Sunday, July 27, 2008

My to do for this summer ...

I just thought I should add this here:

  1. Plan new Year 7 lessons
  2. Rewrite Year 7 RE lessons
  3. Plan GCSE lessons
  4. Make a list of all the departmental things I'd like to do
  5. Update my other blog with the books I've read
  6. Go into school to rejig my classroom and meet the new teacher
  7. May have some extra work from another website company that will need to be done
  8. Try to get some colour on my legs - suntan, I mean, not more bruises!
  9. Visit Scotland
  10. Relax a bit!

My first week

Right. I thought I'd write a review of my first week on holiday. So here goes ...

Saturday 19 - Played around with some new ICT stuff and surfed the web all day.

Sunday 20 - Church. Helped H get some stuff ready for exhibitions.

Monday 21 - Lazy day, but a lovely evening walk and bus ride down the Thames. Fell and scraped my knee, which still has the marks of the bruises.

Tuesday 22 - Lazy day, I think I did some tidying, and started hoovering and scrubbing the floor.

Wednesday 23 - Scrubbed the floors for most the day; evening constitutional to Canary Wharf.

Thursday 24 - Went to the V&A; paddled and took photos. Visited Westminster Cathedral then met up with H and his friend.

Friday 25 - Didn't do much during the day, but went to see The Dark Knight in the evening.

Saturday 26 - Too hot to do much. I got up to do the shopping and the washing, then wandered around for much of the day in a long top and not much else.

Sunday 27 - Got up and went to the Doctor Who Proms concert this morning. It was excellent! There were Judoon, Cybermen, Sontaron, Ood and Daleks - even Davros was there! Out of the companions, Martha (Freema Agyeman) did most of the presenting, and there were guest appearances from Mickey, Jackie and even Donna Noble (Catherine Tate)! Which was great. As was the music. A nice mix of Doctor Who themes, including some real classics like Doomsday, along with some relevant classical pieces - Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, Holst's Jupiter from the Planet Suite, and Wagner's The Ride of the Valkyries, for example. Afterwards, we went to the V&A so I could show H the pool, and I paddled for a bit as well as having a nice relaxing lunch there. Then we came back and I was too hot to move so slept on the sofa (by accident ...) while H went to buy some materials for his work. Eventually I woke up and have done some focussed surfing, mostly uploading photos to the computer etc. And I can't believe the time already!

Right. We have visitors from Tuesday onwards, so it's going to be a busy week. I might not pop by too much here but instead try to update next weekend, when things have calmed down again. But tomorrow I really ought to get this space spic and span, as well as heading to the shops for a bed and an anniversary present. Can't believe I haven't even bought a card yet! Oh dear. But today was lovely! (Although more for me than H!)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Batman and all that

Posthumous Oscar? I have to say, I really didn't think it was all that great. Is that scandalous or even blasphemous to say that today? You'd think so, from all the hype. I think the best performance was from either Commissioner Gordon or from Michael Caine's Alfred the Butler. I mean, Heath Ledger was fine, good even, but I think once again the film has suffered from being over-hyped. If "suffer" can an appropriate word to use in relation to the highest opening gross making film of all time, or whatever it is. I mean, we went to see it on the basis of the hype. Well, not only the hype, more the fact that Batman Begins was truly excellent, and this had the potential to be even better. Except it wasn't.

I mean, it was okay, and it was mildly entertaining. There were a few laugh out loud moments, for example: "No, I've to kill the bus driver." "The bus driver?" BANG. It'll make sense when you see the film, I promise. There were a couple of big ideas - sometimes someone has to be bigger than a hero, someone who will sacrifice the hero idea to take the flack, he's the hero we deserve, we have to chase him ... all that stuff. And, in the beginning at least, the coin idea was a good one, even if it was obvious. (That will also make sense when you've seen it.) But it was too dark a film - you could hardly see the action (actually, in some cases that was good, because you wouldn't want to), but also you could hardly hear some of it either, which was more problematic - why are all those buildings being evacuated? Ah, he must have said he was going to blow one up ... I presume that's why they are doing that ... Now, what's going on with the boat ... ? Did I miss something? (Oh, actually, I did - this is one LONG movie, and even if you've got a cast iron bladder you made need to leave the cinema at some point, so if you haven't then I recommend sitting by an aisle.)

Right. So, it was okay, but the love interest was all a bit bizarre, some of the traitors were easy to spot - let's just dwell on that cop for a bit longer, shall we? - the action scenes were too dark to follow properly, both the leads spoke with lisps that made them a bit more difficult to follow and meant I was wondering if all the facial make up and costume was affecting their speech, it was a bit surreal (obviously, the villain was the Joker after all) in places, and the ending was also a bit too open and fluffy (but in a nebulous way as opposed to a soft and comforting way). Other than that, it was perfectly all right, but I'll not be rushing to watch it again.

3 out of 5?

On the other hand, we have watched some interesting films on Sky Box Office recently.

Charlie Wilson's War - I didn't know much about the whole Afghan/Russia conflict, so this was very interesting and informative, with a great last line. Sad.

