Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Tomorrow I head over to Stoke to see my godson and family. I've even got a ticket to his brother's Easter Parade: bonnets ahoy!

I'm then off to Sunny Devon. At least, it had better be sunny, or I'll be asking for my money back. Either way, I'll not be back here until next week some time. Until then, be good, and if you can't be good, be careful! :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The afternoon has consisted, in chronolgoical order, of:
Drinking tea and talking about Guides
Discovering and examining a secret panels in a girl's wardrobe, just right for the hiding of fags n booze
Filing paperwork, although mostly it's filed in the bin
Feeling sleepy
Sleeping like the proverbial wooden block
Ordering Chinese.

Holidays are (mostly) fun!

As an American pretending to be a Scotsman whilst baring his buttocks for the attacking hoards to admire might say, "FREEEEEEEEEDOM!!!!!"

(a.k.a. The holidays have started. Hurrah)

Monday, March 21, 2005

This weekend I was meant to be marking tests and writing a revision guide for the GCSE group. Instead, I ran away from school cackling manically, jumped in the Boringmobile, and headed north. The weather at home was overcast and miserable, but as I headed up the M1 towards the Arctic Circle, the sun burned through the clouds and it felt like summer. The journey was good, and the excitement of not being in school was too great to measure. A Scout campsite in Durham was the final destination – a planning meeting for this summer’s SAGGA camp – but I took a slight detour to drive through the centre of Durham. Although the small details are different, things haven’t changed significantly: the streets are still full of students wearing university clothing; the pubs' outside tables are still full of young people soaking up the sun; the cathedral and castle still dominate the city. 'Twas good to be back.

The Scout campsite was good, although seeing George and Paul out of a DOGs setting was most bizarre. At least George wasn't making cocktails for everyone this time! My tent got its first airing of the year, although it certainly won't be its last: the diary is filling up with camps, and SAGGA summer camp runs straight on from Peak 2005, so I'll be well and truely intense by the middle of August.*

Driving home again on Sunday saw another detour; this time through Darlington. I lived in Darlo for two years, and it was great: enjoying the passing company of the lesbian ex-convicts who lived opposite, appreciating the short walk into town, and bemoaning the presence of the crack-dealers who used to have arguments in the street at 3 in the morning. My mother's eyebrows levitated every time she drove past the tatoo parlour on the corner of my street. I went back on Sunday, for the first time in four years. I drove past the chuch hall where I used to do Guides - that hasn't changed one iota. I then mooched down towards the town centre and my old flat. Morrisons is still there, as is the exotic pet shop, the fabric shop and the taxidermist. Other things are disorientatingly different though: Central Perk cafe is a Chinese restaurant; the ABD cinema is an Odeon; they've built some traffic lights at the corner where learner drivers used to wait for months for a gap in the traffic. Ch-ch-ch-changes...

I then came home and found some passport photos of me, taken just before I moved down here four years aog. Just like Durham and Darlington, I'm still recognisably me, but there are changes. My hair, for a start. I hadn't realised how short it was then, and how long it is now. The wrinkles and bags under the eyes are luckily not visible in the most recent passport photo, but I know they're there. I don't feel as dilapidated as Darlington looks, but I'm not sure I have embraced change in quite the way that Durham has. Perhaps that's just the end of term talking. This wasn't intended to be a bit of self-absorbed navel-gazing. It's amazing how stream of consciousness posts flip from tangent to tanget. I'm sorry. Give me a couple of days to sleep and I'll be back to (ab)normal. Better go and catch some zeds....

* This joke is an official entry in the "Search for Derbyshire's Worst Pun of the Year Award" competition. It may be in with a good chance.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Now is the time when I should be writing up this weekend's exploits. Instead, I went to a friend's for her birthday, drank lots of wine with bubbles, and now can't think straight. I think it's time for a quick whizz through the various email accounts and off to bed. Tomorrow I can tell you about my night in a tent; about meeting up with a colleague/pupils in the middle of the big bad city; about walking past people I think were probably ex-pupils of mine from way back; about driving through Darlington and the changes that have happened, and how it's familiar and yet slightly different to how I remembered it. I can also tell the tale of my missing dongle, now I've finally worked out how to do bluetooth on this 'ere laptop; and other such fascinating, scintilating topics.

Alternatively, I could just enjoy my penultimate day of teaching before the holidays kick in for real, and not write anything.

I suspect the latter is a little improbable. Hey ho.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I've just had a gentle perambulation round the village to return various pieces of coursework for last-minute tarting up. It's a mild evening, just right for walking in, and the bellringers are knocking all hell out of the church's bells. It made me feel quite positive, although slightly deafened. Think I'm going to celebrate this unexpected demob happiness by writing an evil test on marketing for my GCSE class. Mua ha ha!

Yesterday was the deadline for GCSE coursework. Or rather, as one girl wrote, cource-work. At least she wasn't the one who produced a Constance Page, to list the different sections of the project. I've also found reference to a supper market, a message parlour and a sweat shop. Hurrah for amusing spelling mistakes!

