Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend over!

Another weekend been and gone! Managed to complete the TWO files of paperwork required to take 105 children and 14 adults on a day trip tomorrow! We're taking them to Blists Hill Victorian town and it should be interesting especially given that it seems to be a bit of a building site at present. Ah, well nothing can possibly go wrong - I've produced a 6 page risk assessment so it must be OK, together with the lists of every child and what coach they are on, which adult is responsible for which group of children, the insurance papers, the CRB checks on all the adults attending, the pro-forma for the county and the one for our internal office, checked all the permission slips from parents, checked the medical records of all the children attending and notified staff/adults of any relevant medical or dietary needs, confirmed the coaches, ordered the pounds, shillings and pence for the children from the museum, booked the room for lunch, arranged the rota for lunches as they can't fit us all in together, organised the first aid and sick buckets, (!) printed off maps of the town for the adults coming along and listed the main attractions they must take their group to see. I've notified the kitchens at school of one year group being out and made myself a note to collect a cheque from the school office before leaving to take with me. A text message this afternoon reminded me that I hadn't cancelled the football coaches who come in on a Monday afternoon to take groups of children for their games lessons from Year 6! Ah well, it wouldn't be a school trip if someone somewhere didn't get upset with me!!

I did manage to black the stove on board Khayamanzi today and also managed to get all the 'Incralac' off the brass mushroom vents and headlight which had started to go brown and horrid. Unfortunately, this was at the expense of a large pile of marking which has had to go back in my car untouched - I'll find time in the evenings next week to catch up with the 4 or 5 pages each of stories that top set English in Year 6 managed to produce last week!

The newly polished brass revealed some very horrid looking brown stains. Try as I might - they simply won't come off. I'm not sure if the brass plating, (I doubt if they're solid brass,) has come off or if they need a drill mounted buffing device to get rid of them??

The scratch on the name panel gained during the summer has one coat of carefully applied paint and looks much better. From a distance it can't be noticed which is comforting. Another coat is required along with a major Polish of the sides of the boat, clean out the window gutters, touch up some rust patches on the roof, top up the batteries and a big clean internally before the half term holidays. next Sunday, I have offered the use of my school in the afternoon for the AGM of one of the share boats in the marina. I need to be there so this will give me some dedicated time to hide in school and catch up with things - I might even be able to start writing the next book in our series that needs to have the first draft to the editor by half term really!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Come to daddy!

Well, my father has returned home from Israel and has already been up the attic to fish out my old accordion! Doesn't she look pretty...
....just waiting to be played! In fact I phoned dad while he was round a friends house who is an accomplished accordionist and was checking her over for me - she sounds lovely! Apparently the reeds are metal and so don't need tuning, the bellows are in very sound condition and all I need to do is get her to me somehow. It may have to wait until half term unless anyone happens to be going near south west London and then on to Rugby in the next few weeks!!

Lessons will start as soon as I get the machine up to me. In the meantime, take a look at the video below to see why I like the accordion. OK, it's a Roland FR-7, the brand new digital machines worth £2.5K but hey, I can dream!

The forecast for the weekend is good - two good weekends in a row; what's going on? Shopping beckons along with a possible visit to Accordions of Coventry just for the interest!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Watch this space....

I've taken the first tentative steps to re-living an earlier passion of mine! As a child, I was encouraged to learn a musical instrument as many children are. Being 'different' I wanted to learn something different and a vinyl LP given to me called 'accordions round the Antipodes' confirmed for me - I wanted to learn the accordion! Weekly lessons were organised and I even began climbing up the grade ladder. Here is a much younger 'me' with my half size first accordion.
I then progressed to a full size machine and my playing improved before finally giving up in those rebellious teenage years! I think I still have my full size machine int he attic in London and my father promised some time back, (probably rashly!) that he would get it fixed if I ever wanted to start again - well, now I do!

I have found a teacher who sounds lovely and is willing to take me on. She only lives in the next village so all I need now is a working accordion! One of these will do....

As soon as I can get a working machine, I shall start lessons so watch this space.....

Thanks to Accordions of Coventry for finding me a teacher and hopefully either repairing my old machine or hiring/selling me a new/used one!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Getting tough!

