Tuesday, December 23
As usual, I will spend the first week of my fortnight holiday being ill. I have had an upset stomach since yesterday. Luckily I've just been sitting at home drinking Alka Seltzer and watching Christmas specials of various sitcoms, so I don't need to be particularly fit.
Oh yes, and James and I spent £100 in Sainsburys today, but half of it doesn't count because it was alcohol. Merry Christmas.
Monday, December 22
12pm. Wake up. Run bath. Wash up. Go to bakers and buy lunch.
2.30pm. Watch trashy tv. Feel tired. Go to bed.
7pm. Wake up. Feel awful. Boil eggs. Eat eggs. Clean out rabbit.
11pm. Go to bed.
I think I might have quite a bad ear infection. I felt a bit ropey all weekend and today has been a complete washout. The doctor will make it all better tomorrow, hopefully.
Friday, December 19
The whole experience of receiving gifts embarrasses me beyond belief. Example: I won a tin of Roses at the school Christmas dinner on Wednesday. I was delighted and grateful. What a shame I was so petrified that I shuffled up to receive my gift like a sulky teenager. I was afraid of being looked at. I was sharing centre stage with two elves and a Santa so, with hindsight, I can see the focus would have been elsewhere. I just wanted to disappear. Schoolchildren are not a problem; they look at me all day long and I don't care. Fellow adults, however and increasingly, terrify me.
I have noticed that, with age, I am actually becoming LESS outgoing. I am certain it's supposed to be the other way round. Perhaps it's because I've gained weight in the last 3 years, I don't bother getting dressed up anymore because I don't feel like I could look good in anything except jeans and a t-shirt. Don't get me wrong, I have always worn jeans and t-shirts, but I would occasionally mix it up and wear a skirt and some fishnets. I used to spend 10 minutes a day applying liquid eyeliner, and now I'm lucky if I remember to run a brush through my hair. Part of the reason is tiredness; I'm doing quite well in my NQT year but I'm wearing myself out worrying about messing it all up. I am so exhausted at 3.10pm that I am only fit for napping on the train home and sitting in my lounge staring at Living tv, absentmindedly stroking my cat. The spunk has gone. I don't feel interesting anymore. By the time I get to thirty I will probably be living in a cave somewhere off Lands End, and will have named all the seagulls within a 3 miles radius.
Some of these issues are perennial, but mainly they tend to come to the fore at Christmas. More people commit suicide at this time of year than any other, and while I have no plans whatsoever to shuffle off this mortal coil anytime soon, I can understand why. The pressure is intense. Especially if you already have a slight predisposition towards depression. That baby Jesus has a lot to answer for. Little fucker.
And the worst part of this Christmas nightmare? I know that it is all my own doing. If I weren't so bloody inept at being sociable I wouldn't make mountains out of molehills. Molehills seem like a cosy refuge right now. Mmm, molehills.
Friday, December 12
If I send the first list out I'll feel mean, but if I send out the second list I might look a bit desperate and mental.
What should I do?
My cat is obsessed with the Christmas tree. We haven't decorated it yet, because we're trying to acclimatise him to it gently, but he keeps chewing the fake needles and trying to clamber up the wire branches. I am definitely going to come home from work and find it sideways on the floor, aren't I?
Monday, November 3
Today was the first day where I was able to take stock of how far I've come with my unruly, disruptive and, frankly, insane Year 9s since Sept.
Weeks 1-3: Chaos. It took 15 minutes for them to quieten down sufficiently for me to give instructions, even then nobody listened. I was issuing detentions and sending notes home almost every day.Week 9: After 2 minutes standing in front of the class silently with my arms folded across my chest, staring wildly and malevolently the class are, finally, silent. I call this technique 'The Pirate Stare', I imagine that I am about to make them walk the plank. If they disrupt this quiet again I just say, very softly, 'that's fine, I'll just come and fetch you at the end of the day to make the time up, you know I'll do it'.
And believe me, they know. I have pursued them relentlessly, like a hound on a scent, since September. With 21 kids out of 30 on the school's special needs register (mostly for behavioural difficulties) I have to be on my toes and work them like a drill sergeant.
