Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting Answers

Ever have one of those moments where you're fairly certain the answer you were given doesn't match question you asked? Yup. One of those.

The Situation: Tomorrow is Friday and I'll be at the courtyard school again, this time in Nursery. I was also at the school today (Year One) and on Tuesday (Year Two). Incidentally, on Monday I was back for one last time doing one-on-one work with that autistic little boy from last week (GPS is back though so, yay, money is upped!) and I was off on Wednesday. Anyways, the courtyard school tends to go ghost town as soon as school ends on Friday which can cause big problems for supply teachers (like, oh, me) who need to get their time sheet signed and faxed and, oh, did I mention that apparently only the receptionist knows how to work the fax machine?

The Problem: So, I thought, hey, I could get my time sheet signed and faxed out today, that would solve everything. But, oh, wait, can you have a post-dated time sheet? Can the school authorize on Thursday the work that hasn't been done yet on the Friday? I texted my consultant to find out.

My Text: Can a time sheet be post dated?

The Response:
If they're outstanding send them in.

So, okay, clearly he thought I meant that I had a time sheet from a while back hanging around I wanted to know if they carried an expiry date. Close but not quite what I meant. I tried again.

My Text: I meant like can tomorrow's work be on today's time sheet if it's same school? Future work, not past. My bad. Cue sheepish emoticon here.

The Response: Yes same school same sheet

*head-desk* Yes, yes - I KNOW that the same school can be on the same time sheet. I want to know if you can put FUTURE work on a time sheet sent in early. This is the part where I gave up.

The Solution: I talked to the receptionist and got her to teach me how to use the fax machine. Problem solved. The next time I want to know something from my consultant, I'll ask him to call.

Now it's Nursery and adorable ankle-biters tomorrow and on Saturday I've plans to see Les Misérables and grab some Chinese with Christa. Until next I come about, mes amies, I bid you adieu!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Good with the Bad

So, turns out that because of the severe weather (you remember that horrible, unbearable two inches of snow that fell last week, right?) GPS was void leading me to have only three days working one-on-one as a teaching assistant with a severely autistic boy. My paycheck is going to such a sad and tiny little thing. Stupid UK inability to deal with snow.

*sigh* On the bright side, my weekend, or at least my Saturday, mostly made up for my horrible and rather depressing week.

Yesterday I went out with Christa. We met at Green Park station and walked over to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard. In complete contrast to last weekend, this one boasted blue skies and bright sunshine. Which, of course, meant that the crowds at Buckingham Palace were insane; people were everywhere! We originally had a spot off to one side but opted to move for a try at a better view  and, gradually getting pretty darn close to the gate with an okay, if not great, view. It was pretty awesome but I will definitely be needing to go back again for a try at a better view.

Afterward, I had my first experience in a legitimate British pub where I, of course, had the fish and chips at long last. It was...underwhelming. Maybe I've just had sampled too much of the Canadian imitatioin but, um, yeah, I've had better. The pub - which of course had a dorky name, "Bag O Nails" - was really busy so the waitress' visits tended to be few and far between. It was still an awesome British experience overall - and, heck, isn't indifferent service and subpar food sort of a staple all its own of the pub scene? Next time I'll get the burger.

We then pretty much just took to aimlessly wandering about London. We went back to Buckingham Palace for some photos minus the crowds, then made our way down to Covent Garden and then across to Big Ben and Westminster station.

It was a pretty awesome day overall, no contest. And if you're interested in seeing more photos, they're loaded on my Facebook page just waiting for your eyeballs to wander over.

Today started off sunny but it's gotten greyer and darker as the day's gone on. I've been using it as a lounge-about day so not much has gone on; I've just been writing one thing or another and watching episodes of Eureka. Fingers crossed that this week leads me to a happier paycheck.

Until I next update, I bid you all adieu!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cabin Fever

Another four day weekend. I never thought it would be possible, but I'm really getting sick of those. Two weeks off for the holidays, four day weekends ever since, and I've had way, way, way, WAY too much free time on my hands. I've been rotating back and forth between Northanger Abbey and a Doctor Who novel, I've sketched my Gaia avatar and some random animals, I've edited three chapters of my writing, I've finished doing marathons of both Murder, She Wrote AND The A-Team and have now started on Eureka, and I've browsed the internet - specifically TVtropes and Pinterest - so much that I'm beginning to hate the sight of my browser. And have you noticed my blog is thus updated? Heck, Friday and Saturday I even had a freaking head cold and got to fit naps in and STILL I made like the world's most bored Energizer Bunny. It's insane. It's inhuman. It''s BLAH!

