31 December 2010

Happy New Year MMXI

Blydhen nowydh da ragowgh hwi oll MMXI!
Just to get a cornish flavour lol

30 December 2010

Busy with work

Not work, work you understand.. but with two assignments due in on the 7th January... my fingers are otherwise occupied with the mountain of paperwork required...

Not too busy not to visit many of you and wish you belated Christmas greetings and premature New Year greetings...

For those that I miss

Here's to the bright New Year,
and a fond farewell to the old,
here's to the things that are yet to come,
and to the memories that we hold.

29 December 2010

Thoughts on the end of 2010

As we draw near to the New Year, all of about 48 hours away now, my thoughts turn to what 2010 has meant to me..

1. Started a new job last January working as an Admin Assistant and it renewed my enthusiasm for work.
2. Lived in a touring caravan for 5 months, which made me more appreciative of the space I have now.
3. Sold the house, and became mortgage free; something I never thought I would achieve until I retired.
4. Brought a house in Cornwall, with views from the front over to the coast at Portreath and at the back towards Carn Brae and I still love looking at both views.
5. Adopted Murphy a week before his first birthday, and he has settled in well here at Tre Agan and I think likes us too.
6. Started a job as a Key Skills Tutor in July, and love driving all over the west of Cornwall meeting my clients.
7. Enjoyed a lovely break in the South of France, and went topless on the beach.
8. Starting training for my Post Graduate Certificate in Education in September which will qualify me to teach in Further Education when I have completed both years.
9. Celebrated my first year, living in Cornwall. Don't ever want to move again!
10. Celebrated my first Christmas in the house... and even put decorations outside.. something I never did at the Back of Beyond.

I am sure there have been plenty more ups (and downs) but these were the highlights of the past year and I hope for 2011 that we have plenty more.

I don't know about all of you, hopefully 2011 is a good year for you and may your New Year be peaceful and happy.

27 December 2010

Redruth Vs Camborne

On a wet winters afternoon, there was nothing better than to visit the Rugby match down at Redruth.. unfortunately for Camborne they were outclassed but that was made up for by the referee being predominantly on their side.

The final score was 42 to 12 in Redruth's favour... but an enjoyable match though I am not sure I would want to be the person having to deal with the very muddy kit.. it became hard by half-time to tell who was who as they had that much mud on them.

Altogether a good thing to do post Christmas and for a further treat, Bedford are coming down to Cornwall to play the Pirates at the Mennaye, and it will be my first time at that venue.

26 December 2010

.. and it's all over for another year

Well Christmas is over and done with for another year, today it seems the sales are on but I can't help feeling sorry for those people who have barely had Christmas Day off from work.

We as a nation can't seem to have a holiday season to spend with family and friends relaxing and preparing ourselves for the long haul to Easter (which is the next break after New Year).. time to take stock, to enjoy the company and the presents that have been received.

I was lucky to get a couple of cornish tin christmas tree charms, something which I saw two years agot but had never quite managed to get hold of myself. So they were unwrapped and duly hung on the tree after Christmas they will go back into their boxes and into the display cabinet which has now a cornish shelf.

Murphy loved his presents among which was a postman's leg (a rather large beef bone), he has powerful jaws but he has such a good temperament that he will even tolerate the neighbours children near him without a growl or other sign of possessiveness. SOH seemed to like his, even the daft ones like the fly gun,

Dinner should have been a three course meal, but both of us were stuffed part way through the main course which was a three bird roast so skipped the pudding which we will have on another occasion.

25 December 2010

Saturday Satire : Christmas Post

A Belfast blonde goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards.

She says to the clerk, “May I have 50 Christmas stamps?”.

The Clerk says, “What denomination?”.

The blond says, “God help us, has it come to this? Give me 22 Catholic, 12 Presbyterian, 10 Church of Ireland, and 6 Baptist”.

Have a good Christmas everyone, may you get what you don't expect but what you need.

23 December 2010

Cornish Christmas Stocking - the pics

I mentioned these in an earlier post, and wanted to have something that was better than the ones in the shops which ranged from the cheap and nasty to expensively trashy.

I had a rummage around in my craft box, which has a miscellany of materials and found some black suede like fabric that I brought but never used, some black stretchy velvet fabric also came out and I hunted high and low for the ribbon which I brought last year but couldn't find it.

So a trip to the fabric shop at Lemon Quay in Truro saw me buy some cornish tartan fabric instead which I think looks attractive but you tell me what you think?

Each one is hand sewn, partly because I enjoy doing things the hard way sometimes and partly because the sewing machine is not conveniently placed at the moment. Each one takes about two days/evenings work to put together and so far I have done two due to the amount of work I have to do for my college course.

22 December 2010

Tis the Season

I don't know whether it is just me, but people are being meaner this year and I don't mean of the financial kind... supermarket trolleys are jam packed with all sorts of goodies, bags of swag are being carried down the streets of Truro (where I am based this week) but the milk of human kindness has turned sour.

The pushing and shoving that takes place when I venture out into the shops leaves me speechless. The careless way that people occupy the pavements forcing the elderly and infirm into the road or near the shop walls for security beggar belief. The lack of helping others through the door even when they are laden with heavy shopping, where did all our manners go?

The last straw for me was the person who, as I was mulling over a decision between two items, pushed me to one side so that they could grab the goodies first.

I love Christmas, the sense of excitement growing (despite the snow and ice), but the thought of venturing into the shops leaves me cold...still I am lucky I am finished shopping except for local produce which I can walk down into Redruth for and luckily the town still has small shops and a pleasant feel which makes up for the likes of busier Truro.

I remember well the shopping trips to the Centre MK, it was wise to get there by 8.30 not just for a space but because the shops by 11am were stacked three high with people all intent on a bargain.. I used to leave before then but even so neither Truro or Redruth are quite as bad.

21 December 2010

Thought I had got away with it...

Looked out this morning to see two feet of snow

They aren't here at Tre Agan of course, but whoever did this was damn clever and I thought I would put it here to amuse.

20 December 2010


I have been a bit busy over the past two weeks, hence my lack of posting for which I would like to apologise.

Work has been busy, and evenings I have been trying to finish my Cornish Christmas Stockings.. I cut out three (one for Murphy, one for SOH and one for me) needless to say I have only finished the first two... but they look nice and I promise to put photos up.

The weather has meant everything takes longer, journeys, getting to places to pick up things and even college got closed one evening which was fine except we were supposed to be doing our presentations. Still we managed to get them done eventually but the Microteach now has to be done and after the official hand-in date of 7th January which is looming ever more close these days.

Tre Agan is jollied up for Yuletide, plenty of greenery and suitable figurines adorn the house and Murphy has been purchased a set of reindeer horns complete with bells.. it has taken a little while to get him accustomed to wearing them but he happily trots round now with them on and the neighbours think he's great.

First christmas in the new home, it is going to be good one.

19 December 2010

First Anniversary

Today at 5pm I will have been living here in Cornwall for a year, and it has gone really quickly. I came down with hope and expectations that were more than surpassed. I have a job that I love, I get to meet new people everyday and I hope am making a difference in some people's lives.

Could I ask for more? Probably, but actually I don't want more than I already have with one exception. To those who are not at home, or with their loved one's for whatever reason, may the christmas season be full of the joys of human kindness whether it is a smile, a kind word or fufulling a need for you.

Oh and one more thing.. need the weather to be a bit kinder to everyone... thanks for the snow n all, and it has been really nice.. but can we go back to having blue skies and sunshine without the artic chill lol

18 December 2010

Saturday Satire : Bus Drivers

A mother and her small daughter, were in a not particularly nice area of town. They were waiting for a bus, when her daughter noticed several wildly dressed women who were loitering on a nearby street corner.

