Today sees another step in my attempts to become FM or Fully Mac. I sloped-off school as soon as was reasonable and made my way through lunch-time traffic to the Apple Store.
Having decided to take the plunge and spurge all the money that I have earned during my last (and I really mean that folks!) stint in school, on a computer I was in a determined mood. On a Mac computer. I have, in a very real sense, come home to the make of the first real computer that I owned.
The Apple Store was crowded (so much for the so-called Crisis) and there was even a queue for the “express” sale point for iPhones! I eventually found a little man who admitted that he spoke English, so I felt much more confident about speaking in Spanish to him! It’s just the way the communication thing works with me in this country!
After much discussion and my having to phone my bank as the sum of money that the Apple Store wanted to take from my account was too large for a single payment on my card and I did not have enough cash to make up the full amount, I was eventually brought my machine by a girl who called me by name when she handed it over to my handler: they do these things well in Apple Stores when they know that they are fleecing the customer.
I was then handed over to an utterly charming lady who showed me the rudiments of setting up and who helped me install the programs that I needed to make this expensive piece of equipment work.
I could not buy a new phone as my bank did not authorise such a large purchase and, perhaps that was for the best!
I am now a happy little bunny except for the fact that the machine insists on underlining all the English words which it regards as just plain wrong, in spite of the fact that I have changed the operating language to English.
The day has changed and already it is tomorrow.
So, this is the day that I RETIRE – again.
It is difficult to remember just how many times I have retired, only to creep back into the educational fold. But this time . . .
To be frank I do not think that my last day in the School on the Hill was professionally wonderful. I “taught” a lesson by sitting in front of a class and showing them a film. All the rest of my classes that day were nugatory because they were all off on trips and so I felt fully justified in leaving school at an absurdly early time and found myself back in Castelldefels before the stroke of midday!
This meant that I was able to take up an invitation from the head of secondary in my local British school and join the staff for a small celebration for the end of term with Cava and tapas.
It was extremely pleasant to go into a school and meet erstwhile colleagues whose lives had been made easier because I had been the supply teacher who kept their free periods free! I felt that my greeting from the staff was one of unmixed enthusiasm – the same enthusiasm that I would have felt for anyone who had allowed me to keep my free periods sacrosant!
It was noticeable that the training of many years came out in the way in which for most of the time in the “fiesta” I wandered about with a bottle of Cava attached to my hand. If I had a pound for each time I have been in a party and found myself with a bottle of Cava (or equivalent) in my personal possession, I would be able to afford one of the more prepossessing houses with which we are surrounded!
I left quite early, but not before providing the headteacher, the head of secondary and the head of pastoral with a glass of personally poured Cava – sometimes my calculating generosity knows no bounds!
I think if I had to use a single experience to crystalize my feelings about a reception which was a total delight, then I would have to plump for a casual comment I made to one of the management in the school. I told her that one of my most positive feelings about the place was that it felt like “a real school”. I obviously meant it as a compliment, but I was shocked by the response that I got: one of unmixed delight! I suppose that some people feel that they are so close to the institution for which they work that a dispassionate assessment of their working environment is impossible. It therefore follows that an assessment from a seeimingly neutral observer is something to be valued and that, in turn values what people working in the institution have done.
To my utter delight the headteacher recited a poem rather than giving a boring speech. And, on an unrelated, but significant point, I have now reached the limit of my tolerance of this bloody Word programme refusing to accept that I am typing in English. I am therefore going to get the program downloaded for me by the technician in school today in an attempt to get this bloody thing to behave in a totally British sort of way.
The process is now underway and I have no lively hope of success: for things like this which are suppose to be totally straightforward, you really need an expert close at hand. Well, I have tried my best but the machine refuses to accept that I might be typing in perfectly acceptable English – and to prove my point the program changed a Word in the previous sentence to the Spanish spelling without my wanting it to.
This is my opportunity to find out if the back-up support for which I have paid a surprisingly large sum of money comes anywhere near to justifying the outlay.
Today has been an excellent day with things working out just as I wanted them too. It has been filled with pleasant experiences and has left me feeling warmly towards the onslaught of the festive season.
To cap it all an (admittedly drunk) phone call from the Pauls suggests that they might, after all, be able to come over for part of the holiday.
As is my wont, I am now waiting for the inevitable negation of these positive elements.
But that is for tomorrow: and tomorrow is . . .