tinyjo: (jasmine)
2017-07-09 01:09 pm

(no subject)

Friday was moving up day - my new class and I spent an hour together and I think that if they can curb their tendency to talk over each other then we'll get on fine. They were very curious - I spent at least half of the time answering questions like "what's your favourite food" and "which youtubers do you like" and so on, but I think that's pretty inevitable. Usually I'd know a bit about them already and they about me from our encounters elsewhere in school but moving to a new school means that they're total unknowns. As I suspected, they're a lot less culturally diverse than any class I've taught before - all white, although not quite all English as there are one or two European children there.

As I also had a meeting for maths leaders in the partnership in the morning, it was also a reasonable dip of the toe into the idea of working on Fridays again, and I am cautiously optimistic that I'll cope OK with it as long as I make sure I don't get to bed too late after games night. I had thought about what we were doing at Brownies on Thursday while I waited around for the governors meeting and as long as I make it out of the gates by 5pm, arriving on time to set up should be perfectly do-able so that's good. I think also, it will actually make Brownies seem less of a chore - currently, it comes at the end of a day off, which makes it tricky to use that for long weekends and also means that I can't just totally chill out on my day off if I want to. Having at the end of a school day felt much less disruptive/intrusive and hopefully that will happen again.

Am feeling practically green fingered because after having a weekly task to do some garden work since about February, I have *finally* got to the point where there are no areas where the weeds have taken over (there are still weeds, they're just more under control and smaller, ground cover type things) and all the paths are clear. I even dead headed the roses today and I have been actually remembering to water the garden every couple of days in this uncharacteristically dry summer, which means that nearly all the plants I bought at Gardeners World are still going strong!
tinyjo: (cat don't care)
2017-07-02 12:40 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Went to training at my new school on Thursday and the positive vibe definitely continues - I have a really good feeling about the move. We sorted out my application for the leadership course they want to put me on next year and they're right behind the writing assessment project I've got planned which will take forward what I've done this year. Also, on a geeky note, they want to buy me what looks like an *amazing* smart TV thing to use as my interactive board for my classroom, which would be super exciting. I really hope it arrives before the holidays so I can have a play with it over the break as it'll be quite different from what I've used before. Obviously the shiny video on the product website is always a bit misleading but it does look like I should be able to do some really quite neat stuff with it eventually, including controlling stuff on the kids screens and so on.

I am really enjoying the garden at the moment and I can't get over how much more light it gets now that we've had the horse chestnut next door cut back. It does mean that the decking is in full sun in the middle of the day though so I might have to buy a patio umbrella to sit under - it's not good for the laptop, if nothing else! Generally though, it's all looking really nice and the kittens love playing out there. They're only allowed out under supervision at the minute, but soon they'll be having their ops and then we hope to retire the litter tray - not a minute too soon!
tinyjo: (jasmine)
2017-06-18 07:38 pm

(no subject)

Very garden heavy weekend this weekend, as Mum and Dad came to visit and Mum, Jeremy and I went to Gardeners World Live. We had a lovely time and did some very successful shopping but boy was the heat oppressive! I don't remember finding a gardens show such hard work since the first year we went to Hampton Court. Still, it was a really lovely day, with lots of beautiful gardens and plants, especially some of the borders.

I managed to buy quite a few good shade loving plants for my garden (and stuck to my budget!) but actually, being out here today, I hadn't realised how much the tree surgery had done in terms of reducing the shade on a lot of the garden - a lot of beds which were previously shady pretty much all day are now only really partial shade, which opens up quite a lot of options. Planting things up has also necessitated getting rid of a lot of weeds, including absolutely masses of creeping buttercup, but hopefully now that I'm a bit on top of it, things will be better. The trick next year will be to make sure that I keep ahead of the leaves in winter (which shouldn't be so bad anyway) so that I don't spend lots of spring clearing the paths and so on and letting weeds in the beds get out of hand.

