Thursday, October 06, 2011

Yoker String Ensemble

Today has been a good news day! My string group has been given the go-ahead to start again and I can now get on with doing it!
I had notification of our financial award back at the beginning of September but as always it was not straightforward. There were problems with were the money should be downloaded to and how it should be spent. In my original bid I allocated a large proportion for transport. I then had a kind offer from Knightswood Sec school of use of their mini-bus which meant less money spent on transport and more on repairing and aquiring new instruments. Simple you would think but NO! As ever in this world now, everything has to be passed and passed again before a decision can be made. I have learned  though that if you by-pass the unnecessary and go right to the heart of the organisation you can get results. So it was. I have to thank the councillors of Glasgow's North-West Area committee for their common sense and trust. This has resulted in me being able to change the use of the award accordingly and start to get everything into place.
It has been preying on my mind for about a month now and the sense of relief at getting it sorted is huge. My thanks again the the wise and practical councillors! Not often you hear that being said!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Looking for a Care Home

Which is it? A Care Home or a Nursing Home? That is the question that nobody, bar myself and Caroline, can agree on. The consultant says a Care Home, the Sister says Nursing, the Administrator says " I don't know, it's all to do with funding but but maybe ERC (Enhanced Residential Care)". How are you suppose to know or choose!?
Filling in the financial forms alone are a nightmare. When it asks what your Mother-in-Laws income is a week where are you supposed to start? Who works their income out per week anymore?

We are now in the position of being bolshie! I, for people who know me, do not like that attitude but when you get mis-information at every turn you have take hold of the situation rather than let it drift totally out of control. I told the social worker we were not filling out the 15 page financial form as Joy will be self-funding they don't need to know. "That's fine" was the answer! We've now chosen a home and have told the hospital, the Social worker and the Care Home we want Nursing Care and to put the free personal and nursing care allowance in place. Great! No problem. We can move Joy next Tuesday and if funding's not in place by then it can be back dated.
That elation lasted for 2 hours until the Social Worker phoned back to say, "the funding needs to be in place before she can be moved and you will have to wait until we can get a discharge date from the Hospital". When?! "IDon't know, could take about 2 weeks." Why was I told different?" I hadn't checked with my "supervisor" and so they have overruled everything I said earlier!" WTF! Why such bureaucracy? This a woman willing to pay £700 a week from her own savings to move into a care home while she languishes in a grotty hospital. There is a room available and the home are willing and want her to move BUT NO! We have to wait for it to be debated by a bunch of faceless people in order for a stamp to be put in place to say OK!
It typifies Society today where workers are not allowed to make decisions for fear of either a mistake or the fact that "supervisors" might not be able to justify their position.
My plea is: please let people on the ground make decisions and if there is a mistake then it can be corrected. If there is not then everybody is a winner and a whole load of people can get on with their lives!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sarteano- Journey home







Was up at 5.00am this morning. Caroline got up too but we left Kate sleeping for the time being. It was surprisingly cold at that time of the morning but the sun started to come up at about 5.15am. We managed to away by 6.00am and getting to Pisa by 9.00am felt comfortable. Indeed it proved to be and we got to the car-hire by 8.50am. After the usual queuing at every step we eventually got on board our flight Glasgow. Sitting on the flight now we have been told to expect a temperature of 17 degrees and rain!!! Welcome home!!!

Sarteano Day 17 final day





Today we are a little bit in Limbo. We are not wanting to leave; know we have to and are still trying enjoy the day while also getting packed. I'm sure many people have felt the same as their holidays end. Not wanting to do too much, not spending too much money (as you don't want to take any more Euros out just to convert them back to pounds the day after). Ends of holidays are Horrible! I wish there was service you could call. Where they would turn up, do all the packing and magically transport you home without having to go to an airport and guiltily make your way through customs. It is however, what it is. Tomorrow afternoon we will be back in Glasgow (probably raining) and we will moan at how unfair our holiday was so short. In a couple of days we will back in the old routine. Ahh! C'est la vie!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sarteano Day 15







After our efforts yesterday we decided to stay on Camp today. Kate had kids club, Caroline had sunbathing and I have a book I want to finish before going home. That was our day! We whiled it away being lazy.
In the evening we decided to go out for a meal and to try somewhere new. We decided on a restaurant, Daniela, in San Casciano die Bangni which is only 14K from here. Always the worry when we eat out with Kate is that she will not try anything new and that is sometimes impossible in foreign restaurant. Last night she had deep-fried Lamb Chops with chips, which she loved (I enjoyed bits as well!), Caroline had a House salad followed by pork with ratatouille and I had Tuscan vegetable soup (a meal on its own!) followed by a wild boar stew with plums and cherries. The meal was fantastic and while it was not cheap it was worth it if only see Kate eat some different food. Tomorrow is our 2nd last day and I think a trip to a new town is on the cards.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sarteano Day 14

