getting the ‘rona

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It got me at last

The nastiest bug the world has seen

That’s floored every nation

It’s wiped me out clean

*

It started with lungs

That were screaming with pain

And ended with sick days

That drove me insane.

*

And then there’s my boss

Who demanded I phone her

She was slightly pissed off

At me out with the ‘rona.

*

It finally got me. I have the COVID. I have worked in schools since the very beginning of the pandemic and I haven’t had much more than the odd sniffle. I was even telling people that I thought I must have some mutant gene that meant that I was immune.

But it turns out that I am not.

I’m coming out of it pretty well, so far. My chest is OK but I have struggled with a fever that is making my body temperature do some pretty interesting things.

I just feel really bad about phoning in sick as this is my first month in a new job. I don’t know about other people, but I have a really bad fear of phoning in sick because I seem to have gotten into my head that it means I could get the sack.

I was brave and phoned in to the Business Manager and she was absolutely lovely about it (I only wrote that she was pissed off in my poem because it was the only way I could get ‘rona to rhyme with something).

If anyone else is feeling under the weather, I send you all my love and hugs and socially distanced kisses.

Much Love

Rachel xx

a serial killer living next door

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Those sounds at night,

The whir of the electric drill

And the drip drip that you hope’s a tap

When deep down you know really

That man that went in two days past,

He’s never coming out again.

I have started watching Dahmer, the Netflix drama about the the serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. I have got three episodes in and I find I am starting to gag in parts, it’s so disgusting.

And yet, there is something that pulls us into these stories about serial killers. If you scroll through the Netflix menu, you will see programme after programme that explores the minds and the lives of these people.

I’m just about to watch episode four and I know that I’ll spend most of my time with my hands over my eyes. But i’ll love every moment of it, for some sick and twisted reason.

Much Love

Rachel xx

sweet dreams on world dream day

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Float away on a fluffy cloud

With dreams of unicorns

And chocolate fountains

A place like Heaven

That we visit every night

To get away from misery

That chases us through waking days…

Apparently, it’s World Dream Day today. I don’t know about any of you, but I have the wackiest dreams – and I dream EVERY night which can be a little bit exhausting.

I do also have trouble remembering them in their entirety. I find myself getting flashes of them throughout the day as I remember each piece, like it is a giant jigsaw that needs to be put together before the next round of sleep.

I have always wondered whether they do mean anything. I love to think that they are something more than us just processing the days events. I really do hope that actually, they are revealing to us the deepest parts of our psyche, and perhaps shining a light on what may be coming up in our future.

Whatever a dream may be, I do enjoy that feeling of floating away from reality and entering a world that is entirely of my own making.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the death of a literary gem

She forged a path

For women marching

From the past

Into the dazzling present

With just the power

Of her forceful pen.

We lost another very special lady yesterday, in the form of Hilary Mantel. She was the first woman to win the Booker Prize twice, and she was so influential that she had many literary giants paying tribute to her when the news broke.

I love authors who really see their work as an artform and Mantel really appreciated the form of the historical novel. She seemed to enjoy the relationship between the past and the present.

And something that all historical novelists do, is to find another story underneath the story that we know. I particularly enjoy it when writers give marginalised characters a voice: women, slaves, disabled.

I hope that we learn to celebrate more of these women who are smart and interesting and forge a path for those that are following behind.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the monsters within

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We had a bloody long day at school today because it was the dreaded Open Evening, where Year 6 students and their parents can come and look around the school and see if they would like to be members of our school community.

I say ‘dreaded’ because it’s a 13 hour day, and you are ‘on’ the whole time. However, I do actually really enjoy speaking to the younger ones and asking them about what books they enjoy reading.

We did a Gothic room in our department and I was responsible for getting the kids to draw their own Gothic monsters. And some of them were interesting, to say the least.

I asked everyone to give their monster a name and we had everything from Richard to Mrs Jelly Legs.

I find it so sad that the creativity seems to just get sucked out of kids as they reach their teenage years. My Year 9s couldn’t even come up with one thing that scares them and yet three years earlier, they could have come up with a three headed monster called Richard.

