Friday, 30 December 2011


My life can be very small...

...but the people in it are ace.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Heroes and Idols

Lying here in the depths of non-sleep, I find myself constructing (for reasons not really clear even to me) a list of heroes and inspirational sorts... They are roughly as follows: (note this is not exhaustive, and that they are not in any particular order. Not here, anyway. I have some sort of vague mental ranking, and they are definitely not all equally heroic or idolised, but it would take far more brain power than I can muster at the moment to try and do that justice here...)

Real Life:
- Jesus
- Gareth Malone
- Ben Lovett
- Mr Spittle (my unfortunately named yet wonderful year 8 maths teacher)
- Adele
- Oliver Sacks
- Martin Freeman
- Stephen Fry

- Sherlock Holmes
- Amélie Poulain
- Captain Jack Sparrow
- Emma Morley
- Summer Finn (though she was a bit of a phase...)
- others that had sprung to mind before writing this, whom I have now forgotten...

There you have it. A rather narrow list of people for whom I have some respect.

There are others of course. But I'm splurging what is in my head in an attempt to get it out so I can sleep.

Also, I would just like to draw attention to the fact that NO items of clothing, jewellery or footwear have been purchased by me since the end of October. I have been given a few items, but that's allowed. I think...

I didn't even over-excess on something else in their place, which I sort of thought I might...

Except for today when I bought 6 LPs. But that's like an extension of my Christmas present, so therefore is allowed. Probably.

Anyway, I should try sleeping again. Yes please.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Abandonment and The Weekend of Very Little Sleep

I have realised recently, I have a bit of a fear of abandonment.

I mean, I suppose no one really likes the idea, so in that sense let's not over-dramatise it, but my reactions to a couple of recent events (like my parents not being at home when I was expecting them to be, so we could drive to Nottingham together, and my immediate reaction being combined panic and deep hurt at the immediate assumption they must have left without me) have suggested to me that there's something in me that is really quite scared of it.

Which is ironic, considering how stubbornly self-sufficient I can be.

Anyway, that's by the by.

This weekend has been ACE.

It went a little something like this:
- Thursday (I know not technically the weekend, but hey. Technically not ace either...): off school with aching limbs and flu-like symptoms. Spent the day sleeping and watching three different films, back to back (Sherlock Holmes (in preparation for the new one), X-men Origins (Wolverine), and Once)
- Thursday night: Hums faculty dinner in Rothwell. Mm-mm. Loved the food, loved the party hats, and secret Santa was a success.

- Friday: still somewhat zoned out, but in school for choirs, assemblies, Christmas fayres and panto. A jolly day all round.
- Friday night: staff social in Corby. Was massively fun. Much food, dancing and jollity was had, culminating in a 2:30am bedtime.

- Saturday: spent the day clearing, cleaning and sorting out the house. Much needed, and is now much nicer.
- Saturday night: Christmas house party in Tufnell Park, which was lush. I loved catching up with people I have known for a while, and people I have been getting to know over the past couple of years. Again, much fun was had, and this culminated in a 4:30 bedtime.

- Sunday: woke up disgustingly late, went for lunch at my friend's mother's house, sang carols a capella, with voices that were not quite working, and then came home again.

What a beautiful end to the term. And now, I'm about to watch last night's episode of Merlin, and have just eaten 9 liqueur chocolates. I feel a bit sick.

Roll on tomorrow, with NO ALARM and the imminent return to Parentsville. Delicious food, real fire and family on tap. Yesss...

Right, Merlin o'clock it is, shortly followed by loooooooooooooong sleep time.

Bring it.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Milka Father Christmas, and other stories...

I'm sitting in my bed, with three candles burning, and the sounds of traditional carols streaming into my ears.

A small milka Father Christmas is winking at me from my bookcase, my nails are tinted a shade of burgundy and my feet are snuggled in their red woollen socks.

I am feeling remarkably festive.

This weekend was the Marlborough Street Massive's Christmas Weekend. We spent Saturday bustling about beautiful little shops, buying trinkets and toffees and hot chestnuts. It was ridiculously lovely. There was a nativity play, with real live animals and people dressed up in excellent costumes, speaking beautiful words and singing Little Donkey and Away in a Manger and other delightfully festive songs.

Then we went back to a bungalow filled with Christmas tree and DIY and tea, and sat about catching up and sitting and hearing about each others' lives.

After an evening of preparing, partying, cooking, changing, tasting, mulling, baking, and brewing, we ate the best meal of the year, and shared Buck's fizz and rosé wine, and ate until we shouldn't have. With bellies bursting and dresses a little too tight, we lounged beside the log fire (I'm not making any of this up - this is how perfect the weekend was), passing round parcels and presents and opening cards, until the fire had burnt down, and Kate Bush had finished serenading us with her fifty names for snow, and all the wrapping paper was no longer keeping secrets, but had been demoted to fire fuel or recycling scraps.

At this point, we crawled into our respective beds and slept until our body clocks woke each other up the next morning.

I flipping loved it.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Self Control

I will not feel sad. I will not feel sad. I will not feel sad.

I feel a bit sad.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A Few Nice Things

I had something deep and meaningful to share...

I thought of it when I was doing the washing up earlier.

It was some sort of metaphorical thought - terribly profound, that sort of thing.

But I've forgotten it...

Oh well.

Today I went on a walk. On my own. In the fog.

I loved it.

I went to Brixworth Park, which is well equipped with play area, café and reservoir, amongst other attractions. It was chilly, but beautiful - all the slightly clichéd sights, like gently bobbing sailing boats, and misty water-laden spider webs, and the distant hills rising from the mist above a still stretch of water, and tiny water droplets suspended from red berried bushes... Clichéd, perhaps; beautiful, definitely.

It made me feel very peaceful and also a bit happy, and also a bit sad.

But mostly peaceful, which was nice.

Then I watched possibly my new favourite film. It's called (I think) "Nativity", and stars Martin Freeman as a primary school teacher in Coventry. There are some farcical moments (one of the main themes of the film is an ongoing feud between two ex-best-friend teachers in two different schools in the same area, trying to out-do each other with their respective nativities, which inevitably leads to some hilarious mishaps and japes and shenanigans etc etc...), but there are some really lovely moments, and some really real moments too.

I think my favourite scene is just after a 'naughty boy' auditions for Joseph - he really wants to get the part, but gets into a fight with another boy, when the other boy says he'll never be Joseph because he's not good enough, and he'll only let the school down. I won't go into it too much, but the favourite scene bit is when Martin Freeman explains to the boy that if he carries on behaving like a naughty boy, people will treat him like a naughty boy, and he'll be expected to be a naughty boy, instead of the not-naughty boy he could be (and wants to be, really).

Anyway, it was more effective in the film.

But it was so great, and the dedication at the end read something like "to all inspirational teachers", which made me smile probably a bit more than was necessary.

Anyway! This is a long post about not very much, really. Just a few nice things that happened today.

Other nice things include:

- meeting a new(-ish) girl at church this morning
- being reminded of Zephaniah 3:17, and the fact He rejoices over ME with singing
- drinking hot chocolate after my walk
- lunching chez parentals
- driving home in the fog, and noticing how fairyland-ish the lights on the A14 become when it's foggy
- finally getting round to dyeing my faded work trousers black, so they're smart again

And now it's time for me to sleep. My lessons tomorrow are all planned, as they are re-workings of lessons previously taught last week, and I think I even have a child-free lunchbreak tomorrow. Maybe. How exciting!

(I think the bit about the Nativity film was my profound washing-up thought. Not as profound as I remembered it being...)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Temptations and Revelations

This weekend I have learnt:

- I am able to resist buying beautiful cashmere jumpers from Cath Kidston. This was made far easier by the £105 price tag.

- Effectively maintaining one's car leads to a better functioning vehicle. Who knew?! (I added oil to my angry-sounding engine, and now it purrs like a satisfied tabby)

- Cambridge still feels familiar and homely, even though I haven't lived there since 2009, and only really lived there for 9 months. Weird. But nice weird.

- "Flight of the Conchords" makes me laugh.

- Singing ridiculously loudly in my car is hugely satisfying.

- Adding a few ground almonds, mixed spices and an extra ounce of butter creates quite a delicious mince pie pastry.

- People are complex and occasionally unfathomable. And that's ok. I don't have to fathom them all the time.

