Sunday, 27 April 2008

Work in progress

This weekend I was supposed to be going camping with the Duke of Edinburgh kids from school. I was going to pick Shona up from school on Friday and then we were going to camp on the Saturday, come home today and take Shona back about now. In the end, I just had to pull the plug on this because I just felt too tired and run down. Ezzie has been ill all week and even had to have a couple of days off work. This is unheard of for him and I felt I was going the same way.

I am so glad that I decided against going because this weekend I have had a nice relaxing time at home andhave time to recuperate and sleep. Camping is fun, but certainly not restful, do despite Shona's disappointment, I'm glad I looked after myself and my own interests for once.

This weekend I have been busy, but busy doing nice things, and relaxing things in between. I've walked the greyhounds, which is always lovely, though my favourite one now has a home and wasn't there. I've been to the allotment, Ezzie and I went out for a meal on Friday and had Esther and Kin around for a meal last night. Today I've been shopping at a local spinning shop and I'm now waiting to watch Darren Gough on a tv programme. (A pupil I teach called Daniel is on 'Darren Watch' and informs me of anything and everything Darren is going to be in. The kid should be his agent.)

I left work late on Friday and got everything ready for Monday so I wouldn't need to do anything during the weekend. This has meant I have cracked on with lots of projects and my many works in progress. Shona's second sock is coming on nicely, though I have some yarn still to spin and ply. At the end I'm hoping to have enough yarn to knit a similar pair for Sienna so the sisters can have identical socks. I need to do such cute things whilst they are still young.

I have knitted a little on the baby cardigan I am making for a friend. I absolute hate this cardigan. I never want to pick it up, I never want to knit the pattern. It has taken me a month to get this far and the baby is growing rapidly. I am going to finish it and work (almost) exclusively on it for this week because I want rid of the thing. The only lesson it has served to teach me is that I should only knit for myself and for people I want to give gifts to. I really don't want to knit for someone else's requirements so I am going to be more assertive about this in the future.

I have also treated myself to a Niddy Noddy today as well as some gorgeous red and orange merino for me to spin. I'm on a yarn diet at the moment, but that does not include fluff because I make it into yarn and don't buy it as yarn. I love the colours and there wasn't much of it, so it had to be.

Whilst I post, I'm actually dyeing some Blue Faced Leicester yellow because that's the next yarn I want to spin. It seems to be classic for hand spinners, so I'll see what all the fuss is about.

I am feeling much brighter today. The last fortnight I have been feeling down. I think some good rest has helped, but as I was taking photos of my stuff for today's post I realised that I am also a work in progress and so is my career and that a set back now does not mean a set back forever. The whole thing has focussed my thinking on where I want to go next, so at least it has focussed my mind in some ways.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Once more with photo

I'm really struggling to maintain the blog at the moment. It feels like a constant afterthought and for the last fortnight I have not felt good. I know I mentioned the job interview in my last post but since then I'm having problems and I just seem unable to lift my mood. On a rational level I know that I did well and it probably was a jump too far, but on an emotional level it's left me feeling really unsure of myself and wondering what to do next.

I'm finding it difficult to stir myself into any enthusiasm for work. I do love my job but I feel I've gone as far as I can at this particular school and I feel trapped. People say it's a minor blip and I'll recover and that great opportunities will come my way. I'm sure they're right. But in the meantime I'm wondering where the opportunity will come from. Languages are being squeezed at so many schools so the political and educational climates don't make my situation any better.

I went away with some friends last weekend. I enjoyed parts of it but during much of the time I felt really unsociable and out of sorts. I ended up coming home early because I was so aware of how miserable I must seem to other people and I just didn't want to spoil their fun.

My good friend from Australia has been here this week and I've spent much of today with her. It's been lovely to see her again, but she flies tomorrow and it will be August before I see her again. All of this has compounded how I'm feeling at the moment and I'm just feeling sorry for myself. I just can't do that British thing and snap out of it. I could have gone out knitting today but it just didn't feel like a good idea. Instead I'm at home, twiddling my thumbs, feeling tired, lethargic and low.

There has been a small success this week. I've knitted a sock with my own sock yarn. It's not perfect, and nor was it going to be, but it's satisfactory enough and is certainly wearable. It's Cheviot wool and I dyed the pink and the purple, spun them and then plied them. This sock is for Shona. Although knowing her keen sense of fashion, it might not be quite right.

It's five weeks today since I had the spinning lesson, so I've done well overall. I'm sure I'll improve and eventually lose the irregular feel to the yarn. It has been satisfying and I've been buying some bits and pieces to do next. I think I'll do some more dyeing on Sunday and start with my next lot of spinning soon after.

In the meantime, the end of the week is in sight and the teachers' strike came at the right moment for me. I know there are bigger issues to the strike but I have just needed time out.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Quick update

Some people already know by now, but I didn't get the job last week. I got very positive feedback but inevitably it has left me feeling a little down. I took a lot of positive things from the day and learned a lot. It's been three years since I had an external interview and it certainly was at a higher level, so I have gained a lot from it. In the meantime I am wondering what to do next.

