The penultimate day in school! O Bliss! Let Joy be Unconfined! Well, perhaps a little bit confined because, after all, tomorrow is the last day.
In a half hour or so I should be meeting the New Woman who is going to take my place and then I think I should be able to go home because most of what is going on is for a term about which I will have nothing to do!
I have at last printed out the details of our trip to France and I wish that I could say that I was as prepared with the dreaded packing. I have done nothing. Nothing at all, but I always find that adrenaline fuelled packing is much more exciting. And it is not as if France does not have the odd shop which might be able to cope with my modest demands should I forget anything.
My last professional act will be to talk to my replacement about what she is likely to be teaching next year; my last constructive act was counting books. That latter activity seems to have been a major component in my teaching life and I suppose that it can be satisfying in a way. There is something tidy and ordered about putting books into piles and then speculating about what has happened to the books which are no longer there.
It is my personal belief that schoolbooks are subject to evaporation and it is pointless looking for missing copies as they are the equivalent of the “angels’ portion” of whisky missing from the top of the bottle and they have become part of a diaphanous literary mist that is not perceptible to human eyes.
The pupils have now come in to collect their results. They wander into the staff room as if it were not populated by hostile life forms inimical to the existence of children – and they survive! Such a state of affairs is not acceptable but, do as they will, it is nothing to me!
This evening is a mystery. I know that there is to be a small gathering of the faithful who regard my departure as a negative element in their future life in the school. I think that they are afraid that they will miss the chocolate in the boxes that I have assiduously guarded and replenished during my time in this place!
I am looking forward to this little gathering and must remember to take a camera.
I did take a camera and took not a picture. I did eat and drink and chat and a very good time was had by all – especially as the saintly Carlos offered to take Tina and myself by car to the venue and bring us back! Happiness!
Back to Castelldefels in good time and a resentful rise in the morning to go to school for the last time. Where the first thing that we did was – a meeting. Why break a tradition that has stultified teachers’ brains in this place since time immemorial.
To be fair, this was a fairly painless “meeting” with no fewer that ten people speaking at the same time for most of the time!
Now is the melancholy task of clearing the cupboards. There is something soul wrenching about packing your mug. It is the single most poignant moment which really says to the world that you are leaving. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I shall now repeat the process in the other building. Which, being done, I do not feel that there is much reason for my staying.
I was told that there were some papers for me to sign in Building 1 at 1.00pm and so I said goodbye to the people in Building 4 promising to return before I left. One of my colleagues refused to believe that I would return and demanded that I leave my bags in Building 4 to guarantee my word!
In an excess of laziness I drove up from one building to another, failed to find a parking space, did another circuit and eventually parked illegally in front of the school van entrance.
It was all a trick of course. I was ushered into the staff room to be greeted by my colleagues with a fantastic signed card, Cava and a gift card for FNAC which is a large shop of books and is also packed with desirable gadgets! I was very touched and told them that the card would be used to part purchase a “smart” camera. This prompted one of my colleagues to point out that I might have admitted to possessing more than one (but fewer than fifty, come on, be fair!) cameras. But not one of them is a “smart” camera with Wi-Fi link for doing things and, indeed, stuff! So buying one is a no-brainer. At least for me.
After singing (in two languages and sometimes simultaneously) “For he’s a jolly good fellow!” I gave my thanks in a few seconds (ah, how times have changed) and concentrated in rubbing plastic with everyone so that I could get on with drinking my Cava. A most satisfactory and agreeable end to my teaching career in the school.
Roll on, as they say, the rest of my life!
But not before I have packed my case. Toni has ironed nine shirts and folded them to within an inch of their lives and it is now up to me to try and pack the rest.
This has to be done this evening and before Irene arrives.
The rest of my life will have to wait for a while!