Monday, 31 December 2012


Best wishes for a
happy, healthy and peaceful
Gaynor and Tim x

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Monday, 17 December 2012

Why I do what I do ...

I teach many bright, enthusiastic and hard-working kids in addition to some that are not. I have complete understanding if pupils are not as able, and support them to achieve as best I (and they) can. I struggle more to understand the kids who are less prepared to try their very best, but it comes with the job.

Then, every now and again a child does something amazing and it makes it all worthwhile. As a homework activity pupils are tasked to make model cells, in order for them to demonstrate their understanding of the structure and function of ‘special’ cells. Then they present their model to the class.

This embroidery was produced by a Y7 pupil (aged 11-12).

This is why I am lucky to do what I do…

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

What's the date today?

The date is the 12/12/12…

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. Deer are protected because mythology suggests that a God, Takemikazuchi, arrived in Nara on a white deer to protect the newly built capital.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

What a difference ten years make ...

On Sunday I was reading an interesting blog post by Ken, who is ‘Living his Life in St-Aignan’, about ten-year milestones. This got me thinking as we have our own ten- year milestone coming up.

The last time we holidayed together as a family was ten years ago, and soon, we shall all be doing it again. Of course, since then we’ve taken holidays with both Rhiannon and Tom, but never together. This prompted me to look back through the albums, both digital and print, to remember the wonderful times we spent together as a family.

We are probably reaching a time when our lives will take a different direction. In a few years both Tim and I will be fully retired and who knows where we’ll end up. Will it be in a combination of Staffordshire and le Petit-Pressigny, or just one or the other? Perhaps Wales will enter the equation, or we sell up everywhere to return to the spectacular mountains of the Haute Savoie? Who knows? Maybe life has other things in store for us.

Rhiannon has been away to and come back from University, bought and sold her first house and is now close to sealing a deal on another. She certainly knows how to turn a house into a home and has done this around a demanding and stressful job.

Tom is in his last year at University. He has spent summers working in both India and Japan, studied for a year in Colorado and is now applying for jobs in Japan, South Korea and China.

So, a lot has happened in the last ten years. More wrinkles, aches and pains, grey hairs and pounds on the waistline. We’ve lost four parents, three within the space of a year) which was a very difficult time. We've lost friends, colleagues and other family members although  we've enjoyed good health and met new and wonderful friends.

These photographs were taken on our last holiday together in Switzerland, but we’ll all have to wait for the updated ones …

Sharing an enormous dessert at the revolving ‘James Bond’ revolving restaurant, Piz Gloria, at the top of the Shilthorn.

Tim, in case you're wondering whether we'd left him at the bottom of the mountain...

Sunday, 2 December 2012

An Archers update and taxing matters...

GaynorB thought that she’d better do an update, just in case you, and more importantly those wonderful people in the fraud department of the Inland Revenue, really do believe that Tim is moonlighting on the Archers.

In a manner of speaking he was, but in name only. His name, which is fairly unusual, was used in the show as the name of a local farmer.

That’s settled then. Now the IR can carry on investigating why giant corporations like Amazon and Starbucks don’t pay any tax in the UK, despite billions of £££ of sales, and how BBC stars can hide their earnings away so's they don't pay tax either. Starbucks, I’m told, even make(read engineer) a loss, but are quite happy to swallow this UK loss in order to be a ‘global brand’.

Now, isn’t that magnaninous of them…

P.S. The photograph has nothing to do with anything! It was taken outside St Mary's church in Stafford.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Fame, at last....

On Sunday November 18th 2012 Tim made his debut in the Archers. Apparently he is moonlighting as a farmer close to Ambridge.

This is the first his present wife knew about it!

Gaynor is now listening, with interest and anticipation, for David Archer to announce that Tim’s wife has fully retired…

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Water, water, everywhere II ...

Tim took these photographs of the lane outside our house on Sunday morning. You may remember this post Nice weather...for ducks!


It’s still raining…

For the past few weeks Gaynor and her pupils have coped admirably (but not without moaning!) with difficult learning conditions (which you can read about here). There were many supportive comments, particularly about why the job is being done in term time. In fairness, nearly all schools want to schedule jobs like this for holiday periods, and there just aren’t enough large building companies able to take on such work.  

 The situation has gone 'from bad to worse', as for the past week my lab has been unusable, due to a leaky roof. This photograph was taken yesterday with buckets, bins and trays catching water from no less than 19 different leaks around my lab and prep room.  On Sunday, in a bid to alleviate my potential grumpiness, a long-suffering deputy head drove to school to empty the buckets!!

Sadly, my camera cannot capture smells.

Before the ‘new roof’ my lab had one tiny leak where the roof joins a new lab. That leak is still there and getting bigger…

And, it’s still raining…

Sunday, 25 November 2012

In mourning but with attitude ...

The Welsh half of this union is in mourning. Come to think about it so too should the English half be - if he cared!
In Wales rugby is more than just a game; it's a passion, a way of life. My children just don't get it either. I fear they consider themselves to be English but I keep hoping that one day they will 'see the light'!

