Some things, and some other stuff

So where was I? It’s been a while…
I’ve been back on school placement for the last three weeks but to be honest it’s been fairly stress free this time. I’ve only got another four teaching days to go and then I won’t be back in a classroom until I’m starting my first actual teaching job in August (The Autumn term in Scotland starts in the middle of August – a concept which seems completely alien to me after a lifetime of English schools starting back in September – and it’s also rather inconveniently in the middle of the Edinburgh Festival).
I can’t quite believe I’ve actually nearly finished my course. Yesterday I passed my final university assessed lesson, I’ve still got one more school report to get but seeing as I’m at the same school as last time I can’t see there being any problems there. And then there’s just the small matter of another 3500 word assignment due in a week, but the plan is to get that written this weekend. And then, to the chagrin of many in full time employment, I get a two and a half month holiday before the real work starts. And it’s going to be an action packed two and a half months!
I’ve got another week in London coming up at the end of this month (for comedy, of course, plus it’s my birthday), then at the end of June I’m off to the USA for nearly three weeks (which I’m incredibly excited about), followed by another couple of nights in London, then Latitude festival, another few nights in London for some Edinburgh previews, then finally back home a month after I set off! After that I’ve only got a week at home before going to Scout Camp (slightly random I know, my Dad is a Scout leader and somehow I got roped into helping out – he asked at Christmas, I was drunk). And the Scout camp will segue directly into Edinburgh, where I’ll be staying for the first week of the Fringe, despite only living half an hour away on the train. And then it’s straight into school. See, I told you it was action packed. But I’m never going to get this long without having to work again so I’m making the most of it.
So that’s what’s to come….but what has passed? Last weekend, in the name of Mark Watson’s ridiculous iPod competition I took a nine hour round trip to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, to meet a young man, so he could put a song on a memory stick and write about why he chose that song in a small notebook. The memory stick and notebook will hopefully, eventually be filled with music by others around the country and will finally make their way to a lady in Essex who won an iPod in a competition on Mark’s blog.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, last time I was in London I met Mr Watson in the Apple Store to purchase said iPod and memory stick and I brought it back up to Scotland. The theory was that the iPod would make it’s way around a chain of I think 70-odd people before finally ending up with the winner. However, these things never quite work out how you think they will. As it turned out there were six people in Scotland who had volunteered to join the chain and add a song – being in possession of the iPod I somehow got tasked with trying to co-ordinate these people to meet. Which is slightly difficult given the size of Scotland (it really is quite big!) and the fact that most of the people are young students without the cash or the ability to travel very far from where they actually live. To be honest I got a bit pissed off with the whole thing at one point but I’m no quitter and I couldn’t just take the iPod back to London without at least trying.
In this iPod chain of 70 people there were six people who had been finalists in the competition and part of the point of the chain was to make sure it passed through these people before getting to the eventual winner. And just to make things a little bit more difficult one of the finalists was a Scottish school boy who lives to the west of Fort William – about as far away from where I live on the east coast as you can get! So after a few emails backwards and forwards it became clear that the only way the iPod was going to get to Seamus was if I took it there myself. Of course, he could have just emailed his song choice to me and I could have put it on the memory stick from the comfort of my own sofa…but that kind of misses the point of the whole thing. So last Saturday I took the 120 mile trip to Fort William, where I met up with Seamus for about half an hour, then I drove the 120 miles home again. And, yes it really did take nine hours door to door. Still, it was a lovely sunny day and the scenery in that part of the world is spectacular. And I did get much appreciation in Mark’s blog for my efforts. I think I’ve done my bit now, and seeing as the other Scottish people are spread from Aberdeen to Glasgow, I don’t think I’ll be meeting up with anyone else before I take the iPod back to London, to pass it on to the next section of the chain, and thankfully it will no longer be my responsibility!
On a related note, you may remember I set myself some goals as part of Mark’s Ten Year Self Improvement Challenge…and so a quick update;
  • On weight loss/maintenance – I now weigh just under 10st for the first time since I was 19 (back in 1997 – in fact about the same time that as a fresh faced young student I was getting excited that I’d played a small part in getting the New Labour government into power, and was full of hope and expectation….and now look where we are, it would be ironic if it wasn’t so depressing). I still want to lose a few more pounds so I can get to the bottom of my ‘safety zone’ as they like to call it at my weight loss class things. And then the very much more difficult task of maintaining that weight starts – especially with the amount of travelling I’ll be doing in the next few months. That said, I managed to stay the same weight after my last week in London, despite not being on my diet plan at all, so it is possible. Something happened at my weight loss class last week which surprised me quite a lot, but I think I’ll save that for another blog.
  • On becoming a fully qualified teacher and moving to London – I am getting closer everyday. See above.
  • On visiting the Antipodes – this one is on hold until such a trip is practical (possibly in a couple of years)
  • On playing the ukulele – I am getting better, I think. I’ve been to a couple more meetings of Monday Ukearist and I’ll be going again soon. And I recorded a few more videos and put them on YouTube. You can see them here. And my favourite one is here….just down there….
All in all I’d say my TYSIC is going well for now, and we’re only a few months into the ten years so there’s plenty of time yet.
Another mammoth blog from me – thanks again for sticking with me, and I will try and update my adventures with a little more regularity in future…there’s certainly going to be a lot to tell.
Did I mention that I love you? Especially you.

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