Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Out with the old and in with the new

It's the day before New Years Eve. We've just returned home from what feels like our million mile round trip visiting relatives.

And there's just time to take a breath before the festivities begin again tomorrow!

It has all beeen good, if busy. I had imagined that there would be time for me to creep away into a corner with a notebook and pen or a novel for an hour or two, but no. But the kids loved it, and excitement reached epic proportions on Christmas Day. And that was just mine :-)

The only downside was that Dear Daughter has flared up in what can only be described as eczema, although she has never had it before. So she had a trip to my parents-in-law's GP in Sheffield this morning and now has an antibiotic and hydrocortisone cream to try to clam her skin down. Very wierd. I can only conclude it's a combination of late nights, rich food, new clothes next to the skin and a change of washing powder. Who knows?

By the way, I got that assignment back; the one I wrote in a high fever a few weeks ago. I got a very respectable II.i - nearly a First!
I shall have to try to induce fever before every deadline in future...

Wishing everyone a Very Merry New Year.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Twas the night before Christmas....

And all through the house, I panicked and worried, and here shall I grouse:-

My head is about to explode, but I've nearly finished the Christmas preparations. It all went relatively smoothly, I suppose, apart from a misunderstanding over who was getting the turkey which would have led to a vegetarian Christmas dinner, had I not called my Mother in time...

I now just have the kids' presents to wrap, the Christmas cake to ice, and the house to tidy...


Think I might just break out the Pimms Winter Cup and leave the wrapping till later...

A very merry Christmas to one and all, and warmest winter wishes for the festive season.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Oh yes...

..and while I had the flu, I had an assessment due in on the OU creative writing course. I did it and submitted it, while sweating out a high fever. Hmm, not sure what strange hallucinatory thoughts may have found their way in there... Who knows, it may be my best work!

Excuse for not blogging No.358

This time it's the flu. No honestly. I know you'd probably struggle to think of a disease we haven't had in the family in the last couple of months; chicken pox, ear infections, leprosy (ok, well perhaps not the leprosy) but we seriously all got the flu on the same day, and are just now getting over it. It was horrible. For us, for the kids, for anyone who inadvertently stumbled into our plague pit of a house. There were people sweating and shivering all over the place. I completely lost my appetite and still haven't got it back properly (hoping that won't last, as planning to eat my weight in Christmas fare very soon..!) Our coughs were rattling the window frames...

Anyway, now we're just starting to get over it, and - bloody hell! It's Christmas next week! So instead of treating myself gently and eating homemade chicken soup, I'm charging frantically around the place trying to get myself organised.

Oh well, at least we won't get the flu for Christmas...

Monday, 1 December 2008

Rant of the day - Christmas presents

I received a letter from the parent representative for Dear Daughter's Reception class. Amongst all the Christmas admin was this:-

'Apparently it is tradition that the class buy a Christmas gift for Mrs Teacher and Mrs Classroom Assistant - if you would like me to coordinate this and contribute to a joint gift then please let me have your contribution. £10 has been suggested to me as a suitable guideline. I would plan on buying the gifts during the weekend of 13th Dec and therefore if you want me to go ahead with this please could I have the money by Friday 12th...'

So I replied with the following email:-

I have to say, I was a bit taken aback by the idea of a joint Christmas gift for the teachers. I'm not shooting the messenger, so don't think this is aimed at you! But I would be grateful if you could pass my comments on to whoever mentioned this 'tradition'. I have thought about this a lot. I considered just handing over the money, and swallowing any feelings I had, as I was worried about appearing to be making a fuss about nothing, or seeming to be a bit 'Bah Humbug', which I am not at all! But, on reflection I feel quite strongly about it, and there are a few things I object to:-

It seems to me to go against the essence of what Christmas is about - the pleasure taken in selecting and giving a gift, from one person to another. I am trying to teach Dear Daughter about the pleasure in giving, by letting her make or select Christmas presents for the important people in her life. In the arrangement suggested, the children will have no role in the choosing and presenting of a gift to their teachers. A joint present selected by the parent rep and given to the teachers seems to cut the children out of the process completely and turn it into something else entirely - a gift from the parents to the teachers. It is not that I object to the amount of money, as one could easily spend £5 per teacher on a small gift, (although if every child in the class contributed the suggested £10, it would produce a fund of £170, which seems a little excessive for two Christmas gifts, especially in the current climate!) but it's the fact that it is actually specified as a requested amount that seems a little mercenary! I'm sure that the teachers would prefer one large gift than twenty small ones, but I think it is important to remember what this is actually about. As far as I am concerned, giving a gift to a teacher at Christmas is about the child appreciating the care the teacher has given them, and marking the 'specialness' of the relationship. It should not be about the parents just getting their cheque books out... And, most importantly, deciding whether or not to give a gift should be the decision of the child and parent, and not requested or expected by the school! I have spoken about this with a number of teachers, both currently working and retired, and none of them have ever heard of this practice. They all thought it was pretty appalling, to be honest!

Anyway, all that said, before I received your note Dear Daughter and I had already chosen gifts for Mrs Teacher and Mrs Classroom Assistant, so I won't be contributing to a joint gift this year.

Fellow bloggers, was I wrong??