20 August 2014 @ 21:52
Aaaargh, has it really been 16 days since I last wrote?!

Though I can hardly be surprised - this last couple of weeks I have been well and truly rushed off my feet. If I thought that pushing my start date for my new job back by a week was going to give me some time for a breather, I could hardly have been more wrong.

Because my boss for this work I'm doing in London took the opportunity to ask me if I could come in, and the consequence was that I spent the Monday I would otherwise have been starting my new job, making yet another journey into Central London.

Still, I thought, as I made my journey down (this is going back to the 4th): this should be the last time that I am ever doing the Chesterfield-London commute. And it's not so bad, I considered, seeing as you can normally get reduced tickets, and the fast train means that it's only a two hour journey.

In reflection now as well, going into London does have its perks, as a lot of my friends are based there, and I always get to hang out and do something cool with them! Take that Monday, for instance: I got to hang out with my old China friend Raj, and we had dinner in an old 1950's diner. By China standards, it was quite a tame outing, but we definitely got a good laugh out of it. We binged on banana and butterscotch milkshakes, and then I dug into a guilty cholesterol-ridden chili corn dog, while Shakin' Stevens played on the jukebox, and a guy nearby blow up balloon animals XD

So that was the Monday, and on Tuesday 5th, I was at the office for half 9, and meeting with my boss, and another woman who works freelance from Somerset, who I would be sharing the content distribution load with. Of course, seeing as I knew I would be starting full-time work in just under a week, and it was likely won't be doing this work for much longer, it wasn't fully necessary to meet with her. But Alice thought it would be a good opportunity just to meet face-to-face, and you do what you gotta do, when it comes to work.

Besides, I was glad that I did meet her, as she was a really nice woman, and I just really got the sense that the three of us would work pretty well together as a team. I love working with Alice: have a lot of respect for her type of management, and the conduct with which she's handled me so far. And Joanne is great - she knows her way around the IT systems really easily, and has been a good guide in a lot of ways. I don't normally click so well with women I initially meet, but we hit it off like a house on fire.

I was actually quite sad come 2, when I knew that I had to leave the two of them, and head out early on the train back to Chesterfield. But it's a reassurance, I guess, to know that there's another branch at the Corp that I can potentially always go back to. That, and this work will be a nice little side-earner for as long as Alice wants me, that will enable me to get some furniture for a house. But I'm jumping way ahead of myself now - I haven't even moved in yet, and I'd only just finished teaching! Anyway, in a nutshell, it was a positive thing that I went down there. And meant that the remainder of the time I could start thinking about and planning the coming week: namely, making my permanent shift down to Reading.

So that was what was on the agenda for Wednesday 6th, although thinking back, I'm pretty sure I didn't do all that much aside an excessive amount of freelance work, and a bit of Tomb Raider playing! It was Thursday 7th when the reality of my new job really hit home, because my boss rang me to go over a few bits and bobs about starting.

And so that was a good feeling for me - especially because, subsequent to speaking with HR and confirming my start date, and submitting three years' worth of referees, I had had no contact whatsoever with my new boss, and was still of the mind that he might turn around, and say he didn't want me at the last minute.

All irrational worries, of course, but hearing from him that he was looking forward to me starting was a huge, huge relief, and really set things rolling in my mind.

And so I finally got around to booking my trains, and my accommodation, and went into town to buy a new pair of shoes, and some nice new work trousers.

With that done, I was free on Friday 8th to think more critically about furniture, and so spent the day out in Nottingham with mum at the big IKEA. I got the essential purchase - a bed - sorted, but with payday still a bit of a way off, I figured it best to hang fire until I've actually got my keys, and then I can think more critically about other bits and pieces that I might need for my new abode.

Saturday 9th was spent in much the same way as the Wednesday! And then Sunday 10th I was off - on my long journey down to Reading, set to begin a very, very big and exciting new adventure.

