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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The tipping point of the week


I am supposed to supervise children who choose to do homework during their free time from 1 until 2 in the afternoon today.  No children choose to do any work today and so I had the library to myself.

This “library” does actually have books in it, which are mostly kept under lock and key; I have rarely seen kids use any of the books on the few free shelves and I have never seen the locked cases of books ever opened.

Outside the elegant French windows there is a balcony that runs the length of the masia that forms Building 1 in our school.  This tiled balcony is about sixty feet long and about fourteen feet wide.  Where the pine trees do not obstruct the view there are panoramic vistas of the city of Barcelona that, even in haze are impressive.

What I am building up to saying is that I was by myself; the sun was streaming in through the French windows and I thought, “Be a devil, open the doors!”  Which I did and with a chair purloined from the tables in the library I sat in the sun.

I cannot pretend that it was true sunbathing; but certainly sun rinsing.  It has now made me hungry for the summer.  With eyes closed gazing (behind closed eyelids) skywards I even dozed off into that pleasant semi-dreaming state that sometimes makes life worth living!

While trying to mark before the start of school this morning I was driven to get out The Machine to drown out the semi-hysterical high pitched and certainly high volume talk (I would not grace it by the appellation of conversation) that filled the staff room.  My intention was to listen to Mozart and drown out the chatter with my noise cancelling headphones.  These worked for a single movement of one or other of Mozart’s divertimenti and then silence!

This was a frightening reoccurrence of the silence that descended on the headphones a couple of days ago.

The Machine has few points of ingress in its aluminium body: a power point; two USB ports; a headphone socket, and a mini something else.  I therefore felt justifiably aggrieved one of the few not working.  Never before has any headphone socket failed to work on any of my other computers.  And now, on one that was ludicrously over-priced, failure was staring me in the face.  The very face that would be lost should I be forced to go to school with some small computer not of the fruit variety!

The headphone socket looked normal – not that I had ever studied one with anything other than passing interest before.  And even twiddling the plug around in the socket failed to produce any music through the phones.

Just as I was beginning to wonder where exactly I had put the receipts for The Machine I noticed a small lozenge shaped addition to the wiring of the headphones.  In the centre of this lozenge was a sliding switch that I guessed might have something to do with volume.

It did, and normal service was resumed with a slightly shame-faced owner prepared to swallow humiliation in the sheer relief that everything appeared to be OK.

I think that the musical dampener on Catalan conversation that The Machine offers is going to be something of a godsend in the forthcoming months!

Two days of this cruel month are now over.  No holidays; no Saints’ Days; no long weekends – nothing.  Just solid weeks of work with only Fiasco Week to look forward to in March.  Easter is so late that at least the summer term will appear to be shortish.

It was easier to make the decision to go for a swim today for a number of reasons (sunshine being one of the most important) but also because I left school early and had a reasonable, stress-free journey home.

The water was a touch colder today, but perfect for swimming when a few lengths had been completed.  The warm glow of self-satisfaction was heated even further by a short stint in the steam room; entrance to which is effected by the insertion of a code into the keypad by the side of the door. 

For weeks this defeated me as I resiliently attempted to feed in the wrong number.  Closer inspection of my membership card revealed another number that did the trick and I was able to sit in humid isolation pretending to myself that it was actually doing me some sort of good.  Who knows, it might!
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I have decided that I need to go to bed earlier.  Three days of getting up at 6.30 am and the other two at 7.00 am mean that with my normal late hours I am waking tired and this makes for a very long day.  Sense must prevail!
 
And I am not reading enough.  The book on the phone has now taken me longer to read than “To the lighthouse” (a book I started on a great number of occasions and was defeated by boredom and pointlessness on each occasion) and has now taken on the portentousness of “Ulysses” without the language play!
 
Barça are now in the final of El Copa del Rey where they will play the winners of the game between Real Madrid and Sevilla.  Madrid really have to win this cup to try and start the clawing back of trophies of which they have had a dearth for the last couple of years.  The next few weeks should be very interesting!  There’s something I never thought that I would catch myself saying when the topic was football!

And so to bed as part of my new regime of early nights. 
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