Your First Year in Teaching as told by Peep Show (Or how you’ve basically become Mark and Jez without realising it…)

Almost two years ago I wrote a blog post at the end of my Teacher Training, summing up the whole year in song titles (CLICK IT – YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!). I’ve been meaning to follow that up since I passed my NQT year last year and never got around to it, until today! I know that a lot of people outside of the UK might not resonate with me using Peep Show images but do you know what? I don’t care. I like Peep Show and I think it shares a lot of similar themes with your NQT year as a teacher.

 

This post is going to differ slightly to the last one by looking at only a few key moments throughout the year, but I swear that it hits all the key points! It also doesn’t only apply to my own experiences of completing my hellishly nightmarish NQT year (of which I have been less than kind on this blog already..) and instead will focus on a mildly more generic year… Although not too much as where’s the fun in me not complaining?

Guess we’d better get started!

The First Day

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Oh those first day nerves might well get the better of you and you end up standing awkwardly in the staff room during briefing as you haven’t figured out where to sit yet (trust me, it’s an important decision) but overall you’re happily optimistic. This year can’t be any harder than Teacher Training right? You know what you’re doing… You’ve got this… Right?

When you realize your tutor group don’t *quite* understand the “I’m here to help spiel…

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You’ve got your own tutor group! What a great chance to bond with the students and nurture and encourage a small group of pupils! You try to be as positive as possible with them, you let them know the rules and that they can come to you if they have any problems. Now, when you said that you were expecting it to be things like timetable crashes, lost kit or even some GCSE option decisions. What you didn’t expect was the endless tirade of tales they tell about each other. You can only hear so many renditions of “So and So took my pencil in maths” before your eyes start to glaze over and you hear yourself utter the phrase “I’ll have a word with them tomorrow”.

Still, as often as they can be irritating, your tutor group can also be amazing. Nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing a formerly naughty and underachieving student improving based on your mentoring. (Personally I love being a Form Tutor – it’s one of my favourite parts of the job!)

About 3 weeks into the second half term…

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Oh this one’s an easy one. You’ve made it past half term, you’ve had a week off and you miss the easy days of university (personally I had 8 hours a week in those golden days – now I can EASILY do 8 hour days and then some). You start to get a bit disenfranchised and pine for the 9-5 that your uni friends have going on. Oh what a world it would be where you didn’t work in the evening and at weekends…

Your first Christmas build up

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Here’s a warning for those people like me who absolutely LOVE Christmas. Not everyone does. Most schools don’t really do a large amount for Christmas, and of course since you’re a grown up, you have to be sensible and keep churning out the usual lessons for your students, no matter how much you might want to watch Elf for all 6 periods of your day! Being responsible sucks sometimes.

The Marking. The Horror.

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This one is very much self explanatory. IT’s a repetitive task but you’ve gotta do it. Keep on going!

When the dark days take their toll on your eating habits…

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It’s after the Christmas break, you’ve already abandoned your new years resolutions and you’ve caught yourself buying endless amounts of Uncle Ben’s Rice Time pots instead of making your own meals from scratch. It’s been three weeks since you even contemplated eating a fresh piece of fruit. It’s a sad reality of teaching that if you don’t work hard to keep yourself healthy and eating right it can slip easily and once it does its a downhill slide to rock bottom. You realize there’s only so many Rustlers Microwave Burgers you can eat before you start to feel repulsed by yourself… You resolve to make some changes that probably won’t ever happen but it’s comforting to lie to yourself…

6 Little Letters – OFSTED

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It’s probably your first time facing the onslaught that is Ofsted. Everyone goes into panic stations and the school stays open later so you can get your lessons plans sorted. You spend longer planning a single lesson than you ever have and make sure you’ve got all the buzzwords in there! Just don’t let that panic show on the day! Remember Han Solo “Don’t get cocky Kid”.

When it all gets a bit overwhelming and yet you still lie to everyone that you’re fine.

