Tuesday, September 30, 2003

One thing to be said in favour of this weeks' silly workload - I'm running everywhere, so it's got to be increasing my general fitness. However, I'm fuelled by tea and chocolate, so even that's doubtful. Seems there is no hope.

My day so far:

Morning - sleepy teaching of sleepy kids, managing to record the Fimbles over my GCSE business studies video tape, feeble attempts at marking.

Afternoon - panic, stress, chaos, fear, nervous tension, frowns.

Now - am incarcerated in the school's IT centre desperately trying to work on decent computers, but having to use loud choons to block out the sound of the kids and therefore being distracted. Bah.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Have returned from D of E, which differed from all other D of E expeditions because of a fire alarm before even leaving Repton, a boy who turned up with a £10 note but no food, and a small incident involving a tennis ball and a girl's nose. Small blobs of ice falling from the inside of the tent door into my nice, warm sleeping bag were equally unpleasant, but an exciting discovery upon my return (a chocolate pudding hiding in the fridge, no less!) made up for all that. Off now for a shower, a snooze and then strings and singing... what a sibilant evening! :-)

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Mal sent me a long message on the trials and tribulations of classifying music by genre and I really want to reply. However, I've spent too long marking this evening and my body is turning quickly into a tea-filled pumpkin (just look at the time, boys n girls!). It'll just have to wait until after the weekend, which holds the delights (in chronological order) of:
Showing prospective parents round the school
More teaching
A beer festival in the bustling metropolis, in the company of Caz n Tom
DIY pizzas and chocolate pudding
Early Sunday morning start - aaargh!
An overnight Duke of Edinburgh expedition
Arrive home Monday evening
String orchestra
Singing rehearsal (ho ho!)


By the way, D of E should be entertaining - one of the boys in my group doesn't shut up. Ever. I will have the pleasure of his company all weekend. Believe me - my tent will be pitched at the opposite end of the field. I'm even contemplating taking ear plugs. Could be interesting...

Friday, September 26, 2003

First up, sympathy for my CD crisis. We like sympathy, especially about such crucial issues...

Donchya just hate it when that happens!

Indeedy-doo. Alas, last night I succumbed to a glass or two of wine, and had to postpone the re-arrangement. I did listen to some of the new additions though, and mighty fine they were too.

Today I have been mostly stressing about Repton Challenge, although I had to stop stressing in order to start teaching from time to time. Being off yesterday has confused me completely and I have no idea whether I'm coming or going.

(Actually, I can normally make a good guess at when I coming, but that's just not appropriate for the classroom, so I'll get my mind back out of the gutter. Pity the kids I have to go and teach now...)

Thursday, September 25, 2003


Too many CDs. Not enough shelves. Risk of mixing genres. It's all looking a bit dicey... might have to spend the evening re-arranging things.

A happy hour spent in my favourite record shop (where they put stickers on the CD boxes with helpful comments n reviews, and you get the impression that the assistants actually know what they're talking about) and a selection of yet more new CDs have helped the haze of self-pity to dissipate. Even more exciting is the prosepct of eating the baked chocolate cheesecake that's waiting in the fridge. Bwa-ha-ha!

I'm having what my friend Jen accurately describes as a "pity-party". Pity is good. Being ill is not. Having lots of marking to do is not. Having to juggle the politics of the prep-schools' challenge day is not. Bleurgh.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Well, that's another day gone, another week of term completed. I'm frightened how quickly it's all going, whizzing past at high speed, with scarcely time to catch breath. It's the little things that I'm missing, the things that added variety and interest - there's no time to read the paper at break, to have a laugh with mates, to catch up on the sixth form gossip. Busy, busy, silly, silly, silly busy. And dull.

But with a good soundtrack playing in the background.

Still suffering a manky cough. First lesson today, Sam (one of the upper sixth) looks at me with concern: "You're really ill. You should take the day off tomorrow." The girl next to her leans over and whispers in her ear. Sam looks even more concerned, and says, "Sorry miss - you can't take tomorrow: you don't teach us then. Take Friday instead."

Such sympathy!

In other news, I discovered the joy of bare naked ladies yesterday as I lay in my bed. I was very impressed, in a lying-in-bed, sleepy sort of way. They even kept waking me up as I drifted off to sleep.

Ah. That should read "Barenaked Ladies". Whoops.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

In the Legion tonight, a couple were recovering from taking their son to university for the first time. They looked distracted and lacking somewhat in the smile department. It must be quite a wrench, losing your child to the bright lights, late nights and fast women of uni-land. But... if I were a parent, I'd have the champagne open, the flags flying and the music turned right up. All night. And I'd change the locks.

Maybe this is another reason why I shouldn't be allowed to be a parent.