Today was our most tiring, exciting and hottest day all in one. We took the train from Chiusi to Firenze. The journey out was quite uneventful and the train was thankfully air-conditioned. When we got to Firenze the heat was already searing and that was just before 11.00am! We made our way to the Duomo through the massive crowds but found it no problem. The crowd to go up to the top of the Duomo was huge so we decided to go up Campanile instead which is just as tall and gives a magnificent view over the City. After climbing approximately 500 steps we reached the top soaked in sweat! It was worth it but it was midday now and the temperature had soared to over 100 degrees!
When we got back down we drank water by the gallons and then on to visit; Uffizi,
Ponte Vecchio,The Statues in Piazza della Signoria,Ammannati's Neptune Fountain and Loggia della Signora.
We took the Roma train back as it was quicker but it has to said was filthy and very hot with no air-conditioning. We survived but were very hot and sweaty by the time we reached Chiusi at 5.00pm. It was a great day and well worth putting up with some dis- comfort to see such a magnificent City.
A special mention goes to my wonderful 7 year old daughter, Kate, who did not complain once in all the stifling heat. She is a wonderful little girl who appreciated what she saw today.

Sarteano Day 13

The day started slowly again (I think we have slowed down with heat!) as Kate went off to Kids Club, I went to Supermarket and Caroline read her book outside the caravan. Today was very hot and 42 degrees was recorded by lunchtime. In that sort of heat you really can't do anything quickly and so it was 3.00pm by the time we left for another visit to Citta della Pieve, this time in the sunshine!
Citta della Pieve is interesting in so much as it is in Umbria and looks different from it's neighbouring Tuscan towns. The buildings are all brick as opposed to the Tuscan stone building. I think it gives the place a more austere look but nevertheless interesting. We did discover the narrowest street in Europe Vicolo Baciadonne. After we had seen what we wanted we went back to Sarteano via Lidl! Kate has been having withdrawal symptoms from her apple juice and the only place that sells it is Lidl.
In the evening after dinner we went down to dancing were Kate jogged away for 45 mins! Such energy! Early night as tomorrow we are taking an early train to Firenze. Excited!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sarteano Day 12

Today is hot! 32 degrees by 9.00am. We have decided to have a quiet morning by the pool where Kare can play with her new pals. Monica, Anna and Sarah are her main friends but they mix with other slightly older ones, especially in the pool.

This afternoon we have made another visit to Montipulciano. One because we love the town and two because Caroline wants to buy a beautiful leather hand bag for which the Italians are so famous. I have a look for one too but don't find anything to replace the one I bought last year in Pienza. Apart from this most important task the rest of the afternoon and early evening are spent in cafes and restaurants. A very easy way to while away a day! We leave Montipulciano just after sunset, which stunning.

Back at the site we go down to the bar where some holiday friends are having their last night. Kate has a great time with the children and we all talk till nearly midnight before we go our separate ways. Holiday friends you might never see again but they will always be part of your holiday memories.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Sarteano Day 10

The day started off with Kate going off to the first day of the Kid's Club, something she enjoyed last year. It meant Caroline and I could go off to the weekly Market that comes to Sarteano every Friday.

Caroline managed to find a nice pair of sandals and we also bought a roast chicken (delicious!), some fruit and veg plus the smelliest cheese in the world called Peceroni. It really does stink but tastes surprisingly mild.

We decided the rest of the day should be a pool day and we had a lovely picnic down by the tables laid out under the vines beside one of the pools.

