Sunday, 5 June 2011

Denied a village fete, matron of the shires composes a long blog post

So in my diary were these appointments with England.

That is: Stewkley Village Church Fete; Family Fun Day at Oxford's Museum of Musical Instruments (sure to turn into a vale of tears); Morris Dancing in Stony Stratford; and a grand time with the Royal Institution and their happy forensic science hands-on, Poking About in Cadavers.

Reader, we did none of them.

The children opted to stay at home all this weekend and mess up the garden. I would show you pictures of what they did, but it is raining and I can't be bothered. Suffice to say it involved squatting in mud, stabbing at the earth with screwdrivers even though they have been told not to, and sieving soily lumps through my broccoli colander, the one that I searched for all last week.

I am quite sad. Not about the loss of my colander. I have learned my lesson. Now I buy charity shabby chic and not pricey Philippy Starck. Not about the loss of my garden, either. That attachment went a long, long time ago. When the creatoids from Zelta Minor came to live on Planet Earth, and I watered my soil with tears. The next year my cherished garden gave me back brambles to bite my legs.

I am sad because of a different form of loss: all this England stuff is the stuff of my lesson making.

Yes, I know all this ye olde England country worship on this blog makes me sound like I am an insular small-minded crotchety old battle-axe, complete with wellies, tweed, Yardley, a shelf for a bosom yearning after the mythology of the shires, and ripe for the picking by UKIP.

That as it may. It is also the education that lures me.

For example, I maintain (recklessly) that Morris Dancing down your local High Street has the same stuff of living to teach us as Wagnerian Opera!

Well, okay, I won't push that, but what I mean is, I can get something from Morris dancing to tell the children; it is a creation of people, history, society and culture, just the same as Wagner or the village fete or the dread of the family fun day.

Give me Morris dancing and I can give the children a two-hour discussion on folk history. If I feed them chocolate ice cream, I can get onto philosophy and politics. If I shut them up long enough with promises of pasta pie, I can take on death, religion and art. See? I am already inspired enough to start the research.

But their decision means I must remain at home, lessonless, denied an opportunity to pontificate (hence the long blog posts). Instead, my students are lured by the magic of the soil, and stab at it with screwdrivers even though they have been told not to.

Do not tell them how I am sad at their choice. How secretly I have unfulfilled desires for which home education is merely a cover. That beneath the shelf of my tweeded bosom beats a heart yearning to poke my nose in England's local doings. I am here for such a short time! I must get on my wellies! If I cannot attend a village fete before the end of July they will be all done and dusted! And then what will happen? It will be the nightingale trauma, all over again.


Sugarplum Kawaii said...

Matron of the shires...Very 'Carry On' sounding. Excellent post as always. Love the image of the girls screw-drivers stabbing the garden!

Nora said...

You have been denied your Englishness for too long and must soon surrender it again. No wonder you want to wallow in it. The girls are too in the form of poking screwdrivers in the English soil. You'll never see them do that in Hong Kong.

MadameSmokinGun said...

Yardley! The smell of the white elephant stall at St Lawrence's Xmas bazaars of old...... And Tweed the perfume.... the smell of BO....

Sorry I'm back. Did you ever catch that programme that the Unthank sisters (more well-known as ...The Unthanks) made about folk dancing around England? It was shown on one of the BBC thingies - BBC3 or BBC4 - a while ago but you were probably in HK. Worth a Google.

I won't insult you by mentioning Cecil Sharpe House now shall I? I'm sure you've sniffed the insides many a time. I keep meaning to drag some children there but then remember that they hate folky stuff. I hate most of it actually. But underneath the graveyard weight of worthy nasal pomposity you can find real gems..... maybe use a screwdriver?

sharon said...

For an abundance of Morris Dancing (and quite a lot of other Olde English stuff) you need to attend the Dickens festival in Rochester Kent. If my memory serves me right, which is not a given at the moment, it is held over several days in May/June. I'm sure one of the springtime bank holidays features in it. We used to go every year when we lived in Kent. I think you would all enjoy it. Google it and maybe put it in the diary for next year ;-)