Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Joanna's Musings

This beer festival.

I wasn't in this picture. Obviously. Though I rather like the
attire on show on the right there.

Of course I do.

I haven't really dressed in ages.
I went to a beer festival on Saturday, a night out with plenty of ale on the Friday and have spent much of the week so far without a voice and struggling to keep up. But keep up I have. Despite my deliberate creation of a standoffish and emotionless persona for teaching I have been approached by a student as confidante - all above board I must add, I am now the official 'school contact' for the student in question and I ensure all that is said is passed to the relevant people (and the student knows this). It's been odd. Tonight I was accosted by the student and simply listened to them for two hours as they shared their trials and tribulation, there wasn't a lot to say. I was, however, struck by how similar this student is to how I felt when I was their age. The fact that this student is female is also of interest to that part of my brain that ruminates on personalities. Academically and in family situation I am sure we are very different, the latter I kept vague and the student was not inclined to elucidate in their spewing of various issues; they wished to talk relationships but I was able to keep that incredibly vague. The point is that I am a pair of ears.

Well, aren't we all.
No, my point was that I realised that this student approached things similarly to how I would have approached similar issues (some of which I have not had). On returning home I checked out a Book of Faces meme quiz thing - could it guess my age and gender with ten questions? Well, no. It guessed I was 27 and female. Others posted, mainly females, suggesting that it was telling them that they were 27 and male. What does this say about the company I keep or the quiz? Nothing. The quiz tells me nothing. Of course I liked the fact that it told me I was female, you could argue I was half-hoping for such an outcome. Having done some planning work tonight (and the night before last planning for an observation that didn't happen in the end - not a bad thing, oh how different this is from where I used to work!) I feel that I have actually worked for a change. I'm still struggling to catch up with marking but I suspect that I can keep up somewhere. I was hoping to do some marking in the two hours I lost to the student today, but hopefully that was time well spent in terms of investment - this is a clever student and the support may help them stay the course a bit.

I have that glass too!
Now I have a chocolate lager (Hog's Back Brewery in case you were wondering, Montezuma's Chocolate Lager and it is very nice) and I am contemplating hitting Fictionmania. Been back there a little bit more than of late and found just how much I still enjoy some of the stories on there. I long harboured a wish to write my own piece in payback for all the time I have spent there but it never happened. I am even less inclined to write now than when I gave it all up. What, with Tilly on her second book (and writing articles for national magazines) and a good friend of mine now writing an actual novel on Smashwords of the pornographic variety - and likely very good porn by the by - I increasingly feel like the plain Jane of my social group. Another friend who nanos much also writes and submits work, with varying degrees of success, and has actual beta readers. I, contrastingly, have yet to finish a piece. The last one, St Avril, was written in 2001 and updated in 2002. It was also pretty shit. I revisited it in 2005 and trimmed it a bit but it remains heavy and soulless. All pieces since then are just unfinished and in varying states of abandonment.

It is intriguing how little I feel the urge to write now. Or to read. I sort of gave up reading this time last year. I've read one complete book since then (The Martian) and one biography (on Grayson Perry) but not much else. I just... I just don't see the point.


Thursday, 18 February 2016


Yes, brewing my own ale often feels like this.

I did, too, I brewed two ales over summer. I still have a fair
amount remaining. I also had an ale today.
We went down south. Some things as predicted, others not. Firstly, the EV. It really is a nice car to drive and the charging times aren't horrendous - they beat getting stuck in traffic (and gaining range from traffic is a bonus) - we even managed to enjoy some of the stops. It was very cold and we took a few more comfort breaks than we needed, but the trip back was lighter as a result - fewer stops now we knew what we were dealing with.

The hotel was as expected - we swam on just two of the days, which was an improvement on the original plan, due to the trip we took to the capital - and we even managed to visit the local brewery again, which was nice. The car did need charging on an evening though, meaning that I was off for about an hour-ish each night to the nearest free rapid charger, which wasn't that much of a bind, but did mean we didn't really mix as a couple. On the first night I returned to find everyone asleep, on the second Tilly was just nodding off and, on the third night when we returned home, Tilly disappeared to work on her various businesses. No, really. She did it today as well and will be doing so this evening. Friday is also a busy night, Saturday is out and Sunday is out for me as I return to work the following day.

