January 30, 2007


There are many questions I would like to ask about 24. One of them is why I didn't get season 5 as soon as I had finished season 4, and not waited so many months. Now, I am trapped. Caught by the web of lies that the CTU agents and the White House have woven surrounding chemical weapons, gun chases and terrorists. Oh lord, 24, how I love thee.

Jack Bauer is back on form as the rogue agent that is clearly the only person who can save America. It is just so fast, so dramatic and I love every minute of it. So excited have I been that I had to email an old work colleague expounding my adoration for the programme because I know that he will sympathise with my plight. Soon it will be time for sleep, but the flashing lights, loud music and gunfire will make my brain and eyes twitch long into the darkness.

Brilliant TV is rarer than we think these days and so far, season 5 may be the best of 24 yet, and for me that was already saying something. If you have never seen any of these series, what have you been watching? The only question that remains is; why does Keifer Sutherland not want to marry me?


Every time I get a phone call from one of my friends all they want to ask about is whether or not I have a job yet. Last night I chatted to J and this was one of the first things that she asked me. She laughed and said that all anybody asks her about is her new flat, which is a work in progress and it drives her mad. I know that people are concerned that it is soon to be february and I still have no work on the horizon, but it is only in those moments of questions that I start to really worry.

There is the added element of having to give the same explanation over and over again to different people. I explain that I have been spending time looking for the 'right' job. I tell them that I don't want to jump into something that will give me ants in my pants after six months. They listen, and it makes me feel better that they care. But often times, hearing the words of justification come out of my mouth makes me realise what I have done. Cast myself into the void on some hippy premise of 'what feels right'.

When you are in the middle of these changing times, you wonder if calm and normality will ever be returned. K is moving to Hull and is living with boxes, wondering if her things will ever actually be unpacked in their new home. The waiting is driving us both mad, her for her move and me for an answer.

January 29, 2007

Coffee and TV

When I got home at Christmas, I watched very little TV. I just was not into a rhythm yet. I had no idea what the programmes were that gripped the hairdressers of England, didn't know what was being discussed across the counters in supermarkets up and down the country. Now that I have been home for 6 weeks, I have discovered the joys of English television.

For a start, the new series of 'Dancing on Ice' has just started, but there is much more to love than that. There have been times in the last few weeks that I have retreated back into DVD boxset mode. I have hidden in my small room and just picked up the Futurama boxset and watched without thinking. Now, I have programmes that I watch every week, and I am enjoying the continuity that brings. I had forgotten what it means to enjoy a programme once a week, instead of gulping it down in 36 hours.

I am loving 'Ugly Betty', it is cute, funny and it is Friday night. Thursday at 9.00 is 'The Truth about food', a documentary series about the myths and facts of what and why we eat. I love Panorama, more than anything I missed documentaries when I was away. Now that I am home there are many things to watch and enjoy. What I never thought about bef0re was how engrained in English culture TV actually is. Now that I have been home for a while, I am back in the loop. I can chat to my hairdresser about friday night viewing. I never imagined that I missed being part of England in that way. Maybe I just feel like I am doing what everyone else is doing, watching TV, and there is a level of connection in that.

January 28, 2007

Cooking book obsessed

I have developed a little Saturday routine that starts with sleeping in, having a shower and them meeting L for coffee and lunch at Costa. The fact that Northallerton now has a coffee chain in a source of endless amusement to us both, but I digress. After that, we have a wander, look in some shops and drool in the bookshop while trying to keep each other away from buying anything. She drops me off and I pick up my car at home and drive to go and see N in Richmond.

In these cold, Yorkshire, winter weekends, we can rarely be bothered to go out and greet the world so we have settled into me arriving mid-afternoon after N has already been shopping and chosen an amazing recipe for us to cook and enjoy in the evening. She is very creative and likes to choose things that she has never cooked before. Home-made lasagne, slow-roasted fennel crusted pork, beetroot relish, spinach salad, chicken and black olive sauce, I remember every saturday that has passed.

Every one of these recipes has come from one of about four cookbooks and I have become used to seeing them there open and stained with a salty finger, or a smudge of cream sauce. As it was my birthday last week, I decided that I wanted a couple of these books that I have enjoyed eating out of so much. It all started so innocently, I asked K and N for Nigellas 'Feast', then Mum bought me Jamie Olivers 'Cook'. By the time my brother had bought me Nigellas 'Summer' I knew that I had a serious problem. Other foolsish people have asked me what I wanted for my birthday and nearly all of them were told to get a particular cookbook.

I now have a shelf of beautiful, pristine cookbooks. Each one of them holds the promise of beautiful dinners and lunches cooked with care and shared with love. Once I get my own kitchen, watch out, anyone who comes through the door is likely to be force-fed seared lamb with a chick-pea and pesto mash. I am already a domestic goddess in my soul.

