Tuesday, 18 September 2007

'b' for bouncing Ben

Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 21:03:58 +0000 (GMT)
From: Ceels
Subject: 'b' for bouncing Ben.

I really really really want to say a naughty swear word. Not for any good reason, just because I am not allowed. I am not even allowed to say 'bloody'. It was difficult at the beginning because 'bollocks' and 'bugger' were prominent parts of my general vocabulary.

And the pressure is building. I not only want to say mildly offensive words like 'shit' but I want to let fly with the occasional 'fire truck' and that word that Virge used to use all the time (she said something about reclaiming it, that sounds fair enough to me, but I don't know that it would go down so well with the head mistress) I want to say wicked bad things. I want to run up and down the corridor shouting them. I don't want to get kicked out of the school just yet.

I am making good use of expressions like 'fruit cake' and 'sugar' and 'oh gosh'. I tried to explain that it was okay to say 'bugger' now because there is this ad on the telly back home, no one was convinced. The teachers think I am crass. That might have something to do with the stories I tell at dinner. Everybody laughs, but I think they think I’m crass.

The children are behaving splendidly. I went out on the geography field trip this afternoon (mapping Durweston) and nobody got run over. I have discovered why everybody had hang ups about food. It is because the only way to make children eat the things that are good for them is to bribe them with the things that aren't. 'Kaleb, if you don't eat any more chicken then you can't have any pudding. Good boy Timmy, here have some a big helping of pudding. See Kaleb, Timmy has been a good boy and eaten all his cauliflower.'


But enough of that, it is about time I was in bed.

lots of love

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Mum's Fruitcake

Mum's Fruitcake

1. 150g butter
2. 1 1/2 cup sultanas
3. 1 1/2 cup currants
4. 1 cup brown sugar
5. 2 tsp allspice
6. 1 cup water or orange juice and brandy or pot-brewed tea

7. 1 tsp bicarb soda

8. 2 eggs
9. 2 cup self raising flour

Put ingredients 1-6 in a pot and bring to boil.
Turn off heat and add 7.
Add 8, mix.
Add 9, mix with a light hand.
Pour into 20cm cake tin.
Bake for 65 mins in a moderate oven (15 mins 180 then 160).

'a' for Annie apple

Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 22:39:19 +0000 (GMT)
From: Ceels
Subject: 'a' for Annie apple.

Tonight the girls celebrated bonfire night. Real bonfire night was the 5th (Friday) but it was held for the girls tonight. They started with fire works on the front lawn and then moved to the bonfire paddock for an enormous bonfire with all the old hay bales and old school furniture.

The fire works were incredible; I have never seen fire works like them. They whizzed and banged and swirled and some of them went squealing into the air and some exploded into huge flowers and then the ends exploded as well and it was all very Mary Poppins and Enid Blyton. I say yay for Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot. And a better use for gun power I have yet to see.

When I think of it the only other live fireworks I think I’ve seen have been at Port Fairy. But still it is pretty amazing that a school as small as this would get someone so professional to put on a show. Most of the daygirls were there as well as the boarders and most people’s parents and they stood around talking and being very British. It was quite an amazing experience and I felt as if I was being given a chance to see how somebody else’s life worked.

Today has been a full day all in all. I baby sat for the Ruddy children the last two nights so this morning I slept in till nine. Then I had a lovely time reading and lazing about. This afternoon the girls’ outing was to the cinema. As they were watching Tarzan I decided to go along too. I don’t know if it is just because it has been so long since I saw a movie or because my brains are getting soft working with all these kids, but I loved it. It was a fantastic film. I think it was largely the fact it was a cartoon and who can help but love cartoons. The girls told me off after we left for laughing too much. My enjoyment was possibly aided by the consumption of a mars bar and vast quantities of coke.