And I'll fill you in tomorrow or later in the week on that, as this is the first day in a while that I've really had the opportunity to relax. So time to get a cup of hot squash now, get in bed, and read for a bit! I spend a lot of my time these days sat with my face in front of a computer, and tonight, I intend to do something a bit different :-)

So time for a cuppa, and to get underneath the sheets. Full update to come soon!
04 August 2014 @ 09:23

So after a pretty good lesson on Tuesday, I made my way back to the train station to begin my journey home. And when I was about 10 metres away from the entrance, this guy started shouting "Excuse me!" and made his way towards me.

"Do you speak English?" he asked, and after I nodded, "Yes," he launched into a monologue about how he had lost his wallet. Well, of course my hackles went up, my grip was that little bit tighter on my bag (even though where he was stood is where the police cars are normally parked), and I was ready to shake my head, and make my move onwards.

Only what he said next caught me completely off guard. "So what I can do, for £50, is offer you my services, if you're interested."

(Yeah, it took me a while to click there too as to what exactly his services were.) O_O

Somehow, with a straight face, I managed to politely decline, and then kept on walking.

"I'll do it for £35!" he shouted, causing the few people nearby to look at him with curiosity (yes, this wasn't an isolated area), as I shouted back, "If you've lost your wallet, you should call the police!"

I then, obviously, looked for a policeman as I made my way to the platform, and once I was out of his line of site, checked my bag to see if anything was missing. If, in this short intercourse, somebody might have crept up and put their hand in my bag.

Only everything was there. Causing me to think, "...well, what the hell was that? Did that really just happen?" I relayed the incident to my family later that day, who were equally as surprised, and despite thinking much as I had: scam, were amazed that a man had tried this, in broad daylight, at about half past 12 in the afternoon. And he hadn't seemed drunk, or on drugs... just a normal guy really!!!


The following day, my mum drove me to and from Sheffield, so I didn't have the opportunity to see if he had made a return. Only, it was out of my mind anyway, seeing as I had had another really rewarding day as a teacher. With the same class as yesterday, the one that I had been previously told was likely to be difficult, I had a student give me an incredible compliment.

Her name was Asma, she was Libyan, and on Tuesday, she had caught me off-guard, with a lot of questions about the Present Perfect Simple tense, the Present Perfect Continuous, and the Past Perfect.

A similar grammar rule had caught me out on my first day, and I was kicking myself that I'd made myself vulnerable to not being able to explain something properly again. So on Wednesday, I'd come prepared. I gave handouts to the class, drew diagrams on the board, and we went through a few examples together.

She seemed to get it, although I knew that I'd initially confused her the day before by writing 'has/had' on the whiteboard, instead of 'has/have' (for first, third person etc). The result was, that I'd introduced Past Perfect prematurely, when what I should have been explaining, were the differences between the two present tenses: the Simple, and the Continuous.

And a new student had turned up on Wednesday, who asked twice as many questions as she had, meaning that we exhausted a talk on grammar for about 40 minutes. For me as a teacher, it had been gruelling, not to mention boring. Sure, it's one of the most important things in any language, but I'd have found it exhausting as a student, trying to quickly master 3 out of 12 English tenses, in the space of an hour.

Only at the end of the lesson, Asma asked me if I was going to be her teacher the following day (the Thursday). "No," I said, you'll have a different teacher then."

Her face was distraught. "Can you change?" she asked. "Can you ask if you can teach our group again? You explain things really clearly."

"I will try," I said, feeling more than a bit moved.
"Do you promise?"
"Errmm... I can try!"
"Please... promise?"
"I can promise to try!!!"

And so that was one of those instances where I knew that I'd really made a difference to some student's lives, even if it was only in the short term. Consequently, Thursday, I was feeling pretty sad. It was my last class, and I knew that the end of teaching would mean the beginning of something really special. All the same, I had become really attached to some of my students (as well as my colleagues!), and I knew that they had likewise. I had been a likeable and a memorable teacher, but more than anything, a good one :-)

My last class was a breeze, as having established that they were not 100% clear on the difference between the Simple and Continuous tenses, I had perfected my explanation with my previous class. So we did some exercises, and they got it. We played games, and they got those. And when I realised it was half 12, I felt like neither the students nor myself, were ready to leave.

