No! No Healthcare for you!

I’m looking at this from a purely outsider’s point of view, so please forgive my simplistic viewpoint here.

But am I right that a first world country that claims to be democratic and the ‘land of the free’ is seriously doing this:

Current president wants a healthcare system that treats all humans no matter their financial background, race, age or gender.

Major politicians are putting the country’s major state services on hold because they think that basic healthcare for all humans is wrong? Am I right in thinking that only rich people should be treated medically? Stop for a second. Didn’t I just say that this was a first world country that claims democracy? As in for the people.

And these people are willing to put their country on hold so that rich people don’t have to face more tax, and poor people can die without access to medical care. Children can live in poverty and I’ll health because they had the misfortune to be born into the ‘wrong’ family. From an outsiders perspective, it seems like these politicians value their cash more than human life.

Apologies for the sweeping generalisation, but what the hell is wrong with you America? For a Christian country, you’re putting on a very poor show.

Found Nemo, and another one…… And another!

So it turns out that it doesn’t matter what species it is, if it’s a baby, I’ll coo over it.

Case in point, as of this morning, we had baby pineapples. Pineapple swordtails – they’re livebearing tropical fish that look like goldfish that got their tails caught. The girls woke me up with ecstatic squealing as the little fry skimmed around the sand at 6AM. At 6am, I don’t actually care whether Sharknado is evolving in our tank. It’s 6am. But… Aww.. They’re very small….


Do you see it?? They are essentially tiny eyes with tails that were born in our tank 🙂 AND have so far managed to avoid being eaten by the rather larger inhabitants (Charles the Fire Eel is now a good 13 inches long.

Sadly, along with the arrival of Mad Eye’s mother came a good dose of ich. It’s akin to thrush for fish and without treatment will devastate the tank. That’ll be why the water is looking rather blue.

My poor loaches have been itchy but are looking a lot better today. They’re still dancing which is a good sign.


Women! Know Your Limits!

I know I should’ve probably been offended, but I’m now used to the ‘but you’re a girl’ line with people when it comes to me being a woman in a technical field. Here’s today’s scenario for your amusement (because I found it funny. There is nothing like breaking a stereotype for a giggle!)

Salesman in Maplins to LSH : “don’t worry, I won’t keep you she probably wants to get on” (indicating to me)
LSH *winces*
Me: “Actually the Makey Makey is for me. I’m a Computer Science Teacher, so yes, I would be interested in the gadgets.”
Salesman in Maplins: “oh! Oh! ” cue furious back peddling and apologising.



I’m Just a Little Black Raincloud (who won’t do her homework)

It’s been a Sunday. We’ve built up a bit of a routine here. Sunday morning is Homework Morning. I have planning to do for the week ahead and it’s the optimum time for BeanPole to address her 2 hours or less of ‘home learning’.

So this morning we started at 8.30. I sat and in between ranting at her for her lack of any productivity, I spent 4 hours creating an array of worksheets, test papers and death by PowerPoint for my lucky lucky students. BeanPole stropped, sighed loudly, scribbled, doodled, and when this did not have the desired effect cried, sobbed, and snotted on her homework sheets (did I mention, she has a mild cold that is putting her at imminent risk of death? The rest of us have the sniffles.). Eventually, my mum ushered her up to their room where she used mum’s desk to actually do her work before I throttled her. Seriously, how hard is it for a G&T 8 year old to write a list of adjectives and ten sentences?! She has a reading age of 13! It took her THREE HOURS.

LSH and I are holding onto the fact that eventually, the more we push the regular time for homework thing, the easier the habit will be and we won’t be having this screaming match with her when she gets daily homework at high school. We’re in denial. Please don’t let this continue for the next 10 years.

My head hurt and being a believer in fresh air, we headed out for a walk. We went to the one place where our family walks MUST take place every autumn!

Back in 2006…


And then again today…


Same tree, same family. This is affectionately known as ‘our tree’ – it’s looked like it’s on it’s last legs for years. I love this place. It’s where The Gruffalo used to live when they were diddy. Now it’s a playground for survival camps and catching weird wildlife.

It’s always nice to witness IT Consultant in outside of his natural environment (yes, iPhone in hand, but he was just geotagging the walk….)


The walk was lovely, and as hoped did all of us a lot of good. The kids when combined with mud, instantly forgot their germy moaning. There was no bickering. Just squishing through the woods with the occasional rushing into the bushes with cries of “I’m Bear Grylls!!”.


