Friday, 23 April 2010

Our Easter Weekend

Easter weekend was pretty quiet for us. Lots of it spent with Jamie hearing all of his stories and just generally chillin' out. We had Easter lunch at Mike's Mum and then Mike was back at work on Easter Monday so Jamie and I did our thing.

There was of course lots and lots of chocolate!

I did plenty of homework and there was tons of very muddy washing and ironing to be done.

Tuesday I attended a Nafas workshop and idiot that I am didn't get any photos so can't show the flower arrangement I made at the workshop - doh!!


Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

Jamie Comes Home

Thursday and Jamie is back home from his residential.

Jamie was due to set off back home after lunch at the residential in Shropshire, so we anxiously checked the school website to see what time they were due back. I was so very much looking forward to seeing him.

We had been given a ETA but I was so anxious and didn't want the bus turning up early and us not being there for him that I made us set off earlier than it said on the website. And what a good decision that was, despite Mike not wanting to head off until the appointed time, I wasnt going to be stopped. As we pulled in front of school, what was there but the bus, about 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. Fortunately it had only arrived a couple of minutes before and we were one of only a couple of sets of parents getting their in advance.

I could hardly wait for the car to stop before I was out of the door, to see my little chap. And boy did it feel good to give him a great big bear hug - I WAS SO SO SOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY TO SEE HIM!! We gathered his bags together and after a couple of words with his group leader to were heading home.

It turned out from his group leader that he had been a real star and had attempted and done everything, which is totally brilliant. We later found out that he had brought a smile to all the teachers faces, as he attempted to do the abseiling! It turned out that he was all ready to do it, till he was up there and it was his turn at which point he apparently turned to the instructor and said "if you come any closer I am going to kill you"!!!!!!! The instructor apparently despite the threats of violence persevered and got him onto the abseiling and he did it - and of course he is now totally proud of himself because he challenged himself and came through -


When we were told this story at a later date, I shouldn't have laughed, but I did, it shouldn't be funny but it is, and I still laugh everytime I think about it.

It was so good to have him home, I kept cuddling him all evening and it was great to hear that he had had a brilliant time. Sadly we've got no photos to remember it by - think there could be a money making scheme there for school, they are missing out on!!
Very happy that he had a good time (abseiling, climbing, riding bikes, fencing and archery amongst others), but very happy to have him home!!



Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

Last Week of Spring Term - Week 12 - Hooray!

This is the end of the second term, and it feels as though, yes I've come a long way, but there seems so much of the course still to go it is feeling quite daunting. Some picture from the end of spring term......more pictures from work placement......a hand tied bouquet

a corsage from the wedding unit, this has got to now form my template for the assessment - wire work in an assessment, I bet the time is going to go fast on this one!!

a cake topper, not the best, but this is working at the small end of the scale, quite a different discipline .......

a planted trough, not bad but the muscari did not want to stand up!

Another hand tied from work placement.......

wire work from the wedding module ......

another part of the display work module - some goods for the in-store display ......

and now for a break .........!

Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

Jamie Goes on his Residential

Jamie has gone away on a school residential in Shropshire from today Monday and he will be home on Thursday. This was not a day I had been looking forward to, but when the letter came home saying they would be running a residential for Jamie's year I had to let him go on it if that was what he wanted to do. He did!

I was a little more relieved when Jamie and I attended the first meeting about it and found out that there were to be no water sports involved and that the place he was going looked very nice, well organised and well run. School had already checked it out and it seemed as though it was be a positive experience for Jamie. It turned out to be incredibly popular with a huge number from Jamie's year wanting to go, so much so that they had to organise a larger bus to take them all.

We had got Jamie all of the things he needed and a few extra clothes too (we had been warned that there was likely to be a lot of mud involved) so Jamie was sent off with 2 sets of clothes for each day and some spares on top of that!! He was allowed a little spending money and so plenty of change was found for the vending machine, torch, sleeping bag and all those other little bits were packed and ready to go.

I was very happy with the Dad who queried taking MP3's at the meeting and a unanimous vote of not taking from the parents was greeted with boos from the kids but it was a sensible suggestion from the parent, well done whoevers Dad it was!!

And so the day dawned when he had to go - Jamie was fine, I wasn't but hid it well! We got up to school, unloaded his large bag, to find his wasn't the largest!! Lots of parents thinking along the same lines. He had been very lucky and was in a room with lots of his friends, so I suspected sleep would be in short supply!! We checked him in and then had to leave him in the school hall along with all of the others.

