Firstly I'd like to thank all of you wonderful people who posted such supportive comments on my last post. The kindness and support of fellow bloggers never ceases to amaze me, I appreciate you one and all.
Tomorrow I begin my new job. As many of you will remember I posted at the end of October that I had been told I would be made redundant at the end of December, but shortly afterwards was given a bit of reprieve in the form of a one term secondment with behaviour support. Well tomorrow the secondment begins, and I have been told that there is unlikely to be anything further for me beyond the end of April, so I still need to re-evaluate what I will do then.
Still I have until the end of April and I am optimistic that new opportunities will present themselves before then. To be honest I have mixed feelings about the secondment and it is actually a relief that it will only last the one term. I will be working in a Key stage 3 Pupil Referral Unit as a classroom teacher. (For those that don't work in education that means I will be teaching pupils aged 11-14 who have been permanently excluded from mainstream school due to their behaviour.) I'm not new to this type of work, indeed this is how I began my teaching career, but that's just it you see - I feel like I'm moving backwards. Over the past 10 years I have striven to gain promotions, firstly becoming a Special Education Needs Coordinator within the Pupil Referral Unit, then securing the post of Head of Learning Support in a mainstream school. Due to the falling rolls in the school however I was first threatened with redundancy back in 2008, but secured a secondment into the local authority in an advisory capacity. This was always due to end in April, but due to government cuts the end for me was brought forward to December. So I am grateful that now I have work till the end of April as I first expected, but realise that I don't want to go back permanently to working in such a stressful environment.
In my last post however I said my word for 2011 was to be freedom, so really this has now given me the freedom to change my life, hopefully for the better. as a Head of Department I was enslaved by my earnings, worried that if I didn't continue to earn that level of salary I wouldn't be able to cope. The early wake up call has made me reassess my finances and how I live and made me realise I am fortunate. I could live on less and so now I have both the opportunity and the freedom to look for a job that will free me to have more time for things I really want to do - cook more, craft more and stop to enjoy the things that really matter.
So I'm beginning as I mean to go on. Making sure I reduce, reuse, recycle and live a more frugal simpler lifestyle that will continue to be sustainable when my salary decreases.
On New Years Day I made some Chilli Tomato Jam from this recipe. I've used it before and we have just ate the last of that batch, so when I got three punnets of organic baby plum tomatoes for only 20p each, I decided to make more.
Then today I decided to make plate mince pie for tea. Now usually I'd just have defrosted the mince and used the whole pack in one pie, but today I fried off a chopped onion, two chopped leeks and a large grated carrot before adding the mince to brown it then adding water, a little gravy browning and some cornflour to make gravy. This enabled me to stretch the mince to make two pies instead of just the one. I baked one which we had with roast new potatoes, carrots and parsnip cooked in the oven at the same time as the pie and froze the second pie uncooked.
I also cooked two sausages in with the vegetables and then chopped them up and added them to a tin of beans which made a filling for pasties to use as packed lunches. These were baked at the same time as I baked a loaf of bread.
Doing things like this isn't a chore for me, I thoroughly enjoy it, with any luck my enforced need to change will ultimately give me the freedom to do more.