Posts Tagged ‘Elephants’

As the creaking educational locomotive grinds ever more slowly towards the buffers of the long summer break and we can leap onto the platform of unexpurgated freedom I can thank my lucky stars that last week is finally over. As is now tradition and to conceal the fact that our national curriculum is so thin on content that in truth the teaching of it finishes several weeks before the official end of term, we are obliged to suffer the agonies of Activities Week.   A misnomer if ever there was one, judging by the ‘activities’ to which I was assigned. My Activity Week was mostly sedentary and largely involved elephants.

I understand the ethos – to allow students to experience things they otherwise wouldn’t due either to financial restraints, unimaginative parenting or sheer youthful malaise – a condition which sadly is becoming increasingly contagious. I understand all of that – but to have to sit in school uniform in one classroom all day playing board (bored) games is reminiscent of an interminable wet weekend at your grandparents’.

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This was the fate of our unfortunate year seven’s who, lucky for them (but not me), then had a day off site to visit the Globe Theatre before returning to spend the next day welded to a stool in the art room following step by step instructions to make a clay elephant. All day: with a short break for lunch. By the afternoon, with the searing heat outside and the stuffiness of the classroom I felt my eyes drooping and had to make a conscious effort to stay awake. I sympathised with one of our older students who incurred a detention recently for falling sound asleep in a history lesson. I now know how he felt.

The following day we were treated to Africa Day – the possibilities of this sounded promising. But again, the students sat for what seemed like hours in a large circle in our acoustically challenged canteen while a lovely man from Ghana, dressed in traditional costume spent the day with the students telling stories of his African village and showing them how to make toys from recycled rubbish. image

Another forty elephants were made from old plastic milk cartons after which there was a spot of potato printing. A quick break for food and drink and it was back to sitting while they practised the art of African drumming. In the aforementioned echo-y dining room. There were enough drums for each child so you are lucky you only have to imagine the cacophony. I had to sit through it.

I don’t mean to carp on, but I would’ve preferred spending the day at a nearby fishing lake with a collection of year nine yobbos who turn into the politest, nicest shoal of lads you could ever wish to meet – once they are attached to a rod with a box of maggots at their side. I did this trip several years ago now and was as heartened at the students transformation as I was astonished at how adept I became at picking up a maggot or helping disgorge the unfortunate little fishes for those more squeamish. I have obvious skills in this area – why have they been overlooked? The main reason this activity is so popular and why staff members trample each other to take part is fact that the bacon rolls at the shop there are to die for and the opportunity to hear the trip leader tell one of his new ‘fishermen’ to go to the counter and ask for a tin of tartan maggots is legendary. I obviously need to improve my pitch for next year.

So, with only two days left of term time to fill with word searches and videos while the teachers complete their admin, the terminus approaches – the exit gate is in sight.

This post forms the first part of a challenge thrown down by Sherri, over at her Summerhouse. I normally avoid things like this like the proverbial plague but as she is such a regular visitor to my imaginary kitchen and we have shared so many odd and weird coincidences I felt it only fair to have a go. As Sherri herself has already changed the rules of the challenge which originally was to post five pictures and five stories on consecutive days (ha! not a chance!), I shall be taking a more relaxed attitude towards the rules myself. I’m supposed to nominate someone to take up the challenge after each of my next five posts but I’m not going to do that. Suffice to say, if you feel the urge to challenge yourself to five pictures/five stories (fact or fiction) then please feel free. I thought it would be a good discipline to make me write more regularly. Goodness knows, I’ve been pretty lax of late.

 

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Over the weekend I was challenged by fellow blogger, Lynette D’arty-Cross, to take part in a circulating question and answer game.

It works a bit like a chain letter – which I always diligently followed through as a child and was frequently disappointed when the mountains of promised postcards from all over the world never materialised. (My best total ever was three: all from Cornwall). However, not being one to bear a grudge I’ll be throwing myself wholeheartedly into answering Lynette’s questions as best I can and then compose some of my own.