Out there it's sunny, warm, and the smell of freshly cut grass is rolling in through the window. It looks like spring is here, albeit briefly!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

It's been an epic INSET day today - not one but two training courses! Far more exciting than teaching, although my brain cell has melted. Good job I have first lesson free tomorrow morning!

In other news, Fatso - who impressed me so much with his hamster-smack-addled swinging from the roof of his cage - is now in my not-so-good books. At some point in the last 24 hours, he learned how to open the door to his cage. If he balances on his wheel, puts his feet against the door and pushes hard, then the thing gives way beneath his weight and he's free to escape on the hunt for more hamster-smack. At the moment, a strategically placed clothes peg has stopped that little game, but even as I type, he's gnawing away at it. By tomorrow morning, I fully expect him to be roaming the flat. Pah - if having children is half as difficult and nerve-wracking as this, I'm going to remain childless! ;-)

Updated: Wednesday morning - The clothes peg is still in place, so unless he's Houdini, I won't have to spend the day crawling round the flat looking for the little fluff mountain. Hurrah!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Concert. Now. Need white shirt. Don't think I have one. Might just have to leave shirt off, reavealling white flesh that hasn't seen the sun for months and months, and then hide behind my viola hoping no-one will notice.

Actually, the bags under my eyes are probably big enough to hide behind, but they're a tasteful grey colour, so that's not quite keeping to the dress code.

Oh dear. My brain's finally given up.

I got my reports in by 10.30am, which isn't too long after the deadline. Now, though, I just feel lke crumpling into a heap and snoring for England! Mind you, the road-mender-men-in-boilersuits spent this morning making a hole. As I walked to break, I noticed that it was filled with wet cement. As I walked back from break, the cement proudly bore two shoe prints and a hand print. At the end of fourth lesson, I stood out in the street talking to a colleague, getting full benefit of the fresh tarmac used to cover the cement. It smells just like the permanent markers we used to use as children - "vandal pens" we called them - and I'm sure I got a head rush as I bimbled off to carry on teaching. Rock'n'roll!

(It just says a lot about the excitement on offer in a teacher's life if the most thrilling part of the day involves sniffing tarmac)

Progress report on the reports:

All reports written.
All reports still to print off, sign, sort and place in the right boxes.
Two cans of Pepsi Max knocked back.

I suspect that I'm going to pay the price for all three of these later today.

Tomorrow morning is my next big deadline. I still have 14 reports to write before then. I also have another thrity-plus to proof-read, tart up and generally get just right. The deadline's at 8.50am. Bugger. Better go and set my alarm.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Last week I swopped Fatso's treats from Gertie Guinea Pig's Nibble and Squeak Treats to Harry Hamster's Yippee Treats, the latter of which appear to be hamster-smack. It seems that the wee beastie will do anything for a Yippee Treat. Last Thursday, I propped some in the bars on the roof of his cage, in an attempt to turn him into an SAS-style-swinging-hamster (a la Fastso 2). Although the Yippee Treats has gone by the next morning, there was no evidence of a swinging hamster. Now, though, I've caught the little furball in the act. I am far too excited by this; I suspect that this is a sign that I have a) written too many reports already; and b) drank too much Pepsi Max, which could be likened to Mad-smack. Off to carry on writing whittery things about my Upper Sixth darlings... brrrr-oing!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Je déteste pour écrire des rapports. Aussi, je ne parle pas le Francais bien. Ma petite cellule de cerveau est morte. Je suis un chou. Ou un chou-fleur. En fait, je voudrais être un morceau de broccoli, mais c'est un grand lumineux pendant cette période de nuit.

(This post was brought to you by babelfish and the drink tea)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Well, there's good nudes and bad nudes...*

I got in from school this afternoon and thought, "Blimey, the flat is hot today." I thought nothing of it, until I went out and came back in, and thought, "Blimey it's still hot. And it smells a bit garlicky. Bugger. Last night's snack-ette. Did I turn the oven off afterwards?!" The answer was no. Pants.

Watching Jamie's School Dinners with the kids in the House last night made me appreciate a) how good our food is here; and b) how balanced and grown-up our kids are when it comes to food, in particular veggimetables. Ours would protest if there *weren't* salad and veggies available!

Yesterday I received a letter from the car company, telling me that I owed just under £5,700 on the Madmobile, which of course I traded in 6 weeks ago. Snotty phone calls ensued to both finance company and to dealership (both told me to contact the other). There was also quite a panic about my credit rating, and therefore potential impact on mortgages and dream homes in the country... my chief concern was I may never be able to own chickens as a result of this debacle.

Today I drove to the dealership, and they sorted it out. Phew! Dreams of chickens, piggies and sheepies reinstated. Maybe with an allotment, or at least a garden big enough to have a veggimetable patch. And an Aga. Maybe my credit rating won't stretch that far after all. Hmmm.

