I like the cut of your gib


On Friday the 13th of May I got up stupidly early, took the tram to the station, sat on a train bound for Manchester and made my way to the absolutely huge Paperchase store that they have there. Now I like stationary as much as the next girl, but that’s not my reason for making the trek, oh no! I was going to learn a new technique for making things, lino cutting.

 

I’ve seen lino cut prints before but I’ve never actually tried it before, so when I was sent a link to the Paperchase Project craft workshops it caught my eye immediately and it turns out I bought the first ticket.

The class takes place on the first floor, but you have to pass through a mezzanine level to get there.  The lass who was teaching us introduced herself, but I’m afraid I forgot to write down her name, so if you work at the Manchester shop please tell me so that I can amend this! Continue reading

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The Eighteen Year Old Blues


I’m feeling low down, I’m 18, and I don’t know what to do with my future: I’ve got the blues, man.

I’ve googled teenage songs and come across this lyric from the Eighteen Year Old Blues by Steve Carl from 1958 in a list on the Guardian website.  Apparently the song ponders the options available to him.  

I’ve been thinking about what my options were when I was 18.  This morning I’ve been talking to the year 13 students at my old school. (Hello if any of you are reading this!)  Teenagers generally get a bad press.  Most articles or pieces about teenagers in newspapers or on the news focus on antisocial behaviours, how they are illiterate or lack numeracy skills, how many are NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training – over a million at the latest estimate) etc.  It’s not a positive picture being painted.

What options are there for teenagers now?  Adults with different levels of experience are struggling to work, there is a push on volunteering to get a foot in the door but many companies and organisations are reaching saturation.  How many companies faced with an experienced out of work adult or a teenager are likely to pick the teenager?  It’s an economically unstable world, there are few jobs for life anymore and it’s hard to find part time work.  I’m not sure I’d like to be 18 now.

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Non, Je ne regrette rien…


… sauf que je ne peux pas parler une langue étrangère. * translation a the end for those who need it.

I’ve been reading through various website recently and have noticed that there are some things going on:

  1. English teenagers and young adults have poor literacy skills.
  2. Universities are reducing language courses.
  3. Children who fall behind in their reading skills by age seven will struggle to keep up.
  4. Fewer children read in their spare time or for enjoyment. 

I’ve been quite lucky, I don’t have dyslexia as many people in my family do, I’ve always been pretty good at English and I was forced to take a Modern Foreign Language (MFL) at GCSE.  Hang on, why does that make me lucky? I didn’t particularly enjoy doing it, many of my classmates hated it, but I think that studying French for 5 (sort of 7, but I’ll get to that) years improved my English.

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And a girl ought to celebrate what passes by…


Since coming back from Zanzibar I have been feeling, on the most part, so much better. I sank into a quite deep depressive episode since Dad’s death, Christmas and returning to work in January. So much so that when I looked over the planning for the last half term, although I vaguely remember teaching what was written in those sheets, I don’t fully remember reading them.

It’s so easy to fall into a cycle of getting up, going to work, going home, eating, watching a bit of TV and heading to bed again ready to do it all over again the next day. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last few months. I’ve been living in this amazing place and I’ve been neglecting to take it in. I’ve been teaching some lovely small humans who will, for better or worse, remember me for years to come. And I’m afraid that perhaps I’ve not been doing a very good job for them, but I am now determined to do better for them. My flatmate has moved out to a village near Mwanza, so now, for the first time in my adult life I will be living on my own – although not fully as I always leave my door open and anyone can wander up if they wish – and so this is a time when I could possibly slide back down again and become a total hermit.

There have been a few things that have begun to help me pull myself out of this slump. One was finding the blogs from my myspace and seeing how excited I was to be starting my masters. That was halted because I didn’t get the job I wanted and I’ve been holding onto that disappointment for far too long now, it’s almost been 7 years. It’s time to let it go.

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