Tuesday, 2 September 2014

sick of the Scottish independence referendum debate

I've been a definite no, and a definite yes, and so have been trying to pay attention to the debate on Scottish independence. The latest poll shows Yes and No are almost neck and neck, but really, all the mud slinging is doing my head in, and we've still got a fortnight to go!

Largs: Third most desirable place to live in Scotland.
I spent my evening last night half trying to write a post on how lovely Largs came out third most desirable place, out of all the postcodes in Scotland, and how it's true, Largs is a desirable place to live, but so are lots of other parts of Scotland...

...while half chatting to people on Facebook. 

Much of the chat is about the independence debate and the upcoming referendum. People care deeply, and they're not letting pesky things like facts get in the way.

There seems to be a lot being said about how Scotland didn't vote for the Westminster government. Well no, of course not, the Scottish people just voted for their representatives, that is how democracy works here. 

There is talk of how Scotland did not vote for the Tories. Annabel Goldie and the other Scottish Tories in Holyrood may beg to differ, but the important point is that as the Tories are a minority government in Westminster, most of the people of Britain didn't vote for them.

A vote for independence is not a vote for the SNP, despite the SNP wanting independence. Similarly, a vote to stay in the union is neither a vote for a return to London rule, nor a vote for the Tories, despite them being unionists. The fact is that most Scottish policy, including that on education and health, contrary to popular opinion, is made at Holyrood, not Westminster, already.

Rather, what is at stake is dissolving the union of nations created when the Scottish King took over the English throne in 1603, and formalised in the Act of Union of 1707.

Personally, I was born in Yorkshire, and consider myself Yorkshire first, British second. My daughters were born in England, my son and husband in Scotland. Our family is British, and my inclination is to stay British.

However, I like living in Scotland. The weather may be 'character building', but the general attitude is great. There is an ethos in Scotland about helping each other out, about having free access to health services and education, and it is different to that in England. Even in left-leaning parts of England. 

I think the Scottish education system is great, and if the Curriculum for Excellence is causing some problems, at least it hasn't been tinkered about with as much as the English system.  I also believe it is morally right to keep the NHS free.

If I could have voted for greater devolution of powers in the referendum (so called devo-max) I would have, but I can't. So I have to choose between the pro-union side, scaremongering about losing the pound and the BBC, so obscuring the issues which actually matter, and the pro-independence side who seem to be trying to make out that if we don't vote for independence the Tories will take over Scotland.  Why on earth would the Scottish government change their policy on free NHS services if UKIP were to come to power in England? The British government has as much impact on the NHS in Scotland as the European government, so I think this is just scaremongering.

I'm sure it'll work out if we do become independent, but I'd hate to see the nasty divisivenessn involved in the Yes campaign carry on. I am hearing so much about how you can't really call yourself Scottish if you vote No. I have been told I should vote No because EVEN THOUGH I am English, I have been allowed to live here.  People have told me that the older generation can be 'racist' (meaning anti-English), but that things are better now. Apparently now, the Scots don't mind the English moving here (and taking their jobs).

Personally, I can't wait until it's over.

What are your thoughts on the debate?  And if you can't be nice, please keep your thoughts to yourself.

Other posts you might like:

Saturday, 30 August 2014

haunted by books

My friend Steve, who blogs over at Shores of Night has issued a challenge:
"List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the "right" books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way."
I know he said not to over think it, but this has been rattling around my head all day.  I've been adding books to an Evernote as I deem them fit for the list, but I've now come to the point where I'm just going to finish it.

What books stay with you?

