caz963: (father jack)
What the hell is it with drivers and mini-roundabouts? They work the same as normal-sized roundabouts - they're just smaller!

In the 14 mile round trip to and from Tesco's this morning, I encountered no less than three idiots who clearly have no idea how to use them.

The first one not only drove over the top of the mini-roundabout when turning right at it, they cut the corner so severely, that they almost ended up hitting me as I was sitting waiting at the give-way lines. Another one just didn't bother checking whether there was any traffic coming from his right and drove straight across, completely oblivious of the fact that I had right of way and was already moving, and the third gave way to me, as he should have done, but obviously had no idea of what sort of speed I was doing (it was a tight turn so I was probably doing under 20mph) and shot out almost before I'd passed him, narrowly missing me.

(The other favourite idiocy is where someone who should have right of way just sits there waiting for something to happen - so rather than sit there all day, you have to move off before they do).

These are the times when I'm convinced that decent drivers must have some sort of a sixth sense. Incidents like this happen to me - and I'm sure to many people - every day, and I know that if it wasn't for the fact that at least I've got my wits about me, I'd have been involved in loads accidents by now,

Now, I'll readily admit I'm not someone who takes a great deal of notice of speed limits sometimes, and I don't always give the smoothest of rides to my passangers. I have no problem with the proposal to increase the speed limit on motorways. But ALL the problems I experienced today happened because people were driving too fast. Mini-roundabouts are just that - mini! And often, they're in truly stupid places; there's one I navigate regularly at a junction where the road actually narrows around the roundabout, so there's not much room for manouevre and to turn right, you almost have to be on a right-hand lock. But it's perfectly simple to do if you're doing the right speed.

Grrrrr...
caz963: (ten sad smile)
I wasn't around much last week, because I was doing something I haven't done for over eleven years - buying a car!

Mr Caz and I spent hours on the internet looking at various models and manufacturers, reading reviews, working out insurance costs and likely fuel consumption, honestly, it was exhausting!

(I know very little about cars, other than that they should have a wheel at each corner, an engine, a gearbox and a battery and that you have to put oil and water in them from time to time!)

But having decided to go for a Japansese car for reliability (we also have a Toyota, my parents have one and we've had no problems with either) we ended up at the dealership at the bottom of the road and have bought ourselves a four-year old, low mileage Toyota Verso. I think it's what's known as an MPV, but one of those that can seat seven if you need it. Hopefully, we'll be able to pick it up early next week.

In the meantime, we've got to decide what to do with my old car (a Mitsubishi). It's thirteen years old and has just under 96,000 miles on the clock - most of that clocked up in the last four years when I've been doing 350 miles per week to work and back. We've had a few problems with it, but nothing really major, and it's been a good runner. But it needs a bit of bodywork done and I'm pretty sure it's going to need a new gearbox soon, plus, I think the brakes might need looking at - so I'm very much afraid the old girl is going to have to be consigned to the breaker's yard :(

It seems rather an ignominious end for a car that's given us twelve years of sterling service; but we've looked around and asked around - and it seems that there's nothing else we can do.
caz963: (Kermit & Fozzie)
Gah. I'm away from LJ for 3 days and it's taken me about an hour to catch up! And even then, there are some posts I've skimmed and need to go back to read properly.

The absence was due to more visitors staying over the weekend - hence more tidying up, more cooking with the kids etc. Cazlet #2 baked a cake pretty much all by herself (under supervision of course), Cazlet #1 made apple crumble and we all had hands in various other things which emerged from the kitchen!

I also made a really awesome Citrus Pudding. It's simple to make and it tastes fantastic - the one drawback is the fact that it takes ages to zest the fruit :( But it's worth it in the end as you end up with a lovely crunchy sponge on top of a zingy sauce underneath. Yum.

I've had a massive, post-summer clothes-clearout today, too. I can actually close the drawers and shut the wardrobe, but I doubt that'll last long. So there is a trip to the charity shop and the clothes bank in my future.

I watched DW on Saturday but haven't had time to write anything about it yet and I'm too tired now, so maybe tomorrow.
caz963: (beach)
Things have been a bit busy this week, which is why I'm somewhat behind on reading and commenting on stuff.

