December 2008


I spotted the poll feature on this blog recently and have now got a question I want an answer to!  So, without further ado – I am on holiday (and that generally includes blogging), after all – here’s the poll…

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Two lie-ins in one week!  I am a very contented person today…  Actually, I have been all week.  This has been my sort of holiday – well, the closest I can get to a holiday in what was a working week!  The meetings we’ve been in all week have not required preparation or follow-up work, so really, although time-consuming, they’ve not been stressful, and they’ve left plenty of time for:

a 3rd birthday party

a book group

a girly party with friends from school

a Christmassy party with other friends – my first carol singing of the season and my first mulled wine, too, although I somehow missed the opportunity to sample egg nog

dinner with a good friend

a goodbye visit to my in-laws to play with my nephews and niece (they’re the same age as mine, but opposite gender each time)

three episodes of Northern Exposure (never seen it before – it reminds me of Cranford… 😀 )

all four episodes of Wives and Daughters (BBC period drama – quality!)

The Graduate

The last two got me through Sunday, when I was iller than I’ve been for years.  (Just some sort of bug, but I don’t deal well with pain.  It doesn’t seem to get any easier, even with three labours to compare it with!)  In a way it was a shame to be on my own, especially with the long walk to the kitchen for tablets (in the fridge) and back to the bathroom and bed – quite a challenge that day to do anything that wasn’t lying down, but even that was uncomfortable – and even then it took me hours to remember the existence of paracetamol and do something about it…  But, looking on the bright side, it was great to be left alone and not clambered over, pestered etc

Doesn’t that sound like a great week, given that the illness was not by choice?  I’ve loved it.  And now I’m off home to finish packing for my fantastic flight(s) back to the UK (uninterrupted meal times, no-one to smear food over my clothes, no-one to have to give the window seat to, opportunity to watch film after film!) – and after that, off to Dorset, my parents, my parents-in-law and adopted grandparents, plus other friends and family, for three whole weeks!  It’s going to be sooooo great!

Morning!  Here I am, blogging again already!  Can you tell that I’m a single woman with time on my hands this week…?  🙂

Not that much time, actually – I was in work at 7:15 this morning (ah, the joys of only getting one person out of the house).  And it was a lovely journey into work – it’s Eid this week, which is a public holiday.  Most of the country is therefore not working this week, although not everyone is celebrating in this multi-religious community.  So it was very quiet this morning, with shopfronts shut and only the shepherds out with their flocks on every major road, waiting for customers.  I saw someone buying a sheep and loading it, bleating, into the boot of his car.  Driving down a dusty side road, I saw a man guiding his sheep, presumably towards slaughter, by holding its hind legs while it walked on its front legs.

I’ve been meaning to write about the road I travel down to work for about a month now.  I may have already mentioned that over the summer this road was transformed into a dual carriageway.  I drive down the new side of the road to work, which for the most part means driving at up to 50mph, as long as I keep an eye out and one foot on the brake for donkey carts, rickshaws (motorised black beetly things which move slowly and highly erratically, with scant recognition of any kind of danger…), pedestrians (especially children) and careless drivers, of which there are many.

I was driving down this road at night a few weeks ago, when the cars in front of me braked sharply till they almost stopped.  There are often road-users with no lights on the roads, but this time I could see no obstruction. (I don’t like driving at night – with the glare of oncoming headlights and no streetlights providing light from above, it is impossible to see everything clearly.)  Anyway, I’m glad those cars were in front of me, as there was a large part of the road surface missing!  Don’t ask me why – it had been there that morning, but I guess it needed redoing for some reason.  In any case it remained like that for over a week before it was repaired.  Cars had to roll gently at as low a speed as possible over the bump down from tarmac to under-surface and up again at the end – it could’ve been 15cm, though I’m not very good at estimating that sort of thing from the feel of it.  Imagine it, every day driving along at speed, watching out for the house that is your landmark that the road is about to end and you need to brake – now!

There are similar patches on the other side of the road on the way home – little narrow ditches that run across the road and have not been filled in.  Now and then they are filled with sand as a temporary measure, and within a couple of days the sand has been moved around so much by the cars travelling over it that the ditch is deep again, and everyone veers off the road where it never seems to get as bumpy.

The other strange thing about driving at the moment is the number of huge puddles in our neighbourhood.  Trouble with the mains water supply, I guess – but it’s very odd to see in a country which hasn’t seen rain for more than three months!  Remember too, most roads are dirt roads here – and even the tarmac ones are edged with dust and are gradually becoming encroached by dirt.  It doesn’t mix well with water and, adding to the mix a lot of heavy vehicles heading to the building sites all around us, we’re getting some pretty bumpy roads round here again…

It feels strange, getting to the end of term, having all the students celebrate and then the teachers’ celebrations, too, without any chill in the air or even any Christmas decorations!  (A Christmas display did go up at school a week or two ago, and an Eid one was immediately commissioned to go next to it.)  Actually, student celebrations were rather muted – end of term here was marked by the handing out of reports – and so the final hour of school saw students rushing round the school, reports in hand, to question the teachers who gave the worst marks.  Unbelievable.  I think there is more pressure from parents on some of these students than is the norm in the UK.  Shame it doesn’t have much effect over the weeks and months preceding the reports…

I do like the end of term: finishing things off and preparing for the new term, planning to improve the things that haven’t gone so well this term and so on.  And what’s great about this school and this semester (yes, it’s not actually a term, I shouldn’t use that word – there are only two of them in a year and very long they are, too, even when I haven’t been there from the beginning!) is that next week all staff are in school, with various meetings, but some additional sorting out and preparation time.

And the absolutely bestest of the best thing about this week is that I have no responsibilities at home!  I waved goodbye to M and the children at the airport this time yesterday, went shopping and then went to bed early and slept for a  l o n g  time.  And today has been wonderful – I’ve achieved so much!  I’ve had time to sit down and drink a whole cup of coffee, I’ve sat uninterrupted through all my meals, and I’ve not burnt any food while attending to children’s toiletting needs at the other end of the house.  It really has been quite a treat.  This morning I whizzed round the house doing the first stage of sorting and tidying (yes, the house has become such a chaotic mess of clutter and junk that it will take all week to sort it out) and this afternoon I sorted through all our music (until one CD got jammed in the computer – “Bother!” as little G would say) and photos.  Do you know, we actually have some quite nice photos of this year?  I had no idea until I sat down to look through them.  They look much better full-size on the computer than tiny on the camera…  I had no idea!

And I’m looking forward to getting up for work tomorrow feeling well rested and having only myself to get dressed and out.  And it’s church tomorrow, as well – yippee!  I’m going to sit at the front – just because I’ve never been able to before…  Hey, I might even try getting there on time!  Well, no, I always try to get there on time – this time I might manage it.