The phone rang at eight-thirty this morning:
Spud: [Scream] Mum! AAB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think he was pleased.
The phone rang at eight-thirty this morning:
Spud: [Scream] Mum! AAB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think he was pleased.
My baby’s all grown up. Sad faces all round…though I am relieved he survived my cooking.
This was him seven years ago:
This was him two weeks ago:
That uniform really lasted!
The school gave them a good send off: Leavers’ Day started with a Full English Breakfast; followed by a huge dragon bouncy castle with tunnel and slide. As the Hub said, they filled them up then emptied them again…
Lots of fun activities ensued including a barbecue and the handing out of Most Likely To… certificates (decided by each student’s friends). Spud was found Most Likely To Run The Grand National, because his nickname is ‘Stallion’. I daren’t ask for details. Finally, they let off the traditional balloons in the school colours.
They were given leavers’ hoodies:
They received Year Books; but they didn’t write in them. The tradition is for each child to buy a hard notebook and pass it around; teachers and friends write pages and pages of memories, good and bad. It’s a lovely tradition. Spud read the clean ones out to us. I may have sobbed a little.
In the evening, they attended a Leavers’ Ball. Five of Spud’s friends came here for pre-ball drinks and post-ball sleep. What a funny world it is: hundreds of screaming teenagers on a bouncy castle in the morning and hundreds of screaming drunk teenagers bouncing on the dance floor in the evening.
They boys passed their school on the way there and back to the ball. Both times, they spontaneously burst into the first two lines of the school psalm (no one ever remembers the third-plus lines). ‘How middle class are we?’ asked Spud’s friend; before coming back to sleep on the floor of our council house and be fed a breakfast of homemade pancakes – some burned, some not; it’s the luck of the draw.
Spud has had seven happy years at a wonderful school. He has been given a first class education at their expense. He has great relationships with friends and teachers and many great memories.
It’s all downhill from here.
Happy future, darling.
Squeezing this in before more visitors arrive. My boys say we should think about turning this house into a hotel.
To answer your question, the courses I have signed up for with FutureLearn are:
For two reasons: they sound interesting; and there was no creative writing course.
I am thrilled that so many of you have signed up for something. Learning is fun (but knowledge is power. Hope that helps with my electricity bill).
We’ve had a visitor here since Monday so I haven’t been able to blog as much as I had hoped, but I have sneaked away to tell you about this:
The Open University has teamed up with universities around the globe to offer free online short courses. I have signed up for three, with staggered start dates; the first begins in November.
Join me! It’s all online so you don’t have to live in the UK.
Here’s the link: FutureLearn.
Cartoon by Dave Walker
An English public school was forced to raise its fees. The headmaster decided that the simplest way was to implement an across the board 7% increase per annum. Unfortunately, when the secretary typed the letter, she missed out a crucial ‘n’ in the last word of the letter, consequently, it read thus:
Due to increased building costs, I have decided reluctantly to raise the fees by 7% per anum.
About a week later, one concerned parent replied, saying:
I regret your increase in fees, but I would like to continue paying through the nose as before.
This is alleged to be the message that a School staff in the Worcester area voted unanimously to record on their school telephone answering machine.
It came about because they implemented a policy requiring students and Parents to be responsible for their children’s absences and missing homework.
The school and teachers are now being threatened with legal action by some parents who want their children’s failing marks changed to passing marks – even though those children were absent 15-30 times during the term and did not complete enough schoolwork to pass their various key stages.
Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right member of staff, please listen to all the options before making a selection:
These are not really jokes, but they are amusing all the same. They come courtesy of my dear friend Vivinfrance. Enjoy!
In the English language newspaper Connexion in December there was a list of the howlers of baccalaureat (Bac-a-laugh-a-lot) candidates.
