Saturday, 31 January 2009

Michael Morpurgo

The existence of Michael Morpurgo quite passed me by until a few months ago. How did I miss that he got to be the Children's Laureate? How come he got to write over 100 books without my noticing him? I realise that I was actually out of the country when he was doing his laureate thing. So maybe I have a little excuse. And, I have been teaching children who may be a little too young to read his work. There, I have justified my ignorance to my satisfaction.

There I was in a year 6 classroom noticing that several children had books written by him on their desks. I felt a little ignorant that I had not even heard of the man, let alone read anything written by him.

They assured me he was a very good author. I take a year 6 class each Wednesday and this term my assignment for the literacy lessons was to cover narrative texts. The national curriculum suggest the book 'Kensuke's Kingdom' by Michael Morpurgo. So I was very interested to read it.

Well, I was overjoyed to find that he is a very fine author. Better than the other contemporary authors for that age group, in my opinion. Of course I have only read one book, but the way he writes, his plot and turn of phrase was wonderful. In this book he left clues throughout the book that were revealed later on if the reader had not worked them out. As with all excellent literature it needs to be read more than once to get the full enjoyment from it, although there was plenty of enjoyment the first time around. It is just that on the second reading you can savour the writing.

I cannot resist quoting the best sentence I have ever read. You will find it on page 89 of the paperback.

"I looked on awestruck at the power of the vast waves rolling in from the open sea, curling, tumbling, and exploding as they broke on to the beach, as if they were trying to batter the island into pieces and then suck us all out to sea."

Isn't that just a glorious sentence? Can you see it and hear it too?

Well, as I knew nothing about this man, and had to teach using his book I thought it was a good idea to Google him. He has his own website (of course), and I find he and his wife started and run the charity 'Farms for City Children'. I had heard of this charity years ago and so was interested to come across it again with the founder now a famous man.

Friday, 30 January 2009

L M Montgomery Reading Challenge

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge

I was interested to find this reading challenge because Anne of Green Gables is one of my favourite books. However I never really got into the books about her as an adult. But reading the review of 'Anne's House of Dreams' written by Sarah at "Another bend in the road" has persuaded me to try again with it. Read her review here.

I read a few of the short stories from 'Chronicles of Avonlea' online here

It was first published in 1912. It contains 12 stories, 3 of which I have read so far. They are not really about Anne but she does sometimes appear as a minor character in them.

I enjoyed 'Old Lady Lloyd' because it is a testament to pure love and how it transforms people.

Carrie, the originator of this challenge was raving about 'The Blue Castle' so I decided to read it. I found it online at

I found the first part of the story to be tedious and and depressing and only persevered because of Carrie's enthusiastic recommendation. However, I enjoyed the middle of the book. Once I understood she was working towards an improbably contrived ending, I started to predict how the story enfolded and chuckled as I was proved correct.

Here is a review of the book at tickled

Although reading the books online was convenient because it was free and instantly accessible, it was not quite so comfortable reading in bed with my Macbook balanced sideways whilst my head was on the pillow. :-)

So now I will get out my series of Anne books and read them with renewed interest.

Almost free EFT Audios to tap along with

I hesitated to post this video today.
What another video?
I know, they do seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment, don't they?

But I wanted to post this because it has several great messages.
Two of which are:
1) It's OK to download as many EFT audio sessions as you can for $1 from Brad Yates. (Good job 'cos i downloaded very many just recently. )
2) Don't hide your light under a bushel.

And another reason for posting is that I want to make some good karma too.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Aimee Mullins the athletic runner with no legs

And here is the confident and inspiring TED talk video of Aimee Mullins talking about her achievement, running and winning on her artificial legs.

I love the way she unselfconsciously changes her legs on stage.

I'm so glad that the people in Bournemouth are now using the skills of those used to make the wax images at Madame Tussuad to make people's lives better.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Life without Limbs - no arms, no legs, no worries.

Here is a video of a guy called Nick Vujicic, aged 25, who was born without arms or legs. He travels 40 weeks out of the year, all over the world, sharing his story and trying to give inspiration and hope to others.

This guy is one happy bloke.

I'm so glad his mother didn't abort him. Now here is a story to tell people who are being pressured to abort a less-than-perfectly-formed fetus. This guy has touched thousands of people's lives and saved at least one from committing suicide.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

The power of EFT on toothache

My mouth is a bit of a mess, well it is the state of my teeth really, the rest of the mouth seems to be OK.

