Thursday, October 30, 2003

Beer, pringles, laughter, Verve remixed: what more could any girl want? (OK - don't answer that: I know there are many more exciting things out there, but they're not on offer if you're me, alright?!) (And certainly not on a school night!)

I was offered advice by that box over there -------> which said:

Mad, how many single men do you know who have children (go on write a list, you know you want to)

I'm not sure I do, actually: after all, this is quite a public forum. More challenging, however, was this:

Since when have pants or belly buttons been rude parts of the anatomy?

Well, excuse me while I smirk. After all, anything can be a rude bit of anatomy if you try hard enough (and - without wishing to divulge confidential information that's better left unsaid - I'll stop there!)

Exciting progress of the day: broadband comes a step closer and I'll know the final verdict by Monday, when the nice man from BT arrives to find the telephone socket in my flat, even though I'm convinced there's not one!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Having just re-read yesterday's encounter with Accident Man, I am left pondering one thing. I can understand accidents in hospitals, cars, public transport, the work place... but children? Can you really get insurance/compensation for that sort of accident?!

(Changing tack quickly...)

Although today has been a bouncing-round-classrooms, rousing-rabbles and causing-trouble type day, it's also been a day of relationship misunderstandings. The misunderstanding, in general, is caused by the fact that there isn't a relationship; at least, not one that I'm aware of. Firstly, in a lower sixth Business Studies lesson:
L: Miss, what hand does the wedding ring go on?
Me: (waves left hand in air)
T: But you don't wear your engagement ring on that finger.
Me: WHAAAAT?!?!? (looks at hands, notices ring on right hand looks suspiciously like an engagement ring and giggles manically)
T: But I thought you were engaged?
Me: Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!

Then I had visit from my ma and elderly aunt, who kept going on about how pretty my hair looks now it's in need of a cut, and if I don't look pretty then I'll never get married... Grrr...

...and then I was stopped by a girl in the House, saying that she'd had a dream about me and I had a man moving into my flat. Now, having read about the prophetic nature of dreams, I tried to ascertain more about said gentleman.
Me: So what's he like then?
Girl: I can't remember.
Me: What? Can't remember?! Was he good looking?
Girl: Eurm...?
Me: Was he tall? Short? Young? Old? Fat? Thin? Blonde? Dark?
Girl: I think he had brown hair.
Me: And...?
Girl: Oh, I've remembered - he had a child.

Pants, belly-buttons and other rude bits of anatomy. What more can one say?!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

In the bustling metropolis today:

Him: Excuse me. Can you spare me a couple of minutes?
Me: Yup, sure.
Him: First of all, if you don't mind me asking, how old are you?
Me: 27
Him: What? I mean, um, oh. You don't look it.
Me: Well, there you go.
Him: How many times have you been to Accident and Emergency in the last two years?
Me: Once, but I took someone else - it wasn't for me.
Him: OK. When did you last go to the doctors?
Me: Dunno.
Him: Are you sure?
Me: Yes.
Him: Right. Do you work?
Me: Yes, I'm a teacher.
Him: Have you had any accidents at work?
Me: No.
Him: Have you not had to enter things in the Accident Book?
Me: (Oh no, I'm going to have to explain about Dean and Jonathan having a fight with the board cleaner and ...) Eurm...
Him: For yourself, I mean.
Me: Ah. Phew. Nope.
Him: Oh. Do you drive?
Me: Yes
Him: When was the last time you had an accident?
Me: I haven't.
Him: Not even a little bump into another car?
Me: Nope.
Him: How about an accident on public transport?
Me: Nope.
Him: Not even on a bus, a taxi...?
Me: When I was 15, I was on a coach that drove into a wall. Does that count?
Him: No, not really. Do you have any children?
Me: No.
Him: Oh.
Me: I'm not really much use am I? Sorry.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Sometimes, when I can think of think of nothing else to do, I discover real gems amongst my archives. I think this confirms - for once and for all - that I am sad.

I feel somewhat bereft. I'm not sure why, or even certain of what I am bereft; but bereft, nonetheless.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Am in speed-marking mode, driven relentlessly onward by Ninja Tunes' finest.



