Monday, April 30, 2007

They're all going crazy.

Or so it seems. They're all mad. Running around, can't stay in their seats, won't stop talking ... All the work is written on the board (Read page 76. Answer the questions on page 77) and when asked why they're books aren't open, they say "I don't know what to do". How many weeks until half term?

(Although, I have to add, they're not all that bad, and some of my Year 8s were working very well on the computers today.)

Sunday, April 29, 2007


What would you do if you witnessed a violent incident, not just from afar, but right in front of you? Would you intervene, or not want to get involved? Would you just watch, walk away, wait until it was over, or want to stop it?

That was the dilemma my friend and I had to face today. We'd just spent a lovely day together - more of which later! - and she had walked me to the bus stop where we were waiting for the bus. We didn't really notice anyone else at the stop, so engrossed in conversation were we.

Two girls walked to the stop, and I half noticed them approach a girl sitting by herself at the stop, right next to us. There seemed a bit of a scuffle, but at first it seemed good natured banter. Then one of the girls hit the lone girl, and at some point quite quickly she fell to the floor, where one of the girls kicked her. It all happened quite suddenly, and was very scary. I wanted to say something, but was scared in case they turned on us. Fortunately my friend had more presence of mind, and very kindly said "Stop", "Excuse me", "Come on girls, off you go" or something similar. I quietly tried to usher them away without saying much or touching them, but trying to protect the girl somehow, who was by now basically at my feet. The two girls ran off.

It was very sudden, and the girl picked herself up, shaking. My friend asked how she was, where she lived, did she want us to walk some way with her? She didn't want to walk in the direction of her home, since that was where the girls had ran away to. So my friend offered to drive her home. We walked back to our friends, and my friend's husband and I drove the girl back, and made sure she got safely back to her mum. It turns out that the two girls, although not the victim, go to the school that my friend's husband teaches at. Small world.

It was a short but scary episode. She knew the two girls - the "jumping" was over an iPod - and had been friends with one of them. Not any more. You hear about these things, girl on girl violence, and I've seen pupils "flip" quite badly and violently in school. Sometimes, as a teacher, you get caught up in the middle of something, and it can be quite scary, and you can sometimes be hurt. But on the street, with children you don't know, fifteen year old girls, well, you just don't know what's going to happen. Fortunately the girl wasn't badly hurt, just shaken up. But you don't know at the time what could happen next.

Long pause before moving on to the nice stuff ...

The reason I was out in the park today, getting nicely sunburnt (very red neck!), was that we were celebrating the dedication of my friend's youngest daughter. After a nice service with lots of singing, we went along to the local park for a big picnic. Although I only knew my friend and her family (it was lovely to see her parents and brother and sister again, after many years), there were lots of other friendly people there, so I chatted to lots of interesting people. Mostly about what it's like being a Catholic ...! There were lots of little girls, and one little boy, and they were all running around enjoying the sunshine ... very cute! Also lots of nice food - pasta, quiche, beetroot salad, green salad, crisps, dips, bread, chipolata sausages, chicken, cheese, chocolate, banana bread, nutella cake - lots of delicious food for us to eat. So we ate, and chatted, and watched the children run around, and got suntanned, and talked some more. What a lovely few hours. Shame it ended in such a sad way. But that doesn't stop it from being a great day - if my friend is reading this, then thank you, it was lovely, and the photos and video will find its way to you as soon as we can meet up again!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday, Friday.

Yesterday - what a day. A few of my Year 11s were positively horrible, but fortunately then left ... it's all been written up and followed up, but not a nice start to the day. Fortunately I had three or four that were keen to learn, but it's still frustrating to have a similar number not wanting to do anything. The Year 10s were completing some English coursework or something, so those not involved were all in a room with myself and another teacher. Didn't do any work, just kept on checking the register! My other Year 11s were fine, although there were only two for most of the lesson, rising to six by the end. Hmmm. And they're not even going to get any exam leave ...

Sounded like the day was going to get worse when I learnt that I had a late cover for PE, then it got even worse when I learnt which group it was going to be. Fortunately, towards the end of lunch, there was a turn up for the books when another PE teacher offered to stand in for me! Lovely of her. So I managed to get some more admin done, then went to teach my new Year 8 class - the first time I've met them - and it wasn't wonderful, but it wasn't too bad either. Made about five calls at the end of the day ...

When I got home, H had started tidying up the house, which now is looking pretty good. After dinner, there was a programme about Elgar on, and that inspired me to get my violin out. Haven't played for ages, but eventually managed to tune it up, and had a great time playing around on it, musically inspiring H to carry on with the tidying up (it's mostly his work stuff, so I couldn't really help out that much ...)