I have several fillings missing. I once had gold fillings but they fell out a few years ago. I tried popping them back in but they fell out again. I don't know if I still have them somewhere - maybe with my jewelry. I still have the holes where the fillings should be. The glue that didn't do a good job of holding the gold in place, is now protecting my tooth from further decay.

Anyway, last week I found I had a toothache. It was in a tooth that has an amalgam filling. The filling has been a little loose for a while and so now it seems that bacteria has entered in between the filling and the tooth, causing decay. The pain was most acute when I drank a hot drink, but it would start to pain sometimes for no apparent reason too. Each time I felt the pain I would tap the EFT points. At one time the pain was a 10 on a scale of 1-10 (after a hot drink) but mostly it was around 6 or 8. However the pain would always subside after a minute or two of tapping and most of the time it did not hurt at all. I have had no pain for two days although I can feel that there is a problem with the tooth and have drunk hot drinks through a straw.

Whenever I felt the pain I thought, "Oh I really need to go to the dentist," but I forgot about it all the rest of the time. I'm not actually registered with a dentist, so I would have to find one that could take me onto their books as an NHS patient. Easier said than done in England and it still costs loads of money even on the NHS.

I'm one of those people who put things off until I really have to do something. I pay insurance each month for dental work because I know I have to get so much work done on my teeth sometime, but I still don't do anything about it even though it is not easy to eat with all the holes in my teeth.

I was a little worried about how the dentist would take out the amalgam filling because I have read that it is a skill to take it out without releasing the mercury into the system of the body. A skill that very few dentists posses because most dentists are still denying that amalgam fillings can poison the body with the mercury that they contain.

Anyway that worry was solved this evening when my filling just came out whole. The decay must have loosened it more. It was very smelly. The amazing thing was that I expected it to be very painful now the decayed part is exposed but it isn't. I even managed to brush that tooth and swish it with water and it still gave no pain! It is a little tender but amazingly not painful. It is a 1 on the 1-10 scale, if I lean my cheek on my hand.

I can only assume the tapping has had an effect. Whoopee!!
Thank you God for supplying me with the knowledge if EFT. It is so useful.

UPDATE 27th Jan
No pain in the original site. The tooth is a little precarious due to having such a large hole in the middle of it and one side is a little wobbly, so am drinking soups form a straw.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

A Nearly Autonomous Class

I had a wonderful time on Friday. I was standing in for a reception teacher. I had taught in that school a few years ago but not in reception before.

It was delightful because the children were obviously used to getting on with their learning unhindered by the adults in the classroom for the most part of each day.

They came in and just started doing whatever interested them. Some boys were on the carpet in the Lego corner creating, building, imagining and discussing. Some girls were at the craft table creating interesting collages or colouring, and chatting. A few made get well cards for their teacher who had been off work for a few days.

A group of mixed gender were at the large dolls house and some looking at books. One girl wrote a letter to her mum 'cos she was not going to see her as she was going to her dad's.

Unfortunately I had to interrupt this industry to take the register, a gym, and writing numbers lesson and read a story with them, but then they were back to the autonomous learning. I was impressed with the fact that there were no rules like 'only 4 people to play here' etc as there are in many classrooms. And it was normal to leave a half completed project so they could go back to it later after the interruption of the lesson.

This was the most autonomous class I have been in. (Many nursery and reception classes and quite rigid in their rules and lessons.)

It would be wonderful to have a really autonomous class, but I know that in this particular pair of classes I was at on Friday the teachers were continuously fighting off the directives from 'above' and acted as a buffer between what the government required and what was best for the children.

My Brother's Beloved

An eight year old boy came up to me the other day in school and said "I'm going to be an uncle because my brother's beloved is going to have a baby."
I already knew this (but didn't let him know) because he had said the exact same sentence to another teacher a few days before.

I would love to hear more language like that. So precious.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Happy Tapping

This is a poem that I often do with the children at school. They all love it and it really helps them. it is a really easy way to learn the tapping points and a great way to get children to tap regularly.

I did not make it up but I have changed a word or two to improve on the rhythm. I found it on the main EFT site I think Don White is from Australia.

For most of the poem it is obvious where to tap, just follow the words but I model karate chopping on my palm during the first two lines.

