Monday 26 October 2015

Oven cleaning

Today, the first day of my REST. 

I have cleaned the oven. Last year I paid a nice man to do it. However this year, I spent the money I'd been saving in my 'clean oven purse' on some boots! So hands, knees, Mr Muscle and my steam cleaner have tackled the grime. How do ovens get so grotty? It was DISGUSTING! 
Not any more. It'll do, till I get the man back! 

I also have scrubbed out the dark corner unit that always smells a bit fusty. I put a portable dehumidifier in the back of it now. All contents have been sorted, washed and will be put back as soon as I've posted this. 

It's a gloriously curiously warm sunny day. I've washing pegged out and I've weeded the front again. I'll do the back 
another day. I want to sew tomorrow. 

Nowt much to report really. 
When I was pegging out, I perused the garden. The lawn really could do with its last cut. I've a fuschia that's going MAD! It's well over 6ft talk now and flowering like its life depends on it! It does. The flowers stopped me from hacking it down to ground level! 
This is the first year I've had holly berries on my little  remembrance holly tree. 
I wonder if they will last till the end of December? Does anything actually eat them? 
Some adorable blue little flowers I spotted in an overgrown tub! I just love the colour of them. 

Right, the sun has dropped already, it's only bloody half three! Must get the washing in, I hate it when it goes damp on the line. 
Tea last night was absolutely DIVINE. 
I tried out my new 2 in 1 Actifry. Chips in the bottom and then some Flat Iron steak on the top tray. I tried it after seeing Joy's blogs about it. It was juicy as anything. I cooked it medium and it was perfect! 
We are having those truffle thingies tonight. They better not splatter in my clean oven! Best get the spuds peeled! I love being off! This time normally, I'm taking the register and handing out juice and biscuits to the little Night Owls! 
Oh and Carol, I'll be posting you one of my billy bargain but very delightful M&S cards in December xxx 
Bye for now 
Lots of love from 
Rachel *Half Term is Bliss* Radiostar xx 

Sunday 25 October 2015


Of course I'm up at 5.30am! It's *really* 6.30am! So with my extra hour, I'm blogging, sat wrapped in a fluffy blanket on the sofa. The washer is on, the dryer is on. 

I'll spend all day today and tomorrow kinda jet lagged! It's made no sodding difference to the dark mornings and its filthy darkness earlier in the evenings now! 
I do not mind this darkness now it's FINALLY half term! 

With the help of you lot and those icing topped mince pies ( one left for a cup of tea later on ) I made it! 
Plans for this half term include lazing, cleaning, knitting, sewing, baking, reading, nutribulleting, rowing ( in my dining room on the machine, not with the HG and the offsprings ) visiting and TV box sets! The oven and the chimney will be cleaned too. 

Before I know it I'll be back at work! Not that I mind, it's coming up to my FAVOURITE half term. When things get Christmassy and glittery!! 

So yesterday, things got Christmassy and glittery! We went to Gretna Green. No, we did not get hitched, yes, I'm technically still a spinster of this parish!!!

The boy had a Karate thing on in Carlisle so after we dropped him off we went to the Gretna Shopping Outlet Village shopping thingy. We went a million years ago when the kids were teeny. It's much bigger now. More shops. Not that we were going for anything in particular . 

I was going to show you my purchases ... CHRISTMAS CARDS!! But I've decided to send a card to my bloggy chums this year if you'd like one! ( Just drop me an email rachelradiostar AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk or alternatively let me have your address in a separate comment - I won't publish it X )
The HG was TERRIBLE - I have a box full of cards already and he was just ENCOURAGING me to get them if I wanted! He said its my hobby, stashing things in boxes! It's true! And even though these were half price to start AND three for two; They aren't  just any Christmas Cards, these are M&S Outlet Christmas Cards!! 

He bought some bargain leather boots from the Clarks shop. Oh and there's a brand new TEFAL shop. We spent aaaaaages in there! ( Not as long as we did in Thornton's cafe - I'll come to that later ) 
After much umming and aaaaring, we bought a heavily discounted Actifry with some Christmas money from last year we hadn't spent yet. My Brilliant Boss leant me hers earlier this year to try and we were impressed. I also finally got a coffee pod holder for my coffee machine pods. I've been looking around at them for ages too! 
The HG picked up the bargain sewing book from The Works for my collection - I need another shelf! And the suet pellets were from 
Houghton Garden Centre which was on the way back to Carlisle. More on that in a minute. 