On Tuesday, Mr Caz's step-mum and his sister and other half came down for a couple of days. Sister and OH stayed at the Premier Inn just up the road (we could have put them up, but I think that OH likes to be able to get away from the kids!) and step-mum stayed with us, so Sunday and Monday were occupied in "Operation Tidy-Up" (*starts whistling The Great Escape!*)

It's nice to have the house a bit tidier than usual, but the downside is that Mr Caz puts things where nobody can ever find them again. As a result, we spent hours on Tuesday evening looking for the Sky remote, which was eventually discovered at the bottom of a basket full of ironing. I. Don't. Even...

randomness within )
caz963: (Irises)
A week or so ago, [livejournal.com profile] topaz_eyes posted something about her cross-stitching projects and I said that I'd post pictures of some of the stuff I've made over the years. I haven't done very much at all in the last ten years - a combination of kids and work and discrtaction by interwebz being the main causes of that, I suppose, but the house is full of cushions and pictures. Even Mr Caz has been known to take up a needle now and again!

pics behind the cut )
caz963: (hotlips omg)
You know how that is, right? You go into Tesco's for a pint of milk and a loaf and come out with £80 worth of shopping.

Well, I didn't do that today. I came out with a new phone.

And a pint of milk and a loaf.

Cazlet #1 has been on for a while about getting a new mobile. Hers is only about 18 months old, but of course, all her mates have got posher ones... I hadn't said I'd buy her a new one - in fact, I said I wasn't going to and that she'd have to save up for one herself, but we were looking around anyway so she could see how much money she'd need when I came across one of those deals that looks like it's too good to be true - which the cynic in me tends to avoid. But I read the small print and as far as I could see, there were no hidden extras, so I've just got myself a nice new smartphone with 100 minutes, 5000 texts and 1GB of data for a tenner a month!. (I don't make a lot of calls on my mobile, so that's plenty of minutes for normal purposes.)

Well, it would have been daft not to, wouldn't it? Which means that Cazlet #1 can have my old phone which fits her criteria (it's a) a touchscreen and b) pink!).

The only snag is that in order to transfer her number over I've had to change mine, which I must have had for about 20 years.

I suppose I'll manage to remember it eventually.
caz963: (DT grey)
It was another bright day (mostly) today, but it's still a bit chilly out. I'd already designated today "work day", so I spent most of the afternoon inputting marks onto the school's data system which I can access from here. Mind you, it's not just a case of putting in a number. Nope, I had to write a comment for each pupil as well, along the lines of what we used to do for end of year reports. Fortunately, we don't have to do that every half term, but as the system has only been up and running since last term and last time, I did just put numbers in, I thought I should show willing this time and do a bit more.

But the best laid plans... )
In other news - DW spoilers abound, but I'm not reading all of them. (I haven't even got round to reading the RT yet!) It's reached the point actually where there's not a lot of new info filtering through, and let's face it, we all know damn well that SM is keeping his cards close to his chest and that the DW team are generally pretty tight lipped about the really big stuff. So while I'm intrigued, I'm (at the moment) quite happy to wait to find out what the hell is going on. Whether I'll still be saying that at 7pm on the 23rd remains to be seen. Btw - is part 2 going out on the Sunday? I assumed it was, for some reason, but haven't seen a confirmation. As [livejournal.com profile] crossoverman indicates in comments, it's entirely possible (not to mention likely) that I've dreamed that one up.

spoilery pic under here )

And in a spectactular scheduling balls-up, Auntie is presenting us with two helpings of DT on the same day at the same time. Grrrrr... Thank gawd for the iPlayer.
caz963: (Campbell 2)
Well - sort of. The spare bedroom which doubles as my computer room/workroom is usually a bit of a mess. I've got a big(ish) table in there which is always buried under piles of books (that won't fit on the bookshelf in there!) and work-related stuff, and a corner desk which has the PC on it. Above that is a shelf that's currently home to a large number of full-to-the-brim lever arch files containing several years' worth of lesson plans and a couple of others that contain household stuff (bills etc.)

That's not the half of it, but here's my problem.

Are you a hoarder, or are you one for chucking out anything that's been sitting around for more than a fortnight that you haven't used?