Happy Tapping!
By Don White

Happy Tapping is lots of fun
You can do it on your own - or with anyone!
Tap tap tap on the top of your head,
Tap tap tap do just what I said!
Tap on your eyebrow just near your nose.
Then the side of your eye where the hard bone grows.
Now on the bone - under your eye,
Don't poke your eye or you'll make yourself cry!
Now under your nose - but over your lips
Tap tap tap - with your fingertips!
Now under your lip - but over your chin,
Just on the bit where your chin goes in.
Now under your collarbone - but over your chest,
Under the bump of the bone is best!
The last on the list is under you arm,
To make sure you get it right - slap with your palm!

If you still don't feel good - don't go to bed,
Start tapping again on the top of your head!

Monday, 12 January 2009

EFT and being a bee

I just read this article at
I just loved it and because some people may find it a useful idea I thought I would post it here.

The coolest thing happened recently. Here in Hawaii, you get used to various little flying things coming at you once in a while. I was sitting here writing at my desk, and felt a little buzzy thing around my head and absently swatted it away. And again it came back and I swatted it away without giving it much attention. But then it came a third time, and I looked up and saw it was a bee.

Since it was night time when bees are rightly at home in beddy-bye, I had this hit that it wanted to go home but didn't know how to get there. It swerved up to the ceiling light and went around it a couple times, and then came down and hovered right in front of my face, kind of like, "well, are you going to help me out or what?"

I got up and it went back up and started flying around and around the ceiling light again, so I held up my hand for it to land on.

Now, you might think that was kind of nuts to do, but I remembered how Colleen Flanagan, the Animal EFT Expert, had said that animals receive pictures from our minds. So I made up a picture of me *being* the bee, and looking down at this human's hand and landing on it so she would let me outside again, since I couldn't find my own way.

As I pictured this - and let me tell you, picturing a human hand big enough for me to land on was weird! I allowed myself to get really calm, tapping with my other hand on my collarbone to keep away any fears of being stung or possibly hurting the bee, which made me feel even more calm. I tapped for radiating ripples of love out to the bee as well.

Well, it only took about 4 minutes until the bee landed right on the top of my hand and sat there happy as can be(e) as I walked out the door and let it off onto a plant! I did a little happy dance as I went back in, and thought, "cool! Thanks, Colleen!"


Angela Treat Lyon

Sunday, 11 January 2009

My Personality Tested

I took a personality test and this is what it came out like.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

It looks a little one sided.
I'm glad it shows that I do think sometimes. lol.
I've discovered that I have an acute sense of smell. I wonder if it is my nose that is looking to the left on the sensing line?

Monday, 5 January 2009

My Home Education Story

I've been interested in home education for many years.

We moved house to a different area 11 years ago when Claire was about nine. She was struggling at her old school and I thought I would 'catch her up with some 1:1 time'. I was a single parent on income support with my other daughter just starting boarding school.

What! you say? Isn't that incongruous? Home education for one child, boarding school for another, income support too? Yes, well I've never been 'normal'.

Those were the days when the government paid tuition fees for deserving cases. It was a Quaker girls' boarding school. We needed to find an alternative because she was being bullied at her local state school and they did nothing about it. We looked at several brochures of schools nearby in Newcastle but none appealed to her. Then I saw an entry in a book in the library about The Mount School in York. And I remembered when she was a baby, holding her on my knee at a Quaker meeting, thinking that one day she would go to that very school.

We went to visit and she felt immediately at home. She said to me "Mummy the girls are just like me!" - She was a girl behind the times because at 11 years old she was not interested in pop music, fashion or boys.

So she passed the scholarship and I obtained a bursary for her boarding and she went to the school. Unfortunately we lived too far away for her to come home each day. We lived in a council house at the time and I swapped to a place as near as I could. No-one wanted to move out of York so I moved to Wakefield,40 miles away. She still had to board but at least she could come home at weekends. I tell you I hated Sunday evenings when I had to take her back!

It didn't occur to me to educate her at home. I only home educated Claire because I wanted to help her 'catch up'.

Claire had just completed her First School and we moved the summer before she went to the Middle School.

Home educating Claire was not a success. This was before we had the internet, and the support it brings.

The person who we swapped with had been a chain smoker and the house was decorated with brown nicotine. So we camped in the least awful room and gradually expanded our living space as I decorated the rooms. So I was busy doing this and feeling guilty because I wasn't teaching Claire. But Claire did not want to be taught by her mum! We had a rocky time of it I can tell you. I had not heard then of autonomous learning.

I could not find anyone else who was homes educating in the area and Claire was lonely. She did not make friends easily and she became very unhappy. So things came to a head, especially when I realised that the money I had borrowed to pay for Helen's school uniform and to help with the move ran out and I had to pay that back plus £100 a week as my contribution to Helen' schooling. (You think I would have worked all this out but I've never been very good managing money.) So I had to do some supply teaching to earn some money.

