Ok, so technically I was never in the W.I., although I did intend on joining.
When I lived in Newcastle and broke up with my boyfriend I was sharing a one bedroom flat in a former convent with him and he was an alcoholic. He was sleeping in the sitting room, I had the bedroom. I didn’t feel like I could have friends round, as there was nowhere for them to sit and I didn’t want them to see him in that state. Neither did I want to deal with the hours of talking that would inevitably follow over many, many days if someone came in and had upset his personal space. We lived like this for 6 months before he moved out.
I had to find things to do to occupy my time. working shifts as a careers adviser I couldn’t really commit to regular classes or activities in the evenings, unless you count the night shift activities of ‘Sing the lyrics of one song to the tune of another’ or ‘Read out song lyrics in a sort of Radio 4 voice for other people to guess’ or, my personal favourite, ‘How long can I try to talk like Reeves and Mortimer being Geordie Otis Reading and Marvin Gaye sitting on the dock of the bay before I begin to sound like Sarah Milllican?’. They don’t really count as activities. Fun, yes, getting me out of the house for something other than work, not so much.
A blog. To be honest, I never thought I’d write one.
But then one afternoon, bored at work and obviously being highly productive, I spotted an advert for a teaching job in St Vincent and the Grenadines. A tiny island with 2000 inhabitants was looking for a vaguely musical teacher for its primary school with 15 children. I decided to apply as the worst that could happen would be that they didn’t reply at all to my covering letter and CV. Scanning down the other international jobs (I’d had no luck finding teaching work in Newcastle after all) I thought to myself that I could take the shotgun approach. Fire off one generic covering letter (lightly tailored to fit the region/school I was applying to) to as many interesting looking places in one go and see what happened. So I did. I applied for 22 jobs around the world including Santiago, Prague, Hong Kong, Valencia, Madrid, Milan, Budapest, Rome, Moscow and Mwanza.
And then I waited. And waited.
Today is the 22nd, so it’s one month until my birthday and 13 months until my 30th. Which I am looking forward to. And which people think is very odd. Apparently you shouldn’t look forward to turning 30, but I don’t see the point in dreading it. It’s an inevitability and it’s not as if I can stop it. I’ve never felt my age. When I was 16 I wasn’t hanging out in the park drinking booze from a bottle hidden in the bag whilst sitting on the tyre swing over the bark flooring. (How was that bark meant to be good to fall on? It got mouldy, it gave you splinters, it got stuck in your tights, it was rubbish, although granted better than falling on concrete. Ok, I’ll just carry on now…) At 16 I was in at least 6 choirs including Brackley Jubilee Choir and Bicester Choral and Operatic Society and I brought the average age of singers down to about 40ish. I went on holidays with my Mum’s Morris team, Owlswick Morris. They were great fun and yes, I am that cool, I’m a Morris baby and proud of it.
When I was about 18 I did do something a teenager is meant to do, I went to Gatecrasher Summer Sound System – it was an all night club with various tents pitched on Turweston Aerodrome. My Dad’s friend was running the security for the event and popped by to see if any of his kids would like to go, so my sister and I each said “Yes please!” and found ourselves being walking through the security office with 4 free passes. I took my friends Ben, Chris and Liam and we had a great time. The main things I remember are wearing combat trousers, a black vest top with a dragon on, my hair in two messy buns (yes, I was heavily influenced by the style of All Saints, I’m not going to apologise for that, it could have been worse) drinking Smirnoff Ice from plastic bottles, blue, pink and purple lights in the Happy Hardcore tent, water dripping on us from the ceiling from the condensation, a pretty rugby boy snogging me and walking home at 6 in the morning with the boys (probably mostly Ben and Liam) nicking the signs from the car park and throwing them in the hedge. If you were one of those people in 2002 who couldn’t find their car that quiet Sunday morning then I apologise, but it was really funny at the time.
I’m back at school, I’m tired, I’ve got a cold coming on but otherwise things are good.
After my Christmas trip to Kenya I was quite drained, sunburnt and altogether dreading going back to work. Having a break of a month is not necessarily a good thing for me. (Yes, I know, boo hoo, poor me, I’m sure you would love a month off for Christmas – I’m not bemoaning that, I just recognise that I need more structure than all that time to my own devices.)