Tag Archives: teeline

The Stopwatch

I’ve inherited a stopwatch. It’s not a beloved family heirloom, it’s a mark of personal progress and I’m feeling the pressure with every second.

September 2020 brought around a whole bunch of surprises. Namely a new path in my journalism career. Having spent sometime during lockdown, indulging in a number of community arts project, I accepted a job offer in the medical sales/beauty industry. I quickly realised that lips, nips and tucks were most definitely not my thing and after agreeing to produce a media strategy for the company, we parted ways amicably.

Nest came the summer holidays, which in reality were nothing more than an extension of the previous two months the kids had been off school. Eat Out To Help Out was launched and we were able to get out and about more, thanks to the good weather and more people wearing masks.

As September loomed, I was worried about affording uniforms and school shoes and winter coats and birthday celebrations, hoping my part time charity job would keep me afloat.

A conversation with my former journalism lecturer lead to a Zoom call, and a flurry of Whatsapp messages and eventually an interview, complete with ‘You’re on mute’ hilarity.

I’ve officially gone full circle. I began my professional journalism career with an NCTJ Journalism Diploma at The City Of Liverpool College, and now here I am, teaching shorthand and Essential Journalism to the next cohort of budding reporters. It’s an incredible honour and they’re a great group too.

I’m now 9 weeks into the job and I’m still loving it and still as overly optimistic about education as I was back in the summer. My students are bright, determined and showing real promise of walking into the industry with portfolio’s bursting with published work. It makes me really proud to have played a small part in their journey. A journey which takes just 18 weeks on the fast track NCTJ course. The days fly by. Between classroom taught lessons, industry work experience and days spent out filming and interviewing, blink and it’s Christmas.

I came into work today, ready to teach a fun filled afternoon of Teeline Shorthand. I was rummaging around in my desk drawer for a white board marker that worked and came across a black box. I’d not noticed it before. I can only assume it’s been there the whole time and I’d paid it no mind.

Inside is a polished, silver stop watch. The very stop watch which ticked away hour upon hour of shorthand practise when I was a student in this very classroom. The sight of it used to give me shivers. Clicking the start/stop button brought all my memories flooding back. The discovery of the stop watch made me a little more sympathetic of my students’ and their battles with shorthand. It’s a real skill, one that takes hours of consistent practise and no bullshit excuses.

We’re hurtling towards a jam-packed exam schedule, which naturally raises the stress levels for all involved, students and staff. We’re also hurtling towards Christmas and hoping for normality. Or maybe you’re looking towards New Year and hoping 2021 will bring relief from the lockdown, Covid and stress? I know I am.

If only we could just stop the clock for a moment, and breathe.

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May I?

I’ve failed my exams this month, spectacularly. I’ve so much respect for print journalists who can knock out 100 words per minute in shorthand, especially when dealing with sensitive subjects, noisy environments and random accents. You people are like, magical or something.

Sadly I’m not sure I’m cut out to join the elite, despite my brilliant shorthand lecturer persevering with me, I have hit the 80 wpm wall and cant seem to block out all the nonsense long enough to hit that coveted centenary mark.

I bowled into college, 12 minutes late last Friday morning, amid a flurry of phone calls that wound me right up, only to realise I had no pen (not even my trusty Army, Be The Best biro) or paper to transcribe on to, urgh.

shorthand

One emotional meltdown and four and a half minutes later I had failed my 100 wpm exam. Undeterred by the fact I was busy trying to concentrate, the drama continued through-out the break and into the 80 wpm re-sit exam an hour later. Plus some kid was sitting in MY seat. Failed again, head was most definitely elsewhere and not in the world of Teeline.

I’ve stressed myself out so much this month that the stomach ulcer I cultivated back in October decided to make an unwelcome return resulting in horrendous sickness for three long weeks. I didn’t even lose any weight, no need.

My daily diet of strawberry laces, Costa and cake wasn’t helping. I routinely resort back to the usual excuse; single mum of three, studying, working to build contacts, reputation and an attractive portfolio, plus running a home…..oh and my cat popped four kittens out on Sunday morning. I’m a bit busy to say the least and I’ve survived for too long on nervous energy and sugar!

So on to the positives! I now eat food, proper grown up food, and the biggest surprise is…..I actually like it! (munching porridge with grated apple and banana in it right now in fact). I feel so much better in just 4/5 days its remarkable. If you see me loitering around KFC, you have permission to kick my ass.

And because I feel better I’ve been able to get involved with some awesome events. I spent four idyllic days in Barcelona and sat in the press box and conference room at the Nou Camp. I’ve solved a murder mystery at the The Empire Theatre with Agatha Christie’s The Mouse Trap.

I’ve (unsuccessfully) tried to nick a lamb from Farmer Ted’s ( they’re so bloody cute) and held an Amazonian tree frog! I’ve rocked out with a bunch of ten year olds at a disco party and ate my (substantial) body weight in Army field kitchen chicken jalfrezi at the Liverpool Food & Drink Festival, Sefton Park.

I had a bit of a snog with Paddy McGuinness (sorry Woernee) at Madam Tussauds, Blackpool and tickled a stingray at Sea Life Centre. Watching the Kop come alive at Liverpool V Chelsea a couple of weeks ago was phenomenal, I’ve never experienced anything like that atmosphere, and the die hard fans tell me it was rubbish at that game

I had the privilege of cuddling brand new baby Elliot and feeling so much love for my wonderful friend Lisa who brought him into the world in a convenient 20 minutes! The same day I had root canal, two fillings and a cocktail for lunch…..and a 3 hour mid afternoon nap as a result!

My little dudes have had a blast in Blackpool, 518ft up in the air at the top of the Blackpool Tower, gasped at the awesome acrobatics at the circus and built their very own tower replica from Lego. We went back to school and walked the corridors of Broadgreen International school, 17 years after I left, whole separate blog post on this shortly.

I’ve photographed my own fantastic city from the roof of the Hope Street Hotel, had a brew with the new Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Roz Gladden and begun work on my first ever complete fashion collection, ready to show in Autumn 2016.

Ulcer schmulcer. Thank you so very much to the Alice and Greg, Jay Hynd and Amanda Moss for your continued support and thrilling opportunities to write. There are tonnes of new photo’s in the gallery here¬†and check out my most recent work with The Guide Liverpool here.

Bring it on June!

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