So BW are getting tough! Looking through the latest Canal Boat magazine and it seems as if every other report is relating to a new idea of some kind to 'get tough' on a different user group! Well most of them make sense in my opinion but why oh why are BW still even contemplating the idea of a surcharge for continuous cruisers? This just makes no sense whatsoever and is totally unfair and unjustified. Most CCers themselves agree there is a problem with a minority of people who consistently overstay on moorings but what a sledge hammer to crack a nut! Genuine CCers cruise as I understand it - have I missed something or is that not what the canals are actually all about. I envy them for doing what the canal system was designed to do. Most are retired and simply want a slower pace of cruising a few hours and then mooring up for a day or two - these are the people who can probably least afford a surcharge. It seems to me it's like paying tax for a car and having to pay extra if you actually want to drive it anywhere!! Please BW - get real and wake up on this one. You would have thought they would have learnt their lesson with the rediculous bollard fiasco. Apparently they now admit it was as a result of talking to H & S 'experts' without consulting boaters. Well that wasted £1.7m of our money - don't waste any more and start listening! Whatever the cure for continuous moorers - the K & A would be a good place to start! Spending 3 hours looking for a mooring that isn't unnoccupied by people who have clearly been there for years and spending one and a half hours on tickover to pass tarpauline clad rusting hulks clearly demonstrates a problem!
A beautiful day today - shorts all day! I managed to take some lovely pictures of the marina.
including this one of K2 feeling at home and lying peacefully waiting for her next trip.

....and on climbing up a hill, was able to take this shot of my truck in its natural surroundings!
I also managed to pop into Rugby and get some shopping - boring things like a new pair of shoes for work! Rubbed down and painted the scratch on my name panel from my summer trip - a good job but it needs another coat or two. Cleaned/hoovered the boat and generally did loads of chores. Tomorrow I hope to take Simba off for a walk if the weather is as good as today.

My new buddie!

My dry buddie arrived today and is humming away to itself as we speak! So far, so good - it seems excellent and has almost dried the first set of clothes in around 30 minutes. Time will tell if it continues to be as good as so far. For those who have asked it came from the shopping channel and online store JML direct.
Clarence is looking good with it's first layer of paint on - OK, only undercoat and primer etc. but as Derek says, it's amazing what a difference a bit of colour makes!
The weekend forecast is very good and it's times like this I really miss the Ashby Canal! The urge to simply cruise for a while and moor up somewhere very remote with stunning views and listen to the owls at night after simply relaxing and doing nothing for a day is becoming just too much - it was almost worth being at Trinity; no - heck, what am I saying! I just need to watch the sun setting over the ponds here or look at the gradually changing colours of the trees and hedges to realise that's not true. I have some shopping to do tomorrow and if possible would really like to take Simba off somewhere for a walk and enjoy the sunshine while it's around!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mirrors and dryers!

I received an email today informing me that as part of my subscription to my website hosting company, I was entitled to 2 free vouchers to register 2 free domain names. As a result, for the next 2 years I also have the domains and as mirror sites to my main one.

Of course, they may take a few days to become active but hopefully, it will drive a little more traffic to me.

Yesterday I ordered a 'Dri Buddie'!

No idea how good it is but it seems to be quite clever and much cheaper than a tumble drier! It advertises itself as using very low power, (ideal for camping). Apparently, you hang your clothes in it, plug in the motor and fan at the bottom, set the time and it dries clothes and washing. It's also supposed to decrease the creases due ot he warm air hat circulates and the fact that clothes are hanging during the drying process. Hopefully it will arrive next week and I'll let you know how I get on with it after its first use!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Better day!

OK - a better day today! The kids at school are still being lovely and currently defying any rumours we heard last year - long may it last! I'm enjoying the challenge of fitting into each day 4 full time jobs/roles and even the rain has temporarily ceased!

Nothing else to report!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Newton come true!

Newton's third law of motion states that 'for every action, there is an equal, (size) and opposite, (direction) reaction'

This seems to have been true today!
After raving about my fantastic weekend yesterday - today was most definitely 'equal' and 'opposite'!

Spent much of the day contemplating recent events. Sometimes I get fed up with the often lack of equality in workload. It seems the more you say 'yes' the more you get dumped on. I am something of a 200% guy - I can't do anything without it being at least 200% and this, I am beginning to believe, is my downfall. 75% of the population are quite happy to sit back and watch 25% of the population run themselves into an early grave and their conscience doesn't seem to quiver when credit is attributed in the wrong direction!

Woke up this morning and was the closest I have ever been to not going into school. A hacking cough, tight chest, thick head, (no comments,) and saw throat. Dilligence eventually overcame common sense and I crawled, (almost literally,) into work.