Here's my ten.
  1. Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z Brite - Ms Brite's publishers decided they didn't want to publish this book.  She was a good seller, but this was just a little too horrible.  Publishers were leery of portraying real serial killers like vampires.  It was a little too glamorous.  She found publishers though, and it came out.  I read it.  There's a scene in it so disgusting that it actually made me vomit.  I can still picture that scene, although I wish it didn't stay with me.  I've not risked Ms Brite since, although I'm sure I'm missing out.
  2. Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor - Oh Forever Amber.  I read this in my late teens and got so caught up in it.  I couldn't put it down, although I had to at one point, when I could no longer actually read the book, I was crying so hard. A glorious book, and very silly.  There's a great old film too.  If you've got over two hours to kill check it out here.
  3. The Mummyfesto by Linda Green -  
    so bad I couldn't read it, and no-one will take it off my hands. Made me realise that I could actually get a book published, so perhaps it was good after all.
  4. The Wraeththu series by Storm Constantine - interesting ideas, fab characters, and a well developed mythos. I want more books like this in the world.  Actually, there are more books like this in the world, as Constantine has recently(ish) written more.  They're on the list.
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - I loved this book as a kid, and it still stays with me, although my take on it has shifted. And this, again, is something that I love. A story that can be understood in different ways.  First, at face value, I empathised with Jane, and could fall in love with the infuriating Mr Rochester alongside her.  I loved the magic of their coming back together.  But then the cracks start to show.  How could he treat Bertha so? Why not marry St John? Why not marry no-one and be a teacher, perhaps write books, enjoy walks on the moors?
  6. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin - I love the Song of Ice and Fire series, and I cannot wait for the next instalment, but the reason I've chosen this particular book is ... SPOILER ALERT ... I remember that I was lying on my cheap futon, with my elephant duvet cover on, in my damp flat in Meanwood, next door to an illegal boxing club and repeatedly broken into, when I read the bit in the book where Ned dies.  He dies!  There are myriad ways set up to save him, and you're wondering which one will come to fruition when he goes and actually dies!  Before Martin that never happened, but that break with the rules meant that surely anything was possible.  
  7. The Adventures of Charlotte the Marmot by Gerda Muller.
    And now for something completely different. I don't remember the story in Charlotte the Marmot, but the pictures were captivating. In particular there was one with a cross section of Charlotte's underground home, beautifully detailed, which completely captured my imagination.
  8. Man, Myth & Magic, edited by Richard Cavendish.  My Mum collected the magazines that form this seven volume encyclopaedia of the supernatural, which I loved reading as a teenager.  It gave me an abiding interest in religion, superstition, and ways of living, and I have no idea where it is now.
  9. The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  These stories are a fun bit of fluff, but the characters are engaging, and well wrought.  When True Blood first hit our screens I enjoyed watching the story I recognised, and the characters I knew.  I especially liked the way that Vampire Bill said 'Sookie', and of course, the delightful Eric Northman.  I was REALLY happy when True Blood took those characters and ran with them, leaving the books to do their thing while they did something else.  I am so happy that Lafayette lived, and it made me think that I rather like it if we create characters and send them off into the world.  So I like the possibilities of fanfic.  Why not let other people play with your characters?
  10. The Bible by various authors.  I was trying to avoid this, but it kept coming back to me. Steve said it doesn't have to be the 'right' book, and I don't like this being in my list, but there you go.  I did have a copy of the Bible as a teen, full of stickers, underlinings and highlighter pen.  I spent a lot of time reading it and having it explained to me.  But then I grew out of that little bit of rebellion, and I am still angry about the lies of Christianity and the harm it does to us all.  But the Bible still impacts on me. I live in a Christian country, and everything around me is formed by the patriarchal nonsense in its pages.  Meh.
And breathe.

At home we're loving the start of the Largs Viking Festival this weekend, and I'm chuffed to bits for winning a competition with one of my blog posts (on driving).

Here's some other posts you might like:

Thursday, 28 August 2014

sharing parasites

Back to school, and everyone has been on holiday, collecting new bugs to bring back to school and share with their friends.

Sniffles and tummy bugs are all the rage, and these pass soon enough, but some things are more tenacious, I'm talking about parasites, in particular two which are the bane of nurseries and primary schools.

Head lice
A male head louse (pic from wikipedia commons here)

Head lice spend their lives on human heads, feeding on human blood.  They are not very good at walking, and cannot jump or fly at all, so they are passed on by close contact of heads. Contrary to the stated opinion of some teachers, loose hair is not more likely to spread head lice as they cannot swing Tarzan-like from head to head.  If they are unlucky enough to come off the head they will die within two days.

If you're looking for close contact of heads, look no further than a primary school.  The children seem to have no concept of personal space and spend their days squishing up to each other.  It's brilliant, if you're a head louse.  Because girls spend more time cuddling each other than boys, they are more at risk, but head lice are really not that serious.

I mean, they're horrible, and it isn't pleasant to find them crawling about on your child's head, but they don't carry any diseases.

