Saturday, May 31, 2008

What a week or two its been.

I seem to have been on the go for the past two weeks and now I'll need a holiday to get over it. After the school trip I was looking forward to basking in the sun at Great Yarmouth, only nobody had told the sun that it was supposed to be shining, so we had a week of rain, rain and more rain. One night we had a real thunder and lightening storm which woke up the dog and gave us all a disturbed night.

We still had a nice time, but being able to get out and about without freezing would have been better. We were only able to get on the beach with full wet weather gear with full coats!!

One day we visited the Pleasure Beach which was great. The rides were all open and there were no queues, so the kids went on time and time again, in fact they really got their moneys worth the rides were quite expensive £2 a go, so the wrist band at £16 each was reasonable value and they had around £50 worth of rides each!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Just popping in and off again.

Beth on the Coach.

Had a very exhausting week on the School trip, need to sleep for a week to get over it.

Now off to Yarmouth for a weeks break much deserved and needed!!!
Discovery Centre.

Monday, May 19, 2008

We're off

Today I am off for a 5 day 'break' the plus is it hasn't cost me anything, the downside is its with 28, 10 and 11 year olds!!! So wish me well I have taken my ear plugs!!!
The itinerary is day one science museum, day 2 deer sanctuary and ramble (??) Day 3, Windsor castle, Day 4 Legoland and the pinnacle of the trip, day 5 Gadebridge park!!!! (gadebridge park is like a 'local' park Why??)
Wish me luck.

My Town Monday - Bank Holidays and Morris Dancing

Here in England we have public holidays known as Bank Holidays, they happen throughout the year but we have two in May. The one at the beginning celebrates May Day, and that happens on the first Monday in the month. This means that we get a long weekend. The banks don't open. The second is at the end of the month and that's Spring Bank Holiday that is the last Monday in the month, this year its the 26th of May.

The Spring Bank holiday is celebrated in some parts with public fairs and gatherings and an outing for the 'Morris Men'.

So Who are Morris Dancers?

Music, movement, colour! If you’ve ever watched a show of Morris dancing, it will have contained all of those elements – and a lot more too. You have witnessed the result of more than 500 years of the evolution of a dance. Morris dancing was known well before the Spanish Armada, the Gunpowder Plot and even the Wars of the Roses. Among the most frequently asked questions of any Morris dancer are: Why is it called Morris dancing? Where does it come from? How old is it? And someone always asks: ‘Which one’s Maurice?’

The term Morris probably developed from the French word morisque (meaning a dance, the dance), which became morisch in Flemish , and then the English moryssh, moris and finally Morris. The earliest confirmation of a performance of Morris dancing in England dates from London on 19 May 1448, when Moryssh daunsers were paid 7s (35p) for their services. By Elizabethan times it was already considered to be an ancient dance, and references appear to it in a number of early plays. Many called for a dance or a jig to be performed by the leading actor.

Throughout its history in England, Morris dancing has been through many manifestations. Five hundred years ago it was a dance for one or two; today it is for four or more. Accounts of Morris dancing can be found throughout England, making it a nationwide phenomenon. The History of Morris Dancing, 1458-1750 is John Forest’s scholarly description of early Morris, providing images of early dances, but the origins are ‘lost in the mists of time’.

From my personal view I think they are slightly odd looking, off the wall men looking for an outlet for their often middle aged energies and desire to wear flowery hats!! (think martial arts with bells and sticks!!) Good Clean fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SATS week.

