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Sunday May 30th, 2020

Up reasonably early again today, so we could take the dog out before the riverside got too hot and too busy. Made a BBC recipe for breakfast – Sweetcorn cakes with poached eggs.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/sweetcorn-cakes-poached-eggs-salsa?utm_source=app

Out with the dog pretty much straight after breakfast and went over to the rocks where we spent time yesterday. There were other people there today and “C” was really well behaved until another dog arrived nearby then she started to get unhappy so we headed back. Still a nice hour or so out.

Didn’t do very much at all this afternoon – sat in the garden, drank Earl Grey tea and finally spent a signifcant amount of time reading my book (I’m still on with Catch-22). Did some garden upcycling with “E”, using some old ice cream tubs and cut-down plastic bottles as planters for marigolds and Nigella. We’ll see if they grow. No reason why not, just a little late to be going in.

Played Jumanji for Game Time while we also made the most of some of the delicious scones “S” made this afternoon. We’re firmly on the Cornwall side fo the argument – butter, then raspberry jam, then cream.

The chicken is in the oven for today’s roast and all is prepared. Need to get on with the roast potatoes in about half an hour then the veg.

We chose the films for this week’s Film Club events – we’re watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople this evening. It’s on Amazon Prime at the moment so we want to make the most of it. Quite an unusual mix of films for this week.

Thoroughly enjoyed the weather this weekend (well, since the middle of last week really). I love the sun and have made the most of being able to be outside all day for the past 2 days. I’m starting to get back to my more natural colouring anmmd away from the pasty white of a Scottish winter. Even managed to be in shorts all weekend. This is the latest I’ve been able to break the shorts out for many years. We’ve either been in the tropics (shorts all year round) or we’ve been in places where the winter ends totally by the end of March and the temperature rises quickly from then. I’me sure I can feel the vitamin D building up in me already!

Looking like it’s due to change this week though.

Absolutely loved the film, it was outstanding. It’s on Prime until Tuesday and if you’ve not seen it i highly recommend it.

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Saturday May 30th, 2020

Up quite early for a Saturday, the dog clrearly wasn’t feeling well and was desperate to go outside. Hung the washing out that we’d left on a timed wash then decided we’d have a earlier breakfast then take the dog for a longer walk before it go hot and busy around the river. It was lovely. We went round the usual loop then crossed the river and spent nearly an hour by the wate

Cut the grass when we got home and then spent most of the afternoon in the garden.Did some puzzles and read a bit then it was time for Games. A few hands of Exploding Kittens today has brought us right up to making dinner time. It’s Saturday Soup today and we’re having sweet potato and red lentil daal soup for dinner (and I’ve just burnt the lentils because I wasn’t paying attention to them properly as I was typing this).

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/recipes/sweet-potato-coconut-tomato-dahl-farmdrop-cooking-instructions-a8541091.html

We had this with garlic naan bread – it was delicious. I really like the Independent recipes, they’re always a bit different but also always really easy to follow. It’s even better now we’rte back in the UK as it is easier to get the slightly less usual ingredients. Nothing surprising in this recipe though and there’s enough left over for a lunch later in the week.

We watched Band of Brothers this evening- Saturday is Binge Day. We interrupted about 8.15 to walk round to the river to see if we could see the SpaceX launch. No luck. We went out again at 10.15. Still no success. Watched episodes 5, 6 and 7.

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Friday May 29th, 2020

Reading up on the next attempted SpaceX launch tomorrow. If the weather is good we’ll walk along the river where it’s a clear skyline and see if we can see it. Hopefully it’ll go ahead – 8.22pm Saturday evening and we need to look to the South West.

Off to do the shopping in a short while, in the car this week. Might spend the afternoon in the garden upcycling some more things to make planters. Might also do the next round of thickening seeding. The grass is looking not too bad now but the ground is so uneven.

Shopping straight after breakfast – absolutely huge queue to get into Tesco. It’s the first time we’ve been shopping on a Friday for weeks so this might be normal. Anyway, just over 2 hours total door to door and we’re all set for the week.

After lunch we went for a walk with the dog, still lovely weather, she managed to get into the river quite a lot but was on the lead quite a bit too. It’s clear people are starting to make the most of the new rules to get out of the house more. It’s good to see everyone sticking to the distancing rules though.

When we got back I helped “E” with some Science work she had to do then it was game time. We played Skip-Bo out in the garden.

I’m now making dinner, Friday is Pieday and today we’re having Samosa Pie.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/samosa-pie?utm_source=app

This evening’s Musical is Hairspray, supposed to be entertaining.

