Wednesday, November 16

I've found a new thing to do..

It is officially 2 whole months today (as in the 16th September to 16th November) since I became a non smoker!! I've kicked my 20(+) a day habit, cold turkey, no replacements to have to give up... nothing.... I am a non smoker.

I've also discovered my latest hobby, and I can't stop doing it.. all the time. I was taught as a child to crochet, but only a blanket shell stitch. I decided with the aid of modern technology it was time to teach myself how to make more than blankets.So I went on youtube and searched crochet stitches, watched a couple of videos on how to crochet and off I went. And now I can't stop crocheting! I started with little cutsey easy to make animals and have moved on from there. I am now getting quite good.. in my opinion. I'm thinking of getting a bit of stock together and putting it on etsy to sell... I dunno. My stuff has to be really good before I can sell it, but I don't think I'm quite there yet. Hubby asked " how many hats does one house need??" lol

So, a few pictures... although I am one missing that matches the pink hat .. a pair of pink wrist warmers/fingerless gloves. I need to photograph them. Click on any of the pics to see it full size :)

The little pink and white mouse, the pink bunny and the cupcake crochet hook holder are my faves. Then I moved onto hats (and a headband)

The last hat is actually an adults hat, my daughter modelled it for me... my head's going to be warm this winter. I think the brown and cream child's hat is my fave so far. Isabelle loves her three strand headband which fastens in a bow (one strand) at the back.

Now.... what can I crochet next?

Friday, July 29

Dear so and so.....

Dear Cold,

please do one. 6 days is more than anyone can take for a cold and I'm normally such a patient person. The thick coating of gunk inside my head is really pissing me off now. Oh and I note your 'lets add laryngitis for fun' trick arrived last night, much to the amusement of my family who continually say 'what' every time I speak. Give me a break please

Yours, Not happy being the butt of all jokes, Annie

Dear washer/dryer.

I wish I'd never bought you. You are nothing but a bloody pain in the arse! It is really un-necessary to break down every 6 months! Thank god I had the foresight to get you insured for breakdowns. I hope you are happy with yourself for refusing to drain out and let me open the door to take the full load of sopping wet clothes out, enabling you to hang on to them in your greedy belly causing them to rot.

yours, I hate you at the best of times, Annie

Dear Hotpoint

a week and a day to get an engineer out to fix my washer/dryer is like an eternity, especially when my hubby had a shouting fit at me this morning because 2 out of 3 pairs of his work trousers are stuck inside the washer and his 3rd pair are at work when he has to go to a meeting somewhere else. Can't you get more engineers on the job?

Yours, frustratingly, Annie

Dear Hubby

It's really not necessary to throw a wobbly because you have to be at a meeting at 8am somewhere other than your office, and due to the washer hijacking 2 pairs of your work trousers and you leaving your other pair of work trousers at work when you got changed to cycle home, you have no trousers to wear. Yelling at me because you are going to have to phone work and tell them you can't go to the meeting because you have no trousers really isn't my fault. I did tell you on Monday that the washer was holding your trousers to ransom.

Yours, I can't take the blame for everything,  Your wifey.

Dear Asda

Thank you thank you thank you for being open 24 hours so that when I suggested hubby go and buy a new pair of trousers so that he could attend his meeting this morning, he was able to do so.

Yours, gratefully, Annie

Dear Hubby (again)

Hmmm, have you forgotten I can check the bank account online to see exactly how much you've taken out? Do you really think you're paying THAT much for a pair of trousers?

Yours, I'll be emptying your wallet later, wifey.
Dear delivery man
thank you for delivering my new car battery. I will now be able to start my car again for the first time since Tuesday. You have given me my freedom back again.

Yours, very gratefully, Annie

Wednesday, June 29

How about some... awwwwwww?

A friend of mine has been on hatch-watch. The swans were sitting on eggs on a local pond. My friend phoned last night and told me that he'd seen the cygnets swimming on the pond. So off I trotted this morning, camera in hand, and here are the results, with an added bonus of some newly hatched ducklings.

