110921 lost keys


It’s the second week back into college and I’ve lost the keys to my cupboard. The first week I was able to blag it by borrowing paper from another department and lending my own pencils to any student who dared show up at art college without a pencil. But now week two is upon me and I’ve spent the last week turning out handbags, going through pockets, checking the glove compartment in the car, searching high and low, even praying to the Almighty that they will materialise before tomorrow morning when I am faced with a new intake of students newly arrived from all over the country as they look at me wondering why I can’t access my own materials cupboards and give them a full set of pastels and white paper not beige.

I woke up in a cold sweat this morning thinking teaching isn’t so bad, grateful that I only work part time, but then I remembered the keys. Panic set in and I calmed myself down with the thought that if necessary I’ll get the technician to use bolt cutters to slice through the padlocks. But it seems such a waste of perfectly good padlocks. So I keep trying to think back to when I last had them, what I was wearing, where I might have put them. I’m a bit touchy about keys; in my youth I lost, sorry mislaid, a fair few sets including car keys. But now at home for the last twelve years we have had a key drawer and I religiously fling car keys in there the minute I come through the door. It is a key depository and everybody uses it. Most of the time.

I now vaguely remember removing my heavy set of college keys from the lanyard and name badge so that end of term photocopying would be easier. I should have known about the potential September cold sweats and put them somewhere safe. Logically this should have been in the key drawer.

But very occasionally I have a bright idea and think of a new safe place. Like a few years ago when we were going away on holiday. I decided to put all my favourite bijoux pieces into a new  very safe place. The only trouble was when I got home I couldn’t for the life of me remember where that might be. I’d gone blank. A year later, I got out my Green flash pumps from the back of my wardrobe to play a very rare game of tennis and two gold bangles and a pair of gold earrings were lurking in the toe. I was both elated and furious at the same time. Oh yes, I know all about safe places.

Those keys could be anywhere.

pheasant 10929


When I walked in to the studio yesterday I was greeted by a pheasant lying lifeless on the table. Nice. Always the opportunist I quickly devised a lesson plan that gave the impression this session had been long planned and was very much a special treat.

My students drew the dead bird all day long and by home time had also designed a pub sign for a hostelry called, yep, you’ve guessed it, “The Pheasant”. Staring at the thing all day I noticed the colours of the feathers were stunningly beautiful- from ginger through deep chocolate to magenta, with splashes of irridescent turquoise: gorgeous. I loved the  graphic quality of the red, black and white feathers around its head, not to mention the elegant long tweed inspired tail feathers draping so gracefully; the designer was clearly on good form that day. At the end of the session one student removed a speckled tail feather as a souvenir and exclaimed, “Oh! It’s got blood on the end.” “What did you expect?” I quipped and he promptly tried to push the thing back.

So, the pheasant shooting season begins tomorrow, lasting until February 1st and I can feel a winter stew coming on. When I told my students about the various cooking options for a brace of pheasants: pheasant in cider, pheasant pate, pheasant in milk, pheasant stuffed with mushrooms, Lincoln pheasant, and how the Italians cook it with pancetta, plenty of white wine and brandy, they were listening intently; drooling even.

That is, of course until I advised them to watch out for the shot.

campus 1076


wise students shine on

university campus –

shimmering poplars

diet 1072


a balanced diet

within old school dining hall –

pupils revolting