The bus finally arrived and they both climbed on, at which point the young daughter asks her mother, "Mummy, what are all those ladies waiting for by that corner?"

The mother replies, "Those ladies are waiting for their husbands to come by and pick them up on the way home from work."

The bus driver, upon hearing this exchange, turns to the mother and says, "Ah, come on lady! Tell your daughter the truth! Just tell her...... they are prostitutes!"

A brief silence follows, and the daughter then asks, "Mummy, do the prostitutes have any children?"

The mother replies, "Of course, dear. Where do you think bus drivers come from?"

12 December 2010

Saturday Satire : One Sunday Morning

One Sunday morning, a priest decided to do something a little different.
He said, 'Today, in church, I am going to say a single word and you are going to help me preach. Whatever single word I say, I want you to sing whatever hymn that comes to your mind'

The pastor shouted out

Immediately the congregation started singing in unison,

The pastor hollered out 'GRACE.' The congregation began
to sing 'AMAZING GRACE, how sweet the sound.'

The pastor said 'POWER.'
The congregation sang 'THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD.'

The Pastor said 'SEX'
The congregation fell into total silence.

Everyone was in shock.
They all nervously began to look around at each other afraid to say anything.

Then all of a sudden, way from in the back of the church, a little old 87 year old grandmother stood up and began to sing .........................


04 December 2010

Saturday Satire : Chinese Meal

A couple go into a Chinese Restaurant and order their meal, Chicken Surprise.

The waiter brings their meal over, served in a lidded pot.

Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down.

'Good grief, did you see that?' she asks her husband. He hasn't, so she asks him to look in the pot. He reaches for it and again the lid rises, and he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down.

Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is happening, and demands an explanation.

'Please sir,' says the waiter, 'what you order?'

The husband replies, 'Chicken Surprise.'

'Ah! So sorry,' says the waiter, 'I bring you Peeking Duck!'

27 November 2010

Saturday Satire - The Queen and Dolly Parton

Queen Elizabeth and Dolly Parton die on the same day and they both go before an Angel to find out if they'll be admitted to Heaven.

Unfortunately, there's only one space left that day, so the Angel must decide which of them gets in. The Angel asks Dolly if there's some particular reason why she should go to Heaven.

Dolly takes off her top and says,

'Look at these, they're the most perfect breasts God ever created, and I'm sure it will please God to be able to see them every day, for eternity.'

The Angel thanks Dolly, and asks Her Majesty the same question. The Queen takes a bottle of Perrier out of her purse, drinks it down. Then, wees into a toilet and pulls the lever.

The Angel says, 'OK, your Majesty, you may go in. Dolly is outraged and asks, 'What was that all about? I show you two of God's own perfect creations and you turn me down. She wees into a toilet and she gets in! Would you explain that to me?'

'Sorry, Dolly,' says the Angel, 'but even in Heaven,

A Royal Flush beats a Pair - no matter how big they are.

25 November 2010

Thanksgiving and Winter Weather

Happy Thanksgiving to those in America, or serving overseas. It must be a lovely thing to celebrate each year and we Brits could do with something to celebrate today instead of which we have the first dusting of snow and Winter weather.

Even here, at Tre Agan, we had a shower of Hail and Ice this morning and overnight. Murphy and I went for a walk this morning with the sting of little ice balls hitting us both. He wasn't keen on it, and my cheeks were cold and stinging by the time we returned home.

Further up country, they have had major snow falls, and it looks as though it is heading further South... Still never mind, only one month now until Christmas time. Looking forward to celebrating my first Christmas in our own home in Cornwall.

23 November 2010

Winter Sunsets

I love watching the sun set of an evening, it is fascinating to watch the sky turn red and grey then dull into evenings dark light.

Tre Agan is preparing for Winter and for the festival of Yuletide. Odd Parcels are hiding in the various cupboards, and a sense of bartering amongst friends is occurring. One of my students has honey and I have promised to give her some recipes in return for a jar so that she can give out a recipe with a jar.

I have finished, finally, after much indecision a waistcoat I was knitting. It had been remade I can't remember how many times as I couldn't make up my mind whether I was making it for me or for a friend. Now that my job involves me driving a lot it is just the job and I have already ordered some more wool to make a darker version.

I am also making some christmas stockings, one for me, one for SOH and one for Murphy. All the same pattern, made of black suede like fabric, black velour at the topping and with some Cornish tartan as the trim. Mine will have a red button, SOH has a purple button and Murphy's of course will have a green button to go with his Irish name. Pics to follow when complete.

Yuletide decorations are being brought out of storage, checked for safety; not just electricity but also Murphy factor as he is on his own we don't want him taking ornaments off the tree to chew.

22 November 2010

Word of the Week : Literacy

lit·er·ate  (ltr-t)
a. Able to read and write.
b. Knowledgeable or educated in a particular field or fields.
1. One who can read and write.
2. A well-informed, educated person.
Originates from Middle English litterate, from Latin littertus, from littera, ltera, letter.

For most of its long history in English, literate has meant only "familiar with literature," or more generally, "well-educated, learned." Only since the late 19th century has it also come to refer to the basic ability to read and write. Its antonym illiterate has an equally broad range of meanings: an illiterate person may be incapable of reading a shopping list or unable to grasp an allusion to Shakespeare or Keats.

The term functional illiterate is often used to describe a person who can read or write to some degree, but below a minimum level required to function in even a limited social situation or job setting.

An aliterate person, by contrast, is one who is capable of reading and writing but who has little interest in doing so, whether out of indifference to learning in general or from a preference for seeking information and entertainment by other means.

More recently, the meanings of the words literacy and illiteracy have been extended from their original connection with reading and literature to any body of knowledge. For example, "geographic illiterates" cannot identify the countries on a map, and "computer illiterates" are unable to use a word-processing system.

20 November 2010

Saturday Satire - The Golfer

A man staggers into A&E with a concussion, multiple bruises, two black eyes and a five iron wrapped tightly around his throat. Naturally, the doctor asks him what happened.

"Well, it was like this", said the man. "I was having a quiet round of golf with my wife, when she sliced her ball into a pasture full of cows. 

We went to look for it, and while I was rooting around noticed one of the cows had something white and shiny at its rear end. 

I walked over and lifted up the tail, and sure enough, there was a golf ball with my wife's monogram on it stuck right in the middle of the cow's behind.

That's when I made my big mistake."

"What did you do?" asks the doctor.

"Well, I lifted the cow's tail and yelled to my wife, 'Hey, this looks like yours!'

"I don't remember much after that."

13 November 2010

Saturday Satire - Taxi!

A stark naked,drunken Australian woman, jumped into a vacant taxi in down town New Delhi.

The Indian driver was immediately beside himself and just kept on staring at the woman. He made no attempt to start the cab.

"What's wrong with you mate, haven't you ever seen a naked white woman before?"

" I'll not be staring at you lady, I am telling you that would not be proper where I am coming from". 

"Well if your not bloody staring at me mate, what are you doing then?"

"Well, I am telling you, I am thinking to myself where is this lady keeping the money to be paying me with."

12 November 2010

Student Finances and Fees

I'm in a dilemma over this one, the increase in tuition fees has riled many students, alienated others and possibly will deter some students from going down the route of a conventional university education.

I know the Open University has seen a rise in the number of people applying for its courses as a direct result of the initial fees increase so I would anticipate another increase now that fees are up to £9,000 a year.

I got my degree through the Open University and consider myself proud to have achieved it my way without help and assistance of either employer or the Government.

However, where I disagree with the current situation (excluding the student riots which were deplorable and demonstrate their greed as well as appalling behaviour) is that no-one has addressed the need for graduates in certain fields, such as engineers, scientists etc. Why hasn't the Government seen the need for scholarships to encourage people into these streams of academia whilst providing less support for the most popular courses which are considered softer degrees.

