Monday, 20 June 2016

They're back and I'm off!

The girls returned from Stirling on Saturday evening, quite travel weary but full of tales!  The YFG had loved the campus at Stirling, and had "quite liked" the uni in Glasgow. She didn't like the city itself: apologies to any Glaswegian readers but her overall impression of the city was that "everyone smokes and it stinks" but she did love the Kelvingrove museum - she is a big museum fan!

They gathered themselves yesterday and returned to the normal routine of school today - the YFG as the student and the EFG in the Teaching Assistant role she is trying out.

And me? I've got a whole week off work!

I'm going to spend it well - interviewing potential teachers for school today, governors meeting tomorrow, course on Thursday, pootling about in the garden [if it ever stops raining] and sorting the house out post-EF so that rooms vaguely return to how they once were......might be a big job!  Some sock knitting or crochet might also be on the cards, but I am not holding my breath. Some reading is definitely going to be enjoyed.

See you soon!


Friday, 17 June 2016

Glasgow

The girls have been in Glasgow since Wednesday, and they are having a day at leisure in the city today so that they can see what they think to it all. They travelled up on Wednesday so that the EFG could accompany the YFG to the uni open day there on Thursday: she likes it, but the talks about the subject she is interested in were cancelled due to industrial action, so that was a tad disappointing for them. The news last night was that they had walked over 22000 steps, had a wander by Kelvingrove and round a museum or two. Today I hope they don't go mad in the shops......

They weren't terribly impressed with the view from their hotel room window.


Tomorrow morning they will be up at the crack of dawn to catch a train just after 7am to get to Stirling to go to the open day there. After that, they are coming home - and I will be very glad to have them home again - it's getting a bit quiet here on my own.

Hopefully they will take some photos to show me where they have been and what they think - it is years since I was in either Glasgow or Stirling!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

RIP Jo Cox

(image from bbc.co.uk/news)

Having been closeted in a staff meeting for over 6 hours today, I had no idea that this appalling murder had taken place until I returned home and switched on the news.  The full details are on the news website here but it is a terrible thing to have happened: a lovely young mother, an MP and someone who seems to have campaigned tirelessly for what she believed in, has been shot and stabbed in her constituency, on her home turf. Makes you wonder what this world is coming to.


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Scaring folks

The EFG did her stint at the Foodbank on Tuesday. She arrived at 9.30 for her session until 11.30 but by 10.30, everything was done that needed to be done. She has chatted with the other volunteers and apparently, this is happening more often these days. Why? Because they are just not getting the volume of donations that they usually get, so it takes far less time to sort and stack what they do get.

The consensus of opinion between the volunteers is that the EU referendum is scaring people, and so they are not donating in case they need their cash/stash of food themselves because of all the headlines in the news about what might happen either way. Their amateur philosophy is that if we leave the EU, the donations will fall even further as people worry about what might happen. They are worried, though, that even if the vote is to stay, the donations will not resume at the rate that is required to have adequate stocks on the shelves, because of the uncertainty about the way that the EU will develop.

They are still feeding people, but they don't have the resilience in the back room stock that they had a couple of months ago [well, they have plenty of baked beans at her particular Foodbank, but not a lot of anything else] and the donations boxes in the supermarkets around here are not filling up the way they did, she says.

I preached on gratitude this last Sunday [one of my favourite topics] and one of my points is that we should rely on God each and every day, and give thanks for all that he gives us on a daily basis. I try to remember that whether or not we are in the EU, people still need to be fed when they are hungry.  I am not into politics in a big way, and I just have my own little opinion, but even I can see that there is a lot of scaremongering going on on both sides, and it is hard to watch the damage it is doing.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Football and farewell

There is no need to buy a television guide for the foreseeable future. Football is on, all the time!

In other news, the EF girls have left. The Austrian walked off down the platform when I dropped her at the station after we shared a hug, and she was gone.  A very independent girl, she seems to concentrate on looking forward to the next adventure.

The Dane was a different departure all together. We went out for a meal on Saturday night and had a lovely time. We came home and continued to try to finish her Downton marathon, before giving up and all heading to bed around 11.30pm. Sunday morning we watched a bit more, squeezed her suitcase closed, and things started to get a bit too real for her.  By the time we got to the appointed bus station, the tears and jitters had begun, and we had to have a lot of hugs. As she said, she came over here and built a new life for 10 months, and now she has to walk away from everything here and get back to normal in Denmark.  Bless her!  She's had a night at an EF camp for the farewell prom and will fly home today.  We've had a couple of exchanges on Facebook messenger this morning and she's OK so far.  My girls have already noted that it is quieter here without her.

