The Only Place Where ”Success” Comes Before “Work”

The Only Place Where ”Success” Comes Before “Work”

Off to Paris!

Am off to Paris again in the morning- this time I'm staying at the hotel Europe saint severin- usually stay at hotel des grands balcons. But this one looks equally charming and even better situated in my favourite part of the city. Am hoping to find much free wifi so that I can keep in touch with people and maybe even do a bit of blogging (defo some twittering at least!)

Think though I am deeply in love Paris and can't wait to see it again!


Saw Changeling last night- thanks to lovefilm I'm getting through a fair few films I doubt I would ever have seen, and happily I'm liking them, so all good good!

Changeling tells the true story about mother Caroline Collins who discovers her son Walter has gone missing whilst she was working. It's 1928 in the time when people didn't wrap up their kids in cotton wool as much as they do now. (I think I'll talk about that a bit more later on.)

When she returns home from work, she discovers Walter has gone missing. Several months later the police tell her they have found her son and reunite them- the only problem is, it's not her son at all. The police try to tell her that he's obviously changed over the months - they are anxious to get people to believe they are doing their job well. Therefore when Caroline goes to the press to publicly declare the boy is not her son, they are quick to say she is not sound of mind and ship her off to a mental hospital.

This is not an easy or light hearted film and in the first half hour you wonder how it's ever going to get going. But the treatment of patients at the mental hospital and the subsequent revelation of what happened to Walter make for more gripping stuff and Angelina Jolie injects a wealth of feeling into the role of Caroline. From the outset the colours of the film are the muted browns and greys associated with the early 1930s but this helps to evoke the era quite well.

I enjoyed Changeling- it wasn't an easy or particularly pleasant film, and was nothing like I expected it to be. But it is an important story to be told, especially given that the events were real.

As for wrapping up children in cotton wool nowadays, I'm totally against it. Yes the world moves at a far faster pace today than even in the 1980s when I grew up, and yes there undoubtedly some bad people around, but surely there always have been. When I was a child I would play out all day, riding my bike around the neighbourhood and even going off to make dens in fields and woods. Today it would be almost unthinkable for many parents to let their children out on their own or to leave them at home on their own.

What problems does thsi create though? As a teacher I have seen many of these problems. The children (and teenagers too) tend to be highly reliant upon their parents to do everything for them and have low skills of independence. This can also translate into their schoolwork when they expet it a to be done for them. Children nowadays spend much of their time cooped up playing on their X Boxes or Playstations, probably becuase they have never properly learned how to play outside or because their parents have never let them. And on school trips the amount of children who have never learned to cross a road properly becuase their parents have always done it for them is quite shocking. These children have no concept of risk becuase they have spent their entire pampered lives wrapped up in cotton wool, and when they reach the world of adulthood they are going to get one big huge shock. The only thing is, mummy and daddy will probably be there then too to pick up the pieces once again.


Bleurgh- have succumbed to the dreaded lurgy. Not at all pleasant! As a teacher I do seem to be struck down more than your average civilian on the street. I guess it's to do with the fact that I come into contact with hundreds of bug fuelled children everyday and so it's probably inevitable that I will pick up a few here and there. But I'm enjoying the duvetness of it all. For the last couple of days all I've wanted to do is get an early night with my warm snuggly hot water bottle and read my Sherlock Holmes books. I never really knew much about Sherlock Holmes before but I'm addicted now! The stories aren't too long so you can plough your way through them quite easily and they are written in a fairly easy-to-read manner too. I'm quite gripped! So far I've read 'A Study in Scarlet' and I'm reading now 'The Sign of Four' which I hope to finish later today. If you're interested, go to where you can get the entire Penguin Sherlock Holmes set for £9.99 - bargain!


Just found this little video whilst Stumbling. It's very weird, very creepy, quirky but somewhat lovely too! Take 5 minutes time out and watch it!

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

Under the Weather/Chuck

Not feeling the best today. Made an effort to get out of the house - went on an expedition to Tesco to stock up on supplies (though the people in there were even more annoying than ever - wandering about with their eyes closed and ramming me with their trolleys - I can only blame it on the snow). The roads still weren't brilliant - some of them had been gritted and were mostly fine, though still had snowy patches at the sides which could be quite slippy. And I was almost shocked at how snowy Tesco car park still was - and how slippy - a compensation claim just waiting to happen methinks.

Anyway, it's been nice to have another day off school. though I have been feeling a bit dizzy, sore throat, aching etc. My grandma did make me feel better by giving me some of her "magic pills" and a hot water bottle. But the thought of probably going back to school on Monday doesn't exactly fill me with joy. I will have my worst class TWICE in one day. And the thought of getting there actually does scare me. I'd much rather stay at home, although I have realised that I'm getting a bit bored now, and if this was my entire life, for example if I was unemployed (and had no money to spend and was being nagged to get a job) then I probably would be quite miserable. If there's one thing that school does do, it provides a contrast - makes you appreciate the holidays you do get, and it's not all bad I guess!

And now to Chuck.

Probably one of my favourite programmes I've seen in a long time. I started watching it because I was lucky enough to go on the set of the Buy More when we visited Warner in LA last year (they would have been filming the second series which I've just finished watching). If you have never seen it before, it tells the story of a geek who works in an Electronics store (the BuyMore), who is emailed "the intersect" - all the information from a top secret government computer which has been destryoyed. It gets stuck in his head and causes him to have flashes whenever he sees anything linked with that information. He is tracked down by Sarah and Casey, CIA and NSA spies, whose job it is to protect him and use him and his "flashes" to assist in their spy work. In the meantime, Chuck must continue the pretence of his everyday life, and we see many comic scenes with his friends in the BuyMore and with his sister at home.

