Friday, February 28, 2003

Am too drunk to hit the right keys. Going to bed. Will write tomorrow. G'night.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Drink with bubbles. Food with smoked salmon. Now on duty - far too giggly for own good. Managed to do convincing teacher act for 6th form, but cracked when it came to A block (year 10, or 4th year in old money) and am now committed to a plot that involves dressing a guitar case up in clothes and passing it off as a member of the lower sixth. Ah. I am truly the consumate professional.


Inspectors gone. Feedback given. Sigh of relief and big smiles all round. Wine and nibbles start at 6m...bring it on!!

I've done so much tidying up today that I've discovered vast tracts of floor that I never knew existed. Old letters, odd socks and a small indigenous tribe have all come to light in the last 24 hours. A team of anthropologists have moved into my bedroom to study the life and habits of these odds-and-ends. The socks, they have decided, are definitely solitary creatures: they show no tendency to form into pairs, preferring instead to lurk alone in corners and under cupboards. The indigenous tribe are proving more troublesome. Uprooted by the destruction of their natural habitat, they are quickly becoming a small indignant tribe and are now seeking shelter in the bathroom (one of the few areas not yet hit by manic tidying) while seeking some form of compensation through the legal system. Concerns about their future are, however, unfounded. By this time next week, chaos will have descended again and piles of marking will be scattered once more across the great rolling plains of Planet Mad. Until that moment, it's quite nice to have a tidy flat.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Too late. Ginger biscuits all gone. Desired level of sogginess not reached. Harrumph.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

By the way - my ginger biscuits are still crunchy. I'd like them to be soggy. If I'm not careful I'll have eaten them all before they reached the desired level of sogginess. Pah.

Didn't manage to cause any more upset today: good thing. Managed to sound intelligent and responsbile at a Scout/Guide meeting: good thing. Drank 3 gin & orange juices: good thing. Had a lovely chat with 2 colleagues - this insepction is really pulling us together: good thing. Have to get up early tomorrow morning and do some photocopying: not good thing. Guess you can't win everything all of the time.

5.32pm. The phone rings on Planet Mad. I can tell it's an internal call from the ring tone: obviously a colleague - probably Kate or Ian. Which unconventional answering style to use? I decide on "Bonjour".

"Hello Madeleine."

Deep male voice - who could it be? He continues...

"Or should I say Bonjour? It's the Headmaster here."

Ah. Whoops. Double whoops.

It's just been one of those days. And it's not over yet.

Well - that's it. All three official lesson observations done and dusted. Thankfully it all went well, although I suspect that I am now a candidate for the Memory Loss of the Year Award 2003. Why? It goes something like this:
[the scene is Mad's classroom, full of attentive 6th form who have just worked really hard all lesson. At the front of the classroom is an inspector who has looked vaguely interested for most of the lesson]
Me: Well, you've all worked very well this lesson. Next lesson we're going to look at law, and how it affects businesses. There are four main areas of law that will affect a business; those areas are employment law, health and safety legislation, competition law and...eurm... Well, I know that there are four areas, but I can't remember the last one. Aaah.
[Inspector smiles and makes a surreptitious note]

That's me in trouble then. Pants.

Monday, February 24, 2003

A final thought before retiring gracefully to bed (if such a thing is possible). There is a limit to the amount of stress that one person can be put through. I know one colleague who has worked continuously today from 4pm until 10.30pm at least (if not more) and is still stressing about tomorrow's lessons. Me: I've admitted defeat graciously, and have done nothing work-related since 4.30pm. I suspect that I'll be the one still smiling at the end of the week.

Other than dunking them in tea, of course.

How do you make ginger biscuits go soggy?

