Saturday, May 20, 2006

Return of the prodigal

LG returned safely from her 5 days school journey in Swanage (Dorset, south England) - very happy and tired, having had a wonderful ( if rather wet) time.

We were called into school early because the head wanted to talk to all the parents about an "incident" before the class got back. We were reassured that all the children were okay, but arrived at school extremely intrigued.

LG's letter home had mentioned that the other school using the centre were
" !?!(little skull drawing)!!?! " - so we wondered if there had been a barney of some kind. RW envisaged a West Side Story rumble haha.

We walked to school not anxiously, but discussing possible explanations: the above-mentioned inter-school ruckus; a theft of some kind; serious bullying (not likely, its a nice if riotous and demanding class); some teacherly indiscretion (hee hee); temporary loss of children during their mapping and orienteering; a police raid; alien abductions ... the mind boggles.

Apparently 7 of the girlier girls (so not including LG then) had returned to their rooms for the night, and saw - or thought they saw - an unknown adult and child in their rooms. They were instantly hysterical, and their hysteria spread like quickfire. The centre has very good security and its unlikely there were intruders, but the centre and the school had to treat this as a serious possibility. The children themselves were (and in fact are) quite sure that these were ghosts. One of the staff member seems to have been somewhat spooked as well.

The head stressed that children of this age do not generally lie, and that counselling would be available for any child who seemed significantly traumatized. On the other hand, children of this age may also be very suggestible, easily hysterical (especially when tired) (they'd had a 7 1/2 mile walk that day) and often really quite enjoy being scared.

The long and the short of it was that the children were in such a state that they all ended up moving bedding out of their (3/4 person) rooms and sleeping in the corridor with the teachers. Once the boys realised this was happening, their levels of fear increased till (or so that?) they were allowed to do the same. The class teacher thinks he got off to sleep at about 4.00am.

Mind still boggling.

I can't help thinking maybe it serves the teacher right for putting too much pressure on them in the previous few weeks, about SATS tests. Maybe they just needed to let off steam even more than usual?

Their coach got seriously held up by traffic, and their return journey took 6 hours. Blimus double blimus.

LG came off the coach delighted with their trip, full of stories about ghosts and how scared they all were, but able already to look back and laugh about it. She said it was really quite fun sleeping in the corridor (I can imagine!) once they began to calm down a bit. I don't think she'll be needing counselling.

She is just now stirring upstairs, by the sound of it. She has slept for nearly 17 hours.

In other news, our bread machine has packed up. PTB

It still tries to function but makes highly alarming crunching, grinding, clattering noises, so we've had to take it out of service.

This is a serious blow. I used to make all our bread myself when we were first married. I have a fabulous bread book written by a monk/priest from a Californian zen buddhist monastery, the Tassajara Bread Book. I used to use a great recipe for wholemeal bread which begins with a yeast batter, adding more flour later, and giving the dough multiple provings which results in a delicious and not-at-all-dense-heavy-and home-made looking texture.

As well as great recipes and very helpful advice and information, this book has delightful comments about caring for the baby dough, and about the "deep, hearty, honest spirit" of unyeasted bread. The recommendation in his general cookery book is that all cooking is really best done naked. "Cooking is not simply in the tongue, in the palate. It is in the whole body flowing out of the groin and chest through arms and hands."

"Bread makes itself, by your kindness, with your help, and with imagination running through you, with dough under hand, you are breadmaking itself, which is why breadmaking is so fulfilling and rewarding."

What a betrayal, then, to use a bread machine! And I can't claim to find it fulfilling and rewarding.
BUT I don't often have/make time for making my own bread from scratch, and it does mean that we eat mostly home made bread, and (using the timer) we can come home or wake up in the morning to the smell of newly-baking bread. (Its good for pizza dough too)

However - this may be kind of serendipitous given the camera/birthday gift situation (see my previous post), because Mike can buy a new bread machine for me instead. He doesn't see household appliances as appropriate birthday gifts (and he does have a point) but he can always buy me something else next week.

This blog has been brought to you courtesy of RW.
The family are visiting this weekend and had anticipated being en route and arriving for lunch within the next hour or less, but they are running late.....No surprise to those of you who know RW. Time for blogging tho'.

(sorry, RW don't mean to be rude...)
( can't wait for your arrival!)
(you're very good for me, you slow me down)


Peter Chen said...

Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog Blogger for Dummies. Looking forward to your visits again. Just to let you know Blogger for Dummies may not be updated but all new posts for the time being will go to Blogger Tips and Tricks while I ponder what to do. This is because of trademark issues.

BTW nice blog you have here.

cream said...

Naked bread making???
I'd always wondered how dougnuts were made!o)
Sorry couldn't resist that one!

Enjoy your weekend with Rambler...

Molly Bloom said...

Absolutely fantastic to see you. You all looked so lovely. What a lovely 'union' of bloggers! Great fun! Thankyou so much!

Molly Bloom said...

Looking forward to Dillo pics. Make 'em big for Trac!!

lettuce said...

blimey molly, what were you doing up at that time in the morning?!!!!

Lovely to see you too.

Cream - !!! hahaha

Calamity Tat said...

Well I think Mike should buy you a Buddist Monk for your burpday, they sound very useful and I am sure they don't pack up.... Imagine all those vibes and karma in your house....Glad LG had a great time, I love a good spooky story moi, how weird.....

Donna said...

Eeeeeeeek poor girls. I would have been freaked out at their age too, actually I would have been freaked out at this age!!!.

Wow I haven't heard anyone mention the tassajara cookbook for years. My mum (GOW) used to use them all the time. We grew up on her homemade bread and lovingly prepared veggie food.

Donna said...

Oh and Happy Birthday Lettuce. When is it/was it exactly?

euro-trac said...

Hehe - Molly! :o)

euro-trac said...

Sid has just this second said to Nick...

"I'd call you a genius, if I wasn't in the room!" :o)

Hurray for the Doctor!!

lettuce said...

Birthday is tomorrow Dons, though the real celebrations have been this weekend.

Hurrah indeed for the doctor!

Wendy.... where are you Wendy?