Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Time has been getting away from me again.  SATs have reared their ugly head in May and I have a massive pile of papers to mark.  Reports are looming and although I have started, I am a long way from finished!  However, such is life.  I have decided to deal with this by deleting the Facebook app on my phone, so that I can get more done.  I hadn't realised what a time sucker it had become.  If I want time to write, it has to come from somewhere...

Fiction prompt today.

Greeting: Write a story or poem that starts with the word “hello”.

(In my head this is Instant messenger, or, if you are old like me, the heady days of ICQ!)



How are things?

Oh, y'know.  Ok.  You?


Right.  Yeah.

Look I...I was...

You first Sorry, you first

I was thinking...

Makes a change.... lol.... what's up?

I was thinking we should find her.  Not try and find her, like we usually say we will, but actually FIND her.



What were you going to say?

It doesn't matter.  We'll find her.  We can. 

What were you going to say?

It doesn't matter.  When did you want to start?

Now.  Tonight.  We can do this.  What were you going to say?

It's not important.  Are you ready?

For what?

For what we might find?

I think so. She is one of us.  She needs to be with us.

You need to be sure.  You need to be really sure that this is what you want.

I am.  I am ready.  I can accept anything, forgive anything.  We love her.  We need her.  We have to find her.

Ok.  We'll find her.

Thankyou.  What were you going to say?

I know where she is...


Who is she?
Why is she missing?
Why does italic person know where she is?
What is "One of us?"
These and other questions shall remain unanswered whilst I go to change a litter tray and get the child out of bed!

Bullet Journalling

Last night I took time out from the millions of things I have to do, a couple of which are job-changing if I get them wrong, (so no pressure there then!) and set up my bullet journal for June.

I needed to spend some time on me.  I know that sounds incredibly selfish, especially in the light of the Manchester bombing, but I was worrying pointlessly.

When Rich died, April gave me the best present ever in the short term and it would seem, in the long term.  She took the Adorable Child for the night, and then brought him back in the morning.  I have said before that had she not had done that, I would never have let him out of my sight again.  She proved he would come home, even though Rich hadn't. 

I still worry.  When J and the AC went to Buckingham Palace last week for the bereaved children's tea party, I worried.  Only a few weeks after the Westminster attack, in a terrorist heightened state, I worried.  Obviously I didn't stop them going.  I didn't tell them I was worried.  I told the rest of the world that I enjoyed the day on my own, relaxing and watching Doctor Who, and I did, but in the back of my mind, all of the time, was the worry that they wouldn't come home.  Police would knock my door and the world would crumble.

Now, I know how ridiculous that all sounds.  I'm not an idiot.  I am fully aware that Rich's accident was an accident.  The coroner was very clear about that and I will be forever thankful that no-one was to blame.  I would struggle to hate for the rest of my life.  I know that the chances of something like that happening again are the same for J and the AC as they are for anyone else in the world - they are not at any more risk just because they are in my life, and that's why I never stop them doing anything.  The AC is talking about getting a scooter and then a motorbike when he is older.  I won't stop him.  I might feel sick and worry every time he goes anywhere, but I won't and can't and shouldn't stop him.

Last night, after the news being on all day thinking about Manchester, I was fretting inside.  My stomach was churning. 

So, I drew (badly) and did some faux-calligraphy, and coloured bits in, and traced things I couldn't draw properly, and organised pages and played in a way that I really enjoy, that really chilled me out.  I set up June in my bullet journal.  I have a quote, that has nothing to do with June, a calendar list, a brain dump page, and a tracker page, and a "What did you do for you?" page, and a "Thankyou for...." page.  In half term I will set up the rest of my School Bullet Journal pages. I will organise the outside of my life in a bid to quell the nerves on the inside.


I know.

I was promised.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Prompt - This is the closest I have ever been....

I didn't say if this was an F or NF prompt, because I don't know yet.  I am literally just dumping onto the screen, via the cat who is determined that there is room on my lap for the laptop and him (there is if I keep my wrists firmly holding the laptop down)


This is the closest I have ever been to giving up teaching.  I am here every year, at the start of May, hating myself, hating the job, loving my children, loving my colleagues and hating SATs with a passion.  An utter passion.

And then my son came down and distracted me and I lost the thread of where I was going.



This is the closest I have ever been to the sun, thought Della, and this is too damn close.  She slapped the control panel again, and watched as the array of lights flickered on, tempting her brain with hope of engine recovery, and then flickering off again.  Nope.  Nothing.
Stupid, ancient, heap of junk machine, she thought angrily. On the other hand, the temp gauge had never worked, so there was every chance she wouldn't know when she was about to die.  That had to be a bonus, right?
There was an alarming juddering from the left side of the ship, and she glanced out of the port side window in time to see the leading edge of the wing begin to glow white hot and lengthen with the heat, thinning as it did.  That wasn't going to go well. 
She punched trim controls into the computer, arguing with the auto-flight that was insisting that everything was fine.  It always insisted that.  It had started insisting that when they had got caught in the fish storm on Rigel 4, and a shark had busted through part of the wiring in the nose cone.   It had carried on insisting that through the dust storms, the ice storms, another fish storm, and everything else that that planet could throw at the pair of them until she had saved enough fuel to get off the place and out into space again.

