REF looms threateningly above us, teaching starts in a couple of weeks and the world seems to be moving very quickly compared with my summer, which mostly consisted of wearing Olympic-volunteer polyester and reading random books.
So in the spirit of ACTION, I've spent the morning cleaning my desk. I've shredded those essay from 2009 which my newly-graduated students never bothered collecting. That was fun; their characters don't seem to have changed though their standards of literacy mostly - and mercifully - have. Reading colleagues' comments was highly enjoyable too. 'Eh?' appeared frequently, as did 'please do some research', while 'your ideas are good but what's with the NUTTY FACTS?' amused me no end (apparently it's very important to know that Eliot wrote 'The Waste Land' in October. And no doubt there's a PhD thesis out there proving that very point.
I also found birthday and thank-you cards going back three years, four mouldy mugs ('Go Away, I'm Blogging', a Steve Bell Jubilee one, the Steve Bell royal wedding one, my 1986 'Boycott News International' mug) and a clean Moomins mug which is now obviously my favourite. I unearthed several books I forgot I owned (Eric Gill's Typography, a Norton Anthology of English Literature and a fantastically boring book on Franco-American relations 1973-4: free to a good home), a self-help guide sent to me by my imposed 'educational consultant', and a massive pile of ripped-out newspaper cuttings. Never lend me your paper: it will return looking like a victim of a deranged Blue Peter presenter on a killing spree. So I spent a happy few hours tracking down digital versions of the articles I wanted to keep, and buying all the books and CDs which caught my eye: a very expensive pursuit, though some of the books in the lower strata of cuttings are now old enough to be available second-hand. Those on the lowest level are unfortunately now in the 'antiquarian' section and thus extortionate - I'm ashamed to say how much I just paid for Ian MacLeod's The Summer Isles, but it had to happen.
Sadly, no completed, REF-able articles were unearthed in the hunt for the surface of the desk, so that's the plan for the rest of the day, followed by the first fencing session of the year. Huzzah! Now I just have to reply - rather belatedly - to my sister's wedding invitation.