Sunday 6 January 2013

2012: That was the year when... (part 1)

I began the year in France with friends Jonty, Louzle, TK and Stu, skiing. We were all tired following a big night out on the 30th so we played Storycubes and stayed up long enough to watch crazy French people setting off fireworks out of their windows. The next day was quiet and the weather was gorgeous.

We just made it out of Briancon before it started snowing heavily, so were unfortunately home in time for school to start on January 3rd. BOO.

January passed much as it usually passes, with the exception of Jen's hen night in Sheffield. Wigs, cocktails, stripping students in tiger onesies - it had it all.
Just like old times - except I don't really suit blonde.

I also marked for the exam board (managed a dinner with old exam board survivor Burhan, too, which was lovely), and worked on my book. Like a fiend. There wasn't much time for anything else.

The month of four trips. Firstly, I spent a night and a day on the school trip to the Brecon Beacons, relieving Louzle who was off on the Gambia trip (us skiers like to get on as many school trips as possible - or did). There are no pictures of this, but I do remember seeing "Schoolinnexttown is better than Myschool" inked onto the bottom of the upper bunk - bloody typical, we're always being compared with them unfavourable, it's impossible to get away from it! - and I did put on some absolute gigantic waterproofs and some wellies and slide down a natural waterslide. In February. It was cold. When I took my waterproofs off, my legs steamed.

Then there was Naples with Tom, Tutty and the Geology crowd.

 I was so happy to finally get to visit Pompeii after all that school Latin, even if it was bloody freezing (you see me here wearing all the clothes I had with me that day). Highlights included the boat trip around Capri and the enlightening walk up Vesuvius - clearly a popular site with promiscuous locals.

We flew back on the Thursday and I was home for less than 24 hours before it was time to fly to Scotland for Jen and Ben's nuptials. We stayed in an absolutely awesome little place called St Cuthbert's Barn - I meant to blog about it but never got round to it (as you see, February was BUSY) - it is a 4-bunk barn meant for walkers, I think, but we were very snug there for two nights.

Saturday was the big day. Jen looked gorgeous, her daughter Abi was an angel, Ben wore his kilt with aplomb and the weather was just perfect - bright sunshine until about 3pm when there were some wild flurries of snow so Jen and Ben could run outside for pictures. Just what one needs at a Scottish castle wedding! Then we all retired to the Groom's parents' B&B for drinks and dancing. Such a fun wedding.

Unfortunately, Jen and I somehow managed to avoid being in almost any pictures together on the day (gutted - not quite sure how that happened) so here is one of the happy couple.

As if my passport hadn't had enough of a work out in February, the weekend after the wedding was the first ever school trip to the trenches in Belgium. That week at work I had had some utterly horrible news which brought me to my lowest ebb. I don't want to go into detail because I don't particularly want this blog to be picked up in Google searches for it, but I learned quite a lot about myself that weekend because in spite of going home and drinking a whole bottle of wine and some spirits besides, and railing into the night, I was still able to do my job and be at work by 5am the following morning for the coach.

The trip was depressing. I'm not sure if it was my state of mind (I managed to hold it together while we were there but the following week was a washout for me - I basically cried for the whole week) or the nature of the trip, but by the second afternoon at Tyne Cott, there felt like there was something a bit distasteful in searching memorials for family names. Not my sort of trip, I think.

And for February, that about wrapped it up. PHEW.

There was no rest for the wicked. I had the Murder Mystery to plan and run - this year's theme was the Olympics (of course) and we killed the head (again) - it was awkward, but having invited him before The Horrible Thing I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of uninviting him. I think I also knew that it wasn't personal to me - I was merely a pawn in his power games. There were several of us stuck in the same situation. By the middle of the month it had come right, thankfully. Then they announced there would be redundancies. FUN.

Anyway, Murder Mystery was fun but tiring as always which meant this is the sort of thing we got up to in our down time.

