The last time I taught in the UK there were five periods in the day which started at 8.45 am and finished at 3.25pm. Today I had six periods of teaching in a school day that started at 8.15 am and I finished early (a whole period early!) at 3.50 pm. Something, somewhere is dreadfully wrong! And I get paid a crap salary, but it does at least pay the bills.
Perhaps this downbeat, resentfulness is due in part to the lousy weather which is grey overcast skies with desultory rain sulking its way down just to irritate me.
On the other hand it is the weekend and however grey the skies there is the bright prospect of two days of freedom!
Qualified freedom as I am still chained to The Machine feeding in a seemingly unending sires of Mozart CDs. I am now on disk 80 and approaching the end of the string quartets and just about to start on the piano sonatas and still not half way through yet!
Ever vigilant as I wend my way along the tedious bit of motorway that connects me with the school and looking without interest at the back of the car in front of me I actually saw something unique.
It is the custom of Catalans to show their national pride by putting a symbol of their identity on their cars. The Spanish symbol of a silhouette of a black bull is taken from the Osborne company and was used to advertise its Brandy de Jerez starting in 1956. It has become a symbol of Spanish speaking Spain, or “core” Spain inside the country and a national symbol outside it. In Catalonia the symbol is sometimes seen as a studied insult and the Catalans have adopted the silhouette of a black donkey or burro as a response to the bull.
For the first time ever I saw both symbols on the same car: the bull on the right and the burro on the left – if that is significant in any way.
Far from being even handed by showing both symbols I think that the person sporting the two images would be equally hated by both sides for failing to nail his national colours to the mast more exclusively!
I can’t help feeling that the car I saw today is going to be unique. I see no real sign of a rapprochement between what is very obviously a real division of tradition, interest and political aspiration when it comes to Catalunya and the rest of Spain.
The weather has now become openly vicious and the rain is pouring down to an accompaniment of OTT thunder. This does not bode well for the weekend.
I am now over half way in the putting of the Mozart on to The Machine and I am in territory where I have never knowingly gone before. The latest disk is “Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots” Part 1. To which I can only adopt, in self-defence, a posture of musing incomprehension. It will be listened to in time, though god alone knows when that time might be as I now have the equivalent of three weeks worth of solid musical listening waiting for my ever-receptive ears to appreciate.
Monday sees one of our school Meetings. These are a gruesome and grisly feature of the school year and are truly dreaded by all the non-Spanish members of staff who regard these interminable marathons of pointlessness as something akin to a natural disaster or a malicious act of god.
I need to use the weekend to store up energy to combat the fatal enervation that is an inevitable by-product of the meetings that litter the annual timetable like monumental slabs of granite-like unrelieved tedium. And they go on for hours and hours and people simply don’t shut up. And I used to think that Curriculum Meetings in LHS were the low point of existence.
How wrong I was.