We talk about the brain drain, and affect it has on our future in this country, but the toll of such appalling debts (even though the repayment factor is kept to only those who earn over £15,000 per year) is going to be even more disastrous.

It takes both sides to see the argument, but only one side can do something to make the changes necessary to make the future brighter.

11 November 2010

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.


10 November 2010

The Great Storm is a'coming

One of my favourite episodes of the Vicar of Dibley is where they were discussing the Great Storm and each character remembered their version of the storm that was the Greatest Storm that Dibley had experienced. You couldn't listen to it without laughing and I always remember it with humour and the warmth of Dawn French's character.

The reason for saying this, is the expected storm riding off the west coast of England and due to cover us all tonight with high winds and rain. Hopefully it isn't like the storm of '87 that was so destructive but they have forecast the surf to be 8-10 feet high and you have to feel for the souls at sea tonight.

Hopefully tomorrow morning will be calm and serene, with a dryness around 11am for the Great Remembrance for the fallen.

09 November 2010

Word of the Week : Amaze


–verb (used with object)
to overwhelm with surprise or sudden wonder; astonish greatly.
Obsolete . to bewilder; perplex.
–verb (used without object)
to cause amazement: a new art show that delights and amazes.

Middle English amasen, to confuse, stun, astonish.

1. astound, dumfound, stun, flabbergast. See surprise.
This follows on from Stupid being similar to Amazed.
I found this lovely quote on a website and thought to add it to this post
"A schoolmaster should have an atmosphere of awe, and walk wonderingly, as if he was amazed at being himself" Walter Bagehot (1826–1877), British economist, critic
I still wake up each morning enjoying my job, though at times I doubt my ability I try to do well and encourage my students to do their best.

06 November 2010

Saturday Satire - Shark Attack

Two great white sharks swimming in the ocean spied survivors of a sunken ship.  

"Follow me son" the father shark said to his son, and they swam to the mass of people.  

"First we swim around them a few times with just the tip of our fins showing."  

And they did.    "Well done, son!  Now we swim around them a few times with all of our fins showing." 

And they did.  "Now we eat everybody." And they did.

When they were both gorged, the son asked,"Dad, why didn't we just eat them all at first?  Why did we swim around and around them?"

His wise father replied, "Because they taste better without the poo inside!"

Now you know...

Why Sharks Circle You Before Attacking.

04 November 2010


Thank you for all your good wishes, yesterday's session went really well. The feedback was good and in parts very good with a few constructive comments on what I could do better.

I apparently am very aware of the need to maintain personal space between me and my students and consistently ensured that the appropriate amount of space was maintained and I was blissfully unaware of it.

I enjoyed the hour session, and tried not to be too aware of the Tutor's presence in the room, and it passed by so quickly that I was concerned we wouldn't be able to complete the task but to my relief we did and with a few minutes to spare.

Just have to write up a microteach, I have two to do in a relatively short period of time, one on a subject of my choosing and the other on the acquisition of language... hmmm

03 November 2010

Keep your fingers crossed

My first observation for my Teaching course, the PGCert, is this afternoon. Only an hour in length out of the 3 hours I am teaching but it is important that it goes well.

02 November 2010

Word of the Week : Stupid

adj. stu·pid·er, stu·pid·est

1. Slow to learn or understand; obtuse.
2. Tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes.
3. Marked by a lack of intelligence or care; foolish or careless: a stupid mistake.
4. Dazed, stunned, or stupefied.
5. Pointless; worthless: a stupid job.

Interestingly this word derives from both the French stupide as well as Latin stupidus, from stupre, to be stunned, from stupēre to be amazed.

How it comes to mean slow to learn or understand I am not sure. I think that meaning is a more modern meaning applied to people with low intelligence or slow on the uptake of something but its original roots meant more like the subject was amazed at what he/she saw.

30 October 2010

Saturday Satire - The welsh pub

An Englishman walked into a pub in Merthyr Tydfil.
"Could I have a glass of white wine, please", he asked the barman.
"You're not from round here", said the barman.
"I am from over the border, I'm English," he said.
"I bet you've got a good job," said the barman.
"Actually, I am a taxidermist," he said.
"What do you mean, boyo, you drive a taxi," said the barman.
"No," he said, "I mount animals."
"It's alright boys, he's one of us," shouted the barman.

29 October 2010

Blowing a Hooly

It's blowing a hooly out there today.. the winds are blowing in from the South West and made our walk this morning much more interesting as autumnal fallen leaves are blowing around high up into the air.

Murphy made me jump this morning, a huge gust of wind startled him and in turn as he leapt against me and I of course was daydreaming as usual. There wasn't anything other than the wind and the leaves but Murphy is a bit of a girlie when it comes to loud noises and wind seems especially scary to him.

We are hoping for a quiet bonfire night; at the Back of Beyond the fireworks would have started by now and continued on pretty much until Christmas and New Year which wasn't that much fun.

We are expecting visitors on Sunday night, apparently a witch and skeleton are going to pay a visit... what do we dress Murphy up as?

28 October 2010

Half Century

SOH celebrates a special birthday today... congratulations!

You have a great day, it's all downhill from now on :-)

27 October 2010

Wet and Windy

Yesterday was wet and windy at the Edge of the World. Even young Murphy wasn't too inclined to come out for a walk at 6.15am and I persuaded him to wear his cissy coat. It is lightweight and waterproof, he wore it for no other reason that it would keep the majority of him dry as my time in the mornings are limited and a dryish dog is better than a soaking wet one.

It is dark in the mornings when we go out, and dark when we get back home so Murphy has to settle for a walk around the roads as it is too dark to see the ball in the park. Luckily the afternoons are a little different and he gets a chance to play ball giving him much needed running around.

On Sunday, the weather was lovely, warm and dry and we took Murphy down to Gwithian beach for a run around. He is getting better with other dogs, still occasionally slipping into old habits but after 10 mins of running wild he stayed more with us and fetching his ball from in the surf. After he had enough of that, we took him the other side of the dunes to a freshwater pond, and this time he had to swim a little to get to the ball. It was a little deeper in the middle and in one of his hastes to get the ball by bouncing up and down he disappeared under the water (having found a deeper bit); he was a little uncertain after that but didn't seem to be scared of the water.

I must admit, I had envisaged in that short period of time when he disappeared under the water that I would be having to resuscitate him after wading in to find him and I was so relieved to see him running around normally. He had a few extra treats that evening and he was so tired he went to bed early.

25 October 2010

Word of the Week : Fool

Now this week's word is an interesting one.

Word History:  Its source, the Latin word follis, meant "a bag or sack, a large inflated ball, a pair of bellows." Users of the word in Late Latin, however, saw a resemblance between the bellows or the inflated ball and a person who was what we would call "a windbag" or "an airhead." The word, which passed into English by way of French, is first recorded in English in a work written around the beginning of the 13th century with the sense "a foolish, stupid, or ignorant person."

1. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.
2. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion: I was a fool to have quit my job.
3. One who has been tricked or made to appear ridiculous; a dupe: They made a fool of me by pretending I had won.
4. A member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment, as with jokes or antics; a jester.
5. A dessert made of stewed or puréed fruit mixed with cream or custard and served cold.
How did this word come to mean both someone who may be unwise, or foolish, and a dessert?
To be fooled, to be tricked; this very much links to a previous word.. deceit to decieve is to fool is it not?

23 October 2010

Saturday Satire - English Lesson

A teacher asks her class to construct a sentence including the word "fascinate"

Cindy puts her hand up and says, my father collects stamps I think that is fascinating.

