Monday, 21 May 2007


I here by declare that I give up, once and for all, in trying to grow my nails.

I have tried everything. I have tried stop'n'grow, I have tried clear nail polish jobbies that are supposed to help them grow - you name it I have tried.

As a last ditch attempt, as I was going out on Friday night with friends, I went and had acrylics done. They were fantastic, my hands felt elegant and glamorous, I was thrilled with them. On Saturday, bit of gardening I thought. Oh, my, god - have you every tried to get soil out from under them. I am a very 'hands on' gardener, I don't do gloves and stuff I prefer to get stuck in. I really should have thought that one through though before went and put my hands into the mud. On Sunday I cooked roast beef and all the trimmings - have you ever tried to get food out from underneath them. Today at work I discovered that you cannot type with them (well you can but not accurately), and lets face it, in my job that's a bit of a handicap. So I committed the mortal sin for all false nail wearers, I sat a picked and peeled and eventually pulled them off and have ruined my real nails, but boy oh boy do I feel better.

No, long nails, not for me!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Hearing Aids

As I have commented on before, I am deaf. Not completely deaf but enough to make your ears bleed if you watch TV with me and I haven't got my aids in. I have a condition where the little bones in my ears have disintigrated and I have been going progressively deaf since I was 18. Eventually I will completely gone mutt and jeff. I spent a long time in denile and I would not wear hearing aids - vanity. Then four years ago I though stuff this and went to see my consultant.

My hearing aids are fabulos darling. I have digital ones that go over your ear and apparantly cost the good old NHS £7K each - ah, if only they were earings. I have them insured on the house insurance - never can be too careful. If I drop them in a puddle or they fall down the loo (don't ask) then it's my fault and I'd have to replace them. I don't think most people insure them, but I'm not most people.

I have three settings on them - everything, voice only and loop system. Loop system is great; we went to the Tower Of London and had one of thier audio guides. I didn't have to have the headphones as the unit fed straight into my hearing aids - faulous.

I am happy very with them, I wear my hair so they are not obvious and they have become part of me, who I am and I automatically put them in on waking everyday. With the odd exception - especially when it is raining and I have to garden in the rain - alot (I love it). I take out the hearing aids and I am alone with my thoughts, the garden and rain - absolute bliss.

Other people, however, seem to behave very strangely with them.

Today we had someone in for an interview. My colleague and I sat in the interview room with the candidate. The candidate spotted my aids. He moved to side of me - hello I thought, what's going on here, have I pulled. Every question, for the next half hour, he spoke very slowly and directly into my hearing aid. My colleague found this hysterical and spent the entire interview trying not to laugh.

Needless to say he won't be getting the job.

Monday, 14 May 2007


My new bra and I are not getting along very well.

I went to the shop and I selected a choice few, and, not unlike in recruitment, I looked at them, shortlisted and interviewed them. One was selected. This was important, the choice had to be right.

Now I am not a big underwear buyer - by big, I mean I do not purchase lots, I do purchase big underwear however. If knicker have legs, come up to my armpits and contain industrial strength Lycra, then we are on a winner. I wear my underwear until it's beyond redemption. Let's be honest here, I am 41 a size 18 and it's all heading south, so no amount of Janet Reger is going to make it look attractive; Tesco's own will do my dear.

But this bra, well it's something else. It makes my boobs look almost Jordanesque. Not that I am complaining about suddenly having a chest - I have wanted one for years, but why oh why, does it have to happen now. Why couldn't I have had mammoth boobs when I was in my twenties, when they mattered. Now, quite frankly they are just an inconvenience. No blouses will do up over my chest and the Year 9's, who are hormonal at the best of times have stopped looking me in the eye.

I think I need to get something less 'push up' and more 'strap down'!

Sunday, 13 May 2007


I sat and I pondered what to write. I know, say the current husband, tell them something about you that they don't already know. So, on the basis of a very went Sunday afternoon, I thought I would.

You already know that I am married, have two boys aged 12 and 16, I work in a secondary school and I have a husband who buys me presents such as VAX carpet shampooers. So what don't you know:

  1. I am originally from oop north and now live down sarf.
  2. I am a red-head.
  3. I am deaf.
  4. I have three cats.
  5. I love my garden.
  6. I have a bit of a thing for gin and tonic.
  7. I love crap TV such as Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder - bit of a theme going there.
  8. For all the things I say about him, I adore my husband.
  9. I am on a permanent diet - which normally lasts two or three days and then I give in to my craving for butter.
  10. I am a big migraine sufferer, but I have discovered that they are brought on by lager and chocolate.
  11. I cry a lot - especially at sad things on TV.
  12. I love my job.
  13. I spend far too much money on things I don't need.

