July 2017

cropped party photo 5I’m really pleased to say that, after quite a break, I’ve been doing some proper singing again.  I’ve restarted my singing lessons and I’m intending to take a diploma of some sort in due course.

In the meantime, I’ve been singing with my family, and it was nice that we were asked to sing a few songs at a family party at the beginning of July.  I’ve got a few photos to prove it really happened (believe me, there was a time last year when I thought it might never happen again).

Actually, I’d also like to point out that my microphone technique isn’t actually as bad as it might look – there’s only so long you can stand with your knees slightly bent when the microphone is slowly descending towards the ground…



Whenever I can, I work on my patio, surrounded my flowers and lots of birds. So here are just a few photos of my garden…


Just before Easter I applied for a job which I didn’t get. Nothing unusual there.  I didn’t even get shortlisted, and there was nothing unusual there either.  The thing that was different about this job was that I was offered feedback on why I didn’t get shortlisted, so I took the opportunity to find out, of course.  There was nothing very unusual in the feedback either – it was a strong field, they interviewed the people whose experience most closely matched what they needed, and I had only just missed out on being interviewed.  There wasn’t anything I could have done better, I just didn’t match the criteria quite as well as other applicants.  The most unusual thing about it was that the person who wrote the feedback had clearly thought very carefully about being supportive and tailoring the advice to me rather than giving a standard response.  It was a kind and thoughful message. But one thing really struck me – towards the end of the email the sender commented ‘one only needs one job at a time’.


Let’s see.  In order to make ends meet, over the last 12 months I have been paid to:

  1. typeset a parish magazine
  2. teach a few hours a week on an undergraduate history programme
  3. privately tutor a year 8 student in English
  4. privately tutor a year 11 student in history and English language/literature GCSEs
  5. privately tutor another year 11 student in different history and English literature GCSEs
  6. Give A-level lectures at post-16 study days
  7. Chair A-level study days
  8. Invigilate for GCSE examinations
  9. Teach at a university summer school
  10. Act as consultant on setting A-level lecture topics.

All of them have overlapped – at its peak, I think I was juggling 7 of these jobs in a week.

On top of this, I have published an article and an associated a teaching and learning guide, and  written and delivered several different conference papers.  I have secured a contract for my book, and I am currently putting the finishing touches to the text.  I also have an article nearly ready for submission to a well-respected journal.   I still sit on the branches and members’ committee of the Historical Association, but I was also appointed an Associate Vice-President; was asked to join their Higher Education working party and I offered to join the editorial board of one of their magazines.  I’m not getting paid for any of these things, even though they are an invaluable part of my work and they take up an enormous amount of time.

Don’t get me wrong – I have, for the most part, enjoyed what I’ve done over the last year, but, let’s be honest:

One job would be a dream.

To get up each day and know that there was money coming in regularly would not just make life a lot easier, it would give me some security, and actually, you can’t put a price on that.