Offtopic Sofa Time

New arrivals, including the hello threads and the sofa.
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by stargazer » Sat Dec 24, 2016 11:33 pm

That's so awesome!! I'm a huge Walking Dead fan and I would love to meet the actors one day. I live about 5 hours away from where they film and I want to take a trip to see it. I'm so excited for you!! I've heard that they're all really nice people. Have fun!!! :D
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by Sinkwriter72 » Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:58 am

:window: :christmastree: Happiest of Holidays to all of you out there, whatever you celebrate (or don't celebrate, as the case may be)! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. :wreath:

:carols:

:romance-smileyheart:
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I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating [& sharing their experience]. I don't care if it's a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music… I think this world would be unlivable without art. ~ S. Soderbergh

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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by ThyneAlone » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:44 pm

Bones-free environment <<sigh>> hardly surprising we've all been off actual posting for a bit. I'm looking forward to its return and, hopefully, proper closure. And also hoping that TJ keeps in touch with everyone about his next plans so that we know what we should be looking forward to afterwards!

So hi out there all my neglected friends. I've had a truly horrible few months at work so I guess that's a tiny excuse for the abandonment (though I promise I look in every day like a good moderator should. Though a good mod should be doing plenty of posting too). When I got back to school in September I was promptly informed that a) there was an extra class of 8-year-olds to fit in somehow, and that one of our senior classes was going to be cancelled because the group was too small - so timetable chaos, with no-one knowing what they were doing - and b) that my head of department was going to have a shoulder op in two days' time and that this would leave me in charge of EVERYTHING for six weeks while he recuperated!

The stress and misery this created was immense - thank goodness for a friendly and supportive department. For a start, the Powers That Be, being short of cash this year, decided not to get a cover teacher for my HOD and took us off normal lessons to cover him. Some lessons were actually being covered by people unfamiliar with the language being taught!! It also meant our own classes were being disadvantaged and left to fend for themselves to an extent - not a good start to their year. And there I was presiding over all this as a part-timer (!). During this time I mentored and supported a new member of staff, organised a timetable for our French assistante, re-created the group that was going to be cancelled by juggling with the timetable, held a couple of departmental meetings, organised two Open Day events, attended a Heads of Departments' meeting and represented the department at a seminar evening to advertise us to next year's seniors as a preferable option. I ordered books and resources for the department and went through the nuisance of seeking out senior management to sign off my invoices because I wasn't meant to do so as a mere second in dept. All this at a time when we are trying to assimilate 2 new public exam syllabuses and prepare resources for them. I kept in regular touch with my HOD by email (I was the only contact from school he was prepared to communicate with) and told him what was going on. His op hadn't been 100% successful and he was in a lot of pain and depressed, so he rarely got back to me. When he finally returned, it almost seemed that all I had done was taken for granted. There were congratulations to the new girl for coping so well and to colleagues for their support, but public thanks to me there were none. And at our first meeting back he asked questions about all the things I had informed him about by email, making me feel that it hadn't even been worth the effort of staying in touch.

Obviously there has been the usual intense pressure towards the end of term. My fault partly, as I had refused to give up my hobby to dedicate myself entirely to work. I got involved in some concerts my husband was organising, and in which son no.2 was singing, in addition to the normal Christmas commitments with church choir and choral society. Boxing Day was my first moment of relaxation in fact! Anyway, it has been a good Christmas and tonight we are all set with our usual hotpot meal and some coal/money/bread for our 'first footer' to carry through the house, for luck, at midnight. Son no.1 is coming to join us, a rare break from work; always the case when you're in retail. He, along with the other two men in my life, is down with a horrible cough and cold. It would be just my luck to catch it before my return to work next Thursday!

I hope everyone has had their annual (at least) dose of The Man In The Fallout Shelter. For me it's a touchstone, like It's a Wonderful Life. Life-affirming, moving, well-acted and a work of art in terms of direction; with that special moment we all love...

On the premise that next term can only (surely??) get better, I will endeavour to stay in touch. Keep safe and happy amidst all the turmoil currently affecting the world in terms of politics, society and humanitarian concerns. Those of you going through hard times - my thoughts are with you. Happy New Year to all.
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by Sinkwriter72 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:09 am

Crawling out of the woodwork to say hi.

I've been in a bit of hibernation from pretty much everyone and everything the past month or so. Things have been pretty stressful financially, and I've been dedicating a lot of time to working on fixing that. I still don't have all the answers, but I'm working on it!

I just wanted to say that I'm still here, and I'm going to try harder to re-engage. I promise I'm trying!

