Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas Gifts

I hadn't planned on blogging again until we were into the new year but I have just found this online and found it so right and so well said I wanted to share it. This was shared from a friends feed but I have hunted backwards to the original as there are links from it to other talks and more info that are also interesting.

I think first I need to step back and explain why I find it a gift. In our current world my family tends to weigh up items and choose to buy or not buy as our world needs and over time we 'need' less things and can enjoy what have more. We have gradually retrained and come to not 'want' what we get offered on TV or in the shops. Our mantra has been 'its not a bargain unless we would have bought it anyway!' which has cut down on waste, surplus, clutter and bills. This Christmas I found a project I had been planning on for a bit and gave the various bits to my oldest and he has made them a parcel so I have a complete and new project for Christmas day! Cost nil, fun factor high, and guaranteed happies for me and for my son.

For the first year ever, we have reduced our bills every month, my own satisfaction in my own home is increasing and things are getting sorted, done and finished. What is important is family and a good life, not another string of lights, or extra parcels under the tree. Which is where I started this post, I saw this piece of a talk from Jane Goodall, (who it took me a few minutes to place) and she is very eloquent and logical.

I am sharing this as a gift, to help us think about our lives and the future. Her thoughts are not unique and her words are not alone but they resonate. Please listen, even if you disagree, disagree from knowledge. But above all think.

Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

countdown to Christmas

I survived the 'Grand Opening', but due to so much happening and so much to do I do not have a single photo, in fact I didn't sit down from 9am until 4pm, and didn't even get my lunch until after 4pm! But everything went well. We had loads of people and a great session with little folk and the book bug visiting, which was amazing. The library filled with many folk and the staff were exemplary, we had every one from  the heads of committees down to the normal folk who just drop in anyway. The atmosphere was warm and friendly, the chat was full of smiles and laughter, while the compliments of the new layout and refurbishment were very welcome.

I feel like I aged about a year over the day and it has taken me several days to recover from it and now I need a weekend to get myself fully back, but never mind. The whole day was met with success and if that meant I didn't stop, due to running round making the next thing ready, and tidying after the last thing, then so be it, I see it as a dry run for my own new library due next autumn!

On another note I managed to read several books in the same week, mainly as an escape from the emails and other plans. The one I am half way through and thoroughly enjoying is The Bolter by Frances Osbourne, The background and surrounding story is as interesting as the main heroine, the setting for her childhood is the back ground of most of the start of the 20th century. I am finding it very interesting and the picture being painted feels very real and modern.

The second book I have been reading and finished was Returning: The Journey of Alexander Sinclair by Sharon Gunason Pottinger, written by a friend I bought it to see what she had done but swiftly became immersed in the story and lives that are woven in a dance or rug pattern that glows. I found myself breathless to find out what next and at the same time sad as the story passed. I didn't want to finish it as much as I wanted to know how they move on. The epilogue was almost another story in itself.

I am also taking part in the Scottish Children's Book Awards and I have been reading the two older age groups with my pupils. This is the same book list that I had the joy of reading the youngest age range to the P1's locally and I can honestly say those I thought I would like are not the ones that I have enjoyed the most. The oldest group includes Black Dove, White Raven The Piper and The trouble in cable street. All three are history based reads, Black Dove White Raven is about The build up to the second world war and flying but is based mainly in Ethiopia in the 1930's a good read with heaps of history and settings, fab snap shot of the pre-second world war Africa. The Piper which is set in the time of the evacuations of the second world war, again you start thinking it is one ting but it changes and I wont say more but worth a read and proving to be quite popular with my kids. The trouble on Cable street is the one I haven't finished yet so I will not say anything about that yet.

The middle age range includes the titles; The fastest boy in the world, The nowhere emporium and The mysteries of Ravenstorm Island; The lost children. Again I enjoyed The fastest boy and the story and surrounding based in Africa is very real and the feeling of time passing and the need to keep running is apparent, The nowhere emporium is an amazing idea, the moving shop and the lost folk who inhabit it very spooky, but while it has a lot to recommend it I would have liked to see a bit more of the end, but it is open for the next book. The last one The lost children I have also yet to read, I must have both unread ones done by next week so that is my task!

Today is two weeks to the school closing and I am not sure if I am in a rush or really can't be bothered, for only the third time in 24 years I will be in Scotland for Christmas. I have got all my cards posted that I will be sending this year, I have some of the dinner already in my freezer and some gifts organised, but I am having trouble getting myself organised for it. This will be the first Christmas and new year that I will have with my whole family home, One back from the city one back from Milan, we will be stuffed to the gills and probably falling over ourselves but it will be nice. I need to remember to enjoy the good bits and not to expect too much.