Also: so far, I have bought no items of clothing, jewellery or shoes. Cambridge market had a LOT to tempt me (for example the Banksy balloon girl on a t-shirt, and beautiful ceramic jewellery imprinted with images of dragonflies and/or flowers), but I was not tempted. Well, I was, but I didn't give in to the temptation.

Also (also): someone read out this verse this morning. I needed to hear it, and consequently wrote a song based on it. So, thanks, Someone:

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord"
Psalm 27:14

Sunday, 30 October 2011

I require your assistance

Dear Lucy, Lottie, Linnet and other friends of mine who stumble across this occasionally (whose names perhaps also begin with 'L' (not yours, Rachel Rose)),

Re. Point 1 in the post below.

I have concocted a plan. It is not really thought through at all, and probably simultaneously a bit pitiful and perhaps a bit difficult. The plan is basically as follows:

"I am not going to buy any more items of superfluous clothing, jewellery or shoes for the remainder of 2011."

(I've slipped the 'superfluous' in there, just in case there's a massive accident with an invaluable item, such as underwear or my Good(-ish) Work Trousers or whatever)

The help I need from you is really simply to be aware that this is my plan, and so to pour scorn on me if I break it, and to whisper little words of encouragement as the year progresses.

(I'm aware there are only 2 months left of 2011, and Not Buying Any More Clothes I Don't Need Anyway is hardly the most noble of gestures a person can make, but still...)

I should probably also decide to give the superfluous (is that even spelt correctly?) clothes I already own away, or to have a 'one in - one out' policy (hey, maybe I will start that... in the new year, of course...), and other nobler things, but this is a start, right?

Anyway. Is that ok? Scorn pouring and whispering all right with you?


Half Term Observations

Things I have observed this week:

1. I have absolutely plenty of clothes, yet I seem to keep buying them, without really knowing why I do it.

2. Petrol gets gradually more expensive the further along the A43/M1 you travel (from Market Harborough to Woburn Sands)

3. The nurse who didn't give me antibiotics for my clogged up sinuses was doing her job, and doing it well, despite my irritation at her apparent disregard for my achey face.

4. Paintballing makes people really tired.

5. Profusely eating lots of cake and drinking copious teas and coffees causes an expansion of waistline.

6. Changing the clocks back makes me want to hibernate.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Beauty Sleep

"U.G.L.Y. You ain't got no alibi, you ugly (hey hey) you ugly!"

This song has been floating round my head for a while now. Probably something to do with the fact I am having to sleep with a strip of plastic across my nose, and antiseptic cream on my face while my bunged up face refuses to de-bung and continues to get sore-er in the process. Yeugh.

I've been on the brink of feeling sorry for myself the last couple of days (I nearly cried when Jamie Oliver made a "pie to propose over" this eve) but I've had so many moments of loveliness that I've managed not to.

For example:
- the red-orange leaves on the trees at the moment are completely beautiful
- my nephews and nieces and their eagerness for reading and chess playing, and their willingness to let me hug them
- Marvel comic pyjama bottoms
- folk singers and past teachers who remembered me
- my (ex-)housemate's washing powder on their spare duvet

Lots more besides. Absolutely no ugly thoughts allowed. (or is that 'no ugly thoughts aloud'?)

Anyway, I'm off to catch me an extra hour's beauty sleep. Yes!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Back to Life

So last weekend, two of my most wonderful friends came to stay for the weekend. We meandered round sunny hills and dales, ate (a lot of) cake, drank (obscene amounts of) tea and generally mooched.

Before they arrived, I had, without really realising it, been feeling generally quite cross and unsettled. No real reason why, as far as I can remember, but I was only really aware of it once it had subsided - one of those "you don't know what you've got til it's gone" moments (apparently, it works both ways).

When the weekend was over, I realised how relaxed I felt and how much I had missed them.

This week is half term, and I have so far mostly spent it flitting between Northampton and Market Harborough. Today was a Most Marvellous day, with two of my most excellent friends, and a friend of a friend I am slowly getting to know. We spent it walking through woods, strolling through tree tops, eating (a rather restrained amount of) cake and drinking (a respectable amount of) tea/coffee. It was a day of sunshine and jumpers and photos and non-pretentiousness.

I have missed you!

I'm realising that being on the same wavelength is mightily important.

Mutual understanding and shared enjoyment make life so much more enjoyable.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" John 10:10

Tuesday, 4 October 2011



I am tired.

So at the moment, there are no free lunchtimes, I am in school til late o'clock far more often than I ever have been, and today was Open Evening.

I missed it last year, due to being ill. That was convenient.

Still, it was good tonight.

You know what, though - it's a bit (a lot) like a slightly misleading sales pitch, whereby you big up all the good stuff, and gloss over the less good stuff. Like, "there are loads of instruments you can have a go on, like these drums over here, and the guitars next door, and the keyboards along here" (subtext: "you'll have a go on the drums for approx. 2 mins during your entire time here, and later if you touch them, you'll probably be told to leave them alone; the guitars look pretty good hanging up in the other room and because they're in the other room, it means you probably won't get to play them much, if at all, and if they break, we never really fix them. Keyboards, however... learn to love em.")

Like the GCSE, when you hear about salsa and club and disco and African a capella and all the good stuff... and then you spend your days sitting staring at a screen, writing down facts about all these interesting music styles that we are hardly equipped to perform.

Still, I'm trying to rectify that one by doing less staring and more doing. (which I don't know why I didn't do before, anyway... far more interesting that way)

Anyway, I need to plan some lessons for tomorrow.

I am TIRED and my head is spinning. Not literally. That would be weird.


Tuesday, 20 September 2011


So the joys of re-teaching the same lessons that I taught last year means I have a lot more spare time in my evenings than I'm used to.

This means I have spent most of my time over the last few evenings watching my housemate's friend's box set of Friends.

It's also meant that I've spent the last few days being simultaneously grateful for having a housemate, and missing having a close group of friends who live near by.

That is all.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Pursuit of Love

I found this that I'd written a few months ago. I think I might have posted it before, and then deleted it. Anyway, I thought I'd share it again, especially in the light of another friend's wedding tomorrow.

"What I don't understand is that in novels and films, it all seems so easy...

So, I'm currently reading a novel by Nancy Mitford. It's really quite good - I like her style, and she makes me smile wryly every now and again, which is nice. What I don't get, however, is the fact that although her protagonists are in "The Pursuit of Love", she only dedicates about a paragraph to the "two years of agony" between 16 and 18, which is from the age her characters become preoccupied with falling in love, to the age they are 'out' and allowed to get engaged.

How can the 'pursuit of love' be condensed into so brief a paragraph...?

Oh and every now and then she slips in things like an "oh, by this point I (the narrator) had met so-and-so and now we're married", and a nonchalant "oh yeah, this sister of mine has now got 2 children"... like it's of no consequence at all.

Isn't it supposed to be life changing? Isn't it supposed to make an impact?

It's like when I talk to people who have been married for ages, and it's so matter-of-fact and understated, that I get confused.

I feel like my whole life has been building up to The Event. And you know how when someone promises you something, and says "it's on its way, promise!", and you get excited about it, but then it keeps not coming, despite reassurances of "it's still on its way!", and it gets harder and harder to be excited about it...?

I just don't really know what to do differently.

I mean, I want it to make an impact, I want it to be worth waiting for, and I also suppose I don't really want to miss out. But if all that's asking too much, I might even rather nothing than a lukewarm non-life-changing "oh, and then we got married" type thing.

I sometimes feel like there's a secret code that you need to understand before you're even allowed close to contemplating The Event.

It's like a club I've not been invited into.

In other news, I just ate an entire tube of Maltesers. Yum!

"We walk by faith, not by sight"
2 Corinthians 5:7"

(I found it - it was originally posted on January 19th. The day after my 25th birthday.)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Tomorrow I am:

- seeing the year 12s for the first time since their results and dreading it
- looking forward to having the department to myself
- going to plan some fun housewarming and other parties
- teaching a double lesson for the first time since 2009
- possibly going to the cinema.
- going to try and feel less like running away

I have a new year 7 form. They are currently pleasant if a bit timid, receptive if a bit quiet, and occasionally a bit responsive. Hurray, good work small children. You're not in Kansas anymore. Here there are hurricanes and detentions and teachers who confiscate your jewellery. Ha.

Oh, also I looked up jobs in London. Currently none that appeal. The thing is, I just keep picturing a little house with a blue door and poor décor, like in Notting Hill, and wishing I lived in it.

One day, maybe...