The children were particularly exuberant after their half term break, and consequently more difficult to control than usual. To try and divert myself from giving up and sitting on the floor in protest at their behaviour I have begun mentally compiling a sort-of dictionary of all the terms they use in their silly W9 patois. I will share a few with you now:
Jokes: Funny. As in 'Remember when Abdul and Ryan had that fight? That was jokes!'
Butters: Ugly. As in 'Miss, so basically what you're saying is that Richard III was butters, right?'
Swag: Unusual. Quirky. As in 'Miss you're looking a bit swag today'. I was wearing bright pink shoes, a bright green cardigan and a yellow top. I deserved it.
Still haven't got to Westfield. I'm showing unusual restraint. However, I did find out that many of my students are now already hanging about there and referring to it as their 'yard' so it's probably wise not to go after all.
* My cat has an incredibly annoying habit of nuzzling underneath my hand and forcing me to stroke him while I type. If I refuse to cooperate he shoves his huge boy-cat face in front of the screen. He's doing it now. I feel cruel shooing him away. That's actually bollocks. I don't give a fuck. I just wanted you to think that I am kind to animals.
Sunday, November 2
Saturday, November 1
School is going reasonably well. I have had two 'good' inspections; one from OFSTED and the other from Westminster LEA. I am up to date with my marking. I am keeping my head down and trying not to get involved with the gossiping networks that pervade all staffrooms across the UK. I have not been stabbed or happy slapped, yet. I have only made two children cry. And it is only seven weeks until the Christmas hols.
Last week James and I had a much-needed city break in Berlin. It is, without doubt, the coolest place I have ever been in my life. Everything there just works. For a place with such a troubled and tragic history it is the most tolerant and 'together' city that I have encountered (in my, I admit, somewhat limited travelling portfolio). We stayed in a tongue-in-cheek DDR retro hostel in East Berlin, amongst the rows and rows of identical towering grey apartment blocks. It looked bleak, but felt quite cosy. We tried to fit as much into our trip as possible, leaving room for beer drinking and sausage eating, but I was most impressed by a visit to the Stasi headquarters. It's quite a way off the main tourist drag, and barely signposted, but an utterly fascinating and terrifying testimony to a ludicrous regime. I took some photos of the mental surveillance equipment that they used, and will hopefully post them as soon as I work out how to get them out of my dad's digital camera.
I haven't felt like lying down and switching off, or rampaging through Oxford Street with my Solo card for a few months now. The routine and stability of my home and my job has evened me out marvellously. The only problem now is that I find myself occasionally terrified of losing everything that I have worked so hard for, especially James, who made it all possible.
The new flat is really starting to feel like home. I love coming home to the suburbs every night and almost forgetting I live in London. I am currently hoarding items and cultivating a Moomin themed bathroom.
What else? Oooh, yes. I am VERY excited about going to Westfields Mall as it is very close to my school. I will try and drag my workmate Andraya there this week and take a few snaps of it's shiny newness.
Just read this back. It sounds very rushed and rusty. Ah well. I can't be arsed to rewrite it.
Tuesday, August 5
Wasn't all that impressed by Stratford itself. It seems to have all the outward trappings of a town with a rich cultural and historical heritage, but sorely lacks any depth or passion for the literature that it so desperately sells, and sells, and sells... I witnessed tourists having their photos taken outside mock-Tudor pubs, in a street that was consumed by a fire a number of years after Shakespeare's death. HE. DID. NOT. GO. THERE.
Tennant was an outstanding Hamlet, so good that I almost felt ashamed for initially being drawn to the theatre by the lure of his pretty, pretty face. He delivered those tricky soliloquys with fresh gusto, and commanded the space that he occupied. Similarly, Patrick Stewart was a fantastic Claudius, but an even more terrifying Ghost! Wasn't too sure exactly when the play was supposed to be set, but this is just nitpicking really. This 'review' is utterly useless to anybody considering queuing for a return ticket, so better check the press after tomorrow for the official verdict.
