Wednesday, June 30, 2004

A reader writes:

Stop punishing yourself - grow your hair long

Oh no, if only because that would get rid of my excuse to go to the hairdresser, with all its pampering and massaging; that wouldn't be a good thing! Mmmm, I'm swooning at the anticipation of this afternoon's visit; just a course on netball to endure before I can go. Sadly, this course is a practical one, so the thought of running round in a tracksuit beforehand is slightly dulling the excitement. Bah!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I'd headed up to the Lower Sixth corridor in the House to go through someone's UCAS personal statement, when I was accosted by a gaggle of girls looking for an excuse not to be working. Conversation started with my netball course tomorrow, veered through diets, chocolate and smear tests, before arriving at haircuts.

"Oh no, Miss E," cried one of the girls. "You can't go back to radical short. We've seen the photos. You just look so much prettier and more feminine now it's longer."

"Well, yes - that's what's worrying me," I replied. "I don't think I'm cut out to do feminine. I'm just yer basic jeans and doc martens sort of girl: I can't do girlie."

"Oh yes you can: you can get away with it. It's not like you look like a dyke."

Which, all things considered, is a shame, as I'd wanted to look like a volcanic rock feature. Hey ho.

Term ends with House Supper, a black tie dinner with dining, drinking and carousing until the early hours. This means that I have to find something to wear, which normally causes more stress than writing damned reports.

I own two dresses that are appropriate for such occasions. One is purple, long and swishy; the other is pink but much less glamorous. I wore the pink for Christmas House Supper, so technically it's time to get the purple outfit out. However, if we're talking technicalities here, there's the small consideration of getting the zip done up. This is not just because of the effect of school dinners upon my waistline, but also because this is a dress with very little in the strappage department so no bra for me; going without is not a problem because - trust me - my breasts are going nowhere once this dress is done up. The zip, however, is one of those fiddly ones that require yogic movements and double-jointed shoulders to get it done up, unless you recruit a good friend (and it *has* to be a good friend, as you're going to stand bra-less but undone in front of them, and there's the risk that they'll be knocked out by errant boobs). I've been avoiding trying on the dress for a) lack of good friend, and b) fear of a lack of closure. Today, though, I decided that I could delay no longer. Guess what...?

It still fits! Provided I can stay off the chocolate biscuits between now and then I should be ok! :-)

Monday, June 28, 2004

The last set of reports was completed this morning at 8.45, just in time for the 8.50am deadline. I am truly a last-minute merchant of the highest calibre. Mind you, it's not just been reports that have been filling my time (although I have had to write 80 in the last week), nor the 45 exam papers to mark, but also the general faff that accompanies the end of any term, for both school and Guides.

This weekend just gone was the village's Open Gardens weekend, when various householders throw open their doors to welcome nosy strangers into their gardens, to talk knowledgeably about their wisteria and to generally show off their horticultural skills. To jazz up this weekend there is a village-wide scarecrow competition, where people make models in interesting poses and write witty captions for them. We decided that a good way to spend the last Guide meeting of term would be to make such a scarecrow, so that's what we did. Eleven Guides, two leaders, ten bin bags, two ping-pong balls and several rolls of sellotape later, we produced a mighty fine 'Scared Crow', complete with flapping, feathered wings and a big sign that says "Eeek!". We were well impressed by the results of our endeavours - as were the judges of the competition: we won first prize!! Smug grins and self-congratulatory hugs all round, plus grand plans of how to spend our prize money (a whole twenty squid!). Sadly we're photo-less, but this is probably a good thing or you'd have them inflicted upon you by now!

I spent the weekend (well, what remained after Saturday's teaching, marking exams and ironing my jeans dry so that I had something to wear!) in Cheltenham, sampling the culinary delights of Deepest Gloucestershire's pubs and then mooching round Waitrose in hunt of exciting picnic food. Shell-on prawns, antipasti and vegetable terrine quiche seemed to fit the bill; we ate in the park, enjoying the sunshine and watching the families play rounders. It was great. Even the realisation that being seen in Habitat looking at sets of cutlery was a tad on the coupley side didn't dim the pleasure.

This week sees more reports to be written, for university references this time, plus the tidying and sorting that I've been postponing all year. Mind you, I have only four days left, so mushn't grumble! Woo!!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

right, so which bookies are keeping bets on whether you will be alive?
also, I presume that as you haven't posted today, then you must be dead.

Not dead but fucking busy. Don't have time to waste doing this. More important things to do.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

It's a close run thing, this battle between Mad and her reports, but Mad appears to be drawing slightly ahead. Will she be able to stay the distance? Will she meet the deadline in twelve hours' time and still be alive? What is the meaning of life? How much is that doggy in the window?

Monday, June 21, 2004

Whilst there are many things to write about and many pictures to share, there is also a long list of reports waiting to be written. Tempus fugit, and all that jazz. On the other hand, I could not resist the opportunity to push you in this direction for some Monty Python (lego style), found via Ali and the DOGS forum. Go. Be amused. I was.

