Hello there!

Posted February 16, 2007 by gaatsz
Categories: Chase Lane, Personal

guitar.jpgAnd here I am again. A couple of things happened during te past 6 weeks. Ofsted came in (sort of school inspection) and I made a trip to Cornwall (pictures on my flickr site). First about Ofsted. I didn’t know that the English people could be SO stressed out about things. But they clearly have no trouble with it if they know Ofsted is coming. They even work during the weekends (9 to 5) to make sure everything is in tip top condition when the inspectors arrive. And they are only here for two days!!!!

But they way I saw collegues of mine completely lose it (growing more tired because they couldn’t sleep at night) over the prospect of an inspection really made me think. Should I be worried too? Should I feel more stress than I am actually feeling? But I didn’t feel that way. And even when the inspectors were in (three of them) I did what I always do. Teach, laugh, make music, joke, etc. That was apparently good enough for the Ofsted inspectors cause they gave the school an overall “good”. In Ofsted terms that is very good I was told and it means they leave you alone for three years. The next day, when the inspectors were gone we had champagne during lunch. Can you imagine? Alcohol while you are working? Of course the kids weren’t supposed to smell anything so after the champagne (I had two actually) the chewing gum was passed around.

And now I am just back from Cornwall. I went by car, it was a 400 mile drive (620 km), and it was beautiful. Just a very hard wind and loads of rain. But if you talk about the weather to the locals they say: Hey, it’s Cornwall. The legend of King Arthur also originated in Cornwall and you could visit his so-called castle called “Tintagel”. Next to that you can go to the most southern point of England called “Lands End” (I wonder how it got it’s name) and see the last (or the first) house of England. Although the weather wasn’t really sunny the wind made the sea rougher and that made the pictures so much more interesting. All in all it was a great holiday and I am well rested to get into another six weeks of teaching before we have another week of holiday.

So Aad and Inge, to answer your question, no I didn’t quit but I was trapped in a stressful environment that made blogging not my first priority. Sorry about that. I’ll try to keep it up now. Oh yeah by the way… I shaved my head!

Greetz,

G.

Advertisements

Happy New Year!!

Posted January 2, 2007 by gaatsz
Categories: Personal

guitar.jpgStill in The Netherlands I wish you all a very Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true. Tomorrow (oh no today) I will travel to the lovely town of Dovercourt again so if I didn’t see you while I was here… I’m sorry. Just too little time. I will see you all very soon and if not… Skype, MSN, E-mail will do the trick just fine (although there is nothing like talking to a person “in the flesh”).

Be safe everybody.

 G.

Hello again!

Posted December 11, 2006 by gaatsz
Categories: Chase Lane, England

guitar.jpgFinally a new post. So much has happened since I last wrote a blog entry so I will try to tell it chronologically (tough word that is :P). To accompany this story I posted some new pictures as well in Flickr to amuse you all ;-).
18th of November

I went to London on the 18th to see Take 6. They are a six man a capella group from the USA and they are the best in the business. Their arrangements, new takes on old songs and the songs they write themselves are second to none. Therefore it is no surprise that they have won 13 grammy awards already. They gave a concert at the Barbican Centre in London because of London Jazz Festival (I couldn’t let that slip now could I :P). They were fabulous as you would expect and they even gave two encores. I was impressed. Together with this visit to Take 6, which was on a Friday, we added the Saturday to look around London a bit more. I especially enjoyed the Tower of London which I hadn’t seen before (on the inside that is). In the Tower of London they keep the British Crown Jewels and I must say… they were beautiful. The biggest diamond in the world, the Koh-I-Noor (cut by a dutchman I must add), is the pride and joy of the Crown Jewels. But we also saw 2.2 million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pounds of diamonds. You can just hold them into your cupped hands with ease. Two point two million pounds. Only inches away. DAMN! So London was great as always.

1st of December

On the first of December we had a Christmas Fayre at school. I was asked to do the Willy Wonka Golden Ticket Tombola (try saying that five times in a row ;-)). People could pay fifty pence and for that money they could dive into a basket to pick out five tickets. If one of these tickets was gold they would win a big prize. There were lots of stalls and parents and children alike had a lot of fun. There also was a raffle but I didn’t win anything. DAMN! All in all a good way to integrate into the community and to get to know some parents.

