Happy Monday! It is mid December and Christmas is getting ever closer as I reminded when I look at my list of things to do! What a fabulous time of year it is in every respect …….. streets and house decorated, lights twinkling from every surface, High Streets full of people chattering andl aughing and excited children queuing to speak to Santa suddenly going quiet and shy when they finally get to the front of the queue and forget what they were going to ask him! It is all part of the magic of the season! Actually to make it even more magical this year, the international space station is passing through on Christmas Eve and if there is little cloud will be able to be seen with the naked eye, amazing stuff that will thrill most adults and children alike who will spot it!
I have been back in England for a week and it seems like forever, it has been very busy catching up with people and jobs that needed to have been done. This time of year is always busy as you yourselves know, as apart from everyday tasks that always have to be carried out there are many others that also have to be completed like the food, the gifts, the pantomimes, the visiting, the cards, the organising……and much more! Here in England we have a governing body in each school, a body that ensures that the school is delivering the best education that it can and is meeting all requirements. I am a governor at Shoeburyness High Scholl and as I also taught there, I have a vested interest in being a governor. It is an interesting role and sees me visiting school on a regular basis for observations and report writing, meetings and lots of other tasks and responsibilities. This week has seen me catching up with some of those tasks in readiness for a meeting tonight which will be followed by the annual school Christmas Carol Concert, always a wonderful occasion and one that always starts Christmas off for me. Last week was the school production, this year it was Fame….a fabulous musical and a complete sellout for all four nights, our young people smashed it! I sold raffle tickets and refreshments at two of the performances ably assisted on both nights by members of our sixth form, 17 year olds….they were excellent! Polite, outgoing, fun, hardworking and a credit to our school…..the audience was made up of parents and friends of the students and teachers and locals who all entered into the spirit of it all, digging deep for raffle tickets and buying cups of tea and refreshments during the interval. It is when I am involved in these events that there is huge hope for the future of the world for these wonderful young people will go on to be amazing members of society who will, I am sure, do great things!
The weather is cold and crisp still and not a hint of snow here in the South East ….. thank goodness, although the magic of snow is wonderful and there really is something nice about being all wrapped up toasty warm and seeing your breath as you talk. Talking about the weather, the outdoor swimming society held it’s annual Christmas swim in London…..brrrrr! There are many of these societies around the country and they swim outside come hail or shine and plunge into freezing waters without a flinch…here in Southend you can see people swimming every day of the year, apparently the health benefits are huge…I have yet to be convinced of this but am prepared to give it a go! If and when I do, I shall most certainly be posting the photos on here! Actually, there have been many times when in Lake Worth that I have swum in our pool and it has been freezing but it makes a difference when you get out and the weather warms you up! As you can see from the photos, these stalwarts from the society are enjoying every second and of course, it is all for charity.
There have been Santa runs along the seafront and all manner of charity events around, all designed to raise money for those less fortunate than ourselves and bring people together United with one aim….. fun! We even had a group of knitters from Leigh knit festive tops for our lovely red postboxes, they adorn the boxes and adorable and will eventually be sold for charity, they look gorgeous, I passed one outside Leigh on Sea Station on my way home last night. They are designed to bring a smile to people’s faces and they do not disappoint……how great that there are people like this around, just like our very own Retro Jetro in Lake Worth!
And of course one of my favourite things at Christmas, the Pantomime! Anyone who has not seen a pantomime needs to experience it….a show full of slapstick and silly humour, always with a happy ending, lots of audience participation, the leading is often played by a woman as in Prince Charming and the dames are always played by men and are always ugly, silly and very grumpy and spoiled….they get all the boos and the hisses from the audience along with the villan. The pantos are always based loosely on famous fairy tales like Cinderella, Snow White…….. or cartoons like Popeye! They are not for the faint hearted and are very noisy as both children and adults alike get very boisterous! All around the country famous people take the lead roles and will be sold out for most of the season. David Hasselhoff is the leading man in our local panto this year, a group of us from school are going on Thursday after a meal at the theatre, it coincides with a friend’s fiftieth birthday, I foresee an extra noisy and boisterous panto that night…..I will certainly keep you posted on that one!
My huge delight at coming home is being with the children in my family whom I adore beyond anything, they are always so much fun and give me the best welcome ever, as schools here finish for Christmas this Friday, next week we are having a big get together where we make all kinds of wonderful things from masks to cakes to paintings and cards punctuated by eating and drinking and chattering, huge fun! One of the very nice projects we have going at school is one which we call Leading Ladies, it is a project designed to help some of our female students overcome all manner of problems from shyness to misbehaviour by meeting on a one to one basis each week with senior members of our community. These women are amazing and range from 65 to 90….they get together with the girls and we make tea and snacks and they talk about when they were at school, what they used to get up to, what they wore, family life, clothes and they compare it with how life is for youngsters today. This is the third year this project has run and it has been hugely successful,,,,,, amazing how young people change in different situations and our senior citizens are really quite sad when the course finishes and feel they will be lonely once more without the thought of meeting with our young people each week. We have a similar project for the boys called ‘Voicemail’ where the lads meet and sing…..they perform at all kinds of functions and have huge fun, they are proud to be in the choir and love to perform, something I never imagine would happen given some of the students in the choir! They have a very enthusiastic leader who is passionate about both education and music and that helps enormously……I think anything that helps young people find their way in the world with confidence has got to be a good thing. I will have to get baking for this Thursday’s Leading Ladies as it is the last one of the academic year and we will be celebrating with cakes and goodies.
I have been watching the events in Lake Worth with interest, the Christmas Parade looked amazing as usual, I love it all and miss it all too! Yesterday was lunch at my nephews and we had the most delicious roast dinner ever, as you probably know roast Sunday dinner is a tradition in England and many households will have this meal each Sunday…….I have not had a roast dinner for around six months, oh boy was that delicious! I cannot tell you how tasty roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding and Brussels sprouts and parsnips and peas and gravy with roast beef and stuffing and little sausages wrapped in bacon are……my taste buds are popping all over again!
Have an amazing week, enjoy every second, make hundreds of memories……