Not quite right the teacher said but very close.

Johnny puts his hand up, now the teachers had trouble with Johnny before and is warry of his reply but she thinks he can't do much with fascinate so she say go on then Johnny.

My grandmother's got a cardigan with ten buttons on it but her t*ts are so big she can only fasten eight.

22 October 2010

Pillars of the Earth

I regularly read this book, by Ken Follett, loving the intracies of the story based around Kingsbridge and Tom Builder and his family.

Not being a great fan of a book turned into a film, or tv series, I noted that Channel 4 had got it on last Saturday evening. I didn't manage to watch it due to various reasons but did eventually manage to watch it on Channel 4 On Demand OD.

I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the programme, it was reasonably authentic to the storyline and the cast worked extremely well particularly Ian McShane as the redoubtable Bishop to be.

Well done Channel 4... a job well done.

21 October 2010


Beautifully sunny but oh ever so cold this morning... enough to have me reaching for my scarf and gloves when taking Murphy out for his daily morning walk.

He is getting really good, when we get to the roadside he now sits without waiting to be asked. This might have more to do with the fact that he gets rewarded for doing this and therefore receives something nice for sitting down but also he is proving to be a very bright and intelligent dog who thinks things through for himself and rarely makes the same mistake twice.

Likewise when we go to bed, he has three biscuits. You cannot fool him by only giving him two as he has worked out that two is not equal to three and he will keep looking for the last one.

He has the run of the house when we are out, he has a bed downstairs and another one upstairs which gives him the choice of where he wants to sleep; usually he is to be found wherever the sunshine is as he loves the warmth.

Touch wood, he hasn't been at all destructive and neither does he explore the cupboards in the kitchen. He seems quite content to wait until we get home to work on his chewing skills, as even if we give him a rawhide chew he leaves it until we are there before he goes to work on with his teeth.

20 October 2010

The Garden at Tre Agan

This is a view of half the garden, standing at the dining room area looking towards the stone wall which faces the back lane between us and our nearest neighbours.

It is a South facing garden, and has sunshine from morning to evening which is great in one way as it is a suntrap, but I would like to have some shading for Murphy.

The stone wall needs clearing of all the weeds, brambles and everything else. but you can see some of the stones near to the pine tree.

The fences are 6 ft high, which provides a nice amount of privacy,  but we have also installed this brush fencing which you can see on the picture middle left. This is where the clematis are planted as they get some shade in the morning.

The picture on the left is one of the two clematis I have planted. Neither one of which is blooming very well, but it has been hot and dry, when they were planted and now is cooling down rapidly as we head into Autumn so I expect them to do nothing until spring time.

And that is the limit to the garden here at Tre Agan, I would love to train some apple and pear trees against the opposite fence, but equally given the softer climate here I would love to have a peach or nectarine bush.

While it isn't as huge as the garden at the back of beyond, it is big enough to have some nice planting and I want to get some fucshia plants in, but not so big that it will take up all my time in taming it which was starting to be a big problem at the back of beyond.

Any and all ideas for planting welcomed.

19 October 2010

Word of the Week : Deceit

 An interesting word this week, as it has more than one use.

1.The act or practice of deceiving; deception.
2. A stratagem; a trick.
3. The quality of being deceitful; falseness.
It has origins in Middle English deceite as well from from Old French, from past participle of deceveir, to deceive;

Everyday we use deceipt, whether it is being false to other people in the form of friendships, care and concern about their personal issues; or to work in that we take personal time instead of doing work for the employer. Most of all, we use it on ourselves, deceiving ourselves of the truth of a situation, pretending to be happy when in fact we may be the complete opposite.It isn't right, but it is a hard habit to break but it is worth being honest if only with ourselves though honesty is also something that should and could be toned down in the right circumstances but that is another day.

But it also has another use, 

Deceit of lapwing: a flock of lapwing—Lipton, 1970.
As you may know, I love the use of language and particularly of words used to group things together. Being of an age group that learnt collective nouns for groups of animals and crows. This was a new term for Lapwings, and I was fascinated by the name similarly a murder of crows.. how it came about, I have no idea but I think it is great.

16 October 2010

Saturday Satire : The Old Golfer

Ninety-year-old Arthur has been a golf fanatic all his life, but his eyesight is failing him badly.

He returns home from the golf course one day and says to his wife

"That's it, no more golf for me. My eyesight is so bad I can't see where the ball goes after I've hit it"

His wife pours him a glass of wine and sympathises.

"I know" she says "Why don't you take my brother George with you and give it another try?"

"Your brother is 103" says Arthur. "What good will he be?"

"He may be 103, but he still has perfect eyesight, and he can watch your ball".

So the following Saturday Arthur and George go to the golf course.

At the first tee Arthur takes an almighty swing and the ball disappears off into the distance.

Arthur turns to George. "Did you see where it went?"

"Of course I did" says George. "I have perfect eyesight".

"Where did it go then?"

"Er, I can't remember".

15 October 2010

PGCE - What it means

I am lucky to get on the PGCert, as you need to be teaching in some capacity in order to qualify and generally in order to get teaching you need to be qualified.. Hmmm chicken and egg syndrome I think.

I have been requested to put a bit more in about the PGCert (or the lesser but similar qualification if you don't already have a degree CertEd). It will qualify me to teach at Further Education (FE) level, rather than at a school level and appeals to me as most people wanting to do further education actually want to do it rather than being forced by their situation to do it.

So how to get teaching, well you can request voluntary teaching to count, a minimum of 150 hours over the 2 years it will take to complete the course is the absolute minimum but that works out to 3 hours a week. Can be a mixture of group sessions and one to one tutoring sessions as well as an additional 50 hours of supported teaching admin - Meetings, CPD etc.

The interview was straightforward, asked about speciality and what you would teach. Luckily again I have years of experience of IT as well as a current role in teaching literacy and numeracy all important to add to your application. A couple of references as to your suitability go down well particularly if they are from academics rather than personal friends as it adds weight to your application.

"If you already have a degree, consider a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). A PGCE course mainly focuses on developing your teaching skills, and not on the subject you intend to teach. For this reason, you are expected to have a good understanding of your chosen subject(s) – usually to degree level – before you start training" TDA Site 

Finally, there are distance options as well as classes. I have done a lot of distance learning and while I can recommend it, nothing like a class focuses the mind on the subject and the four hours on a Monday night go by incredibly quickly. I come home shattered after a 16 hour day and my mind is about as focussed as a flattened hedgehog but I recover very quickly the following day and have the good sense not to book too early an appointment.

So if after this you still have a burning desire to teach, check out who in your local area offers the Initial Teacher Training Programme as they will also offer the PGCert or CertEd.

14 October 2010

October Sunshine

Yes the mornings are cold, but when the sun warms up it is beautifully warm in sheltered spots and I have the advantage that the back garden is both South facing and sheltered from the majority of the winds.

It isn't a big garden, but it is big enough and hopefully I will have some time to spend in the garden making it more than just a green square space edged with fencing. I want it to become a haven for birds and butterflies and yet be Murphy friendly; who by the way seems to occasionally like to dig up things including under the existing pine tree.

I have got some solar lights, which I want to string along the bottom wall, when I have cleared it of all the weeds and other unwanted plants back to the stones. I would like to put some trailing plants like lobelia in to trail down in Spring and Summer.

I want to have a buddhlea bush, to attract the butterflies, and my clematis are now in the ground though perhaps not early enough to establish themselves for this year so hopefully next year I might have a chance at seeing them flower.

13 October 2010

Autumnal Mornings

Monday nights are college nights, I have to be up early Monday 6am to take Murphy out then leave at around 7.20am for the office in Truro (in order to get a space to park), then work through until about 4pm setting up appoitments during the week.

