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It's Christmas morning here - and I'm still the only one up (far better with  dozy teenager than an over-excited small child!). It's quite cool and a little damp - which is a relief after the draining heat of the weekend. I hope you all have a splendid day.

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The problem with this meme is that there are both too few books to list and too many. I can’t think of 15 books that will stay with me forever – I’ve read and remembered far too many but not so many have really stayed with me to that extent (unless I list series which would take me way over the limit).

Obviously, the books that influenced me as a child are the ones I will remember the longest. Once I would have said until I’m old and grey but I already am! So I shall start with them.

The Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome: I loved these books so much. I wanted to sail boats. I wanted to camp on islands. I wanted to be Titty! I was four when my father started reading them to me (oddly he started with the fourth book Winter Holiday). I can remember how dark it was so I think he must have started reading them in October. He read all 12 to us and, when he wouldn’t read them again, I read them myself – again and again.

The Narnia books by C. S. Lewis: I enjoyed these too but I didn’t ‘live’ them the way I lived Swallows and Amazons.

I think this book was one of those little Ladybird books (large, friendly writing on the left page and a picture on the right). I can’t remember the title but this one line stays with me (it was much quoted by my family) – “Sitting on a silken cushion, like a little dog of wood.” I can see the picture that went with that line. I wish I could remember the name of the book.

Ivanhoe by Walter Scot: it still sends shivers down my spine.

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy: explains exactly why I could never get married.

The Harry Potter books: because without them I would never have met all of you and I wouldn’t have discovered the virtual world of fandoms and fanfiction and blogs and so on not to mention Live Journl.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: Unput-downable. I read it over one very wet long weekend whist Dave was on a council-funded CND march in Dortmund. I just got up to eat and make tea. Leaves all musicals and films for dead. I’m glad I got to read it before seeing any other versions.

Pride and Prejudice – enough said!

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I think of you a lot at the moment as there are quite a few cars around with CHK number plates! Have a great day.
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Best wishes for a lovely day. It hasn't been the easiest of years, healthwise, but you still remain an inspiration to us all.
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I hope you have a beautiful day. (And thanks to CHK for posting because I had forgotten, of course.)
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<lj-cut text="What's been going on"/>

I did post to say that Sarah had got her first choice in degree course and university. She has now got just a few weeks before she finishes her first year. She seems to be enjoying it and her mid-year marks were good so I suppose things are going well - if they're not she's not telling me about it. OK, that would be normal teenage behaviour but Sarah seems to be firmly of the opinion that I want to know absolutely everything that she is doing so I'm fairly sure that she would tell me if she had a problem. I am so glad she went away to university (the norm here is to stay at home and go to a local university) as it's done her a lot of good to manage on her own. It is a vast improvement on school for all concerned. I don't know about Sarah, but I was totally fed up of school by the end of last year!

I am still tutoring school children. Originally, I was just teaching primary school children (up to 12 years old) but I have 4 high school students now - they all started with me whilst at primary school and are still coming. The difference is that now I m teaching them at my own home (so I get all the money) rather than through a coaching college (albeit a small one). Unfortunately, my boss died last year (almost to the day). The last few months were a bit difficult for all concerned. He had discovered that his cancer had returned in March and was very obviously deteriorating but he still insisted that his younger daughter (late 20s and living with him) went on her extended working holiday to Thailand. One day in August, I got a phone call from him saying that he had gone into hospital for tests and that they were keeping him in. When I went round for my lessons that afternoon, I found that the place was even grubbier and messier than usual (with his daughter away things had rather gone to pot) and that the dog had had the run of the house and had had diarrhoea in the classroom! I couldn't find any rubber gloves and didn't have time to go home for some, so shut the room up and the dog out and taught in another room. After I had finished teaching, I went home and got cleaning materials and Sarah, so that she could take the dog for a walk and feed him whilst I cleaned. I continued to look after the pets and washed his bed clothes (which I don't think had been washed since his daughter had left) and chucked out mouldy food. I didn't want to interfere and do too much but I didn't want him to come home to the place in quite the squalid shape he had left it! Roy did come home after a few days but he was back in hospital the following month. Unfortunately, this was September and the HSC was starting in October. All his final year students (he tutored English) were now without a tutor for the last few weeks before their English HSC exams (including Sarah!). One of the other tutors (a 4th year law student) was wonderful and took on the lot in addition to his own. He was very stressed during those last few weeks but fortunately he knew his stuff and was a natural teacher. I hope Roy's daughters appreciated how much he did to keep the business going. Rachel came home from Thailand just in time to see her father before he died and she and her sister attempted to keep the coaching college going. Unfortunately, they had to sell the house to pay for their father's medical bills, so they wrapped up the coaching college at Easter. So now I am teaching from my own home. It was a difficult couple of months for us all and I've been thinking about the two girls with it being the anniversary of his death this weekend. We haven't kept in touch now the house has been sold.

In other news, I am still teaching pattern-drafting, now doing it on Fridays in a community hall close to where I live, as well as on Saturdays. I teach some sewing as well.

So what is everyone else up to?

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. . . but are old enough to remember th 70s.

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. . . but no bushfires anywhere near us. So those of you who may have been alarmed by CHK's post may rest assured that we are not under threat at the moment. (Alkari will be safe too.)
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I hope you had a lovely time for both your birthday and Thanksgiving.
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I'm so late it isn't funny. I'm so sorry for forgetting, especially after I had made a note to myself about it and I saw what was, I now realise, your birthday post - doh! I shall, however, blame you entirely. If you will go and have a birthday in the middle of the school holidays, what do you expect? I gather you are back at the Old Shed, which is obviously the best place to be. I hope you had a lovely birthday and will have a lovely Easter.
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