Day one of I-week done and dusted. One lesson observed, two more to go tomorrow. I've been so relaxed today that I've started singing again: whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on how musical you are! This is the first day in weeks that I've felt "back to normal" - if such a thing is possible - and it's been great. Today I've taught, run netball, played in string orchestra and managed to drink in two of Repton's finest hostelries. I lost convincingly in my first game of snooker (despite a 40 point headstart!) and then raised a few eyebrows by shouting "YES, YES, YES" whilst carrying out a victory lap of honour for potting a red ball (my only pot of the evening) in the second game. Got to go and read blogs. More later. (Only coz I can't co-ordinate reading and typing at the same time - too much of Mr Pedigree's finest, methinks!)

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Just in from school's Taize service. The simplicity of the service really appeals to my inner minimalist, what with the silent reflection and the chants that seem simple yet contain such complex harmonies. Guess I'm just a sucker for haunting tunes.

On a slightly more mundane note, I've met the inspector who's checking our department this week. I'm being observed once tomorrow and twice on Tuesday, and he's not watching any of my icky arrogant "I'm a spoilt sixteen year old with an attitude problem and far too much money" classes, so that's even better!! To top it all off, my horoscope this week says

This week should be more calm than the last two. You get a chance to pick up the pieces and reorganize any aspect of your life that seemed to have become unglued by recent events.

That's a relief!! :-)

This week I shall be mostly teaching ratio analysis to my GCSE groups. I will be using real figures from two of my favourite companies: Cadburys and Thorntons. I contemplated using examples from the accounts of alcoholic beverage manufacturers, but - given the potential presence of inspectors - have decided against it. This rational chain of thought worries me. Perhaps I am growing up.

Went back to bed, so have managed a total of about twelve and a half hours sleep!! I feel FANTASTIC!!!!!! Shame I've got to waste this lovely afternoon on marking, tidying, ironing and general preparation for I-week. Sigh.

My first Sunday morning lie-in for 6 weeks has just been destroyed by someone phoning up and asking for a document to be emailed to them urgently. Bastards.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

It's been another manic day here on Planet Mad: school all morning, then off to Derby for a Guide thang all afternoon and evening where I met up unexpectedly with a friend from Durham. Highlight of the day: leading the audience participation singing for 1,000 people. Lowlight of the day: tiny Rainbow holding my hand then bursting into tears. Apparently it was because she didn't get a chocolate, not an expression of her feelings about me. Given my success rate with small children, I suspect otherwise.

Friday, February 21, 2003

How old would you think you were, if you woke up one morning and couldn't remember?
Quite a poser, that question. Once upon a time, when I was young and had my own teeth and hair, I was able to stay up night after night. I could be found in bars, pubs, clubs and - on odd occasions - in the spod centre manically trying to research and write an entire essay between the hours of 11pm and 9am. Yesterday's little adventure into Late Night Land has made me appreciate quite how old I am. Those carefree days of all-night parties followed immediately by 9 o'clock lectures are rapidly fading in the distance, and soon I will be making a request that no-one phones me after 8.30pm, as I will be tucked up in bed with a good book and a mug of cocoa. However, those days are not here yet and I will be fighting kicking and screaming before I join the "growed up and sensible" brigade.
I reckon I'd be about 18 or 19.

It's jut gone 4pm and my brain is fried. Given the lack of sleep, today has been remarkably successful, but I'm starting to flag now so I'm off for a nap. I'd better walk home first though - I suspect that sleep-induced dribble on my department's computer keyboard will not make me popular.

Late night marking. Pah. Should be fast asleep by now, but have drunk so much tea that I'm destined to spend most of the night staring manically into space and will finally wake up in the morning with an evil caffeine hangover. Oh well - it'll make tomorrow's teaching interesting...