The rest of the day has been quiet and finished off with Kate going to the kids dancing which has also just started tonight.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Sarteano Day 9

Started the day off with a walk up to the forest surrounding the campsite. It was another lovely morning and very warm so the walk was not too long.
After breakfast we decided to visit the town of Pienza. This is a lovely town that visited last year and where Caroline and I bought a lovely leather bag each. On the way there we also decided to visit Monticchiello which another town we visited last year. This is like a new town but is actually a completely renovated old town and it is really beautiful. It sits up high overlooking some typical landscapes such as the fields of Sunflowers.
After visiting both these towns we then went on to another place which really a hamlet but is a very important place historically. It's called Bagno Vignoni. It's a medieval spa town where the town square is a large Roman bath and where the waters still flow ( and smell!). You cannot bath in the town pool at the moment ( for some reason ) but at the bottom of one of the hill you can enjoy the waters which sit at a temperature of 46 degrees. Almost like having an open air bath!
It was a tiring day but worth it. We've had a quiet night and looking forward to another good day tomorrow.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sarteano Day8

I got up early this morning to see lovely blue skies and decided to go for a drive and take some early morning photographs. I also had the intention of going to find a Lidl store I'd seen earlier in the week. This is because of Kate's appalling diet and her desperation for Apple Juice! This is not a very common juice in this part of Italy, bar the green pulp juice which does look like you are drinking a glass of snot! My good intentions however were all to no avail as I set off in the wrong direction! I found myself driving to Montepulciano when in fact I should have been heading to Chuisi. Never mind said I, 15k down the road, I'll turn back and go straight to Lidl. Not having my navigator (Caroline) I managed to take a wrong turning into the old village of Chianciano Terme where I found all the narrow streets and a one way system! I followed the narrow streets and Market, without hitting anything, and found myself out the other side not knowing where the hell I was. I just drove more in hope than in knowledge. One hour later I found a big junction I knew, next to the supermarket I normally use. This was not a time to be brave any longer, so I bought breakfast supplies, including Green Apple juice and headed for home. I arrived just in time to see Caroline and Kate getting out of bedding declaring they were starving and was there anything in for breakfast ?!
The rest of the day has been pretty lazy. We lay by the pool for most of the day before I made dinner. After dinner visited the town of Casciano dei Bagni. A lovely little village set high in the mountains and well known for it's old Roman Baths which have special water full of algae and stinking of sulphur! What ever turns you on! Still it was a lovely visit and a great way to round off a lovely day.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sarteano Day 7

Today started off dull and threatening but by the time I returned back with the morning bread it had already brightened up and so the pool beckoned. I left Kate and Caroline to it and joined them an hour later. We decided then to take a trip to Orvieto. This town is over the border in Umbria and hosts one of the oldest Cathedrals in Italy, Basilica Cattedrale Orvieto.The town itself is a mixture of old quiet streets and alleys along with it's many restaurants. One of the restaurants we choose, which was not in the main Square, turned out to be quite expensive for food that was ok but not great. We should have known better. They have some unusual shops and one of them was a wood carvers workshop, Michaelangelo, with the actual shop across the narrow street. This was very much a modern day Pinnichio.

Just as we decided to leave the rain started to come down really hard. We were lucky not to get soaked! As the weather has not been great today we decided to stay in and play cards. Memories of my childhood came flooding back. I went to be bed very happy.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Sarteano Day 6

The day has started beautifully with hot sunshine and having breakfast on our decking. Caroline and Kate are off to the pool afterwards to meet up with some new friends that Kate has made. One of the really good things about these camps is the number of children who holiday in them and so the children learn to make friends very quickly. I'm off to the supermarket! Unfortunately we have to and barring eating restaurants all the time we have to keep supplies up, MY job!
This afternoon it has clouded over a good bit and so we are off to Montepulciano. This is one of my favourite towns with stunning architecture, good cafes and lovely shops.
San Bagio is it's most celebrated church and is stunning in it situation and architecture. We then visit our favourite cafe in the main square. Also in the main square is Cattedrale Santa Maria Assente. This is a very unusual looking Cathedral on the outside where the facade looks like it needs finished!
Another interesting fact about Montepulcaino is the fact it is the birthplace of Roberto Bellarmino. This in fact was the name of the Secondary school I went to in deepest Pollock, Glasgow! He in fact had been a Jesuit priest who had come to Scotland to help convert the heathen Scots! Amazing really.

