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.