Not really, though I could be. I am in Brugge (best keep it Dutch in this part of the world) aka Bruges. This is the view from my hotel room, which beats the last time I stayed in Belgium (Brussels 2003, 40 degrees of heat, concrete wall outside the Ibis hotel, suspicious breakfasts).
Here it is all red roofs and churches. I have only walked from the station to the hotel (another Ibis as it happens, but they have clearly responded to feedback) and it is gorgeous and mediaeval.
I am here to participate in a Comenius School Partnership organised by EPOS vzw, the Flanders national agency (equivalent to the British Council in the UK, but with fewer spies, apparently). The last time I took part in one of these was back in 2004 in Barlaston in Staffordshire, and it launched me on a passion for working alongside European teachers that has never abated. It has informed more of my practice than any other single factor, and as a convinced European, I am always interested to learn from those who do schooling in a generally less target-driven way than we do.
The seminar is called “United Colours of Europe” and is being attended by 40 teachers whom I have yet to meet. The idea is that we come away with a group of schools from across Europe who will be able to submit a project proposal for funding under the Comenius Program from September 2013, on an agreed topic. I am keen to do something on the arts, or on how we learn about our community and local area – Tracey Feil has sent me some useful start points on this theme, and I have some others in mind. I want to be flexible. I have been doing this European work for nearly 8 years and it is more about relationship and mutual learning, rather than the actual project, whatever the hopes of the funding organisations.
I dare say beer will come into it at some stage. But it is not the main thing.
Anyone who is in London on Saturday afternoon ought to go along and hear Michael Armstrong lecture on “Education as Reconstruction” at the IOE at 2.15. I would be there myself, but have to be in Belgium!