Tuesday, August 31, 2004

It's my first day back at school, although the kids don't come back until tomorrow. I was away until 2 hours before my first commitment of the term - that's what I call making good use of your last few hours of freedom! Now, though, we've had today's quota of training (including the obligatory discussion groups) and I'm contemplating doing some preparation. It's all a bit of a culture shock after weeks and weeks of lounging about; perhaps I need to lie down in a darkened room to help me recover! (This might also help the hangover that's been hanging over all day in a most inconsiderate sort of way. Pah!)

Friday, August 20, 2004


Who baked the bread?

'Twas a collaboration between Ian and I - I did most of the reading of the recipe, whilst Ian did the mixing and kneading. We then talked so much that it cooked in all the hot air we created.

We are glad that planet mad is again running on full steam - it was getting a bit slow over the summmer.

It's nice to be back, although I'm off again this afternoon and will be off-line for another week. This week's exciting destination is Switzerland, the land of cheese, chocolate and cuckoo clocks. After that, I've got a couple of days on camp then it's back to school. The abrupt arrival of term straight after the bank holiday will put a stop to my gallivanting, so I promise to write more on my return! Besides, summers are for living life, not writing about it. Better go and do some packing!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Freshly-baked, warm bread slathered in butter is one of the lovely things in this world. Unfortunately it gives me the hiccups. However, that's not a good reason for not eating it, so eat it I did. Am now full.

Gosh - five posts in a day; in fact, make that six. Blimey. It's just like the good old days here on Planet Mad. Fear not, brave reader, the normal sporadic posting will resume tomorrow! :-)

Ooooh... I like your swanky Blogger toolbary thing. :) - Mal.

As do I, although I have no idea what I did to deserve it. Apparently I can change its colour and things, but have not got a sober enough braincell to do that. Someday, someday. :-)

Mental note: a slightly drunken cook, half a red pepper, an onion, some garlic, mange tout, baby sweetcorn, mushrooms, half a mango, olive oil and some spice-it-up seasoning, all on a bed of thin noodles, makes for a very tasty dinner. Yummy. Off to bake things with Ian now. Why, I'm just so rock n roll.

Party. Sparkly white wine. No food. Whoops.

Holidays are obviously good for me. So far today I have been accused of being tanned, thinner, and loved up. Guilty on all three accounts, yer honour. What's more, there's still more than a week left to go. Must go and snooze for a little while to recover.

I eventually got round the email problem by downloading an entire new mail program and deleting the old one. It seems to have worked, although in the process I've lost all of my email and email addresses. This is careless, but it solves the problem of what to do with the six bazillion emails that loitered in my inbox waiting for me to take action. I've spent quite some time this holiday organising and sorting; this now applies to my electronic communication too. How convenient.

The only downside is that I'm shockingly slack at backing things up, so I've got no record of emails that tell me I'm meant to be doing something, and no way of getting in touch with people to let them know this. If I'm meant to be doing something and I don't quite manage it, then sorry. I'll be sitting here drinking gin and tonic instead. IT's a tough life really.

Penultimate Thursday in August: A-level day. Exam results are up, the exams themselves are getting easier, the subjects are more touchy-feely, it was much harder in the old days when we first had to make parchment from papyrus reeds and harvest squid ink before we could write our exam scripts. Yadda yadda yadda. Yawn. I'm sure some of the mass media simply reprint last year's articles on this subject: it's getting boring - please find something else to talk about.

Here at school, I did the excited wiggle dance, and occasionally went "yessssss" in a sibilant whisper, when I sat in the common room perusing the results today. My P45 won't be in the post just yet, unless they can find another reason. Think I'll go and have some breakfast to celebrate!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Have just got home from an epic voyage of excitment and discovery to discover that I am unable to open my email program because it's logged me out and I can't remember my password. Gaaah! Hacking and geeking are obviously going to be tonight's entertainment.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Signs that you spend too long online:

"Congratulations! We see that you have been using Trillian instant messenger for over 1,250 hours...."

Eeeek! Mental note to self - get out more.