This week is a highly charged one, Beth is doing her SATS and Carl starts on his A levels, so its a touch on the hectic side at home. So far Beth has said that the science and English have been OK to good. Tomorrow is the final day with the Maths tests. Unfortunately that is not Beth's favourite subject . She finds the mental maths all a bit daunting, she has been having a tutor at home and has come on leaps and bounds. So I am hoping that tomorrow goes well for her.
Carl Has his first A level on Friday, but he seems pretty laid back about it all, so fingers crossed for him as well!!
This week has been a hard one work wise and its not over yet. Its had a real low with the death of a colleague on Monday. We have also had lots of unfinished business which has taken a lot of time up and I have come away feeling as if we are not in a good place. I suppose I will have to grow even thicker skin to deal with it.
I am looking forward to Friday, the last day at work before two weeks leave. I am going away on Monday with Beth's class for a school trip to Streatley Upon Thames, taking in Windsor Castle, Legoland and a deer sanctuary. I haven't stayed in a youth hostel for a huge number of years!!The week after we are off to Great Yarmouth for the spring bank holiday.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Town Monday - Milkmen!

They get up at the most unthinkable hour, go out in all weathers, trundle along at the speed of a tricycle - and they still manage to smile.
The UK's 10,000 milkmen and women are little short of a national institution, a cultural practice that has been unique to this country for many years. They were the first green road users with their quiet electric driven milk 'floats'
But with the growth of supermarkets, and their price wars, the sound of milkmen clunking and trundling their way round our streets in the small hours has become increasingly rare.

A pint of milk in superstores averages 25p-30p, but delivered to your doorstep it's at least 10p dearer. Only just over a quarter of all milk bought is from the milkman; the bulk is from the shop.
The number of milkmen and women have been falling by 8% a year. And now, a threatened consolidation of dairy produce giants could put a further squeeze on the nation's milkmen.
Predictions of the end of the milkman have been made for some time.
But now the milkmen are beginning to fight back, thanks to a combination of new technology and sheer inventiveness. Around the country, milkmen - either employed by dairies or running their own franchises - have realised the way forward is to diversify their range and provide better services.
Many now offer deliveries not just of milk, but also eggs, fruit juice, bread and potatoes. In some cases, the range even extends to nappies, potatoes, Cornflakes, flowers and boxes of chocolates.
Milkmen have often raised the alarm for housebound people in trouble, they notice when the curtains are drawn and there is milk from the previous day on the door step.

Locally we still have at least two dairies that deliver and I am proud to say that I support one of these, Braziers dairies. These are truly local, supplying locally produced milk. I personally think its worth the extra money to get up to fresh milk every day. My Milkman knows everyone and everything!! A very useful attribute!

Children at school still get milk supplied at school until they go into the juniors (7 years old) When I was at school it arrived in mini bottles with a waxed straw and was always 'warm' Now our school keeps the cartons in the fridge, ice cold milk is a lot nicer!

I believe that the milkman is one of those strange 'English' customs not in too much evidence in other parts of the world!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fun of a Hot day!

Today Beth has been playing around at Heathers. Really she has been playing with Emma and Sophie. Its quite sad really that they will all be going to different schools next term. On the plus side they all go to Guides so will be able to stay in touch there. The weather has been beautiful today and we a lazy day at home. Once the sun started to go down we had a walk in Moneyhole. I was surprised at the number of people there!!

They are replacing the playground stuff. I suppose that's a sign of me getting old as I think this is the 4th refurbishment since we have lived her. This time they seem to have gone the whole hog and changed everything. In the past they have added to and removed broken stuff. So far it looks as if it might be quite exciting, there is a huge frame which looks like it may be a swing and the area they have fenced off is three times as big as last time. Happy days!!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Well Done Carl!!

Today Carl found out that he has been voted in as the schools Deputy head Boy for next school year!!! We are so pleased for him, he got a call from the school tonight to say that he was the teachers choice, and only narrowly lost to the winner. There were other contenders, but in the end it was narrowed down to 4 boys. I am sure he will do a great job.
Today I have a claim to fame as well. I was driving to Borehamwood for another meeting (its strange how my meetings seem to cluster around one area for a while and then I don't go anywhere near there again for ages!) When I became aware of a 'special' car behind me. I was being followed by the Hertbeat Radio Car being driven by Cookie!!! I have several Hertbeat Radio stickers in the back of the car, so Cookie waved to me and then said hello to me via the radio just before I went out of radio range. I'm famous now!!!

