February 27, 2007

Rain on my screen

I drove to York early to give my last lecture at the University there. I left the house at about 7.00 and drove through the cold, rain and semi dark morning to arrive all fresh and looking for coffee. This time I got to talk about my experiences in International schools. What it was like to live and work abroad and also to explain the difference between some of the systems that are used in these schools overseas.

Sometimes, when I think of the last three years I still can't believe that I managed to live in Poland and France. Since university I has wanted so much to live in another country that I never could quite believe that I managed it. Hopefully, the excitement will continue on the European continent when I hear about the job I am dreaming of. Whatever happens, I was pleased to be able to share the huge benefits I have gained from the experiences I had in Warsaw and Paris.

Tomorrow is the day that I am both dreading and desiring in equal measure. To go back to the school and the lessons that I started my teaching career with will give me a sense of how far I have come. Even popping in yesterday to get my timetable and chat to staff felt very comfortable. Things are moving along nicely now. Change is in the air again. Now I can breathe deeply.

February 26, 2007

Bring on the books

My pile of 'to read' books just does not seem to be getting any smaller. Every time I meet L for a coffee we seem to wander into Waterstones and come out with armfuls of books. Add to this the fact that I have made the costly mistake of reading part one of what turns out to be a trilogy, and having enjoyed it so much I just had to go and get the others. Good job that I am not in full time work. Chomping through these books just eats up the day.

First, I read the latest Adriani Trigiani book. I love the woman because she once sent me a signed book after I emailed her to tell her that I have loved her first novel. The fourth of the 'Big Stone Gap' series is just as good as the others. Staying on the Italian theme, I read the first book by Annie Hawes about her life among the Olive groves of Liguria. I liked it so much that I am now halfway through the middle of the second one. After that I have the book that N gave me for my birthday which is about a frenchman who moved to Tibet.

As I am sitting here I am imagining my windowsill in my bedroom and the pile of books is getting so high that I couldn't even tell you what else there is there waiting to be read. What I can tell you is that the joy of being close to a bookshop full of inexpensive books in my own language is simply intoxicating.

February 25, 2007

Thai Green curry

As this is the weekend, I am at Ns.She is cooking and I am making sarcastic comments while not really helping and playing on the computer. Today we have gazed through travel magazines and planned about a hundred holidays in our heads and stopped the plans each time as I need a job first. We have also looked at maps and wondered about the city that I might be living in and tried again and again not to get excited. It is not working.

Today she is cooking Thai green curry and it is raining on the roof of her conservatory while we sit pale faced drinking cups of tea. The weather reflects our february moods which is why we are apathetic and dreaming of warmer, brighter days to come. I am still in love with my weekend routines. Yesterday I met the cutest kitten in the world, now the tiny companion of L in her house with the open fire. We sat in her house and drank cappuccinos made on her hob with the coffeee maker I dragged back from Rome.

There is a busy week coming up. Another lecture on Tuesday at the Unversity, three days teaching which will flush some much needed cash my way and the result on Friday. To interview or not to interview, that is the question.

February 24, 2007

Take me home country roads

Five hours on a train to nowhere and the pressure of an interview during the course of one day does not a happy Anne make. Thankfully I had the thought of an afternoon coffee with L, who I have not seen since the summer. In the end, the interview went well and I managed to spend a good couple of hours chatting to her and catching up on what we have missed about each others company and reminiscing about Paris.

Every time I go to London for an interview I become just a tiny bit more comfortable with the place. I am a northerner to the core, but I don't hate London like I used to. Good job too as I am faced with the prospect of more interviews there and more time on that never-ending train journey. The state of play is that there are currently two jobs on the table. Both of which sound very interesting and both of which I think that I would like. I am waiting to hear about whether or not I have an interview for one and whether I have been given a second interview for the job I had a first interview for yesterday in London. Phew, all getting a bit complicated.

I am trying not to imagine getting either of these jobs and have been very tight-lipped on my blog about the details as I feel that I have been without a job for so long now that I would not be lucky enough to get one of these positions. Somewhere in my head I imagine that my career is over, that I will never get another job in my life and will be forever scrounging off the kindness of family and friends. That is not too much fun in the thinking department either.

