I surprised myself last week. I was listening to the news report about the application process to accompany Yusaku Maezawa on his trip to the other side of the moon and back and my initial reaction was, “No. Thank you.” I have always been pro-going to space, so I wondered why I wasn’t even slightly intrigued by the idea of going round the flipping moon. It wasn’t the danger – I know that you can’t make a rocket without breaking a few rockets, and I’m pretty confident that SpaceX will wait until they have a few non-exploding tests before they strap any billionaires into anything. No, the idea was just too big to process. I haven’t been to Manchester city centre in over a year. The thought of it has become something close to magical. Beer in an actual pub? Food in an actual restaurant? Browsing for books and stationery and whatever else I used to buy in shops? In my imagination these things have become the equivalent of visiting the moons of Jupiter. Actually going to space just seems like overkill.
And who knows, I may be able to visit Manchester again before that space mission takes off. Vaccines are being put in all sorts of arms, the schools are reopening, I have potentially taught my last home-schooling lesson (though I’ll believe that in a month or two – don’t count your chickens and all that). I haven’t minded the home-schooling, on the whole. The maths stuff was ok. The science was ok. The English though, was a fucking nightmare. I’ll give you an example…
Last week we were invited to play ‘The Add-on Adverbs Game’. Have you ever played ‘The Add-on Adverbs Game’? No? I’ll explain the rules then. What you do is, you write lots of sentences featuring the words, ‘also, additionally, in addition, and furthermore’. That’s it. That’s the whole game. There are no winners, only losers. Also, it isn’t a game. Additionally, it isn’t fun.
The whole stupid ‘game’ only exists because Michael Gove wanted children to think about language in the way a mechanic thinks about an engine, with lots of little bits and pieces that have specific jobs. There is some logic in his lunacy – knowing how the components of a language work allow you to play with it – but blimey the learning process is dry. And if he thinks I’m going to help him make furthermore a thing again he can think again. Nobody sensible has used the word furthermore unironically since 1958. It’s a stupid word. Let it go.
With the schools re-opening today, I may (may) get some actual work done this week. I had big plans at the start of the year (I don’t know why, force of habit, I guess) and (obviously) I haven’t achieved any of them (yet). I haven’t wasted the last two months though. I have done all that home-schooling. Furthermore, I packed up the contents of a house, moved home, unpacked the contents of a house, did a few (easy) jobs around the house (rehanging a door, putting up a curtain pole and curtains, etc) and made tea for people doing a few (more difficult and/or dangerous) jobs around the house (removing a chimney, filling several holes in the walls before any birds get any ideas about nesting in them*, etc), made a couple of cakes, watched WandaVision and Summer Camp Island (both highly recommended btw), and… oh I don’t know, other stuff.
Chat soon, yeah?
*I don’t mind birds nesting on, or on top of my house, but the sparrow that was briefly inside our (thankfully, at the time broken) bathroom fan was a little too close for comfort, and the starling we found in our bedroom was, frankly, taking the piss. People inside, birds outside – them’s my rules.