Wednesday 2 July 2008

One Local Summer Week 5 - meal 2

I've managed to have my favourite breakfast for the past 2 days in a row. I thought asparagus season was over, but I found some at Whiterow this week that was grown in South Petherton...or maybe it was South Molton, I can't remember and I've thrown the label away. Both of these places are somewhere down the M5 and South Molton is exactly 100 miles away, because I drove Mother Hand there a few weeks back to see her friend being ordained.

So, I lightly roast the asparagus in a little olive oil for 10-15 minutes depending on how tender it was to start with, and then sprinkle it with ground pepper and a little balsamic vinegar, and serve it with buttered toast and poached eggs. The dairy things were made at Whiterow and the bread is from a local supplier committed...etc. It was really good bread this week: sometimes it's a little bit stale.

I really love this meal and refuse to eat it with asparagus flown from overseas, because it just doesn't taste the same, so it's a very seasonal brunch for me. Because of activities week at school I don't have to be in until 9am, so I've been getting up at 6am to mark and having a leisurely breakfast in the sun before leaving around 8am. It's been very civilised and I'm getting a taste for starting work later....or maybe living closer. Today was even better - I met the kids there so I didn't have to leave until 9.45am. Result! The car came in very handy for a coffee run to Sainsbury's, at which point I realised I was even closer to home than I thought and had driven a really long way round.

The best thing about this meal over the past 2 days is that each day I've had a double-yolked egg. I can't even remember the last time I had a double-yolker - 2 in 2 days is very lucky!

Yesterday we did high ropes and I fulfilled a 10-year ambition to do the leap of faith, where you climb up a pole and jump off to catch a trapeze or ring a bell or some such thing.

I've wanted to do this since I went on a high ropes team building exercise with Camp Black Hawk on Camp America in 1998. I was really excited to finally get the chance. The instructor assured me that, even though she wasn't roped to anything on the ground, she would stop me from falling. She's the slight blonde looking up to the left of the picture.

Mmm, yes - I did have my doubts. I managed to catch the trapeze and, predictably, promptly let go, since I don't even have the upper body strength to do a press up, let alone catch my body weight and hang suspended in mid air. I began to descend to the ground....and did not stop. Luckily the ground broke my fall. The instructor was dangling 30 feet up in the air, looking absolutely horrified and breathless from the cursing she'd been doing on the way up. The other instructors were there almost immediately. The other teachers were right behind them. It must have looked a lot scarier than it felt - I actually hit the ground at very little speed at all and was not at all hurt, or winded, or anything. They were overly concerned. I suppose it's lucky I wasn't just a little heavier. might be time to try a little harder to lose weight.

It was terrifiying to do the stunt, but felt amazing. I started to feel very sick and shake all over about halfway up the pole and it took me a little while to manage to stand up....the pole is very wobbly. Then I didn't know if I'd be able to jump off. I just kept telling myself, you could do this easily if the pole was 3 feet high, and there's no danger of falling. That works mentally, but there's no controlling the physical reaction. I felt violently sick for at least the next hour and was unable to eat my lunch. That must be the whole fight or flight thing I keep hearing about.

The kids were very sweet. "Just sit there and drink your juice, Miss, and you'll feel better." "Wow, Miss, you're so brave - I'm going to have a go now!" "Ha ha! Looking, there's a bit hole in the ground from Miss's arse!" Well...maybe they aren't all that sweet after all.

There'll be a deeply unflattering video clip coming soon.

I'VE FINISHED MARKING! Very exciting. I played the Rocky theme for the last 10 responses to get me in the mood. Now the overtime can begin - I've seen a lovely coat in the Boden autumn preview and need to find £175 from somewhere. I'm a bit pissed off with the exam board, though. They've sent some quite blunt emails, asking examiners to commit a certain number of overtime hours and reiterating that we'll need to keep accuracy high, etc etc - but at no point have they mentioned the overtime rate. It's such poor business practice, not to mention bad manners. Can you imagine it happening in another industry?

"Oh hai. Do this extra work for us. You have to tell us exactly how many hours you can do, and we will hold you to it. Do it RIGHT. We're not telling you how much you will get paid, nor will we answer any emails you send us asking, and when you call, we will fob you off with another email address to which nobody will reply....but pls do it because we're desperate plskthxbai."

What's depressing is that it's absolutely par for the course - I don't know why I'm letting it bother me. It's so predictable. And I know I'll do it, because my ego has been well-massaged by both my team leader and my old team leader who assure me that I'm very accurate this year, and it would be enormously helpful if I'd mark more. So, I'll do it for them. But's just so disappointing.

SHP this weekend. So. excited. Whoever knew a History Teachers' Conference would be the highlight of my month?

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