Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Procrastination and making it work for me.

I often find my self with various things to do and can not settle, after good sort out there is normally something I need to do but I am procrastinating. The sheer number of small tasks I get done while avoiding the Bogey man task is fab and makes me look a very productive person. But the task still awaits me, so I have found a solution, which works for me anyway. I identify the task I am avoiding and break it into small bits, I then let my self do other jobs in avoidance with the small broken down tasks slid in every time I feel I have left it too long. My desk gets sorted, my paper work clears itself, the to do list gets shorter and even some long term aims get some attention, until I can look at the big task and see how small it now is and how easy it is to finish! Sometimes I get caught out with time and find myself struggling to get it done, and occasionally I just do the big task!

This does mean that some days I am literally moving paper from pile to pile and it seems form the outside nothing gets done. While others I have folk saying how good I am at working! My working pattern, environment, aims are all about to change. I am moving to the new library some time in the next six to eight weeks. My desk is one of four in an office we share, with the possibility of hot desking so my area must be clear or cleared up for the day end. My focus on high school will come to an end as I am now over seeing a community library with cradle to grave focus. This is the reason I started to change my out look back in 2008ish when I knew that things had to change and I must change with them. Living in the comfort zone is no challenge, is so static, is safe! I can not allow myself to be safe. Safe is not changing, fun, current and above all safe will not keep me employed in the current climate.

So much has changed in the last seventeen years since I first started this job, technology has broken down a lot of barriers and my many cries into the empty echoing space around me finally is heard and replied to. The very formal and structured job I started has long gone, the Internet has replaced all but the most well read non-fiction. The information is current and relevant, they can all find something to work on. The flip side is the changes in education, gone are the book reports and detailed essays, changed are the way they do things meaning that my major usage is for computers and typing up and no longer reading for pleasure, there is no time in the course work, not time for extra stuff, no time to just kick back and enjoy a book. The focus on a wider well rounded pupil has left us with narrow focused and limited adults with no real understanding of challenge and failure.

My plans for new ideas and events, the programme for the library is under way, part developed but after three dates to move that passed with no move I am sitting on the rest until we have a proper move! The whole idea scares me half to death but I have learnt that I get much more from failure than success and I expect some things to fail! I am stretching my wings, pushing my own work to the very edge and hanging over it with my feet. Comfort zone is long gone, I have sleepless nights, and fears of failure but it will be amazing if half works it will be stunning. My plans have always been to have a cutting edge library on the edge of the country, be a destination, a venue, a focus. We are nearly there and the wait is very hard, it wars with the fear of change, and clashes with that bit that still wants to be back in the comfort zone.

Oh why yes I do have something I should be doing now, but oh look this blog post needed doing. But even while typing I am poking and doing what needs done, the mess is of my own making I went at a task with little to no planning and made mistakes, and now I must pull it apart and try and salvage it, which is interesting and I am learning more but I so do not want to do it. And now it is done.
Just a morning picture over my village with the forest I live in in the middle. We have now past midwinter and sliding swiftly into spring, with the promise of summer (and a booked holiday for myself and loved ones already planned).

Friday, 10 February 2017


To travel hopefully, to hold hope, to look on things with hope.

I haven't blogged for a while, I spent much longer than I expected mourning my Mum. All the day to day stuff seemed unimportant and I found refocusing hard, the house took an age to finally sell, even when a buyer was in place. Finally the world has colour again and I have found Hope.

The winter is here for us in the north, the snow was falling a little while ago and we all had hope of a snow day (see more hope) but it isn't settling and I am seeing blue sky and thinning cloud. I did have to drive in through the snow to get to work but it was clear here at the coast and looks like staying that way for a while.

The blogging habit is well and truly dead at the moment so this is me trying again. I am a glass half full person, a silver lining person. I know I learn much more when everything goes wrong and I enjoy taking the best from things and moving on! Life is for living, for thriving and doing.

One thing I remember from my Mum is she never stopped, she worked all hours and then knitted or crocheted all hours, I know I need my down time but I also need to be doing in my down time, even if it is just knitting some socks. The knitting of socks has become a much more fun thing since I joined a sock knitting group called the Winwick mum sockalong. Now I have made many socks in the past but had lost my socking mojo along with many other non essential life skills in the last few years and this was a great way to rediscover my love of socks!

