Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What might have been!

I am not necessarily in the habit of asking naked men to look inside my ear, but that did seem a real possibility yesterday because I had cut my nails.

One impulse buy from our local Chemist was a pair of earplugs, its USP was that it came with a cool looking aluminium tube which you could keep on your key chain – earplugs being something which one obviously needs to hand on a constant basis.

Anyway, I bought them because they looked good and were encouragingly expensive.  They worked too.  Not as noise reducing things, but in keeping water out when swimming.  Their efficiency directly affected the quality of sound getting to my ears via the bones in my face from the complex system that I have to listen to music as I swim.  So far so obvious.

The problem was insertion.  I was obviously more enthusiastic than I should have been in putting the damn things in my ears, and the little rod things on the business end of the earplugs were foolishly short.  Especially when the tweezer-like assistance of reasonably sized nails could not be called on to help extricate them.

One come out easily, the other gradually sank further into the ear as my fingers probed.  It was at this point that I considered asking for help.  And the only help available was a guy showering.

Luckily the social problems of approaching a naked man and the linguistic ones of phrasing my request in a foreign language combined to promote a certain fevered ingenuity and I ended up utilizing a biro top to dig out the offending intruder without any concomitant injury to ear or dignity.  Unless of course anyone had been watching my increasingly desperate fingerings for any length of time.  But there again, the only possible observer was covered in soap and unaware of the on-going social dilemma that he was narrowly outside.

It is at times like these that one appreciates more and more the observation by some American thinker or other that, “Most people live lives of quiet desperation!”

On a more positive and undispairing note my first TMA has been sent off with the way that the bloody thing was presented taking me more than two hours to craft!  Don’t let anyone tell you that creating headers in Word is anything less than equivalent to a dark night of the soul.  OK, I was trying to do this with all the requisite instructions in Spanish, but even so it was a good thing that I tried it out on dummy documents first because I lost two in their entirety before I got something that was acceptable!

From the questions on the forum I cannot and will not believe that many people are actually going to get right the fairly simple instructions for the way in which work should be submitted to tutors.  Even as an experienced teacher I have been shocked at the fatuity of some of the requests for clarification.  Clarification about pieces of information clearly and plainly set out in the instructions that the OU kindly gives students to try and lessen the tension.  We are taking a second level course, which means that most people doing it have experience of the OU from their first level courses.  The way that things are done there is basically the same as here.  Oh well, some things never change!

My completed poem, “Suez 1956” has now been posted in the forum and I await comment.  The thinking behind the exercise to product the poem was to go back into your life and delve about finding out bits and pieces about the specific time.  I have done that, but not in an obvious way and I fear that the finished result may be somewhat opaque to the casual (and foreign) reader.  But I worked on it a lot, have produced a satisfactory number of drafts to make it look as though coherent, artistic thought has gone into it and now it is for the rest of the group to ignore!

There are still two days left before the deadline for submission for our assignments and since one of the frequently asked questions is about the exact time on the last day that the official cut off time actually is, you can understand that many of the students work to the time limits.  This means that there is little time for anything else, so my poem is well under the radar of most of my fellow students at the moment.  After the 31st there will be a blossoming of conversation on the forums due to sheer, unadulterated relief at work completed

Mentioning that we have been eating out is not generally something of note, but that fact that we had to sit inside the cafĂ© yesterday because of rain is.  I sulked for most of the day and made withering comments about the cruelty of the weather until I caught the forecast for the UK.  When I shut up.

Today has been less than elevating, but the sun has been struggling to shine and a watery sky and various artistic reflections on the curling waves has somewhat pacified me.  And the meal in the Maritime was excellent.

Toni is continuing to work with passion on some abstruse problems connected with routers on his course and he continues to get A’s.  I am, of course, of course, naturally, delighted for him – but he is setting the bar a little high for the rest of us, i.e. me!  The response from the tutor for the first piece of work will give some sort of indication about where my approach is likely to go for the rest of the course.  It will be a fascinating revelation.

The piece of grit in my mouth this morning turned out to be part of a crumbling back tooth.  This disintegration has been threatening for some time and now seems the appropriate time to do something about it so, when the magic hour of five pm has past, Toni will be phoning his dentist and making an appointment for me.

I never used to be squeamish about dentists because the person who looked at my teeth was a family friend, employed my aunt as his receptionist and gave me presents for my birthday and Christmas.  Then he died and the horror that others had told me about in their dental lives suddenly became real when a stranger began poking around doing who knows what.

Paul Bartley became a trusted prodder in Cardiff, but it is impossible simply to turn up and expect a successful dentist to see you.  The last time I did that on a trip to Cardiff, I was offered an appointment three months (!) away.  Reality hit home and now I have to go, not only to a stranger, but also to a foreigner as well!  The horror!  The horror!

Today has been a day when my diet, or “think about what you’re eating before putting it in your mouth” has been conducted with a little less thought and more in the mouth experience.  Though I have to say that the fish I had for lunch was low cal. and my attempts to make tinned Lidl curry low cal. (draining the meat from the sauce and putting it on a base of carrots and peas rather than rice) shows that I am making an effort.  And the new belt I bought before lunch, although long, is shorter than the one it replaced and I am already at the second hole.  By such indications are we of little will power satisfied!

Tomorrow the dentist, and I am sure there will be grisly details to be savoured by the afternoon!

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