Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Bloody weather!!!!!!!!!!

Batten down the hatches. Turn up the heating. Shut the world out. Another storm has arrived. And it's another doozy!! I live in the middle of a crescent with no houses in front of me. I get the full force of every gust as it blows up Burn Crescent and right to my windows - which, by the way, I feel are going to cave in at any time!! My house could take off. Who knows - I could end up in Oz and demolish the Wicked Witch of the East as 28 Cardell lands on her napper!!

On the plus side, NLC shut the schools down last Thursday when the bad storm arrived in Chapelhall and other surrounding areas. I went out in it and was nearly blown clean off my feet - yes ME!! I laughed so hard cos I have always had enough weight behind me to keep me well and truly upright in the fiercest of weather. And there I was - like Ragdollyanna - sweeping across the back garden and being tossed around like a sack of feathers!

So I hope it dies down soon cos I'm back out in it tonight. Only for him..................  He better appreciate it!

Friday, 28 October 2011

What was I thinking?.......

I am done in/goosed/exhausted/Donald Ducked - any euphemism for tired out - I'm it!! Why? Cos I thought last night I was running on never ending Duracell batteries and kept going till I was near collapse! Might be a little exaggeration but it sounds very dramatic so I'm sticking with it.
In my infinite wisdom I believed myself to be youthful, energetic, carefree and - fast!!! NOT SO! I aimed to do all my shopping for the month in a couple of hours between Airdrie and Coatbridge then head back to the school for tea with the staff before the kids' Hallowe'en disco at half 7. Which planet did I drop off? Who did I think I was kidding? Here's what I thought:- get all my shopping, get home and carefully put all merchandise in its proper place in my kitchen, get changed into jeans and head back for aforementioned meal with aforementioned colleagues, come home for an hour and a half and rest before leisurely heading to the Post Office to meet up with the man, spend some time there then come home and happily go to bed. Here's what REALLY happened:- went to Airdrie and ended up in lots of different shops, got laden down with bags and had to drag them back to the car. Boot filling up nicely. Went to pet shop and got big bag of rabbit food for Smokie which was put on the floor of the passenger front seat. More shopping in the High Street. Boot now full to the gunnels and threatening to overflow. Still Asda to go to in Coatbridge. Whilst there my nephew phones to see if I will practise interview skills with him when I come from the kids' disco. No probs mate! Wasn't buying much in Asda - aye right!!! Took shopping eventually to the car and had to put it on the back seat and the floor. By now - knackered! Looked at my watch to see it hitting 7pm - dinner with staff oot the windae! Rush home and fire the frozen stuff in the freezer and chilled stuff in the fridge. Leave tins and other such stuff on my living room floor and kitchen table and worktops. Now looks like armageddon!
I stick on hairband with ghosts on them that wobble about and a big hairy spider that twinkles its lights menacingly in the dark on my cardigan - still in school clothes and run out the door to the disco - which by now I could see far enough! Make all suitable noises and dance moves at disco for an hour and then come home to help Ross with his interview technique. Realising I have had no dinner but now with a house full of grub that would choke a horse, I decide to make tuna pasta for us all while honing Ross's technique. Made it - but no time to eat it - I bid farewell to one Ross and say hello to another, equipped with some tuna pasta for him but still having nothing myself. As I leave the Post Office with him I then realise that my feet now have a pulse of their own. Now I know there are pulses in your feet - but these were more like a friggin heartbeat! I was so tired I was staggering like the local drunk on a good Saturday night (actually that might be ME!) but eventually got home at around half 11. Done in/goosed/Donald Ducked!!!
This was not what I had in mind when I left school with my very bright idea at 3pm. Maybe I thought I had the energy for shopping hopping - but I have to confess I DON'T!! Maybe I thought I was faster than I actually am. I know I've lost tons of weight but I must've thought I was SUPERWOMAN!! Never again - that's all - never again!
Goodnight, Glod Bless and I'm away for a well deserved sleep!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My week to date...

I'm having a great week off. I am looking after Emma and Ava while Colin is at work. Emma will have my new wee great nephew in 4 weeks time and she is finding it hard to run around after Princess Ava. So auntie Jinty to the rescue....... today we played football and Ava laughed so much that she had wee scarlet cheeks,her face flushed with laughing and squealing with delight. Auntie Jinty? Goosed, cream crackered, done in, wabbit - but I had great fun too. It's the simple pleasures that make me happy and spending time with family is always a pleasurable experience. Ava is enjoying me being there too so it's worth every second of getting up early to get to the house before she gets up and to see her wee smiling face when she sees me. Wonderful.

