A wife, mother and teacher who's always up for learning something new and meeting new friends.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Quiet Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

I Love Instagram!

Over the summer I downloaded the Instagram app for my iPhone, an app that I would never be without now.

  Instagram is a revelation to my photo taking.  I have often thought I took a pretty good pic but I've never been able to afford a fancy camera and I don't have the knowledge to produce photos with filters and effects.
  Instagram has helped me to do that and it's so easy to do.  I now have a whole album of instagram pics.  Here's a selection of my favourites.

I'm partial to a lovely sunset...

Oldham town centre
Abersoch, Wales

The hills above Oldham
Outside our house
Manorbier beach, Pembrokshire

             ...and I like a good beach shot too.

Driftwood at Newgale Beach

Newgale beach

Beverages must ALWAYS be included.

Stella Cidre
No description needed here

Anyone for tea?

The architecture of Wembley Stadium always makes for a good photo.

Rainbows are always inspirational

A rainbow in a cloud - beautiful

And then there are some random pictures...
Yanks weekend
More Yanks

Sonny Boy Blue

Manorbier Castle

The canal at Uppermill

Monday, 5 December 2011

A - Z

A. Age: 39
B. Bed size: Queen
C. Chore that you hate: Ironing!
D. Dog: Sonny, a ten year old Boxer.  We rescued him from the dogs home 8 years ago.  he's old and very smelly but faithful and affectionate.
E. Essential start to your day: Brushing my teeth.
F. Favorite color: Blue, or pink...bluey-pink?
G. Gold or Silver: White gold.
H. Height: 5'4
I. Instruments you play: I learnt the recorder at school.
J. Job title: Mum, Teacher, Skivvy
K. Kids: 1 daughter
L. Live: Oldham, Manchester, Northern England
M. Mother’s name: Pat
N. Nicknames: Beanie, Keano, Knockerwoman
O. Overnight hospital stays: Once to have my girl, once for having tonsils out.
P. Pet peeves: Errr... none
Q. Quote from a movie: 'Daddy, my Daddy!'  from The Railway Children.  It gets me every time.
R. Right or left handed: Left
S. Siblings: One sister
T. Time you wake up: Usually 6.30am
U. Underwear: Small, black pants
V. Vegetable you hate: Brussel sprouts
W. What makes you run late: My husband mithering.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Just at the dentist
Y. Yummy food that you make: Lasagne
Z. Zoo animal: Orang-utans, they are so like us. I kind of wish they weren't locked up in a zoo.

I found this little game over at Faith Hope and a whole lotta Love. Play along too. Leave a note if you do so I can come and read your responses.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


Picture by my lovely friend  Paul
Well, we got the call on Thursday lunchtime. OFSTED are in on Monday (gulp).  This will be my seventh inspection but my first as a teacher.  I spent six hours in work yesterday checking through everything and I don't think I can do any more.  Parents evening on Tuesday night to top it off, so it will be 7 pm Tuesday when we can finally relax and enjoy Christmas. 
 See you later in the week. x

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Autumn, a really beautiful time of the year and my favourite.  After the heat of the summer and the long holidays, I really like going back to work, accompanied by the slight chill in the air every morning.
 The light and the colours that surround us are lovely, especially this year as we had our 'Indian Summer' at the beginning of October.

These lovely creations are the work of my students in their forest skills lessons.  We are fortunate that our school is on the edge of some lovely countryside and surrounded by trees and fields.  The students threaded lots of leaves on to string and then hung them outside my classroom.  I'm intrigued to see how they will change with both time and temperature.

This weekend me and 'the accountant' had to get up early to 'see a man about a room'.  I managed to take some great pictures of the sun coming up.

This was taken from our bedroom window.
A slightly blurry sunrise, taken by my iPhone, in a moving car!
Through the car window whilst travelling at speed.

I've also managed to take some pictures whilst out and about.

A double rainbow on my way home from work.
The road home from my mums.
A tree... well what else could I caption this picture with?
The canal at Uppermill
The weather is still quite mild at the moment and I'm trying to make the most of it as we have been forecast another bad winter.  I've been taking lots of walks rather than going to the gym.  As my brother-in-law says 'being outdoors is the green gym'.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween, Magic and Myth

Samhain. All Hallows. All Hallow’s Eve. Hallow E’en. Halloween.  The most magical night of the year.  
 A night of glowing jack-o’-lanterns, bobbing for apples, tricks or treats, and dressing in costume.  A night of ghost stories and séances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors.  A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest.  A “spirit night”, as they say in Wales.

 All Hallow’s Eve is the eve of All Hallow’s Day (November 1).  And for once, even popular tradition remembers that the eve is more important than the day itself, the traditional celebration focusing on October 31, beginning at sundown. 

The Celts called it Samhain, which means “summer’s end”, according to their ancient twofold division of the year, when summer ran from Beltane to Samhain and winter ran from Samhain to Beltane.  Samhain is pronounced, depending on where you’re from, as “sow-in” in Ireland and England, “sow-een” in Wales or “sav-en” in Scotland.

