Thursday, 27 December 2012

But Only Just

I cannot begin to tell you how hard I have been working these past few months. Everything, and I mean everything, has been put on hold. I work a full day, then race home with just enough time to stuff some food into me before heading back out to tutor more children in the evenings. Finally,  having done a 13 hour day, or so, I come back in and need to do marking or planning. Exhausted doesn't cover it. And I don't even get sick pay or a pension out of this madness. There is something wrong in the world.

Things I haven't done include blogging - I'm not up to date with even last summer's travelpod, which makes me sad. It is one of the things I love doing, that I'm quite proud of. I feel a part of me is missing because I have had my creativity removed by so much work. I feel like an automoton, who travels the country, spouting science and maths facts at young people endlessly. It feels like a type of Sisyphisian punishment, where I'm doomed to spend eternity repeating the same thing over and over again.

I have also cut out exercise. I've cancelled several trips to the mountains, failed to go swimming, not run a step and given the poor dog short shrift. Consequently, I'm getting heavier and more unfit and my blood sugar is rising significantly. It all sucks. I can't keep it up, but what to do?

Slowly, as my strength returns over the winter break, I am feeling panicky attacks. My throat is closing up with a condition called globus hysterica that I first experienced four years ago when working for the Bad Headmistress. She has since retired, but her legacy lives on. This psychological condition is caused by the muscles in my throat tightening due to stress and tension. It is bizarre that it is happening now that the pressure has eased. What's that all about then? I've just had a bit of a rest and I think it is a manifestation of the fear of going back to teaching next term. Ho hum. I gotta get a life.

Around the autumn equinox, Mel finally persuaded me to get a hamster. This beautiful creature, Noxy, came to live with us briefly and soon became a much loved addition to the family. Sadly Noxy escaped one evening in December and was not a match for our more predatory pets. Noxy was buried with full honours in the front garden.

Once the initial trauma had subsided, we decided to get another hamster. This one is thankfully still alive and has been named Hiro (after one of the characters in the TV series Heroes that the kids have been watching). He's a friendly little thing, and is filling a Noxy shaped hole quite well.

Nick is the Holly King
Just after the Winter Solstice, we headed off to Stonehenge for the Druidic ceremony that we get invited to at this time of year. The kids were under very strict instructions not to touch the stones, as they got into trouble for it last summer. The weather this year has been appalling. It has rained constantly since April. I'm not even exaggerating. There is widespread flooding and anywhere off-path has been turned into a quagmire. I'm actually looking forward to cold weather so the mud freezes up a bit. 

The Three Maidens
Anyway, the threat of yet more rain meant several regulars cried off the ceremony. Afterall, the thought of standing in the rain for two hours getting the ritual robes sodden wasn't all that enthralling. Anyway, we risked it and it did in fact stay dry. The knock on effect of fewer people attending, meant we all ended up with jobs to do. Nick was the Holly King, the girls handed out the mead and snacks and we all joined in mourning the demise of the Holly King, as his reign wanes before the return of the sun. 

Christmas Day itself was spent at Mum's. We'd done the preparation the day before, so there was only the actual cooking part to do, and the opening of presents and the eating marathon to get through. I think we judged the presents OK this year. The kids all seemed quite happy. Donny got a nook, which is like a kindle, but half the price. She and Eartha have been glued to it ever since. Mel's top present was an alarm clock, something he'd asked for. Saskia's most used so far have been a book of puzzles and a book on how to draw cartoons. Nick and I got a great selection of music, books and clothes. Not a single smelly bath product in sight. Hurray! Mel is making up for it on the smelly front though. He got a packet of Lily flavoured joss sticks, which he is now polluting the house with.

Xmas Lunch

So, onwards to 2013!