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.

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