Not only is Samhain the end of autumn; it is also, more importantly, the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, a Celtic New Year’s Eve.  There are many representations of Celtic Gods with two faces, and it must have been one of them who held sway over Samhain, one face turned toward the past, in commemoration of those who died during the last year, and one face gazing hopefully toward the future, attempting to pierce the veil and divine what the coming year holds.  These two themes, celebrating the dead and divining the future, are inexorably intertwined in Samhain, as they are likely to be in any New Year’s celebration.

As a feast of the dead, this was the one night when the dead could, if they wished, return to the land of the living, to celebrate with their family, tribe, or clan.  And so the great burial mounds of Ireland (sidhe mounds) were opened up, with lighted torches lining the walls, so the dead could find their way.  Extra places were set at the table and food set out for any who had died that year, though all must return to their appointed places by cock-crow.

The Christian religion, with its emphasis on the “historical” Christ and his act of Redemption 2000 years ago, is forced into a linear view of time, where seeing the future is an illogical proposition.  In fact, from the Christian perspective, any attempt to do so is seen as inherently evil.  This did not keep the medieval church from co-opting Samhain’s other motif, commemoration of the dead.  To the church, however, it could never be a feast for all the dead, but only the blessed dead, all those hallowed (made holy) by obedience to God thus, All Hallow’s, or Hallowmas, later All Saints and All Souls.

There are so many types of divination that are traditional to Hallowstide, it is possible to mention only a few. Girls were told to place hazelnuts along the front of the firegrate, each one to symbolize one of her suitors. She could then divine her future husband by chanting, “If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die.”  Several methods used the apple, that most popular of Halloween fruits.  You should slice an apple through the equator (to reveal the five-pointed star within) and then eat it by candlelight before a mirror.  Your future spouse will then appear over your shoulder.  Or, peel an apple, making sure the peeling comes off in one long strand, reciting, “I pare this apple round and round again; / My sweetheart’s name to flourish on the plain: / I fling the unbroken paring o’er my head, / My sweetheart’s letter on the ground to read.” 

Perhaps the most famous icon of the festival is the jack-o’- lantern.  Various authorities attribute it to either Scottish or Irish origin.  However, it seems clear that it was used as a lantern by people who travelled the road this night, the scary face to frighten away spirits or faeries who might otherwise lead one astray.  Set on porches and in windows, they cast the same spell of protection over the household.  However, the American pumpkin seems to have forever taken over from the European gourd as the jack-o’- lantern of choice.

The custom of dressing in costume and “trick-or-treating” is of Celtic origin, with survivals particularly strong in Scotland.  However, there are some important differences from the modern version.  In the first place, the custom was not relegated to children, but was actively indulged in by adults as well.  Also, the “treat” that was required was often one of spirits (the liquid variety).  And in ancient times, the roving bands would sing seasonal carols from house-to-house, making the tradition very similar to Yuletide wassailing.  In fact, the custom known as caroling, now connected exclusively with Midwinter, was once practised at all the major holidays.  Finally, in Scotland at least, the tradition of dressing in costume consisted almost exclusively of cross-dressing.  It seems as though ancient societies provided an opportunity for people to “try on” the role of the opposite gender for one night of the year. 

To Witches, Halloween is one of the four High Holidays, or Greater Sabbats, or cross-quarter days.  Because it is the most important holiday of the year, it is sometimes called “The Great Sabbat”.
 Another date that may be used in celebrations is the actual cross-quarter day, or Old Halloween.  This occurs when the sun has reached fifteen degrees Scorpio, an astrological “power point” symbolized by the Eagle.  The celebration would begin at sunset.  Interestingly, this date was also appropriated by the church as the holiday of Martinmas.

Of all the Witchcraft holidays, Halloween is the only one that still boasts anything near to popular celebration. Even though it is typically relegated to children (and the young-atheart) and observed as an evening affair only, many of its traditions are firmly rooted in Paganism.

Nonetheless, it seems only right that there should be one night of the year when our minds are turned toward thoughts of the supernatural.  A night when both Pagans and non-Pagans may ponder the mysteries of the Otherworld and its inhabitants.  And if you are one of them, may all your jack-o’-lanterns burn bright on this All Hallow’s Eve.

Love and light.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Happy Halloween, Have a Smashing Samhain

Love it or hate it, Halloween is here again.  As a pagan, I like to celebrate Halloween and yes, I do give all the children who call at the door treats.

I also like carving pumpkins although I'm not especially good at it.  My dog, Sonny isn't very impressed either.

Scary stuff huh?

This little lady (I call her Winnie) was a gift from a student of mine a few years ago.  It came in a beautiful floral display.  I kept her and have reused her each Halloween since.

I treated myself to some beautiful orange, white and purple flowers whilst out shopping this weekend, I popped Winnie in the top and they look lovely.

This picture is a little deceiving.  It's not a normal sized pumpkin, it's a teeny tiny munchkin!

 This is my finished Halloween display.  Can you see the little munchkins on the mantelpiece?  I've also put a little broomstick on the side to finish it off.

Have a great Halloween.  Love and light to you all.