Saturday, October 31, 2009


Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
Happy Hallowe'en! My concession this year has been to buy a bucket of sweets to hurl at children who come to the door tonight, but judging by the dearth of previous years I won't have too much to worry about. And then I can eat the sweets. Asda was horrible yesterday, with grubby people clamouring to buy the remaining grubby plastic Hallowe'en tat. Even Sainsbury's only had a handful of foosty pumpkins on Thursday, so I might carve a potato tonight instead.
Last night there was a big staff gathering in Bo'ness to start saying farewell to Sheilah, our nearly retired headteacher. It was fun, though as a designated driver I was not as keen to stay on as I usually might have been. And it was Bo'ness, so you don't want to hang about in general.
Tonight is Samhuinn, a firey / drummy festival procession leaving the Castle at 9pm and promising to be a fantastic photo opportunity. A colleague from QPS, Jennifer, is a drummer taking part and was talking this week of fur costumes and leather masks... I will be wearing a raincoat and stout shoes I think.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Up North for October

I've had a cracking few days recently - the October holiday week is always good: it lacks the pressure of the summer holidays, where good weather and "plans" are paramount, and it prefaces the pressure of the Christmas holiday with its family driven agenda and financial aftermath. The tattie holiday is a real holiday, where autumn's colours and the early bite of a cold wind only serve to make Scotland a nicer place to be when you have nothing to do.
And where nicer in Scotland than Speyside? I was lucky that there was a coincidental coming together of the holiday, my birthday and the Aviemore Half Marathon, my second after premiering in Glasgow last month. We headed north after school on Friday and stayed with Dad in Carrbridge, steadfastly refusing all but the skimpiest of curries in preparation for my run on Sunday. It turned out to be a lovely day, until lunchtime anyway, and the run was a picturesque, friendly and fun affair. 109th out of 996 and no lasting injuries sounds like a good day out to me.
So Monday saw poor Lorna heading south to go back to work on the train. Meanwhile Kit and I continued north to Tain for a couple of nights. This is another opportunity for him to be a spoiled brat but for me not to mind because I get some quiet time - and today, my quiet time took me to Croick Church, an exceptionally special place to me. Special for a number of reasons - it has big history. Follow the link to learn more, but suffice to say the church is linked forever to the Highland Clearances in a way that enters your blood and gives you The Shivers every time you visit. I'm not sure why, but inside the curch manages to be many degrees colder than outside, whether summer or winter. The people of Glen Calvie were mustered there before being thrown / chased / burned out of their houses and homes in 1845, and famously the church has scratches on the windows where they testified to the sadness and loss they were being put through.
All in all I spent a good few hours there with my camera trying to get some nice in and outside shots of the church and its grounds. I didn't feel spooked at all, it's a very peacful place to be, just so cold. Until, that is, a conker got blown from a tree and banged against one of the windows: then I shat myself. More pics to follow once I get them edited and Flickr'd.
Back home tomorrow - rehearsals tomorrow night then possibly an Edinburgh photography day on Thursday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Good Word

The Good Word
Originally uploaded by Lee Carson
So, off up the road tomorrow. This term has been a very fast one for me, and a busy one as I come to terms with being a P3 teacher. It's very different in that the children an cope with less concentration, which means a larger number of smaller tasks each day. Today we did Sentence Writing, or as I wanted to begin calling it "Just write ONE sentence, please, come on!"
Yesterday and today the three candidates hoping to be the next head teacher (when Sheilah retires next month) were being shown round the school. The rules dictate that us staff were not allowed to know who they were, so seeing them and even saying hello to one I recognised was tricky...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A bit of running, a bit of fundraising.

I'm just back in from a rainy but enjoyable 5 mile run, my "usual" run which is an unexpected and uncharacteristic phrase at the best of times. Sunday is the Highland Half Marathon in Aviemore, and after my sensational 1hr 35mins at the Glasgow Half in September I am not feeling quite as tip-top. Reaching the end without my right ankle tearing off will be a good result after last week's long run to school, but at least I have a week off school to recover afterwards.

November is Movember - a fundraising opportunity for guys with hair...the link will explain it better but to summarise I will be growing a groovy moustache to raise money for Prostate Cancer Charity, follow me here and keep an eye out for pictures! I even have a "team"...

Kit is very full of himself - important things in his life just now are trains, jumping, drawing and being Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast. Ah well, could be worse. Lorna has contacted a judo club for him. He's three and a half, and apparenty the cotton wool is coming off. The judo-guy called tonight and despite me hanging up the first time (thinking he was a cold caller; well, he was asking for Mrs Clarkson) he had a chat and confirmed that 4 years old is probably better. I'll maybe just enter him for some baby-cage fights until then.

The picture is of Kit and his edible hedgehog. This was Granny's hard work when she was down to look after him and his chicken-poxy body. Good job!