Mr. Kay's Blog

The day to day happenings of a 6th grade classroom teacher

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Archive for the ‘holiday post’ Category

bikes, food, dreams, and six feet under

Posted by willkay on July 28, 2010

Le Tour de France is a bike race around France, that lasts for three weeks. For twenty-two days, 180 cyclists, ride around France, climbing the Alps, the Pyrenees, and racing on the flat stages. It sounds silly to say that watching it is exhausting – watching people cycle up hills that I would have difficulty walking up, and they are doing this after having ridden 100km to get to the mountain – but it is draining. It has been an excellent Tour, where the lead has never been more than one minute, and was finally decided by 39 seconds.

Due to the Tour (and the 8 second gap between 1st and 2nd place), last week was spent mainly close to a television/computer screen. I did manage a haircut, deciding that it would be a good idea to get that over and done with, rather than waiting for the day before going back to school. There are few things worse than the “back to school haircut”. We also went to the cinema and saw Inception. This led to a series of weird dreams-within-dreams dreams. However, don’t let that put you off seeing Inception. A visually stunning film with a great concept and execution. Well worth the entrance fee.

Apart from that, we have also worked our way through Six Feet Under, all five seasons.

So, we haven’t left the flat much. However, we have been having adventures, adventures in food. I really enjoy cooking. I like finding recipes and then giving it a go, seeing if it works out. maria has also joined in with this, producing some fantastic meals. We spent some time plotting quitting teaching/photography, and setting up a restaurant instead. But, gentle reader, you have no need to panic just yet. We’ve decided that the restaurant business won’t work, and we’ll just stick to what we do for the time being.

Posted in holiday diary, holiday post | 3 Comments »

two weeks’ work destroyed

Posted by willkay on July 18, 2010

So, my holiday project, Grow-A-Beard was going really well. And when I say “well” I mean “well” in the sense that I was growing a beard. In all other aspects of my life, the project was not going “well”. Those of you who have been students of mine will have heard Roald Dahl’s description of men’s beards, from The Twits. Those of you who haven’t been students of mine, go read The Twits to discover that Mr. Dahl does not have a very high opinion of beards. At one point in the book, he raises the question: do men have to shampoo and condition their beards? I don’t know the answer to that exactly, as my beard never quite got long enough, but I can vouch for the fact that they are itchy. Very itchy. You know how scratchy and itchy and annoying your dad’s beard was when he kisses you goodnight? How he will sometimes scratch your face (or in my dad’s case, pull up my shirt and rub his chin on my tummy)? Well, take it from me, it is ten times itchier and scratchier and annoying (-er) on the other side. Yes, beards are awful to try and grow. And, as you probably noticed, the weather changed mid-week. Suddenly the sun shone, the temperature rose, and everything became more and more itchy. Friday night I shaved.

Apart from that, there isn’t a lot to report about week two of the holidays. I visited school one afternoon – I need to update my papers so that I can work in Mexico -, went shopping a couple of times, paid off the phone/electricity/water/mobile bills, watched a lot of cycling – La Tour de France, played a lot of Animal Crossing and finally got some peach trees to grow.

So ends week two. How’s it going with you?

Posted in holiday diary, holiday post | 5 Comments »


Posted by willkay on July 12, 2010

That Was The Week That Was = TWTWTW = hence TW3

The wonderful Scarlatte has continued blogging throughout the holidays (you are reading?), and has finally shamed me into updating this place. Well, she didn’t shame me, my own sense of shame kicked in, and here I am.

Monday 5th: Went to school. Delivered DVDs. Yes, maria finished working on all the photos, burned two (TWO) DVDs of photos for every child, and we handed them over. I also signed my contract (Hurray!). It appears that no matter how bad the students were in the Bees, nor how many times I had managed to get things wrong, I still have a job. Phew!

Great excitement for me, I found a place (on the internet) where I can get coverage of The Tour de France. This is a three week bike race round France. Obviously, it isn’t cricket, but nothing says summer holidays (and stress-free relaxing) to me as much as laying around the flat, watching 198 men cycle round France. (As opposed to watching 22 men stand around a field in England, playing cricket.)

Tuesday 6th: Tuesday is 2×1 Pizza day!! This means that we are slobbing out all day, and eating Pizza. Yes, we stayed in our jim-jams (that’s pyjamas to you) all day while I tried to convince maria that watching men cycling for three hours was interesting. She wasn’t convinced, and spent some time on Animal Crossing (did I mention I have a Wii?).We also got to watch Uruguay go out of the World Cup. This was a disappointment to maria, who had been supporting the Uruguayan team from the beginning – based on the fact that they had “proper footballer’s hair“.