My world is currently being run to the tune of the moving of buildings and the changes to come but I wanted to find where I am now, before it becomes so changed. The added work load of being in two spaces can be very frustrating and I am looking forward to having the one base and the one desk. I will lose the gap which allows me to think and walk, but being present will help more than the thinking time.

the aerial I have at home is causing problems and the BBC channels are not very good, if I have to watch I use Iplayer but that isn't easy and means I do not share this as much with my family as we can all be watching different things and lose that shared feeling (mind you at nearly 20, 21, and nearly 24 they tend to do their own thing anyway) What I have been enjoying despite the faff involved is The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC2 on Thursday night at 8pm. I will miss the BBC version of The Great British Bake off, but we shall see how it is on channel4. (See more silver lining and hope)

My last Hope for now is that I get back to Blogging and finding balance in life :-)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


I have such high hopes that I will blog and I will find the time and space to blog, and life proves again and again I can only plan a small time ahead of me.

May threw a curve ball, my mother who had been increasing ill deteriorated and passed away in the middle of May, leaving my mental state very varied is the best way to put it, I should have bought shares in a tissue company for the amount I used (still use) but the old adage of time and work is more true than I would like to think. The quickest local service in the west country as 3 weeks from passing to funeral and that was considered fast by most there. The day of the funeral I heard a retired colleague of mine up in Scotland also passed away and when I got home only 4 days later found out that was the funeral day! if nothing else I know which system I like more.

Emptying things out of the house that I wanted to keep, was traumatic but very necessary if we are selling, which my brother and I are. He has a house and I have a house and there isn't work in the village for either of us. In a perfect world I would keep it to holiday in, but at 16 hours of drive away it is too far, and the costs to buy from my brother just too much for its worth to us, but the house had been built for my Mum and Dad and had been 'ours' for 45 years, again hard. My small croft style house now has a wonderful chest of drawers from Paris, and once I have sorted the space a very nice reproduction desk with captains chair in place of an old door mounted in an alcove, and an old directors chair from my student days. Best of all my whole house echoes to a chiming clock of my fathers, he loved his clocks.

Work is also challenging, the computer software roll out went fine (some glitches but that is life) and my arm is now back to normal (just need to get the strength fully back) setting life up to run when I am away is proving fun! Making crib sheets of click here then do that has shown to be a really useful thing, allows folk to have a go. The build up to the new library marches on and the designer is up next week for consultations or more meet the designer sessions. morning in the school and afternoon in the public library, all in all exciting but exhausting.

Tomorrow we have an event in the school here that is a talk by Peter Lomas one of the founders of the Raspberry Pi which I am hoping to get to. Just the idea that they had and made to work is amazing, I am in awe. The new school buildings are coming along at a reasonable pace and timetables seem to be holding, with a small exception that may leave me with no desk for a few weeks, which I will cope with! More info hopefully once the designer has been and visited, and as we get closer to changing.

The conference gets closer and I doubt, with all the other pulls on my time, that I will blog before I go, so my next blog will be a summery of all the fun adventures I will have had by then, Amsterdam, Vienna and Venice as well as Brighton and the conference! I am then planning to go sailing and will be at the mercy of free wi-fi in the various marinas and stops, but I will also not be at my desk or my work place. Just the Caledonia canal, the Crinan canal and the west coast of Scotland.

I will finish with a picture I took from my nearest bridge Halkirk, taken of the river Thurso with fishermen, in the warm early May sunshine before the trees budded and the weeds started to take over. Have a good summer.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Roller Coaster Times

What a ride the last few weeks have been, changes at work and changes to my future. Add in daughter finishing and coming home form Milan, to wash repack and leave for Greece. Start of study leave for the seniors and all that brings to the school. And to make it more fun I have had to cover another library which is 35 miles the opposite way to my normal work place, train my area for the new software that is being rolled out, oh and go down with a nasty deep tissue infection that ended up being a trip to A&E and nearly a week off with nasty medicines. Woo non-stop something for weeks.

Daughter has started new job that will run for the summer for Neilson the sailing people working in the kids club looking after primary age kids and probably having the time of her life. She is already asking for extras to make her life easier and she only got there 2 days ago. Youngest is coming up to his first uni exams and came home for a recharge for the weekend and we discussed how he is in charge of his own education and not the lecturers and it was as much as he put in and not as much as he gets given. He has started looking less stressed (well for him).

