Sunday, 19 April 2009


One small success! I planted twelve courgette seeds in this egg carton and all twelve have germinated! I need to keep them inside until they have five or six leaves then they get a few nights outside before finally being planted.

Last weekend I also planted carrot and beetroot seeds outside. My salad box has started growing and there are radish leaves up. (I hope I will also get some radishes this year.) Stand by for more news! I am hoping that I will grow a green thumb this year as well.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Easter and the rest of life

A bit of a more comprehensive update today!

Spring has well and truly arrived--woohoo! Last Sunday Ant and I hosted a big Easter lunch and afterwards the boys went to play snooker round the corner and Pari and I took a nice walk around the neighbourhood. This is a picture of a magnolia tree in one of the front gardens on a street nearby. So beautiful! There are other trees also blossoming at the moment. When we eventually own a house I desperately want to have a magnolia tree.

I have spent my Easter holiday doing quite a lot of work related things. I went to work for two full days of revision sessions and also for one and a half days of my own work. But I feel relaxed and more organised.

Yesterday after lunch I went into the city and headed for Sir John Soane's Museum. It is a little gem of a museum--it's the private house of John Soane (1753-1837), an architect who collected everything realted to architecture and design. It's full of busts, statues, parts of columns, decorative stonework,and so on. I wasn't able to take any photos inside, but you can see some of it on the website.

I visited there for the first time last month and took this photo. Today I saw all the things I didn't have time for before, and afterwards went to a cafe around the corner for a bowl of soup and a pot of green tea. (I was also reading maths education articles and making notes!)

After my little lunch I headed to the nearby British Museum. I have been there lots of times but always find something new to see. Today I visited the India rooms and then went up to the far back corner for a special exhibition about intimate portraits. The smaller drawings and pastels were fascinating. I liked that the expressions of the sitters were often very frank. Unlike larger oil paintings, designed to flatter and impose, these were smaller sketches which generally showed affection. Here are two of my favourites.

Friday, 17 April 2009

summer, or is it winter?

Ant and I booked our summer holiday--to Australia! We are so excited to have taken the plunge. We are not terribly looking forward to the 23 hour plane journey to get there! It will be great to see Micah and Anna, though, and a few other friends that live in Sydney. And also we will stop off for a day and a half in Hong Kong on the way home.

Ant is excited that it will be winter there so he will get some respite from the heat here. Hmpf.

Friday, 10 April 2009


I have been in Swansea, South Wales for four days this week at a conference for maths teachers. Don't laugh! It was a really fantastic time and I feel much more inspired to be a good teacher and try to do new things that help expose the mathematics I am trying to teach and to help children mathematise.

Amazingly, there were four teachers from Nova Scotia at the conference and it turned out that one of them is a girl with whom I went to high school! There was a good mixture of researchers and teachers at the conference and the sessions were run by all types of folks. The sessions were really valuable, but also beneficial were all the meal times and coffee breaks when I talked with people. Since I went on my own, I said hello to anyone who made eye contact with me and ended up meeting lots of interesting people with lots of interesting ideas. All of this really made me want to be a more reflective teacher.

It was my first-ish* time in Wales, and it was interesting to see the bilingual signs. Sometimes the Welsh looked like an anagram of the English. The Welsh have a lovely lilting accent when talking in English, but sometimes is was a bit hard to underatnd what I was being told.

The University was across the road from a beach that looked out over the sea--my first view of the sea in some time. I enjoyed a windy walk along the beach, tugging my suitcase, as I headed to the train station at the end of the conference.

* I have been to Wales once before, but only for an afternoon. It was while my family were travelling in England and my Dad and I stopped in Hay to visit the many bookshops.