Monday, 5 September 2011


Today I am not:

- sleeping in shorts
- on my summer holiday
- happy with some of our exam results
- sure what to wear tomorrow
- taking off my Wilderness wristband
- displeased with my new(-ish) house
- feeling inspired by classroom music education
- looking forward to tomorrow.

Sorry for the moan. Enough of that.

Today I am:

- pleased with my new(-ish) house
- enjoying my new lampshade(s)
- possibly going to wear terribly funky shoes/boots tomorrow
- breathing in orange and ginger incense
- not studying a masters (I handed it in - whoop!)
- feeling slightly rebellious.

That is all.

P.S. I know I left out a big chunk of August - I was mostly camping or being in Germany. Both of which were ace.

The end.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


(I may have made that word up)

This summer is amazing.

-ly busy.

-ly exhausting.

-ly exciting.

-ly full of sitting at a laptop pounding out words and brackets and italicised 'asides'

But mostly just amazing.

I spent most of last week recovering from the Wedding Weekend of the Century (which, by the way, was WONDERFUL), flitting between Kettering and Harb, for proofreading and editing my thesis in one house, and eating (I have no food) and sleeping (sporadically) in the other. After spending a concentrated couple of days in Ketters working like a mad woman, (oh, and rewarding myself with exciting treats, such as cinema-ing with the young'un to see HARRY POTTER, and Chiquitos-ing with the buddy in Cambridge), I drove back to Harb, en route to Oxfordshire, and emailed a 50-something page draft to my supervisor.

Then, I sped down the M1 (possibly), to arrive chez sister in the mid-afternoon, for to begin a weekend of Wild Wilderness Wonderment.

We spent the weekend lounging in the (occasional) sunshine, usually with a pint of something delicious in our hands, surrounded by small children, colourful people and the wafts of live music. I. Loved. It.

There is something so exhilerating about live music. I'm not going to attempt to capture what it is, but just state that I love it. Really.

Anyway, I left Oxon at circa 11:30-ish am, and arrived in Harborough for a quick shower and laptop collection, then crawled along the A14 to my supervisor's office in Cambridge, whereupon we proceeded to complete a 2 1/2 hour supervision, with me tap-tapping away at my keyboard, and him making approving noises as he read through the literature review, and scoured the literary landscape for grammatical inconsistencies and poorly phrased passages.

There is so much more I'd like to say in this post.

- The joys and delights and strange melancholies associated with weddings.

- The amazing capacities for human love and acceptance - not just in marriage, but also in the creation of surprisingly easy new friendships.

- The horrors and unimaginable selfishness of humanity, as seen in the UK riots.

- The unusual emotions aroused during Harry Potter - their spells and incantations, shooting up light into the night sky: so similar to prayers like incense.

- The ideas of collective worship at a secular music festival - what is it people go for? What are they worshipping?

- Antony and the Johnsons, and preaching Feminine Neutrality.

- How much I love my sister.


But for now, I am (a boy?). No, for now, I am incredibly exhausted. And a bit sad that I am no longer at Wilderness. But a bit (a lot) excited that I am going to Momentum on FRIDAY.


I can't wait.

Anyway, good night.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


So the past week and a half has whizzed by in something of a hazy, fun-filled blur. Allow me to walk you through it...

Date: week ending 22nd July
Description: end of term week.
Primary Activity/ies: thesis-ing, being full of cold, not going to London for Lottie's hen do, finishing term.

Date: Saturday 23rd July - Friday 29th July
Description: Scottish Adventure
Primary Activity/ies: thesis-ing (Sat), sleeping in a Cumbrian gypsy caravan (Sat night), visiting Glasgow (Sun), ferrying to Colonsay (Sun eve), ceilidh-ing on Colonsay (Mon), barbecue-ing on the beach (Tues), visiting Colonsay house (Weds), ferrying back to Oban (Thurs), experiencing a folk session in a Glaswegian pub (Thurs night), sleeping in a Glasgow YHA (Thurs night cont.), driving through M6 traffic (Fri), arriving home (Fri pm).

Date: Weekend of 30th/31st July
Description: Family Fun
Primary Activity/ies: visiting brother et al in Nottingham (Sat) and sister et al in Oxfordshire (Sun) for sister's 30th and brother's... well, no real reason, I suppose.

Date: Monday 1st Aug
Description: Thesis Day #1
Primary Activity: Thesising (and a little Skype-ing)

Date: Tues 2nd Aug
Description: Worst Day of the Summer So Far
Primary Activities: vomiting, sleeping, aching, moaning.

Date: Weds 3rd Aug
Description: Today
Primary Activity: trying to thesise all day, and not really getting very far. This will be my Primary Activity for at least tomorrow too, and then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I am busy having exciting wedding parties and post-wedding meanders round London (I hope).

Anyway, there, in a brief but functional description, is my summer so far. Colonsay was AMAZING, and I got hideously sunburnt, and thoroughly exhausted from cycling all day every day, but I LOVED it and would not have not gone for anything.

Now I am doing an excellent impression of a snake, and shedding my sunburnt skin (which is now brown(-ish) and slightly peeling), all in perfect time for the wedding weekend of the year.

Yeah man, can't wait.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Summer Sickness

If there was ever an especially inconvenient time to be ill, it's right now.

I have fun summer things planned, I have weddings to go to, and somewhat stressfully, I have the next installment of my thesis due in, oh, tomorrow.

I came home from school early today, due to the fact I am deaf in one ear, my throat is thick, my nose running, and I'm getting to that stage of "so stuffed up, I actually feel sick". Not a good look, and NOT a good feeling. Most of all, though, NOT CONVENIENT!

On the plus side, I came home and slept a while. Also, I only missed one lesson, as I went in and taught p.1 to my wonderful year 12s.

Oh, another positive about today was that the year 13s popped in to see us, beladen with colourful bouquets of flowers and thank you cards. Bless them - what an appreciated gesture.

Right, I'm off to continue slaving over a hot laptop. Perhaps after eating some soup or something. I am hungry. ("feed a cold" and all that...)


Monday, 18 July 2011

Operation Elly

My friend asked me recently, "when is Operation Elly going to start?"

What he meant was, "when am I going to take charge of my life, and start doing something big and exciting that I am passionate about"?

My reactions were as follows:
- Wait, what's wrong with the life I have?
- Flip, he's right - I don't have a life. Man, I don't even have a life plan. Geez, what is the plan??
- I love that he thinks I can do big stuff with my life, but I actually love teaching at the moment - is that so bad?
- My life is a bit stale at times, and I do often get the "I need an adventure" feeling...

So basically, I have no idea what to do with my life. I would love an adventure. Like a move to a foreign country, or even to a city - London, or even back to Nottingham. I do miss the sociability of cities.

I also am constantly aware that it is difficult to meet people in a small town, so moving away could be beneficial in that sense too. I'm also aware, however, that my CV is a bit bitty at the moment, and I need to solidify teaching at least for another year or maybe two.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Now I need to do some work.


Sunday, 17 July 2011


This weekend last year, I was at Latitude (not-just-a-)music festival (see this post). It was one of the best weekends. I saw a load of amazing live musicians, was introduced to a load of bands I didn't know and now love, saw a handful of comedians and poets, and spent the weekend getting gradually more and more sunburnt and less clean. I loved it.

This year, the line-up didn't look so captivating (but then, it would have been difficult to beat last year's Mumford and Sons, Vampire Weekend, Florence and the Machine, Jonsi, Yeasayer etc. Pretty awesome), so we decided not to go again.

That was ok. That is, until I kept getting notifications from Latitude on Facebook, telling me all about all the exciting things I would be missing, and showing me pictures of all the places I wouldn't be and bands I wouldn't hear. I started to get a bit sad that I wasn't going to be there, and also a bit panicky that I would miss out on a weekend of musical input (seriously, I have drawn on last year's weekend quite significantly. I think one of my year eights thinks I go to gigs all the time... No no, just lots in one weekend...)

Anyway, yesterday morning, as I was sitting in my comfortable new kitchen/dining room, with a cup of hot tea in my hand, and the rain pelting down outside, I realised that, actually, if I had been at Latitude, I would have missed out on:

- "The Show" (combined music/art/fashion/barbecue evening at school)
- Impromtu girls' night in with 3 lovely ladies from work (plus one of them's husband, but essentially girls' night in...)
- Driving my housemate and colleague to Tanzania (not literally) at 1 o'clock in the morning (literally)
- Collecting my bike from the old house, and bringing it to the new house.
- My beautiful friend's hen party in Birmingham
- Seeing my wonderful friend in London before he moves to Japan (how selfish of him)
- Being not wet, not dirty and not completely sunburnt.