Tick tick
? Grammar?
? Does this make sense?
** splat **
< wipe exploded brain cell off pupil's work >

Repeat ad infinitum

Busy weekend with friends and lots of beer and food. Stomach now so big I can hardly reach the keyboard, but that's ok coz my fingers are so fat I'm having problems typing too. Seems I'm just going to have to spend the evening sprawled in a corner resembling a land-locked beached whale.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Addition to earlier advice: don't mark during Shostakovitch either, or the sudden loud chords will make you jump and draw dodgy lines across your pupils' work.

Advice for self, when considering doing marking whilst listening to violin concertos: don't. Or, at least, not in the fast movements.

First up:

Heinz Cream of Mushroom Soup. Never fails!

Recommended as a hangover cure, I think, although it's probably useful when entertaining too. Better buy some!

It's the final weekday of my holiday (although not a Repton weekday, as that includes Saturdays too, damn them!) and it's probably time for a little round up. In time-honoured fashion, I shall entitle this What I did on my holidays:

* Number of books read: 5
* Number of proper meals cooked: 6
* Number of people who had to endure my cooking: 6
* Number of meals cooked in-house but sub-contracted to another cook: 1
* Number of meals eaten out: 3
* Number of bottles of wine imbibed: lost count, but the recycling box is somewhat fuller than it was at the start of the week
* Number of sets of marking completed: ah. Shucks. That's what I will be doing today, then!

Still to come this weekend - a takeaway with Kate, a night-hike and sleepover with Guides, an evaluation meeting for GaSCiT, Phil and Linda to stay, Sunday lunch with friends from university, some planning. Pish.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Hangover cures tried today on Planet Mad:
* Sleep
* Ella Fitzgerald
* Milky tea
* Washing up
* Hoovering (tried this, but it didn't work, unsurprisingly: a tad on the loud side!)

Hangover cures not tried:
* Hair of the dog
* Greasy fry-up (this one's still to come, in about an hour's time)
* Not drinking so much of the damn stuff the night before (sadly this one requires time travel, and - knowledgable and clever as my friends are - rearranging the chronology of things is not really an option. Hey ho)

'Twas a good dinner party though.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The good thing about holidays is that you get to drink until late in the evening, or even early in the morning if you are lucky. You can then sleep until about 1.30pm, at which point you remain in bed and start reading exciting books. Although you may be disturbed by someone at the door at around 3.30pm, it won't matter (much) that you're still in your dressing gown with morning hair and sleepy eyes. It's fab that you can have breakfast at 4pm, and then mooch about with very little purpose, until suddenly - PING - it's 12.20am, you go sleepy and it's time for bed again.

The bad thing about all this debauchery is the way that your body clock adapts too quickly, and you know that - after just 2 days' worth of lie-ins - it's going to be a nasty shock when the alarm goes off tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow morning I go shopping with Ian to buy exciting food for our dinner party. He will fondle the produce, dreaming of exotic mash and spicy sausages. I, however, will be meandering the aisles, squinting bleary-eyed at the labels and pretending to be a bad-tempered old biddy. Hopefully this means that I can ram the trolley into people's ankles and moan about the price of fish.

Fatso is the proud owner of one of those plastic hamster balls, and he's quite adept at zooming round my flat in it. However, he's also becoming adept at escaping from it. There is little worse than being in the middle of lovely phone coversation and suddenly having to shout, "Fatso! Stop!" and scrabble round on the floor trying to reach beind the sofa (especially mindful of the way in which Fatso #1 met his nasty end).

Actually, with hindsight, the above paragraph is bobbins. There are many things worse than having phonus interruptus, such as realising that you've put your pants on the top of your trousers, or that you've forgotten to to put on your trousers full stop, but on a Tuesday-night-in scale of good to bad, it's worse than removing red wine stains from a light-ish coloured carpet (also on tonight's agenda) and getting stitch from eating too many biscuits (I've already done this one today).

Regardless of how bad it is, there's one thing that I now know for certain: the damn beastie's going to be sellotaped in from now on!

Last night's red-bottomed strumpetry was entertaining, but was put on hold in deference to red wine and entertaining conversation. This is probably a good job for a number of reasons, some of which can't be discussed here, but at least some of which revolve around the fact that I am a sad teacher with no chance of pulling, as many of my pupils will tell you. And besides

WTF is a "red-bottomed strumpet"?

If you haven't guessed yet, for "strumpet" I point you here and "red-bottomed" comes - I fear - from some really rather splendid books, which I suspect many of you won't have read. (This is one of the joys of being a teacher in a boarding school: I get to borrow the kids' books, many of which are far more entertaining than the books that used to be about when I was a brat teenager.)

