Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The dry decision

Another bright and sunny day.

I know that I shouldn’t dwell on such things, but I still haven’t lost my simple delight in a rainless sequence of cold, but bright and cheerful days.

Today a discussion with the equivalent of the sixth form about the crisis in Spain and a clear division of opinion about the seriousness of the situation.

One boy asserted that much of the problem in this country is psychological – an interesting position to take in a country where there is 20% unemployment and talk of a further cut in the wages of “civil servants” such as teachers!

No-one to whom I have spoken has the slightest faith in the present government and they are acutely embarrassed at the mawkish and faintly embarrassing figure that their prime minister cuts in conferences abroad and world leaders seem to go out of their way to avoid speaking to him.

The situation of Ireland has made me (if not the people in this country) a little jittery about what might happen to Spain. One of the sixth formers said that the economy of Spain was based on tourism and construction and that one has declined and the other has largely been terminated with half built buildings dotted around the country and the city.

The financial background of our kids does have a fairly wide spread from those whose parents are the movers and shakers of the region and beyond, through the prosperous professional to the indigent professional (or teachers) and downwards! I have to say that the graph of the financial situation of our kids is slanted more towards the “haves” than the “have nots” but some of them could well be adversely affected by the continuing crisis.

Meanwhile I exist in a situation where my present salary and the “pourboire” I get on the day before my birthday in each month do not add up to what my salary was when I left Wales. A shocking state of affairs! But the sun does shine.

I have made an almost certain decision to pack, at least partially when I get home this evening; there is surely nothing worse than destroying one’s Friday evening by frantically putting the wrong things in a case which is too small. Though I have to admit that it is something which has been customary for me in the past. I’m not sure that something in which I am not panicking at the last moment actually counts as a “true” holiday!

I have also realized that I have not confirmed anything with my cousin and that I should have done that before now, but I will have to allow that little oversight to act at the “panic” part of my excursion.

In my mind I have a whole series of things that I want to do and objects that I want to buy and I am worriedly certain that I will not have time to get everything done. The compulsory visits to Tesco and M&S are more like a homage to things that are no more for me than a clear destination for things that I need.

The word “need” in itself is an interesting one as far as I am concerned. I “need” things like computers and other gadgets. As long as they come with flashing lights; shiny metallic surfaces; sleek design and complex instruction booklets – what, after all is the point of a gadget if it can be understood and mastered in a few minutes – then I am happy.

Even lever corkscrews, though admittedly simple and elegant in design and simplicity itself to use, have vagaries in their practical application that take many, many bottles to discover.

Not everything can be encompassed in the tissue pages of a multi-lingual tome where the sometimes rarefied use of English (at least) makes it appear to have been translated by a monoglot Serbian from the original Alpha Centurian.

The Internet has now provided the gadgetophile with access to others with his (and it’s usually a “his”) affliction and solutions to problems from any geek with a camera; a predilection for YouTube and an earnest hope that something he does will “go viral.”

I am still scratching the surface of my mobile phone (well, rubbing my finger across it, it is tactile after all) and it is doing very little more than my last mobile phone (significantly, I actually typed camera, but the two are virtually synonymous these days!) and I am stymied by the limited access that I have to the Internet from it. As it is “free” I do not have a contract to access the Internet from everywhere and that is something of a major limitation.

On my last phone I was able, with the inadvertent touch of the wrong key, to find the damn thing connecting to the internet at exorbitant cost. Now, as much as I try my present phone I can only get a connection with the Wi-Fi at school and home! The more sophisticated the more complicated!

Now I must do some packing. I really must – even if it is only for three days!
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