Well that is tricky when you have a child who is being home educated (or not, as the case seemed to be then). So, much to Claire's relief and trepidation she went to the new school.

Well, that was the start of my interest in home education.

A few years later I got a proper job and a computer and learned more about the subject. And kept up my interest to this day. I now know where I went wrong although at the time I did the best I could with the knowledge and resources I had.

I have been one of those rare teachers who have encouraged people to educate their children at home. A lone voice in that environment.

Well my children are grown and I realise that autonomous learning is an excellent way for the nation's children to be educated. I am still teaching in schools, doing supply again because I resent using my personal time on doing all the paperwork - marking, planning, assessment etc.

However it pains me that I am still part of the system that tells children whether they can visit the loo, or talk to their friend, or get out of their seat. Now I say to the children, "I'm sorry you have a hurt finger. I can kiss it better for you if you want but there are 30 of you and I can do no more than that because we need to finish this." or "I know you are not interested in muscles, and that's OK, but the government says you need to learn this. If you were home educated you could learn whatever you liked when you liked, but your parents chose to send you to school so please be quite so we can get on with the lesson." I want the children to go home and ask why they are not being home educated. I may get into trouble one of these days!

The reason why I moved to this large house was so that I would have space to facilitate children's education here. I know the best teachers are the parents but the reality is, not all parents think they can, or want to facilitate their children's learning each day. Anyway it has not happened yet because I'm really not sure how to go about it. I do know that many children are being harmed by being in the school environment. I see them each time I go to work. They are classed as disruptive or naughty when really they just don't want to sit and listen to a teacher going on about something that does not interest them. And why should they?

An alternative would be to be a governess in someone's home but I have not seen any openings for that yet either.

So I had thought of opening my own school along the lines of The Little School

I am also thinking about fostering. I think this time next year, something will be happening but I'm not sure what at the moment.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

London Fireworks

I love a good firework display and I have just come across the BBC recording of the 2009 New Year's display in London. Thanks Mats.
It really is good and the London Eye lends itself so well to something like this. I also like the way the lights reflect off the Thames. If you haven't seen it yet I hope you enjoy the show.

Friday, 2 January 2009


Although I am very close with my daughters and am becoming closer with my son-in-law, my siblings have never been really close.

I remember I was close to my brother, when we were very small, and I loved my youngest sister, Caroline very much when she came along.

When I was a child I had jealousy problems with my other sister, Elizabeth, who was vivacious and pretty unlike my plain and sullen little self. During therapy as an adult, I found out that my whole childhood from age three had been one long sulk because she had been born when I was three years old and had 'put my nose out of joint'. I remember laughing when I was eleven and thinking 'So this is what laughing is!' My mother used to often tell me to stop sulking and I would always reply 'I'm not sulking. This is just the way my mouth goes.'

I left home when Caroline was eleven and at the time I did not like my parents and was very happy to leave. This did mean that I never really got to know Caroline as a teenager and young adult. This is a regret of mine.

As adults we have all gone our separate ways, even to different countries and we tended to hear about each other's doings via our mother. This year has been a change.

I just started to write about my younger sister Caroline and realise that I had already written a post about her so check it out if you missed it.

Well the update is she never did contact Mum even though I gave her all the information, even for Christmas. Of course I told Mum all about the conversation we had, thinking that Caroline would be contacting her soon. Mum is getting very forgetful these days and I often have the same conversation with her several times because she had forgotten about the other conversations on that subject. Well, we were talking about Caroline, and Mum said again that Caroline obviously gets her needs met by her mother-in-law and I said again that she does not contact her mother-in-law either, but feels content with her daughter and husband. In the past I have sent several long emails that have not even been acknowledged, and continued to send cards throughout the rift within the family but I must confess that I didn't send a Christmas card this year. It wasn't a conscious decision but I have got so used to not knowing where she was, that she is not on my list.

My other sister is in the USA and sent one of those printed book/photo albums to Mum and a Christmas present. Mum was very impressed. It was a lovely book. The story of the Axe family in pictures. I must say I was a little hurt by the fact that, although there are pictures of Mike's family, there was not a picture of my family in there even though we visited several times before they left for America. But I know that when they went they traveled light and only took a small selection of photos with them. Of course there is a possibility that they don't have the photos that I have of the two families.

