English Teachers Are Happy To Share

English Teachers Are Happy To Share

Random Thoughts by Pauline

April 2017
Beautiful people

They took such attentive care of me - Peter and Susan, John and Jane that I will remain forever grateful. I was invited to stay in Peter’s beautiful garden home in Sandbach for two nights and then together we stayed in John’s 3-acre manor house in Cumbria, the Lake District.

Peter and John were respectively the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher of Sandbach School, Cheshire, England. It is the partnership school of Fukien Secondary School (FSS) and was instrumental in supporting drama education at FSS. They have both retired from their posts at Sandbach School with Peter still flying around reviewing schools in various countries in Africa and Russia while John is busy working on his 3-acre manor house, the Carlton Hall. These couples are very endearing with the wives fully supporting their husbands in all their endeavours.

Susan was a nurse but she took early retirement when Peter retired and started his African visits. The couple have stayed in countries like Kenya and Saudi Arabia and Susan has to take care of Peter in an alien land so different from the settled life at home in Cheshire.

John was the brain behind the highly acclaimed Sandbach School Theatre. Upon his retirement, he decided to start a new life away from the crowds. The couple purchased the stately manor house which comes with the extensive woods. John actually painted the eight rooms, walls and ceilings. The live fire warming us during those chilly spring mornings was made with the logs chopped by John who is now the lumberman!

This tour was so special with no “must-see places” or “must-buy things” checklists to tick off but strolls in the vales and terraces, drinks by the fireplace, chats over bar foods of fried fish and sausages and playtime with Max, the most welcoming giant terrier.

Random Thoughts by Pauline

April 2017
What to do in 12 hours?

I will be flying to London tomorrow midnight. It’s going to be a 12-hour flight.

It should not be pleasant - confined to a small space flanked by strangers. In recent trips, I have found passenger seats getting narrower. Or maybe I have grown bigger! The first 5 hours are bearable. I can be flipping through the pages of the Shopping Catalogue or choosing a movie or two to watch.

Soon, the pain creeps in. My neck, shoulders and legs cramp. Time to get up! I pluck up enough courage to do the hateful task of waking up a sound asleep neighbour to stand up for me to get out from my window seat. Sometimes, I wonder whether it is worth all the trouble when after all the maneuvering, there is only that short corridor to stretch out in. I have to be most gentle in my moves to make sure that my hands would not land on somebody’s face.

Toilet breaks are not pleasant either. The washroom is so small that I have to hold my breath and tuck my tummy in to get the door locked. And worst of all, it is not always clean.

Then comes meal time. For Economy Class passengers like me, it takes a lot of balancing skills and focus to finish the task. Once a tour guide said that we should move our arms and fingers like a grasshopper and definitely not sideways. If we want to spread out freely like a bat, then we have to pay for the expensive Business Class or First Class. Poor me, I have always been the grasshopper!

Well, when it is into the 8th or 9th hours, I can actually see my skin crumple with lines appearing all over my face. My eyes might be shut but I am not asleep despite all the fatigue. I put up my hand and ask for water which comes in a tiny cup! Another movie then! But the head is so heavy, the screen so small, the sound so blurred that I cannot follow the storyline.

Usually at the time of the final two hours, I doze off only to be harshly woken up with lights glaring for the window blinds have been pushed up! I am there – end of the ordeal! I have survived!