Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Count down is on...

Have finally finished off the end of year reports for the class that I am teaching at the moment. I thought reports were painful at home, but having to write reports on 30 children that I hardly know is much worse. I won't say that I will never complain again, because we all know that as soon as I go home and write my first batch of Aussie reports I will be whinging at top note again. I'm just going to have to say that ALL REPORTS ARE EVIL and leave it at that.
3 weeks and 2 days left of school and then it is holidays. Thank goodness. I am very keen to finally have the summer holidays my brain keeps telling me we should have had by now. Even though it is currently colder here in London than it is in Sydney.
Karen and I are off to Portugal on Friday for the weekend. We got some wonderfully cheap tickets on British Airways and a good deal on a hotel that is right next to a shopping mall and 5 minutes from the beach. My mission this weekend is to sit on the beach and read a book only leaving the sand in order to browse the shop windows. Not very cultural I know, but it's all my mushy brain can cope with right now.
Hope all is well in the far flung places you all reside.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I found Santa!

He was hiding out in the Egyptian pyramid at Legoland with Mrs Claus in between the sarcophagus and the polar bears!


This entry dedicated to David Sgangarella. David was in my class last year at St Martin's. He is obsessed with Lego and would often talk about it, write about it and I believe, dream about it...

It's Rebecca's birthday and for her birthday she wished for a trip to Legoland. So on a cool and windy summer's day we met up at Legoland which is located just outside of Windsor. I didn't know what to expect except that it would be a whole heap of Lego but I was in awe of just how much they could do with the small coloured bricks. It wasn't a cheap outing but it was worth every penny just to see the Minilands area where they had replicas of many European cities.

The mini-London was so life like and you couldn't help yourself laughing out loud as you recognised all of the places that you have been to and now know so well. The Lego Big Ben was amazing and there was even a Lego Queen watching over the Lego Trouping of the Colours. The little Lego troops marched around in front of Her Royal Legoness and played little instruments. The vehicles in the cities moved around and you could see the underground and overground trains stopping at the stations.

Lego France was pretty cool too with the Lego Moulin Rouge twisting it's windmill around. There were little Lego men and women wandering around the streets in front of it.

I could go on for ages about Lego Minilands. My favourites were the ABBA concert in Sweden, Stonehenge, Eilean Donan Castle and the NASA space station.

Duplo land sucked though. I wasn't a fan at all. Might have had something to do with the fact that it was pouring down with rain but I'm thinking it had more to do with the fact that there were about 1,000,000 children running around screaming their heads off.

Courteney, Karen and I went on the spinning chairs ride as a homage to our childhoods. We were the only adults on it mind you, but still we didn't care. Courteney wasn't too impressed with one kid who stole her seat on the first ride and we had to wait for the next one. I think she would have "taken him on" if not for Karen and I holding her back.

My least favourite thing was the train. I enjoyed going on train, don't get me wrong. I enjoyed seeing the animals made out of Lego as you went on the Lego Safari. I did not, however, enjoy getting sprayed with water. I know this makes me a Nana but I am okay with that. They should not spray you with water! At least now I know why they have "human dryers" strategically placed around the park.

I'd have to say that the mini Lego tube train was my equal favourite with the Lego Egyptian tomb. I'm not so sure what Santa and Mrs Claus were doing in the Egyptian pyramid, but the bit with the sarcophagus and the hieroglyphics was really impressive.

The rain didn't put a dampener on our day and I had a wonderful time. I have a new appreciation for the little coloured bricks now as well. I think that the "model designers" have a wicked sense of humour too. The mini-protesters at Stonehenge being arrested by a bunch of bobbies was great and the Doctor Who Daliks hidden in key London landmarks was cool too. But it is the mini-Lego Gordon Brown with the removal truck outside a mini-Lego No.10 Downing Street helping Cherie Blair with some boxes that was a genuine highlight.

Two thumbs up for Legoland!

And Happy Birthday Rebecca!

The Lego Tube.

Karen, Rebecca and Courteney with the Talking Heads.

Mount Lego-more.

Lego Fire Brigade to the rescue.

Me in Lego London.

Lego Brighton Pier.

Polar Bear in Santa's Egyptian Pyramid.

The Lego Rouge!

NASA's Lego Space Station.

Lego Buckingham Palace complete with Queen Victoria monument.

Eilean Donan Castle

The Egyptian Lego Tomb. The pyramid was also home to Santa and Mrs Claus.
Go figure on that one!