Winner winner.

Oh, and I suppose paying lots of money to see bands I wasn't that fussed about seeing. There's another bonus.

So anyway, all in all, it's a good thing I'm not there, particularly for the not-missing-Beth's-hen-do and the seeing-Chris-before-he-goes aspect of the weekend.

The Big Man knows what he's doing.

True dat.

Monday, 11 July 2011



I love it.

(just felt the need to share)

Positive Touch

I read this article the other day.

It's all about the need for positive touch. That is, physical contact, used in a healthy and beneficial way. For example, peer hand/head/neck massages, and reassuring back rubs/arm touches etc. It's been found to help children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, particularly in anger management etc.

For many children at the school the research took place, the only physical contact they received was either restraint from their teachers, or abuse from each other. Since they started focussing on touch in a positive way, the number of physical restraints per day has decreased significantly.

Now, over the past few years, I have developed a certain level of tactile intolerance. I hate it. One time, I practically went into panic when my ballet teacher in Cambridge was moving my arms for me, trying to put them into the right position. I could not deal with it.

Reading this article has made me realise that perhaps I need to embrace positive touch a bit more. So this weekend, I made sure I stroked my old housemate's hair when she needed it, I hugged my other old housemate on leaving (which, to be fair, I would have done anyway), and yesterday gave my mother and sister-niece the massivest squidges I think I have ever given them.

Little by little, I am going to try and introduce more positive touch into my life, to upbuild others in it, and to (perhaps selfishly) make myself feel better too. Already this weekend, I have been feeling less intrinsically cross.

Everyone's a winner.

Except those who are also tactile intolerant, and therefore will hate me imposing my 'positive touch' on them. I will be careful...

Sunday, 3 July 2011


I tried to explain to someone once about how occasionally I feel as if I am both an "Elly" and an "Eleanor" (I was once an "Ellie" too, but I grew out of her).

Now, Elly is who I'd like to be. Elly is fun, with a dry and witty sense of humour. She is well educated, but humble, and well informed about the world and how it works. Elly is tall (can't escape that, whoever I am) but elegant and interesting-looking. She has some beautiful features and a unique but stylish sense of dress. She is sociable, kind and perceptive.

Eleanor, on the other hand, is clumsy and awkward. She is rude and aggressive and occasionally cutting. She makes derisive remarks, and shows few signs of love. She is tall and ugly, with a big nose, piggy eyes and a wobbly belly. Eleanor struggles in most social situations, as she has no positive social skills and is generally selfish, awkward and pessimistic.

Today, I was primarily Eleanor. Rude, ugly, aggressive, joyless.

And after having read only this morning that love in action looks like joy in hope, patience in affliction, hospitality and humility, Eleanor is not very loving.

My generous, humble, joyful new housemate bore the brunt of it, and she absolutely deserved none of it.

Sorry, housie.

Tomorrow is a new day. New day, (re)new(ed) heart, new start.

Yes, please.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Feeling Good

I love school concerts. Well, the good ones, that is. And tonight was one of those.

Seriously, so many talented students. And a few not-too-bad staff members too.

In general, much fun was had, many songs were sung, and now we have no extra-curricular til September.

That means fewer music-making-student opportunities (boo) but more lunch breaks (yeahh!)

Right now, however, I am going to sleep (hurrah!!).

That is all.

Sunday, 26 June 2011


"...a weak-willed 'people pleaser' whose settled for a job as a teacher"


"People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that's bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they're afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they're wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it. That's what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you're letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain."

- Jim Morrison

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Things I have recently (re)discovered

1. Driving in the dark, in the warm air, with the windows down and music loud.
2. Orchestras (specifically playing in them)
3. Massages - love 'em!
4. Housemates - as above
5. Mediterranean bread, with herbs (generic) and sun dried tomatoes (delicious)
7. Bailey's
9. Red nail varnish
10. "Sleep as an Droid" (yes, the incorrect grammatical 'pun' irritates me too...)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

TICK Tick tick tick...

"Bellina, dear, can you hear them tick away?
They're turning into minutes, just like hours turn into days..."
- Pete Roe

"He'll tick tick tick tick tick tick tick away..."
- Laura Marling

How is it I let days just disappear?

I mean, I surely know how many hours a day contains. I also know approximately how long it takes to complete most of the activities I set for myself.

Especially the every day ones.

Like waking up. And getting dressed.

I have woken up every single day of my life, and got dressed for most of them. You'd think I'd know exactly how many minutes that takes, and plan my morning accordingly.

Broken down into its composite activites, my morning tends to resemble the following sequence of events:

1. Alarm going off.
2. Snooze button pressed.
3. Light napping until alarm re-sounds.
4. (repeating steps 1-3 for a non-specified length of time)
5. Throwing off covers and leaping enthusiastically out of bed
6. (either staring dismally into the mirror for a bleary few seconds, or frantically rushing about, depending on how many repetitions took place at step 4.)
7. (either showering luxuriously, scantily or not at all, also depending on the above)
8. (occasionally (/frequently) dry shampooing, if the above repetitions carry too far into the wrong side of breakfast o'clock)
9. Drying hair, putting on face, clothes and deodorant (not necessarily in that order)
10. Eating breakfast, cleaning teeth, leaving house.

That's roughly my 10-step guide to getting up in the morning.

And yet, somehow, I'm always late for everything.

And then work. I had an entire afternoon to plan 3 hours of lessons, one of which is going to be a practis/ce (I have never known when to use which practic/se) listening exam, requiring no actual planning on my part whatsoever.


Well, technically I'm typing on here... and technically I didn't spend all afternoon working. Unless you count hoovering my entire house, alphabetising my CD collection (I have approximately 170 CDs, by the way. Oh, I'm so stuck in the 20th century...) and watching Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow on iPlayer as work.


I should probably do some actual work now.


(I'm totally going to use my free p.2 to finish the planning I haven't done. I love PPA time)

Au revoir!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Mt. Desolation

"Maybe I'm a slave to a hopeless dream,
But I'm the kind of slave who doesn't want to be free"

- Tim Rice-Oxley

Friday, 3 June 2011

"You Can Do Anything"

I wonder how much more we would try, if this were our mantra.

So, I go through occasional bouts of obssession-ism - sometimes it's films and the same one every evening, or the same CD, or song, on repeat. Sometimes it's people, like actors or musicians, and I feel like I know them because I spend hours reading about them, or looking on their websites, or finding pictures of them. (I once tried to cut out Laura Marling's hair and put it on a picture of myself, so that I could see whether white blonde would suit me. That was a weird moment.)

Earlier this week, the album The Flowerpot Sessions came out, which I bought from Amazon as soon as I could. The reason for this was initially because it's from a label (Communion) co-founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons, and I'd found out about them a little while ago (can't remember why - probably during my Peggy Sue obssession) when they released their first album (which I could only find on LP... and for which I nearly bought myself a record player. Which felt like an expensive toy. But I kind of wish I had bought it anyway...)

So I've spent a bit too much time recently re-discovering Mumford and Sons, and learning a bit more about them. Or as much as the unreliable sources will let me (they are simultaneously welcoming yet cleverly elusive in their own blogs).

So anyway, according to the treasure trove of Actual Fact that is Wikipedia, Marcus Mumford is a whole year YOUNGER than me. And I know Laura Marling is more than that. And Ben Lovett (no idea how old he is, but presumably a similar sort of age) has not only played with about a million bands I love (Alessi's Ark, Laura Marling, Peggy Sue, Mumford etc) but he is now using that to try and promote unknown and unsigned musicians. Noble!

I love it.

Then there are the people who give up their lives to go and live elsewhere, like my friend whose new(-ish) life is in Ghana, and others who just decide to live in Australia for a year. And still more who are UK-based, but Heads of Department/Year/Key Stage in their second year of teaching.

Oh, and then there are those who are amazing mothers and fathers, and loving husbands and wives, and the immense men and women living totally for God, OH and the friend who works with women seeking refuge from abusive countries/partners etc.

And then, of course, there are people like those on The Apprentice, who have been their own bosses since the age of eight, or something ridiculous.

So, really, with the right mind-set, I guess you can do pretty much anything.

I suppose it just depends who you're doing what you're doing for.

And why.

And I suppose as well, it's using your own situation for the best it can be used.
I am not HoD, but I can impact the lives of my students in little positive ways every day I see them.
I am not a wife, but I am a daughter and a sister.
I am not a girlfriend, but I am a friend.

