Monthly Archives: July 2010

The suspense…

probably should be more than it is, but I’m not getting really excited until tomorrow night. For such is the joy of my working life that I could be finishing tomorrow or the day after, the jury’s out temporarily. I don’t mind which, other than I’ve stated firmly I want to know before I come home tomorrow night. Because I’m not travelling into work the day after to find there is none!

So either tomorrow or the day after sees the end of what has been Quite a Year!! In more ways than one!

This time last year I was surrounded by packing boxes, not sure of anything except change was going to happen. There have been more changes than even I had imagined, more moving than I wanted, and more uncertainty than is really good for me.

This time this year… well, there’s still loads of change in the offing, I have no real idea about what paid employment will be like after the end of this week, I’ve no idea how long I’m likely to be living where I am – it’s likely to be the next few years, but could be only another few months. But, the change in me is huge. I’m much, much more settled, and feel as if I’m becoming the person I’ve always thought I was meant to be, not the one I was in danger of becoming.

I will temporarily be returning to the world I’ve left. I’m not certain at the moment if it’s a good idea, several of my friends think I’m completely mad. Only one understands why I’m doing it! I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do, it’s what I would’ve been doing around now if I’d not chosen a different path, and this will be an appropriate way of rounding off that period of my life. I’m glad that there is clarity about one major issue that hadn’t been particularly clear until about a fortnight ago, that will make the few days so much easier. There’s no “technical” status about it now, it is definite.

Hopefully, by the time I return, some of the day to day uncertainties will have cleared up!

Quiet, pottering about at home days

Such days do not necessarily lend themselves to interesting blogging material, but I’m not inclined to let such a minor matter stop me!

So, just because today’s “To-Do” list looks identical to the “To-Do” list for the last few days, does not mean it’s been a wasted few days, though I’m not entirely looking forwards to the possible consequences of my sloth, if consequences there will be. (There may not be…) Still, I am a grown-up, and can deal with these matters.

I learnt a long time ago that I occasionally need times of doing nothing, and more importantly that it is not wasted time. It looks it! I know so well how it looks. It frustrates me, and it frustrates others. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve berated myself with “Now, if you’d just got on with X, Y or Z…”. when a task I’ve procrastinated over for weeks only takes ten minutes (or a few hours) and I’m surprised at how little time it’s taken.

Sometimes, my seeming inefficiency turns into spectacularly looking efficiency.

Sometimes, I’ve needed the pondering time to find the best way to do the job.

Sometimes, what’s seemed to have been so important and urgent when the job comes my way actually, um, isn’t really.

Sometimes, the “nothingness” produces enough motivation and get up and go to get whatever it was sorted in record time.

Sometimes, yes, I make a complete mess of it all and really do vow to amend my procrastinating ways.

So, I’ve done little for days now, except read, sleep, eat, wander to church and back home again, and listen to music. I can’t quite feel the surge of “Get up and get on with it, Japes” that I was hoping for after this spell – but just about enough to do what I need to do before tomorrow!!

Ironing done until September

Only of good work clothes, I hasten to add. I have two kinds of work clothes – the uniform t-shirt and good jeans or smart trousers, depending on the day’s plan. I don’t need the good set of clothes until September now, so they have been duly washed, checked that they are still good work clothes, and ironed and put away!

Then, there are the clothes that don’t really matter, so if I get oil, or paint, or cooking splashes and stains on them, (despite PPE) I won’t be concerned. As long as I’m wearing my staff badge, and I am identifiable as a Responsible Adult, all will be well. (OK – Responsible, and Adult in the same sentence as Japes may be a stretch of the imagination..)

Despite the fact I’ve still got a few days still to go into work, Thursday had a certain de-mob happy feel about it. Might have been the excessive quantity of cakes we ate, or the fact we had the whole of one of the volunteer teams of young people I work with in the same place for once, (rarely happens) including those who have already moved on, or are about to move on, as well as the adults who work with them. In addition we also had a good number of interested Other Adults, who’d been invited to help us celebrate a Significant Occasion.

It was interesting watching the dynamics, and how much growing up has been done this past year. Watching the most mature of our youngsters shyly taking her place as an adult in an adult gathering, beginning to realise that she’s perfectly capable of holding her own in discussions, and seeing her face light up as people responded to her as an equal. She’s heard it from us time and again, but only really began to believe it when it’s happening with people she doesn’t know! Persuading some of our more socially inept youngsters to go and talk to people other than their peers, and seeing them manage it – again to their surprise.

I’ll miss those who are moving on, they’ve been a big part of the last two years, but it’s more than right that they do. The fruits of all our labour are beginning to show. They’re as ready as can be for whatever the world has for them..

And, I’m clean, ready and sorted for next years challenges!! It’s been quite a week.

Things I Have Learnt Today

Today was almost One Of Those Days at work.. but a good one in the end. My work can be very boring, (and I’m an easily bored person,) but just when I wonder why I do it, something happens to remind me (and my employers) why I’m the right person for the job!!

