Thursday, June 30, 2005

I'm hoping that Si has just solved my blog template problem - it's something to do with float alignment, I suspect, which I would have associated more with coarse fishermen than blogging, but it just shows you can't have everything.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Maps found - they had been 'sorted' by a person who thought they were being helpful. Bastard. I'll kick their ankles next time I see them. Other than that, things on the to-do list are being ticked off slowly. I'm off to buy some tents now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Here comes the rain with a gutteral murmering of thunder and the occasional flicker of lightening. The temperature's falling but it's not making me feel any better. The maps are still missing and the font's still wrong. I contemplated changing the template of the blog, but couldn't face the faffing involved with it, and didn't want my page to be a clone of everyone else's. Guess it's a job to tackle in the holidays. Only 3 days to go, and then 4 days of expedition, and then I can get enough sleep to be a normal human being again. I'm counting every second.

I'm having problems with blogger changing the font of my posts without warning. I've done some hunting and I think it's all down to this cheeky little bit of code that's popping up without being asked:

div style="clear:both;"

If you know how to get rid of it, please tell me - there's nothing obvious in my template, and it's well above my normal level of geeking. Ta.

Good: finished report writing for the term.
Bad: trying to entertain kids who have just 3 days of term left and no real incentive to do anything
Good: Knowing that this time on Saturday I'll be off on Duke of Edinburgh expedition
Bad: realising that I've lost the entire roll of maps for the area. That's 16 maps. And we're meant to be using them to walk with. The only word for this situation rymes with 'rollocks'. If you spot a set of sheet 98 1:50,000 OS maps then please send them my way. Waaah.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

It's rock and roll here, but very busy. More later, when I'm not teaching.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Whoops. Tonight was meant to be an early night but I forgot to go to bed. Arse. I *did* make a quite reasonable lasagne and drink some nice wine, and now I'm eating the nicest amaretti biscuits this side of Italy. I can already tell that tomorrow's going to be a day for an elasticated waistband.

From K comes the musical baton.

Total volume of music files on my computer?
Eurm. Dunno. iTunes says that I have 35 songs, but some of those are mp3s of Eddie Izzard and Weebl and Bob, plus assorted online radio. I'm not really a music on my computer type of person.

The last CD I bought was?
Mrs Cruff, by Mr Scruff. At least I think it was - it's been too long to remember!

Song playing right now?
Nowt - I'm invigilating an exam. Fret not, it's only an internal exam for a group of 7 first years... hardly taxing stuff!

Five songs I listen to a lot/mean a lot to me?
Yikes - too many to choose from! Some favourites include:

  • I'm in the mood for dancing by The Nolans (memories of university nights out come flooding back every time I hear that)
  • Shanty Town by Mr Scruff
  • God only knows by the Beach Boys (Fatso likes that one too - he squeaks along in time)
  • The Wild Rover... for all those drunken evenings spent sitting round a campfire!
  • That one that goes "la la doo bee doo bee la" but I can't remember its name. Damn. I'm singing it in my head though: be thankful this isn't an audio-blog!

The musical baton goes on to Rob, Andy, Amy, Fraser and Mal, provided I don't fumble it and drop it by the side of the running track.

Off now to puzzle over which music I *really* should have put here and to try and remember the name of that damned song!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Loads of photos from the last week here, includng screwing, buddies, water games, shoes, and the ball. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Last night's Guide meeting was one of the most productive yet relaxed meetings we've had in a long while. They started with the annual review - what have you enjoyed most this year? how can your patrol work even better next year? - and then we hand painted a giant buddy for Send My Friend. This left us with a good 45 minutes in which to play water games that - whoops! - turned into a full-blown water fight. We didn't see that one coming at all, yer honour! The best moment was when our unit helper (a recently recruited mum who's never been a leader before) grabbed a bucket and tipped it straight over my assistant Guider's head. Chortle? You bet!!

After a quick rush home and a change out of slightly damp uniform, it was off to a party where there was wine, melt-in-the-mouth cake and good friends. Sadly it was cut short by the need to be on late-night duty, but it was nice to get out. Now, though, I'm knackered. Thank goodness sixth-formers can be understanding about Saturday morning bleariness.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Oh aye, I forgot. I had to go to Rainbows tonight. Damn little bouncy things in their little purple tabard things. Ribena-berries, every one of 'em. Pah, give me Guides any day.