I was also kind of chuffed that we managed to do the show experience in my Leaf, despite the fact that the NEC itself has no chargers, which surprised me. Still, a convenient charger on the M42 allowed us to recover post show with cold drinks and a seat in the shade, while charging the car up enough that I could run the air con on the way home :) Lucky that we had lots of sunshine on the solar panels at home to keep us going!
tinyjo: (cassie by jeremy)
2017-06-11 01:29 pm

(no subject)

Well, that was unexpected! In a weird way, although a Tory/DUP government will be pretty dreadful in the short term, I do feel glad that they will end up getting the blame for Brexit, which they absolutely deserve. I feel like this is the most uncertain I've felt about politics for a while, but in a hopeful way for a change, which is nice. Emotionally, I was sort of braced for being deeply depressed about the result and so now I'm a bit sort of unsure what to do with myself, like having an unexpected holiday.

It won't last long, in any case, because now is report writing season, one of my least favourite parts about being a teacher. At least we're not getting moderated this year, which means I don't have to keep up rigorous marking in writing and everything else we've sort of let slide at this point, but still, it is a massive pain that I really wish I didn't have to do. I wonder what reports look like at my new school! I've been thinking that about lots of things lately :)

Had an experimental cooking week over half term trying to find more vegetarian recipes to add to our regular cycle of cooking but wasn't massively inspired by the things we tried, although the mushroom curry will probably make it with a bit of tweaking. I might sacrifice some of the health benefits by swapping brown rice for white - I know the former is better for you, but I'm more likely to make it and eat it with the latter, I think. Anyone got any veggie recipes they'd like to recommend? I don't really like squash or nuts, which rather restricts my choices in that area :)
tinyjo: (jasmine)
2017-05-28 02:23 pm

(no subject)

At last, there is sunshine again! I feel like I've been waiting for ever for good weather but now that it's here, I'm not actually getting to enjoy it as much as I normally do because the kittens aren't currently allowed outside so I have to choose - outside I can bask in the sunshine, inside I can fuss/play with the kittens. So far, the kittens are tending to win :) They continue to be super adorable, with a side order of a little bit naughty.

I feel like although this has been a 5 week term, it's felt as long as a 7 week one, which doesn't bode well for next term, which really is a 7 week one. And then I'll be leaving, which is a weird and crazy idea. It's still exciting, but I kind of wish there wasn't the delay. It's not that I'd like to leave now, before the end of the year, I'd just like to be closer in time to the new thing, I guess. At the same time, the amount of stuff I need to hand over is super daunting. I'm going to try to start getting a proper handle on that this half term. Oh, and reports time is upon us again. I should be feeling more cheerful, and I think this entry misrepresents how cheerful I really am, but boy do I seem to have a lot on this summer!

BTW, if you saw the truncated version of this entry, that was kitten posting :)
tinyjo: (laden coal creature)
2017-05-14 04:42 pm

(no subject)

Didn't manage to post last week because I was just feeling very depressed about the state of the world. The whole snap general election thing just fills me with despair. whining )

I still haven't decided what to do about LiveJournal. I haven't agreed to the new ToS yet and I'm not very keen about leaving my private info on there to potentially be snooped around in. Bottom line, I no longer trust the LJ people to keep my data safe but I'm loath to delete my journal there and loose touch with the people who I'm still friends with there. Maybe I'll keep the account but delete the posts - that should be fairly safe, right?

Hopefully, now I'm past my period and SATS are over (what a great combination!) I should be able to cheer up a little bit - after all, there should be summer sun any minute now, right? The garden's looking lovely right now with all the alliums out and the kittons have been really adorable today, having an explore downstairs and doing lots of snuggling and purring and demanding fuss. What I really need is just a bit more energy - if the sun would come out, that would be perfect.
tinyjo: (who's a rock star?)
2017-04-30 12:13 pm

(no subject)

Back to school was kind of a pain this week - my class are mostly lovely, except for 2 boys who're getting more and more badly behaved in the run up to SATs and are just really tiring and hard work. Still, the week didn't go too badly, it's just a bit more tiring than usual.