Today, H has gone to Amsterdam ... I miss him, at least he'll be back on Wednesday! I've been at a course all day, and am now doing some computer stuff while watching Doctor Who and other random TV programmes. (Doctor Who wasn't random ... I didn't want to miss him defeating the Daleks again.) Must go!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Bit of a mixed bag day. Good Year 11 revision lesson. Used my new DigiMemo. Then two lots of Year 10s. Ugh. Then AS class. Okay. Printed off reports. Then - swimming! Fun. Very tired though, after a few busy days.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Busy few days ...

Well, it's been a busy few days, so I haven't posted for a while. That must mean some interesting things have been happening!

To be honest, at the moment I don't remember too much about Saturday ... I think we went to B&Q for paint (ah, yes, it's all coming back now!), had an ice cream while sitting in the sunshine beside the air vents outside Sainsbury's, did some shopping, then came back and hung / hanged (?) and rehung / rehanged some paintings. I didn't manage to complete my Year 10 reports, we had a late night and I woke up tired.

On Sunday, I went to church, then we walked down to Poplar then to Canary Wharf to watch the marathon runners go by. We must have just missed the "Elite Men", although I don't know by how much. There were a few runners at first, then gradually more and more came together. There were quite a few people there to cheer them on. We wandered along to the 20 mile mark, where a DJ called out the names of some of the runners and encouraged them as they headed on. H decided he could manage the pace they were going at, so I think he should apply to run the marathon next year. He has run them before in the past, at school.

After a while, we decided to wander down to Canary Wharf. There were thousands of people running there, obviously the slightly slower ones. It must have been about 12.30pm or so when we got there. On our way back home after lunch, about 3pmish, there were still some runners going past there, although they were really walkers by that time, and still had some way to go. Not many spectators by then either. But good on them for keeping going. I think I would have been a while behind!

It was a great day - a really nice atmosphere. Lots of people clapping, cheering and whistling.

Arrived home. More rehanging. Uploaded my photos onto iPhoto. Wrote a few reports ... but didn't manage to finish them. Another late night rehanging paintings ... but we did it in the end!

Monday. An exciting day ... I took my Year 8s into the ICT room for the first time. We used OpenMind to plan some work. A lot of the more well behaved pupils picked it up quickly, and the less well behaved ones played snooker games on the computer instead of disturbing the others. Hopefully they'll eventually see that the work is fun ...

At the end of the day, I wrote reports until 6:45pm, but still didn't manage to finish them. Stayed so late because I was going to an evening dinner with speakers about the course I am on. One of the courses I am on ... Delicious food! Sorry, no photos ... Thai Duck with Chilli Noodles, Seabass with potatoes and rocket, Chocolate mousse with amaretti biscuits and a delicious creamy vanilla sauce thing. Yummmmmmmmmm. Delicious. Interesting talks too. Bit tired though!

Today ... training course all day, and a lot of it was going over skills that I have taught myself over the holidays. Have picked up a few ideas here and there, and it's always good to meet the others on the course. Also excellent food. They do feed us well, our Local Authority!

Right. Just arrived back. Must finish those reports!

Friday, April 20, 2007


Actually had a good double Year 11 lesson today with my awkward class! Must start with a test more often, I think! Left school at lunchtime in order to go for training ... very exciting, I now have a DigiMemo!

Anyway, I'm off now to watch Ugly Betty, which I love!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I went swimming after school today! First time in ages ... Great, really relaxing ... it feels like the weekend. Probably helps that it's a lovely sunny day ... and I thought that I had training all day tomorrow, but I've just realised that it doesn't start until the afternoon, so I'll need to go into work tomorrow! Aargh! Ethical dilemma ... my lessons are covered ... but at least that means they're planned ... no dilemma really, sense of duty, of course I'll be there for the morning. But am still excited about my training!

By the way, my double Year 11 class went really well today ... we wrote out key words on the cards, with the definitions on the back.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

1000 visits!

I've finally reached the 1000 visit mark, as shown on my cluster map! Not sure who is visiting, though - I presume mostly my Dad and I! Hello to anyone who is visiting, though!

Bit tired today. Every class seemed to be such hard work; but I think it's the same all over the place. We think it's a combination of the two weeks away from authority and rules, and the weather. Pretty hot. I had to call for an on-call person three times during my Year 7 class - eventually the Head himself arrived. I've written up the incidents (mostly involving paper and elastic bands ... ) and hopefully they'll get followed up severely.

