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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Changing times


In spite of the fact that I had the opportunity to have a lie in today but the built in alarm clock would not allow such indulgence and I got up at the normal time and got to school early – as usual.

What met me there was an air of controlled panic as the examination days proper began. The kids were wandering around with papers and books and looking vaguely worried as if the show of concern would compensate for the lack of real effort that they had made in their revision. The ethos of the school is work dominated so to wander around with text books studying is nothing out of the ordinary and is accepted by all.

As cheating is also an integral part of the ethos we have had to take certain precautions to try and check the natural propensity of the Catalans to re-jig the odds in their favour. We have produced the same examination paper but with the questions in a different order and on different pages so that there is an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ paper which has been distributed so that adjacent rows had a different paper.

For the whole of the examination I wandered up and down the classroom with a ‘meaningful’ expression redolent of suppressed suspicion playing around my usually jocose features. The end result, unless I have overlooked a form of cheating which is so sophisticated that it passed me by, is that I have invigilated the first totally honest examination in the history of the school! But perhaps I exaggerate.

The marking has now piled up and there is an inexorable timetable which demands that all of it is finished by the middle of next week because the results are an essential component in the complex mathematics which produces the final ‘mark out of ten’ which will be the magic figure placed on the computer record and will be summation of the effort made throughout the year.

On the ‘Home’ (with a capital ‘H’) front, I have now had some advice from a lecturer in the university about what to do when the owner turns nasty over the return of my (MY!) money in the iniquitous aval bancario and his refusal to hand back the further two months deposit that was given to him at the start of our renting of the flat.

The wife of the lecturer, who is one of my colleagues, also gave me the valuable information that my favourite shop is offering a credit card which will give twelve months interest free repayments. El Corte Ingles is not the shop of first resort when buying basic household equipment but it is unequalled in its delivery and after sales service and has an M&S approach to returns. It is the sort of place from which you would buy if someone else was paying.

But, to my ever accepting ears my colleague told me that the difference in price was minimal and the advantages enormous. It is certainly worth looking into and will fit in nicely with my proposed visit to the concert on Friday. This is the concert of the three line whip to listen to a friend of Hadyn’s in the performance of Carmina Burana.

To get the tickets I will have to brave one of the holes in the wall as they are linked into the ticket system of the hall and I will be able to choose price and seat. In theory! I will perhaps leave such technical niceties to the weekend when it will make a useful break to the orgy of marking which will have to take place!

Meanwhile the royal hunt of the cardboard boxes will have to start otherwise we will find out just how soon the end of the month can jump out at you!

This weekend will have to see the start of the packing otherwise we are going to be panicking later in the month. Perhaps nothing on earth can stop the panic which, surely, is an integral part of the moving experience – otherwise why would it be ranked with bereavement and childbirth as one of the most traumatic experiences of life?

Twenty two days to go and counting!
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