I nearly killed my first child on Thursday. I mean, I really did. I was supervising the climbing frame in nursery (not a job for the faint of heart) and Menna and Oscar were lying underneath one of the platforms. They are heavy boards and chocked on the inside to keep them from slipping. Menna and Oscar pushed it up and one of the ends slipped. I grabbed the other end saying ‘Don’t do that it’ll fall,’ and it did. It landed an inch and a half from Oscar’s sweet little head and my heart almost burst.

On the same day I made one of the pre-prep kids on my table at lunch cry. It was Jack Morant, he doesn’t like eating most things and I told him if he didn’t eat two more mouthfuls of quiche and at least one slice of carrot then he wasn’t having any pudding. As it was chocolate pudding this was a fairly major threat, his responding tactic was to have a tantrum, which I duly ignored as I served the others their pudding. He threatened to vomit and I said he would still have to eat the quiche. He said he was never coming to school again and I told him that was fine. Finally the pudding got too much for him and he worried down the required allotment of food, retching and gagging all the way.

There are a lot of Jacks here, the one I mentioned, plus Jack Langmead, Jack Smail, Jack Ruddy, Jack Jones and Jack Crisfield. In the main school there is Charlotte Rottenburg, Charlotte Gregory, Charlotte Cawthorn, Charlotte Jackman and Charlotte Hannam. They are all borders. I was very confused when I first got here. There are also lots of names like Hermione, Marina, Tatiana, Beatriz, Madeline, Agatha, Eloise, Henrietta, Harriet and the like.

Well I really must go, I am going to watch Buffy, it is on at ten past eleven but I am allowing myself a treat and staying up long past my bedtime.

love you lots
ceels ____________________________________________________________

Friday, 14 September 2007

Questionnaire thingy

Date: Sat, 6 Nov 1999 19:38:12 +0000 (GMT)
From: Ceels
Subject: Questionnaire thingy.

The Game:
OK, here's what you have to do. Copy this entire e-mail and change all the answers so they apply to you.
Then send it to everyone you know, including the person who sent you this.

So you should get back a lot of "get to know you" e-mails too. You might learn a few things about your friends that you didn't know before!

Please take 15 minutes out of your day to do this. It's really interesting what you find out.

1. Name given at birth?
C J M C.

2. Nickname/s
Ceels, Squeals, Squealia, Celie, Celie-bug, KingandI, Ceiling, Kooky.

3. Favourite words
All of them. I used to keep lists of ones I especially liked. Creole, suppurating, lithe, bollocks, purple, kitten, wander...

4. Home town

5. Current residence
School, Dorset, UK.

6. Croutons or bacon bits

7. Favourite salad dressing
Vingette (is that how you spell it? the stuff that Virge makes with balsamic vinegar and mustard and garlic and olive oil) any way, love the stuff

8. Shampoo or conditioner
Depends on how I feel or how little time I have or what mood my hair is in.

9.Have you ever gone skinny-dipping?

10. Do you make fun of people?
ummm, maybe, I try not to.

11. Favourite colour
Green (except snot green).

12. Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

13. One pillow or two, cotton or feather?
At the moment two, but I don’t know what’s in them. They belong to the school, so I figure it is safer not to ask. I’ve got two pillowcases on each one, just in case.

14. Pets?
I’d like to have a cat, but I miss our old cat Cumquat too much and am obviously not in a position to keep pets. I met a fantastic Irish wolfhound the other day. You’d want a big house though.

15. Favourite music
Everything but bad techno and boot-scooting music. I am especially fond of ‘Miss Polly had a dolly’ ‘Five little speckled frogs, (sat on a speckled log)’ ‘I have ten fingers’ and ‘The grand old duke of York’. A bit of ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ never goes astray, but we are all sick of ‘Baa baa black sheep’.

16. Hobbies
Nothing that would be classed as a hobby, not at the moment. I read when I get the chance and watch Buffy now that it’s back on. Picking playdough out of the tracks of my shoes. Hiding from the children on my weekend off. Yup.

