Sunday 27 February 2022

Weeknote 8

I'm amazed I forgot to weeknote last weekend. I had so many witty things to say, after school got cancelled on Friday because of Storm Eunice and our senior team told us to set only distance work involving revision; I only had exam classes to teach that day anyway, so it was a speedy process. I spent Friday tying up loose ends and finishing my paper setting, so I had the whole weekend free. But here we are, a week later. I was pretty fixated on the intricacies of the ski holiday, to be fair. It was weirdly stressful going away for the first time in such a long, long time. Two years since the last skiing and the last time out of the country! Unbelievable. 

I won't go back and recreate, because the last week of term was a predictable whirlwind, even with one day fewer. I did catch a second wind, happily, so it wasn't as grim as the previous week, and I managed to get quite a lot done, in terms of work. I had my mid-year appraisal and my LM was very lovely to me. Winner. 

This week..


Barely a dot of it. I came into half term with my lowest marking load ever, thanks to the 20 minutes resolution. I had intended to get it all finished in my Friday frees but, since Friday was all free, naturally I did not. So, this weekend I have finished off some Y12 essays and done some revisions on my papers, ready for round 2. A bit of non-school admin work; check the school emails for anything important; do some planning for the biggish jobs that are coming up this term. In the past week I have done a little A-level reading, though not really enough. It's been very lazy. Bliss.


Three solid days of skiing counts as pretty good exercise to me!


I finished Cloud Atlas which very quickly went from being a bit of a slog to something I couldn't stop reading. It wasn't an easy read: I couldn't speed through much before bedtime and some of it gave me nightmares, but I loved it. I watched the film version last night, because I was interested to see how they managed to wrap it into a film-length chunk. The answer - not well, but they shifted the main focus of the book to be about love and relationships. Everything ends up the same way, just with different routes there. Still, I am very glad I read the book before seeing the film, as it would have ruined it. 

I took hexagons away to knit, but did not knit any. Very little crafting happened this week. 


We spent Monday-Friday in Les Carroz. It's the same place I went skiing with Rachael and a few others from school in December 2019. This time there was a lot more snow and so everything was open. The other two were complete beginner and very inexperienced, respectively, so I spent the week bombing around the trails on the Villages lift pass rather than venture over to Flaine. It was lovely. I love a trail and it was so pretty and relaxing to ski about, taking pictures, listening to the snow melt out of the trees, enjoying the sunshine and not feel pressure to cover x amount of pistes or go as fast as possible. I attempted to relax a bit about timings: I'm so used to getting out for the first lift that it felt weird to hang back, but had to keep reminding myself that it was a holiday and not a time to force myself to do anything I didn't want to. I extended that to the final day, when I didn't ski but instead, had a nice breakfast and sat in the sun with my book. Blissful. 

We also went to the Aquacime for a much-needed spa and swim halfway through the week, coincidentally on the day of the ski show, so we were treated to a firework display through the steam of the outdoor pool, which we had entirely to ourselves. Just amazing. What a week. 

Six weeks until the next one...


Very relaxed and looking forward to the next term. I've got a few interesting things happening and the term ends a day early, thanks to the extra day for the Jubilee, so it is likely to feel very short after the 7-week whopper we've just dragged ourselves through. 

Sunday 13 February 2022

Weeknote 6


Honestly, this week has been really hard. It's the slightly harder timetable week and then there was a parents' evening - my busiest since pre-covid, fully booked with a waiting list of 12 - on Thursday. I went in on Friday having had to talk myself into it, because I was not sure I had three lessons in me, and got clobbered by a cover. I had to go to the reflection space and just be alone so I could smooth my emotions. It was messy. The post-Friday planning of the ski holiday and catch up with friends not seen in a long time was happily a tonic. 

On top of that there's the setting, which is going OK, just a bit left to do. 

On the plus side, the 20 minutes of marking a day has put me in a really good position for half term. I have two class sets of things left to clear, with another class set coming in on Wednesday, and that seems doable in the week ahead, along with the odds and ends on my list. This might mean I go into half term with no marking left to do! An absolutely unheard-of situation. It doesn't bode well for my resolution but it will be a treat not to have to take any marking away with me, assuming I actually get to France, please covid. 


I did my usual PT session, plus yoga on Wednesday which I weirdly enjoyed a lot (I don't really like yoga much unless it's bikram, is the sad fact of the matter) and then went to the gym yesterday. I was having my post-leg raise stretch in front of the machine and some kid on the machine next to me decided to come and ask me to move so he could use the machine I'd been on. I was incredulous. I was 10 seconds away from being finished. He was on the same type of machine I'd just vacated. Bad gym etiquette. I wish I had told him to wait. 

No gym or walk today because the weather is utterly dismal. 


