Monthly Archives: May 2013

Holiday diary/Eden project

Monday

Today I headed to the Eden Project. I will have more to say when I get home I’m sure, especially with some photos and perhaps a fit of jealous rage that I do not live close enough to bring my class (teachers, eh, always working).

I’m staying in Par, which according to the blurb is 4 miles from the project. Actually, when walking it is more like 2.5 miles, so having checked the map on the wall, and committing the route to memory – cycle path #2 if you’re interested – I was off. It was a pleasant walk, with a rather steep section in the middle. First viewing of the biomes came quite late into the walk but was most spectacular. There was no queue to get in and I glut the walkers discount which made it even better. First, since the weather was good, I explored outside. It’s lovely, there’s been a lot of work gone in to the project with a wide range of planting and sculpture to look at. Soon enough, I’d reached the bottom of the clay pit and entered the biomes, starting of course with the rainforest. Fortunately, the realism stops with the plants so there were no leaches. Phew. I had a melt down about them when I was in the real rainforest. The temperature is right, and there is a ‘cool room’ if needed but I couldn’t help thinking that people need to just take their coats off! The high walk was closed, so it was time for lunch. Cooked on site with local ingredients, lovely. Then back to do the high walk. Maybe when the trees are even bigger it will be better, it just made the biome look a little empty.

Next stop was the mediterranean biome. I was disappointed. It seemed to be mostly restaurant, but I guess it was busy because the rain had started and that wasn’t helping. Back outside, I completed the rest of the gardens. A bit of rain doesn’t stop me. There were some stunning gardens, and the building called ‘the core’ has a fascinating roof that actually channels and collects the rain water.

My undoing was the shop. Yes, I’ve bought more plants for the garden, but they are only little! A beautiful shop with so many lovely things…and then I had to walk home in the rain. Suffice to say I was doing my best drowned rat impression on return to the hotel, but it didn’t take long to dry off. As I write, multitasking with dinner, it’s still raining, so I shalln’t be heading to the beach this evening.

As I said, a more Eden Project pros/cons will arrive later, along with some photos.

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Holiday diary/talking to the wind

It struck me today as I sat on the beach watching the waves that I usually keep a diary when I go away, and this time I haven’t even bought a pen. I know it’s only 3 nights, maybe that’s why I didn’t think to bring the new notebook that’s waiting…

Anyway, holiday diaries tend to be a bit rambling, a way of sorting thoughts that might be bothering me, so if I get a bit tangential feel free to stop reading.

Sunday
An early start today, to ensure that I didn’t leave getting up until the last possible minute and end up running for the train as usual. First leg of the journey was to Reading, and after lunch there on to Par, which is near St Austell in Cornwall. There was a total of six hours travelling, and I was happy that I’d booked a window seat. I love watching the world go rushing by. All sorts of things to see today – man flashing from his flat, fishermen, clay pigeons, someone practicing their golf in an empty field…only one delay, as we stopped so that a beach tent could be removed from our path. The train was fairly busy, but full points to first Great Western, for high seat backs and enough leg room for me!

On arrival at the final destination, I discovered that the hotel wasn’t joking when it said ‘by the station’. I checked in, and then went to stretch my legs, well for a walk, it was nearly a mile but I went to the seaside. I walked a bit on the beach, but mostly sat watching the waves, thinking.

About my job, about things people have said recently that really hurt even though they probably weren’t meant in that way, and generally stuff that I don’t let bother me at home. It was like being back in Sri Lanka, where I was lucky enough to go to the beach almost every day. It’s no secret I’m not happy where I am. There’s potential for something different, there or maybe elsewhere, but it’s out of my hands. Before I came away a colleague seemed surprised that I was going away on my own, and her wording made it sound as though I’d announced I have two heads. That same response I get when I say I don’t drink. She couldn’t grasp that I have no one to go away with  so it’s alone or nothing. And to be honest, quite often I’d rather go alone. It’s only when it comes to eating that I notice it.

And then there’s the reason I’m alone. Too picky. More like no one quite measures up to the one that got away, and the only person who does has made it clear his feelings are elsewhere. Hey ho. Mostly, like 98% of the time it’s fine. Hell, if there was someone, I’d hardly have got away with booking a holiday starting Sunday on Friday night, would I?

Dinner at the hotel is lovely, although the portions are a little large. Still, it’ll stop me eating the biscuits just because they are there! I should really check out the desert menu, must be some Cornish Ice cream on it.

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100WCGU #90 – Gardening

This week, the challenge gave the words ‘…the points were sharp…’

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She smiled as she opened the parcel. There, inside, were a brand new spade and fork for the garden. She hefted the spade from hand to hand and then took the fork. The points were sharp – just what she needed. She headed out to tackle the jungle that the garden had become in recent years. First, she sought out the little trees that were growing everywhere. Left alone the roots were going to cause problems. She used the fork to ease them out, shaking the spare soil back as she’d once watched her parents do. Soon it would look like a garden again.

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100WCGW #89 – Pooh Sticks

This week the 100 word challenge has a photo prompt.

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There they stood, without a care in the world, watching the water moving past them like their lives depended on it. They were playing ‘Pooh Sticks’, a game that their Grandfather had taught them to play, although he wasn’t with them today.
First, they had selected the best sticks they could find, trying in some way to pick a unique shape so that they could tell which was theirs on the other side. Then, they had dropped them over the other side of the bridge, before rushing to where they now stood, watching to see who would be the winner.

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Duke of Edinburgh’s Award with SLD pupils

This week I had the pleasure of sending off NINE completed Bronze Award books for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  For any teenager this is an achievement, for mine who all have an identified SLD this is amazing. It’s also the first time that pupils from my school have completed the award.

We have done the Award during timetabled Enrichment time  – pupils all come on school transport so after school just wasn’t going to happen.

My gang – four girls (autism, Downs, profoundly deaf, epileptic and never spent a night away from home) and five boys (autism, Downs, SLD in combination) and two teaching assistants, one of whom had also never camped before!

Skills

We learnt to play the handchimes. Pupils were not content to just play the notes when I pointed at them, they decided that they wanted to be conducting. We stuck to simple music (Twinkle Twinkle,  London’s Burning, Happy Birthday) and printed out lots of individual photos. The sheet music was blown up to A3 size and a member of staff then put the photo of the right pupil under the note of the handchime that they were holding. The conductor was able to use this to tell the appropriate pupil how many notes they had to play. OK, so it took 5 minutes to play a tune, but THEY were doing it on their own.

Physical

We learnt to play ‘New Age Kurling’ and had great fun while we were at it. This included taking part in two competitions, and of course we came away with a medal! Pupils were able to set the space up to play, organise themselves into teams, take turns and encourage others to do better.

Volunteering

We went to our local Country Park which has a good record of working with pupils like ours and did some countryside management work. We were lucky enough to be able to leave before lunch and eat lunch while we were there so that we got more time to work. Things we did included weeding, finding and counting the swans, collecting litter and trimming back the extra growth on a large number of ornamental trees.

Expedition

I applied for a variation for this part, as some of the pupils were never going to be able to meet all of the requirements. I split the group, the more able walked and the others went to places of interest in the local area. Pupils helped put up tents; set up, light and cook on Trangias and collect wood for the evening campfire. Those that were walking were able to use a book of photos taken previously along the route to find the way that they were supposed to be going. They slept independently in their tents and managed sleeping bags well (we practised this skill a lot!). On returning to school pupils recalled what they had done, chose photos and dictated captions for their presentation, which they then shared with the Head Teacher.

 

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