And then, from Ash:

You're quite good fun, aren't you!? Mind you, I worry about your students reading this site...

I suspect they already know what I'm like, and would not be surprised in the slightest...!

And finally, quite appropriately:

?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, October 20, 2003

Ooh, I am a red-bottomed strumpet!

(Also, the cooking was good)

Today I have been mostly snoozing and reading. This evening I will be dabbling in the black art of cookery. It's a tough life but someone's got to do it.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Oooh noooo!! Am suffering a booze-induced Jammy Dodger overload. Mind you, better than a Jammy Dodger-induced booze overload, I suppose; at least from my liver's perspective. G'night.

3 pints of bitter, 1 glass of red wine: spinny head and slightly blurry vision. Good job I can lie in tomorrow.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Two days away and many thing happen:

* Train journey to The Big City
* Curry and booze
* Caffeine-induced insomnia
* Meeting up with Mr and Mrs J for a latte, a fruit drink (purportedly orangy, but it looked like an apple on the bottle) and 2 eggcups full of hot chocolate.
* Fruitless shopping
* Pizza and sweet, milky tea
* Successful shopping
* A ride in a bicycle-rickshaw-taxi effort
* First class travel by train
* Gin and orange juice - lots thereof.

No wonder I'm knackered!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

My new classroom is taking shape nicely - the TV/video wall-stand was fitted a couple of days ago; the kids have made lots of brightly-coloured work for the walls; my proper desks have finally arrived, so no more eay-to-collapse-exam-desks. It's all excitement here, folks! (even though I locked a couple of boys in the building by mistake yesterday - they climbed out through a window with nothing damaged except their pride. Whoops!)

Tomorrow sees the start of half term: I finish teaching at 3.15 and intend to be on a train to The Big Smoke (again!) as soon after then as is humanly possible. My sixth form asked if I was going to shop; I explained that I was going to stay with an old friend from uni, who earned far more than I do and would therefore buy me dinner (and presents!) if I asked nicely enough: "It's like having a boyfriend but without the hassle," said I. I suspect they're now going to enter me for the Callous Bitch of the Year award. Hey ho.

Other than that, life is uneventful: the highlight of the day was throwing crinkly mushrooms out of the fridge and doing laundry. I'm looking forward to a few days to spend on me, rediscovering excitement. 'Til then - tarra!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Whoops indeed - it was a very fuzzy start to the day this morning and I'm not sure I'm fully recovered now. Hope your day is slightly more coherent than mine. Off to do something productive (for once!).

Tuesday, October 14, 2003



Teaching tomorrow.


Classic errors of the day found in marking:

"I think it's not a very good idea [for Chris to lower the quality of the building] because if the people who bought his house are sitting in it having a meal and suddenly the house falls down because of the lack of quality then they can sue him."

It all seems so black and white, doesn't it? Not quite so with this one, but no prizes for guessing why it made me chuckle:

"Chris is worried about being ill so he could get an apprentice so that he could cover him while in bed."

I think there's an "ill" missing from that sentence! ;-)

Take 2 [Something went awry on my first attempt]. I don't know, Why do you always fancy the most inappropriate people? The punchline had better be good!

I don't think there *is* a punchline, sadly. It certainly adds amusement value though!

Monday, October 13, 2003

And why, oh why, do I always fail to resist the temptation to blog when under the affluence of incahol? Pah.

And why do I crave chocolate whenever I've been out for a couple of beers?

Oh dear. My, my. Why do I always fancy the most inappropriate people?

It's not the difficulty of covering half the distance that's the problem, but the fact that it has to do this an infinite number of times. Ignoring the proper answer that these take infinitely less time to do, it's much easier to invoke quantum mechanics and say "oh sod it, I'm there". Dr Tom PhD
I feel enlightened.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Ah - found it: Small Gods, p.157.

"A very useful philosophical animal, your average tortoise. Outrunning metaphorical arrows, beating hares in races... very handy."

So there! :-)

As I recall it, there's a famous philosopher who decided that it was logically impossible to shoot an arrow into a target because firstly the arrow would travel half the distance, and then half the remaining distance, then half the remaining distance and so on, never actually reaching its destination beause there's always another half-distance to go. I suspect the bloke was a Greek, but I'm not certain; I'm sure there are others out there who can confirm this. Regardless of who he was and where he came from, his theory seems to apply to my pile of marking, which gets smaller by the hour but never seems to go away completely.

