Thursday, May 17, 2012

When is Friday?

Although the last tatters of rain washed me on my journey to school, the bulk of the water had obviously descended during the night and left a tide of what looks like sawdust but is actually the result of the continuing storm of pine pollen which continues to cloud our neighbourhood.

The new batch of CDs has now been loaded and is ready to be played. The first has already been inserted and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, followed by Barber’s Adagio for Strings saw me through the dampish trip to school and who knows what pop Classics will waft me home again. 

And this is what I want: hummable tunes to build up to the more challenging CDs that lie in wait for me.  What I have now got should see me through to the summer and then the psychological need for music first thing in the morning and at the end of the afternoon will be substantially lessened!

It’s odd, but I reckon that I can see the invisible chains that are binding my colleagues to the school; their heads are bowed over their own or the school computers and there is a sullen look of weary resignation about them.  Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

I have not yet decided when to get de-mob happy and start (!) behaving disgracefully.  There is an opportunity on the 22nd when there is another strike in the educational sector targeting private schools.  I know that our status is somewhat anomalous but we are still basically a private school no matter how much public money is inexplicably pumped into our coffers.  My chatting with the other “activists” does not give me much hope for a concerted thrust of militant action!

Julie may, or may not, have bought a flat in Sitges now.  The price was (for Sitges) absurdly cheap and it is the sort of flat to which value can be added fairly simply.  Her purchase has sparked off in me a lust for property of mine own – especially if it is a bank repossession sale where the blood-soaked, grasping banks are looking for instant liquidity rather than making the swingeing profits for which they are justly reviled. 

Toni will have to get his property-searching mode up and running and find a similar absurd bargain in Castelldefels.  If everything goes according to plan then there might be the possibility to look around in the summer – though that is not necessarily the best time to be searching for property in a seaside resort.

This Wednesday is feeling like a Friday – which is a bad thing.  There being more days left in the week than one’s body calendar has recognized and which therefore makes the “extra” two days almost unbearable.  Especially when Saturday is going to be rainy.  Just one damn thing after another!

As I have decided that this is a pseudo-Friday I am acting to preserve my essential Fridayness and take it relatively easy.  My class of 2ESO are now studying for their examination and that gives me a breathing space to get on with other work which is waiting to pounce on me if I am not careful.

My next lesson is with 1ESO in which I have to attack relative pronouns and subdue them to my will so that I can try and explain their use to guileless students who have happily been writing sentences with the new vocabulary we have learned.  The lesson after (yes, three lessons on the trot) is one of my Making Sense of Modern Art lessons where the kids themselves have to give a presentation – this time on Cubism if I am not mistaken.  This is not as relaxing as it could be as the pupil talk lasts only a few minutes and I have to stimulate debate for the rest of the time with the hapless pupils taking some sort of notes.

The last lesson of the day (for the third day in succession) is with the 3ESO and they are now groaning and muttering about the load of work that they have to do for the final assessment in June.  But, in a very real sense, I couldn’t care less and they are going to be someone else’s problem next year.  As, of course, is everything else that I am doing now.  Ah, ‘tis a consummation devoutly to be wished!

The swimming pool next to the British School of Barcelona which I joined under false pretences continues not to be open.  Which is not quite the same thing as closed.  We are still waiting for the council to give the OK for the thing to be opened.  At the moment the water is glinting seductively and everything is spick and span and new but without the safety certificate (I assume) the pool remains tantalizingly not available for swimming. 

I joined the Sports Centre at Easter when I was told with a light laugh by the girl at the counter that the authorities would “not even in a matter of weeks” be giving the certification.  Now that months are beginning to pass I realize that the ambiguity of their statement should have struck me much earlier and I should have used my experience of living and working in Spain and Catalonia to hold back from recklessly spending money on the naïf presumption that something which they told me was being done was being done!  You live and learn.  Or not of course, in my case.

As the weather is sullen I do not feel like throwing myself recklessly into the icy communal open pool and need the comfort of warmer water in an enclosed environment to lessen the shock to the system.  This is one of the times when I wish that my Spanish was much, much better so that I could lose my temper in the nuanced way that I find most beneficial when dealing with recalcitrant shopkeepers and service providers.

The weather improved in the afternoon and the evening was sunny and delightful and just the setting for a caña y tapa which we had in a new location our usual café having eschewed such low value crisis-friendly fare; our loyalty however is money dependent and we will desert ungainly entrepreneurs at a Euro’s notice!

A secondary purpose in going into town was to purchase yet another CD holder to take the new Amazonian discs that have finally been picked up (one cannot, after all expect the delivery firm in Castelldefels actually to deliver) and are now being played in the car.

I have devised a system whereby I will undergo a varied selection of music to keep me sane as I am wound about by the kamikaze spiralling gyrations of motorcyclists and the inane discourtesy of single-mindedly bigoted car drivers as I make my sedate drive-controlled way to work.

This morning was Nielsen and his first symphony conducted by Bloomstadt.  To me the sound sounded slightly muffled and the tempo at which he takes the opening of the first movement was ponderous but it certainly grew on me and I was happily humming along by the time I reached the turnoff from the motorway.  This music certainly took away the unpleasant taste of the classical pop shit that one of the other purchases left in the ears (so to speak) and I look forward to other delights.

One of the major purchases has been a British Symphonies box set which is notable for not being exclusively composed of symphonies.  The ten discs seem to cover a fair amount of musical ground up to, and including the rubbish which Hoddinot produced!

The weather is again threatening and depressing with cloud cover which is supposed to get thicker as the day progresses.  The flattening atmosphere appears to have transmitted itself to the staff who are subdued and colourless at the moment.

For me the lack of enthusiasm is easily explained as the notorious predilection for Saturday morning meetings in this place which is about to claim another weekend - and my fury at my enforced participation does not lessen with each infringement of my sacred weekend time.  

My startled yelps of “Lower wages and more impositions!” (not quite as catchy as “Not a penny off the pay not a minute on the day” or whatever was the actual phrase used by the strikers of yore) seems to fall on employee ears closed by the very real fear of what lack of work could mean for anyone rash enough to speak out and consequently be shown the door.  It is very lonely being a trade unionist in this sort of environment!

Meanwhile the day limps on with disruption to our normal timetable through the arrival of a choir from Scotland which is going to sing to us and the general entropy which is a delicious morsel of happiness consequent upon the ragged attendance of the second year sixth or 2BXT and the relishable free periods which follow in their absence.

This is the second day which has felt like Friday without actually being that sacred day.  Yesterday also felt like Friday and I am assuming with Sod’s Law that tomorrow, Friday, will feel nothing like it.  The threat of the Saturday meeting is still there which adds to the sense of grotesque unreality – as does the weather forecast which predicts the same cloudy weather into next week with the only difference being it will rain on Sunday.  So much for the weekend!

At least I can get on with some of my reading if the allure of the Third Floor is lessened by cloud!
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