Sunday, 30 October 2011

"Schooooool's out ..... for, half term .."

Yes indeedy, barely 7 weeks after we start a new school year and another short break rolls around, wooHOO!!!

For anyone who enjoyed the Armstrong and Miller show (BBC1), you'll be familiar with the short "adverts" that ripped the mickey out of being a teacher. If you're not familiar with the show, they went something along the lines of "couldn't find anything better to do, couldn't get a proper job, didn't mind the crap pay but need the long holidays" type of spiel.

Working in education myself, I did wince slightly at them but have to admit to laughing harder than I winced. If I'm totally honest, I was knackered by the end of the first half term and was totally looking forward to the break.

It is highly possible that I've mentioned this in the past, but historically, M and I would use up our 25-30 days annual leave individually of each other, in order to cover off the children's school breaks and holidays. Nowadays, when M takes a day off, or a week off, we're all off together.

Thank you very much, job done.

Anyways, this half term we took ourself off to Winchester for a couple of days. We got a cheap deal in a hotel (hotels never work out for us and yes, a complaints letter has been sent off!) for two nights, the hotel situated right next to Marwell Zoo. I have to big-up this zoo as it is one of the best zoos I've ever been to, if not the best zoo. (I did argue that Longleat was the best ever, but the ever level-headed M reminded me that Longleat is a safari park, not a zoo).

Yes, yes, moving on and next stop after Winchester was Wilton; the royal home to Lord and Lady Parker - you may recall me mentioining them two or three hundred times over the past several years.

Lovely, lovely Wilton, so relaxing, so green, so wonderfully full of long foresty walks.

I reminded them how bonkers they were to have left SW London for the wide open green spaces of Wiltshire and they just hung their heads in shame, clearly too proud to admit that they did indeed make the mistake of their lives!!

Tough luck chaps, you live THERE and we live ..... here, deal with it!!!

Whatever, a smashing half term, rounded off with our ever enjoyable stop at their country pile - fireworks and hot dogs included - and back to London along the beautifully familiar A3 in time for baths and bed, well and truly pooped.

Some pictures for your perusal.

Comments only where needed (click to enlarge).

The Great Screen, some of it original and dating from when the cathedral was first built in 1079 (amazing) but thanks to much of it being destroyed during the Reformation, most of it now dates from the the late 15th century (still pretty darned amazing).

Anthony Gormley's sculpture, entitled Sound II. This 'man' stands alone in the crypt which, during heavy rainfall, completely floods, leaving Mr Sound II up to his knees in water. You can still make out the water lines along the edge of the picture. even though the crypt hasn't flooded for months, such is the time needed to dry out completely.

' couldn't believe my luck. I'm a big Question Time fan (ok, ok, I enjoy hurling insults at politicians from the comfort of my sofa), but admire David Dimbleby and lo and behold, there he is, about to pre-record from the cathedral itself. (I wondered what all those OB rigs were doing outside!)

Arrived at this part of the zoo at 3.25pm. ' cannot BELIEVE we missed the opportunity to hear the Marwell Zoo rhinos talk, dammit!

Pumpkin scoop off (declared a draw)

An extremely rare of the four of us all together in a picture. This was taken at the bonfire and fireworks night, just before we got stuck into our hot-dogs which were delicious thanks.

Possibly even rarer,; this is Lord Parker himself, adopting a rather camp pose it has to be said. He is observing the bonfire caused by his redneck staff having blown up a perfectly good motor car.


Parker residence.

The end of our lovely walk before setting off for home.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Will it be Ruth? Will it be Harry??

Oh, it was Ruth!

So that’s it then? The end of Spooks as we know it. After 10 brilliant series, Ruth gets ‘done in’ by a young Russian who thought he was Harry’s son.

But wasn’t.

His mother had tricked them all, damn her to hell!!

You see Harry? You see what happens when you’re so loyal, so determined to do the right thing all the time? I knew it was all over when Harry smiled (smiled for crying out loud, he’s never smiled in 9 whole years), at Ruth and agreed to leave MI5 to shack up with her.

Mind you, you’ve got to hand it to Ruth, not only did she have a very lovely-but-slightly-wonky smile, she also seemed to totally forgive Harry for dragging her away from an idyllic life in rural Greece, allowing her hubby to get shot dead into the bargain!!

