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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Old Times!





Sitting by a floor to ceiling window on the first floor of a small restaurant looking out on to the square which contained the church of Santa Maria del Mar was, I suppose, a prime position.  It was cold though.
            This was my outing with Suzanne, who I haven’t seen for some time, so there was a lot of catching up.  My contribution was based on life in the real world; Suzanne’s was to do with education.  I love listening to people talk about education and teaching (not, by any means the same thing) because of my practical distance from it.  My only concern is with the children of the UK becoming tax paying citizens and therefore helping to fund my pension.  The kids around the world can do as they please; they are nothing to do with me, O Vienna!
            This is not absolutely true obviously.  How can a teacher of umpteen years experience say such things?  I do understand that what happens in the rest of the world effects what happens in the UK and therefore has a direct influence on my pension.  But it is hard to sympathise with the pampered youth of today without thinking of the indirect taxation they pay as they spend their parents’ money.  The more the merrier, say I!
            Suzanne and I talked non-stop, often at the same time and, to be fair to the pair of us, we ranged far and wide in our topics – though, also to be fair, it the topics did tend to come back to teaching more often than not.  But that is something that you have to accept if you talk to a teacher – education is life and life is teaching.  It is simple and unassailable and has to be accepted because that is how it is.
            It was difficult to hide my delight in various instances of schadenfreude that were offered by Suzanne’s descriptions of life in the school.  O the joy of not being there to act like my curmudgeonly self.  Victor Meldrew has nothing on me when I get going about the inadequacy of management in Education!
            If that sort of revenge were not enough, I also gave Suzanne a copy of the poems that I have written as part of the course.  These were presented in a booklet, the scars of which production are still with me.  The booklet was wittily entitled “Poems, of course” and she will have to read them and give me some sort of feedback.  My friendship comes at a price!
            As Irene will find when she comes to lunch on Saturday.  She too will have a copy of the booklet and that will wipe the smile off her face!
            Meanwhile the days pass and the latest mark will be revealed – and my strategy for the remaining assignments.  I am already making plans for the rest of the course, but the plans will be as nothing unless I can see a productive way forward.  The hell with experience and the joy of learning: it is all about the marks!

On a different, yet related subject.  I have been searching for a particular book which I am beginning to suspect I gave to Oxfam in the decimation of my library before I left the UK.  I sincerely hope that I have not and that the volume is lurking behind some unrelated books which I have not yet moved.  But the feeling is growing in me that it is one of the spurned volumes.  This, more than ever, reinforces my belief that no book, no matter how tangential to my life, should ever be thrown away.
            I have run out of places where it can be and the partial organization of my remaining books which took place some time ago makes it even less possible that the one that I want is ‘hidden’ in some way.  It is, however, a very pleasant and enjoyable frustration to go through my library trying to find what I want.  I am always amazed, and not a little disturbed by the strange juxtapositions that I discover as my eye sweeps along the spines!  I would be sad to have everything arranged in a totally logical way.  A library should be full of surprises!  And mine certainly is.

            To hell with Dewey-decimal and laud above all the Heath-Robinson approach to book classification!
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