Thursday, 17 August 2017

Hilton, Derbyshire – August 2017

Tim and Jill's lovely house
Our summer in the UK is whizzing by and what we thought was going to be a lazy month in Derbyshire looking after Stimpy cat while Tim, Jill and family are on a long holiday in Australia is disappearing rapidly.

After the first hectic week here with Tim, Charles, Caroline and Pauline (Jackie’s mum) it quietened down a lot. Tim went off to Oz to meet the rest of his family, Charles, Caroline and Pauline went home and we had nearly three weeks ahead of us to relax, but we’re now nearly at the end of the second of those weeks and have done little relaxing, yet we can’t list many things that would indicate we’ve been busy.

A present for us from Stimpy cat
That moment of doubt before submitting the assignment!
It’s true that a lot of the time was spent studying and writing our final assignment for our TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification, while attending to every whim of Stimpy cat. She likes to spend a lot of time asleep during the day on one of the chairs upstairs either in Tim’s study or, higher up on the top floor on Ellie’s office chair, but then she’ll wake up demand food, fuss and to be let out, then in again, fuss, let out, back in, food and ‘oh I see you have a computer on your lap, I’ll just climb up, shove your computer out of the way and settle down on your lap’. She’s full of character and very talkative and we think she quite likes us now, particularly as we’re prepared to cater for her every wish!

Tim, we need to have a word! You may be tall...
On the TEFL front we did finally submit our assignments and both passed with quite high marks. We sent them in on Thursday 10th and were told it could be up to 5 working days before we heard. We both opted for the scenario of taking a class of 16 teenagers (13/14 years old) of low intermediate level that are on a short holiday lesson in England, Jackie chose her subject of teaching them how to use the London Underground and expanded into some pronunciation and grammar, I chose to use a trailer for the new Emoji Movie as a listening exercise with follow on pronunciation and grammar.

Jackie had her results back on Saturday morning and she passed with 85%, finishing her course with an average mark of 91% over the whole course, so she is now a fully qualified teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Fantastic mark, well done.

Stimpy relaxing with us
I had to wait until Tuesday to get mine back, with plenty of time to doubt if I had chosen my subject well and whether I’d have to do it again. In the end my result was 81% for the assignment and 87.75% for the whole course, so I am also now a fully qualified teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Very relieved to pass and very happy. The assessor didn’t particularly like my choice of the Emoji Movie trailer, thinking the language in the trailer difficult to follow and probably above the level of the students, but he liked my exercises and overall thought I’d planned it well. He’s right in his comments and one of the reasons I was doubtful of my subject choice. However, it’s over with now and we can move on, keeping the qualification in reserve should we wish to teach anywhere in the world in the future.

And sleeping with us
On the old railway track
We’ve been out on our bikes a couple of times, doing 17km rides from the house here and partly along a dismantled railway line with a loop back round the roads and we’ve been on a local walk of 11km along difficult to follow public footpaths, which became quite challenging from a navigation point of view, but very picturesque.

Bike rides 1 and 2:
Fabulous selfie!
Twice we’ve been back to Birmingham, which is only an hour away (outside of rush hour traffic) for medical appointments for both of us, mine was at the Queen Elizabeth hospital for a skin check-up as part of my on-going appointments for the Lynch Syndrome I have. They found a lump on my top lip and did a biopsy of it there and then, cutting it out and putting a stitch in it. A bit unexpected that, so now I have to go to the nurse at the doctors surgery here in Hilton village to have it removed tomorrow. It’ll only be three days and they said to leave it five to seven, but last time I left one for six days and it was difficult to remove, so better earlier than later. Anyway, I just want it out!

On our 11km walk
Our 11km walk:
Whilst in Birmingham on one of the visits we also managed to squeeze in a house viewing for my nephew Nick, who is looking to buy his own home in Kings Heath. We took Ian with us, after lunching with Helen and spending the afternoon waiting to see how their extension is coming on (looks good but a long way to go!). Ian has up to date info on DIY jobs and, although this wasn’t the right house, needing too much work, it gave Nick a really good insight into what to look for in houses, so hopefully he’ll find something soon,

Lunchtime beer and snack at Generous Georges in Hilton
My daughter Fiona and James came over on Sunday last and we had a very pleasant Sunday lunch and a good chat that went on into the early evening, making them quite late to get home. This Sunday we’re seeing them again with the rest of the family for a birthday party, Fiona’s was last Tuesday, granddaughter Jenny who will be 13 (or is it 14?) and eldest granddaughter Abbie who will be 19. Photos to follow in the next blog.

Finally saw Hedgehogs Scampy 1 and 2 in the garden
We have one more week here housesitting in Hilton, with a visit on Tuesday and Wednesday from my sister Denise and Paul, where we’ll hopefully get out walking if the weather is kind. Then, on Friday we’re heading off to Edinburgh, Scotland to see our friends Simon and Diane for the Bank Holiday weekend. Busy, busy, busy, but we’re loving it.

Beer and fabulous locally made sausage roll at the Hawke and Buckle
Today we went on a 24km bike ride to Mickleover and a loop back with a stop off at the Hawke and Buckle pub in Etwall for fabulous real ale and the best locally made sausage roll we’ve ever had. The sun shone, it was warm, nice easy ride along the old railway track then out through country lanes in lovely English scenery and a stop at a traditional English pub for local beer and food with friendly staff, well, it’s what life is all about!
Todays 23km bike ride:

A stop on our bike ride to wave to new new calves in the field
Picking blackberries in Tim and Jill's field to make Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream - fabulous!

This is Tim and Jill's field and that's their house. They own all of this!

Their lovely farmhouse style kitchen complete with Aga

Yes, and we haven't forgotten you Stimpy. Do you want to go out, have some food, want a bit of fuss or just to be left alone? Yes, OK, we'll just leave you alone then until you want us!

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