He’s here, safe and sound.

In my first sleep
I came to the river
And looked down
Through the clear water –
Only in dream
Water so pure,
Laced and undulant
Lines of flow
On its rocky bed
Water of life
Streaming for ever. Kathleen Jessie Raine

Arriving on Tuesday morning, a healthy 7lbs 7oz a beautifully perfect grandson.

Mum did wonderfully and looked amazing after an 18 hour labour.

We visited on Wednesday and we are in love. He slept but then after a feed and a change he was awake and taking everything in.

I can’t wait to see him grow and change, I can’t wait to see his Mum and Dad with him, loving and nurturing him. Their tenderness and obvious emotion with him is awe inspiring. Such a different dimension seeing your child hold his child.

The love, I am told, is like no other, and I feel that already. We are just staring at photos of him, craving more and also hugs too. After such a year to have him arrive safely in the last month is uplifting, giving hope for the future and hoping that tears will be happy ones rather than those bringing more stringent measures whereby we can’t see them.

Tasks to do…

The snow started to fall last Sunday and as always seems the case, whilst forecast we all don’t quite believe it!

Monday morning and I made the decision early to work from home as the roads would not be gritted sufficiently.

Unexpectedly the glass for the dressing room was delivered as was Georgina’s bed: the drivers both said that main roads were fine but off those it was like a skating rink.

Tuesday and a surveyor regarding our blinds was to visit, measure and take away to cut, but all that was needed was a change of fixing so all five done!

Although temperatures were not above 0 it appeared that there was sufficient thawing to try to get to work on Wednesday.

I allowed time to clear as much snow as possible and cautiously moved off the drive, slowly, once I had traversed the two side roads I was on the main road, but the car wouldn’t go above 5 mph. Vehicles behind me grew impatient so I abandoned the car safely and walked home. Luckily I was wearing wellies and not my usual high heels! Don’t know why it just wouldn’t accelerate so another day working from home, but I had governors’ meetings that night and all my prep/documents were at school.

Thursday, I made it in and the car was fine (hubby had collected it later on Wednesday). I managed to get on top of tasks from the previous night’s meetings and think about what I could do from home in half term. It was my Dad’s 88th birthday and I managed to speak to him, although he is still awaiting treatment for his vocal chord palsy so is unable to talk back. My sister and I also spoke with him later in the evening. We are all struggling with not being able to see each other, it’s particularly hard for my parents, everyone is feeling the strain, but hopefully for not too much longer.

Friday was a day away from the screen for students, as we had many activities in and out of school, one being a bake off. It was great to talk to the students and see their creations coming to life. Some of them were from the group of students I looked after in Lille, so it was good to catch up with them.

Just randomly checked the info link in the afternoon to find out that our budget has been published for next year. It looks like we will be able to balance the books for another year, with the next three looking sustainable too. I will spend some time looking at this in more detail next week.

Yesterday meant an early start to chores, and finishing touches, from an extensive list to complete throughout the next week. Pipe covers for the radiators are now in situ, painting Kevin’s Nan’s footstool and some cooking were yesterday’s ticks. I also chose the fabric for the reupholstery too.

Rugby yesterday was full of twists and turns, quite literally, with England and Wales both victorious. Sadly, Scotland’s indiscipline was their undoing, a close match with only 1 point between the teams, but a loss is a loss. Today is bound to be a cracker between Ireland and France!

Fingers crossed for more clement weather this week and that when we return on 22nd we can begin preparations for opening to more students from the 8th March.

A week and a half

It’s been a week full to bursting. Plenty of downs and ups, and with the vaccinations moving apace, I could be done and dusted by my birthday!

A wedding invitation last week to Spain, and I’ve sent off for my new passport, booked flights and accommodation-a real leap, or that’s what it feels like, into the unknown… something lovely to look forward to, that makes five things now …..

The six nations began and after a poor Italian performance, the Scots played a great game to beat England for the first time in 38 years at twickenham, on the 150th Calcutta cup match. Let’s hope it’s not another 38 years as it is one of my dreams to be there to see it.

Georgina’s new bed arrives tomorrow unless the adverse weather delays it, and we have been busy cleaning and cooking for the week ahead.

We are approaching half term and after some very sad news to end the week, I’m sure we will all be glad of the break from work, home schooling and the daily pressures of the early starts. I do love half term week, although it is usually when our budget comes through and all the plates are spinning and balls are juggled…….