I hope you are all doing well. :romance-smileyheart:
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I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating [& sharing their experience]. I don't care if it's a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music… I think this world would be unlivable without art. ~ S. Soderbergh

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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by Sinkwriter72 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:53 am

Special P.S. to Sharon - I owe you many messages!! <3 <3 <3
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by ThyneAlone » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:14 am

Sharon never forgets people, Sherry.
Just to let you know I'm thinking of you and hope things are looking up a bit. :romance-smileyheart: :romance-kisscheek:
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by Sinkwriter72 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:33 pm

Thanks, Steph. :romance-smileyheart:

Sadly, money's still a major issue. I'm trying not to freak out, and instead remember my past experiences and call upon the lessons I've learned over the years and trust that I'll figure it all out. But in the meantime it can still be pretty scary. I'm doing what I can, but it's hard sometimes and I find myself falling into anxiety over it. I'm feeling pretty isolated right now, but part of that is my own doing, you know? The more stressed I get, the more I pull back and retreat into my own proverbial cave. :-?

Nonetheless, I appreciate the support. Especially because I know things have been a bit stressful on your end as well. You've been in my thoughts too.
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I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating [& sharing their experience]. I don't care if it's a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music… I think this world would be unlivable without art. ~ S. Soderbergh

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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by ThyneAlone » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:03 am

For anyone who's interested, I was about to explain here why I was so excited for FanaticExpo, and now you will see why I am so down now, having found out about its cancellation.

I needed something to look forward to that would take my mind off the mess school has been this year and all the work I will have to do this vacation to prepare for the terms to come. You'll perhaps recall (if not, it's all listed 3 or 4 posts back, as I am an inveterate moaner!!) that I had an unpaid and unappreciated six weeks of nightmare back in the autumn when I had to step up to Head of Department in my immediate line manager's absence. Well, the sigh of relief when he returned after his shoulder op was a bit premature.

As we struggled through a few months of efforts to assimilate the new syllabuses, a certain restlessness and irritation grew within the department, partly because our newly-returned colleague was clearly having trouble juggling his head of department role and a new job for which he had applied successfully the previous year, and so was somewhat hands-off and nothing like as energetic and proactive as we had been used to (in many ways he was not to blame for this, but we were all, as you can imagine, annoyed to find that he hadn’t even started on the new schemes of work we so desperately needed and that we were relatively unsupported in many of our endeavours), and partly because senior management was communicating and liaising with staff even less than usual during a fraught period which saw the principals of both girls’ and boys’ schools retire and the replacement of the Bursar and much of the governing body. Ever felt you were being kept in the dark about events? I still don't know why all this has been going on. The physical state of the place wasn't ideal either, because of urgent major expensive repairs which lasted all year and meant vast areas of playground being fenced off and many classrooms unavailable when needed.

Anyway, in the end our HOD learned about our feelings and, after an initial period of clash and unpleasantness, began to try to sort things out. No-one wanted a return to last year’s horrors when a colleague made a formal complaint about him. However, he was now under personal strain as his stepfather was very ill, and when, a week and a half before the year ended, he was called down to Devon to join his family after the expected demise, I was in charge again at a difficult time. Most of the rest of the MFL staff were away on two trips, to Barcelona and Paris, so there was a lot of cover to check and organise, and the annual taster day for kids from local primary schools was imminent. The latter was made infinitely more of a trial when it had to be reorganised at two days' notice subsequent to my only remaining colleague (!!!) being ordered off the tasters to help with a trip elsewhere. We were furious, but impotent.

Then I was given staff timetables to check/confirm and had the job of ‘rooming’ all the lessons. The latter was hard work, but a picnic compared to the timetables. Errors all over the place had to be corrected, with lessons being set for people’s days off, wrong class codes and so on. Only the day before we broke up I discovered I had been given a class of Spanish students rather than my correct French group, a discovery for which I have been fulsomely thanked by the timetablers, as it involved two hours’ work to unpick and rearrange. Not something they would have wanted to undertake at the start of a new school year! The worst thing, which, despite our efforts, has proved impossible to change, is that one part time colleague, who has done a significant amount of extra work this year, has an appalling timetable and no day off. She has young children and a relatively long journey into work, and had been promised at least one free day a week. Ironically, I have been given two days off, which sounds good but is not ideal either, as it works out that I will have almost no time to touch base with someone with whom I will be working very closely next year. We all know how inefficient emails can be for contact that needs to be immediate.