Yep, she sure was a kind-hearted soul, that’s for sure. Right up to the point where she got killed!

How will it end, what will he do??

I’ll tell you what he’ll do; he’ll pick up the ‘phone and, in his usual gruff tone, bark his name down the ‘phone.

"Hello? This is Harry Pearce". (cue freeze frame, cue black and white overlay and terrific, instantly familiar noise that ended every episode since 2002.

And the brief shot of Tom from series 1 was a touch - of - genius!!!

Anyhoo, obviously I don’t have a picture of Harry, or Ruth for that matter, so I’ll leave you with a rather crap photo I took ages ago of the Spooks building which is, in reality, the (Freemasons) Masonic Lodge, just off Long acre in covent Garden, London (I’m sure I have a better picture of that building somewhere).

And I’ve also provided you with a link (here), just in case you think you’ve got what it takes to fill Harry’s shoes.

Good luch with that!!!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Lemme see, that’s .. 9 .. no .. 10? No, hang on …

Oh, I geddit now. I think the problem arose from not having mentioned it last year, thanks to my being a complete doofus and having hung up my blogging boots for the best part of a year.

What a dope!

It’s not nine, OR ten; it’s actually eleven.

That’s right, eleven years since my rather wonderful wif (we omit the ‘e’ for various reasons which shall remain a mystery to you all), finally decided to cease being a dentist that just was engaged to me, and became a dentist that was married to me.

It’s been a hard slog, no doubt about it. I’ve had to put up with a great deal of ear-bashing, hen-pecking and other negative aspects of which I can’t quite call to mind (but trust me, it’s been hard), although if I’m honest, there have been one or two nicer moments, several ‘lights at the end of the tunnel’, you might say.

And I s’pose, if I were to open up a bit, I’d say that we still get on fairly well, regardless of the fact that she, M, would probably dispute this.

In fact, to make a stand, I deliberately missed our actual anniversary date (the 12th), and have blogged on the 14th, so HAH, who’s in charge now, eh????

I “forgot” our anniversary and there ain’t a thing you can do about it!!!!

And so, in order to keep up the pretence, I’ll end on a positive.

Love? You are lovely, you’re a star, I love you loads. Thank you for being SO lovely!

Ps – picture is not the breakfast I cooked for M. She is highly allergic to eggs so naturally, I bought her a card with eggs on the front. As you do!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

"You gotta spot a pattern or two .."

When I was working in town (central London), my lunchtimes more often than not involved a stroll in one of many directions. I always tried to head somewhere new but after seven years, there weren't many different ways to go. Coupled with the fact that you could only set off for half an hour in any direction before you needed to turn back again.

The trick was to look at something familiar through different eyes, and you'd be surprised how much of a difference it made. This is, however, far easier to do than if you are in a car, particularly so if you are the one doing the driving.

For example, the other day, we were all heading out to do some shopping - stay with me, stay with me - and while sat at a red light, we looked at a huge church sat a little way back from the road.

"Why have we never been into that church?" I asked everyone. "That's the sort of medieval church / castle we'd pay to go in and see if we were on a break somewhere. It's got 'middle ages' written all over it".

Joseph and Annabel are currently looking at British history, focussing on the Tudors, so they too were interested.

The light changed to green and we drove off. Whether we'll return to the church I'm not sure. I'll let you know if we do. But it made me think.

Last week, the classes on our top corridor (Years 5 & 6) went to the National Maritime museum in Greenwich, and jolly interesting it was too.

I grew up approximately 2 and a half miles from Greenwich Park and Blackheath and we spent a lot of time there as a family, be it my brother and I cycling around Cowboy Valley, crashing on my skateboard and ending up in hospital thanks to losing rather a lot of facial skin, playing for as long as our folks would allow in the swing park or chasing squirrels and feeding the deer, riding the donkeys or running to the ice cream van - it was (and is) a beautiful place.

However, in all those years, we never once visitied the museum, or the Royal Observatory.

Man, it's where the world's time is calculated from (for now), how did we never go there?

Regardless, last week we went and a very interesting place it is too; the revamped museum at the bottom of the hill, the 28 inch telescope at the top of the hill, the incredible view of central and City of London, the fact that there is that much beautiful green space in the middle of a very busy part of the capital ...... just go and see it. If you're feeling flush, take a trip there on a London Clipper.

It can only add to your exciting and memorable day out.