Sunday, 28 February 2010


M's 60th celebration lunch was lovely today; very posh at Headlam Hall Country House Hotel. Oh gosh, now we are burgeoning buspasses all over; I love my bus pass.

It rained all day yesterday again so I stayed in bed- yes again- I was bored rigid. I got crossed wires with D1 with whom I was going to go shopping but I understood D1 and D3 were going shopping so dropped out only to find I'd made a mistake & it was too late. Anyway I read all the magazines that M gave me so now I can take them to recycle at the RVI or Freeman hospital.

We went to V&S's for Indian food- delicious- I think I will ask next time they are preparing Indian food please can I come & watch & learn?

I would really like to learn to cook vegetarian food but so far cannot find night classes for such.

Friday, 26 February 2010


A week of meeting ex colleagues; met S at the pub & successfully battled against the quiz to catch up. J&D came round for a cuppa the following day as they are up visiting from Southampton. It was lovely to catch up with them too.

The Ladies celebrated K's big birthday at Avanti- I hope K enjoyed it as much as I did.

Today was going to be a walk but after a night of no sleep and the continual patter on the window pane I went nowhere; it wasn't worth getting up so I stayed in bed for the day & read 'The Shack' from beginning to end. Very spiritual, complicated in a way and while many of the ideas eg of God being Love regardless of nomenclature by various religions , are my ideas too-I don't know if I liked the book or could go along with some of its ideas- Why not get a hold of it and decide for yourself?

It is now 8pm & I may as well go down & watch some television.

Today is a 'fed up day'- so where can I find some chocolate? (It is my duty to eat some fair trade chocolate after all)

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Fair Trade Fortnight

February 22nd-7th March.

I know it is Lent but it is only right that we all eat more chocolate - and of the fair trade variety; in particular I recommend Traidcraft cappuchino chocolate and Divine orange milk chocolate. I realise this will be a penance but it is all in the name of service and saving the world.

Gosforth High School

The Ladies were not walking today as snowy & icy. After more painting I went with a friend to see 'The Lovely Bones'; I wondered how they would film this book- when given this book I almost turned it down as its subject was not my thing; however once started I could not put it down. Susie drifted around in the ether a lot in the film- but a 12A !! We supposed if it warns girls how easy it is to trust people when you shouldn't then ........ I was exhausted when I came out of the Gate as I found it somewhat scary and worrying.

Later I went to Trinity lecture on the future of Gosforth High School/Federation. When Gosforth West went into special measures ,Gosforth High senior management team joined them- it is now Gosforth Junior High! They are also possibly going to federate Archibald Street First school too.The new build is in tandem with Newcastle City Council. I did ask the speaker (Catherine ? an ex Northumberland head of English & King Edward VI deputy- now a vice principal!!) When I asked what sort of environmental things were being built in to all the new build of both schools- only a bio mass boiler in Gosforth Junior High- nothing else ; BFI i.e.Building Schools for the Future- I don't think so! . So disappointing- a new generation of buildings for the citizens of the future & nothing solar, windpowered, natural light for learning, no ground heat pumps, no use of rain water; obviously students may not learn from those who were involved in the buildings' designs! Building for the Future? What future?
While aware of the traffic problems in Gosforth, the architects, builders & education partners had no answers other than they were required to have a 'drop off' point.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Theatre Royal

Grr! I am stotting mad with H1; he has spent the last 5 days:-

a) holding a steamer on the wall while telling D1 & I where to scrape.

b)driving round for hours buying paint then on the next trip out to buy Polyfilla- both of which he decided we didn't need when we were originally shopping for decorating materials & D1 & I were suggesting we needed more or bigger pots of paint or tubes of stuff.

c) Polyfilling anything & everything while D1 and I cut in and rollered a double room.

Today as he directed me where I should paint & roller he declared after just 10 minutes that he had once again run out of Pollyfilla- I did know where I would like to have put the empty tube. He disappeared again for ages while I painted then when he had threatened to actually wield a brush to get the job finished (had he ever really started I wondered?) I turned round to find he had Polyfilled 3 large areas of wall with a new type of Polyfilla he had found! Thus I was unable to paint on the newly 'greyed' walls- and I couldn't get the job finished & return the room/house into some semblance of order before work starts again after half term.

I went with D1 & D3 to the Theatre Royal on Wednesday to see 'Pride and Prejudice'; the odour around us was objectionable- but the performance was brilliant. Susan Hampshire (Mrs Bennett) & her daughters were great-the directing was superb; the play stayed within 'Austen' requirements but there were little touches such as location change to the garden was indicated by actors with topiary on their heads who leapt back a foot when Lady Catherine de Berg (spelling?) shouted at Elizabeth.

After Thursday's scraping, H1 ,D1 and D3 and my good self went to St James' Park for the Northumbria university Rag Ball- the Magpie Suite was done up in black & white balloons, the food was surprisingly good, the atmosphere very pleasant as was the company- all for three charities including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation for treatment/research in a new cancer centre - a most fitting venue. I didn't realise that Rag stood for 'Raising And Giving' (or something like that); I didn't have much to do with RAG when I was at uni; in fact I don't think our college had anything to do with Rag in spite of being part of the university.

We did not get to see friends from Norwich and meet their children as J was ill with a virus and actually did a hospital A&E visit.

Friday evening saw D1 & D3 gallivanting to the dogs so we sneaked down to the Fish Quay for fish & chip tea- well he had chips and I didn't- why isn't he fighting his flab the way I am constantly fighting mine? I was too tired to cook - that is my excuse for the stripped cod.

Saturday saw D1 & D3 on the gallivant again to a dinner dance at the Hilton to which Cinderella drove them for drop off and pick up at post midnight. 2 nights of tv viewing and Humax catch-up were quite restful after scraping & rollering- my arms should be like Popeye's.

