Showing posts from August, 2015

Evidence that I can write on speed ... I mean, at speed

Well, that was odd. At 2.30pm yesterday, I'd just pressed 'Publish' on the blog post about an old article in the Times Educational Supplement . Then, my email pinged. It was the TES. 'We need a light-hearted piece about the One Direction split and how teachers might deal with distraught pupils when term begins. Can you do it?' 'By when?' 'I said. 'By later this afternoon?' Fran was so damn shocked, she went blonde, and pretty.  Anyhow, I managed it. And  here it is   It's not serious journalism. And I'm not responsible for the crazy pictures. But it was fun to write.

Reasons why Fran has been able to watch Flog It more often this summer

One stand-out feature of my summer this year has been something I didn't do, not something I did. I decided not to work as an examiner, marking GCSE English Literature, a job I've done for eight years every June/July, on top of my schoolteaching. I'm not sure I will ever sign up to examine again, even though the hefty cheque was welcome. But, during June, I kept finding myself in the garden with a gin and tonic and a book, or writing for a whole evening, or wandering around the town looking in shop windows, or watching an episode of Flog It, and thinking, 'Why does this feel strange?' Then I'd remember, and a frisson of pure delight hurtled through my veins yelling 'Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy!' Looking back today through my past writings for the Times Educational Supplement, I found a copy of a 'diary' piece they published in 2007, my first year as an examiner. It will tell you all you need to know about why I thought it was tim

Evidence that mirrors don't always tell the truth

I bought one of these a few years back.  It's called a Vanity Magnifying Mirror. So, first, let's deal with the misnomer: you can either have vanity (definition: excessive pride in one's own appearance), or you can have a magnifying mirror. Here's a description of my daily encounter with the magnifying mirror: 1. Stand it on the windowsill in the light. 2. Look into it. 3. Cringe backwards, crying, 'Surely that's the surface of the MOON! Or a shelled battlefield!' The problem is, over the years since I've owned the mirror, I think I've normalised that image of myself so that I think that's what everyone else is seeing. That's the danger of these mirrors. And yet, the reality is this: 1. I don't get up so close to people, staring and almost touching them with my nose, as I do to the mirror. You'll know this is true already, because I am not writing this from a prison cell. 2. People don't have hi

Testing, testing ...

This is a test blog post just to check that the new 'subscribe by email' function is working. A friend is testing it for me. Sorry for lack of humour. (Whaddya mean, you didn't notice the difference?)

Reasons why an extensive vocabulary isn't always a helpful thing

When I first met my husband, Paul, I was eighteen and he was twenty-three. I was introduced to him while he was sitting on a chair in a friend's house. I sat beside him, we got talking and I asked what he did for a job. 'I'm a peripatetic music teacher,' he said. Not knowing the meaning of the word, I was very surprised, half an hour later, when he stood up. This was before I found out that peripatetic means 'travelling from place to place', not 'unable to use legs'. I hasten to add that I found this out for myself later, not by asking him how dared he get up without help. It took some readjustment in my thinking, to find he could move. I'd spent that half an hour admiring him for his courage in keeping a music teacher job going. In fact, I'd fallen a little in love with him already in an 'I can care for this tragic, creative man' kind of way. Once I realised he wasn't paralysed at all, I had to find other reasons to love him.