the workplace bully

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He wants to show his prominence

And throwing useless weight around

Seems to be the way to have

An iron grip on those below.

He gossips all about their faults,

The drinking problems, gambling

And who got off with who

At the Christmas party.

Stay away from him, or get involved

At your peril if you have

A heart as hard as stone.

The big story in the UK today is the rehiring of Gavin Williamson to the Cabinet.He has a lot of haters after he made a few clangers as the Education Minister and so I thought he was pretty brave in stepping up to the plate again.

But now, there have been allegations that he was bullying staff members last time he was in the Cabinet. He appears to have sent some pretty vile text messages to people and about people and it has come back to bite him on the bum.

And I’m sure that the stories that are being reported are bringing up horrible memories for lots of people – as there are a lot of people out there who have experienced that kind of behaviour before.

Most people will have experienced bullying in the workplace, and the bullies can do what they do without having any idea what kind of havoc they are playing on people’s lives. I got caught up in some nastiness and it led to a complete mental health crisis. I was paid off and that was the last those people probably ever thought of me.

However, good always comes out of the bad, even if you can’t see it when you are in the thick of it. I got sober out of that whole situation and so I could say that something that seemed very dangerous, actually, saved my life.

If you are stuck in a horrible work situation don’t battle on; get out and let the bullies eat each other alive. And remember that your outlook on what is happening will change over time. Things will turn good.

Much Love

Rachel xx

sleepless in seattle – part two

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The lift door closes as they stand

Smiling, hand in hand

And then they make it

To the frosty New York street

And find a coffee shop

Talking over life and love

They meet again in just a week

And married in a month

They have a kid

Almost get divorced

And Jonah tells them that they need

To remember how they met

The romance that could make

A movie plot, and so they kiss

And age together in a wedded bliss.

I just watched Sleepless in Seattle for like the millionth time. But in all fairness, I hadn’t watched it in quite a few years, and I had almost forgotten just how much I love it.

I know we got a second movie with the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks combo in the shape of You’ve Got Mail, but we never got a real sequel to follow on from the moment when the lift doors closed on Sam, Jonah and Annie. Did Annie move to Seattle? Did they get married? Are they still together? And what happened to Walter?

I do believe that now is the time to start a petition to get the Hollywood movie execs to think about a follow up. Who’s with me? Who do we get in touch with to make this happen?

Much Love

Rachel xx

the bookbinder

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She tears and glues and cuts

Through cardboard covers

And the silky fabric sleeves,

Waiting for the press the set

The pages into perfect books

To sit on shelves in libraries for

The people of the bookish world.

I love watching videos of people rebinding books. And because I love beautiful books I like to see what they cover their creations with; the finished products are always stunning and they make me want to have a go myself.

There is something quite magical about a book that has been bound in a beautiful fabric and I would die to have a collection of notebooks all bound by myself in the prettiest designs.

Bookbinders fall into the same category as hatmakers for me. They seem a little bit mystical and a little bit mad – but totally genius. It’s an artform that seems to be dying and I can’t understand why. There are so many people that adore stationery, so why aren’t their more bookbinders?

Much Love

Rachel xx

The ghouls

the day that twitter went poof

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It all came crashing down

That Friday afternoon

When everyone began to panic

Thinking that the worst was coming

Social media was finally ending

The bubble burst

As all our lives begin to fade

Into the world away from webs

A place were people live in peace

No need to share our meals each day

For acquaintances who have no say.

I don’t really know what is going on with Twitter, aside from the fact that lots of people have been laid off. But scanning social media, I have seen people sharing all of their other details so that they don’t lose their Twitter friends ‘should the worst happen’.

I had to smile reading the Tweets, and seeing them a little like messages being put into a bottle and cast out to see. They are saying that the world is ending but I’m still here, don’t forget me.

Can you imagine if this is the end of the world as we know it? I won’t know what Karen from two doors down did at Crossfit this evening? I won’t know what Tim from work ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner? How will we all survive?

I do feel terrible for the people who have lost their job with no warning; and in this economic climate, it can’t be happening at a worse time. I really hope things start looking up soon.

<uch Love

Rachel xx

writing a truly unusual book

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I was having a discussion with a colleague today and we got onto the topic of truly unusual books. Rather than books that just have a really different and original premise, we were talking about books that take on a whole new format that has never been done before.

My colleague is much younger than I am and she has only just finished her masters degree, so she has actually been studying this and has loads of interesting ideas that she has researched. I can barely get on board with a Kindle so some of these wacky ideas are a bit much for me, but some were really interesting.

We began by talking about The Appeal by Janice Hallett which I am actually really keen to read. This is a mystery novel that is made up entirely of emails, articles, reports and evidence and the reader pieces together the events to solve the mystery.

Then we really broke out the crazy and she told me about thise woman who wrote a whole book in the snow and took photos and posted them on Instagram. Obviously, once the snow melted, the only record of the story is the photographs.

My colleague then told me about the story she created for her final project at university and I have asked her to bring it in so I can read it because it sounds so cool.

Basically, she created a box full of random items that were actually all connected by her story. To access the story you had to scan the QR code on each of the items and then you could read the individual parts of the story online.

