Words of Wisdom


"What's the good of knowing if you don't tell anyone?"
P.L. Travers

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Phone Saga

The re-emergence of my phone last week, led to some fairly dramatic events in the school setting.

On Tuesday morning I told my Year 8 group about the pitfalls of purchasing over the internet, using the experiences of the 14 year old girl who bought my phone as evidence. I also told them what the police had said to me about 'gifting' the phone to the girl, as she was out of pocket.
"Don't do that," cautioned the Police Officer,"how do you know she's not the thief?"
The thought had not even occurred to me!
"Oh yes," she continued,"that's what they do. They steal your phone, wait a week or so for you to get another one, and then call you up with a sob story so you unlock the phone for them!"

I am continually amazed by the deviousness of people.

As it turned out, my 14 year old girl was genuine but we still had to follow procedure. She turned the phone in at the Police Station and made a statement, meanwhile, I was failing to listen to one of my pupils.

"Mrs A," the Class Clown piped up, "When exactly did the girl buy the phone and where did she buy it from?"
"Why do you want to know?" I sighed in slight exasperation. This lad is well known for his diversionary tactics when it comes to work....
"Well, I think I know who took your phone," he said.

I was suitably dismissive. "We're not going to start making accusation without proof now, are we CC? Let's just focus on our work." And so the matter was left.

Later I spoke to the mother of Miss Gullible, who should probably be called Mrs Gullible herself, given that she went to the shopping mall and collected the phone off the lad. For yes, it was a lad, school aged and shifty in a dark hoody.

Apparently, he was calling himself John. Now, given that we had one boy in the cast of the show (from whence the phone was taken) called John, I thought I had better just make sure that Shifty Boy did not match his description. Mrs Gullible described a medium sized, light haired boy in a hoodie. Completely generic, and definitely not our John (whew). But then she said, "I don't mean to be offensive or anything, but there was one thing I noticed about him. He did have big lips."
I stored this bit of information away, but at that moment it meant nothing to me.

Later in the day, the Art teacher approached me.
"Have you spoken to the Class Clown?" she asked. "He says he knows who stole your phone."
"Oh for goodness sakes," I sighed,"He was trying to tell me something about that earlier but, really, I mean, what can he know about it?"
"Well," she replied carefully," He says he thinks it's his brother."

There was a stunned moment's silence as I digested this piece of information. With an almost audible click, the Brother's face and the phrase 'big lips' slid into place in the puzzle.
"She said he had big lips," I told her, and we stared at each other as the implications of this news blossomed like a drop of oil in a puddle...

I went to speak to the Head of Senior School about our suspicions and she suggested we speak to the Principal the next day and do some follow up investigations. I went home quite traumatised because, as well as the horror of having had my phone taken by a known and trusted pupil, the Art teacher had reminded me that the expensive Art Faculty camera had gone missing. Initially we had thought someone had borrowed it, but when it didn't return, Art teacher had begun to fear the worst. And of course, what is the role of Brother in the school? Yep, he's the official photographer at school events....

My heart just broke for his parents; a solid Christian family with eight kids and a high profile in the community; I knew how badly this would rock them. I also knew how kindly they would take to the school making accusations against one of their brood. Not very kindly at all!

In the end, we were spared that anguish, as the parents confronted the Brother on the strength of Class Clown's suspicions that night. They had already been experiencing alarm bells and, when they started to ask questions, answers started pouring out of Brother like beans out of a punctured bean bag! His father, obviously a graduate of The Flaming Sword School of Parenting, took him straight down to the Police Station where he turned himself in. Apparently my phone was just the tip of a very large iceberg!

I received an email from Brother, confessing his crime and asking forgiveness, which of course I had already given.  His mother came to see me the next morning and had a little weep, telling me the whole story from their end, processing what it will mean and asking herself the age old question, "Where did we go wrong?" Class Clown was mortified and told his mother he could never face me again knowing what his brother had done, so I zoomed up to his classroom to catch and reassure him that there was no reason to feel guilty about the state of things.

So now I have two phones, Miss Gullible has none and the thief's mother is going to try and ensure that he compensates people for their losses.

I really hope a whole lot of us have learned things from this experience.........



Friday, 7 August 2015

Kitchen Progress


OH. MY. Goodness. How did we live with that hideous brick wall for SO LONG!!!!!???????
Mikado is in full swing.
The phone thief has been identified.
Himself is coming for coffee on Saturday to look at the kitchen 'works' and discuss a plan for re-lanching the house for sale in September.....
More later. Must sleep......

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

There's Nothing Like Gilbert and Sullivan in the 'Cheer You Up' Stakes (oh and by the way, we found my phone!)

Hooray for the 'Find My iphone' app! (by the way, am I the only one who wants to type 'Phind my iphone'?). Last night my friend called to say she had been contacted by a woman whose 14 year old daughter had been naive enough to buy my phone over the internet! Once she had it home and tried to activate it, the 'Find My iphone' app kicked in and told her the device was lost, giving her my friend's number to contact. Salient lesson for Miss 14 who had paid $250 of her hard earned pocket money to buy the phone.

It's all been handed over to the Police and I will get my phone back, but during the week, a wonderful friend gave me a spare iphone 5 she had lying around after an upgrade, so I am less desperate to reclaim my baby and more inclined to donate it to the silly 14 year old girl.
But......
Will that reinforce the lesson about internet purchases that she needs to learn? Probably not........

Meanwhile, I am soothing my soul by creating very silly sets for our local Light Opera Society again. I must say, I've seen worse....

Day one of the set up for The Mikado:


Enter a myriad of players. Average age 58.


The orchestra has never been so 'well contained'...hahahahaha




"Tell us about it KoKo...."




