pregnant!), some sadder (the job).
      b) thinner or fatter? Much the same minus the baby of course)
      c) richer or poorer? Loads poorer

      18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
      Constructive things with the kids. DIY.

      19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
      Watching TV - I tend to just veg out in front of rubbish in the evenings, and I could be using all that time better.

      20. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
      Quietly, at home with Aggie. we were asleep before midnight this year!

      21. Did you fall in love in 2005?
      Oh yes, with smoothskin. It's been a long time, and was a nice rnewal of our friendship:-)

      22. How many one-night stands?
      None

      23. What was your favorite TV program?
      What, of the whole year? Um, Huff cos i'm dying to see the new series. Lost. Stargate Atlantis, as I didn't miss an episode.

      24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
      I don't hate anyone.

      25. What was the best book you read?
      Peter F Hamiltons stuff maybe?

      26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
      That LMD doesn't care how bad my singing voice is, she likes to hear me sing.

      27. What did you want and get?
      My engagement ring - woo hoo.

      28. What did you want and not get?
      My bedroom walls finished

      29. What was your favorite film of this year?
      I don't get to see that many, and can't remember wht came out earlier in the year. I guess of the ones I've seen: Narnia, Batman Begins.
      I haven't seen Mrs Henderson presents, but I'd like to.

      30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
      Went out for a meal with friends & family, got very drunk, stupidly allowed my sister to guest blog while very very drunk. I was 33.

      31.What one thing made your year measurably more satisfying?
      Coming to terms with my life as a mum, rather than hankering after my childhood expectations.

      32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
      Whatever is in my ardrobe that still fits me and doesn't show milk stains much!

      33. What kept you sane?
      Aggie. This blog.

      34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
      I don't fancy celebrities. I don't know them, and find it strange that people can fancy people they don't know.

      35. What political issue stirred you the most?
      Most debated? Iraq
      Most concerned over? Education reforms
      Most excited? 2012 Olympics
      Most opinionated? Tory leadership election
      Most upsetting? Nuclear power plant plans.

      36. Who did you miss?
      My brother, still.
      My mother being someone I can talk to.

      37. Who was the best new person you met?
      Just trying out some new friendships. Maybe RCA's new partner. Or a couple of mum's at school that I'm trying out right now:-) My many blogfriends.

      38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.
      Accept the way things are, but never stop trying to improve them.

      39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
      Umm, no.

      Thursday, January 05, 2006

      My Utopian World Part 5

      OK, and back to our regular programming now Xmas is over, here, especially for Dave, who keeps nagging me aboput it, here is Education.....

      Before I start, let me say I am assuming that I have taken over supreme dictatorship of England., and this is how I would change the education system. I am no way qualified to set up a new system from scratch, and the point of my utopian world is to yell at news reporters "but it's OBVIOUS what you should do" whenever they tell me how the country is falling apart at the seams:-)

      National Curriculum
      We have a national curriculum. It is flexible in teaching methods & timings, but there are specific subjects that must be learned to a set level by a set age. Parents have the right to know that their child will be taught the same in rural Devon as the children in Chelsea. Teachers need to know what their targets are. Children should be able to transfer schools without too much difficulty.

      Selection & Choice
      You have no choice of state school. you will be allocated a place at the closest one, unless you apply for an alternative with a damn good reason. "I like it better" is not a good reason. "all her brothers & sisters go there" is. However, schools inspectors are well funded, and schools must reach good standards each year, so every school will be offering a good education to every child. If a school is failing, more money will be available to assist with specific failings. Therefore, yes, a school in inner city Liverpool may well get lots more money than schools in suburban York, but specifically targeted at behavioural & social issues. Of course my fantastic parenting policy means there will not be so many of these in the first place:-)

      There are private schools. They also have to follow the basic national curriculum, but may add in alternative subjects/principles. No state school will be faith based. If you think you can't teach them your faith at home, you have to pay your own bunch to do it for you. Comparitive religion is part of the basic national curriculum.

      Secondary schools may operate a selection policy within individual subjects, where they feel it would be suitable.

      Staff & Subjects
      Primary schools have two qualified teachers per class, allowing for individual working & assessment where necessary & ensuring continuity for the children, less stress for the teachers, and a back-up for any problems.

      There will be at least one "special needs" primary school in each constituency. It should be on the same site as a standard state school, sharing resources, teachers & facilities. this will allow integration where possible & suitable, and differentiation when necessary.

      Secondary schools teach practical subjects as well as academic ones. Children chose options at 11 & 13, and should be offered the chance to do all academic, all vocational or a mix of subjects in every schools.

      School Leaving Age & Further Education
      Full time education is compulsory up to the age of 18.

      At 15, children chose to either continue in their school, attend a specialist college, or join an apprenticeship scheme. Specialist colleges offer vocational qualifications in the many subjects that need specialis knowledge by tutors & workers - nursing, sport, IT etc. Apprenticeships are in practical skills - plumbing, electricians, building etc. School offers generic qualifications - maths, art, Biology etc

      At 18, it is expected only 25-33% would attend University. I do not believe we should be sending everyone to uni, it belittles the value of a degree & is not suitable for most people: academic study is nothing to gloat over, the ability to build a house is far more useful most of the time. The specialist colleges also offer further qualifications, so many more students will remain in eductaion past minimum leaving age. Most apprenticeships last 5-7 years, so they will all still be in education too.

