Good God! A year has gone by all ready? Spurred on by @Chocotzar's wonderful #Nurture1314 review, I'm grabbing the Unicorn by the horn and following suit.
Whilst I'm walking with the Black Dog, this will be a bit like extracting a tooth, but nevertheless incredibly therapeutic to find, remember and write about the good things of 2013. So, without further ado, here goes.
1. This Blog. I have been writing on this for just over a year now and have very much enjoyed the process, especially when positive feedback has been received by Twitter or through comments on this blog. The blog has had 28,000+ page views to date and my most popular post has been 'The Yin and Yang of The Question Grid' at 5,000+ views whilst my second most popular has, surprisingly, been 'In The Presence of Psychopathy' a narration of a dark moment of domestic violence, receiving over 1, 000 page views (my original claim of 2, 000+ views applies to 'The Doctor's Note' post - doh!). I shall discuss this more in number 2!
2. Squaring up to a personal demon by writing 'In The Presence of Psychopathy', a mercifully short, but nevertheless dramatic account of what can best be described as an attempt on my life by a man who was my partner at the time. The most I'd told anybody about this was that,"He'd tried to attack me." never going into any detail, not being able to face up to it. I published it via Twitter and Facebook and the response was remarkable. Adjectives such as 'brave' and 'heroic' were used to describe me, how odd, how incongruous. I am, nevertheless, utterly grateful for such positivity to emerge from such a bleak moment in my Jeremy Kyle life.
3. Presenting at some Teach Meets, if memory serves it they have been: Teach Meet Finham, Teach Meet Brun where @kevbartle was a total ROCK and held my hand afterwards as I was vibrating with nerves both before and afterwards; Teach Meet English in Leeds, and most recently Teach Meet English in Derby with @Xris32 as organiser and fab support (bloody lovely cakes too Chris, well done that man). I have an abject fear of speaking in front of my peers - I think I'm starting to crack it!
4. Teach Meet English in Derby allowed me to meet @LisaFarrell3 - who, as it turns out is the wife of a certain Mr. Farrell who I worked with for 5 years in Tamworth. It's a small world huh? We are now firm Costa and book swap buddies and have some theatre trips in the pipeline.
5. @rlj1981 Rachel invited me down to stay with her in Portsmouth over the summer holiday, a brave move considering I'd only met Rachel twice. Once at #PedagooLondon and the second at the Wellington Education Festival. One visit turned into two over the Summer, and I now feel like her house is very much a second home and Rachel is very much a great friend. Her boys are just lovely, if exhausting! I am back with Rachel for New Year, for another wee Christmas and to make chocolate mousse.
6. Stand-Up comedy. I got into a good habit of going to see local stand-up gigs in a local village called Appleby Magna, which sadly, disappeared come start of school in September - something to resurrect in 2014 I think. Even better I have seen Al Murray and Rich Hall live at Warwick Arts Centre. Nothing short of brilliant.
7. Gromit Unleashed Tweet-up in Bristol organised by @theheadsoffice. A day of pure unadulterated joy, spent with @Chocotzar and daughter, @RichardFiona and hubby, @betsysalt, @rlj1981, @csf0961, @KDWScience, @digitaldaisies, @hrogerson, @aknill. We walked, we talked, we laughed, we found lots of Gromits and posed for lots of photos, we ate, we drank wine. An exhausting but immensely enjoyable day.
8. Being published by The Guardian Education Network. OK, both times it was anonymous, still, I HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED BY A NATIONAL BROADSHEET. So there. *blows raspberry*
9. Maintained my monthly trips with @Dyskadores (Lisa) to Birmingham for essential purchases from Lush and being ladies that lunch, init.
10. During the Twitter Summer of Love Road-Trip - I enjoyed a drunken, but not so debauched Tweet-Up in Watford with @kevbartle (Helene was as near as dammit there, phone technology and all that), @danielharvy9, @Thatch_Teach and the wonderfulness that was @mrpalomar1. Oh how it pains me to speak of him in the past tense, but I am also lucky to have spent time with such as man as Jon who was the very definition of 'gentleman' and easily one of the most cultured people I've ever met. We talked, we drank, we played pool to varying degrees of success, we ate and Kev fed us a breakfast fit for a King. Thanks to Kev for being a great host and Helene for 'loaning' him to us for the weekend!
11. Actually had a holiday in a school holiday for the first time in about 6 years. It was with my Brum buddy @Dykadores and we went to Dublin during the Easter break. The exhaustion of the excrutiatingly early start was easily forgotton upon tasing the Beef and Guinness Stew in the Guinness musuem and the surpringly choco-gasmic chocolate and Guinness mousse. It was our first holiday together, we enjoyed it and more importantly, did not want to kill each other after 3 days together.
12. The peculiar warmth of Twitter. I have met many people on Twitter in the flesh, in 'high defnition' as it were. Here are some particular highlights: @chocotzar who is an awesome support on and off-line and now a great cinema buddy, @betsysalt bloomin' lovely and another constant source of support and encouragement, @csf0961 - I was a 'subject' for her MA and in return I received beautiful flowers and lovely cake, win. @HYWEL_ROBERTS who hugged me upon sight at Wellington Festival and again at #TeachMeetBrumXmas whilst keeping me company before the eveing started. @oldandrewuk - a surprising one this, and not to give too much away, but felt quite Hobbit sized in his company. I have converted him to the occasional Costa - he prefers a hot chocolate but one day, you never know, a Salted Caramel Latte may change his view of hot beverages. He IS tall, he is not 'old' and neither is he made of straw. I very nearly forgot @85teachergirl who has been a great source of humour and support via Twitter and DMs. We finally met at Teach Meet English in Derby and a Costa catch up is on the cards. Fab lady. Fact.
13. Meeting the Welsh author Malcolm Pryce @exogamist in Oxford with @Dyskadores. This was only mid-November, easily one of my most perfect days out. Lisa and I arrived at Oxford in the morning and we spent a lovely time around the dreaming spires, pootling around the indoor market and a lunching in Pizza Express. There there was the wait for Malcolm to arrive in the designated pub. He turned up, it was a bit awkward and nerve wracking to start, we relaxed and chatted about cheese and Ofsted - amongst other things - we thawed and left, each having convinced the other we were not that weird really. He gave us some Aberystwyth Rock, signed our Aberystwyth books and gave us a lovely hug before we parted ways. He tells us, if we behave ourselves, we can meet again in the New Year. Bring. It. On.