Christmas is here…

Posted: December 22, 2016 in About Me

It’s that time of year again where the cold has truly set in, the heating is switched on, unless you are in my partners house who insists that the heat from the oven after cooking is enough to heat the apartment, is on full whack!!

It’s been a busy one this year, not only with the temporary position in work, hopefully reverting back to normal after the festive holiday, but also with the wrapping, present buying, new car selecting, christmas productions, parties, discos and somewhere between all that trying to fit in a little sleep!

Well the majority is over. Work has finished for an epic two weeks for the festive period and I think we can all say that we are pleased on that front. We seem every year to add extra pressure on ourselves with trying to out do the antics of last year. The Year 6 performance of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ taking up a great deal of time not only for staff but pupils too. Late nights for two evening performances keeping us in school until well after 9.30pm. I know that some out there would say that’s not late, but when you have been in there from 7.30am it kind of makes the day seem never ending. It seemed to go down a storm. The kids loved doing it and the parents, carers and members of the community that came to watch thought it was fabulous.

Added to this came the Christmas parties. The party day to end all party days. And to make things just that little bit more hectic it seemed that everything else was planned for this day too. Maybe this was an oversight in the planning of the festive activities to think that if things happened on the same day then it might be easier….. I am not sure! The day was rounded off by the usual end of term disco, enjoyed by many children and pumped full of e-numbers and crisps which were on sale….healthy school….. but it’s Christmas!!

‘He’s behind you!!!’…. well maybe he wasn’t when over 250 pupils hit the seats of the Royal court to watch this years performance of Snow White. The planning and preperation that goes into this is immense. The number of children trying to get their hands on a ticket, the management of money coming in, the allocation of seats to a year group, organising the buses to get there, completion of risk assessments, allocation of staff places ( I didn’t go. I like a quiet afternoon at school to get things done) all brilliantly managed by Miss Worsell. The children loved it, and I am sutre that the adults did too.

‘Baby Jesus was born in our school hall……at least 4 times!!’ It’s the usual Christmas nativity story, some with a slight twist this year too. Ranging from children in Nursery telling the story of the Nativity to children in year 4 doing the same. Mix in a few Christmas carols, candles and an interpretation of the twelve days of Christmas and hey presto you have the carol service too. The children and staff worked hard to show off their talents and this was rewarded with endless amounts of chocolate, sweets and not so fizzy pop!

To add to the madness of preparing and planning everything else we decided also to hold a community dinner. Invites were sent to the older members of the community, staff and governors. The kitchen team spent the afternoon cooking, peeling and steaming various foods to be served. We were entertained by two singers, one a parent governor and the other a past pupil. It was a good night and seemed to be enjoyed by all. I have a feeling that this may be a new permenant fixture in the Christmas social calandar!

So the doors have closed on work life for two weeks and in that aspect of life closed on 2011. The trimmings were taken down during our inset day yesterday and a tidy up was well under way. Years of collections made their way from the building and to that great big rubbish tip in the sky. All set to make space for more things we will hoard in 2012. History in the making, that in 5 years time, or longer, will be sorted through, sperated and either follow in the footsteps of it’s ancestors to the great big tip in the sky or be salvaged and be placed back in storage.

But it’s not over…

It’s all just about to begin at home. Frantic present wrapping for the family (they have all been purchased), preperation for our Christmas Day here in Liverpool, the long drive back home to see the family on Christmas Day, then the drive back to what is now my home. A visit to the shops is needed for food, and no doubt to add to the ciaos there will be trolley rage taking place in all aisles, the shelves will be bare as the store is closed for one day and people are scared of coping, but I am sure we will all have a great time. On the plus side I did eventually after my hunt for the dark chocolate orange get my hands on one, thanks to Lisa who spotted it in her local corner shop. So that wins me points!!

All that’s left to say is Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope that you all have the opportunity to sit back, put your feet up and enjoy yourselves. Now someone please pass over the vodka……I’m on my holidays!!


The story behind

Posted: September 21, 2016 in About Me

It has to be said that there’s a story behind every single person upon this planet. There’s a reason why they are the way they are or in many cases many reasons for them being the way that they are.

A little like the bricks that can be placed in our way and form the structure of our lives. The small things filling in the gaps left as the major things build up and fall into their place.

There’s a story behind every person. There’s a reason why they’re the way they are. They aren’t just like that because they want to be, something in the past created that. We all have a path, a journey, reasons, why we are the way that we are.