Then at night it's Ross's turn. Gary is on holiday in Cyprus and Ross is working 2 weeks straight - from 8 in the morning till half 11 at night - so I am helping out in the shop when the doors shut to clear up and stock the shelves in preparation for the next morning's onslaught at the Post Office desks. He'll be exhausted by the end of the fortnight, especially as he hasn't been well himself, but he soldiers on - no choice really - and I'll soldier on with him as usual. We make a good team and are so used to each other now that we spend time comfortably together, sometimes in silence, sometimes roaring with laughter! That's my favourite time. We both have a warped sense of humour and I laugh more with him than I've ever done with anyone in my life. He's a tonic to me and we're best of friends. He comes out with some mental random stuff that sets me howling with laughter - he knows just how to keep me amused, make me smile and split my sides laughing. He's the only one that can bring that kind of joy to my life and I am thankful for him.

After Emma's tomorrow, I have some visiting to do - to my dear friend Mrs Stangoe, to make sure she is ok. She is 87 years old, lives at the other end of my street and I love her dearly. She is such a kind soul. I work with her daughter, Ruth, and I go and visit her periodically and take her a wee fruit slice which she loves. We have tea and a blether and it gives her some company for a wee while. Ruth is away for a well earned rest this week so I'll check up on "mother" for her.

On Friday afternoon I am meeting up with my old boss to go for a bowl of soup and a catch up. Hopefully one or two of my other work mates will be able to come and we will have a good chance to spend some quality time together before work and all it entails beckons once again.

That's what I've been doing up till now. I've still mid-term reports to complete for my class but, hey, there's always the weekend!!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Holiday ......

It's the start of my October week break from school - and I need it. My VOICE needs it. The break that is. I've come home tonight to a tidy house, made my dinner and decided to kick off the shoes, jump into the joggies and t-shirt and just chill out. My beloved came to visit before heading off for a wee visit to his mum. So now I'm all alone. Am I upset about this? Am I ding!!!! I've opened Jinty's bar - it's the only night this week that I'm free (and free from driving) so I've decided to treat myself to a wee jug of cheeky Vimto.  Drink AGAIN? I hear you say. The meek and mild answer to that is YESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (not so meek and mild, eh?)

It will last me the whole night - till at least 1am - I can stay up late - I have no reason to be up early tomorrow - so that's what I'm going to do. Watch tv, drink, relax and enjoy the freedom!!!!  My poor man has an abscess and is in agony. Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt. Got the antibiotics. I feel dead sorry for him. He needed a cuddle. My wee sparra!!

So fare thee well and I'll talk to you again when I have something to say that is worthy of note. If I don't blog again this week it's just that I've got so much to do. Holiday? What holiday? Hahahahaha xx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Nice to know....

I went out last night, against my better judgement, with my nephew to the pub karaoke. I knew I couldn't sing too much cos I still have a week to work with a rather fragile voice - so I can't say I was looking forward to it that much.

Suffice to say I had a really good night. Although I was only drinking iced water (yes - you read that CORRECTLY!!) I still enjoyed the company of old friends I've known for ages who were sitting at the table with me. We had a laugh and enjoyed the camaraderie.

Near the end of the night I got up to sing my last number and an old friend of mine was standing at the bar listening to me and watching. When I finished, I went over to talk to him and as he gave me a hug and a kiss, he told me I was looking well. No he said - take that back - you're beautiful! I was stunned into silence and really touched by his comment. It's not the kind of thing that's said to me very much and, although I think the poor soul must need to renew the prescription on his specs cos he sees a different thing from me quite obviously, it made my night, if not my entire year. Brian has known me from when I was at my heaviest weight and it's never made any difference to him how I look.  It was so genuine what he said and how he said it that I could have cried.

Compliments about my weight loss are occurring now on a near daily basis and I really appreciate them. I'm not vain or narcissistic in any way. I don't see myself as anything other than the overweight person I've always been. It's hard to change your opinion of yourself when you don't have a high opinion of yourself in the first place. I've never wanted to stand out in the crowd but, because of my size, I always have. Now I fit in. I'm still overweight but not so grossly so. I just want to be normal. Nothing more, nothing less.

So Brian - I don't know if you would even imagine the effect your words have had on my confidence - but it gave me a boost last night and I love you for it. It's nice to know what people think about you. It was just a comment - a few mere words - it has helped to put me into perspective FOR me! If I now think nice things about people and I have the opportunity to tell them then I will. I now know the far reaching ripples of satisfaction it can create in someone else's life.  And it only took a simple comment to cause that effect.........