17. Toothpaste
Colgate Total, at the moment I have the stripy one, but it’s not as good.

18. Favourite food
Chocolate, apples, cheese and bread.

19. What happened to question 19?
Don’t know, don’t care.

20. Favourite town to chill in
Port Fairy, or is that boring? Womboyn.

21. Favourite ice-cream flavour
Cookies and cream. If I am in a cookies and cream mood, or ferrero rocher (from that gelati shop in Lygon street)

22. Favourite drink (non alcoholic)
Raspberry lemonade. I’d kill for a decent coffee. Peppermint tea.

23. Adidas, Nike or Reebok
Huh? Non-sporting person here.

24. Favourite perfume/cologne
That one that Pip showed me in Myer once.

25. Favourite Website
The one where the man is all sliced up into little sections and you can see all his insides.

26. Favourite subject at school
Maths, Mr Grigg used to call us turkeys; and English, Mrs Cooke was a star; and English lit. Can’t pick between them.

27. Least favourite subject at school
Legal, anyone who knew my legal teacher would understand.

28. Favourite alcoholic drink
A quiet ale, I was getting quite fond of Guinness, anything sickly sweet.

29. Favourite sport to watch
Anything with horses, not much else.

30. Humiliating moment-
I have a particularly vivid memory that I have never told anybody about. It doesn’t seem very embarrassing but it was bad enough at the time that I still remember it now, some 14 years later. We were playing soccer on the oval for sport and the ball was coming towards me. I kicked as hard as I could (not very hard, let me tell you) and it went up into the air. It was caught by the wind and flew straight back over my head to Jonathan Morrow who then kicked a goal for the opposition. Brendan Greene jeered at me. I could have died. Mum told me ‘don’t worry, no one will remember’. But I did.

31. Craziest or silliest idea-
Um, hello? How am I meant to pick? (cf. email address)

32. What do you look for in the opposite sex?
A really great bum.

33. Say one nice thing about the person who sent this email
Vaughan sends me nice emails, which make me smile.

34. Person you sent this to, that is least likely to respond
Ummm, my brother because RMIT is blocking hotmail.


Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 19:41:16 +0000 (GMT)
From: Ceels

I am drowning. I am drowning in the rising tide of my own snot. My lungs are filled. My nose is raw and it feels like all the fog and mists of this damned river valley have settled in my chest. Silly country. Silly weather. Silly English k-niggits.

Yesterday was Halloween. The silly English people got all excited about it.

Actually, one of the B1 girls brought back this amazing pumpkin she had carved. It looked like a series of geometric shapes until it was lit. It was an incredibly realistic vampire face; I wish you could see it.

We lit it fifteen minutes before lights out. The vampire looked a little like it was moving and there were bats projected onto the ceiling. I sat in the dark with them as they told ghost stories. They weren’t very scary. They convinced me to tell one and I terrified them, I had to back pedal like mad and in the end just before Toby, Olivia, Simon, and Emma, met a dark and dastardly fate, it turned out that it was Emma’s little brother James who had been scaring them all along. Then I was cross-examined, ‘But how was he blowing out the candles?’ ‘But how did the face on the pumpkin move?’ ‘But why didn’t they just....’ (bless em).

As it turned out I was the one who had nightmares. You know the ones where you leap out of bed and out the door because there is something climbing through the wall and you don’t realise you are dreaming till you wake up in the corridor shivering with cold. Well. I have those dreams.

I have to go and return the keys now.

all my love
ceels ____________________________________________________________

Monday, 10 September 2007

Step 5 in Celia's hints for healthy living: don't have the flu jab

Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 11:28:55 +0000 (GMT)
From: Ceels
Subject: Step 5 in Celia's hints for healthy living: don't have the flu jab.

Today is a lovely day so naturally I am in the computer room writing emails and job applications. Today is the last day of half-term holidays. All the boarders will be coming back to night and school starts as usual on Monday. As of tomorrow there is only six weeks to go (42 days, count with me kiddies).