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Hopefully this won’t be you, but it certainly was me and my friend Rachael. We lied to ourselves, to each other and to our mentors. We were fine and didn’t need any help. Honestly. I’m fine. I’ve always had bags under my eyes. No, seriously. I am getting enough sleep. I’m fine. I promise…

When you finally admit there might have been a problem…

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At least you’ve finally admitted it! You can get this sorted now you’re being honest. It’s a big change to overhaul everything and get back on track but you can do this! You’ve been through worse. You survived the placement school. You’ve got this far dammit! You can do this. Although there’s still that niggling feeling that it’s all going to go horribly wrong. Better push that aside for now…

When your friends ask you how your life is going

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Its been so long since you’ve been on a date that you start to worry they might have changed all the rules and you’ll never adapt. Before you came out tonight it took you a good 20 minutes to find a shirt that WASN’T a work shirt. You’ve not had to look presentable for the outside world in a good few months. These normal people just love to rub their free time in your face. Still, it’s nice to know that despite your massive workaholic tendencies you still have a group of friends ready to stick by you, even though they dont’t quite get why being in the pub until closing on a  Tuesday is a bad idea…

When you just start to sink into the routine

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Oh all those worries and insecurities have become routine by now. There’s no need to worry about them because you’ve got so good at multitasking you can eat your breakfast, reply to emails and brush your hair all at the same time. You’re like a highly skilled octopus which can live on land. You take whatever comes your way in your stride. It’s all just another day at the office for you.

When you *FINALLY* embrace your inner wierdo

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It’s about time you stopped worrying what everyone else thought. Let your Freak Flag fly as they say! You’ll notice your teaching gets better and your students respect you a bit more when you put a bit more personality into your lessons and stop being so rigidly by the book. Good on you!

The final push of NQT year

A little bit of you has died inside. You’re very much a different person. This year has changed you. You’ve been to hell and back and dammit all if you didn’t survive. You feel more confident. You finally know what you’re doing. You can go into the summer holidays happy that come September you won’t have the same freak out you did this year. It was tough, but it was worth it! No more evidence folders! That’s got to be worth the hassle alone…

 

Well there you have it! Some key NQT moments summed up with Peep Show Quotes.

Obviously I must point out that a few of these moments, whilst startling similar to real life events that many newly qualified teachers go through, have in fact been slightly exaggerated for comedic purposes. It’s a great job, Teaching. I don’t think I’d trade it in for the world, despite the ups and downs!

Maybe there’s a part 3 coming soon. Maybe not. I think I need to spend a bit more time experiencing it before I try to make light of it all!

Until next time teachers!

Did Game of Thrones Stop Doing That?

“That’s what I do. I drink and I know things” – Tyrion Lannister

A year ago I posted my latest entry in the “Stop Doing That” series where I rant and nitpick about various things in society, the only difference with this post was that I did it purely about the HBO programme Game of Thrones. Well a year has passed and it’s time to see how well Game of Thrones has done at listening to my complaints, because obviously the people in charge read this thing, right? Let’s go STOP by STOP…

THIS BLOG POST MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR THE BOOKS AND TV SHOWS and also a bit of bad language but honestly, if you’ve read or watched the series you’ll be completely desensitized to it and if you haven’t then this probably isn’t the best place to start or you clicked on this by mistake…

STOP: Giving Sansa Stark so much screentime

Okay, they didn’t do this. HOWEVER, they have made a massive adjustment to her story line to stop her being the boring, one dimensional cardboard cutout of a character and she’s actually doing things (I mean seriously check out next weeks teaser). Having her reunite with Jon Snow was an excellent move and a bold change from the books in bringing Brienne into her story line, but I think it will pay off. I no longer want to fast forward through her parts of the show. Good work.

STOP: Rushing through important plotlines but stalling the boring ones

The Dornish plot was awful. It didn’t get better. Tyrion and Jorah have been rushed and I don’t think we’ve had a satisfactory episode for either of them so far (I live in hope, though I think Jorah is off on his spirit quest to find the greyscale cure for the rest of the season). Thankfully, Petyr Baelish has been reduced to a minor role this season – good. I was growing tired of his creepy little beard.

Also, we are set for a return to some of the skipped plot lines such as the siege of Riverrun. I’m very happy about this as it means more Blackfish and rights this next problem…

STOP: Making Jaime Lannister an afterthought

Jaime has been in the recent episodes of season 6 but it hasn’t exactly been his best season. Thankfully, all that looks set to change when he gets to Riverrun next week and go toe to toe with the Blackfish!

