Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Booooooooo (yes, that's all I can come up with right now)

Some of the guards marching in - all wearing Canadian bear skin hats

What a terrible day!!! So to start off with something more positive I will rewind to the weekend.

On Thursday night I had my first 'couch surfer' arrive.  She is from Illinois and is spending a term in Ireland doing her student teaching. There are some sketchy people on the couch surfing website, but I thought "A teacher? Can't go wrong!" And boy was I right!! I had to work on Friday so I gave her some info about walking tours before heading to bed for the night. I got home from work on Friday feeling like I was going to be battling a cold - booo. She came home later in the evening and had done 2 walking tours that day! Talk about dedication to getting the full effect of London in one weekend!

On Saturday we had breaky and headed into the city to see the changing of the guards.  It was a decent day but very cold! The guards all marched in to the gates at Buckingham Palace, and we watched from a good vantage point across the street. It was cool watching them all come in and hearing the band play, but it started to get less exciting as they milled about in from of the palace and our feet started to slowly freeze off. So we ducked out a bit early in search of a good woolly scarf and lunch.

Westminster Abbey
After a refuelling lunch at The Spaghetti House (highly recommend), we went to Westminster Abbey to attend a service. We did not know that you can make reservations to do this? so we ended up sitting in folding chairs where we unfortunately couldn't see the priest or the choir, but only the reader.  This was all right though as the Abbey is spectacular with the high ceilings, statues, stained glass... So beautiful. And to hear the entire place filled with the sounds of the choir almost put you in a meditative state, so completely removed from the noise and bustle of the city. After the service we walked back up past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park where there is a Winter Festival going on. Best way to describe this is as a winter PNE. It was full of little booths and food and rides, including an outdoor skating rink. It was also jam packed with people!! All in all great day, and a great new friend to spend it with. (We are already planning New Year's eve 2012 in New York!)

Santa!!  :)
Rides and beer houses (ok, a little better than the PNE)

Stalls everywhere - many selling toques, but they look at you funny if you say 'toque'

Now on to today.... My lovely Tuesday at with the Brethrens was violently snatched from me because they declared a snow day (at that point this morning we had about half a centimeter of snow, I actually thought my agency was kidding when I got the message). Instead I got called out to St Patrick's Primary. I was thinking "I go to St Patrick's church back home, this must be a sign of a good day to come!" WRONG!!!
I get to the other side of the city (my post code starts SW19, this school is SE18 - actual OPPOSITE side of the planet for me) and there is quite a bit more snow here. I slip and slide my way to the school and arrive at the same time as the teacher whose class I am covering. She gets them settled with some writing and leaves - no notes, no extra work for those who finish, just gone. After break she puts up a slide, points to it and walks out of the room. Thanks for the help! The TA is helpful, but soon leaves for her early lunch and the kids go nuts.
I survive and find my way to the staffroom for lunch only to be greeted with a glass of champagne to celebrate the head teacher's 60th birthday. Right on, this day must be about to turn around.
Nope! I get changed classes and end up in a 3/4 class. When I get there the TA is leaving for her lunch break, I ask what I am supposed to have the kids do and she says "Don't know Miss" and walks out. Awesome.
I find some vague note about similes and a poem on her desk with a note to be copied x31, but only one copy is there. Oh and did I mention they are doing construction on the school so this class is filled with noise from a jackhammer (so it would seem) being used on the roof. Only when I make up a simile about this, the kids have no idea what a jack hammer is.... grrr.
I kind of get the kids to listen for about 3 second bursts, then give up because they are seriously the most terrible kids I've ever met. A couple of fist fights break out. I am pacing the room muttering to myself "Two more hours, 55 pounds, this will pay my council tax bill". Finally god (or someone) comes in and tells me they are being dismissed early due to the weather conditions.

I make a run for it.

I finally make it home despite trains being delayed for weather, person under train, and signal disruption... and it is only Tuesday..... oh joy

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