But I finished, was told by my boss that I was always welcome back, and with that, I left the building. I came home to do some freelance work for the Corp, and was finally able to begin looking for some furniture for my new place!

So I did some more of that on Friday, and also went for a haircut in town. It was time I got my look updated, I felt, so I went for something a bit shorter, and braver. I also did a spot of shopping, and bought some nice new clothes for work (and some comfortable shoes for leisure).

And then this weekend, I have just been chilling round the house: playing with the guinea pigs, playing Tomb Raider IV, and watching a film with la famille: Cold In July.

02 August 2014 @ 12:26
I hit the pillow as soon as I'd finished watching my film, and woke up pretty early as a result last Saturday... 5:30am, to be precise.

However, knowing that Operation 'Find a House' was complete, I put my head back down again and tried to catch a few more hours shut-eye. I had scheduled viewings at four properties on Saturday, in the event that I didn't get the house that I really wanted the previous day.

But they weren't to start until about half 9, and so I lay in bed till about quarter to, and then rang round to tell agents that no, I was no longer interested in viewing. (I might add at this point as well that with the property on Friday, I had spoken directly to the landlord. So I also saved a shitload of money on agency fees - FTW!!!)

I then ran a nice cool bath (as it was blisteringly hot that weekend) before heading out to Pret a Manger for breakfast. And it was the most fantastic weather, so I enjoyed a bowl of porridge and some muesli yoghurt al fresco, whilst listening to a local street performer sing opera. It was a great way to start the day, and an excellent impression of a place that I knew was very soon to become my home!

So I took my time, and then meandered around the shops, making note of those that I didn't currently have locally, and any that might be particularly worth looking in. I was very excited to find a Clas Ohlsson, and I also found some really cool vintage shops, and some really good charity stores.

I picked up a local newspaper, and this also helped me to scout out the local attractions. The Hexagon for comedy shows and talks; the G Casino for music. There were more flyers in the hotel to help me find out ways in which I could spend my evenings once I was living here, and by early afternoon, I felt I'd got a really good grasp of Reading, not to mention a good feeling about the place!

But it was murderously hot, so I came back to have a nap, and then decided to spend the afternoon and evening at my leisure: reading my novel, watching episodes of Frasier and getting a few ideas about bits and bobs I'll need.

I then had an early night, because on Sunday, I wanted to catch an early train out of there, and get back in time for a barbecue with the family, along with Simon's parents and his brother. So I was out of there for 9, and got back at bang on noon. And we had a really nice afternoon: refreshing without his sister there banging on about her extravagant lifestyle that we all know she can't afford. Especially since it came to light that she walked out of her job a couple of weeks ago. Will be interesting to see what happens next, and I hope it comes with some karma.

Monday was pleasantly relaxed, as I didn't have any classes, just my freelance Corp work to be cracking on with. Although it did start with a bit of a bump, in that I remembered I had an appointment this week with a Local Compliance officer, whatever I thought that might be.

I dismissed the letter last week, because I was way too busy to even think about it, and just thought it was typical that the Job Centre were STILL causing me problems weeks and weeks on.

And my heart nearly stopped once I googled 'Local Compliance Interview' and saw that what it technically was, was a benefit fraud check. But fortunately, once I explained over the phone that I was already in full-time employment, and that I had no idea why I was even receiving this, the kind man on the other end said there was no reason I needed to come. I did ask why I had received it though, and to his knowledge, it was a routine check. However, I'm inclined to think it's that stupid, incompetent bitch Sue, still refusing to believe that she'd made a mistake in contacting my current boss about my various Corp interviews. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that she'd put 2 and 2 together and made 200, and decided that, rather than my having attended multiple interviews with different people, I must have been committing fraud.

But now this is over, I can put that cow behind me. I'm amazed that she hasn't been sacked yet, especially seeing as I've already made a formal complaint against her before. And if I had any proof that she was the reason I had been put forward for a fraud check, I would definitely be taking this further.