I will stop at lucky 13!

Thursday, 10 May 2007


This week at school Year 9 are sitting their Key Stage 3 SATs.

The faffing around that goes on in setting up exams is amazing - had to have been developed by a teacher, and a male one at that.

First of all the tables and chairs have to be set out in the hall. Then someone has to go around with a tape measure and check each and everyone is the correct distance apart. Once this has been done a name label goes on the table - and stays there for the week. Each student sits at the same table for each exam - no variation is allowed.

Then we come to the papers - they have to be locked in a safe. A safe that is bolted to the floor in a room with barred windows and a windowless door with extra security locks. The papers are removed from the safe in sealed bags and escorted down to the hall. The papers cannot be removed from the bag until all the students are seated (in alphabetical order). The bags are opened and the papers removed. They are handed out. Anyone in the exam hall, student, teacher or invigilators, are not permitted to leave the hall until the exam is completed. Once the papers are gathered and placed back in the secure bag, then people can leave.

The papers are then sorted alphabetically and removed daily from the premises by Parcelforce off to the various exam boards for marking.

The whole thing is so secure - and they can come in and check on you without warning.

The students, couldn't care less. As far as parents and students are concerned KS3 SATs are for the school's benefit not theirs. Little do the realise that these results will determine which GSCE band they get put in.

Hey ho - I don't have to sit them so that's all that matters!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

How Rude

How rude of - I have just realised that it was seven days between the last post and the previous one. Please accept my apologise for my tardiness!


We have this really twee thing at work called Buddies.

At the start of a new year in September we all fill out a form which shows our name, date of birth and like and dislikes etc. This form gets put in an envelope and you pick one out and that person becomes your buddy for the academic year.

Over the academic year you are supposed to remember your Buddy on their birthday, Christmas, Easter etc., if they have a bad day - you know the sort of rubbish I mean. Then you buy them something and leave it in their pigeon hole.

My Buddy - the one I buy for, gets loads of stuff (weekly in fact). Every time I am out and about, I think, Oh, my Buddy will like that, and I buy it and put it in my Buddy Box ready to take into work on any occasion, like 'Oh it's Tuesday'. Thoroughly spoilt is my Buddy - regularly. Last year was the same - I had an NQT (newly qualified teacher to those not in the know), and I spoilt him rotten.

Me - bugger all. My Buddy last year bought me a diet book (how rude) and a pair of rubber gloves with pink fur and pearl bracelets on - which I had to give to the cleaner (not even suitable for the bedroom). This year - nothing......not a sausage from my Buddy.

At the end of the year, in July, when we have the big Buddy Reveal, my Buddy (the one I buy for) will be grateful and happy for what I have purchased for her (I know - she's as shallow as me), but how will my Buddy (the one purchasing for me) feel - probably won't give a rats ass.

I sound bitter, because I am - when will the world learn - I LIKE GETTING GIFTS - shallow person that I am, spend money one me - but not on anything of a VAX nature.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Pay Awards

It's is that time of year again when the Support Staff receive their "pay awards".

Teachers receive theirs in September. It's quite bizarre the way these things work. A teacher starts on main scale 1 (M1) and progresses annually up the scale to M6 - whether they deserve a pay rise or not, this pay rise is not performance based. Once they get to M6 they apply to go through the 'Threshold' on to the Upper Pay Spine. Once on UPS1 they stay there for two years and then apply to go to UPS 2 and so on until UPS3. The Upper Pay Scale is the only pay increase that is performance based - so they are assessed bi-annually, otherwise it's too much for the little darlings. At that stage they move up to the Leadership Scale, and on that they start going up yearly again. So after 12 years teaching they are expected (if they have been successful in getting through the Upper Pay Scales - and believe me if the Headteacher wants to keep his teaching staff, they will be successful) to be on Leadership grades. Not bad really.

Support staff are employed on banded scales - so if you are employed on Scale 4 that might run from £12K to £17K - so Scale 4 Point 1 is £12K etc. You move up a point each year and also get the cost of living rise as well. Once you reach the top of your scale that's it - you are stuck there forever more just receiving the 2-3% inflationary rise (which, when you are earning £12K per annum is not worth having). The only way to move up is to be re-graded, which means taking on more work - and why would anyone want to do that I ask you.

If anyone out there ever goes for a job in a school, check the grades. If they offer you a salary and it's near the top of a scale, ask for the same money but in the next scale (they tend to overlap) - that way you'll be good for decent pay rises for the next 8 years.

Or become a teacher - they get paid more, work less and get all the school holiday off.