So for now, there is just the waiting. I have become very adept at this luckily, but I am hoping and praying that there is a couple of weeks more now, just a two more cheeky little weeks between me and the next big thing.

February 19, 2007

Class of 35

I popped into my old school today to hand in my forms to do supply teaching. It hit me for a moment that I might be in front of a class of 35 kids and it is literally years since that happened. In Warsaw my Year 9 class had 12 students in it, hardly what one would call 'crowd control'. Still I am looking forward to the challenge and am also looking forward to the money. This few weeks of work should set me up for rents and stuff wherever it is that I move to next.

I applied for a job yesterday that I am desperate for. You will have to wait, as will I to see if I have an interview. This is the dream job that I have been waiting to see, the one that I never dared hope would appear while I was available and looking. I would like to know now where I will be living and get my teeth stuck into something new. The fact remains that things are ticking over nicely in my jobless state. I feel Ok about everything, feeling positive about the opportunities that are coming my way.

You Belong in Milan

Stylish and sophisticated, you want to enjoy a truly European life - away from tourists!
Milan fits you perfectly. Great shopping, high quality food, lots of culture... with very little hype.

February 18, 2007

Cold and flu remedies

I have been ill for the last few days and that has not been fun at all. There has been much coughing and gallons of eucalyptus oil smeared on pillows and tissues before being frantically inhaled to provide even an ounce of breathing relief. Now that I am starting to feel better I have a busy week to look forward to. There is more training, this time on children with Austistic spectrum disorder and of course, Fridays interview.

In addition there is a family birthday and a nagging feeling that I should not be resting on my laurels and assuming that this job is going to take all my troubles away. I should also be finding out about some supply teaching work at my old school here and that means that the money worries may lessen a little bit. We are getting close to the end of February now and where am I exactly?

February 15, 2007

Half term holiday

I have to admit that I really have done very little this week. N and L are on half term and the ready availability for mates to have coffee or got to the cinema with is just too much temptation. I went to N's the other night where she cooked the most beautiful pancetta and butternut squash risotto in the world. It was creamy and soft and took ages to make, but hey, no time limit when you are on holiday.

L texts nearly every day with a cheeky coffee offer and we have sneaked a cappucino in most days. Yesterday M came to visit for the day from Manchester and the time was full of afternoon tea at Bettys and then flasks of hot tea while we looked out over the moors. Northallerton is only a 10 minute drive from the most beautful scenery in the world you know.

Tomorrow K is moving to Hull and next week is phase one of 'catch the dream job'. I will also get to see L while I am in London, which I am very excited about. There just seems to be lots of stuff going on at the moment, who knew how I had a social life and fitted in a full time job before?

February 13, 2007

Valentines Day

The sucky red hearts of Valentines day are a bastardisation of the true meaning of Valentines, which is the revelation of secret desire. Hijacked by smug couples, even when in a relationship I was always happy to ignore the day every year when shops tell you exactly what to buy and magazines tell you how you should feel and behave. Mind you, to stop the outright scorn that I feel I jumped on the bandwagon and found this quiz, cute but with an edge I felt....how did you get on with your results?

Your Love Life Secrets Are

Looking back on your life, you will have a few true loves.

You're a little scarred from your past relationships, but who isn't?

You prefer a quirky, unique person to be your lover. You're easy going about who you're with, as long as they love you back.

In fights, you love to debate and defend yourself. You logic prevails - or at least you'd like to think so.

A break-up usually comes as a shock to you. You always think things are going well.

February 12, 2007

Black books

Back in the Uk, I am dedicating time to picking up all those things that I missed when I was abroad. One of those things is 'Black Books' a channel 4 comedy set in a bookshop run by the drunken Bernard and his assistant Manny. Fran owns a gift shop next door and the three of them drink wine, mock each other and get into ridiculous situations.

I am getting to be a big fan of the series, it is sharp and a little dark in places. Bill Bailey plays Manny, and he is my favourite of the characters. He is a team captain on alternative music quiz 'Never mind the Buzzcocks', and I am uncontrollable with laughter when he speaks.

