Teacher’s perks

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Brock

 

There are benefits to teaching that offset the planning and marking time. Meeting authors! My school has been involved in a project to promote reading and the authors of the books that we have been studying are coming in next week to work with the students. I am going to be lucky enough to be in a session with Anthony McGowan whose book, ‘Brock’, I have been reading with Y8 students.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave who won the Waterstones’ Children’s Book Prize 2017 with her book ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’, and Vanessa Altin, author of ‘The Pomegranate Tree’ will also be visiting next week. I just hope that I can manage to sneak into their sessions too.

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Elephants and houses

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Have spent a glorious day out and about, enjoying fantastic sunshine amd warm temperatures. Burghley House, near Stamford, is a treat. (Sorry about the pic – it was taken through the railings). It is a magnificent house that was built for Elizabeth I’s Lord High Treasurer, Lord Burghley. If memory serves me correctly – and I might be wrong, so apologies if I am – this house has the most chimneys on a house. 76!! The interior is sumptuous, but this time we didn’t go inside – we stayed outside, wandering around the grounds and the sculpture garden where there is always something different to see. What took my eye this time was an elephant. How wonderful is this chap?

 

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New Places

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Lyveden from mound 2

Well, another glorious weekend in the sunshine and husband and I decided to visit a National Trust property that had always passed us by in the past. Lyveden New Bield near Oundle – an unfinished moated country house.

The house was started by Sir Thomas Tresham who inherited the estate in Northamptonshire in 1559 when he was only 15. As a staunch Catholic in Elizabethan times when Catholics were persecuted, he designed his house to be packed with Catholic symbolism. It really was fascinating to see how he had used numerology when designing the property with its use of three and sixes. The setting was perfect – not a building in sight and everywhere huge expanses of green. Add to this my favourite bird, a red kite, which was circling low overhead and I was in heaven. There is nothing better than wandering through country estates on a sunny day. So where shall we go next weekend?

However, what a shocking end to a wonderful day – the horrific events in London were terrifying, especially after the event in Manchester only a couple of weeks before. My son lives in London and first thoughts are always – is he safe? Second thoughts then go out to families of those caught up in the bloodbath. We were in London last weekend and events like that will not stop me from going to London. The British spirit is to carry on. I refuse to spend my life cowering behind closed doors – just in case.

God bless those suffering. Stay strong – you are not alone.

A Perfect Saturday

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My idea of a perfect weekend – reading and baking. Nothing I love more that being in the kitchen – even if the sun is shining. So today – ginger biscuits and lemon and blueberry cupcakes. Have decided to try adding stem ginger to the biscuits this time. I’m sure you all do that already, but I have never tried doing this before. Why? I think the only reason is that sometimes I am a little afraid of straying too far from the recipe. At my age, I think I can now start to be a little more daring. Lemon and blueberry cupcakes are an old favourite. Once everything is out of the oven, then time to sit in the garden and read.

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In the middle of Zadie Smith’s ‘NW’ at the moment. Wasn’t sure if I would like it, a bit different to my usual read, but I do like the characters. I am still editing Mike Malone’s latest adventure and he will be appearing very soon. Watch this space.

Sunshine and Biscuits!

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That big yellow ball has been in the sky today so a visit to one of our favourite gardens
for a walk. Love being outside when it is warm, enjoying the colours and the sound of the birds. Highlight was definitely a low flying red kite – such a graceful, magnificent bird. A few hours wandering around, stopping for a coffee, just sitting before returning home for a cup of tea and some of the chocolate biscuits that I made before we went out. A perfect Sunday.

Whitby Discovered

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Nothing revives you like a break in routine, does it? A week off work to recharge the batteries. Thing is, a week off work often leaves you wanting another break to recover but not this time.

We have just spent a few days in Whitby and have walked and walked and walked. Never having visited the town before, and living in the flatest area in England, my poor muscles were unprepared for this picturesque little town with its ups and downs and cobbles. There were also the climbs. The 199 steps upto St Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey just had to be done, especially when there was such a prize awaiting the intrepid traveller at the top. St Mary’s Church was breath-taking. Never before have I seen a church with box pews, some with little heaters, or a three tier pulpit. It had a really cosy feel to it. Incredible.

Next to it, Whitby Abbey’s magnificent ruin overlooks the town almost like a guardian. What struck me was the way that the stone has been eroded by the elements. The striations could have been painted by an artist, they were so intricate. Beautiful but deadly, this brushwork will in the centuries to come, eventually destroy this wonderful, evocotive building.

Whitby is a gem, and now that I have discovered it, it is a place to which I will return in later years.

Now that I have returned home again, and with a renewed vigour, I have been able to finish the latest Mike Malone. Once it has been edited, it will be put on Amazon. I really should have a break away more often.