6th of December

On this day I went to London with Year 6 to go to West End to see the Lion King. West End is THE musical scene of Europe as Broadway is the musical scene for the USA. You can’t believe how many musicals play there. Dirty Dancing just came out and I believe the Lion King is in it’s 7th or 8th consecutive year. So we went with all the kids from Year 6 on a bus to London. It was marvellous. The trip as well as the musical. I already saw it in The Netherlands but that was of course in a different language and it has been over two years. It’s amazing how much you can forget in that time. I was so exhausted after the trip (50 kids to look after, entertain, etc.) but also extremely satisfied that I saw my first musical at the West End. DAMN!

Those were the most interesting things that happened over the past three weeks but more interesting things still to come. If I am not able to put that all on my weblog I can probably tell it all to you in person because in about one-and-a-half weeks I am coming home. That’s right. On the 21st of December my boat leaves at about 10.00h and I arrive at Hoek van Holland at about 15.20h. I am looking forward seeing you all. If I don’t talk to you before then… see you after the 21st. Otherwise…

Laterz,

 G.

British Museum

Posted November 9, 2006 by gaatsz
Categories: Chase Lane, England

guitar.jpgToday the year fives went on a fieldtrip to the British Museum in London and I had been asked to go with them to guide a group through the building (because the museum is huge!). In fact, the museum is so huge, that one day is not long enough to see everything the museum has to offer. Fortunately we just went for the Egyptian artefacts because the year fives are doing a project on Egypt right now. Still, the amount of Egyptian artefacts in the British Museum is the largest in the world outside of Egypt so we still had a lot of viewing to do.

The programme was kind of a torture for me because I am not really a morning person as you all might know and I had to be at school at a quarter past seven!!!! The bus would leave at half past seven because we were expected in London at ten ‘o clock. This meant a two-and-a-half hour journey with 54 kids :D. Some of you would freak out… I enjoy it :P.
At the British Museum we first had to listen to a presentation of about an hour. It was about daily life in ancient Egypt. How the archeologists interpret the different wall-paintings and all that. This was quite interesting but after 45 minutes I wanted to see some stuff. But the kids were really nice to the genteman giving the presentation and they were quiet for the whole hour.
Afterwards we went into the museum and saw loads of artefacts. The kids were desperately looking for “Ginger”. A man who was found curled up in the desert and was naturally mummified. The founders of the man called him Ginger because there was still some hair left on his head and it was ginger coloured. After a long walk they finally found the man known as “Ginger”. Most kids got out there pads and started drawing him. Nice to see their enthousiasm for the ancient times.
At two ‘o clock we had to be in the coach to head home again. We arrived in Harwich at about half past four. Tired, but satisfied. Just another day in the life of a teacher 😉

Greetz,

G

P.S. I put up some photographs again, this time of course of the British Museum but also from our brand new “All Weather Pitch” so… feast your eyes on that (see the flickr site, right bottom corner).

Road Trip!

Posted November 1, 2006 by gaatsz
Categories: England, Personal

guitar.jpgYep. I’m back. Saw loads of things and met lots of people. Let’s go through it day by day so I don’t forget anything (well… I probably will but like this it will be less likely ;-)).

Day One (Saturday)

Day one led to Cambridge first. See the famous University and stroll around the place a bit. I also found out that you can study at Cambridge University as a foreign student without paying as much money as you normally would. So that might be something for the future :-D. The next goal was Stratford-upon-Avon. The birthplace of Shakespeare. I couldn’t let that pass now could I? Upon arriving in Stratford it was a little bit too late to see the place so a Bed and Breakfast (from now on referred to as B&B) was a better idea. It was a lovely B&B in the countryside and it felt really good to be travelling again.

