So, the end of a three-day stint – there is nothing like breaking yourself in gently! The real horror begins on Monday when I face the startling reality of actually working an entire week in school.
Of course I have my cunning plan which consists of doing nothing of the sort. As far as I can work out I have two afternoons off and an early release on another day. I should be able to stumble my way along for the next sixteen days – especially as half a dozen of them are filled by weekends and holidays. That leaves ten days of actual teaching and then it’s the Christmas holidays. Which for me extend blissfully into the future, well beyond the return date for my hapless colleagues.
I am, at present, sitting in an empty staff room over an hour after the end of school time. This is no dedication to my chosen vocation, but rather an enforced waiting for a colleague who is going to accompany me to the exhibition and life class that we have let ourselves in for.
I have managed to scavenge a cheese roll left over from the “breakfast” this morning, but I trust that I will get something somewhere to stave off the pangs of hunger which have been exacerbated by the inadequate roll rather than blunted.
This is going to be another of those days were the end result of an open ended commitment is going to be interesting to say the least!
And indeed it was.
Not least of the character forming experiences I had during the evening was driving through strange parts of Barcelona in the dark during the rush hour and beyond. My Tom-tom did its work and, apart from some peculiarly Barcelonan flourishes of a complicated road system, it actually got us to our destination relatively unscathed.
Our meeting point was an artsy café in part of a convent (which I assume is now defunct) which was filled with those members of the macramé middle classes who rode rope bicycles and had spawned screaming kids. The exhibition was of pieces of augmented calligraphy and there was a small group of earnest looking dilettantes plying brush and finger to show us how it was done. Some of the pieces were vibrant and fussily interesting while others looked as though the aleatory had played an essential part in their construction – which is of course no bad thing unless it looks it!
Lydia and I had time for a coffee and a mere bite to eat before it was time to move on to the next part of our evening.
The art class was held in a small bar in the Born in the centre of the city, not far from the convent bar which seemed more suited to cules of football than devotees of art. After being introduced to the rest of the class we made our way through a low doorway and down a Stygian flight of Dickensian brick stairs lit only by the flickering flame of small nightlights into a cellar where stools had been placed around the walls of the low vaulted room.
After further brief introductions our excellent art teacher whisked his way through one, two and three point perspective and practical ways to “find your eye line”. After our whirlwind practical lesson we coated ourselves up and went out into the narrow streets around the bar and, with the aid of two sticks (don’t ask) we had to demonstrate to our tutor that by taking flat angles from the buildings around us we were able to ascertain our eye line and find the vanishing point.
Quite what the denizens of the night, who were watching us with some curiosity, made of our Cabbalistic gesturings with the sticks I dread to think, but I think that we must have looked like some sort of Wicca gathering trying to bring magic to the area!
Once back in the relative warmth of the cellar we went on to the second part of the evening which was drawing a naked man.
Lydia and I had previously discovered that Suzanne had failed to mention that far from being an introductory session this was week eight of a ten week drawing course, so we two were catapulted into the deep end of artistic endeavour.
It was a frighteningly invigorating experience and, apart from the fact that I couldn’t seem to join the guy’s neck to his shoulders with my pencil I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
To my undying shame, the end results of our efforts were all placed together in one part of the cellar studio and the model asked if he could take photos of the end results with his mobile phone!
Lydia and I have jealously guarded the fruits of our labour just in case any vicious person decided to publish our works of art on any social media!
Thanks to Lydia’s knowledge of the city we were able to drive back across the metropolis along an avenue where the lights were in sequence and what had taken us 40 minutes to get there took us barely ten to get back. There is something exuberatingly forbidden about waltzing through green after green after green in a major city which banishes all thoughts of the tiredness that should come with the knowledge that one has been up and doing for over seventeen hours! A very satisfyingly full day.
And now it is tomorrow and the first day of a four-day weekend.
Life is good and the OU is calling!