The day has finished with us down at the camp bar where some of the other Scots families have gathered with their children. Chat is the order of the day/night and mutual friends are discovered. A perfect end to another lovely day.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Sarteano Day 5

Normal service has been resumed. It's 31 degrees and sunny today and the site is buzzing with people round the pool and the village. What a relief, especially to Caroline and Kate. We had a great time playing in the big pool which is one of three, the other two are open to the public and stay open all day. The one we use closes at 1.30 which allows time for a siesta! Life is hard!!
In the evening we visited the nearby town of Cetona. This very traditional Italian town has it's focal point in a large rectangular square were the locals meet and talk of an evening. It really is wonderful to hear the human voice as the main source noise and animation. If only we could adopt this back home rather than the usual television and loud music. We have sat in this square eating ice-cream, drinking coffee and talking. Feeling quite at home really

Friday, July 01, 2011

Sarteano Day 3

At this present time 4.00pm there is a huge thunderstorm! These storms don't usually last long but this one has been going for a couple of hours and it is loud and heavy with rain.
This morning it was very hot and clear blue skies so we didn't expect quite a downpour. We visited the local Market in Sarteano which occurs every Friday. It was very busy and we were able to buy very fresh food for tonight's dinner. I bet they're glad they were only there in the morning. The good thing about storms like this is it lets you just sit around reading and relaxing. Even Kate is happy dossing about naked in the caravan! Relaxing is what a holiday is all about and that's what we are being forced to do, whether we want to or not. I'm sure by this evening it will be back to a warm and sunny place and we'll be ready to get out and about tomorrow in the hot sunshine!

Sarteano Tuscany 2011 Day 1

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Set off from Glasgow this morning at 4.15am! I hardly slept for fear of sleeping in so now we have arrived in Sarteano I am truly exhausted. The heat is searing, 90degrees plus, and I think we could be in for a thunderstorm. At least that will clear the air!
The mobile home is very nice and a surprising amount of room. I'm off to supermarket for supplies. After dinner it will be a short walk and then an early night. I'm hoping to feel bright and raring to go tomorrow. Here's hoping.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Isle of Skye

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The weather is very wet intermingled with strong sun breaks that don't last long. The Hotel Duisdale is lovely and the food fantastic. Welcome to the Isle of Skye!
We are here celebrating my 25th Wedding Anniversary with Caroline. This is the first time we have alone together, for longer than a few hours, for about 20 yrs.! It feels very strange not having a child about but I think we deserve to give ourselves sometime to talk and discuss our own needs. The banning of talking about children has been agreed!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

25 years of marriage

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I've been married to Caroline for 25 years today! I can hardly believe it. This beautiful, talented woman has stuck by me for all these years! Why? To be with the same person for 25 years of marriage and 28 years all in is either pure laziness or true love. Knowing Caroline and how hard she works and how much of a "doer" she is it can only be the latter.
She is beautiful, she is intelligent, she is fun and most of all a wonderful human being. She would deny any of those things but I know it to be true. I just hope that in another 25 years we are celebrating our Golden! Now that will be quite an event!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The storm

What a day! This is May in Scotland. 90 mph winds and thrashing rain, oh the joys! I came home from teaching on a piece of wood (cello) to here an almighty crash as a giant 60ft Elm tree fell onto park cars an across the breadth of the whole of our road, about 10 yards from my front door! What a sight! The tree has been standing for about 100 years and to be felled by a huge gust of wind seems so cruel. I suppose it's better that nature does the job rather than it being felled by Man because it is an inconvenience or that it blocks somebody's light. Still it's a very sad day and we will no longer hear the Dawn chorus that inhabited that particular tree. Nature is cruel.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Going back to work and students on holiday

It's a strange situation at home just now. After 2 weeks holiday it's time to go back to work on Monday. At the same time my two sons have finished their terms at Sheffield and Glasgow Unis respectively and so are home for quite a while now. Caroline also starts her holidays this week while Kate and I return to school! The return it has to be said is only for 4 days before the Easter break so I mustn't complain!
The result is the house is crowded. We never envisaged this situation when we bought this place and mostly because we never envisaged having another child 15 years after our second one! I know I should be grateful that our children can still feel they can return here and still call it home BUT...... What about some peace and quiet!? Maybe in another 10 or 11 years???

Monday, April 11, 2011

On flight

Flights are a strange form of travel and one that I don't particularly like. We have this idea that we just turn up at the airport, drop off a bag and get on the plane and off! The reality is much different and especially if you travelling in a group that includes a 7 yr old, an 81 and an 86! The frustrations and timings of getting through are much different. Do you wait to the end to let the elderly on last ( which annoys the 7 yr old!) or do you fight through the crowds and rush to the front which will inevitably leave the elderly either knocked of their feet or crushes to death in the mad scramble for a seat! I think the former is the lesser of the two evils. After all there will always be a seat for everybody with a ticket and while you might not all end up in the same row that can sometimes be an advantage!!