At 5pm the course starts, I am doing a PGCE, which will qualify me for teaching officially (at the moment I am a trainee). This finishes at 9pm when I get to get home and I am usually past the point of being tired. My brain is screaming overload, my stomach gave up long ago the hope of being fed anything but snackfood. I do take sandwiches, but somehow they lose their appeal along the way. I want more drink than anything else.

Final job is to make the lunchboxes for tomorrow, on autopilot, but anything goes. I am trying to keep Tuesday mornings free as a break from the grind on Mondays but Murphy still wants to get up and go out in the mornings early so we get to see the sun rise and it has been absolutely glorious display of autumnul sunshine through the mist.

Murphy has been released from his cage during the day, instead he behaves himself immpeccably and has the choice of two beds, one downstairs and one upstairs. He has a couple of chews and toys to play with and gets to go outside before I get home each day.

12 October 2010

Word of the Week : Respect

The word respect comes from the Latin respicere which means look behind. It evokes the idea of judging something regarding what has been done in the past when it is worth being acknowledged.

Not just for other religions, or beliefs, privacy, age, rank, customs and relationships. Respect is important in everyday life, the way we communicate with each other using appropriate language and gestures. It should be done by default without thinking about it, and goes along with manners Ps and Qs.

There are some people who say respect should be earn't; just how can that happen unless we start off with a mutual layer of automatic respect which is then built on?

When respect fails, so does society. I know I am not always right, but I do try to do my best.

09 October 2010

Saturday Satire - Ghosts

A professor at the Auburn University was giving a lecture on Paranormal Studies.

To get a feel for his audience, he asks,
'How many people here believe in ghosts?'

About 90 students raise their hands.

Well, that's a good start. Out of those who believe in ghosts, do any of you think you have seen a ghost?'

About 40 students raise their hands.

That's really good. I'm really glad you take this seriously. Has anyone here ever talked to a ghost?'

About 15 students raise their hand.

Has anyone here ever touched a ghost?'

Three students raise their hands.

That's fantastic. Now let me ask you one question further...Have any of you ever made love to a ghost?'

Way in the back, Ahmed raises his hand.

The professor takes off his glasses and says 'Son, all the years I've been giving this lecture, no one has ever claimed to have made love to a ghost. You've got to come up here and tell us about your experience.'

The Middle Eastern student replied with a nod and a grin, and began to make his way up to the podium.

When he reached the front of the room, the professor asks, 'So, Ahmed, tell us what it's like to have made love with a ghost?'

Ahmed replied, "Oh s**t, from way back there I thought you said Goats."

07 October 2010


I have always loved this poem by Rudyard Kipling, and sadly today, like then, I believe the forces are badly done by...

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,

The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."

The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,

I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";

But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,

The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,

O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,

They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;

They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,

But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";

But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,

The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,

O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep

Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;

An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit

Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"

But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,

The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,

O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,

But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;

An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,

Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",

But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,

There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,

O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:

We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.

Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face

The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"

But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;

An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;

An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

06 October 2010

A welcome surprise

Zeltus acquired a load of audio books and shared them with me, and amongst them was the napoleonic chronicals written by Julian Stockwin starting with Kydd. I took these on a couple of MP3 players on the recent trip to France.

Thoroughly enjoyed the books, and decided to look up the author to see if there were more books in the series. Having found the website, I signed up to receive the Bosun's Chronicle which is a tidbit of information about seafaring and whatnots etc. No sooner that I had done this I received an email saying I had been selected as the 'fan' to receive a mystery package which arrived on the doorstep forthwith.

As well as a leather bookmark, a couple of postcards showing naval scenes and a book entitled Maritime Miscellany which has been signed by the author.

I feel very lucky indeed.

02 October 2010

Saturday Satire : Marriage

Marriage is like a pack of playing cards.

You start out with two hearts and a diamond, but all you end up wanting is a club and a spade!

29 September 2010

Agde Part 2

After lunch, we gently tottered (and believe me on flip flops after 5 miles in the sunshine) around the town. France closes down after lunch, sometimes not opening until 2.30pm or even 4pm. The Tourist information office was extremely helpful and we came away with lots of information on the town.

One of the places to visit was the Glaciere, which is one of the oldest parts of the town apparently built on greek remains (something I never knew) but also on top of an old volcano of which Cap'd'Agde is the basin and makes a lovely harbour.

As well as keeping ice cold, if any inhabitant had a fever, they could also be taken to the Glaciere to bring down their fever.. hmm one ice cube or two?

After a little sightseeign, we the unwise, decided to amble back to Vias Plage via the Canal du Midi (we entered by the road route and I am still not certain how we came to do that only that it was my fault as I saw the sign leading the Agde which pointed away from the Canal : sigh :)

This time, we were slightly better prepared having had a nice meal, and brought some water in the town and much of the canal was shaded with some nice resting spaces and the boat traffic making gentle waves upon the water.

This picture was about half way back and led over to a small vineyard, we were too early for the main festival which was happening about a week after we were due to leave but we had enjoyed plenty of local wines including a Muscat de Frontignan which went down rather well one evening and we managed to get a bottle back as a treat for Christmas time which we are looking forward to.

28 September 2010

Agde Part 1

While in France, SOH and I took a day trip yomp to the local town of Agde. We took a peek at the map and saw it was a nice walk along the canal de Midi to the town which was ancient and we didn't want to take a car so preparing wisely (as the weather was so warm) we wore flip flops and t-shirts.

We  set off at 11am, just in time for the start of the hottest part of the day, and headed off alongside the canal. Now the brightest of sparks among you will have instantly spotted the lack of water, and sensible walking gear and by the time we reached Agde we were well and truly parched, not to mention blistered by the flip flops.

Even the Carmargue horses we passed en-route seemed to be lethargic in the sun; a good indication that we should have had a siesta.

Still, we ended up at a lovely outdoor restaurant in Agde just off of the riverside and enjoyed a steack hache a bouchon with a starter of Melon and Parma ham. While my french is very limited, I do try to speak and love it when I get corrected by the locals. At the end of the meal they ask if you are finished, I responded with Je Suis termine but was corrected and told that I need only say Je termine. It is one of the reasons I would love to live in France, but all the properties that we saw were very much out of our price range.. still there is always the Euromillions draw on Friday.

27 September 2010

Hmmm when is Halal appropriate?

I was disturbed last week by reports that a lot of shops, supermarkets and restaurants are serving Halal meat as it is appropriate for their islamic customers.

Yes I am a meat eater, but I want the animal suffering as little as possible and I don't believe that the process of killing animals the Halal way is appropriate and I find it distateful that the truth of how the meat is processing is being deliberately obscured for most customers. I will be asking the truth about the origins of the meat in shops now to ensure that the meat I eat is obtained as humanely as possible even if it means shopping elsewhere than where I do.

What I find intolerable is the fact that the general consumer is not aware of this change in the meat industry and why has so much importance has been made for pro-islamic practice rather than humane methods?

26 September 2010

Happy 30th Birthday

SOH and I took a trip up to Jamaica Inn on the bikes today, for a 30th Birthday party. Over 80 members of the South West Section of the BMW club turned up to wish the section a happy birthday and Sally Robinson did a stirling job of providing the birthday cake. which was a lovely moist fruit cake under that lovely icing.

Can't say I knew many people there, but then again until I have been a couple of times it is hard to know who the regulars are but it is a lovely ride up onto Bodmin Moor and the parking is level and on solid ground.

25 September 2010

Saturday Satire : Siamese Twins

Siamese twins walk into a pub in Canada and park themselves at the bar.

One of them says to the bartender, " Don 't mind us; we're joined at the hip. I'm John , he's Jim . Two Molson's, draft please."

