Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Occupational Hazard #1: The Nervous Fart.

Teaching in a school that is heaving with boys has consistently been a malodorous experience for Traveller. There are numerous situations where she finds herself overwhelmed with noxious odours. And, whilst trying to maintain a certain type of 'political correctness', can T remind you of the fact that she teaches in North London. This is a particularly multicultural area where many, many bowls of curry are eaten night and day.

Today, however, Traveller had a particularly fetid experience. It began when a boy in Grade Five approached her, looking notably anxious. T had just posted the cast list for her production of 'The Demon Headmaster' amid a flurry of excited students. Following this, said student mentioned that he hadn't intended to audition for the part and wouldn't be able to participate in the production. The part was small and wasn't at all a concern for Traveller.

What was a concern, however, was the thick cloud of smelly fart that permeated the air around her, in the increasingly narrow school corridor. The boy, whose chin was noticeably wobbling from the fear that he was going to 'suffer the consequences', had dealt T a fate worse than having to re-cast his part.

He had dealt her the nervous fart.

photo via flickr

Monday, 28 September 2009

The Colour Purple.

The race shirt arrived in the post today, along with T's number and chip.

Traveller loves it; it matches her feminine sensibilities perfectly.

However, running friend's husband is quite adamant he isn't going to wear it.

It's too 'purple'!

What do you think?

Two weeks to go!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Foodie Heaven.

London is a city known for its curry, and T has enjoyed quite a few. Recently she found curry heaven at Tayyabs near Brick Lane, and didn't really think that anything could top it. Now, all she can say is, 'Move over, Tayyabs!'

It all came about because a few of T's friends were disgruntled with Brick Lane. Brick Lane is a name synonymous with curry houses. It is a long, winding road in East London which is lined with Indian restaurants. Now, because everyone on the same road is selling the exact same product, they really have to fight for business. To do this they have one member of staff stand outside the restaurant who offers you a 'special price' as you pass them. They often give you free drinks or offer a discount on food.

Our friends decided that they wanted to eat somewhere more unique, where it was less noisy and not so many hagglers on the street. T was a little skeptical - as she really did think that Tayyabs was curry heaven, but she was happy to be proven wrong. The restaurant they chose was 'Mela' which is found in Soho, Central London.

While it wasn't groundbreaking in terms of decor or atmosphere, the risk was definitely worth it. Traveller can honestly say that, after her first bite of Seafood Moilee, she was in foodie heaven. Everything from the starters, to the naan bread, to the mains, was off the charts in terms of taste and deliciousness!

There are close to no photos of the food, because it was demolished in a matter of minutes. Yum!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Children say the darnedest things.

Today, in Grade Eight creative writing, Traveller put this picture on an interactive whiteboard, and asked the children to write a creative response. They had to explain how the man in the wall got there.

T watched as the children made themselves ready for the task; they were opening their books, taking out their pens and starting to write. Traveller continued to watch as one boy stared open-mouthed at the screen. After a couple of minutes of this, he raised his hand.

T went over to him.

The conversation went like this.

'Mrs ___________, I'm a little confused. I can't believe there is a man in the wall. How did he get in the wall? What happened to him?'

T started at him, dumbfounded.

The class are silent. Not even a breath can be heard as they await T's answer.

It finally clicked.

'Sam, that isn't really a man in the wall. (laughter arises)

'Oh, really? I thought he was real,' he replies, sure in his response.

'It's a sculpture, Sam.'

Pause. Followed by muffled laughter from the class.


Monday, 21 September 2009

Lucky we ran.

Running friend and Traveller have a frequent discussion that includes questions of why they aren't stick thin, with all the running that they do.

T thinks that the answer lies in the above pictures.

They ran for two hours on the weekend {without stopping!} and, after stretching, promptly decided that the weather was too nice, not to enjoy some yummies at the park.

Yes, the sun was shining in London {shocking!}

So, following a salad sandwich, we headed to the park with a bag filled with gorgonzola piccante {delicious}, champagne, strawberries, timtams {an import from mother} and toblerone!


