Friday, May 26, 2006

Weasel and Country Mouse's big day/wedding/roadtrip extravaganza type thing.

Look at it this way.

It's the busiest travel weekend of the year so Frau Random Doubt, Listmaker, Youthlarge and myself are all piling into the volvo and pointing the thing northeast. Hopefully in about 12 hours from the time we leave we will be in sunny Bar Harbor. I've been practising talking funny "I paaaarked the caaaar" and have compiled a collection of CDs to amuse and beguile. Listo and I will share the bulk of the driving, not only do we get to be buddies and co workers , now we get to be pilot and co-pilot!!
I get to eat junk food. We all get to sit in lots and lots of traffic.

Why are we doing this?


Pictures to follow after the weekend!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Book learning #11

The Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson.

I have spent the last few weeks reading this book to the children in my class. Therefore I have also read and enjoyed it. That's why I'm going to tell you all about it.

I've been teaching older elementary kids for close to 10 years now and I pride myself of selecting interesting books for class read alouds. I do not read Harry Potter and I very rarely read Roald Dahl. This is not because I disaprove of such books, no, It's because the kids will have read all these books themselves at home, over and over again. I like to try to broaden their horizons a little each time I read to them. It's a core part of my job.

Having said that I do have a staple list of great kid's books that I love to read. 'Nicobobinus' by Terry Jones, 'Emil and the Detectives' by Erich Kastner, 'Danny, Champion of the World' by Roald Dahl, I could go on.

The thing is this, It can become a bit like going to see your favourite band and hoping that they will play all your bestest tunes from that album they did in 1996. Next time you go and see your favourite band performing all their mid nineties hits take a good long look at the lead singer's face. Is he really enjoying it as much as you are?

See what i mean?

You have to mix it up a bit.

That's why I went to Unwellness in the school library earlier this year and asked her "I want something like David Sedaris for third graders"

She came up with this, I'm ashamed to admit that I had never heard of the author but I took a quick glance and figured, why not? We'll let the kids be the judges and if it stinks they will soon tell me and we can read someting else.

They didn't think it stank, in fact they soon became quietly absorbed in it's story and it's morality play. Grown up are often stupid, greedy, ugly and ill natured. Most children are reliable, in posession of a sense of fun and ingenuity and end up becoming the plucky heroes of the tale. It's fairly formulaic in that sense, the story touches upon several modern day issues, global capitalism against organic individualism, The modern media complex against a bunch of lunatic eccentrics stuck on an island off the coast of England.
The kids didn't pick up on all the nuances but they enjoyed the gist of it- rotten grown ups defeated by ingenious kids, eccentric aunts and a host of fantastic sea creatures.

Best of all?

I got to do my Geordie accent for most of the characters

Saturday, May 20, 2006


We just bought a Dyson.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Breakfast of Champion's League

The thing I like about English clubs in Europe is this.

(As you know, I'm a Norwich fan so this is not directly relevant to my everyday experience, it's a bit like seeing people you know on the TV, never really happens and when it does you phone all your friends and yell at them "Fucking hell!! Hester's on Blue Peter talking about art!!!! That was 12 years ago).

I'm happy for them when they win- for a day or two.
When they lose I'm upset- for about thirty seconds.

I was even a Manchester United fan for 90 minutes in 1999, that was mostly due to the fact that their opponents that day were Bayern Munich and the game was an absolute cracker!

And I've always had a deep soft spot for Barcelona. Arsenal are wankers, despite being a truly great side.

I was delighted for Liverpool last year when they won the Champion's League, Scousers deserved it.

I love this time of year, May is a great month, Cup Finals, European finals, World Cup around the corner, everyone's happy.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Children's party.

Yeah! I'm going to be involved in hosting a children's party at my school tonight!!
I can't wait.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Football at Carrow Road

Yeah! I got an invite, Sadly I will have to turn it down.

Football at Carrow Road with Foolproof

Determined to restore footballing standards at Carrow Road back to the highest quality*, Foolproof has hired the stadium for a match on Wednesday 17th May.

This invitational match will pit two scratch teams against each other for a 90 minute, 11-a-side game on the hallowed turf. And you – you lucky thing – have been invited to play.

Here are the details:

• 4.15 - 4.30pm: Arrive. Come into the ground via the Directors Entrance, (on Carrow Road). You can park in the Club car park if you need to.

• 4.30 - 4.45pm: Study the team list. Get changed in the dressing rooms. Hear the stunning tactical plan that has been devised by your Manager

• 4.45 - 5.00pm: Warm up on the pitch

• 5.00pm sharp: Kick off. The match will be refereed by Neil Adams. Everyone on each team will get at least 25 minutes play.

• 7pm: Penalty competition. Yes, you will have the opportunity to score a competitive goal at Carrow Road. And run around waving your arms. At an empty stand. With your shirt over your head.

• 7.45pm: Awards ceremony in the Boardroom

• 8.00 to 11pm: Pies and Beer in the Boardroom watching the Champions League Final and commenting how you track back much better than that Ronaldhino fellow.

Please let us know if you would like to be on the team sheet for the match by end of play Monday 8th May. Naturally there are a lot of people we know who will be interested in playing, so if we don’t hear from you we’ll offer your place to someone else.

But please do join us. The match will be played a competitive but friendly and strictly non-violent spirit and we’d love to have your company. If you have hung your boots up, but would still like to join us for post-match beer and Champions League action let us know (although you’ll kick yourself when you see the sad array of crocks and porkers who turned out for the match).

Position: When you reply, please let us know which position you prefer to play in. We’ll try and accommodate your preference for at least part of the match.

