Friday, 19 February 2010

Eeek, time flies when you're having fun. It's been bedlam round here lately hence the lack of blogging updates.

First of all there was the small matter of those 5000 words I had to carefully choose and submit to the University in four well-written Masters standard essays for part four of my PGCE course. Wasn't that a bundle of laughs. Not. It's very interesting stuff, don't get me wrong. But I was never the speedy student and each essay takes me a good five hours or more to bash out. A colleague told me she compares it to labour - I have to say I'd rather she'd been pushing out those particular quadruplets than me!!

But finish them I did, with only two late nighters, and I handed them in three days early so I could relax and enjoy my Fortieth birthday! Gawd, I can't believe it came upon me so quickly. What a shock. I had another shock once we'd flown to England for a wee dinner party with my family - it was a surprise party! We took over a whole room in the local curry house and some dear friends travelled from far and wide to share popadums and watch me get decidedly squiffy on Bangla beer. Oh, and a very dodgy cocktail, the waiter's own concoction resembling a B52 with extra layers. Let's just say he could set it on fire in the glass and drinking it set me on fire, but only in a nice way!

I received a Big Red Book from my family, stuffed full of every possible foul photo they could dredge up of me - my brother made some into place mats for my unsuspecting guests so they could eat their korma off 'I'm 40 and I'll go to Specsavers if I want to' the Deidre Barlow spectacles years, or 'I'm 40 and I'll dress up if I want to' the fancy dress costumes (and, actually, pretty much any of the tat I wore in the Eighties, what was I thinking?) All in all it was an amazing night and I was spoilt rotten on the pressie front; we had to borrow another suitcase to get it all home.

While we were there Poppet went through with her appointment to have her ears pierced. I swear it hurt me more than her watching some be-smocked beautician French manicured and coiffed to the max, thrusting a pink-crystal stud through my baby's lobes. But she's very happy with the result and I have to admit they look quite cute.

Poor lamb just had another experience with a needle though, and not a good way. She's been complaining of toothache on and off for a week or so and I was never convinced that all of her last tooth actually came out, it was suspiciously small, so said the Tooth Fairy at least. Well our dentist happened to be closed tonight so I shopped around the internet for another and made a mercy dash down to the river-side to get her sorted before we leave for our ski trip on Sunday. The chap was lovely, not sure what Csongor translates to in English but he had a lovely manner with Poppet. He took a look then told her to shut her eyes while he 'cleaned it'. Ah. But she opened them. Saw the needle heading for her gums.... And panicked. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth (!) later and a little chat with Mummy in the waiting room she finally agreed to treatment, this time she did keep her eyes closed so it was only me who saw the nurse handing over a fresh, sparkly scalpel so he could cut out the huge fragment of tooth her gums had started to grow over. Yuck. Still, what she doesn't know won't put the willies up her and cause a scene, and all that.

Talking of scenes, we saw Phantom of the Opera last night, daaaaahling. Oh, it was gorgeous! For a tiny little theatre they must keep a Tardis backstage because they rolled on set after set after set, really amazing. Although it was all sung in Hungarian... Apparently someone spent about 4 months translating it all. But for the benefit of us Brits there were English 'subtitles' on a display over the stage. Afterwards we were treated to a Hungarian foible I had never known about before. Community Clapping. I can't think of any other way to sum it up. The applause starts, all random, punctuated by 'hurrahs' and a whistle or two, then everyone synchronises into a steady beat and they go on for ages. I couldn't work it out at all. The players were doing their walk-down to this weird applause then came back for three encores. You see, to a Brit what they were doing is highly insulting, effectively a slightly faster than normal slow hand-clap, which would have any English luvvie wailing in the flats. But it was all perfectly normal to our Hungarian neighbours. You know, I would have expected standardised clapping to have come from the French...

So all-in-all we've been rather busy as you can see. This week I have resumed working full time at the school as part five of my course. I have to come up with 99 pieces of written evidence that I can meet the standards of teaching demanded by the British system within the next six weeks. I shan't count next week because, despite being with a bunch of students, I will be zooming down the ski slopes on the school ski-trip and I'm not sure pelting your pupils with snowballs counts as good practice. Perhaps I could incorporate it into my final assignment as a new form of classroom management.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Early morning machinations of a seven year old

Sit down before you read this:
Pickle got himself out of bed and downstairs to breakfast this morning. On a school day.

Shocking isn't it? But he had something very important to ask me:

'What if the house caught on fire? Wouldn't it be good if every house had a giant water pistol in the back garden that when it saw smoke it would fire water at the house and put out the fire?'

And he went on:

'I've been thinking about Thomas the Tank Engine and its a shame I don't have the DVDs any more [he gave them away, very bravely] but I've decided its not babyish after all; the name is nice, he's a good train, very helpful... I think I'll make a huge track later and wouldn't it be great to have a bridge with a junction on it? And the train could go under the bridge then curl round and round and go over the top of it...'

He then proceeded to demonstrate how it might look - using the dog as the bridge.

His final words before disappearing into his bowl of cornflakes were:

'I really can't go to school today Mum, I've got SO much to do.'