Monday, 3 October 2016

My Month in Numbers 2016: September

Hello hello.

There've been some big work-related milestones ... in numbers ... to record this month, alongside the usual eclectic caboodle. So let's leap straight in before I forget what I was going to say ...

This month marked the 10 year anniversary of my role in supporting disabled students at university. 
  • So that's 10 years of note taking, door opening, bag carrying, book fetching, guiding, reading, writing ... and more. 
  • 10 years of experiencing so very many degree modules; everything from 2D animation to digital forensics. From theories of IT management to sexual deviation. From TV production to Occupational Therapy ... and countless in between.
  • 10 years in both my official capacity of offering practical assistance ... and also my unofficial one as emotional back-up where I've been vented at, cried on, ignored, welcomed and thanked.
  • 10 years of unwitting lecturers trying to get me involved in lessons, or put me in a seminar groups, or asking me to express opinions - none of which is permitted. 
  • 10 years of navigating my way around almost every building on campus, finding the right rooms as well as all the nearest cafes and toilets! 
  • 10 years of witnessing how people with disabilities have so many things to contend with before even getting on campus.
  • 10 years of having my eyes opened and my empathy exercised. 
Then almost 10 years to the day of my first induction I attended a 3 day / 18 hour induction process for the same job.
The view from beneath a staircase on campus last week.
 And during that process, on the last day, in the final 20 minutes I had one of my proudest moments ... I secured for myself and the others in my role the use of the office kitchen and kettle. Which until this summer I didn't even know it existed! So I bided my time, then raised it in a meeting, and voila! we can now boil our own water!  Someone who'd been there longer than me leaned across the table and shook my hand. I felt like a hero!

So, that's one of the jobs that keeps me busy ... how about the other ...

I handed over one original notebook full of stories, and one mocked-up version of how it will look ... once it's professionally printed! 
If you missed the announcement about my book then hop back here for a read. In order to get the stories reproduced for print I had to hand them over ... and for the first time in 6 years the book they are in was has longer been within arm's reach. I keep going to check something in it ... and remembering it's not there. It's been strange. And yet very soon ... not only will the original be back in my hands ... the reproduction will be in the hands of other readers! Which is even stranger.

The day I handed the book over and signed the contract with my indie-publishers I was waiting for James to come and pick me up, and I noticed that not only was the sun was shining and the sky was blue ... but the flags were out too:
20 minutes later, when we arrived home, our neighbour spotted us and handed over some cakes she'd just baked, which has never happened before.

Surprise bunting and cake for an impromptu celebration? Nice touch universe!

In more mundane numbers ...

I took at least 7 morning walks and wrote nearly 2000 words afterwards:
I get up with James, throw on my trainers and something comfy then ride along with him on his way to work. After about a mile and a half he drops me off and I walk back, which I find a little more motivating that just decided to walk somewhere and back again from home.

I take a photo along the way and, once I'm back home, I write down all the observations I made along my journey and share it all on Instagram.
This project isn't about glamorous landscapes or outfits, I'm make-up free and windswept and the view is suburban and full of tarmac and concrete and cars ... but I try to find the treasures within the every day just the same. Because there's always good stuff ... if you look carefully enough.

Now we've had a trip up and down the road ... let's travel back in time ...

We went back to the 19th Century with a visit to Preston Park museum:
In fact, in the Victorian street, we specifically went back to 1893 when PC311 was on duty from 6am to 9pm:
Here I am in what would have been my natural habitat back in the day - the haberdasher's - appropriately wearing a new top (a £5.99 TKMaxx treat):
But if the thought of old fabrics and clothes isn't enough for you ... how about some printer-tray-ogling?
"There's something in there you'll want to photograph" he said after peering behind the screen of the (not in use!) Victorian street toilet. And he wasn't wrong:
Something else that called for a photograph was this playbill from a local production of Hamlet from November 1812:
I love the fact that they followed up one of Shakespeare's tragedies with 'a comic song by Mr Lancaster' and a performance of 'a new farce of the Sleep Walker'. Well that's certainly one way to make up for the stage littered in bodies!

Speaking of which ... when we left the museum the grounds were full to the brim with families with small children ... and dogs. I was already nervous about getting back to the car without being molested by canines before stepping out of the door to be faced with some sort of bull-dog owner's club meeting where they were trying to get a group photo ... there were lots of them, a mere metres away! I snatched this terrible shot on the way past as some sort of proof that I'm not exaggerating, but there was no way I was hanging around for a better photo!
We also attended the 4th year of the 'Festival of Thrift'.
Unlike previous years, which have seen the festival hosted at Lingfield Point, Darlington, this year's event was held closer to home for us, in the buildings and surrounding fields and forests of Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar. All of which meant that it's 35,000 visitors over 2 days got to enjoy this view of what I like to think of as 'my' hills:
There's too much going on at the festival for me to describe here - you can read the official stuff here - I don't entirely buy into all it's upcycling/foraging ethos ... but I do like to peruse the Oxfam stall where this year I bought an 80s bat-wing jumper and some fabulous old books. And, as always, we took full advantage of the street food stalls: 
For the record: that there is a brioche bun; there's no denying now that hipster-life has finally reached the dim dark back-waters of the grim North East. 

Batwings, books and brioche aside ... one of the highlights of the festival for me was the 'Stable' installation (various art installations in the old stable block, organised by Navigator North) and particualr favourites included Janet Rogers's ‘The Glass Curtain’ which swayed and chimed whenever the air took it:
And Becky Nicholson's shadow piece called 'Dark Horse' ... isn't that clever? I love the way it's even 'eating' from the trough!


So that was my September - how was yours? Anything utterly exciting to report? How about something entirely mundane - like my morning strolls through suburbia.

And now here we are in October; in england it's currently all blue skies, leaves on the ground, and complete uncertainty about which coat to wear. And I took my gloves with me on my walk this morning. Says it all really ...


If you want to keep in touch throughout the month you can find me on Instagram, over at my Facebook page and Twitter too.


  1. I know I've said it before, but I do love these monthly round-up posts! Congrats on both 10 years in your job and soon to be published book (I'll order a copy!). And that final image is brilliant, so very clever!

    1. Thanks so much Ruth ... I think I'm going to struggle with people being so kind! You know what I'm like for a sneaky weep here and there!

  2. That horse sculpture is so clever. I bet you couldn't believe your eyes when you saw all those dogs - I bet you broke your own speed record at getting back to your car!
    Brioche buns are very 'in' around here, I'm not a huge burger lover, but have to admit they do taste nicer out of a 'posh bun'.
    Very excited about the news about the book, you must be so thrilled.

    1. You must have been behind me as I walked to the car! Let's jsut say I was very 'focused'!!

  3. Another book to be published? Wow, I am so impressed!! I read your emails out of order so the first one I read about was the Snippets book [imagine my surprise to read the next email and see that you've another one to be published as well. I wish you much success on the book, my friend! (Hugs)

    1. Maybe it's the way I've written the post Debi - but no - it's the same book I was talking about. Just the one ... for now at least! Thanks for all your good wishes! :-)

  4. Festival of Thrift? Now you know I'm going to say that's right up my street.

    It's only now you list them out like that, that I'm struck by the number of different subjects you've been able to dip into. Ever thought of pub quizes?

  5. Such a lot of interesting things in here! But firstly, many congrats on getting parity of access to the kitchen - good for you :). Those printer drawers/trays are so very covetable ... And I like the notice about adjusting one's dress. Festival of thrift? I'd have loved that. Himself reminds me every so often how I told him ten years ago that the next big thing was going to be Thrift and Make Do And Mend.


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