Last month I got a contract from the carpenter in the village to start training in September.

I’d have liked to attempt a witty yet profound post about this but to be honest I’m still in shock that they agreed, especially after watching me make the ugliest box in Christendom.

Assuming I manage to get the grants we need to pay for our living expenses, I’ll be at school from the beginning of September: the school is only about 20km away, but that’s 20 hilly kilometres. This goes up to thirty if I follow the cycleways which wander in random directions across the map and apparently spurn almost any direct route unless it crosses at least seven tightly spaced contours. What with that and the lack of safe cycle parking I’ll probably end up travelling by bus and train, but I’m sure I’ll get a few good stories out of that.

I’ve got a year of the carpentry school. With German and Maths exams at the end. And this isn’t German as taught in an English school where you can graduate by saying “Where is the newspaper stand?” and “I am fifteen years old” *. My school grade in ‘woodwork’ was even worse than German, but I still think I’d have done rather better if the teacher hadn’t spent most of his time with the prettier female students, and the workshop had included luxuries like saws that were sharp, or wood.

This of course is the ‘other’ reason I’m doing this: I’m a bit tired of the long shadow of a school which mostly taught me I can’t do anything. It’s time to prove them wrong, and incidentally do all the things I wanted to do then but was told I couldn’t: In three years I’ll be a carpenter, with a German qualification, and the ghosts of that school can be firmly laid to rest.**

And when I think about it, I don’t think I’d have done it without this blog, and the generally very encouraging comments and emails you’ve been sending: thanks for coming along on the journey.

Besides, I have a suspicion that nothing the school can throw at me will be half as difficult as the forms I’m trying to fill in for the grants…

*I am not making that up: it was in my final exam. Thankfully one of the few decent teachers I had was my German teacher who is probably the reason I’m here now.