If I'm honest, the bit more tiring than usual bit was definitely contributed to by the kittens, who've been doing a certain amount of 3am pouncing, which is considerably less adorbs than daytime pouncing, I can tell you. Yesterday, we decided that we'd probably had sufficient bonding and have moved them into the spare bedroom. Less adorable curling up on Alex's shoulder, but on the other hand, a full nights sleep, which was definitely in order! I'm currently typing this while being used as an adventure playground so they're getting plenty of company :) We're hoping to introduce them to Charlie today - Jeremy and Tim have lent us a kitten playpen type thing to keep them apart while they sniff at eachother and hopefully it will go ok. Charlie came upstairs to the bedroom last night and did a lot of sniffing where the kittens were but didn't growl so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Had a meeting at my new school on Friday and still feeling very good about that decision. Lots to do and think about in terms of a project for next year, but feeling like there's going to be lots of support and a really good atmosphere in school, so that's good. My classroom's a weird shape though so that will take some thinking about over the holiday.
tinyjo: (Cassiecat)
2017-04-23 06:28 pm

(no subject)

So, I was going to post something interesting, I'm sure, but we got new kittens! It was a suddenly availability after their planned adoption fell through and they're super super tiny - only 6 weeks old. They are basically adorbs and so I have been unable to do anything useful for the past few days :)



The ginger/cream one is Harry and the tortie is Clare

tinyjo: (wine)
2017-04-02 01:10 pm

A busy fortnight...

So, I didn't manage to post last weekend, because I was having a really lovely weekend off. I'd had two interviews the week before and ended up not getting either of them. I really didn't do a great job with the teaching session on the first one - combination of nerves and over planning and they ended up going with an internal candidate who, to be fair, was probably more experienced than me as well so that was fine. The second one went fairly well, I thought, but I ended up not getting the job, which I guess is just how it goes sometimes. I didn't actually get any detailed feedback on that one, although I probably could have asked for it, but I was feeling a bit battered by the week. I'd forgotten what an up and down, stressful experience interviewing can be and two in a week took quite a lot out of me.

As such, I was quite pleased to have the chance to completely forget my job hunt for a bit and go to London to graduate. I had occasionally wondered this term why I was going to all the trouble of going to the ceremony but actually, I'm really glad I went with my instinct and did it. I even got quite choked up by the whole experience - partly, it was that time of the month, but I have always found the OU message that education is for everyone to be really inspiring and it felt really nice to finish off my degree with something a little special like that.

After the ceremony, we went for a really rather good dinner with my folks before seeing them back to Liverpool street and onto their train and heading for a hotel in Kensington for an overnight stay. On the Saturday, it was a really perfect day for me to enjoy myself - sunny and bright but with just enough spring chill in the air to make walking a pleasure. We headed out with no real plan in mind other than to end up near Imperial college and to catch some pokemon and ended up having a gentle saunter through West Bromwich cemetery, which was just lovely. I find Victorian cemeteries like that fascinating - the ways the memorialised the dead speak of such different ideas about life and society from mine that I find them fascinating.

After that, we ended up making our way to the V&A where we spent an absolutely lovely 4 hours or so wandering round, enjoying their beautiful Islamic Art gallery, admiring the costumes through the ages (I think if I time travel, the only era where I'd quite like the the clothes I'd have to wear would be the 20s) and being fascinated by the Rapid Reaction Collection, which has a selection of items acquired in the last 5 years which the musuem staff have collected as saying something interesting about design or culture, including a 3d printed gun and a pussy hat. Definitely recommend it for your visit to London, [livejournal.com profile] elyssa and [livejournal.com profile] stevieg. We rounded off the weekend with an evening at the Festival of Bad Adhoc Hypotheses, where I learned that aliens are using our junk DNA as long term storage to back up their kittie pictures, and other, equally fun suggestions. On the way out of London, I caught the last Magikarp needed to make a Gyrados literally from the bus and all in all, it felt like a really perfect day and a wonderful way to recharge my batteries.

