Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bright Futures!

I'm rounding out my Norfolk Tour by teaching at Holt Hall on another "Bright Futures" programme. We've 22 16-18 year-old students from Fakenham and Litcham schools in Norfolk, as well as two lovely young ladies from Norway's Randaberg College. We also have mentors from university undergrads, Marshall Scholars, and environmental teachers in the area.
The students are working on mathematics, statistics, energy usage and cost, carbon reduction techniques, leadership, teambuilding, and campaigning skills. At the end of the programme, they have the opportunity to go into their schools, primary schools in the neighbourhood, and/or community organisations and do paid work as energy consultants to work on energy saving and project evaluations.
We have had a grand time exploring the beautiful grounds of Holt Hall, roasting marshmallows, and singing obnoxious American campfire songs!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Swimming Lesson!

It has been quite a while since I attended a "lesson" in the traditional sense. I seem to have left piano, singing, and any form of practice mostly behind me. But this morning...I attended a swimming lesson!

As most of you probably know, I'm rather a fish. Swimming lessons for me are perhaps unnecessary, unless I were trying to learn synchronised diving (I am not). 

However, a certain young person I am caring for this weekend *does* still require lessons in not drowning and maritime enjoyment. And so, off Iorwerth and I went to Norwich Baby Penguins!

The earlier the better, as far as most learned skills go. Swimming can start literally from Day 1 (after all, they've more or less been swimming for the past nine months!). At Baby Penguins, infants and toddlers frolic about in the water, learning specific motions to well-known songs to practice the needed strokes. At this age, parents get to join them to provide moral and physical support...so I stole a swimming costume from Anne-Marie, and in I went!

A grand time was had by all. I haven't been in a traditional pool in quite a while, actually...dandy dandy. 

Mummy and Daddy are in London this weekend on a birthday minibreak. So Iorwerth and Becca are having a delightful date weekend...swimming was only the start! Heaven only knows what all we'll get ourselves into. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Spanish Dinner!

Tonight, Miss Anna - the new student au pair at Iorwerth's - made us a Spanish omelette, a delectable meal common throughout Spain of egg, fried potato, and onion. We also had Spanish cheese, a spicy tomato salsa on bread, and Spanish deli meats. To "help" after school, Iorwerth, Anna, and I went on an expedition to buy potatoes and eggs. And then Miss Anna chopped and cooked all afternoon while Maestro and Miss Becca read and played.
Tonight was the old student au pair's last dinner with the full family, so we had the very traditional Spanish dessert of...chocolate cake.
'Twas a very good evening, all in all.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Seussian Lesson in Perspective

As we saw last Wednesday, balls in parks
*can* be used to teach parabolic arcs. 

But even more so - if such is your objective -
they can be used to demonstrate a bit of art perspective. 

For if one places a clever ball in front of one's human eyes,
One can make distant objects small, rather like a portable disguise!

So to continue this Seussian tale of educative learning,
I ask aloud where the Spire has gone, my voice all full of yearning.
But while I question, puzzle and ponder,
Oh look! The Maestro moves and something's seen off yonder. 

The ball is gone; the Spire's in range, and we've learned lots - for instance!
We've seen that seeming size can change, thanks to the art of relative distance.

So now we're homeward bound, and as we explore,
We're thankful for the world around and learning galore.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


I am in one city for a solid week - to the hour!!
Into Norwich Rail Station at 4:30pm on Sunday 7 September. 
Sunday evening with Maestro and then a conference call to check-in with friends through the AMENDS Network. 
Monday I have three conference calls, some paperwork to catch up on, and Iorwerth pickup. 
Tuesday I'll be going to a strategic retreat for the Water Security Research Centre at UEA. 
Wednesday is hereby named "Friendsday", as I'm scheduling back to back coffee and meal dates with various friends. 
Thursday is currently unscheduled other than Iorwerth pickup. 
Friday I have a morning meeting, and then Iorwerth's parents are off for a weekend minibreak. Maestro and I have a date at home!!
Sunday - at right about 4:30pm - I'll leave Norwich to go teach on a Bright Futures programme at Holt Hall. 
I don't even know what sleeping on the same surface for seven days is like anymore. ;)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hello, goodbye

I am thoroughly confused by the number of hellos and goodbyes going on in my life these days.
I "moved" to London on 1 September but don't get into my flat till the 23rd. So I've been staying with mates in London and with Iorwerth and family in Norwich. 
The day I got into London, my cousin just happened to be in town for an interview. She lives in New York but has spent the summer traveling Southeast Asia. It's been years since we've seen each other properly. Just we had a nice catch-up, and then learned that she in fact got the job and is moving to London in a month. To celebrate, we quickly got on a train to Norwich, where she got much cheaper lodging before her new job puts her up for a workshop next week. And proceeding to have a grand time playing with the kiddo. Iorwerth was quite enamoured with Miss Elizabeth's scooter skills. 

Then it was up before 5am this morning for an early train to London in order to spend as much time as possible with Garrett in the 36 hours between turning in his dissertation and getting on a plane to go back to America permanently. I'll also be saying goodbye to Elizabeth, though this one is only a very temporary adieu. 
Meanwhile, prep continues for the massive round of hellos to the new Marshall Scholars, arriving the 16th. 
Someday in the not-quite-foreseeable future, I am going to have a moderately stable social group again...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Goodbye, CEMC

My last major goodbye in Edinburgh was to my church family here. This morning was my last service at the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, where I have spent a blessed year getting to know and singing with the choir. 
I got called out in service and wished farewell. I did manage not to cry. But when the choir gave me a gorgeous pewter bowl of Scottish design and we all drank from the common cup with well-wishing speeches, I definitely choked up. 
Oh, what a year it has been!!

The train to London leaves at 8am tomorrow morning. :) / :(