Friday 29 April 2011


This week my namesake Sally picked the word book. It made me think of a slang phrase I like to use, "Let's book" - which made me go away and look at where it came from. Interesting!

I grew up in a book house. At work, we often try to guess how many of our pupils are also growing up in book houses, meaning anywhere where books are valued and collected. I hypothesise that they are the ones who don't write in the text books, or tear corners of their exercise books out to write notes, since they have been taught a little more respect for tomes than that.

I currently live in a book house, too. I have a shelf above me as I sit here, full of all my university text books (which, if I'm honest, were not well thumbed during my degree and have been even less used since) and a random selection of History textbooks I keep for when I need to set cover. Donwstairs is another heaving bookcase, which holds them two rows deep. I am getting rid of them, a few at a time. I love having lots of books around and in an ideal world I would have a library, but we don't have the space for that really.

Of course, now I have my Kindle, so the need for actual books is diminished. I have lost count of the number of people who have said, "But it's not like a real book! It doesn't smell like a book!" which is very true. However, it is better than a book for me, because I keep it with me all the time and that means I read more, which makes it a winner in my eyes.

Unfortunately, it does not fulfill the secondary purpose of books - to sit prettily on a shelf, looking inviting. I think growing up in a book house creates an unusual love for this secondary purpose. I would spend hours staring at my parents' bookshelves, and my grandparents' bookshelves, and my aunt and uncle's bookshelves. I was in the library every month, and up in the adult section by the age of 12, having exhausted the paltry 15 shelves of teen literature. Being around a lot of books is calming, and reassuring, and full of promise. And can create familiarity in unfamiliar surroundings - when I went to Cornwall with my friends last month, I was delighted to walk into a bedroom with two walls lined with old testimonials and Methodist texts - it was like being back at my gran's house. I was up late that night re-reading From Witchcraft To Christ.

Good word this week! Pop along to Sally's blog to read the other entries and find out who'll be hosting next week.

Monday 25 April 2011

Where I have been

It has been a straight month since I checked in. It has been a long road back to a point where I wanted to talk about myself again! March completely kicked my backside for a large number of reasons. Luckily since then I have had a few fun trips and recharged my batteries.

We had a knitting retreat to Shaftesbury, where I finally finished the little blue baby slipover I was volunteered to knit for a friend's sister's baby (look, I know it was small and I agreed to do it, but it totally sucked all the joy out of my hobby! So no more commissions for a while...) and therefore found my knitting bug again. Since then I have knitted a little baby jumper for a friend...

I know, I know, it sounds like it should have killed knitting for me again, but it was different. This was a surprise gift, and to my favourite pattern, and using half yarn from my stash....although I bought two balls of the pink and ran out 6 rows from the end of the second sleeve, I kid you not. Error.
I have also been knitting away merrily on the Camellia shrug in Lorna's Laces Honor (I only spell it incorrectly because that is the way the makers spell it, people) which has been dyed into a smorgasboard of blues and named Royal Wedding, after soon-to-be Princess Kate's engagement ring and blue dress. It is a thing of joy and I am almost done with the back after less than a week.

So yes, firstly I have been knitting.

Secondly I have been SKIING!

I know every year I come back and say it was the best trip ever so I won't disappoint this year: it was the best trip, ever. We had a paltry 18 students between six of us and we were a bit worried to begin with as there wasn't really any snow to speak of, and we had to be bussed round the mountain to the only resort in the area with any lifts still operational.

The reps were gloomy. On the third day, it rained. We started to mutter about being bussed to the glacier, but then - miracles - the rain turned to snow and it did. not. stop.

Behind me is the off piste I skiied into. I fell over, became mired in snow up to my thighs like a turtle stuck on its back, and had to crawl back up the slope to the piste, throwing my skis ahead of me. It took nearly 15 minutes! That's why I'm a little rosy in this picture.
Incidentally this is the first year I have worn that helmet liner which I knitted nearly four years ago.

It was still snowing when we left. So, on day 4 we were skiing knee deep in fresh powder; on day 5 we got a crack at it after the piste bashers had done their thing; and by day 6 I was so enamoured of the entire thing that I chose to ski through lunch.

That deserves its own line. *I* chose something over food....and it was a sporty something, too. Amazing.

We had fancy dress day....

We had to dress each other. I made the WonderWoman outfit for Cara. I was dressed as a butterfly. The wings were amazing but the helmet cover was definitely my favourite bit! Skiing in costume got us quite a bit of notoriety in Leogang, and we had some nice comments from kids from other schools saying they wished their teachers were as fun; and the next day an Austrian man brought me my ski after I'd fallen over and said, "Hey, I know you! You were the dragon from yesterday!" - I assume he meant dragonfly; it was nice to be recognised!
Here's a video of me fluttering down the slopes, though it may be best avoided if you get motion sickness.

Finally, I have spent the last 5 days hanging out with my bff Jen in Sheffield. Jen is getting married next february which is really exciting, so we talked a lot about that and enjoyed the company of her extremely cute two year old daughter Abi, and yesterday I wrote my school reports while she and her fiance cleared out the loft; it was all very relaxed and just perfect for going back to work.

Yes, because work begins again tomorrow. I can't see any reason why it would kick my backside as much this term, though I perhaps should not tempt fate. I found another job to apply for; in fact, I was invited to apply for it by the deputy head of the school it's at, so I feel quite confident about it. Before the end of term I was a dead cert to apply, but then the ski trip happened and now I don't know. I got to thinking about what the good bits of my job are, and one of the amazing things about my school is the network of support I have from my colleagues. They inspire and boost me daily, and I find myself wondering if that isn't really what it should be about, rather than promotion. After all, I have another 30+ years of work left to apply for promotion. Also it would mean taking a pay cut, for more responsibility. That should probably be tabled as a factor.

Here are some of my work bezzies and me on holiday in Cornwall in March. That was just what was required, too.