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Late night musings - serious content alert
It is rare that I am completely honest. Not - I hasten to add - that I pathologically lie or fib deliberately. If I do sometimes stretch the truth a little, it's done to make people laugh. My dishonesty (such as it is) arises from the veneer of happiness that I hide behind, choosing to keep my thoughts and worries to myself by presenting a blase face to the world. It's not often that I admit to feeling anything other than confident and happy, even though I may be a squirming bundle of nerves or very upset. Now, however, I am feeling sleepy and incapable of pretending any more, and I admit that I am worried about next week's inspection. The advance party of inspectors descend in two days' time, followed by their cronies on Monday, and they will be in school until Thursday. I am scared that they will see beyond the facade and realise that I am not very organised, am worried that I will not get everything prepared in time, am petrified that they will realise that I am a fraud. I can tell that I am worried because I have stopped smiling, because I am less patient than normal, because I no longer sing at every possible opportunity. I usually live for each day, but I can't wait for next week to be over. I hate living like this.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Y'know that floaty feeling you get when you've drunk a few pints and everything is a bit blurry but not spinning excessively? I've got that now. Shame it's a school night.

Twice in the past 24 hours I've been mistaken for someone far younger than I actually am. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. After all, I'm no longer look young enough to blag cheap cinema tickets, yet I may still have to endure the embarrassing discussion that goes something like this:
Me: A pint of your finest beer, please barman.
Barman: Do you have any ID on you?
Me: Eurm - no.
Barman: Why not?
Me: Because I don't have any.
Barman: Why not?
Me: Because I am 26, I left university long before the millennium celebrations, and have been a responsible professional for over 4 years.
Barman: Whoops.

A reader writes (how exciting - I've always wanted to be able to start with that phrase...!!)

Searching for yourself on Google is the first sign of madness, you know. But then I suppose someone with your name has an excuse.

Well, that's me in trouble then. I won't admit to knowing the fact that if a google search of UK sites for Mad scubber leads straight to a most frightening picture of me with hang-over eyes and early-morning hair. Such is the price of fame, y'know!

Sunday, February 16, 2003

My horoscope for the coming week:

How many more interesting weeks can you cope with? You seem to have been having one after the other for quite some time now.

Too true, and now I'm very tired. Off to bed, methinks. G'night all.

Hectic life on Planet Mad this weekend, consisting of SSAGO, SAGGA, school, GaSCiT 2003, Sainsburys, Pizza Hut and the cinema. These are arranged in order from most dull to most exciting. Two things worry me about this list. One - it is VERY long, given that the list only covers a day and a half, and therefore implies that I do too much. Two - although the cinema is allowable excitment (I watched Two Weeks' Notice and enjoyed it a lot), the other entries in today's Top Three were rated so highly because they involve food. There is obviously nothing more exciting in this teacher's life than the opportunity to stuff her face with nosh!! No wonder the education system's on its knees!! Of course, the other thing that strikes me about this list is that every single organisation/event/business/thing has its own web presence. I'm sure there's a highly philosophical line of thought to be taken here, but I've not really got to grips with it all yet - I'm off to do some baking. (See - food again!!)

Friday, February 14, 2003

Valentine's Day. Ick.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Tidbits from Googlism (and some thoughts about them):
mad is bad
mad is totally mad
mad is turning 50 later this year - news to me. Bet it'll be a bit of a shock to my mother too.
mad is a place where everyone is accepted - yup - have reached real lows of desperation: the only criteria now is that the man breathes!
mad is not bad - cf #1
mad is in great shape for this time of year - normally her bottom's much bigger in February!
mad is not one of a kind - feel sorry for the others who are like me
mad is now actively seeking to expand - oh yes - bring on the food!!
mad is a fun game
mad is open to card - Visa, Mastercard, name it, I'm open!
mad is currently unavailable - unless you're a man that breathes.
mad is not ideal - as many men across the country will no doubt tell you
mad is 3 - bit of a shock: thought I was turning 50 later this year. Would rather be 3 than 50
mad is the best - who can argue with that?! ;-)

Early one morning, long before the sun got out of bed and the cold light crept between the curtains, the alarm sounded in her bedroom. She rolled over, hoping to snooze until the last possible minute. Then she remembered the job she had to do. She sprang from her bed, quickly dressed and headed out. A brisk walk through the near-deserted streets took her to her destination. Stealthily she unlocked the door, and slipped inside before anyone saw her. She knew that her reputation would be in tatters if anyone saw, or even suspected what she was about to do. However, it had to be done. She'd procrastinated for long enough. She glanced at her watch; it was just gone 7a.m. She sat down, put on her glasses and took out her red pen. "Ah well," she thought, "Let the marking begin...."

