Saturday, 14 April 2012


The book "The Secret Lives of Dresses" has inspired me to seek out all my alas-not-vintage-but-still-quite-nice dress-based outfits.

The song "Somebody I Used to Know" has inspired me to arrange it for my sixth-form choir, as something a bit funky to do in the summer term.

The activity of making paper birds has inspired me to drape homemade beauties from frames and windows in an effort to add more colour to our borrowed beige house.

The band "Giles Likes Tea" have inspired me to make music with some lovely people and to seize the adventure of gigging with them next week with both hands.

I wonder if inspirations can inspire being inspirational...?

In other news:
- I have a new pseudo-nephew in the form of my friend's baby. Yay!
- I'm dipping my toes in the Vineyard of Leicester tomorrow.
- Michael Kiwanuka tickets have arrived.
- My neighbour is friendly.
- It took nearly an hour to cut a 'square' of garden c.5x6 metres, due to
     a. the general insufficiency of the flymo
     b. the uphill nature of aforementioned square of garden
     c. the necessity to cut the edges with a short-handled, long-nosed pair of secatures... secutures... sec... garden-scissors
- Calke Abbey is beautiful.
- My calf muscles ache.

I think that's it.

I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

John Lennon

"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans"

I have this quote on a t-shirt.

Then I stumbled across it in one of my dad's books I was reading last Saturday evening.

That prompted me to wear it on Easter Sunday, so I had it emblazoned across my torso on Sunday morning.

Then I stumbled across it again in one of my little sister's books I was reading on Easter Sunday afternoon.

Thrice in fewer than 24 hours.

Are you sending me a message, John?

It feels similar in sentiment to the following... "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce." (Jeremiah 29:5)

I know they're not saying the exact same thing, but the underlying message is:
This IS Life.

There is a time for transience, and a time for moving on. There is, of course, always room for improvement, and getting better, and trying new experiences and living in different places and meeting new people and looking to the future...

This, however, is life.

This, right here, right now. This actual life, this actual moment - THIS IS LIFE.

I don't want to waste it waiting for a better one.

I don't want to miss it.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

in absentia

So the last time I wrote on here, it was the day before March. Today is the first day of April.

A whole month, and nothing to show for it.

Well, let me catch you up on the last few weeks:

I went to see Laura Marling and Pete Roe, who were ace (and Timber Timbre, who was a little odd). I saw not only my Cambridge-based friend, but also my Woburn-based friend, whom I also saw the following weekend and am going to see in at least July too. Quelle luxury!

Straight after southFEST, the department was re-opened for auditions, which, after the slow start, thankfully picked up and soon we were overflowing with music-making children.

It is also Coursework Season, so on the days without auditionees, there were inevitably pockets of slightly panicky year 11s, in to work on their compositions.

It is also Eisteddfod Season, so on the days without auditionees or panicky year 11s, there were rehearsals for the bands and choirs taking part in the local eisteddfod. (Might I just add here that my choir received an admirable mark of 89/90, making them the best of all 4 choirs entered, and the best ensemble overall, of all 7 entered including the bands. Not that it's a competition. Oh wait... IT IS!)

It is also Parents' Evening Season, so on the days without auditionees, panicky year 11s or after school rehearsals, I was out of school and back again in time to talk to and about various lower school and sixth form students and their anxious parents.

It is also Reports Season, so on the days without auditionees, panicky year 11s, after school rehearsals or Parents' Evenings, I was staying late to write reports on all the year 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 students I teach (admittedly a lot of the upper school reporting is shared with my HoD, so it was mostly the 150 year 8/9 students I teach that took up the time).

Oh, I also went on a course on Monday, which required 5 hours of cover work to be set.

So, in short, standard procedure in the life of a teacher, I suppose.

Oh, I also played in a concert last night, which was WICKED. Well, it was ok. But I concentrated a LOT and made only one or two errors. The piccolo is so flipping audible, I feel far more pressure when piccoling than fluting.

Oh, and I also went to watch my beautiful sister-niece perform on two separate occasions - once singing (beautifully) in a rather mediocre school concert, then dancing (also beautifully) in a tear-inducingly professional dance show.

I also went tea-drinking and cake-eating on Thursday with a friend from the church I've recently been frequenting. There were paper birds to be made, using pages from vintage comics and old American square dance music scores. They look so great, I was far too excited. Disproportionately so. Positively gleeful.

And the sunshine has made it all so much more delightful.

In fact, I found myself thinking, as I waited for my tardy year 13s one sunny 4 o'clock, that it was fortunate for them that the sun had put me in such a good mood, as they were already half an hour late. (I grasped the 'spare' time with both hands, and set about tidying my desk, photocopying revision material, and ensuring two headphones and a splitter to each keyboard, and other menial tasks)

And Art Unplugged was one of the best we've had. It was only the third we've ever had, but it was a pretty flipping good one.

Then last week, a well respected parent-of-a-friend-of-mine spoke at church about taking time off, and time out and acknowledging the importance of rest.

My dad commented that it seemed rather unjust for him to have prepared a talk directed precisely at my dad, but he wasn't entirely correct - he was aiming it at far more listeners than just my dad.

This week has seemed just as busy, yet more manageable. I have accepted the inevitable lack of lunchtime, and yet occasionally managed to sneak up to the staff room for a cheeky five mins or so, where NO CHILD came to find me. Huzzah.

So far my Easter holiday has been mostly at school (I was there til nearly 7pm on Friday, and we played our Kettering Symphony Orchestra concert there last night too, having rehearsed there all afternoon) but I did, however, see my beautiful friend for dinner on Friday, a mere five weeks before the mass of child inside her becomes a mass of child outside of her.

Then I spent today in blissful solitude.

I read. I drank coffee. I ate Nutella. I line-dried my clothes. I rested. To the max. (And I also replied to some sixth-formers' emails. But very restfully...)

And from tomorrow, the joyous joyousness of Easter jollity begins. I will go and see my parents, then visit my big sister, then eat lunch chez my friend, (then possibly do some work), then see my collective siblings ALL IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME, then celebrate Easter, then possibly play in a band I have never played in before about which I am simultaneously excited and a little bit terrified, (then possibly do a little more work), then see a different friend at some point as yet undecided, (then go into school for a year 13 revision session), then have a weekend, then go back to school.

And all will be well.

Hurray for extended Sabbath-time.

I heart sabbatical.

Anyway. I'm going to watch Sherlock, drink wine, read my book and go to bed.

Yes indeed.

I'm so flipping rock n roll.