We needed a brew and decided that the Thornton's cafe was the one to go to. FIFTEEN HOURS I stood in that sodding queue for a brew. Ok ok I'm stretching it a bit, but it must have been close to a 20 minute wait. We were only 4th in the queue. They were SO BLOODY SLOW. The free chocolate was a compensation but COME ON Thornton's, SORT IT OUT! I wouldn't go back. The lattes were lukewarm. The only reasons I didn't complain were 1. I'm British and 2. THE QUEUE WAS TOO BIG and I think I'd have got lynched by the other customers waiting had I caused a kerfuffle up the front! 

Time was rapidly running out so we took our goodies back to the car and went to a VAIR posh garden centre on the way back. I'm sad I was rushed through the twinkly Christmas section and I didn't get to go downstairs to the big craft supplies bit but like Arnold  Schwarzenegger, I'll be back! We bought some of my garden pet's favourites, pictured above, suet nuggets and from the fabulous butchery in the charming farm shop, some Flat Iron Steak to try - ( really dirt cheap ) thanks Joy for all your posts! I also got these - aren't they different looking? 
Beef and Mushroom Truffles for the HG 

Sitting on a disc of black pudding, it's beef mince and in the middle is a chunky mushroom sauce. Two for £3 and they came in the metal tray ready for shoving in the oven! 
I got... 
Pork and mushroom, sat on a disc of haggis! Probably really easy to make but at three quid for two - I think one per portion on a dinner with lots of nice winter veg will be filling, it'd be hard to match the costings. Plus the faff. I'll let you know how they taste! 

We collected the boy who'd graded to 1st Kyu Brown Belt which means next time he grades, it's Black Belt! I'm really proud of him. It's a big achievement- his Karate leader is an ex British champion and doesn't give these belts away lightly. 

So, the washer is nearly done, time to swap the laundry and feed the machine with more! Have a great Sunday. What will you do with your extra hour? 

Lots of love from 
Rachel *loves being off* Radiostar xx

Thursday 22 October 2015

Things I was denied...

When I was growing up  into my early teenage years I was denied lots of things! For my own good! It's no wonder I'm a prudey Victorian type!!  

1. Grange Hill 
I was NEVER allowed to watch this as it was deemed far too unsuitable! This was when it was Tucker and Tricia ( how glam was she?! ) Thanks Google Images! 
We were never allowed to watch TV at tea time, having to eat in the kitchen at the table. If my mum heard the theme tune she'd swoop in and turn it off or over and I could watch How or Magpie! 
I did watch it in the Zammo years when I was a bit older and Mum was at work!! How naughty of me! But I've never done drugs! Just say No! 

2. Jackie 
This magazine was far too racy. Full of sluts and nonsense! Eventually after years of Bunty
I was allowed Blue Jeans 
Oh thanks Google - I had this one as Martin Kemp was MY one true love and I had this frieze on my wall!  
A much tamer version. None of the models in the photo stories ever got close to kissing and such like! Imagine if she knew I was reading Just 17 !!! That was VERY informative 0_o
I also remember buying the very first edition of Smash Hits magazine! I just had a quick look on google - I wish I'd kept them all! Could make a fortune on eBay! My mum of course wanted me to get Look In! Wasn't it great singing a long to the Top 49 on a Sunday night with the right song lyrics!! ( Then doing that whole taping thing - trying to decide when to take your finger off the pause button to cut the DJ off! ) 
3. Peddle pushers. 
No reason given. ( Truthfully mum couldn't afford such faddy things) so I just used to borrow my cousins when I was a perma fixture there aged about 11. I did have a RaRa skirt though. But it was a three tiered knee length one, not the shorter one tier frilly one I wanted. AND my little sisters had the same one as me too. VERY uncool! 
4. High heels 
As the oldest I had to wait til I was 15 till I got my first pair, my little sister got her first pair at 12. Oh the injustice of it all!  

