Holiday reflections

This blog is coming to you from a small cafe in the village of East Hampton, Long Island. For those not familiar with the geography, East Hampton is on the tip of Long Island, about three hours’ drive out of New York city. I am always surprised when I meet people who have no idea that there is any Long Island outside NY city, but actually most of it is rural and rather quaint. The area where I am now, known as ‘the Hamptons’, is particularly pretty. It was founded not long after the Pilgrims landed in America, and it has a number of old monuments and buildings, including two very picturesque windmills. Just outside is a vineyard producing very drinkable wines you won’t get in Europe. The town beaches are rather busy, but drive on five miles and you’ll find quiet coastlines with deserted strands. 

The town is not only pretty but also very safe. There is a lively but friendly police presence. And do they have much crimefighting to do? Well, that depends on what you are used to. When we arrived the shock-horror story of the day was that the police had been called out to deal with an incident in which one citizen had slapped another. And in today’s East Hampton Star newspaper, the top crime story is this:

Richard Drew was walking his black Lab on the beach off Mile Hill Road on Sunday when his dog was attacked by another dog he described as a pit bull. The owner of that dog allegedly refused to stay at the scene for Mr. Drew to file a report. Mr. Drew said that his dog is missing neck hair but otherwise appears to be uninjured.

Horrific though that story is, I think I shall sleep soundly in my bed tonight.

I hope that this kind of narrative tells you I am on vacation. There is of course a view about that academics take off months over the summer. Well, my family and I are here for 12 days, after which it’s straight back into the fray in Dublin. And I don’t think that I am unusual, I suspect that very many of my colleagues will get away for only this long or less. In fact, we should stop tolerating a commissariat that tut-tuts at academic holiday practices: everyone, including lecturers and professors, need a break, and we shouldn’t encourage anyone to feel guilty about that.

There are still things we will need to change and reform, but this isn’t one of them. The days of long summer holidays were over many years ago, in the universities.

So if you are on holiday or preparing for one, my wish to you is that you take the time to relax, and enjoy your break.

Explore posts in the same categories: society, university

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3 Comments on “Holiday reflections”

  1. Vincent Says:

    Have a delightful holiday. Et/agus, you live in Finglas/Ballymun, I would have thought that parts of the States would be pretty much home from home.

  2. This must be the first time I’ve heard anybody describe a police presence as “lively”. I’m going to have to ponder the image in brings up in my mindd…

    • I really would describe the police presence as ‘lively’ – there are police everywhere, mingling with the community, It would actually be quite hard to be a criminal here…

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