Friday, July 25
After a lovely afternoon at Crouch End Lido I decided to stop off at the shops on my way home and buy something for tea. I was pushing my bike past Tesco and found myself accosted by a twenty-something emo boy, who asked the question above. He had two mates beside him (who weren't emo at all) who were all doing the same thing. I, being wise to this ploy, said 'no thanks' and continued on my way. I got my shopping, forgot all about it, and went back to my bike. Emo Boy tried again. I declined, again. As I fiddled with the chain the other two noticed that I was rendered temporarily immobile, approached me and said 'while you're here, can we ask you a question about your hair?'.
By now I was feeling quite pestered and intimidated (three lads, one me) so turned around and said 'Look, guys, I am sorry that you have to ask people that transparent question to try and sell haircuts in order to make money, but you've asked me it 4 times now and I am clearly not interested. Can you leave me alone, please?'
To be fair to him, Emo Boy looked a bit ashamed and helped me by picking up my padlock, which I'd dropped whilst afluster. The other two did a very childish 'ooooh sorreeeeee!'. Gits. I thought my response was relatively polite considering how pushy and irritating they were. If I want a haircut I will not be talked into it by a stranger in the street.
One I can handle. Two, at a push, I can ignore. But three in a gang is too much. Right? Or did I overreact?
Monday, July 7
|2007/8||SEM1||MR01P.0||Block Practice|| |
|2007/8||SEM2||MR05P.0||Block Practice Sem B|| |
|2007/8||YEAR||TEP066N||Reflective Portfolio: Theory and Practice in Subject Learning|| |
|2007/8||YEAR||TEP067N||Curriculum Practice Research|| |
|2007/8||YEAR||TEP068N||Educational Issues: Theory and Practice Investigation|| |
Monday, June 30
At least I can use the 'Free Swim' voucher on the back of the pack to burn off some of the excess energy.
Or I could just go shopping.
Tuesday, June 10
... but that was before he started to grow at a ridiculous rate and draw blood chasing my ankles. And then I found out that it was a boy, not a girl, despite us having called it 'Polly'.
This is what he looks like now. Notice the slightly evil glint in his eyes, which he has diverted attention away from by acting all cute.
But it was very funny when he fell in the bath.
He's not that bad, really. All injuries occur through misdirected play, but they don't half hurt!
Monday, June 9
This is the sort of person you see in Whole Foods. They are mostly hippy parents with too much money buying sugar-free cereals for their evil, posh children.
But this is the AMAZING cheese counter that acted as the catalyst for my spree and NOW you understand how it happened.
I really must stop shopping at any food stores that are not my local grocer, my local butcher, my local baker, or Tesco. Because whenever I do I ALWAYS end up spending over £20 on less than one basket of food. I could get a whole trolley of food at Tesco for that!
So, from tomorrow James and I are on wartime rations for the next few days while our cat and rabbit continue to eat their (large) stock of luxury veterinary-recommended pet foods. They have a much better life than us. They eat and sleep all day, and get us to take their shit away for them.
Wednesday, April 30
Among all the usual bollocks about the mayoral election was a feature about a guy who roams around London in a full Alien costume just to amuse people. This guy does it for love and charity, and because it makes him and other people laugh, which I think is a fucking ace reason. It directly mimicks a dream I have always had of hiring a Chewbacca costume and performing my day-to-day duties whilst wearing it. In fact, it is better than my dream, because the Alien is perhaps one of the most amusing movie villains, when placed in a regular setting (like the tube or the bookies).
Anyway, all this writing is counterproductive, because you only need to look at the picture to appreciate how excellent it is. So don't let me waste any more of your precious time.
It is probably the best day of my life.
Thursday, April 24
It's okay. I'M STILL ALIVE!
I had an appointment for a feminine procedure. I took James with me for comfort, but when I was finally called I took a deep breath, covered my privates with a linen sheet, mounted the Colposcopy Torture Chair (see below for image) and allowed a man in a white coat to take photographs of my cervix. Some may be embarrassed by this, but I'm not ashamed of what I had done, in fact I think I am in a privileged position, as I have seen the inside of my own vagina. How many women can say that, eh?!* I know exactly what my cervix looks like. I'm not boasting, but I could probably pick it out of a line up, if I ever had to.
This is the chair that they put me in:Those ain't arm-rests, gents, they're for your KNEES!
I only nearly cried, and that was when the surgeon told me to cough because he 'couldn't find' my cervix. I yelled "WHAT? HAS IT DISAPPEARED?!", and the nurse placed her hand reassuringly on my thigh (in hindsight she was probably restraining me).