James Casey says I'm not allowed to disco until Thursday, but I'm feeling rebellious. Boogie-oogie-oogie, shawaddy-waddy-waddy, and such like, all care of my new CD. Groove-a-licious, baby!

One jaunt to the bustling metropolis later, and what does Mad have in her (metaphorical) shopping basket? Chocolate, CDs, books and a scap of paper saying that no new glasses are needed on Planet Mad. Pretty productive, I reckon!

Monday, September 22, 2003

It's probably Double-Eeurk status by now. Harrumph.

Progress so far...


Sunday, September 21, 2003

After an afternoon spent sleeping off semi-hungover tiredness, I am now faced with a pile of marking - I've done 3 sets already, only 4 to go. Bleurgh. I suspect the only way to get through this is tea - milky and by the potful - so if I'm still posting at 2am with caffeine-induced insomnia you know exactly what's to blame!

The weekend so far...
Highlight - a good yomp on Saturday afternoon.
Highlight - 2 smoked salmon and scrambled egg bagels.
Highlight - red wine, gin, jack daniels, tequilla.
Highlight - the musical Oh What A Night! at Brum Hippodrome: no story, groovy choons, funky dancing.
Highlight - Some pub/club in Brum with groovy choons and our own attempts at funky dancing.
Highlight - hijacking a taxi then collapsing on the sofa with hot, buttered toast and milky tea.
Lowlight - having to get up at 9.30am and drive (probably still under the affluence of incahol) back to Repton to get changed into a silly dress and make polite conversation at parents' meeting. Pish.

I'm just concerned that I am not hungover this morning. However, the lack of co-ordination in my fingers suggests that I'm probably still drunk. Back to bed before the headache kicks in, methinks! :-)

Friday, September 19, 2003

Why is it that I always feel wide-awake on the evenings when I could do with an early night, and yet exhausted on evenings when I have to stay up late? Bloody bad planning, I call it. Pah.

Ooops. Nearly forgot. Avast. Yarrrr. An' such like, me deary-ohs (sounding as much like Rambling Syd Rumpo as any scurvy pirate dawg to sail the seas, hey ho.)

Fatso's great-great-great-great-many-times-great-grandmother.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

The bravenet form says I should not transmit my credit card number using this service, so if I've accidentally sent it you in the past, please delete the email and don't steal all my money.

Well - there's another perfectly good scheme foiled. Of course, if you'd like to deliberately send me your credit card details then that's fine by me...!

Life has been hectic recently, and I've had little problem filling the few hours of freedom I get each week. It looks as though the next few weeks will follow a similar pattern, especially with the arrival of this:

Are you free for drinking beer on the 27th? Caz

She be referring, of course, to the Burton-on-Trent September beer festival, and it would be rude to refuse. If anyone fancies joining us then get in touch, especially considering the fun and japery enjoyed during my last visit to a beer festival (although the prosepct of an early start on Sunday morning for a Duke of Edinburgh expedition may limit the japery somewhat!)

Do you ever drive for longer than is strictly necessary because you want to hear the end of a song that's playing on the car stereo? Me too. I caught myself doing it today - almost subconsciously. I wouldn't have minded but it was some dodgy song from the '80s and I was also suddenly compelled to sing along. It seems that there is no hope. I'm off for a nap.

ps - am contemplating changing my name to Mark, as that is all I seem to have done this term.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Have been admonished via that box o'er there:

You're correct you do sound like a sad, geeky teacher - stop it!

I am on my knees offering you a thousand sweetly-scented grovelling apologies. However, as my knees are now aching and - quite frankly - I'm worried about getting carpet burn, they will have to be one thousand very swift, sweetly-scented apologies. Make the most of them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

In a fit of positive mental attitude and general good-feeling about my job, I bought a book about Accelerated Learning. At the risk of sounding like a sad geeky teacher, tonight I shall be mostly searching for ways to improve my classroom technique and improve the quality of learning taking place. I will, however, also be discovering the delights of the Repton Tandoori, which opened during the summer but has not yet had the pleasure of my company. Prediction for the evening - busy but interesting.

My hair is now purple and short, thanks to a nice lady and a BIIIIIG pair of scissors. I thought it all looked quite good, until I caught a man in WHSmith looking at me in a horrified sort of way. My immediate thought was that he disapproved of the hair - after all, it is *quite* short and *quite* purple (aubergine-like in its hue, no less). It was then that I realised it was because I was thinking quite hard, but appeared to be intensively studying a huge display of self-help sex books. Gah!

Monday, September 15, 2003

Today's whimsical question arrives in the inbox:

If all the world's a stage, then am I the dead wood?