As yet I have no idea what I am going to be doing next. I have a fanciful plan whereby I rock up in London on the 12th, find a place to stay and land a job (can it be that hard?). Apparently there is a magazine called TNT that advertises jobs for aussies (and other riff-raff who have found their way to the mother country and are in grave need of civilisation) I just have to work out how to get hold of it.

All in all it has been a good half term. I have done exactly nothing, but that was the joy of it. I was sick for the first half, but I have practically forgotten about that already. After the first couple of days where literally all I did was sleep, I had a lovely time planning what I would do with the rest of the year. At times scaring myself silly because it is all a bit frightening setting off into the real world (because I might be doing that this time, you never know).

Speaking of being scared silly, I was walking through the Bryanston woods the day before yesterday. It was two o’clock in the afternoon and foggy. My breath was coming out in great white clouds. It was incredibly beautiful with all the leaves falling.

Except in The Hangings.

I don’t know why that part of the woods is called the Hangings but it was dead still, no falling leaves, little tendrils of mist lurking around. I laughed ‘ha ha ha’ and walked a little quicker.

Then, yesterday, it was blowing a gale and there were flurries of leaves falling and thousands of them being blown in huge clouds across the Bryanston lawns. It was amazing and easy to see why people believe that the wind is a spirit of something. Just before I got to the Hangings an enormous gust of wind and leaves swirled up around me.

In the Hangings it was dead still.

You could still hear the wind, but in the Hangings not a single leaf fell. I would like to say that I strode through with womanly disregard for the spooky atmosphere. In reality I crept through with wet muddy boots and leaves plastered in my hair.

Out the other side I met a guy painting the speed humps. He was getting pretty shirty with the leaves because they kept sticking to his white lines. ____________________________________________________________

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Waking up every morning in the dark

Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 20:24:24 +0100 (BST)
From: Ceels
Subject: Waking up every morning in the dark.

I have just now escaped from the A’s common room. They trapped me in there to listen. They recon they can hear some thing in there whispering ‘I can see you, I can see you’ I told them that was bollocks. I didn’t tell them about the school ghost though (and I didn’t actually say bollocks).

The first night I walked along the main corridor in the dark, I had the distinct impression that there was someone following me. I looked and there was nobody there. I licked my lips, swallowed and very firmly told myself it was just a trick of the echoes. The next day at tea I made an off-hand comment about it. Mr Burnett, the deputy head, was standing just in front of me. He went very white and took me aside where the children couldn’t hear and asked me about it. Apparently he had had a similar sensation walking the same way in the same corridor and then went on to tell me all about Ellen, the Grey Lady who stands in the foyer, holding the hand of her son Timmy and laughing softly at anyone who talks to her. Have I mentioned this before???

I had the flu jab this morning. I was very brave and Matron gave me a smartie. I have a temperature now and I am being a wuss and Matron said, ‘Yes, you’ve got a temperature, go away and don’t bother me.’

I guess I should explain why I am leaving the school some eight months sooner than I was. It is not because I am sick of it or because I have killed any of the little girls, it is because the new headmistress doesn’t want any aussies next year. So I am looking for something new to do. If any one has any (sensible) suggestions I would be pleased to hear them. At the moment I am looking at cruise ships.

The pre-prep autumn fair is on on Friday and Jenny and I are busy making things to sell on the gifts stall. Or rather, we are racking our brains trying to think of something to make for the gifts stall given our limited resources. It is fun sitting around doing crafty stuff though.

Half term break begins on Friday. This will be good. I am going to go to sleep for the first bit (maybe three days) then I am going to explore the countryside. I was speaking to the Vicar yesterday and he suggested a walk over a nearby hill whose name I can’t remember and take a packed lunch as it will take all day to get there and back again.

Right now I am going to go up to my room and sleep.

love you

Thursday, 6 September 2007

I stepped on my first child

Date: Sun, 17 Oct 1999 15:00:45 +0100 (BST)
From: Ceels
Subject: I stepped on my first child.