To treat head lice you can get chemical treatments from the chemist (in Scotland you can get these under the minor ailments).  You need to comb the hair A LOT, with a fine tooth comb, and you will generally find that not all the lice are quite dead.  

Each female head louse can lay 3-4 eggs a day, and your chemical treatment will not kill these, so you'll need to do regular (daily if possible) fine-tooth combing of wet hair (it's more effective if you drench the hair in conditioner) for a couple of weeks to be on the safe side.  By the way, 'nits' is the word for the empty shell casings left on the hair after the lice have hatched out.  In cooler climates eggs are laid within about 5mm of the scalp to keep them warm (in hotter areas they can be 15cm down the hair shaft!).

You also need to tell the school that you've had head lice, however, schools don't seem to do anything about it at the moment, so you're best to also tell the other parents you know, otherwise your child is likely to get reinfested quite soon.  If everyone treats their children at the same time, and as diligently, you can wipe them out... for a while.

There is no need to wash everything in sight if you treat the infestation as described.

Are you itching yet?

Two female threadworms.  The ruler markings are
milimetres. Pic from wikipedia commons, here

Threadworms (or pinworms if you're in the US) are tiny little worms which look like tiny bits of thread, they live in human intestines, but need oxygen for their eggs to mature.  A female threadworm will fill her body entirely with lots of tiny eggs, and when I say lots I mean 11-16,000, and then leave the body via the anus to lay the eggs and then die.  This happens at night for some reason.  

When she lays her eggs she secretes a mucus which irritates the skin, causing the host to itch. Eggs are laid around the anus, and in girls, around the vagina and urethra too. The eggs have a sticky coating to start off with, and we cannot see them, so they transfer to clothing, itching fingers, bed sheets, and from there go further.

From fingers they can be transferred into mouths, and reinfest the host, or can stick onto toys, remote controls, mobile 'phones, pretty much anywhere.  When you change the beds the eggs can be shaken off and get onto drawers, carpets, and even be inhaled.  The eggs can survive temperatures of -8C, and will remain viable for up to three weeks.

Threadworms live all over the world, and around 11% of people have them, although when you focus in on children this rises massively because children are not great at hand hygiene.  Some studies have suggested that 50% of children are affected.

So, what do you do if your children are affected?  It can be tricky to spot the worms themselves, but it's a definite maybe if your child is complaining of an itchy bum, or a girl is complaining of itchy bits, especially if it's really itchy at night.  

You can get treatment for threadworms from the pharmacist on the minor ailments if you're in Scotland.  You can probably buy something at the pharmacist if you're elsewhere.  It consists of one tablet, and that's all.

However, now you've killed the worms, you've got those tens of thousands of eggs to deal with.  So wash, wash everything in sight.  Take the bedding off the beds as gently as possible to avoid wafting the eggs into the air, and wash them as hot as you can.  Clean everything initially, and hoover the house.

After that you need to be vigilant about cleanliness for a couple of weeks.  Be particularly careful about keeping kitchen and bathroom surfaces clean, and hoover regularly.  Ensure children cover their bums in bed, onesies are ideal because they're hard to accidentally scratch your bum in.  It's really important to stress hand hygiene, washing hands after going to the toilet and before eating.

After two weeks you can get another treatment from the pharmacist, and then you can relax a bit on the cleaning front.

Eurgh.  Threadworms are vile.

Of course, there are lots of things that live on our bodies and in our bodies which are fine - eyelash mites affect 80% of people over 60 and rarely cause trouble, we need bacteria in our gut or we get sick, but I for one could live without threadworms, and without headlice.  

Have your family been affected by tiny beasties?

Other posts you might like:
Broken arm but still fabulous.

The little girl had a hospital appointment earlier this week to see how the broken bones are getting on.  It is still a little bit wonky, but the doctors are happy that it is within acceptable limits.  The break is in the middle of the bone and the bone grows from either end, so will straighten out over time.  Apparently in a couple of years you'll hardly be able to tell she'd broken it.  She still has her heavy plaster cast on at the moment, but there is hope that she could get a smaller cast in another couple of weeks.  It's two weeks since she broke it.

looking forward to September

September is a special time in our house.

There's all the usual stuff; getting settled back into school, and after school clubs (the big girl is VERY excited about starting Brownies this year), the weather cooling, but still being nice enough for plenty of walks and cycle rides.