STOP: Letting characters disappear vaguely for large spells of time

Osha came back. Then died. Yara came back and is set to inherit some of Victarions book plot. I’m alright with this, especially since they’ve reunited her and Theon. Varys is even back, though in a slightly less than jazzy plot line, but beggars can’t be choosers.

I’m still holding out hope for Gendry though…

STOP: Forgetting about the direwolves

I take it back, just stop killing them. Please.

STOP: Cramming House words into it the episodes for the sake of it

Yep, this has been done and the show is better for it!

STOP: Toning down the swearing

Slightly, maybe. I don’t really know but if The Hound comes back, so will his foul mouth (hopefully).

 

So there we go, all in all not a bad improvement. I once said that Season 5 is the series you could skip in a Netflix marathon and with the exception of a few episodes I stand by that belief This season? Much better. Well done Game of Thrones. Well done.

Things Madrid Loves and Hates

I’m on holiday in Madrid right now, if you hadn’t guessed by the title of this post. It’s a pretty cool city, lots to do, lovely people, a nice atmosphere. I’d definitely come back again for another visit in the future.

If you know me at all (or you’re die hard into this blog, clearly even more than I am since I don’t post for a year at a time, and you remember the Roaming Rome posts) you’ll know that I like to go for short city breaks in the holidays between my actually pretty okay as far as jobs gosuper stressful secondary teaching job. With that in mind, and the fact that I might as well write a new blog post at some point and why not now here is a brief list of the things that Madrid, as a city in General, Loves and Hates.

Please note that this list is purely observational based on the things I’ve seen and witnessed in three days in the city. It is by no means an actual representation of Spain’s capital city.

Madrid loves: Ham

This city is obsessed with Ham. Literally. There are shops filled with only ham products. There’s a museum of ham. It’s everywhere. You can’t escape. Now, I knew that the Spanish diet had a lot of pig based products in it being an avid lover of chorizo, but even for me to have shop front after shop front proclaiming your love for ham (or jamon as they call it) is a bit much. Still, it makes Madrid a charming and weird and wonderful city even if it is a kosher mans nightmare

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Madrid Hates: Wheelchairs

Very few of the tourist attractions in Madrid that I’ve visited have wheelchair ramps and even fewer of the shops do! Some places have lifts and are accessible, but if you want to go up the tower in the Bernebau stadium, you’re fresh out of luck!

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Madrid Loves: Talking rapid Spanish to people who clearly have no idea what’s going on.

This is a slightly more personal one. There have been many times already on this trip where I am met with a barrage of Spanish from locals and tourist guides alike, even after I’ve asked a question in a different language. I love that different cities I go to have different languages and would never criticise someone for speaking their native tongue in their own country yes you would, you’re doing it right now you useless old sod but if I’ve asked if you speak English, please don’t reel off what sounds like half a Spanish dictionary and expect me to reply with more than “que?”

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Madrid Hates: Saying “excuse me”

Right, this isn’t just a thing for Madrid, it’s happened in almost every European city I’ve been to (Paris was the worst by far, but my lack of feeling for that city is another post for another time.) people will not say excuse me if you’re in their way. They refuse to. I know full well it’s in your language because it tells me in my guidebook how to say it so stop pretending these words don’t exist (for reference, it’s “perdon” in Spanish, just in case you were wondering). Instead of uttering this simple word/phrase, people will walk inordinately close to you in order to squeeze past in the tiniest nanometre of space that appears, or worse yet they hiss at you. I am not a stray cat taking a steaming hot dump on your lawn, please don’t hiss at me like one. I’m just trying to experience your city!

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Madrid Loves: Football
It’s everywhere in the city. The Real Madrid kit is in every tourist shop. Players loom over you from billboards and advertising hoardings and you just can’t get away from it. You can even tour the stadium for the princely sum of 19 euros (well worth the trip actually!) and have your picture taken in the grounds and green screened in with a current member of the team. Lots of fun and lots and lots of history there! It was a great part of my day today!

Madrid Hates: Cheap Hotels

They just don’t. You either get a proper hotel for the price of both arms, both legs, your first born son and thirty camels or you have to stay in a “Hostal” where you then have to also cater for every meal. I’m staying in a Hostal and it’s actually pretty nice, if a little spartan. There’s a kettle thou but it only has devils tea green tea so bring your own or find a shop!

