Saturday, June 30, 2007


I'm taking the month off.
The reason is very simple. We are of no fixed abode until early August, limited internet access and therefore limited blogging rights.
Apologies in advance, oh loyal reader.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Farewell to the best damn neighborhood in the world.

This week we move out of our little corner of Brooklyn.
It's been five fantastic years!

Mazolla bakery. The best bakery cum bus stop in the world. For five years I stood beneath your awning in the wind and rain watching cops buy donuts. I loved your ham and cheese croissant, that probably contributed to my waist creeping up to 38 inches.

Our cross street for the last five years, Henry and Sackett.

The distinctly odd 'Vermont Grocery' across the street. If anything sang out 'Mob front' it was you. Adieu.

The Italian gentleman's club across the street. I danced like a drunken fool on the sidewalk outside the night Norwich won the league in 2004. One of your elderly members accosted me and became a friend through footy. Your members are deadly serious about satnding about with cigars and gesticulating.

No more alternate side parking!

Sadly, no more Nino's pizza. Your delivery boys have seen far more of my life than I would like to admit. Your pepperoni with green peppers and olives is an utter joy.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I had it a moment ago.

Ah, the old UK paper drivers licence. For those of us born after entry into the EEC but before the Falklands War, raised on a diet of Weetabix and 'Rainbow' this crumpled document was all we needed to gain our freedom, that and a cooperative parent willing to lend us the family Vauxhall Chevette.
And of course I'd lost it!
This would have proved seriously inconvienient. No car hire from the airport. Insurance hassles.
Then I found it!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The last few days

I've just got through the last few days of my five years stint at what is now my 'old' school.
It's never easy leaving a place and this was no exception, in fact at times it was quite difficult.
The following are random thoughts and observations in no particular order of significance.

#1 Everyone has been so nice, are they pleased to see me off?

#2 There seems to be a strange band of coworkers who seem to react to things so strongly? "Oh Mondale, we'll miss you, this place will never be the same".... hey, you can never step into the same river twice but come on, I spoke to you four times in five years, you don't even know my first name, snap out if it.

#3 I have made some dear, dear friends at this school. I will certainly miss them, but I will be a visiting from time to time. Funnily enough I barely saw most of them today, just the way it goes.

#4 Mactechwitch threw a delightful afternoon thing in her gorgeous backyard on Monday night. The weather was warm and calm, the loveliest people attended and we drank, ate and gossiped. It was the highlight of my send off, we did miss a few but glasses were raised in their absence. Thank you Mactech.

#5 Please don't come and visit us in England. Lunches in London by appointment, yes. Weeklong sailing trips on the Norfolk Broads, no. There are exceptions to this rule, you know who you are.

#6 I missed Listmaker this week as he was at a conference. In a funny kind of way I'm sort of glad. He and I have some time arranged before I depart which will be tremendous fun. It sort of distinguishes him from the end of the year school stuff, a bit like Chris Patten after the 1992 election. I like that.

#7 I don't think I bought a meal or a drink all week (alright already, I know it's only Wednesday!) I did enjoy the social breakfasts and lunches in burger joints and diners. Thank you to those responsible.

#8 I do apologise for leaving quietly at the end of the whole school lunch today. I had to get across a crowded gym and was not feeling good about the departure. I decided to do the 'Aboriginie bugger off' (just walk away in a straight line and don't look back). I did make a point of giving Thelma a massive hug, In my own way I was hugging the school goodbye. Then I just split.

#9 Funnily enough as I was escaping I got caught by the very last person I would have wished to get caught and cornered by. I mumbled something about 'having to go' and she made a promise to visit in the fall (see #5) she then started telling me something about cellphones.

#10 I'll never ride the B71 bus again.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm listening to...

... early Billy Bragg.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Didn't I say that Spring in New York would be freakin gorgeous?
It's doing all it can to make us stay

Cor bloody 'ell

It's Saturday night, The wee fella has been playing up all afternoon.
The missus has gone out with her brothers and I'm wearing my new football boots around the place to wear them in a bit.
I just found an open bottle of Chardonnay in the back of the fridge.
There's a nice new couple living upstairs.
This is turing into an episode of Spaced, with me as Marsha.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Probably my final sentimental wankfest entry.

There are two books that I would probably need if I were to be stuck on a desert Island. One is Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, The other is the Collected Poems of Primo Levi.

As my last offical day of school is about to begin I want to share with you one of my favourite Levi poems. Please indulge me.

Unfinished Business

Sir, starting next month,
Please accept my resignation
And, if necessary, find a replacement for me.
I leave alot of uncompleted work,
Either from laziness or practical problems.
I should have said something to someone,
But no longer know what or to whom. I have forgotten.
I should have given something away, too:
A word of wisdom, a gift, a kiss.
I've put it off from one day to the next. Forgive me.
I'll take care of it in the short time that's left.
I have, I fear, neglected important clients.
I should have visited
Faraway cities, islands, deserted lands;
You'll have to cross them off the program
Or entrust them to my successor's care.
I should have planted trees and haven't done it,
Built myself a house,
Perhaps not beautiful but conforming to a plan.
Above all, dear sir, I had in mind
A marvellous book that would have
Revealed innumerable secrets,
Alleviated pain and fear,
Dissolved doubts, given to many people
The boon of tears and laughter.
You'll find the outline in my drawer,
In back, with the unfinished business.
I haven't had time to see it through. Too bad.
It would have been a fundamental work.