Just a random little post! I've two iced mince pies left. It's half term tomorrow. Things I found in my kitchen last night: THEO!! He'd escaped again!! I nearly had a fit when I went in last thing before bed and saw something furry scuttling along the floor. Took my brain a few seconds to register it was him and OMFG not a mouse! He was scooped up by me and put back! 

Off to take the boy to Karate! 
Lots of love from 
Rachel * singing Just Say No ( NO ), just say No* Radiostar xx 

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Do you know what this is?

I'll tell you what it's an actual LIFE SAVER!! It's a soul soother, a stress buster, a nerve dejangler, a calm inducing  miracle is what it is. 

I spent money securing this beauty, last night, in Sainsbury's and at approximately 9.10pm I ate it. Aaaaand relaxxxxx. 

Yesterday was day 2 of cover supervising my class and there are a few cherubs ( all of whom are perfectly capable non SEN children ) who for reasons unknown just wouldn't play ball and managed to Push ALL my buttons, thus extracting every single atom of negative emotional energy from me! I was a tenth of a degree away from spontaneous combustion - all of which I admit, is probably highly entertaining but come on Angels, JUST SIT THE DUCK DOWN AND DO YOUR DUCKING LONG DIVISION LIKE I ASKED!!! QUIT ARSING AROUND, QUIT IGNORING ME, QUIT IT WITH THE DISRUPTION etc 

For everyone's health and safety I popped them in another classroom to do their work! 

Of course I then come home and brood about how crap I must be at my
Job, feeling like an utter failure because I can't control 30 ten year olds on my own. I question my practice, my ability and how do I get a job in M&S. 

Last Wednesday I was on a half day course. One of the best ( I said that about the last one ) courses for ages. Run by Jenny Mosely who is such an inspirational jolly lovely lady who arms education practitioners with all sorts of ideas.. Here she is on you tube with the extremely soft strokeable  puppet seal THAT I MANAGED TO SECURE FOR WORK ...

- it's all to do with oxytocin darlings! She calls us all darlings and angels I was very enamoured with her!! 
So already I've played some games and activities with my class on these two days, but the hardcore three just messed about. I'm sure as I forge ahead they'll see everyone else having a great time and just start choosing to BEHAVE!! Despite all my feelings of utter despondency, I'll go back today, build the bridges and try again. Hopefully the teacher will be back too. Funny isn't it, TA3's of the world, how teachers get us....and we get to fly solo....although our fab new head tries to double us up where possible because here's the thing... 
In my usual role, I've time to listen, to sort stuff out, be nice lovely and patient, appear concerned about lost jumpers ( PARENTS WOULD YOU NAME THE GODDAMMNED JUMPERS PLEASE ), PE kits and book bags etc. 
On my own? Sit down, listen and let's get through all these Learning Objectives!! It's why I gave up HLTA. Conflicting roles ain't good for the soul - no one knows where they are with it!! 

One thing that made me laugh yesterday: 
Came into class after lunch n there's 8 of my class in the classroom. When I enquired why they were in.

 I was told 
Lego club. 

Child X set it up!! 😂

I'd told Child X on Monday, ( several times ) that they'd have to ask an adult to be in with them, upon hearing this idea. 

The children just said to me 

Oh it's ok, Child X  said they were in charge!
Oh!! Lol that's ok then!! Child X had also made a register inviting others to sign up for Lego club!! 

Their skills, enterprise and resourcefulness should be applauded! 

In fact, I'm so soft hearted I may even give up a lunchtime to BE  the adult in Lego club!! 

OH....the picture...did you guess Cherry Bakewell? 
Well, you'd be WRONG!! 
It is in fact, an icing topped MINCE PIE! 

Lots of love from 
Rachel *not even sorry* Radiostar xx

Ps I've five left - I think they'll help me make it to half term!! 

Sunday 18 October 2015

Oh Wales X

I'm talking about the Rugby. My beloved Wales gave that game away with penalties. That's my opinion! 

