The Benefits of School Residentials
Residential Trips in Thailand
School Residential Trips has featured high during this visit to Bangkok. As a ‘trailing spouse I’ve tagged along with Saint Mick of Thana whilst he has visited his school’s residential trips to Rayong, Khao Yai, Kanchanaburi, and Nakon Nayok.
Tagging along on the visits has been a real trip down memory lane for me as I’ve relived the emotions I felt when my kids were on residential. If you know me it won’t come as a surprise when I say it would be quicker to list what I didn’t worry about, rather than what I did! On each trip though the kids returned smiling and just about in one piece. I do remember a few colds, scrapes and tired eyes, but these memories have by and large been replaced by the excitement of their chatter, and the elation of their sense of accomplishment about what they’d done, seen and achieved. I always remember Betsy's joy, who struggles with balance, after she managed the bike ride under the lovely, kind, watchful eye of Madame Peppard who had tight eye on her well-being.
Cannery Row - Book Review and Book Club Discussion Questions
I am coming towards the end of my goodreads 'reading challenge'. I pledged 50 books but have only read 42. Consequently I needed a slim book to read-how shallow I am! A dear friend and I had recently been chatting about John Steinbeck and he recommended Cannery Row to me. I adore Of Mice and Men (especially the very opening description) and have actually taught it more times than I've had hot dinners, so it made perfect sense to read this book. I'm so glad I did.
John Steinbeck's Cannery Row - Opinion Piece
Cannery Row is a beautiful book guaranteed to encourage introspection and reflection on life. Set in the real Monterey Ocean View Avenue, fictionalized as Cannery Row, it is a study of identity. We learn about the individual characters and all their idiosyncrasies. From the generous hearted prostitutes, to the semi-lawless homeless, to the shrewd but semi-down-and-out businessman, we see into the soul of each character, as they come together to make the community of Cannery in the years of the great depression.
The structure of Cannery Row is linear and tells loosely inter-linked and intertwining stories that centre largely around the ecologist 'Doc'. Fact and fiction overlap, (with only a quick look on Google, we learn that Doc is based on Steinbeck's long standing friend Rickett.) There are separate episodes that occur during chapters that are featured between those comprising the main linear progression of the story. These ‘in-between chapters’ jar against the smoothness and the lull of the main text. The most poignant of the sub-stories, I think, is the story of two small boys where one knows the other's father committed suicide with rat-poison and taunts him for this. The portrayal of the cruelty that people are capable of, even as children, and the need for one upmanship, in this chapter, is shocking.
Cannery Row is the type of book that needs savouring; each bite is worth lingering over. The final chapter of the successful party extensively quotes from the beautiful poem Black Marigolds, translated from the Sanskrit by E Powys Mathers. The reader finishes the text with a sensation rather like being served the finest delicacies in the poshest restaurant, knowing that it would be a sin to not linger over every mouthful. They are not likely to be exposed to such delicious delicacies again.