Anyway, Tuesday, I was back to work. And it was a new class, that I had been warned was particularly difficult, in that they didn't speak up very much, and so it was very difficult to get them engaged in anything.

"Well, I'll rise to the challenge," I said, whilst at the same time, I was thinking, "Typical. This is the class that my boss is going to sit in on after the first break, so she can see what kind of a teacher I am. So I have an hour and a half to get them on my side."

And indeed, the first half an hour or so, it was like pulling teeth. I put some pictures up on the projector, and tried to get any of them speaking up about what they saw, with them all apparently too nervous to say anything. I had been warned this was particularly to do with one Japanese student: Yukari, who despite being 16, looked like she was dressed for a board meeting, and seemed "to have a grip over all of the other students."

But then I tried something that had worked particularly well to establish rapport with some of my other classes. I asked one student to give me a number, and then I went down the register and asked a question to the student whose name was next to that number. After I'd been doing this a while, it became clear that some students were having their names chosen very often, and we had some laughter. Everyone seemed to be taking part as well, as nobody wanted to be caught off guard when their number was chosen; and I noticed a smile on Yukari's face when her classmates Shogo and Omito were choosing each other over and over again. "I hope this is enough!" I thought.

And it seems it was - when my boss came in to watch after the first break, I got the class doing a treasure hunt game, where everybody has a different slip of paper, and they have to go round the class asking questions to their classmates, in order to fill in the gaps. My boss participated as well, and was pleasantly surprised, when all of the students came up to ask her questions one by one - including Yukari. There was a prize of chocolate for the winner, although because I'd felt at this point we'd established a really good relationship, I generously shared a Twirl bar with a few students.

The remaining hour went really well, and I felt like I needed to give the students less teacher input. We did some exercises, and looked at some grammar rules, and by this point, they were all speaking up, and taking part.

So I left early afternoon on a high, feeling that I'd really achieved something as a teacher :-) And I'll talk about the rest of Tuesday (and onwards) later, as I do have an amusing story from later that day. But it's nearly half 12, I've done very little so far today, and I want to spend some time looking at furniture catalogues, and working out how much I can use of my savings!
30 July 2014 @ 19:21


I picked up Heaven Lake, thinking that it would be a piece of light-hearted chick-lit about a couple in Taiwan. How wrong I turned out to be – I don’t really know how to categorise this book at all!

By all accounts, it was a very realistic – and sometimes dark – depiction of one man’s life as an expat in Taiwan. Centred around a Christian volunteer named Vincent, Heaven Lake tells the story of this young man’s arrival in Taiwan with the intention of setting up a ministry house, and his journey in educating the locals about Christ.

With Heaven Lake, just when you feel you *get* the direction the author is taking you, Dalton throws a spanner in the works, and the plot completely changes. I never saw the circumstances coming that surround Vincent’s journey to the mainland, and in the later chapters, things just keep on happening, which cause the reader to get further and further away from their comfort zone.

This was often a difficult book to read as a result; but one that I have to concede, left a lasting impression. Dalton’s characters are vibrantly depicted, and as a former China-expat, I thoroughly enjoyed the vivid descriptions of his travels.

It’s slow-paced, meaning that it took me a while to get through, but this definitely works in its favour, as there's plenty of room for reflection. Not a favourite book by any means, but a book I would highly recommend; it’s one that warrants a lot of discussion.

RATING: 7/10

30 July 2014 @ 17:38
I cannot believe that yet another week has flown by - time seems to be moving so fast! When I wrote my last entry, I had just passed the halfway point of my teaching... I now only have one class to go! Where did the time go? And why do I feel so sad that it's come to an end already? It's been a real eye-opener this last 3 weeks getting back into the spring of teaching: realising that a) I'm pretty good at it, b) I love it and c) teaching adults has been a whole lot more rewarding than I ever would have thought.

From Wednesday to Friday last week, I had the same class of Japanese teenagers, interspersed with a few Libyans. Wednesday was a full day, and whilst my morning class went well, I didn't feel all that confident about the afternoon class (which being freestyle, I never feel I prepare all that well for).