She’s lost the box but she still has the QR codes so she is going to let me have them and then I can read the mystery. And she’s kind of inspired me to have a go at writing something that is not traditional too.

Much Love

Rachel xx

Matt Hancock in the Jungle

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The politicians want the world to see

They’re human just like you and me.

And if it takes them making being fools,

Looking like a bunch of tools

Then that’s OK, ’cause they’re getting paid

More than the rest of us have ever made.

It really looks like he’s lost the plot

Trying to be something he’s really not.

If anyone reading this is outside of the UK and you have never heard of Matt Hancock, then he is a politician who is taking part in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here this year. That is a reality show where ‘celebrities’ go to the jungle in Australia and do lots of tasks to win meals.

Matt Hancock was our Health Secretary when we were going into all our lockdowns. However, he was disgraced when he was caught on camera, having an affair. This was bad enough, but it also meant that he broke the social distancing rules that he was responsible for.

He is still a serving MP so it does seem really disrespectful to his constituents, buggering off to Australia when he should be doing the job he’s paid to do – with money that comes from our taxes.

However, I can see why he would want to do it. If he can show that he is human and has redeeming qualities, then perhaps he might grow his waning popularity. If I were in his shoes, I would probably be tempted to do this as one last roll of the dice. What would I have to lose? And some politicians have actually come out of that show quite well.

He also wants to promote his work in support of dyslexia and I think that is important and could do some real good. As a teacher, I can see how important this work could be for so many people.

Whatever happens, I think he was a great signing by the makers of the programme and it has certainly made me want to tune in later this month.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the crap we eat as a kid

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Chicken nuggets that look like kidneys

Covered in a slimy batter,

Ham that looks like teddy faces

And turkey in the shape of dinosaurs.

Nothing green, or orange or red,

All beige and microwaved,

Dried and kept in cupboards for

At least five years before it turns.

Cans of beans and pasta shapes,

Food that needs no chewing, or digesting.

We all say we won’t feed our kids these things

And yet you’ll find me down the frozen aisle

Stocking up on crispy pancakes

For my little cherub child.

ghosts and ghouls come out to play

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The ghosts and ghouls are out tonight

With witches swooping through the streets

With buckets swinging from their brooms

Filled with sugar wrapped in foil

And parents shepherding their flock

Into the gardens with a pumpkin in

A secret signal that there’s treats

For little ghosts to swallow up

Under bedsheets that pillow out

In the cool October air

But those that hate those pesky kids

Will hide behind their sofas with

Lights turned off and TVs silenced

Waiting for the eggs to fly.

Happy Halloween everyone! I am fortunate enough to live in a flat with an entrance that is very concealed. Even the postman can’t find it, so there’s no way a group of five year olds will! That means that I’m exempt from the flying eggs and flour should I forget to buy in sweets.

As a kid, I used to like houses that gave away toffee apples but they cost about a pound each now, so there’s no way I would be giving those out.

I hope that everyone has a fun and safe Halloween evening, respecting those that don’t want to partake in the evening’s festivities. And well done it you manage to find a house that is giving out toffee apples!

Much Love

Rachel xx

a change in the tone of conversation

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Come talk to us

If you are feeling down

Come and share your worries

If it’s all a little too much

We’ll try to take the weight

And help you on your way.

I’ve noticed a change in the tone of converation since we have come out of the pandemic. And I’ve noticed it most acutely when I go to church.

In the days before we all went into repeated lockdowns we didn’t seem to talk so much about things being difficult and we didn’t need to ask people to step forward and accept help. Especially in the church environment, I always found that everyone had a sunny outlook. Now the tide seems to have changed.

When we are listening to the service we can put questions forward, anonymously, asking anything that we would like clarified. And there have been a lot of questions recently that start off by saying that the person is struggling in some way, so how does the Bible apply to them?

There are a lot of teenagers in our service and I get the feeling that many of these questions come from them – and that makes me very sad.

The young people are so aware of all the problems of the world and it makes me think that the role of the church is going to have to change. The services will have to be less preaching and more reassuring – especially for teenagers who are evidently really worried at the moment.

Much Love

Rachel xx

stress on the brain

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Frazzled and ugly,

Singed at the edges

With the unbearable heat

Of a stressful event.

I am the worst at dealing with stress. It was probably the main reason why I ended up drinking so much; anything to get rid of that feeling of having my brain on fire.

I am coming to the end of half term so I’m getting that scratchy feeling in my brain as I prepare to go back to school.

And the thing that I notice the most when I am stressed is that I have an awful memory – like, really awful.

This weekend I was supposed to be running a marathon and I had it in my head that I was supposed to be running on Sunday. This afternoon, I realised that it was supposed to be today. I have officially missed the race that was supposed to make me feel better for missing the race I couldn’t go to because I had COVID.

So that makes me very pissed off.

However, I am determined to not dwell on misfortune and I will run a marathon around the trails near my house. I can even fashion a little medal out of tinfoil to put around my neck once I’m finished.

Much Love

And here’s to a better memory,

Rachel xx