But added to that is the excitement of TWO birthdays.  The big girl will be 7 this year, the boy will be 9, the presents, the parties, the birthday teas, it's all good.  And now that we live in Largs we also have The Viking Festival to look forward to.

Last year it was 750 years since Largs was invaded by the Vikings in 1263, and we had a massive do to celebrate.  It was really good fun, but the best news is that it happens every year!
Last year's parade

We're kicking off this weekend with the parade on Saturday and opening ceremony, with music and various displays of fighting and aerobatics (weather permitting) all weekend.  Plus there are markets on the prom - food, craft, a  Vintage market, and a 'Global' market.

This year there will be a Viking Village set up (which the kids really enjoyed last year), which will be peopled by the Swords of Dalriada re-enactment group (who are rather lovely).  There will also be Viking traders from all over, so it'll be a top destination for early Christmas shopping.  School parties go down to the Viking village through the week, and I will be there, asking the re-enactors random questions.

Coin minting in the Viking Village last year
To be honest, I find re-enactors really useful for book research. I ask the women lots of questions about clothes and weaving techniques, and last year spent a while being shown what the blacksmith would do with a broken sword.  It's great to feel the heat of the fire, and see the heavy clothes the smith needs to wear.  On the clothes front, I learned that Vikings wore woven socks, as knitting had not been invented.  The re-enactors wear authentic socks, and say that they're rather hot in the summer.

The following weekend is my daughter's birthday, and on the Friday night there's a torch lit procession to light the Aubery beacon, complete with fire dancers, but Saturday is the Party at the Pencil, with the battle reenactment, the burning of the Viking longship and FIREWORKS!

Can't wait.

Other stuff we're looking forward to in September is the little girl hopefully downgrading to a lighter (purple sparkly) cast.  She's got her next appointment in two weeks, so fingers crossed for that. 

What are you looking forward to in September?

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Friday, 22 August 2014

looking for cream of tartar

What do you have for breakfast at the weekend?

Around here, our favourite breakfast is scotch pancakes.  We have a go to recipe scribbled in the front of a cook book.  If you fancy giving it a go, here's the recipe. This quantity is for a one egg mixture, I generally make twice as much for our whole family:

Scotch pancakes

120g self raising flour
1/2tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
30g caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 pint of milk

What you do is: 

  1. sift the dry stuff, and then mix it up.
  2. Slowly add the wet stuff and combine well (I use an electric whisk).
  3. Heat a frying pan or two (or a griddle if you've got one), and pop some oil on.
  4. When hot enough tip excess oil out (I keep it in a ramekin), and spoon desertspoonfuls of the pancake mixture in.  I can usually fit 3 or 4 in a pan.
  5. When you see bubbles form in the pancake mixture turn them over with a fish slice.
  6. When browned on both sides pile them up on a plate (see above).
  7. Eat them!  You can spread them with all sorts of things.  Family favourites for us include chocolate spread, butter and Rose's marmalade, and butter and maple syrup.
  8. If you have any left over wrap them in a bit of kitchen towel and pop in the bread bin.  When they're cold they're delicious with butter.

Sadly, we've not been eating Scotch pancakes of late, we've been using our American pancake recipe instead (they're yummy too, but one does feel one is letting the side down).  Why?  Because we've run out of cream of tartar and we want to buy some more.  We want a box of it, like the ones we have of Bicarb and Baking Powder, but all we can find are little over-priced satchets.  We keep thinking we'll see some somewhere but we haven't.  

What has happened to the Cream of Tartar?

I wondered if there had been a national shortage of cream of tartar, so I had a look on t'internet to see where it comes from.  You'll be glad to know that it is a bi-product of wine-making, so it's not likely that it'll run out anytime soon (I know I'm doing my bit).  So, I can only assume that people aren't buying it.

I asked my friend Mary, who makes cakes, and she has no idea why I can't find cream of tartar.  She did say though, that she doesn't actually use it in her cakes. 

Apparently its main uses are in making icing smoother, and making meringues.

I'm still looking for a proper container of cream of tartar, so if you do see any on your travels please let me know.  So far, I've ruled out Tescos and Morrisons.  Meanwhile, we'll eat American pancakes.