Taking the car or motorhome is a better option for me but given that none of my family would like it I guess I'm stuck with what I've got........ Or maybe there is another way?? Mmmmm!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Going home

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Unfortunately it's time to go back to Glasgow or at least in about 8 hours. We have had a fantastic time and rounded it off tonight with a meal at a local Portugese restaurant. It was great of my young brother to share his good fortune (through hard work) with Kate, Caroline and myself as well as my Mum and Dad. We really can't thank him enough. His kindness and generosity are very much appreciated and I hope he has enjoyed being with his Family in this beautiful place. I hope it will not be the last time we are here but if it is we will never forget what a wonderful time we've had.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The dolphin hunt













We have just been on a boat looking for dolphins and well did we see some! There were hundreds of bottle-nose dolphins swimming in the Atlantic off Lagos. We really didn't know what to expect but we were not disappointed. Literally 100's were swimming round the boat. I haven't seen all the photos yet but I must have at least a few. It's not easy to capture these majestic creatures on film but I had the camera set to rapid shoot so hopefully I have got some. The speed they move is very daunting and just as you think you might have one photo they have diced again. I think a lot of luck is needed. An unforgettable experience for us all but especially Kate who was beside herself with excitement!

Later today we are going to a traditional Portugese dance, so that will be an all together different experience.
Photos to follow!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Day 5 Lagos

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Another beautiful morning here in Lagos and I'm up earlier than usual to try and get the most out of the day. Yesterday was lovely and I hope we can continue in the same vein.

We are hoping to go on the dolphin boat- ride which Kate has been going on about. It will depend on the weather, ironically enough, and whether the sea is too rough! They wouldn't sail yesterday because of safety and while the sea looked wonderful yesterday it obviously has to be pretty calm before the boats will be taken out. Here's hoping!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Another day in Lagos


After the exertions of yesterday; a day on the beach was called for. There are many beautiful beaches in this area and luckily one of the best and certainly most accessible is 5 mins walk from where we are staying. The waves are high and many surfers use it. For me Kate and Caroline it's ideal for just jumping over the waves! I have already soaked myself, having not come prepared with trunks , I now find myself lying in my knickers while my shorts dry out! Never mind and nobody cares, we are having a ball!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Last week of term

Tomorrow starts the last week of school term and a period of real disruption. While I'm looking forward to the holidays the fact that the schools are only open for 7 days in the whole of April will look excessive to people looking in. It has to be pointed out that there are no more holidays than usual but is just the way they have fallen this year. Easter being so late this year doesn't help and who do we blame for that?

I'm off to Portugal for a week in the holidays and I intend to enjoy it. While I may be worried about the continuity in my teaching, I'm afraid that when it comes to holidays I have an uncanny knack of leaving guilt and worry where they belong: well tucked away!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Friend in need

I'm sitting waiting for my daughter while she is in her Ballet class. This is usually a time of peace and quiet where I can gather thoughts and listen to favourite music. Today however, I am on edge.

My thoughts are very much focused on an old friend who has finally come round to the idea that he may have a problem with alcohol. I have told him this quite a number of times and pleaded with him to seek help. Like most people with this terrible illness he is in denial and cannot bring himself yet to admit to it. He has denied that anybody else believes the same as myself and that is enough for the drinking to continue. The truth is most people believe what I do but are too embarrassed to bring it up in conversation. The last person to admit a problem like this is the sufferer themselves. It is very hard to admit, what many people still believe is a weakness, that a problem exists. Going to the Doctor is at least saying that there may be a problem and start on a road to recovery.

On my return home I had a phone call from my friend. He has been to the doctor and has asked for help that surely is the First Step. He is still a friend and as such I hope I can help as well

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Concerts and Castles

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As the weeks are flying by it was good to have one that was a bit different from others.
This week started off as usual with me travelling to the East-End of Glasgow to do my cello teaching. Tuesday was much closer to hand starting off in the local Primary school and finishing in a local Secondary. All this was interspersed with my private teaching at home.
On Wednesday it was different. I went to my Daughter's Primary across the road to see their make on a Medieval Baquet! In came the Princess and the Knights to do some jousting as well us enjoying a banquet! The primary 3 class were terrific and given a great show. There were School Inspectors in as well so they must have been impressed.
On Thursday my day started as usual with my cello teaching in another nearby Secondary school. Later that day at 7.00pm I took part in a concert at another local Secondary and what a breath of fresh air. It incorporated all the members of the Arts Faculty i.e. Music, Drama, Art and Dance. All did the school proud and proved again that an ordinary Secondary School in Glasgow can put on a high class show/concert that is both short and very entertaining. Long may it carry on.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Old Friends