Use what I have, for the best it can be used.

New mantra.

(not a very catchy one...)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

no news but good news

So I am struggling to find anything interesting to say, really.

So I think I'll start with a list of good news:

- my lovely friend's poorly mum is not as poorly as the doctors thought she might be.
- my reasonable landlords are being particularly obliging at the moment
...and as a consequence of which, I have a new housemate - woo hoo!
- my beautiful friend's wedding is getting ever closer
- I have been thoroughly indulged this week, with lots of family time, fun busy-ness and noticing new friends are becoming real friends.

So lots of good things! Thanks, God.

And with that in mind, I'm going to bed.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Sometimes blog posts (ha! just typo-ed that as 'poos'!) come into my mind fully formulated - strolling in, in full completion (is 'full completion' a phrase?), much like Harry Potter did to the mind of J.K. Rowling.

Sometimes these blog posts get written just as they come.

Other times (more often), they appear in a far clumsier, less witty and amusing version - a bit lost in translation, shall we say.

Sometimes they never get written.

There are a number of reasons why this might be the case. For example:
- the blog may be banal and boring (ha, doesn't always stop me posting it anyway)
- it may be too moany or self-indulgent (this one is one of those)
- I may have done or thought nothing of interest for so long, that there seems no reason to post at all.

Recently, I have been going through a bit of a blue phase. These happen occasionally. Mostly I can deal with them. Sometimes I can't really. This was one of those times.

So anyway, now I'm dealing with it a bit better so am in a better frame of mind to be communicating with the world again. Hurrah!

Good things about this week/weekend have been:

- My BEAUTIFUL niece and her DELIGHTFUL new little brother
- My lovely bro and sister-in-law (but don't tell him I called him that)
- Wonderful Vineyard-ers
- Long-lost friends and their new houses
- The absolute wonders of Skype
- Nandos and nattering (on a school night)
- Mothers who leave flowers at your door

My I.B.S seems to have returned a bit this week, which I'm not enjoying so much. It's ok right now though, after a healthy dose of Nando's best spicy chicken and acidic fruit juice.

I've also been MASSIVELY tired this week, despite going to bed at about 8pm on Sunday (I've told lots of people slightly different times - mostly because I was so tired I can't really remember. What I do remember is looking at the clock at 7:30pm and thinking "I'd like a nap... But if I nap now, I might not sleep later... Hey, why don't I just sleep now?!", and then I remember being in bed and replying to a text at 9pm in a mostly-completely-asleep state. So it was at some point between then and then. But that's not very interesting... Banal and boring. My bad.)

So I've been thinking of a few things recently. And (disclaimer: self-indulgence approaching) I've made a few conclusions about myself. Well, I say 'conclusions'. I mean 'observations'.

I've noticed that I've recently been thinking that if a child is bad at my subject, it's because I have been teaching them badly. If, however, a child is good at my subject, it's because they are naturally good at it, and it's nothing to do with me.

Now, I actually do believe this statement to have a lot of truth in it. No lie.

But then I realised that I have that sort of attitude in other areas, too. And have for a while.


If I do badly in an (particuarly instrumental/singing/dancing) exam, it's because I'm actually not very good at it, but if I do well, it's because the examiner was having a generous day, and actually don't really mean what they were saying/don't know what they were talking about.

If a guy isn't interested in me, well, why would he be, but if he is, then he isn't actually; he's wrong.

If I think I look bad in a photo, it's because I'm ugly, but if I don't look too bad, it's because of the angle, or the colour I'm wearing, or the light, or the person who took it, or the camera. (actually, it is amazing what light and angles and cameras can do. That is the truth)

Anyway, those are some of the thoughts I've been having recently. They seem to have come from a slightly selfish dark place, so apologies for that.

On another note, there are only two days til the weekend, Difficult Child was not as difficult today (hurray!) and my hair is slowly but surely getting longer. Yessss!

I'm off to write some bullet points about Webern.

Yeah man, can't wait.


Sunday, 8 May 2011

A fistful of questions, no answers to hand.

For some reason, I smell of fake tan.

I don't know why, I haven't used any. I don't seem to have used any real tan, let alone fake... How odd.

This weekend has been a hotchpotch (great word) of old friends, new friends, developing friends and variants of the above.

It has been a mish-mash of sunshine, ominous thunder clouds and spatterings of rain.

I have been thoroughly exhausted, fairly exhilerated, relatively placid and (right at the end) uncomfortably distressed.

But now I am a bit exhausted, quite a lot placid and not at all exhilerated.

Actually, that's wrong. I am a little bit.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more exhilerated I feel.

I have a bubbling of excitement fizzing around my insides. I'm not sure quite what it's about, why it's there, or whose fault it is, but I'm excited.

Excited about life. Yeah, man!

There are so many exciting things to come.

Many of which I have, as yet, no conception.

Which just makes them all the more exciting!

Come on life.

Let's DO it!

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
John 10:10

Thursday, 5 May 2011



Today I am mostly feeling responsible for:

- Year 12s essentially failing their mock
- Year 11s not having enough time for revision between now and their exam
- Year 10s wanting to drop out of music
- Year 9s not opting for music as a GCSE

Also, I feel like teaching should be issued with a warning about the amount of emotional weight that comes with the job.

Not only our own issues, but all the stresses and worries of each of our students, resulting in the sense that we are basically sitting about a hundred GCSE exams and fifty-odd A levels. (I'm not sure where I got those figures from... some deeply reliable formula, probably.)

Then there are the personal issues the students are laden with every single day.

Consequently, I am from a hundred broken families, suffering the heartache of too many bereavements, and buckling under the pressures of a thousand 'not good enough', 'not academic enough' and 'not cool enough's.

It's exhausting.

Anyway, I've just had a Bailey's hot chocolate, and a glance over tomorrow's lessons. They're not great, but they'll have to do. I need to go to bed.


Also, I just came across this quote from Adele:

"I love seeing Lady Gaga's boobs and bum. I love seeing Katy Perry's boobs and bum. Love it. But that's not what my music is about. I don't make music for eyes. I make music for ears."
- Adele (Rolling Stone interview)

Thought I'd share.

(Thanks, Adele.)

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Egg Wash for Humans

"I wake up in the morning,
Put on my face.
The one that's gonna get me
Through another day"

- A. Lavigne

Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Worker's Lament

I am shockingly easily distracted.

I had put today aside for hardcore thesis writing, and so far, I've written an average of about fifty words per hour (more or less). That, my friends, is shocking.

I have been mostly distracted by:
- Royal Wedding photos
- Royal Wedding news items
- Royal Wedding party pictures
- Royal Wedding cake (not the actual one, but a pretty darn delicious alternative)

and now I'm sipping Pimms, hoping that it will kick start me into essay writing. far it's working brilliantly.

Right, I would like to have some more fun during the rest of this magical bank holiday weekend, and the only way I can manage that is if I spend today DOING SOME WORK.

Right, off I go, then...

See how I go.



Wednesday, 27 April 2011


"In a year of new beginnings, dear,
How do we write the end?"

- Tom McRae

Thursday, 21 April 2011

the wrote and the writ

"Pay heed to your heart and not to your wit.
Don't say in a letter what you can't in my ear."

- Johnny Flynn

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

a day like today

Sunshine... Sisters... Spontaneity...

Today I didn't:
- buy a flymo
- write loads of my essay
- eat breakfast
- get bored

Instead I:
- went for lunch(/brunch)
- ate ice cream
- sat in the sunshine
- wandered about Northampton a bit
- didn't get lost

Then I:
- read some of an intellectual-sounding book that I almost (/mostly) understand
- bought some middle class food products from the Co-op
- snacked on pistachios and pretended oat cakes, white grapes and wensleydale (with cranberry) count as a meal
- drank port and watched (500) Days of Summer (first viewing in season! how exciting!)
- wrote a couple of hundred words of my thesis
- didn't have a nap

Now I shall:
- go to bed.
- (but first finish my port)

A good day.

(NB. it is now 23:54 - nearly an hour later. You know what I didn't do... go to bed. Instead I wrote more of my essay. What a weirdo. Thing is, it's WELL waffle-y (in a 'too-many-words' sort of way, rather than a 'sweet-delicious-American-breakfast-product' sort of way) but I'm not sure quite how to rectify this just yet. Still, words on paper. At the moment, that's my main aim...