It was entertaining. Lacking any substance and it was easy to become disengaged and Facebook focused while it was on. Also, to be honest, not a memorable song in it. To be fair, though, the live experience would probably be more engaging. Not a show that has enough about it to transfer to the small screen where there are other distractions.

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Thursday May 28th, 2020

A busy day today even though my first interview has been postponed due to the current situation. I had to prepare a presentation for my interview this afternoon. All good. The interview was via Teams and this was the problem. Neither my tablet nor phone would support sharing a presentation in Teams, the 2 desktop computers don’t have webcams or microphones (I use my tablet with Google Meets, Zoom and Skype) and the camera on my laptop decided it wasn’t going to work. After 3 hours of stressing I gave up and then tried using “E”s Chromebook. Thankfully it worked. Didn’t enjoy the interview. It sounds strange to talk about enjoyoing interviews but I do anjoy the chance to talk to fellow school leaders and discuss educational issues and school leadership. Today’s was a bit menu driven. They obviously had a set of questions they were asking each candidate which meant there was no natural conversation and i ended up repeating myself as my answers for one question rain into later questions and they didn’t adapt. I don’t think I’ll be successul here!

Once all of that was over I walked to get the car back while everyone else took the dog for her walk. The weather is gorgeous here today. “E” also had some work to do for PE (various athletics type challenges which she managed to do in the garden, on the walk and in the streets outside the house). It’s now 4:30 and we’ve pretty much just finished.

We played Sequence this afternoon. Me and “E” were a team and we missed out by 1 game over the 4 rounds – most disappointing.

We’re having BBC recipe today – Chicken with Mushrooms.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/chicken-mushrooms?utm_source=app

It’s National Theatre night tonight and I’m looking forward to this week’s play. This House, set in the days of the hung parliament through the 70s. Supposed to be very good.

Our new lockdown arrangements were announced today. Baby steps in Scotland. Households (up to 8) can meet outdoors and in gardens. This should be limited to 1 other household at a time or per day. Physical distancing (2m) should be maintained. We’re still not allowed to travel yet so no chance to get down south to visit family for the foreseeable future. Still, this is a result of the falling infection rate and the sensible approach Scots have taken to the lockdown. Scotland reached the peak later than England and I think the slower easing of the rules will make it less likely we’ll suffer a major spike.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-52819189

I see from the news that Dominic Cummings possibly did break the rules but that the police will take no retrospective action – that’s because the wording of the legislation. It clearly stated that fixed penalty notices were issued for people caught breaking the lockdown if and after they refuse to comply when instructed. There’s no provision for investigation after the fact. However, it will keep the story rumbling on which is what is needed if Boris is to be pressured into getting rid of this odiously entitled little man. I hope the number of senior Tories who are calling for his sacking grows and I also hope to see some of the new batch of Tory MPs, who maybe in awe of Boris and his gang, being brave enough to stand up for what’s right.

And then Boris doesn’t let the scientists express an opinion about Cummings. It’s not a political question, it’s not about political point scoring. It’s about him having broken at least the spirit and intent of the law if not the letter. He’s wrong. I don’t like him, never have, never will. He’s misogynistic, racist and entitled. He represents everything that makes it difficult for ordinary people to achieve their potential. He is the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with the world and why i want it to be better for my girls. Right now, finally, lots of people who should have known better are seeing it too. Cummings has to go followed quickly by Johnson.

The play was really good. Telling a story of a time before Thatcher and her selfish individuality destroyed everything that made Britain special – Society, community, support and friendliness. Replacing it with greed, intolerance, selfishness and isolation. Paving the way for the damaging privatisation of everything, the banking crash of 2007, the rise of the billionaire oligarch tax avoider and 10 years of avoidable austerity causing the absolute devastation of public services.

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Wednesday May 27th, 2020

Up early again to get ready for interviews. I was working on the presentation for tomorrows interview until today’s started at 11. Had a really good conversation and this one looks very positive. It’s a step down but the salary is good and it’s with a group so there may well be the chance to move back to a full heradship in a year or two. Found out, though, that my first interview tomorrow has been postponed as they are putting recruitment on hold again until things become clearer still. There’s a chance they may go ahead with the position I’m interviewing for as it’s a headship, it depends whether the group see it as an essential approintment under the current circumstances.