Saturday, 8 October 2011

This weekend...

This weekend I am resting. Coped with no voice last week at work even though I had 32 children to educate but it's taken it out of me. So I will be spending the weekend watching tv, drinking tea and coffee and sleeping. No singing, as little talking as possible and generally taking it easy.

My friend, Jacqui, is coming for dinner today. She's working so I'll pick her up at 5pm, we'll have dinner then catch up for a wee while. It's good to just chill out together and find out what is happening in each other's lives cos we don't see each other so much because of work commitments.

Tomorrow I am going to visit my friend, Shirley, in Coatbridge. It's her birthday on Monday and I'm taking her birthday gift to her. Another teacher - another teacher struggling with her voice! Hazards of our job. Another catch up too. Did I say I would be talking as little as possible this weekend? Strike that - however, I won't strain my vocal chords by projecting my voice in any room that I'm in. Just good friendly banter and the chance to have some great company.

So have a "hooly" of a weekend everybody. For me it will be quiet but next weekend is start of October week break for me. I will be spending it all with Ross so I will be a happy camper! I'm always happy when I'm with him............but that's an entire story on its own!  Happy weekend!!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

My day.

Here is a run down of my day today: I got up, survived and am back in bed. Thank you. That is all ...........  Just sayin.............

Monday, 3 October 2011

What can I say?.....

What can I say? Pretty much very little as I have lost my voice. Haven't blogged in nearly a week - and was missing it. But, to be honest, I haven't been doing very much. I went to work last week, came home on Friday with laryngitis (whoever HE is! Lol) and he has remained my faithful if unwanted companion over the weekend and is now overstaying his welcome going into this week too!!! I wasn't out on Saturday or Sunday, wasn't singing or partying or even conversing with anyone - so I'm cheesed off that the hoarseness is still hanging around like a bad smell.................
Anyway, better not complain - many people are far worse off than me so I'll build a bridge and get over it! I can still work, I keep reasonably good health most of the time (present company being the exception of course) and I'm an independent woman. No need for complaining. But I just WANTED to.............. Feel much better after that!!  Cheers xxx

Friday, 30 September 2011

The price you pay.................

Are you sick of highly paid teachers? Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - babysit! We can get that for less than minimum wage. That's right. Let's give them £5.93 an hour and only the hours they work; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after......... school. That would be £ 41.51 a day (8.30 am to 3:30 PM with 60 min. off for lunch and play -- that equals 7 1/2 hours). Each parent could pay £ 41.51 a day for these teachers to babysit their children. Now how many children do they teach in a day...32? So that's £ 41.51 x 32 = £ 1328.32 a day. However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any holidays . LET'S SEE.... That's £1328.32 X 180= £239,097.60 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries). What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage (£ 6.90), and just to be fair, round it off to £ 7.00 an hour. That would be £ 7.00 X 71/2 hours X 32 children X 180 days = £ 302,400.00 per year. Wait a minute -- there's something wrong here! There sure is! The average teacher's salary (nationwide) is £ 25,000.00/180 days = £ 138.90 per day/ 32 children = £ 4.34 / 7 1/2 hours = £ 0.58 per hour per student--a very inexpensive babysitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!

I love this quote - it puts into perspective just how undervalued teachers really are. I absolutely love my job but we DO get a bad press all the time - smart comments about holidays and the hours we work in a day. I've heard from more than one person, " What a great job you have" to which I reply, "Well if it's THAT great a job, why are YOU not doing it?!!!" - SILENCE from the dissenter - yeah I thought so! 
Stand in a class of 32 kids every day from 9-3pm and you'll realise how much it takes out of you. My voice is now subject to "vocal abuse" as my doctor has diagnosed. It could cut short my teaching career - it's definitely cut short my singing career because I don't have the same vocal range any longer -  and I LOVE to sing. But preserving my voice is now my top priority to allow me to see out the years till my retirement, still being able to do the job I love.