Study leave is yearned for and dreaded every year, for some it is the start of freedom while others realise how little time they have left to the exams and how much is still to be done. The staff also view with a mix of love and hate, to have all the senior spaces lifted off them and a reduced work load, vs how little some classes have done and much extra time will be needed to get them up to speed. Also for most of the year you will hear staff planning for what they will get done in the study leave but when we get here there is so much to do and other things that need doing most do not get finished in the study leave and end up running to summer muttering about too much work and too little time.

Work is in flux as per normal, but I have heard that my mentee passed her Chartership and I am so thrilled for her, she deserved it for the time and hard work she put in to it. This also means she is now moved up a level and can take some of the work load off me and makes my life a bit easier. Win win all round. After doing three out five days off on the north coast I am now back at my desk and happy. I do like going out that way and love the community, the journey is long and winding and while the views are stunning (they really are very stunning) I am happy at my desk with no view and my own paperwork.

Sadly my poor arm was very bad, I have no idea how I got the infection, I am not aware of any cuts or bites but I do have 4 lovely cats who I think the world of but who think of me a chew toy or a scratching post, and occasionally a warm lap. I didn't realise how bad it was getting until I knew I had to be seen asap and then they discussed admitting me from A&E but decided to wait with heavy dose antibiotics, I slept for the next couple of days, I did try to come in start of last week but ended up going home again after an hour. I would say I have learnt to get things checked much faster in future, but can't promise that being ill I wouldn't miss the cues next time.

And now to May, so much to learn and so much to plan, I have my tickets for the cilip conference in Brighton, I also know I am flying to Amsterdam and flying back from Venice before it starts, but the rest of the itinerary is up in the air. Watch this space.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

A Piece of String

That is how long I have been, as long as a piece of string. One of my Grans favourite saying, usually to a cry of how long to tea? or how long till we get there? you get the idea.

Another phrase that has been running through my brain is 'they're all mad but for Thee and me and I'm no so sure about Thee.'

My world have been mad, I have been suffering a cold up and down since October and live in hope or shaking it off, but it saps my strength for anything out side the basic day. The New library has been wonderful in Thurso but again time needed and now I have all the Wick Library side to start going. Staffing changes and work pattern changes are afoot, and I am very aware that I need to either dump or move everything I have here by October! With a big focus on being the dump side of things! every so often I find something that needs sorting, just this morning my assistant needed a book stand and I referred her to a cupboard of boxes which ended up with her pulling out ten boxes of stuff that most of which was rubbish. After two trips  to a skip and two more to the recycling bins as well as filling every bins in the library I have a box of to be withdrawn, a box or to be checked and put out, and three boxes of donations that will not be put in at this time and can be passed on or back. Oh and one empty Cupboard.

The new library here will mean a change in my job, from a solo worker with limited back fill, where the majority of my job is paperwork and desk manning I will get the chance to spend 100% of my time to increase community engagement and try out ideas and events, and finally be a total librarian, not a manager, not a supervisor and do all the things I have only dreamed off with lack of time and support! My mind is running round in circles waving its hands and going weeeeeee. Suddenly I will have to up my game and be a librarian, not in my comfort zone, not even in the same building as my comfort zone.

My biggest plans had been my trip to the wonderful Brighton Conference for the CILIP, we had some fun with husband finding a nice room for the Tuesday night (12th July) and booking it thrilled with the saving and the cheap costs for that hotel. Only to have the next day husband turn up to tell me he had cancelled it, turned out he had misread the dates and had booked it for the 12th of April (and that was the day he realized it was booked wrong) and he had managed to cancel with 30 minutes to spare begin charged for it. We have a nice room, further from the seafront but closer to the venue, booked and flights home on the Wednesday evening.

I have the basic program but I know it will change and I am already torn and trying to work out how to get to two at once or even three! some have yet to be announced so I may have more choice yet! So glad I know that the change is coming because I can plan to get the most out of visit and gather as much helpful information as I can.