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Today, I...
Slept - a good thing.
Collected - one Amazon delivery that was being held for me at the village Post Office. Another good thing.
Shopped - for milk, eggs and stuff, intending to bake.
Baked - nothing. Ran out of time. Good job I bought ready-made biscuits as well as the ingredients.
Marked - one class set of work. This is good, although another 6 sets of marking still remain undone. This is not good.
Ho hum.

Half term has been and (almost) gone. Just one more day of freedom before the daily grind starts again. So, what's been happening?

The last three days have been a veritable culinary voyage of discovery, with meals eaten in Liverpool, Bishops Stortford, London and Cambridge (in that order!). I've caught up with some old friends and met some new people, talked about serious issues and then silly things, felt happy and now I feel tired, but above all I feel relaxed. Bet that feeling won't last long though!!

Highlight: Hard to choose, but probably Monday evening in a bar near the London Eye (le date chaud, mais oui!)
Lowlight: losing the carrier bag containing new CDs, a book and post-it notes. I must have put it down somewhere in London during Monday evening, but I have absolutely no idea where it is. Anyone nicking it will have a nasty shock though - the CDs are not just classical music, but classical viola music, and the book's about economics!! The post-it notes were - admittedly - in the shape of a speech bubble and therefore very cool, but could easily be obtained without the associated stress of discovering that you've nicked recordings of someone playing the viola!! Serves 'em right!! :-)

Friday, February 07, 2003

Am contemplating doing something radical. Trouble is, I don't know what, exactly, to do. I have a lovely 3 week window of opportunity (i.e. holiday!) coming up, but have no idea what to do in it.

Part of me would like to return to Italy, and specifically to Verona (which is my favourite city). It's beautiful, compact, friendly and has the most fantastic bar called the Rivamancina where they serve the most fantastic cocktails: it's a local bar not a tourist bar, so even better for that authentic Italian feel.

However, most of me longs for somewhere slightly more off the beaten track. I might just go here and pick a country that sounds exciting. Here maybe, or here. A jaunt here would be nice, but sadly I don't think the credit card would stand it.

Perusal of has found over 1,500 package holidays (like this one in Goa) that fit my criteria - how on earth am I meant to choose?!

Suggestions on a postcard please.

Only one night, 4 more lessons and a parents' meeting to go before exeat starts, which in any other school would be called half term. Quick - crack open the wine!! ;-)

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Have been doing a credible headless chicken impression for the past two days, culminating in a treble-booking yesterday evening. Work progresses as ever: a mixture of marking, preparation, teaching and pastoral care. Today was the annual steeplechase - an innocent sounding yet deceptively nasty cross-country race, where finishers are awarded points for their house. This means that the kids spend all of their time trying to find an excuse to get out of it, whilst the housemasters and mistresses, constantly after more silverware to add to the house trophy cabinet, spend their time rounding up the shirkers and forcing the fake-invalid whingers to get off their arses and out into the mud. Needless to say, us sadistic teachers have no intention of running, and so merely stand around to watch the limping, muddy, and - on occasion - bleeding children return to the school, offering smiles, encouragement and chocolate. Yes - that's right: they made me the chocolate monitor. What a great job: endless gratitude from your customers and all the chocolate you can eat! Hurrah!! :-)




Tuesday, February 04, 2003

BTW, snow is falling at last! And it's sticking. I get no better feeling than the happy surge of joy caused by seeing falling snow. Probably a good job I don't live in the Antarctic, or I'd be Mrs Blissed Out.

