I know, I know, it’s been ages since I last posted. In my defence, I was on holiday the last week of June, another fabulously relaxing and battery-recharging yoga retreat in the Spanish Alpujarras – sheer bliss. Unfortunately the last day coincided with the EU referendum result, which put rather a damper on things: all my fellow yogis were also passionate Remainers, and we were devastated by the news that greeted us on Friday morning just before we walked down to the finca in the olive groves for our final outdoor yoga practice of the week. Fortunately, yoga and the mindfulness that goes with it are just the thing for taking your mind off unpleasant thoughts – just as well, really….
A month on, and I’m still desperately sad about the outcome of the vote. As a linguist, I feel very much a European and loved the freedom I enjoyed to work and study abroad and feel part of something bigger. Returning to an isolationist and NIMBYish outlook seems such a retrograde step. The immediate shock has calmed down, of course, despite the incredible political shenanigans since the last days of June. Yes, my share portfolio plummeted in the first instance, although I noticed today that it has recovered half of its losses in the meantime, and those of us paid in euros into a British bank account will be receiving rather more than before the referendum due to the falling pound – although I’d much rather the result had gone the other way! For the time being, at least, we are still part of the EU; our new prime minister has yet to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and life goes on much as it did before. I did wonder whether there would be a change in workload in the immediate aftermath of the vote, but if anything I seem to have been busier than ever, turning lots of work down and receiving a constant stream of enquiries, even in the often quieter midsummer holiday period.
How things will pan out in future is anyone’s guess; many of my colleagues are EU nationals who have made their home in Britain and their future now seems uncertain despite government assurances. It will be such a shame if future language students are unable to partake of the Erasmus scheme and study/work abroad as freely as I and my son after me have been able to. Equally, although it seems likely that English will remain the official language of the EU even after our ignominious departure, since it is also the language of Ireland and Malta, it may not be as easy for British nationals to work in or for the EU Translations Directorate – another great loss. It’s certainly going to be a challenging few years, but for the time being, I think we can only carry on as we did before, making sure our client order books are as diverse as possible so that any changes that do come about don’t leave us bereft. Definitely a time for spreading your eggs across lots of different baskets….
Although Brexit is one change I’m most certainly not relishing, other reasons for my blogging silence have been due to more pleasant events. Lots of work, for one, but summertime is also my busiest season in the garden/allotment, especially in the recent heatwave. I love pottering around at the allotment in the summer evenings, watering and harvesting my fruit and vegetable bounty, but it doesn’t leave much time for writing a blog! I’ve also had my younger son and his girlfriend to stay for a couple of weeks while they were between flats – lovely to have them, but it makes you realise how much of a rut you get into when you live alone. Whilst I love cooking for others and having people to chat with for a change, something has to give – in my case blogging and my sporting activities, most of which have finished for the summer anyway. Another weekend saw me looking after my elder son’s new puppy – huge responsibility and almost like a trial grandparenthood! Fortunately, Ollie was very well-behaved, although I suspect my two dogs’ noses were well and truly out of joint the first couple of days….
In the midst of all these goings-on, I seized the opportunity to go up to London to visit the International Maritime Organisation with the ITI French and Spanish Networks mid-month. This was organised by Isabel Del Rio, long-standing ITI member and Head of Terminology at the IMO, just before she takes her well-deserved retirement. As a former staff translator myself, it was fascinating to see how a large in-house translation department (few and far between now, sadly) functions nowadays. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues old and new and enjoy a delightful lunch overlooking their fabulous roof terrace with its stunning views of the Thames and the Houses of Parliament – despite the rain! An insight into such fascinating places of work is an often-overlooked perk of ITI membership; it’s hard to see how else we’d have been granted access to such a prestigious employer.
Last but not least, I’ve been making the most of the glorious weather and squeezing in a couple of days-out – no point working so hard if you can’t enjoy yourself, after all! Having missed Chelsea this year, I managed a trip to the Hampton Court Flower Show on a beautiful summer’s day and also fitted in a quick walk round the famous gardens of Sissinghurst on my way back from dropping friends at Ashford International station – the joys of a freelance lifestyle (even if you do have to keep an eye on your e-mail and work into the evening to catch up!).
As the soft fruit harvesting peak comes to an end along with the very hot temperatures and I finally have my house back to myself, I actually feel quite refreshed, despite the hectic pace of the last month. A change is as good as a rest, or so they say. Here’s wishing everyone an equally enjoyable summer, whether you’re at home or away.