Still, on Thursday when I arrived to teach, and one of the Japanese students clapped upon seeing that she had me, I realised that I'd got them on my side, and was glad I had them for the rest of the week. We had a fun morning making TV adverts, which I helped them make by using prompts from magazines. And then it was home to crack on with a bit of work for the Corp, and look through my contract, which had finally arrived!

F yeah, biatches! Etc.

Having received that, I knew that the next chapter of my exciting life was set to begin, and in sync with that, I was getting ready to head to Reading on Friday, to househunt/get to know the area.

Only it nearly didn't happen at all, as the morning didn't get off to a great start. Once again, in seemingly strange circumstances, I dislocated my knee whilst sitting and blow-drying my hair :-S

So after popping it back in, I screamed blue murder for the next 5 minutes, and then decided to just sit and get my breath. I started rubbing it, and willed it to go back to normal, which amazingly, it sort of did - it didn't feel that there was any lasting damage at all that time.

And then I looked at the clock, saw it was about quarter past 7 and thought, "You know what, I can do this." I strapped my knee up with a patella support, changing into a shirt and some suit trousers, and packed my case for mum to take me to the train station.

While I made my way on foot to the office, I thought, "I am doing this." Standing and teaching: "I am doing this." And before I knew it: "Yes, I am getting on a train back to Chesterfield. I am now getting on another train, and I am on my way to Birmingham. And I am now on another train to Reading, all on the same day that I dislocated my knee."

And eventually, despite feeling that everything had all been a bit non-stop, I arrived, with no long or short-term damage. Although that really was an *eventually*, seeing as we got stuck at Oxford for half an hour, due to that freak storm. Signals were down throughout all of Reading, meaning there was nearly a replacement bus service, and I would have to change transportation again. Which I really thought would be the case, as a result of the bad luck I had already had that day. Did I mention as well that the train carriage I was in had NO AIR CONDITIONING, so I was also crammed into a small space that was about 40 degrees? >_<'

Anyway, the train did end up moving, and I did find my hotel, despite running out of battery on my phone, which had my instructions to the hotel. I then did drop off my stuff, and I did have time to change out of my sweaty clothes, and get back to the train station for a taxi, which took me to the house I was going to view - 5 minutes ahead of schedule!

And then, after seeing the place, which was as beautiful as the pictures had been on Rightmove, I had the best news I could have hoped for to compensate all my bad luck. The landlord, who had shown the property to 7 other people, was prepared to offer the property to me, based on the fact I was moving area (and so needed it the most), I worked nearby (a 5 minute walk) and he "just had a good feeling about me as a tenant."

So after confirming I wanted it and doing a little squeal, he drove me back into Reading, where I was then prepared to do absolutely NOTHING for the remainder of the day! I ordered some room service nachos, changed into my pyjamas, and watched Prick Up Your Ears, the Joe Orton biopic starring Gary Oldman.

26 July 2014 @ 09:02
Monday nearly turned out to be a disaster. Shortly after I’d written my last entry, I’d thrown some things in a case, and went to put my diary in, with the details of all my classes. “I’ll just check which classroom I’m in,” I thought to myself, in the chance that I might be in the computer room, and therefore could get my group doing something a bit more creative.

But it wasn’t the classroom code I was looking at when I opened my diary, it was the time. As far as I was concerned, I was teaching at half 1, which is when all the afternoon classes start.

Only the time that I’d written down in my diary said ‘1-3’, and after I rang my boss, she confirmed this. “It’s because there are no morning classes on Monday,” she said, “So on this day, we start a bit earlier.”

“Ok,” I said laughing, even though by all accounts, I was not laughing inside. After all, it had just turned 11.45, my hair was still wet, and my suitcase was half packed. I also hadn’t fully prepared a lesson plan, and yet I was due to start teaching in Sheffield in just over an hour.

