Sunday 24 March 2024

2024 Weeknote 12

I began the week with a spectacularly early start so I could get to Birmingham for a meeting. It is really very easy to get the train anywhere from Bristol Parkway, what with the large and reasonable car park, and if you're on the train at 6.45am, the traffic is non-existent too. The meeting was interesting and finished predictably early, which meant I say around at Birmingham New Street for an hour, in spite of walking the half hour back to the station and then having a shop in Selfridges, because school told me that the Trainline had 'run out' of flexible tickets. A shameless lie, but of course they had already booked the advanced ticket by the time they told me this. When I tried to get it changed, the man at the station told me it was £30, which considering the singles there and back totalled £52, was a rip off. 

I've got to go again in June. I will be driving. Parkway is easy enough but as for the rest of it...bleuch. 

That said, on my way home from the station, I stopped for petrol and thought my front tyres looked a bit bald, and upon closer inspection, found a nail driven into one of them. We have a neighbour who has form for this but I don't think I've done anything to upset him recently. Mr Z took my car in the next day so I had to get the bus in to work, meaning I arrived at 6.59am, which is too early for anyone to be to work tbh. When I got home, Mr Z said there was also a nail in one of my rear tyres (he tried to make this sound like it could have been an unhappy accident but my money is definitely on the neighbour). I'm saving those for when I am away skiing next week. I can't do any more pre-6am get ups this close to a holiday. 

We interviewed for staff for my department this week and got two really good ones, so that was nice. One of them is already working with us on a temp contract and I really thought he was a shoo-in but, on the day, someone else did a stronger interview. Luckily I came up with a solution so we could have both. The stronger candidate, as it turned out, had been in to do some pre-teaching observations with me in my first year at the school and liked it enough to want to come back. I used to say yes to absolutely anybody who asked back in those days, when it was a bit easier (no escorting to the toilet), because I was so lonely as the sole subject teacher. It's nice to know that it bears fruit. 

We are reaching the end of Better Call Saul - three episodes left. We speeded up a bit so we could get it in before I go away on Friday. It really is exceptional TV and it makes me want to visit Albuquerque again, even though Albuquerque isn't the sort of place one goes on holiday. I bet there's a Better Call Saul locations tour though. And there's skiing only a few hours away. Maybe one my copious free time. 

I am continuing to make good progress on Topolino and am about four inches into the body now. 

As always, the blue isn't quite right in this picture - it is a little more turquoise. The yarn is 10% linen which gives it a lovely rustic look. I'm supposed to knit to 7 inches and then start the lace section, but I think I'm going to knit to 5 inches instead. I'm finding that a lot of my 4-ply sweaters are just a smidge too long these days and I'm not sure if this is because I've knitted them a bit long or because they've grown. The Ravelry notes on this yarn (Madelinetosh Dandelion) say it grows with blocking so I am going for a scant 12 inches instead of the recommended 14. I can always make the bottom longer. 

I do love a boatneck and an Isabell Kraemer pattern but I am already thinking about how I'm going to finish the collar on this. One round of purl and bind off is not going to be the one. I already have one Isabell Kramer 4-ply jumper that slides off the shoulder and nobody needs to be looking like they're in an 80s dance movie that often. 

It was a very relaxing weekend, tbh. I drove into town and bought pastry treats and some hot cross buns from Farro. I packed for skiing and made some granola, as is my ritual. I finished work on the two exam papers I had left so they are all ready to go. I didn't do any school work, which may turn out to be a mistake - more interviews tomorrow. 

Next weekend I will attempt to weeknote from Austria...we will see. I don't want to take a laptop and the Blogger app really isn't friendly. I'll give it a go. 

Tuesday 19 March 2024

2024 Weeknote 11

I am getting later and later with these but I am determined!

I went to Birmingham on Friday night with Rachael and we had a nice brief hotel stay before going to an education conference on Saturday. I've been a few times before but it was interesting to go now that I am preparing for/doing a senior role. The sessions are largely generic, whereas the vast majority of the training I attend is subject-specific, so it had lost its shine for me. But it's very shiny now! Loads of ideas to come away with and it was lovely to go with someone as well, because we got to natter about the sessions with each other afterwards. And then we got to go to Gloucester Services on the way home as well. 

I made good progress on the Topolino sweater and divided for the armholes on Sunday. This indicates that progress will now slow right down but I have been picking away at it this week. I need to go back to my nephew's toddler cardigan but I am sort of saving that for the ski trip.

Books and TV series continued as last week. There was a busy parents evening and an attempt at yoga, which my still-poorly hamstring....I know it's not surprising to anybody that being older makes healing such a long process, least of all me (lest we forget the time when I fell off a paddleboard in summer 2020 and my coccyx hurt until roughly January 2022) but that doesn't make it any less damn frustrating....complained about, so I had to do a lot of weird, made-up poses. Skiing again in under two weeks so I am hoping I don't make it any worse. 

