On the naughty step - conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: school summer holidays

Weeks off work are like buses: you wait ages in the rain for one to turn up, then six come along at once.

Oh, how teachers have longed for the school summer holidays. In your imagination, it is a languorous, sun-drenched time of daily runs, extensive exfoliation and evenings under the pergola with a glass of beer. From the dark, freezing depths of the spring term, the summer seems like a mythical, heavenly place of self-improvement, productivity and intense relaxation. Oh yes, there will be time for all three.

But then, as the last end-of-term sausage roll is consumed and the most intense Friday feeling of the year fades, reality hits. The house feels dank and dirty. Your friends are all at work. There's so little to do compared with the usual term-time frenzy that you slip into a kind of stunned torpor.

Your spouse takes to setting you "daily tasks" such as scrubbing the toilet or calling the plumber. Soon the afternoon beers on the patio become boring - and a little lonely. You make friends with the neighbour's cat.

By the third week - your novel unwritten and little progress made on your six-pack - you contemplate scribbling up some lesson plans. Perhaps school is not so bad after all.

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