So our gang (those of us who meet up and chat in the playground, whose children are friends etc) gathered at the school gate chatting away to take our minds of the huge bus waiting to take our babies away from us, most of us for the first time without Mum and Dad on such an adventure. Eventually they starting filing out, getting their bags up the steps, some with help (Mike headed off to help Jamie), piling their bags ready to go on the coach and most getting a quick final hug of Mum and Dad - Jamie did of course!!

Then we headed to the other side of the bus as that was where Jamie was sitting and so Andrea S, Vicki, me and one or two others were stood waving, smiling and feeling terrible!! It took so long to get the bus loaded with the bags but eventually the time came for the bus to go. We were stood there smiling and waving, and most of us eyes filled up but not crying, we didn't want to let them see that!! It was nice to see that I wasn't the only soppy silly old thing, who was clearly going to miss my little chap or chappess very very much!!

The bus headed around and so we had a second chance to wave as we headed back to the car, only for the bus to get stuck in the cars, as everyone was still there waving them off, so we got another big chance to wave and then they were gone. There were lots of Mums then trying not to cry and not succeeding very well.

Our babies were growing up and heading off for one of their first adventures. There were to be no telephone calls, no emails or texts from them and the first time we would have contact again would be Thursday afternoon. It felt like it was going to be a very long time. We would get updates on the school website and that was going to be it.

We headed home to an empty and very quiet house and then I headed off to college feeling pretty bereft!!



Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

And The Rest of the Week

And the rest of the week - Jamie was Will Scarlet in his school play, as you can see in the picture below, school had done this really well and it was a really enjoyable show, well done everyone. It was really clear how much hard work had gone into the production.

Here is the company I have had when I have been doing my homework, she just plonks herself down, makes herself comfy and there she stays - she's a cat so of course, I have to work around her!!

Jamie ready for an adventure with the cubs, I joined him later and helped out in the afternoon, and an enjoyable time it was too, even if I was totally shattered by the end of it. They were on a Knights and Dragons day camp and they were doing lots of adventurous tasks relating to that such as making horses and jousting sticks and then trying to burst balloons whilst using their jousts!! But of course the best fun was the campfire food at the end of the day.

Mike also had a wander this week with his friend Martin, they headed off on the train to Blackpool, not sure why as sadly Blackpool is not the place it once was, but they seemed to have a good time. They also managed to catch up with our friend Chappers at Crewe station, it has been far too long since we have seen her, I hope to catch up with her at some point later in the year.

Some images from Mike and Martin's day in Blackpool.

Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

Floristry Course Spring Term Week 11

Some pictures from my work placement, which is going very well, really getting into it now and think I am even getting my speed up and I have cracked bow making (hooray)!!

The hand tied below was sent out for an order, brilliant!!

I dropped this in for Mike's Mum too, adapted it a little bit and didn't let on it would really be a funeral piece!! But it looks quite different with some candles and a few twigs of wood with some berries on, a nice table centre, floristry can be so versatile!!

J and I are now well into the planning of our window display and here are a few goodies I picked up for the display on a little shopping trip to one of the wholesalers I use. They are all on an Easter theme and using the yellow, lime green and orange colour scheme. I am now quite excited with the ideas we have and love some of the things I picked up, some of them were dirt cheap too (even better!).

Lots of lovely organza, which I will get lots of use out of post the course, as I will use them in my work, and in some of the competitions I am planning to enter.

Some cute flower picks which will look nice in the hand tieds we have planned.

Some baskets, these were a couple of the things I picked up very cheaply, only a couple of pounds and I am looking forward to planning something to use these for.

A hessian bag, a container for a hand tied .......

Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

And The Rest of the Week

Not an awful lot to talk about outside of college this week - it has been a run of the mill week! Jamie at cubs, guitar practice, drama and guitar, I've been busy with the old college work and Mike has been busy with his thing. He did manage to catch up with SLF who were finally able to get there Friars Award which they left without taking after their gig. Beyond that same old same old!!

Reading challenge (or not reading challenge!) 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

Florsitry Course Week 10

A very busy week at college this week, so not much chat and a few photos.

We had an assessment day and here is my funeral - loose posy pad, I got a Merit for this arrangement, as this was the first time I had done it - I'd never practiced it in class I was pretty pleased with that!!
Below is my loose posy in a basket with handles, I got a Distinction for this design, and was very pleased, I took the basket and ribbon from home and some of the flowers too, to add to what was available from college, as with the arrangement above too.