After lunch we took the dog for a walk – lovely weather once again. She went paddling aloong the river. Further upstream there’s a fishing platform and down the side of it is a little cutting where she has been going bavk in the water for a final “dip” before we head home. The river is very full at the moment so it’s much deeper than it has been. She slipped on the side and went head first into the river and fully underwater. I had to pull her out by her harness – she looked quite scared when she surfaced and them most infignant when we hauled her out! Perhaps she won’t want to go in there again for a while.

The garage phoned when we got back, the car will finally be ready to collect tomorrow. Only cost a grand! Not really money we can spend just now but it needs to be done. Ho hum. I’ll go and collect it tomorrow.

We played Eye Know this afternoon. We were going to play outside again but there was a breeze when we started which would have blown the cards off the table so we stayed in – by the time we finished playing it was gorgeous out there again.

Dinner is Canneloni. The pork mince bolognaise sauce has been on all afternoon and we make the canelloni by rolling fresh lasagne sheets around the sauce then covering it with a cheese sauce. Delicious.

We’ve started watching Band of Brothers with the girls which is going to be this evening’s watch and we’ll draw new films for the film club at the weekend.

We’re expecting lockdown to start to ease for us tomorrow. Not too much and still not quite as relaxed as in England. Schools won’t be going back until August 11th. We are allowed outside more, we can stop and enjoy the time outside (including picnics if social distancing is maintained). Recycling centres and garden centres will be reopening. We are allowed to travel short distances for exercise but should still stay in our wider local area (no long road trips to beauty spots).

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-52819189

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Tuesday May 26th, 2020

What a busy day! Up at 7 to prep for an interview at 8:30. It very quickly became apparent that the school wasn’t for me. It was part of a group that has international schools and local curriculum schools and this was for the latter. Had a good chat with the academic director of the group and the regional director but decided it wasn’t right for us so withdrew.

Had breakfast with everyone after the interview was finished then completed a couple of local applications which took me until 1:30. After lunch we took the dog for a walk – it’s a beautiful day today.

It was such a nice day we were able to play today’s Board Game in the garden – first time we’ve been able to do that and it was lovely. Hopefully the first time of many. We played Chameleon again (but I forgot to take a photograph).

Also had a phone call from the garage, hopefully I’ll be able to collect the car tomorrow (although it’ll need to go back in for the dashboard switch). It’ll be good to get it back but the week has just got very full. I now have 1 interview tomorrow early afternoon and 2 on Thursday – one of which I need to prepare a presentation for. I’ll be getting up early again tomorrow to put some time into the presentation as I’ll need to use the laptop which is a bit “tired” so sometimes needs a bit of patience. Hopefully I’ll get it working. I can prepare the presentation on the big computer, no problem, but I am being interviewed using Teams and I’m not sure my tablet will cope with it. That’s tomorrow morning’s job then I can go and collect the car once the interview is finished. I also have another local interview next Tuesday. You never know, I might have some big decisions to take in a few days.

We’re having a recipe from the Independent today, it’s one I’ve made before but they have given it a really dodgy name – Spot the Sausage!

https://edition.independent.co.uk/editions/uk.co.independent.issue.090118/data/8148126/index.html

Film club again tonight and we’re watching another classic – this time from the 90s. The Full Monty.

It doesn’t look like the Dominic Cummings story is going anywhere soon. I have some respect now for Douglas Ross, he’s staying on as MP for Moray (he has to, if he resigns his seat there’s no way at the moment the Tories would get it. It’d most likely go SNP). At least he’s shown some backbone and integrity. Will anyone else? Have members of the Party been contacting their MPs to complain? I hope so. He cannot get away with behaving like he is above the rules that the rest of us have worked so hard to follow (and are continuing to do so).

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Monday May 25th, 2020 (May Bank Holiday)

Woke up to a lovely morning today. We’ve got quite a busy day ahead making the most of the good weather. Pretty much straight after breakfast, “S” and I took a walk down to Tesco for a top up shop. No sign of getting the car back yet so walking’s the only way. Bought a good few top up things, less than we had to carry last Thursday but still heavy enough bags. The river looked beautiful and it was a really pleasant walk.

After we got back it was lunchtime then “I” and I took the dog fro a walk while “S” and “E” cut the grass in the back garden and at the front of the house and pulled the weeks up from the stoned area. Looking much better now. We had a great walk, saw lots of swans on the river and they had the joy of watching 3 Roe deer on one of the islets. They are gorgeous.

Shaved and showered when we got back as I have the first of three interviews this week at 8 in the morning and I don’t want to have to shower before then. “E” is making Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake.

While the cake and filling were cooling, we played a long game of Brit Quiz.

