Sunday, April 06, 2014

Executive lady teacher

There's an article in the Sunday Times Style magazine today about how, according to one OFSTED inspector, 'scruffy teachers are letting the side down'.

Not me though - as the only reason I know about this article is because Jud texted me to tell me she'd identified me as Executive Lady Teacher.

I love a pencil skirt, me.

 This is how they describe Executive Lady Teacher:
This ambitious woman favours terrifying angled spectacles and haircuts so sharp, you could use them in a geometry lesson. She has a power-dressing work uniform - with its own colour-coded area of the wardrobe - with fitted dresses, tailored skirts and smart jackets (which can all go in the washing machine). Kitten heels are her secret weapon. Her only concession is a weakness for arty earrings.
I'm not so sure that I'm an 'ambitious woman'. And my haircut is definitely not one that could be used in a geometry lesson. Unless they were measuring the angles of hair caught in the bird's nest. Of course I have a colour-coded area of the wardrobe (actually it's just one wardrobe for work clothes). Well, what's the point in having these sorts of clothes if they don't hang with their suit family? I don't really wear kitten heels, but low(er) heels? Sometimes. Although, I'm not sure how they're my 'secret weapon'. I don't go in for arty earrings. And neither should any Executive Lady Teachers if they're wearing glasses as they'll compete with one another. Duh.

Jud once told me that if she wore what I wore to school, her colleagues would think she was trying to seduce someone!

But I think that tells us more about her work colleagues than mine!

Monday, March 17, 2014


I've missed a couple of weekend posts but nobody seems to be complaining, so I'll not mention it if you won't.

I've had a couple of busy weeks. When aren't they? But working full-time and then at weekends does take it out of you. Two weekends ago I was on a school trip to Wesley for MUN. That was exciting because I got to drive a SUV…an automatic one! And there were lots of cup holders, which we all know is the most important thing in a car.

Last weekend was Soul Mates. Busy again as ever but a different sort of busy. I actually was able to duck out for a few hours to visit the SU weekend so it was nice to see those guys too.

The drive took me right over the Mournes and places I've only ever dreamt of. No really. 

There's two place names in NI that I think are the prettiest: Gracehill and Katesbridge. My brother used to live not far from Gracehill but I'd never been any closer to Katesbridge than the sign on the way to Newry (up there with the ugliest NI place names surely. Along with any place you care to name in Co. Tyrone, which surely has more per capita than any other county.)

A wrong turn and suddenly I found myself in Katesbridge! And let me tell you, it needs a pretty name because it doesn't have much else going for it. Much like Gracehill in that respect, I suppose.

Next I was through Rathfriland. Which I sometimes gets confused with Randalstown. Yes, legally different names but it's the Ra start and land/town end that does it. Rathfriland is famous (to me at least) for being home to NI21 MLA John McCallister, one of our few MLAs with a spark of personality.

 I'd never been to Rathfriland before either so it was exciting to see the water tower (if that's what it is).
But all too soon I was out of Rathfriland and on to my next small town of South Down: Hilltown. Now coming from Rathfriland, which must be a cyclist's nightmare and dream all in one because of the hill it's on, I was excited. If Rathfriland's hill didn't even make it to its name (in English at least) then Hilltown's hill must be spectacular. How wrong could I be?! There's was nothing more than a mild incline. I'd say we could get them on the Trade Descriptions Act. Let me know if you want to join my class action suit. There could be literally units of disappointed tourists like me every year, going to Hilltown expecting to see, you know, a hill.

What I did see was better though. This sign was just casually on a telegraph pole beside a shed, which was closed. (I stopped to take its picture on the way back, it intrigued me so much.)
'Eating potatoes'? What other sort of potatoes are there? Or does Hilltown just put up signs of various activities? You know 'playing chess', 'watching TV', 'making tea', that sort of thing?
After I past the sights of Hilltown (see above photo) I was through the Mournes properly.