Dear reader, I fear that if you have to ask then the answer may well be "yes". However, dead wood has many uses - for instance, lighting fires and creating mulch - so worry not if dead wood you be! (so says Auntie Mad in bestest Yoda-mode)

Sunday, September 14, 2003

My weekend, in rhyming triolets.

Purple hair -
See them stare.
Do I care?!

Alton Towers -
Swathes of flowers;
Happy Hours.

Sleepy head -
"Want my bed,"
Is what I said.

-- Typical Mad - things to add - must be bad.

Hungry shakes -
No steaks:

Sleep can wait;
Grab a plate:
Eat 'til late!

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Friday, September 12, 2003

Guides: 1 hall, 16 girls, 2694 decibels.

Am still recovering from the shock.

Does this advice not extend to your male readers? Hmmm?

On reflection, I suppose that it does. Although the direction of the leopard skin pattern might give it away.

Today's advice for ladies:

When holding a pair of knickers that are bigger at the front then the back, do not assume that they are a thong. They may just be a pair of ordinary pants held back to front.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Went to the Legion for a dose of normality. This does not, of course, make me normal; it merely makes me slightly drunk. I love being able to walk into a place by myself without the usual 'woman alone in pub' feeling: I know there will be people to chat to, beverages to drink, dodgy blokes to avoid and the odd game of snooker to gatecrash. I love the fact that I can wear my "fit chick unbelievable knockers" t-shirt and get appreciative comments. I simply adore the way that Tony tries to force-feed me beer, Jamie flirts wildly with everyone and the ladies behind the bar start to pour my drink before I actually order it. Over on little.red.boat yesterday, Anna asked this:

Are You
In love?

Yes, yes, yes, no... Hell - three out of four ain't bad. If you know anyone willing to volunteer for the fourth then point 'em in my direction!

My legs became shorter this summer.

Either that or someone's been stretching the legs of my trousers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Progress report for Mad Emuss (end of 1st week at school)

General: Now has a tidy desk and is coping well with the lack of shelving.
Work: After a slow start, has nearly completed her pile of marking.
Social skills: Had to resort to buying friends using sticky toffee pudding.
Appearance: Started smart, but now crumpled. Redeemed only by pretty shoes.
Health: Snot-ridden and suffering from aching calves. (How? How?!)
Overall: Fair-to-middling satisfactory.

On camp this summer, I persuaded two boys (both aged 6) that I was 40 years old. I discovered today that they told their father and - herein lies the crucial point - he believed them. Pants. I spot a theme to today.

Child 1: "How come teachers can write on the board so quickly?"
Child 2: "They've had a lot of practice because they're all so old"

Thanks, guys. Thanks a lot.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

The "to attend the concert or not?" dilemma was solved by my bro's arrival on his new bike and the prospect of an evening spent in the pub. It was great to catch up on the news n gossip, and even greater to discover that I still fit into my leathers. Exciting discovery of the evening was the contents of my leather jacket's pockets - thin gloves and earplugs: how useful!

I've been terribly domestificated. I bought some saucepans.

Last night I was visited by the snot monster. This morning I felt slightly on the rough side of sandpaper. This evening, Jennifer Pike (winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition) plays a violin recital at school, and I worry that I will cough, splutter and sniffle throughout it. To be honest, it's only bearable because I've finished teaching for today (already, ha ha!) and I have such cute shoes.*

*they have flowers on them: how girlie is that?!

Monday, September 08, 2003

By definition, walking in flip-flops makes sounds very much like "flip" and "flop". The sound of flip-flops running down a dark street is more accurately transcribed as:


Luckily the pavement was clean.

My luck, however, did not last long and the snooker tonight was a disaster. "Hit the brown, hit the brown; whatever you do, don't hit the pink," advised David. Which ball did I hit? Right in one. Hey ho. I'd borrowed Tony's highly technical turbo-boosted cue for the game, and I place the blame squarely on his shoulders; after all, his cue (as any fule kno) is a left-handed cue and I ain't. Pah!

I played netball/basketball today.

There were 2 people on each team and it was very fast.

I lasted 5 minutes.

The ache lasted quite a while longer.

In other news, I have a cold and my ears are blocked up: this made my viola sound quite pleasant at string orchestra this evening, but - guessing from other people's faces - not everyone agreed. Hey ho. *I* enjoyed it!! :-)

Sitting at lunch, I was asked a challenging question by one of the girls. I pulled my 'thinking very hard' face, only to be offered some advice by Caz: "If I were you, Miss E, I wouldn't pull that face very often."

From the mouths of babes and sucklings...

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Does all this cooking mean you have an honoured guest coming round?