She’s now finishing off the cake then I’ll get on with today’s dinner. An Independent recipe for Meat Free Monday. Aubergine and Potato Gratin.

https://edition.independent.co.uk/editions/uk.co.independent.issue.180119/data/8730546/index.html

Film Club tonight and yet again Monday’s film was drawn to be an X-Man film. This time the original from 2000.

Very entertaining film and finished just before 9.30 so I’ve managed to get an early night ready for the first of 3 interviews this week and probably the second most important one.

I’ve now seen Dominic Cummings “explanation” and think his sense of entitlement shone through. What sort of idiot takes a 30 mile drive to test their eyesight? What if it wasn’t good enough. What if he’d had an accident? Even if he hadn’t hurt anyone in an accident he would be putting recovery people at risk as he coukd still be infectious. Above all else, the PM set a clear and unequivocal message – stay at home. Cummings didn’t do this so like those others in authority who broke the rules the honourable thing would be to resign. He isn’t honourable so he won’t. Boris is too indebted to him so he won’t sack him unless he has to. It’s up to members of the Tory party, and constituents of Tory MPs to make enough noise to give MPs the strength of character to force the government to act. Surely no one thinks his actions were acceptable. It’s really down to the Tory party to fix this before it damages them beyond redemption.

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Sunday May 24th, 2020

Less than a week until we’re in June, I can’t believe it. The weather is certainly better today than the last couple of days but still very windy and threatening rain. Slept through until 7:30 this morning (although the dog had “S” up at 4:30 wanting to go in the garden – I slept through! Listening through the BBC drama Home Front while we had tea. We’re up to June 1917 now.

Breakfast was simple but tasty.

I took the dog on my own again today while the living room was cleaned, the cats litter emptied and cleaned and various missing bits of school work completed. The rain stayed off while I was out but it was very windy all the way round.

The clouds were ominous looking and left the hills looking really foreboding. The river is really high too.

Had a cup of tea and watched an episode of Peter Kaye’s Car Share when I got in and made some biscuits this afternoon using a BBC recipe.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/spiced-lemon-ginger-biscuits?utm_source=app

So, the papers this morning are full of Dominic Cummings and his trip(s) to Durham while he and his wife had the virus. Surely he has to go. Whether or not his trip was within the law or not is really irrelevant to the appearance of him flouting the rules. All of these families who have gone through really difficult times and have followed the lockdown rules properly despite family emergencies have a right to be furious. The Scottish CMO and Niel Ferguson both realised they had to resign for the good of the message and to support the government. Not Mr Cummings. Of course, the rules don’t really apply to him. It was interesting to see the open criticism or very mute support from the Tory supporting papers this morning and also to read that senior backbench tories from the ERG are calling for his resignation. I hope MPs mailboxes are full of complaints from their constituents and that the party has enough backbone and sense of honour to force Boris to get rid of him. Boris is too surrounded by incompetents and sycophants to take the decision himself, he’ll need to be pushed into it by his party. Unfortunately, our archaic first past the post electoral system has given him an unassailable majority and many of his new MPs will not have the courage to p[tress the leadership. There needs to be a clear groundswell of criticism from within the tory party supporters to get him out. Let’s hope. He’s a despicable little man who needs to take a very large share of responsibility for the utterly broken and divided society we have become since 2016. He, and his cronies, who are totally unwilling to compromise and find a middle ground; who dismiss those who disagree; who use illegal, or at least immoral, data processes to push fake news and exagerations have driven a wedge through a country who had a reputation for pragmatism and compromise is now irrepairably broken and divided. The election result giving such a majority on barely 43% of the vote has just added to peoples unhappiness and distruct in the government as there are no signs that they are trying to allow for the hopes, wishes or interests of significantly more than 50% of the population who want a more open, more socially caring, less aggressivly capitalistic, more internationally collaborative country. Dominic Cummings, and his American tea party mentors are responsible for the state we are in today and the sooner he is off the scene the better.

This afternoon we played Logo then we had a couple of games of cards. We played Cabo, Chase the Ace and the Pig.

Sunday roast today is a lovely piece of pork from Tesco.

Film Club this evening is a new one for all of us Hacksaw Ridge.

Unfortunately, it’s no longer available on Amazon Prime so we’ve switched it for another choice of mine The Cruel Sea. One of my all time favourite films. I’ve seen the film and read the book countless times. I don’t think there’s a better exploration of humanity under pressure!

Had a proper Black & White fest. Our DVD of the Cruel Sea is a double disk with The First of the Few. Fabulous. David Niven at his entitled stiff upper lipped best.