Not as sunny nor as glamorous.
And we're back to pre-March 2015.

It wasn't a bad trip. I'm stressing about marking still, along with money (paying for a summer holiday the same time as paying for the hotel for this trip has left me short of funds for the month) and... yes. I hope to produce a beer blog post tonight, may even get to visit a beer festival on Saturday whilst Tilly continues with her many enterprises. It's not all her, of course, I am snotty with a cold and that is hardly attractive. It's been hanging about for a good week now.

The long and the short of this post is that I enjoy driving an EV.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Good Moaning


I want to make a post about positive things. So many people are pushing through the difficulties of their difficult, as in actually hard, lives to be positive and are finding results. On the other hand, I am experiencing more positive things than ever (supportive colleagues, indulgent bosses, even a more romantic spouse) and I am focussing on the negative.

It's been a difficult almost fortnight.

Oh GOD I wish I could dress like this.

Or ever feel like she looks.
I went North in the electric car, but on my tod, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the balance of charge and distance - it made driving a puzzle, and one I enjoyed. I won't say it was without stress (I had to avoid work to do this) but it was almost fun. I can't do that with the family, so this week, when we head South, I shan't be able to open windows to decloud the windscreen or pull in at random because I can for a comfort charge or even just change the music to suit the driving conditions. Tilly will insist on having the seat heater on, the children will have their music in the back, the windows will remain shut, the heater will be blowing most of the way and every stop will be agreed to in the tone that informs the listener that it is a disappointment. Woe betide I pull in to find chargers that won't work or in the rain. We may not get indoors, it could take up to 15 minutes just to sort the family out if I need to drive over an access road (thus making it a 20 minute delay rather than 5).

I got to see my godson and all was (mostly) well. It reminded me of when our two were little. It confirmed I do not want another child.

I wouldn't mind being so stressed if I could dress like that.

During the week I paid for not having marked on the weekend. It was tough. And I got a roaring cold, the first in a long time actually. I had a headache, lethargy and tiredness. The latter was so bad that I actually slept in on the Wednesday, messing up the day pretty badly. I ended up challenging a child over plagiarism and then there was a parental complaint (within an hour of the event at the start of the school-day) which took two hours of faffing and stress on the Thursday evening. I failed to mark what I wanted to mark for Friday as a consequence. Each evening was a trial - reading to our daughter has been great since we started Harry Potter (we're on book 4) but she hates only having one chapter so each evening follows the same pattern: mad excitement, leading to inability to get ready logically or otherwise; later start of reading with her squirming and acting silly; rapt attention; disappointed and angry moaning for an hour or so after the reading is finished. It makes working next to impossible.

Tilly has been working both weeks. We haven't spent more than ten minutes together (awake) since some time in January. No, we really haven't - for once I'm not exaggerating. She makes all the right noises though, so that stands as an actual improvement. She was also even concerned about my cold, which, again, is a massive improvement. It's been a long time though and I have found it hard to adjust to the extra attention. I end up getting irritable and huffy and pushing people away. My brain is assailed by my depression telling it that I enjoyed it better when I was left alone. I wasn't, I know, but the initial response is hard to get past.

Except those first four words... I'm not
really sure I get to claim that.
Today, Tilly is in London with her narcissist. I am looking after the children. It has not gone well. The Girlie usually looks for a reason to get upset because she misses her Mummy and, today, I've been too full of cold and tired to work with that. She behaved stupidly at the end of dance and I blew up. I actually, honestly, do not like my little girl. I dislike her. She is spoilt, arrogant and deliberately behaves like an idiot to get away with things. She is, in effect, me. And I don't like me so I don't like her. And this has been building for a while. And I hate it. I hate the feeling: I shouldn't feel like this to my own daughter and I do anyway and it just operates on a feedback loop of horrible nastiness.

And each round just gets worse. I get more vindictive and angry, she gets more determined to do something utterly stupid: playing games with bamboo sticks for plants until one snaps and smacks her in the face; shouting at her brother until he punches her; using her socks as gloves until one gets a hole in it - and all because of me.

Face like a slapped arse?