And I really needed to recharge my batteries because on Thursday I'd fired off a speculative application for a teaching job in a village school which I hadn't managed to visit, what with everything going on, but which mentioned developing a leadership role in the description and sounded potentially interesting and on Tuesday I found out that I'd been shortlisted for an interview on Friday. I actually found it the easiest interview task that I'd had to plan because they'd been quite clear in what they wanted to see without being too constraining - pick a topic (space, mountains or chocolate) and teach a lesson to develop writing skills in the area of poetry, characterisation or setting and then in the interview tell us how you would develop it from there. I particularly liked that they acknowledged when setting the task that you might not get to a written outcome in 30 minutes - it all added up to something where they'd clearly thought about what they wanted to see and whether you could realistically get at it from that constrained 30 minute teaching experience. I ended up doing Space and teaching a session where we created some colonists to go on the Mars One colony expedition, which would lead into lots of story writing as well as a tonne of cross curricular stuff if you made it a unit and they were very happy with how it went. In the interview, they explained that the job would be as head of KS2, 3rd SLT member in a small school and teaching Y5/6, all of which fit very well with what I'd been imagining when I first started job hunting, and they'd be offering a chance to do leadership training as well. Overall, by the time I headed home after a tour of the school with the head teacher, I knew I wanted the job so I was back to the up and down stress rollercoaster feeling but this time, everything clicked into place right and they offered me the job! I was so happy to be able to accept and now the only thing I need to think about is how much handover work I'm going to have to do!
tinyjo: (Default)
2017-03-19 11:49 am

(no subject)

I am now motivating myself to do tasks by rewarding myself with Stardew Valley. It's such a pleasing game and totally addictive! I've been playing quite a bit in the evenings this week to help me to calm my nerves about next week, which is looking pretty crazy. I have *two* interviews at new schools, one to be a deputy head, one to be maths lead, and then I'm graduating my OU degree on Friday and going to the Festival of Bad Adhoc Hypotheses on Saturday. I guess ideally, I'll have something to celebrate as well but right now, I'm feeling very nervous. I think that I don't come over well in the "teach a 20 minute session" bits of these interviews because my teaching style works best when I know the kids well and is better in longer than shorter sessions, but hopefully my charming interview manner will be good enough to get past that... Keep your fingers crossed for me :)
tinyjo: (Default)
2017-03-12 08:46 pm

(no subject)

Have accidentally spent all day playing Stardew Valley instead of doing Big Write marking! I am now watching River Cottage as it's really put me in the mood :) I have chickens called Buck, Buuck and Bugurk, which pleases me very much.

We went to see Logan last night and it was really an amazing film. It reminded me of a really good piece of fan fiction in that it spent zero time introducing the characters or the world, just really focused on the character story it wanted to tell and what it would be like if this crazy premise was actually happening to real people. It's something that Iron Man has toyed with (Tony's PTSD) but not really committed to. I actually cried a couple of times and I'd thoroughly recommend it but it's definitely not a light hearted night out.
tinyjo: (cassie by jeremy)
2017-03-04 04:25 pm

(no subject)

Thank you for the lovely comments on my last entry. Sadly, things moved fast and Cassie continued to deteriorate and not eat over the weekend. She spent quite a bit of time curled up in my lap, sleeping and having strokes, which was good, but she was obviously in a very bad way. We took her into the vet on Monday, who told us that her kidneys were shutting down. They took her to cat hospital and put her on fluids to see how much remaining kidney function there was but when we checked in the next day, her blood work hadn't improved at all, meaning that her kidneys were basically completely non functional. There was nothing that they could really do for her so I went after school and sat with her for an hour or so giving her strokes and fuss before the vet put her on my lap and gave her an overdose of anaesthetic.

It's the first time that I've lost a pet in that way - we had goldfish, who used to get regularly pinched by herons, but that's nothing like the same. I cried a lot on Monday and Tuesday and was pretty fragile most of Wednesday and the rest of the week. Now I just get ambushed by odd rushes of sadness. Charlie has been doing her best to look after us by coming and sitting with me on the sofa and so on but I miss Cassie very much.