Also, I still haven't finished my port. It's not that it's a massive glass, just that I am a slow port drinker. Which is a good thing. Yes.)

Monday, 11 April 2011

Song for the Weary

Here I am, once again,
With the same request.
Here I am, once again,
With the same heart in the same mess.

Is this boring you?
Should I change my tune,
And play a different refrain?

How much longer should I
Bring this same-old cry
Before it's time to change?

Here I am, once again,
Holding on to you.
Here I am, once again,
Holding onto your truth.

Am I boring you?
Should I change my tune
And play a different refrain?

How much longer should I
Bring this same-old cry
Before it's time to change?

How much longer must I
Bring this same-old cry,
And watch everything still remain?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

12 % remaining

Ok, so my laptop battery is probably going to die any minute.

But here we are - on the cusp of another end of term.

The sun is shining, the kids are (admittedly a little coursework-harrassed but generally) relaxed and happy, and there is time for sleeping just around the riverbend.

(10% remaining)

I am going to revel in the delights of bed o'clock, and sleep now until the cruel 06:12 alarm awakens me with its mocking jollity.

Til then.


Friday, 1 April 2011

Starting a Revolution

Take a handful of musicians, one amazing artist and a selection of keen-o teachers with a vision... throw them together, one mild evening in March. Blend gently. Add a spattering of roses for aesthetic effect, and sit back and enjoy.

What an evening!

Art Unplugged saw singers who had never sung in public before, composers whose work had never been heard before and art and crafts people who had never before been acknowledged.

It also saw about 60 members of the audience, many proud (and tearful) parents, and over £320 in funds raised for the world challenge expedition to Tanzania.

My favourite moment of the evening was when the third act began - one year 12 boy (the one with the quote on this post) - and his grandmother leaned over to whisper to my friend, "That's my grandson, that is".

'wreathed with smiles' is the poetic term that sums up the evening, I believe.


What I also love is the fact that my year 9 form are already planning on auditioning for it next year, senior leadership are pushing for a lower school lunchtime version next Thursday, and other members of staff are asking for a summer edition.

Good work, team.

I. Loved. It.

Yeah man.

(Oh, also, I think my form are planning to change the world, starting with uniform. They are formulating petitions to change the uniform, and constructing cake stalls to raise money to fix a well in Africa, and regenerating the way communication occurs between staff members. They are on a roll! Good work, 9RE.)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Bring. It. On.

The horses are drinking!

The fish are biting!

The tickets are SELLING!

(Admittedly not loads, but some.)


- The piano is broken
- The singers are ill
- The lighting is possibly a bit naff
- The venue has been changed (which is actually a good thing, as it's been changed to a more appropriate room, but it does mean the tickets are wrong and we now need a team of ushers to direct people through the winding corridors of school...)

BUT! the art work looks good, and the music is getting there. Refreshments are (hopefully) in order, and people seem (mostly) to be in favour.

Not tomorrow but the next day = Art Unplugged day = Southfield's answer to Later Live.


Saturday, 26 March 2011

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Yesterday, at half past seven in the evening, I was sitting in the doctor's surgery waiting for my appointment. To look at me, I probably didn't look that ill. I was a bit tired, yes, and possibly a bit hungry-looking, but mostly, I reckon I looked alright.

So, for the past few weeks/months, I've had bouts of crippling pain in my stomach. To give you an idea, it's a bit like when nurses give injections, saying it will be "just a scratch" and it's actually that incomparably sharp pain that REALLY REALLY hurts for a just few seconds, and then leaves you feeling a bit raw for a disproportionate amount of time afterwards. That sort.

It got to the point where I couldn't actually sit properly, because if I let my ribcage drop, it put pressure on the top of my stomach area, and hurt too much. Singing has been a bit of a mission, so the year 8s are learning "leadership skills" and "application of key skills" through leading the warm-ups on my behalf. Good work, year 8. (Although it is a bit weird, hearing all my key phrases coming out of the mouths of small children. It's more telling than a camcorder, honestly.)

So in short, I've been sitting like a hyper-extended prima ballerina, stomach like a sore balloon, trying not to wince every time I lean over to look at a child's piece of work. (They must think I'm really unimpressed with their work at the moment - sorry children).

Anyway, I went to the doctor, and he asked me uncomfortable questions about my toilet habits, then told me to lie on the bed where he uncomfortably asked me to expose my belly, and then proceeded to knead my uncomfortable stomach, inducing not only severe discomfort, but a few shameful tears in the process.

Conclusion is (and just like a good Learning Objective, all sense of mystery was in fact ruined at the outset):
I have IBS. (He thinks.)


Possibly stress induced. Possibly poor/irregular diet induced. Possibly lack-of-sleep induced.

Probably all of the above.

So there we are. And I'll leave you with my current favourite verse:

"Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach"
1 Timothy 5:23

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Adele has a lot to learn

"I know it ain't worth giving up your heart"

"Throw your soul through every open door,
Means you end up throwing it at people who probably don't really want it.
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold the end you'll still be sad, but at least you'll be a millionaire"

"Regrets and mistakes, they are life"

"I let it fall, my heart.
And as it fell, you watched it crash to the ground"

"I dared you to let me be your one and only.
You didn't take me up on it."

"Next time I'll be braver. However, no matter how brave I am, I can never actually be my own saviour"

"I guess I have to do this on my own"

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

You can lead a horse to water...

But you can't get it to buy tickets.

So, we're organising an acoustic evening at school... and perhaps I'm bad at marketing (I am), or perhaps there hasn't been enough detail sent out (there hasn't), or maybe the staff/students/parents don't like acoustic evenings (you'd think they would). Maybe they don't know what acoustic music is. Or perhaps they do, but they don't want to pay £3.50 to listen to it... or something.

Either way, we have sold a grand total of 0 tickets so far. Which makes me a bit sad.

I think I need to rope in my good-looking year 12 boys to sell the tickets. Two slightly worse-for-wear, feeling-a-bit-ill members of staff sitting in the cold corridor, outside an assistant head's office like naughty teenagers, with a couple of flyers and a bowl of pasta doesn't really seem to do it...

Come on, school. Let's show some interest, please!

Right, tomorrow we shall come up with a magical plan of action. And it will involve students selling tickets. And other students buying them. And all will be well.


Also, I accidentally went to school with a face like a year 9 today. Foundation only up to the edges, that didn't really blend with the colour of my neck or scalp, creating a curiously off-peach mask-like effect.

Not ideal.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Lessons from Adele

"I know it ain't easy giving up your heart"

"Throw your soul through every open door,
Count your blessings to find what you look for,
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold
...reap just what you've sown"

"Regrets and mistakes, they are memories made"

"I let it fall, my heart.
And as it fell, you rose to claim it"

"I dare you to let me be your one and only"

"Next time I'll be braver, I'll be my own saviour"

"I can't do this on my own"

Thursday, 17 March 2011


So, not being in charge of a department has many benefits...

For example, not being Head of Department means I have fewer meetings, less paperwork and hardly any call to use the telephone. For all of these factors, I am honestly grateful. (Except for the meetings - sometimes they can be quite interesting...)

However, working under an authority can also prove quite tricksy sometimes. Especially when there are differences of ideas, mis-(or non-) communications and general personality clashes.

I won't go into detail. Partly because it would be very unprofessional, and partly (mostly) because I live in fear of being discovered.

I will say this, though: I'm a bit fed up of feeling like I'm rubbish at my job. I'm not very good at retaining details, like dates and times, but that's why I write them down. Also, I'm not very good at telepathy, and absorbing unspoken bits of information, but apparently that's essential in my job at the moment. Something to work on, I suppose. Put it on my CPD targets.

Anyway, I have been put in this position, and in this position I will do the best I can.
With the best attitude I can.
With all the patience and professionalism I can muster.

But I'll be honest - sometimes submission is more mission than it is sub.

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God"
Romans 13:1

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Disaster Averted...

After a lovely week of visiting and coffeeing and chatting, I came home today to do all the work I hadn't done over half term.

It was all going ok, (well, I wasn't doing any work, but everything was working fine) but then all of a sudden I think I clicked something, or selected something, or did SOMETHING and my computer was completely taken over by a hideous debilitating virus.


Like, at all.

(actually, that's a fib - somehow Facebook was still mostly working. I think the security on that site must be immense)

But none of my files opened, none of the other websites (ie antivirus ones) were working, the disk drive was defunct and the desktop picture destroyed.

Slight (major) panic...