Roadworks block the main route into the village from the A38/A50. This means that the morning rat race of commuters heading off to work in the nearby towns have been diverted, and I no longer get to gloat in their general direction as I enjoy my five minute walk to work. I used to commute 30 minutes each way whilst in County Durham (unless stuck behind a tractor, which happened more often than not!) and I quite enjoyed the drive as it gave me time to plan my lessons (in the morning) and completely unwind after teaching Daniel Pritchard (in the afternoons). Now, I just get to stagger home carrying armfuls of marking... it's the closest I get to exercise from one week to the next!

Sunday, February 02, 2003

What a day. I've spent a lot of time trying to organise my Guide district, and I expect that it's going to absorb a lot more time and energy before it's finally sorted and running as I want it. It's a small district (only 5 units) but it's not had a 'real' district commissioner for over a year, so there are all sorts of loose ends to sort out. Two out of the five units are having problems with their bank accounts, and I've spent a lot of today on the phone trying to find out exactly who's got which cheque book and the location of each set of accounts. My head hurts.

Mind you, I've also planned my half term (London, complete with le date chaud avec le bon Chris), done a couple of sets of marking, written all of my internal reports for the juniors, plus one set of internal reports for the sixth form, supported the school's First XI boys' hockey team in the county championship (we lost on penalties), did chapel, lunch and tea in the house, wrote to some people, spoke to my dad, sorted out some GaSCiT stuff and... um... something else. I think. To be honest, it hasn't felt like a particularly productive day, but when it's all written down it looks horribly impressive. And this was my day off. Is it any wonder that I'm single - after all, when would I find time to have a boyfriend?! ;-)

Philosophical alert - she's been thinking again! You can tell there's marking to be done on Planet Mad!!
The other day, whilst browsing in one of the CD shops in the bustling metropolis that is Burton-upon-Trent, I found myself feeling bereft that I had not recently induldged in one of my favourite pastimes, namely the purchasing of recorded music. When I lived in Darlington I practically lived in HMV, and now I don't get out much so I never have the chance to acquire new choons. Whilst pondering this thought, I then realised that I had been indulging, but in a new and (some might say) slightly less exciting way. After all, does buying CDs on Amazon count as really buying them? Consider it: you don't get to handle the boxes, to read the inserts, to wander round the shop with a selection of six CDs that are all eligible for the four for twenty squid offer trying to decide which ones to reject. You don't even have the pleasure of buying albums at random because you like the cover, only to discover when you get home that you've made a bloody good choice and are now the proud owner of a CD that will remain in your car's CD player for the next three months (as happened with Mr Scruff's Trouser Jazz). Mind you, the excitement of getting parcels does cancel some of this out, and I will therefore continue to flex my plastic in the direction of the internet late at night when I've drunk slightly too much to remember exactly what I ordered, if only to keep my postman in a job. (I'll let you know how the purchases turn out when they arrive!!)

On another tack:

I'm terza rima, and I talk and smile.
Where others lock their rhymes and thoughts away
I let mine out, and chatter all the while.

I'm rarely on my own - a wasted day
Is any day that's spent without a friend,
With nothing much to do or hear or say.

I like to be with people, and depend
On company for being entertained;
Which seems a good solution, in the end.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Apparently I would be a cywydd llosgyrnog if I wans't a terza rima. So there you go!!

Have just remembered why I do this job. The sixth form came round after they'd been out to bar, so we've spent the last hour and half just sitting and chilling in my flat. Grooves provided by this album, drinks courtesy of Mad's drinks cupboard and entertainment provided by Fatso. A good feeling pervades.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Whoops. Spoke too soon. One girl's parents want her to fly back to the Ukraine immediately, another has gone missing, two more left a tap running in their bedroom and the water has come through the floor into the corridor below. It never rains but it pours. Someone remind me why I do this job?!

Blimey. Today's productive things: meeting washing up - done; cleaning out hamster - done; tidying up - semi-done. Mind you, it's Saturday evening, I'm on duty in the House all weekend so there's no chance of nipping out for a beer, I've got piles of marking to do, GaSCiT stuff has kicked in with a vengeance, my Guide district is falling apart around my ears and I'm still the snot monster from hell. It's going quite well, all things considered.