I wrote a post, School Daze, about Spud’s last days at school (until he goes back for two more years in September). It was understandably a little confusing for non-Brits, as Janie pointed out, so here’s a brief explanation:
Children start school the year they turn five, in Reception, presumably named because it is the first time they are received into school. I think it is the equivalent of the American kindergarten, but many schools don’t even have gartens, kinder or otherwise, especially in the inner cities.
Next come Years One and Two, ages six to seven, known as the Infants.
Years Three to Six – eight to eleven – are known as the Juniors.
We have infant schools and junior schools and infant and junior schools, which are known as Primary Schools.
High School follows at eleven, turning twelve, starting in Year Seven, to Year Eleven at sixteen.
It is legal to leave school at sixteen and go out to work or on to College or Sixth Form. College is not varsity, it is for further studies aged seventeen-eighteen. Colleges – also known as Sixth Form Colleges – are separate institutions which only teach that age group.
Some high schools have sixth forms, but most state schools in Stockport do not have a sixth form. State schools are public schools, not to be confused with schools known as public schools, which are private schools.
Private schools and grammar schools – which are fee-paying high schools, apart from those grammar schools which are not fee-paying high schools – usually do have a sixth form.
The term, Sixth Form comes from the days when high schools were known as Secondary Schools and had First Year to Fifth Year instead of Year Seven to Year Eleven.
Secondary schools were known at one time as Secondary Moderns or Comprehensive Schools. Secondary Moderns were not comprehensive in their teaching and Comprehensives were ultra-modern until pupils trashed them.
We now also have Academies, which are privately sponsored state schools, but I don’t want to confuse you so forget about them. Everyone else does.
Sixth Forms consist of Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth. Despite there being seven years of secondary schooling (two optional), there is no Seventh form – not even when there was no Year Seven.
The Scots have a different system – and probably the Welsh and Northern Irish, as well.
An important point to remember: the Northern Irish are British as well as Irish, and not just Irish like the Irish. The English are British and the Welsh are sometimes Welsh and sometimes Welsh and British. The Scots are a law unto themselves and tend not to worry about British law, preferring Scots law, because we – the English, who are British like the Scots – will never take away their freedom.
I hope this helps.
Spud starts his GCSEs next week; his first exam is on Thursday. He plans to stick to his school day at home, from nine to four, having the same breaks, lunch period, and so on. The advantage is that he gets an extra hour in bed, waking at eight instead of 6:45. He is serious and determined to do well in his exams.
When he started grammar school five years ago, aged eleven, it was pretty scary for him. He was one of only four pupils from his primary school to win full bursaries, and the only boy. The girls were put into a class together but he was on his own. Many of the children had come up from the prep school and known each other for years, and he felt isolated. He wasn’t happy in that first week, and the Hub found him crying over his maths homework, because he couldn’t do it.
Being a mother, I was all for panicking, pulling him out, and putting him in the local high school. The Hub is made of sterner stuff and simply sat with Spud each night, helping him with the homework when he was struggling, and sitting on me to stop my hysteria.
We are all glad he did, because Spud has enjoyed the last five years; loves his school; is popular with pupils and staff; and is looking forward to two years of Sixth Form…especially Leaving Day, when the pupils play pranks to celebrate leaving. Some of the previous years’ pranks have included:
An education is a wonderful thing.
On the first day of college, the Dean addressed the students:
“The female dormitory is out-of-bounds for all male students, and the male dormitory to the female students. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $20 the first time. The second time you will be fined $60. A third time will cost you a fine of $180. Are there any questions?”
A male student inquired, “How much for a season pass?”
Spud was in his English class. Someone had never heard of the word ‘pail’. The teacher explained it was a bucket as in,
Jack and Jill
went up the hill
to fetch a pail of water.
As she paused, Spud interjected,
Instead they found whiskey,
got a bit frisky
and now they have a daughter.
That’s my boy!
Spud just phoned with his GCSE results (just six; he is in Year 10. More next year):
One of the Bs was for Classics and he is disappointed – so has decided to re-sit it.
