Sunday, June 02, 2013


The Last Day before Official Counting of the Days Left begins. 

Monday will see us well into the month of June and further along the road to the magic date of the 21st of June when my contract finishes and I become poor but free!

Today at 1.00pm Toni gets his results from the examinations that he took last Saturday.  Results in a week!  Rather different from the more academically plodding pace of the OU where my results are more than two weeks away!  I do hope that they are worth waiting for!  Toni will be a gibbering wreck by the time the afternoon is in sight and, while I am sure that he has nothing to worry about, he will not be using that piece of logic to lessen his tension!

Yesterday was something of a nothing day in which everything almost worked out, but nothing was satisfactorily finished.  Even the weather (which has been little short of shameful recently) played up to the prevailing sense of dissatisfaction and produced a weary series of sunny intervals interspersed with irritatingly disruptive scraps of cloud.  This is not what I signed up for when I came to Catalonia!  Another letter to the Generalitat is called for!

There is a general sense of endings about the school at the moment.  Various classes have ended their courses and they are merely (!) waiting for the inevitable examinations to terminate their time in the place.  Other courses (like most of the bloody ones that I teach) go on to the bitter end – though these too are enlivened (!) by the inexorable demands of examinations.  But slowly, and surely we are working out way to the end of term. 

Even as I speak teachers are ransacking their filmic resources and finding anything of a moving picture nature that will keep their charges quiet or at least quiescent until they become someone else’s problem!

That was yesterday, but today, today we have counting of days!

Today is the first of the month and on the 21st of this month (ah, savour the delight of that demonstrative pronoun – a grammatical term I now use with terrifying ease as a life-changingly traumatic result of teaching my language to Johnny foreigner) in just 21 days I will be released from durance vile in the chains of education!  Sing, indeed, to Jesus!

Of course the money will stop, but I suppose that is only fair, as I will not be doing the work – but the results of my travail will live on in the warped lives of those who have been touched by my Lessons of Wandering Digression - which is the only real way that I know how to teach. 

Rather like the Wife of Bath, kids with me learn through “wandering by the way” – and if their minds are not attuned to the acquisition of knowledge through inventive analogy then they must have had a hard time in my so called lessons!

I wonder what my last real class will be.  The last day of term is the official fiesta for the end of the course and normal lessons will be suspended and larks and other quasi-educational activities will be taking place.  On the day before the last day of term, my last lesson is a drama lesson with the 1ESO.  Perhaps that will be the last lesson that I teach.  I am sure that I can work out some meaning behind the last lesson of a career being related to acting and posing.  Though, there again, the analogy is too easy to be interesting!

Toni has had his results from his first examinations and has achieved a distinction!  This is a well-deserved result from the enormous amount of work that he has done and it has hopefully calmed him down for the rest of the units that he has to take.  The one downside that I can see from this success is the constant sniping which is now going to take place as I continue my courses in the OU!  Ah well, they do say that healthy competition is a stimulus to excellence!

Soon I am off to Barcelona to meet up with Suzanne at the Design Hub for culture and lunch.  What could be better!

The ostensible reason for our going to the Design Hub was to experience the space and see an exhibition.  We managed neither.

The whole place was well and truly closed so we were able to appreciate it from the outside and ponder upon what it might be like to be inside the vast interior which we could glimpse through the glass doors which were firmly locked.

The edifice itself is a cantilevered box like construction which reminded me of a ferry port terminal building.  The cantilever reaches out over the main road and towards and elevated road as if to bring the prosaic into the well designed tranquillity of an imposing building.  There is a section of lawn which has a wavy glass walkway through it and on the plaza side of building there are multi level canal-like water features with stunted fountains and much algae!  The articulation of the stairways reminded me of a building in Holland or Denmark but my responses are still in limbo and I am pondering the impression it made.

The flea market we went to was less than impressive, even if it was the last day of its existence and I was more than ready for lunch.

Which was in a restaurant that we had been to previously and was slightly worse than we remembered.  It was an Asian/Japanese establishment with a substantial buffet and a selection of fresh food that could be cooked for you.  The meal was reasonable value, but I am not sure that I want to revisit any time in the near future.

Before I made the trek home, Suzanne loaned me Devan Sudjic’s book, “The language of things” or How We Are Seduced by the Objects Around Us.  It reads like a novel, is full of anecdotal stories, it skips from topic to topic and is thoroughly interesting.  He really detests Philippe Stark and has virtually a whole chapter on the Anglepoise lamp!  Thoroughly enjoyable stuff.  Not sure that there is much there that I can use in my present course, but I will remember the book and call on Suzanne to lend it to me again if I am in want of a cheap quote!

I came home to an empty house - as I later discovered Toni was out with his mother and younger sister.  Alone, I decided to Take a Step.

The spirit of the Dead Dog Pool has now been well and truly exorcised by yours truly as I flung (gingerly) myself into the cool waters and even did a length of dog-paddle to placate whatever dog-god might be watching.

My swim was hardly hardy as I waited until the first day of June before I risked skin and quantities of unheated water.  The sun had done something of its job and the shock to the system was not as disturbing as some immersions in the past.  It was, however, bracing to put it mildly!

Now, Sunday is the time for me to do the part of the examination paper for 1ESO than I have said that I would do and to make a start on the first assignment for the present OU course.  I am mired in the contradictory evidence for the “worth” of ancient Greek vases at the moment and have come down stairs to cool off and have a rest from the fairly intense knowledge acquisition that has been going on for the past few days.

By the end of today I would expect to have made a start on the technical description of the vase and have read the appropriate chapters in the course book to be thinking about making a start on part 2 of the assignment as well.  I have only eleven days to get the thing done and, while that sounds like a great deal of time, school examinations will take up what spare time I can give them.  So the race is on, in which I can tell you know that when it comes to a choice the OU is going to win every time!

Onwards!  And backwards into Classical Times!

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