Saturday, 31 March 2012

General life stuff: bits and bobs

I've come home this weekend for another car boot sale sess which will mean getting up at the crack of dawn tomorrow and of course a Wimpy burger for our efforts. I'll be rummaging through old clothes today trying to find things to sell and throw out. I do this all the time but still the pile of stuff grows.

Mum found out this week that she must vacate her house in 4 weeks. An end of an era is coming. She's been in that house for what? 3 years. Strangely, I was just thinking this Christmas that next Christmas it would be nice to have a change of scenery, as much as I love the place. Guess I'm so used to Christmas being in different places these days with all the moves over the years.

Hopefully the move will not be too stressful. Mum might be literally moving next door. She used to be good friends with the old lady who lived there (she even saved her life once which says a lot for the benefits of community and knowing your neighbours) and just a few weeks back she passed away. Her family mentioned to mum that they wouldn't mind renting the property to her now. I think the old lady would have approved of that. It might be confusing for the cats however, but I imagine where the food bowl goes, they'll quickly follow. Let's hope it all works out and its a smooth transition.

It is nice to be back. I haven't seen my dad since Christmas. The usual ritual of a takeaway and a Dexter marathon ensued. One more episode to go...! Not sure what I'll get him hooked on next. I also had a chance to check up on my plant - isn't it pretty?
Other news...the boy is coming back from Canada next week so Easter will be spent catching up with him. It is a shame his sister won't be home to complete the family unit and to say farewell to the house.

Next week a friend of mine will also be temporarily moving to Bristol which I await with great eagerness. This is where I have to give Facebook its credit. The friend is a girl who I met when I was working at New Holland Publishers back in 2008. We've met for a drink once or twice but I left before our friendship really flourished. Thanks to Facebook, 4 years later, we may be able to pick up where we left off an get to know each other even better this time. The same thing has happened with another ex-work colleague from another job who I am closer friends with now compared to how we were when we worked together. There is a lot to be said about Facebook when it comes to reconnecting.

Anyway, off to do chores and all that...hope you have a lovely weekend too! xxx

Thursday, 29 March 2012

A good story

I've been working all day and I'm tired of it. I just took a break to go down and cook some stir-fry and bake some salmon and I got talking to my landlady as I so often do.

She's a lovely lady and we always have a good natter but I don't know that much about her. Anyway, we were talking and I finally ventured on to the topic of her line of work before she retired. She used to be a tarot reader when she was younger. I asked how she became interested in such things and the word UFO slipped from her lips. I wasn't too surprised. There are lots of pictures of crop circles all around the kitchen and she's mentioned before about annual crop circle meetings she used to attend.

Then she told me her story. The story, that I suppose, changed her life and made her who she was. I enjoyed it so much, I feel I must also share it with you.

She told me, when she was younger, all she cared about was boys, music, make-up and clothes. A typical teenage girl in the 1950s. This is what her life revolved around...until one day cir. 1953.

She'd been working or out - I don't remember the exact details - but her brother was driving her and her friend home around 5pm on a sunny July afternoon. They were driving through a small village on the outskirts of Bristol and she remembers giggling with her friend in the back seat. Suddenly her brother slammed on the brakes and the car came to sudden stop.

Annoyed at the sudden stop and seeing nothing in the road, she punched him crossly. His only response was to slowly point his finger to the sky.

They got out of the car and gawped. A coach from behind came round the corner and honked them. It was carrying many elderly people. Her brother motioned to the driver and pointed again to the sky. The driver also got out of his vehicle. The elderly people looked frightened. Everyone stood in silence and starred at the sky.

There hung a saucer and it was big and it was close. Close enough to see windows. Close enough to notice that although the sun was shining there was no glare off the 'metal'. It was silent. It stayed in the sky, hovering for about ten minutes whilst no one spoke. Then in less time than you could count: 1-2-3, it zipped across the sky at a phenomenal speed. Then, it was no bigger than the size of a pin point before it disappeared completely.

For three days after that my landlady was scared. Scared it would come back. But it never did. What was it? She still doesn't have an explanation to this day....

