Away with the witches

31st October 2003 at 00:00
My PGCE lecture finishes at 3.30pm and I rush to Leicester university library, dig out a video of Macbeth and an old copy of the play. I've not read it for 15 years and we have a full day tomorrow on the art of teaching Shakespeare, focusing on the deranged Scot.

At 6.30pm I rush out of the library, rush to my car and rush to the Phoenix Arts Theatre for a discussion about John Steinbeck, followed by a showing of The Grapes of Rush. No, calm down, that should be The Grapes of Wrath. I sneak a sandwich and a pint bottle of Budvar into the theatre with me. At 8.15pm the excellent lecture finishes - but do I stay for the film or rush to Nottingham for an open-mike poetry evening? Reading my own poems to 40 drunken undergraduates could be very useful preparation for delivering poetry to Year 11, so I rush up the M1 and then hunt for a free parking space in Nottingham town centre.

A tramway is being installed in Nottingham and while there are no trams yet, there is a spaghetti-junction array of tracks carved into most roads.

The tracks are hypnotic and lure me forwards up a one-way street the wrong way. Rush, rush, rush, I shouldn't be here, and that car shouldn't be there! Crash, crash, crash.

My car is scattered over a crossroads, one policeman is cautioning me, another is interviewing witnesses and another is preparing a breathalyser test. I pass the test, phone my ex-husband and burst into tears. The RAC arrive and tow my car away as the three policemen turn to each other, shake their heads and assert that "It looks like a write-off". I know how it feels - I am able to empathise with a Ford Ka and I'm not even on class A drugs. Later that night, after sharing a half bottle of Irish whiskey with a handy Nottingham friend, I dream of being arrested by three witches.

Arriving a few minutes late for my lecture the next morning, I'm a little sweaty and still wearing yesterday's clothes, so I choose to sit at a table on my own and endure the self-critical dramatic monologues screaming in my brain. In the breaks between discussing Macbeth, intended learning outcomes and various theatrical approaches, I phone my insurance company, my childminder, national rail enquiries and the police.

Back at home I have a deep bath and a bottle of Budvar. I gaze at the bathroom ceiling and realise that although I've not even started my teaching practice yet, I'm already counting the days to the Christmas holiday.

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