And tomorrow the builders arrive. Here are the 'before' photos.....


This is looking into the kitchen from the strangely designed eating area, or seating area....or corridor. However you see it...

And this is looking back out from the kitchen into the weird area, which we are currently using as a computer 'nook'.
The idea is to remove the wall/arch, replace the benchtops and update the splashbacks.
Stay tuned for developments, starting tomorrow!




Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Slap Me I'm Full of Self Pity


I am sitting surrounded by piles of fabric and scraps of offcuts which I cannot be bothered to sort and pack away. It is Antarctic weather here atm and the gas heater is now misbehaving (although I must say it has the most complete and comprehensible set of instructions inside the metal cover, of any gas heater I have ever encountered! well done Vulcan. Gas heater now operating again although, what is a safety valve and why did it cut in?????)....

So, The Musical is over; my house looks like I'm about to move or I've been burgled; I am full of cold; the BA broke our microwave; my salvageable tooth now has another crack and someone stole my phone. Add to that the upcoming kitchen reno and and you will see why I just want to curl up in a ball.

It is maddening how reliant we are on technology really. So many things which make our lives roll on smoothly and add to our serenity, streak out the window like a newly released budgie when the technology goes missing. So many passwords to remember and account names........what is my apple ID, google ID, INME number on my phone (for return purposes, if it's ever handed in).....? Send me your contact numbers folks so I can build up my bank of phone numbers again! I didn't even know my own daughter's mobile number as I rely on it being in my phone. Then of course you are stuck with a new, low grade non-Apple phone which is almost like having to learn a new language. In fact, it actually gives some insight into Autism. Nothing is intuitive; nothing is where it should be; it asks me questions I do not understand.
"Why is my phone looking at me like that?"

There has been no progress on the house front and will not be until after some minor kitchen renovations and a big garden tidy up. I have let the pool go green, much to Himself's disgust when he comes past, which is not often. Interestingly, the water level went down to below the skimmer box and stopped, which means, as I initially suspected, that the leak is in the filter system rather than structural (whew). It does however mean that I have to get the poolman back and that will mean more expense. Honestly it never ends!!!!

 Right now I can feel the germs making their way down towards my chest so I shall dose up on Vit C and retire to the sofa where I can take solace in knitting. Two pairs of boot cuffs so far and I've started on a cowl.

Speak to you again when I am in a better state.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

My House Looks Like An Explosion In A Yorkshire Cotton Mill

Since we have taken the house off the market for the winter, I have been spreading out and utitlising the available space to create costumes for the School Musical.  The usual 'sweatshop' has taken on new proportions since we have less furniture and are basically camping out here. Everywhere you try to sit or stand there seems to be fabric or some kind of costume. Many essential items such as desks, sewing machine cabinets and sideboards full of sewing gear are packed up and stored in The Pit downstairs. As a result, the dining table is doubling as a cutting and pinning surface and the coffee table as sewing machine base, The Baby Angel has had to pile her Uni books in between pincushions and piles of offcuts and we haven't eaten at a sit down table for weeks. It's getting out of control....






This year's offering is The Jungle Book.
As I mentioned once before, we are using the Indian setting of the play to inform the costume design. I am borrowing heavily and unashamedly from an American production by the Goodman Theatre, whose costume designer is a genius.

Each costume is based on Indian  traditional garb, such as the churidar and sherwani, the salwar kameez and the kurta. For the bear I am venturing into Tibetan styles such as the chuba, but to be honest, the finished products are often looking anything but Indian :-)



This is my Chief Monkey. He is based on a rastafarian orangutan, which of course is geographically completely incorrect, but I loved the fabric so much I decided to overlook the anomaly.

This is Akela, the alpha wolf. I am struggling with his collar and have actually unravelled this and started again with more shaping....


Mother wolf : She also has light grey harem pants. I'm still trying to decide whether she gets a shaggy collar.

This is for the tiger, Shere Khan. He is the maharajah of the jungle.



There are also assorted monkeys and wolves and I'm working on the fat suit for the bear at the moment. There are two and a half weeks to go, so no pressure hahahahaha.

Meanwhile, I am painting sets for The Mikado. This is my cherry blossom, although I think from a distance, I'm going to need more blossom!






Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Letter I Would Like To Send

Lady, your lovely kid is a creature of relationship and habit. With all his challenges, he works best when he allows relationship to break down his walls and his fears. Over the past 18 months there has been a discontinuity of relationship: from my sessions to reading recovery; a new year group; two new teachers and the changes around hearing aids;  and back to sessions with me. And right now, when he is settled and there is continuity; right now when he is beginning to see gains, you want to move him.?!?!!
Why? Because we don't use the Listening Program? Because you don't see his progress????? He is making those small steps, which will turn into giant strides as he sees his own progress. He is happy in his relationships with teacher and support teacher.... And now you are about to undo all that?????
I am so angry with you. Apart from sending him to professionals, what are YOU doing to support his learning????
You didn't even come in to discuss it with us.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Picking Up The Past With JJ


So this delightful young person arrived at the airport today. She is so much a part of our past. A child from the UK. From the early school days. From the time when we were happy.


I am constantly overwhelmed by the beauty of the children we knew as they have grown into their skins.  This young lady handled the lengthy trans-equator trip with aplomb. She sat up late with us and discussed: 'single parent families', her recent break up, and mine. My how time has flown.

It's a funny thing, time, eh? It seems like only yesterday that I was inviting this young lady to birthday parties and picking her up from school for play dates. Tonight we were able to reflect upon our experiences together and, for me, gain insights  into life back then as our children saw it.

Have a wonderful time exploring our amazing country JJ.