Wednesday 7th: Following on from 2×1 Pizza day, today was 2×1 at the Cinema day! Wow, I really know how to show a girl a good time – and one that doesn’t cost me much as well??? I do not enjoy horror movies, am not keen on endoftheworldapocalypse scenarios, and will definitely avoid zombie films. So, after watching the Spanish team crush and humiliate the German team (in a way that the English team could never have done) we went to see The Crazies (that’s “El Dia del Apocalipsis” to you). Oops. Just because a film is called The Crazies and has Timothy Olyphant in it, doesn’t mean it’s a comedy western!! Nope, it was a zombie film. Or, at least we think it was a zombie film because we didn’t get to see the whole thing. Thirty minutes into the film, there was an earthquake. No, not in the film, nor was it the rumbling from The Prince of Persia next door, it was a real earthquake! The film got stuck in the projector and melted! Plus, we were all evacuated from the cinema! We left, and went to TGIFridays for dinner.

Thursday 8th: Since coming to Mexico I have only had a curry (an Indian meal) three times. Three curries in (nearly) five years. This is unusual as I would have probably had three curries a month (minimum), back in England. However, as luvverly as the meals had been, I had not had onion bhajis. I woke up, on Thursday morning, desperate for onion bhajis! After searching the internet for recipes, I armed myself with a very long list of spices, and set out for the border. Unfortunately my visa had expired, and the queue to cross the border (and then the queue to renew my visa) was enormous – it looked like a minimum three hour wait – so we set off looking for spices in Tijuana. Thursday night, we sat down to eat home-cooked onion bhajis. They were not good.

Friday 9th: It took two hours to cross the border and renew my visa. Then it was off to Hillcrest. One stop in Trader Joe’s, one stop in Whole Foods, $100 lighter in wallet, $100 worth of spices heavier, and we set off home again. That night I produced onion bhajis, pillau rice, chicken tikka masala, chicken madras, a vegetable curry, riata, and two different types of naan bread (I bought the bread) for friends. We ate and ate and ate. And there was still some left!

Saturday 10th: Ate curry.

Sunday 11th: Ate curry.

Monday 12th: Will not be eating curry today. It is a rest day on The Tour de France. There is no more World Cup (for another 1432 days, until it all starts again in Brazil). So, there isn’t anything to do this morning…except write a post. How’s your holiday going?

Posted in holiday post | 1 Comment »

(playas) Saturday

Posted by willkay on April 11, 2010

We went to Playas on Saturday morning, for a walk on the beach. It is always something I enjoy, I like watching the ocean, and the waves are better than waves in England. In England the beaches on the east coast, where I spent a lot of time holidaying, are much flatter. When the tide goes it, it reveals a huge area of sand. If you go paddling in the water, you can often walk quite far out to sea. This is not so on the Pacific coast. The beach drops off very quickly and this means that you get very big waves.

Of course, the other thing that fascinates me at Playas is the border. I find it fascinating that an arbitrary line can exist, drawn out into the ocean. There have been some changes made to the border fence at Playas. From the Mexican side it looks like:

The American side has also been changed. They have moved the fence back about 15 metres. This gives a clear space between the two fences. However, it has caused a slight problem. There is a small garden on the Mexican side, and there was a small garden on the American side. These gardens were made three years ago by school children. When the Americans moved the fence back, they dug up the garden on their side.  This was a strange thing to do as the plants chosen for the garden were indigenous, which meant that they wouldn’t need watering. This means that there is only a garden left on the Mexican side. However, that may not be for long. If you have been to Playas recently you will know that they are building all along the beachside, and upgrading the whole area. The teacher who helped plant the garden is worried that it will be dug up. This would be a shame. If they do decide to dig up the garden he is planning a “sit in“. I hope it doesn’t get that far.

Posted in holiday post, mexico, youtube | Leave a Comment »

(the pool) Wednesday

Posted by willkay on April 8, 2010

Miroslava writes:

Hi, everyone!!!

On Wednesday Scarlatte and I went to the pool. I started without her because her parents went to a class. I called her and she told me that her parents would take her to Club Britania at 3:30-3:45…well she arrived at 5:00 o’ clock.

In the pool the water was cold, but who cares? The climate was hot. While I was waiting for Scarlatte to arrive I played with some friends. Then she finally arrived…when I was eating some donuts (sorry Maria, they were chocolate donuts). Then we went into the pool and I introduced her to my friends. We played a little bit more and I went to tennis class. We only played 45 minutes!!!

Then one of my friends, Lizeth, noticed that I only had one earring. I had lost my earring!  Scarlatte and I searched EVERYWHERE but couldn’t find it. After tennis class Scarlatte and I went into the pool and we found it…

…but we couldn’t get it out. We tried everything but we could not take it out.

