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!