Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Day of Reckoning

It finally came – yes – GCSE Results Day.  For the uninitiated, the kids are given a slip of paper some weeks in advance which contains instructions and a PIN which will enable them to log onto the exam board website from midnight the day before and obtain at least some of their results.  As you might guess, in our house the conversation(s) have gone something like this:-

2 months ago:-
Me:  Here’s that PIN thingy – why don't you register in advance on the website?  If you try and do it on the day, you’ll never get in because there’s too much traffic....
TD:  Meh.  Shu’up – Hollyoaks is on.

1 month ago:-
Me:  Did you ever register?  It would be a good idea to do it – that way you have the option of getting some of your results early.  You don't have to do it if you change your mind, but at least...
TD:  LIKE OH MY GOD!  JUST, LIKE, CALM DOWN?  I’LL DO IT IN A MINUTE, RIGHT? (points nose at computer screen containing images of a YouTube makeup video)

1 week ago:-
Me:  Um, about results day...?
TD:  Yeah I’ve, like, lost that slip of paper thingy.....(voice trails off disinterestedly)

What was actually worrying me was that our ultimate conversation would go something like this on the day the results came out:-

Me:  Meh.

But no, she and about 10 mates have gone to Reading Festival straight from getting their results and the planning, shopping and general hysteria surrounding their first ever trip to a festival has meant that GCSEs have been the furthest things from her mind.  She decided that she would wait until she got to school and open the envelope with me and the Shah hovering nervously at her shoulder.

This whole experience was made worse by the fact that, working at her school, not only does everyone know me and know her, I know that they have all seen her results already (schools get them a day in advance) so I was busy parking up and not meeting anyone’s eye in case they were unable to disguise their looks of pity/triumph/hilarity.  In the event, it was all fine.  We were delighted with her results but the most exciting thing was that she got an A in Maths!  And her school does the IGCSE which is harder than your average GCSE paper.  I cannot even begin to find the words to express the levels of trauma that I have suffered with Maths papers (with both children, but particularly TD) over the years.  They both hated it with a passion and have sworn never to go near another Maths book as long as they both shall live, so help them God.

So – that’s that ordeal over with and we can sit back and relax for a wee while.  Oh, but she’s gone to a music festival....she’s never been to one before....anything could happen....pass the Gin :-)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Home again

There is no better description of the family holiday than that given by David Nicholls in his wonderful book ‘One Day’ ...a sort of harsh experiment in the limits of human proximity.”

As far as holidaying with teenagers goes, never a truer word was spoken or written.  It is for this reason that I only booked the holiday for one week this year.  I knew full well that, by the end of 7 days, we would all be heartily sick of one another.  The trouble starts when someone – well let’s not lie – it’s me - tries to book a holiday.  I go around the family and ask them to tell me where they would like to go and what sort of place they would like to stay in.  The reply is big fat silence.  After several weeks of this, I get bored and book the kind of holiday I like – ie one that is basically pretty antisocial – a villa with a pool.  This year’s offering was on the Algarve – close to various lovely beaches (I believe – we are not keen beach people and didn’t visit one of them).  I chose it on the basis that a) it had the biggest pool of any of the ones that were available in our price bracket and b) it was suitably remote from any vestiges of night life (ha ha!) as I don’t need to spend my holiday worrying about the whereabouts and safety of drunken teenagers.  I can do that at home, thanks very much.  Consequently, the teens spent a little time whingeing bitterly about the lack of wi-fi and then actually settled down to playing with the resident cat population and (whisper it) reading books in between mucking about in the pool, playing cricket and generally trying to drown or otherwise kill each other in poolside games.

The Shah and the boy played golf, TD and I spent hours just lazing around and I read four and a half books in the space of that one week.  In other words, it was great and I feel recharged and ready to go back to work sometime in the next couple of weeks (I'm not thinking about it just yet.)  The beauty of working in a school is that I managed to negotiate a contract that gave me about 9 weeks holiday a year.  It’s a beaut.  I have to be there during term time but I do get large chunks (not all) of the holidays off.  The payoff, of course, is that we can only ever take holidays at the most expensive time of year.

The cats have returned home with colds and are sneezing continually in a highly disgusting manner.  I’m intending to tough it out, well  they’re going to tough it out because we’re getting to the point where I may as well just have my salary paid directly into the bulging coffers of the sodding Vet.

However, the bin men managed to take away the maggotfest I referred to last time.  Life is good!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Radio silence

Pretty much this time last year, I wrote about 9 things not to do before you go on holiday.  I could make this the shortest post in the history of blogging by just referring you back to it now.  Why don't I learn from my mistakes?  Why do I consistently go on holiday with the Shah and our children, each year believing we are off to enjoy some bucolic, Cath Kidston-decorated idyll and everyone will skip through meadows with wild flowers adorning their hair when the reality is so bitterly different? we are again.  It is the eve of our hols and here is this year's list of things not to do once more.

  1. Do not make the same mistake twice.  If you can be arsed to click on the above link and read last year's list, I refer you to no.3 which involves cats, vets and emergency appointments.  Yup - exactly the same thing happened this year.  Fab. Oh and it cost the thick end of £100.
  2. Do not go on holiday on same day that your bins are collected.  This means that you cannot leave your food recycling bin out front because, if it is left out for more than one nano-second after the bin men have been, the local oiks will purloin it and chuck it into neighbours' gardens/the woods/wherever causing huge irritation to moi.
  3. Do not, therefore, put all your food waste into your landfill dustbin.  In a heatwave.  If you do this, you will open your bin to put the final bag in and find it crawling with maggots.  This will mean that you have to cause your husband huge irritation by insisting that he helps you clean out said bin, re-bag everything and hope the dustmen don't notice because you will be several thousand feet above France when they come.
  4. When your family show themselves to be utterly indecisive and come to you with ridiculous questions such as "shall I take some trousers?" (guess who) smile calmly and say something kind and loving, not "What a stupid feckin' question!  You can go around with your knackers hanging out for all I care."
  5. Get out beach towels well before you actually have to pack them.  That way you will discover that half of them have mysteriously gone walkabout more than 2 hours before you have to leave the house and, more importantly, while the shops are still open.
  6. Finally, don't book a flight which leaves at 6am, necessitating you leaving home at 3am and arriving in Portugal at 9am when the poxy villa won't be available until 4pm.  I. Just. Never. Learn.
Toodle pip!