So I ended up just tying my hair in a bun, throwing some last bits and bobs in my case for London, and then ringing the taxi company, and cancelled my booking for 12.20. “Could someone come and pick me up now, instead?” I asked, and I was out the house for shortly after 12. And somehow, I managed to catch the next train, and arrived at the staffroom for 12.50, with enough time to fully prepare and subsequently wing the next 2 hours. Phew!

With that done, I then had a good few hours to kill, and so sat reading my book, and calming down considerably, until it was time to head back to the station. And that was a long journey – longer than usual, due to cows on the line! – but come half 8, I had arrived in one piece.

And it was a nice evening: I went for Ethiopian food with Jack and my brother, and then opted for an early night, in my lovely, good-value-for-money and very central hotel.

And because it was so central, I could take my time on Tuesday morning, and so sat drinking coffee in bed, and reading the news of the day. I didn’t have to leave until quarter to 9, and after picking up some snacks for a late brunch, I met Alice at Corp, and we went through all the details of what I would be working on.

I also met up with my old boss, and we had a quick catch up, but it really was only a quick one, as I was conscious that Alice was determined to keep me busy. I really like that about her – I’m feeling like I’m earning my money now, as opposed to earning loads for doing absolutely nothing!

The time flew by as a result, and it was soon time to head back over to the train station, and make my journey North once again. And as soon as I got in, I decided to head straight back out again and go for a quick swim, before fatigue well and truly caught up with me. I passed out cold at about 9, and woke up at 3, all a bit disorientated.

It seems that I really haven’t been getting enough sleep lately, and in reflection, I was glad of a good rest!

And when I woke up 3 hours later to begin it all over again on Wednesday, I was raring to go. “Day 6 of 11,” I was thinking, “And past the halfway point now.” Of course, we’re now past Day 8(!) so I’ll write about that in a bit. But I’m currently writing this from a hotel room in Reading, and I’m determined to make the most of the day. The weather’s lovely, it sounds nice and quiet outside, and I’ve got a full day of planning my future living situation ahead!!!

Current Location: Reading
21 July 2014 @ 10:16

Back into the swing of things regarding work, and I have been well and truly rushed off my feet!

But I couldn't be happier, and even with the 6am starts between Tuesday and Friday, I've been completely in my element. Standing at the train station at 7:45 with the other early morning commuters, I've definitely felt like a part of my identity has been restored. It's been nice working from home these last few months, giving me flexibility to go to the gym, and have time to do other things very much at my leisure. But I love having a bit more structure to my schedule now, and I feel that I appreciate my evenings and my weekends a whole lot more :-)

So... teaching! From Tuesday to Thursday I had the same group of students, and if I'm honest, I have been pleasantly surprised by how pleasant the whole experience has been... I really didn't expect it to go this well. I guess I just didn't really enjoy teaching adults all that much when I was in China, and I've been apprehensive about teaching students of such a wide age range (including many older than me), from a variety of different backgrounds, countries and cultures. After all, I know what some of the students were like when I was a student, studying Chinese. And maybe I just considered that foreign students might be a bit more respectful to a middle-aged Chinese teacher, than to a young, petite English girl?

But on the contrary, it's gone incredibly, and I feel like I've added another skill to my CV through this experience. We've had lots of fun, talking about different types of hero, different inventions (one student put his hands up and asked what the English word was for what he described as a mobility scooter XD) and finally, different materials.

Yep, essential English vocabulary. As in "I hate that mobility scooter wanker." XD

It's also given me an opportunity to discuss in depth certain grammar rules that I knew obviously, how to use, but not necessarily how to teach. So the indefinite and definite article for example: it's not just a case of describing an item of many, or a singular, defined item (and then obviously, when using the indefinite article, when to use a/an - if the noun begins with a consonant or vowel); there's a whole range of things to take into consideration, including the rule for words like 'rice', where no article is required.

