Going to have my swim is now fraught with visual complications as the leisure centre where I disport myself continues to undergo almost daily transformations.
The car park, which was closed a month ago, has now opened – even if the new electronic gates are not yet functional. No one said that it was going to be open, but when I arrived by bike the place was full of cars. I always suspect that there is some form of underground network of the locals to which I have no access! Anyway I made the best of things, by congratulating myself on my physical effort in getting to the place when I could have driven. The real test, of course will be tomorrow when taking the bike now becomes a real choice and a real test of my new found enthusiasm for two-wheeled transport. As long as it doesn’t rain I think that my resolve will hold!
A new children’s playground, with slide, climbing-frame, ladders, walkways and all sorts of other brightly coloured structures has appeared overnight and by the time I got there workmen were busily putting down that spongy tarmac that is supposed to soak up kids’ falls. All I care about is that I can get a place to have my tea as far away as is humanly possible from any concentration of neophyte humans while still remaining on the premises.
The fences restricting access to the area under the remaining trees has been taken down, and I am glad to say that I was the first person to sit at any of the new tables and chairs in that area.
Never let it be said that any experience was not exploited by my good self, and as soon as I had a few sips of my tea I was busily writing in my notebook. The poem which came from those notes called, Over head, is to be found on my new poems blog at http://smrnewpoems.blogspot.com.es/2015/04/over-head.html - but do look at the other poems as well if you take the trouble to go there, and please click the ‘follow’ button if you wish to be informed about any new poems that I post.
The leisure centre is certainly taking on a new appearance. It is looking slicker and more professional. I am duty bound to report that the spaces for cars seem sufficient for even the most overblown personal transport vehicle and the disabled spaces seem to be being respected, so my fears as outline in my poem Car Park Country http://smrnewpoems.blogspot.com.es/2015/04/car-park-country.html seem overstated.
You will have noticed the number of times I used the word ‘seem’ in the preceding sentence. Bear in mind that the car park has been in use for less than 24 hours, so not everyone is aware that the place is now re-opened, with the result that there were a few spare places. That will all change in the next couple of days. And then there is the weekend.
Perhaps I am being overly cynical about my fellow citizens, but then again, perhaps I am not!
As the last course essay in the Open University course that I am following does not appear to want to write itself, I am going to have to make a start if it is to be cleanly out of the way before I go to the UK at the end of the month. I have decided that, at the very least, I am going to prepare the essay format ready for my words of artistic wisdom to be inscribed.
This is not an easy task as the way in which you have to send work to the OU is supposed to follow a number of clearly stated rules. That doesn’t mean to say that people follow them, as they are usually far more concerned about the details of the bibliography than any concerns about actual content. The questions that people ask on the forums about ‘how to’ when dealing with, for example, a reference within a reference in an essay in a reference book cited by someone else in a further book, puts one in mind of the worst excesses of the final stages of the decline of the Byzantine Empire. If it’s that complicated, I just find something else to say and bugger it!
I intend to follow the advice given to the letter in this essay and see if it makes any difference to my final mark. I find that I have a tendency to look for a slightly off-centre approach to the set questions that do not go down well with the marking powers that be. So, I resolve to be a good little student and follow the academic line and do exactly what I am told to do. Perhaps.
At least when this essay is out of the way I will be able to turn all my attention to the end of module assessment and start amassing books to look at when I visit the British Library.
I can’t help feeling that my time in the UK is going to be full to the brim with all the things that I have assumed will fit easily into about six days of usable presence in London. And I expect to have a daily swim as well.
I am reminded of the time leading up to my finals when I thought the time had come to write out a revision timetable. I did so and was able to prove conclusively that I did not have enough time to revise before the examinations started. Perhaps I should look at everything that I said that I would do and work out rough timings so that I can start jettisoning things before I get there rather than on an ad hoc basis on arrival!
I also intend to enjoy myself and take full advantage of being in a city of culture where I fluently speak the language!
When I think about it my BASIC London Itinerary necessitates visits to The National Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and lunch in the very wonderful restaurant, Tate Modern, The British Museum, The Royal Academy, The National Theatre, M&S, at least three bookshops including a sneer round Foyle’s, The Colly or the Royal Opera House or some sort of Opera somewhere, a decent Indian meal, a decent pint in a pub and . . . other galleries and some museums which are a crime to ignore when you are staying in the city.
The fact that I have a Study DAY and a group visit to Tate Modern and that these two events take out two days AND that I have a planned visit to an accommodating interior designer who has invited me to his home to view the paintings that I need to see for my project and that takes out time. That I am meeting Clarrie and Mary for lunch or dinner. That Paul has said that he might come up to London. And I begin to panic. The swims would appear to be therapy rather than exercise!
I’m going to love it!
Meanwhile back in the world of personal vanity publishing. I now have a Catalan looking at the translation of the first three poems with a promise to give me an annotated response by Wednesday of next week. I can then get the ideas to the translator and see what she makes of them. And who knows when I am going to get the other poems to join the process!
The translation into Spanish has not even started, though the person who I hope will do the translation is seeming more positive about it actually happening – and I am taking that crumb of comfort and making the most of it.
The artwork is another problem. Though I am quietly confident that everything is going to work out. This may well be because I am delusional, but it is better to be like that and then just have to expend innate optimism when the eventual crash happens than be fatalistic all the time. I tell myself.
My adopted team of Barça are doing quite well. Apart from a little hiccup of a draw when they should have won in the league. In the European Cup there was a resounding win of 3-1 against PSG and Barça can at least say that they scored all the goals in the game. ‘Nuff said!
Apart from the moment of delight when Cardiff City made it into the Premier League (I was there at the official celebrations with a VIP pass!) there has been little to warm the heart about the progress of the team. I cannot pretend that it hasn’t been a delight to support a team which is regularly vaunted as one of the best in the world.
And they win trophies. They have silverware. And lots of it. That is delightful. Though it does make the lack of success even more difficult to take. Our eyes are firmly set on the final in Berlin, though it is obviously more important that Barça do well in the league and, at the moment they are clinging on to the top spot by the slimmest of margins.
I never thought that the time would come that I would take anything more than the most cursory glance at the kick-ball game, but I have to say that I am now at the stage in my football education that not only can I recognize Barça players, but I even know some of their names! Who would have thought!
I was even out on the street with a flag when Barça won the European Cup! How times have changed!
Any year now I will finally get round to learning the words of the Barça anthem – though don’t hold your breath!