So yes, way much more information than any of you will ever want to know, but I had to preserve this moment for all posterity, so that I may bore my daughters with horror stories when they reach child-bearing age.
Oh yeah, and I worked out that the Whittington Hospital is named after Dick Whittington. It only took me five years. Which is less than it took me to work out that Q8 fuel's name is a pun on 'Kuwait'.
* except the several thousand across the world that have it done every day. Obviously. I never said it wasn't common!
Tuesday, April 22
So I have made this list, I'm putting it here so that it can burn into my retinas for all eternity. It is a list of things that I need to do in order to fully pull myself out of this rut and become a functioning human being again. But it could also serve as some sort of idiots guide to surviving minor depressive episodes.
1. Wash face in morning. This is usually a no-brainer. But when I'm fucked up I always forget and take the bins out with jam and last night's drool sticking my hair to my chin.
2. Remember to eat different coloured food. Beige food is generally the most convenient as it covers biscuits, bread (toast), Shreddies and peanut butter. All of which can be eaten raw or can be prepared with minimum fuss in under three minutes. All of which contribute to malaise.
3. Vary your liquid intake. Not tea. Tea is another beige foodstuff. Tea has caffeine in it and contributes to the devil's insomnia. So you get out of bed at two-hourly intervals and make yourself a cup of tea to calm down. Only to have the caffeine kick in 20 minutes later. And the bladder urges. Yadda, yadda, yadda. This cycle can go on for 72 hours.
4. Step away from the television. It can lull you into a false sense of security. You might think you're on the mend, because 'Loose Woman' Colleen Nolan's comely bosoms provide some sort of vicarious audio-visual cuddle, but when the news comes on at 1.30 you're in for a nasty shock.
5. Sleep on your back. If you sleep on your front or side, as I do, then you will be very tempted to cling onto your pillow for sanctuary during the night/early morning. I have spent twenty minutes unsticking myself from a pillow before.
6. Don't sleep during the afternoon. You'll only wake up at 6pm and think 'oh fuck, there's still HOURS left to get through'. Might as well sit 'em out conscious.
7. Go out for a bit. Yeah, so you'll think people are staring at you, but actually, Stroud Green Tesco's on a weekday is a veritable melting pot of mental disorders, and you'll blend in just fine. My personal favourite character is Half-Tranny-Man, who wears one DM boot and one high-heeled shoe and walks like a pirate. Except last time I saw him he wasn't wearing any shoes, or walking, because he'd found a wheelchair in a skip.
8. Borrow an animal. Find a friend with one or get one of your own. The stupider the better. I favour dogs, but rabbits and parrots will do. NOT CATS, they don't give a fuck about you, they will only reject you.
9. Try not to text people. You'll only bore them, and they can't do anything to help you anyway.
10. If all else fails, and I mean all else, then do this: Take valium/sleeping pills for 48 hours straight. Wake up after two days, having forgotten why you fell asleep in the first place. Carry on as normal.
Monday, April 21
Not too hot this week. Have had an ear infection that's lasted AGES. I'm on the third lot of antibiotics for it. Subsequently my immune system is so fuckered that I have caught a stinking cold, rendering me well and truly immobile. I am relying on Tixylix children's cough syrup to sort me out.
Viruses and malaise always bring on bouts of depression, and recent events are no exception. I have been hiding in my flat and eating the entire contents of my freezer to avoid venturing outside. It's not a very healthy state of affairs is it ladies and gents?
Saturday, March 8
- Holy Moly, thought I, They think Joe Strummer is still alive
This led to a moral dilemma. Should I, could I, be the one to break it to them that the artist they were arguing so passionately over died of congenital heart failure more than five years ago? I decided to give it a few minutes, generously thinking that perhaps they did know, and were just shit grammartarians.
But then one of them said 'Right, well when we go and see Joe Strummer next time he tours you'll EAT YOUR WORDS'.
Oh to be seventeen, stupid and blissfully unaware of the harsh realities of rock 'n' roll. I didn't have time to tell them after that bombhell, as they got off at Paddington and I was left wondering how, or if, they would ever find out. I'm banking on Wikipedia.