We found things hopping around (thankfully, Miss Grylls decided that eating the frog wasn’t on the agenda).


As we walked conifers conkers (argh autocorrect!!) were discovered and collected.


And we collected a bag of sweet chestnuts which have been stored for roasting later on during the week. (Get us foraging for food!)


Throughout the walk we found a variety of mushrooms – generally unidentified, but very pretty (wont be eating them!).


Finally, it was back home to make the final bits of the roast ham dinner that had been sitting in the slow cooker in brown sugar for the past 5 hours contemplating its fate. And a resounding success with the Yorkshire puddings! Extra eggs in the batter. Who knew!


And the cat agreed, we’ve ended the weekend rather relaxed!


Fresh air. Curing all ills from homework tantrums, to the common cold!

It’s Not The Plague, You Sneezed.


It’s nearing the end of September, we’ve bundled our kids in stuffy rooms full of other kids, what possible side effect could that produce? Oh yes. Germs.

I’ve spent the past 10 days with an on off stuffy nose and sore throat which may or may not just be my body fighting off the barrage of infection that each class arrives with on a daily basis. This is generally dealt with through paracetamol during the day and a sneaky gargle of brandy in the evening (for medicinal purposes only you understand!).

BeanPole is now also suffering the ill effects of ‘fresher’s flu’ ie. she has a cold. She does indeed suffer them badly as she and I both have a touch of asthma so the wheezing that follows is less than pleasant. But, for the record, the child is not dying. Today we stopped swimming early as she was feeling bad. Ok, fair enough. I got out with her and we had a nice hot chocolate together while we waited for LSH and TinyPants who was still in her lesson. Later, she couldn’t possibly do her Kung Fu exam as she was too ill…. She just wanted to sit quietly and read her book. So BeanPole sat quietly with us while I got through some marking and off TinyPants went and round-kicked her way through to her junior level 8 sash (#proudmummy). After Kung Fu we trundled off to the roller disco (total highlight of my week) and once again, BeanPole was struck down with can’t possible move my legs as I am DYING. So she sat the whole session out reading while we whizzed around playing tag at a rate of knots we’ve rarely reached before! There’s one less session at the gym.

Strangely enough, this deathly illness has absolutely no effect on her ability to play computer games or watch TV, or eat sweets….

Now I’m totally up for all this reading (she’s got through Charlotte’s Web in under a week!) but the child needs to move! She needs to get some red blood cells pumping and accept that a bit of snot generally doesn’t kill anyone. We are not withholding the Calpol, we are providing hot drinks, but just like the rest of society, unless you are actually being wheeled into an ambulance, you can quit fishing for a day off school.


Your unsympathetic, but ultimately thinking of your future work ethic, Mother.


Not a good week to be the owner of breasts

This week has not been a great victory for feminists. Or more specifically me as a feminist. And I am, in my own way.

I’m not into ranting about children’s toys, or the plight of stay at home mums (I admire them, but would frankly suck at being at home. As I royally prove after most school holidays). I don’t dress my children in non-gender specific clothes. I certainly don’t hate men.

I do believe that women have a right to live, be educated, and work as much as men and with due respect for their individual talents. Just as not all men are born construction workers, not all women are born domestic goddesses.

It started with my earlier post in response to an Internet article claiming women shouldn’t be educated (we’re done here, no more ranting).

Then today I was running off on a tangent in class explaining about how programming came into existence and asked my group of year 12s if they knew who the first ever programmer was. The answer given: ‘Er.. Some girl?’
Forgive me young man while I visibly twitch. Some girl? SOME GIRL?! OR an accomplished mathematician in her own right who worked alongside Charles Babbage (that would be Ada Lovelace). Some bloody girl.

Later when watching the news, I caught the tail end of a new report on a statement made by UKIP MEP, Godfrey Bloom. At a party conference which was designed to encourage women MPs he suggested that they were “sluts” for not cleaning behind their friedges (apparently this was a joke). In an interview, he suggested women were more suited to “finding mustard in the pantry” than driving cars. He also called 20th century feminists “shrill, bored, middle class women of a certain physical genre”.

And he’s surprised he’s been fired?

So please do excuse my shrill rant which was written on my blog out of boredom while I tucked in my middle class children. I quite clearly don’t deserve an opinion this week because I may be mildly overweight and own a pair of breasts. I also own a brain.

note – I will attempt to keep future posts to a ranty minimum. I have some much chirpier subjects to blog about!