Sometimes, I need to practice what I talk about with those I work with.

I need a holiday! Only five more days at Place of Work, and 10 days working from home to go, though.

I have remembered why marmalade was removed from the Japes’ repertoire of Favourite Things To Eat on an Almost Daily Basis. Once the current jar is finished, I won’t be replacing it, unless I have guests.

There will be lots of cake tomorrow.

Vegetarian Cooked Breakfasts are yummy.

Wearing steel toe capped boots all day is tiring for the Japes’ feet, and wearing other shoes for the commute is advisable.

Those of my work colleagues who find my approach to my work unconventional are beginning to realise it works for me, and, far more importantly, those with whom I work.

I really don’t have to. I just don’t, and if that’s too cryptic for you, I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.

Why the new BBC Website makes me giggle

Because it did, madly, and it was impossible to explain at work why I was laughing at it and saying I was a trend setter years ago.

I was also delighted to find thinking about a phase of my life that was really painful no longer has the power to stir me up to outrage any more.

Once upon a time, I took on the onerous responsibility for updating a website. The previous incumbent of the job had flounced off, after a few months, and the incumbent before that had very unexpectedly done his final flounce this side of heaven. I was left with one heck of a mess to clear up, and sort out, which took me a long, long time. I’d no real experience, no real inclination for the job other than a determination to get the mess sorted… such delights as the over 240 orphan pages floating in cyber space I suddenly discovered one day, when I’d already thought the 700+ I knew about were more than enough to be going on with… and the spelling mistakes… oh, the spelling mistakes. Then there was the lack of consistency of style.

It kept me going through another period of stress, and kept me occupied. Getting information from people to keep it up to date was like extracting blood from stones, especially as most of those who I was dealing with (a) did not see the point of the internet, (b) thought this was just another of my peculiarities and was I spending too much time with Young People again (c) were not prepared to let me have adequate internet access or money to do a reasonable job!

Anyway, why that all came to a horrid end is not for public viewing.

Why the BBC Website makes me giggle is for public consumption, though! Taking away the graphics (as that just wasn’t my strong point), the way the pages are laid out, and the sizing of the fonts especially the subtitles and main texts are almost identical to what I was doing. And I was told it wasn’t just wasn’t good enough.

Well, as far as I’m concerned if it’s good enough now for the BBC, they must have been taking notes from me five years ago!! Yippee. Shame I’ve not kept a copy of what I did to compare.

‘s not fair!!

Mental and emotional energy have returned, along with motivation, and enthusiasm…

Physical energy has plummeted to rock bottom, however, and I am horribly suspicious that by morning I will have a ricochetting temperature, and achy all over symptoms. I’ve hints of both now. Alas, this occasionally happens after a period of emotional stress – that clears, and my body informs me it needs a rest, and does it the only way it knows, by getting ill.

I thought I’d managed to side-step it by having had a fairly lazy three days, and thought this afternoon’s long nap was quite unjustified, even after the provocation of “Walk in the Light” sung way too slowly, and so painfully correctly according to the musical notation.

Ah well, I’ve taken all the necessary precautions, and just hope it’s cleared enough by the morning.

Adventures of a Former Cyclist

Once upon a time, I cycled a lot. Mostly for travelling to school, work or church purposes.

I began my career on a red bike, one which had a back-pedalling brake. Nearly failed me my Cycling Proficiency test did that, but I won through on the grounds it wasn’t my fault I had that, and that I was pretty proficient!

I progressed to a light blue shopper bike, with a basket on the front, and room on the back for school bag and clarinet to be firmly strapped on! This one saw me through secondary school, through the moody teenage years of wanting to be alone a lot, (which I achieved by exploring almost every inch of the town I lived in by walking or cycling) and more importantly through the two years I did a paper round. Well, apart from the six weeks when I had a broken arm.. best we don’t discuss the idiocies of the Patrol Leader falling over the guy-line of the flag pole she’d just mended. I earned that Knotter’s Badge on the strength of the strength of those knots… pity about the six weeks off piano practice, and PE. (No, cancel that last one. I did mind about piano, but not PE!)

I had a few years off, through sixth form and higher education, but returned to cycling for the first few years of my working life – bus fares being extortionate, and buses irregular. Similar blue bike, named Johann. (Johann Sebastian Bike for Sundays.) Well, I was earning my living teaching music, and doing a little bit of organ playing.

Again a few more years and onto my stint as a London Cyclist. Well, an East End Cyclist. And, on to my third blue shopper bike. I certainly wasn’t brave enough to venture too far… work and church being the extent of my bravery. But that bravery did include the Mile End Road for church, as I was the organist for a church on a little island in the middle of the Mile End Road. Made for slightly noisy services, as the Mile End Road streamed either side, and the Blackwall Tunnel approach road was to the back of the church.