Sunday, 20 September 2009

London loves Coldplay.

On Friday evening, Traveller was lucky enough to see Coldplay at Wembley Stadium and, quite simply, they were awesome!

They had a fairly respectable line-up, including: white lies, girls aloud, and jay-z. As T saw them on a work day, she wasn't able to catch the first two, but did get to see jay-z. Traveller isn't completely into rap, but she has to admit that he was quite the entertainer and his set was actually pretty incredible. She did giggle a few times though at the usual rapper antics.

Coldplay are loved by London, and they proved completely worthy of this love. Their whole set was flawless, and the band were consummate entertainers. Chris Martin was writhing around on stage like a born rockstar; he ran, jumped, spun, laid down, played the guitar-the piano - the harmonica and even sang a bit of MJ's Billy Jean (which Simon Pegg joined in on). The best part was that he looked like he was really enjoying himself, and wasn't taking it too seriously.

The show was pretty interactive as well - with large, yellow balloons hurtling around during Yellow, fireworks being let off after Fix You and at the end, and also a million small colourful paper butterflies flying into the crowd towards the end. All these things added to the atmosphere of the night which, by London standards, was brilliant! (None of the usual pints flying over people's heads, fights between crowd members or unseemly substances arising from over-indulgent audience members.)

The one thing that stuck out to Traveller was that she has never before felt so short! Now somewhere deep down she knows she isn't tall. Being five foot four does sound quite tiny and she does have to stand on her tip-toes to reach most things. But these facts come as second nature now. T had simply forgotten that she was a pint-sized shortie, or let's use the euphemistic 'petite'. That is, she had forgotten, until each of her friends crouched down to her level at the concert and said something along on the lines of, 'Wow, you're view is really crap down here'. As she gazed up to where they were looking from, T realised two things. One - she really is quite short! Two - people notice how short she is.

Despite teasing her about her lack of view - her friends were also very kind and made sure that they moved her into the best spots. Even particularly tall strangers looked at her and made sure they didn't stand right in front of her.

Oh well...T was made short for a reason and she will embrace this newly found perspective.

Below are some pictures of the concert; unfortunately there are no pictures of the band, due to aforementioned physical affliction.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Traveller on the Run.

On the weekend, Traveller, along with running friend and brother, ran the Richmond River Run; a 10k race in, you guessed it, Richmond.

While the weather was chilly and we had to get up at a ridiculously early 6:30am on a Sunday morning, it was quite the fun warm-up race for the Royal Parks Half Marathon.

Traveller really wanted to run the 10k in 50 mins, however she was silly enough not to wear a watch...and couldn't really monitor herself. Alas, she came in at 53mins on the nose. Running friend, who is still running whilst feeling (and unfortunately, being) sick - impressed us all with her gutsy determination. We celebrated with a much deserved full English breakfast with our husbands, who so graciously came and cheered us on!

The countdown is now on for the half-marathon - less than four weeks to go!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Traveller's Kitchen Disasters.

How did this....

turn into this?!

Now, T knows that you can't really see it very well for all the steam, but consider yourself lucky!

T had an absolute shocker in the kitchen on Sunday night.

So bad that she kept apologising to hubbie for hours;
Even though he'll eat anything.

It all started with a yummy, autumnal, Jamie Oliver recipe of Tomato and Bread Soup and turned into something you would see on Ramsay's Kitchen Disasters.

It was red. Looked like sludge. Tasted like sludge. Had a faint hint of tomato and basil. Traveller almost wants to puke just thinking of the texture in her mouth.


The worst thing was that Traveller has had this soup cooked for her before, and it was delicious.

Is she that incompetent in the kitchen?

She followed the recipe religiously.

So sad.

Nothing worse than seeing an hour's work go down the drain. Literally.

The upside?

Ice-cream for dinner!

photos courtesy of one very depressed cook.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Back in the Game.

Traveller has had a good day.

Make that, a great day.

A great three days really.

