a hazy prom night memory

instant photo of three women drinking
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A hazy prom night memory

That drifts past on those June time winds

As sweet sixteens shuffle up for photographs

In front of limos, arms around a girlfriend who

Will be forgotten in two years, but now

This night is all we have. The music loud,

Thump-thumping as we enter jazzed up gyms,

Once filled with scents of sweat, instead

We are all blinded with the disco lights

And arches of balloons, the sneaked in vodka

Already warming up our youngster veins.

We will remember this for life, this love,

We’ll find the Polaroids in kitchen drawers

And reminisce in thirty years, when youth is gone,

But still that dress hangs in my room

A daughter will want to wear it soon.

Our school were having their leavers’ prom last night, and before I left I popped my head into the hall to see what it looked like. It was so beautiful it actually took my breath away.

Noah left school last year and the school decided not to hold the prom because of COVID. It made me so sad that he was missing out on something that feels like a rite of passage. I was desperate to be the proud mother, waving him off as he got into his limo in a smart tuxedo.

We are lucky in this country that we have sixth form college after school and this means that he will get another opportunity to attend a prom next summer (so I will also get my moment).

It also made me think back to my own prom. I left school 21 years ago so the idea of a prom was still pretty new in England. I remember it being very exciting that we got to dress up and dance the night away at the Hilton Hotel no less.

But it was probably the house party afterwards that was most memorable. About half the year were in attendance and everyone was drinking so it got pretty messy. I seem to remember someone being sick out of the upstairs window.

I hope that the kids at the prom last night had a blast and that they will have fond memories of dancing to Love Shack and being sick in their friend’s mum’s flower bed. It has to be done, doesn’t it?

Much Love

Rachel xx

upstairs, downstairs

brown boat on sea
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They drift around in black, like shadows,

Quiet while the rich ones dance

And drink and eat and make a mess,

But all of it is whisked away

By morning time when sun streams in

And bodies turn in silky bed sheets

Ready for a breakfast made

By people poorer than ourselves.

I absolutely love watching Below Deck. I think that it’s aired around the world, but in case you haven’t seen it, it follows a group of people who work on board a luxury yacht for weekly charters. Each episode follows a new set of guests and how the crew manage and interact with those guests.

The season I’m watching at the moment is actually American, but it feels like there is something decidedly British about the set up on these boats. The idea that the upper class can sit around drinking champagne in the sun, while the poor people scurry around in the shadows making the magic happen. I find it strangely intriguing to watch.

And then there’s the relationship between the crew which is so fun to watch. You put a group of strangers together and have them live and work in such close proximity and there are always going to be a few fireworks.

I’ve written before about how much I enjoy watching relationships form in real life and so I can’t help but fall in love with Big Brother, Love Island and all those other reality shows. Many would say they are just trash, but I feel like it educates me in all the parts of life that I feel like I kind of missed in my twenties.

They teach me how to be a better human being.

Much Love

Rachel xx

a change is as good as a holiday

white happy camper printed cup on brown wooden log
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Fresh scenes

For tired eyes

They reinvigorate

The waning soul

And makes time fly

In the mortal’s eye.

I went on my first little school trip today and it was so nice to get out of school and just see something different.

Because I have trained during a COVID year and it was still difficult at the beginning of this school year, I have not had the opportunity to go on any trips. This one wasn’t a proper trip, but at least I got out of the mad house that is our school.

Our Year 7 cohort are on camp this week and the first half went down to the camp on Monday and came back today. So, it was my job to get on a coach with the new group of students, have lunch at the camp and then go back on the coach with the first group.

I was only off the bus for about an hour and a half but it was still so nice to see the kids running around the woods and having fun. I couldn’t be spared from my department for the whole camp, but I would definitely like to go on a camp one year, and stay for the whole thing.

However, my day out of the office has really helped me feel a bit refreshed and ready to go for the second half of the week. A change is definitely as good as a holiday.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the centre court buzz

two person playing tennis
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Kate and Meghan lead the way

In tailored suits and shades worth more

Than all the clothes I own.

But all are rich, sitting eating cream

And strawberries like rubies in the bowl,

Evian on tap unless the Champagne’s popped

And when the players walk out onto court

That crowd erupts in cheers so tempered by

The English sensibilities. The dreams

Of tennis girls go up in flames

And unknowns win a flurry of top games.

This is the place where dreams are made,

This is our Centre Court – our stage.

So, Wimbledon Tennis Tournament started yesterday and we’ve already been treated to some great tennis, especially if you are a Brit and you were rooting for Emma or Andy. Both of our tennis superstars won on Centre Court and it just reminds us how special the place is.

Emma Raducanu had never actually played on Centre Court before and it was lovely to see her enjoying the experience. She seems to be the type of player who thrives on pressure and so that atmosphere probably served her well.

And then there’s the magic of seeing royalty and celebrities gracing the spectator area. Nobody will forget the 2018 championship when Kate and Meghan turned up together and everyone was whispering, wondering if they actually even liked each other.

My own personal anecdote comes courtesy of a friend I used to work with. A couple of years ago, her brother won a wild card ticket into the main championship and then he got through the first two rounds. Nobody had heard of him before and he ended up playing Federer on Centre Court.

For an hour or so we watched him on the telly, and we yelped every time the camera panned up to my friend in the royal box. He got hammered by Federer, but what an experience. It was like watching something out of a Hollywood movie.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the reading slump

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The words all mix together like

A lumpy soup, luke warm and sad

They don’t excite the way they should.

The pages turn so slowly with

A painful wait between the chapters

Not sure these words are understood.

I’m in a dreaded reading slump at the moment. I have two books on the go and I’m not enjoying either of them and it is one of the worst feelings that a reader can possibly suffer.

