Number 14: People doing their jobs well

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So, blog two for the day…I told you I would catch up and I will. So today I thought I really should dedicate this blog to those who do their jobs really really well. 

On Saturday my car broke down. I lost power on the motorway, in the dark, on my own. Everything was fine, mostly because the AA did a sterling job. I rang them up and they bumped me up to priority status, their engineer was with me within twenty minutes. He was lovely, really friendly and kind, just keen to get me home. Even the towing part was fun. In the car on the way to my village he was very chatty and reassuring, telling me I’d done all the right things, and explaining exactly what was wrong so that I knew what to tell the mechanic at the garage. Very nice man and very good at his job. Just what you needed after something quite that surprising had happened.

And then there are the people at the hospital. I don’t want to dwell on the bad but to give you the context I’m back in the game unfortunately, maybe. So the receptionist calls me, at work, but waits until she knows I am done teaching, how considerate! I love it when people have a realistic idea of what my teaching day is like, rather than just assuming it has the same, or easier, rules than an office. Anyway, lovely receptionist and her team get me an appointment for this week so that I am not left waiting until after Christmas for the test results. I know it is their job, but these people do not have to be nice about it, and yet they are. Just genuinely lovely, compassionate people who want to help you out as hassle free as possible. In the past they have taken into account the fact that getting time off isn’t that easy in a school and prioritised me for post school hours. The whole department in fact is rather wonderful, and that is exactly what you need.

Therefore, I would like to say a big fat thank you to anyone, anywhere, who does their job to the best of their ability. Because trust me, someone, somewhere is really very appreciative.

PS, I should also include the Shell garage man, who still smiles at me and asks me how my day is. The perfect antidote to sitting in traffic jams.

Number 13: Christmas Trees

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I’m not even going to attempt to apologise, just frantically try to catch up. (Also, anyone know how I can change the spell check to let it know I’m English, as opposed to American???)

So, Christmas trees. I love them, love their smell more specifically. There is nothing quite like Christmas tree shopping. I went yesterday with the fiance (having postponed for as long as I could, don’t ask it’s just part of the tradition) and it never fails to cheer me up. I love looking at all the options, making decisions as to which ones are the best, watching as the fiance struggles to lift them out of the pile while I stand by and shout directions. Of course it’s incredibly festive, if it wasn’t there must surely be something wrong with them, but there is also just something else that makes it so much fun. 

I always put it down to the smell. I LOVE the smell, probably because it smells of home. Live in the country, in England, and it smells of pine needles and fresh air. And for one month a year you can have that smell in your home, ready and waiting to cheer you up whenever you walk through the door. 

So there you have it, Christmas trees and their wonderful smell.

Number 12: Doctor Who

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Rather appropriately I had set aside this particular cheerful thought for last weekend. I was all set to write, logged on, ready and raring to go. Then the website crashed. Whoops.

So I put it to one side, telling myself that I would come back to it the next day, telling myself it would be even better as I would have actually seen the great 50th episode by then.

And then I caught flu. Proper dizzy, blocked up, world spinning, legs aching flu. I was out for the week.

So here I am, almost fully recovered, vaguely panicking about a mammoth parent’s evening, attempting to right the wrong of a missed post. My deepest and sincerest apologies.

I am sorry to say, despite the premise of this blog and the determined cheerfulness I set myself, it has not been a very cheerful week. I shan’t go into it here, as that is not the point. But I would like to say that Doctor Who always sees me through. In fact he’s one of the great inspirations for teachers. Whenever it feels as though I’m too tired and fed up of blank expressions to go on I just slip into ‘The Doctor’ mode and the kids suddenly pay attention to the raving lunatic in front of them. Seriously. It works.

Also, I’m sorry, but whose fans are nicer that Doctor Who’s? Nicer, more devoted, polite. (With the exception of the browncoats possibly) I mean, The Doctor’s fans are like a family, and are embraced as such. What other fanbase would shut down their forums in order to protect the secret of John Hurt when DVDs had been sent out too soon? I can’t think of any. And when you become a Doctor Who fan (a proper one, not a ‘I guess it’s cool’ one) then you are welcomed wholeheartedly into that world. When you meet another fan, it’s like automatically gaining a friend; just because you both like the same TV programme.

I think the BBC did an outstanding job with the 50th, I really do. All the extra programmes, radio shows, publicity was excellent and enjoyable. And the episode itself, woah. How cool was that? Changing the whole face of The Doctor. I hope Steven Moffat knows he left a few tiny plot holes and will fill those in, but I can forgive him that when he delivered such an wonderful episode. And in 3D no less.

