Friday, March 01, 2013

Where is the sun!

It rained solidly throughout the night.  Well, I don’t know that for a fact as I lapse into something not unlike a coma when I go to sleep so the gentle plashing or indeed vigorous lashing of the wet stuff does not intrude on my slumber – but it looked as though it had been raining all night when I, bleary and myopically eyed finally focused on what is laughingly called the weather over the past few days when I looked out of the bathroom window.

Yesterday we had no sun, not even the magical glimpse which is our due in this part of the world: the star always comes through even through the most unpropitious looking gloominess.  Not a moment of golden light.  Not one.  And today looks equally glum – though I have faith that some gleam will restore my faith.  Please!

On such a contrary day, each action leading towards the car and the commitment to driving to school was a conscious effort – and I can’t help feeling that the school will not be composed of a collection of joyful educationalists today!  I shall take refuge in the knowledge that this is a “short day” leading to the weekend.  And that will keep me going.

Today is of course, my National Day and I am wearing my Dragon Tie to mark the event.  I was a little taken aback by one of my colleagues responding to my tie by saying, “Ah yes, Saint Patrick!”  She was put right.  Although I have seen it written that Saint Patrick was a Welshman who went over the sea to bring Christianity to the benighted shores of that country which is obviously and literally not for old men!

More importantly this morning was confirmation that my last expenditure on a timepiece has at least been partially justified as the date on my so-called “Perpetual” watch changed automatically to the 1st today without the pathetic fumbling which is the inevitable accompaniment to the arrival of a month which does not have 31 days.  I think that it must have been in the far off days of early digital that I last had a watch that was capable of adjusting itself to the normal rhythm of odd months!  What an example of money well spent!

“Short days” mean long mornings, though I have hopes that the disruption which is a natural parallel to preparation for examinations will allow some wiggle-room for breathing space – which thinking about it may be an inelegant phrase but is a wonderfully mixed metaphor!

As I always set off at 7.15 am to avoid the traffic which is impossible if I leave later, I am always one of the first people in the school.  I am, therefore sitting in my accustomed place waiting for the horror to start, which in this school starts at 8.15 am!  So, when people galvanize themselves to teach the first lesson I feel impelled to do something as well.  I only teach at 8.15 am on two days a week, the other starts are 8.45 am (the normal start of school) and times nearer 9.00 am.  Some days I am packing up ready to start when the wonderful realization strikes me that I am ahead of myself.  This happened today and I therefore had time to prepare and make real a handout which previously was only a pious thought!

I am now stuck in front of a class of 4ESO, a year group I do not teach, because of the exams.  This has not worked out well as the group that I normally teach is doing exams and I have been released to cover another class.  The silence obtainable with 4ESO is markedly more difficult to obtain than with 3ESO, but is still a more real possibility than with the corresponding class in Britain.

Talking of classes in Britain; today is the last day of the Inspection (the capital is only fair in this case!) of Paul 1’s school.  It will be interesting to see how the Inspectorate react to the initiatives that the school has put in place, but which are too new to show clear results yet. 

I wish him well and hope that the Inspectors do not do what they did in one of my inspections and that is turn up on a Friday morning in my Drama class when I had been told that they would have completed all their observations by Thursday.  Indeed, I had take a little glass or seven with relieved friends and I was still feeling the effects when the inspector breezed in, to find me lying on the floor with the rest of the class!  Ah happy days!  That went well.

I have asked about inspections in this country and have been assured that they do take place.  But they seem to be a damn sight more unobtrusive than in Britain.  I think the adjective that I would apply would be “cosy” – and certainly nothing approaching the carefully chosen adjective “robust” which Paul used to describe the initial interviews on the Monday!

The morning wound its length along and I skipped out as soon as was decent.

Lunch today was in a restaurant on our little Ramblas leading up to the church.  The starter was a selection of tapas, followed by cod with garlic mousse, then a crema catalan cake.  Bloody brilliant!  It starts the weekend well.

My OU essay is not going as well as I would like because I think that I am consciously trying to be too clever and find a new approach in a text which has been analysed to buggery and back again.  Ah well, the other way is to stick to all the guidelines in the Guidance Notes and produce something which is as far as I can make it exactly what the OU wants.  Work in progress.

I continue to feed discs into the computer and discover bits and pieces of my past in them!  This evening it was a re-mastered recording of a Beecham version of Le Roi s’amuse by Delibes.  I first heard that while staying in The Great Western Hotel in Paddington as a representative of ASTMS (god, how long is it since I have written those initials!) before we went to a meeting in which Clive Jenkins himself graced our little gathering!  I must admit that I have always remembered the music I heard on the radio in the evening, while the meeting has rather faded in significance in my memory!

The Baroque Box continues to please with a sparse but sharp version of Vivaldi’s Gloria.  I confidently expect more pleasant discoveries as I work my way through the other discs that I have bought recently.  And more on Monday.  When my paperback copy of Hard Times should arrive too.  I should have restricted myself to the book, but I just couldn’t resist the suggestions of the ever-eager Amazon to take yet more of my money with other music offers.

The next major arrival is the EMI Eminence Collection another company re-mastering old recordings and selling them at bargain price to music junkies like myself! 

All I can say is “Keep feeding my habit!”

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