Tuesday, 12 July 2011

My Month Off

I was asked today what I was doing now I'm on my summer break. It's a tough one to answer, because I honestly haven't given it much thought. Since I left work on Friday I have been for Chinese twice, ordered pizza once, and cooked twice. I spent much of Saturday feeling very low and melancholy - a common affliction of teachers once the marathon of the teaching year is over. Now it seems everyone is off in the bits of the USA I love the most, and I won't be going there this year at all. I am really pining for the Mountain Timezone - you can help by sending care packages of good tequila, since the best I can get is José Cuervo Gold. And preferably lots and lots of margarita mix.

Yesterday I was able to get stuck in tidying up the garden. Poor old Jurassic Park has been very much neglected, as has its blog. But for most of the year, I guess the organisms that I've been pruning, deadheading, potting on, tying in, training and nourishing have been the eighty-odd students I've taught, which has been well worth it. Il faut cultiver notre jardin, indeed. And in between a gazillion loads of laundry, washing up, cleaning the flat and ignoring the Ironing Basket That Will Not Go Away, I squeezed in a visit from a former student.

Paul is at work until Friday, and then we have a month until I return to work. In the middle of this period, my little brother is getting married, which is all very exciting (and means Jabba gets to go on holiday to Uncle Matthew the V.E.T.). So what am I going to do with myself?

I have a shitload of DVDs to watch and books to read. This is Britain, so we will have plenty of rainy summer days, and to my great shame I have still not finished "Origin Of Species". Usually I have no problem at all with books written very formally. And I understand the concepts entirely, of course. But I get distracted by the floweriness of Darwin's prose. I know, bad biology teacher. When I do finish it, I have promised myself a little inky something, somewhere (exact location as yet undecided...):

I want to finish "The Greatest Show On Earth", which will be slightly easier going. Yes, Dawkins is evidently a misogynistic arse, but his books are still well written (I don't think anyone's been calling for a boycott, have they?). DVD-wise, I have at least a season and a half of "Teachers" to finish watching (scarily true to life), and I have been promised "Game Of Thrones" too, so now I can find out what all the damn fuss is about.

There's a garden design course I paid for, sitting in a magazine file waiting for me to give it some attention. I might get going with that at long last. I have at least three gardening magazines that I haven't read yet. I plan on spending several evenings at the cinema - "The Tree Of Life" looks beautiful, and of course there's "Captain America". "Cowboys & Zombies" and "Cowboys & Aliens" both look great fun. And add into the mix "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes", and that's every week taken up with at least one film - bonzer!

Other than that, I'm looking for a few day trips to areas of geological or ecological interest. So if anyone has any favourites, let me know. Anywhere with a good walk, a nice pub with great food, and some superb wildlife or geology to be seen (without needing to ask for access permission first, preferably) will be considered, and I'm on the look out for good field trip locations too (for which all of the above criteria apply, but crucially it should be topographically arranged such that only the teachers' mobile phones have reception). I'm especially interested to know how close I can get to the Stokenchurch Gap without trespassing on the motorway, because that stretch alone is why the M40 is my favourite road.

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