The bartender, feeling slightly awkward, tries to make polite conversation while pouring the beers."Been on holiday yet, lads?"

"Off to England next month," says John . "We go to England every year, rent a car and drive for miles. Don 't we, Jim ?" Jim agrees.

"Ah, England!" says the bartender. "Wonderful country... the history, the beer, fish 'n chips, the culture..."

"Nah, we don't like that British crap," says John . "Hamburgers and Molson's beer, that's us, eh Jim ? And we can't stand the English - they're so arrogant and rude."

"So why keep going to England?" asks the bartender.

"It's the only chance Jim gets to drive."

20 September 2010

Still no pictures yet :-)

The holiday in the sun started on 3rd September, just as I finished my contract and we had booked it back in May so it had to be honoured even though College was just returning back after the long Summer break.

First of all, a trip to Derby to see friends and a brief catch up then on Sunday an overnight stay at the Russ Hill Hotel just outside of Gatwick which meant we had inclusive parking for the entire time away and free transfers to the airport.

The flight with easyjet, surprisingly easy, though it really can't call itself a ticketless airline anymore and selling extras like priority boarding will set you back another 3.50 per leg of your trip but ensures you get the best seats.. We didn't bother with that, got good seats at the back of the plane (my preferred 'safer' option) and sat back to enjoy the flight to Marseille.

We picked up the hire car, the staff were very helpful at Europcar, but it seemed very traumatic before we finally got our hands on the keys and with a 125 mile journey to our final destination it was gone 7pm local time before we finally could relax in the heat of the Languedoc region.

The parc is a Yelloh owned site with Keycamp/Eurocamp vans based on it and as such it was excellent though I think the Yelloh accommodation was superior to that of the other two companies and I quite fancied going with Yelloh next time. We had a meal in the clubhouse, and two beers for nearly 10 Euros meant we re-thought our options on catering and the following day visited a Hypermarket to top up with cheaper forms of food and drink. Not to mention, I love seeing all the different products and we had some excellent meals over the time we stayed in France mostly cooked either by me or SOH on the BBQ.

The only downside was getting stung by something in the sea on Day 2 and within minutes my foot was red, swollen and burning. The reps (Not Yelloh) were useless and I only got relief when it was put in hot water back at the caravan. Apparently you can get weever fish in the Mediterranean Sea and for the rest of the holiday I went in only when I had my rubber boots on to not get done twice.

The weather was stunning,with blue skies and sunshine daily. We only had rain on the last day, and overnight with cracking thunderstorms on the first night otherwise it was hot and beautiful for swimming and reading of which I did a lot of.

18 September 2010

Je Suis Fatigue

We arrived back home, late last night, after a marathon journey back from the Languedoc region of France. Up early we had to drive to Marseille and return the hire car then we found the plane was delayed by Air Traffic Control France which meant we landed at Gatwick an hour later than we had envisaged. Not only late, but also at the wrong end as the plane was required at the North Terminal, but we were due to have landed at the South so onto buses with our luggage following us we headed back across the airport.

Finally, we picked up the car at the hotel which we had used to overnight and park at (reasonably priced too). We asked the satnav to find the way out of London Gatwick towards home, and by now it was nearly 6pm so Aggie (the satnav) told us we wouldn't reach home until midnight.. Little did she know how much we wanted to get home and by 11pm we were here. Jaded, fatigued and a little sad to see the end of a great holiday but home we are and we were greeted ecstatically this morning when we collected Murphy from his holiday home at Newquay though he got more excited when we pulled back into Redruth and he recognised where he was...

Today is a slow day, for necessity. We have lots to do but time to spare to do it in and time is precious. We had a great holiday with temperatures not less than 25oC (though it got up to 30+ during our stay) all the time we were there until Friday when it was a little cloudier and cooler.

Pictures and story to follow later

Saturday Satire : Paddy's Farm

Mick is walking past Paddy's farm one evening when he hears seductive music coming from the barn. he looks through the window to see Paddy dancing and stripping off his clothes.

"Jaysus Paddy, what are you doing ?" says Mick.

"Its not what you think" says Paddy "me and the wife have been drifting apart lately so I went to see one of those counsellors and he said I should do something sexy to a tractor".

11 September 2010

Saturday Satire : The Parrot

A woman goes to her rabbi with a serious problem.

Her two female parrots have picked up a bad habit. Any time she has visitors, the two parrots embarrass her by saying, in unison, "Hi ! We're prostitutes. Want to have some fun?"

To her surprise, the rabbi breaks into a smile, explaining that he has two male parrots which he has trained to pray and who've become very observant, spending much of the day praying in their cage.

He's confident that if the woman brings her two parrots over to his house, his two parrots will exert such a positive influence that her birds will turn into model parrots.

The next day the woman drives over to the rabbi's house and brings her two parrots into his home. As she looks around, she notices a large cage with two parrots, each wearing a little kippah and tiny tallis and each holding a miniature siddur, while they rock back and forth in prayer.

Sure enough, as soon as she places her female parrots in the cage, they shout out to their male counterparts: "Hi! We're prostitutes. Want to have some fun ?"

One of the rabbi's parrots immediately turns to the other, squawking: "Moishe, put the ****ing book down. Our prayers have been answered!"

04 September 2010

Saturday Satire : Price Check

A lady picks up several items at a supermarket.

When she got up to the checkout, she learned that one of her items did not have a price tag on it.

Imagine her embarrassment when the checkout girl got on the intercom and boomed out for all the shop to hear, "Price check in lane three for Tampax Supersize."

That was bad enough, but somebody at the back of the store apparantly misunderstood the word Tampax for Thumbtacks.

In a business-like tone, a voice boomed back over the intercom,

"The kind you push in with your thumb or the kind you pound in with a hammer?"

31 August 2010

Answers to the quiz

  1. What was mined extensively in Cyprus in Roman times, which took its name from the country? Copper
  2. Name Jepser Christiensen's character in the James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace? Mr White
  3. Hyacinthoides is the scientific name for what protected (in the UK) spring flowering plant? Bluebell
  4. The equal combination of green and blue light, and the C in CMYK color printing, are what? Cyan (the term cyan actually covers a range of blue-green colours depending on the context)
  5. What sea has the port city Arkhangelsk (Archangel in English) and Onega Bay? White Sea (an inlet of the Barents Sea, north west Russia, close to Finland)
  6. What is the longest river in South Africa? Orange River
  7. What comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree? Chocolate
  8. What semi-precious stone decorated Tutankhamun's burial mask, and is the colour of the American Robin's eggs? Turquoise
  9. What is normally green, but can be yellow too, after a French herbal liqueur, introduced by Carthusian Monks in the 1700s? Chartreuse (the liqueur and the colour both have a yellow variety - the green liqueur is coloured by the plant pigment Chlorophyll)
  10. What colour is Tyrian, a dye highly prized by the Romans? Purple (Tyrian purple dye was produced by the ancient Phoenicians of Tyre, now Lebanon, from the mucus of Mediterranean sea snails) 

These questions, and many others come from here  enjoy!

Don't feel too bad if you didn't get many right... I know I didn't

30 August 2010

Up with the Sunshine

and out with de boy... Murphy was being particularly well behaved this morning on the walk. We sometimes have a battle of wills over stopping and sitting at kerbsides but not today and he is finally learning to be a big dog and starting lifting his hind leg when peeing.. the things you forget about youngsters is that they don't always know how to do the adult things in life.

On our return, we put the washing out yesterday that wasn't quite dry and I settled down in front of the mountain of ironing after the mammoth session of washing. This moving lark isn't what it used to be, either that or I ended up with too much stuff and by that I mean clothes. Now the nights are drawing in, I want to freshen all those that have been in storage and check them over for future use.

