Friday, 26 March 2010

Nipper Wins Award

Last night we all went to Ben's school for what we had been told was a "Red Carpet" event. A week ago we received a letter from Ben's school telling us that he had won an award. It didn't say what for or why, and Ben was none the wiser either, so of course our curiosity peaked and we had to go.

We dressed in semi respectable duds...well I wore my suit and Ben his uniform, my wife looked good and Christopher looked....well....casual. Way to go Chris! The event commenced at 7pm.

It transpired that the awards ceremony was to do with the schools Art's Week and was to celebrate achievements in the arts throughout all the years. Seeing as its Ben's first year there it was a surprise he was up for anything. The arts involved things like Music, Drama & Media.

Have to admit we were all clapped out by the end of the evening at 9pm as we hadn't realised there were going to be so many presentations, which were interspersed with films, short plays, music and a fair bit of talking. Ben was one of 12 others in his year awarded a certificate for being an "Arts Champion" and we were (are) all extremely proud of him. Naturally we suspect this has to do with him studying guitar classes after school has finished for the day, organising and being the lead guitarist in a band and its really great his dedication has been noticed at such an early stage.

Although the evening was quite long - or longer than we anticipated - it was also entertaining, mainly for the right reasons, but also for the wrong reasons too. They had "issues" with the projector (as in the operator couldn't work it right), "issues" with the sound (the mic' kept switching off or went up to full volume), and I felt that the students who were into Drama to put it? drama queens. I mean they really really loved themselves and didn't mind the whole hall knowing it, some of it cringingly so. I could spot the ones who were going to be Blue Coats or whatever it is at Butlin's Holiday Camp a mile away. I guess some of the event just wasn't my "thing". I'm just an old fart sometimes lol.

Another thing which was funny was as we walked through the school both on the way in and when leaving, Chris kept saying stuff like "I really love this school" and "its great here. Much better than my old school". Well JMA is a great school. Its new, is well laid out and just always seems like its got the most modern equipment. Here's the layout below. The classes are arranged in what they call "Pods", with a covered walk through between them all and link bridges between the pods on the 1st floors.The blue you can see is a huge rubberised path and those little domes on the roofs light up and change colour at night. Its quite futuristic to see.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


I forgot to mention when it happened, but my eldest son Christopher has managed to get a place at university and starts later on this year. He applied to 4 or 5 but unfortunately due to the way UCAS work out the points you have based on exam results he was one point short of getting into all but one uni.

He applied for two teaching courses at Wolverhampton Uni and was accepted on both of them so he has decided on doing a combined degree on both of them. At the end of this - 3 years I think - he will get a Batchelor of Science degree (BSc) but still wont get his teachers accreditation and so will have to do a further years course there to get that.

Not sure on the course names, however they are to do with teaching primary age children and special needs in a school environment and will probably give him a more rounded education that a straight forward teaching degree course. At the end of last month we attended the open day at Wolverhampton Uni and I was very impressed with the lecturers there and how modern the place looked. They also have associations with many external faculties both in the UK and overseas which are used to provide the students with placements for "work experience" each year of the course.

Im pretty proud of him for taking this bold step in his life. Actually Im extremely proud with a large dollop of worried. The security & comfort of living at home must be a big magnet to pull against and to spend the next 4 years of your life learning must be a daunting one. Of course this probably all means that these next few months will be the last ones in which he will live with us at home, and thats very sad to think about, almost as if we're losing him. Who knows where he will decide to live when leaving uni, maybe not even in this country.

Still, he's going to be kept busy up until he leaves. He's trying to learn how to cook with us (we're still alive!), he needs to sort out accomodation - he seems adverse to using the Halls of Residence for some reason, and vitally, he needs to sort out funding. Sadly due to the way they work things he is going to need to sort this out himself as our savings are too paltry to assist him at all and he doesn't qualify for a grant.

It's going to be a sad day in a few months time. Okay hes only 2.5hrs drive away but its not like we'll see him that often. Still you have to let them grow up to be what they want and we always knew a day like this would come eventually. Won't stop it hurting though.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The back end of last week and so far this week the weather has been brilliant. Sun is shining, hardly a cloud in the sky and the ones that there are seem to be while puffy ones. If it wasn't for the stiff breeze then it could almost be Summer. Time to dust my bike and bring it into work for my lunchtime rides again I think.
I have been letting myself go to rack and ruin these past months. Oh how I wish I had the inner strength to keep on cycling through the Winter like some I read about. On the plus side the clocks change in a few weeks which means lighter evenings too.
I have a Diabetic Clinic appointment sometime in May, which is a couple of days after my niece's wedding in Cornwall and I promised myself that I'd lose some weight for both those reasons. Despite my religious eating of salads instead of crisps, I don't dare weight myself now - it'd be too upsetting.
I wanted to get out on the bike for a ride last weekend, however the building of kitchen cupboards was demanded, and this weekend it looks like I will be fitting them onto the walls - not an easy job as the wall is a stud partition probably only made with one layer of 12.5mm wallboard so I need to support the base of the units with some hidden framework. Not quite figured it out yet but I'm sure I can build it. Nevertheless, its another nice weekend "lost".
The other thing I need to sort out is the new bike rack for the back of the car I got for x-mas. It fits well and good, and I'm sure its capable, but I worry that if I park the car somewhere all someone needs to do is cut the straps and then they have a nice hardly used bike rack which a trip to Halfords would help sort them out with new straps. I need to figure some way of locking it in place, probably to the eye under the rear bumper but I need a lug on the rack to secure it to.