I have a day off today and it is quite lovely. I have been up in my room chilling and in front of the telly chilling and now I am in the computer room chilling. I have not decided what to do with the rest of the afternoon, maybe a bath and some more telly. I have been reading Sherlock Holmes as that seems a properly British thing to do. I have to admit that I have completely fallen in love with Holmes, this is the second time I have fallen in love with a fictional character (if you don’t count cartoon characters and Jean-Luc Picard). And my heart is quite broken that he does not love me back. I have the entire collection (borrowed form the library) so I have many more hours to spend in his company (all is not lost). I also borrowed a book called ‘High Fidelity’ by Nick Hornby from Jenny; it is about a guy and his angst filled relationships with women.

I stepped on my first child Friday night. It is my weekend on duty and I was up in Flo Night (the youngest girls’ dorm) and they were all being silly beans and jumping all over me. Of course I lost balance and trod on Florence. She yowled and I thought I saw blood on her toe. I thought that was it. I thought I would be on the next bus home. Fortunately, it was just an old bit of nail varnish and she was being melodramatic.

The small ones have all gone off to Splashdown today. They tried to convince me to come too, but by way of argument I hid in my room until the bus left. Splashdown is in Poole and is a collection of slides and fun water stuff. I did not fancy the idea of looking after 17 little girls in the midst of all that fun stuff.

We already had one accident this week when Phoebe was jumping from one concrete seat to another and slipped. She hit her shin and fell to the ground. In a bright voice I got half way through saying ‘Oh Phoebe, are you all right poppet?’ when I noticed that you could see her shinbone. She noticed too and let out a wail. It just went on and on and on, there were fifty-odd other girls standing around because they’d just finished a netball match against another school. I was standing amongst them trying to calm Phoebe and get a teacher’s attention at the same time. Meanwhile, she was wailing and the blood was dripping.

Once she got over the shock (and the trip to the Dorchester hospital and the stitches and the loss of blood) she was quite happy. She was an instant celebrity (it doesn’t take much).

I am feeling lacking in vitamins so I am going to go and eat a banana.

love you lots ____________________________________________________________

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Smoke me a kipper I'll be back for breakfast

Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 19:35:09 +0100 (BST)
From: Ceels
Subject: Smoke me a kipper I'll be back for breakfast.

Could somebody please explain to me why farts are so funny? I gave my talk on farming in Australia; the kids sat on the floor and put up their hands when they wanted to ask questions. There was a lot of stretching the hand high in the air going:

‘eeengh eeeengh eeengh.’
‘Yes Robert.’
‘Are there any lions in Australia?’
‘No Robert.’
‘eeengh eeeengh eeengh.’
‘Are there any tigers?’
‘No Robert’,
‘eeengh eeeengh eeengh’
‘Yes Ruth’
‘Are there ko-ahh-lahs in Australia?’
‘Yes Ruth, but we are talking about salination and soil degradation as a result of excessive irrigation and inappropriate farming techniques.’

I was just telling them how good the dairy farming was in Victoria’s southwest when Jack Langmead let rip an enormous fart. Of course because he was sitting on the floor it resonated beautifully. I get the giggles now just thinking about it. Naturally it happened shortly after the teacher had left the room and there was bedlam. Uncontrollable hysteria. Jack was bright red and all the other children were making fart noises on their arms. It took me about five minutes to calm them down as I was having trouble keeping a straight face.

Those guys are six and it is not just them. I walked into the B2 and B3 dorm the other night, they are seven and eight years old respectively, and Florence was lying on her bed waggling her feet in the air shouting ‘I’m farting, I’m farting,’ and letting go some incredible woofters. Fiona was jumping up and down on her bed shouting ‘Flo’s farting, Flo’s farting,’ (as though it wasn’t immediately apparent to all in the room). Every time they calmed down Flo would fart again and they’d be off. I tried to explain (in a sensible calming voice) about the rule where if you were going to do smelly farts then you have to go outside to do them.