Oh fuck. I go and watch cricket, drink wine and get the worst hiccups in the world ever. I'm sure it's very amusing to watch but it's not really funny, in the grand scheme of things. Unless your grand scheme of things include people going "wauch" and shrugging their shoulders dramatically, in which case you're well away. In any case, the cricket was between some of my colleagues and a local team, and we won. Not, of course, that I can lay any claim to the success (although I *did* teach economics to one of the star batsman). Of all of it, the only photo I managed to get was this:

The focus is pants; my phone camera may be good but it's not *that* good!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Last night, after my last dyslexing session ever, I came home via the Swedish furnishing shop. No shelf units this time, just more boxes to put on the shelves and a magazine rack for the girls. They'd requested it as a way of sharing magazines, rather than all buying all of them. Obviously, being the intellectual darlings that they are, their reading material consists of Cosmo, Heat, Hello, Now and other assorted shit. Oh, and one girl buys wedding magazines. She's 15. She says that she likes the pictures and she showed me her collection of wedding dress pictures that she'd cut from the magazines and stuck into a folder. In my caring tutor role, I advised her never to show (or even mention) the folder to anyone she fancies; I though that was quite subtle.

Anyhoooo, back to the magazine rack. I'd bought a clothy-baggy-racky-item from the aforementioned Swedish furnishing emporium, so we spent this evening after prep building the thing. Two fifteen year old girls, Jen (the matron) and myself, armed with two screwdrivers, whipped out the instructions and spent the next twenty minutes pissing ourselves laughing about jokes involving screwing and erecting. Minds like sewers, the lot of us! A good chortle does everyone good, even when the conversation veered off towards children's names - Tennis, Magistrate, Netball - and then into the Spanish Inquisition for Jen, who has four children with names beginning with the letter J. After such frivolity, I'm surprised that I'm still employed. It's a good job that the headmaster wasn't wandering round the House, or the P45 would be in my pigeonhole by now.

I'm in shock. We had a meeting today with all of our Year 10 kids (4th years in real money, or A-block in our idiosyncratic nomenclature) to discuss their options for Wednesday afternoons next year. They have to do something, whether it's CCF, adventurous activities, or D of E silver. I did a small whitter about the award, the CCF man talked about the other options, and then they filled in their provisional choices on a sheet. D of E was first choice for 55 of them. FIFTY FIVE!!!! We have 31 kids this year, and that's the biggest the group's ever been; we've obviously made it too attractive. Pish. How on earth do you run expeditions for 55 participants at a time? I know for a fact that we've not got that many cookers, let alone tents. And what about administering it all - there will be forms falling out of my ears. Waaah! This job has just got interesting.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I don't think I said good things or did things that will make me popular, at least not amongst the organising committee for the Guide hall, but I feel purged. Off now to get some kip. G'night.

The village seems to have been hit by an ice age. Everywhere is full of shivering children, desperate to take advantage of the summer 'no-tie' uniform but paying the price of hypothermia instead. I'd like to say that the weather was better over the weekend but - apart from a brief excursion to Tesco, and an enforced march to chapel - I didn't really make it outside at all.

Partly this was due to the presence of the Boy Rob, lots of food and some cookery books. My lack of adventure was also linked to a weekend on duty in the House, looking after wee girlies who spent much of their time gazing manically into space jibbering about impending exams. The UK's assessment system is a joke.

Today was the start of A2 teaching for those lower sixth who have finished their exams. Getting them motivated was easier than I'd expected, although I overheard a colleague explaining in no uncertain terms why we teach now instead of letting them slacken off. He reduced it to money terms, which was a bit of a shocker: I'd not thought of it it in that way before. A new day, a new perspective.

Tonight is a committee meeting for the organisation who run the Guide hall - it's bound to be long, boring and I am guaranteed to upset people with the questions I'm oging to ask. Hey ho, c'est la vie.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I've just been given a CD of photos by a boy in my Silver Duke of Edinburgh group, and had to put the best onto flickr straight away. They're pictures from last month's expedition, and they're really made my day. Although I'm very fond of the shot of them all paddling through a stream, my favourite is the shot of this boy's group as they reach Kinder Scout's plateau: it's the expression of relief and achievement that makes it so special. I'm quite touched at how much they enjoyed it; if I'm not careful I'm going to blub. Bless.

It's a funny time of year. The kids are manically working away, striving to squeeze every last minute's worth of work from their days, lurching from one exam to another. From my point of view, though, it's a slack time. Admittedly there's the occasional invigilation, but a lot of normal lessons have become independent revision lessons: the kids choose their own priorities and work with little guidance from me. As a result, I've spent the last two days writing reports, hindered only by random questions, and not all to do with economics/business, either.

Them: If you're multiplying two fractions, can you divide down going across, or just diagonally?
Me: Eurm. Dunno.
Them: What years was Regan president?
Me: Eurm. Dunno.
Them: What happened at Little Rock?
Me: Eurm. Dunno.
Them: Do you know anything?
Me: Eurm. Dunno.

Personally, I blame it on the sun. It was glorious yesterday; so much so that I gave up on report-writing and headed out to a comfy bench and watched a couple of hours of cricket. It was the annual prep school cricket competition, and no player was over the age of 11. I normally watch school's first XI, so it was a bit of a shocker to see all these wee boys running round. Even more amusing were the parents, proudly watching their darling offspring and trying to out-do each other with competitive point scoring: "Our Henrietta's just started a medical degree at Birmingham" "Only at Birmingham? Charles is in his second year at Oxford, you know". Social schmoozing sucks. Let's hope I never turn out like that.

