Weights & watersheds

June 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Blogging about blogging | 8 Comments

Where does the hand become the wrist?
Where does the neck become the shoulder? The watershed
and then the weight, whatever turns up and tips us over that
razor’s edge
between something and nothing, between
one and the other.

Simon Armitage, Gooseberry Season

If I was forced to describe the past nine months, I’d call it a time of weights & watersheds. On each day of a PGCE course, students spend their time swallowing new and challenging experiences; tests & expectations. Some of these will be positive, others demoralising, but they all swill around the basins of our brains until “something turns up and tips us over that razor’s edge”. The weight becomes a watershed.

Some of these tipping points are fixed & formal; when you’ve gained enough experience to tick every box and meet each standard, the watershed brings the relief of crossing a threshold from Student to Teacher.

But most of the other tipping points you experience are harder to define, like where the hand becomes the wrist, or when the neck becomes shoulder. I’d tried for several months to keep this blog running despite the increasing demands on my time. I saw it as my way of maintaining a sense of perspective; of remembering that a world exists beyond the classroom.

But as the expectations multiplied, and with them the restrictions on my time, it became difficult just to keep up to date with my own reading, let alone committing the time to write. I realised that to write a blog and also train to teach would eventually lead to not being particularly effective at either. Something had to give, and so I shut myself away, neither blogging nor reading, commenting or tweeting. It apparently wasn’t enough to leave the blog on hiatus; its author had to vanish. Completely.

Thankfully, that period of my life is now over; the course has finished and I can now look forward to a new job and a new life in London. The sense of achievement is great and the possibilities for the future are exciting.

All that’s left before I try to turn this place into an active blog once more is to add a cringing apology to the kind folks who’ve passed by & left comments, who’ve had me on their RSS feeds, followed me on Twitter and enquired into my whereabouts & well-being. I was always been genuinely grateful to the folks who read this thing in the past, and hope it will become an interesting visit once again.

Oh, and the next time the weight becomes too much, I will at least try to leave a note.



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  1. Welcome back, Neil, and congratulations! :-D

    • Thanks, Bella, and hello (again)!

  2. Hooray!! I can sleep at night knowing you’re alive!! And well done on the course and presumably a job.
    Wierd how we become connected through this virtual life and begin to really like people and look forward to hearing from them??
    Take care- enjoy the summer and i’ll look forward to occasional tweets. And please remember – work is not life, tweeting is not life- out there is life for a young chap like you…..
    Best wishes


    • Hi Judy,

      Thanks for the ‘are you dead?’ tweets, and I can assure you that I’ve had a life for exactly a week now! It’s quite nice!

  3. I remember you! :) Little has changed for me, I’d be interested to see if you’ve taken any new turns thanks to your work.

    I definitely hope you can dish up some links & even better views of your own. I suspect we’ve drifted apart as without the Brown monolith to oppose it becomes clear that our views aren’t all that similar, which is why I have been broadly pro-coalition.

    But with some disclaimers, & I suppose that is where we can relate, as well as just in general.

    • Ah, nowt wrong with a bit of good-faith disagreement!

      I’m actually quite intrigued to see how I’ll respond to the coalition. Although the Lib Dems now feel like slightly less of a home for me than before, Labour doesn’t feel like any more of a political home than before the election, and I hope the post I’ve just put up will show that I can avoid going “Tory=bad” on every issue. Much will depend on whether the party’s interested in seriously engaging with those areas where it’s been badly wrong. On the evidence of Jack Straw’s missive today, there’s a fair bit of work to do…

      Anyway, hello again!

  4. Welcome back! Gosh its good to hear from you again.

    I will move you out of my bloggers graveyard. The blogosphere is a changed place in some ways, what with the right in power. But in other ways its the same, after all the right is still in power…

    On a personal note, I’m pleased to hear you’ll be moving to London, I’ll be in the big smoke come October, we could possible meet up. Westminster Skeptics is something you’d definitely enjoy.

    • Thankyou squire, now I know how Elvis felt after his comeback ;)

      Do get in touch when you hit London; Westminster Skeptics certainly sounds like my kind of thing.

      Oh, and cheers for the huzzah!

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