The fish storm was the worst though, she thought absent mindedly as she rerouted the last of the power into the engines.  The fish stank.  The lights dimmed.  The air recycling unit slowed, but not stopped.  She knew that the immediate feeling of the air thickening was psychological, but she accepted it and moved on to finding anything she could that would slow her descent into the burning orange of the gaseous ball beneath her.

She had one chance.


It was outrageous, and stupid, but it was dying with a sword in her hand and not whimpering on her knees, and so she had to take it.

It came.

She was prepared.  The shields were strengthened underneath her, what was left of the wings was tilted at the right angle, and although she'd be going backwards, this would be the ride of her life.

She watched the screen as the bubbling increased in that area of the sun and then WHOOSH!

An enormous solar flare erupted from the surface of the sun, plasma shooting towards her.  She laughed on the edge of hysteria as the plan worked, and the ship rose up onto the front of the wave, reaching the lip, balancing there, and riding the plasma away from the sun and certain death.

Too close to the sun, by far, but it had been the only way out.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Do I believe in 'Big Magic'?

I’m reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic” and the question I have to ask myself if “Do I believe?”

I don’t believe in Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny, but I don’t tell my class that.  I do believe in Jesus and God as one and the same but intrinsically different, which is a hard believe at  times, and the actual Trinity makes it even harder.  I sort of believe in ghosts and spirits because the evidence is there, in my house.  I don’t believe in the Washing Fairy, as my son and other half do.  I do believe in being nice to other people.

Do I believe in the idea that ideas are out there, waiting for me to be available to write them?  Do I believe that inspiration hangs about in the ether, flitting from person to person waiting to find someone who is going to open their mind and heart long enough to write or paint or draw or make whatever the idea is that is crying out to move from an ephemeral wisp of nothing, to a solid and shareable piece of creativity?  I think I might be starting to.

I have 25% of the book left to read, according to Kindle.  I’ve read most of it yesterday, making a conscious decision to come away from the Brainship world (I return there over and over again!) to look for a book that will actually help me to write.

What Gilbert says, however, is that the only person who can actually help me write, is me.  I have to actually get off my backside, get the pen and paper, turn the computer on, whatever it is, and want to do this. I have to try and I have to enjoy trying.

The last isn’t hard.  I love writing, I love the feeling of a pen in my hand or hte keys under my fingertips and I love leaving my marks on the paper or screen.  I can type as fast as I think, almost, and so most of the time I type, but I also always have a notebook with me, jotting down pen portraits, desciptions, first lines, story outlines, anything that comes.  I don’t do it enough though - I wait and see if anyone is around, so that nobody asks.  I can’t be a writer, in my head, if nobody wants to read what I write.  

That’s where I’ve been going wrong.  I’ve been thinking that I can’t be what I want to be, unless other people are involved.  This is wrong.  (In my head I wrote a curseword, but my mother might read this one day!) This is wrong because I have to do whatever it is that I want to do, that I need to do, that I have to do as a huge intrinsic part of me that cannot be contained any more.  It has been.  I wrote a lot as an angst ridden teen.  I acted a lot at Uni and let it out that way.  I stopped everything when I started teaching and it absorbed my life, and then I started again when I had my son and he was tiny and I had time again, and then he got bigger and then I didn’t have time again, and my creativity was in him and in my classroom and now I have the urge, the need, the have to, to open up that flow again.  

I had the moment to write “to open up that vein again” which would have made a more beautiful sentence, but it’s not how it is for me.  I don’t drain myself to exhaustion to write.  I can’t.  I have so many other demands on my time and my own self, that this has to take it’s place in the queue.  Life is like that!

This Easter holidays I have written a lot.  I had printed out a couple of things to revise, but I didn’t get chance to as they were made into paper aeroplanes on a camping trip.  I will do.  I need to sort that out, get a summary, send it out, because even though I don’t believe, now, that part of my writing is the need to be read, I’d still like it read.  

I have no idea who will read it, who would want to read it, but I want to give it a chance to fly.  I want to send out short stories and see them in print, not from an arrogant ego based sense of my own brilliance, but from the point of view that that is their purpose.

That might look contrary to my previous epiphany, but it isn’t in my head. My head says “Don’t let the need to a reader stop you being a writer, but once it’s written, start collecting rejection letters until one day you don’t!”  

So that’s the plan.

Starting with this, today.

