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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lazy Days




What is the summer holiday for if not for indolence?  OK, the concept of summer holiday is perhaps a little inaccurate for me, but it serves its purpose to get me to September and the New Life (again) that retirement (again) brings.

That by way of exculpation for the lack of writing that should have been filling up the space on the Internet.  The fingers are willing but the neural impulses are weak!

Our last summer guest has left and we feel a little bereft!  It does, however, give me the impetus to get down to the reading and writing that is necessary for the last TMA in this particular OU course.  This is the longest of the pieces that we have had to write and the one which is nearest to a conventional academic essay.  As soon as that is out of the way then my mind must turn towards the demands of the examination which is now just under two months away.

Whatever the outcome of the exam and TMA I have to admit that I have enjoyed this course more than the previous one.  I may have been more out of my comfort zone, but that, I think has given me more challenges which are what the whole idea of doing another degree was supposed to have set me.

There is an overlap with my next course and it will be interesting to see whether “Creative Writing” will challenge me as much as the present course.  Obviously this is a higher-level course, but it is still the entrance level that most OU students will encounter before moving on to level 3. 

In keeping with the dictates of the way that we do things in the OU I have bought myself a little red book (as opposed to the Big Red Book for the course) in which I am writing fugitive thoughts; interesting conversations; apposite phrases and writing ideas so that I am at least partially prepared for the opening of the Course Forum on the 25th of September. 

The course proper will have started in early October so I will be revising for the exam and doing in the introductory work at the same time.  I suppose it is a way of feeling sympathy for my ex-colleagues in Wales and Catalonia as they rush forward with cries of joy to meet the new term and the challenges that it will inevitably bring.  I too will be able to say with real feeling that I am “overworked” – though I suspect the sympathy from my erstwhile fellow toilers in the unyielding fields of education might be a little sparse!

On the material front my third (!) pair of bone conduction swimming headphones have arrived and, so far so good.  After a worrying moment when the tracks did not appear to load and the computer refused to recognize the Finis Swimp as a separate drive, things settled down and I have loaded a typically extravagant and eclectic selection of tracks and firmly placed the random switch on to ensure a bewildering succession of musical entertainment as I plough my lonely furrow intimidating small children out of my way.

I have very carefully kept receipt and packaging, as headphones like this tend to have a fairly limited life and I have paid too much for them to get only six of seven months of use out of them.

This time around I have made sure that “The Green Berets” is not one of the tracks – though I fear that the mere typing of that ominous title is enough to guarantee that the bombastic tune and nauseating lyrics will echo round my head for the rest of the day – and its only 10.45 in the morning!

I have also bought two more box sets of incredible value CDs, both of which are filled with reissues of records that I could not afford when they first came out and which I now cannot afford to let slip by at the cost of a couple of euros a piece.  The DG (with HVK as conductor) set also have reproductions of the original covers together with the information on the back of the cover in tiny poorly reproduced print which I can only read without my glasses on!  It is still an absolute feast of music and I must fly to Gava and MediaMarkt to get the next set of CD cases so that I can listen to the discs in the car.

At present I have been relying on the Catalan Classical Music Station which, while very good, is not really at its best when you are trying to listen to it without an aerial as some bastard has unscrewed and stolen it from my car.

Now the glorious sound of the Berlin Phil with DG clarity and the strict conducting of H von K will flatter me that I am now (at last) one with the Classical Music cognoscenti of forty years ago!  Better late than never!

Having just typed that, I relaxed for a moment and then caught myself tapping out the rhythm of “The Green Berets” on the arms of the chair in which I am sitting.  Never let it be said that I cannot undercut my own pretention!

After a rather muggy start to the day, the sun is making valiant attempts to assert its supremacy and justify the hordes trying to make the most of the link Bank Holiday by paying the inflated prices imposed for parking by our local den of PP politicians.

What used to be free parking along the sea front now comes with a hefty price and the effect has been startling.  There are spaces where there were none last year.  There has been a definite reduction in the number of cars in the area and, while this is good news for we residents, it can hardly be good news for the businesses and restaurants who rely on the summer season to make their profits.

Ah well, the people of Castelldefels have only themselves to blame as we are unique in this area as having voted for PP – and nothing that bunch of self-seeking, avaricious, selfish, unfeeling swine do should surprise.

On the national level the constant bombardment of the higher levels of the party and therefore government with accusations of corruption has become a badly scripted soap where the writers cannot stop themselves piling shocking revelation on top of another to try and engage with the jaded appetite of a viewing public already sated with excess!

On a more positive note I am sure that some aspects of the sad story of Spanish political life can be used as raw material for my next course.  Though, thinking about it, some of the material that we have been regaled with on the television might be consider a little too far-fetched for serious creative writing!
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