Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Objects and alchemies

Managed to write a poem about peculiar job I never wish I'd had last night, plus a piece of flash fiction based on a ballet dancer, a needle and the beach. Quite a challenge that one, but I did enjoy it. I might think of using it for this month's University Writers' Group. We'll see. Anyway, today we start with food. Always a good thing, in my opinion:

Meditation 87

Food the Israelites miss:
cucumbers, watermelons,
leeks, onions, garlic.
A people of liquid strength
set for the journey.

Food I’d miss:
chocolate, tikka masala,
sardines, dried apricots, cashews.
But not all at once
and I certainly wouldn’t travel.

Certainly, travel is proving a problem today – I was driving happily along the A3 when I noticed two white vans coming down the slip road in a slightly bizarre manner. I think they might have been competing with each other to get onto the A3 or something. They weren’t paying attention to anything else on the road, that was for sure. They came out a couple of cars in front of me, the second van swung into the right lane without looking, causing great honking and screeching of brakes. He then swung back into the left lane and then out into the right again. At which point he hit a small black car (thankfully, not mine) in the side and everything stopped. Van Man did some gesticulating, small black car (sensibly, in my opinion) drove off, apparently none the worse for wear. Van Man got out, his window fell out and his door half-fell off. Ha! Somehow, that seemed like justice. He did some more gesticulating, then he got back in, wedged his door so he could actually drive and he drove off too.

My, what drama. And the morning had barely started indeed. I was so overcome with the excitement of it all that I missed the turning to the University and had to come off at the next roundabout. Though actually that’s proved a good thing as it seems much quicker that way as there’s far less queues from off the A3. Something to remember when the usual exit road is full next time …

At work, I’m attempting to meet with the print & design guys to sort out the Personal Tutors’ Handbook, but there’s still additions to make to the text, one of which I only found out about yesterday, so I wouldn’t hold your breath for an Easter delivery (see below!). I also had a nice walk round campus at lunchtime, which I don’t seem to have managed for ages. I popped into the art gallery which has a colourful and quirky exhibition by Colin T Johnson at the moment using oils and collage. I particularly loved the picture of the guitar, jug and apple with theatre reviews stuck on it. Just so me, dahlings … Managed to buy four postcards which are proving both soothing and inspirational to look at, but sadly there were none of my favourite. Also lovely to see the flowers out on campus, and strangely we appear to have a duck lurking outside the office door too. Perhaps it’s after my job? It might have trouble with the typing, but the boss has suggested it could easily use a voice recognition system. Worryingly, he actually seems to be thinking seriously about it … Where’s that orange sauce?

This afternoon, we had the first of the Project Welcome Forums, preparing for the new September intake, so there was a lot to do and too little time to do it. Still, we’ve got last year’s changes to build on, so at least we’re not working from scratch this year. Oh and I need to draft out ideas for a parental guidelines document (ie helpful tips for how to respond to parental queries etc, which is a growing part of student care life across the UK now) – but I also have to bear in mind that my deadline for this is April and I’ll need to add the final information about it into the Personal Tutors’ Handbook as well, as I mention above. Are you keeping up at the back? Lordy, all of life is indeed connected, don’t you know.

In terms of books, I’ve finished two today. Bill Greenwell’s poetry collection, Impossible Objects, is a quirky and bright read. I loved it. I'd definitely read more of him. I’ve also enjoyed Emma Darwin’s A Secret Alchemy. As usual, Emma contrasts present-day events with historical ones, though here I think the historical sections are far richer. The depth of detail and the characters are gripping, particularly Anthony and his one-day journey to death. I was less taken with the modern day heroine, Una, perhaps because she somehow didn’t seem to be as old as she was supposed to be – more like a thirty-year-old than a woman in her fifties. Or perhaps I’m in something of a timewarp myself? And I also wasn’t as interested in the story of what happens to Una’s childhood home and business. But that’s a personal view. What I did love was the way the modern heroine brings together the present and the past, and the way the two timescales are gradually and subtly fused as the tale progresses. A very powerful ending indeed. Really, this is a novel about time, how it operates and our relationships with the past and the present. A first-class read, all in all.

Tonight, I’ll be at the first of the Lenten Bible Study groups at the rectory, so I hope that’s okay. I’ve been missing the chance to chew over matters of faith so it’ll be good to have that opportunity again, but heck it’s new people. And you know how difficult I find them … UPDATE: it was actually okay. There were about fifteen people there, plus chocolate biscuits which always of course smooth the wheels of religion. And most people said something (including me), so it wasn't all deathly hush and panic, hurrah. Mind you, we clattered through the Book of Job, Chapters 4 to 14, so we didn't hang around. I shall look forward to next week's offering, and have to read chapters 15 to 20 to prepare for it. Homework - how quaint!...

Today’s nice things:

1. Poetry
2. Finding a new commuting route
3. Art
4. Books
5. Bible study.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - creating an alchemy all of its own


Jilly said...

Loved the white van man episode - straight out of something like Mr Bean! Glad you got to work safely

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Jilly - me too!