This week has again highlighted the importance of keeping those you love close, and tell them too as often as you can. Our grasp on life is tenuous and people and memories are more important than chattels

Peace be with you

The first month of 2021 is almost done and there is a glimpse of light down a long, dark tunnel. It would seem we are doing well with vaccinations and the lockdown, whilst very hard, is reducing cases, hospitalisation, which will in turn reduce deaths. This is a positive worth having!

All tests in school remain negative, a negative that is a positive too!

Work has provided many challenges and still more to face. We have secured funding for decarbonisation and the tenders were due in on Friday. All work to be completed by end of academic year-during a pandemic-no pressure then?

Our home is almost complete, each weekend trying to find ‘homes’ for our stuff, whilst taking trips down memory lane with photos and objects. But why do we keep so many, just to keep them in a cupboard, a drawer, a bag. This is a job to complete later to select a few tangible items to be used/on show. The rest to be up-cycled, sold, donated, photographed to make a memory board.

Today the sun is shining, it’s cold but there is new hope, and an opportunity to find peace, be at peace and enjoy what’s to come. We received a wedding invite yesterday for the summer, and it’s abroad. I must admit to instantly feeling very anxious: we’ll have to book accommodation, flights, car hire etc, what if it’s cancelled, what will it be like to travel again, and my passport is up for renewal. All questions pre lockdown wouldn’t even have existed-I would’ve just gone ahead and booked, so I will certainly be taking some deep breaths and just diving in as I would have.

Plans, projects and positives

Phew, what a mad ten days, testing area set up and running. Not without challenge but at least we did it. A great team effort all round: 55 hour week all told. I am rightly proud of myself too in galvanising the staff and volunteers to make this happen, even though, truth be told, I don’t think schools should be doing this. One positive is all tests are negative, but the jury is out as to whether the results are all valid.

In other news my parents and mother in law have had their vaccines, so that bodes well, for both them and us in the longer term.

My son and daughter-in-law are settled in Tasmania and her new job started on Monday and he has secured employment starting next Tuesday. So exciting for them both and we are both proud and excited! I do hope that we can travel later this year to visit them and also to be able to hug them too!

I’m starting to plan for this year as when restrictions are eased I want to be in a place that we can move into action with plans made. The work on our home is all but finished. Carpets were ordered and delivered last week and I’m hoping they will be fitted next week. The blind situation has still to be rectified, but not yet as the company has gone into lockdown. I’m hopeful that they could be up by April/May when the lighter mornings and evenings kick in.

Next will be the dressing part, the part I love: accent colours, mirrors, pictures and ornaments. My challenge is to reduce what I have into a few well chosen pieces rather than a scattergun approach of all. I also want to do a gallery wall: lots of planning to do for that so that it is aesthetically pleasing. These touches are what makes a house a home. Furniture, probably will be lockdown delayed, but I have April/May as a completion point in mind.

We’ve eaten well over the last few weeks and Georgina has excelled herself with her choice of meals to cook for us!

We had a dusting of snow yesterday and the garden has had that delicate frosting on more than one occasion.

I have signed up to Freddie’s flowers and they last longer than 7 days, and it is delightful to have fresh flowers in the house. I love that you get information on each flower and how to arrange them. Not sure whether this is a treat or an indulgence-probably both 😉🤩

River is blossoming and keeping mum and dad on their toes. Angel when asleep but we all know how easily those moments are switched. Put into perspective, these weeks are but a short time of their life and they will get through it 💕💕💕💕

This year there is so much to look forward to, and undoubtedly there will be change, but I’m looking forward to that manifesting itself, and I will be ready for it!

Enjoy your week!

Lockdown 3

Returned to work on Monday with the staggered start extended only for a full national lockdown from this morning to be in force. Schools closed to the majority of students, but open for vulnerable or key worker children.

Meanwhile schools have to be cleaned, sanitized, all normal operational tasks, difficult to do from home, still have to be done. Add to that to set up a testing venue for those in school, with a view to mass test when the whole school can return.

Free school meal provision has to be sorted and maintained, queries to be dealt with out of normal school hours. The offer of IT equipment and subsequent orders, but the infrastructure struggles to keep up with the demand, and IT teams struggling with the 24/7 queries re software/hardware etc.