Day Two (Sunday)

The next morning it was Stratford-upon-Avon very quickly and then on to Wales which was the original goal in the first place. Wales has a lovely national park called Snowdonia. It is part of six national parks scattered across the UK. Great sights, fantastic roads, what more could you ask for? Of course. A B&B on the Isle of Anglesy. It is an isle that is located in the north-east of Wales and I discovered that Vodafone has no coverage there. If I ever wished for something in my life it would have been the car not breaking down in that part of the country. MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!!!! The B&B was again very nice and the view was marvellous. Even had my own fridge at the B&B (not that I had anything to put in to it but hey…. it sounds nice :-P)

Day Three (Monday)

This day was Liverpool day. Town of music. The Beatles are of course the most famous group coming from there but also a very famous song “Ferry Cross the Mersey” (the Mersey being the river that runs through Liverpool) was written there. But before arriving in Liverpool I noticed that I was very near to the longest place name in the world. I knew it was in Wales but I just didn’t know where it was. Well…. now I know. It is located on the Isle of Anglesy. The town is called (brace yourselves) : Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. I was told to go to the trainstation because the whole name was on there. But you know what really struck me… It is a village!!! It is sooooo small. Why would you give such a small town such a big name? Those Welsh people 😛
In Liverpool it was just a stroll but not before passing The Beatles museum. You could see guitars that were once played by John Lennon or Paul McCartney. Really nice (little bit overpriced but hey…. it’s The Beatles ;-)). In looking for a B&B luck struck out. Nowhere to be found. It was terrible so I decided to drive up the westcoast a bit to seek a smaller town that was probably not that crowded as Liverpool. I found one but they were so small that they never heard of a B&B. I was this close to getting a hotel for one night but I got myself together and drove to Blackpool. I was in Blackpool once before two years ago and I distinguishly remember that it was a tourist town (they have one of the highest rollercoasters in Europe there). So Blackpool was my last resort. And thank the lord!!!! (if he exists) there was a whole street full of them. Saved at last. So a good night sleep before going to the Lake District. At last…….

Day Four (Tuesday)

Lake District. Loads of famous writers come from the Lakes I was told. And when I got there I could imagine why. It is beautiful up there. Lake District is also part of the national parks like Snowdonia in Wales so mountains again. Because of it’s lovely surroundings and views Lake District is also very crowded. William Wordsworth (a famous poet I was told) was born in the Lakes and was buried in a little town called Grasmere. So visiting this town and his grave at the local church shouldn’t be a problem now should it. Well…. it was a problem. It was so crowded that I couldn’t find parking spot. Instead of visiting Grasmere I had to stick to the Lake District Visitor Centre. This was very nice by the way and I could understand why people like to come here.
After the Lakes I went to Hadrian’s Wall. Hadrian’s Wall is the old England – Scotland border. Hadrian, a Roman Emperor, built this wall to protect the Roman Empire from the Scots (Picts then). Hadrian’s Wall is a smaller version of The Great Wall of China. It runs all the way from Carlisle to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Over the years farmers have takes stones from the wall to build there houses so the wall isn’t as high and large as it used to be. Still I was impressed by the wall and what the Romans tried to achieve with it. Every mile or so there was a fort build on the wall so the wall looked even more impressive to the Picts. Although the wall is only two meter high now, when Hadrian walked it the wall would have been a good six meters high. Imagine this wall running all the way from one end of the country to the other end. After Hadrian’s Wall I decided to go to Edinburgh straight away. I could have sought out a B&B but being only 50 miles from the final destination I thought it would be nice to seek a B&B there. And what a good choice it was ending up in a B&B that was run by the nicest couple I ever met. They even phoned a restaurant for me to see if there was a free spot that night. My first three course meal since a long time. Great! 😀

Day Five (Wednesday)

Arriving in Edinburgh a day too early gave me the opportunity to visit Loch Ness once more and visiting Urquhart castle too. I really enjoyed the highlands when I was in Scotland last year and it was a treat to drive through them again. I didn’t know if it was possible to come back to Edinburgh that same day so with pain in my heart I checked out of the B&B. After a good long drive and an even more beautiful day at Loch Ness and Urquhart castle I arrived again in Edinburgh. Pity to see that the B&B I stayed in last night was already full. So after visiting a couple of B&B’s I found an hotel that charged the same as a B&B and had an on-suite bathroom plus DVD player!!!!!! After a long day of driving I was very pleased. Rephrase… I was in heaven.