So. Tired, wiped out even, not especially healthy, and now very disappointed into the bargain.
Still, I have read worse here on numerous occasions, and that at least gives some perspective. :(
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by Sinkwriter72 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:37 pm

I've got to get working here this morning, but I couldn't go by without sending massive HUGS to you, Steph. I'm so sorry you're going through such a hard time, and that your intended respite from it all was just taken away. That is SO disappointing. I hope you will find another way to give yourself a break from all the chaos and frustration. You and your colleagues deserve so much better. :(
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I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating [& sharing their experience]. I don't care if it's a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music… I think this world would be unlivable without art. ~ S. Soderbergh

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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by ThyneAlone » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:26 pm

Thank you so much, Sherry. Just hearing from you makes me feel better.
In actual fact I have felt better since writing that post; obviously I needed to talk about it all. I don't know whether you feel this way, but I feel in more control of my life when it's down in front of me in black and white (or yellow - or whatever color I am currently favoring). I've often used writing as a kind of outlet or purge. Like I said - being here gives me perspective anyway.
Thanks for the hugs! Right back at ya! :romance-smileyheart: :romance-smileyheart: :romance-smileyheart:
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by Daniela » Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:29 pm

I read through your newest but also your older posts about the topic to get a clearer picture of your situation and honestly, this is a no go. What you do seems to be taken for granted instead of given you any assistance. What will they do if you won´t do it anymore for one or the other reason? You want to do a good job, it´s clear to see but on the other hand, don´t risk a burn out for it. It is never worth it. Tell your boss that it is too muc for just one person to handle and you need some help (maybe a person who sets up the schedule, like a person from secretary.) Sometimes they need clear words to realize that a change must come unevitably. The main boss of my company is the same. As long as the flow goes, it is working for her. The time struggle in the background for us is totally ignored until you speak up. Your physical as well as your mental health is your greatest good. I am sure there are possibilities but unless you tell them what´s really going on for you, it´s working for them. It is sadly a bad habit of bosses.
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by TJ4ever » Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:57 pm

So sorry about this, Steph. Sending you a huge HUG! This all really sucks. Hang in there! :romance-smileyheart:
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by Lonia » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:15 pm

I am really sorry to hear that you are going through such a hard time Steph! I also read the earlier post from december and the post in the Fanatic Expo thread. I can totally understand that you are feeling frustrated and down now. This would have been a nice change and sometimes just seeing something else, take a deep breath and enjoy something totally different from the normal daily routine can help to feel much better.
I really hope that it is getting better soon at work and maybe you really should tell/show them what you did during the last months. As long as somebody is doing the things that need to be done and as long as "it somehow works" nobody sees the extra effort that it costs.
And you (or your hubby) also have to deal with cancelling everything that has been arranged for the FanaticExpo, which I suposse doesn't help to make you feel better.
Hope you're finding something else to relax and get away from all the stress and I cross my fingers that hopefully you may be able to go to the Wales Comic Con to see TJ there. Sending you a big HUG :romance-smileyheart:
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by SmackyKennedy » Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:50 am

Hi, everybody...hope everyone is doing well and hope that things are getting better for you, Steph.

I'm just popping up to babble on what feels like my last safe space on the internet. ;) Nobody even has to read this or respond. It's really long. It just helps to get it out sometimes.

My life has had a lot of ups and downs the last several months. The best thing that happened recently is that I was given a promotion at the animal shelter to full time plus a raise. It's a job through the county, so I''ll have benefits like health & dental insurance (Europeans be like huh?) I'll be earning vacation and sick days for the first time in 12 years. I'm so excited because I really love it there. Even on a bad day there are kittens to help make it better. I'll still keep my other job doing the video captions because we'll be moving into a bigger apartment in the next month or two. I've also got a minor surgery coming up on the 15th so lots to worry about.

The part of my life that is bumming me out is the guy at work (E) that became a really good friend got forced to resign from there after 18 years. He had never gotten along with the director & a couple of her besties were trying to force him out as well. Several months prior, my director actually set me and E up and we had been casually dating. Somewhere along the line I really fell in like with the guy (maybe love, I dunno), but unfortunately he doesn't feel the same way at all. He just wants to hook up a few times a month, which really isn't my thing. I don't even know WHY I have feelings for him because he hasn't really gone out of his way to treat me well. He's pretty indifferent most of the time, actually. So, the last few months I've gone back and forth between wanting to tell him to f* off to wanting to take care of him. :-?

