Sunday, March 15, 2009

Time Out

It was a day off.

I had arranged to go out with the girls in London.

The "girls" of course, are also in their mid forties and are in fact my friends from school. I have known them over thirty years and to me we all look and act in exactly the same way as we did thirty years ago.

Especially the "look" bit.

Sensible had a Duke of Edinburgh bronze medal training day in Gloucester. Amongst other things they had to cook their own lunch. So I dropped she and her friend off en route with their walking gear and lunch ingredients and went on to park the car, so that I could get the coach from Gloucester to London. This cost a stunningly low £11 for the return journey, including a mobile phone message with my ticket details.

"What if I lose my phone though" I'd said to Hubby.

"When have you ever lost your mobile phone." He said

"Well what if it runs out of charge?"

In the end, on his suggestion, I had texted the number to Hubby's phone, so that "just in case the worst happened" and I was left stranded in London without my phone I could grab a complete stranger on the bus, take their phone number and get Hubby to text them my ticket details ....................

Quite what that would have made me look like is debatable, and it's probably even more debatable as to what it would have made Hubby look like...

I got to Victoria Coach Station at 12.00 on the dot and tried to look for the bus stop. I mean of course the sort of bus that takes you around town, as opposed to one that goes from one town to bigger town. I must be getting a bit blind in my old age though, because try as I might I managed to walk to Victoria train station, a few streets away, before I found a suitable stop with the right number buses attached.

So, I got my ticket and waited in the queue.

Which is when the mayhem began.

It seemed from the phone call that I received that ED needed some help sorting out a problem, fairly urgently. This was fine. Except... I was in London and Hubby was out at a kickboxing class on the other side of Gloucester. The other problem was that due to standing in a busy London street with buses and cars going past at twenty to the dozen, I couldn't understand a word that ED was actually saying to me except that whatever the problem was, it was URGENT with a capital U.

"Text me" I shouted down the phone.

And then, when that apparently hadn't been heard at the other end.... "TEXT ME" in an even louder voice.

I started to get "looks..."

So I smiled at the onlookers....

The bar that my friend Jane had chosen was ... interesting. I hadn't been able to find it to start with and so had phoned my other friend Debbie, not having Jane's mobile number. Debbie was still on her train. "I think it's right at the bottom of the street." She said, "just by the tube station." If you can't find it, come up to meet me at Charing Cross."

I eventually found it. From the outside it looked like a Cordon Negro bottle, and on the inside it looked like um ... a Cordon Negro bottle.

I texted Debbie.

"I've found it. I think that it must be one of Jane's haunts from her journo days. Think Cordon Negro."

I was desperate for the "ladies" but still needed to continue texting Hubby, about Gloucestershire logistics. He was due out of his kickboxing class any second and so could take over at the Gloucestershire end, but it all needed quick action once he was back in circulation so to speak.

"Whoops. Sorry..." said the woman who walked in on me in the loo.

I shrieked, closed the door quickly and recovered my modesty. How did that happen?

I found a nice table though, in a relatively lighter area of the bar.

A waitress of about 150 came up to me.

"You can't sit there." She said. "It's reserved."

I looked to see how and where it said that it was reserved. There was no evidence of it., but being in a compliant mood, I moved.

"You can sit here if you want." She said, showing me a very dark area of the room.

At that moment my friends arrived.

"This table's a bit dark isn't it?" said Debbie.

I explained that I had tried to sit on the one on the other side of the room. "Oh I know said Jane. "I tried too, but that waitress over there said that it was reserved. I couldn't see any sign though. She's very old. I think that she probably worked here when I used to come here twenty years ago."

"Aahh" I said, "so who did you interview in here then?" Feeling pleased with myself that I had "guessed" correctly.

Oh no-one, she said. "I just used to meet friends here."

Hubby called. The lack of reception down in the cellar meant that I needed to go upstairs to take the call. Hubby had though taken charge at the Gloucestershire end. "It's all sorted." He said. "So just enjoy yourself."

We had a brilliant afternoon.

My friend Debbie treated me to a lovely lunch in a very nice Italian restaurant in Covent Garden. We could see each other in there too, which was a plus. On the downside, we weren't relying on nice dim candlelight to hide away the wrinkles of the last twenty years. Candle lit cellar bars do have some advantages.

It was over all too soon sadly.

