2003: Trips to the coasts of UK and USA

Wednesday 12th February 2003

Left school at lunchtime for drive down to Newhaven. Arrived around 7. The drive down was pretty straightforward. I am staying in the Premier Inn which is like any other Premier Inn. Walked to the Hampden Arms for a beer and something to eat and then back to finish off notes for interview.

Plan for tomorrow

Drive to school for 7.30 Watch pupils and staff arrive from road outside.

Book in to school for 8.30.

The interview will probably be in the afternoon. The format is usually some form of interview with departments other staff and a tour in the morning with a formal interview in the afternoon. For this job they want to hold final interviews on Friday which often means they have a particular favourite in mind and they are stretching out the interview to allow that person to get to the interview either tomorrow or Friday

Will phone Fiona at lunchtime tomorrow if things are going well because obviously a move to Seaford / Newhaven is quite a change. I am one of 6 candidates, two are internal. The job is as a Deputy Head Teacher with responsibilities to be negotiated. The school is similar to Lealands in size and has data similar to it of three years ago. That means 1200 pupils in an urban environment with social issues that impinge on the results. It is underperforming but has a core goodwill in staff, students and the local area. The building is a total mess. It is in partial rebuild, the buildings are in very bad condition. The corridors open directly on to the building site of new terrapins and playing fields so everywhere is very scruffy and looks disorganised. My feeling is that the school will be after someone with experience of rebuilding schools and managing change. It will be important to stress the Denbigh school move, the Excellence in Cities Programme and setting up the centre and other innovations.

List of questions:-

  • Relationship of school to LEA and future building plans?
  • What does Head see as strength of school?
  • Inclusion policy of school and LEA?
  • Where have last three head of departments moved to and to what role?
  • Staff gender balance at SMT?

Tideway School in Newhaven is now the 700 pupil Seahaven Academy. It might have been the job that became my final teaching job and that thought terrifies me. It was pretty obvious, very early in the session, that there was absolutely no way that anyone outside of the local area would be appointed. I was a token interviewee, token teacher from North of London, token male in late forties, token person with experience in pastoral aspects of education. At lunchtime we were all asked if we would be willing to continue in the afternoon and that the final interview would indeed be on Friday morning. I was in the staff room with two other candidates and they both looked at me, shrugged their shoulders and left the room. We were down to four and I decided to make that number as three. The job, the post and interview just didn’t feel right. The people who had talked to us were as confused and directionless as we candidates were.  I met the other two who also left in the car park and they were happy to let me know the local knowledge on the school and the now missing internal candidate. I never asked for feedback for this job. I put it down to experience and drove home with the thought that I wouldn’t miss this place even if a job was offered.

I have just looked up the school on the internet. It had a serious fire in 2005 and consequently had a total new build, probably using PFI money in 2008. It became an academy in 2014.It is rated as a good school and I am genuinely glad that is so. Thinking again about the choice I made to not stay for the interviews I may very well have been just reflecting a deeper reluctance to make that change.

Fiona was quite happy with my decision. It would be good to get to the south coast but looking back she had other priorities that were far more important. She was in real and prolonged pain. 2003 was a year when her aches became far more serious than mere back pain. Her days of Chiropractic intervention were long gone. Sleep became virtually impossible as her pain “spread” from back to shoulders and legs. A cough that began in August when we returned from holiday went unhampered into autumn. She was diagnosed with COPD in October. In my opinion this was a misdiagnosis by a new G.P in a large general practice. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease was the buzz disease of 2003. Fiona came home from a short stay in hospital with the news ringing in her ears of untreatable condition, oxygen tanks and lifetime use of masks for breathing. She was off work for the rest of the year.

Fiona’s last Rovers game was the home match with Yeovil on early December.13th. Our last weekend away was to Penarth for the away game at Swansea on the 1st of November. Our final American holiday was to Portland. It was a brilliant few weeks away and we were extremely happy for the last time.

Fiona’s notes for the holiday were as follows:-

Thu 24th July

Portland via Houston Avis – Checkov – Quality Inn

Fri 25 July

Safeway – Jantzen mall- Circuit City – Waterfront Park – Beer Festival – Safeway – G+T on balcony – Steamers


Beer Festival?

