THE END IS NIGH

Just two more days until the kids go back to school…… thank God!!!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, unlike 30 years ago when we could dissappear at 7 in the morning and not come home till the lights came on, kids just cannot have that kind of freedom any more and as a consequence, 6 weeks holiday is just too much! After just three weeks they are climbing the walls and want to get back to school to see all their friends again.

Anyway, it’s all change for my three this year.
I know I posted this on my old Blog site so let me explain it here.

Bedford currently runs a three tier school system. It has for as long as I can remember. I went through it myself.
Lower School, Middle School and Upper School.

At the beginning of the year it was decided that Bedford would be going 2 tier. ‘Miraculously’ (and I say that very sarcastically) just after this decision, the middle school that my 2 eldest children go to (Woodside) got a bad Ofsted report (absolutely proposterous, the school is fabulous and my kids grades have gone through the roof!!)
Anyway, they finally made the decision to close Woodside Middle which is something they’ve been looking for an excuse for for the last ten years!

Children moving up to years 7 and 8 (Murron) are now located on the Rutherford Upper school site. Facilities are being put in place for them over the summer holidays.
Children moving up to years 5 and 6 (Marjorie) are staying on the Woodside campus but under the umbrella of Putnoe Lower school.
In Sept 2011 Putnoe lower School would then move completely onto the Woodside campus, housing years 1 through 6 and be known as Putnoe Primary.

Unfotunately, just to put a spanner in the works, when the new government took over and the schools funding was slashed the two tier system was put on hold!
However the plans for Putnoe Lower, Woodside Middle and Rutherford Upper are still going ahead.

Confused yet?
Here’s the kicker…..

Dharma has one more year at the Hills lower school and we wanted to move her to year 5 at Putnoe. Unfortunately when it comes to make the choice of what school we want her to go to, we will now NOT be given Putnoe as an option.
We can move her to another middle school and then apply to get her moved but we won’t be guaranteed a place.
If we want to ‘guarantee’ a place at Putnoe then our only option is to move Dharma from ‘The Hills’ to ‘Putnoe Lower’ for her final year 4 at lower school in September and then she would just naturally follow into years 5 and 6 at Putnoe and then on into years 7 and 8 at Rutherford Upper.

We didn’t discover this little nugget of info until the last week of the school term!
So! In the last week of the school term we had a visit to Putnoe Lower with Dharma which brought a load of memories back for me as it was my first school.
The decision was made, the paperwork was filled in and The Hills Lower was informed.

So on Thursday (because the teachers are having a teacher training day on Wednesday…. is 6 weeks not enough time for a teacher trainingg day?!!) my three kids are going back to three different schools even though Marjorie is still technically on the Woodside campus.
Poor Dharma is the one with the biggest change. New school and all new friends.

Anyway, getting back to these teacher training days. What a pain in the arse they are.
If you count it up, teachers get 13 weeks holiday a year… now before anyone bites my head off, I’m not naive enough to think they actually get 13 weeks off. I know they have lesson plans to work out…. etc, but even so, you’d think that they would find time to do a teacher training day when the kids aren’t actually in school.

We as parents are told catagorically that we are not allowed to take our children out of school during term time for holidays. We have to get written permission or we could be fined!!
Yet if you add up all of these teacher training days across the year that’s a whole week that they are happy to take away from our children’s education but we don’t get a say in it.
We don’t even get asked if it’s alright if they have a teacher training day, we just get told it’s happening and to make other arrangements for our kids. The schools don’t even have them on the same days!
It makes me so angry sometimes especially when they decide to have one on the day the kids are supposed to go back to school after 6 weeks off!!

Anyway, we’re all set. Kids have everything they need. I’m going to enjoy my day off as the sun seems to have reared it’s head.

DISH OF THE WEEK #10 – BETTER LATE THAN NEVER – HUGH JACKMAN

Went back to work on Wednesday this week after almost three weeks off! As a consequence I’m a little late with Dish of the Week #10.
It wasn’t a particularly hard one to think about this week as it’s an old favourite.
I first saw him in a film set in his native country, Australia. A fabulous little film called Paperback Hero.
Then I saw him in the London production of Oklahoma playing Curly. Singing and Dancing which he absolutely thrives on which is why I couldn’t believe it when he was chosen to play Wolverine in the X-Men movies…. but what a perfect choice he was!
This opened up roles in action movies like Swordfish and Van Helsing and there’s been no stopping him.
He is one versatile actor, from song and dance on stage to romance, adventure, action and animation voice overs on the big screen.
He’s a family man, he’s tall, athletic and very well built.
He is of course, Hugh Jackman.

Suit or birthday suit….. makes no difference! This man is smoking hot!

DAYTRIP TO LONDON

Yesterday we took the kids for a day out in London.
As the trains and the buses were so expensive and even going to the tourist info office would have cost around £70, we decided to drive down the motorway to Stanmore where the parking is only £3 for the day, and then we got underground travel tickets for the day that only cost £30.
As Stanmore only has limited car parking spaces we thought it would be best to beat all the comuters going into London for work. So! alarm clocks were set for 4:00 and everyone was washed, dressed and ready to leave the house by 5:20. We parked in Stanmore just before 6:30 and were looking for a McDonalds before 07:30.