I’ve travelled first class on a train. I’ll tell you what it’s like. It’s like you’ve just left Manchester after a stone-setting in a mixed-faith cemetery in the rain, and the train smells like burnt nappies, and someone’s definitely smoking in the loo. And then you find your seat. And it’s almost leather. Very close to leather. Like it’s made of an animal from the future. And there’s a little curtain on the window – more of a gesture than a curtain, really, but you appreciate it. Like a bay leaf in a recipe – it does absolutely nothing except that show you that someone cared.

Everywhere there are signs that you are loved. The lighting is kinder than it is in coach B. The little sheets designed to soak up your head grease are made from a higher grade of polyester. The view from the window appears curated to maximise rural beauty, keeping dead sheep and plastic bags out of frame. Have you ever felt comfort that radiated from the inside out? That’s what it feels like to sit in a first-class carriage speeding past Macclesfield at dusk, with your phone charging in your very own plughole and a free tea on its way.

I understand why they’re considering scrapping first-class travel, but I’m mourning it still. For some of us, this is as close to living the Downton dream that we get. For those of us who wake up each day baffled to find that once again we’re expected to dress ourselves, who grew up believing we were as posh as it got, until we got a job at a school and realised otherwise. For those of us who don’t like to be reminded of our proximity to the earth, the opportunity to upgrade from a standard ticket to first class for £10 is a rare chance to experience the thrill of leaping class boundaries. It’s here, with our hot drink refills and our mini-packs of shortbread, that we see how the other half lives, and we like it. We like it so much we put the free biscuits in our bag for later and get some free crisps for right now, and maybe a banana.

What company you have in a first-class carriage. The things you hear! Half a phone conversation about organising the viewing of a two-bed flat. A business meeting about fabric swatches for the upholstery of a boardroom in Stoke. The entire plot of Breaking Bad, in broad Scouse. In the first-class cabins of planes, passengers are treated like royalty, to the point where stewards sit at your feet to take your dinner order. Which is lovely, of course, when you’re eight hours into a 13-hour flight and you’ve forgotten who you are. But in the first-class coaches of trains, passengers are treated like people. Real living people. You get smiled at. Bit of light banter about your free banana. I saw an elderly lady engage the steward in 10 solid minutes of conversation about her grandson and he didn’t drop eye contact once. This must be what it feels like to be beautiful, I thought, from the comfort of my table, a free copy of Wallpaper* open before me on a feature about chair developments, smiles literally everywhere. I could have whatever I wanted, as long as what I wanted was another cup of tea, which it was.

If first-class train travel dies, where will I go for first-class thrills? Where will I go to experience the quiet excitement of being called “Sir”, and not in a sarky way? To feel the soft, soft vinyl of a slightly wider seat? To find a packet of Bourbons in my bag two weeks later, and fondly remember the heaven of passing through a small town with a podcast making you cry. To smell the aluminium of the air-conditioning vents, the smell of privilege itself.

I will miss this £10 bump into a world I’d otherwise just see through windows from the street. A single trip keeps me going for a year at a time. I don’t want to really be posh, I learn in first class. I just want to be treated as if I am.

“Too Much”

Posted: September 18, 2016 in About Me

“Too Much”

Do you remember the first time you were called annoying?
How your breath stopped short in your chest.
The way the light drained from your eyes, though you knew your cheeks were ablaze.
The way your throat tightened as you tried to form an argument that got lost on your tongue?
Your eyes never left the floor that day,
You were 13.

You’re 20 now, and I still see the light fade in your eyes when you talk about your interests for “too long”.
Apologies littering every sentence.
Words trailing off a cliff you haven’t jumped from in 7 years.
I could listen to you forever, though I know that speaking for more than 3 interrupted minutes makes you anxious.
All I want you to know is that you deserve to be heard
For 3 minutes
For 10 minutes
For 2 hours

There will be people who can not handle your grace, your beauty, your wisdom, your heart;
Mostly because they can’t handle their own, but you will never be and have never been
“too much”.

Corondale-Enders round up.

Posted: September 18, 2016 in About Me

It’s come to that time after the vision in the future to give an up-date on the latest dealings of that place we know as Soap-Land. For the avid followers of such ‘drama’s’ you are more than likely up-to-date but for those that look for a break through into the world of the office chat then here’s a quick round up of what’s going down in the three main soaps.