And the farewells will go on - my two are off to Glasgow and Stirling from Wednesday till Saturday so that the EFG can chaperone the YFG around the two uni open days up there. It will be VERY quiet here on my own!!


Friday, 10 June 2016

All kinds of grief

I've been doing a lot of work on the bereavement project lately in my role in the church and it has been both eye-opening and challenging.  We have set up a Bereavement Support Group in one of the churches, and it meets monthly. We had two widows the first month and four in the second meeting. I have heard all sorts of comments and sayings just lately: "of course you are crying, dear: if you didn't cry, it would be as if you didn't love him....." was just one of them.  It makes me wonder what folk must think about me, not having shed a tear in public, and not a great deal in private either. 

I went on a course provided by Care for the Family, which was excellent, and incredibly informative. I have come across plenty of websites and blogs written to support and encourage people who have lost their partners. I am also looking at a stack of books on the same topic.  I'm a bit inundated!  Then yesterday I went to a chat with some women from another church who are promoting information about dying well. So I am working both sides of the event now.

Image result for dying matters
(image from awarenessdays.co.uk)

I have read a really good article tonight about all kinds of grieving not being the same. When I look back over my life, I have lost both grandmothers and a grandfather, a couple of aunts, my mother and now my husband. I've experienced the death of my best friend's brother from suicide, as well as the death of a dearly beloved colleague's son, also from suicide but by another method.  I've seen people grieve and I have done it myself. 

Every single relationship brings on a different kind of grief. For me, grandparents' deaths were not as traumatic: they were all over 80 and two were actually over 90 when they died, and so they had achieved the age where younger children are not so shocked to hear of their deaths. I was sad that they had indeed died, but to a young child, as I was when my dad's parents passed on, they were relatively remote characters and I did not feel it as hard as my other grandmother, who died in 2002, four years after her daughter, my mother.  Of all the deaths, my mother's was the worst. We knew she had cancer, but the death itself came very quickly in the space of 8 hours. I grieved terribly and agonisingly for nearly two years, had to have anti-depressants and therapy, and it was a huge loss.

The ladies at the Bereavement Support Group were talking, as we hoped that they would, and one was sharing that the doctor had wanted to put in a support package for her in order to help her to look after her terminally ill husband. She had refused it and said that she wanted to do everything herself. She was a bit shocked when I said that I was willing to accept all the help there was, partly because I was also thinking about the girls. She had expected me to agree with her, and was a bit shocked that I didn't.  But then she has other ideas about her own grief, too, and doesn't expect to really enjoy life any longer now that her life partner has gone.

Oh, how challenged this society is by death.  

(image from wecandiebetter.com)


I am finding that people don't want to talk about death, unless they are affected in some way by it, but then even those who have close knowledge of it will expect that other's experience will be similar if not the same.

It can never be the same. Each one of us has a different life experience, different backgrounds, different relationships with our deceased beloved [and in some cases, not beloved] and we come from different death experiences - why on earth would anyone expect grief to affect us all in the same way?

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Do you get it?

I've noticed a new-to-me expression coming out in local speech more and more lately. At first there was only one person, and I thought it was a peculiarity of hers, but then I came across it more and more.  

The conversation would run something like this, "Are you coming to the party on Saturday?" The other person would think for a minute and then reply, "Well, no. I was coming with Susie but she can't get." 

And I am left wondering what it is that Susie can't get!  The sentence demands that there is an object attached to that verb, surely?  You are probably quicker on the uptake than I was the first time, and realise that they mean that Susie can't come, can't get THERE, or here or wherever.  

Is that just a local thing here, or even an East Anglian phenomenon, or is it happening all over the place?  



We are not far from the border with Norfolk and have a lot of people in our communities who speak with a slight Norfolk accent, which I love. It has all sorts of interesting words in the local speech, which make it unique.  There's "int" which loosely translates as "isn't it" but not always....and "noo" instead of "new" which is how my mother used to pronounce it too. We also hear "moosick" and the Bernard Matthews [he of the turkey fame] favourite, "bootiful".  It's lovely to listen to, but it does not help the children learning to spell at the school!