Thursday, June 01, 2006

A mixed bag

I have spent the last two days with virtually no voice and feeling lousy. I had a horrible throat thing about three weeks ago and it has recurred with a vengeance. Don't know why I'm blogging as I've done little but cough, and swear in whispers, but I'm bored to death. So here's my attempt at a round up of the last two days – albeit as a spectator!

The kids and I spent the morning at home. After a bit of tv the kids wrote themselves packing lists for our holiday – and even started packing We're not leaving until June 10th, so it was all a bit over enthusiastic, but they were being lovely together and the list making was fun. Leo listed each individual issue of his Dr Who Adventures magazine!
Pearlie helped me put away the Tesco delivery, and Leo pottered and cut up cardboard. He is nearly always to be found holding scissors at the moment – and the house is covered in creations. Most bizarre among his recent work was an empty toy tub (once held plastic dinosaurs) with a circle of card inserted into the base and a cut out picture of Gary Rhodes' head – labelled neatly in pencil 'Gary Rhodes'. Very odd!
In the afternoon I watched crap American tv films instead of going to work, and Dani took the children to capoeira. The Mestre was visiting from Germany, so it was a bit of a special occasion. Unfortunately the school hall where the classes are held was locked up (as it is half term here) but they had the classes in the local park. It was lucky that the weather held for them – though they all got rather cold. Both kids played in the roda, with the Mestre, so they were very chuffed.

We all got up slowly and pottered in the morning. Dani and the children got the bus over to Where the Days Go, and had a lovely visit with A and F. Not entirely sure what happened but a 'fabulous bubble machine' was mentioned and dramatic falls off both a swing and trampoline, for various people. Yummy lunch was consumed and Dani and A had some chat about feminism. Leo came home with creations of his own – and a cyberman made by F and very generously given to him. Sadly he also came home with an empty drawer that he had found at the bus stop. I thought no-one could rival Pearlie's ability to pick up crap in the street, but Leo is certainly having a good go!

I lay in bed nearly all day and even sank as far as watching Juliet Bravo on some dodgy channel. How can it be that a programme I remember watching with enthusiasm is actually total drivel? Maybe because I was ten and had yet to meet Jane Tennyson or Sam Ryan!

I read the EO newsletter and tried to follow some of the heavy debate on the UKHE list. D and I are in the process of getting together some local experiences of the LEA for a meeting we've agreed to have with the head of the EOTAS department – just as ourselves, not representing anyone else. The arguments on the list just make me wonder if it is worth sticking your head above the parapet at all. Dani and I were wondering why it is that whatever minority groups we've ever found ourselves in (quite a few over the years!) there is always so much in-fighting and so little trust? Answers on a postcard please – or the comments box.

A boring row about tv programmes started once the kids had got their coats off tonight, and I gave voice to my increasing doubts about Sky TV. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a big telly fan – love a good programme and have always been something of an addict. I used to watch the test card as a child (remember that rather creepy child with the black board and clown toy) waiting for something to move! But recently I've started to wonder if the rather ridiculous amount of money we've been paying for two tvs with sky channels is something of a waste of cash. The kids spend time fighting about where they will watch programmes they've seen many times before, and worrying about missing said programmes when we are out. Dani and I sit up at night watching re-runs of BBC programmes we've seen before. When we first got Sky I had no idea that most of the channels have a very limited number of programmes that they show over, and over, and over again.

So, I suggested to everyone that we consider cancelling our Sky package and getting just freesat – the free digital channels through our sky dish. We could use some of the saved cash to up the kids' pocket money to a generous fiver a week, which would enable them to buy DVDs of the programmes they particularly like. Dani was happy to do this - she's not that much of a telly fan. More amazingly the children were both happy to agree to the deal! Pearlie felt that a fiver was too much pocket money and has agreed on four pounds fifty - if she can save two fifty a week in a credit union account! Leo was thrilled at the thought of more money for Dr Who stuff.

The phone call to Sky to cancel the package was predictably tedious. I had to use the broken record technique to get past the amazing offers being dangled in front of me. I imagine the young lad I was talking to has to meet targets, so I hope I didn't dent his bonus too much. I was told to ring a second number to set up freesat. It turned out that there is no setting up to do – the equipment we have will just pick up only the free channels, once we stop paying for the others. Needless to say that the guy in the cancellations department did not tell me that - he gave me the impression that we'd have to buy new viewing cards…

So, we shall see how the kids cope (Leo mainly) when some of the channels they like just disappear. But I feel better about it already. I have always stood up for tv and believe that it is often great entertainment and highly educational – but I was finding it harder and harder to believe that endless re-runs of Scooby Doo and Totally Spies were worth the money we were paying, or the arguments.

Well, Dani is back at work tomorrow and I will need to use my voice a bit more – so I'm off to gargle with warm salt water. I am convinced that it is real summer that I need now – as in sunshine – as in warmth!

Normal cheery HE blog will be resumed asap!


Liza said...

oh dear, hope u feel better soon ((hugs))
and i know wot ya mean bout the endless repeats. im sure iv seen every scooby episode at least a million times lol.

peri said...

Hope you feel better soon Ali. Strange but I'm fed up with sky as well - so many channels so little to watch. I'd miss the music channels though. We cancelled the movies this month as we'd watched all the ones we wanted to see and watch so little TV in the summer- it seemed a waste of money.

a said...

It was nice to see Dani, Leo and Pearl over here, sorry you're not feeling right at the moment, hope it clears up soon.
Our Sky channels automatically disappear over summer as the trees behind the house on the embankment get their leaves.

Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

Hope you're feeling alot better soon. We all need that sun to shine I think! EFT