Sent two letters, and made four phone calls. Spoke to two parents, left one message, couldn't get through to one.

Sent out 250 trip letters, have loads of forms to fill in, and may have to make quite a few phone calls on Monday if the money hasn't been brought back!

Wrote up an incident report about a skiving boy who through the seat from a computer chair out the window at a group of skiving girls.

Had over three quarters of the Year 10 class back for detention in order to finish the work set in class that they had ignored.

Sorted out cover work for days that I have off in the next couple of weeks.

Have now checked all my email and blogs and am off to do the dishes, grill the fish (actually, maybe I'll steam it ...) and have a relaxing shower. Only have Year 11 lesson to fully plan for tomorrow, the rest, I think, is organised ... Goodnight!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

TWO traffic jams!

It took me almost an hour to move from my driveway to the building next door this morning. Talk about frustrating. Eventually the tunnel was cleared and we started moving. All was going well until I reached the final road leading to the North Circular, and a police car blocked the way. Another half hour detour, with no idea of where I was going ... eventually arrived at almost 9.30am. Fun.

Work was always going to be better after that (!) ... but not much better!

Not too bad though. I've had worse.

Monday, April 16, 2007

First day back ...

Well, after I failed to teach about prophets, I failed to revise Marriage and Family Life, then I failed to teach about leadership in the church, then I finally failed to revise Worship and Celebration. Fun!

To be fair, most of the Year 8s were fine, quite malleable, and want to learn. However, about six of the pupils refused to follow the clear instructions I gave them about where I wanted them to sit, so I spent about half an hour or so phoning parents to let them know. And those six pupils managed to make sure that no one learnt anything. However, since it took so long to seat them, I was able to work out what different pupils are like - how malleable, polite, willing to learn etc they are - and then walked round and spoke individually to the good ones, praising them, and telling them that I expect good things from them and that they've impressed me so far. Let's hope it pays off next lesson.

I'm not very fond of most of the Year 11s I have today. A number of them are quite immature, and like throwing paper balls and pen lids at each other. Very hard to revise.

Year 7s are so noisy. I hope I can book a computer room on a regular basis, because I think they could do quite well if I could give them a practical project to work on. It's the trying to get their attention long enough to explain what I want them to do that's the problem. Very frustrating.

The Year 10 group I have today are also quite a strange bunch. A lot of really nice pupils, and some that really want to learn - but a few that are still finding it hard to remember why they are at school, I think. We did a mindmap, but only a few managed to complete it. They've got their test on Thursday. Hmmmm.

Lamb and roast potatoes with veg and gravy for dinner. Delicious!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Books, sunshine, food, conversation

We had a lovely time last night at the launch of a new section of a publishing house. Met lots of very interesting and friendly people, and it involved a banquet for about 70 at a Chinese restaurant, which was delicious! The food flowed all night, and included: prawns wrapped in spring roll pastry (delicious!!!), crispy duck pancakes, pak choi, something that reminds me now of broccoli, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't, duck on prawn crackers, stewed mixed vegetables, very large prawns or scallops or something with deep fried curd, bamboo and water chestnuts, spicy beef, sweet and sour chicken, orange slices and fortune cookies. Now that I've listed that, I'm sure there was more than that ... anyway, it was all delicious, and we couldn't manage to finish it all!

Today has been a lovely day - the hottest so far, I think. We went for a walk in the afternoon and sat for half an hour or so by the riverside, enjoying the sunshine. Also watched the Chelsea v Blackburn game. I've marked one set of books (the smaller set), and am now waiting for Doctor Who ... we missed it yesterday. Had another delicious spaghetti bolognese for lunch (H's speciality at the moment!), and I'm trying to work out what to make for dinner. Also should consider planning my lessons ... I have a new class tomorrow, a year 8, that I'm expecting to be pretty horrible ... it contains some of my form, so at least I know who to complain to if I have a concern! Hope they are so surprised at seeing me that they're not *too* bad ... !!! Don't worry, I'm sure you'll hear all about it...!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I've not posted for a couple of days; the main reason why can be found here! H has been painting, so that has involved some visits to B&Q for paint, and most of the time I've been reading - couldn't put this book down!

Last night, however, we went to the cinema to see Sunshine. Bit bizarre ... H loved it, I found lots of bits quite suffocating, all that having to go outside into the atmosphere fixing space shuttle stuff ... Hard to breath. But quite interesting ...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Playing on the computer

I've spent the day playing around on the computer. Not even writing my literature review! I managed to make a video. Learning lots of new skills. Fun, but not particularly productive - at the moment!