I think I have talked before about how in England we like to define each other by the sort of things that we like. We take the shows we watch and the music we listen to and the clothes we wear and we work out if that person is likely to have the same outlook as us. I have to say that anyone who told me that they were loving 'Black Books' would certainly get an enthusiastic response.

February 11, 2007

Three things meme nicked from Kinuk

As the title implies so softly, this is a meme stolen from Kinuk, as she used it from Kimbofo.

Three things that scare me:failure, boredom, ghosts

Three people who make me laugh: Sian, Bill Bailey and all three of my brothers

Three things I love: earl grey tea, music, sausage sandwiches

Three things I hate: intolerance, fundamentalism, alarm clocks

Three things I don’t understand: size 00, men, french verb tenses

Three things on my desk: Pink notebook with all my jobs in it, cup of earl grey tea,cheese puffs

Three things I can do: the splits, listen, cook

Three things you should listen to: your Mum, Russel Brand on Radio 2,Paris first thing in the morning

Three things you should never listen to: any form of hardcore dance music, the news, insincere apologies

Three things I’d like to learn: Polish (properly), how to share, how to let go

Three favourite foods: olives, goats cheese, sausages

Three beverages I drink regularly: tea, coffee, water

Three TV shows/books I watched/read as a kid: Dogtanian and the three Muskahounds, The box of Delights, anything by Enid Blyton

February 10, 2007

Permanent exclusion

Kids rarely get expelled from school these days and the government likes to do all sorts of drives to keep kids in school. When I worked in England I had dealings with children from all sorts of families and with all sorts of futures ahead of them.Some of them look ahead and see potential and some look ahead and find themselves gazing into a lifetime of failure.

N works at the school that I used to work at and she does an amazing job in mentoring kids who probably would not still be in school if it wasn't for her. We took two of these kids to the cinema today. She wanted to spend some positive time with them outside of school and I agreed to go to drive and get to meet the children that she talks about so often.

These children were polite, funny and very happy to chat to an adult that they don't know. I was reminded that when children that have problems with their behaviour are given the chance to interact on a personal and positive level, you begin to see that no matter how bad their behaviour can get, they are just kids. Little children who are trying to understand the world around them. I am just in awe sometimes of those people who never stop trying to give people a second chance. I wonder if these two know how lucky they are that N is fighting their corner?

February 09, 2007

No-one seems to know

Still thinking of London, still waiting to hear. In between the time is starting to nip past pretty quick. It is February, there is snow on the ground, and I don't have a reason to wake up in the morning. Mind you, this has been a pretty busy jobless week and I have attended a couple of conferences and been to the Doctors. Something that I have been meaning to do for a long time and only now seem to have found the time and head space to do it. Only now have the time to process what she said.

The conference yesterday was brilliant, made me remember why I wanted to be involved in education in the first place. And I got to go to a stately home just outside Northallerton that I never managed to fit on my list either. Snow streaming out of the sky made me think of 'Pride and Prejudice', so beautiful was the scene over the dales.

Some more time will pass before I am able to blog and explain where I will be living and what I will be doing. I think that I really want this job in London. Fingers crossed for me please.

February 07, 2007


I am getting a feeling that I will be moving to London. I have applied for jobs all over the place, but I keep imagining myself there. It is strange that I have never had any desire to live in our nations capital. I am a Northern girl through and through and yet I feel that it is pulling me.

Today I am going to clear out the tiny room in which I have been living the past few weeks. I want to make space in that room and in my head to be filled with all the things that are set to arrive.

February 06, 2007

Some pictures I like

I have been looking through my photo files and in lieu of anything of interest to say today I wanted to post soem pictures instead. This is one of a natural wishing well up on the Yorkshire moors. The water is always ice cold as it comes out of a tiny spring in the hillside.

This one below is from Nova Scotia in the summer. I ended up posting most of my Canada pics on the blog I created when I took a break from this blog. This is a picture of the Dartmouth Halifax Ferry.