Monday, May 05, 2008

At last a Beautiful Day!!

Today the weather has been glorious, the sun has been shining and there has been a warm breeze. It was so unusual for a Bank Holiday to be so nice.
We decided to go out for lunch with mum and dad, we decided on the John Bunyan. Unfortunately for us it seemed that every bike rider in Herts had headed for there as well!! There was one bar man serving and people were queued 5 deep at the bar. It didn't really matter that we had to wait 45 minutes for the food to appear because we were sitting outside watching the world go by.

I took some photos of some of my violas, I bought bowl of them from Lidls a few weeks ago and they have flowered and flowered. I think they are so pretty such an unusual mixture of colours.

I think I am going to try and grow them on outside.

My Town Monday - Panshanger Airfield.

Panshanger 1941.

This is a really local land mark for me, I live on an estate called Panshanger which has a long history, although its now quite a modern part of town!!

The Airfield was built as a decoy to lure bombers, now a thriving GA airfield.Many of Britain’s airfields date from World War II and many played an important role in that conflict. Some have made it through to the 21st century. Panshanger Aerodrome is one of the few that’s survived but only after a determined effort by the current operator and owner of the flying club based there, Israeli pilot Haim Merkado.When Haim took over in 1993, as an out-of-work commercial pilot, it was the height of a UK recession, not perfect timing for a new venture. What’s more, the airfield was in a state of disrepair, full of debris and with an illegal gypsy camp. Determination and the help of club members meant that Haim managed to overcome these problems and nowadays Panshanger is a thriving recreational airfield.

Above is a shot of the totally derelict control tower before the whole airfield was renovated.

In 1993, there was just one resident aircraft, 13 years later there are 35. A lot more has changed as well. The grass runway has been relaid at a cost of £25,000. A ramshackle collection of WWII buildings has been converted into a modern clubhouse with cafĂ©, BBQ and outside seating. The clubhouse is full of training and flight aids including an Elite Pro Panel flight sim. Maintenance is now available on site – run by former Hatfield engineer Stuart Reeves.What hasn’t really changed is Haim. Anyone who has met him knows that you either get on with him famously, or not at all. He’s a big character, extrovert, direct and often a bit abrupt. He can seem overbearing at first. But the members of Panshanger’s club, North London Flying School , are incredibly loyal to Haim – to the point of piling in with their specialist skills to help develop and renovate the facilities.

Today the Airfield is a thriving venture with a cafe area and garden.Every Sunday we are constantly disturbed by pilots practicing airobatics, it always concerns me when I hear them stalling the engines as part of their routines, I think it happens far too close to my home!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

He's back......

And my kitchen is now a washing mountain. Smelly cub camp washing, slightly damp,muddy, well smoked and minging!! Last year we had to go and rescue him from a foot of water this year he has got sunburn on his arms, face and ears!! Still he has had a good time.
Hope the washing machine lasts the course!!

Had a Busy week

I have no idea where this week has gone, part of it was due to a busy time at work and part of it due to lots going on with the kids at home. Carl is at Cub Camp and although he sorted most stuff out himself, the place was awash with kit. Washing up bowls, blow up bed, sleeping bag, you name it it was all over the place.
Beth is turning into the typical year six child with all the dramas that seem to go on at school in this last term. They really do get to the age where they need to move on!!
Tom has been trying to paint the garden fence for the past week in between rain and working. We are nearly done 5 panels left.
Hunny has been running around taking all the mayhem in her stride.yesterday she took a bold step and jumped onto the trampoline!! Once she had done it the once, she kept on doing it!!
Here she is preparing to launch herself onto the boing boing!!

Beth still loves the trampoline and she talked me into playing on there with her, even got a couple of poses from her!

During the week we have had some heavy rain, I tried to get some action rain shots without much success, it was simply too heavy to get anything worth keeping. While we were replacing the fence I rediscovered the wind ornament that had been hanging on the fence years ago. I washed it and put it back. I love the way it looks shiny and wet against my beautiful new fence!!