Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spring is upon us finally. And even better news is that rain is due. It's been dryer than a dead Dingo's donger for weeks now, infact the whole autumn and winter has bordered on the positively arid. So, rain this evening is very welcome indeed.

The Redwings left us on the 20th of this month, which is usually a sign that Spring is there or therabouts, and the following day the frogs started spawning in the pond. This morning I awoke to a blue sky - a real novelty after a fortnight of steel grey - and a bright sun, and suddenly there was a crocus opened in the garden and the daffodils seem to have created flower buds over night. Whoosh!

And I have finished my school placement, with a brilliant report, so I'm like a dog with two tails today. To which end I am going to have a very long walk with the dog and experience Spring first hand out on Weaver's Down. Then, of course, I shall have to come back down to earth and satrt to write the two essays necessary to complete the course, and then I can get out and start looking for work properly.

Spring is upon us finally. And even better news is that rain is due. It's been dryer than a dead Dingo's donger for weeks now, infact the whole autumn and winter has bordered on the positively arid. So, rain this evening is very welcome indeed.

The Redwings left us on the 20th of this month, which is usually a sign that Spring is there or therabouts, and the following day the frogs started spawning in the pond. This morning I awoke to a blue sky - a real novelty after a fortnight of steel grey - and a bright sun, and suddenly there was a crocus opened in the garden and the daffodils seem to have created flower buds over night. Whoosh!

And I have finished my school placement, with a brilliant report, so I'm like a dog with two tails today. To which end I am going to have a very long walk with the dog and experience Spring first hand out on Weaver's Down. Then, of course, I shall have to come back down to earth and satrt to write the two essays necessary to complete the course, and then I can get out and start looking for work properly.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Unable to reach my cousin by e-mail, courtesy of yet another paranoid US corporation, here is what I tried to send you Eric - well most of it anyway:

So have spent my first week at the school, and it has gone well. They seem to have confidence in me since I was given a Year 11 (15 yrs old, final exam year) class to teach yesterday - viruses and bacteria - and I obviously entertained them because they were brilliantly behaved and contrived to ask sensible questions. The amount of organisational and procedural stuff there is to learn is, however, rather daunting - not nearly as much fun as the actual teaching. The kids at the school - Bohunt (where Will goes)- are really pussycats by comparison to the ones I taught in London all those years ago, for the most part anyway. So next week I begin teaching in earnest, with full classes of Year 7, Year 9, and Year 11 - bang goes the weekend since I have to start lesson preparation, effectively from ground zero (but this pays off in the future as you can reuse them each year - until they change the syllabus that is, and then you can start again!)

On the home front, I have completed building and preparing a raised bed in which I intend to grow onions and carrots. Last year the sodding slugs ate all the carrots before they could really get going, so this year I am going to grow them in this raised bed. However, I went down to the scrap yard and acquired some old copper strip which I am using to circle the bed like a belt. Slugs absolutely hate copper, so I anticipate that this should prevent them climbimg up the sides of the bed to get to the carrots. I have floored the whole thing out with a water-permeable membrane so they can't get in from underneath, since slugs will burrow (and eat your potatotoes etc.)

It's been bloody cold here the last few weeks so I haven't sown any seed yet, but hopefuly tomorrow I shall have time to start a few trays off indoors, with a view to planting out next month. Also on my list of things to grow both outside and in the greenhouse are: Red Onions, Garlic, Cucumber (called Crystal Apple - look it up on the web, it looks very strange so I had to have a go), Dwarf Beans (Safari - Kenyan style) , Tomato (maybe), Morning Glory, Marigold, Mignonette, Dahlia, Datura.

The last one was just a whim, but I saw some Datura Eric's mum had once, and wanted to try my own ever since, and I just stumbled over the option of the seeds when I was surfing for the other seeds. So I have decided to see if I can grow one or two. Meanwhile the birds are pairing up ready for nesting, and I have put a nest box up on the side of the house - fingers crossed. Mind you, by the sound of it someone is preparing a nest site up in the attic just above the computer room. I bet you the little sods will ignore my shiny new nest box in favour of remodelling the attic for us.

Since then, I have contrived to put some carrot seed and onion sets into the raised bed, but I don't think much will happen in the near term given how cold it remains.