Tag Archives: inspiration

Teacher’s Pet – 31 days of writing prompts!

Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

Mrs Knight was my history teacher for four years, retiring halfway through my A-level. Gutted didn’t describe it – I idolised that woman. She was an older lady, whose eyeliner was as sharp as her mind. She gave me homework in Year 9 to read one newspaper or watch one BBC news broadcast a day, a homework that I still complete religiously.

She taught me history, but more important than facts or figures about World War Two or the Industrial Revolution is that she taught me to think critically about information that was presented to me as fact. She showed me how to link events that happened fifty years ago to current events and how to look at both sides of an argument. Although she kept her own political views strictly personal, she encouraged me to have opinions on national issues and taught us how to debate with those that disagreed with me. She was fiercely clever and demanded the best from me at all times, but had a great deal of empathy for when I struggled. She took us to Normandy to show us the D-Day landing beaches and the cemeteries of the soldiers there to help us develop a real sense of what happened there, and, incidentally, kick-started my fascination with medieval history by taking us around the Bayeux Tapestry.

She was funny, she was witty, she was scathing about those that deserved it and she taught me far more than the National Curriculum asked her to. I owe my degree to that woman – she made me love studying history.


She would have loved this cartoon. It sums up her lessons pretty well!

This tumblr meme passed me by

Apparently Tumblr went crazy over a short video of a dad and a son having a really cool time with a trombone and an oven door. I missed it completely, not understanding how Tumblr works and all.

That prompted fan artists to go a bit crazy and put their favourite pairings in a trombone/oven door cartoon, asking who would be playing the trombone and who would be slamming the hell out of an oven door. There’s a funny Scully/Mulder one – no prizes for guessing who gets to play the trombone in that pairing. All this, however, was completely unknown to me.

Then, thanks to Buzzfeed and a round up of funny Harry Potter Tumblr posts, I came upon this gem:

hermione trombone

A Tumblr poster asked what Hermione was doing on the train when Ron and Harry were flying to Hogwarts in The Chamber of Secrets. This was posted in response, by this Tumblr user.

Now, remember, I had completely missed all the fuss over the video of the dad and the son having a blast in the kitchen. I had no idea what this cartoon was referencing. Yet somehow, the idea that in the absence of her best friends Hermione would take the opportunity to let rip on her trombone, with Crookshanks backing her up on oven door, just made me laugh outrageously. Yes, I know, Crookshanks didn’t appear until The Prisoner of Azkaban, but I’m still laughing at his shades so I’m going to let it go.

I think the reason that I laughed so much – and still do, it’s my phone home screen – is that I just love the character of Hermione so much. She’s plunged, age 11, into a completely different world, a world unlike anything she’s ever known before, and she just throws herself into trying to understand it, and excel in it. She doesn’t let anything stop her or get in her way of being the best witch she can be, even when she’s ostracised by her classmates. That’s why she’s a Gryffindor – somebody else, from a Muggle family completely separate from the wizarding world, might be too overwhelmed to cope with all the changes you’d need to make to fit in with a whole new life. Not Hermione, though – she went at it warp speed. It takes bravery to reinvent your life like that.

So, that’s why I laugh when I see this silly cartoon, based on a sillier 15 second video, because I’m pretty sure that when life hands Hermione lemons, she breaks out her trombone and rocks out. Once again, Hermione is an inspiration. And she looks pretty damn good in a pair of sunglasses, too.

(Just in case you were wondering, I think Annabelle Spencer (now Duchess of Rothmuir) would definitely be the one rocking the trombone, while her husband Daniel banged the hell out of the oven door.)