Well, we got back ok. The flight was with EVA again and was excellent, there is a good entertainment system on board, great food and ample leg room. The downside is that we are back in the chilly UK! I had a slight problem driving the car back from Heathrow as I couldn’t remember how to drive it, the journey didn’t start well when I stalled the engine entering the M25, as I had forgotten that it wasn’t an automatic and I had to press the clutch. Then, of course, there are those stupid London drivers, who didn’t seem to understand that when I put my windscreen wipers on, I was really changing lanes!!!!!! Obvious, isn’t it? We eventually got home around 11.30pm on Sunday.
We woke up to the radio on Monday informing us that just after 11.00pm last night a light aircraft had crashed onto the A6 between Northampton and Mkt. Harborough, killing two. What a lucky escape, we were on that road, just after 11.00pm!
A little holiday extra: As I was watching Thai TV one morning (in English) after our adventure at the Paradise Boathouse Resort Hotel, I recognised the person being interviewed. It was the General that we met a few days prior and whose wife was supposedly having a birthday party by the lake (Sue chatted to him and Jamie was photographed with his daughter). He is now running the country. He is the head of the Armed forces; the party was really a celebration of the coup which kicked Thaksin (Man City owner and now ex-Thai Prime minister) out of office. As Sue said, “He seemed such a nice man.”
Since being back we have had problems with jet lag and keep waking at 3.00am, but slowly things are gradually getting back to normal. The pool was black when I inspected it on return, but a few brushings with the hose has put it back to its usual blue and crystal-clear state. However, it’s far too cold to swim in. Most of the vegetables in the garden were ready for picking, it has been a bumper year for plums and pears. Though there is a tonne of tomatoes in the greenhouse, this year they are particularly tasteless. The guinea pigs were very glad to see us, I suspect they haven’t been going out of their little hut in the pen as often as they should have.
Sue has been busy washing and shopping to fill the empty fridges and larders (she always empties them before we go away for the summer, it has something to do with me switching the power off twice on past holidays and returning to 6-week ripe and smelly food).
I went into school on Tuesday and Wednesday (Teacher days) to find that the builders hadn’t finished re-modelling part of the school. Everything was in boxes and there was no office. It took two days to just get everything back to where it should have been. The children arrived on Thursday (keen, excited and full of energy and in new uniforms, everything I’m not!)
I couldn’t help feeling a little depressed about what my new temporary role is forcing me to do. I woke on Thursday to the radio announcing that 1/3 of all Primary Headship posts are unfilled and recruitment is at an all-time low. I am not surprised. I have just put in 2 days from 7.00am to 6.00pm (with eating lunch at a desk on top of a mound of paper). Highlights of the week were taking assembly on Thursday, installing a new printer into the office (which took 5 mins), and shredding a document (30 seconds), they were the only tasks I actually enjoyed. The rest of my time was taken up with filling in forms, finding data, talking to grey suits from County Hall (they have no sense of humour, live boring lives, and consider trivia as being the whole purpose of existence!) about issues that have nothing to do with the Education of children. Oh yes, I nearly forgot, we had a fire drill, that got me out of the office for 10 mins. Thankfully, the staff are brilliant and are just getting on with things as they always have done, sanely chatting to each other about what they did over the summer. Ironically, I haven’t spoken to anyone about what I did over the summer, I haven’t had the time and it hasn’t occurred to me! I expect things will get better as I reconcile myself to this role, after all, it IS only temporary AND I am retiring in July!!!
Jamie is on a roll!! At present, he can do no wrong! On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday he had driving lessons with Sue in Kettering. On Thursday he PASSED his driving test with only three minors, he said that he just knew he was going to pass as it felt as if he had driven perfectly. The examiner told Sue that he had been the best candidate he’d had that week. On Thursday he was also called to an interview for an apprenticeship AND he also got that. And to cap it all, the college confirmed his place on his course for a second year (they only took 16 out of the 33 from the previous year). On Friday, he drove 125 miles to and from Mansfield to see his girlfriend and then did it again on Saturday. On Saturday morning we installed a radio/CD/DVD/video/mp3 player into his car that he had bought in Thailand. I was sceptical that it would work, but it does and went in with relatively little fuss.
Sarah kept a promise. In Thailand, I had confessed to her one afternoon that I was dying for a nice Ploughman’s lunch, and I then went on to tell her what I thought constituted the perfect Ploughman’s. She promised that when we got home, she would make me one, and she did. Thoughtfully, it was on Wednesday lunchtime (I came home from school especially) and it was PERFECT, if not a little large. I had to finish it off for supper.
Sarah seems to have made a good start at Robert Smyth School, one afternoon she had some friends around to watch a load of DVDs and play on her keyboard.
One Saturday afternoon we had a BBQ. I had invited Jim and Bridget around to say thank you for looking after the pool and garden over the summer. I had bought them a bottle of Thai whisky, but Bridget told me that he didn’t like whisky and that the last bottle I had given him, he had given away. I shall have to use it when I pickle some onions in a few weeks. We showed a video of our holiday and drank beer and cider, it was a nice evening.
On Sunday we went to Charlotte’s, it was her 25th birthday and on Wednesday it will be Suraj’s 35th. The whole family went, including Jamie who was very miffed he wasn’t allowed to drive. It wasn’t fun for me on the way there, I now have 3 driving experts in the car, pointing out how bad my driving is! They put it down to my age and suggested that I should give up before I have an accident. Funny how I managed to get them there and back without incident, yet as we passed two nasty accidents on the way, they made no comment!
It was lovely to see how fast Lucas is growing up, scooting everywhere, grabbing everything and shoving anything small enough into his mouth. Charlotte had booked us into an Indian restaurant for a superb lunch, and I came away stuffed. Afterwards, we went to White Post Farm Park, supposedly for Lucas to see the animals however, I think Suraj, Jamie, Sarah and Charlotte had more fun breaking the rules of age and size on all the rides and activities. Sue and I just stood back, looked after Lucas and pretended we didn’t know them. It had been forecast rain, but thankfully it held off until we left around 5pm. We went back to Charlotte’s for coffee before heading home as Suraj had put together a computer for Sarah to use with her schoolwork (she had destructed her laptop a couple of months ago).
Again, amazingly or luckily, I managed to get us all back to Harborough in the driving rain and heavy Sunday night traffic without the expected fatal accident that has been predicted. I don’t know how I do it.