That just made it worse.

And speaking of toilet humour, I had to take Hermione to the loo today because she tends to have little accidents. I helped her with her knickers and tights, lifted her onto the loo then waited with her. She looked at me very seriously and said ‘I’m doing poopies,’ and sure enough she was.

I was holding my breath trying to keep back the hysterical laughter. She got down from the toilet and with an air of great satisfaction pointed and said, ‘Look, there are my poopies,’ at which point I fled to the kitchen. Two to three year olds don’t think farts are funny, they don’t think of them at all, they are just farts. (Or useful warning signs to the teacher that someone might need the loo.) And the older girls find them embarrassing. I think I missed a stage in my development as I still find them funny. Whenever the teachers talk about something fart/toilet related I have to suppress a snigger.

It was freezing cold today; this morning at 9:30 it was an balmy four and half degrees. And it was a lot less than that when I went over to the main house to wake the girls. Fortunately, John has fixed my heater so I am not cold at night any more.

Soon I am not going to be able to write emails at night because it is getting too cold in the computer room. My hands are quite purple. We went for a walk through the fields with the nursery children because it was a lovely sunny day even if it was so cold. I felt sorry for Menna and Jordan who had to hold my hands because they were icy.

Well I have to be off now; I am going to go sing with the choral society at seven thirty. It is the highlight of my week (other people to talk to). Also, Jenny and I might be going up to Bryanston (the near by prep school were jenny has friends) and who knows, maybe the spunky German boy will be there.
love you lots
ceels ____________________________________________________________

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Playdough and nursery rhymes

Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 19:34:27 +0100 (BST)
From: Ceels
Subject: Playdough and nursery rhymes.

I have just come from dinner, or supper, or what ever they call it. I have eaten a full meal of astonishingly tasteless vegetarian spaghetti carbonara, loads of bread and plenty of water and I am still completely hungry. They do something magic with the food here so that you can eat and eat and eat it and never feel full, then they leave all these biscuits and cakes lying around. So good-bye healthy eating for another couple of months.

Yes, it is official, I spoke to Mrs Willson (headmistress) this weekend and I am leaving at the end of term (11.12.99) for greener pastures. I don’t know where yet but there are bound to be hundreds of people longing to employ me. I am very useful, for example my job this morning was to sharpen pencils. I sharpened all of Mrs Skirtan’s coloured pencils for her. This followed the washing ladies getting to my washing before me and shrinking it all (yes all, socks and knickers included) my clothing several sizes, which followed a fight amongst three girls in A2 (grade six). It was twenty past seven in the morning and they were ten minutes out of bed and they were fighting.

The day got better though because after lunch Jenny (the other aussie here) and I watched some quality television, ‘The First Knight’ to be exact. I also got a Mr Squiggle postcard, which made me laugh. The secretary had put it with the kids’ mail.

I went to Stape Hill Abbey with the girls yesterday. It was very interesting to see the cloisters and things and all the old stuff. I felt a bit out of place because the nuns who used to inhabit the abbey (until 1989 actually) took vows of silence when they joined at 15 or whatever. The best bit about the whole place was the fudge; I have never tasted fudge quite like it.

Tomorrow I am giving a class to the grade twos about farming in Australia.... this is only slightly less ridiculous than Jenny taking the class. She comes from Canberra. If anyone has some handy farming hints they can get to me before 9:30 tomorrow morning I would appreciate it. I have to go now because I am on duty.

Then I am going to watch more crappy telly with Jen (While You Were Sleeping) the last episode of ‘Sex, Chips and Rock’n’roll’ was on last night. If it gets to Australia, watch it. It was pretty good. But then, consider that my main source of entertainment is hanging out with ten year olds.... (some of whom know more about things they shouldn’t than I do)
love ceels ____________________________________________________________