Kit: you will need football boots with studs to play. We’ll provide shirts but you will also need to bring socks, shin pads and shorts.

Come and fulfil your childhood dream with us on Wednesday 17th May.

RSVP by Monday 8th May to Kirsty Jarvis
( or on 01603 766800)

* The management of Foolproof would like to point out that footballing skill and experience is in no way a prerequisite for taking part. In fact, the worse you are at football the better we will like it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

An English History for my American cousins.

After an alarming conversation about Henry II and Thomas A'Beckett the other day I have decided to provide an outline of English History.
I am using the chapter titles from the rather marvellous 1964 edition of a Concise History of England by F.E.Halliday 'From Stonehenge to the Atomic age'. The title's are Halliday's the rest is my own. I promise no research, merely a mumbling recital of schoolboy facts.

I. Early Invaders
II. Three centuries of peace 43-410
III. The rise and fall of Wessex 410-1066
IV. From despotism to anarchy 1066-1154
V. The making of the nation 1154-1307
VI. Foriegn war and civil war 1307-1485
VII. Renaissance, Reformation and a new world 1485-1603
VIII. King, Parliament and Civil War 1603-1649
IX. Cromwell and a united Commonwealth 1649-1660
X. From Restoration to revolution 1660-1688
XI. Toleration and the struggle with France 1688-1714
XII. Cabinet Government and the first British Empire 1714-1760
XIII. Loss of the American Colonies
XIV. The industrial revolution and Napoleonic War 1783-1830
XV. Reform, free trade and prosperity 1832-1865
XVI. Gladstone and Disraeli 1865-1886
XVII. The Conservatives and Imperialism 1886-1905
XVIII. Liberal reform and the first world war 1906-1918
IXX. Between two wars 1918-1939
XX. The second world war and after 1939-1964

At this point my trusty 1964 edition ends. I shall add another chapter to bring the 21st century reader up to date. Look forward to a final chapter including Margaret Thatcher, Lady Diana and Wayne Rooney.
I will not batter you with everything at once, I shall begin with the first 'chapterette'

I. Early Invaders
In the beginning the Islands of Britain were inhabited by tribes of early farmers and their communities. They had a system of law and order and apart from tribal rivalries and petty violence the land was in order. Then the Romans came under the rule of Caesar Claudius. The Romans suppressed what native resistance occurred and began to naturalise their new lands. By the time they eventually left about 400 years later it would have been difficult to distinguish many of the Romans as foreign . The Romans left much behind, much of which can still be seen today in places such as Bath, Northumberland and East Anglia. The Romans founded cities such as Colchester (don't bother visiting) , Chester (OK but full of wealthy Scousers), and Bath (Gorgeous Darling!) and greatly enhanced the city of London, making it Britain's primary city.

Next week.... part II, Three centuries of peace.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Political Junkie notes.

Click on the title for the link.
The knives are being sharpened, the undertaker is measuring up a coffin, another Prime Minister is being readied for the end.

I love the slow, twisting demise of British Prime Ministers, That's another reason why I don't approve of term limits. Watching a Prime Minister attempt to force off the inevitable is one of the joys of being British. This is the first one that I will have actually voted for, Thatcher and Major both being Tories. This one may take untill October. Watch this space.

I want pictures.

I was chatting to my brother today (he's the one without the beer) when he told me the most brilliant news.
No, his wife isn't pregnant, no, none of his children had done anything out of the ordinary.

His childhood friend and fellow Norfolkman Tom Wood (that's a picture of his office, I couldn't locate one of the man himself) has hired Carrow Road for a kickabout!

It's some type of corporate show off gig but what a laugh?

Tom has arranged for a number of clients and friends to 'bring their boots', use the dressing rooms and play a full 90 minutes on the hallowed turf! According to my brother everyone is guarenteed at least 25 minutes of playing time, they'll start with a line up and the National Anthem -I wonder if they can get a special guest to pretend to be the Duchess of Kent? (Americans note, we save the National Anthem for very special occaisons such as the Cup final, not everyday occurences such as the 7th inning stretch) and the referee will be none other than City's own 'voice of the county' Neil Adams.
I suggested that Tom, as he has paid for all of this should sit in the Director's box with a huge cigar, or speak Russian for the night.
Jealous doesn't even begin to cover it!
Anyway, like whatever, but i bloody well must have pictures so that you, my blog faithful can follow the proceedings.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A disturbing lack of knowledge.

Watch this space. At the request of some co-workers i shall shortly be putting together my essential points of British History. This is for Americans who want to know more but don't have the pedigree to back it up.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Book learning #10

Medieval Lives by Terry Jones.

Right out of the traps I suffered a not unfamiliar problem with this one. The subject was fascinating, well researched, well written even but I just couldn't help thinking that I would surely enjoy watching Mr Jones on TV more than I enjoyed reading his words. I'm not a lazy bastard, i love to read. Working out all those words. Hey, I can even do it in my head, It's just that sometimes I'd like to see a movie about Knights and Ladies and Kings and paupers.
Filled with anecdotes and trivia about this Lord, or that King, about how ordinary folk did in fact have a pretty healthy lifestyle untill they died of disease at 42 years old, Jones successfully challenged almost every perception about the period.
The best bits of the book were definately the chapter about the Church, how it completely corrupted virtually every aspect of medieval life and how armies and knights turned warfare into a business, perpetuating the murder and mayhem in order to make a few quid.
It also reminded me a bit of the children's book " The Measly Middle Ages" by Terry Deary, plagarism? I hope not!
Certainly worth a read, but what about a History Channel miniseries?