Tuesday, June 28

Changes, ups and downs

It's been a manic couple of months. A lot of the time I feel like I've been chasing my tail. 

I have started my QCF in Teaching and Learning Support Lv2. (They changed the NVQ system to QCF). So far so good. I had my first tutor assessment a couple of weeks ago and it went very well (according to my tutor and her written observations) which was a huge relief. My next one is on the 6th of July and I'm nowhere near as nervous as I was for the last one. I've also had a few hours of paid work (yay!) doing one to one supervision with a child in class. This is on top of my mid-day supervisor role. The teacher was very very happy with the way I worked and was later very surprised that she'd been in to tell the head teacher how amazing I was... (her words not mine lol). So all this was boosting my confidence and my hopes of getting one of the five teaching assistant jobs that are new posts for September. Successful applicants would be notified on the 24th of June. The day came and went... nothing :( Despite everything, I didn't even get an interview. Gutted!! And so I sulked all Friday night.

It wasn't worth getting upset about to be honest, but I was annoyed after doing numerous hours at the school, helping out and doing voluntary hours that I hadn't even got an interview. 

But four days on, it seems that it might have been a blessing in disguise. I have been approached today by the lady in charge of special needs children and she has asked me if I would conisder one to one supervision for children with learning disabilities, behavioural problems or ADHD.  When I was making the decision to go back into childcare in schools, special needs was actually the area I wanted to be in, but needed the TLS qualification first. Now it's changed, it's not necessary to complete it first as long as I am doing the course and my observational assessments are within the school. So of course, I said yes... without trying to appear to be biting her hand of in my excitement. So now, she has me on her list of one to one supervisors and she has a meeting next week when she will discuss with her managers which children will need one to one care when we start the new school year in September, and then she'll be looking to place me with one of the kids. 

So it seems like every cloud has a silver lining afterall.

Wednesday, April 27


My 5 year old loves dandelions, and this year there seems to be billions of them. We have to hunt out the 'dandelion clocks' whenever we take the dog for a walk and tell what time it is by seeing how many blows she has to do before the seeds have all blown away.

We had a single dandelion clock in our garden and I wanted to photograph it. She hung about at my side, trying to blow the seeds off before I'd got my photographs. I managed to get her to hold on by giving her my point and shoot camera and letting her take photographs too. I've not got hers processed yet, but here are mine.. followed by a few shots of my Clematis which looks beautiful this year. It feels so good to finally use my camera again after having a photographic drought for the past six months. 

Click the images to view them full size and see the detail.

Thursday, April 14

Changes are on the horizon

I've been working as a mid-day supervisor (dinner lady to us mere mortals) for the past month at my daughter's primary school. It's only an hour a day, and it's only supervising in the dining hall and in the playground, but it's reminded me how much I love working with kids, especially the infants.

In a previous life.. when my eldest two kids were small (now 21 and 26) I always worked in some kind of childcare facility or other. As they grew I got an NVQ3 in Business Admin and became an office manager and PA. Then along came Isabelle. I left work 3 weeks before she was born and haven't been to a paid place of employment since.  

Having been volunteering in Isabelle's school for the past year and a bit, my instinctive nature for childcare has been aroused again. So I've decided to update my childcare qualificatons with the hopes of getting work in Isabelle's school. I love being with the kids and it seems they love being with me. What brought it home yesterday is that Isabelle's class had an end of term show to perform in their classroom for parents. Of course, I went. My heartwarming moment was that as I walked into the classroom at least half of the class of 5, 6 and 7 year olds said hello to me individually, but all with a big smile at being pleased to see me. Some stroked my leg (they were sat down, and infants are prone to stroking teachers they like lol) some wanted to hold my hand, but the majority had something to tell me. These children come up to me in the playground to tell me some important bit of news they have, or if they hurt themselves it seems to be me they come to to be fixed rather than any of the other dinner ladies. I don't know why.. they just do and I love it.

So I am now enrolled to take a course to become a Classroom Teaching Assistant  and the course starts right after Easter. The course is mainly assessment based in the workplace environment, so the school will get 10 hours of my time each week voluntarily, but I'll be a TA at the end of the day and with a bit of luck they might find a job for me, even if it's only oncall cover.

