First day back survived

It wasn’t even too bad to be honest. I’m not raving about it or anything like that and I really would like a few more snow days please – proper ones where you’re told before you get up that school is closed. My classroom is normally oven like it it’s hotness but today it really wasn’t. My form were walking in and saying ‘wow it’s really warm in here’ – much like they always do – before realising that actually it wasn’t that warm at all.

I was angelic in the work I did yesterday in the hope that it would mean I don’t spend the entire term trying to catch up but unfortunately there are still a lot of things I haven’t done which should have already been done. I never claimed to be perfect.

Happy New Year

I’ve just decided that I should blog more often, some might call it a New Year’s Resolution but I made those vaguely the other day and they mostly revolve around trying to keep the house more tidy. I could say I was inspired by NaBloPoMo but I am a couple of days late already so that can’t be it. Perhaps I just feel I have neglected my blog and I don’t want to carry on neglecting it.

Anyway ressurrecting my blog at the moment I am meant to be doing lots of work for tomorrow seems like a very good idea. I have about 5 sets of tests to mark and I have a scheme that is only half written. What I should have done of course it take advantage of the bonus day off I got at the end of last term – snow I love you – but I was too excited to get an extra day of my holiday to actually take advantage of it in a sensible and boring way. So in proper last minute style here I am on the last day of my holiday about to attempt some work.

I’ll tell you a little bit about my Christmas holidays another time.

My brother

I wrote the following soonish after my last post, I didn’t feel ready to post it then but feel I want to now.

Yesterday my brother died. My older brother. There are lots of things I am thinking and I don’t really know where to start. I suppose firstly it is something that has been expected for a while, not because we’d had a ‘this long to live’ notice but because he has been slowly killing himself with alcohol for many years. He’d had warnings from doctors that he had to stop drinking and sometimes he would for a while but he always went back to it. When he was sober he was a nice person – no angel but nice. When he was drinking he could be violent and nasty or crying and begging forgiveness. I can’t deny he frightened me at times. I suppose for these reasons I am surprised at how much I am feeling it. That sounds really harsh but we haven’t been that close, for a start he was eight years older than me, we were very different people. I used to point out us two as an argument for nature over nurture (we were all adopted from birth from different biological parents).

I went to see my family yesterday, my other brother lives near my parents and was there and I wanted to be too. My parents tried so hard with him, though they could have given up on him, and were sometimes told to, they never did. They fought for him and fought with him, they were loving and strong. They were always hoping to find the miracle cure to stop him drinking but they knew underneath that unless he was 100% determined to stop for himself he wouldn’t. I think at times he was determined to stop but the addiction had such a hold on him that he went back to it. He’d have months of sobriety sometimes but he always returned to the drink.

What I wanted to say yesterday to my parents was that he couldn’t have had better, that they weren’t to blame and when they did blame themselves (which I think is bound to happen at some point – the feeling they should have done more) remember, he always knew they were there. They were the best. I did say this and I hope in the dark hours they will remember they gave him the best life he could have had.

I have many memories of my brother – some good and some not so good. I think my earliest memory of him specifically is when I was four and getting ready for my first day at school. He was helping me put my socks on at the top of the stairs and generally making sure I was ok. Both of my brothers had fun carrying me around by my ears (underneath them just in case you’re worrying – it actually didn’t hurt but I suspect it would now – don’t try it!) they enjoyed telling me I’d been run over by a steam roller because my nose was so squishy. When I was older he was around less because of the age difference. He did go through a faze of bringing home girlfriends and I went through a faze of agreeing to be a bridesmaid when he’d got carried away and proposed. He threw himself into everything he did with enthusiasm and that’s quite an endearing quality. He also had quite a short attention span so girlfriends and jobs never lasted for very long but he was always very quick at finding a new one (of both). Unfortunately I think his first love was alcohol and that’s what captured his attention most of all.

May he feel a peace now he could never feel on earth.

Now, a few months later, most of the time I’m fine but then reality hits. He wasn’t a daily presence in my life so I suppose not constantly feeling the loss is natural. His birthday is coming up and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, especially as it’s mum’s birthday on the same day.

The closing lines from the family tribute I read at his funeral were

Our family was very important to A. He was most protective of us all. He was an extrovert, annoying, impetuous, loud – A was A, but we all loved him dearly and we will miss him.

And that sums him up.
If you feel inclined please pray for my family but especially for my mum and dad.

Essex cats

We bought our cats new collars months and months ago but they’ve sat packaged up and hidden away until today (the collars not the cats). I was tidying and came across them. I had forgotten the rather blingy ‘gold’ buckle they had. Now we have Essex cats thinking they are the bees knees in their smart collars. At least we didn’t let them keep their Cats Protection League given names – Carly and Cassie – I can’t remember which was which but Mattie really wouldn’t suit either.

Holidays

We almost dashed straight off from school this year, sometimes I think I’d like to leave it a couple of weeks to do stuff and then go. In a way it was really good to go straight off but I am left with having to go into work soon rather than having got it out of the way at the beginning.