I asked her if anyone reported it but she commented that in those days these things would have been scoffed at. A local newspaper was approached but nothing much ever came of it.

She went on to talk about the west country and strange sightings. She spoke of how she'd stood in a crop circle and felt a great energy and how other people who have done so have sometimes claimed of headaches. It would seem they are a regular occurrence in this part of the world - you can even hop on a bus and go see some - every year!

I asked her how people knew if they were fake or not.
She said they run tests and the ones which baffle them are ones where the corn is bent but not broken. She said the only way they can achieve this effect through man made efforts (that they know of) is with microwaves...though I didn't quiz her more on the details.

Whatever the case...its been a while since I heard a good story...and this one was good. It's put a big smile on my face...

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A Weekend in Pictures

What a nice weekend! I hope you all have been enjoying the weather as much as I have? Lots to fill you in so here goes...

It began with free tickets to Bristol Fashion week (my friend and I got offered the tickets through a media contact and thought 'Why not?') It was a fun, vibrant show (hosted by Andrew Barton and some other TV celeb I didn't recognise) which came with pink Prosecco and a small goodie bag and then we explored the pamper zone and I lost all sense of sensibility and spent £65 I don't have on a curling wand...I mean, I really don't have that kind of money to spare. I need new contact lenses and school shoes - they are my priority...but....

...I now have curls!!! (little victory dance) And my hair never holds curls...but now it does!!! And it is cool...and I'm in love with my hair!!! So I guess the splurge was worth a week of being broke and eating only Heinz tinned spaghetti....Starting the weekend with curls? Yes please!!!
Ok, girlie moment over and on to more normal things...Bristol was buzzing this weekend. Everyone came out of the wood works...and there was music and sunglasses and bottles of wine being drunk down by the harbour...and I strolled along and thought 'Ah! I love this town!'...I was helping my friend organise Alternative Miss Bristol this Saturday so we took a trip on Saturday afternoon to the children's scrap store in St Werburgs which was amazeballs - lots of recyled bits and pieces which you can buy for crafts and all kinds of stuff. We filled a basket to the top with stuff for a mere £3. The money goes to charity and it is a great idea to recycle and be creative! Our scraps were used for the show in the tiara making round.Then in the evening, after a pie at Pieminister, Alternative Miss Bristol kicked off at the Cube...Check out the drag queen cake a volunteer made as a prize! 6 victoria sponges under that icing!
The night was a great success despite my friends worries about contestants pulling out and unsupportive friends not turning up. A lot of the show was improvised and everyone did an amazing job and it was really, really funny. The winner was Miss Montepellier who was basically Freddie Mercury dressed up like in Queen's song: 'I want to be free' but obviously she was a woman in reverse. She was excellent and her talent was to sing the song and reenact the whole video -including the rolling around in a black all in one and eating grapes. The audience loved her. The party went on til late after and I strolled home at 2am and I'm still feeling rather sleepy now.
Sunday, was a chilled one that followed. The mothership descended and we drove to Bath for the day as she has only ever been once. We went to Demuths - a well known veggie restaurant for lunch and ate some lovely food and drank some nice crisp white wine...
....before strolling along through the sunny streets....we ended the afternoon back down in the harbour in Bristol...
Such a nice weekend!! I hope you guys had a good time too! Get up to anything fun? I'll be popping along to see you all soon. xxx

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

P.S

Just found a wonderful little article over at Yes and Yes blog to go along with my last post....so sweet and true! xxx

Monday, 19 March 2012

Weird Weekend...and bubbles....

For ages I was looking forward to the weekend just gone. I hadn't been to London since New Year so I was dead excited about going back and seeing my friends. I also had a a possible romantic interest to hook up with which was a plus point too.

So the weekend came and went and it was great -no major dramas. I had a good time at the frat party I went to; London didn't overwhelm me with its crowds and chaos; I met up with this guy...it was all good. However, whilst I left on Friday with a great sunny disposition, I came back to Bristol with a rain cloud over my head and a heavy mood I couldn't easily shake.