Madrid Loves: Bears

The symbol of Madrid is a bear eating fruit from a tree. They have a statue of said bear in the main central plaza. They have this bear on almost every postcard, manhole cover, bus, wall plaque, you name it, they’ve probably got a bear on it. With all this in mind you, like I, may be thinking that there must be a fantastic story to go along with this bear and fruit tree iconography. That maybe the city was founded and one day a hungry old bear meandered into town looking for something to eat, saw the fruit trees in the then symbol-less village of Madrid and decided to chow down on some tasty tasty fruit. Nope. There’s no story behind it. They just really like bears (who doesn’t to be honest) and there used to be a lot of bears around Madrid in the past. As for the tree, there’s literally no reason for it. No-one really knows why it’s there, they only know that it’s there (sort of like why U2 are still a thing that’s happening, or why Bob Geldof is famous still). Not even Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge, is sure. There’s a bit about how animal feed was passed on to the ownership of the clergy and as celebration they added the fruit tree but that’s as close as Wikipedia gets. Trust me. I checked.

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That’s all from this post. I think we got through that quite painlessly. I might be back again with another post but who really knows at this point. I’ve said that before and not followed through with it. Maybe I’ll see you again sometime… Maybe not. Probably though. Ish.

Post credits scene! Yes! Just like in all the Marvel Movies!

Madrid also loves DC. The comics. More on that soon…

Stop Doing That… Game Of Thrones Edition!

It’s not easy being drunk all the time. If it were easy, everyone would do it” – Tyrion Lannister

Oh yes, that’s right the ever ranting Stop Doing That series returns, this time with a Game Of Thrones special edition!

We are now nearing the end of Series 5 of the hit show, so if you haven’t heard of it yet it’s time to crawl out from under the gigantic rock you’ve been living beneath and step blinking into the sun (yes, it’s the ciiiiiiiiircle of life).  Before we start, I’d like to make everybody aware of something:

THIS BLOG POST MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR THE BOOKS AND TV SHOWS and also a bit of bad language but honestly, if you’ve read or watched the series you’ll be completely desensitized to it and if you haven’t then this probably isn’t the best place to start or you clicked on this by mistake…

Now that’s out of the way, lets take a trip to Westeros and find out what we need to stop doing!

STOP: Giving Sansa Stark so much screentime

Her book plot happens to be one of the most tedious things I’ve ever read (and I’ve read two out of three 50 Shades books: Part 1 and Part 2) and to be honest the changes they’ve made to the storyline for the TV show are just not quite enough to make it as interesting as the rest of the show. Fair play to Sophie Turner for doing her best with what is quite frankly a weak and underdeveloped character that most of the time feels like padding to make sure there are some female leads in the story but if we need that, can’t we just have some more Brienne? Or even even bring back Osha the Wilding or Yara Greyjoy (remember them?).

STOP: Rushing through important plotlines but stalling the boring ones

Keeping on the theme of dull stories being told, why are we giving so much time to the unnecessary story lines this season? Petyr Baelish continues to be one of the most despised and creepy characters I’ve ever had the misfortune to watch and yet we’ve seen some of his story in almost every episode. It’s just not needed, let’s skip ahead to the good bits. Similarly, how quickly do they want to move along the Tyrion and Jorah storyline?!. Last week they were captured by slavers and this week we’re suddenly in the fighting pits of Mereen. I feel like we’ve missed a bit. Don’t even get me started on the Dornish plot line either…

STOP: Making Jaime Lannister an afterthought

Not much has happened to Jaime since he lost his hand. He should be the Head of the Kingsguard if his book counterpart is anything to go by and we should be seeing him in Kings Landing, dealing with the ramifications of his clumsy new hand before going off to Riverrun to deal with the last remnants of the Tully resistance. Unfortunately we seem to have forgotten there’s not long been a war and the Tullys are all but a puff of cloud on a clear blue sky so they’ve shoehorned Jaime and even Bronn into the Dornish plot line; seemingly just to give them something to do. I’m not complaining about the chance to get more Bronn (he should be in every storyline possible) but let’s take a pause and give Jaime Lannister the respect he deserves because at the heart of it, he is quite an interesting character to follow.

STOP: Letting characters disappear vaguely for large spells of time

Remember Osha? Yara? Gendry?