Superdad came round with a selection of ancient antivirus disks, but to no avail. Superscott came up with all sorts of antivirus website addresses, but I could use none of them.

I felt a little bit silly doing it, but I prayed lots. I mean, lots. And I don't really associate God with technology. But I suppose he equipped the people who designed it with the brain power to do so, so no reason why I shouldn't... but anyway. So I also felt a bit fickle. Er, frivolous. Well, petty, I suppose. Slightly ill computers aren't really much compared to very ill people and all that.

Anyway, at one point, a message came up saying something about pressing F8 as the computer restarted (it kept shutting down of its own accord), in order to start in Safe Mode. I tried that, and then there was an option for basically going back in time, and resetting the whole system to how it was at 17:56 on Thursday. Now, I'd done a bit of thesis on Friday, but I didn't think I'd done enough to merit not trying it.

Then it reset it. Restarted. AND WORKS!! Yeah, man!

Plus, my scraps of thesis were unscathed. Hurrah! Thanks, God.
(especially for F8 and Windows Safe Mode)

He cares about the little things.
(not to mention the big things)
And for that, I am eternally grateful.

(I haven't really done much work, though, hence being computer-bound at 22:43 on a school night)

Right, I'm off to prepare a revision lesson on Duke Ellington. Er... right. Yes.

Off I go, then...


Tuesday, 22 February 2011


So, I was driving up to Doncaster on Sunday afternoon. I knew exactly which way I'd planned to go, and I was pretty sure it was a relatively straight forward journey, really. A508, A14, M1, M18. Bam.

Halfway along the A508, however, I realised I needed to fill up my tank, and I also realised that the sat nav I'd put on, just for the last little bit of finding the house I was aiming for once I was off the M18, had taken me straight past the exit for the A14.

Never mind, I thought, I'll carry on into Harborough, fill up, then find the M1 after that.

The first half of this plan went perfectly - I filled up in Sainsbury's, then headed out of Harborough again.

I soon realised the sat nav was taking me straight through Leicester city, and not towards the M1 at all. Hmm... not ideal.

I went with it for a while, thinking it probably knows the roads better that I do.

That was before I went through a load of back streets, on and off the ring road in Leicester, then round a number of apparently non-existant roundabouts. I decided to bite the bullet and go my own way - I'd seen a sign for the M1, and I thought "screw you, sat nav (I was getting pretty angry), I'm going that way".

Turns out the M1 was shut.

After quite a few "Make a U-turn"s, I finally saw a sign to Doncaster. WOO HOO! I followed it, and followed it, despite my sat nav's angry objections, and then finally FINALLY was on the M18, with the next exit to Doncaster.

Sat nav coolly told me "You have arrived at your destination", which I had, and I switched it off with a massive sigh of relief, and melted into my best friend's house, for a couple of days of tea, chat, slippers and Little Miss Sunshine.

This morning, I sat on a street by their house, thinking, "right, sat nav, let's try this again". I had already got directions to the M18 from my friend, so followed what she had said until there were road signs peppered with (M18 M1).


I really don't know if the M1 actually exists, you know, because I sure as anything couldn't find it.

I followed the A1 and the signs and everything, and it never turned up!!

So by this point, my sat nav was taking me to Stamford and Peterborough, and all the other Easterly places. Now, I like Stamford. It's pretty. But Peterborough?! No thanks.

I actually shouted at this point "God - I don't know where I am! I just want to go home!"

Halfway (well, quite a lot more than halfway) down the A1 (the "Great North Road"), I pulled over, and got my map out. Quite clearly in front of me, was the route A1, A43, which took me straight home. Hm, turns out I was going in exactly the right direction.

I wrote "A1, A43" on my hand and resolutely decided to follow it.

Then Sat Nav told me to go a different way.

A little reckless rebellious person in me said "try it".

So I did.

I went through the narrowest country lanes, round the tightest corners, nearly collided with a lorry and through some of the tiniest villages. But then, suddenly right in front of me was the beautiful sign "A43 Kettering".


So I was on the home straight, and after that I turned the sat nav off.

But it made me think.

If I follow my own directions, apparently I often get it wrong, am easily persuaded off-track and it can be pretty frustrating.

If I rely entirely on the voice of the sat nav, I will probably get there eventually, but will most likely be taken round an entirely unnecessarily difficult and frustratingly complex route.

When I asked God, the route seemed really quite straight forward.

I didn't follow it exactly, (which perhaps I should have) and I know God's way is most definitely not always the easiest way, but it was the way that felt the safest, and certainly the most secure.

I know, I know that isn't always how it feels. Sometimes God's way feels terrifying and uncertain and unpredictable - and often that's when the best things happen.

But it was a lesson to me. I really should listen to God more. He knows what He's doing.

Yes indeed.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Welcome to Indonesia

The gamelan actually went really well - we learnt by ear, played by numbers, acted off the cuff, and then captured the whole thing on video. Well done, year 7.

Also, I love using that line "welcome to..." - it seems to get the kids interested straight away. Only pressure then is to follow it up with something sufficiently attention grabbing.

I'm poring over a score of Haydn right now - trying to get tomorrow's workshop interesting, concise and informative. Getting the sugar paper and flags at the ready...

I'm excited about this year - lots of learning, lots of new people, lots of character development.

"a new thing"

Yes, boi. (welcome to year 8...)

Monday, 14 February 2011


I'd love to have something really profound and interesting to say on here.

I'm sure if I thought hard enough, I would.

As it stands, I'm afraid all my head is currently full of is pending gamelan experimentation (work), 'refrain' flags (work), how beautiful the song 'Poor Man's Son' by Kris Drever is, and how beautiful my happy friend Vic looked on her wedding day on Saturday.

[Which, by the way, was an amazing day. I've honestly never seen such a radiant bride (except maybe Rach last summer). She was the epitome of 'glowing', the whole day; smiling and completely relaxed next to her grinning, uber-proud husband. There was music (of course - it was Vic's wedding after all), dancing (lots of it), food, Irish people, beautiful dresses, curls, flowers, ribbons and love.]

Maybe I could talk about St. Valentine and the day it is today. But I am not very good at that - I spend the day either completely unaware of the 'holiday', a bit sad about the whole thing, or a bit bitter about the whole thing. And then I realise how much nicer it would be if I could just feel happy about the whole thing. You know, happy for those who have been made happy today by someone who loves them.

(I realised something today - I am quite a selfish person.
I tell you what, it's not very nice to realise that about yourself.
Maybe blogging makes it worse. I have an entire aether of ego to fill.)

Maybe it's about time I shared my living space with someone else - make me become more considerate of other people, and less inward-looking...

On another mundane boring note of disinterest - I'm going to go to bed now. Sometimes I get melancholy and tiredness confused, so I'm going to get some sleep, and hope for the best.


"the elusion of hope"...

isn't there a book with that title?

Thursday, 10 February 2011

10th February 1781

Today I bought grapes in three guises: fresh, dried (raisins) and fermented (vino)

Today I ate brie, grapes and Carr's melts for my tea. Lunch for tea.

Today I introduced my year 12s to the 18th Century. We spent the morning there. (and tomorrow, the year 13s and I are off to Ireland. They don't know that yet...)

Today I reported on two classes worth of year 9s. I quite like writing nice things about children that their parents are going to read.

Today my form listened to me. That was nice.

I wish, however, I could hear out of my left ear, and that it hurt less. That would be possibly even nicer... although I don't remember the last time I had earache, so it's quite an interesting sensation.

That is all.

"there may be pain in the night, but joy comes with the morning"
Chris McClarney

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Battery Human

I think I might set myself a challenge...

Not to go on a computer of any sort for an entire day/weekend/week.

I kind of have to at school, I suppose, but I wonder if I can do it as little as possible. And not at all at home...

Except for online MEd stuff... which means I'll get my lessons planned... either before the day/week/weekend begins, or I'll plan them on paper.

Hm, I wonder if it's possible.

"But we were born to be free range.
Free range!"
- Stornoway

Monday, 31 January 2011

It's like rain on your wedding day

Things I have found difficult about today:

- children in my form being bullied by other children in my form
- never quite knowing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing
- year 11 being massively behind on their coursework
- having no time to do anything at all
- ...or rather having every minute of every day assigned to doing something that needs doing
- feeling inept
- having inadequate heating in my classroom
- having to vent my sadness on a blog, rather than to a real life breathing person.

I can think of a few more, but I think I'll leave it there.