Last week I did two days as a teacher's assistant - Monday with a little boy with severe autism and Tuesday with a Nursery class - and two days teaching at the school with the courtyard - Wednesday in Year Four, Thursday in Year Two. When Friday dawned, the great chunks of London had ground to a halt - the transit system had been compromised, with the Tube lines in particular either delayed or suspended, the schools were either closed or forced to close early, and the streets had been reduced to slippery, traction-less slides.

What brought this on you ask?
Snow. Yup, that's right, ladies and gents, I've had two days off - Friday and today - because of snow. SNOW! As a Canadian, I was deeply offended by this. Heck, there wasn't even all that much - maybe two or three inches, if that - and today? Today it wasn't even snowing! Today the snow - which continued to fall all weekend to one degree or another and kept me pretty much house-bound - was freaking MELTING under a bright blue sky and a happy shining sun, and STILL the transit system was messed up and schools were closed. It was sad. Almost as sad as the UK's inability to master peanut butter.

If I have anymore weekends longer than their requisite two days, I really am going to go completely bonkers - I'm fast running out of hobbies.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

OMG, the BOREDOM - how it stings!

This week was completely uneventful. I worked three days - Monday and Tuesday as a teacher's assistant at the Islamic school I've been to before in Clapham, Wednesday in Reception at a Christian school in West Drayton. What followed was a four day weekend that, oh my god, bores me to tears. I ran some errands on Friday - going to Ealing Broadway where I went to the bank, the library and picked up a new digital camera. The reason for needing a new camera? Old one's battery can't be charged over here in the UK (the battery itself needs to be removed from the camera and plugged in to the wall). So I got the same camera in a newer model which, thus, gives me the UK charger I need for BOTH cameras and, since I already have the charger for North America, I'm all set. Unless I move to Europe. Saturday I went back to Ealing for an anti-virus and made a pit stop for pizza at Pizza Hut. Today I've done nothing but update my blogs and laze about.

Which brings me to an observation I've had about UK radio stations. Have you ever seen the movie DEMOLITION MAN? It's set in the future, mostly, and apparently the world of the future considers show tunes the best music ever! Well, London? Same deal. Yesterday alone - in different stores and on different stations to boot - I heard the themes of Sesame Street, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hawaii Five-O, I Dream of Jeanie, The Flintstones, and, I kid you not, Murder, She Wrote. It's so...weird.

Fingers crossed next week is at least more interesting, if not busier.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

London Fun in the New Year

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013 in all its newness. I have to say that I started the year pretty well and had an awful lot of fun so far.

On the 31st, while my roommates made their way back from Munich, I went over to Christa's. I took the Tube and met her at the station at her end, then walked to her place which was just up and around, more or less, from the station. We made a pit stop at the grocery store for supplies and, once I'd settled in and been given a tour of the apartment (flat) Christa shares with two other women, we had breakfast...or, rather, we had scrambled eggs, sausage and home fries at two in the afternoon. Make of that what you will.

What followed was a movie marathon - I'd brought my DVDs and laptop (Christa has set her laptop to play UK DVD) with me. We paused for supper and, of course, there was lots of chatting. It was lots of fun. For the first day of 2013, we went over the Horniman Museum which was, literally, around the corner from Christa's. Way back in the nineteenth century, Horniman was a man with a thing for collecting - his main obsessions being musical instruments and insects - and when he died he donated his collections and his house to some historical society or other. Said historical then elaborated on the collections - adding in more natural history exhibits and an aquarium depicting various British water-based habitats. It was great! Then, on Wednesday, we went over to Hyde Park and checked out Winter Wonderland. There were bunches of artisan and souvenir stalls, a great big ferris wheel (which would have been even better if not for the fog, LOL), and loads more to see and do. On the way there, we even got lost and found Buckingham Palace.

I finally returned to the house on Thursday afternoon. Fast forward a few days and on Saturday I found myself spending the day with my pen pal over by London Bridge. We walked down to Borough Market and sampled its fares - it had oodles of stalls offering various sorts of homemade sausage, cheese, tea, preserves and more. Afterward, we walked down past the Globe Theatre (of in SHAKESPEARE fame) and took a tour of the Tate Modern where we made snide remarks about the non-art.

After wandering about Bank Street and finding absolutely no food options available, we grabbed the tube over to Leicester Square and had pizzas at Pizza Hut where we chatted loads, of course. We then walked over to Buckingham Palace because Jeeves wanted to show me these two particular statues that were part of the Queen Victoria monument, one of which holds a sickle, the other holds a hammer. Took us quite a while to find them too, although they were huge and out in plain sight as it turns out. We then went to see Big Ben and over to 10 Downing Street. It was a phenomenal day...even if Jeeves did take every opportunity to tease me about my having not having explored London nearly as thoroughly as he would have expected.

GPS void again next week - so loving the stress these weeks bring with them but, hey, I've decided to let it go and try no to worry as much. Cue sigh here.

Happy New Year!