And finally ABBA in Concert!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Searching for Santa

I putting out an S.O.S for one Santa Claus. Also known as Saint Nicholas and Father Christmas. Usually found wearing at a red suit with white fur trim. Distinguishing features include a white bushy beard, sparkling blue eyes and a jolly laugh. Last seen sometime on or around the 25th December.
Why am I looking for him?
  • It is hot weather.
  • It is officially summer (or so they tell me).
  • There are only 4 weeks left of school.
  • I am writing reports.
  • I have parent interviews scheduled next week.

And I'm wondering where Santa is. Usually he is around here somewhere.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Have you ever...?

Have you ever got on a bus and ridden it all the way to the end of the line just because you can? I did that today after my interview. I am pleased to announce that the end of the line was actually not as far from home as I originally thought. Got a bit of a numb bum after an hour though. Turns out that you end up finding some great shops and cafes that are off the beaten track and hidden from the High Streets.
Yes, I am weird. I know it.

And I am only classing them as ducks if they honk and I didn't hear them honk!
(see Karen's Blog)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Coffee with Mary

Was very excited to be able to catch up with my Assistant Principal from my old school St Martin's Catholic School, Mary Hor, last Monday night for a coffee. Mary was over here visiting her son in the country where he is working as a teacher's assistant for a gap year.

Goodbye, Farewell and I'm still here.

It's been a rather sad time this weekend. I not only had to say goodbye to Cleland and Belle but also to Vic who heads off to Canada to begin her 11 week camp for kids over the summer. But before we get into that here's what I've been up to...

Cleland and Belle rocked up at the Village on Saturday afternoon after their wonderful tour of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales a little weary and down to their last pair of clean underpants. First stop was pretty much a given, the laundromat. We don't have a drier at the Village so usually we wash and then walk down to the laundromat with a big IKEA bag full of wet clothes etc to use the drier for the princely sum of 20p for 5 mins. I think Cleland loved the novelty of it all. Belle just loved the trashy magazines that litter the waiting bench! :)

As promised I took them up to Camden markets for the day for a wander through the stalls. As much as Cleland grumbles about "more shopping" he possesses a good eye for a bargain. He managed to find me a great travel skirt with cargo pockets. Only £6 too! I was a good girl and only bought a £5 cardigan ( I know I am a Nana!) and some gumboots for Karen with hearts all over them. It is festival season over here anybody who is anybody has funky gumboots. Cleland didn't buy anything but Belle managed to clean up. She has a pretty good eye for retro pieces that she can put together with new stuff. Plus she eats goat meat. So my hat is off to her. After we'd scoured the markets Cleland and Belle went on to the London Eye and I attempted to get home. Stupid London transport let me down again and they ended up getting home before me. Anthony and Matthew came over for dinner and I cooked satay chicken with rice, salad and garlic bread. Yes Mum, I cooked! And Cleland can vouch for me on this one too.

Unfortunately I had to work last week but managed get blood from the stone and got Friday off to spend with Cleland. In the meantime I did have daylight hours after work to kick about in London so we went on the Sinister London tour which took us through the story of Jack the Ripper. As there was not enough people for our tour we ended up being combined with the Pubs of London (who was I to complain?). In was really fun and low key as the guy who operates it is a sole owner/operator. He did everything - driving, talking, singing, dancing. All throughout the tour he kept saying "Okay my friends" after everything. Reminded me a lot of my tour guide in Pompeii who kept saying "Clicky, clicky" when he wanted us to take photos.

On Thursday night Cleland, Belle, Karen and I made the pilgrimage to Jo and Jonathon's place for dinner. As always the food was wonderful and I always love patting Pod. He was very friendly that night and even let Cleland have a cuddle too. Very unusual for Pod. But secretly I think he just loved being the centre of attention. Jo hadn't seen Cleland for 6 years and Jonathon hadn't seen him since he was 4 years old. To mark the occasion Jonathon introduced Karen, Cleland and Belle to Extreme Ironing. I'd already seen it, but thought that it had been one of those spoof shows until it appeared in the London papers last week as a report on an actual sport as silly as it is. If you are unfamiliar with the sport, check it out at Just type in "Extreme Ironing" and off you go.

With my wonderful free Friday we had planned to go to Brighton for the day but a combination of dark clouds and last minute "must dos" lead us instead to spend the morning at Harrods for Cleland and The Globe Theatre for Belle. Cleland and I went to Harrods to visit the Egyptian Hall and the Dodi/Diana memorial. I'd never been and Cleland had wanted to wander around inside so we headed that way while Belle took in as much Zara time as she could.