Gotta be related to my mother.
Tomorrow my mother comes to visit. The Girlie is off sugar, my mother will hear this and instantly try to spoil her with sweets, it's how my mother operates. She was once asked to give her whatever my mother wished to give to her apart from chocolate for breakfast. Can you guess what our daughter was given for breakfast by my mother? It was chocolate. Sure enough she went mad and ended up running headfirst into a wall corner and bleeding. When my mother was told that ice cream sent her crazy and induced hangover-like symptoms for three days afterward she made it her mission to give our daughter ice-cream before leaving - succeeding so often that we actively tried to stop seeing her as much (and we didn't see her often to begin with). My mother is a fucking menace. Luckily(?) I channel my father's terrifying anger and snide put-downs that border on psychological abuse rather than my mother's desire to destroy any boundary that she's given to the detriment of all concerned.

Monday we travel South and we must adhere to the old-style timetable of travel so that we can swim twice a day, see Tilly's mother every day (including the day we travel back) and stay in the hotel Tilly likes. This may not be possible, charging stations are hard to find down there that aren't part of local initiatives that outsiders, such as us, would have to pay through the nose to use. We're dependent on a free charger on a motorway, but it adds about half an hour of travel every time we need to charge and that, you see, is not allowed. I'm not looking forward to it.

I must mark a bunch of stuff I've been putting off. I must write up some trip paperwork so that we can carry out the trips. Neither remaining colleague can help. One is a new father and the other is struggling and thinking of going elsewhere (I kinda need them to stay, so I'm trying to minimise stress and extra work as an inducement).

And then the merry-go-round starts again.

Oh, Tilly asked that we do nothing for Valentine's this year again - we can "be romantic in our own time" she said. Also, she's busy with her book, articles, new business venture and her narcissist. I agreed, of course I agreed, but we're slowly going back to the old rut. You know, in a year, we still qualify as technically sexless. Still, it's more frequent than at any time since Tilly was pregnant with the Girlie. I'm just glad I didn't do what I did last time and buy enough protection for double figures only to have to throw them out when they passed their use-by date by six months.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Truth Will Out

My youth.

Not the setting, oh no, the show. It was something we watched
as a family for the longest time. Both my mother and my
grandmother, before she went batshit crazy, would watch and
trade notes on immediately afterward.

Back when it was only on once a week.
My mother always liked watching soap operas, especially Coronation Street. For someone who prided herself on how sharp and intelligent she was, at least as far as I knew at the time, I was amazed that she would deign to watch them when the plots were paper thin and the characterisation largely asinine. One day, probably after my father left, I asked her why she insisted on watching them. Now, I knew that she read Catherine Cookson books and that, sometime around the age of 12, I'd tried to read one of those myself in an exchange to have her read Terry Pratchett. I was less than impressed with what I found, but did not connect the nature of these to the soap operas. I should have done. Point is, my mother said that she liked the soap operas because "the truth will always out" - bad people lost and had their comeuppance eventually and the good were rewarded. It was a simple, easy, accessible and strong morality on Coronation Street when I was growing up. She then proceeded to show me this happening from that point on. I have no idea if that is still true of the soap operas of today, in these days post-Breaking Bad and the concept of the anti-hero becoming very mainstream and small screen I confess that I do not believe many places will hold to the original pantomime of simplistic morality play, but I digress.

And these look lovely.
No pressure, no big happenings, a nice home life. The truth will out. It is how my life is. And I am failing. I can't seem to keep up with work, I can't organise my time well - I've been asked to be godfather and will visit the god-child this weekend: I haven't organised a present, nor card, nor the route beyond the basics. I haven't planned trips at work. I haven't marked the coursework. I forgot to mention last night's parents evening to Tilly. I forgot that I was supposed to be playing a game with some friends tonight and have lost all the stuff for it, somewhere.

My heart is beating like it used to do all the time between 2010 and 2013. It is not a welcome feeling. I was up late this morning, very late (6.30am), and I just feel like I'm watching the wheels come off  my wagon again. Except that this time there's no handy thing to blame.

I was reminded of Toby's suggestion that I buy and wear capris or pedal pushers today, it's a convoluted journey, and finally got to looking up what they look like (they were largely how I imagined, but I'd never looked at actual pairs). In my present mood and state I rather wish I could travel back to when she suggested them and say yes, go out and get a couple of pairs and wear them. It was a doomed relationship, I don't miss it, but I wish I could have done that. The chance was there. I can never change what is past.