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.

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.

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.

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…..,

August 2020: hello, hope and health

It’s been 3 weeks since my last post, and it’s been busy! The summer term ended with shock resignations, plate spinning, risk assessments and teams meetings.

We have four big projects going on in school with toilet refurbishment, building a new repro area, reroofing of one building and a new fire alarm system, which has all the bells and whistles 🤩. On top of this there will be the implementation of all the classroom moves dovetailing with the delivery of some new furniture, recycling some of the better old furniture, cabling and tech infrastructure improvements, whilst all the usual running of the school is maintained.

I felt it was important to take a few days away from the work environment and it has been wonderful. Catching up with friends, cooking, cleaning, crocheting, gardening. My out of office reply hadn’t deterred contact but it has eased the pressure and I return next week with renewed vim and vigour ( hopefully).

Lockdown easing has not been as successful as hoped, with some changes due today now postponed. For many this is frustrating, and the implications for some livelihoods may be detrimental and far reaching. Shopping with a face mask is a small price to pay and I think will be with us for the foreseeable future. Personally I hope our little break to Scotland in three weeks can still go ahead, but we will have to adhere to the guidance/requirements set out.

I’ve signed up to HelloFresh and have so enjoyed the discipline of cooking from scratch: not that I don’t do that usually, but I get lazy, so this has renewed my love of cooking. Out of nine meals only one was a miss, but even with that the sauce was great and I’d do that again.

Today we are visiting Sissinghurst castle and gardens and I am soooo looking forward to going out. We are having a picnic first then an amble round the grounds. This is where Virginia Woolf stayed with Vita Sackville-West so a bit of history too to be enjoyed.

As we start the 8th month of 2020 we start the creep into autumn and uncertainty but hopeful of the new challenges and events ahead.

What a week….

It was my birthday last Saturday and I was hoping to celebrate with a party, social distancing put paid to that, but a few visitors on the day made up for it, and I have already ‘saved the date’ for next year! Especially as it’s a big number!

A week full of highs and lows with the loss of a loved one, loss of a much loved pet ( my sister’s) but the news of a new baby safely delivered was wonderful and joyous; so welcome to Theodore, a son for Daniel and Lizzie, a brother for Bella, and another grandson for Viv and Don. Health and happiness to the extended family and hope we get to meet him soon.

It was so lovely to have people round last Saturday the first real bigish ( within guidelines) social occasion since the kitchen was completed. The food was plentiful and drink flowed. There was good conversation, a smattering of gifts, a cacophony of flowers with time to reflect on how lucky I am.

The week at work has been nothing short of manic, and I see little let up between now and September possibly even beyond. So much to plan and prepare as well as all the usual stuff that is done over a summer break.

Next week brings the mayhem of the end of term. Meetings, buffet ( SD of course!), farewells, adieus, and then back on Monday for a few of us!

I’ve been on two card tutorials recently and have put the new techniques into practice. I’ve also sort of learnt to crochet, as a colleague very kindly offered to teach me so that I can make something for our first grandchild.

With guidelines and restrictions easing we are entering another phase of working towards ‘normality’ although with conflicting information it’s challenging to say the least

Until next time some photos of the last couple of weeks.

Half of 2020 complete

Yesterday was apparently the 100th day of lockdown and saw us half way through this year ( and Andrew’s birthday!)

Not necessarily wanting to wish my life away but I hope the next half goes as quickly and that we can begin to get a new normality.

School is up and running for the limited students, but we face the challenge of all to return in September with ever changing advice.

We visited Nicole and Joe in their new home last week and they have almost unpacked and with a few things to finish it will b lovely. They are both well and the baby the size of a pomegranate! Their arrival will certainly make this year a special one for a positive reason.

Certain districts in Melbourne have had restrictions reimposed so Andrew and Lis are coping with that although they were still able to celebrate his birthday. 32 years ago: I just can’t get my head round how quickly that time has gone……

I am sure that this virus will continue with the havoc that it is wreaking worldwide but after a bad weekend a couple of weekends back, I am taking small but positive steps to recover a better perspective and regain some control over how I feel, what I say and do. I want to thank Georgina, Kevin and Elaine in particular for their words, love and support.

LD 81

Another full week with work pressure ratcheting up as we prepare for our first students since March, apart from key workers.

Teams meetings, summer capital projects and the day to day routines that still have to be done whilst sourcing PPE, tape, bins and so much more.

The pressure is immense and hopefully after tomorrow we can see the fruit of all the work put in. Review and revise the risk assessment as we go on this journey.

Still preparing for the GDPR audit mid July, and feeling more confident with lots still to do but three high priorities to complete.

Joe and Nicole moved into their new home on Friday. Joe hired a large truck to take and collect furniture and belongings and we will visit soon once they have settled in. New beginnings all round.

I have also kept up with my walking which I am really happy with. 10 km at the weekend and have now completed 3 non park runs. Those of you who know me will know that I hate exercise in every firm, but with a grandchild on the way I have to get prepared for running around after them!