Friday, 16 October 2009

Friday 16 October - The Eleven Plus

I was just reading Marlene's wonderful reminiscent entry and it sent me off on a memory trip myself.   I hope she won't mind me sharing her theme.

I was at grammar school (in England) 1962-1968.  To get there you had to pass your 11 plus exam at junior school.  They say  this was a terrible ordeal for an 11 year old but I don't remember it bothering me.  Come to that the 11 plus is one of the few 'events' in my life that I have no memory of at all.  What I do remember is the results arrivingin the post addressed to my parents.  I had got an 'interview'.  That meant you didn't get a good enough mark to pass straight through but you MIGHT be good enough if they saw you.  And so on the appointed day I turned up with lots of other kids to be interviewed at the grammar school we would go to if successful.  We had to sit at the desks in a classroom.  Old fashioned desks they were, single ones with a sloping lid and an inkwell at the top right hand corner next to a shallow channel where your pen would rest.

Ooh the smell of that classroom.  I can smell it now, a mix of blackboard chalk, old wood, dust and chewing gum.  I sneaked a look underthe lid of the desk, which was heavily pitted with carved-in names of the "Frid loves Mary" kind, not to mention some very artistic and colourful - and rude - ink blots.   Tacked underneath the lid was someone's timetable.  Biology, physics, chemistry - I can remember even now how I felt reading those words.  I'd heard of them but didn't know what they were.  Science I supposed as they were "ologies".  Gosh I was impressed.   English, French, Russian - Russian?  Would I have to learn that?  English literature.  I so wanted to go to that school.  It was probably a good thing they sat us in that room where us nosey 11-year-olds got a sniff of life in Big School because quite honestly I don't think many of us really knew quite why we were there.  We were told to go so we went!

I must have come over as an enthusiastic little soul because I got in and a few weeks later my parents got a big fat envelope in the post listing all the clothes and equipment I had to have before term started in September.  It was all very specific, even down to the shops (only two I think) who were official stockists.  Brown school knickers, divided skirts (for playing hockey in), school socks, regulation Gabardine coat with hood, brown leather shoes, Juliet cap.  The list went on for pages and pages.  When I think back it must have been scary for my parents because all those things must have cost a fortune and they never had any money.  A year later my brother went there too and my sister 2 years after that so it must have been a real struggle for them. 

And there was no compromise:  it was a brown pleated skirt or a gymslip (sorry America, I can't explain that one.  Suffice to say they were itchy, hot, ugly and you looked like a sack of potatoes wearing one!).  You couldn't wear a straight or A-line skirt.  There were  certainly no pants, not under any circumstances.  In the freezing cold of winter you had to wear your school coat, school skirt, school socks and shoes, school scarf and you would arrive at school with your poor legs all red and chapped.  And THEN if it wasn't actually raining or snowing, you had to wait outside until summoned in by the bell.  You couldn't even wear tights until the third year (you would then be 13 or 14) and then only thick woolen fawn ones.  The poor boys had to wear short grey trousers until the third year, when they were allowed long trousers so their legs got chapped even worse than ours.

After Easter (and not a minute before) you had to wear your summer uniform.  Instead of skirt, blouse and tie you wore a cotton dress with very narrow yellow and white stripes.  These were not available to buy in the shop, not even the authorised stockist.  You took a pattern home and your mum was expected to make it.  As luck would have it my mum was quite handy with the sewing machine but I can't think how the daughters of non-sewers got their frocks made.

To think, I wanted to go to that school.  The alternative was "Pram Pushers".  At our tender age we didn't quite know why they called it that but we were soon enlightened!  It was a Girls' secondary modern school and "you don't want to be mixing with their sort" - and that came from our teachers!!  I thank God I never became a snob.  Many did.

Having said all that, I was still sorry to see Grammar Schools go when they were done away with.  I may never have understood anything about physics or geometry but at least I knew what they were.  'General Science' is what  they have now and 'general knowledge' seems to have died out altogether.  Maths may have been like the dark side of the moon to me but  I can add and subtract without a calculator and I know my times tables.

I know The Lord's Prayer too.  They  don't even learn that any more.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Weds 14 October

SHE'S BACK!!!!  The mouse is back

I really thought I had lost her forever!  Today a little widget clicked in my mind.  The light dawned.  The fog lifted. I have so many pictures to drag over from my desktop pc to this laptop that I  feel I shall be at it forever but at least I now have some sort of idea what to do.

And me and Mouse are reunited!

She begs to be allowed to sit at the top AND bottom of this page - just this once - in celebration, and so she shall.  Tra-la-la.


Tuesday 13th October (just)

I have to make (yet another) request of you, my blogger friends.  I seem to be doing this a lot this year.  Keith's brother, Stewart, lives in Canada, as some will know, a few thousand miles away from us.  His wife Jillian was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a few months ago and despite surgery and chemo things are not going well for her
We love them dearly and I wanted to ask if you could all please include them in your prayer considerations.  If prayer is not your thing - well, I'm sure God will be listening anyway if you just think "I wonder how Jillian Marshall's getting on?"


love, Angie, xxx

Monday, 12 October 2009

Mon 12th October - a hairy adventure

Just a short entry!  This morning I had my first official 'driving lesson' in my electric wheelchair.  Well, ther one that will be mine when I am deemed proficient enough not to kill anyone! 

You should see the assessment list.  Blimey, the things you have to be able to do!  Navigate a steeply cambered pathway,  cross a road without scaring the horses .car drivers,  drive backwards down a 4" high kerb without a dropped kerb on it turn around, cross the road and drive UP the other 4" kerb.  That might not sound very high to you but it's not YOUR back end that's plopping down there, blind, while you look forwards.  You have to be able to unlock the house door from the outside, drive in, turn around, close the door and lock up again, turn around and drive on.

