We have suddenly moved back into winter. I suspect I am the only one around who is cheerful about this. I wasn’t ready for the spring hallelujah with summer hot on its heels. Every so often there is a clattering of hailstones as though some hooligan is throwing stones at the window, then the sky clears to blue and it’s blossom time again, then it darkens, the wind goes on the rampage, and so on. It’s changeable, like my moods, like my energy, and mainly inclement. I wonder if I am being mean holding back the spring just because everyone else will begin to frolic and I can’t, but decide on reflection that I don’t yet have power over the weather. And I do frolic, in my fashion, and intend to. But not yet. And I think of the old Golders Green joke:
A: Spring in ze air!
B: Vhy should I?
A: Vinter draws on.
B: Mind your own business.
My son is back from the dreaming spires for the holidays and is already getting down to serious revision for next term’s maths and philosophy exams. I don’t know what I think about this. It’s good that he is motivated, hard-working and not off his face on skunk all the time (or any of the time, come to that), but there seems to be huge pressure on him and his fellow students to excel at absolutely everything all the time. No space to hang out and talk about the meaning of life, and failure (anything less than the best) is apparently “not an option”. I don’t like it. Adding to the pressure is the fact that 300 pages of essential maths notes have gone missing between here and Oxford. They are probably in a black bin bag somewhere. Though he didn’t get the maths or exam revision genes from me (I didn’t make it past long division and relied on the staying-up-the-night-before method), it seems I did manage to pass on my chronic lack of organisation.
For the first time in a long while I have bowed out of a writing workshopping session tonight in favour of a trip to the supermarket. We had takeaway three times last week and, apart from the expense, it gets monotonous. I have a poem, though – one modest little thing I worked on so as to have something to bring for my monthly workshop in Lewes, and it isn’t even finished, it’s in two drafts. But it counts. It counts.