With all the changes and busy world I have not been blogging and this must change. I even got to Milan for a few days and still didn't blog! I will finish with a picture from Milan of the Galleria, which I took selfie style to mock the many street vendors trying to sell selfie sticks to every one! Sadly photo bombed, but much fun was had in Italy.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful Part one.

This week is already looking very busy and just a touch frantic, I am not sure how much sleep I will get or peace but I would rather have busy weeks than quiet ones. To celebrate that fact I am looking at the silver linings of life I am sharing things that make me smile or cheer my world up.
There will be future cheerful posts hence the part one :-) the reason this came to be was due to a blast from my past that I must have heard recently to make my memory bring the title up now.
This is part 3 which again presupposes that there are two former parts that exist, but I have not found them (haven't looked hard) but it makes me smile.

Went to a Careers fair at the weekend and was struck by just how many great companies we have up here and how lucky we are to have so many skills and potential available. It was organised by Skills Development Scotland to help local job seekers find work and local firms find new apprentices etc. The list of companies was over 40 with some being very very local and other having local offices here. I spent a while chatting with various folk and I must confess I gave out more cards than I took but I am increasing the opportunities for partnership working. I will re-visit this event with follow up information as it occurs.

Another reason to be cheerful is for us the weather is quite mild, I know the south is being battered and there have been photos of big waves along the south coast but for us the winds are much less and (shhh) the sun is shining. We are also more than half way through the Prelims and no one has run screaming from the building (pupils of staff) which is also a win. The Rugby was good and well worth a watch, with some great score lines that leave the results open. In a wave of Patriotism for my adopted country I have been listening to this all morning.

Beautiful music and fab scenery, well played and well done. win all round.

Despite Valentines day being just over the way I am more looking forward to Easter when I get to Milan, and more of this is getting sorted, we now have flights, hotels and train links :-) and plans... Meanwhile I have been drooling over jewelry, which as I tend to not wear any is a bit counter productive, but you look and see if this doesn't make you drool and plan. Alyssa Smith and Lark and Lily, both talented lasses and both doing well, lark and lily is even a local lass, oh but look how good their work is! Must get back to wearing things again, gave up when small hands would grab them but youngest is now 18! so no excuse!

On one of the blogs I follow I came across this about not Streaming and Driving and how he wants to make it a don't stream and drive day to raise awareness. I started to follow this blog years ago as an example of a personal but work type blog, of how to tread the fine line between professional and sounding off. I have come to have great respect for him and his blog and would highly recommend giving it a read or even a follow.

Not much Library things but lots to be cheerful for and with National libraries day at the weekend to raise  profile, long may it continue.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Spring just

The weather is cold and drech! (fab Scots word to cover any dull, wind blown, wet or miserable day, when the colour is mainly grey, with some grey to make a change) The nights are getting shorter but not fats enough and Easter is a long way form us. The winter storms rattle round the house and work, and the clouds have as much chance of carrying snow as rain.

In this darkness  I have just decided to go away for the a few days in Easter, flights are booked and train tickets to the airport, how to get and get back all planned, and months yet to go. The internet allows you so many easy short cuts, flights booked after we checked 3 different airports for a variety of dates and then chose the ones that suited and were cheap. Everything else will rotate round these dates. Then train journeys to the airport, allowing for a not too rushed trip down, and a hotel in central Glasgow which we can take our time in. Our destination is our next plan, Segway trips and climbs up Italian churches in our future! all in all the planning is as much fun as the going.

But that is many weeks away, first I spent my morning voting for the Scottish Children book awards, I had made a mistake but with the Scottish Book Trust staff help all was well. (Thanks to Laura and Sarah for that) I am finally going to talk about the books :-) I read both the middle and the older range of books.

The older range included a thick book called Black Dove, White Raven. which was based in the past in Africa, in Ethiopia during the war and in a time of upheaval. Some of the back ground was things I already knew while others I either had never thought of or had not known. The detail and depth was fascinating. The history and background something I will reread and follow up, but the story didn't grab me half as much as the detail. The next one is The Trouble on Cable Street, another historically heavy book full of things I heard in history as a child, and came from my own families past, troubles in Ireland, Spanish revolution, and the world wars. The voice was very real, I could hear parts of my own family talking, bits of Ireland, bits of past. But found it hard to get through in the allowed time, one I will be going back to when I am not time constrained. The third book of the awards was the Piper, which I totally misunderstood from the glance at the cover, another world war book, or a trenches book, turned out to be a tense, family horror, that pulled you in and twisted and turned until even at the end you were not totally sure you had the truth of it. Left a lasting impression on me.

