Paddington – please look after this illegal immigrant

It’s the evening of Tuesday 27th. I’m preparing supper, tuned into Radio 4 as usual when the newsreader tells me that Michael Bond had died. Being the author and creator of my childhood favourite book character, Paddington Bear, my earnest carrot chopping stopped.  How sad, I thought.

But then hearing he was a hearty 91 when he died, my emotion soon lifted –  this was a man who’d lived a long and full life and had passed on something very precious to a whole generation.  I hadn’t realised quite how precious until I heard the radio programme explain where his inspiration had come for that most polite, yet downright chaotic, bear. Continue reading

Exam Invigilation – my experience

This week I finished two months working part-time at a local school as an Exams Invigilator.  I enjoyed it, more than I’d expected if I’m honest.  I mean let’s face it, anyone who knows me could be forgiven for thinking it hilarious that I was being paid to be quiet for hours at a time!

This being my first taste of invigilation, I thought it’d be fun write a little about the experience – I know that many of my readers are people who might be interested in trying it sometime.  So here’s my upsides and downsides: Continue reading

Lemon & Honey Ice-cream recipe

Years ago a friend of mine gave me a recipe for the most delicious and unbelievably easy-to-make dessert.  I have served it up countless times and every time without fail it has been received with large amounts of “oohs” and “mmms”.  Then follows my fun quiz when I ask them to guess what’s in it.  People usually come up with one ingredient but rarely all 3, and invariably exclaim “No way!” when I tell them.

It takes all of about 5 minutes to make and not a whisk is involved.  What could be better?

Not surprisingly the recipe has gone all around the world after various lovely friends and family have eaten it and gone home with the recipe. I have one particular friend who sends me a text about twice a year, every year, asking me for the ingredients and which has become a bit of an in-joke.  She regularly has to entertain for her job as Headmaster’s wife and so it must have been served to countless private school parents and governors in Berkshire!

So it’s high time I posted the recipe on here.  Here it is:

Lemon & Honey Yoghurt Ice cream Continue reading

The strait-jacket of the State just got tighter: UK Supreme Court Ruling against Jon Platt & school absence

Jon Platt speaking outside UK Supreme Court today (taken from his FB page Jon Platt – School Fines Refunds

Reading the news today that the valiant Isle of Wight father, Jon Platt, lost his case in the UK Supreme Court comes as a sickening, if hardly surprising, blow to ordinary, law-abiding parents.

Mr Platt bravely fought the state on its insistence on fining him for removing his daughter for one week so they could go to Disney, because his daughter had been ‘regularly attending’ school having a 92% attendance rate. According to High Court rulings between 1969-2006, he said, this could be defined as ‘regular’. But no longer.

None of this is a surprise to those of us who’ve had children in State school for more than 5 years. In that time, we’ve felt the tightening of the strings on the strait-jacket that school has become. Firstly, the imposition of fines for parents who take their children out without permission in 2013, the connection of attendance rates with Ofsted ratings and the de facto removal of the Head’s authority to grant up to 10 days absence per child. Continue reading

Daring to enter the Forbidden Forest at Harry Potter/ Warner Bros. Studio Tour

One of the perks of writing a blog is that every now and then I get offered freebies to review. Most of them I turn down as I don’t write a blog to bore you all with reviews of things you don’t need. But I rarely turn down the chance to take the kids to see the latest thing at Harry Potter Studios, just 15 minutes down the road.

This time, that latest thing is the rather spooky and realistic Forbidden Forest, a walk through re-creation of the forest that Harry & pals were strictly forbidden from entering by Hogwart’s headteacher Dumbledore.  Now a note of warning here: if you’re at all on the slightly scared of spiders spectrum, you might want to skip this post. But for the brave of heart, read on! Continue reading