Nothing like belting it out emotionally on a Monday Morning, so here’s James Morrison with Undiscovered, one of my favourite tracks off his first album.
This takes me back to another marking season, shut away in a hotel in Sheffield for three weeks in the tail-end of the KS3 papers. Unlike the GCSE marking reviews, this was a joyless affair (though they did bring us lollies on one very hot day) and you had a target to meet every day. They would ensure that you were working hard enough and fast enough and no slacking. You also had to have your marking verified every hour by a dimple – a DMPL, or Deputy Programme Marking Leader – and if you failed, that was it. You were sent home without even being able to say goodbye to your friends.
Despite the joylessness of it – and I was marking GCSEs in my room at night – there were a few nicer moments. I’d fallen in love with my ipod at this point and we were allowed (!) to listen to music if it wasn’t a distraction or disturbance. Heaven forbid we actually talked to anyone else in the room. I listened to Undiscovered on repeat with the Guillemots’ first album and so it is that another beautiful album got me through some of the doom and gloom. I went from here to marking review for GCSE and whilst I earned an extra big pay packet, I lost my summer completely. Bah.
The summer after, by the way, was the summer of Bon Iver. It’s funny how you associate albums or bands with periods in your life. Californication was Clitheroe on long drives in the morning. The Bravery were a manic 2005 and will always be the soundtrack for my Honda. Life of Agony were my soundtrack to Morocco, along with 36 Crazyfists. I’m not sure I have a soundtrack here yet, on account of the bizarre radio programming and the fact that I haven’t really bought any new music for such a long time. I miss my friend Byron for that – he was a fellow marker for the KS3 paper and he would always give me a heads-up on the next great thing. He always came up trumps. Maybe I should email him and ask him for his playlist?
So, on this Much Love Monday, here’s to the people who inspire me, be they friends or virtual buddies. Here’s to the influencers who stop you having to sort stuff out for yourself and tell you what to like or what to use. I love those bloggers and journalists who are a shortcut to the good stuff. I love that they reliably give me dependable and satisfying stuff without ever falling for the latest Emperor’s New Clothes trick. If they say ‘this is good’, then you know automatically it is something that you will enjoy yourself. No pretensions. No populist pseudo-cool. No dodgy recommendations that make you lose faith in their ability to tune you in to the good stuff. Some people are born to lead and that makes it nice for people like me who are born to be lazy and would rather hear from others what they recommend. Then I can just say ‘yeah. What he said’ or ‘yeah. What she said.’ and not have to have an opinion of my own.
That’s good. Believe me. I have too many opinions as it is.
Much Love for the weather report which has little suns on it. It might only say 22° but as Météo France kindly reminds me, in Cognac in 1975, it was 3°. That’s not even funny.
Much Love for sweet, young broad beans. Much Love for peas. Much Love for runner beans and all their sunshine flowers. Much Love for beans in all their forms. Next year, my garden is going to be ALL beans and peas. ALL of it.
Much Love to WordPress for updating their dashboard in a way that was unharmful, inoffensive, and – nay, dare I say it? – actually useful. I can’t remember the last time something changed and I didn’t grumble. Windows Huit. Grrrrr. Hotmail. Grrrrr. WordPress. Yayyy! If anything, it’s a little big. Maybe it’s for partially-sighted people.
Much Love for the approaching end of term. I’m weary. I was in bed at 9.15 on Saturday night. That’s really terrible, I know. I was working, but nevertheless, it’s summer and I should have been sitting outside. Many are the nights when I’ve been waiting for the chickens to go to bed.
Much Love too to the chickens who seem to have recovered. Last week, they were all cyanotic. One had had purple, swollen wattle a couple of months ago, but they soon returned to normal. However, last week, all four were varying degrees of purple about the face – not their wattle or combs (I love that word ‘wattle’. Blame Richard Fish in Ally McBeal) but they have all recovered. I couldn’t find any one distinguishable chicken ailment, and even if I did, I’m not sure what I would do. However, and feel free to laugh, I think it was sunburn from the very hot Friday we had. Seriously. I mean, these chickens are DUMB and even though there’s lots of water and shade, they never use it. If it rains, they get wet through, even though there are plenty of dry spots to stay under. My old chickens didn’t get wet like that, unless it was by accident. Next time it’s hot, I might put suntan cream on them.
It does raise the question, however, about how I will cope if they get sickly and die. My heroine Mavis, oh she of 100$ a Month, had her dog accidentally dig up a dead, buried chicken. I could see the same happening here. They do seem much safer now I’ve moved them to the inner courtyard and they’re not in the little chicken pen. It must be much safer. It is, after all, the Chicken Hilton. Like the Bangkok Hilton. That kind of Hilton. Not Paris Hilton type of Hilton.
Anyway, enjoy your Monday. It’s marking and teaching and maybe stints in the garden for me if the sun comes out.