I can't wait to get started... I can't believe how much I'd missed working with kids. They're so rewarding, even the naughty ones who need that bit extra attention.

Bring it on!!!

Tuesday, March 29

Open up a can of worms?

or perhaps upset the applecart?

Firstly the disclaimer. I don't wish to upset anyone religious or not... everyone has their right to their own belief and I'm not going to say anyone is wrong for believing. This is just my opinion.

Isabelle has a swimming lesson on a Tuesday evening and our journey home often brings forth bizzare conversations instigated by the still 5 year old Isabelle. Tonight's discussion was very indepth.

Due to the time of year, at school they have been discussing the Christian faith and the belief in God and Jesus (as we're heading towards Easter). Her school visited a Christian Church today. I asked her what she'd seen and we had a good chat about it and how lovely the stained glass windows were and she explained that each one told a story.  Then she asked why don't we go to church every sunday? uh oh... how to I explain this to a 5 year old?

Neither Mark nor I are religious. I've never stopped any of the kids learning about religion, and have always answered their questions on religion as honestly as possible from what I was taught at school. I'm not against the teaching of any religion, I think it's good for kids to know about the various religions and the reasons why they believe what they do. But religion is not for me. I believe the big bang theory and evolution. I don't believe God made the world and everything in it. But how do you explain this to a 5 year old? I think I did ok.

I explained that some people don't believe in a God. She already knows an awful lot about the planets and galaxies and the universe. In fact she loves it all. so I explained that these people who don't believe in a God believe in Evolution. She already understands evolution and that creatures came out of the sea and evolved into land animals. This is where she becomes confused. She said that God didn't make the dinosaurs. They evolved from other creatures. But did God tell the creatures to move out of the sea and evolve and if not, how did they decide to do it for themselves?  And if God didn't put the trees on the land, how did they get there? Again, I said evolution.. they probably began as plants under the sea and over billions of years they evolved to be trees. We were almost home and the conversation was getting deeper and deeper... her thought process and logic was astonishing for her age and she stumped me several times.

I ended our chat by saying that the best thing to do is to learn about all the religions, and all about evolution and then when she gets older she will be able to decide what she wants to believe in, and if she wants to believe in a God, she will be able to decide which God she wants to worship. But if she decides she doesn't want to believe in a God but believe evolution is right, then that's ok too.

Then tonight, I was reading the news online to see the following article....

Children as young as four to be taught Atheism in School

Atheism is to be taught in some schools as a trial. It will teach them that there is another belief other than (a)  God. The plan is to teach Humanism. That you are not wrong to not believe in a God.. that it is ok to believe in Humanism, morals and evolution.

I carried on reading until I got to the religious person's opinion on this..

Quote: Salim Mulla, chair of Lancashire Council of Mosques, is concerned about the outcome of these teachings.

'We believe it is important to have faith values whether that is Christian, Islamic or any other religion,' he said.

'The values are very, very important. I don't think the non God aspect should be introduced into the curriculum.

'I don't think it is right. People are born into faiths and are brought up in that faith and that's how it should stay.

'The non-faith beliefs send a wrong message to the children and confuse them. End Quote

Don't the non God believers have as much right to discuss what they think rather than made to feel like an outcast because they don't have a God? Is this pressurising children to choose a religion because they should? People aren't born into a faith. Everyone is born an Atheist. It is the parents that bring a child up with a certain belief. They teach the child their religion and tell them why they believe the things they do.

I find it hard to understand how schools can teach religion and also about evolution and the environment but keep them as separate entities. And how many times have I heard the question, if there is a God why do all these disasters happen. Why are we having to save the environment that God made? He should should be in control of the environment anyway. and why did God kill all these people in Japan and break their homes? How does a non God believer explain that?

Confusion reigns

My new little boy

One of the other reasons I've been so busy lately is that we have adopted Charley, a terrier / whippet cross from the animal rescue centre. Charley was found on the streets in Lancashire somewhere and was put on death row because no one would take him in. Our local rescue centre took him in and saved him from his imminent death. I saw his photograph online. Not a great photograph, but his little face pleaded with me to give him a home. Can you see why?

