For many years, I develop a liking for the works of Georges Simenon, a Belgian writer, most famous for developing the character of Jules Maigret, whose black and white presence created a desire in the teenage me to visit France, something which had to wait many more years. During the 90s and 00s, I managed to collect, by scrounging in charity shops and second hand bookshops, I amassed the complete Maigret series of 72 books and all but one of the 117 novels, with the intention of one day reading them from the first to the last.
Earlier this year, during the Christmas break, I started on the Maigrets. They are rarely a tough read, follow a well-rehearsed formula and inevitably end up with Maigret finding a solution to the problem, usually by some personal means or other. One or two are quite flippant, such as “My friend Maigret”, a form of interview between Maigret and Simenon.
Simenon is an absolute genius in writing descriptions, of people and places, suggesting that he was an acute observer of people. While his writing was being lauded, his home life was complex and somewhat unconventional at times.
Having finished the Maigret series, the next phase is the series of novels, but also to read those copies that I have in French. The sparse language is very readable.
Painting has surfaced on a few occasions, with very mixed results. That is something that I want to do more frequently over the next year, but with the intention of breaking away from the realism that dominates my efforts. A couple of weeks in France soon should provide some opportunity to have a go, or at least to collect photos that can be turned into a painting.
This is always weather dependent, as fine weather usually means gardening and there are some large projects in that direction; taking down overgrown shrubs and trees, the latter a winter project. Mind you, gardening on this scale also counts towards my teacher5aday, as significant “green exercise”.
At some point in the coming year, I’d like to get back to playing some music, especially in a folk music context. Instruments come out even less frequently than paints. My barn dance career stopped with Ofsted preparation and it was hard to find an alternative outlet.
People matter, in teacher5aday, and making quality time to enjoy with a range of family groupings and friends has become a priority. It has also been a pleasure to be party to a number of teacher gatherings, Teachmeets, Pedagoo, TLT14. This will also continue into 2015-16.
As we are now at the summer break, I wish all teacher5aday colleagues a very restful holiday, continuing those things that have been incorporated into life over the past year.
And thanks Martyn, for promoting the project.