This weekend I was away with some friends in Durham, which was nice. In between it's just been work, work, work. It's a deadline time of the year, so I'm occupied with lots of paper work just prior to the exams.

My knitting and spinning have suffered recently just because I have been too busy to do any. However, today I've treated myself to some Merino, Bamboo and Soya fleece to spin so that should keep me busy for a while.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Half way there

I am half way there with a couple of things.

Firstly, I have dyed and spun some lovely Corriedale yarn and now need to ply it to create my sock yarn.

Secondly, I have an interview next week.

I'm going out tonight, but then this weekend I will be absent, busy preparing and unlikely to be knitting.

Please wish me well, and I'll let you know how I get on.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Back to the old grindstone

First day back at work today. I've had a nice day actually. Usually I am ruing the end of the holidays, but today I felt cheerful all the way to work, enjoyed the day and left quite early so I can have a nice evening. I think the light mornings and evenings do make things better.

I have had a fantastic holiday. In terms of going places, I didn't do anything exotic. Loads of staff turned up today with lovely tans, but my holiday was lovely in other ways. It was great to have Shona here for a while. She enjoyed herself. I liked getting the greyhound for my mum and three times went walking the greyhounds as a volunteer walker. I learnt to spin, did some knitting and saw some friends (knitting friends and non-knitting friends), I saw a couple of films, cooked some nice dinners, went to the allotment a little, read a couple of books and generally had a great time.

Yesterday I went to Wentworth and bought more wool but in its pre-spun state. I bought some Corriedale, some Blue Faced Leicester and a combination of wool, alpaca and mohair. My spinning has definitely improved and I'm getting a liking for it. My aim is to spin sock yarn and I think this is achievable. I also bought a starter dyeing kit yesterday and dyed the Corriedale. Half is a beautiful bright raspberry colour, the other half is a calm purple colour. I did a good job; it's even and I like the colours and I'm excited about spinning some of it tonight. When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was check it was dry. It was! This was probably why the day got off to a great start.

I would like to post some photos of my things. But, guess what? It's not the batteries that are the problem; it's the camera itself. I charged the batteries again, but the camera wouldn't switch on. It may be a while until it's sorted, and my mobile doesn't have a camera phone, so I am scuppered. My descriptions will have to suffice and I'll carry all my recent projects with me to meets so people can see my progress.

When it comes to excuses, I'm as bad as the kids I teach.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Busy, busy

You would think that during the holidays I would have plenty of time to myself and that I could blog everyday and have time on my hands. It has not been the case these holidays; I have not stopped, and the blogging was the first thing to suffer.

I'll try to go through things chronologically. I went for the hospital appointment. I did as I was instructed, but didn't receive any information on the results, so I'm guessing I'll have to have another hospital appointment to receive them. That evening I went to a knitting gathering and then Mara came and watched tv with us.

Thursday was the big spinning day, and that was fantastic! I learned a lot and Grandad enjoyed himself immensely. It was well worth paying for the private tuition and I made a lovely skein whilst I was there. (No photos today, batteries flat AGAIN!) We had a lovely dinner in a nearby Bistro and saw a pupil of mine who had bright pink tights on and she told me I was her inspiration, which I considered to be praise indeed. Since Thursday I have done some more spinning, but it's harder on your own.

Friday I went to work. Some pupils came in for revision sessions and I must say they were fantastic and it made me realise that I love my job for the kids and that whatever happens with the other job I can easily stay another year because the kids are so great.

Saturday was a very unusual day. Earlier in the week my mum had said she wanted a whippet. I looked everywhere and whippets are not cheap! I couldn't find any rescue whippets but plenty of retired greyhounds. We've had greyhounds before and we like them loads. I phoned one place and they had 75 dogs waiting to be rehomed. On hearing this, my mum said, "we've got to have one of them," so the decision was made. My mum and I went to get one. It took us ages to find the place because our navigational skills were shocking, but it was in a great location for the dogs because it was in lovely countryside.

We chose this dog who was called Fable, but who is now Roxie. She is gorgeous, a real softie and she is bonding with my mum, which is nice to see. I keep phoning to see how she is doing. So far, she hasn't had any accidents in the house and she likes lying down by the fire. All greyhounds are couch potatoes and she is the same. Roxie has a nice temperament and is friendly and placid.

Shona came back to stay with us for a few days. Sunday we went to the allotment and then chilled watching a dvd (The Bridge to Terabithia - I recommend it) and Shona did some craft stuff, which she just loves.

On Monday Shona and I went to walk some other retired greyhounds near here. These charities rely on volunteer dog walkers, so we volunteered and had a lovely morning with the dogs. I'm thinking of doing this at the weekends because it's really rewarding and good exercise. Later that evening Shona and Ezzie baked cakes. One cake was more successful than the other, but the funniest part was when Shona dropped a tub of flour everywhere. She'd just had her bath, but was covered in flour. It was like talc. I was laughing my head off.

Yesterday I took Shona back home and spent the day with my mum, grandma and Roxie. I had a nice day and then went to my reading group in the evening.

In the midst of all this I have done some knitting. More socks, and some progress on a baby cardigan. However, it's not as much as I had intended.