It was all a bit Colorado. There was even a few hair pin turns!
One of my favourite historical stories about the partition of Ireland is Edward Carson's plan to build reservoirs in the Mournes to supply Belfast's water so that when the Boundary Commission met they couldn't redraw the border there because it could only be so far as the 'economic and geographic conditions' were compatible. Sneaky/clever depending on your perspective.

What?! Spelga Dam is on a hill. Duh.
The way back was largely uneventful, but I did make a stop in Hilltown to get a drink. 

I wouldn't be surprised but there's a sign outside the Spar saying 'Drinking Coke' now.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

To my chief motivator

Hi Chris,
This post will be removed when I get a chance to blog properly. It was a busy weekend and I still have those essays to mark from last week (see earlier busy weekend statement). I'm hoping for tomorrow, but well, you know…

With kind regards and warmest wishes,

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

And the Nokia Whatever10 Photojournalism Award goes to...

I got called out again. Ever keen Chief Motivator (apparently this is better than cheerleader) Chris noticed that I didn't blog this weekend. So here I am. However Chris, if you could ask me around 11.30pm how I got on with the 80 or so essays sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be marked that'd be good too.

But first a blog. The kids mightn't get their essays back, but Chris will get a blog post. He suggested, helpfully I add, a photo and a comment underneath it. I take photos on my phone all the time of things I see. These are mostly for Twitter but never make it, so I looked back to see what I had.

This story was in the Belfast Telegraph at the weekend.

I didn't even get to read about Tyra Banks.
It was the story about the kids in the Odyssey fights. This piqued my interest because of the Hardwell gig the other week. Some of my students were at it so I was interested to see what this one was all about. It was at the darts apparently. But then this took over any interest in the story: the picture…on the front page of the Belfast Telegraph, 'NI's daily newspaper' and winner of the UK's best regional newspaper 2012 (so says Wikipedia).

Well you say camera footage. I say more like Monet's impressionist version of what might have happened. It involved shapes and colours.
Seriously, the only person who took any pictures was using a Nokia 7610 c.2005 with a whopping 1MP resolution and that's what you decided to put on the front page?! Really? Really?! I'm as much for an outrage involving kids and fighting as the next person but this might have been the time to hold off on using a 'camera footage' on the front freaking page. You know, let the words tell the story.

So you're darn tootin' I went to P11 for full story. There might be more 'camera footage'.

I was right!

Oh stop. Four pictures showing the 'footage of people fleeing'. So you say. Are we absolutely sure they aren't sonograms…from the 1990s?
 No bloody wonder the online version of the story doesn't have any photos.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Frozen in time

I don't often get emails from my brother so when I did last week, my first thought was 'this is spam'. Except the subject line was so intriguing I had to open it. It was titled 'You as a kid'. Ever happy to re-live my childhood days I was willing to suffer whatever virus was attached and/or send spam onto my entire email address list for this.

The content of the email was, if I'm honest, a little disappointing. It said, and I quote:

Search for this on you tube

Two Little Girls Singing "Let It Go" From Disney's "Frozen"

One of the girls reminds me of you as a kid.....I think it's the fringe

Sent from my iPad

Was this really from David? They do have an iPad. But why would he not just send me the link to the You Tube video? Or a screenshot of the girl with the fringe. Oh no, David made me work for this one.

I duly searched for the phrase as he suggested and was given these results. 

Well none of those girls have a fringe.

I plumped from the first one to see if it was Maddie or Zoe that had the fringe that was like a 1980s Tina. And then she appeared: girl with fringe. Still not convinced I sent David a message back with a screenshot (for added helpfulness) to check that this was the girl.

I never had a dress with green puffy sleeves. More's the pity.

He confirmed it was that girl and said 'Do you not see it?'

I don't know, there is a certain Je ne sais quoi about us.
This was my awkward growing-out-the-bowl-haircut stage.

No wait. It's really just the fringe, isn't it?
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