Sunday, 28 June 2015

Time's Dribbling Through My Fingers...

This post follows on from my post in May - You Couldn't Make This One Up

So, since May half term holiday, OR and I have been plodding along...
~ I've completed the Level 2 Btec External Verification process for the current Year 11
cohort. (That's been masses of work.)
~ I've been constantly pushing between times for the SMT to finalise the timetable,
responsibilities and some kind of appropriate payment.
(Time consuming - but absolutely nothing to show for it)
~ LS (the NQT who is joining OR in September) has come to the school for a few twilight
meetings.  (She's getting cold feet and I reckon she won't last til Christmas)
~ There's been some informal concerts and community events, so the 'goodbyes' have started.
~ I've also written all the Year 9 and Year 10 reports.
The whole hand over process was just waiting for  C. to come back on 22nd June.
She came back for one day....... and then disappeared for the rest of the week!
OR had to continue teaching all her classes, so we've hardly done any hand over work. 
The big question is... "Will she come back tomorrow or - go to the Doctors and get signed off for this week?"
I am actually pretty stressed about this.
I'm also pretty close to exhausted, which is why I'm not doing a great deal of blogging at the moment.
From my point of view, the main problem is that OR is also pretty 'needy'.
She would love me to sit down with her and 'hold her hand' as she goes through all her planning for next year.  Sadly I don't have time to do this.  I have already given her all the documents that I have written which could be manipulated into useful stuff for 2015/6.  I've put electronic copies of all my worksheets into a folder on the shared drive.  I've also looked at her plans for the changes to the Key Stage 3 curriculum and compiled hard copies of these worksheets into a folder for her use.
If C. is in tomorrow then OR is just going to have to get on with things for herself.
She is off timetable completely tomorrow while I have a full teaching day (plus a substantial amount of Year 9 and Year 10 marking).
On Friday morning I bumped into the lovely lady who is just retiring from a role as peripatetic piano teacher for the local music service.  She knows that I'm leaving too, so jokingly asked me "Have you started to find stuff that you'd completely forgotten about at the back of filing cabinets?"
I looked at her completely pathetically and said "Chance would be a fine thing!"
A curious side-effect of all of this is that I'm also getting 'cold feet' about our change in financial situation.  I know that I'm not being rational, but I think that it's because I'm over-tired.
15 more days to go.... EEEEK!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Did you see this?

Yesterday my parents spotted a short article about this 'dare-devil feline' at the end of News at One. I had a poke around on Youtube and found the full version -
Apparently she belongs to the flying club and is used to hanging around the planes..!
I've shown the video to all my classes today
- as a little bit of light relief after some pretty 'full-on' assessment lessons.
We are all pretty tired and fractious -
and that's just the staff!
I've got several 'end game' stories to tell here, but I'm SO tired that it's difficult to blog about them.  I will try and get myself together again by the end of the week!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

25 Days To Go..

Early morning sunshine in my classroom...
This room has been my life since 2006......
The walls are filled with photo memories of concerts, trips and projects..

My desk will need some sorting out soon.
I can't leave this level of chaos for the next teacher.
I know what's in each pile - but most of it is pretty irrelevant
and can probably find it's way to the re-cycle bin..

I love the light in my room at 7.30 in the morning...
but soon this is going to be my new sun-filled work space.... 
Recently my colleagues have started to ask me what it feels like to be leaving.
My answer at the moment is "Weird."
I feel more muddled and emotional than I expected.
Some of the time I feel really quite scared...
...even though I know that the next phase of my life is going to exciting and different.
To be honest - I'm just not great at change.
But I'm sure that I'll get my brain round it soon!!!

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Hardwick Hall...

the perfect alternative to a Service Station on the M1 motorway!
(if you have a National Trust card....)
Today we drove all the way from Worcester to Leeds - to collect a Jaguar rear axle that Mark had bought on E-bay. This was a drive of approximately 140 miles up the M5, M42 and M1.  As we drove past junction 29 of the M1 I spotted Hardwick Hall on the hill-side and made a 'mental note' that it might make a good lunch stop a couple of hours later...

There was a certain amount of 'messing around' to get the axle in the back of the Discovery..
and then the usual 'bloke-chat' about car building projects...
but I got my way and we arrived at Hardwick Hall in good time for lunch.
After we'd enjoyed sandwiches, crisps and coffee on the sunny terrace behind the stables café, we set off to explore...
There are actually two Hardwick Halls - the 'Old' one (which was restored at the end of the 16th Century and is now a ruin) and the 'New' one (which was built very shortly after the restoration of the first).  As a result, they share many stylistic similarities..

There are enormous windows that take in a fabulous view..

..and intricate plaster panels.

There's a great view of the 'New' Hall from the upper floors of the 'Old' one..

In a state room at the top of the 'New' Hall you can spot a painted version of a similar plaster scene...

This imposing long gallery actually made me say "Wow" as I came through the doorway..

This is an embroidery done by Mary Queen of Scots while she was imprisoned at Hardwick.
(Apparently she passed the time making 'thank you' embroideries for many of her captors..)

As well as the formal 17th Century rooms, the National Trust shows how the rooms were lived in until the mid 1950s...

... and the gardens were a great place to stretch our legs before we finished our 'Motorway Marathon' back to Worcester.

I hope that you are all having a good weekend.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

A Weekend in Wells....

Last weekend Mark and I took ourselves off to Wells - 'England's smallest city'.
We stayed at 'Beryl', an early-Victorian 'Gentleman's Residence' on the edge of the Mendip Hills and about a mile from the city centre.
The style of the B+B is best described as 'Tyntesfield' meets 'Wealthy Maiden Aunt'..
This was our bedroom.. (with the addition of my bear, Helen)
..and this was the view from our sizable bathroom, through the dressing room area, and back to the door of our attic suite.

This is a detail of the wall paper (VERY National Trust darlings!)

..and here's the front of the house from the lawns.
I wish that I'd taken more photos of the interiors.
There were three sitting rooms for guests (the bar, the drawing room and the snug)
Tea and home-made cake was served in the snug every afternoon.
The banana cake on Saturday afternoon was delicious!!
We explored the Bishop's Palace..'s beautiful gardens with gorgeous views of the cathedral..

We stared at the spectacular West Front of the cathedral..

and took endless photos of the clean dramatic lines of the Nave..

This 14th Century 'scissor arch' looks modern -
especially with the modern altar front and 20th Century furniture..

...but everything around the cathedral is 'seriously old'.
The chimneys in this picture were added to the houses in the 1470s!!!

For cat lovers like us, Wells is full of furry feline friends...
This is Maisie, the 'Bishops Palace Cat', surveying her domain from
the entrance to the Bishops Chapel.

This is Louis, the 'Cathedral Cat'.
He has had a book written about him and he's obviously had lots of adventures -
but he's an old cat now and spends most of his days in a nice warm shopping basket in a corner of the cathedral shop...

Back to school this week... for the last seven week stint.
I've received a pretty manic e-mail yesterday from one of the Assistant Heads who thinks it's a good idea to go for the 'Platinum' Arts Award.
More work.... more collection of data and evidence and yet another format...Grrrrr...!
Sadly "the end is not quite nigh enough"!!!
Never mind, I have lovely weekend memories to sustain me..