Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother…

Today’s Much Love Monday is brought to you by the Bee Gees with Stayin’ Alive. 

Mostly this is a follow on from the very cool emergence of the French Olympics team into the arena on Friday night – the French who you often think of as being so uber-cool, not given to silliness, had one contestant who was clearly enjoying this track very much.

I also love the John Travolta walk to this at the beginning of Saturday Night Fever. Surely this movie is about as influential as it gets. Can’t everyone do the John Travolta dance? Today, I’m going to walk with Stayin Alive in my head and see if it gives me a bounce. I’m sure it can’t help but… Not only that, but does anything capture the exuberance of the Seventies like this film does? Plus, men who can dance = hot. Well, not Wayne Sleep, particularly, but the young, snake-hipped John Travolta is always going to bring a smile to my face.

My favourite primary school teacher, Mr Parks, is responsible for several things in my life. One is an endearing love of Danny, the Champion of the World, which he read to us in the afternoons. He’d let us put our head on the desk and just listen. He was a fantastic storyteller, and an amazing teacher. When we had to write about our most inspiring teacher as new recruits to the profession, I wrote about Mr Parks. To this eight-year-old girl, he was my hero. He also had two framed art pieces of Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease. It was a long time before I saw him again – he was Jake’s Year 5 teacher, and like meeting a movie star, he was much smaller in real life, and seemed much more gentle. I remember this flame-haired giant who ruled the class. Strict but fair. I slammed a desk lid down on Lee Simms’ head and he gave me a good telling-off. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I’d let someone down quite so much. He kept a slipper on top of the blackboard, and he slippered Simon Mills once. I don’t remember why. I bet it was warranted though. You never felt his rules were arbitrary or whimsical, and you wanted to stay on the good side of him.

He kept a fish tank in the classroom and I always thought that as a teacher, you should show a little of your soul and personality too. It worked. I think children need to see their teachers as real people – someone who does things and is interesting to them, as well as interested by them.

Much Love, too, to my lovely, lovely friends. Caroline had an Olympic themed barbecue yesterday – and a full-on Olympic party for the children, including all kinds of races. Some people have a gift with children, and she’s one of them. At one point, I thought she was like the Pied Piper, and she could have led the fifteen willing children off into the distance. What I love most about it is that it replicates to some degree the kind of childhood I had where friends and family would get together with fair regularity and we had a merry band of brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, add-ons and strays. I lived on a little cul-de-sac and there were children in virtually every house. Nobody threw us Olympic parties, and nobody had a pool, but it’s nice that there’s an extended group of children off all ages, from tots to teens. The group is fluid and dynamic, and that’s nice too. Dogs, kids, husbands and babies – everyone is welcome.

And there’s always great, great food. It’s no wonder I can’t lose any weight.

Everyone should have the privilege of growing up in a world like that, in the safety of a huge net of friends and family.

So Much Love to you all this Monday. May you have as lovely a day as I did yesterday!



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