Tuesday 21 December 2004


It's the last of Ed and Martine's 12 Monkeys for 2004. This month's theme:

"give me a year": What would you do if you had a free year, all to yourself, to dedicate to whatever you wanted? Assume money was not a problem -- you've just received a $60,000 Monkey Grant.

(I'll amend this slightly to £60,000 because $60K Canadian is like a tenner.)

Strangely enough, I do have a year off work starting in February, although it's not exactly a free year to do whatever I want. Still, it's going to be a strange experience and I can only take a guess at what it'll be like. I imagine the first three months will involve a lot of crying and sleepless nights (for all), nappy changing, feeding, and generally being awestruck by this new life in our house. The rest of it is a complete mystery to me. It's going to be a cool but slightly strange trip, I think.

So let's say we weren't expecting a baby and we were taking a year off, full stop. I would travel, as boring as that sounds. I only started travelling a few years ago, so I've got a lot of ground still to cover. Maybe we would do that self build we've been dreaming about, which would likely be easier if we're not working and could live elsewhere during the construction. I would lock myself away in a cottage in the Lake District or the Highlands and write one of the many books I keep threatening to put together. I'd take a class in painting, because it's been far too long since I've done any art. I would go back home for a couple of weeks. I'd stay at a spa and get pampered for at least a long weekend - and take all my girl friends with me. I'd learn another language; I'm leaning towards Italian. I would dust off my bicycle and go on long rides. I'd try to get a job as a travel writer or food critic. Or both.

A year? I think I need a decade.

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