I have to write.  It’s who I am.  I am a creative person.  I am a writer.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

F prompt - Dancing

So today's prompt comes from that website again,  and it's very different to the previous one.  I am not a dancer, unless between the 5th and 7th pints of the evening, as I have very little natural rhythm and flow.  I have hardly any grace.  In spite of that I can Maypole and I can Country Dance, probably because someone calls and tells me what to do.  I also teach my classes to Maypole and to Country Dance, because if I don't, no-one will.  Those are the things I count as passing on the knowledge of what it is to be us.

Anyway.  It's short, but I didn't want to force it.  Sunrise and the Vessel however, is now up to just over 7,000 words and going strongly.  I'm slightly stuck in first person, but I have a plan...  I also took T-Boy to an Art gallery yesterday, and one of the women there asked me if I was an artist, and I said no, I don't paint or sculpt and she looked and me and said "Ah, you're a writer."  And I thought, "Yes, damn it, yes I am!" (I didn't say that.  I said "I try." with that self deprecating smile that we English are so good at.)

Dancing: Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?

Slowly, slowly, we move together, your arms around me, your head over my head but your chin just brushing my hair.  The kitchen tiles are smooth beneath my bare feet and I close my eyes and lean into your chest, smelling washing powder and deodorant and you, all in one fulfilling breath.  I can hear your heart beating, and the low vibration of you humming with the music.  If I were to really listen, I'd hear how out of tune you were, and I wouldn't care.  It is this moment that I cherish, this moment in your arms where my world is almost perfect.

Our lives are like a long complicated dance.  We circle each other, trading glances and smiles and laughter whilst we do the things that have to be done.  Others join us, and leave us, and rejoin the dance, in it for a short while, or for a long while, but they are not our dance partner, just someone who is with our music as we are with theirs, our tunes interweaving for a day or an evening.  Some people are the rhythm of our dance, their music always in the background of our lives, holding us steady whilst we explore the counter-tempo, knowing that we can return to their beat if we want to, for a little while.  Still others enhance our music as we add a depth of harmony to theirs.  Small people giggle their way through the dance, their tune contrapuntal but essential to ours, until the day their dance becomes theirs, and we become the steady beat in their background.

All these things I think, whilst I am safe in your arms, immersed in you, held by you.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Do you find war exciting and stimulating?

This was a question asked of me by a forum that I am part of, when I was discussing the rights of pacifists to protest, and the irony that is that they have the right to protest because others died in war for them.  At this point I was asked "Do you find war exciting and stimulating?"

Here is my response.

Is war exciting and stimulating? No.  War is none of those things.  There is nothing exciting about washing and ironing and packing shedloads of kit into one of the big black kit boxes.  There is nothing exciting about waving someone off at 3am.

There is something stimulating about there being no contact suddenly, because you know that if the knock hasn’t come for you within a few hours, then it was someone else’s knock, and someone else’s family are devastated, and someone else’s family are starting a new life without a father, or a brother or a son.  Deep down you are ashamed that you are glad it wasn’t your knock, because that means you are glad for the knock being someone else’s, and you aren’t, because no-one should get that knock, but it stimulates grief and fear and self-loathing.
There is nothing exciting about not being able to sleep, about starting your day at 4am with the overnight news, watching because you have to, you*have* to see.  There is nothing exciting about not watching the news once the child is up, sneaking peeks on the computer, pretending all is well and no, of course mummy isn't worried! She was just thinking about tea...

There is something stimulating about the first contact after a silence, the 48 hours being up, the news being released and so communications are back up again, because that first email or rare phonecall is proof that there was no mistake, it wasn’t that they couldn’t find you, it was that he was safe.  That is a joyous moment, a brief magnesium bright flare of happy, that drops as you remember that other family, somewhere else.

There is something exciting about the chuff chart getting smaller, about sending the packages and about writing the letters because the small boy wants to tell the fighting man about his bike wheel, about the big dog he saw on the way to school and how brave he was about it because he doesn’t like big dogs AT ALL.  That excitement comes from the excitement of the small boy that the man is sooner home than he was, that the time is getting less and the aeroplane will soon be bringing him back.

There is a lot exciting about him walking in the door, kit box stinking of unwashed clothing, sand, fuel, huge amounts of deodorant.  There is a lot exciting and stimulating about that, and I cannot tell a lie there!

There is nothing exciting about having to be careful how you wake a person up though.  There is nothing thrilling about people who flinch at fireworks.

There is nothing exciting or thrilling about having to rewash and reiron and repack and do it all again.

It is worse when you do it for the last time, because he will never wear that kit again – he will never wear any kit again except the number one uniform they burn him in.  And because he wasn’t KIA, there will be no memorial, no name carved in Portland stone at the arboretum, nothing to show what he was prepared to do, but you are glad, GLAD, because the day he died you saw him and said “I love you!” as you waved him off to work.

So.  Am I excited or thrilled by war? No, not in the way you might think.  But am I proud of him? Yes. I am, and I always will be.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Byron - "If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad."

Apparently, Lord Byron said that.

I say apparently, because I wasn't there, and I read that on the internet. 

