December 31, 2012 by Sian Rowland
I’ve just spent some time going through my diary and revisiting 2012. Due to one thing or another it’s been a fairly quiet year- no exotic holidays, no lotteries won (not that I play the lottery) and no house moves but even in a quiet year things move on so here’s my year in review.
The start of my three day a week contract and boy was it a baptism by fire. On my first day a teacher phoned in sick. I had less than half an hour to find a supply agency, call them and get a teacher in place by the time the bell went. I didn’t even know how to log on to my computer and by half past eight I was tempted to get back in my car, huddle under my duvet and hope it was all a bad dream. I got it sorted however and then went on to cope with everything else the job threw at me- fighting parents, drunk intruders, tricky kids, injured teachers and my speciality- class cover. There were good times too but challenging barely covers it.
A change is as good as a rest they say so I went to the salon clutching a picture of an impossibly glamorous Hollywood star young enough to be my daughter and nervously asked my hairdresser to make me look like her. When he had picked himself up off the floor and wiped the tears of mirth from his eyes he set to and while I didn’t end up looking like a star I did feel like a million dollars.
I had a phone call from a journalist at the Financial Times asking if I’d like to comment for a piece she was writing about the public sector job cuts one year on. Just try and stop me. I was excited to be in the FT but a bit apprehensive when she called back later in the day. Could they send a photographer down to the school to take a picture? Having rooted out a stub of old lipstick from the bottom of my handbag and raked my fingers through my hair I was ready. The photographer came down after school and took some pictures in the playground and then in a classroom much to the amusement of the class teacher. ‘Oh you don’t mind if a photographer from the FT takes a few snaps do you?’ I said nonchalantly. The photographer showed me the pictures and was about to send an outside one to his editor when we realised that the painted targets on the wall behind me looked like two giant boobs and went with one of me sitting on a desk looking faintly uncomfortable instead. The article was printed the next day but you won’t find the photo on the internet. I was on page three so maybe we should have gone with the target boobs after all.
Yet more fame. Having looked at my blog ‘I was a Public Sector Worker’, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation called and asked if they could interview me for a radio show. In French, if possible. Now I’m the proud owner of a French A level and can swear like a Marseille docker but it’s been many years since I held a conversation more taxing than asking the time or where the nearest boulangerie is. I was completely flummoxed by the vocabulary I needed to explain my views on public sector redundancy and the journalist kindly agreed to do the interview on English and have it dubbed. Sadly he wasn’t interested in my more prosaic and colourful description of the prime minister. You can listen to the interview here.
My birthday and my mother’s birthday. This year was a significant one for my mum so the family got together and celebrated in style. Sometimes it’s worth stopping and remembering that family are important too.
I trained as a voiceover artist and found out I was quite good at it. I’ve just not had the time to pursue it further but hope to do more in the coming year. If I look a little hot in this photo I was. The symptoms of my overactive thyroid were really beginning to kick in and being shut in a small recording booth wasn’t the best idea. I also took part in breaking a Guinness world record at the Tower of London.
My first visit to hospital. I woke up one day with a face like a football and a heart rate like a machine gun. I gently woke my husband and mumbled, ‘I think you need to take me to A and E.’ I’ve never seen anyone move so fast. He was up and dressed with the car keys in his hand before I’d finished speaking but had to wait while I straightened my hair. Well, I looked hideous but there was no way I was leaving the house with untidy hair. This month I was also invited to a plush day at Ascot by the supply agency I used at work. This was to say thank you for being a valued customer. Which means I had booked supply teachers a lot. It’s my speciality. My clever husband also qualified as an official City of London tour guide he runs fantastic tours if anyone fancies booking!
The Olympics were in full swing and having started with no tickets at all via the online lottery I ended up going to the football at Wembley, the archery at Lord’s and the basketball at the Olympic park. We had a lovely Australian couple staying with us for a few weeks and compared medal results every day. We won. We couldn’t afford a summer holiday so I had a Summer Staycation of Fun instead and explored parts of the capital I hadn’t explore before, wandered round galleries and museums and met up with friends. What an amazing city I live in!
Back to school with a new pencil case and a stiffer spine. The month started with my choir performing at Wembley Stadium at the Saracens v Leicester rugby. We’ve sold out Wembley Arena and will sing at the O2 in 2013 so the Stadium was another one to tick off and like most of our gigs (ok then, all of our gigs), ended up in the pub. Oh and I had my hyperthyroidism diagnosis. Meh.
I had been looking for a writing group for ages. I tried a local one earlier in the year and thought I had wandered into one that was like a particularly bonkers scene from Miranda and was frowned upon because I didn’t have an oh-so-knowing pen name. This autumn however, I found my match at a new group and have even been really brave and read some of my stuff to the group.
A really busy month with loads of work coming in. On the one morning I had off I met a friend at Borough market to look at all the lovely, overpriced stuff and indulge in the first mulled wine of the season. We were walking past Southwark cathedral when a side of hoarding crashed down in the wind missing us by millimetres so my year almost ended right there and then. Not sure how we escaped that one but it obviously wasn’t my time yet.
There’s nothing like Christmas in a primary school. Carols are sung, squawked and scratched on violins and small children dressed as sheep appeared round every corner. Glitter fell out of my hair every time I brushed it and garishly dressed Christmas tress proudly adorned every classroom. There were shows, concerts, services and dos every day and I finished up my final jobs and tidied the office I’d shared for a year. As a staff we danced Gangnam Style to the children and felt like pop stars when they screamed for more. It was fun going to a staff Christmas do again and I went home laden with homemade Christmas cards and chocolate. I was sad to leave but on the first day of term in January I won’t be the one on the phone at 6.30 am ordering supply cover when the absence phonecalls roll in. Bring on 2013 and all the new challenges it may bring.