We are also going to have a short break, in a few days so blogging will be a bit short on the ground but not to fret, I am taking my notebook with me for jotting down memories of the places I am going and with the camera fully charged the blog will be updated on my return. In the meantime I will leave you with some funnies to keep your mind off the fact of my absence.

28 August 2010

Saturday Satire - The Old Couple

A very old couple that have been married forever are sitting on the porch one night.

Suddenly, the old woman reaches over and smacks her husband,  knocking him off the porch and into the bushes. 

He crawls back up and asks, "What was that for?"

She says, "For having a little pecker."

He sits there quietly a moment, then smacks her, sending her off the  other side of the porch and into the bushes.

She crawls back and says, "What was that for?"

He says, "For knowing there was more than one size."

27 August 2010


I was flicking through the Daily Mail this morning, yes Dickiebo someone has to do it, when I came across an article on schooling in the 40s and 50s.

I remember the junior school well, must have been 1962/3. What I particularly remember is the milk that was put to 'warm' by the radiator for morning break which left it tasting unbelievable aweful with a faint cheesy taste. This has left me with a phobia about milk to the present day. If it isn't icy cold and fresh I cannot drink it.

I also remember well the PT lessons, when the boys stripped down to their vest and put on shorts. While we girls stripped down to our vests and navy blue sports knickers (complete with a little pocket for a hanky)... I never understood then why we also couldn't wear shorts like the boys but had to be singled out by wearing knickers. I felt self-conscious about it then, and never enjoyed the lessons ever.

Other than that, I have few physical mementos of those days, one of which has stayed with me for years and still travels with me across the world. That is a kapok stuffed felt red squirrel, that I made during one of the creative classes, I started to make a duck but when we left for Malaya it disappeared into the ether never to be seen again. The squirrel has long lost his hazelnut, but has stood the test of time. I keep him for his memories not his beauty.

What are your school memories? Good, bad, painful and joyful, enjoy them.

26 August 2010

A Quiz for Thursday - No Prizes tho :-(

1.What was mined extensively in Cyprus in Roman times, which took its name from the country?
2.Name Jepser Christiensen's character in the James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace?
3.Hyacinthoides is the scientific name for what protected (in the UK) spring flowering plant?
4.The equal combination of green and blue light, and the C in CMYK color printing, are what?
5.What sea has the port city Arkhangelsk (Archangel in English) and Onega Bay?
6.What is the longest river in South Africa?
7.What comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree?
8.What semi-precious stone decorated Tutankhamun's burial mask, and is the colour of the American Robin's eggs?
9.What is normally green, but can be yellow too, after a French herbal liqueur, introduced by Carthusian Monks in the 1700s?
10.What colour is Tyrian, a dye highly prized by the Romans?

Answers tomorrow or Friday and where you can see more of these quizzes which I am looking at for work

25 August 2010

Couldn't resist this one - don't read it out loud to the kids

The wife approaches her husband wearing the exact same sexy little negligee she wore on their wedding night . 

She looks at her husband and asks, 'Honey, do you remember this?' 

He looks up at her and replies, 'Yes dear, I do, you wore that same negligee the night we were married.' 

'That's right.' she replied, 'And do you remember what you said to me that night?' 

He nods and says, 'Yes dear, I still remember.' 

'Well, what was it ?' 

He responds, 'Well honey, as I remember, I said, 'Ohhhhhhh, Baby, I'm going to suck the life out of those big tits and screw your brains out!'' 

She giggles and says, 'Yes, That was it . That was exactly what you said.And now it's 50 years later, I'm in the same negligee I wore that night.What do you have to say tonight?' 

Again, he looks up at her and looks her up and down and says, 'Mission Accomplished.'

24 August 2010

Summer is going

The fresher mornings, full of the hint of autumnal ripeness, and the cooler shorter evenings tell me that, and I am not sorry. I love the hot sunny days, but I have always preferred Autumn, the gentle slowing down of the pace as everything prepares to slumber through Winter. The dying back of the trees to reveal startling silhouettes in the skyline are fascinating, as are the hidden gems in the garden covered by shrubs and plants through the Summer. I won't look forward to Winters cold embrace, but it will come, doubtless it will come.

The first lot of blackberries are dehydrated, and I plan to make some flapjacks one evening to see what they will taste like, but first I need to do some apples as well and am hoping this weekend will see a glut of them coming on to the market places. I will admit to a fondness for the braeburn apple, I love the crunchiness and sweetness it provides and use it for eating as well as for cooking but beggars cannot be choosers and I will have to see what is around.

23 August 2010


Yesterday afternoon, after a short but good ride on the bikes down to Marazion where we had a cup of hot chocolate overlooking the Mount which looked quite forboding, I took Murphy blackberrying. We managed to collect 1.5Kg on our first expedition and I hope there will be time and weather permitting to get a few more before the season ends.

Murphy will pretty much eat anything, so I tried him with a blackberry about half way through the picking process and he wolfed it down. I have always said he is intelligent, next thing I knew he was helping himself to those ones on his level.

When I had gathered enough, we walked home, but Murphy decided that he found something so wonderfully smelly that he would roll in it.. so he was in disgrace by the time we reached home.

The blackberries are split into two portions, one is in the freezer in smaller packets ready for pies, crumbles etc. the others are in my dehydrator as I want to use these in flapjacks and cakes etc without having to use the fresh fruit.

21 August 2010

Saturday Satire - For a Tenner

A woman was sitting at a bar enjoying an after work cocktail with her girlfriends, when Steven, an exceptionally tall handsome, extremely sexy, middle aged man entered. He was so striking that the woman could not take her eyes off him. 

This seasoned yet playful heart-throb noticed her overly attentive stare and walked directly toward her (as any man would). Before she could offer her apologies for staring so rudely, he leaned over and whispered to her,"I'll do anything that you want me to, no matter how kinky, for £10. 

On one condition...."

Flabbergasted, but intrigued, the woman asked what the condition was.

The man replied," You have to tell me what to do in just three words."

The woman considered his proposition for a moment, and then took a £10 note from her purse, which she pressed into the man's hand along with her address.

She looked deeply and passionately into his eyes, barely concealing her anticipation and excitement, and slowly and meaningfully said..."

"Clean my house."

20 August 2010

The Sauna

Murphy and I headed out into the misty morning, just a little after 6.15am, I thought to start with it was going to be cold, wet and miserable as well as blowing a gale.

I stepped out into the warmest, moistest morning air I think I can honestly say I have ever known. The wind was strong enough to push you sideways (when Murphy wasn't pulling at you), and yet the misty air was thick and smelt ever so slightly of ozone. It wasn't really wet, because it wasn't raining, but equally it wasn't dry it was kind of like the same steam in a sauna.

Murphy enjoyed his run, only being intimidated by a large bushy tree which shook it's leaves at him and I had to fight hard to laugh out loud as he gives you a dirty look when you do laugh at him.

Sunday, is a bike day, I have promised myself that.. so tomorrow is housekeeping tasks and roast pork for dinner.

18 August 2010

St Ives to Penzance

Today I am travelling the roads, from Redruth to St Ives then on to Penzance before heading home. Luckily today is sunshine and clouds rather than the grey drizzly dreek day of yesterday.

Coming over the horizon, downhill, I could see St Michael's mount clearly in front of me before I had to head  back up into the town and then out to the Penwith Campus.

One of the perks of my job is that I get to see Cornwall, and be paid for doing it.. who could ask for more?

17 August 2010

My time is winding down

I am in the last few weeks of my current contract, then I am having a holiday in the South of France. Then I come back in a new job as Skills for Life tutor and alongside that (as it is only part-time) I am training three days a week in some of the libraries scattered around Cornwall. This takes me up to the same hours than I am working now which means I am fully employed until 10 Dec when this training ends and then I start looking for more work at that point in time again.