I have been doing really well on the Hal Elrod Miracle Morning idea, but today I had to get up and write first as I had a weird set of dreams last night, quite a few of which involved Rich in normal everyday stuff, the kind of stuff that you would have thought were memories, except now I think about it, I know they were dreams.  8 years this year, and I still miss him. 
They have discombobulated me, and as I write, they are fading and this makes me sad, because I could see his face and hear his voice and even my writing is stop start.  I am sitting, eyes unfocused, relying on touch type and not even looking at the screen with any clarity whilst I try and stablise myself.  I miss him.  I miss his friendship, his humour, his smile, his eyes, the himness of him.  I miss the other trouser leg of time, which I can't miss, because I haven't done it, but I miss the more children, the moving houses, the experiences we would have had, had. he not have had his accident.

It doesn't mean I am dissatisfied with this trouser leg of time though.  I love this house, I love being with Jack, I love the boys and the animals and the VW shows and the things that *we* do together.  I am apparently able to do both - love what I have and miss what could have been.  Is this a talent?  I don't know!

I know I am tired, and soul-heavy, and I was supposed to be dumping all of the escapees from That Planet at a refugee station this morning, but they might have to all stay together a little longer. I've kept going with the story I started the other day.  I like it.  It's tosh, but I like it. I might see if this one will go the distance.  I've also printed out a full copy of my NaNoWriMo story to edit.  And I've helped to write a 5,000 word essay on the nature of mathematical research and how it can be analysed.  That was not the most exciting thing I've done this week.

I was going to look for a prompt and write, but I am still cottonwool head, so I am going to end this here, drink my far-too-hot-Chai and think.

In so many ways I am the luckiest of souls - I have loved so deeply and been loved so amazingly in return more than once.  Today, I'm stuck on the bridge between past love and now love.  Poohsticks it is then...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sunrise and The Vessel

The clocks have changed in the UK, and that's part of the reason for the eternal knackerdness, as is end of term and the Children of Doom who replaced my lovely class yesterday!  I have no idea where my usually adorable children went, but I'd like them back today.  All day they mithered and monked and moaned and poked and pinched and didn't want to work and blah. I had 3 lots of tears from them.


Today, as we say in the class, is a new sunrise, and a new day.  We put yesterday on one side, and we start again with a new page.  It's all good, my children, it's all good.

The Vessel: Write about a ship or other vehicle that can take you somewhere different from where you are now.

At first glance, the ship looks like a ship.  Her rising sides are planks of wood, steambent to shape and caulked to be watertight.  Her name, "Adventurer" is painted on the side, white letters crisp against a black background, undercut with gold to make it shine in the sunlight.  Ahead of the name, the bowsprit lances through the air of the day, ready and waiting to forge into the next trip.  The whole ship has that feeling, of impatience, of an almost visible quivering to go, to get away, to adventure through uncharted waters and discover new lands.  Her sails snap crisply in the breeze as they are unfurled, great black sheets reaching towards the azure sky.

This ship, however, has never felt the lap of water against her sides.  The wind may blow her sails, but it will never power her, and the wooden sides are a covering, an illusionary nod to times gone by.
Step on board, and the differences are instantly noticeable.

The Adventurer is a C-class Schooner ship, designed for short planetary hops.  She's not got the long haul capacity of the Barque class, but she does well enough for what I want.  She's pretty much a one-woman vessel, although I can take passengers and cargo if I want to.  Usually I don't.  I don't really like talking to other people, interacting with other people, even seeing other people is a pain in the backside some days.  Amazon drones do my supplies, the flight tower is automated, the little fuel I pay for is delivered by a taciturn cyborg who just plugs his truck in, waits whilst he dumps accel8 into the tanks, unplugs and goes.  He's only ever spoken once, to confirm my fingerprint, and now delivers when I order, whether I am there or not. 

This suits me.

I was at That Planet, when the worlds ended, and this was all that was left.  I ran, like a coward or like a survivor, depends who you are.  I took as many as I could with me, and dumped them at the nearest refugee station, and then ran, and kept running.  Always running, always waiting for the next disaster, knowing now, that the only thing that could catch up with me is far behind me, back on That Planet.

I used to talk about it.  If I was asked, that is.  I would answer the amazed, breathy voiced questions "What was it like?"  "Did it really happen like the talkies say?"  "How did you get out?"  and I would answer, give the details that those who had only seen it on the moving pictures, or on the talkies would want.  Everyone knows that the news is sanitised - not everyone realises it is for their own sanity, that it protects them from the worlds outside their planet, where things are not the same, and where the truth is not just uncomfortable, it's downright painful.

Now I don't.  Now I avoid people.  I can't deny being there, the Mark is all over me. None of us escaped that, and I am prominently cursed, so I just avoid people.  It's easier.

I board my ship, leaving the wooden outside for a smooth metal inside, electronic and clean, easy to fly single handed, easy to moor somewhere quiet, easy to care for and love, if anything like her can be loved these days.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Seven days without writing...