I think I tend to be a bit in the middle - quite ruthless with some things and not so much with others. I'm good at chucking out old clothes (mine and the kids'!) and toys and the other bits and pieces of kids' stuff that seems to accumulate without effort. I'm usually a lot more circumspect when it comes to things like CDs, DVDs and books - not many of those make their way to the charity shop.

So. I have a grand total of six lever arch files which are packed with lesson plans plus a couple of others which contain other stuff I did while I was training from 2005-6. My head is telling me that I'm unlikely to use them again and that anything related to CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is going to require more recent stuff.

But... I'm oddly reluctant to bin it all. I think that the majority of the plans are stored either on a CD or on my PC, so I can access it all fairly easily.

I should just chuck it all out. Shouldn't I?
caz963: (Ten TSC pout)
... that having a bit of spare time in which to write = no inclination to do so and having no spare time at all = desperate need to write?
caz963: (DW Ten and Donna not from Mars)
I am absolutely exhausted. It's been a very stressful week, and I can't coax my brain into coherence, so I thought I'd do a meme I stole from [livejournal.com profile] annissag a few weeks back. With a few UK/US adjustments, here's the "key moments" meme - important dates in my life.

When did I..? )
caz963: (BA Bugger)
I've had one of those days - I lost my only free period because I had to go and cover a music lesson, so I've been on the go all day. I managed to get out at 4.30 - early for me these days, only to discover that my bloody car won't start. So I'm sat at my desk reading LJ and checking emails until the breakdown service gets here :-(

Sod it.

Take Two

Nov. 19th, 2010 10:00 pm
caz963: (belle)
Take That passed me by the first time around. I was too old to be a fan of teenage boy-bands and I suppose I kinda dismissed them as just a bunch of blokes who appealed to squeeful teenage girls.

I think I've been bitten second time around though. Not in a squeeful fangirly way at all, because I don't find any of them especially attractive. But musically. They're incredibly talented and since they "came back" a few years ago, I think they've got better and better.

And I admit - seeing all five of them performing together again does bring a lump to the throat!

OMG - Never Forget - one of my faves :-)

Okay, so maybe I'm just the tiniest bit squeeful after all!
caz963: (Autumn cartoon)
I really need to spruce my classroom up a bit. I've covered all the noticeboards on the walls with nice new backing paper and I've already got some kids' work up there, plus a few other bits and pieces. But what I'd really like is to put some posters up - film posters, theatre posters, stuff like that. But of course, they need to be IN FRENCH.

Has anyone got - or can anyone easily obtain - such things without it costing a fortune? (Because it'll have to come out of my own pocket - there's no budget at school for this sort of thing). I don't need many - maybe 4 or 5, and they don't necessarily have to be posters, anything suitably "french" would do; maps and touristy stuff would be good, too, as long as it's not tiny, because I've got a fair bit of space to cover.

Anyone got any ideas?
caz963: (DeathStar Pumpkin)
We're not great Halloweeners here in the UK. The kids love it, but a crotchety old thing like me remembers the days when we didn't bat an eyelid on 31st October. Now, of course, you can't move for bats in the shops from about July onwards.

It's not that I object to Halloween itself - it's an ages old festival anyway. I just don't like the way that it's been so ruthlessly promoted over the last 15 years or so, as a purely commercial exercise.

Yes, I know. Christmas is no different. Except - that it sort of is. Because we've always "done" Christmas and it's always (for as long as I remember) been commercialised. Okay, maybe it wasn't back in the year dot in Bethlehem, but hey - presents?! And you know what I mean.

But the explosion of Halloween over the past decade or two over here is due to nothing other than greed on the part of retailers who are desperate to rake in some money before the big bang of Christmas. And that annoys the hell outta me. I'm sure that, if Christmas had just been invented, or if we were adopting it as a custom that had emerged in another country, things wouldm't be any different.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't bug me.

The good thing about Halloween is the abundance of pumpkins in the shops... which all seem to disappear on 1st November. I remember trying to get one around here the week after Halloween last year, and it was impossible! This year, however, I plan to buy a few over the weekend and either cook the flesh and freeze it or just cut it up and freeze it raw. Any recommendations?