The middle range of books was The Fastest boy in the world, which had a good draw, and pace, felt a bit like a biography at points and while it took you far, I didn't feel I knew the people at the end. Good read though and worth a revisit and a recommendation.  The Mysteries of Ravenstorm Island, I had this book out for the longest time but never got past the first page, for me I didn't find this book drew me at all, but it is aimed at 8-12 year old, but wasn't my choice. The third book in this group was the first I read, The Nowhere Emporium, the very premise drew me in. Of all the titles I had this one already and so read it while the other came from the supplier. Really good read which drew me in and kept me there, I would tell a different story but as a friend said when I said this before 'go on then and write.' Some bits I wanted more of and the ending was an opening to a series, but you forgive that as that is what a good writer wants. I will be looking out for the future series.

The youngest age range for the first time ever was also read by me, mainly to small folk in classes. I had so much fun, bright happy focused faces all sat listening with awe in their eyes, I can live along time off that sort of adoration :-) again I am glad not to have a voice here, as the range was exceptional this year, I am still not sure which one would get my vote. The class from yesterday are taking the end of the never tickle a tiger, where Izzy goes off to Poke the Polar bear as a start point and will be writing their own stories, which I hope to go back and listen too at the end of next month. It tied in with their Arctic Theme they are just started, and the igloo, and penguin they are currently looking at. I was asked to judge their drawings, gosh now that was hard, how can you choose between 15 drawings all done with love, and energy and hope. They had covered each of the titles and all were of such vigorous and colourful style it took ages to find just three! I could choose from all titles but ended up picking the best of each title.

Wanted Ralfy Rabbit Book Burglar,
The rest are on the same section if you want to have a listen too!

The next library plan is the world book day tokens and the readathon as well as the big quiz which I need to find a teacher to support. I also have had fun doing The Write Path by Bev Humphrey, which has been a fun event run each autumn with first years. For this we get a pass the parcel story, and an hour! the latter often is harder than the former, and I underestimated the amount of time it would take to get the stories typed and checked to send off. Last year we got the first parts straight from the authors who bravely set up their work to be mangled and zombied by the pupils as it gets passed round in the hour. (Every year someone brings in Zombies, not always in the story that looks like you could use it but then kids imagination is amazing).

We are in the first Prelims of the BGE (Broad General Education) generation of the new Scottish curriculum, the 4th years are the first pupils that have been doing this system since P1 and this is their first year to do Nat 4 and Nat 5 exams. The change in attitudes is noticeable, the first stop point or go to for them is google, this isn't a bad thing, but they expect the work to be there and they can copy and paste it into their templates, to then be sent off! One staff member took the class to the reference books and showed them what they needed to do and left them to look, within minutes they had left the books logged in and were asking how to find the right level in google, when the book had that already at their level. This year will be interesting across the board.

The School blog has a great visit by some of our kids to the new school site, which looks good. The seating is the first floor of the pool which is backed onto my office and the top floor of the library. There is also a fab shot from the local Sinclair Aerial Survey folk who have been taking shots as it has been going up. Again some nice shots of my windows and the space, I plan to go visit soon and bring back my own shots.

Now I have a confession to make, I am not very sporty and tend to wards the 'why does any one bother' in most conversations. But I have two small exceptions to this, two forbidden pleasures I rarely ever admit but both are coming up in the next few months. The first is the six nations rugby, my school was a rugby focused school with much support put into players and skills, with a small handful over the years becoming professional and even playing for their countries, despite not bothering for a number of years I do like a bit of Rugby. I tend to not bother with the clubs and counties level but I do enjoy a good game so tend to follow the countries, of course the Scottish team, and due to old links I have cheered for the English but up here I do this very very quietly. My other small sporting weakness is the Grand National (9th of April this year) I have been known to put a bet on, sit and cheer my horse on, and even watch all the build up, drink in hand. My mothers family are from Liverpool, and my mum tells of jump Sunday being the same date as mothering Sunday year after year and her family taking a picnic out to the course to have a family day out. Was her birthday on mothering Sunday so often her birthday treat.