(For all the Pratchett fans out there, the arrow paradox features in one of the Discworld books, but I can't remember which one... I fear that a surfeit of tea has addled my braincell)

Thanks to Jett Superior, on whose site I found this excellent link.

It's my weekend on duty in the House this weekend. Normally these weekends are fraught with crises and trauma. This weekend - so far, touch wood - has been easy going. The only downsides have been missing what was (no doubt) a cracking surprise party for K, and losing my Sunday morning lie-in because of chapel. Whilst chapel does provide me with the ideal opportunity to ponce about in my academic hood and gown (just like here, but minus the elephant!), it does start rather earlier than I like to get up. Today I spent much of the service wondering why some hymn-writers try to rhyme words like "lamb" and "acclaim", and then got caught out trying to sing the hymns so the words *did* rhyme. Something makes me suspect that I'm a bad influence.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Apologies to any who happened to be drinking whilst clicking on the link to Ash's site... no, really - I *am* sorry, but cannot be held responsible for damage caused by a fine spray of sparkling mineral water (or other beverage) coming into contact with computer equipment. Soz and all that. (Said in most sincerest voice)

Ashley does it again. Bwah-ha-ha!! That's made my day!

Thursday, October 09, 2003

And another one that eluded my memory for a moment, as taught to me by Mr Frost, my form tutor at secondary school:

To amuse
On a warm summer's night

Do wee-wees
From a spectacular height.

National Poetry Day

At 3 a.m.

the room contains no sound
except the ticking of the clock
which has begun to panic
like an insect, trapped
in an enormous box

Books lie open on the carpet.

Somewhere else
you're sleeping
and beside you there's a woman
who is crying quietly
so you won't wake.

(By Wendy Cope)


I like to get off with people,
I like to lie in their arms,
I like to be held and tightly kissed,
Safe from all alarms.

I like to laugh and be happy
With a beautiful beautiful kiss,
I tell you, in all the world,
There is no bliss like this.

(by Stevie Smith)

Come Back

Come back often and take hold of me,
sensation that I love, come back and take hold of me -
when the body's memory revives
and an old longing passes through the blood,
when lips and skin remember
and hands feel as though they touch again.

Come back often, take hold of me in the night
when lips and skin remember...

(by C. P. Cavafy)

The trip to and from London was great: the Madmobile took us merrily on our way to Luton where we caught the train into the heart of the Big Smoke. The wandering around London was mighty fine: the sun was shining, the streets were busy but not heaving and we walked from Russell Square to Covent Garden, giving Tim the chance to revisit some of his old haunts. The course, on the other hand, was dire: 'How to Teach Economics Effectively' delivered in the least effective way I have ever seen employed. Even the appalling lectures we used to get during teacher training were not a patch on this - poorly prepared, rambling, dry, irrelevant. It did, however, spawn lots of useful discussion about effective in-service training and we planned an entire day of workshop sessions on *useful* topics, thereby creating more work for our long-suffering head of department to implement!

"Miss, do you have any scales?"
"I've got kitchen scales - is that any use?"
"No - it's for biology. I have to weigh myself, have a bath and then weigh myself again."
"Ah. Right. I see."
"I'd ask Jen or Mrs C, but they might think I'm weird."
[raised eyebrow]
"Well - you think I'm weird anyway, so it doesn't matter if I ask you!"

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Taking a day off for a jolly... ahem, I mean... a serious academic course is always far more work than it's worth. It's always a challenge to set work that my classes can do with minimal involvement by the cover teacher, who has invariably been press-ganged into covering and will therefore bring with them a big pile of marking, a weary sigh and a sudden intolerance for any sort of noise.

What's worse is trying to decide what to wear: jeans? smart casual? suit? PVC and kinky thigh boots? Whatever I choose is bound to be inappropriate. (To be fair, the kinky thigh boots are almost certain to be inppropriate, regardless of the situation. Mind you, it's nice to have the option, should I be feeling a little controversial) At the moment, though, it seems my entire wardrobe is in the laundry room, so my outfit tomorrow will depend greatly on the drying properties of the different fabrics, which could be interesting!

The other conundrum associated with going out for the day is travel. £88 for a train from Derby? Drive for an hour to get to Rugby then get the train for £66? Drive to somewhere just north of London and get the train? It's a teaser indeed. I suspect that we're going to take the car and a book of maps and I'm going to drive and drive and drive until Tim says, "STOP," at which point we'll catch the train: it's going to be an adventure!