Being back at school is like coming alive again. Along with the holidays, teaching brings a real sense of satisfaction and happiness to Traveller. Last year was T's first year of teaching in England, her first year of teaching only boys, her first teaching position with extra responsibility and her first year of teaching children under the age of 12. It was hard. Some days it was really hard. The English prep school day is longer and the lesson times are shorter, so you really feel like you are running around in circles. But now, after a year of experience, Traveller (so far) is loving it!

She knows the children. They know her. She planned much of the curriculum last year, so now it's about tweaking it and improving it. Her smartboard is also an absolute life-saver! Last year, anytime T wanted to use a powerpoint, play a DVD, listen to a song or view a webpage with her class, it required a lot of re-arranging for all involved. Now, she can do this every lesson! It is absolute bliss.

She is also blessed with seriously small classes. Her largest English class has twelve children in it. Her smallest has six! The Drama classes are larger, but that is definitely the way that T likes it.

So, even though the days are long and there's more to do once T gets home, she's enjoying herself so much she has to stop herself from skipping down the street.

No one likes to see a girl in her late 20's skipping.

It's just weird.

photo via flickr

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Is it over already?

Nine weeks of holiday have passed, and Traveller is back in the classroom tomorrow.

She's a little nervous.

Nine weeks is a long time.

Nine weeks of sleeping in, enjoying novels, watching films, seeing old friends and learning new things.

Now she has six weeks (before two week's half-term holiday).

Six weeks of teaching, marking, using her smartboard (woo!), planning and learning new things.

She is a little excited to see the kids tomorrow.

To hear of their holiday adventures, their new experiences and their goals for the year.

She hopes she can manage to get out of bed before 6:30am.

Better set the alarm.

Wish T luck.

She hopes to back soon.

photo via flickr

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Cutesy Camera

Yes, that camera really is as small as it looks! On a recent trip to the National Portrait Gallery, Traveller and a friend came across these little re-usable cameras that come on a keyring. We had to have them!

They take 110 film and are developed into 4 x 4s. Traveller's first finished film is being processed at the moment so we'll soon see how they finish up in terms of photo quality. T hasn't got super high expectations for her thumb-sized plastic camera, but is still excited at what she can capture with it.

She can't wait to take it on her 10k race next weekend. T wants to capture the race from the point of a runner, and what better way to do it, then with a teeny-tiny camera!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Londontown love.

Traveller saw 500 Days of Summer with a couple of friends at The Barbican tonight.

One of the best anti-romantic comedies she's seen;
it's worth it for the dance number alone.

Also loved that The Barbican were having a ScreenTalk night; we got to see and hear the director and one of the writers discuss the film and the various intricacies of production.

Things like this don't happen in little ol' down under.

Loving London today.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Water in my shoes.

This evening, Traveller, along with running friend, ran her longest ever distance - just over 17k! We made it in just over an hour and a half. The biggest set-back was that it was absolutely bucketing down with rain. Every inch of T's clothes were wet, her shoes were filled with water, her hair was dripping and she was even having to blink at a more rapid pace to stop her eyes filling with so much water! That's a lot of rain.

And before you think T is really hardcore (who could blame you?), just take a minute to hear about T's running friend. Running friend is a particularly extreme runner. She will run in any physical conditition. Today, after running for around 20 minutes, she began to feel quite ill. She kept going. About an hour into the run, she stopped, vomited by a tree, and then kept running again! T doesn't think she could be quite so hardcore!

Besides the brief hiccup by the tree, it was the most beautiful run. We ran through Hyde Park which is probably T's favourite park at the moment; there is something magical about running past the statue of Queen Victoria which is just outside Kensington Palace. You being to imagine all the feet that have walked or ran those very paths. T's mind goes wild as she envisages horse-drawn carriages, public hangings, ladies ambling in pretty dresses, and princes and their horses going hunting.

Another wonderful thing about the run was that despite the weather, there were many runners about and they were quite jolly as well. Lots of chatting and laughing at the lovely British weather!

Traveller is now feeling more confident about her half-marathon, having made 17k without too much effort (okay, her muscles are pretty sore and she hasn't stopped eating for the last 2 hours!). Neverthless, T is starting to really look forward to the challenge.


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