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Saturday May 23rd, 2020

Blew an absolute hoolie all night and is just miserable this morning with no improvement in sight for the rest of the day (or weekend?)

So, Independent puzzles over a cup of tea in bed (here they are if you want to try them).

https://edition.independent.co.uk/editions/uk.co.independent.issue.230520/data/9499546/index.html

https://edition.independent.co.uk/editions/uk.co.independent.issue.230520/data/9525856/index.html

https://edition.independent.co.uk/editions/uk.co.independent.issue.230520/data/9518716/styles/ad_package/quiz_20200523.html

Weekend breakfast of Highland Eggs (Potato Scones, Spinach, Haggis/Black Pudding, Hollandaise sauce and poached eggs). Unfortunately, not as photogenic as sometimes but tasty.

Out with the dog after breakfast (well, after a couple of crosswords). The weather is still vile, instead of the usual pictures I’ve taken a couple of videos to give a better idea of the wind and rain. So much for Bank Holiday sun!

Soaking wet through and cold by the time I got back so had a shower then a cup of tea while we watched yesterday’s Kermode and Mayo’s Home Entertainment Service and caught up on the last 2 weeks of Have I got News For You. This week’s (hosted by Charlie Brooker) was excellent. I took the dog out on my own while “S” cleaned the kitchen and the girls cleaned the bathrooms. Seemed a good deal to me!

We drew the next 4 films for Film Club this morning:

We’re watching Current War tonight.

“E” and I spent the afternoon cooking, we made a coule of recipies fom her Chidren’s Cook Book. We made some Rice Balls (to have with dinner but also to have as lunchtime snacks later in the week and we’re sticking with Saturday Soup and having her Roasted Butternut Squash soup for dinner.

For Game Time we played Star Wars Monopoly, “S” and I played the Light Side while the girls played the dark Side (of course) and, of course, the Light Side won.

The film was really good, well worth a watch while it’s available on Amazon Prime after which we binge watched the last 4 episodes of Broadchurch Series 3 – excellent series. This took us to midnight so it was definitely bedtime for all of us.

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Friday May 22nd, 2020

Very windy during the night and grey and overcast when we got up. We’re trying to move the dog’s walk expectation to later in the day so it’s not such a major switch when things eventually get back to normal. It means we can get on with whatever work we need to do straight after breakfaast and we’re taking her out just after lunch. Looks like it’ll be a wet, miserable walk today!

We did this week’s Richard Osman’s weekly quiz. This week is the letter H and we got the worst score so far.

I have an interview at 12 and I had an e-mail inviting me to interview for another school today too so things are starting to move again. The difficulty will be, assuming I get offered jobs, what do I take? Jumping at the first offer is always tempting as it puts the stress behind you but leaves the risk of the better position coming up later. This is my issue just now, I have current interviews for deputy positions and strong potential future interviews for headships. I’m going through the interviews, of course, as it is good practice but there’ll be a difficult decision if I get offered something while I have other, more appealing, jobs in the pipeline but with no guarantee. Anyway, 10 minutes until my interview so should stop this and get my tablet ready.

Excellent interview, very happy with how it went, the school looks and sounds lovely BUT . . . it’s only a deputy post and the salary is good locally but is subject to exchange rate fluctuations so, although I’ll not withdraw, I doubt if I eventually get offered that I’ll take the role. Shame, but not right just now. Really hoping one of the UK applications comes through.

The interview took us up to luinchtime after which we took the dog for a very wet and windy walk along the river. hardly anyone esle out (no surprise) so she was off her lead for most of the time.

We were all absolutely soaked byu the time we got back so had to get changed before we played games. Thought we’d play cards this afternoon and had been reading about some different games in The Week. We tried playing Cabo (you can find the instructions here ). It was good, we played a full 4 rounds then we went to familiarity and played 4 rounds of PIG. Time to prepare dinner now, Friday is Pieday of course, and today we’re having individual Chicken Wellington’s (with chips and vegetables to keep the pub grub feel to the meal).

The car won’t be ready this weekend (good job we don’t have plans!). The headlamps are now switched over as is the rear fog lamp. They need to check a warning light for the airbags and change the dashboard overlay then we’re all good to go to the next stage of regsitering it here. Hopefully get it back on Tuesday.

Tonight’s Musical broadcast is The Sound of Music (or Lady with guitar as it’s been known in our house since “I” was little.

That was an interesting production. It’s a “live” version that was recorded gor NBC a few years ago. It was ok but the lead was no Julie Andrews!