Since she left in 1990 we have had two phone conversations, both of which have been very pleasant, long and chatty. So there is no animosity there, we just don't seem to feel the need to communicate with each other. When I lived in North Carolina I went to Seattle to a conference and suggested that as she was living in the same state, we get together for a chat. Unfortunately she had another commitment at the same time and so we could not meet.

My brother is the only sibling that lives in England and he has never lived abroad. In the past we have seen each other about every 2 or 3 years but this year we have seen each other a few times, emailed and phoned too. We have had some wonderful conversations and I have really appreciated getting closer to him. He has also been very generous, which has given me a lovely warm feeling.

The cousins have recently got in contact with each other via facebook. There is not much communication there, I think, but there is some connection.

The lack of communication between members of my family does not mean that I do not think of them. On the contrary, they are in my daily prayers.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

2008 A personal journey

So what happened in my life this last year?

I lived with my daughters - Claire all year, and Helen for part of it. Helen and Orion had many visa challenges so spent their first year of marriage mainly living in different countries. They are at present living together in Helena, Montana. We moved from a crowded furnished two bedroomed flat with a lovely view overlooking a green park to a large unfurnished 4 bedroomed house with a large garden and orchard. We picked lots of apples and sold them to the local organic co-op 'cos we don't eat apples. We did eat a few though, and they were delicious.

The garden has a lovely long washing line! I can get three washing machine loads on it. I furnished the house from furniture other people were throwing out, thus saving landfill space. I managed this courtesy of Freecycle. (Google it to see if you have one near you.) The furniture looks good and we even got some matching curtains to exactly fit two different sized windows in the lounge and they match the settees and large rug we got too. Actually the rug came for a yard sale. Most of our lamps came via the local car boot sale too.

I don't have a car at the moment so all the stuff was transported using a guy from the local LETS group. LETS is short for Local Trading Exchange Scheme. I pay him petrol money and give him 'readies' for his time. Readies is what the exchange currency is called in Reading where I live. This guy has also done several odd jobs around the house. I have done various things in order to earn 'readies' to pay him. These include several gardening jobs, helping someone move house, looking after a child, EFT with a person and a dog, and cutting someone's hair.

The rent is large, although much smaller that you would expect for the size of house, because the whole house needed decorating. I've done most of the rooms and we have tenants renting 2 of the bedrooms to help pay our rent. It took me a few months to come around to the idea of sharing my house with strangers but it has not been as bad as I had feared. Ideally I would not have tenants but it does help us live here. They are quiet and keep to their rooms mostly.

I changed jobs this year from a large school in a very deprived area with really difficult-to-teach children, to a school that has a private-school-feel to it. It is a small catholic school in a middle class area. The children are wonderful. There is only one difficult boy in the whole school and he is fine whenever i have him! They are mostly intelligent and keen to learn. I work 3 days a week there teaching all the classes whilst the teachers have planning time. There are 2 challenges to working at this school. It is too far away to cycle comfortably for me. Each journey is 50 minutes and there are several hills. The bus journey takes the same time but it is not quite as tiring. (I have to get two buses.) The other challenge is that I have to plan and do evaluations on all the lessons I take. Planning takes longer than teaching the lesson and I'm doing all the classes/age groups and don't know the children as well and the class teacher so I'm up 'til midnight 3 days a week. I don't get planning time either! The other 2 days I usually teach in a variety of schools and do not have to plan for those.

I really enjoyed volunteering at the conference in Montana this summer. I helped in the Conference Program Assistant office. I especially enjoyed finding a problem, working out a solution and following through to see it sorted. I also worked in the information booth where I did similar work. It was the 50th Anniversary so there was a celebration gala which was wonderful. The house I rented in Gardiner and subsequently rented bed space for nearly 30 European participants was mostly a success but I ended up out of pocket because a few people stayed an extra day due to a misunderstanding and as I was charged for that day.

At the moment I tutor children everyday after school either at their house or mine. I enjoy this. I have one 4 year old who is learning to speak English so we just play and sing songs twice a week. The other children have more sedate lessons and are more restful.

This year I have been doing quite a bit of EFT on myself and with others and even had some paying clients.

I am looking forward to see what 2009 has in store for me. I feel a change coming. I would certainly like to leave conventional school teaching and get involved in autonomous learning. I would love to home-school using this method. A big challenge, though, is that I don't have any children of my own do do it with. :-) So does anyone know of any children who would benefit from me facilitating their learning in the autonomous style?