Sarah is 17!!!!

A few days before Sarah’s 17th birthday the weather began to improve and the sun stopped hiding behind a thick curtain of clouds and made an appearance, by the time the 23rd arrived we were experiencing the hottest day of the year so far. Her birthday was on a Sunday and Charlotte, Suraj and Lucas had arrived specially for the celebration. Lee was already here, having arrived on Saturday and Harley also made an appearance. I had been in Yorkshire during the week, weeding Nan’s garden and doing a few jobs around the house, I had brought her back to Willow Bank with me. We had a houseful. We 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 fierce heat. Rather naughtily Suraj had brought some super-soakers, which meant much of our time was spent avoiding squirts of water and the odd water bomb, Lucas loved it, but I suspect his understanding of what sensible adults act like, took a little bit of a knock. After scoffing the food and blowing out the candles on the cake, we retired to the pool to cool off. Charlotte’s latest impression of a beached whale was impressive, as was Harley’s assisted swan dive. Later in the evening, we watched England beat Mexico on the big screen in the lounge.

The plants and seeds sown in the garden and greenhouse have at last started to appear and are looking ok. I have started to water earnestly most evenings. If this weather continues through the summer we will have a bumper crop of vegetables, as I am not contemplating going anywhere during the  World Cup month of June they should be well looked after. Fingers crossed for vegetables and England!

Later in the week, David and Genya came to visit us on their way to catch a ferry to the continent from Dover. They are returning to Bulgaria in their new Dodge Motor home. We had a family BBQ with them and then watched England beat Japan on the big screen. They slept the night in the motor home parked on our drive.

They are going to take their time driving to their second home in Ritya and will stop and see the sights on the way. The following morning, as they were leaving, I gave David a warm sweater as he had forgotten to pack any for the chilly mountain sections. Then they realised that they had also forgotten to pack any bedding (what did they sleep in last night?). Unfortunately for them, Sue had only just thrown away our old bedding two days earlier and had bought new and they were on the beds. As they were about to leave and look for bedding on their way to the port, I remembered there was an old quilt in the garage we used to cover Jamie’s car bonnet during the winter months. It was very tatty but they were glad to receive it. They me left a laptop stolen in Bulgaria and later recovered by the police when the thief was caught. I was going 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 was lucky enough to acquire a ticket to watch Leicester Tigers v Saracens at Twickenham in the Premiership Final and even luckier to get a seat on the supporters’ bus leaving  from Harborough (I knew the organiser he is another retired rugby-playing teacher, its a great network!)  I had a fantastic day, there was a tremendous atmosphere and the Tigers won!

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 there unscathed and sent me a text to say that all was ok.

For a well-needed break, Sarah got up early today and caught the train to Nottingham to stay with Lee until Thursday. She (and I) for months now have been studying hard for her AS exams. She diligently reads her lesson notes and then makes crib cards of the important details, which I then have to test her on. I must confess a lot of which I struggle to understand, my poor brain cells don’t know what has hit them, but on the plus side, I am doing the crossword and Soduku puzzles much quicker now! She has more exams after half-term and I can’t help wondering when any teaching is done in the school, it just seems to be exams and tests all the time. I feel there is something radically wrong when you spend more time preparing for a test than being taught. However, she plays the game well and doesn’t know any difference, but it is not right.

A friend from the past called me 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, so we chatted for around two hours about what each of us has been up to since leaving academia. We finished by each promising to visit, sometime. We shall see.

Charlotte is now getting noticeably plumper but otherwise is fit and healthy. Lucas fell over at playschool the other day and ‘mashed’ his face but he seems to have shrugged it off as only a little inconvenience.

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