Be hippy, but ditch the mud

22nd June 2007 at 01:00
Oh to be re-birthed in a healing field womb tent. How wonderfully and sublimely ridiculous - and just the New Age thing to soothe away the stresses of a busy week in school. It is, in fact, a treat that could be awaiting you, should you be venturing down to Glastonbury festival this weekend.

The festival has always been significant to me, not least because it always clashes with my birthday, leaving me to blow out my candles with Billy-no-mates while my friends scarper to Somerset.

One year I journeyed there myself and discovered it was rather fun, albeit wet and cold. I was a student, and the grunge and the mud and dodgy felt hats seemed to fit with my temperament at the time. I didn't mind looking like Tollund Man for the duration.

And I didn't even mind the fact that one of my trainers was schlurped off, not far from the stinky portable loos, and never seen again.

I took the train home barefoot (how bohemian), and later developed a curious skin infection on the soles of my feet (how grubby).

These days I can't be doing with filthy mud. I need to protect my Jimmy Choos (I wish). And besides, this festival malarkey is not so easy for teachers, who cannot pick and choose their holiday dates.

Why pay all that money, travel all that way, and put up with all that tent-based hardship, for the sake of a solitary Saturday night? If it has to be done, it has to be done properly.

I once had a teaching colleague who tried. She buried herself in the free-living festival spirit and pulled a sickie on the Thursday, the Friday and the Monday, allowing her four whole days of Glastonbury fun - and an extra day to recover. Her cunning plan was somewhat unravelled when she sheepishly returned to school with red raw sunburn (it had, not surprisingly, been raining all weekend in London). Naughty naughty.

If I cannot get to the festival this year, I can bring the festival to me, in the classroom. On Monday morning, I think I shall decorate my classroom with bracken leaves and ribbons. I shall lay some sleeping bags in the book corner and invite Year 6 to trample them with dirty shoes.

A few desks shoved together should make a fine main stage, upon which the headline act, a couple of Year 4 boys and their trumpet teacher, will perform covers of 1990s indie-pop classics.

Someone else could hand out falafel burgers, and the PE whistle will come into its own when the dance tent (a blanket placed over some chairs) gets going. The hippy in me lives on.

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