The Bucket List - Great film, highly recommended. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson; what more needs to be said? Well, I was in tears at the end. Twice. Very sad, very moving, very funny, very watchable, very loveable. (The trailer doesn't really do it justice.)

I Could Never Be Your Woman - Now, here was an unusual film to be chosen by H. As it started, Tracey Ullman appeared as Mother Nature. Later, the mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) and daughter go to choose tampons together to mark the daughter's first period. It is definitely a womanly film! But very enjoyable nonetheless. A bit bizarre, and it's hard to see that the relationship would last, but quite sweet too.

Spiderman 3 - We love this one! Except for the bizarre middle section with the blue suit where he goes all ghetto. But that bit was quite funny though! Anyway, this one we would really recommend.

So, there you go. If you want a superhero, either stick to Batman Begins or try out Spiderman 3. Lots of angst in both, and you know you'll be getting a good deal.

NOTE: H has just reminded me that we both watched and enjoyed Iron Man at the cinema as well. Very silly, but it never claimed to be anything else. Very funny as well. So there's another hero for you. Just don't expect too much!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hot holiday day

We had another pleasant evening constitutional last night. Once again, we wandered along the canal to Canary Wharf. This time, though, instead of getting on a boat we headed straight through to the bars near the tall glass buildings that make up Canary Wharf. It was full of sharply dressed business men, and a few smart women in crisp suits and heels. I felt a bit under dressed in my linen trousers and TopShop flowery top. However, I looked around me, and thought, I could teach your children, I have taught your younger selves. None of you would be here without people like me ... I didn't mean it in a snobby way, but I think it would be easy to look around at all the people who look rich with easy lives and think they've got it all and feel a bit inferior, since sometimes it's easy to get the feeling that perhaps those so-called "Masters of the Universe" might look down on we lesser mortals, but we are all people, and we all fit in one way or another, and none of us are greater or lesser than anyone else. We're just all different. So I felt a little less out of place, and we had a nice drink and some chips and prawns, and enjoyed being in the sunshine, and I used the opportunity to try and figure out what shoes I'd like to buy for this nice weather, that I can also walk (and not trip!) in, and then H pointed out a girl wearing the same top as me, except with a black pencil skirt and heels, so I thought I could try that sometime, and finally we headed back home, once again walking all the way.

Today I decided to leave H to his work (a good decision - he managed to complete the work he had been struggling with while I had been around to disturb him!), and headed out into the sunshine. It was a beautiful day and I didn't want it to go to waste. On the other hand, it was very hot so I didn't want to be outside too much! So I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. I've not been before, and I didn't think H would fancy it that much, so it was a good choice. I wanted to do some research for a school project we've got coming up.

I took loads of photos and the art and artefacts I saw were very interesting; however, the best bit by far was when I walked out into a court, into the blazing hot sunshine, and saw a sign - "Do not sit or swim in the pool. Be careful when paddling" - or words to that effect. Paddling!!! I don't remember the last time I paddled. And I had the shoes for it today - easy to slip on and off. It was wonderful to slip my feet into the cool pool, and to feel immediately so relaxed and happy! I walked across the pool to the other side, and felt it was a shame to come out, but it would also be strange not to. So I got out and sat in the sun for a bit, until my feet dried - and then walked back across! Bliss!

From the V&A I had to go and meet H and a friend near Victoria, so took the tube there and visited the cathedral for a while. It was lovely and cool inside, and a lovely place to be. I took some photos, but it was also nice to be a bit contemplative. I have to say, I do like all the candles and the holy water. It's very sensory, I like having things to look at and touch. Then I met up with H and our friend, and we had a nice tapas meal before coming home. And updating the blog.

Another productive day! (As in, I didn't do much, but I did a lot with myself, and it was a definite holiday day.)

Wonder what we'll do tomorrow?!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Evening Constitutional

(Oh dear, I hadn't realised it had been SOOOOOO long since I last wrote - such a busy time of year, the end of term, there have been dinners and dances and leavers' Masses, and H has been hard at work getting things ready for exhibitions etc, so I have been helping him as well instead of blogging here ... Better try and get back into the habit!!)

Last night, around 6pm, we decided to go for a walk. H managed to get some stuff sent off earlier, we'd had a nice lunch, so were not too hungry, and it was a nice day. We had spent most of the day (in fact, most of the previous few days!) inside working and not exercising, so it seemed like a good idea. Our plan was to head along the canal and see what happened.

It was a lovely evening, still warm enough only to wear a couple of t-shirts and a cardi, and the canal was calm and not covered in fungi like it is sometimes. As we walked along, passing a couple of lads fishing, dodging cyclists and runners, H tried to find some big fish to show me, like he's seen before. However, we only saw small fish in little shoals, but since I hadn't seen those before in the canal, I was quite happy. Then we saw a little family of moorhens or coots (I know, I know, I should know by now! These were the ones with the white bits from their foreheads down their beaks.) The four little fluffy ones were following the mummy one, and all were calling out as they swam, with the mum making little high pitched squeaks every so often, and the little ones eeeking as they dived for food and played around. They were very sweet. Another adult, the dad I presume, brought up the rear, making sure the whole family was heading in the same direction.

