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That time I lost my mind & just did jigsaws with a blanket round my shoulders

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It has been 2 years since I was off work for 3 months after having a bit of a breakdown/losing the plot/ dropping my basket/going a bit cuckoo – call it what you will.
I don’t think I have properly addressed why this happened.  So this post could end up being quite the cathartic exercise.  Read it. Don’t read it.  I don’t care TBH but I need to write it.

Essentially it was school that broke me. 

Feelings of imposter syndrome. Not feeling as though I was backed up by senior leaders. Children!  The children! Oh man.  Please people, if you are well aware (or pretending you don’t know) that your son/daughter can be an utter twat, please try and sort that shit out before they break someone else.
Teachers do not go into the profession to yell at kids or mete out punishments, keeping children in at breaktime and all that shite.  They do it because they love working with young minds. They want to bring out the best in your children. To teach them and teach them well. It’s not about long holidays. Every teacher will tell you how much of their holidays they spend sorting out paperwork and planning for the next term. A lot of which will never be used to its full potential, probably because they end up wasting air giving the usual suspects a coating for fecking about, being rude, acting out and generally being a fucking nuisance.  Meanwhile, the select few are sitting there patiently waiting to hear what they need to do. They want to work. They want to learn.  We need more of those kids.  Sadly, more often than not it’s just a firefight until it’s time to go home where you can cry into a gin and spend an hour on wondering if it’s too late to retrain as a Prison Guard because god knows you already have the behaviour management strategies and restraint technique training*.

* do not push me, or so help me I will take you down before you even know what is happening.



I was not a soft touch.  I could stop poor behaviour with a stern look.  Not a Trunchbull. More of a Snape.  


I’d split up fights, calmed situations down.  Sure I’d had my glasses kicked off my face and my arm slammed in doors and been called every foul name under the sun.  But the ones that liked me, still like me even though some are now in their late teens. Some of them hated me  and will always hate me- probably because they were the little fuckers that continually needed to be given a toasting.  I don’t give a shit about them.

Essentially, after always having suffered from the Black Dog but always managing to snap out of it and mask the darkness with humour, I was broken at the end by a request for assistance which went unanswered. Well, it was answered, but via a whiteboard message which told me to get on with it and deal with the situation myself.  Thanks for that!  I stopped myself having an actual hissy fit infront of the children.  In my head though, I was trashing the classroom and slamming heads in the fire door whilst cussing like a sailor.
    Day over and children out of earshot there followed a tirade of tears and screaming in the staff room and eventually being led to the carpark by a friend who drove me home.


I did not go back to work the next day or for many weeks. I stayed at home, signed off by my GP who pretty much took one look at me in the surgery and said “Nope! Here’s a note for 4 weeks sick and that’s just for starters”.
I did not often go out, sometimes not even to the bin.  I got up in the morning to check my children were up and ready for school. Then I went back to bed where I often stayed until just before they were due home. I got up then, so they didn’t know I’d hidden in bed all day.


It had been building for a while if I’m honest.  Like I said, I’ve always had bleak dark moods.  I get it when I see it in others.  Some people don’t.  Platitudes such as, “Smile it might never happen” or “Chin up love”  “What do you want me to do about it?”  “Nobody died so what’s your problem?” etc – our standard ‘go-to’ phrases – are not especially helpful. but we reel them out anyway because other people’s mental imbalance scares us.  This is why we need to talk about it.  Especially men.  Women do usually talk to one another about this shit.  Dudes not so much. 

Anyway, I’d been getting THE FEAR for a long time.  I used to love my job. Love going into work. It was fun. I felt like I made a difference. Then people starting to leave. They moved on to better pastures. I felt left behind.  The fun wasn’t as frequent and the poor behaviour changed.  Sure,  we weren’t wrestling on the floor with the little fuckers quite as much but it was worse TBH.  More and more giving you lip. Walking out of class. Telling you to your face that there was fuck all you could do to them so essentially they could do what they wanted.  They weren’t wrong if I’m honest.

