Monday, 1 April 2013

Spring? Remind me what that is again!

Not what I wanted to see today, more snow showers
It's April! I know you know that, but I'm just trying to remind myself that, as the snow continues to fall, which it has done pretty much all day today. It takes a lot to make me winter weary, but I am today. I opened the curtains this morning and uttered an "Oh no!" as I saw the carpet of white unsullied by human prints, yet again! It was melting quite nicely yesterday, even heard the drip, drip sounds that seem such distant memories. It was a lovely sound, the promise of warmer days ahead, the promise of a more colourful future and not the monochromes of winter. Even the Vitamin D tablets couldn't banish the winter blues this morning. I suppose that it doesn't help that I have been sick pretty much all week too. Ian even came down with the dratted bug too and we have done rather a lot of sleeping. In fact we haven't done a great deal of much else.  I went out with Ian to the land and we both sat in the greenhouse and slept in the caravan on a couple of nice days, the problem was that Ian recovered quicker than me and ended up tip-toeing around, so I wasn't much use as company out there. 

Our new crocheted coasters
I was meant to go to Tartu again this week to finish off the practicals and lectures in statistics, but I was far too sick to travel up that far, in fact I even ended up sleeping on the couch for three nights so Ian wasn't disturbed by my coughing. So as you can tell, it hasn't been the best of weeks here. Easter sort of came and went. A neighbour of ours made some lovely coasters for our cups of tea, such a lovely idea and I know how busy she is, so much appreciated too. I summoned up enough energy to make some teacakes, they were going to be hot cross buns, but I just couldn't quite summon up that amount of energy to do the pastry/paste crosses on the top, so they ended up as teacakes. Latvia has a similar tradition to one I used to know as a kid of rolling eggs down the hill, that is a bit of a joke this year, it would be more snowballs that they would end up with. 

Ian chipping away at ice, in preparation for
the thaw!!!! Now filled with snow again
To cap it all our favourite chocolate bar has changed their recipe. We could pretty much guarantee being able to find Tupla bars in our local shops and they were chocolately enough to really satisfy a good old chocolate craving. They had little bits of almonds in the chocolate outer layer and that was fine, but they have changed to peanuts last month and they taste awful. Not only that but peanuts brings Ian out in cold sores, which is not exactly helping when our immune system is pretty low this week too. I am just grateful that we managed not to pass on the bugs to our visitors of last week, I think they have had pretty much everything going this winter and been far worse than we have with the viruses. I suppose I should be grateful, just it is rather hard when I feel so tired and my arm still hurts quite badly after the fall three weeks ago. So where do we now turn to for our chocolate fix? Some serious investigation will have to ensue and maybe this is the kick we need to get us back on the fair trade stuff - not that they sell it locally of course!!!!!

Ice on our pond. Ian used the chainsaw to cut away the top
layer. There was a layer of water and then another layer of
ice. At least oxygen can now get to the pond. Who would
have thought, using a chainsaw for cutting ice blocks!
Well it hasn't all been doom and gloom. We were rather surprised to receive voting papers this week, which means we can actually participate in the local up and coming elections. I am quite excited about this, as we really feel there is a need for change in the local politics and we can get a chance to put our two pennyworth in. Okay two votes aren't going to change the whole system, but it's a start anyway. Now all we have to do is to find out how to go about it and get someone to show us how it is all set up. 

After several years of locking each other in or out of the
greenhouse and having a problem if it was windy of the
latch dropping down on the inside of the greenhouse,
Ian came up with a brainwave. The double sided latch.
Now it does not matter whether you have fastened the
door on the inside or the outside, you can still get it.
Clever heh! Now why didn't we think of that before?
The other exciting piece of news is that the international trade negotiations seem to be paying off nicely now. I am needed less and less now help, as understanding grows between the trading partners and I'm just there if there is a problem. We are so excited for our neighbour as her company gets a good boost and there has even been another link developing. They work so hard to create the links and ensure a quality product and it is good to see that hard work paying off.

Tomato seedlings started off. I started repotting them today
In between sleeping, I have as usual spent far too much time on the internet and an article about the anger amongst teachers in the UK grabbed my attention, particularly this quote

"The current annual rises for teachers, intended to reflect their growing experience, are to be replaced by a system linked to performance."
Now do pray tell me, how does one measure performance without subjecting children to endless rounds of testing? Which I thought they had decided, fairly recently was not ever so healthy for children. Also how does one measure a seed planted in a child that germinates into a desire to learn? I know that at times you can train a child till your blue in the face and they still don't respond/learn etc. then a few months, years, decades down the line they suddenly get it. Now how do you measure that? When I made a similar comment on facebook, a friend of mine retorted that maybe they should put MPs on performance related pay and see how they fare under that. Would be an interesting exercise indeed. We would soon find out who are the hard working members of Parliament then.

The trees are showing signs of life,
honest! They are starting to bud now
I then began to wonder how they would measure the success of some of my old teachers. Mr. Sharrock is one that stands out as a giant amongst my teachers. A very strict disciplinarian, but as I discovered a soft heart too for those who weren't so fortunate in the academic circles. I didn't go on to study history, his subject, but I did come away with a love of the subject and a fascination for the industrial revolution and the transformation it wrought - not bad for a 16 year old. Okay in my case I also came away with good results, but in many ways that wasn't the point, I could have got good results and no love of history. What is more important? I came away knowing without a doubt the importance of getting out to vote. I came away with a respect for the social pioneers that helped me forge my passion for justice and is resurfacing in my studies over 30 years later. How on earth do you measure that? I came away from my secondary schooling with a love of learning and a hatred of exams. I did well, I was a good and hard working student, but I was so tired of exams by the time I had finished. I would much rather that students finished their studies with a continued desire to learn more, to have a wonder of the universe around them and a love and care for their environment and people around them. That is far more important and yet so elusive to measure.


  1. make that two generations your teacher affected. (again I didn't follow history) but I love learning about the industrial revolution I also love some of the architecture they put into what could have been just a building or chimney stack etc.

  2. My teacher should have been on a double salary at this rate. I'm glad to hear all those traipsing around the old places weren't a waste of time. I enjoyed it :)

  3. Sorry to hear you're still not feeling too good. Hope you will be feeling better soon. When are you due to visit the UK? Hopefully when you get back spring will have arrived.

  4. Thanks Mavis. The sun is shining a little today and so it doesn't feel quite so bad. I'm not usually down for long and hopefully by the time I get back my arm will be better, the cough has nearly gone now and I feel a little more awake this morning

  5. You don't own knowledge, it has to be passed on.

  6. Now that idea would shake up a few patenting laws. I like it!

  7. I had a latin teacher who realised that hardly any of us were interested in latin so she would regularly take us to the cathedral, just a stone's throw from school and just let us walk round collecting inscriptions which we then translated, and mainly just talking with her and walking in the peaceful atmosphere did us good.

    the double latch sounds brilliant :-)

    hope your cough calms down and that the travelling goes well. x

  8. Sounds like a great teacher you had Liz.

    I am so pleased about the double latch too Liz. I was forever shutting Ian out or he shutting me in the greenhouse


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