However they also never gave up battling and I believe the Slimy South Africans ( sorry Viv if you still read this blog! ) manipulated every single one of those penalties on purpose. I base my opinion on the smug smile the big blonde one gave his team mate at one of the later penalties as if to say 'it worked'. Sure Wales should have been better disciplined - but I was watching hard and honestly saw no one deliberately give a penalty away. 
The ITV interviews after the match also annoyed me. 
The SSA captain, despite opportunities, never once said what a hard time they'd had winning and they were extremely ungracious I thought. Normally the losing team is highly praised. Not from the SSAs. 
Then when interviewing Warren Gatland, the frankly stupid interviewer asked him 
'So what was it that meant SA won in the end?'
Gatland looked bemused!! 
I declared to my living room that I'd have answered 
'The try they scored at 71 minutes.'

I am quite glad for my blood pressure and my family's ears that we don't have to endure the mega stress of a Semi final but my heart is breaking for Sam Warburton and his team. They did not deserve to go out to a sneaky try from the Springboks! I still love them! 
But now I'm shouting for Scotland and Ireland!! 
Before all this stress, 
The HG and I went out yesterday morning up int Lakes. We set off early so I could have my eyebrows ripped off my face by the lovely smiling Carla at 9. Fortunately my fringe covered the redness so no one noticed! First stop was Lakeland in Windermere. The Autumnal countryside was looking gorgeous in the weak sunshine ( no photos because I'd left my phone at home! ) 
I went in specifically to look at a Spiralizer. The in thing is to make spaghetti out of vegetables and you should know by now what a gadget hoarder my other half is! We spent ages in there! I found him chatting to a lady also looking at the Spiralizer!! After listening to him, she, like he, is going to buy the new spiralizing attachment you can get for Beryl! She thanked him for his knowledge! I bought lots of lovely things. 
Some cake cases int sale
Some cake decorating bits n bobs int sale
Some portable mini dehumidifiers int sale
A new peg bucket int sale
A pasta book int sale
A soft cheese book int sale 
And just before you think you are sensing  a theme I also bought some more snowflake biscuit cutters to add to my collection and some Christmas themed linzertorte biscuits cutters at, gasp, full price! 
Our next stop was the Stott Bobbin Mill on t'other side of t'Lake. It's the ONLY working bobbin mill left in the world. It's exactly as it was left in 1971, ( when I was born, making that erm...28 years ago now ) when it was closed as a commercial business.  It had opened in the late 1800s and it was only unchanged by the additions of steam turbines and electricity. All the original machinery was still
There but just adapted to be used by the modener technology. English Heritage took it on and that's how we were able to see it yesterday. We were the only two visitors there so we had a personal tour of the mill, the two young guides were excellent. The noise in the factory was IMMENSE when all the machinery was running! We saw the processes from tree to bobbin. It was a seven year apprenticeship to become a master turner. And we learnt that a few phrases we know these days come from the Bobbin mill industry. Which, by the way, was a very niche thing to the Lake District. 

"Knocking off" ( for the day as we say it ) came from the switch on one of the lathes. It would literally knock the belt off the shaft thus stopping all the machinery. 

"Happy hour" comes from the finishing room. Smaller bobbins would go into giant barrels 1000 at a time with lumps of beeswax and be turned for hours to get them polished and smooth. The larger three piece bobbins had to be coating in < something and methylated spirits> which was highly intoxicating. So this job was only done at the end hour of the day so the rest of the mill workers were not affected by the fumes. Happy hour! 

We then had warm steak and ale pies for lunch from Award Winning Butchers Higginsons of Grange! We ate them sat in the car! Classy! 

Today I need to catch up with my washing and cleaning and maybe I'll do some more knitting stuff! 
I was doing some finishing off during the rugby! Didn't get very far! 
Five more days till half term, it's been a long one! 

Lots of love from 
Rachel *procrastinating will happen today* Radiostar xx 

PS. Did anyone see me on Graham Norton last night?!!!!!! 