Sunshine through my window

Things I liked about today:

- loud music in the car
- Vampire Weekend in my living room
- exciting thesis-useful responses from year 12
- better paced year 7 lesson
- discovering I can reply to Facebook comments via email
- eating two Cadbury's cream eggs back to back
- lasagne for tea
- my mother

That's all I can think of for now.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Post No. 60

(Significant numbered post = opportunity for slight pretentiousness. Apologies in advance...)

Opportunity knocks...
Carpe Diem
and everything happens for a reason.

Life, it would seem, is a mélange of opportunities - those we take, those we don't, those we don't realise we've taken until we're in the middle of them, and those we didn't realise we could have taken until we didn't...

It feels, at the moment, like I'm in the middle of one of those opportunities that I took without really realising what might happen if I took it. I'm in a job that is actually enjoyable, working with people I could actually be actual friends with - in fact, looking at a house share with one of them. Which is literally life-changing. Well, habit-changing at least... plus, I'm at a church where I feel like I could get properly stuck into.

What I need to make sure is that I'm not sitting back observing this opportunity pass me by, with an interested detachment, but instead grabbing hold of it with both fists, and seizing the moments as they arise.

I figure you're less likely to miss out on good things if this is the attitude to take.
(Like record players, complete with additional usb ports and funky wooden panelling that are sold out and no longer available... )

Carpe diem!
Do it!

"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"
Isaiah 43:18-19

(don't miss it)

Monday, 24 January 2011

Summer Finn

I wish I looked like her.

...or her:

but not her...

(though to be fair, it's probably just the curlers and lipstick that aren't doing her justice...)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I heart Birthdays

Whoop whoop!

Quarter of a century...
Halfway to 50...
Two and a half decades...



I'd like me some more of that :-)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Jammin' in da name of de Lord (and other stories)

What a lovely weekend.

On Friday evening, I got home from work, pottered around, cleaning, tidying, cooking old vegetables before they became completely inedible etc etc. Then one by one, two of my Nottingham housemates arrived in Ketts for to celebrate my birthday!

I didn't manage to cook for them, despite claims I would (I am an embarrassingly bad cook), but we ate pizza and garlic bread, and drank rosé and watched Sherlock Holmes, and talked and chilled out. Hard. Core.

Then on Saturday, my fake birthday day, we (I) gorged on carbohydrates (croissants, muffins, waffles) and coffee in traditional Marlborough Street Birthday Breakfast style, after which we spent nearly an hour driving around looking for a massive reservoir that should have been a) obvious and b) 20 mins away. Not ideal. Plus I ran over a pheasant. Bleurgh.

Then we found it! (the reservoir, not the pheasant) Hurray. So after a necessary re-stocking of energy (I was getting very unpleasant to be around), we walked around a bit, then used the Sat Nav to get us home again. This was followed by presents, cake and candles, and cocktails in Frankie and Benny's.

Today, I spent the afternoon at a 'Worship Jam Session' at my church - it was ace. Lots of instruments, singers and lovely people, playing a few songs all together. Loved it.


(I hope you like jammin' too)


"I will sing and make music to the Lord"
Psalm 27:6

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Dear Miss Brooks...

Today my year 12s thoroughly cheered me up.
(not that I actually needed cheering - I've been uncharacteristically upbeat of late)

I gave them a pre-structured postcard to send me. It went something like this:

I was a bit nervous about giving it to them - after all, nobody wants to hear when they've been "less helpful", especially when your job is primarily based on a desire to help people learn. I did, however, really want to hear what they next wanted me to do for them.

They surprised me by being pretty honest, but also amazingly positive. In fact, look at this...

They all decided to design postcard pictures on the back for me too, just coz they thought that'd make it a 'proper' postcard. Look!

I have my own boat!

Anyway, it was really exciting, and bouyed me up for the rest of the day. Plus, it's given me all sorts of insight into how they think they're doing, and what they want help with next. Hurrah!

Oh, and then I had 26 year 7s turn up to choir! We ran out of space! Woo hoo, well done enthusiastic children :-)

So all in all - a good day.

"Painters do their art on a canvas,
Musicians do their art on silence"

- a quote from a year 12, written on the back of one of the postcards

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Time Wasting

I was sitting here thinking, "I really really should be doing some work", and then I looked at my timetable for tomorrow, and realised I already know exactly what I'm doing in each lesson. Hurray!!

I do, however, need to find some pieces of music to inspire my year 12s in their compositions, so will do that in a bit, but thought I'd waste a bit of time on here first...

I've had a most lovely weekend. I went back to mother and father's on Friday evening, then spent Saturday being pampered in gorgeous swimming pools and steam rooms and bubbling pools and rose-scented ovens. It was amazing!

Then church re-started today, and I talked to a few people I'd talked to before, and they are still lovely. There are tons of exciting things to get involved with at my church, and I found myself considering moving closer to it come September, so that I can get more involved in things like Soup Run and other community-based evening things. I can't do that this year anyway, as it's on a Thursday, which is MEd day.

Speaking of which, I have lots to be doing for that... I will use tomorrow's study period for reviewing literature, I think. Possibly...

Anyway, I'm excited about 2011.


Also... 9 days til my birthday. YEAH, BABY!

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..."
James 1:27

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Feeling chipper

So at the start of this school week, (so, er, yesterday...) I was overwhelmed by a massive amount of anxiety, and I couldn't quite place why.

Then I realised it's because I'd been emotionally transported back to this time last year, which was when I started working at the Toxic School. One of the most traumatic days of my life. (Possibly).

Little did I know that 2 of the 4 classes I had that day were widely acknowledged as 2 of the most difficult classes in the whole school. And this was followed by 2 year 7 classes, both of which were pretty nice, but one of which consisted of the most hyperactive and talkative children I have ever had the ... pleasure... privilege... whatever... of teaching.

Anyway, a bad day.

So in my head, I was going back to school after Christmas, and I actually have quite a few new classes, because of the strange timetable rotation that happens at my current school.

I was bracing myself for horrendous Toxic children, feeling the butterflies consume my insides and my back ache from tension...

Then they were lovely! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah for nice children!

I have spent the last two days singing lots, having a giggle, and enjoying being back at school. Definitely have NOT got back into the routine of planning efficiently, and despite being exhausted, I have consistently left planning til far too late, and consequently haven't been in bed til far too late o'clock. Similarly tonight I still have two lessons to sort out, and instead I'm sitting here in my pyjamas, on my laptop, listening to Amy McDonald and busy reminiscing.

Also, I have made proper meals the last 3 nights. Well done, me. (nearly resorted to a Dairy Milk Dinner again tonight, but I made myself make the effort to make something proper. Chicken casserole it was. Hurray!)

Right, I'm going to go and sort out what needs to be done for tomorrow and then go to bed. Speedy planning, bed by 10pm.

Yes please!

"The Lord says, "I will give you back what you lost". "
Joel 2:25

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Resolving #2

So, 2010 was "the year for being honest".

It got me in a few situations, but also out of a few more, in a respectable and clear-conscienced way.

It made me think, what could 2011 be the year for?

I could go with an idea stolen from my sister, and make it "the year for saying yes". Or I could stick with the original, and go with "the year for still being honest".

I think I will make it "the year for making an effort".

That way, I will hopefully be driven to do all things to the best of my ability - including the difficult things like talking to people I don't know/don't know very well, and going to events where I won't know anyone, and giving people lifts in my car.

(weird - I drove 2 1/2 hours to Bristol, down 4 motorways - never having driven on a motorway in my life - and back again, in the space of 24 hours, but I couldn't bring myself to offer one of my best friends a lift. I'm not sure why - I think it's coz I think I'm really bad at driving (I am pretty bad at driving), and I was too ashamed to let him see me be bad at something. Eugh, pride. Begone!).

Anyway, I think that will be it.

2011: "The year for making an effort".

"whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."
Colossians 3:23


Not making resolutions means you can never break them.

Not falling in love means you can never fall out of love.

If you never get married, you can never get divorced.

If you don't try in the first place, you can never fail.

If at first you don't succeed, stop.

What a boring and falsely 'safe' way to live...

"Anything which isn't eternal, is eternally out of date"
C.S. Lewis

Saturday, 1 January 2011

01 - 01 - 11

Happy New Year!

Good things from 2010:
- new job
- driving license
- new friends
- lots of other lovely things I might add later, probably

Things to look forward to in 2011:
- new nephew/niece
- same job for a second year (what a novelty)
- new friends
- lots of other lovely things I might add later, probably

"...his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23