New ways to log attendance both remotely and in person. Online learning to be rolled out- where from, who to, what resources are needed?Well-being checks by phone to provide some human contact, to seek solutions to any concerns or issues, whilst reassuring and comforting students and parents, and also our staff community and aware of impact on their wellbeing. We, like the students, want to be in school, want to do our jobs, see the students grow and develop, and celebrate success.

For me, it’s the not seeing an end in sight, data provided on graphs, tables, stats, briefings all painting a bleak picture. We have the vaccine, there is a plan but as always red tape can scupper these, which heightens anxiety and does little to propel us forward.

Hopefully there will be progress in the next few weeks that will see levels fall and vaccinations exceeding those planned. As we approach the harsher weather elements of the winter season we can look to nature to provide glimmers of rebirth and new beginnings as the bulbs begin to show as do the new buds on plants and trees. Seeing this always brings me joy: something we need in bucket loads. We need to be positive, calm and measured with what we have to do, and find within ourselves the strength to play our part in the solution.

Another day, another u turn.

Tonight I urge readers of my blog to go to the link below. I completely agree with the frustration, rage and utter disbelief but also have the same determination not to be crushed by all of this!

I went into work yesterday for 6 hours followed by reading ‘how to guides’ and looking at the training for rapid testing which is meant to start on Monday. Me, the deputy head and site team were looking at logistics of the venue that currently we feel is suitable, how to set up the swabbing stations, processing and recording. Now the challenge is to staff it: unless there is another u turn tomorrow or Sunday……..


‘Twas the day……’

Christmas 2020 is complete, we survived it! Hooray! It was different in as much as there weren’t a few nights out before and not seeing more family members over the holiday. Although perversely, as we attended Kevin’s step-father’s funeral on the 23rd we did see five of the family. Quite bizarre with face masks worn, travelling separately and no wake in these strange times. It was held in a lovely chapel and the tributes were heartfelt for a kind gentleman who had been in their lives for half a century.

After much toing and froing the Brexit trade deal was struck, vaccines are on their way so hopefully not too much more of these tiers or lockdowns.

But I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas and Boxing day: prep done the day before, we dressed up, we ate, drunk and laughed. A lovely relaxed few days, and now what to do with all those leftovers 🤔

As we await NYE/HNY in 4 days time a chance to reflect on the madness of 2020 and look forward with renewed hope of better things to come in 2021 and to spend time with our families again, and lots of cuddles too with our gorgeous grandson.

I’m sure there will be further challenges but we have love and strong bonds to support us through whatever we have to face.

Tier 4

So Christmas is cancelled or at least minimise to one day.

New restrictions, guidance and disappointment for so many. We seem to lurch from one thing to another.

Perhaps as we approach a new year in 10 days time, now is the time to stay safe, and do what we can for each other. I will celebrate when this is under control.

November… the ninth month…

As we approach the end of November and St Andrew’s Day (patron saint of my beloved Scotland) and the impending birth of our grandson (still pinching myself writing that!) I thought I’d look up what November meant. It’s from the Latin for nine, as it was the 9th month in the Roman calendar, before January and February were added to the calendar by Pope Gregory VIII in 1852-hence the Gregorian Calendar.

It’s been a month of few ups, with another lockdown and a period of self isolation, which ends today, thank goodness. The lockdown changes into a tier system on Wednesday with the possibility of some Christmas cheer.

Our grandson is due in less than a week and our building work, paused due to SI can resume mid week. Hopefully we will be finished by Christmas, with carpets laid and decorations up. If not, it won’t matter as we won’t be entertaining much this year, but hopefully we can make up for that some time in 2021.

Work has been a challenge with a few positive cases of covid, but not the amount that I thought at all, and so far no staff cases. Phew!

Only three weeks left of this first term, with twists and turns, guideline changes, offers of money, then restrictions as to what can be reimbursed. This whilst bidding for £1 million worth of decarbonisation funding, projecting budgets for the next three years, and day to day requirements and tasks.

My next blog will hopefully bring the joyous news of the safe arrival of our grandson: a wonderful event in the most challenging year. 😍😍😍

Remember, remember the 5th of November…..

As we approach the 5th of November will there be Gunpowder, treason and plot as we, from that date, return to lockdown for at least four weeks?

I have spent the last fourteen days with my parents to support them at a time of uncertainty and with a few issues, with the groundwork put in by Elaine.