Don’t grow up, kids. I love you just the way you are.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the knitting circle

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They sit in circles

Hooks and needles at the ready

Yarn is twisting round the table legs

Before it’s knitted into scarves

And blankets that are kept for years

Keepsakes loved by generations

With those conversations had

Woven in with warmth and care.

the solemn bang of the drum

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The solemn bang of the drum

Reverberates through the drooping crowd,

Heads bowed and all in black,

Some crying, others raise their phones

To catch the spectacle for Instagram,

And still the drum beat continues on,

Warning mortals that our death

Is just around the corner too.

There was only really one thing that I could write about today: the funeral. It was a last minute Bank Holiday so that most people could have the time off work to watch the service and the procession.

If there was any doubt that our country can pull off the pomp and ceremony befitting a queen, then today those doubts were laid to rest. It was bloody magnificent.

I have never seen such a large procession and they actually walked a really long way so that lots of people got the chance to see it first hand. And I don’t think there has ever been an event where so many foreign dignitaries were present. It just goes to show what an amazing and well respected lady she was.

It was great to see Prince George and Princess Charlotte at the funeral, and I think everyone was in agreement that they are possibly the best behaved kids on the planet. I do wish that they had brought Prince Louis along as think he would have caused havoc – we always need a bit of comic relief in even the saddest of circumstances.

Watching the Princes William and Harry walking along behind the coffin was quite difficult because it brought back so many memories of that day, 25 years ago, when they walked behind the coffin of their mother.

Funerals always bring back memories of the people we miss and I’m sure there will be people out there who are feeling a bit low this evening so I hope you all keep safe and eat lots of chocolate.

Much Love

Rachel xx

it’s banned books week

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Let’s throw them into raging flames

That lick so angrily at curling pages

Begging to be read before

They disappear for once and all

Because the men in pinstripe suits

Feel words in ink are dangerous

And public folk can’t handle them

So best to rid the world

And keep us safe from harm.

It’s Banned Books Week which is an interesting one, because I very much believe that books are there to teach us about everything that goes on in the world, whether that be good or bad. I don’t think that it should be down to a man in a suit to tell me whether or not I can handle something.

I guess there is a responsibility for the authorities to make sure that a book is not likely to incite violence or hatred, but most fiction will only be exploring these ideas, not telling people to go out and do anything terrible.

I teach at a faith school and they won’t allow the Heartstopper series to be kept in the library because it is LGBT+, and I wonder how much damage that may do to some kids. Surely everybody deserves to be represented, and banning books about groups of people doesn’t do anyone any favours.

So, do make sure that you go out and read something naughty this week – you’re lucky that you live in a world where you can do that.

Much Love

Rachel xx

those sad songs on the radio

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Sad songs on the radio

Pulling at my bouyant mood

With heavy lyrics and a melody

That pierces hearts

And makes us feel

On such a low uneven keel

Crying far too hard to drive

And feeling pains

The truth that we are here, alive.

I’m a driver who goes into my own head when I’m on the road. I think that a lot of people do this because everyone talks about driving home and not remembering half the journey as they had zoned out.

But this means that I can also go to a somewhat blue place and this is never helped by the choice of song on the radio. Most of the time you get a bit of a mix, but when someone famous dies, the DJs seem to go crazy with the power ballads.

Today, a quick trip to Tesco almost ended in tears while listening to Radio 2. I remembered almost every heartbreak I have endured as the DJ maxed out on Whitney and Adele. I had to come home and put on the early Britney bangers to sort myself out.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the friendly monster of London

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There’s a friendly monster snaking through

The streets and parks of London city

It doesn’t snarl and it doesn’t bite

But it’ll make your feet rather unpretty.

It’ll suck you in and hold you there

Within its body for twenty hours

Gently chewing and spitting you out

At the rather imposing Parliamentary towers.

There you’ll see our beloved Queen

Lying in state for the people to see,

A final chance to show our love

And bask in the light of her majesty.

If you have been watching BBC News over the past few days, you will see that the headlines have been dominated by something very British: a queue.

It has become a monster in its own right, with people spending up to twenty hours in it, just so that they can spend a few moments with the coffin that contains our late Queen.

I must admit that if I hadn’t been working this week, I may have been tempted to go and join the queue while it was still under ten hours long. But as it crept up to a whole day, my interest has slowly waned.

I admire all of those people who are sticking it out and standing in line through a pretty cold night. But I’m quite happy here in my home, wearing my pyjamas, with my cat curled up at my side.

Much Love

Rachel xx