Thursday 15 October 2015

Aunty Olive's

Aunty Olive belongs to the HG's side. Sadly no longer with us now. She lived in Yorkshire and this recipe for her ginger biscuits never fails. 
I've given it to a few people who love it just as much. I'm not sure where the recipe originally came from. But we call them Aunty Olive's. 
I can't get to the original right now but here is a photo of it taken by one of my friends, who I sent a photocopy to. I love the old fashioned hand writing that generation had. 
A word mind, substituting the marg for butter doesn't work! The results are nowhere near as good! 
I always use stork! 
Incase the photos are not clear 
6oz SR Flour
4oz marg
3oz sugar ( I use caster ) ( but soft brown works too )
1tblspn golden syrup
1 tspn ground ginger
1/2tspn bicarbonate of soda

Mix flour, ginger n bicarb
Melt butter,sugar,syrup
Combine the two
Roll walnut sized pieces into balls
Flatten slightly on a lined tray
Leave space as they do spread 
Good for dunking! 
Makes loads!! 
They come out like this 

I finally have a mini ta daaah! 
A new pattern to make a Cornish pastyesque bootee! 
They are destined for my bosses' new baby granddaughter! Not perfect but still cute! 

I'm just off to reply to all my lovely commenters now X cheerio 

Love from 
Rachel *ready for half term* Radiostar xxx

Monday 12 October 2015

I baked; it's been eaten

Already!! I only baked yesterday. 
I, ahem, caramelised some cherry scones
It didn't seem to matter! 
I made a loaf of seeded granary - almost gone.. 
I made some toffee buns and some Aunty Olive's. 
I had an idea for the topping of the toffee buns, I made a ganache, using weight for weight double cream and 
It was SO good. I could have drank it! 
However, I let it go cold and whisked it up till thick and creamy. I made some really ugly but ever so moreish butterfly cakes with it and the toffee buns. 
I also made some chocolate fairy cakes 

I planted some little winter pansies and a silvery thing atop my hopefully amazing purple Spring bulb display. 
I also had some of this. It tasted JUST like being nine years old! 

Right that's my Monday done with. Nothing much to report really. I've nearly finished one of the umpteen knits I've got going. Photos soon. 

Lots of love from
Rachel *off to bed in a minute* Radiostar xx 

Saturday 10 October 2015

London - the last instalment!

It seems so long ago now! The final day began with a hearty breakfast, only this morning, the 28 discovered they were allowed the hot chocolate. To be honest the FF had kinda reached *that* point of not giving a flying hoot about healthy eating and sugar consumption!! 
I think a world record was broken for hot chocolate consumption that morning. 
When we set off on the five minute walk to the train station, I could hear swishing. 
Swishing X 28. Swishing, blipping, sloshing and splashing. It was the 28. And their hot chocolate submerged stomachs! 
You can only imagine the effect on their bladders!! 
Once at Canada Water it was just one train to our destination. About thirty minutes. That was just enough time for all 28 to go to the loo. 
We arrived at our final sight seeing place of the trip. 
The Olympic Park. 

What a massive place! 
It's a HUGE train station. It was a ten minute walk from platform to civilisation. Then, due to workmen doing construction stuff we had to walk even further to get where we were going. The route took us through a very posh shopping centre. Had we not had 28 mini hi vis companions or heavy rucksacks, then the FF would have probably had a relaxing stroll browsing the posh shops, maybe stopping for a leisurely latte and then lunching in a swanky bistro. 

But no, we headed to the gardens betwixt the Olympic Arena and the Olympic Aquatic Centre. In the photo you see a ridiculous monument that looks like a roller coaster/helter skelter. If you look closely enough you migh just see two abseiler types. And according to the giant hoardings, for mega bucks you can go up the top for a drinks party. Er, not for me thanks!! 
We picnic lunched in lovely surroundings and the 28 were able to take advantage of the safe vast space to have a play. The FF also took advantage of the little coffee shop and had a comfy seat to watch the play. 
We met a rather scrumptious young man who was part of the Rugby World Cup stuff and had we had time I could have had a Welsh dragon face painted on my cheek! 
All too soon we had to make our way back as our train was at 3.30pm. We'd pre arranged pre seating when we'd pre booked. I say 'we' , I had absolutely nowt to do with the logistics of this trip. It was all down to our amazing school bursar. 
Once again as we entered the stunningly beautiful beshopped area, the FF could only dream of even window shopping. 
We ruthlessly marched straight through the beshopped pedestrian zone, hunting for the toilets! 
The lunchtime water had topped up the hot chocolate reservoirs. 
We looked on the fancy pants shopping centre maps for the loos. They were not where we reckoned! 