Today is D2 and D3's birthdays; I think the only reason H1 is still alive is because I didn't want to spoil their birthdays by declaring I had murdered their father by Polyfilling him in behind a wall. We had a lovely night at Avanti - four of us- we miss D2 who is currently acting like Nurse Nancy to her beloved.

Each night brings a light showering of snow and it is cold again -1 degree tonight. I often think it is strange that a qwerty keyboard doesn't have a degree sign- written like a geographer (definitely not a mathematician). Was it Robert Frost that wrote the lovely poem ' Stopping by woods on a snowy evening'? He'd have stopped a lot this winter- we have had snow since December 15th.

'.....and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.'

Oh heck!

I am so busy I haven't had time to blog this week. Thus I am writing this at 1.25a.m. We have done a lot of decorating with D1 but it has been well worth it; just maybe another coat of emulsion & H1 will do the glossing as I am useless at that. Perhaps I can get on here again tomorrow? Though that has the potential to be a busy day too! Good night all.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Shrove Tuesday

Googling 'retired life' comes up with so many teachers (& retired greyhounds) doing blogs- are we a profession that finds it difficult to retire or are we a profession who are so used to talking & writing we just can't keep our mouths shut?! Anyway I don't think the google spiders have found me - or maybe I don't record controversial enough subjects.

This definitely isn't going to be controversial- Spring must have sprung because I have actually hung out /dried washing outside for the first time this year; it is not snowing or raining but is sunny and the waterlogged earth is drying out at last. I will never forget moving to this estate and being asked by a neighbour why I was bringing the neighbourhood down by hanging washing out..... environment? children? energy bills? the future? I can't remember what I said. Anyway this morning I got 8 'draws' up! Does that comment date me to a person who knows about what it takes to win the 'Pools'?

Monday, 15 February 2010

Park the Ark

What a week! We did indeed 'Park the Ark' by Saturday night; the pantomime seemed to make folk laugh though for the adults who run it POSH seems to give a lot of headaches like.... parents who don't think their kids should be told off, or whose kids can't turn up to final rehearsals for a variety of reasons.... whatever happened to commitment? But in the end everyone pulled their weight & it was a real success.

H1 and I received Valentine's cards- I wonder who from? We also went to Avanti (decorated beautifully by Julie as usual) for a meal- the Ds were amazed at how quickly we were back home again afterwards! Switch the telly on someone...

This morning I finished with Dan Brown who can go looking for his Lost Symbol as I found him rather repetitive and I am now moving on to 'The Shack'.

Today we did a Metro walk in Sunderland- hey! there are some really nice houses/buildings there; we dined in Elizabeth's tearoom which was genteel & reminded us of Tilleys as was in Newcastle.There were lots of kids on the loose as it is half term- enjoy half term those of you who have a break now.

Mmmm! Tonight we had a small lasagne (made by yours truly of course) and then had pancakes (early I know but it is difficult to get together with D1 & D3 when they are so busy); we are like ships that pass in the night- yes, I love having a 'housie' but it is difficult to catch up with her! We kept the fillings simple- lemon and sugar, jam, syrup.

PS Mowbray Park in Sunderland has lots of snowdrops out- and mine are out too. Hurrah! Spring is around the corner.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


I didn't get out of bed till 2pm today- I didn't see the point. With a walk we'd arranged cancelled due to sleet,snow and rain I went back to bed with Dan Brown and the Sunday papers. Once up I probably did more than many do in a whole day- big shop, big pile of ironing etc. I didn't feel guilty, just bored- I think retired life can lose you your raison d'etre so don't do it if like me you like to be really busy & have a purpose or a challenge.

Today's news says the North East has the UK's highest unemployment figures.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

I could write a book!

Oh the joys of sitting tucked away on the edge of the stage (and my thermals) hour after hour..... I have to say I have never laughed as much at the unintended fun of H1's drama group as they rehearse their panto/play; H1, as director, is tearing his hair out while I sit in the freezing, cold wings watching the 'behind the scenes' dramas...... The curtains that close when they shouldn't... the parents who ring up asking why their beloved offspring have been told to be quiet when others are onstage..... the thespians who are not in the wings ready to strut the boards as everyone hisses 'Where is so and so? and gazes at an empty stage... I could tell you more but I might spoil the plot for you. 'Park the Ark' is such a lark.

I do wonder how much fun they must have filming things like 'LarkRise to Candleford' ('my one weakness') and 'Mamma Mia'.

All this drama doesn't leave much time for other things- but the Ladies (yes that includes me!) went for afternoon tea at Jesmond Dene House on Monday for our annual 'Cheer up January doldrums' (but this year it was just into February) event; we have been before for Christmas lunches and January teas but I had had a couple of poor meals there with H1 so wasn't too keen- and others had heard mixed reports.... but Eslington Villas (of this year's Christmas meal) didn't do teas and Horton Grange's tea last year was poor so back to Jesmond; I dislike going because they automatically put a 10% or was it 15%? on the bill- so much for a discretionary charge so I had complained- and they remembered that and did not charge it to our bill when we paid this week. Actually the meal and whole event was very nice (though don't sit next to the windows in the lounge as they are draughty- why did we not remember that from last time?!) We did pay a tip as we decided the experience and service was well worth it.

H1 and I went to see Mel Gibson in 'Edge of Darkness'; an exciting film though a familiar plot; what was good was to know it was a BBC film.

H1 decided to listen to my pleas that if ever he was to buy me a Valentine gift- not to be fleeced by buying roses on the day- and he listened! What date is it?!!! He bought me beautiful red roses this week- I think I might marry the man!

I broke out of my WeightWatchers mould last night when out with friends for an Indian meal after 7 hours of rehearsals; today the diet starts yet again..