Noted - Episode 11

There’s a definite sense of a shift this week as we adjust to the first tentative steps in easing the lockdown. Primary schools have opened their doors a crack wider to allow in more pupils, we’re permitted to engage in outdoor socialising with more than one person, buy a new car if we feel so inclined, and of course there’s free football on the horizon (be still my beating heart). In terms of returning to educational establishments, I can report that my 10-year-old is delighted to be back in lessons, but that actually might be less about the school itself and more about being back with her friends and her two amazing teachers (whom she adores). Having someone who actually understands how to do Y6 maths is probably a bonus as well*. 
How things are for the poor professionals welcoming the increased numbers of primary pupils may be a different story. I have heard varying accounts of the bewildering and convoluted policies put in place to offer a safe learning environment. Be it construc…

Noted - Episode 10

Although I have lost any accurate sense of time, I think it is half term (but I couldn’t tell you which one). For many people that won’t mean much, especially at the moment, but for some it offers a brief window of respite from what’s been a relentless couple of months. A sure indicator that it is half term is that I’ve been a bit unwell (not with ‘that’ be assured) with a pesky ear infection, the sort of irritating minor health issue that always times itself to the school holidays. This is fairly standard sequence of events, school holidays start, I usually stop work, immediately have all plans (best laid or otherwise) scuppered because someone in the house (usually me) is incapacitated through illness. 
Please be assured, fellow Northerners, I’d already managed a couple of excursions before the lurgy hit and I’m not planning to drive myself to any local beauty spots to check my wellness anytime soon. I’m just going to stay at home and remain alert (while probably not straying too far…

Episode 9

These last couple of months have exposed some significant and worrying cracks in a crucial relationship for my working and personal life. Following weeks of fraught interactions and sullen tensions, it’s time to face the truth. Technology and I are having serious difficulties.
This might come as a shock to some of you, but it will not be a bombshell for those who know me well. I am that person who tries everything (drawing from an admittedly limited range of techniques) to make a device work (turn it off, turn it on again) and then fails. Enter someone else, ANYONE else (usually one of my children, or endlessly patient school IT colleagues), and with the simplest of key-strokes, the problem disappears.  It’s maddening.  I can actually feel my blood pressure rising as the aforementioned device sniggers at me, behaving impeccably for any other user apart from me.  Anyway, in this vein, my computer and I have always endured a strained relationship which recently has tipped over the edge i…

Episode 8

My husband has bought me a hammock. Although that sounds like it should be the first line of a limerick, it isn’t, for the simple reason that nothing rhymes with hammock...  It is, in fact, my birthday present* and it is probably one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. I have already spent a solid two hours gently swaying in its gentle embrace, reading my excellent new book** (an unexpected ‘not birthday’ present, from a very lovely person) alongside engaging in some pretty intense sky-staring and thinking***.  It is such a simple thing but in this sling made of fabric and rope, I have been gifted a genuine cocoon of luxury where I can hide away and be detached and alone (no need for an ineffectual ‘post it’ note out here). The younger members of the household are also unusually on board and have even taken to bringing me snacks and drinks at regular intervals. They must have been bribed and/or blackmailed into this behaviour, but I’m enjoying the outcome so am not going to question…

Episode 7

After hitting the lockdown wall last week, I received some salient advice that in turn led to a bit of an epiphany (or, and perhaps more appropriately, what alcoholics refer to as ‘a moment of clarity’).  I realised that something had to change so, after careful consideration, I said ‘No’ to something. I’ll just pause a moment while those of you who know me pick their jaws up from the floor.
Of course, being British, I actually said something along the lines of, “I’m terribly sorry, I really can’t meet that deadline, I do hope you understand, thank you very much and sorry again”. This was a somewhat unusual step for me, but was much needed and as a result the rest of my plates have (more or less) kept spinning. It struck me that although I find it difficult to admit that I’m finding things challenging, when I do the weight that lifts allows me to carry on with everything else.
All down to wonderful advice from exceptional friends. The tea towel in the photo above, hangs up in my kitch…

Episode 6

There's a post it note on the door to our music room which has had a lot of use lately, inspired by Caroline Bowen’s  recently posted picture on Twitter.  Her sign is a bit more detailed than my effort which just says "I'm BUSY ask Dad!" but it does convey the same message to the children: I am attempting, and probably failing, to continue to work in something vaguely resembling a normal fashion. I know it’s weird for you and you don't understand what's happening, but I need you not to disturb me while I try to achieve a tiny fraction of what I would expect to do in a typical day! It's challenging to say the least, and I want to take a moment to acknowledge that. The difficulties of working (or not working) from home whilst attempting to parent* and home educate** as well, at times feel insurmountable.
As I mentioned in earlier blogs I am a part time Music Teacher as well as a Music Education Hub manager. The flexible working patterns of two jobs has alwa…