 Wales haven’t had (so far) what one could consider to be a good (or even mediocre) series of Autumn Internationals. Losses to Samoa and Argentina came as a shock. I remember in the early 1970’s seeing Argentina play what I think was a combined Tredegar and Ebbw Vale XV at Tredegar Rec. They’ve come a long way since then!

The omens didn't seem too good when a couple asked if thy could share my table in the coffee shop at Trentham Gardens. I said yes before looking up to see the gentleman sporting an All Blacks hat and scarf. We had a chat about the coming game and as I left he said "may the best team win". Secretly I was hoping that they wouldn't, which probably revealed my lack of confidence! 

The loss against New Zealand was more predictable. They are the best team in the world, with an unbeaten record in their last 20 test matches. Wales haven’t beaten the All Blacks in my lifetime (actually since 1953, which is a full three years before I was born!) and don't look like doing so any time soon.

One thought that has crossed my mind is that for such a magnificent All Black team why do they have some players who are so close to the edge of cheating? Their hooker should have been sent off in the first minute for flooring Bradley Davies with a punch from behind.

In Wales we like fair play. In any debate my late father would always weigh up the pros and cons and the words 'fair play' were invariably used to give credit to the opposing arguement. We are generally prepared to praise to best team (unless that best team happens to be England - but then I guess this goes for all supporters of the Celtic nations!) 

I doubt that even if Andrew Hoare had been given his marching orders the result would have been very different, but it might have been poetic justice and the All Blacks might just have needed to work that little bit harder... 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Something not quite right ...

A couple of days ago we decided to make the most of some beautiful autumn weather to walk in the fields behind our house. Sandon Hall, hidden for the majority of the year, is resplendent peeping through the autumn foliage.

As we walked we noticed a beautiful russet colour surrounded by green.

On closer inspection we realised that something wasn’t quite right.

Surrounding the ‘nine-acre field’ were other conifers in a similar state.

Does anyone know what the problem is?

I know that I could swerve the net and probably find the cause, but this kind of blogging wikipedia has so much more soul…

UPDATE: It looks like the big problem is that both Tim (my Tim) and I lack the tree identification gene.  Tim's (Pauline's Tim) comment makes this clear! 

At least that's one less thing to worry about...

Thursday, 15 November 2012


1970’s school + flat roof + laboratory with 4 skylights, 2 roof fans and an air con unit + workmen hammering and banging for two weeks to fix said roof + fumes + pupils + learning to be done + shouting (not to mention tuneless singing) by said workmen


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance and hope ...

A simple, yet stunning poppy photographed at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

We placed our Remembrance poppies with a beautiful Peace Lily I was given as a birthday present.

Symbolic, but ever hopeful…

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Red sky...

Tuesday is my ‘day off’ but we still get up early. My ‘treat’ is that on my day off I can eat breakfast before I shower. Tim set off for the Birmingham office at about 6.30, and shortly after I received a text. It was short and to the point – “red sky”.

I dashed out to the garden but the pics really don’t do justice to such a beautiful sky.

I’m out with my ‘women wot walk’ group today, so  hope that this wonderful red sky isn’t an accurate prediction of the weather to come!

Red sky at night; shepherd's (or sailor's) delight,
Red sky in the morning; shepherd's (or sailor's) warning.

I suppose the weather had great significance for both shepherds and sailors...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Rain, rain go away ...

It seems like it’s rained pretty much non-stop since the early hours of Thursday morning.
Le Pré Vert is in the Aigronne valley. Early Saturday morning we drove to the dechetterie at Le Grand-Pressigny,  and then, in the opposite direction towards Charnizay, en route for Le Breuil aux Gittons and another delicious lunch.
We thought we’d see some water in the fields but were surprised by just how much…
Looking towards Le Grand-Pressigny from the bridge near La Forge.

The football pitch,  Le Petit-Pressigny.

Le bief, Le Petit-Pressigny.

The lavoir, awash with water.

The overflowing bief at the bottom of the garden.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

La Toussaint

A delicious lunch with friends, followed by a bracing walk in the rain through beautiful countryside.

Friday, 2 November 2012

In our own back yard ...

Well, not quite!
After we’d unpacked we needed to ‘blow the cobwebs away’ so decided to go for a walk. Although the sun was shining there was a fairly stiff icy wind so the cobwebs were well and truly blown away!
Right at the beginning of the walk (within 200 metres of Le Pré Vert) we came across some troglodyte dwellings we didn’t even know were there! In our defence we think some trees and hedging have been cut back and cleared meaning that the previously hidden buildings were revealed. Conscious that the workings belong to someone we were careful about where we trespassed but did manage to take a few photographs.

This leads underneath the path you can see in the first photograph.

When we get an opportunity we’ll ask our neighbour, Madame Simone, for more information about the dwellings. Madame serves at the Boulangerie (in her late 70’s) and is endlessly patient with our developing French. She is always able to find a word that we can understand.
If we want to know something we generally start there...