Anyway we went to the New Forest for a few nights and stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast. We hired bikes and had a good old cycle – well I was impressed with how well we did anyway. We admired the ponies wandering around and we ate lots of food and drank lots of drink. We then pootled down to Brixham which we’d chosen because of the fabulous view the place claimed to have of the harbour. Thankfully it lived up to expectations and we spent a lot of time just watching everything. We went for a few trips around and decided that public transport is varied. We loved our visit to Dartmouth and loved catching the boat to Torquay – our mistake was catching the bus home. A worse driver I have yet to encounter. We really liked Totnes too. Despite my intentions I didn’t go swimming in the seawater pool at Brixham. I’m just too lazy I think. Once upon a time I would have been there every day doing lengths, I was a little put off by forgetting my goggles – my eyes are unbelievable if I don’t wear them. Enough excuses I must be getting old. We had some lovely meals out and about but the best location was Breakwater Cafe and Bistro the food was really good too.

On our way home we had decided to stop in Winchester for the night – a good plan as it turned out, traffic was a nightmare. We stayed in a very quirky b and b in the sort of house I would just love to own one day. It was also next door to the sort of pub it would be great to live next door to. We went to the Cathedral for Sung Eucharist on Sunday morning and were entertained by the visiting conductor (he had a choir with him but to be honest he really was the main event). Finally we came home, which is nice too but that means I need to do some jobs rather than simply relax.

Dreams

I have never had so many so many vivid and bizarre dreams. I have also never had so many dreams about work – which isn’t fair given that I am in the middle of the holidays. I can’t remember a lot of them now – though I can recount them in some detail when I first wake up – sorry husband dearest.

I have had a variety of children rioting and not listening to a thing I say, which is really wierd as the school I’m in has excellent behaviour. I have had children walking out to go shopping, I have had long conversations with the headteacher – a rare occurence indeed!

My husband’s employer merged with a television programme and had offices in an old cow shed. So many other things perhaps I should record them so I can understand how truly strange I am.

A potted history of my June

The month rather than any person I may or may not own called June.

Half term came and went – actually that was May I think, anyway we went to the Cotswolds for a few days to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. It was cold.

We bought a bbq which we have put together but haven’t used yet.

We went to see the Pet Shop Boys at the O2 Arena. It was fabulous and I wondered why we don’t do that sort of thing more often – I’m told it’s the cost – and getting back on the tube at the end of the evening. Have a look at some rather distant photos at the bottom (I can’t seem to put them amongst the text so am not even trying).

I took a group of kids to London to look at some great places of worship and they seemed to enjoy it.

We survived an inspection at work – stressful but successful. I still disagree with the whole thing, not that schools shouldn’t be checked but all it succeeds in doing is putting schools that are struggling under more pressure and speed them along the road to illness and failure.

Got very hot when singing in a Church with the group of people I sing with (makes sense).

Watched some tennis but not as much as I sometimes watch.

Typed up Deanery Synod meeting notes six weeks after the meeting – strangely I could remember very little but had scribbled down some notes. These included “we miss our thumbs”, “some people have something to say about everything”, “emotional and practical support”, “interesting water jug* with plastic cups”, “Huzzah” and “joy”. As you will detect not a great meeting, though my personal highlight was when we were told to get into small groups and the woman immediately in front of me turned round and told me to talk to the people behind me because she already knew the person she was sharing her pew with. I did feel loved.

*It wasn’t that interesting, it was a jug of the style that is often used for communion.

Pet Shop Boys 1img_0654Pet Shop Boys 3Pet Shop Boys 4

Things I’m not doing that I’d like to do

(In a small sense really)

  • Get fit
  • Visit new places
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Creative projects
  • Cook more interesting foods

But really I’m happy really, i just look up and see lots of jigsaws that I would really like to do but haven’t done yet. This also makes it a bit awkward when I want to buy a new one and really can’t justify it because I still have some to do. (The one that makes me smile most is one I got back from a friend for Christmas when I gave it to her for her birthday – she genuinely seems to have not realised this fact.)

Marking is entertaining*

I was catching up on some long over due marking the other day and found myself in fits of laughter. The topic was Buddhism and, having looked at the five precepts, I asked them to write a day in the life of a Buddhist doing their best to follow these precepts. There were an amazing number who craved bacon for breakfast but decided they couldn’t because that would be going against the precept of ‘I will avoid taking life’. The precept for ‘I will avoid sexually harmful behaviour’ resulted in people turning down dates because they were married, others noted ‘I made love to my wife, but it wasn’t harmful’ which really did give me a giggle. However the best was the boy who wrote about how he worked helping disabled people (very commendable one might say) , however his actual job wasn’t quite what I expected in that he worked in factory producing wheelchairs. Of course this is important but surprising nonetheless. Later, in demonstrating the precept ‘I will avoid saying what is not true’, he happened to be in the wheelchair shop when someone came in looking for a new wheelchair. The customer asked him if a certain wheelchair suited him, “I had to tell him it didn’t really and suggested he tried a different one”. I suppose I hadn’t really thought about people choosing a wheelchair like that before.

* very occasionally