I also had been asked to work two days a week in my current employment, but unless the training doesn't occur this is unlikely to happen; I am quite sad about that as I enjoy working here and it is fun working with the team. However, I enjoy teaching, and need the hours to put towards my PGCE which I start when I get back from holiday.

We have a new addition to the household, Murphy the black labrador, who is just over 1 year old. He is entertaining, handsome and loves learning new tricks. I had missed the fun of being up at 6 in the morning out for walkies while still trying to wake up myself, but he keeps you on your toes. He can be a bit of a handful and is still learning to walk nicely on a lead without pulling like a train. Whoever had him before us didn't teach him any lead manners at all and we are having to teach him from scratch. He came with a pedigree, and a kennel club name of Almighty Ajax, but had always been known as Murphy and we didn't see the point of changing it because it does seem to suit him.

He snores like a train, rushes round the house like a lunatic when going out for a walk and is absolutely 100% ours. We have taken him swimming in the small beach area at Portreath and he loved it couldn't get him out of the water until we had a treat for him. I remember what it was like to have a puppy again, for even at a year old, he is still just a big puppy and he has managed to get into your heart mind and soul. He is going to kennels while we are away, the ones where he came from so we know he will be fine and yes he will miss us but it won't be forever.

16 August 2010

Watching Football

I had the dubious pleasure of watching two football games at the weekend, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. I was rather hoping to go out on the bikes on Sunday as the weather was set to be fair. However in the best laid plans of mice and men I dutifully accompanied SOH as he refereed his second match of the weekend.

I can't help wishing he was a rugby referee instead as although it was pleasant (when you could get out of the cold wind) it was not as interesting as a rugby match. What made up for it was having the very pleasant company of a nice young man called Murphy who insisted on playing with his toys and generally being very entertaining.

Sunday was a little warmer, less people watching and I took up my same place as thankfully when any balls went off the pitch they avoided my position. Once more I had Murphy to keep me company and after he devoured his chew, played chase the ball and had a number of treats he rolled over and had a belly scratch before gently snoring away.

Next week, no matter the weather, the bike is coming out. No more excuses, no more delays. Time to remember how to have fun.

14 August 2010

Saturday Satire - Just a Tap

A passenger in a taxi leaned over to ask the driver a question and gently tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.

The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window.

For a few moments everything was silent in the cab.

Then, the still shaking driver said, "Are you OK? I'm so sorry, but you scared the daylights out of me."

The badly shaken passenger apologized to the driver and said he didn't realize that a mere tap on the shoulder would startle the driver so badly.

The driver replied, "No, no, I'm the one who is sorry; it's entirely my fault. Today is my very first day driving a cab...
I've been driving a hearse for the past 25 years.

09 August 2010

The Cow, an Ant, and an Old Fart

A Cow, an Ant and an Old Fart are debating on who is the greatest of the three of them.

The Cow: I give 50 litres of milk every day and that's why I am the greatest!

The Ant: I work day and night, summer and winter, I can carry 52 times my own weight and that's why I am the greatest!

Why are you scrolling down? It's your turn to say something...

07 August 2010

Saturday Satire - The Funeral

A very prestigious cardiologist died and was given a very elaborate funeral by the hospital he worked for most of his life....

A huge heart... Covered in flowers stood behind the casket during the service as all the doctors from the hospital sat in awe.

Following the eulogy, the heart opened, and the casket rolled inside. The heart then closed, sealing the doctor in the beautiful heart forever.

At that point, one of the mourners just burst into laughter. When all eyes stared at him, he said, 'I am so sorry, I was just thinking of my own funeral. I'm a gynaecologist'.

06 August 2010

Points to Ponder

Let's put pensioners in jail, and the criminals in a nursing home. This way the seniors would have access to showers, hobbies and walks.

They would receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc and they would receive money without paying it out.

They would have constant video monitoring so they could be helped instantly, if they fell or needed assistance.

Bedding would be changed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them. A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to them in their cell.

They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.

They would have access to a library, weights room, spiritual counselling, pool and further education.

Simple clothes, shoes, slippers, pyjamas and legal aid would be free on request.

Private secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens.

Each senior would have a PC, a TV, radio and daily phone calls.

There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guard would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.
The "criminals" would have cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised.

Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week.

Live in a tiny room and pay £900 a month and have no hope of getting out.

Justice for all I say.

02 August 2010

Disaster Zone

Given the weather yesterday, a day we had set aside for going out on the bikes, which was grey dank and drizzly at Redruth we decided to haul everything out from under the stairs and have a tidy up while at the same time I baked a madeira cake (chocolate) and a victoria sponge cake.

Well what a disaster the two cakes turned out to be, first of all the sponge cake appeared to rise and then when nearly cooked sunk like the titanic after the iceberg. The texture wasn't right, it seemed too crumbly and too sticky so I suspect that the recipe is wrong. The madeira I had more hope for as I have made it successfully on a number of occasions, but not yesterday. I was gutted when it came out more like a ring cake with no middle, I don't even know whether it is edible or not.

I have not idea why this happened, the oven was defnitely warm enough, the eggs were only purchased last saturday and I can only wonder if the measuring scales were accurate.

Still, not to let them beat me I will keep trying and have at the moment in the cooker, a plain vanilla madeira and a pecan spice madeira. I will split the plain one when cooked and put buttercream inside it with some jam, the other I think should stand up for itself.

It is not a nice thing to do when you see the results of your failure, and it brought home to me just how much I hate failing at anything I do.. hmmm time to rethink my coping strategy I think.

31 July 2010

Saturday Satire : Questions

A little girl walks in to the lounge one Sunday morning where her Daddy is reading the paper.

"Where does poo come from?" she asks.

Father feeling a little perturbed that his 5 year old daughter is already asking difficult questions thinks for a moment and says:

"Well you know we just ate breakfast?"

"Yes," answers the girl.

"Well the food goes into our tummies and our bodies take out all the good stuff, and then whatever is left over comes out of our bottoms when we go to the toilet, and that is poo."

The little girl looks seriously perplexed, and stares at him in stunned silence for a few seconds and asks:

"Well....ok...... where does Tigger come from then?"

29 July 2010

Day trip to the Cape

I had a day out of the office yesterday, to meet up with some students, one of whom was in Penzance, another in St Ives and lastly one in St Just.

Not being familiar with the area, I asked SOH if there was anywhere to go and eat lunch before the last student of the day in St Just. He said go to Cape Cornwall.

I deliberately didn't look it up before going there, I uploaded the details on to the laptop that was needed for the student and as it wasn't far from St Just I decided to head over, even though I would only have a short time there.

It was stunning, really and the sun was shining down brightly as I enjoyed a cup of coffee, a ham roll and a banana while admiring the view from the car park at the bottom of this road.

One of the signs, stated the rocks which you can see on the left hand side look like Charles De Gaulle lying in a bath.  It took me a while, but see for yourself.

I think it was a lovely spot to enjoy, and promised myself that I would go back there to find out a little more of the history of the area.

24 July 2010

Saturday Satire : Teachers

London: 24th July :

A school teacher was arrested today at Gatwick Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Home Secretary Theresa May said that he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the Met Police with carrying weapons of maths instruction.

”Al-gebra is a problem for us," May said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute values. They use secret code names like ‘x’ and ‘y’ and refer to themselves as ‘unknowns’, but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with co-ordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, "There are 3 sides to every triangle".

When asked to comment on the arrest, Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking from his holiday resort before the planes stopped flying, said, "If God had wanted us to have better Weapons of Math Instruction, then He would have given us more fingers and toes."