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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Holiday officially ends with days to spare!


I defy augury.

I took my Christmas decorations down today. I know that it is not the 6th of January, but I won't be here on that date so I decided to do it today. I usually do it earlier, usually on New Year's Day but we were in Terrassa for most of the day and by the time we got home neither of us was feeling up to the tedium of deconstruction.

I never did manage to find the Christmas lights in the horror which is the cupboard under the eaves on the Third Floor so the tree was relatively painless in its stripping. The “guilt” Christmas cards (so called because I sent none this year; not even an electronic one) have been collected up and, as usual, some decorations have been overlooked.

The ones which escaped notice this time round are the most camp of the lot. These are three golden, tasselled cords which have a series of large, clear, crystal globes along their length. I have (artistically) scrunched them in the translucent, curved shade of a couple of up-lighters with the tassels and one globe hanging over the side. The rest of the globes pick up the light from the lamp and gleam interestingly through the shade. The other is draped rather absurdly over one of Ceri's paintings.

I think that their addition to the rather stark and severe up-lighters are a good thing, though Ceri's painting will be returned to its original unadorned glory at once. I am sure, though, that Toni will want them all packed away securely and completely for another long year!

The Christmas tree, as usual was the most difficult element in the packing away of the festive season.

When I bought the tree (I have to have artificial as I am allergic to the real thing – and I would be grateful if all readers just took that information as a simple statement of fact about living Christmas trees rather than an interesting metaphorical take on my personality) I know that it fitted comfortably into the box in which it came. Obviously. In the few years that I have owned the tree the box has, quite obviously shrunk. There is no way in which the tree as it now exists can possibly have fitted into the box in which it came, and is yet another proof that the present state of Physics to explain the material universe is woefully inadequate.
Sellotape Machine
It is only by the application of many strips of sellotape (my spell checker has offered me words from “sell-out” through “Sellafield” to “salt-pans” to replace sellotape) that anything approaching closure can be secured. The box is now a sort of down market jack-in-the-box with the stout cardboard stretching the tape to a twanging tautness.

The tape itself is now rapidly (well, annually) becoming a feature in itself as, rather like the rings in a tree, you can tell the age of the artificial variety by counting the layers of yellowing tape which have been used to secure the contents in the box. When the box is opened the fluttering ends of the tape appear to be post-modern strands of seaweed fringing the opening.

Well, at least the tree has been thrust back into the Cupboard of the Unnecessary on the Third Floor, but I did not have the energy to push back the tree decorations and the figures and stable from the Belen back into the three-dimensional jig-saw puzzle that the cupboard has become. Sufficient unto the day etc.

To all intents and purposes Christmas for me is over. I will not be in Spain for the last gasp of the season for the festival of The Kings with the parades and sweet throwing so I can now reorientate my thoughts towards the forthcoming term.

Perhaps the use of the word “can” in that last sentence was used in its more accurate sense of “it is physically possible that” - whether I choose to do so is another matter entirely. Given the risible salary that the school pays (though good and fair by Spanish standards) I feel no pressing compulsion to use holiday time for the benefit of the overprivileged youngsters that we are honoured to teach.

However, I do hope to find some decent teaching material about Advertising which is the basis of my Media Studies Course on my whistle-stop visit to the UK. 

There are so many things which will have to be packed into the few days that I am there that it will only be possible if there is a calamitous fall of traffic-stopping snow to allow me to get it all done in the extra days that may be added because of the elements!


That is always assuming that I do not spend them in the salubrious setting of Bristol Airport! And perhaps I shouldn't joke about such things.


Toni has just visited the dermatological consultant and been told that the growth at the side of his left eye is a small tumour and will have to be removed. He has been told that it is not serious but he is having an operation with local anaesthetic and the growth is going on Friday first thing in the morning.

Hospitals are beginning to have a central role in my social life! Better than school!
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