On Friday evening Mrs Botogol and I had dinner with four teachers, all from the same school. Worryingly: three of them taught me when I was at the school myself, many years ago.
Frighteningly: the fourth is younger than I am but, just like the others, had taught at the school for more than twenty years.
With all of them so thoroughly steeped in the education system, and my mysterious incomprehensible job in the city, I had wondered if we would have anything in common but I needn't have worried: in an intriguing bout of role reversal, as the evening wore on I lectured the history teacher on the battle of Borodino and the economist on Idea Futures while they regaled me with stories about what it is like to own a racehorse. I guess we were all trying to impress.
Then on Saturday the Botogol family went en masse to the Cheltenham Literature festival. That's right: more school.
Well, that's what happens when you go and get educated: one moment you're throwing babyfood on the floor and tantrums in Tesco, the next you're in the third row of Cheltenham Town Hall listening carefully to Roy Hattersley's opinion of Stanley Baldwin and Britain in the interwar years. Or smuggling a sly syllepsis into an otherwise grammatically undistinguished blog. The first sign, I reckon, is watching Blue Peter: it's all down hill from there.
Anyway: the festival. In the end there wasn't any poetry at all, gay or otherwise: in the morning we all went together to DT and History; then after lunch (we were all hot dinners) we split up: while I'm not claiming that the education system is dumbed down or anything, let's just say that Mrs Botogol and I had Add. History followed by Comp. Lit, while the Lower Remove had a spare and went off early to watch to semi-final.
If truth be told I was a tiny bit jealous; but I quickly thought of a way to get my own back:
"Haven't you got any homework to do in half term?" I asked my youngest, "that you should be doing this afternoon?"
"No, Dad, I've just got one piece, I don't need to start today"
"Oh, what do you have to do?"
"I've got to write a play in two acts, about environmental issues"
Might as well leave it to next week, then.