Last night I sat to dinner with the family and not unusually I had to tell Kate to stop playing a game on my iPhone. As reluctantly complied she pressed a button in haste and next minute she was talking to somebody on the other end of the phone. "do you want to speak to my Dad?" was the question in her soft English accent. I asked her to pass it me as I was getting annoyed by point. On the top of the phone I notice the name: Arthur Gwynn Morgan Davies. What the f... I exclaimed! Arthur? I haven't spoken to Arthur in about 10 years! Arthur have you just phones me?" No!" Came the answer in a state of bemusement, " you have just phoned me! ". " how did that happen Kate?" you've broken my phone, it will not disconnect! After a minute I managed to take stock of the situation and have quick word with Arthur at which he said he would phone back in an hour. Kate then piped up, "you've been meaning to phone guy for ages!"
Indeed an hour later Arthur phone and we spoke for over an hour. It was great to catch up with somebody who, when in Glasgow, was my best friend and colleague. He has not changed a bit and despite all the time we have not seen or spoken to one another we can still call each other good friends.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Victoria park Scotstoun Glasgow

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Another year.

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Just looking at the photo from last Christmas I thought it unusual that there had been so much snow last year. Little did I know that this year would be twice as White, cold and beautiful.

It's been a mixed year with lots of visits to hospital with Mother-in-law. That has been the hardest part of the year, especially for Caroline, but still she goes on and refuses to give up! Stubborn or fortunate?

Highlights of the year have been our holidays in Portugal (Easter) and Tuscany in the summer. I don't think we would have finished the year as strongly if we hadn't managed to get away.

Another highlight for myself was 9 days in Bremen, Germany, with the International Youth Symphony Orchestra (IYSO). It was a great course with an orchestra of 170 young people the sound was immense! Hopefully I'll get back next year for another exciting episode!

Both the boys are at Uni now, with Adam at Glasgow and Fraser at Sheffield. They seem to be getting on well but time will tell if they stick at it!

Kate is now in P3, which is hard to believe, and is just a joy. A time consuming joy but nevertheless a joy.

This year, 2011, will see Caroline and my 25th wedding anniversary! We have not planned anything yet but I've no doubt we will celebrate in our own inimitable fashion, whatever that is!

I'm going to try and keep this blog more updated but no promises to myself. Happy 2011!

Ode to a broken cello

This is exactly what you don't want when you return to school. The cello has been dropped and the neck completely sheared off! When asked how it happened the stock answer came out, "I don't know!" It's as if the cello Has deliberately committed suicide rather than be abused by it's owner! I don't know if I can blame it. These instruments do take a fair amount of abuse and if it was human it may well have retaliated in some violent way! Maybe this was this particular cello's only hope of escape! I do feel responsible for giving to an owner who obviously didn't care what happened to it. It probably lay in a corner for months with only an occasional outing to pawed at by grubby hands with sticky fingers and worse. How could I let that happen? I should have known. Maybe we will all learn by this untimely incident. Maybe I should start a home for suffering cellos. I don't know but I do know that this particular owner will not be given another chance to claim another victim. He will be sent back to endure his Maths and English classes! Never to darken my door again!

Mr P

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At the end of January 2011, Scotstoun Primary School's Janitor Mr Parker retired. People might think "well big deal!". Indeed it was a big deal. Mr Parker or Mr P as he was known was a quite extraordinary Janitor and man. Much was written in the papers of hi exploits in the Vietnam war and his obvious bravery in winning the Purple Heart. In the time I have known him he never mentioned it to me and it only came out after much delving by the press. I'm sure he is proud of it but it was not his overiding conversation story. Much more interesting for him, from what I could gather, were the children in his care everyday of his 16 years at Scotstoun. His dedication to the school. Children and wider community of Scotstoun has been immense. This has all been rightly mentioned in dispatches but one thing has upset me and stuck in my gullet which has not really been made public.

As a janitor with Glasgow City Council and at Scotstoun Primary he has lived in a tied house that goes with job at Scotstoun. He has now had to vacate that house and basically find somewhere else for himself and family to live! Why? To be fair to the City Council they have stopped the tied house policy for new employees so it should not happen again. What will happen to Mr P's ex house? It will probably be sold off and the money go into the general coffers. What price loyalty and devotion to your job? I for one would have been more than happy to have seen Mr P enjoy his well-earned retirement in the comfort of his house in Scotstoun and forego the extra coffers. That for me, unlike city bankers, would have been a well deserved bonus.