Bon voyage!

At the last minute, I've been asked to go on a course in London tomorrow. I've lots of preparation to do, and not much time in which to do it. Why does life never run to plan?

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Tonight's Guide division meeting was made bearable only by the fact that I slept the sleep of a thousand dead between 2.10pm (when my head hit the pillow) and 5.00pm (when I was rudely awakened by my alarm clock). Although long, the meeting was not a contender for the Most Dull Meeting of the Year award; put another way, at least I didn't actually fall asleep in it.

Now I'm trying to figure out what work I *really* have to do before tomorrow (writing two articles for the school's newsletter, I think - the marking can wait!) while drinking hot ribena, listening to Nina Simone and appreciating the heating (it's a tad chilly out!) While I procrastinate, the spam filter is busy at work - 161 rejected so far, and still at it... at least someone's working on Planet Mad!

Sunday saw the arrival of The Repton Challenge for Prep Schools (overall co-ordinator and general stress-head: yours truly). 94 pre-teen kids descended, including two lil darlings who were suffering some form of contagious lurgy which involved puking and quick dashes off to the bogs. Nice. 8 hours later they'd all gone again, in which time they'd made fan-driven cars (very fast and scary), written a powerpoint presentation and accompanying music *and* done an art display for their product. 'Twas a tad busy. In addition, the other co-ordinator has been off school since the beginning of term, so I ended up doing two people's jobs... not good for well-being and general de-stressed-ness. Still, it seemed to go well, which makes up for the lack of sleep and the horrible "wide-awake at 5.30am fretting about writing to-do lists" feelings of the last week.

Yesterday saw me heading off to London to play background music with the string orchestra at the school's old boy/girl dinner. We had a great day, including a luxury coach trip, fantastic food (duck a l'orange, no less!) and great company from the kids. I have a nasty feeling that there are some dodgy photos from the back of the coach doing the rounds already, but for once I am safe, having spent the whole journey down listening to cool choons and pretending to do marking. On arriving in The Big Smoke I got far too excited to continue the pretence: I'm such a small-town girl that the scale of the place amazes me and I get a real buzz from seeing all the bustle and sights. Sad but true. One day I'd like to live in London, but doing a job that gives me time to actually appreciate the place... so that's teaching out the window then! We finally got back at 12.45am, which means I'm feeling a tad on the sandpaper-rough side this morning, espeically given that I've been up at 7 for the last two mornings so I could get my internal reports written. Bah. Off for a nap now, I think!

Izzy whizzy, I've been bizzy!! Am very sleepy, but am finally back in the land of the living (well - vaguely). Updates to follow, once I've found time to write them...!!

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Eeeek. And that's all I have to say on the matter.

Friday, October 03, 2003

During the summer I spent many happy hours having a few drinks outside with friends during the warm evenings. The skies were clear and there were few streetlights to mask the glittering of distant stars. It was possible to see all of the major constellations, plus many more besides, and there were the inevitable good-natured drunken discussions about which speck of light was actually Jupiter and which was Mars. They were good evenings, and I always think back to them when I see starlight now. Tonight is such a night. I walked home from a fantastic Guide meeting, and on looking upwards was then reminded of this summer; much goes well with my life. Today has been a day for sitting back, taking a different persepctive and counting my blessings: I've run out of fingers.

Things I like about today:

* Having a colleague make impressed noises about the resources I have in my GCSE teaching file
* Emerging from my classroom into autumnal sun
* Discovering a big bar of Dairy Milk sitting in the kitchen just begging to be eaten
* Being given lots of milk from the kitchens, so I can make a rice pudding tonight
* Being able to wear odd socks to work while no-one notices

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Why is it - on making eye contact with and smiling at the most seat-grabbingly sexy person in the street - that I realise I am looking at my all-time personal worst? The fates conspire against me.

On the other hand, it's a good day for Fatso. He's just typed his first blog entry:


What's even more impressive, he typed this with his bottom. Stand back in amazement at the skill of the boy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Sometimes the words available are just not enough, so today I had to add the following to my phone's dictionary:

Busy, busy, busy, busy, but cheered by this:

These chocolate puddings have a very poor survival instinct, don't they.

Certainly any chocolate pudding stuoopid enough to hide in my fridge deserves to suffer! Off to do more work...