Indeed, but more like twelve guests not one! After all, if you're going to bother cooking for one friend you might as well get them all in! It's been a lovely evening with plenty to eat and drink, lots of conversation, a musical interlude where T and J stood singing in the kitchen, and much appreciation of Fatso, cute li'l thing that he is. Even better, the last lot left at 10.30, so I've got a chance of an early night: bonus!

The mushrooms stuffed with marscapone and baileys went down well (good job as it was a bit of an experiment!) as did that old perennial, sticky toffee pudding. Today's session of food preparation has reminded me how much I like cooking for other people, which is ironic when you consider how little I enjoy cooking for myself. Maybe I should do more of this entertaining mallarky; me ma would be proud.

Today, I shall be mostly being domesticated - cleaning, cooking and the like. As I type, the sticky toffee pudding cake is rising gently in the oven, wafting ginger and nutmeg smells through the flat. Also on the culinary agenda for today is mushrooms stuffed with marscapone and baileys, a plethora of salads and some very runny brie. It's not going to be a good day for diets.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

What's it all about, really, when you get down to it? Thus spake Death, and I echo his thoughts.

I lay on my back looking at the stars for a while this evening, pondering life, the universe and everything. I admit that it was only a short while because the grass was damp, but it was a while anyhow. Maybe I'm getting whimsical in my dotage, maybe I'm just tired, perhaps it's too much red wine, but summat's amiss. I'm just not sure what.

The stars didn't offer much solace either.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Oh, and I apologise in light of this:

Whiteboard? Is that allowed? Not very politically correct, is it? How do you think it makes all the white kids feel? Surely it's a dry-wipe pen board? ;)

Indeed. Sorry. I stand corrected!

Sneezing snot across your freshly-ironed shirt is a warning sign that the day might not go well. I should have heeded it.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

It's been an evening filled with duty in the House, then a jaunt to the Legion for the first time in ages. I intended to have a quiet pint - it being a school night and all - and then coming home for an early night. Instead, I ended up playing snooker, as always happens when I go to the Legion whether I intend it or not: you'd think I'd know this by now. As it happens, 12 weeks off the baize has been beneficial and I potted a red, then the pink, then another red, and then the pink: a break of 14, I think you'll find. Blimey. Obviously the Good Snooker Fairy was smiling down on me tonight, despite me potting the white on the next shot! On that smug note, I'm off to bed...

I'm soooo glad to be back at work: despite aching feet, classroom worries, paperwork chaos, I've had a great morning back in front of the whiteboard. Suppose I'd better go and use my afternoon wisely...

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Suit felt silly. Shoes began to hurt. Eyes are tired. First day back. Bleurgh.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Yesterday my new classroom was piled up with comfy chairs and empty cardboard boxes. Things have progressed somewhat, and now the chairs have gone, but - sadly - so has the teacher's desk that languished in the centre of the room. It has been replaced by 18 plastic chairs and 18 exam desks. This means that my pupils will have somewhere to sit and write, but I'm going to be perched on the floor surrounded by piles of paperwork and textbooks - I have no shelves or cupboards either.

Tomorrow could be interesting.

I'm not very good at goodbyes. I always have lots of things to say but never know how to say them. Many times I've stood tongue-tied in carparks or on stations, afterwards kicking myself for not saying what I wanted to.

After today's experiences, though, I reckon that I'm probably even worse at hellos. Especially polite, first-time-of-meeting hellos, where I'm supposed to be a responsible professional. I'm probably OK at the cheery, "Hi - come and have a pint!" sort of greetings, but I didn't cope well with the suit-wearing and mindless small talk required today. It'll be much better tomorrow when I'm back in the classroom, able to be myself again.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Once again, technology defeats me, and I have to resort to silly ways of doing things that other people seems to do with very little effort. Bah. At times I regret taking a Luddite stance. Anyhoo..

Here are some of my holiday photos from Sweden. How exciting.

Tidying up is always a chore, and I'm bored of it now. This morning I tidied my classroom, ready for eviction. My new classroom, however, is still full of empty boxes, oversized comfy chairs and a nasty smell of paint. Apparently an army of maintenance men will come and transform it into a classroom in the next 24 hours... a bit like Changing Rooms, but with a smaller budget, more neutral paintwork and less faux-fur. I'm waiting with baited breath, but not holding my breath entirely as I suspect that this will prove to be a silly career move.

This afternoon I ran away to the bustling metropolis of Burton-on-Trent, but am now faced with the joyous (ahem) task of tidying my flat, so I can at least find my Lesson Planner before lessons begin: now *that's* organisation! :-) If it weren't for sing-a-long-a-Ella-Fitzgerald I'd be reet depressed. As it is, the volume's turned up and Fatso looks scared, so it's all going ok...