Sunday, 15 November 2009


Everyone should have a little Pickle in their life.

Mine is a constant source of amusement, bemusement, bafflement and amazement.

He is rapidly becoming the king of the anecdote, regularly launching into these descriptions of something that happened in a Pokemon game, of which I know zip, nadda, nuffink, not a Scooby Doo - not that this puts him off. But he tells it in that sing-song lilt, with his voice going up at the end of each sentence like he's asking a question - if you've ever seen American Pie and can remember 'This one time?.. at band camp?..' then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Nobby and I exchange secret smirks every time he starts.

'Did you know? I was playing with the Thingmebob? [I can't/don't want to remember what they're really called]

and he uses a rock weapon? [a what?]

and I was versing the Dooda? [I am actually at a loss for coming up with a better term for him to use than 'versing'. It says 'Thingmebob versus Dooda on the screen so he uses versing as a verb... and I'm gonna let him.]

and I only had a grass weapon [?]

and I destroyed his Pokemon? [hurrah]

and is grass really stronger than rock?' [... ooh, that really WAS a question, better switch face from screensaver and attempt an answer.]

We now have a code for when he's going on and on and on and I've had enough of pretending to listen. I just say 'a-ha... h-hm...yup...really?...oh yeah?...a-ha...h-hm' and he usually breaks off and runs at me for a good-natured tussle to show his disapproval that I don't want to take an interest in his life's passion. I suppose he has a point, I am such a bad Mummy.

Last week we had International Day at school. Pickle ended up sitting in the front row of the audience with the rest of his class. And at one point the headmistress was sitting right beside him. I pointed it out to him on a photo yesterday and he told me,

'Yes, that was pretty scary, having the Boss of the whole school next to me.'

Shame I'm not the Boss of the whole school. I had the misfortune to teach his class today because I was substituting for the usual teacher, who has succumbed to the hot-house of germs which is the average primary school and taken to her bed with the flu. Well, they say never work with kids and animals, and I have been happily flouting the first rule till now. Trouble is my own kid is an animal when he has a captive audience and Mummy at the blackboard. What a horror.

To get back in my good books tonight he wrote me out a poem that he borrowed from Horrid Henry:

"Dear Old Wrinkly Mum
Don't be glum
Cause ya got a fat tum
and a even bigger bum
Love from your son
Pickle "

Sweet little thing.

One liners

This one on my email from Rose this evening:

'The cat shat on the mat...

...I shit you not'
Methinks the kitten is cruising for a bruising.
(Can you tell we've been practicing our poems at school this week?! This teaching stuff is addictive...)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Rather busy

It's going to be pretty quiet from me for the near future because I am out from 8 till 5 every day like a real working person with a real job.

The main difference from my former working life is that most of my current job involves general crowd control of a group of a dozen six-year-olds and trying to crow-bar knowledge into them; much to their surprise and dismay that I am no longer sitting quietly up a corner of their classroom taking notes but am expecting them to do as I tell them now.

It's risky too - so far this term I have been exposed to:
-chicken pox (already had it, phew),
-flu (avoided it),
-colds (caught one),
-headlice (caught several, she says scratching at the memory).

And I thought refereeing at home was hard - add another few dozen children in a small hall on a rainy lunchtime and see how many take a dive off the stage, try to climb out the windows, turn somersaults onto the crash mats and chuck toys and assorted foodstuffs around.

I'm exagerating of course, but only because I am thanking my stars for choosing a small school where the children are not running too wild. I am on my knees by two-thirty, which is official throwing out time, but then I have to take two home with me, feed, water, wash and entertain them all evening AND write lesson plans, evaluate my day's performance and do some reading for my case study.

So now you know why I am a blogging Scarlet Pimpernel. Consider my every word a bonus from now until I (hopefully) graduate.

And in case I get too snowed under, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Easter.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Life is full of surprises...

... we came home from school today to find Tiggy was lying in her kennel.

Wonders will never cease.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

We've been to Wien...

Where in the world can you conduct an orchestra, fly through the air dressed as a blue-bottle, admire world-famous Impressionist paintings and hurtle round in a dodgem, all in one afternoon?

Vienna, that's where.

I was all geared up for a rant about having to take the brats with us on our romantic anniversary getaway because we like all our friends far too much to ask them to mind the unruly mob for a couple of nights. We sent Tiggy to the kennels; no such thing for the kids unfortunately. But as it happens not only is Vienna a cultural and architechtural feast for adults, it's also quite well geared up for the small people.

Oh, except for the cathedral, which is where we (stupidly) headed to first. Have you ever tried to explain, in hushed tones, to a bouncy seven-year-old boy that skipping, humming and climbing on pews is somewhat frowned upon in most religious houses? And that the candles are not there for blowing out while you sing Happy Birthday To You? And that loudly declaring 'This is boring. Can we go now?' may well be true but it's really not polite? Yeah, well, we didn't have much luck with Pickle so we scarpered sharpish before we got chucked out and went to look at the horse and carriages waiting in the courtyard out front instead. Actually one of the horses had more luck with the discipline, more so than it's owner who made a bee-line for Pickle crying 'No touch! No touch!' the minute he stepped near one. The horse turned round and bit him. Maybe I need to try that one myself...

Luckily he wasn't too traumatised to ride in a carriage, a rather extravagant way to get across town when the metro only costs a fifth of the price, but it was fun pretending to be royalty and waving to passers-by. Both children were good as gold round the Impressionists exhibition, although I'm not sure anyone else got through all the paintings as fast as we did. Poppet spent more time playing with the turbo-charged Dyson hand-dryer in the toilets than appreciating the finer points of Monet and Renoir but at least there were no meltdowns with the promise of TGI Fridays if they behaved.

On Day Two we gave in and hit the kiddy-trail, starting with Prater Park - the fun fair. Actually, not many rides were open but I did get to try out one roller coaster where you lie down on your tummy in the car to be hurtled round loops and corkscrews like you're Superman. It was... interesting. Then we did the 'Dizzy Mouse' - twice - which I found far more scary because the car rotates as it throws you round countless U-turns at dizzy heights. Of course the kids loved it; I made Nobby take them on his own for round two.

Four ketchup-y hot dogs later and we headed to the Children's Museum called Zoom! for an exhibition on flying. They had a mock-up of a passenger jet to play in and Pickle was quick to don one of the pilot costumes and head up to the flight simulator in the cockpit. Poppet dressed up in a harness and got herself hoisted to the ceiling to get a fly's-eye-view of the place with accompanying buzzing noises. Thankfully there were no giant fly-swats around. I'm amazed we managed to prise Pickle away from the paper-aeroplane-making room but he was allowed to bring 'Cheat' and 'Bingo' his champion flyers home with him.

We also visited the Natural History Museum with it's aquarium and fascinating Darwin exhibition, but the House of Music was the real treat with three floors of interactive displays about sound and music. After conducting a virtual orchestra with something that looked suspiciously like a Wii, creating a melody by throwing dice and recording our own sounds for some sort of jukebox, the final room had Pickle and I making our own track using ambient sounds from categories such as 'Body,' 'Space,' as well as your own voice. He let me choose a little Mozart Nachtmusik for the background while he mixed in farts, yawns, space shuttle launches and the sound of him (and me) giggling. It wasn't quite Top of the Pops but we had a LOT of fun.

So I think we'll have to bear that in mind for next time we are tempted to explore a capital city - I'm seeking out the kiddy stuff... whether the kiddies come too or not.