A Heartfelt Message Touches My Heart <3

Status Update: Just had one of the Boarders from the Jets Unit put a card under my office door, that reads:

Dear Mr. Smith, thank you for the awesome party last night to celebrate my 12th Birthday. I loved the disco and karaoke and enjoyed watching you and Kyle singing Goodbye by the Spice Girls.

Thanks for a party I will never forget and the best birthday ever.

(Young Persons Name, which has been omitted)

I am really touched by the card!

Blast From The Past

Our Super NES came today, which we got on Ebay, so we could do a bit of Retro Gaming. So for this week’s Family night, we have been playing Mario 3 on the NES and completing it without warping, with each of the kids playing a act on each world, before passing to the next person. Kyle and I however, played the Doom Ships, as they are really tricky to navigate.

2 and a half hours later and we have finally managed to reach King Koopa and the epic final Boss Battle with King Koopa on the battlements of his castle in Dark Land. (A sinister land, where it is cold; creepy and very dangerous, with all sorts of  traps and several Doom Ship convoys.

Super Mario Bros. 3 Final Battle, on the Battlements of King Koopa’s Castle (World 8)

The final battle was played by each of us, (Even though we all ended up dying and having to pass the controller round again!) but it was Kyrylo who skillfully defeated King Koopa and rescued the Princess Toadstool.

The final battle is very tricky. You need to avoid Koopa’s “butt stomp attacks” and his fireballs, (Caused by his hideous bad breath! You need to get him to butt stomp the battlements, so that the layers of brick are reduced. In between his attacks, you need to make him break the 3 layers of bricks, so he falls to his death. (Yes, it sounds grim, I know!) Once you have done that, a door will open and you will be able to rescue the Princess Toadstool! (Were Nintendo high on drugs when they created the Super Mario Bros???!!)

Anyway, below is a video of the final battle, so you can see for yourselves. (We didn’t make the video btw, we grabbed it off Youtube.)

Anyway, it was a fun night for all and in a way was a good team building exercise, as we all had to work together to complete the game!

Blocked Toilets are Never Fun!

I have had the not so pleasant job of unblocking one of the toilets on the Birds Unit this evening. What I hoped to be a simple job, became more complex as it went on. One of the younger kids had decided to shove their Pull Ups Training Pants down the toilet, instead of doing the more sensible thing and to put them in the nappy bin by the sink. Flushing the toilet caused the pants to get stuck, thus causing a blockage. At this moment in time, I had no idea what had caused the blockage.

This isn’t your usual plunger jobbie tho. This particular toilet is connected to a Macerator, due to it’s location. Many toilets on this side of the building have macerators, due to constraints on the drains. A Macerator is a centrifugal pump which is equipped with a cutting system to facilitate chopping/maceration of solids that are present in the pumped liquid. The shredded matter is then pumped down narrower pipes, to the drain stack, where it continues it’s journey to the Main Sewer.

Here’s how it works:


Firstly, when you flush the loo or empty the sink, the valve on the inlets open and allow water to be sucked in by the pump impeller. The waste travels into the grinding chamber, where steel blades shred it and turn it into pulp.  Once it has been pulped, the waste shoots through a non return valve, out the outlet pipe and into the drain pipes.  If the pressure of the incoming water is too high, a pressure valve opens in the pressure chamber, allowing the liquid to leave the unit, via the drain pipes.

Of course, training pants will naturally block the system. However, it does not always reach the blades and often can be pulled out using a flexible drain rod, with a small hook fitting. The drain rod, allows you to anchor the hook in the blockage and pull it free. In my case, I it conformed my suspicions that something non flushable had been put down the loo.  So it called for more tools, as I would have to take the macerator apart and clear the blockage.


Birds and Jets Units Electrical Distribution Cupboard (Distribution Board)

For this, I had to go to the Unit Distribution Cupboard and switch off the breaker for the Macerators. Next, using a wet and dry vacuum cleaner, I sucked the water out the toilet. Next, I switched off the water at the screw valve and then unbolted the pan from the floor. I disconnected the flush pipe and removed the bowl. Thankfully, the training pants were just inside the macerator inlet, so I was able to use a gloved hand to remove it and then put the toilet back together. Finally, I used the blow setting on the vacuum cleaner to blow the water back into the toilet. (Don’t worry, I disinfected the inside of the machine after and I also cleaned the toilet surfaces and the floor where I had been working. JOB DONE! 🙂

The Kids Are Back!

The kids have returned after the summer break. On Friday, the Teachers had their INSET Day, (Teacher Training Day)  which happens before the autumn term starts. The first day of school is always very busy for Kyle and I. We have quite a few new Boarders starting, so there is plenty of paperwork for Kyle to complete. Boarders who were on Birds and Jets Units, have now moved to either Oaks, Acorns, Foxes or Squirrels Unit.

As for me, I have been on my usual workload as Site Manager, but I also gave a talk in this morning’s assembly, (which I do every year) about safety around the school, what to do if the fire alarms go off, (I use a CD I made that has the different fire alarm tones (Intermittent Warning Bells and Continuous Ringing of the fire bells –  Evacuation) as well as what to do if see a stranger etc)

To improve security around the site, the Reception Desk at the base of Junior House is now manned 24 \ 7 by Security Staff. They allow the kids through the interior security doors to the stairs \ lift and corridor to the ground floor units, as well as phoning the offices on the 4th floor, when there a visitors that need greeting, plus monitoring the CCTV and patrolling the grounds on a regular basis. Our security team are friendly and professional and like any other member of non teaching \ admin staff, wear blue school polo shirts and wear photographic ID, so that they can be recognised easily. There are always 3 security staff on duty at one time. 2 monitor the network of 50 cameras, which protect the school, (Inside and outside) with one security officer patrolling the exterior of the grounds once a hour. The other member of security is on Junior House Reception. Security report directly to me, if there is a problem and know how to page me, call my office and know my home and mobile contact numbers; if needed.

A hour and 5 mins till I knock off and there is so much still to do, so for now I will say tara and get on with some work!