Last day of the hols

Today marked the last day of our college Christmas break. I must say I quite enjoyed spending the break up here in Kilternan, Dublin, despite the scary onset of yet another variant of COVID-19.

One welcome surprise was that a paper I had undertaken to write (for a NASA anthology on astronomical testing of Einstein’s theories) turned out to be very satisfying and took much less time to write than I expected. Sometimes procrastination is a good thing, I suspect my subconscious had been hard at work during the teaching semester! In any event, the article was pretty much all there once I sat down at the keyboard.

Another welcome surprise was that the weather has been unusually mild for this time of year, allowing for plenty of tennis and even some surfing. Like many people, I haven’t been willing to take the risk of a ski holiday while Covid is still on the rampage and I really miss the snow. That said, I have been cutting down on ski holidays quite a bit in recent years – even without taking the flights into account, it is not the most environment-friendly of sports. Instead, I’ve been trying to replace skiing with surfing – quite a sacrifice as I’m not a very good surfer at all!

Surfing at Magharamor beach last weekend

Contrary to popular opinion, there is quite a decent surf beach just south of Dublin, I’ve been trekking down there with my longboard quite a few times recently. It’s true the conditions tend to oscillate from slightly too small to far too wild, but it’s all good exercise. That said, I really need to get myself a warmer wetsuit for the winter.

All in all, a very enjoyable break. And a change is as good as a rest – I’m quite looking forward to going back to college tomorrow to collect my exam scripts and make a start on correcting. But I’m certainly not looking forward to resuming face-to-face lecturing on Jan 14th. It seems crazy that, even in the face of a resurgent global pandemic, college management and the teacher’s union couldn’t agree to start the second semester a month later, just this once.

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