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Probably, but the memories of them will be hazy. All three of these characters were introduced to us, made out to be important and then suddenly they’ve been relegated to the lower leagues of GoT characters. Probably to make more room for Sansa plotlines (I can’t bash Bran this year since we mercifully get a break from his storyline). Even Varys appears to have disappeared without a trace since that fateful brothel trip in Volantis, though I’m sure a fan favourite like him will be back before long (the series has suffered without his dry wit and sarcasm). At least the actor who plays Gendry has a good sense of humour about his continued absence.

STOP: Forgetting about the direwolves

Seriously, you spend your CGI budget for the season on dragons and stone men and yes that’s fairly interesting but let’s not forget we still have Ghost the direwolf and so far we’ve only seen him in a single tiny scene! Step it up.

STOP: Cramming House words into it the episodes for the sake of it

After an entire episode titled after the words of House Martell we have yet again been told that Winter is coming. I know most of the Starks are dead an Winter is indeed on its way to Westeros but can we at least give some love to the other ouse words. Have we had House Lannister’s said recently? House Baratheon?  Didn’t think so…

STOP: Toning down the swearing

Is it just me or have we had far less swearing since the last few seasons? GoT used to be pure filth streaming from the mouths of characters that would turn the air blue. This season, we’ve had a bit of swearing but sadly it seems like the loss of The Hound has meant the loss of a large portion of the swearing. Who could forget his greatest scene ever, complete with all the swearing!

So there we have it. A few things we need to stop doing in the world of Game of Thrones.

And just remember, you either win or you die…

A Cinnamon Danish and an Oddly Seductive Picture of George Osborne

There are things in life that we may not necessarily like. If this (and the really rather strange title) seems like a strange way to start a blog post, bear with me and it should all be a little clearer soon.

As I said there are things in life we don’t like but regardless of personal feelings we have to do them. For me, one of these things is going to London. I can’t stand it. Nevertheless at 7:15 I was entrenched upon the local station platform surrounded by an ocean of commuters, some dressed rather scruffily for work in my opinion whilst others (myself included) were dressed to the nines. There was a rather sombre mood permeating the atmosphere, not only owed to the pregnant pause between the weather waiting to rain and actually raining. No, as if to add to the drudgery of my days task the train was delayed. Combining the shambolic attempts of a certain UK rail provider (who shall remain nameless but whose name does indeed rhyme with the phrase “Burst Eight, Heston!” You make your own deductions from there)  to organise a train on time for once, my general disdain of the general public and the fact that I was on my way to the urine soaked, antisocial hub of wretched debauchery and assorted unsavoury miscreants shining jewel of civilisation and prosperity that Is our capital, it was safe to say I wasn’t in a brilliant mood.

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The trains had been delayed for so long that people abandoned all hope of going home and set up camps on the platform

Soldiering on like the trooper I am I suffered through a rail journey (once the train arrived of course) spent entirely stood up for an hour whilst penned in shoulder to face with my fellow cattle passengers. I eventually emerged at London Paddington and with surprisingly little fuss I was on an underground train and arrived at my final stop before a short walk to the secondary school that was to be my final destination for the day.

Just before moving on I’d like to briefly mention that for all the fuss made about how fantastically amazing and modern and culturally advanced London is I could not, for love nor money, find anywhere to buy a coffee that wasn’t out of the back of a gentleman’s Peugeot106 (and I use the word gentleman very loosely). Whilst I do love coffee I prefer mine not to be purchased in a car boot sale style, only being one small step away from swapping a manilla envelope of cash for a brown paper bag hidden cup of java underneath an underpass. If this is what being modern and culturally advanced is, I’ll stick to the dark ages thanks.

Skipping ahead my mornings plight was rewarded at registration for the event (which was a meeting of network connected geography teachers as I know you were clearly wondering) with a large cup of steaming hot coffee and a gigantic cinnamon Danish (ooh mystery 1 solved) it almost made up for the events of the morning. Almost.

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The event itself was actually quite interesting, sharing good practice ideas over pastries (a practice which needs to be adopted as the sole way to do this in any situation) before having some interesting talks from members of the Royal Geographic Society on the changes made to GCSE and A Level geography in the UK.  All in all a useful and thought provoking few hours which I’m very glad I got the chance to listen to. The real treat however was still to come.

