South Coast Living

I feel guilty that I haven’t updated this in weeks, however, I blame the fact I now live in Bournemouth with a colleague. Bournemouth, located on the South Coast of Dreams™, is somewhere I haven’t previously had much experience of. However, I can report it is a lovely place with lots to offer, namely good bars and restaurants – although we seem to more regularly visit the sort of places you can find in any English town.

I am currently at my dad’s and decided to have a look on my old PC here, I am being very anti-social however, so cannot stay on here long. I shall write a proper entry soon that will make you laugh, cry and sigh, in that order.

Until then, I will update you on my life in less than two lines: We’ve not yet found a job abroad, I’m still enjoying my current job, I’m not rich yet, I am currently reading the 5th Game of Thrones book and I am also enjoying Series two of the programme. That’s it, that’s my life!

Week 3 – Back to the Grindstone

Lymington Quay

Sunset at the Lymington Quayside - http://www.picturesofengland.com

Monday 20th – Sunday 26th February, 2012

Monday morning I put on my normal clothes, no suit was needed today, Staff Training awaited me! Pupils did not…

By the time I got to school I was feeling positive and optimistic of what the day ahead held in store. By the time I left for home, (at five past seven may I add), the optimism had turned to cynicism, the positivity had turned to complete despair. I shan’t go into details as to what caused this mammoth transformation, needless to say I was more than a little aggrieved at some of the work I had to complete that day.

Tuesday arrived and the previously somber corridors were filled with the laughs and shouts of hundreds of mischievous children; normally something that would vex me, instead filled me with hope that today my work might instead revolve around helping young people rather than ticking boxes for some unknown bureaucrat. The day passed well, and ultimately I got quite a lot done. The greatest lesson I learned that day was that Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 is not liked by teenagers and is a tricky one to teach, pray to the Gods that it doesn’t crop up in May…

The cathedral dominates the Salisbury skyline and stands out amongst an otherwise flat horizon. Wednesday I would be visiting the ancient building with a class of Year 7s, which I was actually rather looking forward to. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have been there a multitude of times. But it’s one of those buildings that doesn’t give up their secrets all in one go, and predictably I learned lots from the trip. The Year 7s also enjoyed it, though the highlight of the trip was the cathedral tour, which may of course demonstrate how children do actually like to learn facts and stories, as opposed to simply cultivating skills that they are promised they will need some day.

Thursday was the much anticipated ‘AOI Day’ and the workshops that I organised (took credit for), went really well. Thanks go out to my good friend Matt Lomax who came to help inspire young people to go to university. It apparently worked, as Year 11s were overheard extolling the virtues of higher education, mainly focusing on the ‘cheap drinks and awesome parties’ – perhaps my workshop fell wide of the mark, but at least they enjoyed it (!).

The mock interviews also went well, although what a 15 year old deems as suitable business attire leaves a lot to the imagination. Unless of course they’re going for a job at Hooters, in which case some of their outfits would fit the bill perfectly.

Many of this week’s stresses stem from trying to sort out my tiny section of this day, but it was a success and I can rest easy that I held up my end of the proverbial bargain!

Come Friday I was a broken man – The week had taken its toll on my frail body and I was ready for the weekend. Firstly however I had to plan all of next week’s lessons. Which leads me on to the other thing I learned this week: Re-Planning last year’s lessons is so much quicker than doing them the first time around, so Friday turned into an ok day! It culminated in a Chinese takeaway and singing Lion King songs, ’nuff said.

This weekend I have made the most of being paid and being able to spend time with Mel – the highlight was going to Lymington, I loved it there. It had everything you need from a town, in a twee little setting. So Expect more trips there soon! Most relaxing moment of the weekend must go out to the 40 minutes spent in Costa in Lymington where I finished a corker of a chapter from my book, (Currently reading A Feast for Crows, part of the Ice and Fire books by George R Martin – recommend!!),  whilst gorging on an Iced Mocha – tasty!

I am now lying on my bed whilst some anonymous war film on tv plays out its horrors with the sound turned down, before the day is out I shall have had dinner at Mel’s and watched Top Gear perfect!

Highlights next week include:

– Moving house to Bournemouth.
– Sticking rigorously to a budget to save for a new camera. 
– A slightly reduced teaching timetable.
– Only 5 weeks til Easter.

Week 2 – Half Term in Skye

As I drove back to Salisbury on the Friday evening; groggy with tiredness as I ran my tongue across my teeth to try and remove that sticky coke-residue, a thought occurred to me: Half-Term had begun. My foot pushed harder on the accelerator, although at this point it was gravity rather than internal-combustion which caused Rupert, my trusty Fiesta, to increase in speed.

I’d been waiting for half-term for 5 long weeks, they’d dragged like that long night before Christmas seemed to as a child. But now it had finally arrived, and the reason for my excitement, my holiday to Scotland, was just two days away.

The two days passed quickly, spent both in Salisbury where I bought Mel’s Valentine’s gift (A Carol Ann Duffy book of poetry, pink cover, perfect. And a hand-made duck egg-blue card, with what I thought was particularly good handwriting inside), and also in Bristol where we stayed with Mel’s sister, who kindly drove us to the airport Sunday afternoon.

Whilst in Bristol I learned how expensive taxis there are, the downright cheek of these rip off merchants still consumes me now.

Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon where Mel and I have successfully landed at Inverness airport and we are driving our shiny hire-car Marco westward towards Skye. The scenery was mesmerising, rather than keeping my hands at the ten and two position with my eyes fixed on the road, I couldn’t help but stare goggle-eyed at the beautiful scenery around me, pointing out snowcapped mountains and the occasional loch.

The driving experience was altogether a rather enjoyable one, Sean our lovable Irish TomTom voice was giving us marvellous directions: “At the next junction, turn left” – Cheers Sean.

“Carry on for 10 miles” – Ok Sean.

“Turn left” – Thanks Sean!

“Carry straight on” – Er, Sean, the road is closed, there’s been a rockslide?

At this point we were informed by the landlord at the local pub that we’d have to drive all the way back to Inverness to take the other road, adding 3.5 extra hours to the journey.

“Turn around where possible” – Fuck off Sean.

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Week 1

Where to begin? I guess the main thing that happened this week is the decision I have taken career-wise. Mel and I have been teaching in the UK for over two years, and have enjoyed (nearly) every minute of it. We’ve decided to do something both very scary and very exciting by taking the plunge and teaching abroad, we are currently applying for jobs in schools in Asia, but nothing as yet is set in stone and as such it’s a nerve-racking experience!
I also started this blog, which is of course self-evident. I decided that I wanted to start actually recording all of the things I do, otherwise I have a tendency to lose track of memories, like tears in the rain.
So this week, ultimately, school was school, and we began applying for jobs – apart from that I am looking forward to half-term!