Pegging Out With Pole Tig – ‘sad’ acts apply within

Glad,

A wee bit sad,

Little things that make this housewife cheer,

Washing on the line

Because the weather’s fine,

Might be sad but grinning ear to ear. 🙂

Knickers in the breeze,

Drying day to please,

Simple pleasures really are my thing,

Another load is on,

Some sunshine, can’t go wrong,

Writing silly ditties in between.

Sun just rocks my socks,

Getting my rocks off,

Washing, scrubbing, sad act that I am,

Fluttering in the air,

Like laundry hung out there,

Playing housewife just because I can.

Very simply true,

‘Tween you ‘n’ me, we two,

Teaching keeps me busy all term time, so

When holidays roll round,

Or on weekends, I’ll be found,

Doing what all other housewives do.

Catching up on chores,

Risking kids be bored

By thankless tasks that make their eyeballs roll,

Think that I’m a fool?

Well, here’s the golden rule,

Bribe them, sugar spoonful, that’s the goal.

They’ll thank me come the day

They learned how to play

Working in the sunshine, way cool gig,

For in between each bout

We’re running all about

Learning garden games; they love ‘Pole Tig’.

So yeah, chores can be some fun

And when the chores are done

Mary Poppins’ bag holds every trick

A charm or two inside,

Stretch it open wide,

Imagination, smiles that make kids tick.

No lament from me,

‘Cause I have got the key,

Brighter days are here along with Spring,

Pegging out the days,

Working while we play,

Mummy’s home from school. I guess part-time. :/

 

Masked And Dangerous

Right, having another bash at the mask shenanigans. While sitting in sunshine is far removed from the following it seems helpful in mashing the brain a bit.

Onwards by carriage, in cabin alone, pulled

by four horses, unknown maiden was borne,

masked and unseen, so she thought, as she rode,

unheeding of eyes trained on traversed road.

Forested hideout masked predator there,

man of some mystery, hidden in lair,

lying in wait for rich treasure to claim,

stand and deliver, his call, with no name.

Rode he to hounds in the day but by night,

donned cloak and pistol, visage kept from sight,

surprising all journeys along forest path, 

tonight, no exception, ever ready to grasp

bejewelled and bedazzled from carriages fine,

heard wheels approaching, areckoned apt time.

Midnight it was as he forced to a stop

carriage before him, at last strike of bell clock,

beckoned insider to part with her gems,

waved pistol wildly, guarantee of amens,

when out from the carriage, from cabin enclosed,

stepped lady lightly, more pale than white rose

with lips of rich red, aplumped they of blood,

sparkled of eyes where ruby did flood,

dazzling more brightly than riches he sought,

intentions unravelled, his plan came to naught.

Caught on the highway, predation to prey,

bit down she first then robbed as he swayed,

devoided of treasure, blood soaked, fell to ground,

while black plumed, her stallions, urged homeward bound,

back to her layer, her coffin in keep,

castle of masks, batted eyes, six feet deep.

Tattooed the hooves, same to face from her bust

suffused now with pigment of redded blood lust.

Beware the highway, deliver if asked

though man, masked for moment, lies dead to the task

erred in the path of the woman he chose,

asleep till tomorrow, masked once more as pale rose.

Nope, so no romance here either, per se. Right, this is getting beyond the pale, so to speak. I can’t write a love poem around masks? What gives? Masked encounters bring out the deadly in me? Who knows. But this was fun. I think I may have cackled at the end. Sitting in the sunshine cackling.

Maybe third time will be the charm. I’m not giving in. In fact, I’m really enjoying finding out where masks take me. Masks are fun. Like acting. Only better. No stage fright.

Seriously (or not so seriously!) link in in comments so I can enjoy your masked adventures. Mark has sent in one that I’ll post to this here blog after I’ve stopped writing today. Umm, might be late, Mark. 😉

Are You Dancing? Are You Asking?

Today I was reinitiated into the joys of ‘social dancing’.

For the unenlightened, this is the kind of dancing your mammy and daddy might have done. Well, actually, my mammy and daddy didn’t do these dances. They were more your tango and fox trots and waltzes. But you get my drift.

You know the kind of dances. ‘The Gay Gordons’, ‘The Saint Bernard’s Waltz’, ‘The Canadian Barn Dance’ and ‘Strip the Willow’, among others. These are the dances that teachers like to encourage the ten to twelve year olds to learn for the day when, ‘You might be at a wedding or a ceilidh.’

In fact, the children involved today will do these dances at their school Christmas party.

A lot of schools have moved away from inflicting this punishment on children. I don’t know whether some child or other in the past begged their parents to take the education authorities to the European Court of Human Rights to ensure that their civil liberties were not impinged upon. But social dancing has rather gone the way of the dodo.