.... makes one weak.

It does.  I missed it.  There were several reasons, involving clocks changing, total tiredness, a bombsite of a house and just sheer forgetfulness, but well, such is life.  Right now, I'm sitting in the window seat, at half 9 at night, aching with tiredness but desperate to get something onto not-paper.  I am not putting in a week of eggs on the 365 page!

So, prompt? (seeing as my brain has melted) is The Unrequited love poem (I'm doing these in order, so I don't miss any out!)

The Unrequited love poem: How do you feel when you love someone who does not love you back?

With an ache in my heart I see your pictures,
Of the two of you, proud in the paper,
Parents by your side,
Her dress shimmering in the sunlight,
Her blonde hair flowing down her back,
Crowned with roses
Like the ones she holds in her bouquet.
Your arm is around her,
Your smile wide,
Your eyes look down at the top of her head
And your love is all for her.

Once it was mine.
Once you said you loved me,
Loved my dark hair,
Loved my dark eyes,
Loved my easy smile,
Loved my body, my hands, my face, my body,
Melded and moulded me against your form,
Then I walked away
Believing you'd follow,
And you didn't.
I was no longer enough.
I had let myself go,
Betrayed your trust,
And you no longer cared enough to fight for us.
I had hurt you too much.

My heart aches.
My soul weeps.
My stomach churns.
The lighter in my hand sparks,
And flames lick your faces,
Gone at last.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

F prompt

Outside the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

She is sitting at the laptop, by the patio doors, looking out of the window.  An untouched cup of tea steams next to her, and her fingers are silent on the computer.  Her eyes are fixed to the world outside, and she doesn't see the dampness and the greyness of a March morning in Norfolk, where the clouds hang so low you could touch them, and the morning dew is like a glistening lake on the grass. Through the dusty glass she sees the shed, starting to tumble, the trees are gone and the world is silent.  The muddy yellow hose is hung across the abandoned patio table, and the stones are interspersed with weeds taking advantage of her broken heart.  Dereliction abounds, and once more she has made vague promises to the boy that she will sort it this summer, but her heart is not really in it.

Instead, her heart sees a July morning, with a perfect blue sky, fresh with the promise of a new day.  It sees the sun reflecting from the windows of the house opposite, and it remembers noticing the colours on the bricks as if for the first time.  Whilst these are red brick houses, the bricks are many different hues of red, orange and even more yellow than anything else in places.  Her tea was hot, and her small child was sleeping, and for the moment, this moment, was hers alone. She remembers knowing that the garden needed mowing, and planning to get out there this weekend coming.  She remembers wanting to buy material in those brick colours, and build a quilt.  She remembers the coolness of the tiled floor under her feet, and the way that the smooth countertop felt when she leant against it.  This was the moment that she could freeze, as the last time everything was beautiful before the darkness came.

And yet.  On this March morning, as her tea sits beside her, she can see the pinking of the grey now that false dawn has gone.  She can see the gaps in the cloud where the blue, pale and weak now, looks as though it will be stronger and brighter by playtime.  She can see the hope of another sunrise, and hope is all she needs.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NF Writing prompt - favourite book as a child

March 21 Bedtime stories What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

I read voraciously as a child, and still do now.  There are dangers involved in my opening a new book, dangers that mean I won't be washing up, or planning, or, in fact, doing anything productive before that book is finished.  There were books I returned to again and again - The Mary Plain omnibus being one of them.  She was a bear who lived in the bear pits of Berne, and her adventures, both in and out of the pits, were appealing to my small self, who could see the way in which we are all trapped, and wanted to escape, even at that young age.

In fact, a lot of the books I loved at that age were about getting away.  My favourite series was incredibly un-PC, and involved Hal and Roger Hunt, the "Bring-'em-back-alive" lads, who went to all kinds of exciting places to capture animals for the zoos and aquariums of the world, usually with a group of native porters to do all the fetching and carrying.  Roger usually ended up with an exotic pet out of it for the duration of the adventure, and someone generally tried to shoot Hal, who was the oldest and was in charge. I can't remember where the boys mother was - I think she had died some time ago - but I remember the joy of going to the library for a new book, and getting whatever I wanted from there, to go to wherever I wanted to go.

As to whether books like that influenced me, I'm not sure.  They were good for my imagination, they made me want to write, they made me want to write in an exciting style, and late in life I read a lot of science-fiction, a lot of fantasy, a lot of books that get me out of where I am now, but are also very family based, and I have just thought that perhaps that is one thing I did get from those books - a way of expressing my need for family to be always there, that family is so very, very important to me, and the family unit is incredibly important.