Post comfort break (as teachers we can’t be expected to sit still for more than two hours without moving around or else we begin to act like our students during after lunch lessons) we were treated to a bit of subject knowledge enhancement on the topic of Hydraulic Fracking (which was fracking interesting if you ask me). It was during the lecture that the aforementioned picture emerged. When discussing the pros and cons of the process as a viable source for meeting UK energy needs in the near future an oddly seductive picture of George Osborne became emblazoned on the SMART BOARD to highlight the fact his views are that we should push on with fracking despite the impacts that this may have and use hydraulic Fracking as a transition or “bridge fuel” between the current over reliance upon fossil fuels and sustainable alternatives. To use the really rather brilliant metaphor that the teacher leading the Hub shared with us, Fracking can be seen as the methadone to the heroin addict, a way to wean us off an unhealthy and unsustainable addiction to fossil fuel.

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All in all the experience of working collaboratively with other teachers in the network, some of whom have been teaching for years, some like myself at the beginning of their careers and some at the very start of it all doing their training year also known as the worst year of your life and a surefire method of driving you to alcoholism in order to survive was incredibly positive and it was great to get view points from different perspectives and to, as the horrifically irritating man stuck in my group much to my chagrin (well it was going too well for him not to be) kept saying, see concepts through a different lens. I’m not sure if he was an idiot. No, actually I’m positive about that point a secret lover of photography and ophthalmology or just a man utterly in love with metaphors but if his point was to leave a lasting impression of the complexity with which we should examine  global issues as opposed to the simplistic, singular point of view that we often take then he most definitely succeeded in changing my thinking.

Even if it is only until I get back in the classroom tomorrow…

The Odd Couples – Bromance in TV

Of the many portmanteau words that have sprung up in our vocabularies over the past few years there is one that I have seen reflected in popular media more than others. I speak of course about “bromance”.

Bromance, as described by UrbanDictionary.com is “A non-sexual relationship between two men that are unusually close.” Put simply, bromance is the level that comes above best friends for two guys. These guys are often so close that they can and usually are jokingly referred to as a couple, even though the relationship is completely non-romantic.

The popularity of bromances, and the dynamics created as a result of them, have become a staple of popular culture, so much so that there can usually be an example of a bromance visible in most TV’s or Movies nowadays. In honour of the sacred bond of the Bromance, because most guys have had one at least once, I’m going to share with you some of my favourite TV Bromances, starting with a few “honourable mentions” before getting into my choice of the Top 5!

Honourable Mentions:

Brian and Stewie – Family Guy
Nick and Schmidt – New Girl
Ryan and Esposito – Castle

5. Brett and Jemaine – Flight of the Conchords

Starting off as flatmates, these two then formed a comedy band and have become a bit of a smash hit with radio shows and a television series centered around them. Best of friends, they even sing a song about being friends!

Bromance in action: Singing this song!

4. Bert and Ernie – Sesame Street

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Probably one of the earliest bromances many of us would have encountered, Bert and Ernie are flatmates that are also the best of friends. Whilst many people have voiced the opinion that these two are a couple, I don’t buy it. It’s a clear bromance.

Bromance in action: “Would you like me…”

3. Troy and Abed – Community

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Troy and Abed are the best of best friends. They do everything together. They like to play make believe, build pillow forts, have wacky adventures and they even host a morning show together! I’ll admit that the top 3 is the hardest to separate, but Troy and Abed made it to number 3 because they’ve got their own secret handshake, like all bromances should!

Bromance in Action: Any of this video, but specifically this “Star Wars” rip off…

2. Joey and Chandler – FRIENDS

They had to be in here somewhere didn’t they! FRIENDS is undoubtedly one of the biggest (and best, in my opinion) sitcoms that there is out there and most of the laughs come from the amazing chemistry between these two best buds! They lived together, they fell out, they bought a chick and a duck, they even have matching “Best Bud” bracelets! How more bromantic can you get?

Bromance in action: This farewell to living together

1. Turk and J.D. – Scrubs

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Chocolate Bear and Vanilla Bear. Is there any competition to their bromance? I don’t think that there is, if I’m honest. These two are inseperable, and their touchy-feely bromance relationship together has been the core of the sitcom right from the start, despite being the butt of many jokes. It’s often joked that these two love each other more than their respective girlfriends/wives, and rightly so. They’ve been through it all! college, med school, first jobs, they’ve always been together. The finale is particularly sad for this reason…

Bromance in action: Could it be anything other than this?