So there you have, my slightly (ok maybe gushing would be an appropriate word) dedication to Doctor Who. It’s the only TV show that can make you laugh, cry, laugh, grip the seat, hide behind a cushion and sob at the end all in a 50 minute episode. It even manages to teach you a little bit too. So just for that, it is my cheerful thought. Every time I think of it, the world just seems to brighten a tiny bit; The Doctor is in it.

Number 11: Daydreams

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I was having trouble thinking up a cheerful thought for this week. Wedding arguments have caused riffs between my eldest sibling, Mother and me making me feel pretty miserable. Also, work has been fairly heavy going, not helping with the whole bad back scenario. But then, on Wednesday, the solution to all my problems came to me. If only I had Piper’s powers (from Charmed). From then on the week was a doddle, as every time someone annoyed me, I fantasized about freezing them and messing with their head by moving stuff around or just plain walking away. It may sound a little weird, but trust me, in situations where you are completely powerless fantasizing about hitting them with some grade-A magic really does make it feel better. For example, I have a rather useless colleague who has been even more useless this week, one of those people who suck you dry and expects total, devotional, exclusive friendship and sympathy. Well, at the beginning of this week they were driving me especially mental. I am going through some health issues (another reason for my dud week) and they are going through some personal ones, but for some reason I am able to stay private and professional at work and they are not. It was slowly driving me off a cliff. Anyway, so then I treated myself on Tuesday to an evening of Charmed (netflix is an amazing invention!), and the whole rest of the week, any time they began to speak or annoy me, I dipped into fantasy land and tuned them out with a flick of my hands; suddenly everything became much less stressful.

Charmed isn’t the only daydream that gets me through the day. When I used to travel I would daydream constantly on journeys, passing the time, keeping away boredom and on some occasions making me feel a little less lonely. I would daydream about everything, from the heroic to the romantic, and when very little, about being in Star Wars (the Millennium Falcon would come and rescue me from school and zoom me away across the galaxy to fight Darth Vader. It was awesome, trust me). Most of them, I grant you, focus about a science fiction / fantasy theme, but it you’re going to start making up a world in your head, why not go completely over the top?

In the world inside my head I am not ill, overworked, sworn at by prepubescent children, or anything of the above. Instead I am allowed a stress free existence for a few blissful seconds. My favorite daydreams, and probably the ones I have played the most often, are ones which slot into real life. Ones that take place here, like my Charmed daydream, but just put a slight twist on the normal. This is probably because they successfully complete their purpose without me having to think that hard; they are entertaining. They, like a good film or TV show, (many thanks to Charmed and Gilmore Girls in particular, but also not forgetting the wonderful and unforgettable Firefly – another one of my favorites) cause you escape reality and be entertained for the ten seconds it takes to conjure it up in your head.

Next time someone really annoys you (up to an including relationship discord), just do what I do and ‘Piper’ them and see how you feel afterwards.

Number 7: Fireworks and Bonfire Night

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OK, so first off I am an idiot. A prize ejit, complete plonker. I’ll tell you why: I can’t count. What a douch. I was looking over my pages and seeing what I could add in for number 11 today, and realised that I had completely skipped number 7. As I said; idiot.

So, now that the obvious idiocy is out of the way I will continue with this week’s cheerful thought. And this week the winner is bonfire night.

I love bonfire night, everything about it from the amazing smells, to the cold weather and the thick woolen coats. I even enjoy the hanging about in the freezing night air to enjoy 5 mins of fireworks. There is just something special about standing with a few hundred others to experience, together, the continued destruction of our environment and the always impressive view of fireworks.

This year my fiance and I headed to our local firework, foregoing the big city events for something smaller, more intimate, and essentially something that we could easily walk to. I love walking to fireworks too, don’t ask me why, I don’t have an answer for you. Anyway, we walked through the village and as we drew nearer came across a mass of people walking in the same direction, all dressed up in thick woolen jackets, hats, wellies, scarves and all heading to the fireworks. I was in astonishment that there were so many people actually in our village.

We joined the throng and followed the crowd down a narrow country lane, in the pitch black, something that didn’t bother me as I grew up in the country and was used to not being able to see my way. However my poor fiance got a bit silly and concerned, he grew up in a city and to be in the middle of pitch darkness with no idea what was under your feet made him a little panicky. He had also ignored my warnings and worn trainers, not wellies, so was less pleased when he realised that his feet were going to get just a little bit damp. Personally, I found that hilarious.

