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A Potter's Moll: Snow And Ice

... Snow and ice were a problem early this week. Our steep driveway was pure ice for two days, and the last bit of the steep hill to reach it does not get gritted either. I found myself skidding and sliding backwards as I tried to get home, so I went back until I got on a gritted bit. When I went to go out again later, the lane was so icy I found myself clinging on to wheelie bins and car wing mirrors! Fortunately by the time I came back it had thawed enough to enable me to get all the way home. I am so glad to be retired from regular work and not have to travel every day...

Liz Robison struggles through the bleak winter weather to bring us another column.

Do visit the Web site of Liz’s potter husband Jim Robison http://www.jimrobison.co.uk/

I wish for a happy new year for everyone, but the signs are not that good on many fronts. The most pressingly worrying events to me are the terrible things that are happening in Gaza. The disproportionate response of Israel is utterly shocking, and has obviously been in preparation for months. To me it beggars belief that a nation founded on the relief of the end to the terrible Holocaust should forget its history and stoop so low.

We were in Israel in 2000 and I asked a man who was our guide and called himself a ‘liberal Jew’, what the lights shining up on the hillsides were and he replied ‘Oh, they are only Arab villages. They are our second class citizens.’ I know the subject is deep and complex but I am certainly going to increase my contribution to the charity Medical Aid for Palestine.

Another item in the news, which I found depressing, was the fact that every High school in Leeds is to have its own policeman. Although this may in fact save police time, and truancy is to be one of the issues tackled, it still makes my heart sink to think that we live in such a world. Having said that, in a long career as a teacher, the only time I was ever physically attacked was at an inner city high school in Leeds way back in 1973.

When I was an exchange teacher in Michigan USA in 1970, Huron High School had its own policeman way back then. I can’t remember his name, but he was known to all as Officer Krupke.

Having watched the very gripping drama, ‘Waterloo Road’ on TV, I thought who would be a high school teacher today?

Blooming OFSTED have had the cheek to suggest that ‘boring’ teachers should be rooted out, whereas most of the teachers I know are hard working and unboring but are simply ground down by the constraints of the narrow and overly bureaucratic National Curriculum.

Snow and ice were a problem early this week. Our steep driveway was pure ice for two days, and the last bit of the steep hill to reach it does not get gritted either. I found myself skidding and sliding backwards as I tried to get home, so I went back until I got on a gritted bit. When I went to go out again later, the lane was so icy I found myself clinging on to wheelie bins and car wing mirrors! Fortunately by the time I came back it had thawed enough to enable me to get all the way home. I am so glad to be retired from regular work and not have to travel every day.

I read that Gordon Brown has promised loads of apprenticeships as a way into work for young people. I cannot help but think this must be a good idea when I reflect on the experience of our younger son who was lucky to get a Modern Apprenticeship when he left school at 16. It was in mechanical engineering and he was assigned to a local company straightaway, but for the first two years attended a training school. The discipline was very strong and the apprentices were strongly encouraged to develop self-discipline.

Lloyd used to get up at 6.30 and get two buses to get there. Meanwhile I was teaching his school contemporaries at the local Sixth Form College, some of whom found it difficult to make it for an 11 am class! When Lloyd eventually started full time in the engineering works, his mentor told him on the first day ‘Always do the worst first.’ Not a bad motto for life.

Finally in these dire days of Credit Crunch, I had to laugh at a cartoon in The Guardian that showed an employee being handed a P45 form and the boss was saying: ‘It’s not just a P45 form, it’s an M&S P45 form.’

More from me in a fortnight.

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