Things have been quite interesting here at home, which is primarily why I haven't been posting.
For those of you not in the know I am a primary school teacher. We had the school inspectors in last week, and this is normally a stressful event for any school worker. I'm not pretending that my stress levels were more than anyone else's, but there's a little bit of background to this one.
In the last five years of teaching, I have missed Ofsted three times. The first time I was on a week-long residential trip with my class. The second time I left the school about a week before they were visited. The third time I was essentially pigeonholed away from Ofsted for reasons not worth going in to.
This time, however, I got both barrels full in the face. We'd been 'expecting them this week' since November and they finally chose last Tuesday to make the call. They were in Wednesday and Thursday.
Now I'm not allowed to say how we did as a school until the report is published. However, that doesn't stop me from saying that, personally, I did really well. That's a kind of self-serving thing to say, but I'm speaking as someone who has never had better than a 'Satisfactory' observation before. I got a 'Good' and an 'Outstanding' from Ofsted; I floated home on Friday night on Cloud 9.
In other news, the sixth Manga Jiman competition, run by the Japanese Embassy here in London, had its awards ceremony a couple of weeks ago. Sue and I entered, and... we came second! If you look about halfway down the page, you can see my grinning mug in a dashing blue waistcoat. We were pretty pleased, and we'll definitely be entering again this year. The short story on which our entry was based can be found here. I just re-read the story and it's not as bad as I remember.
This week is Half Term; I've got a week where I don't have to teach. It's not a holiday; there's plenty to do. But I no longer have to do it under the yoke of 'are they coming next week?' It's a remarkably freeing experience.
So, today? I've come in to Central London to meet my mother and sister, and while I'm waiting I've been editing some of the trickier chapters in Poisonroot. The fight scene in the room under the root is, to my mind, a candidate for complete removal, but I'm genuinely not sure what I'd replace it with. Nevertheless, it's still there and now trimmed down and improved. I really want to get this novel published.
Trip and Victor are on their way to Fennica, and the story is on its way to completion.