Spent much of the day today attempting to find an entire year group, (105 children,) worth of data that mysteriously deleted itself from my database. The children were there, their attributes were correct, I even managed to get them in the right academic year and category but absolutely no results existed anywhere; despite sitting looking at graphs produced as a result of last terms analysis of said data! As a result, I was not able to present the data to staff at the staff meeting tonight in the way I wanted to. I finally managed to get the last data back in, (having given up with looking for it and deciding to manually reload it all,) at 7.15pm and decided to leave school for home.

Oh, and to top it all off; I had a phone call from a 'mate' who had agreed to sell me his old 12volt fridge to replace my worn out one. The phone call told me that he had sold it today to someone else - that hurt and silly though it was, I felt very let down and fed up. We'd agreed the price, he was going to help me install it; I'd even gone to the bank and got the money out! It was the straw to break....

Ah well. Where shall I go at half term in October? Perhaps I'll book a holiday abroad with an airline. I've heard 'XL' are very good......

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fantatsic weekend!

You know - it was all worth it! The weather could not have been better - glorious sunshine all weekend and I spent much of Saturday in my shorts - wow! It was lovely to see so many new boaters visiting the marina and many signing up.
The evening was awesome! I think we finally shut down amidst boos from the hardened people still left behind at about half twelve!
The sun set behind us as we nestled between the pond and the wildlife bank.
The local sea scouts provided the marquees which provided more than adequate shelter for the sound systems. Our very own Eric provided the live entertainment for the evening and totally 'wowed' us all with his incredible range and repertoire of songs.
Toes were tapped and much dancing took place for hours on end. In amidst of all this, we enjoyed an amazing dancing demonstration from Clive and Sarah on NB Amphora and Peter ended the evening with his awesome singing voice all topped off by the 'Yard of Ale' competition - such incredible talent and an amazing evening with wonderful company!
My friends Derek and Sheila of NB Clarence fame were there and a last minute decision/order to stop on board Khayamanzi for the night rather than have to drive all the way back to Grantham meant that Derek could have a drink and we could enjoy each others' company for a while longer!
Ah well, another busy week ahead! I did manage to get a pump out today, do the ironing, hoover and polish the boat, another load of washing, fill up with water, complete 2 piles of marking and cook a full roast dinner for the evening and for John to come round and share with me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gone to ground...

Sorry for the quietness of this blog lately. Getting home at 7.00pm doesn't give much time for 'me' especially when I then have a pile of work to do then; yesterday marking 2 sets of books, tonight - planning next week and organising the mountain of paperwork required for an up coming school trip I'm attempting to organise.
Ah well, plans for the open day and BBQ on Saturday are progressing well with every available space on board being taken up with lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, crisps and bread rolls! The weather forecast looks hopefull and so I am quetly optimistic for a good day and excellent evening. The theme of water being the wrong side of the bottom seems to be following the Edwards family lately: first my leak and now Steves washing machine crisis!!
Derek and Sheila seem to be ready for some drastic action! NB Clarence, (or is it those building her?) seems to be beset with setbacks. The inside looks as if it is slowly but surely moving forward with tiles appearing.....
.....woodwork taking shape
(no - wait, I showed that picture last time; no hang on, that clip on light wasn't there last time.)
Still the fire surround is ready for the.... erm, fire I guess!
The new deadline for hand over and receipt is now set at 12th November - only 6 months behind! Frustrating can't be the word to explain how the intended owners must feel as summer, (apparently,) slips past.
Anyway - time for bed. Next report, some time at the end of the weekend when I have recovered enough from the BBQ to post - I'll be tired you see!!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain.......

.....nothing more to say really!

The only variation has been how hard! My Shogun cam einto its own on the way home from school on Friday as cars picked their way through or round puddles and floods that must have gone over the door sill on some.

I have survived the first 4 days of the new school year but I am gradually realising that to undertake my new role of year group leader on top of everything else is going to be urmm... interesting! At the moment, it's fine as I'm refreshed and happy to leave work at 6.30 each evening and then continue at home until 9.30/10.00 but not sure how long it will last!!

Today, amongst dodging yet more showers, I managed to clean all the electric posts in the marina, wash the pontoons, help build a shed and build a barbecue ready for next week! Lots more little jobs tomorrow and through the week in readiness for the barbecue and open day next weekend. My gas ran out this evening. I say that for no other reason than I like to search using the word 'gas' and find out when it last needed replacing in order to monitor both my usage and the gas cylinders life!!