Rich and I never married, because his ex-wife wouldn't do the divorce that we paid for twice.  Recently, that has again caused problems over something, which I'm sure, if she knew about, would warm the cockles of her heart.  It would have been easier if we had have been formally married, and there would have been much more money for the BG and the AC if we had, but more than that, it would have cemented our family unit, which is what she *didn't* want, still believing he'd be back to her one day.  My need to get away isn't about feeling trapped in relationships, either now or in the past, nor yet about feeling tied to the past in a negative way.  My grief doesn't hold me back like the Barengraben walls, and my love for Rich hasn't stopped me moving on in my life.  It doesn't mean I love him less, or that I grieve less, or that my heart doesn't ache with memories, but it means that I am on that metaphysical plane to exciting places, not stuck in the airport, watching everyone else take off, and wondering why I can't.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rubbish at rules.

We've just spent the weekend with J's parents and T-Boy.  I am grateful for being able to spend the weekend there, as it means a lot less driving, but at the same time the rules and the conversation are sometimes difficult to deal with.  I know it's because they are old.  I know it's because they are set in their ways, and concrete set, not jelly set.  I also know that they would be sad but stoical if they knew how much I chafe against their rules.

It's not their fault.

I don't do rules.

I bend them where I can and break them where I can't.  When I'm told to follow them, I follow them 100%, to the exact letter, which can be worse for those people who were not *that* specific about what they wanted...  Yes, it's bad behaviour, but if it's the best thing for my children or for my family or for my well being, then that's just what happens.

I do do music, and over the weekend I have heard several songs, one of which was Tainted Love, which I have just blogged all about to BG, and whilst I don't know if she will ever read that blog, it matters that it is there, that the memories are recorded for her to read and to come to one day.


Time to get a wriggle on.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Today is another day

After yesterday (or was it Thursday's?) depressing post, I am feeling much better.

I cannot change things from the outside, only from the inside.  Why should I give up the job I love without fighting for it a bit?  In fact, if I love it so much, if I feel like I make a difference to those children, then shouldn't I fight for it a lot?  If I walk out, and they get someone who doesn't have the experience, who doesn't understand the special needs, who likes SATs (there are people out there like that!) then where does that leave the children?

Up a creek without a paddle, that's where.

So I'm sitting here, at the in-laws, with a list of jobs to do, starting with this one and then moving on to marking and planning and stuff, ready to rock another week with my lovelies. 

I'm tired though.  So very, very, sodding tired.  My rash has turned out to me something unknown, but I've been given a general cream for it with antibiotic, antifungal and steroid cream in it, to cover all bases.  If that doesn't deal with it, then I am to go back.  It could be stress related, it could not.  All we know about it is that it is there and it itches like an itchy thing!  I don't think that's what's making me tired, I suspect it is my somewhat broken fight or flight mechanism.

It's always been broken.  When faced with fight or flight, I want to sleep.  This is not productive, and no matter how much I try and explain to my body that actually, shutting down and waking up when it's all over is a rubbish plan, that's the one my physical body wants to go for, every time.  This week I've slept through the alarm 4 times.

As such, I am revamping my morning and evening routine to involve more sleep and then a more active early morning to see if I can bully myself into being awake and awesome.  And less fat.  I'm fairly sure this is adding to the sleepiness as well. 

Anyway, time to start the list proper.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Leaving teaching?

I have never felt more like leaving teaching than I do at the moment.  I won't, because I love the children, and I love actually teaching.  But I could.  I could phone in with stress and never go back.  I could go in today, walk out tearful and never go back.  I could just hand in my notice and leave at half term.  I could do it.

I won't.

I want to because of the beaurocracy, the low level of moral amongst staff, the constantly shifting goalposts, the anger and the hurt and the lack of funding and the lack of resources and the bitching and some of the parents, and the government, and the SATs and reports and and and and....

I want to because I don't want to see a little browneyed face lose all it's joy when I give it a reading test that it and I both know is too hard, but yet I *have* to give it because every point matters for the school.  I watched the liveliest set of eyes start to fill with tears yesterday and a part of my soul became rotten.

And yet, children like that are the reason I stay.  The joy, the love of new information, the excitement over going out, all that kind of thing, is exciting to work with and to live alongside.  To see the world through the eyes of that child is to see a place that was dark and frightening and busy and noisy, and is now somewhere where, through speech therapy that child can communicate, where, through masses of love and support and modelled love and support, that child is fully part of the class and is able to join in with us and where the rest of the class gave that child a spontaneous round of applause when it achieved on it's maths test result and was blatently pleased with what was, for the rest of the class, a low score, but for that child was one step away from a miracle.  These children are my reason for getting to the school early and for working late.  They are the reason that I love my job.  They are the reason I put up with the rubbish.

I know that the AC has had teachers like that in the past - I know all of his teachers after all.  I know that for some of his teachers he is one of the reasons for getting up and coming to school.  His PE teacher this year said that he was one of *those* children, that you look for in the class list and that you want to do well because they put so much effort in.  I know that the BG had one of those teachers in the first year she was at school, who worked so hard to communicate with Rich and with me, and to facilitate communication between BG and us.  I don't know about now, obviously, but I hope she has those teachers now.  She has another 3 years of school left and I hope she has those teachers for every year, that she makes the most she can of the amazing person that she is. T-Boy has had fabulous teachers that have kept him in school when other places would have kicked him out, that have worked through his tantrums and tried hard to find him a route through school and so through life.