That's only a little bit of it.  Driving that chair isn't a\s easy as it looks.   The 'joystick' kind of thing that drives it is incredibly sensitive to the least pressure.  I've driven a car for 30 years and a mobility scooter as well and believe me this electric wheelchair is something else.

I am a little bit amazed that it is perfectly legal to go to a shop and drive one of these things away!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Friday 9th October

STILL NO PHOTOS - but I'm working on it.  I'm wondering whether to save up for a photo editing programme like Adobe Photoshop.  I've used Arcsoft Fotostation Easy for years, or rather that programme from the same few disks as I used from the start.  Maybe it's time for a change - any thoughts?

Aren't blokes Wimps?  Keith just got his very first flu jab.  As a Pensioner, as a 65-year old (chortle chortle) he qualifies to get one you see.  This is for common or garden type flu, of course, not swine flu.  I went for mine at the same time.  Women get them at 60 or if they've got certain conditions which put them 'at risk', so that would be me.  The nurse made the mistake of telling him "You might feel a little achey in the arm but it's nothing to worry about.  It'll go away in a few hours."  So when we were in bed there he was asleep on his back and snoringlike a blocked drain.  I nudged him to turn on his side.  It's not that I can hear him - I can't - but he makes the bed rumble.  "Ooh I can't lay on that side," he said, "it hurts."  Poor lamb!

He's limbering up for his retirement now though.  Yesterday we spent the morning in Lincoln - just moochin around, or supposed to be.  We just happened to mooch into my fave shop where they sell kitchen equipment.  The total of what was in our basket was only £16 but when we got to the front of the checkout queue the till broke down!  And they GAVE us the goods free, gratis and for nothing because "you waited for ages.".  Wasn't that nice?

Last week we ordered some furniture from a local department store because they had an offer on of 20% discount plus a £1 voucher for every £10 spent.  So we got £147 of vouchers that had to be spent that day because we were going away until after the offer ended.  It is so difficult to spend vouchers just like that when you hadn't planned to buy anything.  Just tomake things worse they were giving vouchers on the things you bought with vouchers.  Down to the last few I thought "Perfume" - well you would, wouldn't you?  But what do you spend the resulting quidsworth on?  Not a cup of coffee because they don't take them in the cafe.  Not as a down-payment on a world cruise because they won't accedpt them inthe travel shop either.

Nice though, buying a thing or two juast because you fancy not because you need.

love, ANGIE

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Thursday 8th October: The View from up here.....

I had hoped to be able to post something as soon as we got back ffrom our weekend away.  I thought I might have got sorted out on putting my photos on this laptop before now but it's not to be so please don't be mithered if I can't put in the photos I would like to.  I'll publish them as soon as I can. 

This past weekend we went to the Brittle Bones Society Conference at Ashford in Kent - Brittle Bones (or, to give it its pet name, Osteogenesis Imperfecta) being what I've got.  It's a pain in the ....whatever bit gets broken....but c'est la vie.

On Sunday we had an absolutely scrumptious lunch with Marie and her hubby Todd at their Oak Cottage home.  Well we could hardly travel to just a few miles away from them and not visit!  And they're the wrong side of the country for wild horses!  If you've not been to Marie's page, go over and have a look.  You'll find a link on there to her other blog "The English Kitchen" .  Oh it was the wonderfullest afternoon!!!  Beautiful lunch, great company, wall-to-wall chatter AND THEN about 4 o'clock Marie's phone rang. 

It was Lura, another blog friend, calling from her home in California.  For goodness sake it was about 8am for her!  Mimuther says "8am?  There is no 8am on a Sunday."  - and she means it.   Thanks Lura, that was a lovely surprise.  Now Marie has met both Lura and I - she spent some time with Lura in America last year.

I'm jealous now. 

Oh, and by the way, if you're wondering whether Marie's recipe for Apple and Hazelnut Brown Betty is worth doing..............WE ATE IT!  There, now you're jealous as well aren't you?  Heh heh heh.

Sorry about the pictures.  You've even got to do without my little mouse, of whom I've become very fond.

A bientot (that's French)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Thursday 1st October - The Trusty De-crapper

Here I am, still on my desk top computer!  The laptop is sitting there just waiting for 'one who knows' to come and plumb it in for me.

Ray-next-door-across-the-path has been very kind with showing me how to make some recovery disks the other day.  Thank you Ray;  they're on the top shelf to be forgotten about - hopefully forever.  What won't go away is the router. 

The dreaded router (is that a ROOter or a ROWter?) came by courier the other day and I don't know how to do it.  Well, I could follow the instructions on the set-up CD I suppose but I'm afraid it might involve scratting about under the desk or fiddling with cables and things alien.  From my wheelchair I can't scrat.  See?

Ray seems to have this idea that if I can't do a simple little thing like installing a router, it's time I could .  He said "Oh it's ever so easy.  All you do is this....this....and this........" but he lost me around '....all you do.....'.  You see, what I know and he doesn't is that NOTHING relating to computers is simple and as for 'You can't go wrong.'  Yes you can!  So I don't want somebody to come and show me how to do it.  I want somebody to come and DO it.  All inclusive, in toto, finit, job done!

Dave - I shall have to pay him - is coming this afternoon.  1 o'clock.  I am so relieved because I can trust Dave because he's sorted my computer problems many a time.  By tea time today the laptop will be ready to go, all my stuff will have been copied over from this one and all the free-trial stuff that comes pre-loaded but I don't want will be gone.  Dave will bring his trusty de-crapper. 

He might just show me what to do with the memory stick I bought because I was told life wasn't worth living without one.

See you soon,