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.