Friday, June 18, 2004

I bet Fatso would be better at betting than the Guardian's betting hamster, Turnip. He's only placed 5 bets on Euro 2004 and he's lost £50 already.

I don't think we should be encouraging him to have any more bad habits...!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

The lower sixth have all finished their exams now, and thoughts are turning towards university. Last night I had them all over to talk about UCAS, gap years and other scary, grown-up things: it turned into an hour's grilling on the minutae of personal statements and tuition fees. I offered my services as a UCAS form goer-overer* and I've already been handed three personal statements since then: all rubbish, of course, but gaining marks for being keen! I talked to Pam today about university type things and he told me about consultancies that try to get candidates into Oxbridge; more specifically, he told me how much they charge. I'm in the wrong business! If it weren't for my sense of ethics** I could do that - try and get undeserving rich brats into academic institutions that are far above their intellectual capabilities, fleecing them royally at the same time. At last I've found a way to supplement my salary that is both legal and (although dubious) not technically immoral. Hurrah!

* A person who goes over, of course.
** Something to do with a belief that university is not always the right option on leaving school, and that Oxbridge places should go to those who are clever enough for them, not those whose parents have paid oodles and noodles of dosh to blag a way into some college. Had better stop now before the rant kicks in.***
*** If I'm not too late already.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Perhaps I maligned Fatso's interests... he's developing his understanding of politics as well. This site is well worth investigating further, especially if you have lots of work to do and are searching for a diversion!

I have a feeling that my visitor this weekend corrupted Fatso as I've been finding bizarre google searches on my computer. Hamster porn, I ask you! Mind you, it looks like his seach has been successful... frisky little critter! :-)

Things not to say to a pupil who has one of their A-level exams tomorrow:

Have fun.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Helpful words of reassurance come in from Tim, who wrote before I managed to get off the computer; he says

you didn't nest the brackets (so you should be ok (I hope))

This is good. On the other hand, yesterday he wrote

I have photos of you if you are short.

I am indeed short, therefore you must be in possession of photos. (Logic supplied by Addled Maddle, your drunken correspondent) I'm not quite sure what I was going to write next, so I won't.

To say that I feel blobby is an understatement. I am more than capable of having the Christmas number one single in the year 1993, and am certainly able to irritate the pants off those who watch me. In fact, much of my pulling technique is based on this ability (the pant-removal part, not the Xmas No 1 bit, you understand) (actually, you might not understand, but smile and nod anyway; this is only polite and will appease me enough that I eventually shut up and go away) (you hope)

Ah. Brackets taking over my life. Or at least my writing. Time to stop. G'night.

I've spent much of today feeling confused and disorientated, although I have no idea why. Mind you, I went to Ikea with Ian this afternoon, where it's perfectly legitimate to look dazed and confused, so maybe this morning was just a trial run to get in the right frame of mind. On the other ahnd, it might just have been caused by the presence of a Bomb Disposal Unit lorry outside the Bursar's office this morning... very bizarre!

Monday, June 14, 2004

So much seems to be happening that, despite a large reduction in teaching time, the last two weeks have been frantic. I suspect it's not going to get any easier in the near future either. It's the start of the end of the year and, along with reports, that also means planning for next year. I'm taking responsibility for the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme in school, so I've spent afternoons looking at tents, testing trangias and consulting Langmuir. I'm also getting the opportunity to work in the learning support department, nominally for six lessons a week. The intention is to complete some sort of dyslexia support qualification via a part-time/distance learning sheebang; the logistics of this are proving somewhat elusive at present. Hey ho - I'm sure it'll all come out in the wash!

The end result of all this faff will be slightly less waffle going on here, as I try to get things done before the end of term. Photos etc (as requested by the general populace... well, one or two of you) will be scanned and published when I have time. Until then, you'll just have to imagine it all. Hasta la vista.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Oh no - more ways to waste time when I should be working...

Flipperdy-flapperdy nervous excitement: paperwork, preparation, marking, reports, laundry, tidying, not to mention a big dollop of faffing. Now time for rounders (that most meaningful of sports, more accurately described as cricket for girlies) which is a bit of a giggle but not very strenuous. Oooh stream of consciousness post - making about as much sense as I do in real life. Meh. Time to go...

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The day so far:
Teaching (fair to middling)
Lunch (reasonable)
Tidying the flat (like a manic thing with an obsession with hoovering and throwing away old paperwork)
Rainbows (eeek)
Duty (so-so)
More tidying (whip out that duster!)


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The trouble with shopping in a hurry is that you don't spend enough time paying attention to the small details. Today, the small details were these:

* Not all quiches are on the "buy 2 for £2.50" special offer. I grabbed things off the shelves and got to the checkout in record time, only to have an enforced return to the chilled food section to revise my selection.

