Journal from the Home Counties..

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back to school week! A phrase to strike terror into the hearts of parents everywhere..

My son is starting his new secondary school tomorrow, so in our usual last-minute rush we toddle off to acquire the things on the uniform list..

Oops! seems all the parents in Surrey have the same idea! Sports and shoe shops are full of grizzly, over-tired, tanned people waiting their turn, whilst a pitiful pair of sullen teenage shop assistants tiredly hand over trainers, then disappear into the depths of the stock room for what seems like hours....

Eventually we escape, and head - joy of joys - to the O2 shop, much to my son's delight, as his promised first mobile phone is about to become a reality.

Predictably, there's a huge queue...and only 2 staff members serving. Sigh. Cute blonde 7 yr old daughter is now flagging, so sit her down in an attempt to begin phone purchase....

We are served by the most UN talkative O2 assistant i have ever met! Monosyllabic is a MAJOR understatement. She's clearly resentful that i have the audacity to actually BUY anything, let alone know exactly what i want (as son has spent last 3 weeks poring over various makes and models!).

She mumbles her replies to my (relevant) questions, does not explain the paperwork she thrusts at me, and, when i get home and re-read it, has not offered me the optional insurance, which i am seriously considering for my forgetful 11yr old.

I am most decidedly NOT impressed.

Ho hum. School tomorrow, with meeting for parents in the, what shall i wear to that?! :)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Well, it's over. I'm back from our District Centenery Camp and still in one piece, if a little soggy! Camp was good, had 30 kids from our Group plus leaders, ran the most amazing activity base for Cubs on Sat, thanks to imaginations at County Activities Team. Cubs had to 'rescue' alien eggs (golf balls) out of the space slime and get them round an obstacle course, then 'incubate' them to save the species! It was great fun.

The kids were brilliant, well behaved and - best of all - slept in until 7.30am both days! (unheard of for Cubs).

My favourite bits of camp were - chilli for leaders on Friday eve - thanks Martyn!, running the Space Alien Base and making volunteer dads dress up in radiation suits, the evening campfire (always the best part of camp), the chats to other group's leaders, and watching our fantastic parents turn up quickly and drop a 18x24 ft mess tent in 20 minutes on Sunday.
Scouting - makes you want to see the best in everyone! :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

so Tony has gone....have to say, watching his emotive farewell speech, that i dont think the last ten years have treated him kindly...he looks awful!!
Well that's what being at the top does for you....roll on the next lot.... :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ah so it does work! Finally managed to post a blog from a couple of weeks ago, i'm obviously not intelligent enough to understand how this blogging thing works. doh.

Ok so its now Friday and life is manic. As usual. BUT had an ace night Thursday, took 14 explorer scouts to try scuba diving at our local BSAC club. It was brilliant! We were under the water with tanks on our backs within ten minutes of arriving! Could very easily become totally addicted, its a totally surreal experience to sit on the bottom of a pool. Its like being surrounded by a cool silvery liquid quiet. Very peaceful (now you see why i'm attracted!) And ok the possible future trips to the Red Sea and Barbados may have helped... :)

Well its official i'm a terrible parent. Got up early to take my older son to school for a trip to the coast. Carefully made him required packed lunch and tea the night before. Dropped him to school ten minutes earlier than necessary, came home and ate breakfast with younger daughter. feeling very smug until leaving to take second child to school, realised i hadn't made her any lunch at all!!
Poor mite refused point blank to have school dinner (typical) and screamed until i gave in and hastily cobbled sandwiches, juice and yoghurt together.
Then, heartless harpy that i am, i drove her to the 'drop zone' (no parking allowed) and flung her out the passenger door! First time she's walked into school by herself (she's in Yr 1). Sped off not looking at smug calm Boden-dressed mums taking their ecstatically happy vegetable-eating children in, lovingly leading them by hand....grr!

Had a new experience today...thought i would try a new soup, on special offer at large well-known orange supermarket. Beetroot and creme fraiche. I love soup. Had pea and ham last week...lovely. But have to say that beetroot soup is almost exactly how you would imagine it to be....even the addition of worcestershire sauce didnt make any impression. ah well...

Must add a series of books to my all time favourites. The Hyperion books by Dan Simmons. Read the first two ten years ago. Idly browsing Amazon and found he'd written two more! Hastily ordered all four, am now on the Endymion books....not for the faint-hearted or beginner sci-fi fan, but absolutely riveting!

Quick often do the proud owners of wooden floors actually wash them down? Am quite good at dust-busting problem areas, and vacuum whole rooms regularly - ish, but washing is another matter....have one of those wet-wipe things but feel bad using disposables that will sit in a council tip for 300 interested in finding out if this is the norm?

Ah well. coffee and chocolate time...its Friday you see. Don't get me wrong, i eat chocolate every day (who doesn't?) but on Friday's we stop at the shop and buy a whole bar (so i dont have to sneak bits of cooking chocolate). And by Friday i need it!!!

Am feeling a little overwhelmed today, but that's typical on a Wednesday, its my cub pack night. We're off on a bike ride, and i'm scrambling to make sure enough adults (crb'd adults mind u) are coming with us to meet the required scout supervision ratio (its 1:8), plus sorting out Permission Forms etc.

Am being hassled to produce my Explorer programme, which was mostly put together by the explorers themselves last week (major feat!) and issue updated lists of members so our District can chase them for their subs this new seat belt legislation is obviously going to affect our scouting activities, as many of the parents car pool to get their kids to and from events away from our hq..

Did i mention that i was a cub leader? sorry. I'm a cub leader, an explorer unit leader (older scouts 14-18yrs) and, for my sins, a group scout leader (which means loads of paperwork and hassle basically).

Sometimes i just wanna throw my hands up in the air and say 'Someone ELSE deal with this for a change!' I find the politics and paperwork part very irritating, but mostly manage to keep going, consoled mainly by the idea that i dont do this for money (good job cos i dont get any), the glory (what glory?!) or the prestige (like cleaning out the chemical loos on camp - i get all the best jobs!).

I do it for the kids. To give them something they will remember for the rest of their lives (try this: ask any bloke if they were in cubs/scouts and 90% of them will smile and say yes), to show them new ideas and places, and maybe even to teach them a couple of things (like how to save someone's life with cpr) that may be useful to them in later life.

And that's all that keeps me going sometimes!!

Ok rant over... :)

Monday, October 09, 2006


This post is just a test, been having a few problems!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

So I'm addicted to reading blogs, and one of my bright spark friends suggests I start my own....
Alrighty then.
Background: I'd like to think I am an interesting intelligent female, a parent, a scout leader, and aparently a compulsive volunteer, my friends have taken to holding my arms down at scout and school meetings!

My son is doing a survey of all the water we use in our household over two days, for his school homework. 9 litres per toilet flush, 55 litres per dishwasher run, etc. We stick post - its up in all the bathrooms and kitchen. Am horrified to learn that we have used 557 litres of water in only 2 days!
Staggering. After some careful research on the net however, and relieved to find that some of the school's water usage per task/appliance is a little outdated. For example, our washing machine uses only 45 litres of water - not 110 litres! Feel a little better now :)
Question is, do i write notes all over the homework page to the teacher, or go on letting him think we used 557 litres over 2 days this week?!