The New build comes along well, I see my office built and the surrounding building getting finished when I drive in, in the morning, the windows are going in to some bits and the walls are being finished. The shape is appearing and the final outlooks are being put in place. The excitement has not yet started to build but the potential is there, I shall wait until I get a look in in the spring to get photos of my space!

Otherwise life goes on as normal.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Book Week Scotland

For the first time I have been part of this through the public Library, I have been out to the primary schools in my catchment and I have had the joy of reading picture books to the primary ones! they are five years old and occasionally six, full of wonder and wide eyes. I got welcomed to every classroom, and listened too so well I could have kept reading for hours. Most were sad to see me go and I got hugs and cuddles, smiles and gasps, and despite being under the weather I would not have changed it for the world.
I was promoting the Scottish Children's Book Awards, I read a winner from a previous year (one time robot rumpus another the day Louis got eaten) and one of the current awards if the teacher wanted, or I read both previous ones :-). I do the book awards for the older groups in the school but have never had much to do with the youngest ages, this was changed this year with 7 different classes of P1's which varied form 5 at the smallest group (part of a composite class of P1-3's) up to 23 which was half of the larger schools classes of P1's.
I have plans to go back in the new year to follow up on this week and maybe to get more reading time in :-) I do love reading to small folk.

My next week is now taken up sorting the 'Grand Opening' out for the Newly refurbished Thurso Library. I hope to have photos for my next blog.
The catering is fluid until we get all our replies in and then we may have to juggle a bit. I have a cake to sort out and projector, and just so much in my brain it is leaking out my ears today, not helped by still not being totally well and by the nurse this morning deciding I could get my pneumonia job today because I was there! And to top off my day I forgot my glasses so I am holding my head back to 'see' the keys better and not typing in a good sitting position for health and safety. Very wrong and not my normal solution.

Saw this in my feed and thought this was a fab idea, not very useful for our Scottish weather but for a more southern city or big town I adore this idea, I would love to see this in Kew Gardens and the like! showing children how structures with books in them are not fixed or limited. much fun.

Finally have my Mentor and we are planning our first meeting in the next few weeks, a face to face one to start us off, which I am thrilled about.So I aim to put a bit about my Fellowship journey into my blog as I post to help show its development and to show others that it isn't as hard as we thought (or so I hope).
One final comment from my week of travels and reading, I took this picture in Canisbay Primary Car Park, looking towards John O Groats and the Orkney's with a grey sky and bright sunshine, and joy of joys a most bright rainbow.
Hope your week also have rainbows with any grey sky!

Friday, 13 November 2015

how did it get so late?

I am sure it was spring when I last looked up from my desk.

Life is so not planned, I have been busy and life has been busy and family had been busy. I make no excuses, I have been busy. I am currently doing a blended learning course from the future learn folk which is amazing, and throwing so much at me so fast. Ideas that are firing off right left and centre. On of these was the google hangouts space that allows you to create and keep in touch over any devices as long as you google! Wow I brought up my google to play with and noticed in the list of what else they have poor lonely blogger and couldn't work out how long since I blogged last.

My world is as full as always, I have been working on various CPD events, I am getting my fellowship running better and am supporting where needed to my mentees. I am still the chair of the local branch of the cilip Scotland and have great plans and ideas to bring that more into focus. I have been overseeing a big library refurbishment that has had my boss talking about it being a new flagship library and still have my new build that I watch the cranes work, out my windows, on.

Family is odd as ever, Husband is working close by so no long distance phone calls and worrying about how far he is which is a blessing, just wish he would steal less bed cover! Oldest job hunting. Youngest off at college and actually going for a job interview today (fingers crossed) and hoping to get a flat, very soon, for himself. Middle child gave up at end of first year at uni and is currently working in Milan. No I have no idea what that one is up to either!

Last night we had Storm Abigail, which has caused some amusement to us in the north as we tend to just go 'hum bit more blowy than normal, never mind!' Personally I think they are trying to head off any more Hurricane 'Bawbeg's from happening, we still get the wind but no more vaguely naughty names attached. Also how great we start with Abi - 'Gale' and even pull that one from future abuse!

This is a shot of the Teenage section in the refurbished library before we finished and opened! I love how the contrast between the dark wood doorway and quiet room I took the shot from and the bright sunny space for teens and the fab surfing picture and bright new books waiting for the teenagers to come and borrow them.

I will be blogging again and have so much to put up that I shouldn't forget in a hurry, keep well and an early happy Christmas just in case my work load goes south again soon.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Always look on the bright side of life.

I had so many plans and ideas for this week, my daughter is home for 2 scant weeks and then she is away to the US to work again for camp america. My youngest has his final high school exams happening and there is enough sun to stop using the tumble drier and start hanging out washing.