I have quite a few versions of this pic where she's sitting on my lap giving me a very definite *look*


And quite a few where she's curled up on the bed. My photo albums all together seem to suggest she spent quite a lot of time chilling out and relaxing, which is a good thought.




Rare photo with her eyes open <3
Cassie is queen
tinyjo: (cat don't care)
2017-02-26 10:30 am

(no subject)

Am very worried about Cassie at the minute - she's barely eating suddenly and is looking very little and old :( We're taking her into the vet for a checkup but I'm really worried about what he's going to say. She's 17 at least and she's had a good time with us, but still. She still makes purrs though and doesn't seem to be in pain or anything, just not really eating.
tinyjo: (Default)
2017-02-19 05:29 pm

(no subject)

As the end of half term rolls round again, I've finally managed to get through reviewing where all my class are for writing. It's not too bad, but it's not brilliant either - lots still to do, and one or two annoying cases of children who just need to remember when to use a full stop! Still, it's done for now, thank goodness.

I feel like I'm finishing this half term with masses that still needs doing. There's certainly plenty still on my task list. I'm not really sure where all the time has gone - apart from yesterday, when Cassie came down and sat on me all evening, I don't think I've wasted loads of time, but still, somehow, I have loads to do. Ah well. Maybe now that I'm feeling a bit better I'll be able to catch up on Friday.
tinyjo: (droplets)
2017-02-04 05:06 pm

(no subject)

Gosh, I wish that I could get rid of this cold! Or at least have my tonsils out - they've been up and down like... well, I can't think of a good simile, but they have. They were really painful yesterday, but they're rather better today and I'm feeling pretty good overall, which makes me feel like I might be going to get actually better, but I've had false dawns with this cold before so who knows whether it'll actually happen. It'd be nice to be well for half term though. This afternoon, there was nice sun and mild weather so I got out and did some hard work in the garden moving plants - it felt good. I just can't wait until I can be outside again - sunshine always improves how well I feel in myself.

I went on my first protest since the Iraq war on Monday. Wish I could say I expect to have such a long gap before the next one. It felt good to be out there saying something, even if I doubt it'll make much difference.
tinyjo: (down in the dumps)
2017-01-29 11:49 am

End of the world

Am feeling weird right now. Sort of stressed and uncertain and adrift. self-indulgent and not very coherent thoughts )

Other than the rising sense of impending doom, it was actually a lovely week, if pretty busy. It was really nice to see [personal profile] coalescent and [livejournal.com profile] bibliolicious for dinner and girly night cocktails really hit the spot. I had an amazing cocktail which was made with apple pie syrup which I wish I'd remembered to photo. I had my first go at applying for a dep head job, although I didn't get shortlisted, and went to look around another school today. It looked nice, but was pretty big and seemed very serious - I'll apply but I suspect they're looking for someone with more experience than me.

I think maybe I should focus on trying to get well this week. If I could swallow without pain and didn't sneeze all the time, I might feel better able to cope with other stuff.
tinyjo: (laden coal creature)
2017-01-20 10:36 am

Waiting around

Am sitting in the coffee area at the garage waiting for my one year service on my Leaf to be done. It's hard to believe it's a whole year since I got it but I have to say, I've really loved it. When I was buying it, I was expecting to use it only for my Oxford driving and do parental visits in a loan petrol car but actually, we've ended up driving it to Norfolk most of the times I've visited, which feels pretty cool. It's just a really pleasant drive and it makes me feel good to be bowling along without any worries about what damage I'm doing, particularly given that we pay for 100% green energy at home so I know even charging up is not doing much damage.