Saturday, February 16
It's just a shame that none of it is evident here:
I bought a new scanner/printer today. I was playing with it. The man in PC World asked me what I wanted from a printer. And I replied 'I want for it to print'. Then he bamboozled me with science and I walked out of the shop with a scanner/copier/printer, which I don't really need, but it's nice and shiny, at least.
Wednesday, February 6
She found out it was below her.
So I'm thinking the gifts are well-deserved.
Taking two of my library books, and a pencil, I thought that the change of scene would wake me from my malaise and illicit some new ideas from my otherwise broken brain.
BUT, I went at 3pm, didn't I? What happens at 3pm in Crouch End? I'll tell you what. All the middle class mums pick up their Alonsos and Tabithas from Montessori school and swarm, en masse, to any cafe that doesn't sell food with additives. I was sandwiched between 3 buggies, 7 toddlers (I counted, it was hard because they kept running around), 2 breastfeeding mothers with enormous bags under their eyes and A LOT of bullshit.
A couple of the mums (no Dad', they were all at Moorgate or Bank getting premature heart disease) were discussing literacy, which made my ears prick up because I'm researching a project on it, one particularly obnoxious specimen, was holding court; 'yah, so, basically, you have to just read to them constantly until they're about six' (all the mothers around her nod sagely). Wow. I wonder how she came up with that nugget of vital child-rearing wisdom.
As you can imagine, I got very little done. There was one interesting episode. One tiny little boy skidded to a halt right in front of me, pointed to my head and said 'red'. I nodded and said 'yes, red'. He nodded back. Then we both resumed our activities. We had a moment, I think.
I don't ever want to have children. Or get married. Or grow up.
I'm a tad manic at the moment, so my body is telling me to GO, GO, GO, but when I manage to calm myself down enough to be rational I know that it's really not a good idea to out where there are shops when I am being a bit mental.
But if I stay at home I'll end up pacing and sending weird emails to all of my friends to alleviate the boredom.
Tuesday, February 5
There is duplicity in my visit here. I arranged the appointment under the guise of needing more steroid inhalers, as I keep waking up in the night only to encounter a near-death experience as my lungs fluff up and I clutch at the pillows, gasping for breath. This is my official reason for coming. My unofficial reason is to request some more sleeping pills.
I LOVE sleeping pills. The doctor prescribed them for me when I started my PGCE, as the newness and scariness of everything was causing A LOT of sleepless nights.
I'm not addicted or anything. In fact, I have only taken about seven zopiclones in my entire life. But the pure bliss they bring is like a cuddle in a cosy blanket under a thousand stars. You take one at 11pm knowing (there is a very loud, brash Scottish lady lecturing her ghetto fabulous daughter now. It's more off-putting than Karen Carpenter's dulcet tones) that the next conscious breath you take will be when your alarm goes off at 6.30am, and that you will complete the rest of the day without any of the nasty side effects that illegal, herbal or alcoholic substances can cause (the track order on this cd is weird, who puts Yesterday Once More before Calling Occupants of Interplanetery Craft - who?).
Sometimes, for fun, I take a zopiclone at 4pm, and again at 10pm, and I can spend nearly twenty hours asleep. Sometimes life just isn't interesting enough to bother to stay awake.
But, obviously, I am not going to tell my doctor any of this. I am simply going to plant the idea of the sleeping pills into her head, and then let her think that she has come up with the idea herself. And then I am going to skip to the pharmacy and present my prescription like it is a golden ticket.
And, while I'm there, I might as well get some inhalers. IT'S ONLY MY LUNGS.
Monday, February 4
Then did you spend the next 5 minutes posing and pulling faces, as you realise that you actually like this new colour?
To Ball Or Not To Ball?
My rabbit has suddenly become a lot more frisky than he used to be, and he stinks, so I have been advised by several friends (and veterinary surgeons) to have his testicles removed. My last rabbit, Big Bun, had his bollocks removed, and it transformed him from a playful, interesting pet into a boring, slobbering idiot. In fact, the change was so stark that I considered calling the vet to check that he hadn't performed a labotomy by accident.
Never Mind The Ballcocks...