Primo Levi.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Final days of the Nixon White House

I'm moving on to a new job, a new country (well, OK technically not a completely new country but it seems different everytime I go back and Gordon will be running the place by the time we arrive)and a new home (as above but it needs a lick of paint and the interior decor will consist of something more inviting than empty bottles and ashtrays).

Which of course leads me to reflect upon the leaving of this place.

The end of any school year is a time for reflection, indeed it should be or would be were but there any time for such luxury. We are all so frantically trying to get rid of the children, tear down wall displays, get the right stuff home and not send the wrong stuff home that it's normally August before we get a chance to think about the year gone by.
This year is no different.

I suspect that towards the end of next week it will hit me a bit. But by then I'll probably be so busy getting the move going that well, you get the idea.

Monday, June 11, 2007


No, not the fellow from the old testament (although moving across the Atlantic would try his patience I'm sure) I mean the paying money for services rendered variety.

I just got one!

Still teaching, but teaching my all time favourite age group, not a thousand miles from where we'll be living (although let's just say that my five years of having a 12 minute commute are certainly over. There's something distinctly karmic about that).

A telephone interview this morning and yeah! Stable Employment beckons.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Today I shook hands with a 101 year old man.

It had been a busy day spent trying to find kitten a loving home. I went to the barbers for a trim. There was the usual banter and one of the bantees was an old guy talking about Canada.

Barber. "But Mac, you need a passport to visit Canada now, they changed the law."

Really old man. "I don't need a passport, I'm 101. I got a letter from the President."

I shook his hand, "I never met anyone 101 years old".

"You have now kid".

For the record he was a spiffily dressed gentleman who is chauffered about by his 94 year old wife. The barber told me and I saw them myself.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tenants super.

A lot of us renters bitch about our landlords and often it's completely justified.
Well I'd like to turn that all around and applaud my UK tenant.
He lived in my house for the last five years, paid on the nail each month and apart from a small hole in the roof and a broken shower, caused no problems at all.

And this, this my friends, is the best bit.

Mr Tenant left things as he found them. by this I mean that my old bike 'The Lady' was discovered by my sister (who very kindly took the picture of the interior of my shed) hanging in EXACTLY the same place where I left it OVER FIVE YEARS AGO!!
If you look you can also see the blue plastic box of bike bits what I will attempt to use to restore it with!
I have a project!!!! the restoration of 'The Lady'!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Another subtle view of our future home.
Looking towards the living room.
No cats.
Thanks to my sister for the pictures.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Talking of babies....

Some of you get to have sex and have a baby, For the rest of us...
there's this
I'm not normally so open and personal on this blog but hey, There are countless couples with male fertility issues.
I certainly think it's time us men with laughable sperm counts stood together.

Jeremy does a great job of talking up the issues and even raises a smile through a highly stressful experience. You can follow his exploits via the link at the bottom.

And if anyone is in any doubt about the value of it all, just ask my boy.

It's a baby!

Shit the bed!
The weasels of Maine have had a baby!!!

New Weaselkind

All our love and onesies in a northernly 9 hour drive direction!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Final Days

One of the best students ever (a Fourth Grader who used to be a Third Grader who used to sweat a lot) just came up to me and said.

" These are your final days".

"But FGWUTBATGWUTSAL, These are YOUR final days too".

He grinned.

Running scared, leaving on a jetplane.

On Saturday I spent some time and money mailing a box to England. Inside the box was an assortment of old clothes for fixing up the house, heavier clothes for the cooler climate and running gear.
I hate running outside in the heat and humidity of the New York Summer and seeing how I'll be ending my job, moving, homeless,visiting family and sitting on the beach for the next few weeks there doesn't seem to be too much opportunity for the old stretch. So the shoes and PE gear have gone east. Running career to be resumed in cooler, more rural climes.

Book Learning # 34

Warriors. Portraits from the battlefield By Max Hastings.

I was unable to find a picture of the title to my liking so I've included a picture of a younger Mr Hastings, probably from his Falklands War "I counted them all out and I counted them all in" days. Except that that quote belongs to TV journalist Brian Hanrahan.
I was browsing the Community Bookstore on 7th Avenue looking for a suitable birthday gift for Neice Flighty-Bat (books are so easy to mail and encourage intellectual stimulation in the tween generation). Of course I ended up with nothing for the neice but found this slight gem for myself.

And a slight gem it was. A dozen or more vignettes concerning different warriors from a range of conflicts over the last two hundred years. The brave, the stubborn, the foolish and the lucky. Oh, the dead also feature.

The compact chapter style suits my life right now, will probably suit my life for the next twenty years.
It seems that Hastings is one of those authors I return to every couple of years, just when I thought I wouldn't read a military history.

On a selfish note it's also heartening to see that though my pace has slowed my enjoyment of reading has not diminished.
Now I just need to get my running shoes back on.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Queer Lodgings

Behold our future backyard complete with mystery ginger cat.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Party time!

It's that time of year again!
listmaker and I (and some other foolhardy teacher types) are throwing a party for our classes this evening.
This year it will involve us invoking the spirit of Harry Truman by nuking Japan (no, that's wrong). We'll be wearing delightful Hawian shirts to amuse and entertain.

I told you I had it in