I imagine that if I did this long-term, used this textbook, such rules would become second nature to me, but after following the teaching prompts, I was able to do exercises with the class and explain the reasons for certain answers crystal clearly :-) So I felt that, by Thursday, we'd all really developed a rapport, and I'd made a lot of new friends from countries I'd only previously heard about in the news. And there's something really special in that, when you consider some of the tensions going on in the world now in Russia/Ukraine, North/South Korea, the Middle East, and of course here, in the UK (vs immigration). It's that lightning bulb moment I had when I'd reached a certain level of Chinese, where I realised that culturally, there might be a few quirks, but we all have the same concerns: work, relationships etc. Language is such a beautiful thing in the way that it connects us :-) and allows us to understand and appreciate each other's differences.

Anyway, I came home on Thursday feeling that I'd had a particularly good lesson, but that the early starts had caught up with me, and I was more than ready for a nap. That wasn't going to happen, however, as that afternoon, I was starting some freelance work through my former company (who we'll just call 'The Corp' from now on) that involved being present in some capacity, for an initial web tutorial.

But it went fine, and my line manager for this is really nice, and seems to really like me, even though I had an embarrassing rant to her the day before about the job centre. That same, stupid woman from Job Centre Plus I had had multiple problems with before, e-mailed my new boss with me cced, and through pure laziness, not checking my travel expenses forms, assumed that I'd had my multiple Corp interviews with her, and her only. She asked my boss to confirm that I had had three interviews with her, saying that I had said I had, and it just made me look incredibly unprofessional. So I told Alice (my new boss) that I hadn't said that at all, felt the need to explain each one, and went on a full-blown rant about Sue, and what a completely incompetent human being she was.

Anyway, that over, the work on Thursday afternoon went pretty straight forward, data entry more than anything. It did keep me busy though, all the way through the evening, and it felt like Friday morning rolled round all too quickly.

And no doubt it was tiredness that meant that I'd slipped up, in that I realised, on arriving in Sheffield at half past 8, that I had prepared a lesson for completely the wrong class. It was easy to see why I'd done it, as it was meant to be a review lesson, only far from being given the same class I'd had all week, I had been given a completely different class, at a much lower level.

But I pulled it back, worked through my tea break to make sure I was well prepared, and it went really well :-) And then it was home to do the Corp work, before finally being able to enjoy a nice evening! So I caught up on some reading, played some Tomb Raider, and spent some time with the family, laughing senselessly watching Embarrassing Bodies.

We'd read the Daily Mail preview, and been curious as to what the meaning was of having half a vagina!!!


I'd been hoping to get on top of a few work e-mails that I've not had chance to reply to at the weekend, but on Saturday, top priority was finding a house. And I found this beautiful apartment in such a fantastic location, that I've really, really set my heart on getting now. So I spent the morning trying to arrange a viewing, persuade the landlord that, even though I can't get down until the following week, I really, really would be the perfect tenant, and then blocked the afternoon out to spend with my brother, who was back from London for the weekend.

And we ended up having an incredibly busy Saturday: heading off to McArthur Glen for a spot of shopping, and then coffee with Reno, before getting back for a barbecue, and sitting down to watch our usual Saturday film.

And that evening we watched Captain Phillips, which I hadn't had high expectations of, but it turned out to be really, really good. Tom Hanks was a fantastic actor in it, and he did have something really dark, almost Walter White about him, in this role. I would have been interested to see how Bryan Cranston would have played the same position, but I cannot fault Hanks at all - he played Phillips excellently, in a really gripping film that's based on a true story.

So I was telling Reno about that yesterday, when I met up with her again in the morning, after a 60-length swim in the pool. We finally had chance to celebrate the success we'd had over the last week: me finding out I'd got this role; her finding out she'd been shortlisted from 2,000 for an interview, that might mean she gets a scholarship for her Masters. So we went for all-you-can-eat Japanese, had a browse around town, and then got guilty cream-topped milkshakes to round off the day :-)

And now it's Monday, and I'm no way prepared for this afternoon's lesson, or my trip down to London this evening! I'm working with Alice tomorrow, so I need to get packed up, and make sure this afternoon's lesson is planned. It's go, go, go, but I'm loving absolutely every minute of it!!!