I've had two crack-of-dawn starts in a row but I'll tell you all about that next weekend, or else these weeknotes are going to become a mixture of fortnight notes and day notes. 

All my pictures last week are screenshots of social media because I didn't really do anything. My magnolia did finally flower though. Four years it's been in the ground and it finally got there. I have some pictures of that but I am not sure where they are. Something for next week's post. 

Tuesday 12 March 2024

2024 Weeknote 10

It was a busy old week. I drove to Walsall on Thursday night for a trust meeting on Friday, then drove straight on to Wales to join the bunkhouse sprucing volunteer party. I spent all day Saturday cleaning and this was more blissful than it sounds. The meals were all cooked for me, the woodburner kept stoked and there was barely any internet so it was delightfully peaceful. The rest of the work party were mostly decades older, mostly male and mostly retired teachers with a heavy predilection for outward bound - hence their love of the bunkhouse - and it was sort of nice to be back in this quaint time where it's perfectly acceptable to say that, since it's international women's day, perhaps the international women should wash up? Cute. Woman clean. Man fix things with drill. All know their place. I didn't mind it for a weekend and I dutifully donned the marigolds...someone else had cooked, after all. Also I am shockingly bad at DIY. I don't care enough to do it well. 

In solidarity, I invited the other woman from the volunteer party to come along with us to Wonderwool next month. 

I drove home earlyish on Sunday because I had an interview on Monday, for an internal role, the one I am currently doing. I got the job. Both pleased and disappointed, as this means I will definitely be working and doing a Masters at the same time next year. I guess we'll suck it and see. 

I finished Prisoners of Geography on the drive home from Wales. In the end, I didn't like it much. It was very interesting but, having now listened to quite a lot of non-fiction about the continent of Africa, I found what he had to say to be quite narrow-minded. This was not helped by the narrator who had quite the public school accent. I'm sure a lot of well-educated people will take comfort from the narrative that Africa is underdeveloped because of its unlucky geography but I don't buy it. When he referred to Jared Diamond as 'that most lucid of writers', I realised this was not really the book for me. 

I've moved on to one from my favourite genre of audiobook, women escaping from religious cults: Uncultured by Daniella Mestyanek Young. The Children of God sound like a particularly unpleasant bunch of people, or at least they were in the 1990s, but it has given me some fodder to discuss with my students when it comes to the limits that should (or should not) be placed on personal freedoms for adults. 

I've been knitting away at a new jumper, Topolino, that I cast on just before the Great Hexagon Knit, and I'm about 16 rows off dividing the sleeves and body. I have creeping dread about not having finished my nephew's latest Presto Chango, but I am afraid it will be too big and it will go into the black hole of knitwear that my sister-in-law doesn't want to put on her children. Trying not to feel aggrieved about this, they are her kids after all. 

I feel like other things must have happened last week. There were two leaving parties on Monday, one for some school colleagues and one, on Zoom, for an exam board colleague. On Tuesday I had another exam board meeting after school but it didn't go on too long. I watched a lot of Better Call Saul and Game of into the epic sixth season of GoT which I probably think is the best. 

And nobody pulled my hair last week so that is a definite win. 

Sunday 3 March 2024

2024 Weeknote 9

Another quite quiet week. I brought very little work home and found that I had plenty of time to finish my blanket hexagons (all done now and ends sewn in on over half of them, hurrah!) and continue with Better Call Saul and Game of Thrones. I had a sports massage on the dodgy hamstring - defo a hamstring, it seems, and not the ACL, which has felt better since though still a little twingey. I gave blood, my 22nd donation, completed in 7 mins 48sec, which is quite slow for me but I probably haven't been drinking enough water this week.

I had a bad school day on Friday with some students who were verbally quite abusive and then one of them ever so slightly pulled my hair. This sounds like a small thing but it is a big thing when it happens. The idea that a student could cross a line and make physical contact with me does not make me feel particularly safe, so I'll be following that up robustly next week. At the same time, I'm writing my application letter for the permanent senior role and, once again, considering whether I really want to be in a job where children think this is an acceptable way to behave towards other human beings, let alone their teachers. 

Timehop reminds me, though, that this term is always the worst for my personal morale. In this term, over the past 20 years, I was passed over for a pay rise, passed over for a promotion, shouted at by a colleague for doing things differently to how she would have done them and put on a support plan because of a single lesson observation. But this is also the term when I've got new jobs, run the ever-popular murder mystery weekend and prepared for lots of ski trips. A hinge point in the year, clearly. Lows but lots of highs.

I finished An Inspector Calls on audiobook and started Prisoners of Geography, which begins with a chapter on why Russia thinks it has to control Ukraine - particularly interesting as this is a few years old now and pre-dates the current conflict. 

I'm off to Bristol Lido now for a spa and a massage. This is sponsored by a generous voucher from the parents of last year's ski trippers: another positive to dwell on.