Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pencil marks

OK, dumb language question number 143....the thing that you remove pencil lines with...what do you call it in the UK? The local, read non-native speaking teachers at the language school are using 'rubber'. In N. America, this is a, hmmmmm, prophylactic device, worn by men to prevent babies and the spread of AIDS. Yup, it's a condom. You would look pretty odd asking to borrow someone's, or asking if they have one....

So what do you call an eraser there?

Bridesmaid diet progress

So, things reeeeallly slowing down now and for the first time I've fallen below the predicted trajectory of 1lb a week :(

However! I will not be defeated! I will keep plugging away until I reach my goal!! And I'm so goddamn close to shifting a stone that I can't give up now. Was very hard at the weekend sitting around not drinking whilst watching Carl happily drink lots of cider and wine and talking him out of buying Indian takeaways...

On a different note, Kieran I'm v.impressed and, a little bit scared by your level of HP knowledge!! Particularly the Regulus Black thing...very intriguing. For the record, I am almost 100% certain Hagrid is going to snuff it, mainly because it will be so gut wrenching.

Also, could someone remind of the book we nominated to read for our book club? I get paid tomorrow so can hit Amazon over the weekend :)

Kate xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Here is a dumb question. In the UK I have heard people use the phrase, "It's half two (or whatever)" when telling the time. What the heck does this mean????? Is it 1:00, one being half of two? I assume not. Is it 1:30? Or 2:30???? I keep having to teach my students time, and they ask me and I have NO IDEA.

Help please....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Just to join in on Harry Potter

I posted this on my blog, but for your enjoyment, a list of predictions!

  • -Voldemort will die. Well. This one isn't wild
  • -Harry will not- I just don't think it's that kind of book. If he does die, it will obviously be in the final battle
  • -Snape will die, relatively soon after revealing that A-he was in love will Lily and B-he was on the side of good. He will sacrifice himself to help fight Voldemort
  • -A main good character will die. Possibly a Weasly, possibly Hagrid. If it's Lupin I will be depressed.
  • -RAB=Regulus Black. I have a lot to back up this theory, primarily that it required two wizards to get the locket, and only one wizard can get on. Solution? A house elf! Kreacher would be bound to help his young master, especially if he was tricked. Additionally drinking that potion could have been what drove Kreacher mad. Rowling has mentioned that Kreacher is very important- I figure he either knows the location of the locket, or at least the back story.
  • -Dumbledore is dead, but will have certainly have left some kind of message- possibly the penseive will give clues.... The look of triumph has yet to be explained, and shall doubtless be the key to Voldemort's defeat. We still have yet to see exactly how love will defeat Voldemort
  • -I honestly can't guess where the horcruxes are. But I predict that one will be located somewhere in Hogwarts, leading to a big show down- either the final battle or penultimate.
  • -Malfoy will have to redeem himself- possibly by uniting slytherin to help fight against Voldemort.
  • -Pettigrew has to pay off his blood debt somehow, mentioned in Azkaban.
  • -It'd be nice if Harry stopped using bloody unforgivable curses already! He's earned about twenty sentences in Azkaban.
  • -The door they could not open in the ministry of magic will probably feature.

So theres some predictions. I'm confident about most of these, I have made them bold 'cause I'm crazy like that- no hedging about on some of these! My record is not excellent, I will add... I was convinced Harry was going to get together with Luna....

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Now the question is, will he mind this being published? Currently considering career options, and just happened to be in Bath's postal museum.............

Lovely presents

Presents are great aren't they? I like presents that maybe other people wouldn't. Infact it is something of a challenge between me and certain members of the family to buy the silliest present available. Well, I think I am losing the battle. A couple of years ago Sarah bought us a pottery half a dog. An excellent addition to the sitting room and giving the whole family the joy of playing half a dog hoopla with Gromit's collar. You would think that my joy was complete but no! Matt and Sue sent me for my birthday two lovely bits of astro turf with plastic daffodils. Surely, this was a marriage made in heaven. Now half a dog has some lovely plastic turf to burrow in and we have a lovely objet d'art! Heaven!

Bridesmaid diet progress

Just a quick update - after woefully plateauing for a few weeks and then going out to eat and drink to celebrate Carl's return last week, I seem to be making some progress again and have reached 10lbs off. Hurrah :)

New motivation has come in the form of a holiday, hopefully some time in May, hopefully somewhere hot. The thought of baring flesh that has been covered up for months by sleeves, tights, trousers etc is just horrific so is more than enough to spur me on with the diet!

Also, off to Cheltenham Gold Cup tomorrow with a thoroughly over-excited Nicky. Fabulous for me as I get to crash at her house for free, fabulous for her as she's got big sis to buy her bevvies. I've only got a small budget to gamble so doubt I'll be making my fortune but v.much looking forward to having a flutter.

