To misquote the late, great George Michael ‘Last Christmas I gave you my recipe for scented firelighters’ and, frankly not a lot since then. This blog, along with the taming of my overgrown allotment and baking has been one of the casualties of my return (virtually full-time) to the classroom. And before you ask, no I don’t regret it but yes, I do wish that there were more hours in the day.
Any teacher will tell you that when the school holidays arrive they are virtually on their knees and their own children may well have forgotten what they look like. School holidays are essential times for getting to bed at a reasonable time, heading out for a large dose of fresh air, baking, giving the house a thorough clean, ticking a few things off the seasonal jobs list and sitting leisurely at the kitchen table drinking coffee and catching up with own children, your husband and your non-teaching friends. Oh – and preparing your lessons for next half term, obviously.
It has been a packed year so far beginning with selling the parents’ house ten years after my mother’s death and bringing to an end a decade of family holidays in Pembrokeshire. The main highlights are…….
snatching an hour to explore local gardens
finally making it to the Scilly Isles
playing the Nurse in ‘Romeo and Juliet’
memories of a Cornish family holiday
I rediscovered my passion for teaching English literature and milestones have been reached by the children – eldest starting his A levels and driving lessons; middlest heading towards GCSEs this summer and about to start his amateur football league refereeing career; youngest now playing Rugby for Wiltshire and Dorset Under 15s girls along with lots of trips for all three to Holt to ring church bells, visit friends and play netball. Why did we ever leave that village?
Meanwhile the allotment was set aside for a year disappointing the badger. A few cutting flowers, pumpkins, leeks, runner beans, soft fruit and rhubarb was all I had time for but, with the help of my mate Tim and his expertise at chainsaw gardening the council and golf course hedges have been ‘tamed’. I have a box of Peter Nyssen bulbs to plant over the next few weeks but have finally got the biennials I sowed in August in the ground. One batch of rhubarb and ginger chutney is stashed away in the pantry and the Christmas cake fruit is soaking up a liberal amount of rum. I might even finish another batch of chutney before heading back to school to enlighten teenagers about Steinbeck, Shakespeare, Dickens, Priestley and the use of the gerundive in Book IV of the Cambridge Latin course. And a stroll around Stourhead in the October sunshine is also on the To Do list.
If I manage to do more than fly by the seat of my pants there will be another installment before too long.
Crunchy autumn leaves – perfect for kicking up your heels