The one blot on the otherwise happy story of electric car ownership has been Polar/Chargemaster. They have a model where you can subscribe to their service, in which case you get an RFID card, or you can pay as you go using their app. The trouble is, their app is absolutely terrible. I can't think of a single time I've used it where it hasn't taken about 20 minutes to get it to load the charge points close to me and then get the one I want to use activated. We planned a trip to London a couple of weeks ago and parked where they had a fast charger only to discover that PAYG customers didn't have the ability to use it, something that it didn't say anywhere in the app! It's got to the point where I was just planning a trip to my parents with an extra charge because of the cold weather and I filtered out their chargers - they might be more conveniently placed sometimes but that's no good if they don't work properly! Fortunately, the ecotricity chargers have been much more reliable and easy to use, even when they switched over to using an app rather than an RFID card but still, it's kind of a pain. I guess they basically don't care about PAYG customers or possibly even think that if they make that service rubbish then people will be more likely to upgrade.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the electric car experience, but if you're thinking of getting one, just make sure you won't be relying on Polar /Chargemaster for any key journeys!
tinyjo: (droplets)
2017-01-06 02:55 pm
Entry tags:

Fathala

I promised that I would post some photos of our time in Senegal, and so here we go! It's just possible that I'll manage to actually get the right link from Google photos first time, but I never have before so if I mess it up again, do let me know :)


The rhino and some of the waterbuck antelope having an early evening drink at the watering hole.

many many pics )
tinyjo: (girl and boy at night)
2016-12-27 06:52 pm

On our way home

I see, as is fairly typical, I stopped updating once I'd done my complaining :) In my defense, the wifi at the reserve was pretty slow so our photos didn't back up to the internet until we made it to Paris for the most part. We were talking in Dakar airport about how unusual it was that actually, if we'd had our phones stolen at that point, we would have lost really quite a lot of data - usually, it's very little.

I will do a proper entry when I get home with all the photos and details of our time at Fathala, but suffice it to say for the time being that it was a really wonderful holiday and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere peaceful and beautiful. Our luggage never turned up at the reserve, despite repeated contact by the reception desk with the airport but once we had a change of clothes, kindly run up in a very short time by an obliging Senegalese tailor, we actually managed fine. On our way back, we got to Dakar airport ahead of time and so decided to go via the left luggage area on the off chance and lo and behold! Our case, sat there waiting and probably had been for a week. It had lost it's tag, meaning that it hadn't been connected with our lost luggage report, description notwithstanding. Still, we found it, which was a relief as it had my favourite bras in and were able to sort out the details and take it with us on the next leg. It was also perfect timing because it meant that we could collect the other half of the malaria prescription from it just before we would have run out of tablets. It was a bit unnerving to collect it and then immediately check it in again, but it made it to Paris with us, where our two cases were one of the first ones out!

Paris was really lovely - we stayed in a beautiful apartment with some very friendly cats and also some lovely Canadians (<3, [livejournal.com profile] ailetoile and [livejournal.com profile] stevieg) and it was also very restful. Rather than do the museum thing, we alternated chilling in the apartment, with poke-walks and enjoying the ambience and architecture of Paris and actually, todays wander up to Notre Dame, followed by open top bus along the Champs Elysee made me think actually I'd quite like to go back again. Now, we just have to manage to get onto our plane home and off with luggage and then home to kittons!
tinyjo: (Default)
2016-12-18 02:14 pm

At the reserve

So, when I left things last, your intrepid heros were stranded in Lisbon airport, but with optimisim that we would be able to reach our final destination without any further mishaps. More(!) travel woes, and finally arriving at the reserve ) The reserve really is everything I could have hoped and more - the staff are lovely, the food is delicious, the accommodation is incredibly comfortable and there are monkeys everywhere! I keep taking photos but they haven't all uploaded yet (the internet isn't very fast) so I'll save that until I get back :) We haven't even been on the game drive yet!

There was hope that by today, our suitcase might have turned up but thus far, there's no sign. We were taken into the nearest town, on the Gambian border, today, where we stopped off, bought some fabric and then left it with a tailor who's going to make a change of clothes for us! There'll definitely be photos of those tonight, when they are supposed to be arriving. We managed to pick up some deoderant and tooth brushes and fortunately, the reserve already provided things like shampoo and body wash, as well as having some insect repellant on hand, so we're pretty much set for the moment and tomorrow we'll be ready to get out and start taking part in some of the activities on offer here.