It was almost as if I had jinxed it. At the party a friend asked me how I was and I replied with great gusto: 'Oh yes, I'm really happy right now.' and he agreed and said 'Yes, you seem a lot happier now compared to before Christmas. I was worried about you before.'

So why did I come back with the long face? Was it PMT? A hangover? What was it?

I can tell you now that Bristol slowly worked its magic on me. As the train passed through Bath as the afternoon sun was setting I thought 'How can you be grumpy when outside looks as beautiful as this?' As I walked home past the river the sky was bright crimson and I reminded myself the same thing again. Slowly, slowly. The next morning the sun was shining and it was a beautiful spring morning of daffodils and saplings...and then I was back in the classroom and by the time the first class had come and gone I was better again.

I tell you, teaching works wonders for a troubled mind. In an office I would have brooded and over analysed. Teaching prevents this. In a classroom you really have to be in the now, the present moment. You need your wits. By being unable to dwell on something your mood quickly evens itself out. So all is fairly well again now.

And the problem? I think I was worried I was living in a bubble with my life in Bristol. At some point I do need to think a bit more responsibly and channel my efforts in a direction of something more stable and secure job wise (PGCE anyone?). All my highflying London friends who are earning (some) eight times my salary were quick to remind me of this (did I realise I was losing money every year by not doing a teaching qualification?!) and how I must seize the moment, quit delaying and anchor myself. No more travelling talk...and part of me agrees and is envious of their stability and career progress. Part of me thinks I'm still behaving like a young gap year student.

But another part of me doesn't and when I quit worrying I'm happy. This conflict this weekend arose to burst my bubble momentarily...but it has quickly grown back, only I'm a little more aware of my movements and choices than I was a week ago.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Kate Bush: Wuthering Heights

Been teaching a little bit of Wuthering Heights today in my advanced vocabulary and grammar class. I selected the scene where Heathcliff comes to visit Catherine for the last time - possibly my favourite scene in all English literature.

I was toying with getting the students to do a gap fill exercise for Kate Bush's song version but we didn't have time in the end. Still, I'm glad I considered it as watching this film for like the upteenth time has just renewed by awe and respect for her. Do you know she was only eighteen when she wrote this song and she wrote it in a few hours? And look at her movements and grace when you watch the video. Every gesture, every look is perfect...and the words - the whole product in my mind perfectly captures Catherine Earnshaw and what she would seem like if she appeared at your window one late, dark, cold night...The woman is a genius, that is all I have to say! xxx

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Week reflections

It's been a busy week: the last week of term before the school holidays (alas I am not taking the two weeks as I need the money! I could sure well use it!) and everyone's motivation has fallen by the wayside. This week four of my lovely students also left. We had a big graduation ceremony on Thursday, followed by a class outing to Obento where we ate sushi and sang karaoke, followed by a big school party at a local night-club.

It was sad to see so many students go - not just from my general class but also from my special interest classes. It was only at the graduation ceremony that I realise just how many students I have come into contact with and taught. There were lots of tears and hugs and photos...

I wasn't planning on going to the night-club but I had to walk past it to go home and inevitably I got lured in. It was so nice to see everyone there, high on life and wanting to express their gratitude and friendship. Such a good feeling and it really confirmed to me that I love my job at the moment. It can't sustain me forever but I'm going to enjoy the good times whilst they last.

I want to tell you more about my new place but I think I will save it for another post. Let me just say though it is cool to be so close to town and work. Anyway...just a few photos of my class and those graduating (the two girls on the left and the boy on my right and another girl absent from this photo). Come June it will be even sadder when my whole class leaves!!!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A few random new house snaps...

My view on the way home from work now in the evening/afternoon...Bristol harbourside...
Chez moi now...isn't the red door pretty?
The cute kitchen...its covered in pictures of crop circles as my landlady loves them (she used to attend the annual crop circle meeting - didn't even know they had one!)...and, rather sadly, faded photos of a departed daughter...
I moved the table so I can work with better light. It is a busy road outside but there is the river and the sun...