Sparks from our local bonfire

We reached  field with several hundred people in it and a few flood lights, just to make it a bit easier, and a huge bonfire at one end. I love the smell of bonfires, interesting for an asthmatic, but I do. It essentially smells of home for me, the woodburner, the all natural country smell mixed in with a little bit of timber. The sparks were flying; I tried to take a picture but it didn’t do it justice. They were sparking off of the bonfire like fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

After 20 minutes or so of standing around the orange glow, watching a guy go up in smoke, literally, the countdown began. I have yet to meet anyone who cannot at least admire fireworks for their outstanding beauty. I know they are bad for the environment, and I do feel a little bit guilty every time I watch them, but essentially they are beautiful. The blues, the greens, the pinks, the sparkles, even the loud, annoying whining ones. And essentially there is something wonderfully romantic about it all. The firelight, the sparkles, it just seems to put everyone in a good mood. Not to mention the smell of hot soup that began drifting over form the hut.

They only lasted 8 minutes, but as always, they succeeded in putting me into a good mood. Even last year when it felt like the world was falling about me (I just received my diagnosis) bonfire night and those fireworks made everything alright for the hour that it took to walk in an watch them.

Of course, coming back down to earth always hurts, and this morning I am back to my usual stressed out self, but even the memory of them cheers me up, and will be enough until next November when once again we celebrate something that almost happened.

Now, before I get too sentimental, I’m going to stop. Until next week anyway. And hopefully, then, I will be able to count.

PS, when we got home the poor fiance had to ring out his socks. Well, at least that will be the last time he dismisses my warnings about country life…

Number 10: My niece

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Now I’m trying to make up for lost time, and seem to be on a roll so you lovely people get two in one afternoon! I am totally not procrastinating – the marking will surely do itself if it sits on my desk long enough…

So, number 10, my toddler niece BUT only when they are happy and/or calm. Let me put this one in context for you. I have just spent the afternoon babysitting my niece, who is gorgeous and hilarious. She really is the sweetest, most perfect little thing – when she is happy and calm. Her smile is stunning, her giggle wonderful, and if I would allow myself, being the proud and slightly soppy Auntie that I am, I could go on about her for the whole blog. And trust me, there would be some painful and cringe worthy metaphors and similes in there somewhere too. But no, I will stop there. Suffice to say she has successfully helped me avoid work for the whole day (sorry Year 11) and been truly good fun to hang out with. We chased chickens and ducks across my parents lawn, complete with the accompanying noises and impressions, the poor dogs got stroked enough for the rest of their lives, and we chased each other indoors until old Auntie Frankie had to have a lie down.

When it was time to go home with Granny and Grandpa, she blew me a kiss and promptly fell asleep –  I felt like doing the same but sadly I had to drive myself back home instead. So now I am sitting in my study, at home, and reflecting on an afternoon very well spent. I can still smell her slightly sweet smell on my clothes (she fell asleep on my lap), and feel far more relaxed and at peace than I did this morning, despite the fact that my list of to do jobs hasn’t lessened at all.

So there you go, ever feeling unbearably stressed out, hang out with a happy toddler (preferably one related to you) for an afternoon and everything just slides back into perspective.

PS, Usually I hate small children, can’t stand them, so if I’m saying this works, it really must!

Number 9: Sunsets

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Ok, so this one may be a little bit more on the soppy side, but honestly, who does not like a good sunset?

I was sitting in my study, attacking the waist high stack of marking I have for half term, when I look to my left and see wonderful splashes of pink, gold and indigo across the sky (my apologies, my camera did not do it justice, but I tried). It immediately made me a feel better, which is impressive because it has been quite the fortnight.

I should really have started by apologizing for my lack of posts lately. I have a bad back and at the beginning of last week it decided to surrender, so I was banned from sitting at my desk and therefore from blogging. I try to keep my promises as my fiance always does an excellent job of taking care of me, and it seems that it is the least I can do to repay him.

Anyway, so now my back is feeling remarkably better and I am able to blog again, yay! And the first thing I wanted to tell you all about was the sunset. It was gorgeous. Not just that one either, I’ve always loved sunsets and the way they turn my study into a warm golden glow (which is painted bright yellow precisely so that it will capture those warm tones of a gorgeous sunset…ok, maybe I am a getting a little nerdy). The other day I was driving home (I know, with a bad back, not the world’s best idea), and saw another wonderful collection of colour hovering just above the motorway. It made the journey home so much better just to have something gorgeous and colourful to look at.

Anyway, so here is my attempt at capturing a beautiful sunset, complete with view from my window, please feel free to add your own! In fact I insist.

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