I don’t write much about my work activities but today was such fun that I wanted to share it. I teach Information Technology (otherwise known as Computers) to small children aged from 4-11. I try to make it exciting and sometimes we go off at a tangent if something catches the imagination. Today was a good example of just that. With the smallest children – aged four, five and almost six – we have been using computers to create patterns and had touched on symmetry and repeating patterns last week. I found a splendid online kaleidoscope maker here  http://www.permadi.com/java/spaint/spaint.html and the children loved making new designs -especially on the big interactive whiteboard so the patterns were “huge”. Their fascination with the idea of the kaleidoscope was such that today I took in some “Make your own Kaleidoscope” kits,(http://www.prezzybox.com/build-your-own-kaleidoscope.aspx?gclid=CPX17a6H8LMCFaTMtAodejYATw – are similar) and a heap of beads, sequins, buttons, beads and silk scraps and let each child have a go at creating their own multi-coloured image. The level of excitement was incredible, they were so thrilled to be making something so magical – and to have the freedom to raid my button box was an adventure in itself as apparently none of their mums owns such an exciting box of treasures or at least not one that they are given access to! The choices of buttons and other bits and pieces was fascinating – one little boy chose all the pencil shaped buttons “because we’re at school so its a school kaleidoscope”, another only wanted white and grey pieces as it is winter and he is looking forward to snow! One of the little girls spent ages choosing all the tiniest beads as she wanted a “fine” pattern – she likes to paint with the finest brushes too and is fascinated by microscopes. Others chose all the amber beads, or all the heart shapes, or tried to add something of every colour. Every one was different but every one was beautiful, they all praised each others work and were surprised how different each one was. They then painted pictures on the computers  of what they could see in their own kaleidoscope.



Happy Birthday dear garage

Almost a year to the day that our garage was built the company turned up today to look at the faulty shelving kit that was supplied with the garage, and fitted not one but two rows of new shelves. Amazing, it took them a whole year to admit that shelving brackets of two different widths were not a matching pair! Now I have a wall full of shelves – they are a little shallow (they replaced the 8″ shelves with two packs of 6″ deep shelves) but as I now have two sets I can’t really quibble – I’ll just have to use shallower boxes to store stuff in.

Would it be churlish to wonder if they will turn up again next November to align the garage correctly with the driveway?


It’s beginning to look a lot like ….

spring time!

I’ve been bulb planting ready for the spring and I’m already impatient to see the tulips.

I’ve planted Spring Green





Van Eijk     





and El Nino

and I’ve emptied the other tubs ready to plant some winter shrubs as the hydrangeas were looking a bit past their best. They have had a severe haircut and are resting over winter in the shelter of the back garden so the front door step is looking a bit bare at the moment. I’ll have to have a visit to the nursery after payday next week!

Good and bad news

I was a guinea pig today at our local hospital, they were running a training course in renal ultrasound for doctors planning to specialize in nephrology and needed willing victims volunteers to scan. My left arm (the one with the fistula) was scanned by fourteen doctors from various countries and was also used as a teaching demonstration by the tutor to demonstrate the use of the various possibilities of the ultrasound scanning machine – we could see the veins and arteries in black and white, Doppler imaging (red, green, blue and yellow) and also listen to the sound waves as the blood flowed through the veins and arteries. All in all very interesting and well worth giving up a cold damp November afternoon for. An added bonus is that volunteers receive book tokens to thank them for their time and a book token is always good news.

The bad news- while the tutor was doing his demonstration scan he took along time over one particular area then announced to the students that what they could see on the screen was a thrombosis in the artery wall resulting in a narrowing of the artery and causing the fistula to not empty fully when my arm was elevated. This is not good and can result in damage to the fistula and eventual failure of the fistula to work. I wanted to cry,  21 months ago I had to have a fistula angioplasty when my fistula clotted. It was a very painful and unpleasant procedure and I hoped never to darken the doors of the doctor who performed it again. I asked the tutor what I should do about the thrombosis and was given that standard piece of medical advice “keep an eye on it” and speak to the dialysis unit if the thrill (the buzzing sensation that a fistula makes when it is working well) becomes faint or stops. Sadly his parting comment that the fistula was “still patent… for now” makes me think it is only a matter of time. Ah well, we’ll just have to wait and see! I’d better choose an interesting book.