Here are the rules of the game:

Me and Favourite

Me and Favourite

1. Post these rules.

2. Post a photo of yourself and eleven random facts about you. 

3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.

4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them.

 5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they’ve been tagged.

So, here’s the photo. There was no stipulation that it should be current, and anyway, it illustrates one of the answers to Lynette’s questions.

For anyone still with this, here are eleven (I am intrigued to know why eleven) random facts about me.

I am left-handed; I can’t knit and I hate the feel of nylon. (That’s three).

The only word I know in German is Schildkröte. (Tortoise).

A few years ago I met Peter Osgood, my football hero from the seventies. It didn’t matter that he was old. Or shorter than me. He signed my programme. I was excited for days.

High heeled shoes are anathema to me.

I used to collect pigs but got bored with them.

My index fingers are double jointed.

I have never enjoyed a novel by Jane Austen, or the Bronte’s, for that matter. Even Colin Firth in a wet shirt doesn’t do it for me. Sorry. (Does that count as three separate items? Probably not. Oh well).

I want to ride round London in an open-topped bus pretending I’m a tourist.

My favourite chocolate is the green triangle in a box of Quality Street.

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And now to Lynette’s Eleven Questions Time….

If you had a chance to go back five years from today, and knowing what you know, what would you tell yourself?

Not to keep to the same lottery numbers – far too stressful remembering to buy the ticket.  Better still, don’t buy a lottery ticket in the first place, EVER.

Who inspires you?

Absolutely everyone I meet inspires in some way.

What makes you laugh?

I can find humour everywhere and rarely go through a day without laughing. Monty Python’s fish slapping dance never fails to make me laugh out loud.

Why do you blog?

To impose self-discipline and a deadline; to meet like-minded people, share ideas and interests and become inspired.

What is your favourite animal?img001 (2)

The elephant. I have a large wooden one on my windowsill.  Here’s one I drew earlier.

What is your favourite travel destination?

Anywhere in France.  Unlike most of my fellow countrymen I genuinely like the French – even the Parisians – I have a sneaking admiration for them. How dare they display such arrogant insouciance in their own city?

Who would you like to meet (dead* or alive)?

Grayson Perry.  For so many reasons, not least because we share a love of Teddy Bears. His is called Alan Measles, and mine is Favourite, looking pristine in the photo above. (He looks nothing like this now). Grayson’s art works are beautiful, interesting and thought-provoking:  everything a work of art should be. For all his cross-dressing, he remains very blokey and is able to hold forth on any subject with sense, sensitivity and humour. Grayson for PM!

*I wouldn’t like to meet a dead person. That would be just weird.

What is your favourite food?

Anything cooked by someone else.

What annoys you?

Dirty plates on the draining board, not in the dishwasher.

If you could change something in your life, what would it be?

The ageing process. So much to do, so much to see, people to meet. Time’s winged chariot and all that.

What do you do to relax yourself?

Write.

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Now here’s the bit where I cheat a little. I have a list of questions below (yes, eleven of them), but I’m not tagging anyone in particular.  If anyone feels so inclined to answer one or two, or even all of them, I shall be genuinely interested in the response – I don’t want to turn it into an interrogation. I hope this doesn’t mean that Lynette will strike me off her Christmas card list for altering the game. Did I mention that I’m very bossy? Make that random item number twelve, then.

 Eleven Random Questions for anyone out there who wants to be in my gang:

1. If you could be someone else for the day, who would it be?

2. Is there something you’ve been putting off doing, and if so, what?

3. Name the highest place you’ve ever been to.

4. What gets you up in the morning?

5. When was the last time you were embarrassed?

6. If you bought a present for your next door neighbour, what would it be?

7. What do you consider to be the worst form of transport?

8. What was the last live music gig you went to?

9. What is your favourite film?

10. Whose advice do you regularly take?

11. How many different places have you lived in?

So, that’s me done. I shall avoid the number eleven from now on and await responses forthwith.  Humour me!

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