They must have been hidden very well behind the great smoked glass wi does and doors that surrounded us. 
We asked the nice lady at the station who directed us to where we needed to be. 
Only the *very desperate* were allowed this toilet stop because time ( and patience ) was fast running out! 
We embarked on our final journey on the train back to London and then the last tube back to Euston. I said to my magnificent seven that they'd to make the most of this last tube ride. Cue hanging like chimpanzees from the ceiling straps and bars! I didn't say a word, we were in an empty carriage save for one person who I was chatting to. A third year teacher trainee student! She was praising our 'monkeys' good behaviour! 

Ohh I just remembered that on the tube back from Matilda, I was chatting to a random bloke who'd complimented our 28 on their excellent behaviour. He asked where we were from. He knows it well...his mother lives here!! Of all the tube carriages in the world..... 

Once back at Euston, we waited in the shade near the Sainsbury's. The 28 collapsed in heaps on their bags and the designated one of the FF was sent to look for a Virgin. Two were brought back! The lovely Virgin Train staff took us straight down onto the platform and we were able to board the train and get sorted and comfy before we set off! A few of the 28 were disgruntled about having to wait til we set off to go to the toilet!
It was a much calmer journey homeward bound. Approximately 16 of the 28 fell asleep! The rest were content to sit and talk/chat quietly till we finally arrived home. 
The parents were thronged together. There were many tears and we were so surprised by the hugs and gratitude that we were getting!! It added to the worthwhileness of the trip!

Once I got home, we had a takeaway for tea and I sat down, not getting up off my bum unless absolutely necessary. I had a four hour nanna nap in bed on the Sunday afternoon!!  I was still knackered the week after at work! I think maybe next year, I think it should be booked for the end of term!

There you made it! Through my 'almost
as long as the trip itself' blogposts! 
Normal service will now resume ( posts about my daily non adventures ) you lucky things!  

Lots of love from 
Rachel *back to reality* Radiostar! 

Oh ps. I sent the frock to my friend ( 95p for a first class stamp ) and her 4 yo loved it! 

Monday 5 October 2015

Little Woman!

First of all I'm just going to have a moan about the horrible, filthy dark mornings. It's 6.30am right now, and PITCH BLACK. It's been so mild that I've still not had to have the heating on yet...I feel it's a coming, it's  the first morning I've needed my dressing gown on. It sounds squally out there and it's my 8am start today so I can't stay snuggled down in my uber warm and comfy bed. Roll on the weekend! Roll on Half Term.  And even though I adore Autumn B the best it's the light mornings I crave. Roll on Spring! 
I've just waved off the HG to work, with his butties I lovingly made using the leftover Roast Pork from yesterday's Roast Dinner. It was epic as it goes. The menfolk wanted to know when the other 20 dinner guests were arriving as I'd somewhat over catered! Because it was just us three ( Miss 21 is away right now ) my yorkshires came out the size of a small detached house! ( when we have guests they tend to be defiant little frisbees). 
In other news , I thought I'd show you the finished frock that's now on its way to my friend's little girl. 
It's the first thing I've made completely from scratch since I did O'Level needlework back int Stone Ages. 
The interfacing I used was a little too stiff for the fabric but it'll soften with washing. The material was given to me by a friend who'd started making a shift dress out of it, so I unpicked it all, washed and ironed it and got this wee frock out of it. There's some left to make a teddy too. 
I've been knitting of late and now have an almost embarrassing amount of projects on the go! Nothing to show you yet! 

Right, back to the title....
Little Woman. 
If you read my last post you'll know we had a very late return to the hostel after the show - which I don't think I managed to praise highly enough! 

The show was absolutely bloody brilliant. It was magical. The girl who played Matilda was on her debut show but she was seamless. The cast members were spot on. Miss Honey was just as I imagined when I read the book. The bloke playing Miss Trunchbull was PERFECT. There were some hilarious double entendres for the adults in the audience. Matilda's hideous parents were  gross in the best possible way. The stage tricks and scene changes were mesmerising and every single one of the 28 sat transfixed. They were wowed by it. None of them had ever seen a live show like that before. Sure, we have visiting theatre companies come to school where they cleverly put on a full panto with three actors, we take the whole school to the local theatres to see pantomimes at Christmas, but it's not the same. I think Matilda blew their minds. To hear them chattering about it on the way back was pure gold. 