It has been both a privilege and a time of reflection on life during a pandemic showing the importance of social interaction. Their steadfast love and support has always been apparent and it is so easy to be able to give that back in return.

I’d never driven to Scotland on my own and I now have two solo journeys under my belt. It’s lovely to be home now and see Kevin, Georgina and Joe, albeit briefly. Although with the bedrooms all being refurbished it has been like coming home to a building site!

We have had some lovely food, I’ve enjoyed a few walks in the sunshine. I’ve been touched by their enduring love, humour and protection of each other. That doesn’t mean it’s been all sunshine and roses but it has been precious time spent together.

It is now less than 5-7 weeks until we meet our Grandson and we cannot wait! At least we can wave goodbye to 2020 on a positive.

Here we go again….

It’s been a month since writing last and it’s been eventful. My parents have been down to Brighton and returned to Scotland. We briefly saw them, which was lovely. We enjoyed great food as always.

I’ve been creative and even made my first crochet item. It’s made with love and can keep our grandson warm when he arrives in December.

There’s been a lot of cooking with HelloFresh recipes, a visit to the gin kitchen in Dorking and a dip in a hot tub!

We had a lovely walk last weekend, it was great to be outdoors in the fresh air.

We celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary at one of our favourite restaurants, and talking to the owner of how lockdown and COVID-19 has impacted not only on his livelihood but also that of his staff.

We’ve met Mittens, my cousin’s kitten, and Archie, Joe and Nicole’s kitten and been sent a photo of Vinnie, Andrew and Lis’s dog. Also plenty of snaps of our two Oscar and Ruby.

On Tuesday the builders were back to start Phase 2 of remodelling. This time it’s the snug makeover, four bedrooms and tweaking the bathroom. Oh and decorating hall stairs and landing.

Living in Essex we have moved into Tier 2 restrictions, and that is a challenge for us all. I do hope that this is a sharp, short measure and we see rates of infection and death reduce swiftly. This year has been one of the most difficult for so many of us, for a variety of reasons and we have all felt the ripples from the guidelines and restrictions but as long as we can make it through, be kind to one another so that we can look forward to family gatherings, and seeing friends.

Where I work

This year due to Covid we can’t have open evening, so after some negotiation we commissioned a great film maker and director to create a promotional video for our school. I watched it with the Head and an Assistant head on Tuesday and I have to say it was emotional. It brought back the feelings I had 22 years ago when I first walked through it’s doors as a prospective parent. https://youtu.be/AWPoGqnr0eU

This is why we do what we do!


Three weeks in …

Autumn has arrived although the sunshine is providing the last vestiges of summer. A return to full school has been busy trying to provide a return to normality.

There’s been a new car, the loss of a much loved pet, a trip to Suffolk and the day to day hubbub of life.

We had our first confirmed Covid positive test and dealt with it with care, understanding and provided an opportunity for us to refine what we have in place.

The next few weeks will provide further challenge but as long as I have my family and friends whether in person or virtually we will get through this

September ahoy

Four weeks have passed as we approach autumn, and a new academic year with all that will hold.

I’ve been busy at work with all the prep for the full return to school for students and staff. This has been a real rollercoaster and my days have been long and the anxiety huge. A flood to one area also divided an additional challenge with an office move to complete too.

I have enjoyed in the last week a trip to the Bombay Sapphire distillery, and a family get together to meet our newest member. After that we have travelled to Arbroath, my birthplace via Barnsley, and Bridge of Allan.

The Bridge of Allan was my first ‘meet’ with someone via Instagram, and whilst Covid made the interaction brief, staying in their holiday let was a lovely mini break in beautiful surroundings.

Arbroath was wet, as was Stirling and the trip to Falkirk, but so worth visiting my parents for the first time in 5 months. We had good conversations, lots of laughter, good food and even a drive out to Edzell and a almost balmy evening. At 85 and 87 time spent with them is precious.

A trip to Glamis also brought back wonderful memories of our children from previous visits, and even though very wet, the staff were lovely and the new way to follow the tour really easy and enjoyable.

Barnsley beckoned again to stay with my cousin and her fiancé: I am so lucky that I have a plethora of cousins who are so hospitable and time spent with them is such fun. We had a delightful Italian meal, our first out out since February. A slightly weird experience but at least it makes the thought less daunting to do again.

We’re on our way home now with a Bank holiday tomorrow, after which September arrives and it will be go, go, go…..,