Monthly Archives: September 2012

Am I quite mad?!

So, sometime in the summer, I accepted the post of organist at a church I’d not been going to, but knew of. I’m due to start that soon, with Harvest Festival.

I’d anticipated a work timetable similar to last years, as I already knew I was highly likely to be returning to the same curriculum area. But, I was not anticipating one of the lowest level groups, and therefore, several hours a week of time with students outside lessons, waiting for them in the morning, and seeing them to their transport home in the evenings.

So, I have 35 hours a week of solid contact time. This is partly because we have a staff crisis… as we always do at this stage of the year, and partly because we didn’t anticipate my student to be quite so needy. One day, I would like those who work in education in our government to shadow me for a week, and then try to do my job, on my salary, for a term. As I was heard to say yesterday, in a moment of frustration with moving goalposts, mixed messages and impossible demands from a hierarchy who have never worked in a classroom, “I love my job, I enjoy my students, I work well with my colleagues, but boy oh boy, do I hate the politics.”

I’ve also got what I’d always dreaded this year – a group of giggly girls. However, I seem to be making better progress with them than I thought I might. I work well with naughty boys, but I appear to have a very well behaved group of them this year.  The girls are intent on educating me in matters of fashion and music. I’ve not had the heart to tell them generations of teenagers have tried, and failed. They will learn to accept me as I am, as I accept them as they are… mysteries as we are to each other.

So, combining what is now a real full time job, hours-wise, with a Sunday commitment at a level I’ve not done for three years or more, and the hellish commute does seem to be a little insane. Luckily, I’ve got a month of term to get the full time work off to a good start, before picking up the Sundays.

Whilst it’s all going to be a bit hectic time-wise, what I’d not banked on was, when I’m in practice, how much music energises me. More and more, I am grateful I have the piano at home, and will be able to have regular access to a church and organ. For, that will also be a huge help. I have missed having a church I feel at home in, and a church where I can  just go in to pray.

I’m also now in my fifth year of the main job kind of work, and tiring as it can be, when it’s going well it feels less and less like “work” and more like fun. (Yes, despite the ridiculousness of this past week, and the heavy load of hours, it’s still fun when it’s going well.) So, ultimately, I think the combination will work. I am going to have to be strict about my off time, though.

Mind you, I’d not expected last nights nightmares about muddled hymn lists, confused mass settings, and my feet not able to reach the pedals. (They do, it’s the best organ I’ve ever played for that one.) I am going to make cake as an antidote!

Godmotherly duties

The invention of social media, particularly the Chat in Facebook, is a boon and a blessing to this particular godmother! It certainly makes the keeping in touch with my godsons a much simpler task than it used to be. It’s been enormously helpful in maintaining a relationship with them at times when it was difficult or impossible for me to do anything about visiting them.

I did a deal with the godfather of my godsons. He would do presents, I would do the God stuff… We struck this deal at the baptism of the elder godson, and reiterated it at the baptism of the younger. (My godsons are brothers.) We have, on the whole, over the last eighteen years stuck to this simple, but effective division of labour. We continue to reckon the other has the worst half of the deal!

We’ve had  discussions which covered such wide ranging issues as how to deal with forceful evangelists (the boy did well – I was deeply impressed at his simple but effectively direct approach), how to forgive those with unacceptable (to godson) world views, why are there so many different translations of the Bible, and why is it so confusing being a Christian. Mind you, this is the child who once woke me up at 6.00 a.m. to ask about the Trinity, because he was confused. I think I told him then it was confusing, I was confused and it was more than OK to be confused, and we agreed to carry on reading whichever our current reading aloud book was instead.



Didn’t quite go to plan…

The summer, that is! I was going to do lots and lots of piano practice,  finish the decorating, give the house a thorough clean and do a certain amount of gardening. Maybe even beginning to tackle the Bottom of the Garden. Normally, we do not speak of this. I keep muttering it is all a good security device.

I did do lots of piano practice. I think it’s fair to say I’ve re-established the habit of practising again.. maybe not as strongly as it should be, but it’s getting there.

The decorating, frankly, didn’t happen. It can wait a little longer.

The garden did sort of happen, but my landlady had other plans. Unfortunately when was convenient for her, was not for me, but what she wanted doing had to happen, and I worked around it. (It’s mostly why the decorating didn’t happen – when I’d planned to do it was the only time she could do what she wanted in the garden,  Not aided by the fact I wanted to finish the gloss work in the kitchen, and access to the garden only happens through the kitchen…And, of course, it all took longer than she’d optimistically kept telling me it would……. oh, you get the idea.)

The house did get a jolly good clean, mostly. That could have been for two reasons. The first is because I lost a bank statement, and in turning the house upside down to find it, cleaned various places out. The second  is I’ve had several house guests.

On the other hand, I got away a couple of times, I slept lots, I have the most detailed spreadsheet for dealing with work hours next year. (The hours debacle is, again, one of those matters of which we do not speak. It did not make for a restful month of July. Suffice it to say, I was right. )

I am deeply miffed that the weather is now glorious, when I return to term time work.

In many ways, the new timetable is a lovely one and gives me some leeway when I’m likely to need it next year. There is a huge amount of practical work, and a lot less classroom based work. I will be returning some PPE to the office. I’ll need aprons, but have decided I’d rather use my own, as I do with boots and overalls, as I will use them at home. I have some reservations about some of the work, but need to see how it goes.

But, I am going to have a lazy rest of the weekend now, and enjoy it!