Am supposed to be packing, but I can't be arsed (in true Mad style). Unfortunately packing requires clothes to be clean, which mine aren't, so that's another spanner in the works. Perhaps I should just become a nudist, except a) people would object or point or run off in fear; and b) the straps on my rucksack will rub my shoulders. Pah. I should really go and get it all sorted, but I'm far too busy chatting to people using... ah.... Trillian. Obviously IM is just a displacement activity to avoid doing the nasty, mundane tasks of life. Damn laundry: it's got a lot to answer for!

I ran away last night to pretend to be young. I revved up the Madmobile and zoomed off to Cheltenham for a night out drinking, eating, dancing and general carousing with a bunch of students, some of whom were young enough to have been taught by me. The half-bottle of Southern Comfort went down a treat, and I wasn't arrested for imitating a small hippo on the dance-floor, so it was an all-round good night. This morning was a slightly different, hungover story, although it's always wonderful to wake up next to a man who's prepared to hug you, no matter how much your hair smells of nightclubs.

Tomorrow I head off to York, to Stuart and Lizzie's wedding (wedding number 5 of 6 this year). I then go oop north to stay with Mal in Newcastle, and - as if that weren't enough excitment in itself! - we're going up to Edinburgh to do cultured things like watching Ashley's musical and drinking lots of beer. On Friday, I head back home, frantically repack, then drive down south to Sunny Cornwall* for the weekend. It's likely to be quiet here, but that's not going to be an accurate reflection of my life. Have fun - I know I will!

* And if it's not sunny, I'll be suing it under the Trade Descriptions Act. That'll teach it!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

One of my biggest failings is that I can be shockingly lax about paperwork. If I know that it's important, or if I receive it on a day when I'm feeling feckful, I have no problems dealing with life's day-to-day bureaucracy. On a bad day, however, I will look at the envelopes that have arrived in my pigeon hole, work out who sent each one, and then chuck them on a pile, unopened, to await a day when I feel more organised. Understandably, this has lead to some real disasters - cheques nestling in unopened envelopes, bills unpaid for months on end - and I decided that today was the day to do something about it.

A few weeks ago I bought a great drawer unit from a certain Swedish furniture store: it looks just like the drawers we had in junior school, and now cuddles up to my new bookcase in the recently re-arranged hallway. The drawers are just the right size to take A4 paper, which is ideal because I normally file everything in one huge box, and then in sprawling piles on the floor when the boxes are full, so I can never find anything when I need it. For the first time ever, I have become excited about filing.

It's taken me about 5 hours to get through all of my junk. Believe me - there was a lot of it! Everywhere I looked, there was another pile of envelopes, letters, catalogues, magazines; each surface had its own paperwork community. I've even sifted through the paperwork that I'd already filed - I'm never quite sure what to keep and what to throw, so I had a fine collection of phone bills, itemised, dating back to 1999. I waved goodbye to bank statements from my university years. I found 'change of address' cards from people who I know have since moved again. Although I'm knackered, it's been cathartic; I still have a mound of Guide paperwork to deal with, but the end is in sight. The only thing that concerns me is that I've still not found the invite to Phil and Linda's wedding, and I know I had it somewhere. Hey ho - back to the search!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I've just spent the last two hours planning some of next term's teaching. Although this may seem a little premature - after all, it's only the third day of August! - it does mean that I can go away next week without feeling guilty. I have a copy of next year's timetable sitting before me and - with four or five epic jaunts still to go before I start back - it's all a bit surreal at the moment. I think I need to have a lie-down to recover from such excitement!

Blimey O'Reilly - a woman has just driven her big, fancy 4x4 down the road, necking something from a hip flask. How bizarre.

Back again after another weekend of gallivanting. I got to eat lovely food (mostly healthy, some not, all good) and also experienced the pleasures of watching King Arthur in the company of an archaeologist, picnicking on the henge at Avebury, and catching up with family news at my parents' wedding anniversary. It was all low key but good for the soul, even if my own mother didn't recognise me as I walked into the restaurant last night... something to do with the hair* and the frock**, I suspect, although the fact that she wasn't expecting us to turn up may also have been a contributory factor.

* Longer than when she last saw it, although the aubergine colour is gently fading away
** One third of my dress collection, no less.