woensdag 11 november 2009


Damstede's brugclass competition:

Build a bridge out of wine gums and sate sticks.


Span 30 centimeters.

bear a weight heavier than the construction materials used.

Each team worked hard on their construction; pencils were licked and winegums were chewed, sate sticks were snapped and bridge fastenings were strengthened.

Jolanda's team built a bridge which bore 8.4 times its own weight, and her class became second overall as their constructions bore on average 9.2 times there own weight.

The winners were in a class of their own, however with a bridge that was able to carry 24.3 times its own weight, a new record for "Tiggelmans Angels"!

zondag 8 november 2009

It touched my heart

I read in a recent post thoughts on what to share and what to not and I realise I don't share the sad stuff, even though I learn from these events.
We were shocked last week to hear of the death of the mother of one of my daughters friends from the basis school. She was only 46 and died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving a husband and two teenage sons.
We are a small community and the news travelled very fast - Anita had been a very active volunteer at the basis school for many years, so the school organised a time for those who had known and worked with her to meet the family and offer condolences.
Although the two boys were no longer pupils of the school, there was a room set apart for ex-school friends of the younger son to meet him, and sit with him. The teacher who had known him in the last year at the school was there to offer support and counselling. My daughter was one of the ex pupils who attended this event.
The next day we received an invitation to the funeral, and Jolanda decided she wanted to go. I contacted her current school and arranged that she could have time off to attend, and we went together on the monday morning.
It was her first funeral, and I was so proud of her. In our town, the church is in the next street to our house, and the bell begins to ring a half hour before the service is about to start. We heard the bell, put on our coats and joined the stream of people walking to the church.
There was a big congregation, and the church was full. It was heartwarming to see so many young people, friends of the sons, at the funeral.
Once everyone was in the church, the coffin was brought in, followed by the family.
The service was the traditional catholic form, but there were lovely pieces added by some of the family, which made it a truly personal event. As well as hymns there were two or three lovely modern pieces sung by friends.
Jolanda sat with two of her school mates, and it was only at the end, when the white coffin left the church followed by the boys carrying flowers that she broke down.
The majority of the mourners were leaving the church to walk to the cemetery, following the hearse with the coffin. We decided not to follow them, however, and slipped home to reflect on how lucky we are to have a community who can come together in such a time to show support for a family.

Rest in Peace, Anita.

vrijdag 6 november 2009

Teaching English!

My new income source is teaching English to Dutch teenagers. The poor dears now have to reach a certain level of proficiency by the time of the final exams. It puts pressure on kids and parents alike, but I not only offer individual teaching sessions for kids with problems reaching the required grade, I also occasionally work as the "native English speaker"at a local school who started to run a "fast track" english course last year. I now teach the second years, and the new first years, once every six weeks of so!
Now I have no teaching qualifications, so on the surface of it being British is the only reason I get clients, but I do have successes, and I do get a kick out of working with the kids!
This week the year 2's made a start with studying english literature. The head of year chose this book - Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl - which would not have been my choice but whatever....
On Tuesday we studied "Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf" followed by "Three Little Pigs".
My task was to read out the poems - with feeling. I always find Roald Dahl to be a bit gruesome, but I did my best -
"what big eyes you have, Grandma" etc.
The kids were suitably impressed. (Bear in mind they are thirteen and fourteen year olds)
Roald Dahl's tale had that twist you always get, then we went on to the second poem.
I "huffed" and "puffed" and came to the end of the poem.
There was silence, then a little voice from the back piped up in dutch (with a volendamse accent) "but did the last pig die?"
There was a chorus of disgust, and everyone insisted that this story was totally fake, and not the real story after all!
Maybe kids these days are too involved in reality TV to accept imaginative literature!