Monday, January 24, 2011

Work frustrated


Not only have I forgotten my reading glasses but also I have left my school keys in one of my coats.  This is because my shirt does not have a breast pocket.

Small changes in one’s normal routine have grave consequences in the way life is lived.  The breast pocket in normal times houses my blue and red disposable fountain pens and my mobile phone.  Wearing contact lenses means that there is not room for the mobile phone, as my half-moon reading glasses in their tube have to be lodged there.  The mobile phone is consigned to my pocket.  The pocketless shirt therefore, by it very absence, does not remind me that I should be carrying extra things for my day.

My pocket is then overstuffed with wallet; phone, handkerchiefs, miscellaneous coins, chewing gum and the keys that should be noticeable are then lost in the general bulges.  Until they are needed when their loss is acute.  We lock everything in our school and to be without keys is a pain, to put it mildly!  And not seeing the locks properly without my glasses is also a pain – though not one I care about much.

I have now redistributed the personal luggage that a normal day requires: car and house keys in the front section of the outside of the brief case; wallet inside the briefcase; pens ditto; phone in a pocket of its own; gum in briefcase; paper handkerchiefs relegated to the bin.

I have availed myself of Mad Lewce’s wisdom that, “Nothing is lost until you have looked for it three times” and that “No bag is checked until everything has been taken out”.  The practical result of these proven aphorisms is that my school keys have emerged Venus-like from the depths of the outside pocket of the briefcase and are now lodged securely in the internal pocket in my trouser pocket. 

This valuable addition to the mundane garment means that the metal does not jangle when you walk and the keys are safely segregated from anything else that might be snagged by the bittings.

The discovery of the keys goes some way to mitigate the resentment I feel on having the first free period of the week taken away to supervise two candidates who failed to sit their exam last week.

Later in the day I will get the final (I hope) instalment of the Mock Examination marking which seems to have lingered over our lives casting its dark shadow for some time now.  If things go according to plan I should be able to start the first tranche of marking in part of one of my free periods and then complete the rest in the lunch hour.  I refuse point blank to take the damn things home with me so the rest of my day is going to be rather full with some frantic periods of activity.  And even some teaching!

This little period is a calm before the storm where everything is potential rather than actual and I am stymied by the lack of material on which for me to put my red mark.
Next weekend there is a Grand Gathering of the Clans and we are going to have a colçotada but this time without the mountain of meat that has accompanied the delectable onions in the past.  This time just the veg and a few sausages – all in the best of Catalan taste.

This school is a transcendent example of the examinations tail wagging the educational body of the dog.  We examine!  We test!  We fell vast forests of trees to feed our voracious appetite for photocopied sheets with little gaps for the pupils to fill in.  Our pupils are either waiting to take a test; are recovering from taking a test, or are preparing for a test.  That is the life of the school!

School was hell, with my cunning plan to get the marking done frustrated at every turn.  I am ashamed to admit that I responded to my time being taken away by giving one of my classes a “reading opportunity” and marked like fury, then filled in the results after school and thereby missed most of the chaos that marks the departure of the students in the fleets of cars that they need to transport them back home!

At home the irritation of a defunct microwave – but there again, the opportunity to do a little light shopping.  I have very definite ideas about what qualities a microwave should have: reasonable size; grill; convection oven and one or two microwaves as well.  These requirements cut down the number of machines that one has a choice of, but I found one in the second shop we went to and money was duly spent.

The instruction book is in Spanish and Portuguese so it may take me a little longer than usual to familiarize myself with the details of how to work the thing.  All the various buttons, however, are marked encouragingly in English!

I have started the Herculean task of feeding the Mozart disks into The Machine.  I have been doing this all evening and I am not yet 10% of the way through.

The first piece of the collection that I listened to was The Jupiter (K.551 – as if I know Mozart by Köchel numbers!)  This was a mistake as I was trying to listen to the earliest symphony in the collection and I selected the wrong one from the list.  But, what the hell, that will come later!


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