Now I am sure you can guess that none has happened the way I planned. Daughter had to go to London to get her Visa from the american embassy and her paper work was late and caused no end of hassle, she said 'get me to London the easiest and cheapest way mum'... :-) She now hates buses and is muttering about how much she hates buses in every contact. She now has just over a week left to do everything she planned in the two weeks and I have to make another T shirt for Nev.
Last years shirt was a Camp America shirt this years will be a Camp Letts shirt :-) which he will look so sweet in.

My youngest had just done his English and I asked him the car as I dropped him off for his exam what texts he studied, he had to think about what the titles were, I am now a wee bit worried for his results. He wasn't thrilled with the exam and came home straight after to talk to friends online. We shall just have to hope.

I had lots of work this week and some school stuff that had to be done in a timely fashion so of course my cleaner had a small fire at my desk one night knocking my whole world out of shape and meaning I am playing catch up, and I am sure I have missed something! The complete contents of the space behind my desk was moved to allow for a proper check and fixing! but then I took nearly 2 hours just to put back the stuff they moved! I make my world more settled I have had 3 visits from management who all noted that this should give a chance to sort and bin stuff!

I did manage to hang out some laundry this morning and we shall see how dry it is or if the rain falls and the boys miss it! My towels will all be wet I fear, But the morning was so bright and sunny and warm, the cats all ran for the trees and grass to stalk the birds and mice that seem to be every where. The Cherry tree is in full bloom and the apples and to my joy my crab apple tree and the new pear tree are also in bloom, the garden looks lovely.

My wonderful and very very valuable assistant has now been with me a year and has suggested she help make me a timetable to help keep things organised and done in a timely manner :-) I am so pleased, I have so much and so often realize that I should have done this last week or the week before that getting a timetable will be perfect.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Oh Dear

The best plans of mice and men go astray!
Work and the world has been unkind to my plans and I have got out of the habit of doing my blog, I was reading back over the past and only the most recent ones are boring and stilted, I need to get these muscles back in running order again, and I wont try and fill me blog with a massive amounts today and just get back into the habit.
I haven't stopped while not writing, my courses have gone up and I am enjoying my work still.
I did the advocacy course from the Toronto University and it was amazing, I am still processing all that we covered, I passed with an 83% which considering I fluffed a whole section and didn't feel I had enough space to fulfill my brief and be happy was quite pleasing. I shall share what I gained here along with the future learn courses that I so enjoyed and the few I really haven't enjoyed, which was still very interesting.

It is that time of year again when I so want to go and spend heaps of money at the Highland Wool Festival, I was due run a workshop for Crochet but sadly the take up of workshops was so poor that they made the choice to get rid of them and just have a day full of stalls and things :-) means I am not so pressured to get there and may get there for lunch! My husband is working on the opposite end of the council area and is hoping to meet me at the event for a few hours as its 2 hours from me and just over 3 from him. I have too many projects on the go again, but hope to get some done. I did finish some very nice socks which I had only been making for 4 or 5 years :-) and started some fab multicoloured wool which is acid neon colours and so makes me smile. Pictures when there is enough knitted to make it worth showing.

I had got all my DK together to make kits for the crochet class so I am now planning making some granny squares either for a blanket or possibly for this coat. Which should make for an interesting make as this picture is all I have :-) my designer hat is firmly on, and if I can 'make' it I can also help my friend who also wants one to make it... or Bodge it at the very least!

Not very awake to day as I was going to bed last night noticed one of the cats wasn't in her normal spot, asked and turns out she hadn't come home and they hadn't done anything! ack, it 11.15 last night and it started raining again and I am in a thin fleece and crocs wandering the local roads calling for her with a torch, cursing the kids! Ended up making them look for her as I was getting way too cold. went to bed worried but she came in at 1.30am! but I had a broken night worrying about her. At least she wont wander for a few days.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Mixed up Day

Yesterday was supposed to be the worst day of the year, blue Monday, lowest point after Christmas, not yet pay day, dark and cold and miserable. Strangely I didn't know that until bed time and as a result had no idea I should have been low :-) not that I have ever let general views dictate my world. I have my car back fixed so got to and from work in comfort and warmth, I loved the bus ride, but hated the cold wait at the stop and the walk in the snow and ice always made me feel colder even when wrapped up. But the bus ride was fun, the drivers were always nice and friendly, the bus warm and well lit, the other folk chatty when I wanted to chat and quiet when it was just too early! Even the fact it was also the school bus and filled with hyper teens on their way to school didn't lessen the experience. So while I am back to driving I can see me getting the odd bus in future when car is with son or when life allows.