More to come I hope -especially of the pusskins. Had my first private class tonight too. Identical Spanish twin girls. They seemed very nice and it is a good feeling to make a little extra cash in hand! Will help with savings and the bills... :) xxx

Sunday, 4 March 2012

M&M Weekend

This weekend was all about Moving house and trying out the major nightclub in Bristol Motion.

I'm currently in bed in my old house nursing a bit of a hangover but in a few hours I will be in my new place unpacking. I'll delay posting this entry however so I can hopefully take a few photos of my new pad and show you it.

Unbelievably moving all my stuff across from one place to another took less than 2 hours. My housemate and I were like moving demons. We acted swiftly and had a formula. After that was all done we came back 'home' and relaxed in preparation for the evening. I could have stayed at my new place last night but I didn't think it would set a great impression crawling in to my new landlady's house at like 5am in the morning on my first day.

So that was the move, nothing more to say about that really except, as you know, I will be sad to leave my current set up. I walked down to Gloucester Road one last time for a tasty jam doughnut in the afternoon. I hope there is a good bakery near my new place...

Now for Motion....imagine a big warehouse on the edge of town. It is a cool venue - difficult to lose people. It was originally a skater park (it still is) but then it became an evening venue as well. It is Bristol's biggest I think...though don't hold me to that fact.

Now when I go out I have a method. I'm really not an evening person. I'm a certified full-of-beans morning person. I'm that annoying person bouncing all over the place when all you want to do is stare into your tea cup darkly at 7am on a Monday morning. Sorry, it isn't like I have much choice! Late nights are my nemesis. It gets dark and I go into hibernation mode. I want my bed. Over the years I have really struggled with this and learnt how to cope through trial and error.

Wine equals desperately craving bed by 2am - painfully so. It makes me drowsy. The only way in the past to get through things was lots of coffee or Red Bull, minimal booze before midnight and then whisky and coke after, along with a supply of Haribo and/or a Boost bar in my bag. Sugar rush baby (though it can topple over into the caffeine jitters if I'm not careful and hard spirits and energy drinks kill my sensitive stomach at the best of times). But actually, the key is just to not get too drunk. Just a little tipsy on spirits and then an alternating combo of water/alcohol/water/alcohol - or even just water for the majority of the time. You keep alert and I still have lots of fun.

Having said this, I still feel a bit poo this morning...my housemate made me drink something alcohol based at 5am in the morning when we got home when all I wanted was a peppermint tea (Yeah, I'm really Rockn'roll).

Anyway, so last night was a lot of Dubstep music. Took me back to Uni days. I went with my housemate, a fellow teacher and her three friends from London and it was cool. Note-able facts of the night:

-drinks are cheaper than in London!
-the crowd was mainly students - I felt a little old... In fact, four of my students were there and they thought I was 'oh so cool' for coming out for the night. One even told me she wouldn't tell the other teachers...er thanks! She was fcuked on something and she probably assumed I was too maybe...I also got asked 'You're not a student are you?' by some random baby faced bloke but then he rescued it with 'but I can tell you're a classy lady.' er...again thanks I guess...Rather sophisticated than drunkenly soporific I suppose!

(On a side note, teaching is doing wonders for my youth. Despite my student's reactions, never before have I been told so often how beautiful and young I look. I think it might also be the move away from London. Stress ages you...and London is a working arena for stress... I can't complain about this.)

-One of my teacher's friends from London doesn't do dancing. Not even a little swaying or bopping on the spot. He just stood like a pillar in the crowds. All night. Do you know how frustrating this is? Me and his friend couldn't help ourselves, he came our honorary dancing pole. Every move centred around him to try and get him to loosen up a little. I tried to get him to do 'cardboard box' and 'make a sandwich' with his hands. Needless to say it didn't work. Ah well... C'est la vie dude! If you can't let loose at a nightclub, where can you? I told him he was like Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. He just needed a watermelon.

Anyway, so there you go...not the most diverting or insightful post but some musings nonetheless. And here are some photos of my new place (in a mess as I move in -more to come)...! Enjoy! :) xxx