Good teaching things have been happening too. Although I can't remember exactly *what* has been happening, there have been a number of occasions where I've thought, "I must blog about that". Now I'm in front of a computer screen that's not filled with reports, through, I've forgotten them all. Shame, really, as they comprised much of my good nudes.

One bit of good nude that I *can* remember is related to dyslexing - I got my first assignment back last week, and my tutor was impressed at how sensetively I had written about the issues (I think she was fooled by my outer yob and didn't see my inner caring-sharing-lovely-person). One of the victims pupils for my second assignment is a girl in the House, and I gave her an unfinished draft of the report I've written about her. She read through it with interest and - on giving it back to me - said with a beaming smile, "I'm impressed. I didn't think anyone would be able to write that much about me." I'm going to enjoy teaching her. :-)

Anyhow, off to do something constructive now, like roll up in the boy wonder's dressing gown (his is fleecy and soft, while mine is old and droopy), loll on the sofa and whitter on the phone. It's all because a mountain of reports are due in a few days' time, and I'm desperately seeking displacement activities! G'night.

Akshually, no nudes is bad news**

** Unless you're into life drawing. Or the manager of a lap-dancing club.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I hate the end of term, because it means reports, which means marking and grading and assigning positions. Oh for more hours in the day.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Soundtrack for this afternoon:

Kirsty MacColl - Galore (tidying up)
Joan Osbourne - Relish (marking A-level mock exam papers)
India Arie - Acoustic Soul (writing Yr11 reports)

So far, it's been a day for female vocalists. What I can't decide now is whether to stick with the trend or to buck it. Difficult decision.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Ooops. Gone midnight. Sleepy. Got to snuggle up under duvet. G'night

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Debate: we won. Convincingly.

The booze I drank also went down convincingly and now I'm possibly slightly dununk. I don't remember having any tea (because of Rainbows) so perhaps I deserve to be spinny-heady. I'm probably not so bad that I'll be leaving gushy messages on my bloke's voicemail, but I have done anyway, for amusement's sake if nothing else. Unfortunately he'll realise that he's going out with a jibbering loon and will dump me tomorrow. Gah.

"Science" went well at Rainbows, although before we'd even started some of them told me in no uncertain terms that science was BORING. Pouring milk onto a plate was a good way to get their attention and by the time I'd got the food colouring out I couldn't stop them asking questions. Objective achieved. Also achieved: a nice rainbow effect on my fingers caused by errant food colouring. Now I have to speak in a formal debate with hands that look like I've been killing people; I think some scrubbing is called for. That Macbeth? He had nothing on me, mate.

Thursdays are normally fairly slack: a few lessons in the morning, lunch in the House, tutor group, perhaps a smattering of sport, and then some free time to catch up on marking, preparation and all the other assorted paperwork that accumluates during the week.

This morning was great: I managed to get a swathe of A-level mock papers marked, as well as finding time to sit in the staff room idly chatting about meaningless frippery. This afternoon is destined to be a bit more stressful. Although I've been made redundant from my netball session, I'm meant to be running Rainbows later, and then speaking in a staff-student debate this evening.

Rainbows will be interesting - last week's session was ready-planned for me, but this week I'm completely in charge. I'm thinking of doing something about friendship, but I'm going to have to do some thinking before 5pm!

The motion for the debate is "This house would spare the rod and spoil the child". My role is summation for the opposition. Given that I have attended the grand total of two debates, both times as a member of the audience, I'm slightly pooing myself. I've made after-dinner speeches to 250 people, I teach every day of the week, I have no fear about running a Scout wide game for 100, but I'm dreading this evening. Eeeek!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Last week was GCSE mock week. This week it's the Upper Sixth's turn. Off they all traipse to the main school hall to sit shivering from sub-zero temperatures and the excessive demands being made on their braincells. This leaves us teachers with bonus free lessons, and admittedly with a huge pile of marking too. The best of all bonus free lessons, though, must be the first lesson of the day: a leisurely start with a cup of tea and some constructive marking; or, even better, a lie-in. What made today's bonus free lesson even better than most was its timing - not first lesson but second, on a day in which the first period is free. I've been bouncing all day as a result.

Last night's late night dyslexing extravaganza was followed by a good 8 hours crashed out under three duvets (it's a tad cold here) and a bonus lie-in because of A-level mock exams. Although snotty, I feel far more balanced.

I suspect it won't last long!

One minute it was 9pm and I was just casting my eye over my dyslexing assignment; next thing I know I've turned into a pumpkin. Bollocks. There goes my chance of an early night.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Sometimes there are days when you feel rotten, when your dose is bunged up, and you feel like you're trying to run uphill through treacle. Today is one of those days. I was feeling all despondent and wibbly, and then I found this, turned the volume up, sat back and smiled. Hurrah.

(Thank you for bringing such light into my life!)