It has been a fantastic week in many ways…of course, busy as usual but in a very good way.
I am so happy because at last my Little Free Library is completed and up in my front garden and looking WONDERFUL! I have had a lot of interest in it and am currently having it costed out to make more at the most reasonable price possible. I decide that to make it a really community project my library should contain something for everyone to start with and so we have books both for me, women and children. The children also have little competitions by way of puzzles, colouring, writing, following clues….all to be returned when completed in return for a prize which appears magically overnight in the library…… the who live in very close proximity get a personalised letter in the library with a challenge in it, I have to be sure to check regularly because these children run home from school and straight up to the library to look for replies and candy. Someone suggested that we also swap and donate magazines, a great idea as I generally let them pile up and they either end up in the recycling or in the waiting room at the doctors. Recipes have also been donated, someone knows I love to bake, and there has been a suggestion to start a reading club….all ideas considered! I have loved watching people who walk by usually with their dogs on the way to the beach and they stop and look around, then they cautiously open the door and dare to take a peek inside. They are really taking off in so many places now which I think is excellent, we even found one in the tiny French town of St Antonin……..my friend who had arrived without a book, found her favourite author and was well away!
And of course, our children returned to school in England this week and facebook is littered with photos of children in their new school uniforms, looking very neat and tidy, ties knotted perfectly, hair slicked back (in the case of the boys!) and looking both excited and just a tad anxious at the same time. Amazing what a difference the return to school makes to the traffic on the roads, parents dropping of children cause tailbacks and it is wise to avoid anywhere near schools during the times of 8:15 and 9am. Parents are notorious for parking badly in their efforts to get the children as near to the school as possible, what happened to walking to schools with your friends and getting the exercise at the same time? The same routine happens after school as well, this time avoiding school areas between 3:30 and 4:30! Again, it was always fun to walk home with your friends and discuss the happenings of the day albeit good or bad! New teachers, new subjects…..all worth having a conversation about! I love the atmosphere on the staff day back after the holidays, analysing the examination results, looking at new subjects and routines……lots of chatter about holidays and even more chatter about the new academic year and how to get the very best out of our young people. Our school governors, of which I am one, meet to discuss our calendar of meetings and our areas of responsibility….again, all very brisk and exciting!
My voluntary work continues to be a delight, particularly as every session can be very different, and the part I love the most is meeting the variety of people who come through our doors, all seeking something different whether it be clothes, particular books, tools and on occasion very random requests. I love to do the windows and each session I set myself new targets and challenges, choosing what I think will be items that will sell. Sure enough, the window is barely finished and someone will want an item of clothing from one of the models or a toy or item which I have placed precariously in the farthermost corner and have to step as if a ballerina on tiptoes to retrieve it, attempting on the way not to knock anything over and not always succeeding at this task!!! All in a day’s works and a most satisfying day at that……..
One of the best things about having a career in teaching, particularly in the secondary sector, is that you make long lasting friendships along the way and past students crop up on facebook and locally to remind you of their schooldays and to set off a trip down memory lane. One such occasion happened last week when Karen who I taught some 18 years ago reminded me that I had not yet met either her husband or new baby. I duly put this right by spending a delightful afternoon with them after Shared Space. We talked about many things both current and in the dim and distant past and looked through school albums, laughing at memories of both people and events. A photograph placed by her on facebook prompted a flurry of comments from even more past students all being extremely lovely in their comments and causing me to shed a tear or two at the fact that as teachers we often gain more from the students, or at least as much, as they do from us…..I was so grateful for those lovely commenst and walked around with a permanent smile on my face for the next couple of days, and I now have some more friends on facebook!
I took part in The Memory Walk yesterday which was wonderful……all in aid of achieving a world without dementia! The walk took place all the way along the seafront and consisted of people of all ages, some in pushchairs (strollers), some in wheelchairs, some slow, some power walking but all with one aim……to raise money for this dreadful condition which is so prevalent in this day and age. At the start was the funky choir strutting their stuff and getting everyone in the mood and raring to go by the time the mayor gave a small speech and sounded the claxon. The Funky Choir was replaced by an amazing barber shop quartet who sang non stop for a hour….the sun shone and it was huge fun!
We have a big Italian community here in Southend and every year they hold an Italian day in the High Street and this year was even bigger and better than before……..the smells and colours were amazing.
There were classic cars spread the length of the High Street with hoods open and engines running so that people (mostly men) could ooh and ahh and hanker after these wonderful classic vehicles. There were jugglers and clowns and accordionists and violinists all playing Italian music and songs to allow the dancing to entertain the crowds that had amassed to see the sights. One thing I had not known was that alongside the classic car club, women had a classic pram (or stroller) club whereby they took classic prams and upcycled them…these glorious prams that could bounce a baby to sleep in seconds were amazing and are now coming back into fashion, Silver Cross were the most popular and at the new princesses christening a couple of months ago The Duchess of Cambridge walked to the church with the baby in one of the original prams that had been used for generations by the royal family……..lovely!
And talking of the Royal Family, our queen becomes the longest reigning monarch on September 9th…….beating the reign of Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years, 7 months and 2 days which exactly the reign of Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday. She does not want a big fuss to be made and is reported to be making a short speech at the opening of a small railway station in Scotland….of course, you might know that television from all over the world will descend upon this tiny place which will bring instant notoriety. She has also given permission for a 24 hour broadcast to be given from Buckingham Palace Gardens…….I love all the pomp and ceremony and I absolutely love the queen who stands for all that is great and good about our country!
And lastly, I went to the proms…..held in Albert Hall, a most fantastic building which is a wonder to see and actually be inside….the proms were founded in 1895 and intended to bring classical music to the masses and it has progressed over time to this wonderful season of classical music and other events which last for 8 weeks every Summer, culminating in an amazing Last Night of The Proms which is my favourite. This year it is being streamed live to venues around the country, we have one such venue here in Southend and we will be in attendance with our picnic and chairs and ready for this amazing spectacle…….. and so, have an amazing week whatever you are doing!