Monday, July 07, 2014

Too much weather again.

Woken by thunder. 

Sounds like the title of a book, but it was literally true, as the sort of thunder you hear in films and not in real life rolled across our audial horizon.  Once awake, even though still tired, I knew that I was not going to get back to sleep again and so I got up and did those little tasks that satisfy by their very mundanity – which, by the way appears to be a word that does not exist.  Well it should.

Early rising meant that I was able to check on my meeting with Suzanne.  Which is tomorrow.  I knew that.  Find the little pin-thingie that allows one to get at the mini sim in the phone and change it back to the Spanish one - after I had been tricked into buying a UK one that will languish into uselessness with unused money evaporating into the coffers of EE.  A company of which I had not previously heard but which now, apparently owns Orange or is owned by it.  Who cares, I simply put the money wasted down to Capitalistic experience!

An early visit to the Post Office, usually a fairly traumatic experience, was fairly ordinary at that time in the morning and a copy of “Poems – off course” is now limping its way to Lisvane.  And I recharged my phone.  In Spain it is done by the person to whom you pay your money, not by using a scrap of paper to send a text and god knows what in the UK.  Which didn’t work for me and which took the combined efforts of five people in Phones4U to get some credit on my squandered mobile.

But such things are in the past and tomorrow is Suzanne and then a birthday in Terrassa.

My work on the History of Art is stymied by the expansive forum hinterland of the new MOOC Creative Writing that I am doing.  I am rapidly becoming a sort of Saint Francis-Proust as I trawl the forum looking for poor souls who have posted their poems and have had not a single response.  I am a latter day Laddie of the Line, bestowing a kind phrase of encouragement on the rejected!

As the forum is on the Internet you can follow your contributions and it was astonishing how many ‘contributions’ you can make by nimble clicking of the mouse.

I have to admit that I am thoroughly enjoying it of course, and I have made my single poetic contribution go a fairly long way.  As there are so many people taking this course and the forum is for all of them, you can be fairly sure of getting some sort of response some time or other and there is always new material to evaluate.  There is instant gratification from a tutorial group of some thousands as opposed to the dilatory participation of students in a group of 19.  I know that people have jobs and families and holidays and illnesses, but it still makes the necessary silence difficult to take.  There is only noise on a MOOC!

The days tick by towards our results when we can put the course ‘to bed’ and really concentrate on the next.  My degree should be just two years away – and I have to admit that I think that I might well go off to Versailles - where we European students are given our degrees.

The rain has started again and the woman next door is obviously sitting by the window of her sitting room and smoking a cigarette because the stench of her vile habit streams through the open windows of our living room and the Third Floor too.  May she rot.  As she probably is.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


No Group Meal can ever really be called a success if there has been no major argument over the bill.  Usually, it has to be said this usually takes the form of I-didn’t-have-any-wine-so-I-am-not-paying-an-equal-share sort of thing.  On Saturday there was certainly an element of that but the major upset was the presentation of a bill for over eight hundred quid for a very ordinary meal, lubricated by extraordinarily expensive bottles of booze.

We will not be returning to The Meating Place (sic) at the bottom end of St Marys Street.  To make the evening complete even after Angela had, as usual taken financial control of a situation that was spiralling out of control, one foolish member of the grasping staff came out on to the street demanding more money!  Our response was not one of outraged indignation, merely that of tired drunken boredom and total ignoring.  A most satisfying end to a Grand Meeting of Friends.

The week was one of almost continuous Doing Something.  We visited Maesteg, Port Talbot, Llandaff, The Millennium Centre, Le Monde, Boots, Matalan, The Rumney Pottery, Tesco in all its variations, Ceri and Dianne’s, M&S, every shoe shop in Cardiff, Hadyn’s, my Uncle Eric, my Aunt Micky, the National Museum of Wales, Professor Wynn Thomas, MacArthur Glen, Boots, and – you get the idea.  Not exactly relaxing, but definitely enjoyable.

We seemed to eat fairly continuously with some excellent meals.  Didn’t do much of the work that I had set myself, but I did manage to read Wynn’s book (R.S. Thomas – Serial Obsessive) before I met him.  Which I told him gesturing for him to take in the fact that I had the book with me for our meeting.  ‘Have you read it?’ he asked.  And when I replied in the affirmative, he responded by asking, ‘Twice?’  The next time I get the better of that gentleman will be the first time as well.

My chapbook is now well and truly distributed and I am awaiting comments.  Comments about this one ensure the delivery of the next – though, thinking about it I am not sure if that is incentive or warning!

A most stimulating time was had by all and now we have time to relax!

The MOOC Creative Writing course has started and I have been deep into the forums reading a frankly bewilderingly various collection of poetry.  I have written one myself and look forward to the production of many more during the six-week (I think) course.

One member of the last course is also on this one and I have yet to make contact with her.  The Closed Forum from the last course seems to be a little dead at the moment, but I have every confidence that things will spring back into life when our results have finally been given to us.  Another twelve days and then we can truly start concentrating on the next academic year starting in October.

The next week seems rather dismal as far as the weather is concerned so at least I will be able to get back up to date with my various courses.