Teaching in a Pandemic, Book Covers, and a Giveaway

Thank God for half term. Teaching in a pandemic hasn’t been a picnic but oh, my goodness, making sure the pupils get their GCSEs is an absolute nightmare! I am pretty sure it’s the same in all schools, but certainly in mine, teachers are having to set, mark, and moderate pupils’ assessments then once that’s done a an A4 sheet of evidence has to be put together for every pupil. This takes AAAGGGGEEEEEESSSSS. Especially if, like me, you are preparing them for two GCSEs, English Language and English Literature.

And do you know what the worst thing is? The exam boards are still charging FULL PRICE for every grade they issue. Despite the fact that they are not writing papers, setting papers, marking papers or moderating papers (because the teachers are doing them all.) I can’t believe more schools aren’t complaining about this.

So, instead of a fairly relaxed summer term with the year 11 and year 13 sent on their way to study leave in early May, they’ve been here the whole time being taught and prepared for in-house assessments. And don’t get me started on how unbelievably awful the weather is.

I was looking forward to the weather improving this term. I have to take a roll call at 7.15 pm and due to Covid restrictions we have to do it online. We have a garden, so I was looking forward to finally getting all my pupils together outside and seeing them together IRL.

Not once. NOT ONCE since 20th April, has the weather been nice enough. We’ve had terrifying gales, torrential rain, thunder and lightning, and brass monkey temperatures. Also, great oceans of mud get tracked into the building annoying everyone.

In other news, Rob has been having a whale of a time. Our neighbour who is the most bonkers petrol head I have ever met, hatched a plan to hire an industrial sized steam roller. Our gardens are reclaimed from fields so are filled with rabbit burrows, mole hills, weeds and are very bumpy. Well, not any more! The two of them spent a happy week rollering up and down and, for a moment at least, the grass could rival a cricket ground.

Here’s Rob on one of our neighbour’s other machines. I think it’s a lawn mower, but it looks like some strange machine from the film ‘Alien’.

Rob enjoying the neighbour’s invention.

Dog isn’t happy at all. She had an operation last year and recently has been worrying away at the old scar. It was starting to look quite nasty but it was the weekend and late at night and God knows what happened to her last cone. So, I improvised. On Youtube I found a video that said you could use an old towel and masking tape to wrap round Dog’s neck so she couldn’t worry at the scar. Perfect! I thought.

I found an old Sportacus towel of son’s and unearthed my masking tape from under daughter’s bed and fashioned a dog cone. Success! Dog was not happy (to say the least) but seemed to accept her situation.

I don’t know what she did in the night but this is what we found in the morning. I don’t know how on earth she managed to get it off. She must have dragged her head along the ground to pull it off.

A discarded towel and masking tape makeshift dog cone.

But sadly for Dog, Pets at Home was open the next day so she’s in a proper cone, bashing into door ways and our legs. We had roast chicken last night and Rob and Dog had an enjoyable game of ‘chucking the chicken into the cone’ – an old favourite.

Dog in Cone

My Book!

To my delight, my book The Woman and the Witch continues to gather reviews and it makes me so happy that people have enjoyed it. I thought I’d treat her to a new cover – what do you think?

New Book Cover

I am hoping to start work on the prequel ‘Frieda’ over half term, but my brain feels like a piece of old chewing gum at the moment, so I may have to wait a while.

My second book, a thriller called ‘The Bookbinder’ came out in April, do check it out if you fancy a twisty story set in Brighton and France.


Talking of books, to all you readers in the USA you can enter a giveaway to win a FREE Kindle copy of ‘The Woman and the Witch’ on Goodreads. I don’t know why it’s only in the US so sorry to those who would have liked to have entered. However, I can offer you a FREE Audible copy if you contact me and ask. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

If you are in the USA here’s the link. Good Luck! It runs out on the 3rd June so do hurry.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Woman and the Witch by Amanda Larkman

The Woman and the Witch

by Amanda Larkman

Giveaway ends June 03, 2021.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway

Things that have made me happy recently, despite everything

  1. Daughter making me a candle by melting down an old candle and putting in a new wick. It’s a bit sunken in the middle but I can’t remember the last time she made me anything so it is very precious. I am also feeling smug as she was insistent on getting incense despite me telling her it would smell awful and stink the house out. At least the smell drove her into sitting with us for a bit rather than disappearing into her room
  2. I got through to the third round of the NYCMidnight short story competition! It’s fiendishly challenging (For example, the last round I had to write a story in 72 hours, 2,000 words, and it had to have ‘Do-Over’ as a subject, genre had to be Action/Adventure and a character type of ‘lackey’. God knows how it got through, it must have been by the skin of its teeth.) The next round I had 48 hours, 1,500 words with ‘Sci-Fi, Reptile Owner, and immature’ as the challenge. Fingers crossed the judges like it.
  3. Last week I bought new running shoes. I realised (with a sort of shocked horror) that my current trainers were older than my children. The new ones made me bounce along to the quickest run I’d done in years. Hooray! (When I say quick, it’s a relative term, my running app continues to record all of my runs as walks.)
  4. The sun came out yesterday!
  5. This Viennese whirl. Now, I love Viennese whirls. I don’t care they taste amazing because they are made of lard. Usually I get the little Mr Kipling ones (I only allow myself to get them very rarely) but last week I found this beauty in the farm shop. I’m not joking, it must have been the size of my hand. I wish I’d thought to include a pound coin for scale, but I ate it too quickly.
My almost-head-sized Viennese Whirl

6. This TikTok video that makes me think of my Son. Both my children treat Dog like their younger sibling and this video of a lad showing his dog there was nothing to bark at, is exactly the sort of thing Son would do.

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