So, before you comment, come try out my profession. Try it for a week. The teaching, the planning, the pastoral care as well as the educational commitment. Sort out the fights, mop up the tears, find friends for the lonely and allay the fears of the nervous. All in a day's work...... but it's the price you pay.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


It's Wednesday evening. It's quarter past eight - and I am ready for bed! I am absolutely shattered tonight probably because I've been burning the candle at both ends since the weekend. Not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips - and I seriously am telling the truth about that - but I have been constantly on the go and now all I need is wrapped in a tartan shawl and cuddled.
It's been a great few days and nights but I am getting too old for consecutive nights out with no time to rest in between. I've met up with special long standing friends, partied with folk in my community and dined with the man I love - what more could I ask for? I lead a very varied life and love everything about it but, sometimes, for sanity's sake, you just have to rest!
Tonight is that night. I could actually really go a double cheeseburger from McDonalds and a cup of coffee but I can't be bothered getting dressed again to go and get one. So I'll sit and dream about it (might actually go downstairs to make the cofffee - that would be too lazy if I didn't!) but a trip to Coatbridge's Drive Thru McDonalds isn't appealing to me one little bit although I would enjoy the end result I'm certain.
It's time to head off now - I'm rambling cos I'm goosed, done in, oot the game, knacked!! Nite nite xx

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Get to sleep!

It's late - or early - depending on which way you look at it. I've had a really good night and it's time to rest my weary head and dream of ............. well THAT would be telling!!
At church tonight, my family were superb and I was so proud of each and every one of them. There is a plethora of singing talent in my family - I'm not just saying it, EVERYONE says it - and it was seen tonight in Airdrie ward's LDS Church. My nephew Ben produced a show called Trek:The Journey of the Pioneers and I have to say it was amazing. The singing was wonderful. My family's contributors were my brother Jim, nephew in law Drew, niece Tracie, great nieces Amber and Hollie and great nephews Logan and Jacob (or Cubby as he is universally known). My sis-in-law Margaret was one of the narrators but it was Cubby who stole the show. He's nearly 8 and he has a great singing voice. He brought everyone to tears. The performance lasted nearly 2 hours and all of this held together and produced by a 15 year old!! Ben is amazing - a talent which I'm certain will take him far in the future. He has it all - the singing voice, musical direction, can write songs, play the piano - and he just happens to be gorgeous. He has the looks of Justin Bieber although he won't thank me for saying that at all. Even my friends want to take him home and keep him - my niece Tracie, his mum, says she would seriously consider it for a bar of chocolate and a bottle of Irn Bru!
After the show I met up with the special one! We get on so well together and I love the time we share. Poor soul has to work tomorrow but he's coming to me for his dinner afterwards. Then I'm off to see my friends, Daniel and Loretta. I know there would be a ton of women wishing they were in my shoes tomorrow but he has always been a very ordinary man to me but with a rather unusual job. And that's how I treat him which is why we get on so well. He says I just treat him normally when everyone else flaps round about him. He trusts me and I'd never let him down.
So a busy day will be upon me before I know it. A visit to my niece Emma and my great niece Ava, dinner prep for Ross no.1 and Ross no. 2, a trip to a hotel to see my mates then home and in bed in time for work on Tuesday morning. Geez I'm exhausted already. Maybe add another blog during the week sometime. Until then - TTFN xxx


Love is wonderful. To be loved is the most precious gift anyone can bestow on you. It happens, not because it's expected or out of a sense of obligation or duty but because it's a desire to do so by the person passing on that gift.
To love somebody back is easy - if they mean the world to you then it's a given. Unconditional and unwavering. When you're IN love? Tricky and fantastic all at the same time.
 It makes the world go round, is blind, it hurts, is a many splendoured thing, the power of it - all of these are attributed to love (and many more). It's written about more often than any other subject I know. Nobody has found a formula to make it work easily and smoothly 100%.
But we still all look for the perfection, the wonder, the thrill of it. We work at finding it all our lives in which ever way we choose to do so. Sometimes you have to go searching it out. At times, it simply falls from the heavens and lands right underneath your nose.
Most people want a "one and only" - a soulmate - someone to share EVERYTHING with. And, if you're very lucky, your wish just might come true.
I think (no, I KNOW) I've found mine. He IS my everything. He makes me smile, laugh and we share all sorts of things together. He is my confidant and I am his.
Men are so slow sometimes (not meaning to be rude!) but they definitely inhabit another airspace than us females do. I think it was quite some time before he realised how I really felt. But he knows I love him. My life would be empty without him in it. And that's what the power of what love can do.

The perty!!!