I ended up dry heaving on the way to work daily.  Had to change my route to work to delay the point when I would see the school building because the moment I did see it, the heaving would start, usually in the snicket next to the (open) gates.  But you paint on a face for the kids, head straight to the loo and heave a bit in there before setting your face straight. Show no weakness or the cunts will take you down like a wounded gazelle.  You get through it while a bit of your soul dies a little more each day, but sometimes you just come to end of your tether.

high IQ

Depression lies to you.  It tells you that you’re not good enough. It tells you that you’re useless and that the world would be better off without you in it. That your friends and family will soon forget you. They’ll crack on regardless and get on with life without you.  At its worst, you might consider some kind of escape clause?  Pills?  A noose?  Most of us don’t go to such an extreme but we all have those edge of the kerb moments.  When you think, I could just step out into the traffic and that’d be that.  But then you think, “I’d probably fuck that up aswell” so you don’t. But you thought about it. You think about it a lot.  You’re not the only one thinking about it…

I was lucky. My family rallied. My husband was helpful and not critical.  He took me out for lunches. He let me just sit around and do jigsaws. He did not judge.  He made sure the children were doing the right thing.  I drowned out the voices in my head telling me I was a waste of air by listening to Metallica a lot. Not my usual music taste but I found it helped enormously.  Exercising helped get the old endorphins pumping.
At least once a month I had to go into work for meetings.  This scared me.  The children scared me.  The staff who didn’t ask after me pissed me right off, even though I knew they were probably just feeling awkward about what to say (or maybe they actually didn’t give a shit?)  Senior leaders were helpful, patient and kind.  I wasn’t afraid to talk openly about how I felt and what meds I had been given.  I did not feel rushed to return to work.  I felt justified in being off. I was both irritated and amused in equal measure at the fact that school had to go through around 7 different supply teachers to cover my role because they kept leaving.  SEVEN!  And these were professionals with Qualified Teaching Status.  Not a Higher Level Teaching Assistant like me being paid half as much for all the work.  If they couldn’t cope and were saying “Fuck this. I’m off!” after a few days then I surely deserved some kind of medal for sticking with it for so long.  It’s a sinch I hadn’t gone postal before and started taking hostages right?

No point shutting the gates.  The nutters are already on the inside man!

What if I hadn’t had such an understanding and loving family. What if genuinely nobody had asked after me?  What if my work weren’t so helpful and trying to ease me back into it? What if I didn’t want to be around for my girls?  This is how it is for some people.  I’ve always found it easy enough to talk about feelings.  I’ve been blathering online on this platform since 2007 – a very therapeutic exercise indeed.

So thank you if you sent me a kind text.  Thank you if you sent me a gift because you “saw this and thought of you”. If you checked up on me via Messenger with silly gifs and quotes about cunts because you know I love the word even though many people hate it.  If you ran round to check on me because I hadn’t answered a WhatsApp straight away and the blinds were down and you thought I might have been swinging from the light fittings.  Thank you if you saw me at the store or putting my bins out and jokingly asked if I should be outside unsupervised.  I won’t lie, the staff ‘whip round’ for a ten quid M&S voucher was poorly thought out and a bit cheap if I’m honest.  That’s not even a quid per staff member you tight bastards. Also, y’all have met me right?  Do I look like a ‘Marksies’ kind of woman? and even if I was, I was off work living like an agoraphobic hermit, not waltzing around the fucking White Rose Centre buying cardigans.



I don’t really have any point to make with his post other than floating it out there.  And if you are having an edge of the kerb moment or your black dog gets too big to keep on the leash, then like Terry Tibbs – Talk to Me!  

I’m listening.  I might make inappropriately timed jokes and try and crowbar the word cunt into the conversation but I promise not to tell you to “Man up”  or “Pull yourself together” because us crazies have to stick together.  It gets better but it doesn’t go away. I’m much better at the moment because I left behind the main source of the problem at the time but only because I was fortunate enough to have another skill to make a living from. (As a swim instructor just in case that wasn’t clear)


Don’t bottle it up motherfuckers

So buckle up MoFos, I’m still here and not planning on bailing out just yet.  Enjoy the ride people because you never know when the theme park is going to close down.

PS. If you stuck with this post – well done. I probably owe you a drink.



Don’t know what to call this post so I shall just name it Dave. Everyone knows a Dave right?