Afterwards we went to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to see an amazing production of Othello. In all honesty I am not a fan of Shakespeare's tragedies. Would much rather see a comedy (Much Ado About Nothing is my personal favourite) but the actors made the performance so compelling. The guy who played Othello just lived the part but it was Desdemona that took all of my attention every time she stepped on stage. Iago was played by the guy out of Notting Hill (Max, the character with the paraplegic wife) and he was also superb.

And after our last night together and a dinner at the Thai place at the local pub (Cleland's choice not mine) we had to say goodbye. And it was hard...

Then Sunday I spent the day having lunch and seeing the Fantastic 4 sequel with Vic and a curly Karen to say goodbye to Vic too.

And I am still stuck in London! Frustration is now defined as going to Heathrow airport and not getting on an aeroplane!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The kids are back in town!

Cleland and Belle are back in London after their 12 day tour of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I'm sure that they will have lots to say about all the places they've seen on Belle's blog page (link over to the right of this page). But for my Mum, I have stolen some of their photos and posted them up here.

Here's a photo of Cleland and Belle on their first tube ride when I picked them up at the airport 2 weeks ago. Cleland wrote a itinerary of everywhere they are going etc and on the day he was scheduled to arrive he had put "Alex to drive" under their transport heading. Haven't laughed that hard in ages. I think the tube was a much better option!

I think this is a photo of them in Ireland somewhere. Not sure of where exactly but I'm sure he'll explain later.


It was actually Blarney Castle where we kissed the Blarney Stone.

This is his favourite photo. There is another one before it of Belle standing with the bear. Apparently Cleland reckons the bear tried to cop of feel so he called him on it!

Here's one of Belle on the coast of what I think is Scotland, but I'll have to ask her when they get home. She and Cleland are out on a tour of London at the moment. Adriaan's mum and sister were staying here last week and now C and B are here. I am having a very unusual half hour without anyone else in the house.


It is Dingal Bay in the Lake District of Ireland.

And the lucky last two, Cleland had a go at holding a golden eagle when they were in Scotland (?). Probably should have asked for some explanations before just swiping their photos huh? Oh well. The thought was there.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Apparently the first video link for my school tour is not working properly. Not sure why. The wonderful world of technology! Have had a go at fixing it, so hopefully it should work now.

Try double clicking on this link.



P.S: It is pretty long so it might take a while to upload. Try back again later if it doesn't work the first time. In the meantime, check out Karen and Lachie in Acton Green...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

New Job?????????

Went for a job interview today at a school in West Acton. Get this, they offered me... a house! Yep, you read it right, a house! If I was successful in getting the position the "school house" would be available to me!

Beats the usual $$$ package doesn't it?

Monday, June 4, 2007

A great weekend.

Everyone deserted me this weekend and choofed off to Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Wales and Austria. Suffering from cabin fever after a school holiday week stuck in rainy London I gave Shannon a call and she very kindly let me tag along to her Friday afternoon drinks in Covent Garden. Turned out to be a fantastic night as we went made an impromptu visit to a comedy club. You know the guys who stand on the street holding a big sign say "Comedy Club this way", well we followed the sign. Expecting dodgy, we actually got a great evening. Can't say I would have taken my children there though, as one tourist family did, and was certainly not surprised when they didn't come back for the second half.

Saturday is now dubbed "big Tesco day" forevermore. We've all heard great things about "big Tesco" and Karen found one in Wembley which she proudly introduced me to when I arrived in London. Sure enough, I fell in love with it too. Big Tesco is like a combination of Woolworths, Big W, Kmart and Best & Less all rolled into one. Well, I found a Tesco magazine on the bus a couple of weeks ago which listed another big Tesco (there are smaller ones that just stock food, and ones called Tesco Express which only have corner store stuff) at Osterley, which half way between us and Heathrow. Since I didn't have other plans, I set out in order to find the Holy Grail of Tescos. And boy, was it worth it! Oh my goodness me. It puts Wembley big Tesco to shame. This thing is huge! 2 floors of absolutely anything and everything you could ever need. And in multiple colours!

I met up with Nicola for a few drinks in the sun at the Oldship in Hammersmith. A last minute arrangement, but I had a great time up until the bit where I lost my lunch/dinner. Turns out my first real bout of sunshine + $AU45 bottles of wine + my weak drinking ability = a bad experience. Very, very disappointed in myself and feel completely un-Australian.

Actually managed to do some school planning work on Sunday morning before meeting Brendan and Michelle in the Barley Mow for non-alcoholic beverages and lunch.

For a weekend completely deserted by my usual posse of people, I had a great time (except for 12:10am on Sunday morning). I hope you all had a great weekend too.