Craig's party was brill. I was there with loads of my mates and the evening went fantastically well. I left my poor brother gigging in our local while I climbed the hill to the higher echelons of Chapelhall's society - to the Parochial Hall! I felt a little bit guilty leaving Jim down there playing probably to himself (not the case as I later found out) while most of the pub regulars were at the party.
We had a ball. The hall was full to capacity and Craig was really overwhelmed with the turn out. The music was great and Jinty was busting out all the shapes and moves with my pal, Chris - he is soooo cool on the dance floor! My old knees are suffering for it today. Even without the effects of alcohol (remember Saint Jinty was driving?) why do I think that bopping about the dance floor in heels that I don't normally wear is not going to have an adverse effect the following day? When I tried to crawl from my bed and stood up, I knew today was not going to be a comfortable one - my knees are bloody killing me!! Old age doesn't come itself and, quite obviously, wisdom doesn't come with age - I didn't give a toss last night when I was up shakin my very ample booty to J-Lo or "Twistin The Night Away" - never considered that today I would have the body of a 47 year old and the knees of a geriatric! It's sore to walk - but I'll suck it up and get on the go.
Not satisfied enough with the party antics, when I returned to my local and to my brother's gig, what did this moron do? Yeah - you've guessed it - hit the dancefloor once again! Now if I had been drinking I could see the point. But I had 2 cans of Sprite and a diet Irn Bru - not enough alcohol in there to warp my mind - so the fact that I thought I was back to being an 18 year old is, truthfully, beyond me. Maybe it was wearing the high heels that caused the problem........ maybe not......
Anyway a good night was had and I promise I've learned my lesson - just smoochin on the dancefloor from now on - no busting moves like MC Hammer on a good day! So I'll suffer in silence - I know a man who will slag me today when he sees me limping - I love him - he'll get away with it - this once (who am I kidding?  He gets away with it EVERY time!)
I am out tonight at an event in my brother's church. My 15 year old great nephew, Ben, is a musical genius and has produced a show called "Trek- a tribute to the pioneers" - he has even written one of the songs for it. I so love my family - we are a close knit bunch. And there's loads of us. A man once told me that he's never met a family like us - we are unique. It's the nicest thing he has ever said to me - and I've known him 14 years!
But I am glad to say I am merely a spectator tonight and not a participant. Thank goodness cos maybe Ben would want his old auntie to bust out those dance moves..................

Friday, 23 September 2011

What to do today...

It's nearly noon - and I'm bored already! Don't get me wrong, I'd rather be bored at home than working in school. But when the housework is done, everything's in order and your other friends are at work - there is damn all to do! I could go all square eyed and watch television but what would I do tonight then? I could go shopping but, to be honest, there is nothing I need to buy right at this moment in time. Having a gastric band fitted does not allow me the pleasure of going out for a hearty lunch cos I wouldn't be able to eat it. It's a waste of money for me. So I'm bored. REALLY bored! Nothing to do, nowhere to go, no ideas in my head as to any fascinating feat that I should try to accomplish. Maybe I should just stay in bed all day............ but that would be boring too! Think I am just going to get myself organised, get out in the car and take it from there. I would say the sky's the limit but then I'd need to fuel up my rocket instead of my car. A bit pricey for rocket fuel these days so the car it will be - destination ANYWHERE! Wonder who is at home........ maybe some flying visits will be on the cards...........watch this space...........

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The enemy.............

Insomnia is my enemy - it creeps up on me like the proverbial thief in the night and robs me of, not only my sleep, but nearly my sanity too (YOU? SANE? I hear you say......). It's hard to function on 3 hours or less sleep when you are facing a class of 32 nine year olds who crave your attention on a perpetual but continual basis. I'm not the type of person to be grouchy all day - no, I can actually still function reasonably well on so little shut eye. But there comes that time - around 2 in the afternoon - when I feel like lying in the corner and have the kids sing me a lullaby. Snoring at that very moment in time nearly becomes a reality. But not quite. The professional in me - as well as the noise level resounding through a completely open plan school of an afternoon keep my peepers open just long enough to see the day out till 3pm.
When I get home, I decide to come upstairs for a rest. Will my eyes shut now? Nope. So I get back up again, thinking that I'll have an early night just after dinner. Sated and feeling ready for a visit to Noddyland, I climb the stairs once more, get into bed and PING - eyelids are refusing point blank to droop - not for no one, nobody, no thing! Up I get again, watch some tv, read a book (always good for getting the eyelids ready for shut down!) and, with a few yawns, weariness and definitely no spring in my step, I'm finally ready.......
2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours later - I'm still ready.....and willing........... tell that to my eyes cos they have now gone into overdrive and are staging a protest - "WE WILL NOT CLOSE"!
So I see every hour on the clock, frustration building to boiling point ready to overflow like the lava pouring venomously down the sides of Krakatoa until - eventually - they can take it no more and close in sweet repose.
For around an hour or two!!! It's time to get up for work so, with the alarm ringing out the death knoll, it's up I get, into the shower, dressed, out the door and back to the round of torture once more. Will I fall asleep today on the job? Not likely............ but there's always a first time!


