May – be serious about play

Look hard and spot a bluebell.

Look hard and spot a bluebell.

This is becoming tricky – already I’m four days late with ‘May’, which can only mean one thing – my Happiness Project is beginning to go adrift. Or maybe I’m pretty happy and therefore keep forgetting about it? There is some truth in this. However, I’ve never done a one year series of tasks before and it would be a shame to abandon this half way through (ok, ok, one third of the way through), particularly if the second half of the year finds me a miserable old bat!

Anyway, this month should be pretty easy. Apparently ‘play’ is defined by researchers as ‘an activity that’s very satisfying, has no economic significance, doesn’t create social harm, and doesn’t necessarily lead to praise or recognition’. To be honest, so far this year I’ve worked hard at fitting in fun – reading more (almost a Silver Bookworm, I’ll have you know); enjoying my new camera (I took 51 photos of bluebells the day before yesterday – 46 of them were crap); going on, and planning, travels; fitting in the odd ‘date night’; working at being creative (my blog and also ‘one shot’ with the National Geographic where you showcase your best photos); developing a new addiction for online scrabble and treating myself to a new series of flavours from Hotel Chocolat. So, what will be different about this month?

Basically, I need to take my leisure more seriously. For a start, I need to get rid of anything which I think should be fun, but isn’t. Not entirely sure what that might be at the moment – although reading books which I think I ‘ought’ to read rather than ones I actually enjoy might be a good starting point. Sorry, mum, that ‘One day in Italy’ is about to be returned with only one chapter read. One obvious way of ‘upping the fun’ is to plan lessons for Y4 based on what I actually want to teach – which, to be fair, I tend to do anyway. Boy did I enjoy researching, planning, preparing and teaching my ‘Grand Tour of Europe’ lesson as part of a recent geography project. The only frustrating part about it was I didn’t get to buy a student railcard and bunk off for a few days!

Talking of bunking off, on reflection May has started off well – on the very first day I attended an enrichment session at the British Council, all about Chinese Language and Culture Immersion, where a really eclectic group of people got together to plan a week’s residential course for year 5 children. Sadly I won’t be going on it myself, as we are planning a ‘halfway across the world’ rendezvous with Son No. 1,  but it was very rewarding to see how the young second year teacher going in my place was so enthused and excited about one week in August. It was fun when we all then went off to China Town for a feast, and there were several points during the evening that really made me smile – not least when Sarah, the aforementioned young teacher said to a Headteacher from Egham (Lesley, who had become our new best friend), “Debbie and our Head are a really good team, they even planned their outfits for World Book Day together.” “Did we?” I asked with a puzzled frown. “Yes, you were Oliver,”, I nodded in agreement, “And Maggie was the Artful Dodger.” I didn’t have the heart to reveal that we hadn’t discussed it at all and that, in reality, our illustrious Headteacher had come dressed as the Mad Hatter!

There was another wonderful moment when Lesley, Sarah and myself headed back to Charing Cross tube and whilst heading resolutely for Leicester Square, accidentally walked bang slap into the centre of a busking street dance performance, entering stage left in a rather harassed state as we had been distracted by our conversation and the sight of the M and M Megastore.

“Oh look,” announced the lead dancer, “Charlie’s Angels”.

With the month of May starting well, following at least six rousing choruses of  ‘Jerusalem’ towards the end of April (keep up – read my penultimate blog), it’s hard to see how it can get any better. To use that most overused of clichés, watch this space …

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