... is a phrase I wish I'd been able to say this weekend, when, attempting to combat a leaking tank I foolishly snapped the floating ball off my plastic toilet flushing mechanism (following telephone instructions from my Dad, who thought it was made of brass and would therefore 'bend'). I thought I had turned the water off at the mains, and isolated the problem. But I hadn't. Because, as I later found out when I gave in and called a plumber, my flat has two stopcocks. And stopcock number 2 was hidden behind a plastered panel. What kind of flat has two stopcocks? Mine.
Little Balls Made Of Pixels
These are an ongoing source of frustration, as I am getting rubbisher and rubbisher at Nintendo tennis by the day.
Sunday, February 3
'Boys' and 'English' whilst researching your university assignment into underachieving boys:English boys strip naked,wank and fuck for England.
www.englishboys.co.uk/ - 3k -
Monday, January 21
We live in an apartment block consisting of 7 floors. As a result of 100 people of so living in close proximity to each other I can often hear the people around me (muffled) flushing their loos, watching to their tvs (upstairs love EastEnders and American Idol) and making home improvements. It doesn't bother me much. I chose to live in this place so I expect to sometimes hear my neighbours.
Mental Lady does not seem to understand this as well as me. She comes up to my flat about once a month and says to my boyfriend and I that she can 'hear everything'. She told us that we 'bang things all the time' and that she can hear us 'moving around in our kitchen and going to the toilet'. She can also hear us 'dropping things' and 'hoovering'.
I really don't see what we can do about any of this, apart from lining everything in our flat that opens and closes with cotton wool, refraining from going to the bathroom, never ever washing our clothes and allowing our carpet to mount dust.
My favourite one is
'I can hear you opening and closing your front door to go to work every morning'.
I leave the house before James to catch my train. I'm really quite quiet. I have nobody to talk to and therefore just walk down the stairs and close the block door like everybody else.
We don't have our tv on loud (because I hate loud tvs). We only really listen to music on Saturday mornings. I vacuum in regular, daytime hours. We both go to bed before midnight and we have never had any parties. We have never paid our rent late and have an excellent relationship with our landlady.
She says that 'this flat, twelve, is always problem'. I don't know what to do! How can I tell this woman to FUCK OFF next time she comes round and tells us off for living in our flat?
Wednesday, January 16
I'm making the sauce for my famous chicken parmegiana, soon to be served to my friends Elin, Rob and Steve, and watching 6ixth Sense with Colin Fry. What a charlatan. He's even worse than my favourite psychic Sylvia Browne, but I don't think anybody can top her and her crazy eyes. I wanted my flat to be clean and smell welcoming when the guests arrive at 7.30-8.00. Instead it reeks of garlic and there's stubborn fluff all over my carpet. I shall have a bath soon and tidy myself up to try and compensate for my shabby abode.
I have a MASSIIIVE assignment due in next month, and I've decided to concentrate on underachieving boys and literacy, which is a meaty topic for a first project, but one that there is a lot of existing research on. In a nutshell; boys don't seem to be able to make the same connection between cognition and writing that girls do, and require structured frameworks and gradual introduction to extended writing tasks in order to achieve similar results. But it only works if you keep it up over months, and make sure it's used in writing across the curriculum (in maths, science, history etc...). It's actually really interesting stuff, I've been reading the library books in the bath just for fun. However I am dreading writing it all up and putting my own twopenneth in, because I'll probably just sound like an incoherent moron.
What an interesting life I have. I'm sure I have enriched yours significantly by revealing the banal minutiae of my own.
Tuesday, January 8
Is major structural reconstruction required to shift it? (men in boiler suits hacking at walls, crowbars, hammers, that kind of thing...)
I ask because there is damp on the inside of the external walls of my flat and I don't have the first idea what to do about it. I have put off dealing with it since September, because I didn't have the energy (couldn't be bothered) to find out.
It's probably not such a good idea to have it around, because of my asthma and sensitivity to mildew and suchlike.
I have this image of men in radiation suits sectioning off my kitchen with yellow tape and blasting enormous holes in the side of my flat. I'm probably over-reacting, but the medication makes me get things out of proportion sometimes.
Please don't tell me to rub it or clean it off myself. I refuse to touch it, because spores freak me out. My walls are ALIVE.