The next family we came across were much more serene. Two adult swans, and four or five still downy-feathered but almost adult-sized cygnets. They were resting in the water by the canal wall, quietly preening, their soft brown feathers being fluffed up by the slight breeze.

Further down the canal we came across some ducklings, following their tawny mallard mother. They were still small, soft and fluffy looking. They swam to and fro around the canal, enjoying the sunny day.

Eventually we came to the end of the canal, and decided to take a cruise along the Thames. It's the first time (in memory at least) for both of us to take a boat along the river, so we decided to make the most of it, and headed all the way to Waterloo Pier. It was a lovely ride, very smooth, and great to see all the famous views from a different angle, indeed going under many of them! There are so many wharfs along the banks, and we could see the connection between different places.

By the time we got to Waterloo, it was about 8pm or so, so we thought we'd have dinner. H remembered that the Spanish tapa place was nearby, so we tried to find it - the last time we'd gone from Waterloo tube station, so it's interesting that we now have a very different view of it, from the river to the restaurant. It's called Meson Don Felipe, and we once again had prawns in garlic oil, chicken livers, chips, spinach and deep fried aubergines. I also enjoyed the bread and butter. Nice place, but I think this time we had a bit too much and it was a bit oily. I really should have ordered the tuna croquettes and a salad, I think. Maybe next time. Anyway, this time we had a wee man in a pink shirt accompanying us on the Spanish guitar.

Afterwards, we walked home via the IMAX cinema, which was closed but full of black suited bodyguards and Batman's Batpod and Batsuit. Then we headed back to the pier. Turns out it was the wrong pier though, the Festival Pier, which our boat doesn't stop at. So headed back along to the London Eye and the Waterloo Pier. As we neared the pier, we could see the boat. We thought about running for it, but decided not too. However, it was still there a couple of minutes later, by which time we thought that if we ran we might just make it, and since it was now late, the next one wouldn't be for a while. H took off, and I tried to follow - but tripped on something, either an uneven edge or, more probably, the toe of my shoe. I fell forward, and tried to bring my other leg forward to gain my balance, which I have managed to pull off numerous times, but this time I wasn't fast enough. Instead, I slowly felt myself heading towards the pavement, and then found myself sprawled on the pavement. Ouch! I was flat on the ground, and was just glad I am slightly well proportioned enough to take the blow and stop my facing hitting the street as well. As it was, my left knee, my left hand and my right shoulder were all aching. I slowly managed to stand, and hobbled over to a nearby post as the boat behind us headed off into the moonlight. H had heard my footsteps stumble, and turned to see me on the ground, so he helped me up and waited as I caught my breath sitting on the post. I could feel blood on my knee, so we hobbled down to the pier where I was able to sit down and in some privacy roll up my trouser leg. There definitely was blood - I can't remember the last time I scraped my knee! - but there seemed to be a silver lining on the situation - the blood all seemed to come from the wartlike thing I've had on my knee that has now been scraped off! Hopefully it won't come back and I won't need to freeze it off! I do think I'm going to have quite a bruise though.

We waited, with me trying to bend my knee and move my shoulder, for half an hour, under the moonlight, keeping an eye on the time using the Big Ben clockface, until the next cruiser arrived. Then we had a 45 minute cruise all the way back to the O2, and from there to home. We sat out the back of the ship and watched the wash behind us. It was especially exciting when we got to the bit where the London speed limit stopped and we flew off along the river. Definitely would recommend the cruiser at night, or at any other time!

And so to bed. What a lovely evening, and so much packed into about six hours!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Along with hundreds - thousands? - of others today, I was at my graduation today. Very fun. Although my official photos will have the wrong hood! But I preferred that to the correct one!! Afterwards, we went to an African restaurant, where I had jollof rice and chicken. So much we had to bring some home! So that's lunch sorted for tomorrow. A nice day.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Twisted ankle ...

I missed work today. My group had to finish their presentation and it took longer so I phoned work and told them I'd twisted my ankle. I've to take in a doctor's note. I've phoned the doctor. They've been very helpful. I told them I'd twisted my ankle and I'm down in London so I can't get up but my work needs a sick note so they said they would send one. I might need to get it seen later. If they say it wasn't twisted, I'll just tell them it was twisted. There's nothing they can say. It was really important that we finished the presentation.

Overheard on the tube ...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

To do ...

1) Buy blouse.
2) Finish writing reports.
3) Plan cover lessons for next week.
4) Send card for new baby!
5) Type up new lesson plans for next year.
6) Remember to take money to church tomorrow.
7) Print out dissertation in order to get it bound (oops, I hope I'm not too late and they still let me graduate!)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Dandies hit the bookshops

Happened to be in Borders, Oxford Street today and saw Julian Clary signing copies of his book. Then was in Foyles later and saw Sebastian Horsley giving a reading. Very interesting ... More later but can hardly keep my eyes open!