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At the weekend the Childerbeast and I went to an open day at Leeds Music College. Just for a look around, so the girls could get an idea of what courses are out there and get a glimpse at what Uni might be like.  Obviously, we only saw the good stuff. The music rooms, the academic bits. Not the aftermath of Freshers Week or a ‘left to the last minute’ dissertation, a month’s worth of washing etc. 

Not that I would know anything about those things of course. Not having ever been to Uni because I’m too daft.  Closest I got was doing my HLTA at Leeds Trinity a few years ago and that wasn’t even on campus and it only took 10 weeks.  

Eldest child doesn’t want to go to college in Leeds of course. She wants to put some distance between her and her embarrassing parents. And why shouldn’t she?
Youngest says she does want to stay in Leeds and live at home, but give her a couple more years and I bet she’ll change her mind.

The best part of the day out for me was finally visiting a Vietnamese Street Food place on Leeds Market. It’s run by a couple I know from school, who now send their children to my swim classes.  Can highly recommend it. Check it out Banh & Mee it’s called.

The downside of the day out was that it served to make me feel like I’ve wasted my life. That I am too thick to ever have gone to Uni. That my children are about to leave me, yet it doesn’t seem two minutes since I was changing their (eco-friendly) nappies and blending veggies for their lunch.  My best bet now at accomplishing anything of any use is to make sure they do go to Uni and escape, even if it means I am left alone with Bman and just Netflix for company.  I came over all melancholy on the bus journey home, looking in through people’s windows wondering what their lives were like. Did they feel that their lives had been successful? Did they have enough money for Christmas? What if all of this was a total nothing? What if we were all like those people who live in the head of a dandelion seed or whatever it is in ‘Horton Hears a Who’?


We’re on there somewhere

Or those tiny dudes who live in a locker at the train station on ‘Men in Black’ worshipping a watch


All hail K!

I know that in the grand scheme of things everything is bollocks, but what if it actually really is utter, total meaningless bollocks and we’re all just plodding along on the head of a cosmic dandelion seed waiting for death and that everything we have ever done and will ever do, is completely pointless?


Meanwhile, while people frequent food banks and girls miss school due to not being able to afford sanitary products, the skies this weekend are ablast with fireworks ‘celebrating’ the fact that over 400 years ago a bunch of dudes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  Crikey, if we celebrated every time there had been a failed attempt at a terrorist attack at the heart of society, we’d be lighting fireworks 4 times a bloody week!

On that note, I’ll leave you so I can ponder how the hell I can afford to pay for Christmas – another celebration – this time of the birth of a man who may or may not have existed at all.

Don’t overthink things y’all. That shit will keep you up at night. I blame the thin veil at this time of year – don’t let the demons in man.



Someone tell me what to do

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If anyone could sort me out with winning lotto numbers so I can stay home watching ‘Bondi Rescue’ and ‘There’s a ghost up my arse’ or whatever, while doing my step machine and occasionally ironing, then that’d be great.


I’ve been researching other potential career prospects.  So far this is my list:-

*Continue being a HLTA.
*More swim teaching (skin & hair getting buggered up).
*Retraining as a Retained Reflexes Therapist.
*Setting up own ghost hunting company (market pretty saturated right now though).
*Hiring self out as Humanist celebrant (clashes somewhat with supernatural beliefs.
and also costs a stupid amount of money to ‘train’ to write ceremonies).
*1:1 TA work for SEN pupils.
*Write bestselling novel & sell the movie rights – relocate to LA.
*Setting up mobile beer van with pal “Oldies with Coldies” & doing the festy circuit.

My list of credentials is a sorry state of oddities indeed:-

*8 GCSEs.
*2 A levels.
*Some Secretarial qualification I forget the name of that included a proficiency.
certificate in the art of ‘WordStar4’ (a long defunct word processing program).
*NVQs in Childcare Learning & Development and Support Teaching & Learning.
*Higher Level Teaching Assistant status.
*ASA Swimming National Curriculum Training Program Levels 1&2.
*STA Award in Swim Teaching.
*STA Pool Safety Award.
*Diploma in Parapsychology (I shit you not).
*Diploma in Demonology (fact. It’s true – bring it on Beelzebub).
*Am also an ordained Humanist Celebrant (god bless the Internet).

