Monthly Archives: August 2013

A whole new era begins…

I am quite exhausted and am about to wander off for an early night, but need to make note of the following.

  • When I am whinging about waiting twenty minutes for a bus, I am to remember that I used to commute for an average of three and a half hours a day. Today’s commute, including the twenty minute wait was a total of forty three minutes. It’s likely to be under thirty minutes regularly.
  • No-one in this place ever knew me as who I used to be. That is remarkably liberating.
  • The alarm at 7.00 a.m. was most blissful in comparison to the 5.30 a.m. of years gone by.
  • I am hugely grateful to the tutors who taught me to love their curriculum area and to be enthusiastic about it. They have contributed to me being able to do this new job.
  • Being home before 5.00 p.m. on a regular basis is going to be a revelation!

On the whole, this is a good move all round, methinks. But, I am very sleepy!

Thirty years on.

So, I scared myself and a good number of other people today by announcing it was thirty years since I received my A Level results.

They were what I needed to get to where I was intending to go at the time, so I wasn’t too bothered about them being really quite poor results. I was more annoyed by the complete failure in my Music A Level, after getting a good solid B grade at O Level. Consultation with the other 50% of the group (yep, there were just the two of us!) led us both to conclude we’d not had a good two years of teaching, with one honourable exception out of the nine teachers we’d had, the exams had been absolutely awful and nothing like we were expecting, so the results were probably quite fair, we didn’t need the A Level to get to where we were aiming, (me into education, she into nursing) so pursuing the appeals procedure was likely to be a waste of time, effort and money. I didn’t do it, and neither did she.

I was still accepted onto a course where I spent 50% of my time on Music. I’d fulfilled the requirements for that through my audition, my instrumental grade results and my interview. My other two A Levels, in French and General Studies, gave me the results I needed for the other 50% in Education.

My best result was in General Studies… an exam for which we were not prepared, which we all took as a matter of course, and which relied mostly on our own interests and general knowledge.

French.. well, the one year of post A Level work I did killed all love I had of the language. I’ve often intended to revive my ability to read and speak French, but to this day, I’ve rarely had the inclination, apart from the occasional week in France or with groups of French speakers.

But, Music has remained. For a few years, music teaching was my sole form of income, and organ playing and the ability to play the piano has probably shaped my current pattern of life almost more than any other skill I have.

30 years ago, my intention was to become a primary school teacher. I will never regret that decision, as it led me to where I am now, but I have never used that training in the way for which it was intended.

I do still work in education, but in ways I never envisaged and could not have done so as the roles I’ve been fulfilling in recent years just did not exist. In fact, towards the end of the time of my initial training I was firmly told I had no people skills, should aim for nothing higher than working in Woolworth’s (just as well I ignored that piece of well-meant, but brutal advice) and certainly had no talent or aptitude for working with teenagers, and I was never to think of doing so, when I tentatively suggested I might be training for the wrong age range. Um, we all now beg to differ, me, my current employers, hopefully my future employers, and the many teenagers I have worked with and for over the last 20 or more years. (Well, OK, some of teenagers may well agree with the original advice!)

Maybe one day, I’ll try that Music A Level again.. just to prove to myself I can!!

Small victories….

but very satisfying ones.

The new lunch box has been tracked down and purchased. This has not been without angst. I went along to the emporium that I bought the last one from (2.2 litre clip-lid plastic food storage box. Perfect size, and my standard lunch fits it in beautifully.) as it’s a major player in the supermarkets around here… well, they’d got the box, but they’d gone and compartmentalised it. I didn’t want compartments!! Yes, the little dividers were removable, but there were ridges to put them back into. They would leave marks on my cakes the days I used the lunch box as a cake box.

Five different branches of this lot did I try, including the biggest one I’d ever been in and all to no avail. They were all compartmentalised at that size. Obviously they agreed with me it was perfect lunch box size, but I disagreed it needed a little extra help to make it a perfect lunch box. So, to the stifled giggles of my shopping companion that day, I declared war. They may have gone and messed about with my perfect lunch box, but I wasn’t giving up….