Plans for tomorrow:
* Visit the British Library again
* Mark some books?
* Tidy up ... unless H is still painting, which I think he might be!
* A few home admin things

Can't believe the time is rushing away from me! I'll soon be back at school!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Overheard at the British Library

Not today, you understand ... I wrote this earlier, but have only just managed to work out how to copy it over.

On the tube on the way here, I followed a couple up the stairs. Strange shoes ... a new style? No. His heels were pressing down on the back of the shoes, producing a strange flip-flip slip-on effect. Bizarre. Why? How long had he worn them like that for? I looked at her feet, half-expecting them to share the same strange style. But no, her trainers were normal, not unusual, not worth a second glance. So up I went, and on to the British Library.

Sitting in the British Library restaurant having lunch. In front of me, in front of my food, a couple talking. At first, I think it is an interview. There is some discussion of a book. Who is this author? I try to make out clues, but do not succeed. I do not recognise the back of his bald head, or the female interviewer’s curly hair and glasses, her old-fashioned teacher-like look. Flippets of conversation make their way back to me. A school, a boy, 12, 13 ... then publishers are mentioned, and I conclude that this is a meeting between a would-be author, a not-yet author, and an agent ... their first? A subsequent? Is she selling herself, a preliminary meeting to find out if they are right for each other? Or has he already chosen her? I wonder ... His seventeen year old son does not like the title, but has not read the book. Is this a problem? But the title doesn’t matter, not at this stage ... America ... will they understand GP? Changes will have to be made. But she’ll give it to publishers saying, “Read this, you’ll love it.”

By the way ... congratulations to Chelsea, who have literally just beaten Valencia.

Sunny Islington

Been down the Angel today. Lovely Turkish lunch at the Sedir restaurant ... chicken livers and shish kebab, rice, salad and bread. Wiped up all the dressings from the plate ... delicious! We sat outside in the sunshine. Look forward to more days like that!

Message for Dad

Hello! Check your email ...

Easter Bank Holiday Monday

A quiet day ... we went to B&Q and had an ice cream in the sun.

Watched "The Lady in the Lake" this evening. A bit strange ... I imagine if you'd gone to the cinema expecting a good horror film you'd have been disappointing! Quite interesting, though.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

A nice early start this morning to go to church ... I was doing one of the readings, and got to carry up the Gospel. Once again, lovely to see the church looking so beautiful in the daylight!

We decided not to go to Belfast. Instead, this afternoon, we went for a drive down to see the Thames Barrier. It's the first time I've seen them in real life - that is, not on a documentary drama about flooding. They remind me of something out of Doctor Who, giant silver snails. Lots of questions - what are the made of? Do they feel padded to the touch? (Probably not, but they look like it!) How do people get between each barrier? Are there underground tunnels between them? How do they work? Are there big barriers on wheels that turn round when necessary? I've added a link the relevant website so we can try and find out some of the answers ...!

It's been a relaxing evening. I've spoken to my parents, grandparents, sister and long time friend. I've watched Doctor Who and Ugly Betty, my two favourite TV programmes at the moment. At the moment The Passion of the Christ is on, so I'm catching up with my blog.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday Vigil

Another beautiful service, full of symbolism. Fire, light, water, oil, white robes ... All come together to celebrate new life.

Before I go any further though - Happy Birthday to my sister! She's getting on a bit, poor thing, but is having a lovely weekend away ... which presumably explains why I haven't been able to get through to her today! Hope she's having a great day.

Anyway. Back to church ...

We went straight to the Garden for the opening of the service. A large crowd had already gathered by the time I arrived, even though there was still some time before the service began. Candles were handed out, and I smiled as I watched the children jumping up, holding their candles high in the air, shouting "I'm the highest! I'm the highest!" I waited for them to start using them as swords, which is what the long, thin candles with their circular hand guard reminded me of, and, sure enough, eventually two boys began a play fight ... but they were quickly stopped by their mother, with a firm "Don't do that, you might break them."

Eventually the priest, in his white robes, appeared, preceded by all the altar servers, also all in white. The children returned to their parents, the priest outlined what would be happening, and the service began.

The fire was lit, and the blessing said over it. The new Paschal Candle, tall, white, with the red top, was brought forward. The priest said a few words, blessing the candle, remembering the Alpha and the Omega, marking the sign of the cross and the five wounds in the wax. Then he said another prayer, this time pushing the special incense sticks into the candle. Then the Paschal Candle was lit ... the light of Christ has come into the world!