Last night was my duty night, so I spent it upstairs in the matron's flat. Our Matron, Jen, is also my assistant Guider, and the two of us are doing the QMing for summer camp. Trying to work out the quantities of cheese needed for 40 people's worth of tacos was amusing, but slightly brain-numbing. At least that's all done now - just shopping lists to type up, equipment to buy, and we're ready to go!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A barely relevant dyslexing session segued straight into an over-long mentor training for Guides, and I then returned home to find men and a van doing things to the drains. All the windows I'd left open to air the flat had done their job too well and I shall be sleeping in the heady aroma of drain-air tonight. Nice.

Virus schmirus. Someone out there's got wee bugs in their mail system and I'm getting all sort of doom-laden messages. Thank goodness for virus checkers!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Little did the Boy Rob realise, when he arrived on Friday evening just gone, what excitment lay in store this weekend. Not only was there Chinese food and beer, but also a trip to a Swedish furniture shop and a puzzle over how to fit it all in the Boringmobile. Luckily, he's an adaptable sort of mug guy, and took it all in his stride, and even pretended to enjoy erecting shelves on a Saturday night when he could have been out drinking. The shelf units came in boxes that are exactly two centimetres shorter than the distance from the front windscreen to the back windscreen when laid on the tops of seats in a Golf, and necessitated very VERY careful driving back on the motorway: rarely do I willingly set the cruise control at 50mph!

The finished units are fantastic. One has gone into the sitting room to replace an old sideboard acquired by my mother when I first moved here - the sideboard's contents have gone into storage boxes that fill just the bottom shelf, so there's plenty of room for my book collection to continue expanding! The other shelves, far more bijou in all directions, have gone into the kitchen to hold pans, plates, and other assorted cooking type gubbins. I now have a far emptier work surface and two emptier cupboards: time to start filling them with more junk, methinks!

The erection* was interspersed with cooking and eating, including a pudding experiment, a pancake experiment and a steak experiment. The first was good and the latter two were moderately successful, with futher research being planned. I like cooking. Sadly my waistband is starting to show this: time to get back to the healthy eating, I think!

* of shelves, of course. What did you think I meant?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Each day, a sheet of notices is sent to each House carrying information such as "Strings, oboes and harpsichord at 6.15pm" or "U14A cricketers in nets at 4.30pm". Today's notices read "Inter-House relays today 4.30pm unless it rains this afternoon". However, I've just meandered back from lessons through very gentle drizzle to meet a crowd of over-excited pupils. "Miss, Miss, we've spent all afternoon praying and singing, and now it's raining!" I was told, in no uncertain terms. To reinforce the effect, they even did a little rain dance. By the time I'd reached my front door the drizzle was thickening slightly, and cheers echoed from every window.

I'm not saying that they're slackers - after all, I would have been the first pleading for the intervention of some divine being in such circumstances - but I'm impressed by their commitment to their cause. Perhaps I should pay them not to pray or rain dance during the summer holidays: that way I might get a dry Guide camp!

Friday lunchtimes are great. I have no commitments, so can crash in my flat for an hour to gain some respite from the day. Mind you, I'm not exactly in need of respite just now: exams are looming ever closer, so the wee kiddies are spending every lesson revising, which is hardly taxing in the grand scheme of things. I also had a good lesson with a GCSE group today talking about motivation; they were - dare I say it? - almost motivated, and are now armed with corporate-babble terms to describe their teachers' management styles. This afternoon will be more of the same, and then perhaps some rounders... it's a hard life!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Rob was so desperate to get away from me taking photos that he tried to hide in the foliage.

Blogging pictures direct from flickr is making my fonts go all funny. Not sure this is the way to go. Until I can get it sorted out, this is my flickr page of photos.

The Boy Rob

The Boy Rob
Originally uploaded by Planet Mad.
This new camera's great - it does videos, zooms, and also does extreme close up. No bad for a mobile phone! Rock n roll!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

After a weekend spent poncing, driving, drinking, boogying, snogging, snoring, waking, grumbling, driving, lounging, throwing sticks, taking photos, eating, lounging, reading, sleeping, struggling to wake, visiting, eating, driving, eating, sleeping, and driving, I got back here at 11 o'clock this morning. I have oodles of lovely pictures - my new phone has a fab camera - and I now have a spinny head and will have all the delights of a hangover tomorrow. This may be related to the number of chelsea buns I ate, but is more likely linked to the number of glasses of wine I've drunk. Tut tut, and on a school night too. How discraceful.

Tomorrow I'll try to get my head round this 'putting photos on web' malarky, but it's something that a slightly drununky braincell won't cope with. For now, then, g'night.