One of the schools I go to has, however, decided that it is still a valuable lesson in humility and had a practice today. I wouldn’t normally have been involved but I had a ‘Please Take’ scenario.

Three class loads of kids piled into the gym hall and were then instructed to choose a partner. The same one as the week before. So they had already had some practice at this. Nevertheless, the faces of some of the boys and girls were a study as they struggled with who to ask and then shuffled beside them awkwardly, trying not to make eye contact. There are always the one or two who are quite up for it. Worth a watching those ones.

I smiled to myself remembering this horrible experience from my own days at primary school. It could have been worse, right enough. My secondary school involvement in dances was a hundred times more humiliating considering I went to an all girls’ school.  So that didn’t make for much fun in the dancing stakes. Especially as a teenager.

We were allowed to invite boys from the local co-ed school once we reached our fifth year at secondary. I was about fifteen, I remember. We were all glad- ragged up and the boys were there. So too were the teachers. Old, wizened women who had never smiled since they were babes. Patrolling the assembly hall and ensuring that all partners stayed well apart from each other. No risk of Christmas kisses there. Or even a smoochie dance. No, no, no, it was all very disco from a distance. Status Quo and head banging. Some Slade and Sweet thrown in for good measure. While Macbeth’s witches shook their heads in dismay at the volume of the music and cackled to themselves every time they split up a possible meaningful relationship.

Anyway, back to today.

Heights between and within the year groups varied quite widely so we tried to pair the children so that the boys’ arms could actually reach above their partner’s shoulders. And so they didn’t look too ridiculous. We’re not that cruel.

The girls are really quite mature in their approach to the business of dancing with boys and some even extended their hands expecting to have them taken. At this point, many of the boys pulled the sleeves of their jumpers down over their hands to ensure no possible contamination from members of the opposite sex. An interesting way of dealing with the problem. But one I have observed many times before.

With instructions not to be ridiculous, they began. After demonstrations from two of the other teachers. A young lass reading the instructions from a pile of notes. Step, two, three, stamp, stamp. Step left ……you know how it goes.

The ceilidh music began and off they stepped. I wanted a video! You really would have to have been there. The almighty exertions of these children to follow what to them were convoluted steps while trying to hang onto their sleeves and count out the time to the music was a joy to behold.

So much better than the panto I had to endure the other week!

Not content with watching and encouraging I’m afraid I just had to join in. I’d forgotten how much I liked ‘Strip the Willow’.

It was a good day. And the children definitely improved. So in future years they can join in any wedding or ceilidh with ease! Very worthwhile practice, I think. And so much fun to watch. They were laughing at the end too so it couldn’t have been as horrific as all their protestations would have had us believe. Enjoying school? Teachers and pupils? Ridiculous!

Ho-panto-ho!

OK, so, I’m on my third glass of red wine. And it’s a Thursday. And I’m making no apologies. When you know why, you surely would tell me to insert a couple of straws into the rest of the bottle and sink into sensory oblivion.

I have spent four hours of my life in the throes of non-rapture, non-fun, non-desire, non-fucking-anything-other-than-sadistic-pseudo-masochisitc-dubious-pleasure.

Yes. I was at a pantomime. In the company of around 500 children. Ranging in age from five to twelve. A joy. It was not!

I will never have those hours back again. But, if I did, I would have my legs waxed or deliver a baby or two. Or insert hot wires up my nose. Get my drift?

I have seen The Wizard of Fucking Oz several times in my life. At no point did it ever feature excerpts from ‘Grease’…..’we go together like shanga-a-lang-a-ding-de-ding-de-dong’ or whatever the ‘words’ are that I so cannot be arsed looking up. It never at any time had ‘Uncle Sam’ come on and give us a rousing chorus of ‘I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandee’. Nowhere that I can recollect did cowboys make an entrance and perform several ho-down, shoot-em-up numbers. I don’t even remember there being cowboys. There certainly was no one, in my foggy memory, asking ‘what did the fox say?’ Who gives a fuck what the fox said? Well, apparently five hundred children did. ‘Cos they stood and shouted/sang from the top of their lungs whatever the feck it was the fox might’ve/should’ve/could’ve said.

Add to that the multitude of opportunities provided by those kind actors to involve the children in their masterpiece and you have screams of ‘Oh, yes he did!!!!!!!!!’ or  ‘Oh, no he didn’t!!!!!!’ depending, of course, on whether ‘he’ did or didn’t. Sacred heart of all that’s holy………….

What is this phenomenon that is the pantomime? Or, in common parlance, the panto?

Is there another country in the world that feels the need to subject teachers/parent helpers/parents/grandparents/whoever-has-the-misfortune to this annual audio-visual assault on the senses?