Meanwhile, I was continuing to post random relationship memes/woes on Facebook or instagram (E doesn't use social media). I never mentioned his name since we were never actually "together," and while a couple posts were related to him, they were mostly general I'm-38-and-forever-alone-stuff. :icon-rolleyes: A few coworkers (don't know which, he wouldn't say) decided to take screenshots of everything I was posting and text it to him, which just made him feel bad and/or pissed off. I ended up addressing the "group" as a whole and telling them I didn't appreciate it at all, and they shouldn't assume what I post/like/share has anything to do with E, and that they shouldn't send him that stuff. We're not together and I'm NOT his problem to solve...a few people have been very obviously quiet around me ever since. So, don't date anyone at work, people. At least the kittens, puppies, bunnies, rats, and the occasional bunny or baby opossum are still there. :romance-smileyheart:

I decided to log out of all my social media accounts for a while after this stuff. Hopefully, I can stay away. It's always been hard for me in the past because I feel so disconnected from everyone.

Anyway, as much as I'd like E to be "the one" he's just not. I just want something REAL, you know? I'm just too old for anything less. Oh and one of my instagram posts was on my birthday, complete with a pic of Bridget Jones crying over her birthday cupcake. I was asking what was wrong with me...I got some lovely supportive responses, including one from TJ's sister who follows me on instagram. :D That completely took me by surprise. She recommended a book called "Being Happy." It's a short, easy read and I found some of it to be very helpful and motivating. Now to actually make it work. That's the hard part.

Other stuff that's annoying...My ex-husband sort of lost it and I ended up getting an order of protection against him. He was supposed to get a mental health evaluation and return to court with proof of that, but he never showed up. The kids haven't seen him since the beginning of May and, of course, I'm not getting any child support. It's especially tough during the summer because they are home all day and eating twice as much. My oldest is babysitting so I come home to a mess and fighting. :icon-razz: :doh: But SIX MORE DAYS, y'all, they go back to school!! I just hope I made the right decision there. I never wanted to keep them away from their dad, but he is just NOT a good influence anymore. Never was.

Off to bed now...With the new position my days off are now Tuesday and Wednesday so Monday is my new Friday. My body is so confused right now.

Love and light to all of you!
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by Daniela » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:30 pm

Hey, of course I read your post SmackyKennedy! I know that it´s easier to talk online to neutral people than face to face with someone who might already have their opinion.

First of all: Congrats to your new job! This sounds like an absolutely dream job. Not just because of the accomodations (I know about the U.S system and how less companies cover insurances, illness, vacation, etc.) but also about the job itself. There´s nothing better than pets (and music) to cheer you up. They´re always honest with the feelings they show, a thing a lot of people can learn from them.
I am sorry to hear about your surgery but as long as it is just a minor one. be grateful for that! It may sound weird but I´ve seen people go through really heavy ones and the thought of that made me cope my minor one pretty well. It helps to loose anxiety. You will do fine, I am sure of that!

What I read about his guy "E" is very common. Can we ever really tell why we have feelings for someone? You´re going through a rough time as it seems. Maybe you just feel a bit lonely and wanted to see something in him because of that. Someone that can give you a bit of comfort and savety but as you tell on your own already, you realised that it isn´t him, so that´s the first huge step to leave the situation behind. What your co-workers did about sending him photos sounds totally like Kindergarten to me. It´s non of their business and acting like that doesn´t sound like a good character. Rise above it anyway, so you take away their power to blame you.

Okay, I probably sound like a furtune cookie again haha. What I read, I think you´re doing quite well by trusting your gut instiincts about your decisions. Your new job is the first reward. Oh and congrats on the reply to TJ´s sister. Even better when her advise was helpful. :) Take care!
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by ThyneAlone » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:47 am

Hi Ang
Well, Daniela got in ahead of me with some really good thoughts and reassurance which I can only echo. I meant to reply yesterday but we were very busy with packing and other commitments as we're going away for a week, departing in under an hour.
The promotion is great news and I hope you know you deserve it. I think that often when going through a bad patch it's easy for you to fail to value yourself for the great person you are - loyal, caring and intelligent, with a huge resilience. In any case, it sounds like the perfect job for you. It's very hard to ignore the idiots at work I know, but at least you have made clear what you think of their behavior and what the boundaries are. As for the guy - the instinct is always there to search for love, especially when you need someone to look after the kids too and are trying to keep their worrying-sounding father away from them. Coming home to chaos and not having a shoulder to lean on is tough. But you will find the special person who will value, need and love you all. Hang in there and trust your instincts. We are all thinking of you. :romance-caress: :romance-grouphug:
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by SmackyKennedy » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:33 am

Thanks, you guys.

