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Monday, January 21, 2013

Good intentions!



Saturday morning was taken up in a confusion of intentions.  My lunchtime appointment in the centre of Barcelona took a number of attempts before I was safely on my way.

Arrangements are the very devil when reality tries to frustrate them.  I was supposed to meet Julie and John on the train from Sitges and join them for the journey into Barcelona and our meal.  After having received no telephone call to finalize the arrangements, and after I had discovered the original (lost) email which started the Arrangements I panicked into setting out almost at once.  To me “mediodia” means midday (though I later discovered that just because the words can be translated like that it doesn’t necessarily mean it) and I was therefore catapulted into action a couple of hours before I was ready.

By the time I had reached the station Arrangement had caught up with me and a closer definition of mediodia mean that I could return to the house while calling into the supermarket to get the little delicacies that I would normally have bought to take to a meal.

We did finally meet up and it was a relief to get onto the train and escape from the thoroughly unwelcome rain that had irritated me throughout the morning.  After a brisk walk and some indecision we arrived at our destination.

The flat in the centre of Barcelona on a very fashionable street was exactly like some of the more opulent residences that you see on the television and this one was packed with art, sculpture and other nice things.  Some the nice things I would very much like to have had.  But my breeding got the better of me, that and the fact that there were far too many witnesses!

The meal was very enjoyable, but stressful at the same time as much of the conversation was in Spanish.  I tried my best but it is impossible for me to be anything like my normal self in a foreign language.  I know it is my fault that I have not made more of an effort to be fluent given the amount of time that I have now spent in Spain – but there it is.  And I think I exploit my status as “false beginner” to an extraordinary degree.  And as soon as I learn a few more tenses and a few more verbs to go with them, there will be no stopping me.

I returned with Julie and John on the train, as they were off to spend their first night in the new Sitges flat.  Toni and I cannot wait to see exactly what they have done with it.

Maybe it’s the weather, or perhaps it was the amount of walking in the rain that I did, but my legs were hurting by the time I got home and I was grateful for my bed.

Sunday was going to be a restful day, but The Family appeared at lunchtime and I retired to the Third Floor to get some OU work done and brood.

I realized today that the weekend should also have been a time when some much-needed work should have been done, as Monday morning was something of a nightmare.

Put not your trust in machines.  What should have been a simple operation of getting a document form one computer to another via a memory stick turned into an epic struggle of failure as all aspects of my attempted transfer (apart from the computer) failed to work.  Perhaps it was just a sort of mechanistic grin that allowed the document that I wanted to work with to be so clearly displayed as, without a cup of tea, I set to work in the early morning night-time.  The computer in the odd little pseudo-classroom that I use for the 1ESO doesn’t link to anything – including the Internet most of the time.  It refused to recognize my memory stick and left me fuming and impotent.

I was eventually helped by a fast speaking Catalan whose dexterity on the computer keyboard both mystifies and frustrates me.  He eventually got things moving but not soon enough to be of any real use to me.

Having switched to Plan B I worked at a frantic pace to get the work done for a colleague and then found myself stymied by the whole of the school Internet system crashing yet again!

Still without my cup of tea I walked down to the other building and set about getting results transferred to a central data base (or stapled photocopied sheets) and then discovered that one set of papers appears to have gone missing.  I did what any sane person would do given the amount of work waiting for me to do and systems crashing right, left and centre: I pretended that everything was alright!

With a lurching sense of unease (having completed the examination setting work I had to do) I realized that I had not designed and made the folder for the Drama workshops I take.  Ten hysterical minutes later and the folder was complete and eventually, while waiting in fuming impotence for a charming colleague to finish her interminable photocopying, I had the necessary numbers of folders for my next class.

And so the day progressed, wobbling from one unsatisfactory work linked experience to another.  Although wearing to the soul, I did actually get quite a lot done.

This week sees the second part of my Puppet Project in Drama.  This is a three-week experiment to get the kids in Year 7 to write and design a short, filmed production using the simplest forms of puppets and backgrounds.  It will be interesting to see what comes of it.  And what will be more interesting is to see what I will do next.  I have a completely free hand in what I do in these four lessons a week and I intend to take full advantage of such an opportunity and make the most of them.  The only thing that I am determined not to do is to mount four dramatic productions at the end of the year to which parents are invited.  I have seen with mine own eyes just how much extra work this entails and I am determined to have none of it!

Tomorrow is an ESAEF day (Early Start and Early Finish) by which means I think it possible that I might get to the end of the year without terminal harm!

We shall see.

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