Sunday, 30 September 2007

new flat!

Yesterday we moved to our new place. We made two trips to the tip and one trip to the Salvation Army. We then packed all out boxes and furniture into several van loads. We passed a lot of it out through our bedroom window. We had some great help from Matt and Bree, who helped us carry all that stuff up the stairs that lead just inside the door to our first floor flat.

We had some food that (our) Matt and his Dad picked up. Then we spent the rest of the evening moving things around and trying to create some order in the chaos. Here is the kitchen after tonight's efforts as well.

From the other side of the kitchen and outside the door you can see that we have an eat-in table! At the moment it's buried under chairs and plastic bins.

Here's a shot of our lounge--lots of shelves to hold all our books.

And the best part of this flat is the bike rack above the stairs. Check out all three of our bikes hanging here.

Ant took this picture from on the stairs under the bikes.

I'm writing this post with the broadband that was here in the flat from before. It's due to be cut off tomorrow, I think. So I will be sadly unavailable for a while. Call me instead to catch up!

Friday, 28 September 2007

cleaning out

While packing today Ant found Matt's Tommytronic 3D video game. I have never even heard of it but both Ant and Matt said the were enraptured with it as children. The game Matt has is called Sky Attack. I played my first game and was very taken! I got 55 points by moving left and right to one of three positions and shooting overhead airplanes that drop bombs on my tank. My second time was much better and I got 155 points, while ducking and dodging with my head while playing. (I was also one of those children who played Mario on the Game Boy by physically jumping with it.)

Thursday, 27 September 2007

moving house

Ant and I and Matt all have tomorrow off for packing and then we move on Saturday. Tonight after work ant and I packed up all the clothes, towels, blankets, and linens and here they are! We are getting rid of these terrible wardrobes (there are built-in closets in our new place, and these old ones are listing to one side).

And here's the stack of archive boxes waiting to be used. They are completely blocking our little front corridor.

Our land line will be inactive after Saturday. We'll be getting a new number about ten working days later--shocking! But our mobile numbers are still good.

More news as events warrant. Our internet will also disappear after Saturday, unless we can strike a deal with our neighbours to borrow wireless. Otherwise, we will be without internet for about four weeks. Sob!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

sarah the clumsy

Tonight while parking my bike I somehow managed to get covered in chain grease. This happens to me quite regularly. Just call me Little Miss Clumsy.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

thought of the day

"Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice and need."

- Voltaire

(from the Globe and Mail's Social Studies, 21 September 2007)

Thursday, 20 September 2007

finding beauty in ugliness

To add to the post below, I can be thankful for the shortening and more ugly days lately. I was reading about Alain de Botton's writing room (an author that Si introduced me to as the writer of a book about architectural beauty). De Botton says that his dreary writing room increases his productivity and prompted him to write his architecture book. "My study is so ugly, it leaves me no option but to try to forget about it by escaping into my work." My Dad did his PhD in Aberdeen, Scotland, a city where academics said the weather was just nice enough to keep you from being too depressed but never nice enough to distract you from your research. It was regularly grey and dingy--and my Dad found it very conducive to study. And so I, too, can be thankful for the darkening days which focus me on my work and Ant and church and important people in our lives. I don't really like autumn or winter, so maybe I'll find more reasons to be thankful for it this year.

bring thankful

I was reading today about being thankful. I used to record eight things I was thankful for every day in my prayer diary. That was a good habit. The article I was reading today suggesting thanking God for troubles and challenges as part of my routine as well.

I'm thankful for my new tutor group of eleven year olds. I find them challenging since they need a lot of guidance. But I appreciate that they are eager to do well at school and they don't misbehave maliciously. God, help me to get to know them more and to deal with them fairly and kindly.

I'm thankful for my second year at my school. I have a lot of prep work from last year that is going to pay off this year. I'm thankful that it's a good school where everything runs quite well. God, help me become an even better teacher this year.

I'm really tired at the moment due to a heavy schedule at work every second week. Thanks, God, for getting me through this week. Thanks for this challenge. Help me to stay healthy and keep things balanced at work.

I'm thankful for the new flat we will be moving to (in a week and a half's time!). We're really thankful for the bigger size--two double bedrooms and a third smaller bedroom that we'll use as a study. God, please help our transition be a smooth one.

I'm thankful for our friends, Chris and Tam. Sadly they are leaving to go home to Sydney, Australia in about a week. We love eating, walking, and relaxing with them. God, please help them settle into a new routine and help Chris find work. Thanks that you already have that lined up.

I'm thankful for my family, and especially for my brother, Paul, who is now astoundingly old after his birthday yesterday! God, please may this be a year of blessing and growth for him.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

a profitable weekend

Matt and Bree came over on Friday evening to watch The Queen.