It’s slightly different dimensions, and an extra 0.3 litres of capacity, but I now have the lunch box replacement. (The clip lid was broken on the old one, and I had fears of the cracks harbouring nasty germs after two episodes of not wellness.) moreover, I did not have to purchase a set of eight clip-lid boxes of varying capacities, of which I would probably only ever use about three. Hooray for the small independent “stock almost anything in the household line” shops still in existence..

So, that was the first small victory of the week.

In other victories..

  • I have been for a haircut, and like it.
  • I don’t have to do any supervising of tree removal and fence replacing whilst still on annual leave.
  • I am successfully ignoring the e-mails which are church work related. (I must set up a separate e-mail account for those, methinks.)
  • I am managing not to panic too much about impending changes.
  • I have got through the long list of minuscule tasks which have been piling up for weeks, but about which I have been procrastinating very successfully. (Yes, most of them only took a couple of minutes…)
  • I have had a proper rest from music stuff purely by not getting the piano out of its box and reassembling it!

Another 3 days of mooching, and I will feel like I’ve really managed a decent, relaxing couple of weeks.



Contemplating the new phase

I appear to have been and gone and done it well and truly this time. It’s all change on Planet Japes.

New job starts in 4 weeks, providing all the paperwork goes through (and there is no reason why not, both referees are prepared, and I have a recent DSB certificate which will help.)

I went for the interview, felt reasonably confident afterwards that I’d not done at all badly even if I wasn’t totally convinced I’d answered the safeguarding questions at all well. I was told that I’d get a letter, one way or the other, hopefully by the end of that week. So, I dismissed it all from my mind, resumed normal day to day working and commuting, and threw myself into the July/August task of Reordering the Filing Cabinets, and muttering dark and dreadful thoughts about people who can’t fill in basic paperwork.

Friday came and went, Saturday post came and went, Sunday I started getting grumpy and stroppy. I leave home before the post arrives, so knew nothing doing until Monday evening. As nothing had materialised by Monday evening I’d talked myself into it being a “No” and on Tuesday joined in the conversations about start of year plans, dodged the pressure to sign up for a particular short course and prepared myself for 19 days off work.

I arrived home on Tuesday evening to a phone message – could I call back regarding my interview. I still convinced myself this was a “No” and just a courtesy call to say I’d done OK, but not this time. I was already getting up reasonably early on the Wednesday, as I had booked a van for 48 hours… a combination of piano transporting, trip to the tip, and the Heavy, Awkward, and/or Unlikely to Go Off For the Next Year Items Annual Shopping trip. Oh, plus a quick trip into current work place with a pile of book friendly cardboard boxes for a colleague who was in sudden and urgent need of them. 

9.15 a.m. was my declared time for phoning. Gives the nice HR person time to get into the office, and not feel hassled by the phone, or so I thought. 9.04 a.m. my phone goes… and I am being offered the job! And, um, they’d been trying to get hold of me since Monday. ( I managed not to say what I thought, which was “Why on earth didn’t you leave a message then?”)

9.15 a.m. saw me phoning into my current job to forewarn my line manager not only was I bringing in the boxes, but that job I’d told her I was applying for, and thought I stood little chance of getting, I’d been and gone and got, so I’d be bringing in my resignation letter. Which, for many reasons was the kind thing to do, and gave her a chance to vent and get used to the idea before I got there two hours later.

I am on Annual Leave for most of my notice period, and only have four more working days left in old job, and more vitally, only four more commuting days. For, the most immediate impact on my life will be the fact the train companies will no longer be getting £167.90 most months from me. I will be going to new job by one bus, and that bus pass is already in place, and has been since I realised it made sense with the organ playing work. I could even walk if I felt so inclined, and I may well bus to work and walk home on nice days. When I readjusted the figures on my budgeting spreadsheet, the difference was staggeringly apparent. I had to redo them to check my eyes were not deceiving me.

The other massive difference will be time regained. I will not be spending the equivalent of 31 full days a year in transit. My travelling time will be less than a quarter of what I currently do. I can do things in the evenings, I will be able to get up at a more reasonable hour. I won’t have to take half days to get to appointments late afternoon…

Oh yes, it’s a whole new phase on Planet Japes.