Surgery went well...major pain in the butt as far as recovery goes. This past week has been a haze of pain medication, naps, and TV. I was going to try to be productive in other areas during this forced staycation, but ended up letting my body take the lead on this one--it said NOPE. Did you know they make summer versions of the Hallmark Christmas movies? Yup. Cheesiness and happy endings go great with hydrocodone. :) I go back to work tomorrow. I still feel like I could use a few days, but I'll need to pay rent next month so duty calls.

"E" actually picked me up from the hospital and helped me out with some various things over the week so that was nice. Still not expecting anything, and luckily I didn't embarrass myself with the postop anesthesia. He said I was surprisingly easy--guess I'm boring when I'm "high."

Take care, everyone!
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by Daniela » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:21 pm

I hope that the pain will ease off soon. Rest is the best thing you were able to give your body. While sleeping he regenerates the best. Good luck with your work tomorrow! + Be happy that you seem "boring" on oxycodon. My Dad saw/heard things/people that haven´t been there. A few seconds later he recognized that it was only in his mind. So it is better to be boring. ;)
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by TJ4ever » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:06 pm

Hi everyone,
I know I wasn't around here much. Sorry! Today I'm here because today is my 10th anniversary on the TJ site. YAY! :smile: :dance: So I thought I write a few words.
Lots of things happened since the last time I posted on the sofa. Some bad things, some good things ...and some sad things. Too much to write about it now. I will be back to write something about it.
Just wanna let you know how much I love this site with all the great and lovely people here. I feel special to be a part of it for such a long time. I wanna say THANK YOU to all of you - and THANK YOU to TJ. After 10 years I'm still a fan. Wow! Well, he's just great! :romance-smileyheart:
:greetings-wavingblue:
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Re: Offtopic Sofa Time

Post by ThyneAlone » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:56 am

Great to see you, Simone, and great to see everyone after a very long spell out of touch. I have this habit of withdrawing into myself when things get tough and I’ve lost a lot of friends in the past by doing this, so I hope you will forgive me once more, as the last couple of years have been especially difficult! So the story continues..

The main reason for the present stress (apart from another horrendous cough/fever which has kept me off work for nearly a week) has been our Head of Department (ie my immediate line manager)’s formal announcement, two or three weeks into term, that he was leaving at half term - to wit, October 23, in three weeks’ time - to take up a post in New York. He's never been very good at giving decent notice for anything, and I suspect the school only let him go early because his performance had become so perfunctory in his official capacities as HOD and Head of Staff Development that we were unlikely to function well if he stayed till Christmas. I also feel that this may be to do with a mid life crisis involving a girl he’s met who is based in the US. Predictably, once the announcement was made he was reluctant to undertake any more official duties (talk about unprofessional), which put a lot of pressure on us and particularly on the shoulders of the young, dynamic and inspiring colleague who applied for and got the internal appointment (he was the obvious and sole candidate), but whose position was, typically, not formalised until the very last day before the holiday!!! Great handover, guys – thanks.

So here we are having to fast-track induct a very efficient and likeable substitute lady into the vagaries of my school’s teaching, sanctions etc, as she takes over a timetable consisting almost entirely of exam classes, right in the middle of a change to gradings and the first examined year of new public exams at both 16 and 18 years old. Not to mention constant communication with our sister girls' school, as Spanish and German are now being co-taught with them, despite their different timetable and different assessment programme. Our new HOD has to put a plan for the next couple of years firmly in place (we want to change large chunks of our previous incumbent’s schemes of work, as they just weren’t working) and sort out the various organisational tasks which now fall to him; and to make things more difficult, January will see the departure of another totally reliable and diligent colleague on maternity leave - she shares senior teaching with me!

Personally I have had a difficult time trying to help our lovely new French assistant, who, due to some monumental mess-up at senior level, has had massive delays getting his safeguarding papers through and so has been pretty much penniless for a month.

So you see it's been yet another period of total chaos, which looks like getting worse as we move on through the year. It worries me that people are still jumping ship in droves; our heads of marketing and HR have just resigned and we’ll be getting a new principal in September. Oddly I feel a bit relieved, as whatever happens they really can't blame us for any poor results this year - though obviously we are very concerned for exam classes who will have had two or three different teachers during their course.

Now recovering from my last really nasty few days’ illness, thanks to a course of antibiotics, I do at least now have the weekend’s Wrexham Comic Con to look forward to – I will be accompanied by hubby and son no.2. It’ll be great to see TJ again, even if not for very long!
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"We make our lives out of chaos and hope. And love." - Angela Montenegro

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