As well as that, I was rehearsing hard for the staff Strictly Come Dancing competition, for Sport Relief. My partner Jonty and I did something that might be a tango in some books, to Poison. We won! There's bound to be a clip on YouTube somewhere. I will have a rummage. That week we also interviewed for, and failed to appoint, a new head; and I gave out my hard-knitted balaclavas to all the ski staff which they were very pleased with. I also worked on my book like a mad thing to meet the end of March deadline. That was basically all I did, I think.

One the 30th March we all donned our bright orange ski hoodies and set off to Kitzbuhel for the ski trip. The deputy head and head both came to wave us off. I don't think I said goodbye to the head. It was his last day. We had been having some very good staff training on that day and the day before, so we were all buzzing on that - well, I was, anyway. We had a whole coach to ourselves for the first time ever! And a last minute staffing change - Huw came instead of the head's PA who had done her back in.

Started off in sunny Kitzbuhel. Much too hot for balaclavas!
 As always, the whole week was good, but particular highlights included the fancy dress day when we skied as pirates and made Yakob dress up as a parrot, and his feather boas left feathers all over the slopes; skiing the Hahnenkamm, in parts; doing jumps in the snow park on the penultimate day and utterly wiping out Yakob by accident; sharing a room with Ra and the crazy parent who rang the emergency phone in the middle of the night - the ringtone was set to me and friend Paul shouting a teacher's name over and over from a prank we had played, so I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was went it went off at 3am. "My son's ear hurts and he's still awake, " - yes, maybe stop ringing him then!
I also bought some lovely Birkis. We didn't like the hotel or the rep much but the bus drivers were amazing ("Oh look, this bridge has a 3 tonne weight limit and we're 17 unloaded - nevermind!") and the skiing was mostly pretty good. One of our pupils dropped his backpack - with expensive ski jacket and lift pass inside - on one of the lifts but it was returned intact. We only knew it was his because he had an old-man-fancy-dress pipe in there. Our rep said, "Only a bag with a flute had been handed in" and it took us about half an hour to figure it out.

Upon returning, I made April even better with a trip to see Steps in Cardiff with Paul, Barbra, Tutty and Becky. We made a stay of it and did some shopping too. They were as good as I remembered from the year when I graduated - a very enjoyable show indeed.

Then there was Wonderwool.Such a good day that this year the folks from my knitting group and I are going for the whole weekend - ticket bought and everything! Heaven knows how I'm going to get through all the stash from my previous Wonderwool excursions before then, but I have a good reason to try.

I do hope it is a bit warmer this year, though.

May was fairly uneventful. I spent a lot of time trying to mark coursework for my two Y13 classes and my horrid Y11s, and counting down the lessons until they left for good. I had to do a redundancy matrix at work but we found out at the end of the month that there were enough volunteers to avoid compulsory redundancies being necessary, so that was a weight off the mind. I also did lots of book rewrites. In the spare moments I could snatch, I knitted like a fiend.

I also went on a good conference in London, about elearning, where I heard some very inspiring speakers. London looked beautiful, decked out for all the Jubilee celebrations.

After what felt like an eternity, June half term arrived. I spent a lot of it watching the various Jubilee celebrations - the regatta was a particular highlight.I spent a very soggy afternoon drinking mulled wine (yes, it was that cold) in Victoria Park in Bath with these lovely people -

As usual, I did a lot of knitting. Part way through the month I buzzed off the London for the exam board work, having reached the dizzy heights of assistant principal, where I worked solidly on exam board work for two days solid while the news was full of Gove's plans to scrap GCSEs. Nothing like having 10 years worth of work undermined in a single day. THANKS.

I got a new phone in June, too. I went for the HTC One X. I loved my old phone, but its lack of internal memory was becoming extremely irritating. 

Part 2 coming up...

1 comment:

Burhan Ali said...

Can't believe it was more than a year ago that we met up. Time flies.

Also, how on earth do you find the time to do all this stuff?!