January 26, 2007

My life on ebay

Since I got back to the UK and found that I have not yet rejoined the working masses, I wanted to keep the cash coming in so I do not end up destitute in the manner of a Charles Dickens character. Dickens never knew the joy of selling ones posessions on ebay, had he known such joy, he might have been less miserable.

Here I am, nearly a month into my self-imposed work exile and I have to say that the highlights of my comupter time involved checking my auctions to see how much people are bidding on my things. To date, I have made nearly £150 selling mainly DVDs and cosmetics. My beautiful CSI collection is nearly gone, as is a whole host of DVD boxsets that I had much fondness for while I was living overseas and missing English TV.

The fact is that I do not really need these things, they are transient and as I am living a life without a pay packet, also frivolous. I am sad to lose things that I enjoyed watching and having, but in the end, I like the cash in my account a bit more. At this very moment, I don't need those things, I need to keep my head above water.

January 25, 2007

Moulding old minds

While I wait for my working life to start, I have been asked to give som lectures. As you can imagine, I am feeling pretty pleased with this, and as of next week I will be given two sessions in which to mould and shape some older minds into fully fledged teachers. I need to do some research and also need to buy a cord jacket with patches on the elbows as that is what lecturers wear I believe.

Today is Friday and that means the Times Educational Supplement is out. It is funny that when you are not working, you get no benefit of routines and I have found myself creating them. Every Friday I drive to Tesco and buy the paper, bagels and cream cheese. I drive home, have a late breakfast and circle jobs in the paper while watching daytime TV. The drone of the presenters in the background can sedate the panic when there are no jobs to be had.

Even Rocky had a montage

You have to imagine the theme from Rocky playing in the background of my training montage. I am still jobless, and lets face it, starting to panic. Because of this I have signed myself up for a load of training. Determined to get something out of this bizarrely aquired job-free period, I want to make sure that my knowledge and training in the Uk teaching system is up to date.

What this does mean though is that in any conference I attend I must explain that I have no job, actually I was working in Poland, I have no idea where I will go next etc. It also means that I get a chance to start feeling passionate about education again. It means that I get the chance to want to be in schools, to understand more about the standards and aims of care that I should be working to.

I rarely get political on my blog, but a huge problem on the international circuit is that the schools and teachers really are left to their own devices. They are not subject to government legislation in the same way that state schools are and as a result it is easy for a teacher to get lost on their rights and responsibilities in the classroom, especially for me as a special needs teacher.

Ok, rant over with for today. More job applications, more internet searching, more cups of tea, more freaking out.

January 24, 2007


The 23rd of January has come and gone and I am a year older. 31 feels better than 30 did, I suppose that I am used to that sneaky three at the start by now. Yesterday had a strange undertone, but when I woke up in the morning I had a table of cards and gifts to open and even now there are rows of cards all the way along the kitchen table. It is always lovely that people make the effort and send me things, especially when lots of the people I love are far away.

K and S made a fuss of me, we had a special dinner and they even turned a huge sticky toffee pudding into a candle lit reason to sing 'Happy Birthday' to me. They got me amazing presents, and it was brilliant to spend my birthday with people who made me feel special. It made me think of Paris, this time last year D and L had a little party and we all celebrated in Paris. Hopefully next year will be equally filled with love.

January 22, 2007


I went to collect E from school a couple of weeks ago and was waiting outside when a man came up and started chatting. He is the parent of a child that I worked with a lot when I lived in North Yorkshire and we spoke about his son and how the family was. We talked about the school and how I had always been very fond of his son and was happy to hear that he was doing well.

The next evening, I had a call to say that this parent had killed himself. He was a fireman, and he had set himself on fire outside his station and his colleagues had tried desperately to help him. He was a very kind and warm person who would go out of his way on the street to say hello to me and tell me about his son. Tomorrow, my 31st birthday, I will attend his funeral. And all the time I will be wondering what goes on beneath the smiles and greetings of the poeple that I see. How can all that be going on below the surface and nothing show through?

I want to see his son, yet I dread doing so. Things like this shake a small town to its core. The funeral will be packed with people, and rightly so.

January 17, 2007

Thinking of York

I have been busy over the last few days completing different applications and there is one in particular that I would really like. It would afford me the chance to live and work in York again for a few years and the thought of this is really exciting. I have lost count of how many times I have talked about my love for this northern city. The idea that I could live there, hang out with my York friends that I don't see enough, just in love with the idea.

Still searching, still applying. I keep thinking that I will blog, but realise quickly that there is so little to blog about. Last night K and I started to clear out her house ready for a move to Hull. Chucking stuff away, packing boxes and thinking about the newness of what will greet you when the truck drives up to where you will be living. I am waiting for that moment, but I trust that it will be here eventually.

January 15, 2007

January floating

Kinuk was blogging last week about how January always seems like the longest month and never has this been more apparant to me than this year. Slowly, jobs are starting to filter through and I even applied for one today that I was excited about. I can't remember the last time I actually had any passion for work.