Some more Milou, though not much. Knitting is not happening very much because of all the Switch we're still playing, but the Luigi version is now almost complete so that might change soon.

Cloud Atlas has now got really good so I am going to sleep too late due to reading it, something that is likely contributing to my low mood and general malaise. I am about halfway through. It took a while to get into it but I am really curious to see how it now works backwards from the end. 

Entertained by:

I finished watching Maid on Netflix - again, something else that might have contributed to feeling a bit sad this week. It was pretty harrowing stuff. 

I went for tea and cake with my friends Kate and Rich on Friday after school, which was great. I see Kate most weeks when she comes to do a bit of teaching at my school but I haven't seen Rich since May last year. Normally we meet at 7am for breakfast but, post-pandemic, none of the cafes near school open before 8 now. So, tea and cake it was. 

We also did a little ski trip planning in the pub on Friday, getting everything ready for the alleged trip next week. Everything is now booked and Kate and Rach went to their dry slope lesson after the pub, so get some practice in. I am just praying and crossing everything that I get that negative test next Sunday. It would be devastating to get this close and have it disappear. But on the plus side, the next trip is planned for the first week of the Easter break and at least if I got covid now, I would be very unlikely to get it again 6 weeks later. So all would not be lost.

I will keep telling myself that. 


I found this jar of cherry curd in Whole Foods when I was in London in October. Today I have combined it with Dan Lepard's chocolate custard muffins, a recipe I had completely forgotten about. 

So good. Like some kind of Black Forest dream. I will add chocolate ganache and a fresh cherry dipped in chocolate. Winner. 


It has not been an easy week. I have felt weirdly low and struggled to stay positive, which is most unlike me. The weekend of sleeping and doing very little seems to have helped, though. One more week until we get a break, and next term is shorter and will be lighter, and has four weeks where, for various reasons, I am not in every day. So, bring it all on. 

Sunday 6 February 2022

Weeknote 5


We're entering into a period of strategic planning at school, now that we have data for our exam classes. So this week has been about scrutinising, analysing and deciding on interventions, but also about picking up colleagues, looking out for people doing well and being encouraging. I've had some great work wins: a few lessons that went really well (so nice to be able to vary activities now that covid regulations are lifting) and some lovely feedback comments from other staff members. I've made a start on my next big piece of training, a course that will last a year. Things feel quite positive. 

The 20 minutes of marking is still going well and I have it down now: a few essays here and there and it all adds up. I've got my marking list down from a dizzying 13 items in the first week of term to 3 for next week. Naturally, more marking arrives and the list is never completed, but it feels a lot more manageable. I think this might be the first time in my career that I have not felt swamped by the marking. 

I've also been working on the next round of papers, still: two down, one to go. 


A small win today when I finally managed to get myself back to the gym for a session. I went heavy on quads as skiing is (theoretically, I am still unconvinced) two weeks away! That plus the PT session made it two for this week. I'm aiming for 3 next week. 


I've finished the decreases on Milou so I am about a third of the way through the body. She goes quick when I pick her up. 

I'm still plugging away with Cloud Atlas, but keep spying books I'd like to read that I think would go quicker; Rachael leant me Thursday Night Murder Club and I know that will be a tonic when I make a start on it, but I am being strict with myself for now. Half term is coming, there may be more reading time available then. 

The most common hobbying this week has been, of course, Super Mario, or specifically Luigi U. A lot of other things would be happening if I wasn't doing this but it is fun, a good distraction from work and something Mr Z and I can do together, so I am going to write that off as time well-spent.

Entertained by:

I went to the ballet with Rachael on Friday night, to see Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker. It was short for a ballet - less than two hours including interval - and not my favourite of his. I think I know the music too well and the dances did not quite fit with my perception of them: I still envisage plants and flowers, a la Fantasia, which I watched far too many times as a kid. But, it was colourful, well danced and the set was fantastic. Also it's just nice to be back at the theatre. 

This weekend I have watched a few more episodes of Maid on Netflix, which is enjoyable if a little depressing: the crushing difficulties people face when getting out of poverty are sobering. It jars quite painfully with the stories of parties and excess coming out about the government at the moment. 

I am still studiously ignoring Wordle...once I start, I will be hooked. I can't have another streak to protect. On Tuesday I left my phone at work and keeping my streaks alive was definitely a factor in my decision to drive back to school and get it. One of my streaks is over 3 years long: how depressing that I have not been parted from my phone service for that whole length of time. I cannot wait until we can start travelling properly again. 

I had breakfast with Phillipa this morning so that was fun. Always nice to catch up with old friends. 


A bit up and down, truth be told. I've had some really good days this week but also some really grumpy parts to days. I think I need to be spending more time outside, weirdly, because that always seems to perk me up these days.