Archive for June, 2010

Retirement is Relaxing?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 by David Palmer

Much to my relief Sarah at last has finished her ‘AS’ level exams. She has over the last month or so, gone through her notes and revision booklets, made little prompt cards and then ‘firmly insisted’ that I sit in my study and test her on what is written on them. I have lost track of the hours we have done this. My little used brain cells have had a nasty shake-up trying to wrap themselves around concepts that they chose years ago not to be interested in. However, Sarah went off to each exam a little less nervous and we had something to share when we discussed which questions came up, we mostly guessed right. Unfortunately, revision did not go without distraction as her boyfriend’s father had a stroke during the exams. Lee was obviously upset and as he was also taking his ‘AS’ levels, understandably wanted to be at the hospital with his Dad. Sarah talked him around to taking the exams and each evening after we had revised she spent time on the phone revising with Lee, they were both taking Sociology and Psychology. Now all we have to do is wait to see how I did, oooops I mean Sarah did! The latest news concerning Lee’s father (51yrs)  is not good, but having used the NHS facilities often in the past, they are pretty good and have worked miracles on me! Since the exams have finished, Sarah has travelled up to Nottingham several times to see Lee.

After Sarah’s exams had finished I then started work for Charlotte. She is convinced that the baby is going to come early and wanted wardrobes built in the attic study as this is to become their new Master-bedroom when the baby does arrive. Jamie is now working 12 hour shifts and half-days on Saturday and didn’t have the time, a friend’s father who was going to do them, wasn’t able to build them within Charlotte’s time-frame, so Dad got a phone-call. They took 3 days to make and install, 30 000 trips up a flight of stairs that resemble the journey to base camp on Everest, and surprisingly no whacks on the thumb with a hammer (even though it was my most used tool). Considerately, they made me up a bed in the same attic that I was building the wardrobes so that I wouldn’t have far to walk to work. Murphy (the cat) took a fancy to my feet and insisted on sleeping on them at night and kept me awake, but at least I could look at my project without leaving the bed and plan what I was going to do in the morning (after killing the cat). Before I left to travel to Nan’s for my next carpentry project, Charlotte and Suraj treated me to a nice meal at a new local pub.

It was Nan’s birthday last Wednesday and I gave her the best present she has had for years (so she said). I built her fence that separated her and next door. It didn’t take long at all as I was now in the mindset of an experienced carpenter. I did discover a minor problem when I found I had left all my nails and screws in the attic at Charlotte’s. Luckily, I managed to find a few discarded ones in the bottom of one of my toolboxes (see how tidy I am) they did the trick. In the afternoon I took her to see Aunt Edna in Sheffield and we decided to go to a local park for a walk. It was a bright and sunny afternoon and the park was very pretty and full of pensioners. We joined in with the mood of the venue and had coffee and scones with strawberry jam (even me). Later that evening I took Nan to a Thai restaurant for an authentic Asian meal. We had roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potato, cabbage, turnip and peas. They had a carvery on that evening and the Thai menu was not available.  Though unexpected, it was lovely and we vowed to return for the same again in the future. After picking up my BBQ meat from the butchers in Thurcroft (best sausages and minty burgers in the world), I drove home the following day.

After Sue had returned from Buckfastleigh, she was obviously refreshed and accepted quite a few bookings for school and has spent on average 3 days a week in school. I managed to do 3 days one week (though it is still quite fun I did feel tired, particularly as on one day I had a Y6 class with a couple of autistic children and several gypsies, without ancillary support!) She went to Zizzi’s the other day for lunch with a friend and managed to catch-up with gossip (but didn’t tell me what). We did have two BBQ’s with rugby friends to watch the two England matches. The BBQ was good, that’s all I will say about that.

I haven’t seen much of Jamie as he is working quite a lot and I have been carpentering. He is out most evenings with Harley or friends and I and Sue (sad to say) are usually in bed by 10pm now-a-days, before he returns. He leaves for work at 5.30am. I gets a lot of parcels delivered which are usually bits for his car, but blast night we were treated to a fashion show of the things he had bought after a days shopping in Leicester. I did help him set up a Stocks and Shares ISA with Virgin as he insisted that he ought to be investing in the stock market (don’t know why). He is only investing £20 a month so there shouldn’t be too much damage done to his or the county’s economy.