We processed back into the church, clutching our candles ... the church was still in darkness, we were still waiting for the light of Christ, but what a transformation had taken place since the bleakness, the emptiness of Good Friday. In between the Stations of the Cross were wreathes of yellow and white flowers, and the Sanctuary was full of flowers. The three empty crosses were no longer standing on the rocky hill of Golgotha ... instead, they had been transformed into the Garden which held Joseph of Arimethea's tomb, where Jesus' body had been laid, a garden full of blossoms, chicks, and a small figure holding the pearl of great price.

We took our places in darkness, then the priest's voice could be heard: this is the light of Christ! We sang back, Alleluia. At the back of the church, a light was beginning to dawn ... candles were lit from the Paschal candle, and this light was passed on, and on, and on, until the church flickered with hundred of tiny flames. Take my message, and spread it throughout the world ... this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine ...

Eventually, all our candles were lit, and the priest and altar servers were at the front of the church. The Paschal Candle was plunged in the water in the font, a prayer said. The readings began ... we remembered the creation ... In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth ... there was darkness ... God said, Let there be light! and there was light ... we moved on to Exodus ... the Israelites escaping from the Egyptians through the parted waters of the Red Sea ... Isaiah, Come to the waters ... without money, without price ... all who are thirsty, come to the waters ... The bells rang, and at that sign, the lights came on, the candles in the Sanctuary were lit, and we were in darkness no longer. Hope spreads, our hearts rise. The readings moved from light to water, the next symbol in the Mass ... Romans, then the Gospel from Luke: Why do you look for the living among the dead? And so, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

There were three adults baptised tonight, and another three confirmed as members of the Church. This part of the service always reminds me of when I joined the Church. It is very moving and symbolic. The three catechumens went forward, with their godparents. One by one they were asked, Do you renounce Satan, and all his works? Do you believe in God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit? Then each was anointed with oil, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, anointed with a prayer for strength. Next, each went forward, tipping their head over the font, which was next to the Paschal Candle. Three times, using a shell, a reminder, perhaps, of John the Baptist baptising in the river, the priest poured the water over their heads. I baptise you in the name of the Father ... and the Son ... and the Holy Spirit. The three catechumens went back to their places, and their godparents unfurled beautiful white silk scarves, and spread them over the shoulders of their godchild. Keep this pure until you meet the Lord in heaven ... Finally, each was given a candle, lit from the Paschal Candle.

The three candidates were then able to go forward, to make their promises, to be anointed, to receive their candle. Then we all remade our baptismal promises.

We had moved from the symbolism of light to that of water. Jesus reveals the truth, and cleanses us from sin.

The offerings were made, the Eucharistic prayers said, the long liturgy of prayers to the saints sung, communion received, prayers made ... Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, Alleluia, Alleluia. Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Another service full of symbolism, hope, love and peace.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

I've just arrived back from the Good Friday service. I understand how so many artists, writers, musicians, creative people can have been inspired over the years by the Catholic Church. There is so much symbolism, so much mystery, so many moving aspects to the service.

Entering the church is haunting. So plain, so silent, people quietly moving to their places, shuffling along rows to let as many people in as possible. No flowers, no candles, no incense, no holy water. The statues, from the large crucifix on the wall to the little statues of Mary and Joseph that sit before the rows of (now extinguished) votive candles, are all covered in white muslin: Jesus enters Golgotha alone, without support, as he faces his final hour. The feeling of emptiness is completed by the open tabernacle ... empty now, the sanctuary lamp without its familiar warm red glow, we are reminded that God is dead.

The Mass began yesterday, during the Lord's Supper, the Maundy Thursday service, where feet were washed and bread and wine broken and blessed. So today, there is no bell, no processional hymn; the priest and altar servers walk slowly, solemnly, quietly in to their places, only pausing as the priest prostrates himself at the foot of the altar. The congregation kneels in memory of the events of that day, so many years ago now.

And then the Passion is read. The priest takes the role of Jesus; two women act as the narrator and as all the other individual speakers ... Pilate, Peter, the woman in the courtyard. We are the crowd, calling out for Jesus to be crucified: we have no king but Caesar. And so we are implicit in the crucifixion of Christ, our Lord. Our guilt is complete. But so will our redemption be ... We get to the point in the reading where Jesus cries out "It is accomplished!" The church goes silent. The priest kneels, the congregation follows suit. A long pause, a time of prayer, of reflection. Then we stand again, to remember that the story did not end there. We finish as the body is laid in the tomb.