I am also possessed of one of the biggest pumpkins I've ever seen, courtesy of a friend of my MiL. It's huge - took up about a quarter of the space in the back of the car when we came home! I haven't weighed it, but I reckon I'll get at least 6 pumpkin pies and a few pints of pumpkin soup out of it. My thoughts are also turning to things like pumpkin risotto (I'll make it up if I can't find a recipe) and pumpkin ravioli. Yum.

Half-term means that it's time to make the Christmas cake and pudding, both of which have duly been done. Well, the pudding has a few hours left to steam, but that's it.

Right - the kids want to make Halloween biscuits, so I'm off.
caz963: (Default)
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Meh. I'm tired and hungry so don't expect anything imaginitive under here.

Very obvious answer is very obvious. )

I've seen a lot of very serious answers to this question - ranging from going back in time to kill Hitler to being able to spend that time with a loved one.

But I don't think I've got a serious answer really. Sure, there's stuff I'd like to do, but there's nothing I can think of that I could fix in ten minutes. So instead I've chosen something that might not fix anything but would sure as hell make me feel a lot better about the way things are!!
caz963: (Piggy)
This one comes from [livejournal.com profile] snorkel_maiden

She gave me five random questions -

and here they are, complete with answers )
caz963: (curtains)
My washing machine gave up the ghost on Sunday. I've had it for quite a while, so it wasn't unexpected - but what IS unexpected is the problem I'm having getting a new one. Most places I've found one I'd consider buying can't deliver for ten days or more. One I found on the Comet website says delivery is in twenty-one days!

WTF?

Do they want my money or not?

It appears the only way of getting one faster is to go to an actual shop, buy it and lug it home ourselves. But washing machines are fucking heavy, so there's no way I'm doing that. Also, when they deliver, they take the old one away, which I need doing as well.

Yes, we have a local launderette, and we can always take stuff round to my Mum's if we need to. But seriously - ten days to get a new washing machine??!

What is the world coming to?!
caz963: (Kermit coffee)
Gah - I have been computerless for best part of today. I've been having some problems with the broadband connection here for a few weeks; it's just taken to dropping in and out when it feels like it which is incredibly annoying when I'm in the middle of something. Also, the phone line has been playing up; having a conversation with anyone on the land-line has invariably led to me having to ask the other person to yell so I can hear them over the inordinate amount of crackling and hissing coming down the line. Of course the two problems are related, and no - and I count myself fortunate in this - it wasn't to do with the actual line (which would have necessitated dealing with bastard BT), but rather with the connections in the house.

To cut an even longer story short, my Dad came round earlier and we managed to sort it and so far - fingers crossed - its fine.

The other problem was with my laptop which kept dying on me for some unknown reason. Another long story involving much yelling and frustration but which again, seems to be fixed courtesy of a trip to the local laptop fixer (Dad, again).

I hate it when things like that go wrong. I mean, I'm quite capable of doing basic, routine things on computers, but when they don't work, I'm at a bit of a loss.

Luckily, I've learned the hard way to make regular and comprehensive back-ups - although the problem with that is that I now have four or five copies of certain files, which annoys me, because I like things TIDY, dammit!

*deep breath*

So before I roll into bed, I am going to try to resist the temptation to organise and re-organise and do something more constructive instead.

Like edit fic.
caz963: (Default)
I took Mimi (very fluffy cat) to the groomer's this morning. It's not something I've ever had to do before, but her fur gets so matted and tangled it's really hard to keep her clean and tidy and over the years, what started out as little clumps of fur have gotten unmanageable. Because she's long-haired, things like dried leaves and little twigs can easily get caught in her fur, and if left, they turn into big lumps of fur that are very hard to remove with a simple pet comb.

Needless to say, she wasn't very happy with me - yelled at me all the way there and most of the way home, although I have to say, she seemed mostly to enjoy the actual grooming. She might have been miaowing in protest here and there, but she was purring very loudly, so she can't have been all that put out. I reckon she lost enough fur this morning to cover at least two more cats - most of it through combing, but they did have to shave some of the worst bits off, so she does look a bit lop-sided when seen from certain angles!

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caz963

December 2012

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