After breakfast we took a stroll by the Thames, saw the Globe theatre and walked across the Millenium Bridge to St Paul’s Cathedral Where we updated a photo we took a few years ago on a day out with my Brother and his kids.


Then we got back on the tube and made our way over to the Natural History Museum where we arrived 45 minutes before they opened!
We were front of the queue however, which is just as well as we go into the animatronic dinosaur display first without having to queue before taking a stroll around the rest of the museum and then having some lunch before leaving.

When we left we were thanking out lucky stars we got in when we did because the queue outside was absolutely horrendous. It stretched along the length of the building and actually went into the street and around the corner towards the Science Museum which is where we headed to next.

Yes, this Lewis Hamilton car is actually on the ceiling in the entrance.

After taking in the Science Museum we all came to the conclusion that taking a long walk around Salcey Forrest on the previous day was probably not such a hot idea as we were all losing sensation in our feet!
Even so, we walked up the road to the park to take a look at the Albert Memorial which is pretty impressive and a little bigger than expected.

Then we stopped for a liquid refill before taking a quick look at the Diana Memorial fountain.
It’s simple, lovely, fun for kids to play in which would have made Diana extremely happy and very clever because the water is made to flow uphill!

Anyway, after this we went to see the Peter Pan statue which I have always wanted to see.
It’s a popular little statue but I eventually got a piccie with the kids by it.
You can tell by their faces that they were absolutely enthralled by it….. not!

After this we were seriously beginning to flag so we gave into temptation and hopped into a cab for a quick trip to the British Museum.

I was a bit worried that this one may have been a bit too grown up for the kids to enjoy but they all loved it! Especially the Egypt section with all the mummies. Unfortunately we were all so tired that after a quick pit stop we decided to call it a day and make the British Museum our first stop on our next trip to London.

We headed back on the underground and back to Stanmore by 18:00 and the kids fell asleep in the car which was bliss!!
We were home for 19:30 had a quick fish and chip meal when the kids got a second wind and decided to go outside to play until 21:00!!
Thankfully after all this they did actually crash and we had a quiet night. Murron is actually still in bed as I write this and it’s just gone 11:00.

So until the next time………….

SALCEY FORREST

Spent the afternoon in Salcey Forrest with the kids today.
Lovely afternoon and a lovely walk through the tree tops.
For the more adventurous there are long cycle rides and even horseriders are catered for as they have their own car park with room for horseboxes.
There’s a lovely little cafe for refreshments, toilets and a little play area for kids who may have a little bit of energy left after you’ve marched them around the woods.
The highlight however has to be the wooden walkway that takes you up, up and up to a tower with a spectacular view over the tree canopy to the surrounding area.




So now the kids are suitably knackered and will be in bed nice and early tonight ready for their 4am wakeup call tomorrow and a trip to London.

DISH OF THE WEEK # 9 – RYAN REYNOLDS

Time for Dish of the Week # 9
This one was an easy one as it was suggested by a friend.
She recently watched ‘The Proposal’ with Sandra Bullock and the luscious Ryan Reynolds.


Personally I prefer him when he’s playing wisecracking tough guys like Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins or Hannibal Smith in Blade Trinity.


I like him best however when he is shirtless because he is ripped!

Hope you enjoy Andrea!

THE ANNUAL PEAK TIME RIP OFF!!

It makes me mad.
Extremely mad.
The cost of taking a family out anywhere significant is horrendous. Especially when you are ‘apparantly’ an ‘untypical’ family who have dared to have three kids!

OK there are plenty of lakes and forests that don’t cost much beyond parking and icecreams but the kids get a bit bored with these after a while and they want something a little more substantial like a Zoo.

I did a bit of research the other day because we want to take the kids out somewhere this week.
It will cost us over £70 to get into Whipsnade Zoo and just under £70 for Woburn. These are our Local wildlife parks. That’s a rediculous cost to a family. The fact that it’s also more expensive during ‘peak’ season is totally unfair. You’d think the price would go down during peak season.

After a discussion with the kids they suggested that they’d like to visit the Science and the Natural History Museums in London. What a great idea, they’re free to get in and they are only 50 miles up the road.

Now to get there…….. remember we’re only wanting to go 50 miles.

One day travelcard for a family of 5 with First Capital Connect trains from Bedford to London if we want to go before 11am = £150!!!!!!!
After 11am = £86!!! Who wants to go on a ‘day out’ after 11 am? Who wants to spend £86 going 50 miles!

What about the coaches then? They’re usually pretty cheap.
National express coaches for a family of 5 from Bedford to London Victoria = £85 economy!!!!

Our only option is to actually drive into Wembley and get the tube into London. It’s quicker and a damn site more reliable.
Forgive me for saying this but doesn’t the government want people to get out of their cars and start using the public transport system?
Well unless they can make it a hell of lot cheaper and more reliable they’ve got no hope! It’s rediculous.

BLOODY WEATHER!!

It’s typical.
I take a couple of weeks annual leave so that I can spend some time with the kids during their summer holiday and the weather sucks!
It’s been dull and overcast now for the last three weeks at least. Occasionally we get a spot of sun peeking through the clouds and it hasn’t been cold but it has been a bit depressing.
I think we are just going to have to bite the bullet this week and go somewhere, even if we do get a bit wet.

I finished the school shopping yesterday on the one day that has shown any promise of good weather. The sun actually came out, hooray!

Don’t I lead the exciting life!