Love Kate xxxx

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Back from Austria and still coughing

(Choir doing an impromptu sing outside Stefansdom in Vienna)

We - ie Brian and I - have been in Austria with the choir for the last week. Typically, having avoided colds allwinter I started tonsillitus and a cold on the Tuesday before we left, so unfortunately didn't actually sing through any of the concerts. I managed about half of one half, miming the notes I couldn't reach and all the quiet bits as I was croaking, which was a bummer and really frustrating. However although I still have the cough I began feeling better by about day 3 and we saw a lot. We landed in Graz., which is where Ryanair fly to, and it is absolutely lovely. The old part of the city is a world heritage site, and it is not in the least bit touristy, in fact we couldn't find a shop selling postcards, and really lovely to walk round. I was very smitten with it, more so than either Salzburg which is very pretty but very touristy, or Innsbruch which we didn't seem much of and was wet(not a fair test - all the mountains were invisible under cloud). The concert in Graz was a great success with at least 200 people there and all very complimentary, and indeed the choir sang very well indeed. The we went to Vienna where we went to the UN building at the same time as some kurdish protesters had stormed the building so ended up waiting around a lot before we got in. We did our little sing in the rotunda in the middle of the building which was ok, but we did feel that the Austrian police roughing up the protesters was a greater entertainment for all the staff than we were. Possibly correct. This is us singing in the UN rotunda (if you count UK nationals separately we were 24 nationalities in the choir)

Then in the evening we did a concert in the Diplomatic Academy which went very well, including the piano part Brian has written for the British Ambassador to play with the arrangement of an Austrian folk song which he has arranged. It got the laugh it was aiming for and the Ambassador seemed to enjoy it. The students mixed well and did a very good sales pitch for the UWC movement to all the bigwigs there, which will hopefully enable the Austrian national committee to raise the funds for a scholarship to the new college in Bosnia. We had the next day off in Vienna and the weather was so warm - about 19 someone said. We went to see the Opera house and the Musicwerein (sp) and walked around soaking up the centre. I would really like to go back to Vienna to see more, we liked it. It also has great public transport. In fact all Austria has great public transport. We went round on trains this time - a first - and they are great! So comfortable and clean and punctual. Great. In fact we went on coach, plane, train, bus, tram and underground - ie every mass transport system available other than boat. The last concert in Vienna was a joint one with a local school which went very well too, then off to Innsbruck, via Salzburg where we had a 4 hour stop to eat and look round quickly. The last concert in Innsbruck went well too and then we had the 18 hour trip home via bus (4am to station), 3 trains, plane and coach. Brian and I feel we are getting a bit elderly for all this.

These pix are me outside the Hofburg palace and Brian outside the Statsopera building

High points - the concerts went very well, the choir sang really well, and if you had heard them 3 weeks before that was by no means a certainty. Brian has turned the sow's ear into a silk purse yet again.
- the choir themselves - a really nice bunch, not a pain in the 40 of them, helpful and good at catching trains too
- cafes - we sat in a few cafes and drank tea/coffee ate cake, and relaxed. The Viennese cafes are so relaxing, papers provided, no feel of being rushed out, the staff so pleasant
- all our hosts - all very nice again, and helpful
- not missing any trains
This is me in Salzburg - expect Julie Andrews any moment

Low points
- the damn cold (ie mine not the weather)
- discovering at 10pm on the last night (prior to the 3am rise) that the Innsbruck youth hostel wanted payment in cash and didn't take credit cards even when paying for 43 people!!!!! Can you believe it? They said it was on the booking form, which of course we didn't see as we didn't book it, and the local organiser had neglected to mention that bit. So off we go, in concert clothes to locate the bank, and then use 2 debit cards and 1 credit card in order to get enough cash out of the machine to pay.
- early starts (middle of thenight at beginning and end)
- not enough fruit and veg

Attached are a few photos (I hope)> It was lovely to see these places but I was glad to get back to my bed last night, though I could live without going to work on Monday. Brian is coming back to marking - his least favourite activity. Down to earth with a bit of a bump but that is always the way with holidays I think

Sunday, March 04, 2007

BLOOD...... Just learned about titles - have to make the most of it!

I - who generally consider myself to be invincible, and until i had kids - immune to all kinds of squeamishness - discovered in university that in fact once i had bravely gone to give blood, and was lying there watching the bag going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.... i suddenly found some kind of artistic soul (having until that point been pure logic all the way) and realized that it felt as if my life essence was being sucked out of me down that tube and had better stop leaving me immediately. Subsequently waved feebly at a nurse who YANKED the tube out of my arm and spun me straight into a head down - feet in the air position - without even asking me what was up... what if i just wanted to go to the bathroom? Anyway - ever since have felt that i have a legitimate reason to NOT try again. Wonder greatly at poor Indian people who despite total hunger give blood once a week to make money....
Speaking of hunger - bravo Kate! Tadziu is on a nauseatingly disciplined diet - eats and drinks almost nothing and has lost 7 kilos in something like 10 days. Yes - am about to kill him naturally :-) Keep it up - your graph looks very impressive - am about to adopt that technique for work :-)

Friday, March 02, 2007

If you prick me do I not bleed? Umm, apparently not..

So, in my bid to do something good for mankind I decided to become a blood donor. Off I traipsed to my nearest session, bit nervous as you can imagine. Whilst I was waiting someone fainted after having donated their pint and on his way down to the floor took out the little old lady who was serving everyone weak squash and digestive biscuits. Eeeek thought I.

I made my way over to the bed, more scared than I care to admit and then they stuck a needle into me which really hurt actually....turns out the reason it hurt so much is that my vein 'ran away' and my arm immediately bruised up! So they abandoned that arm and then tried my other one...only for exactly the same thing to happen again.

So I now I look like an intravenous junkie scummer and didn't actually manage to help save mankind. Great. What a waste of an hour and a half on a Wednesday evening!!

Quick update on the bridesmaid diet too, having stayed the same all week despite being incredibly disciplined, I have now managed to shave off another pound meaning there is more progress on my chart. Hurrah :)