My form linear arrangement too, I managed a Distinction for this one as well, I was pleased with this one, yellow Eremurus, orange gerbera, an anthurium leaf and monstera leaf, a very good interpretation of this modern and European style.

And here is my pew end, I managed a Merit here too, just missed out on a Distinction because the tutor thought it was uneconomical even though I had not worked out the price, in fact it came in at the £21.50 mark which was only slightly over the £20 costing we had been given, may challenge that one, there is no leeway in her marking whatsoever.

A planted design, which looks really nice, back into the normal classes again now!

Below is the space that we have to produce a window display it won't be there but in the college front entrance, I am working with J for mine and am looking forward to it enormously, that is going to happen on the 4th May which seems ages away.

This is the area where I have to put my planted design and maintain it for 6 weeks, this is on the college main reception desk, so I am going to have to think carefully about what plants I am going to put in there. Not sure when this design in going in situ yet, after Easter holidays I would think.

A different view of the spot my design will go, not sure what the conditions there will be like, time will tell.

And then on Thursday I was off for my third day at my work placement and I still haven't told them!! Am I being difficult about it with them, too bloody right, they deserve it.

Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

And For the Rest of the Week

It was my flower club meeting again this week and here are some pictures of the stunning arrangements that were made by the very talented demonstrator. Once again one of the gang won one of the arrangements in the raffle, sadly not me, we do seem to end up with more than our fair share of raffle wins!! Don't you just love this piece of driftwood below, and it was a lucky find, not fair!!
I love the colour combination of orange and lime green, it works so well, and more driftwood .....

this one was very clever and used test tubes in amongst what looked like dried seaweed (not sure what it was) with the tulips in, I like the idea ..... unusual, something a little bit different.

I love the hot pink against the black container, a wow colour combination and one that I really want to have a go at, perhaps once I've finished my course.

an interesting combination of the asymmetrical and placing it in an open basket, this would look good as an Easter decoration. I need to start thinking about getting some shrubs into my garden, although I have spotted a source of Elaeagnus near home, so may ask if I can cut some of that at some point!!

On Saturday Jamie went to London with the cubs, the first time he has gone to a big city without us, I was pretty much OK, but gave him lots of talks about keeping with the group, listening, listening and not getting too near the edge of the tube!! Here are a couple of photos of his day - they visited the Natural History Museum ......

travelled on the tube .......

walked to Buckingham Palace .......

walked to the Houses of Parliament and had their lunch near the London Eye ......

and stopped for a loo break at Baden Powell House! (I have obscured some of the photos to blur out the other cubs). Jamie had a brilliant day, really enjoyed himself!

I caught up with Hannah in preparation for my meeting next week and we all had lunch at Furzton Lake which was jolly enjoyable, so a good week all round.

Sue XX
Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

And The Rest of the Week

It was Mother's Day this weekend and I got some lovely pressies - a pair of Phaleanopsis orchids in a lovely container (which I will have to change as it does not allow the daylight to get to the orchids so they will not survive!) and some flowers!!

I also got this lovely Mother's Day Cake. As Mike was working Jamie and I had lunch at Frosts Garden Centre which was lovely and I grabbed myself some flowers for the coming week at college from their florist.

This is the arrangement/planted bowl I did for Mike's Mum a pot et fleur to give it its proper title! It looked lovely and she was really pleased with it.

Rest of the week all the rest of the usual stuff!!

Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox

Floristry Course Week 9 - Enrichment week

A long one, not much floristry but lots of wasting time and the outcome to my complaint!

This week was enrichment week - the purpose of the week is to enhance our studies by adding complementary areas to our learning- - as expected it didn't really work out like that.

We were supposed to have a florist come in and talk to us, didn't happen, we should have gone on a visit to the local wholesaler - didn't happen.

So what were we offered?

Monday - a session with a CV professional - but in a whole group wasn't really going to work as these things are better done one to one to really gain anything (and we have already submitted our CV's for part of an assignment and for our work placements - so really a bit late? - I think so!!)

Tuesday - how to care for your hands from the beauty department at college - not really my thing, having someone else in the class massage cream into my hands - no thanks (not that I have anything against any of them but I'm there to learn! and if I want my hands and nails done well I head off to Mirror Mirror who do a cracking good job everytime I have had them done!!)