So that's why I stay.  I want to be *that* teacher, that my children have benefited from.  (Yes, I call all of them my children, AC, BG, T-Boy, because I love them all.)

But this week, it's been so very hard...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Prompt "Anna would never be famous because of her......"

Anna would never be famous because of her face.  It was a dull face, an insipid face, a face that one could walk past on the street and never think twice about again.  She wasn't ugly, she wasn't disfigured in any way - indeed, that would have added interest to her characterless features.  She just was.

Her eyes were a particularly faded shade of grey, barely there in some lights, which in the face of another would have been interesting, adding a depth of well-worn character, but in Anna's case just added to the washed out feeling that one got when one looked at her.  There was no sparkle of excitement, or hint of emotion.  If eyes were indeed the windows to the soul, then the blinds were down and the shutters were up.  Her hair was mousy grey-brown, not one colour nor yet the other.  There were no lifting blonde highlights, and the way that she had it always tied back in a low ponytail at the nape of her neck meant that it had no movement either, and thus lost any chance of enlivening her looks as it lay down her back, sticking to her mustard coloured polyester wool jumper.  Her skin was sallow and almost looked stale, as though she had been left out overnight and stiffened slightly, in the way of day old bread.  Even her mouth and nose were unremarkable, no pert turned up nose nor ruby red lips that would brighten a suitors day.

All in all, she was a humdrum face that covered an uninspiring brain and sat atop a stodgy body.  Even the way that she walked was boring.  It was not brisk and efficient or anything that could have been considered laudable, and it wasn't slouchy, she didn't drag her feet along the pavement.  There wasn't a limp, or a skip, or anything about her gait that made her stand out to anyone, at all.

As blank canvases went, thought George, she was perfect.

Massive oversleeping but...

... a commitment is a commitment.

So here I am.

I've been looking for writing prompts, blogging prompts, all that kind of thing to give me something to write about on the dull days when nothing exciting happens, or when the only interesting things are things that happen at school that I can't/won't write about on here, or whatever.

Child confidentiality is a fabulous thing, aside from for actually writing about children.  In terms of keeping them safe and so on, it's absolutely the right thing to do.  I code my diary so that the children's names are safe, I make sure that I know where it is at all times, which has taken some learning to do, I can tell you, and I talk about my day in the vaguest of terms to other people.  J knows more, obviously, but even then I leave out any child protection stuff, any meetings, anything like that, because it's not safe to do otherwise.

Anyway.  I've found an app that sends me a writing prompt every day, for those days when I have no brains of my own.  Hopefully with actually writing, those days will get less as my writing muscles start to flex and actually work, but it's been a long while.

Today's will have a post of it's own.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Like I said yesterday, it's been a while.

AC is now 13yrs old, fiercely independent and yet still so reliant on me. Two weeks ago he saw a body being pulled out of the river, and his heart is still troubled by it, he asks if there is any news on a daily basis.  The gentleman has not been able to be identified, and the AC is worried for his family and children, and parents, who won't know where he is.  At the same time, he's 'not bothered' about anything.  T-Boy is growing, and starting to mature.  He's certainly less hard work than he used to be, but then he comes to us less often, and this year we've all been so ill, I think we've only been up there twice or three times.  I'm not even sure about this weekend if this cough of mine keeps going.

We have new snakes, after a bout of respiratory illness took all of ours over a few months, from the babies to our Big Cassi.

Percy is a 5ft Burmese python who has just had his first shed whilst with us, and Larry is a lipstick sunglow boa constrictor who is around 7ft long and a bit of a grumpy bones, but fine.

The cats are all well, Kev is hunting less now and sleeping more.  He is eight this year, born the August after Rich's accident, and I think he is slowing down.  He only has one ear that sticks up and the other is a crumpled heap on the side of his head after he got an infection in it.  We treated it, but the vet said if it goes down again, it's either a big operation that requires 4-6 weeks recovery with a cone on (can you IMAGINE!) or we leave it.  As the operation is cosmetic, and would be for our benefit as opposed to his, we didn't.  He is watching me now from the top of the fish tank, just looking, and in a moment he'll sigh, stretch his front paws out and put his head on them.

Errol and Frank are as lovable and needy of company as ever!  Just after Kev goes to sleep, I suspect Errol will jump on him as Errol is in that kind of mood this morning.  I don't know why I say this morning, he's always in that kind of mood!  He is such a toddler of a cat!

Parents are all well, Family are all well, there have been no additions since Ffion, and life is fine.  We still haven't heard anything from BG, and I'm not giving up hope - I still write in her blog randomly because I want her to know what life with her father was like, and what life without him is like, and that she is still part of us.  I-t-B never came to collect hers or the She-ex's stuff,  so it still sits there, waiting.  I hope she's doing well, and that school is working out for her and she's enjoying it.  A good education is the foundation of a good life, I keep telling our boys.