Other posts you might like:

Sooo excited about going back to nursery today :-)
Update on the little girl's arm: We went to hospital for a follow up appointment on Thursday.  She has broken both bones in her lower arm.  The thinner bone just bent a bit (this is a break only kids can get), while the thicker bone snapped through and was not aligned.  She had an operation to manipulate it straight, but it has gone back to being a little unaligned.  We have another appointment next week to see if it's getting worse.  If it is she'll need another two operations.  If it stays as it is now then it will straighten over time as she grows and they'll leave it.  The little girl went back to nursery today.  She was delighted to catch up with her friends.  She was a grumpy monkey afterwards.  This evening however, we chilled out with family and drew lots of cutie marks on her cast.  She's running out of room!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

debating independence

Helensburgh from Greenock, Scotland
We've got just over a month to go until the referendum on Scottish Independence. Everyone aged 16 and over in Scotland can vote, and my Facebook feed has been abuzz about it for AGES.

Remember the idea that politics and religion weren't polite subjects for conversation? Well apparently it's OK to talk about the referendum.

I'm happy that people are talking politics, but the way it's being done is often pretty nasty, and divisive.

I'm going to say right now that I'm intending on voting to stay in the Union, so you know what my biases are, but I do agree with the people who complain that the Better Together Campaign is a Tory campaign, run from London.

That said, the Yes (or Aye) campaign for Scottish Independence is being run by the Scottish National Party. Of course it is.  They promised it when they were elected.

My corner of Scotland
The Better Together campaign is basically a campaign to stay as we are.  There are carrots dangled of devo-max (an option removed from the referendum, whereby Scotland stays within the Union but gets additional powers devolved to the Scottish Government), but other than that, all they really have to do is promote feelings of Britishness (research shows that Scots tend to feel Scottish first and British second, but they do feel British), and undermine the campaign for independence.

By contrast, the Yes campaign, for Scottish independence, is promoting feelings of Scottishness, and talking about all the ways Scotland would be better off without being part of the union.  All these are, have to be theoretical, because Scotland is still a part of the union.  

The Yes campaign is very strong on Social Media.  Lots of people have great big blue blobs with YES written on them, and my friends are sharing the marketing material.  Like this one, outlining some reasons why Scotland would be better off independent.

Well, let's have a look at those points shall we?

1) Scotland is part of Britain and therefore has a few representatives in Westminster - where the British parliament is based.  Most of Scottish policy is formulated by the Scottish Government, based in Edinburgh, in Scotland's central belt.  No English areas are represented in the Scottish Government.
Scotland also sends representatives to the European Government, and some policies from that also affect Scotland.  

Westminster Houses of Parliament from the London Eye
2) This is talking about the Tory led government currently in power in Westminster.  There are a few points to make here: a) This is a minority government - most of the people of Britain did not vote for them. b) The Tory led government is the Westminster Government for Britain (see 1), and can change in forthcoming general elections.  c) The Scottish Government is currently SNP led.  There are Tory members, like Annabel Goldie, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, and one of the representatives for my area of Scotland. d) Did Alex Salmond claim that the Scottish people didn't elect Westminster MPs when he was one, which he was until the SNP won the election in Scotland?

3) The Treasury in London does currently cover the whole of the UK.  Scotland does rather well out of the Barnett formula at the moment.  Aberdeen has made a lot of money from oil, and it is understandable that Scotland would want to make more (and also from fracking), but couldn't Scotland aspire to moving away from fossil fuels?

4) Well, it's close to the Clyde, I'll give you that, and the world would be a better place without nuclear weapons.  But 'facility' suggests it's more than a few submarines, and personally I think it would be a shame to lose all the people who work there when they have to relocate to Portsmouth or somewhere similar.

My poor little girl has recently been testing how
awesome the Scottish NHS is.  Thank you to
the brilliant staff of Crosshouse Hospital, and to
Stuart and Steve.
5) The NHS in Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government, and health policy is decided by the Scottish Government.  If England privatises the English NHS it will be a terrible tragedy for England.  Similarly Scottish education policy and funding comes from the Scottish Government, and the Scottish education system is very different to the English system.  I'm not sure what the evidence is that English schools are being privatised, but if they're talking about private finance partnerships, then that already happens in Scotland, and provides improved facilities for students.

6) Yes! There are a lot of Scottish people in the United Kingdom armed forces.  And yes, the armed forces are directed by Westminster.  I hope they mainly serve to help make people safe, but sometimes mistakes (and misdirection) happen.  This is a big issue, worth worrying about, but I'd rather our armed troops were involved in 'foreign' wars, than Scottish ones!

