The truth is, my anonymous blog is mostly onymous. My family, colleagues and other mates know my secret identity: largely because I’ve told them. In general, I’m pretty rubbish at keeping secrets. No strength of character. Expose me to a child learning the violin and in no time at all, I’ll tell you where the priests are hiding.
Which makes it difficult to write a blog which is less than chipper. The minute I press ‘Post’, Ma will be around with an excess of food or a loving colleague will want to know how they can help. But this weekend, I happen not to be feeling chipper. Most of the time, I am chipper and, without doubt, my chipperosity will return. But at the current moment – which is all we have – the chips are down.
So here’s the deal. I’ll write my blog but you’re not to read it if you know me. Go to an old blog instead. I have a fondness for numbers 4 and 8, myself. Bye. See you next week, when I’ll probably be reporting back on the research thing which I’m going to on Friday.
Are we alone?
This morning, I put cat-food on my porridge. Then I couldn’t find my i-pod and I wanted to listen to an audio book while playing in the garden. Eventually, I found it in my handbag. Which was on the front seat of the car. Which I had forgotten to lock. After a bit of a moment, I texted DearHeart. She, of course, has nothing else in her life to worry about and a problem shared is a problem doubled. It took her a while to reply. Largely because I forgot to press ‘send’.
On my first visit to Dr LaMancha – you’ll remember that he’s the lovely researcher who ran that drug trial – I confessed that the thing that scared me most about the diagnosis was the possibility of it affecting my memory. I’m rather fond of my brain. As Woody Allen says, it’s my second favourite organ. Dr L told me that, generally, Parkinson’s affects the concentration more than the memory. And this is notably worse when you’re tired or stressed.
Which brings me to the crux of my chipperlessness. I try generally to view the Parkinson’s as a condition which just gives me a bit of a shaky hand and an achy shoulder; rather than a disease of the brain. But doing something as stupid as putting cat-food on my porridge;well it does bring one up short. What’s more, I fear that Mrs Castle – my adorable Teaching Assistant – will throttle me if I again forget where I’ve put down my planning folder.
And the fact is, my job is very tiring and very stressful.
It’s not the teaching. I love teaching.
This week, for example, I told my class the myth of Prosperina. We got to the point where Pluto tells Prosperina that he will release her from the underworld. But before she goes, would she care to eat a pomegranate?
Complete, utter, breathless silence. A still point in the turning world: experienced for thousands of years, as adults have passed on this story to the next generation. I’m lucky to be part of this. I would miss it like mad, if I stopped.
Then the children retold the story in their own words veering in all sorts of interesting directions. Already, I’ve marked one where Pluto introduces his new captive to a group of other children who have been whipped down to the underworld and are planning games to cheer her up as she is missing her mummy. Great stuff.
If teaching were all telling stories, then it would be chips with everything.
But there’s the marking. I was marking till midnight last night and there’s still half the class to do. And next week’s planning. And my writing assessments. And the prospect of Of-bloody-sted any minute. Who will want to know why my children start so many of their sentences with ‘and’.
I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up. But what to do? I’ve still got three and a half more years until I retire.
Yes, there’s the possibility of the Nonsense progressing to the point when I would get a retirement on health grounds; but that’s hardly something to be wished for. To get an ill-health retirement from teaching, you’d have to be pretty darned poorly; and thankfully progress is nice and slow. I’m rather hoping to reach sixty in sufficient nick to have a good few years playing in the garden and extending my love of needlecraft. I’ve also banked on being able to keep my hand in with a bit of supply teaching and tuition. I’ve a whole lot more stories to tell.
I could possibly drop my hours a bit but just can’t visualise how that would work at the moment without upsetting all sorts of apple-carts.
And I can’t bear the thought of not doing the job properly; I am my father’s daughter.
Going round in circles a bit here. Which is not getting the baby a new bonnet.
When I was going through a tough time as a Personnel Manager for a local hospital – Thatcher, weeping redundant cleaners – I had a calendar on my desk which quoted Robert Frost: the best way out is always through. So I’d better get my head down and see if Prosperina makes it out of the underworld with sufficient attention to the adverbs and time-connectives which will move her writing up a sub-level.
If you see my Ma, not a word. She’ll only worry.