Despite the affairs, illegitimate children and lies, there’s always been a certain romantic purity (a phrase that’s not oft used concerning ‘Enders’) about Carol and David Wicks. You can believe their past as childhood sweethearts – most of this is down to Michael French and Lindsey Coulson, who act the socks off most of the rest of the cast.
So, following the death of Pat and the normal fun-packed funeral scenes (for which David has to raise £15,000), it’s heartening to see them back together. And not surprising – every time someone close to Carol dies she hops into bed with the nearest man. Remember Conor?
But before Bianca can get all teary-eyed about her mum and dad getting back together, there’s trouble already brewing. Carol’s thuggish brother Derek is not going to be pleased – he’s already told David he’s living on borrowed time after Pat is laid to rest.
David decides the only way to escape Derek’s attack is to conspire against him. Unfortunately he picks Michael Moon as co-conspirator. How is David to know that every plot Michael is involved in falls apart?
So when they try and plant evidence on him and get him arrested, it doesn’t go according to plan. Not at all. With Derek even angrier, David is going to have to leave in a hurry – but will Carol go with him?

Coronation Street

Hands up who spotted that Kirsty Soames had a touch of the bunny boiler about her? That’s everyone except Tyrone, then. Even after Rita was caught in the crossfire of her feud with Tina, he still won’t believe Tina when she points out Kirsty is a bit of a nut job, particularly not after Kirsty makes Rita’s speeding ticket go away. In fact, even Rita is convinced Kirsty is a heroine for helping out with the ticket.
Fortunately, Tina doesn’t give up and after a night in the pub heads off to confront Kirsty once more. And this time, just as Kirsty hits back and threatens her Tyrone walks in and views his new girlfriend’s psycho side.
Kirsty ends up moving out – not before having a pop at Tina (“Mouth on a stick”). But she’s set her heart on Tyrone and she’s not going to give up easily. She becomes convinced Tina has split them up, so she can have a clear run at Tyrone herself.
So when she sees the pair of them getting in a car together, she decides to give chase – with the sirens on her car blaring. Tina refuses to stop and things get heated, until Tina slams on the brakes at a red light and Kirsty rams into the back of them.
It’s not a fatal crash, more of an unpleasant bump – but Kirsty is knocked out. However, speaking of unexpected unpleasant bumps knocking you for six, when Tyrone goes to visit her in hospital, he gets an awful surprise. A doctor enters the room and tells them both “You’re pregnant. Congratulations.”
Tyrone swallows something hard and jagged. And who can blame him?


After a hard day at the office, or in my case school, I arrived home under strict instructions that I was to prepare dinner but on this occasion there were no step by step instructions. I was, for once, being left to ‘free fly’ this one.  Everything was underway when the buzzer to the apartment sounded. The imminent arrival was home. Dinner as far from ready and at the rate it was going forward it would be more 10pm we would be settling down to eat. Fear not all was not lost.

The buzzer the the apartment block once again wasn’t working and resulted a ‘meet’ on the lower level car park. I arrived but there was no sign. I mean, after all from the front door we are talking a 30 second walk, like that takes all week. I opened the door and was met by an excited scream, a shout that echoed the whole floor, ‘look. come look at this, shall we have it?’ Treasure had been found amist the mound of Christmas Trees appearing near the rubbish chute of the block and nestled between two non drop specimens was a cast iron (painted white, contempaorary looking) planter. It looked good and we agreed that after dinner, maybe at 11pm, we would venture back to claim our ‘treasure’ (and add to the growing forest of trees when we deposit ours (after dark so we are not caught by the security that keep us safe in the block).

On arrival to the apartment it was commented on how lovely dinner was smelling and to be honest as you walked the stairwell you could smell it. Not bad James, not bad!!! It was heer the questions began. How long? Did you do?? The only thing that I had forgotten was the garlic but hey, it’s not great loss. We will survive without it. (or maybe not, who knows?) I was also informed that dinner would be ready well before 9pm, even though I had followed the cooking times on the chicken, it was stated that they are not to be trusted and that we can easily shave at least half an hour off. (something that doesn’t really sit well with me when it comes to food. A little like dates on items, they are there for a reason and the last thing we need is food poisoning, but…)

Dinner was eaten, the tree stripped of the remaining items on it and it was time to venture to the site of our treasure find. On the way we both admired our tree, commenting on the quality, shape, style and the fact that it didn’t lose any needles. It was a good buy. We arrived at the ever growing forrest and placed it in the ‘clearing’ between a few other trees and looked. It was here that you could see the inspiration of a ‘Dulux colour chart’. All the trees giving a different shade of green.

Our treasure was still there. No one else had claimed it, so here it was we decided it was ours. Time to move it. It was heavy. It looked light but was deceiving to the eye. We made our way (slowly) to the lift carrying it (like the chuckle brothers…to me to you stylee) and into the apartment. It was here that the thoughts that had sat nestled within ones head all started to flow. We need sandpaper, hammerite, paint, soil, stones, plants, a bush, lights, at Christmas we can decorate it and have it twinkle in the sky…. someone’s little project.

