Today's my last day in the office before I take an Easter break, which is no doubt a relief for all concerned. I've had the place to myself for most of the week: colleagues are taking the opportunity to get some research done at home or hopefully just having a rest before gearing up to fight the mass redundancies announced. It's been a long hard term made worse by the bumbling brutishness of our management. According to Philip Larkin, 'holidays evolved from the medieval pilgrimage, and are essentially a kind of penance for being so happy and comfortable in one's daily life'. Maybe, Philip, maybe.
I tend not to work from home: I prefer to do long hours here so there's a real separation between home life and work, which is difficult psychologically because thinking and talking about literature are both my work and my hobby. I also come into the office to do my writing despite sharing it with 13 other people because if I stayed at home I'd just lie in bed staring at the wall or do endless ironing. The house is a foetid tip, but I actually enjoy ironing very much. I've avoided getting an internet connection because I'd never leave the house again. Good for humanity at large perhaps, not so great for me, even though I reckon I'd be able to correct almost everybody being WOTI (Wrong On The Internet) within hours.
So here I am, eyes looking my last at the dividers between the desks, the bars on the windows (yes, really), the myriad unwashed mugs, piles of unread London Review of Books and the reproachful wall of Tory Novels that constitute my research project. I have two other conference papers to write (domestic space in Welsh literature; representations of Wales in computer games) in the next few weeks, but my marking is up to date and all the angry emails to management have been sent, no doubt to be added to the Sacking File. I've seen a few students this week and read dissertation drafts, so my conscience is as clear as any cradle-Catholic's conscience ever is. Tomorrow, unless it snows, I shall go for a bike ride to commemorate the Passion. Unless you're my mother, in which case be assured that I'll be at a Good Friday service.
Enjoy your Easter everybody. And remember, it's Brexit in a year's time, so enjoy your last real chocolate eggs. In 2019 they'll be made of antiobiotic-flavoured, plutonium-fed American cockroach eyes, iced with the bitter tears of regret. That's what deregulated Freedom tastes like.