Friday, February 22, 2013

Wet weekend

According to the depressing forecast we are in for an unrelentingly large number of days of damp, dull, un-Spanish weather.  Even yesterday, which was an unappetising day, had its little moment of sunshine.  It is a rare day indeed when there is no glimpse of the sun.  Admittedly I was indoors, making my lonely way up and down the swimming pool at the time of the moment of sunny splendour, but the roof of the pool is transparent and the walls are glass, so there is every opportunity for the glow to penetrate.  And it does do something to the feelings when you can expect a sight of our star during even the most unprepossessing day.  It is, after all, one of the reasons that I am here!

The last TMA has been returned and the tutor has made all the pleasingly right noises about my poem and justification that I could have wished for.  As far as I can work out, I have now done enough to pass the continuous assessment part of the course – but I must now put that behind me and concentrate on the next essay.  Even if it will be icing on the cake rather than the cake itself!

My quandary, if it can be assessed as such, is that I have a choice of three ways to proceed with the final assignment.  The most obvious course for me is to do the academic essay on Hard Times, but the other options of contributing on the Book 3 Forum or writing as essay on the historical background are also tempting. 

At the moment the Forum is not very productive, as few people seem to be contributing and, frankly, the history essay looks too text-book-derivative to be stimulating.  So, my real choice is to knuckle down and get on with Dickens and start writing.  Which is probably what I will do over the weekend.  Which cannot come too soon.  For me.

My return home was not quite the “and now the weekend starts – enjoy!” that I had hoped for.  Instead it was “everything is up in the air because an aunt is in hospital” sort of start to the two days of freedom.  An immanent visit to Terrassa is on the cards with other disruption a distinct possibility!

At least, where’er I roam I will have my library with me in the form of my trusty iPhone 5.  I am so prejudiced that I truly cannot tell if the phone is better or worse than my Samsung Galaxy, but I do know (or at least I think I know) that I am getting on better with the iPhone than I ever did with the Samsung.  Such is the power of Apple to those inclined to worship at the shrine; we are blind to any imperfections and cling to the True Way with the dogged faith of the zealot!

Surrounded as I am by coughs and colds, sickness and sore throats, debilitation and depression I am, at last having the good grace slowly to succumb to malaise and am gradually developing the symptoms of those around me.  The tickle at the back of the throat is surely becoming more insistent and the phlegmy cough makes the packet of tissues a necessary accessory. 

I will of course manfully fight the onset of illness, but I am no longer prepared to keep calm and carry on as in the old days and perhaps there is part of me which is hankering for one of my bi-annual days in bed to get better!

As part of my treatment I have just made a honey and lemon hot drink which is a sure and certain remedy for virtually anything, as any fule kno – ah, Stewart, that phrase is one for you as your memory lives on!

Depressingly there are still four weeks or so to the Easter Holidays and the Scylla and Charybdis of exams and meetings to negotiate before the days of rest are granted, but on hands and knees and with gritted teeth the days are passing and the summer is drawing ever nearer.

Not that you would be able to guess that from the weather that is afflicting us at the moment.  There is a sort of damp, grasping coldness which leaches out warmth from a body, especially one like mine the top half of which is clothed in a short sleeved shirt!

I have told myself that a short sleeved shirt is necessary for a number of reasons – not the least of which is that it is a bloody sight easier to iron than the long sleeved variety! 

The reasons are: I do not need to wear a long sleeved shirt because I am a mammal and warm blooded and do not feel the cold; the cuffs get dirty very quickly and you have to change the shirt or roll up the sleeves, so you might as well wear a short sleeved shirt in the first place; my newish watch needs light to keep the battery going and long sleeves restrict its power intake; wearing short sleeves in the winter in Catalonia is a source of wonder to the natives; short sleeved shirts are cheaper; short sleeves are eco-efficient as there is less to wash and dry . . . I could go on, but I feel that my case is made!

“The All-Baroque Box” has been fed into the iMac and I am more than pleased with the quality of the recordings.  Some of the stuff there is somewhat “difficult” for me – the Goldberg Variations, for example are for more rarefied tastes than mine, but I am determined to get through them all, even if it is one a day for the benefit of my immortal soul.  Recordings of music that I know well are on original instruments and have a crispness that is positively exciting!  I am looking forward to exploring the fifty discs in more detail over the coming months.

And there are other box sets which are almost unbearably tempting.  And I am not one to resist temptation: what is good enough for Oscar is good enough for me!

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