A fact that someone else’s rubbish is someone else’s treasure, and a project in hand. The last question is… how long will it be before it gets started?

T’was the night of the Christmas party, or maybe more apt to say the afternoon, as we were meeting between 4.30pm and 5pm. The table was booked and the food ready to be served. We arrived in dribs and drabs and as per usual, me living the closest, was slightly later than the rest of our party! I had on my party outfit, sponsored totally by Ribena. It’s a hrad look to pull off and even I was finding it hard!!

We headed to the bar and bought our drinks, I settled, for starters with a bombay saphire and tonic, fresh lime and crushed ice. Not my usual drink but over the past few weeks I have become slightly accustom med to the taste of the stuff. It was chilled, refreshing and slid down rather nicely. The chit chat and usual banter was under way. The meals in their time arrived at the table and we all tucked in. I had opted for the usual Christmas spread. The soup, this being tomato and basil, although by the time it arrived infront of me it was half gone. Jenny had forgotten what she had ordered and decided to opt for the soup…

The main was the Christmas spread. Turkey, roast potatoes, roasted parsnips, which made their way to Jojo’s plate, carrots, sprouts and broccolli. (There is a rule in our house that with all meals we have to have a green veg, on this occassion I would be in the very good books in having both the sprouts and the broccolli…that reminds me I must say that I had them!) The meat was cut thickly and was tasty. The gravy not as good as the stuff we have at home but still nice, the veg still crunchy, the way I like it. It was good.

By this time another visit to the bar had taken place and Jojo was by my side. As with all things we seem to get into some antics and sillyness seems to follow us both like a bad penny. The server seemed to join in by firstly trying to half-inch my bottle of tonic but we were onto him and in a subtle way informed him of his antics. The bottle then was mine!!

Dessert was cheesecake. Creamy and tasty although the summer fruit medoly to the side was moved further away and remain there until the waitress cleared away the plates. It was tasty, it was creamy and it was cleared from my plate. I also helped Jojo finish off hers too.

After the meal a further visit to the bar was needed and this time it was cocktails. They went down well and so did we. We had to head to the laughter lounge at where we took our seats for the comedy. It was funny. It was witty and involved audience participation. It was at this point that we all learned a little bit more about some of the people that we work with, along with the rest of the audience, but as they say ‘what goes on in the laughter lounge, stays in the laughter lounge.’

The acts came and went and so did further bar visits…’want a drink James….go on then’ but did one come?? no, did it hell. So at this point I took myself to the bar for refreshment. I ordered. Only to be told by the women manning the place that they couldn’t serve me. The second act was about to grace the stage and time had been called on service until the next break. I returned empty handed and took my seat quietly without uttering a word to watch the next act, dry mouth and in need of quench.

The night moved on and so did we. We hit a variety of bars, had a mixture of drinks and then it was home to bed. A good night. Like the ones that we have had before. Loads of laughter, fun and mischief. All I want to say is thanks and a very merry Christmas to everyone at work. Let’s hope 2012 is a good year!!

Ever seen a blind man cross the road
Trying to make the other side?
Ever seen a young girl growing old
Trying to make herself a bride?

So what becomes of you my love
When they have finally stripped you of
The handbags and the gladrags
That your poor old Grandad had to sweat to buy you

Once I was a young man
And all I thought I had to do was smile
Well you are still a young girl
And you’ve bought everything in style

So once you think you’re in you’re out
‘Cause you don’t mean a single thing without
The handbags and the gladrags
That your poor old Grandad had to sweat to buy you

Sing a song of six-pence for your sake
And drink a bottle full of rye

Four and twenty blackbirds in a cake
And bake ’em all in a pie

They told me you missed school today
So what I suggest you just throw them all away
The handbags and the gladrags
That your poor old Grandad had to sweat to buy

Its been a while but it’s back. A

Posted: September 18, 2016 in About Me

Going to the cinema is a gamble. There are elements you can control – such as picking a half decent film to see, or the choice of person you go with.
But there is also an uncontrollable element: the other hundred or so complete strangers you’ve decided to share a room with for two hours.
Put any group of people in a room together and you can be sure a handful of them will be terrible human beings and eager to let you know it. Normally the distraction of a massive screen and some reasonable entertainment suppresses their urge to ruin your enjoyment, but – as we are all aware – most the time it does not.

Here’s my list of cinema annoyances…

Eating loudly Good manners go straight out of the non-existent windows in cinemas. With their popcorn and multiple bags of Maltesers, Percy Pigs, or smuggled-in pork scratchings, people gorge themselves and eat like their lives depend on it. Even worse, teeth gnashing and chewing becoming far more audible than you ever thought possible.
Why can’t these people eat with dignity like you? Nibbling away quietly at your Jelly Babies – the quietest of all sugary treats.