It was really dark and busy when we came out of the Cambridge Theatre. It was late Friday night in London. All of the other theatres were emptying too. We saw lots of people out on a night out and we quickly marched our crocodile line back to the tube. As was the case every time, we had one big bundle of tickets and we waited at the larger gates for a Tube worker to open for us. It was here that I was 'spotted'. 
Yes, spotted. You lot don't realise how famous I am! You are about to find out!! 

Picture the scene; 
Late night Leicester Square, 4 knackered adults, 28 highly charged post Matilda cherubs. I was at the front with my 7 super close to me. Waiting to go through the gates were three blokes. I say blokes, they were HUGE. Each well over 6ft. They were in suits. 
They looked foreign
As I scanned the station for the guard, I became aware of one of them gesticulating in my general direction, hand flapping, excitedly shouting 
"Little woman! Little Woman! In that 

Omg I know who that is but I can't remember her name type of voice. 

Now I ( 5ft 7 in my head ) looked behind me as if to see who on earth this man was pointing at and trying to get his friends to notice. I turned back to look at him
"Little Woman!" 
Before I had chance to be all affronted, (you heightist pig was crossing my
Mind ) one of his friends shouted with a big grin of recognition on his face

Now I, am used to this Dawn French thing - it's been said a lot -but not for a while since she's gone all skinny!! 

So I did what anyone else would have done. 


Owned it! 

I put on my best Dawn French grin, nodded my head in acknowledgment and winked at them! 
They were beyond themselves! Fortunately at the same time, the guard had opened the gates and we were through and away before they could do anything else!! 

I don't know what made me and my friends laugh so much - the fact that I'd ( all just about 5ft of me ) turned round to see which little woman they were referring to or the fact that they though Dawn French would be on the tube station surrounded by kids in high Vis jackets!! The kids, who were totally unaware this was happening! I don't think they'd know who she is!! 

Hilarious!! Maybe they thought she was filming a new sitcom!! 

So I must now go get some breakfast - it's definitely a porridge kinda morning. And I will tell you about our last day in London next time. 

Lots of love from 
Rachel *Dawn French* Radiostar xxx 

Saturday 3 October 2015

Thursday in London

We had a huge day ahead. I'd got the HG to ring me at 6am so I didn't sleep in. There was actually no need to worry. I'd been awake most of the night anyway and was fully awake at 4.39am! It was raining. It'd been a glorious day on the Wednesday. So that was a down point. 

Our breakfast was booked for 8am, so after a coffee in my room, a shower and packing my bag ( with waterproof )for the day, I went downstairs at 7 to patrol the rooms. Some of the girls were up. The last of the giddyers was fast asleep still - go figure! They were woken and ordered to get ready quickly! The boys were more organised than the girls and were ready first. ( no comment ) 

It was a breakfast buffet bar. I opted for scrambled egg - divine, beans and toast. A bowl of grapefruit segments ( tinned - reminded me of my beloved nanna X ) and apple juice. 

The swarm of locusts opted for everything! Some having seconds! Croissants, cereal, toast, bacon and gallons of juice. It wasn't until Friday that they discovered the hot chocolate....

Then we had the challenge of divvying up
The sandwiches the hostel had provided for lunch. Once loaded up we set off. Each adult with their 7 cherubs counted. We crossed the road to the bus stop and waited for the 831 from Peckham. The 28 had been banned from sweets and the only drinks they were allowed on this day was water! Everyone seemed infinitely less giddy! 
It arrived and we comfortably took over the top deck. 
It was a seamless journey with plenty of opportunities to look at and discuss the architecture, size and style of the different buildings. 
One child declared 
"Ere, these Londoners don't half like their glass!"

Once we alighted we spent a lovely half hour taking photos, enjoying the atmosphere and going to the toilet. 
Those gallons of juice were making their presence felt. 

Off to Portcullis House. The 28 were split into two groups. They were wide eyed at the armed police and solemn with awe as we went through security. We were met by two fabulous guides and off we trooped through the busy coffee shop which was full of people ( MPS ) drinking brews and eating cake ( allegedly working ).  First stop, the loos! VAIR posh they were. 

