BB break, then back to bedlam

19th August 2011 at 01:00

I've just come back from my annual pilgrimage to the Lake District. Every year I head over to this area of Outstanding Natural Tearooms in the hope that, halfway up Helvellyn, I'll meet a man in gaiters who will offer me undivided love and a half share in his flourishing Bamp;B.

Compared with teaching, running a guesthouse is a doddle. I've seen that cinema verite of the tourism trade, Three in a Bed, and it's obvious that it's easier to gain a four-star award for poaching eggs than it is for delivering plenaries. Nor does it take much to pip the competition: if the last few episodes are anything to go by, a couple of wooden coat- hangers, a melange of strawberry bath oils and some speciality sausages made from a Gloucester old spot squeezed into a valeted cow's intestine are enough to do the trick. Cooking a full English breakfast might sound like hard work, but it's got to be easier than cooking up another full set of key stage 3 English results.

There is something very soothing about the Lake District. After a few days on the fells, all your epic anxieties become reduced to domestic ones: instead of thinking about mortality and mortgage arrears, you worry about whether or not you'll find a parking space in Ambleside and what would make a good contingency dessert if the local cafe runs out of sticky toffee pudding.

And since my holiday cottage - like most in the UK - came equipped with Maeve Binchy as standard and had a television reception limited to picking up Red Dwarf on Dave, the stresses and strains of the past academic year quickly faded from view. Even the local news stories were heart-warmingly bland: the local paper's morally indignant "20,000 bees stolen from hive!" proved a more reassuring headline than its usual urban counterpart: "Drug- crazed man eviscerates neighbour's wife then plants out uterus as hanging basket."

Another wonderful thing about the Lakes is the fact that - unless you climb a mountain - Twitter is strictly out of bounds, which means that you can go a whole week without hearing what your boss thinks about the cricketfootballathletics or having to look at a TwitPic of a vegetable that looks like a penis. The Lakes are also joyfully heterogeneous. For every Brasher-booted Berkshire family that makes it to the summit of Scafell Pike with walking poles, GPS and half the Kielder reservoir sloshing about in their backpacks, there is a Year 9 posse from Blackpool who get to the top in flip-flops, playsuits and carrying only their iPhones. If only the same could be said for our top university places.

While scrambling up and down mountains for a week did wonders for my flabby thighs, it did a notable disservice to my hair. I arrived home dishevelled and exhausted to discover that, during my absence, my daughter had pinched my make-up and my eldest had snaffled my column. I should have seen it coming: the concept of private ownership is alien to kids; what's yours is theirs and what's theirs gets trampled on the floor, left at a mate's or traded for a pirated copy of Meet the Parents: Little Fockers.

Still, I'm getting my own back. I've just pinched my daughter's salon- professional hair-straighteners, so the next time I go on holiday I won't end up looking like James May.

Anne Thrope (Ms) is a secondary teacher in the north of England.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now