August is the one month of the year that is both in the university vacation and parliamentary recess. I therefore have no undergraduate teaching and no formal parliamentary commitments. I normally have few meetings scheduled. One would assume it is therefore the least busy month for me and that I would have time to do plenty of posts on this blog as well as a range of other activities. If only it were so. It tends to be the busiest month.
There is a certain cycle to the month. 1st August comes and goes. At some point, I remember that the first of the month is the anniversary of me receiving my peerage and that I forgot to do something by way of celebration. The first weekend of the month is one of two weekends each year that I routinely take off. However, the rest of the month is devoted to research. This usually means completing various writing commitments. This August, I completed and submitted the manuscripts for two journal articles. I have also completed the text of a short book that is designed as an introduction to reform of the House of Lords.
The point is not only that I am fairly busy, but that once I am engrossed in research and writing I usually become oblivious to time. This can make for some long days, ending with me realising I have not got round to posting much if anything on the blog. I do remember that I need to eat, though it can be mid-afternoon by the time that I realise I need to get some lunch. I can vary meal times according to the state of a manuscript: I never waste time just sitting and eating, when I can be eating and catching up on reading.
September means – this year at least – the House sitting for a couple of weeks and then preparation for the new semester. I will still be getting on with research and writing, but it will be combined with other commitments. Christmas and Easter vacations offer no respite, because there is always marking to do. Oh well, roll on next August.