      Money Matters
      ALL full time education is free. Grants are minimal, but available to all. You can claim housing benifit while at university, so grants only need to cover living expences. this is paid for by saving a fortune on pre-school eductions, as the employers bear the brunt of that cost, and my high income tax, which may be mentioned in another post some time.

      I am sure I have missed out some very important facts. if you want clarification, please feel free to ask in the comments & I'll try to add it in.

      If you have missed the previous installments, you can find them below:
      My Utopian World Part 1 - Introduction, Freight & Drugs
      My Utopian World Part 2 - Immigration & Welfare
      My Utopian World Part 3 -Childcare & Parenting
      My Utopian World Part 4 - Crime & Punishment

      Wednesday, January 04, 2006

      Back to work

      I can't put it off any longer, I actually had to do some work today:-(

      Actually, it was ok. A nice trip down to Exeter (again), to go through the final bits of ClubMark with the big club there. Despite promising he would have everything sorted by the end of December, then cancelling the Dec meeting for this one to ensure he got everything done, it was still not complete. However, he had done all the hard work. everything was written, and mostly ready to go, just waiting on some certificates (I know he's got them, my head office knows he's got them - they issued them, but he still has to put a copy in his folder. WHY? Who knows!), and some forms to be completed/dated/signed.

      I am confident he will have the whole thing done & dusted & ready for collection when I see him next on the 25th. Now I just need to kick a few other clubs into line, as I'm well behind on my clubmark targets. It is a lot of work for most clubs, and I kind off got carried away with sorting out school/club partnership working this year. Something about them paying my wages (my post is funded by a specific school/club link fund), but that didn't cut much ice with my employers who expect me to be able to personally help 70 clubs through clubmark, while organising 16 school development plans & partnership programmes, and being involved in four brand new County Sports groups, attend meetings with coaches, other Governing Body representatives, and local authorities. Plus turning up at all regional competitions, meetings and events, not to mention 1 management meeting and one two-day development officer meeting per quarter. All on a 2 day a week contract.

      I discovered something that I knew in my heart, but had ben too stressed to realise before. I don't hate my job at all. I rather like it. I always have. I hate, detest, and can't abide my employers. It's the company that is awful, not the job.

      I still need to leave, but hopefully I won't be so stressed about every day stuff.

      On a different but related note. I officially withdrew the girls from their day care today. They finish in one month (3rd Feb), so I have that long to sort out another job:-)

      Actually I have a fall back position, having booked enough work with my own company to see me through to the end of April. But some guarenteed wages would be good too.

      Tuesday, January 03, 2006

      It pays to be lazy

      It's been a quiet day today. Aggie went off to work at 6am. I fed LMD and pretended that I would get back to sleep with her yelling in my ear & climbing on me till giving up at 7am. LMB was already awake, but playing quietly in her room, and mstr A didn't even wake up till I went to fetch him for breakfast at 8.15.

      The roofers have fnally arrived and have been banging around outside since 8am, although it took me a while to work out what was happening, cos I'd forgotten they were starting today, and they didn't say hello or nuffing! So their first cup of tea didn't arrive till gone 10am. ho hum.

      We spent a quiet morning watching tv & playing on the computer. LMB took herself back to bed for an hour, giving me time to print out & post a load of posters for a course I'm running in Feb. I've got to get it filled, cos it's enough to cover my wages for the month, so I can resign from the idiots.

      I made a stunningly lazy lunch of frozen fishfingers, frozen potato shapes and tinned spaghetti, followed by instant whip. All three kids ate every speck of it for once!

      Now, I've just got LMD off to sleep, and the other two are playing jig-saw puzzles (we got a load of new ones at xmas, after I threw all the old ones out in a fit of annoyance!). I'm going to tempt fate and try to finish off a college assignment while they're all quiet:-)

      Monday, January 02, 2006

      De-pinking

      As you may have noticed, I have fiddled with my template, in an attempt to de-pink it a bit, because, frankly, it was getting on my nerves!

      However, I'm pretty useless at computer stuff, so have managed to only do half the page! Anyone know why? Or how to do the bottom half too? I don't want to completely change templates as: a) I've made quite a few changes over the months & would never rememebr them all, and b) as I've stated previously I like this colour combination of text & background - it's easy to read & doesn't contravene any disability stuff that I know about:-)

      Suggestions welcome.

      UPDATE: I've found the bit to change the bottom half now:-) I can't make the colours match though as there are different types of code for the top & bottom half's! Still, two-tone is ok. Different from other peoples blogs at least;-)

      UPDATE 2: I've done it (just in case you didn't notice). All one colour, and not so pink. Let me know if you have any trouble loading/reading/seeing everything now.

      No change there then!

      Well, sleep deprivation hits again:-(

      but hopefully it's the beginning of the end.....

      Once Xmas was properly finished, I put my foot down and refused to feed LMD during the night any more. Being cruel & heartless I have drastically limited her daytime feeds too. She's 11 months old now, and really doesn't need to be demand fed anymore - not when she demands it 6 times a day! So she only gets mummy first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and for one week only, mid-afternoon.

      She is not impressed with this arrangement, and is vocally letting me know. I hate doing this:-(

      Last night was her third night without a feed, and she also decided to put her foot down. She started crying at midnight, and kept it going pretty much non-stop till 4.30! she'd calm down on and off if I cuddled her, but has mastered the art of screaming in her sleep, so was able to keep me awake all the time:-(

      Now, obviously, she's miserable and tired & trying her best to convince me to feed her, so she can have a nap.

      I am not going to give in.

      but I'm not going to like it either.