My hubby kept saying if we were to have a dog we should get a German Shepherd. But it would be too big for our house, for me to walk the dog and waaaay too much fur to groom and keep him clean. So I kept emailing the above photo to him at work saying.. awww look at his little face. He wants to come and live with us. He said we could go and see him. So off we all went, including 20 yr old son and his girlfriend in tow. 

He was brought out to us. He wasn't too over excited but he was interested and had a waggy tail. We took him for a walk up the lane to see how he behaved on the lead. He was good. Isabelle fell in love with him straight away, and he loved her too. We had a chat and Mark agreed we could adopt him. After the home suitability check, we brought him home. He settled in straight away. He has been with us since the 1st of February. I've been working hard on training him to do what we ask and on the whole, it's going very well. I also started taking him to obedience lessons. The biggest issue we have is his anxiety in a room full of other dogs. Outside on the field when we're walking, he's fine. But in a room full of dogs, he barks like mad. But after 6 weeks of classes this is almost under control. He is a lovely dog and is part of our family even after being with us for so few weeks. He's put weight on and we can no longer see his ribs. But the nicest thing of all (apart from him taking to me and is definately my dog.. I'm his stability) is that he and Isabelle love each other so much. He does what she asks him, and often lay on the floor together cuddling. It's lovely.

Best Friends

My much more confident Charley

Oh and the wonky ear is permanently wonky LOL. It never stands up. I assume he must have been in a fight when he was on the streets as he does have a piece missing, but the ear never stands straight.. That's just Charley and we love his quirk

Wednesday, March 23

Still Alive

I am still alive.. honest. I thought for a while that maybe I wasn't, but I realise I am.

Lets go back to November... Isabelle was so poorly for almost six weeks, including over Christmas, and so was I. We both had the flu twice and I was laid up on Christmas Eve wondering if I would actually see Christmas Day..thankfully, I did.

I also lost interest in blogging.. well, everything really.. but I only had doom and gloom to write about and to be honest, I even stopped reading others' blogs. A lot of the blogs I subscribed to were being taken over by sponsored posts. Tales of how wonderful things were that they'd been sent by big manufacturers to try. I suppose jealousy came into that too. Why couldn't my child have all these great days out or great toys to try and keep? Why couldn't I have the new washing machine/fridge/cooker etc. But that's not the way I wanted to go with my blog. I'm not calling anyone or saying they're wrong for going down that route, that's their choice, but it wasn't making interesting reading for me anymore. So I stopped.

I also stopped taking photographs.. yes.. completely. I was all photo'd out. I still am to a point to be honest. I've lost my photographic eye. It's been suggested that I try a different genre of photography, but I've tried most of them already. I've gone weeks and weeks without picking my camera up. At one point, I couldn't even remember where I'd put it.. now that IS bad. I took snaps with my point and shoot, but nothing worth sharing with anyone. Memory shots is what they are.

And then 'me' time vanished completely. My hubby had a mountain bike accident landing on a razor sharp piece of slate which cut a huge gash in his knee right through to the bone, and also had a horizontal break to his tibia. He spent 4 days in hospital having two lots of surgery to clean out the deep wound before stitiching it internally and 26 staples externally. Now trying to keep a very active man still is difficult. Once he actually realised he couldn't get around he went into sorry for himself mode and therefore (apparently) couldn't do anything for himself. My 5 year old is more self sufficient than he turned into. 4 weeks on and he's now recovering. Not right, but recovering.

And the latest venture is that I've started work. It's only an hour and a bit a day at Isabelle's school supervising lunchtimes. So now my daily routine is spent coming in and out of the house. I get a couple of hours in the morning, then work then an hour and a bit before fetching Isabelle from school. Then the running around to taxi Isabelle to her evening activities. Life is just hectic.

But as I said, I'm still alive... still aching and paining.. carpal tunnel syndrome is the current (worst) pain.. but I'm plodding on.

Hopefully I can get back to blogging with a bit more regularity and enthusiasm.