The Birds and the Bees

April 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina

Buoyed with developments with Language Garden, the new distributor system that allows anyone anywhere to sell, the new lesson log ins, the new referral system, I was up with the lark. Of course, Mr and Mrs Blackbird were already hard at work, making sorties to neighbouring gardens and returning with worms dangling like handlebar moustaches for their scrawny offspring hidden in the variegated ivy.

Feed your chicks here

These aren’t the only birds living rent free in our garden. There are some squatters just a few feet away, blue tits, in a little bird box we kindly put up, continually fluttering back and forth with feathers and fluff. They don’t like sleeping on a hard old floor either.

Meanwhile, lonely bees pop by to taste the tulips, but come the summer, the cotoneaster bush that curls up and around the garden shed will be host to over a hundred. Last summer I counted eight different friendly types, all unfazed (they declined the invitations to crawl along my finger) by my proximity.

Pollinate the flowers here

A few branches are still all but completely bare, but most are now fully adorned with fresh green leaves, and the cherry blossom a few doors down is now proudly pink.

I love this time of year when everyone is doing their bit for life.

You can too, of course. Just click here.

“If you have much, give of your wealth;
if you have little, give of your heart.”
Arabian Proverb

Written all over my face

April 1, 2012 § 6 Comments

“You can fool some of the people all of the time.
And you can fool all of the people some of the time.
But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”
Abraham Lincoln

I’ve only ever missed one lesson in my EFL career…

“You’ll have to get up really early to fool me!” I’d been saying this to my girlfriend for a few weeks in the build-up to April Fool’s Day, and tomorrow was the big day. I was 1 – 0 up and now I was expecting, hoping for her revenge.

The year before, she’d left for work an hour early. I’d put all the clocks in the flat forward by an hour. Even her watch resting on her bedside table, which she’d grabbed and glared at for final confirmation. The clock in the corner of breakfast telly nearly gave it away. “It’s April Fool, they’ve changed the time for everyone”, I postulated, feigning drowsiness, from under the duvet. Genius. “Well that’s not funny. People could be late for work.” And with that, she left, only to return 15 minutes later. “The roads were too quiet!” she sheepishly grinned.

Despite my goading this time round, she had kindly offered to massage my head as I had a really bad headache. It was soothing, and I enjoyed the liberally applied face cream. There are those points around the body too, aren’t there, that when squeezed, miraculously take the pain away, if only temporarily. There’s that good one right in-between the thumb and first finger.

We were living in Hungary, teaching English in two schools in a small town. It was brilliant fun, and some of my fondest classroom memories are from this time. We’d originally planned to drive all the way from England to Greece in our camper van, but Lake Balaton and the surrounding countryside easily persuaded us to stay. So when she had an early start on April 1st, and then returned with horror in her eyes saying the van had been stolen, well, it was a lame attempt.

But she couldn’t carry on the ruse. She was laughing too much. “Have you looked in the mirror yet?” I hadn’t.

“The face cream I was using last night was fake tan. It didn’t seem to be working, so I put loads on!”

I scrubbed and scrubbed, but my face remained as bright as a carrot.

Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, I put my foot down. “Ring the school. Tell them I’m ill.” I only had one lesson that day, so I felt it acceptable. It was the lesson I told you about at the start, the only lesson I’ve ever missed.

“Fool me once. Shame on you.
Fool me twice. Shame on me.”

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