School is hard work at the moment as we are pre-SATs and I'm almost sure we'll be going to moderation this year.  More about that on a separate blog, I feel!

Anyway, I need to get up and get on.  I've some academia papers to read, some children's papers to mark, the dishwasher to empty, and headspace to listen to.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Recovering poorly lazy people!

It is 0551.

I have spent a lot of time in the last 3 months either ill, or looking after ill people.  The AC has had a week off school - which has *never* happened - because he was so dreadful.

During that time I have let my self get into some bad habits and out of some really good ones.

I can't remember the last time I listened to Headspace, or any of my Pods.
I'm now having a thousand sugars in my tea (small exaggeration there, but not much.)
I'm moaning because I don't have time to do anything.
I haven't been properly creative in weeks.
The house is about 2 hours away from tidy, instead of it's usual 20 minutes.
The litter boxes need doing.
The washing pile is mountainous.

I could go on, but it is simply too depressing to list it all.

Last night, I had a revelation.  This will not be a revelation to most people, but it was to me.

I have the time, I'm just wasting it.


I spend too much time on the internet.
I procrastinate.
I find pointless things to do that look effective and look like I'm busy, but in reality they are useless and I should stop.

So this is me stopping, and being slightly creative, and having a number to put on my 365 spreadsheet and actually doing something with my morning that isn't looking at "15 historical pictures you have never seen - number 12 will blow your mind!" (It doesn't, and I had seen them, but because of the adverts, that's 10 minutes of my life I will not get back!)

I am going to do the HowToGYST course again, and I am going to get sorted.

That's my intention and I've written it down so it must be so!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, No New Me.

So, I've had an amazing Christmas through to New Year.

We've chilled, watched tv, I've read a lot (A LOT), I've baked, read, knitted, crocheted, and chilled a lot more.  I've had time to think.  No, I've *made* time to think.  I've written my new Bullet Journal up for the start of the year, and not started a new Journal to do it, making me feel overwhelmingly smug about saving money and all that jazz.  I've coloured in my Level Ten life graph and designed my goals to move me on.  I've not made resolutions, because how silly and 1980's are they?


Here's a question.

No, really, there's an actual question.

Why do we choose New Year's Day to start our new us? (us's? us')  Take this New Years for example.

We had a great afternoon chilling out, and then driving for a bit, and then a lovely evening with lovely friends, that morphed into a late but good night's sleep, the cooking of about 50 bacon sandwiches this morning to feed the assembled masses, and then a drive to somewhere to drop T off, and then driving back to ours.

Over the course of today I have not written anything until now (I'm part of the 365 writing group), I have not drunk any green tea, not done any Yoga with (or without) Adrienne, not done my morning pages, not done any Bible study, not done anything I said I was going to do.  Yes, this counts towards my word goal for the day, but that's not the point.  Or maybe it's part of the point.  Anyway.

Why do we choose a day to start when everything is going to be complicated?   Does this mean that I'm a failure with a naked tracker before we even start the year properly?

I'll tell you what I think - yes I will, it's my blog.

I think that it's ok.  That's not just me justifying my own rubbishness, it's me saying "Give yourself a break lady, it's been a busy day."  It doesn't mean I'm not going to try.  It means I'm going to forgive myself if I don't get it right.

My word for the year (because in some things I am in with the cool kids!) is Less.

Less as in, Less is more.

I've a list in my Bullet Journal of the things I'm doing less, but today I will expound upon one.

Less picking on myself means more supporting myself, more positive attitude, more getting things done.

Now, as I've been told before, I can be a bit of a Pollyanna.  I have been told that I am the kind of person for whom it is irrelevant whether the glass is half full or half empty, I am just happy that I have a cup and it is a beautiful cup.  This is true, and I know it irritates some people who don't understand.  I know that some people do understand, and they know why I am the way I am and that, for me, this is the light after the darkness and I have to choose the light.


How does that relate to less?

Less picking on myself, means that when I mess up, it's ok.  The BC is 13 now, heading to 14.  He needs me in different ways now.  I have time to not be perfect - to not be Mary-f**king Poppins - to work less hard on being the solid, always there, always putting him first, parent he needed me to be after Rich died, and take time for me, whilst being the parent he needs me to be now.

I have time to knit and crochet and all that, and to write. I haven't written properly for years, and that's where my focus is going.  Maybe I'll get nowhere, but at least I'll have tried.  Rich and Jack both believe in my writing, and that's enough for me.

Less telling myself I didn't do it today, so I've permanently messed up.  Less of that.  More of "You know what, you didn't do it because this and this and that happened.  So do it tomorrow.  Do it now if you have time, but if not, do it tomorrow."

So there we go.  No new me, same old me in fact, that wrote a massive list and didn't complete it all - but who doesn't care any more!