7 & 8) There was a GLOBAL financial crisis.  The Royal Bank of SCOTLAND had to be bailed out.  The banking system does seem to be corrupt (still), but Scottish bankers have their fingers right inside that pie.

9) Yes! Benefits are decided UK wide, and the people of Scotland seem to be more inclined to supporting the poor and needy than the English Government (which seems to be considering reinstating workhouses).  We need to wrestle control of benefits from the English government, because bringing the poor down brings society down, and is also just plain rude.

But a word of warning, be careful who you share your views with.  I've seen some fairly odd statements cropping up on Facebook, here are some examples:

  • Apparently, if we vote against independence we will never be able to sing Flower of Scotland again with pride.  Having had to sing it THREE TIMES at a school assembly last year, that sounds good to me.
  • Some parents are angry that schools have registered pupils to vote, without the parents consent (erm, why? saves them a job doesn't it?).
  • Apparently, if you vote no, you can't claim to be Scottish.  Personally I'm not bothered.  My husband is always reminding me that as I was born in England I'm not Scottish (although his daughter can be, lol), but anyway, this is just rubbish.

I'm not sure I should ask, but what are your thoughts on the debate thus far?  And how can we all stay friends for another month of it!?

Other posts you might like:

Building a batmobile with a
broken arm?  No problem.

Update on the little girl's arm: Her cast has dried and she has a picture of Twilight Sparkle on it, her arm is a lot less sore, and the swelling seems to have gone down a lot too.  She's still got a very sore thumb, so I'm going to talk to the specialist about that tomorrow.  Not sure if it's just because of where the tendon connects on the arm or if there's another small break which hasn't yet been detected.  The main thing though is that my fiercely independent little lady is still fiercely independent, and is back to jumping off the sofa (ffs).

Thursday, 14 August 2014

going back to school

Visiting Lindisfarne castle in Northumberland
I love spending time with my kids. They're great people, and it's lovely to have a whole summer holidays worth of lazy mornings, day trips, and picnics. Oh and plenty of castles too. We've had lots of time to find out about all the fun things there are to do around here (not that we've done them all yet), and just got back from a family holiday to Northumberland.

But add to that the bickering, the whining, the refusal to get dressed or leave the house (even though they enjoy themselves once they're out), and the cry of the overtired child, not to mention having no time at all to get anything done (which might be a slight exaggeration), and you can see why I'm so very glad that they're going back to school.

I'm lucky though. The children have joined a great school here in Largs, where they've made good friends, and the teachers have been supportive of them. We've only heard good things about their teachers this year as well, so it's easy to look forward to school. Sadly, the buildings and playground are past their best, and the food since the council closed the kitchen is diabolical.

I am delighted, therefore, that the council are considering making a super school. I really hope that it goes ahead and that all the Largs schools go into it. I understand that there are some queries being raised about St Mary's, but all the schools are Christian schools (much as I wish faith was kept totally out of schools), and our children will all benefit from increased opportunities to play together.

We used to live in Moffat, which has a fabulous all through school, from nursery to 18. There is one big building which is divided into two wings – the big side is the secondary school, the small side is the primary school, and there's an extra bit on the side of that, which is the nursery.

Having everyone together in Moffat means that although the age groups rarely meet, sports facilities, some outdoor facilities, and a dedicated canteen can be shared, so PE never has to be cancelled for assembly practice and the food is great. Moffat offers childcare qualifications for older kids who can do their practice in the nursery. Also the older kids run the younger kids discos so they are a lot cooler than they might otherwise be!

Moffat Academy got a new building a few years ago, which is sleek, modern, and adaptable. It's also got a covered, sheltered (ish) waiting area for parents, which would be a welcome change to standing outside Brisbane in the 3pm rain. Moffat also built in lots of bike racks to its new building, and this assumption that kids would cycle or scoot to school bore real fruit.

Of course, there'll be some things to work out. The idea at the moment seems to be that all the schools would be contained in one area with some shared facilities. This might make sense in the short term, but I'd hope that in the long term the whole school could be called Largs Academy. As for mottoes, I am particularly partial to Brisbane Primary's: AIM HIGH.

The big kids are back to school on Monday.  The little girl will have to have a couple of weeks off with her broken arm.  Pants.

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