Tuesday, September 24, 2013


The very weather seems to be conspiring against me when it comes to the necessity of revision.  The weather has been delightful and has encouraged me out on to the Third Floor where the spirit of review is willing, but the fleshly succumbing in a horizontal mode to our nearest star is an innate weakness in me!  However, I am buckling up my intellectual sinews and attempting to make an effort to get down to it in earnest.

It was a salutary reminder of reality that a friend when told that the exam was on the 10th of October said, “Oh, yes, in a fortnight!”  Clinical, accurate and frightening.  I remain to discover if this wake-up call inspires me to productive action!

I have been studying the past examination paper that we have been given to calm our nerves.  It does appear that I will not be able to bluff my way through this one and they will require a fair amount of specific information – I may even have to remember the exact dates of King Philip II of my adopted country, as he and El Escorial are key elements in the discussion of relics that I intend to have on the 10th of October in The British Council!  Or at least one of them – god alone knows what the other two “discussions” are going to about.

Going on the last examination, I fully expect there to be some sort of discriminatory questions (aka “trick” questions) which will send despair and confusion into the minds of the hapless writers attempting to give coherent responses.  Having learned my lesson from The Last Essay the answers that I write will be the result of assiduous mining of the phrasing of the question itself – and liberally sprinkled with OU key words!

The next course has virtually started with much writing of haiku on the pre-start forum.  And no, I am not going to write out mine – though they were of surpassing exquisiteness!

I have also been allocated a tutor, which is another step towards the start of the course, though the web site only opens officially tomorrow.  The course is not supposed to start until the 5th, though if the last one is anything to go by we will be expected to work from the first day of the open forum and not wait for the official opening.  Which is a pity, because I will be doing “other things” and will not be able to play as full a part in the opening as I would like.  Although as this course is creative writing I could always channel my paranoia about the examination into art!

I have just received “The Blunders of our Governments” by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe, a disconcerting explanation of just how wasteful and idiotic governments can be with our money.  The authors try and be fair saying that as governments go ours is not too bad; and as far as corruption is concerned the sorry tale of MPs expenses was headline news because such stories are not everyday in our country.  In Spain, however  . . .

The stories of waste are relayed with a prose style which is easy to read and quite colloquial at times and injects a note of humour into stories which would otherwise make you weep!  At the moment I am reading about the abortive introduction of ID cards.  I have already sighed my way through the fiasco of the Millennium Dome; the centralization of records in the NHS; the horror of the PPP of the London Underground; Black Wednesday and, my personal favourite The Poll Tax.  This volume will sit proudly beside my “Great Planning Disasters” book which also makes salutary reading.  In the introductory chapters it was also nice to get a nod to Profumo and Blue Streak which are scandals just at the limit of my political memory!

Even though the weather is still reasonable and sunny, my body has decided that it is well on towards the winter season and I have developed a stinking cold!  The only good thing that I can say about it is that this morning I was able to stay in bed for an extra hour or so feeling sorry for myself rather than getting up and going to school at the crack of dawn.  Because I would have gone to school and felt rotten for the whole of the day.  Which I did at home, but it is much more restful and numerous cups of tea made it all appear much more civilized.

Tomorrow more revision.
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