I must be able to do something different with that lot – surely Shirley? Or a mish-mash of it all – a bit like I am now, but with more structure & less hours.
The thought of being self-employed scares me though. What about holidays? Tax? Sick pay? But I don’t want to work for some big corporate gig either.  


I do need a change though. I need to do something exciting. Am starting to feel a little stagnant – like an old pond.


Maybe I need to invent some kind of anti-snoring device (before I throttle Bman with the cord of my MP3 headphones, because seriously? I can still hear you man). 





Courses & how LCC employ zombies to do the cleaning

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 Been on 2 courses this week.  Only one of which I found particularly useful and that’s because it will eventually provide me  with HLTA status.  Yay!

Pity it took 2 hours to get there via pubic (typo intended) transport.  Quicker in fact to get to Manchester City Centre from where I live.

My old nemesis and I, the 508 – the number of the beast – we met again at 0735 on Thursday morning and will do again for the next few Thursdays leading up to Christmas.   When that bad boy has finished with me, I get spat out onto the Headrow after a riveting 60 minute journey through every last nook and cranny between here and Kirskstall and then have to get on another bus!

Big Boo hiss to the Reception lady at the centre I was headed to, who advised me to get the bus outside the Corn Exchange when she should have said to catch it at the bus stop opposite the Corn Exchange!  10 valuable minutes wasted there!  Eventually got on the correct bus and had that sickening feeling in my belly that I was going to be late on my first day and that I had absolutely no fricking idea where I was going. 

Winding through unfamiliar places made me feel like back in the old Backpacker days in Australia and New Zealand, wandering free, new places, exciting times, (OK so it was a Leeds No. 13 to Gledhow, but it’s the closest I’ll get these days).

So I arrived fashionably late by 10 minutes, shuffling in at the back hoping nobody would notice. 

At breaktime I noticed that my biscuit tasted rather odd and when I checked my phone for messages I realised that my emergency tube of Volterol for my backpain, had leaked in my bag, all over my phone and I had some on my fingers.  At least neither my phone, fingers or tongue  will be in any pain for a day or two.  FFS.  Dumbarse!

Journey home was nackering and just as long as on the way there, but this time I had the added cacophony of sound accompanying me, of dozens of teenage school girls,  Jeebus! the noise they make!.  Even with the old C3PO on full whack I couldn’t drown them out.

 Proper tired when I got home.

The saving grace of today’s course was that I didn’t have to go on my own and that I was with my bezzy mate, who as you can see was well up for a bit of practical P.E.

Am not playing!

I’m jumping ahead of myself though.  This pic was taken after we finally arrived.  Nothing more terrifying than a bit of a jolly round scenic Wortley to liven you up of a morning.  Or is there? 

Pulled up to park the car at the wrong centre.  Decided to park there anyway and walk up the road as very little parking space available where we were headed.  Seemed like a good idea until two extras from Shaun of the Dead Vs League of Gentlemen, clad in tabards,  lurched across the carpark at us, brandishing feather dusters.   One had the loping gait of the undead and a face like Quasimodo’s Nan and the other had that white, dried, foam mouthed appearance of a rabid animal or someone who forgot to check the mirror after they brushed their teeth (my money’s on the former). 

I fended her off with my water bottle hoping that her hydrophobia would startle them both away.    The sole reason I don’t have photographic evidence of these pair was that I was backing away at the time and trying to make discreet eye signals to my pal that she unlock the car pronto and we get the fuck outta dodge!

I’m sure they are lovely ladies and someone’s Mum/Nan/sister, yadayadayada, but fuck me,  were they scary!!

Ay up love. D’you know where you’re going?

My free breakfast, when we finally got to the right place,  consisted of a burnt crumpet and a thimble of coffee, with no break before lunch, despite it saying there was one on the itinerary.  This was never going to end well.

We zoned out as soon as we heard that there was to be team games and salsa (and not the sort that comes with a bowl of Doritos).  We felt like clawing at the fire exits for escape but we were trapped!