I marked a set of tests.

I spent two hours at our free community BBQ hosted by the combined churches. I gave out leaflets and did some singing.

I mopped the floors (see below)!

Justin came over and the three of us played Knights and Cities of Catan.

I led worship at church today.

Ant and I watched the Formula One race in Belgium. Yay, Kimi!

Ant and I cleaned out our bookcase in preparation for moving in two weeks. We bundled up all the books we'll be taking with us to our new place.

And we piled up a stack to give away.

And Ant and I had dinner with Chris and Tam at a Thai restaurant. We finished our weekend with dessert and coffee nearby.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

tease me

Well, a post such as this one may be a very silly thing to write. It's like sticking a "kick me" sign on my own back. But it is an insight into how weird I truly am.

I mopped my first floor today. I have never used a mop before in my life. Ant said he would teach me how to do it! In the past I scrubbed our floors--just as I learned from my mother. Unfortunately (for her and for me) it's back-breaking, hard work. So out we went today and bought a mop and mop bucket (see what exciting lives we lead!). Then Ant enlightened me with his secret mopping recipe: boiling water, bleach, laundry powder and a little squirt of washing-up liquid. Boiling water means that the floor dries faster, he explained. Laundry powder gives a little scrubbing action. He did the first few strokes and then off I went.

On the whole I was very happy with my first mopping experience. The floor did indeed dry very quickly. The whole process was much faster than scrubbing. I think I love my new mop! But don't just take my word for its effectiveness. Judge for yourself. To cement this post as the most tease-worthy one yet, I am including a photo of my newly mopped floor.

OK. Now the ball is in your court. Reveal something as mundane and ludicrous as this, if you can take the teasing.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

congratulations, Andrew and Naomi!

Ant and Matt and I headed back to West London (my first English home) for the wedding of Andrew and Naomi. We have known them since Ant first started attending their church and they are a lovely couple. It was so nice to see them finally married off. :)

two new plant items

Our kitchen is being kept fragrant by the huge, beautiful bouquet of lilies I got from Ant when I returned from Belgium last week.

The second new arrival in our kitchen is from Matt, who knows me well enough now to always buy me a plant when he goes to Ikea (they always have a £1.50 special to make picking easier!).

first week of school

One week finished! It was a tiring one. Jayme said in her first week of school post that it was easier since it was her second year at her school. That was definitely true for me as well--I didn't have to hang posters or plan my classroom routines or find the equipment cupboard. But it was still exhausting. New to me this year is having a tutor group of my own. Year sevens--the youngest students in the school (eleven years old). They needed a lot of help getting started since they don't know where to go or what to bring on which days. They are really cute, though, as you may imagine. I am finding that managing their tutor time is a bit of a challenge--there is a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in. Just checking their equipment on Friday morning took the teaching assistant and I about twenty minutes.

I have quite a few good classes this year and also a few challenges ahead. I have one class which will be sitting their GCSE exam in the summer and another class that will be sitting SATs exams (thus producing lots of data upon which I will be judged). As well, I have a sixth form class (that I share with another teacher) which is going to be good because the students (theoretically!) really want to be there studying maths. And they are also (theoretically) good enough students that they will be able to keep up with the material (calculus, yay!).

Sunday, 2 September 2007

France and Belgium

Pictures first, since I seem to be having problems finding time to write this post. I finished quite a lot of the text, but I'll add some more at the end when I get time.

Sarah and I took our bikes and got the train down to Dover last Wednesday and crossed to Calais on the ferry. The crossing was lovely and smooth.

We wheeled around Calais, looking for a canal that our colleague told us about. The countryside around as we followed the canal was fantastic--fields, the canal, quaint houses, and people fishing in the canal.

After a couple of hours we realised we weren't really going in the right direction! We pushed on and made it to Bergues before we collapsed. Finding a hotel was really easy--we just found a local sign and walked in and booked a room. The hotel was really comfortable and the breakfast was huge. In the town square there was a crazy statue--I am going to use this picture in lessons to talk about ratio, or something.

We felt a lot better the next morning and easily made it to Veurne in Belgium by lunch time. We crossed the border on a tiny farm road. I took this picture from France and the yellow sign is at the entrance to the Belgian village.

We had lunch at a picnic table on the side of a smooth, wide cycle trail that led into Veurne. Here we are eating our croissants, tomatoes, sliced cheese, and apples. We pioneered the tomato-cheese wrap--made by wrapping three cherry tomatoes in a slice of cheese. Basic and delicious!

At the larger crossing back into France.

Outside a village grocery store--Sarah's and my bikes and the cool Batman bike. Note Sarah's new pannier bags, which she bought in Belgium.

A village church outside which we took a break.

The white cliffs of Dover on our return on Saturday.