G'day g'day g'day. The teaching term starts today at 0900hrs with my last class finishing at 1700. So I am now formally back into the 9-5 mill which defined the difference between working in an Institute of Technology and my previous life . . . and induced me to start The Blob in January last year. I'm really stoked about it all, even a little bit mad starey eyed. I've got me an MSc student who needs to accumulate 2hrs a week teaching as a requirement for his education, so I can legitimately lay off one of my classes on him and/or have a back-up if I'm running late or need to visit the dentist on company time.
In a bid for freedom I made a circular tour to Cork and Waterford over the weekend to see Dau.II's new gaff and fill up with tea-and-cakes at The Outlaws on the way home to feed the lambs and water the plants in the polytunnel ('tis desperate dry they are). On the way down West, I dropped in to a couple of old friends in the Home Ed circuit neither of whom has registered with the government and one of whom is going to have his day in court in 3 weeks time. Let's hope he doesn't have his day in jail like Monica O'Connor.
It was really nice to hang out with Dau.II for 24 hours, sleep on her living-room floor and meet a bunch of her pals, many of who are now putting in an honest day's work and paying taxes, which will help keep their parents in jail for failing to provide them with a certain minimum education. Three of these young people are working in the catering trade, two earn money playing music, one is a professional painter and the rest are in college. The new flat is hanging over the South branch of the River Lee looking North. If you half close your eyes and crane out of the window it's a bit like what we saw from the window when we spent a Summer living on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam in the 1970s. I could sleep on the living room floor because the new gaff is comfortably de-cluttered, in contrast to the home-places, including our own, that I had visited in the previous 48 hours. I don't think there are many groups on barely 20s yoof with whom you could have an intelligent and enriching conversation about Steve Reich, John Singer Sargent, sustainable windfarms and pyromania all around the same table.
On the penultimate day of our visit to Boston last month, I dropped into BU, my Alma Mater, to secure an alumni card so I could get a 10% discount at the University bookstore. It was the week before Labor Day and the students of this private college were unloading MPVs at the entries to the dorms. It was massive: a couple of steamer-trunks the size of wheelie-bins for clothes; large cardboard boxes containing TVs, microwaves, popcorn-makers and kettles; maybe even some books. My pal Russ's oldest boy, in contrast and just about 17, left home to start college (in Cork natch) with "his bike and a change of clothes and not a care in the world". Look out Laurie Lee, and Paddy Fermor, you'll have to make room on the narrow road to the deep troubadour.