This morning we had two announcements, one a staff member has a promotion and will be going to be a head elsewhere soon, which is good for them and puts them closer to where they want to be. But we also heard of a death last night of a local guy in his 30's which came as such a shock, I know it happened and we have lost pupils before now, but any untimely death has an effect on you. Has left me in a mixed up feeling and an odd sort of day, when we should be celebrating the new post we are mourning a loss.

I am doing two future learn courses again, I promised last time I wouldn't do this again and now not only am I but I have signed up for a fab looking mooc from the USA. I am doing a managing people mooc with future learn and managing your money mooc with future learn, both of which are proving very interesting and much more than I expected. Then last week I was chatting with a colleague when she showed me this course Library Advocacy Unshushed from Toronto Uni. I know I have too many running but the chance to do one of these with someone local is too tempting. So I signed up, and it starts on the 2nd Feb, if you have a bit of time I would highly recommended it, either this or checking through future learn and finding one to suit you. In this world we can wait for our employers to give us CPD time and direction or you can go out and grab it for yourself. 

I the same vein as grabbing things, there is a mentor training and catchup session in Inverness this spring which I am so pleased about. We are so far away form everything that any course that comes our way is much appreciated. I know for me it is still nearly 3 hours away south but we get used to that, used to shop in Inverness once a month before the big tesco got built up here.
Mentor training session
Monday 27 April 0945-1630
G20, Longman Campus, Inverness College UHI, 3 Longman Road, Inverness, IV1 1SA
For any further information or to book, please contact Alison Turriff or Val Walker the Mentor Support Officers for Scotland. Contact details and
feel free to contact for further information.

Also got myself challenged, I am to put things in the county show! now I am not sure when it is and have had to beg a copy of the show listings from someone I know is doing it, but I am already checking stashes and planning my makes. I will put up things as I get them done but not all ;-) just in case.

My mother had mice in her attic, and had to clear it out, and has been finding things. She gave me a pile of photos and this was in it, Me at age about 6 or 7 on a sweet pony called Sailor, at the local stables in Devon looking very smart of early 70's (note the purple stripy jumper and purdy bob!) taken by my dad sat in his car waiting for me to finish.
Even after nearly four decades I remember what this pony was called, how he pulled and where we used to go on him. The stone stables had been part of the local big houses stables but were a separate going concern then, and they still run to this day, Bold Try stables is still run by the daughter of the lady who taught me and is helped by her own children who are now adults.

Also I got given this photo, which is moved on by nearly 15 years and still focused on me and horses. I decided to learn more jumping and cross country skills and spent a summer working at the local factory and then after work taking classes once a week to help improve my skills. I remember my father taking this shot with an old camera that had no motor in it as then the more modern camera went off the horse spooked, so he got an old camera out and took various shots of me very focused and serious.

Well back to work and back to finding time to do two courses before it becomes three. Back to minus 5 or 6 in the evening and crunchy morning under foot. Planning for the spring and summer under way and even some for the autumn, but more another day when I am less mixed up.

Monday, 12 January 2015

I Ate'nt Ded

I am using a quote from my favourite author from teen years, Terry Pratchett, my lovely husband refers to him as a triumph of style of substance, but my past is full of the latest book. One character in the books goes 'Borrowing' which means she borrows someone’s mind and uses them to check or do things while her body is at home in her bed with a sign on it saying 'I ate'nt Ded' which just about sums up my blog this last couple of months or more.

Work has been frantic as normal and my CPD world has also been frantic, but worst of all I have got out of the habit of Blogging! I am doing as much as ever, but home life has been tougher and work has been none stop and despite the improvement in the economy the effects of the recession are still biting and the fall out still coming. It has been a challenge to adapt and change to suit the environment and the new ideas coming are very very exciting, while some may be less so we are still going and libraries are still viable and not yet written off. 

I see my job as increasingly one of facilitator, of starting conversations or identifying what is needed rather than what is wanted. No longer gate keepers more filters and accesses, less a giver out of books and more help to identify a need. The approach of the universal credit that will be a big shake up of libraries no matter how folk say it won’t be. An increase in Wi-fi (even up here) means we are less a hardware support and more a social platform, and we have to adapt and change with this.

The new build for the school is going ahead at a great rate of knots, we are all signed off and ground broken and I have been enjoying the smell of the tarmacadam as they lay it. The general noise form the site is more than I expected but still less to me then the technical workshops. The local storms have caused some damage to school and more to one of the building sites but despite the very high winds I doubt it will set back much for long, the worst was the lack of power which ran from the early hours of Friday until the early hours of Monday for some. I got my power back mid-day Friday so only suffered a short while.

I will get back to blogging more and being more relevant once I am back in the swing of it again.
Happy New Year and Keep Safe.