I don’t know how time works for you, but in my head the year starts in September. The other twelve months are divided into six-week chunks. Half terms. You see, even though I am no longer a teacher, I still think like one. The rhythm of the school day is so ingrained that I feel compelled to work hard between the hours of 8.30am – 4pm with a break at 11am and lunch at 1pm. I am being completely serious. Old habits die hard.
Not that I am complaining. Though the best thing about being a teacher is the chance to work with young people, the holidays aren’t half bad either, and you’ll be pleased to know I still observe these religiously. So yes, I might put in longer hours than the average author during ‘term-time’, but you wouldn’t catch me writing a word during October half-term or Spring Bank.
Spring Bank has always been my favourite holiday – a sneak peek, trial run, unexpected week of summer before the long August break. What a treat it is as a pupil or teacher to have five free workdays at the end of May when the rest of the population is stuck behind desks in stuffy offices! I have so many memories of happy holidays with my parents during this time, and this one is going to be even more special than ever as I have been invited to talk at the Hay Festival. My mum is beyond excited. Seriously. My event lasts for an hour and she has booked a hotel for four days.
Technically, I suppose my talk counts as ‘work’ and therefore breaks my rule of doing sweet Sod All during the holidays, but it is work I am thrilled to do so we won’t worry too much about that. I feel truly honoured to have been invited to the festival, and look forward to chatting about My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece with people who have loved the book and those who are new to it. It’s been over a year since my novel was published, so it will be great to spend Spring Bank with Jamie, Jasmine and Roger the cat, of course.
Which has just got me thinking: what do you reckon they would do on the first day of their holiday? Well, I think Jamie would be up early, pestering Jas to get out of bed. She would open one eye, growl some expletive and pull the duvet over her head so only her pink hair would be left poking out of the top. Deflated, Jamie would traipse outside with Roger, who would sit on his lap by the pond as he’d draw a picture of the morning sun on the mountains surrounding the cottage. Jas would emerge eventually, suggesting something wonderful to make up for her bad mood, perhaps a picnic in a field by a trickling river. Leo would turn up with his green hair and a bottle of flat lemonade, and when the weather turned, all three of them would climb into the back seat of his car to eat ham sandwiches and toast the Spring Bank as rain pounded against the windows.
Let’s hope for better weather on June 3! I look forward to seeing you all at 5.30pm on the Starlight Stage.