Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day by day

Why is it so much easier to swim well one day rather than another?  Today and yesterday I got the feeling as I was swimming that I could do a steady crawl all day. 

Load of rubbish of course; but even if the feeling is momentary it is a pleasant one and it makes the twenty minutes that I decide to swim pass that much more quickly.

For someone who likes swimming as much as I do I get bored with the activity very quickly, which is why I restrict myself to a mere twenty minutes.  For those twenty minutes I am engaged and I enjoy the exercise – any longer and it becomes just a chore.

I must admit that I prefer swimming just before midday, even though when I was in the UK I used to go for an early morning swim before I went to school.  The pool here doesn’t open until after eight in the morning and that makes it impossible to swim before work.  Even if I had work.  Which of course I do not have now. 

When it comes down to it I suppose that I’m just too damn lazy to swim early-ish in the morning.

Given the fact that the pool is near a school it does mean that unless I am prepared to get to the pool as soon after eight as possible the invasion of parents with big cars and inconsiderate parking habits means that it is impossible to find a parking space from eight-thirty about eleven.

Mothers use the parking spaces in the pool to ditch the car and take their kids to school and then return for a cup of tea and a noisy talk.  There is a whole social structure that I observe from the outside where I sometimes feel like an intruder as the only male sitting down and sipping from my double strength cup of tea – which is now prepared as soon as the proprietor of the café sees me.  Which is social progress of a sort.

My distance-learning package from the OU did not arrive today and so I am putting all my faith on its arrival tomorrow.  It is now just under a fortnight until the official start of the course and it is always a good thing to get off to a flying start by reading through some of the stuff before the date when you have to start.  Still, in theory I should have plenty of time to keep up with the work and the assignments – I would just be a lot more comfortable if I had the material to hand well before the start.

Toni is ploughing on ahead with his course which he will not be able to register for until next month and then it will not start until next February – by which time I should be well into my second assignment and the second “book” of teaching material which is part of the package.

I am still having little after-shocks from seeing Suzanne.  The only parking space I could find near the exit from the school when I went to pick her up was well up the hill and out of the sight lines of the pupils.  That was not intentional; I did a circuit of the school roads trying to find a place nearer, but the partial gap that I found was the only space.  I was able to watch, with mixed emotions, the kids leaving school after the sound of the lunch bell. 

Even at a distance I could tell which students were which.

This is a gift of short sightedness where a sufferer often has to recognize friends and relatives by their general hazy outline rather than by specific clear details.  Even with glasses I still find that I am looking through the wrong part of the varifocal lenses and not seeing a sharp outline, so I am relying on old myopic skills rather than tilting my head to bring another part of the lens into operation!

Eventually Suzanne emerged and we went off into Barcelona.

Seeing an ex-colleague is a strange feeling because the conversation is only slightly skewed from the conversation that you would have if you were current colleagues.  It is only, after all, six teaching weeks which is the difference between my professional status from last year to this, so there is only what Evelyn Waugh (in different circumstances) referred to the “bat squeak” of difference.  But it is a difference which is real and day-by-day you lose the quotidian pressures which unite a teaching force.

The pleasure that a non-teaching teacher (like alcoholics you are always a teacher, though sometimes a teacher who does not teach) gets is always something of a guilty pleasure.  The walking through town without the accompanying screams of the young; going to supermarkets and walking almost without pause to an empty checkout; having time to do complex tasks and stick to them until they are done; having time to read a newspaper properly – all these things are a delight, but one can never stop thinking of those still at which is archaically still referred to as the “chalk-face.”

It is guilt that one can master!

But I still have to admit there is a part of me that feels I should still be teaching.  I suppose this is as near I get to Masochism as I care to go!

Meanwhile I have still not packed for my flying visit to the UK and tomorrow we are off to Terrassa for another name day.

Time is in short supply.

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