I was feeling a bit gloomy last week. A few years ago I said to Horst “Guess what I’m thinking about?” and he replied “You’re thinking about your lessons.” Gosh, yes, how did you know, I wondered. You never think of anything else he said. And he was right.

Before my birthday in March I wondered aloud about retiring and my students and I agreed that’s never going to happen. One of them even checked that the door to our classroom was wide enough so they could push me through if I end up in a wheelchair.So here I sit, writing to you all twice a week but with no prospect at all of when, or if, lessons can begin again. And I miss you all so much.

The Slough of Despond features in a book called ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’. It was written in 1678 by John Bunyan and some people think it is the first novel written in English. It’s (more or less) the story of a man called Christian, and his adventures on the way to the Celestial City. On the way he falls into the Slough of Despond, but is pulled out by a character called ‘Help’.

Over the centuries the phrase the ‘Slough of Despond’ has come to mean those feeling of hopelessness and sadness which overwhelmed me last week. A walk to the river behind our house is always cheering, so off we set.

After a few yards we met Student J., on her bike. She walked – distanced – with us for a while, and told me how much she misses our lessons, how she is looking forward to them starting again and how sure she is that this time next year all will be back to normal. I began to feel a bit better.

Two hundred yards further on, Student G. cycled sportily by, recognised us and stopped for a -distanced – chat. He also spoke of his certainty that lessons will be starting again, and then he told me how much he enjoys reading this blog… and I climbed out of my home-made Slough, armed with the idea for what to write about today.

I planned the title of this post a week ago, and knew that I would write about English spelling, and how to say words like ‘slough’ or ‘cough’.

Imagine my delight when Cousin Gara shared this on facbook during the week:

English spelling is more than tricky, isn’t it?

So many of you will remember our dear and magnificent friend Diane, who visited us, and my groups, some years ago. She sent us this Video a while back, and over the last weeks I’ve often thought of the lines: “I see friends shaking hands, saying ‘How do you do?’/ They’re really saying ‘I love you.’

Can’t wait to shake all your hands again.

The Cabin Fever Part

Fun poems about English: http://englishjunkie.tripod.com/id16.html

https://esol.britishcouncil.org/content/learners/grammar-and-vocabulary/vocabulary-and-spelling

https://howtospell.co.uk/top-ten-spelling-rules

2 thoughts on “Through the Slough of Despond

  1. Dear Carys,
    I really enjoy reading your blog. Thank you so much.
    We can be so glad living in big houses with gardens in that time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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