Diving into a book gives me release from a world that is sometimes not very nice, so when I’m stuck in a bad book I feel like a door has been closed to that other world. I am quite literally locked out of the place that will make me feel better.

There is the argument that I could just put the book down and start something new, but I fall into the camp that hates giving up on a book. I do occasionally DNF a book, but it hurts my soul to do that and I would rather soldier on miserably.

I am into the last 30 pages of one of the books so I am almost there and I can’t wait to get to start another. It feels like the final few miles of an ultra marathon; not very pleasant at the moment, but it will feel worth it when I post my star rating on Goodreads.

And then there’s the fact that the quality of a book is so subjective. I’m slaving away through this novel while others are lapping it up and loving every word. I wish I could like everything, but alas, being human involves having likes and dislikes and going through little dips where reading feels like a chore.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the perfect first date

assorted books
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I read a tweet today that said a perfect first date would be to go to a used book store and buy each other a book. I don’t think I could think of a better way of getting an indication whether you could get along with someone in one book.

Books are so personal and they hold so many memories and feelings. I don’t think that he would have to pick me a book that I liked; I would just care about the story behind it and why he thought that it would be a good book for me.

And what a beautiful way to spend an afternoon!

When I lived in Cape Town, we would often wander down Long Street where there were just endless vintage bookshops. I could spend the whole afternoon going in one after the other and finding quirky little books that you would never find anywhere else.

Follow that with a coffee and a slice of cake in one of the cafes that plays cool jazz music and has waiting staff that are pierced and tattooed and you have yourself a weirdly wonderful date. We wouldn’t even need to talk, we could just read the books that were chosen for us and let the pages do the talking.

Much Love

Rachel xx

Glastonbury on a sunny day

two women embracing surrounded by crowd
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The Pyramid Stage rises from the ground,

A jagged tooth protruding upwards,

Releasing golden stars in sparkly costumes

Skipping through the summer sunset haze.

The flags on poles as long as fishing rods

Wave in slow mo time, the breeze

Fluttering through them to the music beat,

And girls will sit on shoulders of

Their boyfriends as they sip from cans

Of beer warmed by the evening sun.

They’re all here for the music though;

To hear the classic tunes as stars look down

And fireworks fly into an inky sky

With key change times that bring that tears

To crowds lost in this hedonistic world.

tying the knot

wedding preparation
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They ran from palace walls

Into the forest where

Unruly beings cast their spells

And heard through rustling verdant leaves

The sound of clanging wedding bells.

I’m teaching A Midsummer Night’s Dream to my Year 7s at the moment and I love hearing their take on the language and what it might mean. Some are way off the actual meaning, but even when it’s wrong, I love that they are thinking about the word choices and what they could possibly mean.

I think that it’s also interesting to get their thoughts on some of those bigger themes that Shakespeare tackles; the themes that keep his work relevant some 400 years after he was writing.

Today I was reading through their books and looking at some of the predictions that they were making as to what they think might happen as the story continues. Worryingly, there are a lot of them that seem to think that the characters are all going to be murdered. Perhaps they are getting confused with Macbeth?

I did notice another slip of the letters in one book. A girl had written that she thought Lysander and Hermia would kill Demetrius and Egeus and then they would ‘be free to exchange their vowels’.

Remember that if you are getting married and want to go against tradition there is always the option to exchange your consonants. Something to think about if you are planning your nuptials.

Much Love

Rachel xx

travelling home when all the trains have stopped

rail road under gray and orange cloudy sky during sunset
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We stand on platforms, staring

At our screens in desperate hope

That trains will sidle in

To dormant stations so that we

Can get to work in carriages

Stuffed until they burst at seams

But most importantly

We get to offices across the land

That doesn’t happen now.

The UK is a little bit crippled today because all of our railway workers have gone on strike. I wholeheartedly agree with strike action because it gives us the ability to have a voice, but I can also understand just how infuriating it must be if you use the trains to get to work, school or college.

When I was eighteen I lived in central London and I remember the trains going down because it had become too hot underground. It caused pandemonium and people were taking about four hours to get home. People were literally fighting over space on the buses.

Watching the news today reminded me of those few hot days in 2003 and how many of us felt being stuck at bus stops and waiting for hours, desperately texting family on our Nokia 330s to find out if they knew any other route home for us.

Good luck to anyone who is having to deal with the strikes this week and I really hope that for everyone’s sake, it all gets sorted out promptly.

Much Love

Rachel xx

PS I once got stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway and I was so convinced that I would never get out of the queue that I phoned a friend in tears to tell her that I was never going to get off the M3. She found it hilarious that I was in such a state, but it just goes to show how crappy you can feel when you are sure you’re never going to get home again!

Don’t let a few failures define you

I know it sounds cliche

But get back up,

It might not even be

The third time a charm,

It could be the fourth

Or even the fifth

But however long it takes

The reward is the sweetest.

I love to run. I’m not a talented runner, but I do love to push myself as hard as I can and I love to see just how far I can go. And so it seemed only natural that I gravitated towards the ultra marathon distance, finally making it up to the 100 milers.

I did five of them between 2015 and 2017 and then I hit a bit of a road block. I don’t understand why, but every time I attempted the race, my head just gave up anywhere between 60 and eighty miles.

I had three failed attempts under my belt and a five year dry spell and I really was starting to think that I just didn’t have the ability to do it anymore.

So, I was a little bit hesitant when I entered a hundred miler for the weekend just gone. But, nevertheless, I pulled on my trainers and hit the trail. And I poured my little heart into it.

And you know what? I only went and bloody did it.

So, I just wanted to say that when you’ve failed at something a few times, it never means that it’s over. If you want something bad enough, you can get it. Just keep plodding away and eventually you will get there.

Much Love,

Rachel xx