They made us do stuff!  On a P.E. course – Who’d have thought it?  My mate’s face at almost everything that was said today was an absolute picture. A picture in fact that would mostly be captioned with the words “What the frigging fuck?!”

Arse Up!

Up Yours!

Fortunately there is no photographic evidence of me rolling around on the floor with a bunch of total strangers, many of whom were men; all in a line like pencils trying to get a hula hoop to roll across our prone bodies.  Holy jesus!  WTF?  I had some personal space issues with that exercise let me tell you.

When faced with discussing the key features of the course and should any further equipment be required, I did mutter something along the lines of “perhaps a dictionary”. 

Dictionary anyone?

Not the most constructive use of the day but worth it for the laughs.  A lot of which were when a certain person’s Salsa dancing all went a bit Gavlar and Smithy once the arms were introduced:

Crackin! (up)

It wasn’t long after this that my pal and I were split into different groups – funnily enough…

Then sod me! when we were finally paroled, armed with our well-earned resources (which if they don’t get used, are going to get shoved unceremoniously up someone’s jacksie) if Dolly Duster of the Undead didn’t lurch out of the Library on our way out!

She’d followed me!

I practically sprinted out to the carpark before she caught up with me!

I’ll be needing a drink this weekend you can be sure of it, starting right now I think.



Don’t let my kids ever tell you I never do anything with them

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It is September 1st, there are 115 days until the C word and I go back to work the day after tomorrow, after 6 weeks off – and what a 6 weeks! 

I’ve been to Farndale & Saltburn; worked 2 festivals and attended another as a punter.  I’ve been to Scarborough, Whitby & swimming a fair few times.  Visited Manchester & Chester; I’ve sat in the belly of a metal whale; masqueraded as the Red Queen; soaked in a hot tub on a riverbank; climbed a giant dog turd in Stretford & danced atop a pile of haybales in a field in Northamptonshire.  I’ve met new friends; caught up with long lost old friends after far too long.  I’ve re-lived my lost youth and felt fantastic.  On occasion I have also felt about 89 years old!   I’ve discovered new music and heard some amazing live acts & bands.  I’ve laughed until I ached. I’ve cried buckets & felt  like I was at the bottom of the deepest darkest pit of shite, unable to climb back out (but I did).   I’ve danced in the mud; I’ve chatted freely to semi-naked people covered in glitter; I’ve swirled around in other people’s detritus in the name of research & entered the 21st century with a touch-screen phone with Internet access (it’s the devils own handiwork I tell you – Witchcraft! Witchcraft!).   I’ve been to the movies 3 times and I’ve loafed on the sofa for a whole day watching ‘Murder She Wrote”.   The excitement has been non-stop.

Well now it’s time to get back into work mode and pretend to be an intelligent, highly organised, calm and sensible grown-up again ready to impart knowledge and wisdom on a future generation of young adults.

I’ll let you know how that pans out…


In other news: Blunkett refused seat at Paralympics  Rather mahoosive social faux-pas.  Glad it’s not just me who fucks up on a grand scale then.


Also in home news, Bman tells me that at his work they are to be issued with new name badges which needn’t have their real names on.  They can choose an alternative name, which has to be agreed with the powers that be.  Oh the possibilities…

Apparently the usual suspects e.g. Phil McAvity and Phil McCreviss, have already been submitted (and rejected) but the potential for comedy is fabulous and too good an opportunity to miss.  All last night I was randomly interrupting conversation and TV viewing with things like;- “How about Lou Stools? or I.C. Uratwat”. 

Any suggestions worthy of mention, do feel free to leave a comment.  We have also been considering movie characters or musicians who aren’t too obvious.  We both liked Snake Plissken and Lux Interior but are doubtful they will pass the test.

In the meantime (while you think of names like ‘Mike Hunt’ and ‘Drew Peacock’) here are a few of my favourite pics of what I did on my holidays:-


Next thing to plan for: – HLTA course starting in October (work work work and how the Feck do I get across to the Harrogate Road side of Leeds by 0915) and hopefully our annual Halloween shizzle – this year am hoping for a Dia de los Meurtos theme to tie in with the date.  Sugar skull times!

Later dudes!  Xx