I hated the Mile End Road. Especially after the couple of shunting episodes by cars whose drivers did not consider I had any right to be there. And, nearly 20 years ago, I would not have dreamed of cycling on the pavement. My only pleasant experiences were coming home from Midnight Mass, when public transport had stopped, and lorries were virtually non-existent. Then, the road was positively pleasant.

Then, there were the lock stealing episodes! I worked mornings only at a primary school, and could never find someone to let me and my bike out of the locked car park at lunch time. So, I locked the bike up to the school railings outside the car park, and after the third lock was stolen decided walking to school was better.. and also took to going to church by bus. One day, one of those shunting episodes was going to cause me damage!

I had one last attempt at cycling, a few years later, in New Zealand. This was the end of my cycling career, as this was when my dodgy knees decided to declare their dodginess, and I was medically advised to give up!!

The End.

They mean well…

Oh my goodness me.

Somewhere, somehow, in family folklore, I have been assigned this role of hapless, eccentric, elderly female relative (can’t pin it down to any one – this was after an afternoon out with three generations!) who can’t cope with real life, who is on a totally different planet…. (well, possibly that last one is true!)

So, as my aunt and I were settled, by our younger relatives, into a quiet corner of a coffee shop whilst the rest of the gang sidled off to continue the shopping, we looked at each other, spluttered, and said in unison “They mean well!” They had done their duty by me, had asked all the questions they wanted to ask, but it was time to put me back in my box as this really weird relation who gets let out to play on the family arena occasionally, as and when they can cope. They had to go back to their realities, because mine is just too, too peculiar.

We had a long conversation about it all, my aunt and I.. and it is true, my siblings and cousins and I have always had totally different outlooks on almost everything. Different values, different interests, different lives. I’ve had so many times of being told I needed to try harder to fit in with everyone else, that it was me at fault if I wasn’t a part of family events, I was the “different” one, I was the one who had to adapt and learn. So, keeping away and limiting time with family has been my way of coping.

What made me feel so much better about it all was the admission from her that actually it’s not been me that’s put myself outside the family circle, as I’ve been told on so many occasions, in fact, I’ve been put there and kept there. It’s suited my family very well not to try to engage with the reality of my world. It’s not been lack of effort on my part, it’s been lack of effort on theirs.

I don’t think outwardly things will change, but there are little signs all round that a bit more effort that isn’t all mine might be made!!

This could be a tricky one…


The good news is I’m not expected to be part of the whole day shopping trip for my female relations, I have been informed my presence is only required at the lunch stop. Apparently the consensus was taking me on their quest for posh frocks would not enhance the experience for any of us. It’s an excellent point! I believe the two younger members of this group have also been informed they are on their own until lunch-time, too.

The bad news was trying to arrange to meet up! My points of reference in the city centre are clearly unique… churches, bookshops, library, railway and coach station. All of which drew a blank with my relations. Well, not the one railway station they will be using, but they don’t want to walk back to there to meet me! They then listed numerous clothes shops. My inability to say confidently I knew where they were has confirmed them in their decision to arrange to meet me at lunch time. I took a lot of rude comments for not knowing the city in which I live… I decided not to point out I do know the main city centre really well, I’ve worked there, this is my fifth year of living in this city… but I rarely, if ever, go into the shopping centre where all the expensive shops are!! Especially since the demise of the bookshop I did occasionally visit.

The somewhat irritating part of it all is I arranged to have today as a day off, which took a bit of doing, and refused to change it for something else I’d much rather have done. Oh well, my reward will be in heaven, possibly…..

Three Day Weekend!

Joy and happiness.

This is a kind of mini break before the real holiday fortnight or three weeks from mid-August. I have seven more work days on work premises, and 12/15 working from home days to get in, but until mid-September, time becomes much more my own.

I am so looking forwards to the cutting back on the travelling for this next couple of months, especially as for all of the remaining days I can go in a little later, and catch the one train a day in the work-wards direction which is a through train. (It’s such a treat!)

Dith and Ian, I can only attribute the resumption of near-normal service to the fact one very large layer of uncertainty has been removed. In fact, the main phase I’ve been going through since the start of this blog has finally come to an end, but there was no telling exactly when that was going to happen. Decision had been formally made, the process was under way, but I could’ve been waiting for the final confirmation for some time to come yet. It was a three part process, and anyone of three people not being in the right place at the right time could’ve delayed things even further.

I’ve not quite resumed normal service in real life yet. I’m waiting for two people who I want to know the news first to be told, (as they’ve been over and above supportive through this past two years), then I will be sending out those letters and e-mails! My immediate work colleagues know, but as I keep work friends and private life friends very separate, I know they don’t know these two friends of mine.

I think had I not also been going through huge uncertainty about work as well as in other areas of my life, I might not have felt such a need to isolate myself quite so thoroughly. The work stuff is still not quite resolved, but I’m assured it will be soon.

Tomorrow was going to be an all day shopping trip with relations, but they have just rung to suggest I just meet them for lunch. Which I’m quite relieved about… I’m not really into shopping for dresses!!