Has it really been seven weeks since I last posted? I can only plead that I've been busy doing nothing, or at least busy preparing to do nothing, as, having been a teacher since 1980, I've decided to abandon my fond attempts to persuade my pupils to use capital letters or full stops, or possibly even both, and retire.
Recently (at the launch of Justin Thurgur's new album at the Vortex in Dalston, north London) I ran into an ex-colleague who retired about 15 years ago. He said that although he'd thoroughly enjoyed his career, he could quite happily have retired at 17, and, allowing for a little rhetorical exaggeration, I feel the same. After all, there are about 16,000 parish churches in England, and I've got an awfully long way to go before I've seen them all (let alone those in other countries).
When people have heard that I'm retiring, the question they most often ask is 'What are you going to do?' My stock answer has been, 'Wake up every morning and think: "Yes! No marking!"' (Another retired ex-colleague tells me that her answer to this question was 'Lie on the sofa for a year and read novels and eat chocolate.') I certainly won't miss the marking, or the meetings, or (angels and ministers of grace defend us) the reports. On the other hand, I will miss the students (especially those who have the good grace to laugh at my rubbish jokes), the teaching, and my colleagues. Nevertheless, I haven't got the energy I used to have, and 36 years (with a couple of caesuras) seems long enough. Time to make room for someone younger. At least I went out with a bang (if you have six minutes to spare you might find it amusing to watch this, in which my fellow English teachers send me off in style and a puff of smoke).
As far as Icknield Indagations is concerned, I hope that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. In the meantime, here's another ten random photos:
|1935 butterflies on 15th century rood screen, Earls Barton, Northants
|Somerset dragon, Bishop's Palace, Wells
|Sheep in Victorian stained glass, Barkway, Herts
|Pigeon holes in a Royal Mail railway carriage
|Wodwo, Aldbury, Herts
|Ashridge House, Herts
|Binham Priory, Norfolk
|Vicars' Close, Wells
* The computers at St Chris sport the logo RM, being supplied by a company called Research Machines. I apologise unreservedly for this gratuitous pun.