Wednesday, 13 July 2011


I have made two discoveries this week - one is called GreenMetropolis and the other is called David Sederis. (Actually, I made a third discovery this morning as I cleaned out the cat litter tray, but you probably don't want to hear about that one, especially is you haven't yet had your breakfast.)

So, GreenMetropolis is an interwebbly site that deals with recycling books. For an average of £3.75 each, you can buy second hand books with free post and packaging. Your purchase generates a donation to charity, plus the seller gets about a pound back for their unwanted book. Thusly, I have purchased 5 as-brand-new books which otherwise would have set me back £34 rather than the £18 they actually cost. Charities have benefitted, sellers have benefitted, the environment has benefitted and I have benefitted! The postman is a bit huffy, though, at having to tote books around.

David Sederis is a...well...I suppose you could say he's a comedian, but I think he's more a highly intelligent and witty observer of life, and he tells a darn good yarn to boot. He's American, but I think now lives in Paris. Anyway, he's been featuring on Radio 4 Extra (which I found out a while ago is the new name for Radio 7. No-one told me they were changing the station's name - I spent AGES going up and down the radio dial trying to find Radio 7 and muttering about how typical it is that when you really like a product, the powers-that-be see fit to remove it from production, like the Body Shop Dewberry Shampoo and Sainsbugs Lemon Couscous Seasoning, but that's a different story altogether).

So I've been hooked into David Sederis. He's written a lot of books and recorded at lot of CDs, so that's my birthday pressies sorted for this year. Yesterday, he told a fable concerning a bear whose mother had died. It was very funny to start with (you have to hear it to understand I am not being a complete cow in laughing at the misfortunes of an orphan bear), but as it went on it got sadder and sadder until by the end my tears of laughter had turned to tears of sorrow and rage at the injustice of humans towards their fellow creatures. 'This,' I thought, wiping away the tears and indulging in a spot of comfort eating involving a lemon bun to cheer myself up, 'would be a good story to tell students during form time.' I think Mr Sederis has done a selection of likewise fables, so mission for this week is to do a spot of research and see if I can find the relevant CD.

I've been doing a lot of research and reading this week, mostly to do with preparing to teach A level in September. One of the plays I'm teaching is 'The Rover' by Aphra Behn, who by all the scanty accounts of her life was a bit of a minxy bohemian opinionated Spice Girl (GIRL POWER - YEAH!!). So I got a bit distracted into researching other Restoration dramas and how England went a bit loose-morals crazy after the restoration of Charles II to the throne following years of rule by Puritan party-pooper Oliver ' ban-everything-that's-fun-and-call-me-grumpy-boots' Cromwell.

And I tell you what - I know we complain that society seems to be going down the pan in the 21st century but I reckon we've got nothing on the shenanigins of the late-17th century! Cor, they got up to some mischief then! The Earl of Rochester and his gang were lads and a half for a start. Some of his poetry was so fruity it would put Carmen Miranda's hat to shame! He'd drunk himself to death by the age of 33 but from all the accounts of tributes folllwing his death, he was very much admired and mourned. I bet he'd have looked at the likes of Pete Doherty and called him a light-weight. And if the sixth formers are thinking that studying old plays if going to be 'boring' - they've got another think coming!

Preparations continue apace for the Grand Camping Trip next week. We now have a two-ring-n-grill cooker combination doo-dah, along with exciting explosive stuff like a camping gas bottle and a regulator. We have a gas lamp with extra mantles (don't ask - but it involved Andy getting out the blow-torch and setting fire to something to 'get it ready to use' or something), a solar-powered electric lamp, a flat-pack water carrier and a bottle of lime shower gel.

All we need now is a washing up bowl and a gallon of insect repellent and we are ready to roll!

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