Sat 26th July

(porridge) – Seaside Broadway – coc – Subway beach – Nutty Norris – Bench on Electrocution Boulevard –BW Ocean View – G + T on patio – Sal’s Pub – Coffee on patio

 Sun 27th July

Sand Dollar Café – breakfast – 10th Muse Bookshop – Internet – Ecola State park – Indian Beach – Loops Trail – Military Bunker non viewpoint – Beach bench – Safeway – G+T on patio – Sam’s Bar – Table Football – Unamusement arcade  Rubbers Cop

Mon 28th July

PO – Deli Coffee – Seafront in fog – Safeway – Doss on beach – Built Mem – Tea (1/2) from deli – Sit on front – L+G Salt Cairn – CG – Coffee on patio


The Mem in sand on the beach

Tue 29th July

Oceanside H on the top of t. H –  Longbottoms – Chillie Dog – beach – Thru tunnel and back – walk in fog – coffee – doss in room – Rosanna’s – walk on beach – Fog on balcony


When the fog cleared.

Wed 30th July

Corvallis – BW – Grand Manor – Fox and Firkin – Centre Park – Doss in room – pizza and baseball – Papa John’s


Thu 31st July

Bend – Red Lion – Safeway – High Desert museum – Safeway – G+T – beer – room – Deschutes pub – river walk

Fri 1st Aug

Subways – Lava Butte – Newberry Crater – Paulina Peak – EP Lake – picnic – WP lake resort – C+T – Paulina Falls – G+T / beers  motel – post cards – D bar – Drakes park fire

Sat 2nd Aug

R Safeway’s – Denny’s – washing – Sit by pool – Smith Rock walk – watch – climbers motel – on the rocks – car rally

Sun 3rd Aug

Cheerleaders – breakfast – Green Lake Trail – South Sister Motel – G+T – Cheerleaders – (Champagne ) pay Forward

Mon 4th Aug

Diamond Lake Resort – Doss – Boat – Doss – Wine by lake – DL Upstairs Restaurant – Daniel – lake Front

Tue 5th Aug

Breakfast – Crater Lake NP – Doss by lake – Shopping – booze by lake – (read in rain) Microwave tea!


Crater lake

Wed 6th Aug

Drive Roseburg – Ungua – Bandon – Harbour View motel – Walk to Cocquille Point – Beach – harbour – Old Town – G+T on balcony – Arcade tavern – Wheelhouse – Harbour


Happy on Bandon Beach

Thu 7th Sug

Face Rock etc – Subways – Bullard’s State park – beach, shower, G+T etc – Arcade tavern – Wheelhouse – Harbour


Bullard’s State Park

Fri 8th Aug

Bakery – Subways – Reedsport – Yachats – Dublin House Motel – Town Deli – smelt* Library – State park – bench –whale watching – G+T in room – Drift Inn – Headland – Little Log Church – and Museum.


Sat 9th Aug

Landmark – Breakfast – Library – Cape Perpetua – Deli – Tea – Headland – wine in room – Drift Inn – Bench – Graffitti! Scunthorpe 1 Rovers 2


We had to correct the racist anti tourist comments on the graffitti covered bench.

Ar least these tourists could spell “tourist”

Sun 10th Aug

Newport – Bayfront – Yaquinas State Park – Lighthouse – Nye Beach – Stephanie’s Deli – Read on bench – Wine in Room – Drift Inn – Headland

Mon 11th Aug

Breakfast – Landmark – Portland – Read by pool – Bitter End Pub – Safeways – Bank – 7.05 Baseball – Beavers 3 Nashville 8  Q Inn

Tue 12th Aug

Washington Park – Japanese Garden – Train to zoo and back – Rose garden – Avis – Packing R Pool- Steamers – Sit by pool – Q Inn

Wed 13th Aug

6.30 Portland – 3.50 Houston – 7.00 Gatwick – 9.45 Home – 11.30 Locksmith

On this day:-

1994       Brentford H 1-4

2000       Scunthorpe H 1-1

2002       Hartlepool H 0-1

2011       Leyton Orient A 1-4

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