Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sweet sounds!

There is something prosaic about the Word “lump” – but when it is placed in front of the word “sum” then the combination takes on a sort of mystical beauty.

I have now started my seventh decade: a time when in the normal course of events a British teacher should thankfully consider his professional duties done and relax into the affluence that a grateful government showers upon a faithful servant. Leaving the biblical fantasy of that last statement to one side, I have now reached the magic age when I fully intended to retire. Again.

But. Already (!) two months of term (and the year) have gone and the long haul to the summer doesn’t seem so impossible. Really.

The real key to my continued employment will be the real amount of money that the pension actually pays month by month. That, as they say, is for the future – but is a financially more interesting problem as it is dealing in positive amounts of money.

And here I must put in a word for the charming ladies in the call centre of First Direct – my telephone bank.

When I called up to see if the Lump Sum (it surely deserves capital letters) had been paid into my British account, I asked the lady to give me the balance in my current account. She told me the amount and I gave a little squeak of pleasure, at which point she said, “Shall I read that again?” Which she then did in what I can only describe as a sensuous voice.

Our conversation developed a slightly raunchy tone and the lady (!) suggested that she could probably make a living by reading out large sums of money on a dedicated phone line. After much giggling, chortling and laughing Toni asked who I had been speaking to and was a little mystified by my response of “My bank!”

On my Kindle I am presently reading “Earthly Powers” by Anthony Burgess and, as usual with his novels I am making a collection of the words that I have had to look up. So far the list includes: “prolepsis”, “deist” (which I knew, but not to use convincing in a sentence to show its meaning); “onomastic”; “velleity”; “exiguous” (see explanation for “Deist” above); “oenophile” (which I remembered when I looked it up); “supinated” and “omnifutuant” (for which I still have not found a meaning, as the print in my two volume Oxford English Dictionary is simply too small) – and I am still only half way through the novel!

At the moment the book is reading like Nabokov with added vulgarity: not a bad mix!

Exams have been marked though not necessarily handed back. Monday was the Day of the Long and Pointless Meeting. I started teaching at 8.15 am and left school at 7.45 pm. The meeting which started as soon as the last lesson of the day had been taught lasted two hours forty minutes and was of almost unendurable boredom.

By way of compensation we have an “occasional day” or something which means that this weekend is three days long with Monday being blissfully free of teaching!

Time to regroup!
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