Just a quick blog about the Zumbathon - I survived! You have never watched anything so funny in your life. The gringo from Colombia who invented this craze must've been crazy himself. I have often thought of myself as reasonably well co-ordinated in terms of feet, arms, legs etc - Well - NO I'M BLOODY WELL NOT!!!!!! Octopus arms all over the place and moving one way as the legs are being ordered to go the other in time to some fast paced South American music - I couldn't keep up. I was more "bollocks" than "Bollywood" I can tell you. It was an experience not to be repeated but the Zumba teacher, Sharon, was so enthusiastic and terrific with the children that I felt I had to at least give it a try. Ok - so I gave it a try - time to move on and try cross stitching or bird watching or train spotting...... or just drinking, eating and sitting like a big couch potato watching CSI Miami............  Half hour of torture - oops I mean fun - took place from one till half past by which point the weans were the weirdest shade of beetroot red and needing to be hydrated from the toes up! Me? Once I realised I could end up like a big spangle on the floor in a tangled mass of body parts, I took to turning myself into David Bailley (photographer extraordinaire!!). At least from the behind the camera, I looked busy and focused so Sharon left me alone to do my teacherly job of capturing the moments (or half hour!!)
Actually it was really fun, all joking aside. The kids loved it, I toyed with being serious about it then decided there was no fun in that but it put in a half hour this afternoon and it's not something we do every week - thank the Lord!  There are no photos of me, J, sorry about that, but I would not have your stay in hospital due to loss of breath through excessive merriment and hysterics on my conscience.
Try it out - good old Zumba - if I ever meet that bloody Colombian, I'll ..................

Old friends.....

Apart from family who usually have very little option, the people who stand by you through all the trials and tribulations in your life are your friends. Not just fairweather friends who are around when the times are good and everything is going "swimmingly" but the real friends who walk in when all the others are walking out and leaving you to your crisis. Now these aren't just any friends - these are the "old friends"  who have known you forever and spent nights mopping up your tears when you've needed consoling and mopping up their own as they howl with laughter along with you at some crazy thing or other you have both found amusing.
It's been said that friends are the family you choose for yourself - how right that is - and I have made some wonderful choices over the years. My best friend from school is still in my life today. We have known each other since we have been 8 and 6 respectfully. For a time we went our separate ways - me to college and her to having her family. No bad feelings in any way. Just life taking us in opposing directions. She knows all about me, has imparted some good advice over the years and kept a watchful eye over me when I found myself living alone after my dad moved into a nursing home. She made sure I ate regularly and has fed me on too many occasions to count.
Then there are my 3 friends from college. We also have a special bond and, although we don't keep in contact too regularly, when we meet or pick up the phone it's as if we have never had a minute pass since the last time we talked. If anything goes wrong - they are the first to be there with support. We do that for each other - that's why we have been friends for so long. That's all that matters. I hope I do the same for them. They may not be blood related but they are most definitely family! I love them dearly and I make sure they know it.
There are old friends that you lose contact with over the years for one reason or another - who you think have left your friendship circle for good only to find them returning many years later in some surprising way to add their lustre back into your life once more. No regrets about years gone by - no apologies required - no bad feelings felt: just the pleasure of reconnecting once again.
When you have good friends who don't let you down, take my advice: cherish them and hold them close to your heart. They are your rock, your salvation on occasions, your allies when you feel you have none, your unwavering support when others fail you - and they are the most precious gifts you can be given. Trustworthiness, loyalty, friendship - these are not always a given for everybody. So if you have old friends who bring a sparkle to your life, let them know it and sparkle right back for them. Life is not complete without the closeness and the bond of old friends. I love them all and will cherish their friendship always. xx