It's a programme that has an awful lot in it - comedy, drama, all the action and gadgetry of spy movies, a bit of romance. And it really does make you think about all those real life spies and who and where they might be. If you have never seen it before, I highly recommend it and can't wait for Series 3 to come out on DVD!

And the snow goes on!

Still off school today and unofficially we're meant to be tomorrow too. Have just been on a walk to the shop- the snow here is still quite white and crisp and easy to walk on though there were some very slippy parts of pavements. Saw some really pretty views though- the fields on the way back looked very picturesque.

Also saw some yellow snow by a lamppost which made me laugh and made me think about the good advice about never eating yellow snow.

On the news now they're talking about temperatures of -20 tonight. It does make me wonder though- are we hopefully inadequate in dealing with a couple of inches of snow in this country? Are we all soft and health and safety obsessed? Or is it that we don't have the necessary infrastructure because this kind of weather is relatively rare here? Or is it just bad? My theory is that it's probably a mixture of all those things.

Snow Day Number Two

Hoorah! Another snow day! We got the phone call yesterday afternoon, so last night it almost felt like the holidays again to know I didn't have to get up early in the morning and could have a lie in watching Jermey Kyle! In fact, my alarm went off at 6.25 as usual (I wanted to have the joy of not having to get up) and it really did feel like the middle of the night. I was so relieved to be able to roll over and go back to sleep, though I did have some really weird dreams.

I've been thinking about this snow day phenomenon and have some theories about it. I've been at my school now for 6 years and it has snowed a few times in those years. There has always been talk of snow days, but so far it has never actually happened. So what is different this time?

I believe that the heavy snow over the Christmas period has firstly influenced things. Even though most of us didn't actually have to go out much because we were on holiday, we did experience, either first hand, or on the news, the problems that heavy snow can cause. And we know how much easier it is (and nicer) to just be able to stay at home, wrapped up warm and cosy.

Secondly, I think the memory of that holiday has been important. Nobody wanted to go back to work on Monday and getting up and going in on Monday morning was actually quite painful. Therefore, the opportunity to not have to do it on Tuesday was snapped up all too easily - we WANTED to stay in bed, and we were given the chance to. Had it been a few days or weeks later, we would have been back into our routines and most likely would have soldiered on into school or work.

And I think the third influence for this mass snow day has been peer pressure. A handful of schools initially announced they were closing yesterday, and were soon followed by a whole lot more. The schools that did go in mostly seemed to finish early, and almost all the schools in the area are closed today. I expect that many of them have looked at other schools in the area, and even if they would have liked to sty open, they may have felt the pressure to close "because everyone else was" and therefore it may have increased the perceived risk to pupils and staff. Had fewer schools closed yeaterday, perhaps more would be open today because there was less pressure to close.

And now I expect there has been a knock-on effect. Many parents are having to take the day off to look after their children. In addition, some employees are genuinely unable to get to work safely. This may that those employees who can get to work arrive to find their workplace closed, or they decide that they will have a day off because everyone else is. It would appear that Britain is enjoying an extended Christmas holiday - partly because of the snow, but also because everybody was so desperately eager not to go back to work. I wonder how long it will last?

Snow Day

The best day ever! Was feeling so depressed about being back at school But the best thing was that at 7am this morning I got a phone call to say school was closed because of the snow. The funny thing is that there isn't even much snow here (though it has snowed more this morning) though apparently there is quite a bit near school. So far I have had a lie in, then made a hearty vegetatble soup for lunch (onions, carrots, swede, potato, celery, tomatoes, garlic and herbs). Am trying to write some reports now and will do some marking this afternoon which is a bit of a bonus because it means I get to do lots of work when I should really be teaching. Is it too much to hope for that school will be closed as well tomorrow, or is that just being greedy?

Sinking feeling :-(

I think tomorrow may well be the most depressing day of the year. All of the Christmas joy and festivity has disappeared (any decorations that are still left up now look rather pathetic and dated - a sad reminder of how much fun we were all having 2 weeks ago). Cold Turkey has set in with new diets, abstaining from alcohol and all those other resolutions. The weather is cold and bleak (well it is in England anyway) and Christmas is a whole year away. If all that's not bad enough, it's back to work for most people in the morning. I know some people have been working away all through the Christmas period, and others have already gone back, but looking at my friends' glum facebook status' it would appear that it's the big day tomorrow for most.

So what will get us all through waking up at some ungodly hour? Well in the past it has been ordering huge quantities of goodies on etsy, watching Celebrity Big Brother (due to start just now on Channel 4) or snuggling up with my girlfriend. Maybe I'll be doing all these things and more this year. Have ordered lots of books to get me through the rest of the winter and my Sony iphone dock/speakers are on their way too. Unfortunately just have to finish my dreaded lesson planning and seating plans for the little 'darlings' in the morning. That makes me depressed as I was enjoying myself too much over the holiday to do any work (or too lazy??) and so my last night of freedom is baing taken up by schoolwork. Still, it will all be fresh in my head for tomorrow morning I guess. Wish me luck!

10 rules for being human

Stumbled here upon this today - it made me smile, and when I thought about it in turn I realised how totally true it all is!

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."
4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
6. "There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."
7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
10. You will forget all this.