Who is this Jackcabnory......

London Cab Driver, part-time Singer, micro/macro blogger, runner and primary school teacher in the making.....

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Nothing like the smell of fresh paint...

So, a new broom sweeps clean and all that, we're finally having some aesthetic cleansing done.....by that metaphor I mean that the wonder Danny, has been working his decor magic in our tired old living room.

The darn thing has been "stripped and ready" for nearly 3 years, so I can't tell you how invigorating it is to see it taking shape into an inviting and calm retreat from the daily grind.

It's very plain, and what we hope will be a blank canvass to be adorned by inspiring pictures and paintings by friends and family, and of those cherished folks in our lives.

This has really kicked 2012 off for us, and I'm busy pursuing a teaching assistant role on a part time basis.  This I hope will give me valuable classroom experience, and also help motivate me in the continued study of my GCSEs.   A visit to the BETT show last week gave me a further boost, seeing so many enthusiastic and passionate educators in one place, and also seeing the amazing technology that is available in the classroom now.  I highly recommend it, even if you're not interested in a career in education, it's truly amazing.

I met lots of old twitter friends there and some new ones, and it further cements in me that I want to teach.

For the meantime, I'll leave you with a couple of pics from our Somerset House ice skating trip at the weeken....now I really must go and hang a clock on a wall!

Somerset House

Somerset House

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Brook Estate

I grew up in a family of four brothers, for 21 years, we always lived in the same street, on the now infamous 'Brook Estate".

So to the memories, which can be funny things,often romanticised, sometimes chronologically askew, but all very personal, and these, are mine of those years.
It was a council estate, and for all of my childhood my parents rented the accommodation, and with many other occupants were working class people (I always struggle nowadays to know if we should or shouldn't categorise by class, but these are memories so I'll stick with it) Mrs Thatchers right to buy initiative changed that in the eighties.

Dad, after living a 'jack of all trades' existence, became, through the guidance and support of mum and his friends who helped him attain the profession through city and guilds classed at night school, a plumber, in the employ of the local authority. Mum did what many wives did and, still do, working one or more jobs in the evenings, to help swell the coffers and fund the ever rising cost of feeding 4 "growing lads".

We were all taken to the local toddler group, all went to the nearby primary school, and would play on the green (although of course "no ball games allowed") next to our end of terrace house.

We were close to our immediate neighbours, played in each others gardens with their children, and there were various street party's to celebrate the Queens jubilee and the wedding of Charles and Diana.

There were the run of the mill events, minor burglaries, accidents in the two uprights of the ladder configuration of roads that comprised the estate, the estate was a rat run for traffic on the Rochester Way/A2, so these accidents and other pressures brought to bear the relief road being built in 1988), yet we always felt safe in our surroundings.

In addition to school, we were encouraged by our parents to try various other activities, these included the local youth club, boys brigade and most extensively and life affirming, the Scout Association, which I personally was involved with from the age of 8 until I was 25.

None of this was easy for my parents, to either support financially or logistically, but ways were found, clothes were handed down etc etc.

We were always aware of the 'bad boys' and 'street rakers' that lived on or near the estate, but frankly this was never an overbearing problem for us or our parents as they always knew where we were and what we were doing, and more importantly, they were interested in these details. The estate was populated by families from a range of ethnic. I never felt an overbearing sense of racial tension, this wasn't the 60's, I have always felt that I live in a multi cultural society and the Brook Estate epitomised this. At no time did I perceive a large presence of police, it was normal to see them on the street from time to time of course. The only recollection I have is of my eldest brother being stopped and searched on his way home one day, as he matched the description of someone who had burgled a house on the estate.

I think it's extremely sad that the events of 1993 occurred, and that only now any semblance of a  resolution has happened. It’s my strong belief that the parental guidance, love and ambition that I and my brothers received is the reason that we never brought any of the disappointment and dark clouds to their door that have surfaced in the press in recent weeks.