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

My holiday weekend

Yeah I know we are only back to school a few weeks but we are already having our first "break" - September weekend. I love when we are off (much as I love my job). It allows me to just be "me" again  - to chill out, relax, catch up on some sleep and gather myself for the next onslaught of long and short term plans and any curve ball that will inevitably be tossed my way.
So what's on the horizon this weekend? Well I have a 30th birthday party to attend on Saturday night. One of my former pupils who, unusually for me, has become a really good friend after leaving school and growing up. There are only a handful of former pupils who fall into this category out of hundreds that I have taught but Craig is one of them. It makes me feel really old when I hear that they are in their 30s but it's lovely that they want me to help celebrate it with them. So I shall trot to our local hall and shimmy on down with the best of them. I'm not drinking - I'll drive instead (saint Jinty is among you in the village of Chapelhall!)
Sunday I'll spend with "the crazy man" of which I'll say no more then on Monday I am going to the Premier Inn to meet up with my Irish friends.
I have the good fortune to be friends with a well known Irish singer and his entourage. My friend and I toured with him for years and helped sell his merchandise. Because of him, I have travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles and been to places I would never otherwise have been in my lifetime. One of those places is Ireland - north and south of the border line. A country which I love and miss dearly because I haven't been for a number of years now. We stayed in Co. Down many times - at the Slieve Donard Hotel - and it was wonderful. My whole summer break from school would be spent touring Ireland , often taking up his hospitality and staying with him in his home. I know the real man and he is lovely. So I look forward to a hug from him and all the others on Monday night. Then on Tuesday he plays the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and I'll be there - probably sitting backstage in the dressing room chatting with his PA, with one ear honed to the monitor that allows you to hear what's happening onstage with him. The best of both worlds.
So my weekend is busy. Unusually so for me on a holiday. But I'm looking forward to all of it. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Music - my passion.

Since I yet cannot comment on the Zumba as it doesn't take place till Thursday (are you listening, J?!!) I am about to tell you about my main passion in life  - music.
Music is what I eat, sleep and breathe. It truly is a universal language and can heal wounds and mend broken barriers as well as broken hearts. It has no language barrier. It speaks to the world. It speaks from the heart of the composer, the lyricist, the musicians who put together an infinite work of art to be enjoyed throughout generations. There are songs which last as long as an ice cream on a scorching day and there are songs which will continue forever because the words have meaning in people's lives, says the things you wished you were poetic and lyrical enough to have dreamed up or touches a place in your heart for the most personal of reasons.
Then there are songs that just have that great beat - that "I can't keep my toes from tapping and my body swaying" kinda song - rythmically perfect.
It might surprise you to know that I'm a bit of a rocker too with Def Leppard, Guns n Roses and Bon Jovi among my eclectic collection of music. I like all styles of music. Some more than others I must admit but I'll give most genres a try - at least once (ain't that nice of me!) Come visit me and you might find Michael Buble crooning in the background - or Axl Rose screaming out "Sweet Child O' Mine. You just never know what to expect. I'm not keen on heavy opera or jazz which is quite shameful because my singing voice lends itself to the jazzy/bluesy style.
Anyone from the village knows how I love to sing. I ran our local karaoke for about 8 years and, although I didn't always enjoy the "working" aspect of the job, I ALWAYS loved the singing. I also sing a variety of songs. In my repertoire are such songs as "Valerie" by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson, "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele, "Proud Mary" by Tina Turner, "Heaven" by Bryan Adams, "Old Time Rock n Roll" by Bob Seger (are you getting my drift?) These are but a few. As varied in style as in lyrical composition.
I also have sung in a band put together by the landlord of my local. He plays sax, my cousin on electric guitar, 2 other guitarists and the drummer. The style is very "jazzy" but it is fun to do and, I have to say, live music is "the bomb" - I love it. I cover 2 numbers, amongst others, with them that I had never done before - "Summertime" and Carole King's "Too Late Baby" so I am experimenting all the time. I am more "Alison Moyet" than "Dame Kiri Te Kanawa" with a strong, powerful voice inherited by my paternal grandmother. It cures all ills for me. When I'm sad, I sing to cheer myself up - when I'm happy, I sing - when I'm angry, I sing to get rid of the frustration - hell, I even sang with my niece to my wee auntie last week on request from my cousins, before she passed from this life to the next! It's not only a passion for me. It's a way of life. And I'll keep loving it............

It's been a busy old term already!

