Thursday, 19 September 2013

Happy Birthday, Tom…

My little (read giant) son is 23 today!

His birthday gifts have arrived in Kagoshima courtesy of FedEx. Nothing very exciting, although with his new bike – being specially constructed in giant size (compared to Japanese proportions) and cycling jersey he will be giving Sir Bradley Wiggins a run for his money. Assuming he can get the cycling shoes and a cycle helmet to fit!


If it has managed to pass through customs un-confiscated (is this a word?) he can expect a cake and some other goodies including his favourite shower gel and shampoo – I had 8kg to fill so filled it to within 49g! His little car will probably be the only one on his island with an Aston Villa car sticker and water bottle filled with wine gums!.

He is loving his time in Japan and working hard although the heat and humidity in his region is hard to get used to. He’s made friends and the people in his village have been very kind and generous.

He’s changed a bit over the years but still likes to pose. This photograph is one of our favourite ones of Rhiannon and Tom together. They were putting on a dance show around 20 years ago. The quality isn’t brilliant as this is an image photographed with an iphone. Rhiannon is wearing one of my old dresses and Tom is wearing one of Rhiannon’s ballet outfits. I love the red wellies!




Anyway, click on the link below….


Sunday, 15 September 2013

The case of the disappearing post and the autumn chutney…

I wrote the post; I inserted the photographs; I even played around with the layout in Windows Live Writer. However, my downfall was that I didn’t publish immediately because I wanted to use my portable hard drive to check whether I’d already word processed the recipe – which I hadn’t.


I got sidetracked and decided to make some ‘autumn’ chutney. As sure as night follows day my computer decided to shut down and took with it the unsaved post of my version of croissant and butter pudding. It will teach me in future to save into draft form – something I am constantly advising the kids at school to do and am totally unsympathetic when they lose their work!

To cap it all I think my chutney could possibly have ‘caught’. I couldn’t detect any burnt taste, but the base of the pan sure shows the signs. This is AFTER an overnight soak…


A few of the eleven jars of, as yet unlabelled, autumn chutney.


Today my tech support is at Oakham school in Rutland teaching some of the brightest kids from all over the UK. The Arkwright Scholarships Trust identifies, inspires and nurtures talent in engineering and related areas of design. Students are supported by a diverse group of commercial companies, trade associations, universities, professional institutions, charitable trusts, armed services and personal donors. Their aim is to further the very best engineering talent and to improve the life chances of high-potential school students, whatever their educational background.

P.S. Not a word to Tim. It’s better he think that any ‘burnt’ taste that develops is due to my secret ingredient… red grapefruit.

P.P.S Autumn chutney is so named because it contains just about everything from my fruit bowl, vegetable rack and store cupboard that needed to be used up!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The calm before the storm…

I’m back at school after the long summer break. I’d like to write that the break wasn’t quite long enough, but I’d probably run the risk of offending readers who aren’t ‘lucky’ enough to be teachers!! ;o))

I’d thought the summer would bring with it more time to blog. In fact the opposite happened, but we have built up a stock of photographs which tell the tale of our summer.

Here goes…




These photographs were taken as we walked Maisie and Lucy along the Trent and Mersey canal at about 6.20am. About half a mile further on we came across this..


A flock of sheep had found their way onto the main railway line. Unusually we didn’t have a mobile with us, so we had to hurry home to telephone the police to inform them. Large intercity trains run along this line and we were very concerned that there might be an accident.

Fortunately there wasn’t, due in part to the fact that fewer trains run that early in the morning.