Oh, and as a bonus, The actors are best friends in real life! Here’s the birthday present Zach bought Donald:

Plus, they recorded a Christmas song together: Baby, it’s cold outside

There we go! A brief exploration into TV bromances! If you have any other bromances that you think deserve some love then post a comment and let me know!

Next time, we’ll investigate the best bromances in cinema, rather than TV shows!

My Running Story

I’m a runner.

There, I said it. I’m a runner and I have been for just over a year now. Back in my not very distant at all past, I hated running and would do anything I could to avoid it. I mean, I was active and enjoyed sport but just not running. It was boring, repetitive and I just didn’t enjoy it in the slightest. With that in mind, I did once enter a 5km fun run when I was 17, which involved dressing as Santa Claus. Whilst nowadays 5km isn’t very far to me it was back then and I found myself hating almost every minute of it. Needless to say, I didn’t run for about 3 years after that, barring the occasional jog along the seafront.

So how did that change? Well, in part it was down to parkrun. Yes, if you know me at all, or you follow me on Twitter it’s that thing that I always seem to be talking about. The free, weekly, timed 5km run every Saturday morning was a great motivator that made me keep turning up, week after week and soon enough I was hooked. It’s been over a year since I became a ‘proper’ runner and started to put my trainers to pavement regularly, but how did it all begin? Why did I start parkrunning? What made me go up to Greenham Common on that fateful Saturday morning? Well…

It was a girl. Yep, cliched as hell, but that’s right. I started running to impress a girl. After talking for a while, the girl in question had stated on many occasions that I should start parkrun and on many occasions I hadn’t been bothered to turn up… Until she said she knew I wouldn’t. Now if there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s people telling me that I won’t do something so I laced up my trainers at 8:25 on Saturday 9th June 2012 and made it to the start line with enough time for a quick warm up. Oh jeez, this was going to hurt, wasn’t it? After not running for the best part of 4 years I was about to embark on a 5km jog. Eep.

Shockingly, and against all of my prior expectations, it wasn’t that bad. I was slower than I wanted to be, but faster Thani realistically expected and managed to cross the finish line of my first ever parkrun in a time of 27:27. Not too bad. I decided I might keep this up for a while, do the occasional Saturday but sure enough the bug was in me by this point and I have managed to keep it up, week upon week for what will now be the 50th parkrun in my tally in a little over a year. Not bad…

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Yep, that was me at my first ever parkrun.

So when it came time to leave home again and return to uni, I had managed to find a parkrun fairly near to Portsmouth and decided to keep up this running lark. I even managed to convince my housemates that they should come with me. Of course the idea of getting up to go running at 9am on Saturday was met with more resistance than that of a particularly demonic dictatorship some resistance, they turned up and in time have warmed to the parkrun lifestyle. Kind of. Well, most of them. Sometimes.

At first, Havant parkrun was strange, it wasn’t what I had gotten used to over the summer. Needless to say, that all changed once we started integrating into the group and in time it has come to be more of a family to me than a group of runners. The people there are fantastic and I’ve made some amazing friends in my time running with them. Havant parkrun also saw the creation of my running club, Tea Time Terrace, the origin of which will be explored a little later in another post. The Terrace has been a big motivator and has made the while thing more fun, combined with becoming surrogate members of the Cake Club, a group of runners that enjoy baking too (I know, it sounds like I was made for this club!). All in all, it’s been a fantastic 9 months at Havant and I’m excited to be back there come September for another 9 months at the very least (albeit without The Terrace, but hopefully I’ll manage ;p).

With summer coming back around, I’m about to start back at Newbury for the holiday stint, trying to bring my course PB down from its current state of 22:17 and enjoying myself. A lot has changed since I started – I have proper running shoes now! Ive even done a few longer distance runs, with a 10k and a half marathon under my belt and plans to do a lot more in the future. I’m sure a lot will continue to change as I keep running and I hope you stick with me through it all! Maybe you’ll even start a running journey of your own! If you have any stories to share, please do! Either pop your tale in the comments or better yet, START A BLOG and share it there! 😀

Oh, one more thing. I’m no longer staring things to impress a girl anymore. I guess I’ve finally grown up 😉

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(Well, only a little bit!)