We are so proud of him – whatever the results, he worked hard to get them, and that’s what matters.
Following the photography ‘course’, I have another workshop today; something about committees. I have no idea what I’ll be doing but it sounded like it might be useful for my cv, so I signed up.
I love taking workshops and courses and increasing my knowledge. My ideal holiday would be a week of summer school. I don’t think my family would be so keen on it. However, if we took a games console with us, they wouldn’t notice.
Between 1997 and now I have taken three-and-a-half A Levels, an honours degree, three computer courses, two writing courses, one job course, countless poetry workshops and many skills workshops. There hasn’t been one I didn’t enjoy, though the year of the Open University English Language course bummed me out a little.
I also have extensive volunteer experience: you need someone to make tea, paste worksheets into books, wipe the poo from the bottom of a child’s shoe and take money at the door? I’m your man.
None of this is doing me any good in my job search. Employers naturally prefer the recently redundant but up-to-date skills-wise to the eager to learn and willing to turn her hand to anything but hasn’t had paid employment for twenty-one years novice.
It’s probably just as well: if I had a job, I’d miss today’s committee thing and the free lunch beforehand.
I’ve signed up for seven more workshops so far this year; who has time to work?
I love to laugh but sometimes I can’t, like when I read this story over on Parentdish.
A homeless woman living in a van used a friend’s address to enrol her six-year-old son in school. She faces – wait for it – twenty years in jail. Truly, wanting to educate your child despite your circumstances is a heinous crime.
But it’s understandable, as the Mayor tells us
McDowell is no angel, having been arrested last year for possession of marijuana and having served 18 months in prison for robbery and weapons charges.
“This is not a poor, picked-upon homeless person,” he tells the newspaper. “This is an ex-con, and somehow the city of Norwalk is made into the ogre in this. She has a checkered past at best.”
That’s okay then: she’s a bad person. Forget that she has no record of child abuse or child abandonment and is trying to do the best for her son; lock her up for life, put her son into state care, and justice is served.
My dear readers, I am sure you are as appalled by this story as I am. Please email Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia’s office and tell him so, and blog about it yourself. A woman shouldn’t be imprisoned for doing her duty.
Here’s Norwalk’s website: http://www.norwalkct.org/index.aspx?nid=131
And the Mayor’s contact details: http://www.norwalkct.org/forms.aspx?FID=90
Not a swear word, you’ll be glad to hear:
If that’s not a fantastic word, then I don’t know what is.
It came from Dictionary.com: sign up for free and receive an email every day, giving you a new word. I love Dictionary.com for two reasons: for all the new words I learn; and for all the words it sends me that I already know, so I can pretend I’m really smart that day.
Pogonip is defined as An ice fog that forms in the mountain valleys of the western U.S. It’s from the Shoshone word for ‘thunder-fog’. Don’t you love a language that even has the term ‘thunder-fog’?
If you like learning new words, check out my South Africa blog; today I talk about biltong and dorps.
You may recall a while back I promised you a photo of the most beautiful toddler in the world; well here it is:
Just for good measure, here’s one of him with his parents. You can see he gets his good looks from his mother:
Daddy is the Hub’s nephew and also the perpetrator of many a joke against me, including a fart machine before they were popular, and telling me they had taken the word ‘gullible’ out of the dictionary. I showed him my own dictionary but he pointed out that it was an old copy; I eventually believed him. I have no defence, even if it was back in my what’s the internet? days; I guess I’m just…what’s the word? Let me check Dictionary.com.
This photo is my revenge for his latest trick. Do you remember my wooden leg post? You may also remember I had a response from a Shirley Bumtruffle: he confessed the other day that she ’twas indeed he. I suspected someone else altogether; he had me completely bumtruffled.
Her Bad Hare Days
A frustrated writer, who is her own worst enemy
Don't get mad; get writing
a blog about small beautiful things