No more yakking. No more work-related emails. No more interruptions and requests and no more yakking.No more jabbering. That's how a typical teacher's summer vacation might be described. Mine has extended into the autumn. I am becoming accustomed to the rhythm of the days, to having the licence to define my own waking hours - make them busy or lazy, depending on how I feel. Two mugs of tea in the morning remains a delightful luxury.
Shirley has a great job as a health centre practice nurse. Some days she's working with students at the university, other days she's leading on diabetes or visiting ne'er-do-well kids at a secure unit. There's so much variety. Start times are also variable but most days she's out of the house by eight fifteen. In the past I was always away by 7:52 - my Groundhog Day moment repeated over and over.
Some days I roll over and go back to sleep, surprised when the radio alarm's digital display reads 9:15. I don my dressing gown and stumble downstairs for cereal and my first mug of tea. I go out to feed the birds, scooping a beer mug of grain from the huge sack I keep near our back door. Then it's into the front room to check out the latest news on the TV. I might tarry to watch "Homes Under The Hammer" - a programme I rarely got to see in the past.
It's so peaceful. Today I was up the garden in another pleasant September morning, adding extra paving stones to the seating area under the apple trees. No one was bothering me. I grafted away till lunchtime and then ate some leftover stir fry and noodles while listening to The Radio 5 Live News. Lord knows why I am so obsessed with keeping abreast of world news. On Easter Island the only news you could access came from the lips of your fellow islanders and it was wholly about that island - the navel of the world.
Shirley asked if I had been lonely today. I said no - not lonely - just peaceful and quiet. It feels like a kind of healing after thirty two frenetic years in the blackboard jungle. I love to watch the hedge sparrows poking their little beaks out of the privet when I have spread their grain. Peacefulness - so terribly under-rated.