* I then had problems locating the cocktail sticks (it's my age, you know) so I quickly picked a good-looking assistant to help me in my search. As I dutifully followed him though the aisles, I noticed with horror that his trousers were too short: far too much sockage was on display. It's enough to put a girl off her almond croissants.

Gaaah! "More haste, less speed", as my granny used to say; I think I'd better slow down.

A nice man has just installed my new cooker (after the old one had *ahem* a small accident). Seems like a good excuse to get cooking again!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I think I'm melting.

On a more cheery note, I do have lots of nice photos.

I've just managed to explode chocolate milkshake across my kitchen. Aaargh!

Monday, June 07, 2004

Nice things from today, in an order that is aesthetically pleasing, at least to my untrained eye:

Runny brie

Playing my viola

Walking in the sun

Wensleydale with cranberries

Playing snooker, where "too thin" is a bad thing

My pink top that always attracts compliments (but I'm sure it's nothing to do with the neckline, yer honour!)

I love exam time, in a perverse, teachery sort of way. Most of my classes are busy doing independent revision so I've been able to whittle away some of my woodpile of filing, not to mention paddling in the sea of forward-planning. What's more, the sun's shining. What more can any girl ask?*

* This is a rhetorical question, but if you really want to answer it then use that box o'er there or staple your suggestion to a pigeon and throw it in my direction.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

There I was, happily chatting on the phone, when I glanced through my diary to see what delights are lined up next week. Eeeek!! Would you believe it?! Tomorrow morning, before lessons start, is a deadline for end-of-term reports for Upper Sixth! Aaargh!

As you can well imagine, at that point I'd written the grand total of zero reports. I quickly made my apologies to my friend on the other end of the phoneline and settled down to write some reports. However, like many other pieces of sediment, I was soon moved on again by the currents of tea-making and the longshore drift of the mobile; I didn't actually start writing until nearly 11pm. Thankfully I only teach eleven Upper Sixth so I've just finished, but I suspect that long nights of report writing loom ahead - it's just that time of term. Be warned...

This weekend has been blissful: I had nothing planned, so filled the last day and a half with sleeping, eating, drinking and generally carousing. I've spent some quality time by myself, but also spent time doing spontaneous things with friends. I feel good.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

See - Star Wars is an educational film! I'm not sure this qualifies me to show it to my classes instead of teaching. Bah!

Today I shall mostly be a hermit.

After teaching all morning, of course.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Mooching through a bookshop in the Bustling Metropolis today, I came across evidence that we are becoming a more matriarchal society...

"Look," says girl to her brother. "Here's the book of Mrs Greedy."

"No - *Mister* Greedy"

"Not it's not, it's Mrs. And here's Mrs Bump. And Mrs Sneeze."

I just ducked my head, hid my smirk and bought a very grown-up book.

Yesterday's prediction was right: I *am* wiped out now. I suspect that it has little to do with strenuous teaching, though, and a lot to do with The Man Who Ate Everything, which was part of this weekend's perfect present. Well, it would be perfect if it weren't for my lack of control when it comes to finishing reading and starting sleeping. I've spent most of today feeling sleepy-yawny and craving food; both are bad things. The present and the present-giver, however, are both good things, so mushn't grumble, I sh'pose!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

As half term fades away into the distance, time to update this rambling epic. Where to start? Hmmm...

The end of last half term was even more manic than normal, but the Guider's-bottom-sized To Do list kept me on track and the vast majority of things that needed doing were done. On Friday evening I played in a concert with the school orchestra and assorted soloists (reasonable), then zoomed off in the Madmobile (woosh) to stay here (nice) with random DOGs for Ian and Laura's wedding (good). Much fun and jollity was had by all; Tim's photos, for those interested (or bored and seeking diversion) can be found here. My hair, in all its curly-flicky-redness can be observed here, along with my girlie pink shirt, both of which shocked some people. I suspect that - for some of them at least - it was the first time they'd ever seen me in a skirt. Mua-ha-ha!!

I headed off to Cheltenham on Sunday for a snog, a barbeque, a hot air balloon festival, Duncan the Depressed Octopus, a torrential downpour, a takeaway and a DVD: not all were intentional, but all were good. Well, apart from the DVD, which pitted werewolves against vampires in a most confusing sort of way that was too much for my brain to cope with, but six out of seven ain't bad.

Monday morning started with real potential: a lazy day in the company of friends, complete with cheese rolling, hot Brad action and more snogging. Instead I ended up driving to Exeter and not for pleasant reasons. Judging by the amount of traffic heading in the opposite direction on the M5, I was going the wrong way; based on the support I was able to give on arrival, I was right to keep heading south.

I came back from Exeter via Cheltenham (lunch) and Staffordshire (parents). I took my mum to see some film that I don't think will be much of a hit: it was pleasant enough but - as always - failed to live up to the book. Should have guessed, really. Hey ho - you win some, you lose some.

The kids are back now, and teaching starts again tomorrow. The exeat feels like it's lasted for ages, but I suspect that I'll be wiped out by lunchtime tomorrow. Pish!