Friday 28 December 2018

2018: Part 1


The year began with a visit up north to Sheffield, for Jen's 40th birthday. Jen throws an excellent party. This one involved roughly twice as many bottles of Prosecco as there were people, and not everybody was drinking it, and those that were were bunging additional spirits into it. There was dancing in the kitchen and fighting for control of the Sonos playlist. A good party, indeed.

I went up to London for a History meeting, as usual. It was just a day trip this time. I was back the following week for the exam board meeting - they've now decided to hold these online, which I have mixed feelings about. I'm not sad about getting to spend 4 days at home instead of living in a hotel, but on the other hand, it's nice to hang out and see people. I had dinners with Richard and with Zoe, and went over to Sib's for dinner one night too. I guess it just means I'll have to go to London for fun a bit more often from now on.

Straight after the exam board meeting, I had to drive to Birmingham to stay with Granny Hand, so that I could attend a three-day teacher training course. It was a very good course and will lead to more work of a slightly different kind. It was fun to hang out with people that are geeky about teaching.

Then, immediately after that, I had to go on a school trip to Belgium. It would have been a fun and enjoyable trip had I not come down with a stinking cold. I ended up sitting on the coach whimpering, while our amazing tour guide led everybody around the major sites. And on top of that, while I was away, Mr Z had to have Mitten put down. Sad times.

A Flemish mitten.

I was not sorry to see the back of January.


This was meant to be a quieter month. I had cleared the decks ready for finishing my book. By this point I'd been writing it for 7 months but had (predictably) been unable to maintain the motivation to work on it regularly, so it was not yet half finished, ahead of a deadline at the start of March.

So, naturally, I said yes to a last-minute request to go on the school trip Berlin. We did have fun. But there was not much fun in the following week, when I tried to write as much as possible. By the end of the week I was over halfway through so it wasn't all bad.

Not much else happened in February, though. I think I went to a History conference in London, but it wasn't my favourite. Lots of people presenting on stuff I already knew or didn't agree with. I get grumpier as I get older. I nearly hopped on a train to see Sib instead of going to the afternoon workshops. 


My deadline was the start of March, which was a Thursday, and I begged for an extension to the Monday, even though I had an exam board meeting on the Friday and plans with Sib on Saturday before he left for Peru. So, it felt like not small amount of divine intervention when it snowed heavily on March 1st. I made it into school, only to be sent home again almost immediately. The meeting was cancelled. The trains were cancelled. I spent all weekend writing, apart from a walk up the 'wood with Mr Z.

I got it done! My own manuscript, at nearly 40,000 words, all mine, all my work, not sharing the byline with anybody. Exciting. So exciting. But also - such a huge relief to get it finished and out of the way.

I had to do a First Aid course that lasted for a whole weekend. Luckily it was an outdoor-focused one, so we went on some nice walks around the woods and river bank near the hut. I saw a kingfisher. It was good fun, in spite of being a weekend about First Aid.

I made it back to London in March for the postponed exam board meeting, which was meant to be used to discuss operational issues for the summer but became about something else entirely. This was a portent. We never managed to discuss the operational side of things.

I went to see Matthew Bourne's Cinderella at the Hippodrome. The story is set during the Blitz so it had delicious period details that I much appreciated. I also caught up with my old university housemate, Emilia. She is a politics professor in Finland. Whenever we meet, I have to go home and look things up.

Then, at the end of the month, it was SKITIME! We went back to my favourite resort, Sauze d'Oulx - my first visit there since 2010. It was such fun to ski the same old trails as a much better skier.

We had a fancy dress day. This was the outfit I was wearing when I had to have a shouting row with an Italian ski rescue guy in an army uniform with a tattoo on his neck, about why I wasn't taking a student to hospital (don't worry, she was fine - I knew she was fine, he didn't). I like to think I really channeled Wonderwoman that day. It felt good to be back in charge of the ski trip. 

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