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Thursday, September 05, 2013

What is everyone else doing?




I think that I have shown exemplary restraint as it is now the 5th of September and I have not marked the start of the educational term with an extended gloat.  And, indeed, I will do not such thing now.  It is cruel and unnatural to take pleasure in the gloom of others, especially then they are doing essential work for the continuation of . . . .

I can’t keep that up! 

I am finally and irrevocably retired - and life is good! 

I am ashamed to admit that it is not sufficient for me to be happy; others must be miserable and be seen to be miserable for my pleasure to be unalloyed!  I might pay a visit to my old school – no, that is a step too far.  I suppose.

I do see one of my previous institutions every time I go for a swim in my local leisure centre.  This week only the teachers are in school; next week the onslaught of customers will fill those empty corridors and down the silence in a thousand piping voices!  As the weather is fine, the roof of the leisure has been retracted and there is a clear sight of the site of the school in which I have spent a few very pleasant weeks. 

But it has to be admitted that swimming (with the accompaniment of my exclusive choice of short pieces of bone conducted music) is better than being in the classroom.

I should add at this point that after my swim I sit and sip a cup of tea while reading my phone or Kindle, book or newspaper (thank god for the electronic media).  I should add this, but, thanks to Paul B, I no longer read – I play “Candy Crush”.  How are the mighty fallen!  Classic literature and The Guardian to a glorified game of Tetris!

And it is compulsive.  And clever.  Not in the structure of the game which basically consists of lining up similar objects and blasting other objects out of the way, no, that isn’t difficult to understand.  What is really clever is the setting of almost impossible objectives and offering little “cheat” moves for real money.  You want a few extra goes to get rid of the last pesky little objects?  They are yours for 89p.

The game also utilises the social media, urging players to send a life to a friend!  Or get one in return.  All this so that you can watch badly drawn graphics jerk their unconvincing way across your screen and then walk a few steps to get to the next location on what seems like an interminable path to . . . ?  To nowhere.  Just another numbered location on an arbitrary path.  But paying real money to get an edge to get to the next meaningless level.  It is both evil and very clever!

On a more positive level, even the displacement activity magnet that is “Candy Crush” did not managed to stop me completing the last OU essay for this course.  I am now left with the revision for the examination on the 10th of October and worrying about the essay for which I had taken a rather different point of view from that which would have been the obvious way to approach the essay title.  You see, in spite of what I always say to pupils (sorry, should have got the tense right there, “You see, in spite of what I used to say to pupils when I was teaching and not retired”) that they MUST ANSWER THE QUESTION; when I am put in the situation where I have to put my advice into practice, then I am always looking for the road less travelled and making my work that much more difficult by trying to find a wrinkle that makes it different.  We shall see.

Part of the displacement activity entailed Irene, Toni and myself going to a meal in an expensive Italian restaurant called “La Tagliatella.”  This is a chain and Irene had eaten in two other restaurants and was not prepared for the generally low standard that we experienced in the Anec Blau establishment.

Our first waitress was a sullen little girl who acted as though her work was part of Community Service.  To be fair the second person to serve us was excellent, bright, intelligent and responsive – though that did not stop the kitchen getting the meals mixed up.

The food: I have never, ever, in my life ever been to an Italian restaurant where they said that they did not have any more Bolognese sauce!  It was like a bad joke!  When the first course of Provoletto arrived after we had been told that it had been enthusiastically recommended by friends of Irene we started in disbelief at a plate of melted cheese with a few chopped vegetables on it.  For €8.90!  The pasta dishes were OK, but not for €15.20!  A grossly overpriced meal.  Though the sweet was excellent – as well it should have been at €6!

And now we await the general departure of our obnoxious neighbours as September demands their presence elsewhere.  We hope.  The bottle of Cava is cooling waiting to be mixed with the lemon sorbet to try and recreate the excellent refreshment we had in Irene’s barbecue.  It is the only way I can think of to encourage Toni to drink more than a thimble full of Catalonia’s national drink!

And now to phone teachers!  Cheap entertainment!
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