Economic Crises hits the Public Sector (by )

I'm very happy with Jean's school but yesterday we get a letter say that they do not have enough money to replace the teacher who retired nor to keep all the current stuff on full time. So the teachers have had to take an hours cut and the afternoon will see two classes instead of three.

They do not think there will be an increase in funding and infact there are cuts and expenses will continue to rise. Friends who are teachers are finding they are loosing their jobs as departments in secondary schools are honned down to a minimium. Graduate teachers are being employed as they are cheaper but as soon as they become experienced they to will find there are no jobs.

It would appear that 20 years experience is not needed and everybody will be fine with inexperienced teachers who though maybe good teachers are still very much going to be learning the ropes and now those colleges that could guide them through it are being turffed out of the system. Am I the only one who sees this as dangerous and damaging to our children's education?

More - if class numbers are rising in the village then what of the already stupid class sizes in the towns and cities? Are they going to be doing the same?

Large classes means that children can be lost in the mass and struggling or excelling get lost and not noticed. The children themselves see the school and teachers as a system around them rather than being apart of it - this leads to disruptive behavoiur as they develop the old US and THEM complex. Then we come to the safety issue - more children means more furniture cramped into the rooms and this means that regurdless of the fire door not being obstructed - there are more things to crash into, less room to move about - more territory disputes amongst the kids.

And of course the larger numbers results in a breeding ground for bullying - I am talking about education in general here.

I thought it was telling that the school can't see a change to these circumstances for the next 3 odd years.

I am wondering how Nurses, police and fire departments are fairing? I have already found out that most of the fire fighters are sort of part time hobbyist - ie they do it because they want to save lives on top of their actual job 🙁

Surviving the Curse (by )

Recently we have been living in Interesting Times more than usual - first off we still don't have a working vechile as the car we bought died on the first long outing we did in it. This has resulted in us going to the small claims court etc...

Of course Alaric spent all he could spare of his bonus on the car - using the rest to pay things off. So until he either gets another bonus or we get our money back we can't get another car.

Then due to this we hired a car for a weekend trip I had booked ages ago - everything seemed fine when we returned it and about two weeks later the office in London was broken into steeling Alaric's laptop for the second time in a few months. Alaric walked in on the pale, pimply behooded youths who made a quick get away.

Fortunatly Al is quiet good at backing up.

On the way home from this debacle after having had to cancel cheque books and the like that where in the laptop case, he discovered that our account was empty.

However this turned out to be due to the car rental company and not the brake in - who had on the Tuesday removed some £800 odd quid from our account leaving nothing there. I recieved a letter on the day of the break in saying there were dents on the car but no mention of money.

Letter is dated after they took the money from the account, it was a further week before we recieved the invoice saying they were going to take the money. We tried to sort it out with them but they said it would take weeks/months to sort out - mean while we had no money for food, rent etc...

So we re-contact the bank and have to fax them stuff though they are helpful and know of the company as a royal pain. But then we find our fax doesn't work, nor do any of the others we have tried so we re-contact bank and get an address.

And mean while everyone is now contacting us to say they haven't been able to take payments etc... Ulrike has been very kind and is getting me a Tescos order which I hope to be able to give her the money for next month but at this rate we are going to be short next month too now as it doesn't look like that money will reappear in our account any time soon :/

The old Chinese curse strikes again me thinks!

(Other friends have been helpful too such as Stephen who brought us round some food plants - I am so glad we grow so much of our food and get stuff delivered from the diary at the moment.)

A stroll in the countryside (by )

On Sunday, I was looking after Jean as Sarah was in Cheltenham to run a writing workshop thing.

So I suggested that we might go for a walk, and Jean liked the idea - however, she decided she wanted a LONG walk! So after some discussion, we set off for the furthest of the three pubs in the Parish, which is about three miles away, with a packed lunch and lots of water, and Jean's teddy bear, who she decided should come with us.

To my delight, Jean didn't tire and demand to come home; we made frequent stops to drink water, and sat down in some shade in the woods to eat our cheese and biscuits, but we pressed on cheerily, past some lambs:


Eventually we reached the Fostons Ash for some lemonade and crisps.

Lemonade and crisps at the Fostons Ash

Then Sarah rang as she was on the bus home, which stopped off by the Royal William, the pub nearest our home - so we decided to walk straight there to meet Sarah, taking a different route, where we got a little closer to some of the lambs:

Jean and Bear versus the Lamb

At the Royal William we ate a filling dinner of chips (not so unhealthy if you've been walking all day!), and came home.

Chips for dinner at the Royal William

Jean was still enthusiastic at the end, despite having now walked about six miles from 2pm to 8pm!

The best thing was, I recorded about two hours of it on my concealed camera. It's mainly shaky footage of bushes and sky, but it offers the context for the audio track, which records all the awesome conversations Jean and I had.

Recording Poetry (by )

Tuesday I went into Cheltenham to record poetry 🙂 Cheltenham's Arter Dark magazine videoed me and three others doing a variety of poetry and prose (our own work). It will be appearing on their site in a couple of weeks 🙂

Harry Potter is Jesus (by )

(Because I got told off here is an added Spoiler warning - I do mention the end of book four and the whole Harry Potter series)

As some of you know and disapprove of! I am reading Jean the Harry Potter books, we are on book four which I had some trepidation about reading to her due to the ending but she is really into the story. I try and pace it so that we start the reading session with a scary/intense bit and end in a low key moment (so not generally at chapter endings!).

It was getting to the bit where Cedric dies and though there is a death at the beginning of the book this is the first one of someone you are emotionally attatched too/and or Harry is. So I thought I'd make things clear to Jean, 'Jean we are getting to the really sad and scary bit now, worse than the giant snake, we can change to another book?'

'No Mummy I've seen this one on telly.'

'Oh yes you have haven't you? But Jean I think the Harry Potter story gets very scary now.'

'It's ok Mummy because Harry is going to die and come back to life again because he's Jesus.'

I stare and think - how did she know the ending of the series - I ask her.

'I saw it in a film in my head when I slept.'

'Oh ok'

The I thought about it and you know she's right - Harry dies sacrificially to save the other wizards, because he chooses to die to save them his sacrifice protects them and he rises from the dead!

Story wise Jean didn't react to the scene where Diggory dies but this turned out to be because the discription ment she missed the fact he was killed and it was only when they go back to Hogwarts and Harry is cuddling the dead body that Jean went wide eyed and sad.

She still wants the rest of the story :/

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