Everything is a bit muddled at the moment. 2013 is proving to be an utter cunt of a year. Would you mind if I whinge a bit? Howay, Liz Jones gets paid thousands per column to whine about recalcitrant imaginary rock star boyfriends and bearded collies with dermatitis, you're getting this stuff for free. Indulge me. Please.
1. I HATE my job. Loathe it. I have to accept that leaving School of Hard Knocks was possibly the worst decision I have made in recent years. Yes, even worse than my short-lived dalliance with Margot Leadbetter palazzo pants in 2012. For the first time since moving into teaching, I dread getting up in the morning. The atmosphere in the school is toxic. The Head is a bully and utterly untrustworthy. My confidence in my own ability has been totally eroded. I must find a new job next term, but generally feel so inept and depressed that I doubt I'd manage to persuade any school to take me on.
2. The Local Authority I worked for at SOHK have realised they have overpaid me for quite some time, and apparently I owe them several thousand pounds. Sigh. This has come as quite a shock. I could do without this sort of problem. For heaven's sake, I am in my early 40s. Why do I still have money worries? Shouldn't I be buying a holiday home in the South of France by now, rather than struggling with a mortgage on a crumbling Sunderland semi? (My house and garden are now so poorly maintained that they resemble those pictures of Chernobyl 25 year on). I have offered to pay back the amount owed monthly, leaving me approximately £2.50 per month in disposable income.
3. I have felt, for most of 2013, permanently under-the-weather. I am plagued with viruses, colds, sore throats, aches, dizziness and upset stomachs. I suppose it's all stress-related and work related. Despite this, I have never missed a day of school. I wouldn't dare.
4. Rochester is not speaking to me. He has sulked since I posted the videos of him on my blog in May. Did you see them? They were only available for a few hours. I was mad at the time. My dander was up when the oaf forgot my birthday for the third year in a row. I didn't think he'd even have noticed the films, as my blog has never interested him in the slightest. I was wrong. He saw them.
"You crossed a line. You know you did. I am pissed off with you.'
He gruffly retorted, 6 weeks later. And that is pretty much all I have heard from him in the last 4 months.
I sent him a birthday present in June. He was turning 45. I felt he was at a crossroads in his life. He could amble casually into a dignified and distinguished middle-age (Tony Benn, Cary Grant, John Le Mesurier) or strut like an arthritic peacock into an mid-life orgy of cocaine, twenty year old flibbertigibbet girlfriends and pouffy leather blouson jackets. Rochester's gifts were designed to nudge him gently in the right direction. They included:
A Harris tweed tie: (from here) Rochester, since entering the tawdry world of double glazing sales, has sported an irrepressibly brash range of silken, pastel-hued monstrosities. He's become some sort of South Shields Donald Trump. I felt the need to stage a tie intervention.
A pipe and tobacco: For moments of sober, fireside contemplation. Pipe-smoking is a dying art. That saddens me.
Chocolate Gingers: Is it just me, or are chocolate gingers the ONLY choice for men of a certain age? I cannot remember my dad, uncles, male headteachers ever been given any other sort of confectionery. Let us face it: any other chocolate choice is too frivolous and fey for a real Northern man. What red-blooded man of the male gender would welcome a box of Dairy Milk? It would be an insult. It would be castration by confectionary.
Nick Cave: The Assassination of Jesse James soundtrack: Those of you unfortunate enough to see the Rochester films will have noticed that the rogue (who I painted as a dour and surly misanthrope) has taken to listening (and dancing) to soft jazz. This can not be allowed to continue. IT. CAN. NOT.
The whole gift was lovingly wrapped in home-made Tony Benn wrapping paper. Gentlemen, wouldn't you LOVE to receive such a gift?
Rochester did indeed send me a new film on his birthday. Sadly, it was not of him smoking the pipe (he claims never to have received the gift I sent). It was a film taken of him zip-wiring over a quarry in Wales. Dear God. Interestingly, the film appeared to be narrated by an unknown female voice. I expect that is why it was sent. Still, my dear reader, if Rochester chooses to spend his time with a giddy lass who buys him zip-wiring birthday experiences, rather than worldly woman who sends him chocolate gingers and Harris tweed ties, that is his choice and his business.
I shall sign off here. I am re-reading my favourite book, in an attempt to raise my spirits. It is a joy. An absolute joy.
Swarthy Irish Nemesis: You think you're the whirlwind. . . I'm the whirlwind!
Luther: You're not the whirlwind. I. AM. THE. WHIRLWIND!
I do enjoy Luther. Have you seen it? The dialogue (not spoken, but growled) is sodden with sweaty, swarthy testosterone and peppered with cliches as clunking and inelegant as a smack in the face with a granite filled rugby sock. The script IS ghastly. However, the program still manages to scare the shit out of me every week.
Attempts have been made to soften Luther's tortured grizzly edges: he has a penchant for the sort of tweed jacket rarely seen outside of the Waterloo Road Geography department and he pootles round the mean, litter strewn streets of London in a Volvo that is possibly the vehicular reincarnation of Michael Foot. He keeps a picture of a dead lover (or wife maybe) in his flat, seemingly with the sole purpose of looking mournfully at it whenever the empathy klaxon goes off (which is approximately every 18 minutes). The pain, loss and bewilderment in the angst-ridden detective's eyes at these moments have rarely been captured so movingly. Well, not since Greyfriars Bobby lay down with his head on his paws on his master's grave. Luther is a man who would appreciate a chocolate ginger. I just know it.