Seriously. Is there? Is this a British phenomenon? And, if it is, why is it? At this point, I should probably google the answer but, honest to god, I cannot be arsed.

My brain is only coming down from the experience. I am still mentally calculating how many times  six year olds actually need to go to the toilet. I mean really need as opposed to, ‘I feel like a walk/would like to check out the toilets here’.

I also took a snack of jelly babies with me. And I feel a bit sick. What the fuck was I thinking? Jelly-fecking-babies? What possessed me? Must have had a momentary throw-back to my plooky youth and thought, ‘What the feck!’

So, yes, pantomimes.

And now I can hear my six year old in the room next door whingeing to her older 12 year old sister that, ‘it’s not fair!’ And, frankly, maybe it’s not but I don’t feel like investigating any more trivia today. Because most of the time what irks kids is trivia. Builds backbone. Thank god. That means that for most kids their lives are made up of the most trivial crap that it is possible to imagine. e.g. ‘He/she is looking at me. He/she said I was a loser. He/she said he/she wishes I went to a different school. And that I would die.’ Now, the last one I would deal with. Bit unkind that one.

But, god save us from trivia of the awful childish kind. Nope. There’s worse. There’s the god-awful trivia of the adult variety. Case in point. ‘This fucking job does my head in some days.’

Shiiiiit! Was that me? So, yeah, trivial complaints from me about a job that I love most of the time. But, fuck me, on a day like today, all I want to know is if anyone has a couple of straws? Really, ‘cos other wise, I’m taking it by the neck. Ho-Fucking-ho! And a merry panto season to you!

Guilt Trip – Mark ll

Strictly speakin’, this isnae actually a new post ‘cos it’s the wan ah posted yisturday!  Guilt Trip

Bu’ a few folk huv commented oan ma video readins an’ ah think that they aw think that that’s the wiy ah talk aw the time. An’ it’s no’.

So, ahm offerin’ an alternative here fur yer delights. If ye kin make oot wit ahm sayin’ then good fur you! You’re a linguist ae soarts.

Translation:_

Strictly speaking, this isn’t actually a new post because it is yesterday’s post!

But, a few people have commented on my video readings and I think that they all think that that’s the way I speak all the time! But it’s not.

So, I’m offering an alternative here for your delights. If you can make out what I’m saying then good for you! You’re a linguist of sorts.

Guilt Trip Mark ll

 

Shenanigans With Chores

 ‘I walked him last,

It’s your turn now!’

‘I dusted and I hoovered!’

‘Stop hiding in your bedroom.

I know all these manoeuvres.’

 

You have a chore, just do it,

Or do you like my voice,

Nagging at you, picking faults,

Like, ‘Clean up all you toys.’

Or, ‘Why is there a banana skin

Lying on your floor?

‘There’s mould in that there tea cup,

Sat behind your door.’

 

A sigh escapes their pursed up lips,

Tiny hands on narrow hips.

‘We forgot. We’ll do it now.’

Then thinks. I see the cogs

Turning swiftly, pistons up and down,

Like lily jumping frogs.

‘Could we finish this game first?

We have to save our place,

We’ve almost captured all the zombies.

Don’t want to restart the race.’

 

I sigh too. Well, childhood’s fast

And gone in too short time.

‘Well, get that zombie if you can.

Five minutes more is fine.

But, after that, pick up your room,

Grab a duster and a broom,

For my broomstick has quite an itch,

You know me, I’m quite a witch.

Five minutes more, or maybe ten,

Then I’ll fly up here once again

And use my magic on your butts

And on your pairs of feet.

You’ll hop and skip till all is done.

And then we’ll have a treat….

A trip to town,

Or to the park.

We’ll have some fun,

You know, a lark.

Some outdoor time

When chores are done…..

What’s that you say?

Your game can wait?

You’ll pick up now,

It’s getting late?’

 

‘Let’s get done, Mum,

Don’t delay.

There’s work first, then

We get to play.’

 

Still standing there, with mouth agape,

I barely see them zoom,

Hither, thither, seconds later,

The tidiest of rooms.

 

‘Well, come on, Mum, our hands are full

With rubbish and a cup.

Have you done yours yet?

We’re all ready.’

Well, blow me down

And, f***!

 

A tiny bribe,

A trip outside,

Mummy’s company.

A little glow

Begins to grow.

I’ll make pizza for our tea.

 

Well, it’s the little things that mean so much,

Tiny hands in mine,

Skipping through some pleasant days.

And the house? Ach, it’s just fine.

Self-taught, Well-taught

Is it the case, do you think, that those things we teach ourselves are often more important to us, and therefore more easily learned, than those lessons we learn elsewhere?

