Today is the day that the kids in the first form of the school are trying to force their imaginations into the sort of shape that produces interesting and imaginative prose. Or at least they are sitting quietly at their computers and tapping away with all the gentleness of autistic gorillas, leaving me time to type.
In a rush of early morning enthusiasm I have managed to get all my marking done and so I have time to indulge myself yet again by ruminating on my present position contemplating over seven working days to go before I am released back into the Elysian Fields of retirement.
As is ever the case, I am thinking too precisely on th’event and wondering exactly what sort of contract I have signed. The period of time from the 30th of November to the 21st of December sounds like a reasonable number of days on which to assume that I will have earned enough to buy a new Mac computer – or have they been canny enough to pay only for those days in which I am actually in school?
One has to consider that I worked only a Friday of one week and then worked three days in the next; it is only in this week that I face going into school for all five days! What is the school going to pay for? Have the two days been counted in my salary or are they paying me on a daily rate. The basic problem is that I won’t really discover which is the case until I have left and been given my wage slip. By which time I will have left and it will be too difficult to get any extra cash.
Why, you may ask yourself, do I not ask now. Good question. But I am bound by decorum and good taste not to do that. At least, not until I have got Toni to translate my contract more fully and explain to me exactly what the school is paying for.
As I keep telling anyone who will listen, I am only here as a personal favour to the Head of English and so I do not expect to be taken advantage of by the school financial system. Especially if the result of my labours is less than the price of an iMac. And an iPhone. At least!
Part of the strategy for this now involves “selling” my FNAC card to a colleague for cash. The gift card was my leaving present the last time I tried to retire, but the camera that it was supposed to part-finance was much cheaper on Amazon than in a shop in the centre of Barcelona, so I was left with the potential to get something rather than actually having a gadget to play with.
Talking about delayed gratification, the camera from Amazon worked only for a few weeks before the lens refused to retract and I had to send it back. Usually that is the beginning of a story full of hatred, resentment and vituperation about the callous indifference of Big Business – but not with Amazon, they appear to be the M&S of the Internet retail world!
My stamps, which I ordered months ago, resurfaced (as it were) in an anguished email from the supplier who told me that they had been returned by the Spanish Post Office with an address that they could not deliver to. God alone knows what went on at both ends of that transaction. My comfortable expectation that the stamps would therefore be delivered to me forthwith have not been realized and they are at present residing in the same place as the first batch of OU learning material is languishing.
But I live in hope that all things will be well and all manner of things will be well. And I have the campaign of Computer Purchase hotly in my mind to keep me happy.
I have now carefully typed out the list of references for the blithe statements that I have made in my work on the music section of our group tutor marked assignment and it is now merely a matter of slotting the references into place and constructing a bibliography. These are fiddly pieces of work and irritating in the extreme, but it also means that we are getting to the end of our task. In time for the Christmas Holidays. When I will be able to get back into a more comfortable regime.
The work on the Wiki for the OU is slowing down because we have reached that conventionally perilous stage where we think that we have done most of the work and all that remains is a little gentle tweaking. This is not the case and, anyway, the major part of the assignment has yet to be written: the piece of reflective writing which counts for more of the final mark than the two pieces of writing on which we have been lavishing time and care!
The end, however, is in sight and with any reasonable luck we should be finished before Christmas and this will give me a chance to catch up on the coursework which has been relegated to second place at the moment.
The sea glass lamp for Irene has been constructed and is generally successful. The bulb is the key element (apart of course from the precious sea glass) and we have hunted to find something which is a little cheaper than the one which is in the larger version. We (well, more the guy in the shop) did find something which was a third of the price of the remote controlled multi programmable lamp – but then it doesn’t do as much either.
The flagrant squandering of glass in the large version has become much more tightly organized in the smaller, but it is still an expensive item to make – especially in terms of time.
On the other hand, it does look good and I am sure that Irene will be delighted.
And that, after all, is the main thing.