Saturday 29 December 2018

2018: Part 2


We returned from the ski trip on April 1st, and I had a couple of days at home before I hot-footed it up to London for a few days of galleries and sight-seeing. I squeezed in Charles I's art collection at the Royal Academy, the Tower of London and the crown Jewels, Charterhouse, the Mithraeum and a few other off-the-beaten-track sights, and had dinner with my old school friend Sarah, a now annual occurrence which I enjoy very much.

I read a very good book, Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge. It was a life-changing experience for me, at least in terms of the way I approach curriculum planning and consider things like positive discrimination. I can really recommend it.

After a week back at school, I went to see Nashville live in concert in Cardiff, with my work friend Naomi.

There was another work trip to London, during which we planned the training for May and didn't talk about operational issues, again.

I did get a bit of chill out time in Russell Square, though, which I love because it makes me feel like a student again. 

Then there was Wonderwool. I thought I was very restrained, this year. I am very keen to knit that lightening bolt jumper for which I purchased the pattern, so I had better find something to knit it in before Wonderwool 2019, or I will have to buy more yarn.

We started getting hedgehog visitors to our garden. They kept coming all summer long but usually with something unpleasant wrong with them - a broken leg, two broken legs, lots of ticks. We started to wonder whether we were becoming known in the hog world as hog A&E. 


At the start of May I went to Portsmouth to take Mum to the doctor and bring her back to stay with us. She was very unwell by this point and we spent much of May living in some kind of seclusion, where we couldn't watch the television or speak on the phone because she panicked. It didn't help Mum much, and by the royal wedding we were at a point where we couldn't do anything else, so the following week, she was hospitalised.

We did go on a couple of picturesque walks, though.

At the end of the month we went to Portsmouth to visit her in hospital. I managed to get my toes in the ocean and we had a very nice curry. The hospital was a great place for her to be, although it took her a while to realise it.

Also in May, I went to London to run the training that we'd planned in April. The team gave me the biggest room 'because you're such a strong presenter!' which was flattering, but it was an enormously wide and very shallow room, so I ended up swiveling my head around more than was comfortable. Also, part of that training (the statutory bit) is very dull and people largely tuned out. But I did it and it made me feel like a rockstar - speaking at County Hall in London is another one to tick off the bucket list. I love that place.

I also started another exam board job, for another exam board. I don't know why, either. I missed the deadline by at least a week, but they offered me another job out of it, which I took, again for reasons unknown.


SO MUCH WORK. I felt like I had been building up to it for months and it was as relentless as I'd feared.

At the start of the month I spoke at a conference at Rugby School. I was incredibly flattered to be asked and was able to share an action research project I'd been doing all year. It was an inspiring place to speak.

Then it was off to London for 4 days of tooth-grinding exam board meetings. It was nice to see lots of old faces and meet some new ones, and the final two days were a lot more straightforward, but I was braindead by the end of it. Next year I need to get more sleep in the run up.

Still, nice to be speaking here again:

And working with this man, Nigel - my first exam board 'boss'. 

The rest of the month was spent frantically trying to keep my head above water. I ended up going to school for a rest. Sports day was positively blissful. I fell asleep on my inflatable and got a sun-burnt leg.

Mum steadily improved and was doing home visits by the end of the month. Better and better.

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