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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

New Faith!


Yesterday was, in many ways, something of a non-day.

I had to work of course and, given the absurd level of contact time with students that this place seems to regard as normal for the pitiful salary that they pay, it was a more than normal teaching day if you compare it with the UK.

But enough.  What I wrote yesterday was nothing more than self-pitying mawkish appeals for sympathy given the early start and the tiredness that seemed to encapsulate my feelings after the weekend!  That post has been consigned to the electronic bin where it deserves to disintegrate into harmless electrons or whatever happens to discarded electronic messages!

I would like to say that the day dawned brightly and cheerfully; but it didn’t.  For the last two days Barcelona and surroundings have been enveloped in a hazy layer of what appears to be pollution.  It gave the buildings that I pass on my way to work a cold harsh appearance of almost Communistic soullessness: the high-priced, high-rise, high-sited abodes of the rich were drained of colour with the background of a sky of truly British greyness.

On my way to school I get some panoramic views of Barcelona and its attendant smog.  It is a disturbing thought that we are breathing this rubbish in: I am reminded of a cartoon in Punch which showed a motorist driving along a city road and just about to pas sunder a gantry saying “Warning! Central London – middle tar.”  The irony is now that the centre of Barcelona is more polluted than the centre of London – which seems almost unbelievable.

I talked to one of my colleagues who suggested that the prevalence of smog (which has now all but disappeared) is due in large part to the lack of on-shore (or possibly off-shore) winds from the Atlantic which keep giving the north western coast of Spain and the whole of our northern islands a quick “brush-up” in atmospheric terms.

Even Castelldefels, which is usually lazing in its own little micro-climate and quite distinct from that of Barcelona, was a little dowdy yesterday.  Driving into the west at the end of the day was something of an apocalyptic experience as the clouds took on disturbingly livid colours and Ragnarök seemed only as far as the end of the motorway!

Courtesy has landed me with a lost free period.  Attempting to go to lunch one of my companions was accosted and informed that he should be with another class whose teacher for some reason was not there.

His perfectly justified concern at taking on another class (given our ridiculous workload) was reasonable but he was distrait because he had another class waiting for him at the end of the one he had been asked to take and he would therefore have to forego lunch.  Unthinkable.

Though what I thought, immediately, was that I was next in line to do the class instead of him.  And after a great deal of phoning and palaver that is what happened.  Of course.

So, five taught periods and a lost period later I get to have my swim, and all things are well.  People even gave me precedence and let me go in front of them!  Wonders will never cease.

Tomorrow is my “early” finish so at least I get to the swimming pool before the determined old men who swim as if the pool belonged to them!

One must count one’s blessings.
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