Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tuesday 1st September 2009

Well, so that's that then? !st September and summer's finished. Boo hoo - we hardly had any. In fact as I write this it's chucking it down with rain - clattering away on the conservatory roof so you can hardly hear yourself think.

Our darling little dog, Sally, has always hated the rain. She won't go out for a wee-wee run, not even if it was ever so! She would never go near the conservatory because of the noise but, at almost 16 years old, she can't hear it now so she's quite happy to sit in there. She still won't set paw outside and get wet though! We're getting quite good at DSL (Doggy Sign Language) me and Sal. She knows to sit down when I face her with my index finger in front of me and pointed upwards. She will (usually) follow me if I clap my hands near her face. DSL falls down though if she's asleep and you want her to get out the way. "Mind Sal" used to do the trick but now you have to yell "OI SHIFT" - and I mean yell! My decibel level rivals parade sergeants.

Later this year we are going to have new windows, and not a minute too soon I think. The rep came again today to take a little piece of the render off the outside wall so he could see how far into the wall lthe old frame has been put. What a shock - the gaps are all stuffed with newspaper! No wonder it's so draughty. You can see our bedroom curtains moving sometimes and they are supposed to be sealed unit double-glazed windows. The front door will have a special wheelchair accessible bottom frame. I didn't know there was such a thing!

Yesterday was the last Bank Holiday we get in England until Christmas. Here in North Lincolnshire, like everywhere else, we try to make the most of it and go somewhere or do something. Keith and I were going to go to Epworth Show, which is about the last of the country shows around here. It's mainly agricultural - pigs, cows, sheep, horses, farm machinery and so on - but it's also one of the few shows which still has prize competitions for flowers, vegetables, baking, wine making, jam making. We love wandering around these when the judging is complete to see who's won. It always seems to be the same people every year (perhaps because it's the same people who enter every year), you get to recognise the names. On my "to do" list is now to enter Epworth's Victoria Sandwich Cake competition (under Jam and Jerusalem rules)and see if I might dislodge anyone.

Actually, some of you might have heard of Epworth. It's a small market town famous as the birthplace of brothers John and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism. The Wesleys had a huge influence on English 18th century life. John was not only a preacher and writer but was active in many social spheres ranging from prisons to slavery. His brother Charles was the greatest and most prolific of the English hymn writers and many of his 7000 works are still popular today.

I've just been reading Ora's blog "A Little Corner of my World" in which she's telliing us about early school years when her parents wouldn't have had to buy books, pencils, writing paper - anything - because school provided what was needed. That was in America of course, but I don't remember having to take anything of my own to my English school either. You would have your school bag of course but nothing in it but your mid-morning biscuits and a spare pair of knickers if you were inclined to woopsies!

I remember perfectly my first day at school. I was five years old and in the 50's that was the age you started school and Class 1 was known as "The Baby Class". You went there right off from 9am to 3.15pm and no messing about breaking you in gently an hour at a time like they do now.

We sat 2 kids to a table in face-the-front classroom formation. In the middle of each table was a tub containing 2 HUGE fat black wax crayons and an assortment of thinner coloured wax crayons and that was all we wrote with until we got to the top class a couple of years later and progressed to genuine proper lead pencils. Whatever kind of paper teacher deemed appropriate was doled out as needed. Sometimes we did 'tracing' - you know, where you lay a thin sheet of see-through paper over a picture ond draw around it. On those days a couple of kids who could be trusted to come back would be despatched to fetch a couple of toilet rolls from the loo. It was that horrible scratchy Izal stuff, which we also had at home. It was nasty in the bathroom but it made great tracing paper and was indispensible for making beautiful music with a comb and paper.

The baby class and Class 2 had this same face-the-front furniture arrangement. I don't know what Class 3 had because I skipped to Class 4 (must have been clever or something) where the tables were arranged in a kind of square horseshoe around the room. Then the top class. Wow, avante garde or what! We sat on the floor for stories! Not a wax crayon in sight. Desks with lift up lids - this was real school!

Oh, happy days.

Now, I'll see if I can put some photos i my sidebar because I can't make them go anywhere else.


Leigh Russell said...

Desks with lids were an excellent idea. Nowadays pupils carry all their books around with them, damaging their spines. And the old style desks sloped so you could sit fairly straight. The flat tables that schools use now mean pupils have to sit hunched over . . . sorry to rant on your blog. Not very polite. I only wanted to say your cakes look incredible.
If you like reading, please take a look at my blog. You're welcome to visit.

Eileen said...

If your cake tastes half as good as your cakes look, well, you've got it in the bag! Good luck!
And good luck with the new windows, hope it helps a lot!

I enjoyed reading your childhood school memories!
Nice post!
All the best,
PS ~ Beautiful pictures!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

As I've had some aged pets I know what you mean about the DSL. I never thought to call it that but it's so true. And as an owner of an old house I can relate to old windows. You are so blessed to be getting new ones. Your school days memories and Ora's brought back many good memories to me too. Thanks for sharing the SMILES today.

Marie said...

Oh Angie, a visit with you is like a visit with a long lost friend. I am sure we were twins in another life!! I have some very fond school memories as well. In Grade one I became convinced (age 6) that I just had to have a desk with a drawer underneath it. Nothing else would do. I commenced to placing everything from the inside of my desk underneath my chair, for if I couldn't have a desk like that for real, I could at least imagine one for myself. Oh my, what a stir I caused with the teacher when I very stubbornly refused to put them back. It was the corner for me for the rest of the day. I never did get my desk with a drawyer underneath ... I had a bad week last week, will send you an e-mail. Not foodwise, but tummy wise!! I did ok with the hocus pocus even so! Love you loads! xxoo

StitchinByTheLake said...

Angie I loved this post - it was fun hearing about school in England. I always remember having a desk but, like you, I don't remember taking my own supplies until I got older. I have some fond memories! blessings, marlene