Back at Victoria Coach station I went to where the buses looked as if they were departing. The only thing was that I was unable to see how to get into the departure lounge. There seemed to be buses in the way, which were being sprayed with water.

I looked around desperately for a door, and in the end decided that a bit of cold water wouldn't hurt, so walked through the shower.

It was very wet. I was... a little soaked.

I asked a man where I could find the bus for Gloucestershire.

"Over the road Madam. This is the arrivals area."

So that was why they were washing the coaches.... on their way IN to the bus station......

Ping, went the phone. Message from Hubby, with the ticket details...... thank you Hubby.

Ensconced on my coach finally with a nice cup of tea, I immersed myself in my book. It's good to have journeys every so often....

Just before I got off at Gloucester I thought that I would use the coach "facilities", before my drive home.

And then ................. the door swung open on me as we turned the corner ............and for a second time that day I had been "seen" in a somewhat uncompromising position. I walked back to my seat, averting all eyes..... and immersed myself in my book, once more.

I finally got home. Sensible was back home from her rugged training day.

"Was it good?" I asked.

"Yes." She said. "The only thing is. You know the tinned tomatoes that I took to cook?"

"Yes," I said.

"Well. They weren't tomatoes. It was a tin of custard.."

"Oh," I said. "Not so good on pasta then?"

We Lomax women have a way of doing things.........

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Big Dilemma!

It's a dilemma.

You see, I have been doing a maternity cover at a very nice comprehensive school in a very nice rural area. It started half way through the summer term last year and was due to last the best part of the year.

It's been a mixed bag of course. Somehow I seem to have managed to end up with a seriously large proportion of bottom set teaching, which can be ... challenging, and the journey in is, at 38 miles each way... tedious.

On the other hand, teaching does have huge advantages. Not many kids want to be taught in the holidays or after school, and as such you are usually free to be at home when your children are. Plus, as I am only working three days a week, I have time to do vital planning and preparation ...... on blogger and facebook.

So when I found out last week that it would indeed be coming to an end half way through May I was gutted. Of course, there was a little issue of hurt pride perhaps in that no-one wants to be rejected... and the little fact that as a trained teacher who had previously spent very little time in formal classrooms over the last twenty years, despite much teaching and dealing with children by running theatre schools, I have had to put in quite a lot of effort, just to do the job properly so to speak.

I moped.

And I moped some more.

In the end, Hubby could stand it no more.

"I don't understand you he said. You can use the time to do more acting, to be freelance and to work around the family commitments more. That is what you have always wanted. Now that we are fostering, it means that you have more flexibility. So what is your problem?"

What indeed? He had a point.

For the first time in twenty years I could actually do what I wanted to do, and life would and could be better.

I went into school on the Monday, feeling much more positive. Only eight weeks to finishing with a holiday in between. The end was in sight.

Then the Head called me in... "Would I possibly be interested in more work in September?" Very unofficial as yet....... But they want me it seems.

I am of course the girl who can't say no, so me immediate reaction was.. "Yes", "Great"...

"Why?" Said Hubby when I got home...

I went to Actors Lab in the evening. My acting class for the not quite made it, maybe they will maybe they won't professional actors.

"Don't commit yourself" my friends said. Everyone loves each other at Actors Lab. And I love Actors Lab. "Do some acting. It's what you have wanted to do but you have too been committed previously".

So ... I tossed and turned... and tossed and turned that night.

And then I tossed and turned some more...

If I took teaching seriously... maybe I could head up a drama department somewhere in a couple of years... I would have professional respect. A good salary...

But on the other hand... may be I could act in something like Waterloo Road....

Oh ... O.K ...

But I could do my workshops, role play work and voice overs and some stage acting...

And I would have time to write.

And as I would have large proportions of time not working, I would be there for the children even more than teachers are...

But on the other hand... I could teach until I was sixty and then act..

But then the parts are so LIMITED for sixty year old women...

So, maybe I would be better getting established now while I'm still young enough....

You get the gist.

It's a BIG dilemma...

Thank you for all your kind comments about Abdul. Sadly, we have now had a letter from the Home Office saying that if he turns up now he is liable for detention.... I do wish that Social Services would tell them the whole story before they placed them (as non English speakers) in families. He probably had NO idea of all this......

And ..... Very sadly Hubby's Grandmother died this week. She was 91 and at the end very poorly. But.. it was all very quick. She had been healthy only a couple of weeks earlier. So it was still a shock for all concerned and very very sad.....