Day Six (Thursday)

Today was the first day of my meeting with the British Council. It was fun! The information was quite good (not all of it was useful but most of it was) and I met loads of people from loads of different countries who are all located in the UK. So next holiday… visiting time!! 😉 There were no Dutch people present at the meeting but there was a bloke from Belgium. The funny thing is… we both spoke Dutch but we had a hard time speaking it. We threw in so many English words that after a while we said to eachother “Drop the Dutch. Speak English”. That night we all went out for a dinner and a pub /club night. That was really fun. But because of the early start on Friday we decided to go to bed early. So I was in my bed at around midnight. Same hotel, same on-suite, same DVD player 😀

Day Seven (Friday)

Again a full programme with the British Council. Meeting people I didn’t meet before, talking to people I didn’t talk to before and of course talking to people I did talk to before and wanted to know better. The BC gave us a great lunch and because there was time left we went to a pub down the street. Shouldn’t have drunk that pint of Stella together with Jose (Spanish bloke) though. I can tell you.. it was a fun afternoon 😛 That night we again went for a meal together and for a pubbing / clubbing night. We found this pub where they played live music which was great. Our group occupied at least half the pub and we stayed there until they closed at one. That was a bummer of course. But……… this is Edinburgh. Where you can find clubs that open ’till five in the morning. And we went to another place where they played live music. Stayed there until three and then I went back to the hotel room. I was glad by the way that I found myself a hotel room. Some people stayed in a hostel for 8 pounds a night. They had to sleep in bunk beds though Full Metal Jacket style……… brrrrrrr. Not for me. Long live the on-suite 😀

Day Eight (Saturday)

This morning after only four hours of sleep we had breakfast together at Starbucks. Ok.. they had breakfast I had nothing. Then we went up to Edinburgh Castle which was a treat. It was so big and had so much history that I didn’t have time to see all of it. I paid my parking meter until twelve (which I thought would be sufficient, two hours to see the castle) but I had to leave the castle without having seen one room. That’s not too bad but still. I missed the room 😉 Before leaving Edinburgh I went to the Subway to get me a Foot long Veggie Delight. Great stuff. I want a Subway at home. From Edinburgh I drove all the way home in one go. It is only an eight hour drive so no problem there. My original plan was to stop in Hull to have a look at The Deep which is a big tank of water with very big sharks in them but I was too tired and I wanted to sleep in my “own” bed that night. So that’s what I did. Home at nine at night.

That was my week. It was a great week and I had loads of fun. To everyone I met.. nice meeting you and I will see you soon. To everyone I didn’t meet… sorry. There wasn’t enough time to talk to all of you.

Greetz,

 G

Edinburgh

Posted October 21, 2006 by gaatsz
Categories: England, Personal

guitar.jpgToday I am leaving for Edinburgh. Not straight away but with a slight detour. Not because I have to… but because I want to. Next to my goal of teaching and living in England it is also my goal to see some of the sights. Therefore I thought… lets be smart (me being smart.. yeah right :P) and connect the useful with the fun part. Thursday I have to be in Edinburgh for a British Council meeting and I have plenty of time to drive around England for the time being. I am planning to see Wales today and tomorrow and in the next few days I plan on driving up the westcoast of England. So it is G signing out for ten days or so….. I’ll tell you all about it when I come back.

Greetz,

G

P.S. We won our poolmatch Wednesday with 9-1 (YEAH!!!!! :D)

Half term

Posted October 18, 2006 by gaatsz
Categories: England, Personal

guitar.jpgBefore I tell you about half term I would like to thank Aad en Inge for their survival packet. Damn! That is some good stuff. I just got it today but I am already attacking the liquorice like a mad man 😛 Thanks again. You’re lifesavers. I would also like to thank Remko en Lucinda for their card from Greece. I read you are having a great time. Same here!

Next week is half term. “Herfstvakantie” as we would call it. I’ve hired a car and I am going to drive up to Edinburgh. I’ll probably leave on Saturday and I expect to arrive in Edinburgh on Thursday morning. I am taking my time to get up there to see as much from the country as possible. I am going up along the westcoast and I plan on going back along the eastcoast. Thursday and Friday I have to be in Edinburgh anyway because I have a meeting there with some people of the British Council. All Language Assistants (like myself) who are located in Great-Britain will be there and we’re having a two day meeting there. It will probably be load of fun to meet new people so I am looking forward to it.

Hope to have updated you again so far. I will tell you all about Edinburgh next week and I might tell you (if I played well) how my pool match went tonight.

 See ya,

 G