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Wednesday, February 09, 2011


I do not see the wearing of a blue coloured shirt to be a radical fashion move – but the reaction from the kids that I have had over the past few days to sporting a coloured shirt has been remarkable.

It is yet another example of how closely we are observed by the kids.  It should make we teachers incredibly self-conscious; but our natural arrogance (why else would we have become educators in the first place?) soothes away any self-doubt.

If you think about it, then it is a perfectly natural phenomenon: the kids have to sit for hour after hour staring at us as we explain the Wonders of the Universe – or in my case the idiocies of English Grammar.  If I was listening to a shaky explanation of the intricacies of Mixed Conditionals with their interesting blend of Second and Third (usually) Conditionals to explain how to talk about what might have happened in the unreal past, I think that I too might begin to notice anything else rather than what was actually the ostensible function of the group at that moment!

I really do shudder to think (when I confront the thought) about what else the kids might have noticed and having noticed simply take in their stride.  Thank god for oblivion.

I am, once again, stuck in an empty library doing what is surely a complete pointless duty.  It does, however, allow me to sit in the sun for a time before propriety drives me indoors to listen to The Machine and at least look as though I am working.  At the moment I am listening to the joyously anarchic cacophony of the second movement of Carl Nielsen’s 5th Symphony with the ad lib kittle drum trying its best to follow the composer’s instructions to destroy the music!
 
All good things come to an end and I was called into lunch that was excellent: a somewhat sparse salad but followed by fresh salmon with green vegetables and a selection of sweets afterwards.  The only thing missing was the café solo to finish off the meal.  But I had a cup of tea.  Of course.

As today was my “early” departure from school I actually managed to get a lane to myself in the swimming pool.

I am always amazed (though I suppose I shouldn’t be) by the way that my swim varies from day to day.  Today, for instance, I managed to get into a rhythm very quickly and felt more than satisfied with my progress up and down the pool.  It seemed relatively (let us, at all times, stick to some sort of reality) effortless; the water appeared to aid progress rather than be the medium that inhibited speed.

Having said that another on either side flanked my lane.  These lanes were occupied.  On my left were “dabblers” whose erratic progress up and sometimes down (after a long pause) could hardly be counted as swimming: more like semi-intentional disorganized floating.

Two swimmers who had half of the lane each occupied the lane on my left.  One of the swimmers was (to my myopic sight) a young, svelte, swimmer-like swimmer and he and I sped up our respective lanes together until I began to pull away!  I was congratulating myself on my superior skills and fitness when I noticed that the swimmer in the other part of his lane, who was much older and fatter, was forging ahead of me with a totally unjustifiable speed!

I was not, of course discommoded by this arrogant display of professional swimming; I merely turned my attention back to my right and outpaced the moribund and thus regained my self-respect.
 
Now that I have finally remembered my code number I can get into the Sauna and Steam Room that are attached to the changing rooms.  I enjoy sweating out whatever it is that one is supposed to sweat out when one goes into these sweat rooms, but I am not totally convinced that they do any good at all.  I am probably one with Saki who in one of his short stories debunked the idea of any benefit from Turkish Baths and the like apart from the obvious element of enjoyment!
 
The great problem of loaning books to anyone (apart from the danger of never getting them back again, in spite of the fact that one has “Ex Libris” stickers in the books I possess) is that when/if they are returned they seem almost irresistible reads.  Such has been the case with “Catch 22” which has recently been returned.  I made the fatal mistake of reminding myself of the opening sentences: “It was love at first sight.  The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.”
 
I am now on page 126.  One hundred and twenty six yellowing pages of closely packed print in a book which is now (horrifically and unbelievably) over forty years old, and I therefore would have read this when I was in the second year sixth.  Sigh.

The rather lurid cover has finally become detached from the rest of the book and the rest of the volume is looking decidedly dog-eared.

I sometimes wonder which of the books that I presently have in my library I would actually bother to replace should they all be burnt.  I also think about which paperbacks I should replace with hardback versions.  With either scenario “Catch 22” would figure as one of the volumes.  Although the book seems much more mannered and self-consciously clever this time around, it still makes me laugh out loud – and any book that does that has got my vote!

Just musing quietly to myself while Spain are attempting to get their first goal against Columbia, the books that would have to be replaced would include;
            Macbeth
            Catch 22
            Stalky and Co
            Old Saint Pauls (because it would!)
            Lord of the Rings
            Heart of Darkness
            Paradise Lost (especially Book IV)
            Great Expectations
Mapp and Lucia (all)
The House at Pooh Corner

And I had better not go on because I will be driven to go and search them out and re-read them!

Early start tomorrow with five teaching periods and a Departmental Meeting!

It’s good to be alive!




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