This last one is Canada from the sky. I took this when we were on our way home from Nova Scotia. The whole family had loved the trip and we were all knackered. I just loved the sun in your face. Looked more beautiful than the photo does it justice.

February 05, 2007

Jobs update

Ok, today is the 5th of February and clearly, I have no job as yet. However, things are definately looking up on this front and I have been frantically applying over the last few weeks. The difference with job aplications this time is that I have only been applying for jobs that I feel I would really like to do. Lots of them are outside the classroom, some in consultancy, some with International education companies and some of them working with schools abroad again.

Last week, I had a phone call and I now have an interview in a couple of weeks. This job was one that I got quite excited about when I initially applied and when the closing date passed I had my letter quite quickly. It is only the first round of interviews and we will have to wait and see, but I feel the tide is turning now. I have also been contacted by another couple of companies asking me to apply for certain jobs so I can feel the positive vibes are floating around me.I am starting to get a bit excited about starting something new again.

February 04, 2007

Cocktails and Karoake

Today is K's birthday and last night we had our celebration. Singstar karoake is now becoming a regular feature at these things and as always are accompanied by lots of cocktails. Not for me though, as I don't drink. I love to watch the others slide away the best part of a bottle of vodka though, the singing definately gets more entertaining as time goes on.

Me and S did lots of shopping for the party as K had requested a birthday tea in the style of a childhood party. We had such fun even doing the shopping and ended up with a ton of sausage rolls, cheese and pineapple on sticks, flying saucers, jam tarts, egg mayonaise sandwiches on cheap white bread and wagon wheels. All those things that we remembered were trendy for kids parties when we were growing up. S even made a massive bowl of angel delight and each one of was transported back into the body of our 6 year old selves when we ate it.

After chatting to the other K yesterday and Ally this morning, I have realised how much I have enjoyed my time with friends at home. I have been far away for so long, and might be again soon and yet we have all managed to still be in each others lives. We are lucky, when we come home, we pick up where we left off and I love them all the more for the fact that they let me get away with this.

Tomorrow there are lots more jobs to apply for, maybe some good news is coming my way.

February 03, 2007

Your Inner Child Is Happy

You see life as simple, and simple is a very good thing.
You're cheerful and upbeat, taking everything as it comes.
And you decide not to worry, even when things look bad.
You figure there's just so many great things to look forward to.

Help yourself

With so much time on my hands and a big change coming, or maybe already here, was it any wonder that I would look for comfort in an unlikely place? Sometimes I need reassurance and I am not ashamed. Here, on my blog I can announce: I have read some 'self-help' books. Breathe deeply, I can be proud. Actually proud is not the word, intrigued, curious and ultimately open-minded about whether they can help or not.

I am not sure what I really think about the whole notion of reading books to cure your emotional and mental ills. I think that if you are really in trouble personally then the rules the books give you are probably not going to help. As for me, I have to admit that I find myself in a place where I just want some positive thinking skills to see me through and give me the ability to trust in my crazy intuition and the path that it takes me on.

I would love to know if anyone else has read any of these books, the two in question remaining nameless. Do you find them helpful? Or are they just books you think are too sad to even look at?

February 01, 2007


This is a film about the consequences of one small action. Two boys in Morroco are given a rifle to keep jackals away from their herd of goats. They shoot an American tourist and this action impacts on four different storiesa around the world. I went to see it the other day by myself, I like going to the cinema alone. I get a little coffee and sit where I want, I have never been bothered in my own company.

I liked this film, in particular, the story of the young Japanese girl. I thought that the actress was amazing and the story very powerful. Sometimes, when I am in the mood for the vast darkness of cinema, a craving for a particular type of film comes along with it. I wanted something serious when I chose Babel, and I was not disappointed. The underlying themes are those of communication and conection. The film explores what connects us to each other and why there are always so many ways in which we fail to communicate.

Next on my 'to see' list is The Last King of Scotland. I would also like to see Dreamgirls, as it has been given such high levels of notice on the Oscars list. Nice to have the time to go to the cinema in the middle of the day, pity that I don't have a job to pay for these things.