The main aspect of this 3pm service is the Veneration of the Cross: a large wooden cross, with a marble looking statue of Jesus on it, held up by the altar servers so the congregation could kiss the feet of Jesus. The congregation, solemnly processing towards the crucifix, of every age, race, gender and socio-economic background, mingling together in shared adoration of Jesus. At one point, the Irish priest was sitting down, resplendent in red robes, and the African altar server bent towards him to ask him something, their two faces looking towards the edge of the church, side by side. Very picturesque. I could imagine a Rembrandt ...

At the end of the service, the final image is of the altar, a plain, cream stone table, with three crosses standing underneath it, surrounded by rocks on a baize, and the crucifix with Jesus, reclining on two purple cushions behind. On the altar is the silver ciborium, and thus, perhaps, a circle is complete.

We leave the church in silence: no holy water today, only reflections to carry with us. Outside, the world seems quieter. As I walk, steadily, surely, more slowly than usual, back home, I reflect on the crowd who had watched the crucifixion. They had had their entertainment, they had seen things they had not expected ... now they walked away, along the dusty road, sun shining as it is today, leaving Jesus behind, hanging there on the cross, only a few followers daring to stay, to wait, to take his body and tenderly prepare it for burial. The rest of us, we walked away, back to resume our busy lives ...

Perhaps to be inspired to draw, to write, to paint, to compose, to sing, to create.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Back at the British Library

Spent another fun day at the British Library, researching for my dissertation. Today I eventually got through five books - I now have 40 pages of notes on my laptop! The research is about assessment, and it's been very interesting learning about the different kinds of assessment. I also got two sets of microfilm (dissertations) but I'll need to look at them another day, because I ran out of time.

I wrote a few notes while I was there that I will post up later - they are on the other computer and I can't be bothered getting the other one out just now!

Shame to miss all the good weather, but since the Lit Review is due after the holidays, I really ought to get a move on! However, I'll be at home tomorrow, so hopefully I'll see some of the beautiful sunshine that we're supposed to have!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

French Philosopher

What an interesting day today. In the morning I did three hour-long slots of marking as part of my research and my pupils' GCSE revision. Then my AS students arrived, with lunch, for some Utilitarianism revision. Then I came home, got changed, and we headed to the British Library to listen to Alain Badiou, the leading living French philosopher. The talk was held in the very comfortable conference centre, and the combination of this, Alain's soporific voice, and my lack of knowledge and understanding of the topic, meant that I had a very cosy 20 minutes or so snooze. Since this came after a very clear introduction, and before a fairly clear summary, I managed to catch the gist of the message, which was that existence is appearing to be, in a place. I think. The question session afterwards was not so clear, but perhaps that was because I was reading the "What's on" guide. Lots of interesting talks as part of their "Sacred" exhibition throughout April and May. I think we'll be back. But hopefully to something that I understand more!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Another new baby!

I've just heard the good news that my cousin has had a little girl!

Other than that, I've had a great time in the British Library today. It was my first official visit there, and I think I managed remarkably well by myself. I have to say - the food is great! I had butter fish on a pesto mash, with prawn butter sauce and pumpkin. Delicious! I look forward to going back on Thursday - I have ordered a number of books that take 48 hours to be delivered from somewhere else.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hampstead Heath

What a lovely day we've had today, visiting Hampstead Heath for the first time with friends and their two adorable little girls! I had a delicious big large pink ice cream, we stopped to smell the magnolia trees, and we saw someone bounding over the Heath on strange bouncing stilt things. Fun!

Palm Sunday

We had a lovely Palm Sunday service today. It was a nice morning, so we met outside in the garden for the blessing of the palms, then we sang a hymn as we processed into church. The Passion Narrative was read - it's quite long, but a good reminder of the story of Holy Week, ending with Jesus' body in the tomb - and the church was filled with palms. Also, the statues and crucifixes are all covered up with cloths, to show that for this week, Jesus is in many ways alone, facing death. I do like the symbolism of the services.

I've not blogged much recently, but I have been blogging elsewhere ... I have a lot of new technology now, for school, and I've been getting to grips with it. It's been quite fun! Hopefully H might be able to make good use of it as well. I'm already thinking of lots of ideas for school.

H is cooking his speciality at the moment - spaghetti bolognese, as taught to us by our visitor the other month. It smells delicious ... I am looking forward to eating it, before we meet with friends and go for a walk on Hampstead Heath.