Then she went to my new house and it turned out to be a sleepover. Later I will send some photos Mr.Kay.

Posted in holiday post, student post | 4 Comments »

(saw an alien) Tuesday

Posted by willkay on March 31, 2010

After Sunday’s trip to the zoo and the (over) 10km that was walked, we had a restful Monday – or at least a day without leaving the flat. For Maria it was a day of work, spending seven hours sat at the computer fixing photos, making students look beautiful by getting rid of the odd blemish/spot or orange tinge at the corners of mouths (mmmmm, Cheetos). This meant that I was free to surf the internet and read. Yes, read! With no interruptions. Sheer bliss.

Tuesday morning was slightly clouded over. A quick check of the weather forecast revealed that it was going to get colder, with a chance of rain, as the week progressed. If we were going to be locked into the house later in the week, we decided to cross the border and use up a gift from Miss Lilian, tickets to the Aliens exhibition at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

Before you enter the Aliens exhibit, in fact before you enter the main museum, there is a chance to see the capsule from Apollo 9. If you are in Balboa Park near the Air and Space Museum, go into the museum. You can look at the capsule without paying an entrance fee. It is amazing to see how cramped (small) the actual capsule is. Three astronauts, trapped inside such a small space. It would freak me out. Also you can see underneath the capsule, and how on re-entry the bottom of the capsule was affected by the heat. Fascinating.

The actual Aliens exhibit is fairly interesting. It starts with a look at aliens in popular culture, how we have envisaged them in television and films. This meant that Maria got to see some Clangers! This was a television programme from my childhood, that obviously did not make it across the Atlantic Ocean. Thus few Mexicans would recognise a Clanger, even if they were offering them soup from the Soup Dragon. Other exhibits were more familiar, from E.T. to Predator. The display showed how to make/draw aliens so that they are more appealing. As humans we like creatures with big heads and large eyes. This is because babies have big heads and big eyes. If you give an alien these attributes then we see them as “friendly”. Oddly, the exhibit also had some information about how vampires and Dr. Frankenstein’s monster have been portrayed in movies. (Note: I have called it Frankenstein’s monster because Frankenstein is the name of the doctor that created the monster. The monster, in the book, has no name.) This was slightly confusing at first, as I didn’t understand what vampires/monsters had to do with aliens. However, the next exhibit took the strangeness even further, an octopus. Think how strange an octopus is: eight legs; huge head (that contains all of its organs); three hearts; a parrot’s beak. In fact many creatures, on Earth or under the sea, are completely alien when compared to what we accept as normal: two legs, two arms, a head, a face, etc. In the final exhibit room, there was a chance to look at the inhabitants of two other worlds. These were computer generated, but the research had been done into two planets that might sustain life, and what that life might look like. All in all, it was a very interesting exhibit, that included many ideas that we will cover in science, and some that we have covered in English – does anyone remember the story of the travelling zoo? Or even the aliens that the sixth grade wrote about?

The Aliens exhibit empties out into the main museum. Here there are plenty of exhibits from the history of flying. It was interesting for me to note how many names I recognised from the display of German World War One Fighter Pilots. Of course, I also recognised Snoopy. It was also fascinating for me to discover how much I knew about the Second World War, as fought in Europe.

All in all, it was a highly enjoyable time. Before we knew it, they were shutting the museum down, around us. We had become so involved in the whole thing, that  we hadn’t noticed what the time was.

So, that was how I spent my Tuesday. I know that Professor Humberto has spent most of this week working on the school’s website. You have been and seen the website haven’t you? It looks very nice. I know that Miss Lilian went into hospital yesterday for surgery on her knee. You do read her blog don’t you? I know what Maria has been doing, and soon you’ll be able to see her pictures up on her Flickr page. I know that Ana Karen hasn’t done much this holiday. However, I haven’t heard from anyone else. What have you done this holiday? What are you looking forward to doing? Do drop me a comment or an email.

Posted in holiday post, science | 1 Comment »


Posted by willkay on March 27, 2010

[This is a sticky post. This means it will stay at the top always. If you’ve read this post, scroll down and check if the blog has been updated.]

A challenge for my students. Why don’t you write a post for this blog? During the holidays I am sure that many of you will be doing fun, interesting things. Why don’t you write a quick blog post that tells your classmates what you did? You can email the post to me, and I will put it up here, on the blog. You can also include pictures. Just attach the pictures to the email. I’ll do all the hard work. I’ll check your spelling and grammar, then post. You can email me at:


you just need to remove the [ ] (square brackets). Tell me if you’ve been somewhere, tell me if you’ve read a book, tell me if you’ve just got a new high score on your video game. Feel free to write to me, and I will post your updates. Or, you could just use the comment box on this post.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Posted in holiday post | 2 Comments »

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