Thank God it's Friday

16th April 1999 at 01:00
MONDAY First "proper" day of the holiday, as my freelancing partner works every weekend. His sister, also a teacher, arrives tomorrow to write TV music with him. So instead of having five leisurely days together, we have one, and spend most of it in the supermarket and the local DIY shop. Still, that leaves four days for me to work on the Gothic bathroom, my project for three holidays so far. I spend the evening charting medieval designs for the skirting boards, while trying to decide between radio comedy and television adverts for my next media A-level topic.

TUESDAY My partner and his sister closet themselves downstairs with the computer and some sombre-sounding bass notes. I spend the day lying on the bathroom floor, drawing out last night's designs. This all seemed like a good idea last winter when I fantasised about candle-lit baths in my own tiny piece of Olde England. Now I try to convince myself it's all been good research for my art classes, but I'm not sure how many times I'll teach the intricacies of 12th-century interior design. Nor am I convinced of the character-building virtues of backache.

WEDNESDAY Today's music brings in the string section. As the piece is less than a minute long, the music through the floorboards is a bit repetitive. My aim today is to paint the new design, from the door right round to the toilet. I only get as far as the airing cupboard before my spine gives out.

THURSDAY I've been lying twisted between toilet and wall, listening to a radio play with an evocatively mournful orchestral backing for half an hour, before I realise there isn't any music on the radio at all. I congratulate them on the piece, and suggest they send it to the BBC Radio Drama department first. Today's post brings an overdue essay from a desperate sixth-former. Perhaps my fellow A-level media teacher is right - my students are scared of me. I must have laid it on thick about the responsibility of meeting deadlines.

FRIDAY The orchestra packs up, and the sister goes home at lunchtime. The skirting board is finished. Another visit to to the DIY place for some varnish, produces an unexpected result - a product to make painted wooden doors look like wood. I see the next holiday's project already, and start researching Gothic hinges and locks when I get home.

Steff Hutchinson teaches in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

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