Thursday, October 30

I thought her birthday was yesterday and then I remembered I was a day early.

Yes.  I am in a pensive mood, a state of sadness.  It can happen sometimes. 

I'm sitting on the cold floor just inside my doorway.  It's a shadowed area away from the one light I turned on automatically as I entered my house.  My house.  My own space.  And yet today it seems so undeserved, so foreign.

In a year I feel so much has changed.  My memory, for one, fails me more often than it used too.  It's due to my stress levels I think, unconscious ones.  The lack of decent sleep joined with the worries for the future: a future that is so wide and expansive that I am excited by its energy but scared of how it has every potential to cave in on itself.

It's like when a mosquito is dancing around you, attempting to attack.  With its smallness it can make you scratch for hours, days even.  It literally feeds off of us, taking our blood, and yet with our hands it can be squished. 

Squish.  A word that mud is made of, like squelch.  Onomatopoeic.  Says how it sounds. 


Let the 's' linger and it fades away to nothing.  A hint of what was but the start of what will be.  Adventures to be grabbed in an instant.  Laughter to be shared over and over and over as the memories that do resist the ticking clock move the moments onwards.

Why do I keep the clock ticking by my door when it doesn't tell the time?

Friday, October 10

A weekend 'off'

On my official day off, Friday - a localised bank holiday, I did work stuff, but exciting work stuff! The Saturday and Sunday I 'touristed' Padova and Verona.

After arriving in Ferrara, I caught a bus.  I recognised the station from when I went there to visit a friends parents who have a B&B in a near-by town.  This time however I met one of my close friends I met in Pescara who has since moved north.

Before arriving in Ferrara I went to the Loris Malaguzzi Centre with one of my colleagues.  The centre is where the Reggio Children foundation is based, a particular focus for a learning style based on play within the whole context of a child's life.  There were exhibitions of objects children have created over the years as well as an example of an Atelier, a working space at out in a certain theme which encourages play through resources laid out purposefully to be investigated.   My colleague and I found many inspiring things, if which I took how simple the original resources are as it is the teachers observations of the child's interaction with the objects and others that is the focus.  Monday I'm going armed with a new observation sheet and plans to work with three children at a time :-) 

In Ferrara I took an aperitivo with my friend, it was great to see her after so many months. We then ate in an osteria where I tried some typical Ferrara dishes:

Garganelli - cusina e butega (con erbette) (twisty pasta tubes)
Cappellacci di zucca al ragù (pumpkin filled pasta shapes with bolognaise)
Tenerina (a chocolate cake thing)
Tiramisù (....Tiramisù)

Saturday led my friend and I to Padova.  I enjoyed walking around the streets even though we did not see lots.  We entered the Basilica of San Antonio and we wandered around three of the squares: Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza dei Signori and Prato delle Valle.  In the prato was a large street market where I purchased some knitting needles and wool.  To say I didn't see half of the things I could have done is an underestimate so I'll have to return to the city.

On Sunday we headed to Verona.  As cities go, considering it's quite a 'famous' Italian city thanks to Shakespeare's Juliet, it was a surprising place to explore.  The views of the buildings from the river and the different types of architecture, all generally old, was really interesting.  My friend and I spent aages people watching in one of the squares as our feet were hurting from all the walking.  Somehow I found myself being told some of the original Verona stories by my friend's work colleague who met us in the centre.  He pointed out things that you would need a decent guidebook/tour guide to tell you, like the cuboid carved in a stone that was used to control the size of the bricks used in some of the buildings. 
I leave the 'north' of Italy feeling excited about seeing the sunshine again (in these places fog prevails most of the time) and yet I also feel that it won't be long til I return to Padova, I really did like it a lot. 

Tuesday, October 7

For weekends away...

...there's always a plan of some sort...

This weekend I’m heading to North Italy to scout out the Loris Malaguzzi Centre, the home of Reggio Children with my colleagues.  I'm really excited as it is the place where a particular, context, play-based approach to learning that evolved that influenced, amongst other things, the development of the Early Years Foundation Stage in England.  I particularly want to investigate the 'What happens next...' issue.  What happens to all the free thinking, happy, reflective 6-year olds that then enter Primary School?  After visiting the centre, I'm heading to Ferrara to meet a close friend moved North.  There are plans to spend a day in Verona and Padua, eeek!  However, I’ve not long returned from a weekend in England...

I used the trip to catch up with all my friends and family that I couldn’t see in Summer due to the American adventure, and to give me a focus for after the return from America.  The schedule on the Friday before I left looked like this…

02:00 - Bus to Ciampino Airport
05:00 - Arrive at Airport
06:30 - Flight to Stansted
09:30 - Collect hire car and head to Portsmouth
12:30 - Find parking space for the car at Gunwharf
13:00 - Ferry to Fishbourne as a foot-passenger where Mum will be waiting :-)
14:00 - Tour family friend's newly refurbished house
15:00 - Coffee with Grandma
17:30 - Starbucks with my favourite opera singer
19:30 - Movie night with my Cousin

09:30 - Pop round to church to say Hi!
10:15 - Walk over to friend's house for coffee where Mum will be also
12:00 - Ferry to Gunwharf
13:00 - Lunch with friends at Gunwharf Quays somewhere
14:30 - Collect car and drive to Thetford
18:30 - Arrive and give my best mate a HUGE hug then chat, laugh, eat, drink,

05:15 - Leave for Stansted
06:30 - Drop-off car
08:30 - Flight to Pescara
12:00 - Land
13:30 - Go to Work and start the week again...

And the weekend did really go pretty much like that!

There were a few ‘added’ extras including the BMW series 1 that was waiting for me at the airport.   It took me 20 minutes to get the seat adjusted and start the engine.  It wasn’t the whole ‘driving on the otherside of the road thing’ but more the, ‘which of these 5 levers makes the seat go forward?’ that I had problems with…

Saturday evening was quite possibly the most relaxed I’ve been in aaages.  My cousin had prepared a buffet style tea with all the naughty things you buy for parties, like sausage rolls, salad pots etc AND she had prepared our families signature ‘plate’, cheese straws…plus a chocolate cake.  This was eaten whilst watching ‘The Sound of Music’ with the karaoke lyrics for a good ol' sing-a-long, bliss.

Sunday’s lunch with friends turned into an extended lunch as I’d forgotten how easy it is to lose track of time when in good company.  I’d not seen these friends since New Year and there was a lot to catch up on but at the same time it was as if I’d seen them only last week.  Before I met them at Giraffe, one of my favourite restaurant chains, I managed to buy a new bag and purse (or purse and wallet if you’re American) from the Radley outlet in Gunwharf.  Spending money has officially got to stop!

Due to the extended lunch and impromptu shopping spree I managed to leave later than expected to go to Thetford.  Although late, seeing the best mate in person was worth it.  Especially the random conversations I had with their 4 year-old daughter who was already tucked up in bed.  We ordered pizza (well I got sausage and chips) and nattered until we were all too tired.

Oh, how I wish I could’ve extended that weekend to a week, or a few months!