I feel as if we have been back to school for months and months - like the 7 weeks holiday never existed (poor you, I hear you screech sarcastically!)
The children in my new class have settled well and we are all getting into a routine. It's like a group of strangers being thrown together and told that you must co-habit for 5 hours each day Monday to Friday in joviality, good humour and peaceful bliss for a whole year - aye right!!!! Not always the case no matter how hard you try! Don't get me wrong - I'm a seasoned veteran when it comes to teaching (26 years of experience) but sometimes things go pear shaped. And we all have off days - or sometimes off weeks!! I include myself very much in this mix. Little sleep this weekend has not made me the jovial character that normally sits in the "teacher's chair" but I'm not apologising for being a little less than perfect!
Already we have had to plan every subject area till November, start new weekly short term planning sheets, write evaluation sheets of our current week (plan, plan, plan - do you see the pattern here?),  prepare for an Open Evening, organise a school allotment visit resulting in a coleslaw making bonanza from the fruits (veggies) of our labours, consider and discuss the idea that Nessie is for real and take part in a Zumbathon. Yes - you heard right  - a sponsored Zumba delight - a half hour of dance, movement and exercise to Bollywood style music where, no doubt, the good old croc of a teacher will be asked to "bust out some moves"! Much to the delight of her 32 children but not to the delight of Miss Bryce!! I  hope the ambulance is ready and waiting outside the school door with gas and air to revive this poor old codger who, through choice, has dedicated herself wholeheartedly to her profession. 100% commitment - even if it bloody kills me - I will not be beaten by 9 year olds - and I certainly want to maintain my superteacher/superhero status in their young and innocent eyes. So, suitably attired, I will show up on Thursday and "give it welly" during my Zumba half hour of torture (oops, I mean fun). My status as "head of the clan" will not be tarnished and I can leave for September weekend holiday knowing I have done my bit for the school and community. As for me on Thursday night? I'll be soaking in a hot bath to soothe my aching muscles, ponder on the day's trials and tribulations and get my breath back. Yeah - it's been a busy old term already!

Monday, 19 September 2011

My World!

I have been encouraged by an old friend to try out this blogging malarky. And, although it is unlike me to share my life so publicly, I have a sneaky suspicion that I may enjoy the venture. Doubt very much if anyone will be interested in what goes on in my world (hell, sometimes I'M not that interested!) but I am willing to share.

My world consists of - mainly ME (not entirely through choice). And my wee bunny rabbit who is allowed to share my house with me. He is rather anti-social - probably because I have him spoiled rotten but we co-habit quite peacefully. My close family live near me but not WITH me and this is a fact that I can live with! I enjoy my own company. I have many friends but, when I come HOME, I like my own space. There is a special someone in my life but we keep things completely quiet and private - just how we like it. Village mentality has propogated many a scandal between him and I but we just grin and avoid those probing questions that get fired our way.

My family is dwindling and I've suffered many losses over the years. The latest tragedy was the death of my sister at the young age of 52. Nothing prepares you for the loss of a sibling. In the evolution of life, somewhere in your head, you prepare yourself as best you can for the loss of your parents. But nothing - and I mean NOTHING prepares you for the death of your sister 6 years older than you. It's off the scale, incomprehensible and something from which we will not fully recover. It's a life now being lived without her presence and I miss her greatly. We had many a laugh in our time together as sisters.

We used to have cocktail nights at her house only a few hundred yards up the road from my own house. We would gather together all the "alcopoppy" style drinks of the day and some pretty tasty treats like Midori, Malibu etc  Jinty, in the kitchen, became your talented bar tender - mixing, shaking, shimmying to whatever music Helen would have chosen. With drinks poured, we'd settle on the 2 couches - her flat out on one and me on the other. After a few hours and many sips(!!!!) of our exotic delight, we would decide it was OUR turn to burst into song. At this exact moment, my brother-in-law would decide that he was so tired, he would need to go to bed. With goodnights said, Helen and I got stuck into more drinks and thought up more songs. No song was off limits - from the latin song we learned at primary school (which we sang in harmony I may add) to the most popular tunes of the day. We (in Scottish terminology) "gave it laldy!!"  But when we hit a particular set of songs, we knew we had run out and it really was time for me to head home and hit the sack. Yes - the Disney songs!! Under The Sea was a particular favourite even though by that time we could barely remember the words and would gently banter over which verse came next. But Zippiddee Doo Dah got a good airing too as did songs from Jungle Book, Cinderella (sung in falsetto voices!) and The Lion King. What a talent we thought we were. I'm sure the neighbours would not have agreed at 2 or 3 on a Sunday morning. We loved it and enjoyed each other's company.

I miss my sister so much - from being able to tell her funny and amusing anecdotes from my school day to shopping on a Saturday morning and popping into a cafe for tea or coffee before we came home. My sister was a real class act - a lady - with a warm welcome for everyone. I miss her presence dearly but the memories of all the good times we shared sustain me through the many moments of grief that etch their way coldly around my heart. We will meet someday again "over the rainbow". Welcome to my world!