Time is slipping slowly away and I am enjoying being back in Yorkshire. I love the 10 minute car drive to Osmotherly. I am enjoying day time trips t0 the cinema, Miss Potter, Flushed away. I go to bed late and get up late. This must be how it is for the rich, no work, no focus. If I had loads of cash and my own place I am sure that I could get used to it. I don't and I haven't so I am itching to get back to the routine of work. Dreaming of the day when this blog includes something other than the 'search'.

January 11, 2007

Up top

Even though I live in a town, when you are in Yorkshire you are really never far away from places that can feel totally remote. Here is my shadow and my car and moors that can go on for miles. This is a popular spot year round where I live, but lucky for me, most people work on a Thursday afternoon so I had the place pretty much to myself.

Aside from the panicking that is making the back of my brain hot, I can actually breathe up here. The wind was wild today, but is does blow away the cobwebs as Grandma used to say.

January 09, 2007

Blow me away

The wind is howling outside and I am keeping myself warm by auctioning off a load of my DVD box sets on ebay. There is something so addictive about checking the site every half an hour and finding that there are more people watching and more people bidding on your stuff. It makes me want to rifle through everything and find loads more stuff that I can sell.

If I sell enough then I would be able to avoid going into schools and doing supply work. I would also be able to make my living sitting in front of my computer all day with the kettle close by. How cool would that be?

I have to go into town this afternoon and need to make it a mission not to spend any money. It is all about surviving the next few weeks and not finding myself so skint that I can't set myself up for my new job. Still feels funny that it is the middle of January and I have no job. I wonder if I will have a job by my birthday?

January 07, 2007

How to be a domestic Goddess

Everyone knows that Christmas is a time for eating loads of different foods. Even though Christmas is technically finished I am still very much enjoying eating local food that I would never have been able to get while I lived overseas. Every time I go to hang out with N she seems to be making some amazing food at her place.

Last week she cooked a traditional Georgian English chicken meal, with cinnamon butter beetroot sauce and such a yummy mix of flavours that I have to say I have been telling everyone about it for days afterwards. It was very olde worlde, but it was great to see her cooking and playing in the kitchen while me and S sat and drank cups of tea. It was like things were in the summer, before I went to Poland and he moved to Rome.

If I stay in the UK, I look forward to having a proper kitchen. I would have bit pots and pans and boy would I be cooking up a storm.

January 04, 2007

Eyes tired

After so many hours looking at this computer screen my eyes are blurry and I am starting to worry, just a tiny little bit. I need the wide open spaces again. It really did not take me long to notice how my feet started to itch whenever I thought about staying in England. There are no jobs, will have to wait until tomorrow when the websites change.

Everyone is tipping over with the January blues in this house. My brothers and family are all cold, tired, grey and suffering from a festive hangover that is going to last long enough to make us all emotional and cranky for a whole month. It is my birthday in three weeks and I fully intend on being in another country, in a new apartment by the time that 31 rolls around.

I miss Paris and I miss Warsaw. But I want somewhere new now. I am ready for butterflies, new cities and unfamiliar vistas. I just want away from this January here, from my 31t birthday when I never liked the 30th. I want away from moaning, jobs, moaning. New, new, new. That is what I want. See that goal, now go and kick the ball in the net.

“The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage.”

January 03, 2007

Baby boy

Like M, I would like to spend my time gazing out of the window when I should be doing as I am told. He has an excuse, he is not even two years old. I, on the other hand, have no reason. I am 30 years old and should know better. It is now the 3rd of January and not only do I not have a job I cannot even be bothered to look for one. Friday. TES. All systems go.
I am still in a Christmas frame of mind though, I am still happy to chat to friends about my future, it is settling me into what I want to do. Once I know that, I can go out and do it. Not being sure about where to go next puts you into a void, you are falling. Ambition and focus are only good if you have a goal that you must achieve, otherwise where does that professional focus go?

January 02, 2007

New Year, new me.

This is the time of year you know, the last year is gone and we like to herald in the new one by making loads of promises to ourselves that we cannot really keep. Well, this is the year that I will carefully consider what my resolutions will be and I fully intend on keeping them. We should all ignore my slagging off New Year over the last few days or it will diminish the power of the promises.

Five Resolutions for 2007

1) I will spend less money - This has got to be done or I may start 2008 with the resolution 'must file for bankruptcy'.
2) I will enjoy my music more - this entails 2000 CDs, one Ipod and lots of uploading time.
3) I will stop buying books, and read the ones that I bought, put on my 'to read' pile, but bought more books and read them instead.
4) I will not settle for a stop gap job. As with men, I will wait until the right one comes along. I ill wait for a job that excites me and makes me progress professionally. I will be active in searching for this job.
5) I will grow my hair longer than it has ever been. I have hair that is below shoulder length at the moment and have always wanted long hair but get bored and cut it all off before it gets a chance to grow. Not this year.

I am quite pleased as these resolutions seem very do-able, I think that this may be the start of a good year. A positive year full of changes and moves, that is always my favourite kind of year.

What are yours? Does anyone have any good resolutions this year?