My friend and I spotted a bloke we thought we knew. Not in the toilets, but in the cafe bit.  She said to me I'm sure I know him. I was looking, agreeing yeah me too. Who is it? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it turned out to be Tristram Hunt. ( MP ) 
I have NO idea which side he's on, what I do know is he is VAIR easy on the eye! Also seen ( but not by me ) was Jeremy Corbyn. 

The next two n a bit hours found us steeped in glorious history and splendour. The gold throne in the House of Lords was exquisite. I did the same tour myself, aged 10 and the only thing I really recall was not being allowed to sit on the seats. But this time, I was in awe of it all. The surprising thing being it looks so much smaller than it does on the telly. I also managed ( thanks to one of the 28 falling ill - nothing serious - but when offered a trip to the nurse - YES PLEASE ) to go where no one is really allowed to go!! So I got extra footage if you like!! We also saw the door you can go in to see Big Ben ( that's the bell itself, not the tower )
Anyone can request to go see Big Ben. It's free of charge! 
Also, whilst we were standing directly above where Guy Fawkes had stashed his barrels of gun powder, we were told of the tradition, that still goes on today, that on the eve of the 5th November, someone goes down to check the chamber, by the light of a candle! That's true!! Someone gets to go check for gunpowder...with a lighted candle!! 

After a fantastic classroom session on how we are able to vote these days and how laws are passed - King John will be turning in his grave - we emerged back into the Westminster sunshine and trotted off for a picnic lunch in St. James' Park. Sandwiches scoffed, crisps crunched it was time to embark on our epic walk to look at The Sights. 
Through Horse Guards Parade, via Whitehall to look at Downing Street then re tracing our steps, down Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace. It was here it rained just enough to get the waterproofs on ) The Queen was in, the Union Jack said so, but she declined to invite us in for tea and cake! We then tromped up Constitution Hill to the Marble Arch then along Picadilly to Green Park Tube station. 
It sounds NOTHING to write. But let me tell you, my legs and feet were HURTY!
Looking on google maps I reckoned it's two miles from Downing Street to Marble Arch and then a mile from Marble Arch to Green Park Tube station. The 28 never complained once. Not once. 

We had to get back in plenty of time for tea as we needed to get changed and back out again. We had tickets for Matilda! 

The tube was simple as Green Park is already on the line we needed. Our plan was, get back, get changed, have tea, get the bus back to Waterloo and then the tube to Leicester Square. We also had bought a birthday cake for one of the 28 who turned 11 on this day! 

It all got a bit frantic from now on as the first bus that turned up was only going two stops. 
He said the next one would be 3 minutes. 
That was the longest three minutes ever. Quite possibly because it was more like seventeen. We HAD to be at the theatre for 7.30pm 
We got there just after! 

But the theatre staff were amazingly patient with us and we got in our seats and were transfixed for the next few hours by the incredibly talented cast of Matilda. 

The songs were superb. Miss Trunchbull ( 'I'm SURE that's a man " one of the 28 said) was outstanding and the little girl who played Matilda, stole my heart. We bought the 28 a programme and an ice cream. I saw a mouse running around the seats! The 28 were transfixed. To see their reaction was pure joy. 

Afterwards we made sure the 28 were linked arm in arm in twos, we made our way back to the tube and wearily back to the hostel. It was about 11.30pm by the time we got back. I was on bedroom duty. The 28 were mostly cream crackered ( Cockney rhyming slang - when in London...) 
They were told five minutes and you will be in bed. We didn't have to rush as much the next day, they could shower then. 
After five minutes I went in and they were told the main light was going off and I'd give them five minutes with the night lights then it was sleep. The majority of them were already asleep! Just the die hard giddyer pushed all my buttons with the delay tactics they employed. I was having none of it! 
BED NOW I grimly pointed! They gave up and got in bed!! 

The FF then proceeded to have their FIRST CUP OF TEA AND A BREAK of the day at midnight and stayed up chatting til gone 1am!! That cup of tea tasted divine. I doubt I'll have a better one for a long time. If ever! 

Once in bed it didn't take me long at all to drop off. 

I'll be back next post to relay Friday's adventures! These blog posts are taking almost as long as the real thing! 

Lots of love from 
Rachel *still tired* Radiostar xx