So I had a couple of extra days off and got on with other stuff, cleaning the house, working on assignments etc.

Wednesday I was really looking forward to the session as it was going to be how to photograph our work for a portfolio, a bit late as we are well into the second half of the course, but I guess better late than never. So I headed off to college at the allotted time, which turned out to be over an hour earlier as the tutor had changed the time and not let me know, although she had let some of the others know (now that wouldn't be anything to do with the fact that I was to have a meeting with her following the class regarding my work placement!! or am I just being cynical?)

Anyway the session was interesting but only just - it turned out the person giving the talk (and credit to him he did it voluntarily) was one of the night time part time floristry students, so yes we picked up a few tips but it wasn't quite what I was expecting.

So at a time when we so desperately need to be getting on with our work we wasted a whole week doing nothing at all! Enrichment it certainly wasn't.

So after that I popped downstairs to collect Hannah and headed off to the meeting with my tutor and her boss, it lasted far too long, they talked a whole heap of nothing but I made them sit and listen to all of my complaints about what had happened regarding my potential work placement - it made uncomfortable listening for them and they deserved it.

And the outcome - well are they going to send out different letters for part time and full time students - No - so the situation will arise again!

Are they bothered that a work placement only wants to treat one of their students as a skivvy - No.

Are they bothered that they are trying to commit students to excessive work placement commitments without option - No.

Apparently they would be able to get me a work placement starting at some time during May (date not specified!) so this is the May just before the course end in June! The May when I have:-

4th May - window display - all the prep and follow up assignment from that
18th May - in-store display - all the prep and follow up assignment from that

Planted design in situ and maintenance/assignment work for that ongoing

Whatever assessments will be happening during May and as we stand now that is likely to be quite a lot and 3 written assignments which come off the back of the work placement as well as the 40 hours themselves.

The outcome of the meeting, well they acknowledged the placement I got was not suitable for me, but it might be for someone else - give me strength!! A complete waste of time and clearly a complete cop out as the college really just do not care!

I of course did have a little trump card up my sleeve, as a placement in May is out of the question, way too late for anyone on the course and they really should know that, my trump card - I have sorted out my own work placement and I was starting it the day after my meeting with them!

Did I tell them about it - No, I bloody did not, let them stew over my response!!

And my second area of complaint the time left and the amount of outstanding work left which is below and taken out of my document - and basically at this point I've done 8 assessments/assignments and 29 are still to be done!! There were also masses of range items still to be covered and one or two which were missed during the course - a vast amount of work to be completed!

And there response well I'd been off on an assessment day so that was why there was so much outstanding - doh - it is an incredibly silly response - bloody hell and I thought I was only doing a couple of assessments that day - wow I hadn't realised we were going to cover so much!! I will come back to this one in my final assessment of the course, but the whole timetabling is very bad, the tutor will not go over things if you miss it she gets other students to show you, or you have to press her to find out, and the course is just very badly organised.

We are now in a position where we are jumping backwards and forwards between units and never really know from day to day what we should be doing.

I got four assignments back at the end of the meeting too, all are Distinctions pending some very minor amendments such as changing the word bump to complementary spray and rather than spraying the flowers when the design is completed I should have written selectively mist, so when I have made those amendments I will have 4 Distinctions to add to my results!

I would perhaps think when you read criticisms of a course that maybe the student isn't doing well and it is moaning for that reason but no - I'm doing pretty well and these are genuine concerns which the college is quite happy to answer by not answering them.

So no college floristry this week, but here are some photos from my work placement which I started on Thursday, two days prior to Mother's Day and boy was the shop busy. It was fun, informative, and very tiring. Below is a funeral arrangement on of the staff did and pretty amazing compared to the stuff we do at college.

I spent the day doing some hand tied arrangements and here are some of mine, well not quite as I was replacing some damaged flowers and then aqua-packing them but still a very busy day and I learnt loads. My placement is at a Florists in the Aylesbury area and I am incredibly grateful to them for getting me out of a potentially very very big hole which the college created!

(I did finally get offered a placement from the college which would have started in the first week of May by which time I had already completed my 40 hours (hehe haha!!) - which would have been way too late - shame on them - do they want their students to fail?)

Lots of wrapping and packing today!!

I arrived at Mike's Mums after my day there and just flopped into the chair totally exhausted!!




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Songbird by Josephine Cox
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