Using a phone Those Orange adverts aren’t just there for cheap laughs or to slowly drive you insane with their inane celeb cameos. They also send a valuable and important message: all anyone ever asks is that people not use their phones for two hours.
They don’t even have to turn them off as per the adverts’ request. Just flick them onto silent, put them in a pocket and DO NOT USE THEM. And yet, as sure as night follows day, there’s always someone, somewhere who caves in to temptation. First they stretch themselves out so they can get into that tricky top jeans pocket without having to stand up. Then they slowly slide the device out, hoping that nobody sees them. But you do.

You always do.

When the time comes to check their texts/tweets/Facebook/screen for cracks, they give up trying to conceal their shame and illuminate the entire room with the pale glow of their phone’s tiny screen. How do those little things even produce so much light?
Maybe there’s a valid reason for someone to be checking their phone. Like they are waiting for urgent news regarding their own health or that of an ill family member. In which case, why are they in a cinema watching ‘Alvin and Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked’?

Using seats any other way than the NORMAL WAY Chairs are easy. Stand with your back to the seat and let gravity do the rest without giving yourself a concussion. In the privacy of one’s own home, people can use chairs however they like; sitting upside down, putting two on top of each other… even backwards like it’s the 90s and you’re telling school kids not to do drugs.
At a cinema though? Just sit normally please. Couples don’t need to be sprawled across one another taking up three seats. You have more than enough leg room without propping them up on the seat in front. The latter is only fair game if there’s no one in that seat in front, but if there is and someone still does it? Well, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Attempting to copulate This is self-explanatory. We know cinema screens are a lot less expensive than a room at a Travelodge (though only just these days), but please, there are people nearby.
The only person there who wants to see a couple necking is that dodgy guy with the trench coat right in the corner.  Otherwise please, literally, get (another) room.

Rustling and slurping No, not rustling cattle. Although that would be equally as annoying. As in packets of sweets! You know the ones made specifically by Cadbury, Mars and the like to make as much noise as humanly possible? These aren’t the ones typically sold in most cinemas, those pouch thingys are as delightful as packaging can be.
People should take their time getting sweets out. OR, if there’s no other choice, get it over with as quick as possible. Prolonged rustling will not be tolerated. Slurping occurs when deluded cinema-goers refuse to face the reality that their drinks are gone. Endlessly they suck that straw hoping for a few droplets like they’re Frodo on Mount Doom but their quest for sustenance is in vain, just give up!

Running out of the screen flailing limbs as they go to the toilet We’ll admit, people don’t often flail their limbs Jim Carrey-style, but they might as well. If you need the loo, just calmly leave the seat, walk down the aisle and exit the room. Then – and only then – can you run to the toilet.
We get that you don’t want to miss lots of the film but there’s no need to bolt out of the cinema, making as much noise as possible. It’s the price you pay for poor bladder control.

Being young Many of the above crimes are, sadly, committed by the young. Most young people by definition are loud and, if you don’t know them personally, horrible. They introduced screenings for over eighteens for a reason you know.

Being unable to control your young A cinema trip may seem like an easy way to stop being a parent for a bit but mums and dads are still obliged to keep their demon offspring in line.
It may have been the kids’ idea to see ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to sit back and enjoy Jack Black’s kookiness in silence. Sometimes they refuse to sit still, most of the time they talk – in short they will always find some way to make noise.

Spring Clean vs Pub.

Posted: September 18, 2016 in life

So did you? You were going to sort out the cupboard under the stairs and do something about that rug; did you actually, as planned, get around to clearing  out the garden shed? The weather  may have cooled your keenness to put away any warm winter clothes, but you did mean at least to dig out the summer raincoat, since Easter, obviously, is just the moment for this kind of spring offensive.

You planned, perhaps, to dust off all the grubby curtain linings or do something about rearranging the books so that you might know where to find the one you want; you may actually have done it, but it has to be admitted that quite a few of us will still be looking at the same “to do”  list come Whitsun.

What I can never decide is whether you get on better by setting yourself a few small, manageable tasks which you might actually get around  to finishing, or inspire yourself  by planning a task major enough to need a bank holiday to complete. Edmund Burke said that: “Nobody ever made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” Perhaps he might have added: “Except perhaps  he – or she – who  thought he could  indeed tackle  a major task, but then found it so dauntingly large that the whole thing seemed impossible and  the only thing  to do was to head off to the pub instead.”