I have read 140 report cards from my own kids’ school lives so far. Only forty-four more to go.

They have varied in degrees of wonderfulness and, sometimes, I’ve shaken my head or my fist!

In those areas where they have real aptitude as well as a ‘good’ teacher, they have applied themselves and done well. In other areas, their responses to negative comments have been, ‘Well, he/she is a crap teacher,’ or ‘I hate that subject. Why do we have to take it?’ or ‘Mr./Mrs. So-and-So was off a lot and we hardly got taught anything, so it’s not really my fault.’

Ahem. Excuses, excuses.

Ok, sometimes, those things are true.

What amazes me, though, is the fact that, when they are interested in something – really interested – nothing prevents them from learning.

So, I have five children who are self-taught in guitar.

Six children who play chess well.

Six children who love dancing and will do so at the drop of a hat.

Seven children who are all adept at making home movies and editing the results to ensure maximum laughter.

Two children who can conjure up and proudly produce family meals that equal mine. (The others can cook but with varying results!)

Seven children who can paint and draw wondrous images.

Three children who compete with themselves for fitness and exercise.

One child who can tell you director, producer, actors and settings of every movie she analyses for fun.

Seven children who can find their way around every games console or computer programme they encounter.

The list goes on.

I don’t have 44 children, however the above reads.

I have seven and the range of their abilities astounds me at times. The most astonishing thing, however, is that those areas where they are self-taught are the ones in which they are really well-taught. Even if there has been some initial instruction. Their desire to do something well in an area they are fascinated by has been the pivotal drive in their successes.

Exam results not withstanding (and they have done well), I wonder what would occur in schools where more child-led learning occurred.

We’re making progress in some ways but I don’t think we’ve gone far enough yet to ensure that motivational learning leads the way.

End of an Era

My old primary school is being demolished this summer. A new, purpose-built, hi-tech, all-singing, all-dancing structure will take its place. It will have all the mod cons – interactive white boards, projectors, dedicated IT suite, an elevator, disabled facilities. You name it, it will have it.

I don’t know that it will last as long as the current, yet-to-be-demolished version. This particular edifice has been standing for around a hundred years. My dad went to it, my brothers and sisters and I went to it, my children have all gone to it. Two of them are currently there today. My youngest still has five years to go there.

It’s quite an ugly building. It was built over three levels and constructed of blonde sandstone. It looks like a giant cuboid standing on one of its smaller sides. It has mesh on most of the windows to prevent break-ins and vandalism. It looks like a prison. And I am sure there have been plenty of children who have gone through its doors and felt that it was exactly that.

But I have some fabulous memories of my time there. I met my favourite teacher of all time there. I had the pleasure of being in the Primary seven class of this young (then) woman who just ‘got’ kids. You knew that she understood every one of us. She was patient and kind and had a fabulous way of putting her lessons across. She made everything worthwhile learning. It was in her class that I fell in love with Greece and its myths and legends. It was in her class that I realised that, even although I was quiet, I was noticed. She inspired me to give of my best. I worked my tail off for her approval. And I loved it. I blossomed.

I later did a teaching practice in the school myself as a student and she was still there. I was still in awe of her. I even posted a little note through her door at the end of teaching practice to tell her what an inspiration and fabulous teacher she had been. I was still too shy to say it face to face.

She retired some years ago and I still think of her. She never married. Teaching had been her life.

Thank you, Miss B.

It was in this school that I first did any acting. Well, if you can call it that. One of the teachers was particularly talented at art and music. He put on some mean performances. He wrote lyrics to classical pieces and had us all singing our hearts out on stage and feeling that the Oscars were just around the corner. He should probably have taught music in the secondary school. So, Mr. W, thanks for the memories.

One other teacher in my third or fourth year there was so old-fashioned. She used to wear an orange checked overall to protect her clothes from chalk dust. She had the girls curtseying and the boys saluting during a particular topic. I think it must have been ‘The Victorians’. We loved it.

‘Good Morning, Miss B.’ Curtsey. Salute. Such fun.

My first year in the school I was in a class that had an open coal fire. And a rocking horse. I so wanted a shot on that horse but pushier children always got there first. Sods! We practised our letters on small chalk boards and worked out number bonds with Cuisenaire rods. God, I sound like 120.

Parts of the school have terracotta coloured ceramic tiles covering the walls. These are to be removed and used to make a mosaic. Primary seven children will do this. So one of my daughters will be doing this as a last act before leaving for secondary.

Tonight there’s to be an open evening and a Mass to celebrate the end of an era.

My sister’s hosting a little after party too so there will most likely be a few sherbets and some tears.

Two days until the end of term and this school closes forever. To be flattened to the ground. But the memories will live on.

Cheers!