Tuesday, May 12, 2009


This is by far my favourite time of year. The temperature and hours of daylight seemingly rocket in April and May, and the landscape flourishes in greens, yellows and pinks. Possibly though, I feel as though I am enjoying it more this year than I have for well over a decade.

You see, the shrill of blackbirds panicking in the garden during the drawn-out dusk, The World Snooker championship being played out on the telly, oilseed rape washing over the countryside like huge yellow lakes: these are all things which are indelibly linked to one thing in my mind. Revising for exams.

It’s now been five years since I sat my last ever exam, and yet I have still experienced a pang of anxiety as this time of year rolls around in subsequent years. Watching the snooker feels as though it should be accompanied by some nagging guilt: one more frame, and then I’ll finally sink into those soporific books

I was an awful reviser; many subjects were touched upon for the first time in the days before the exam – and in one case the day itself – with humiliation only being escaped via a near photographic memory rather than any noteworthy intellectual flair on my part. To make matters worse, my course wasn’t something I was especially passionate about – rather, like many, I was studying for the sake of having a degree – and so I often couldn’t lose myself in studying purely for the sake of it.

Early on Saturday afternoon, I was sat in a pub garden with my friend Eddie, hemmed in at the bottom of a lush little green valley which sheltered us from the wind and let the sun beat down on the picnic bench we sat at. We commented on how much we didn’t miss studying, a number of times. Not that studying ever stopped us sitting in pub gardens early on Saturday afternoons, but at least now there is no clear priority being ignored. I am actually forbidden from taking any work out of the office nowadays; how great is that?

I went to a University where we didn’t really have a third term – straight after Easter we were back for exams – so in all likelihood at this time of year I would have been finishing any exams this week or the next, with a ridiculously long summer stretching out ahead of me. But I’d have lost these past six weeks or so to anxious procrastination, and these last six weeks – to my mind – are always the best of the year.

If you are revising, or grafting over essays, you have my sympathy.

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