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Friday, March 02, 2012

Would you believe it?


Never let it be said that I was ever a champion of banks, but credit where credit is due my bank has actually done something in 20% of the time that they threatened to take over doing it!  Admittedly the task that they had to complete could be (and was) actually accomplished in an electronic faction of a second, but the fact that I, a mere customer had the results within a day was truly amazing.

This feeling of puppy-like warmth towards the banking system lasted but moments as I was confronted with a possible €500 charge for transferring money!  My yelp of infuriated disbelief was quickly covered by garbled assurances that there were other ways to complete this transaction.  One of the other ways was The Writing of a Cheque.  I capitalize it because I am not considered a right and fit person to have a cheque book of my own.  You know, that cheque book that one had as a student but in Spain is served exclusively for bank managers!

The cheque (to be written by the bank manager) had a charge of €60 – which was €440 more reasonable than the other method.  Another yelp of outrage and a quick reassurance from my manager that the charge had, for some reason obviously not connected to customer satisfaction, been reduced to a mere, a paltry, an insignificant €5.  One thinks instinctively of the great humanitarians of the past trying to find an equivalent for such generosity.  Five quid for a bloody signature when I have written my own cheques for ten times as much for nothing!  And bankers wonder why they are hated with a bone-deep loathing!

I have a vague sense of unease that I should be going to a test at my doctor’s medical centre and I do know that I have lost the small scrap of paper which informed me of the appointment, but a phone call to the centre did not illuminate my future meetings so I am rather at a loss.  I fear that I will have to call the doctor and find out exactly when I am supposed to turn up.  As he threatened a somewhat invasive procedure to liven up our next meeting I am less than enthusiastic to be in contact with him and afford him any opportunities!

Last night Brian phoned and informed me that he is going to be in Barcelona early next week.  It will be another case of odd juxtapositions as somebody who is clearly associated with Cardiff is suddenly out and about in Castelldefels.  There is always a sense of transferred dislocation when people are seen in different locations from all the ones which link to your memory of them.  Most enjoyable!

In the happenstance that is Chocolate Week, one of the major participants was ill today but, as luck would have it, another unexpected player entered the game and produced some “low fat” (sic) chocolate crispies made with Special K and sugar reduced chocolate.  Allegedly.  I don’t really care, as they taste dangerously wicked which gives me enough energy to continue until my final lesson.

I have gained a free period which, of course, has been promptly lost by my having to substitute for someone who is taking what would have been my class, which has been amalgamated into one large amorphous mass for the purposes of yet further examinations!  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.  The only thing you get for nothing in this school is, as usual, nothing.

I have spent virtually the whole of the lesson (which was a supervisory lesson for studying) talking about the First World War and trying to explain what the War of Attrition of 1917 was all about.  Well, it was better than trying to get some sense of order into the class to get them to study.  I have to admit that I am impressed by the fact that many of the kids in this class gave up the chance to watch a film (admittedly in French) so that they could get more acquainted with their books.

If I am a little more realistic then I would suggest that the so-called “study period” that they are being allowed is the whole of the time that they have set aside for the revision of the exam.  As one child admitted to be after a particularly poor performance in the exam he had just taken, “I did 15 minutes of revision.”  Which I sometimes think is par for the course given the number and frequency of exams that these kids have to take.

Still, when this lesson is over my day is largely done with only two other lessons to complete; one of which is a reading lesson and the other a discussion period in which I am not the main speaker.  Well, that is something which I attempt, but it doesn’t always end up like that!

Yet another glorious day.  We are just about at the stage where there are going to be serious problems in the summer if we do not get the rains at this time of the year.  I do not give a toss about that, I am merely rejoicing in the continued absence of rain.  True, being stuck inside is rather frustrating – but we have had to put the shutters down to restrict the sunlight and that in itself is a delight!

One of my two classes has changed itself into another supervision and I now have four lies of kids in front of me working away at an examination paper on Modern World Science: well, it’s better than teaching!  That leaves just lunch and one class left and the weekend can start!

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