It is Father’s day to day. Sarah gave me a nice selection box of beers (I wonder how she knew?) and Charlotte and Suraj gave me a new Belkin ADFSL2+Modem Router (I wonder how they knew?). Jamie’s present of some bottles entitled ‘Old Peculiar’ I suspect is a subliminal message. I prefer Father’s Day to Mother’s day, it is personally much more profitable. It looks like a nice sunny day, so I will attempt to do nothing. Today, Lucas is going to the cinema for the first time to see Toy Story. I remember the first time we took Jamie to the cinema, it was to see Toy Story and we travelled to London to see it. Spooky isn’t it?

David emailed me from Bulgaria this morning. He is busy sanding floors, cleaning pools, and riding quad bikes . Oh, and the temperature is 30 degrees something, sounds stressful. Must go there soon.

Sarah is 17!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2010 by David Palmer

A few days before Sarah’s 17th birthday the weather began to cheer up and the sun began to make an appearance, by the time the 23rd arrived we were experiencing the hottest day of the year so far. It was a Sunday and Charlotte, Suraj and Lucas came down. Lee was already here having arrived on Saturday and Harley also made an appearance. I hade been up to Yorkshire during the week to weed the garden and do a few jobs around the house and I had brought Nan back with me, so we had a houseful. Sue and I had planned a BBQ and for once the weather was perfect, we even had to move the table under the apple tree to escape the heat. Rather naughtily Suraj had brought some super-soakers and much of the time was spent avoiding squirts of water and the odd water bomb, Lucas loved it but I suspect his understanding of what (sensible) adults are supposed to act like, took a little bit of a knock. After food and the blowing of a birthday cake, we retired to the pool to cool off. Charlotte’s latest impression of a beached whale was very impressive as was Harley’s assisted swan dive. We watched England beat Mexico (on the big screen) later in the evening.

All the plants and seeds in the garden and greenhouse have at last started to grow and are looking good. I have now started to water in earnest most evenings. If we have a warm summer hopefully we will get a bumper crop, and as I do not intend to go anywhere during the month of June (World Cup month) they should be well looked after! Fingers crossed

David and Genya visited on their way to catch a ferry from Dover. They were returning to Bulgaria in a Dodge Motor-home that David had just bought. We had a BBQ then watched England beat Japan (on the big screen, notice a trend starting?) They are going to take their time driving over and will stop and see the sights on the way. As they were leaving, the evening had got chilly, and I had to give David a warm sweater as he had not packed any. Then he realised that he had also forgotten to pack any bedding. Unfortunately Sue had thrown all our bedding out 2 days earlier and bought new, and they were on the beds. As they were about to leave (9.30pm) to look for bedding on their way to the port, I remembered that there was an old quilt (a bit smelly) in the garage that we used  to cover Jamie’s car bonnet in the winter. I think they were glad to receive it. They left the laptop was stolen in Bulgaria (but recovered when the burglar was caught) with me to try and recover the files that had been deleted. Genya had been writing a book and had nearly finished it when the house was burgled. I shall see what I can do.

Last Saturday I had been lucky enough to get a ticket to watch Leicester Tigers v Saracens at Twickenham and even luckier to get a seat on a supporters bus leaving  from Harborough (I knew the organiser, another retired rugby playing teacher, its a great network!)  It was a fantastic day with tremendous atmosphere and the right result.

On Sunday Sue took a leisurely drive down to stay with her sister in Buckfastleigh. Despite many caravans having the same idea she got down their unscathed and sent me a text to say that all was ok.

Sarah got up early today and caught the train to Nottingham to stay at Lee’s until Thursday. She (and I) have been studying really hard for months now on her AS exams, which seem to be every other day. She reads her notes and then makes crib cards of the important details which I then have to test her on. I must confess that a lot of the stuff, I struggle to understand and my poor brain cells don’t know what has hit them. I am doing the cross word and Soduku puzzles much quicker now! She still has more exams after half-term. I can’t help wondering when any teaching is done. Tests don’t teach anything only inform you on what you haven’t learnt, there is something radically wrong, when you spending more time preparing for a test than being taught. However, she plays the game like everyone else, but it is not right.

A friend from the past rang the other night. Chris Tippets, an old College friend (we used to visit each other when we first start teaching) had decided to make contact and we chatted for 2 hours about what we had been up to this last year. We finished by each promising to visit. We shall see.

I believe Charlotte is getting plumper, but otherwise fit and healthy. Lucas fell over at playschool the other day and ‘mashed’ his face but seems to have shrugged it off as a little inconvenience. Not heard anything about Suraj, which means he is fine (but I still have to mention that, or I get an email from Charlotte!).