Half term and reading week simply dragged because I really just wanted to get on with the exams and get them out the way. English Sociology and History essays are drafted in full. I typed them out, but then I also hand wrote them. Two reasons, one to practise writing with a fountain pen and the other to determine whether I could write 1000+ words in an hour and a half. I can. Only trouble is the ink cartridge is now empty.
Usually there are a mass of yellow jerseys at these open day events, but not this time. I saw one girl at the station brandishing a placard which said ‘Ask Me’, and that was my lot. She did at least give me a map, but my map reading skills are akin to my IT skills. The ink on the map began to run in the rain which helped me no end - I thought about going and asking for a laminated copy quite honestly!
When at last I found the lecture hall there were at least refreshments laid on, and I was able to dry out and amuse myself waiting for proceedings to begin by watching someone I presumed to be the father of a fellow attendee, who had extremely badly dyed black hair which resembled my map, and who spent the whole time on his phone, dripping a small puddle of diluted Grecian 2000 down his arm and onto the desk in front of him. He obviously took the quote inscribed on the wall rather literally: ‘Live as if you were to dye tomorrow. Learn as if you will live forever’. (Gandhi)
We have a large tree in our garden which has just had a major haircut. We were unable to have it felled because it’s the subject of a tree preservation order, which is just as well for Cyril (the squirrel) and his mates who nearly plunged to their deaths when leaping from branch to ..braaanch! However I’m glad to say they soon became accustomed to their changed environment and have in fact acquired a new skill into the bargain, which involves shinning up the bird feeder pole. This has become a battle of wits between them and my husband, who has greased the pole! He doesn’t want the little blighters to eat the bird seed. They slide down it like firemen, never quite reaching the top! But they are extremely ingenious and I think it’s only a matter of time before they either branch out into a new career or reach the top of the pole.
We recently went to a pub quiz in aid of the local nursery. It was well attended in a noisy function room out the back. It was so noisy in fact that it was virtually impossible to hear the questions, with the result that everything had to be repeated several times. When it came to the music round the guy practically played the whole bloody album rather than just a clip from each song and consequently it became the longest quiz in the history of quizzes. Ever.
Then there were prizes to be awarded and speeches to be made. ‘I would like to thank the quizmaster tonight’ which is fair enough, but then the quizmaster gave a thank-you speech in response to the thank-you speech! It was like being at the Oscars! He was droning on, thanking this person and that person for their help in compiling the quiz. Round by Round. I kid you not. ‘Thank you to somebody or other for the Pot Luck round’, ‘thank you to heaven knows who for the Sports round’, dear god it was enough to make you weep. Everyone was fidgeting and girding their loins to be first off the blocks and out the door once released.
Our local village is one of the few, I understand, that still indulge in the age old tradition of pancake races. The Court Leet turn out in full regalia with their red cloaks, white ruffs and black tricorn hats, holding a tape at the finish line whilst wave after wave of school children run the gauntlet, forgetting to toss their pancakes on a regular basis. It was fun to watch the nursery school toddlers in their aprons looking cute and hopeful, not least because of the agonies suffered in their name at the quiz. But the novelty wore off once the older, faster and more competitive lot pushed and shoved each other, jostling to the finish line in an ungracious crush. It was at this point we decided a pub lunch would be a good move and just hoped crepes were not on the menu.
I was possibly rather tired and so not best placed to stand in the cold watching the races. My mother-in-law is obsessed with what was once called I believe, a white meter. She totally loves timer switches (probably what blew the toaster), and has them on every electrical appliance imaginable. When you stay at her house, where the walls are thin, and the rooms close together, shortly after entering REM sleep phase, your eyelids will fly wide open. WTF! The whole house vibrates to the combined centrifugal forces of the dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer revving up at 3 in the morning. What’s more the washing machine is slightly off kilter and walks itself across the floor on fast spin!
The purpose of this intrusion is to save money, electricity is cheaper with an off peak white meter than during normal hours. That is to say; when normal people use their normal appliances normally. After a recent house move she no longer has a white meter! But she won’t be convinced and so visitors continue to regularly levitate from their beds in the early hours.
Today saw the last of my written exams and assignments. Until next Tuesday when we start all over again! As I said, you can’t take anything in to the exam room with you except writing utensils; they even provide you with writing paper. So I took them at their word and left my brain on my pillow. I know this, because after writing one paragraph in Sociology, my mind went completely blank and I had nil recall, even though not 15 minutes before I had gone over it for the zillionth time. How can that be? All that prep down the swannee.
Resisting the temptation to run from the room in blind panic, I got a grip and just sat there quietly for what seemed an age and eventually details started drip feeding back into place. The end result was far from a mirrored image of my practise run but I did at least get all the right notes, just not necessarily in the right order. I hope they put us out of our misery and let us have the results reasonably quickly.