Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The calm before the storm

A fairly quiet day at work today as we’re all waiting for the non-Fresher students to arrive back next week – though I have been tackling the horrors of filling in my annual review form. Groan. How I hate work reviews. I have to polish up my professional head specially for the purpose and, believe me, a high shine doesn’t sit well on it. I am also slightly flummoxed by the note that tells me I must complete said review form whilst taking the University’s six strategic imperatives into account. Now there’s a truly dehumanising phrase if ever I heard one. I feel quite weak at the thought, m’dears. I was further flummoxed when I briefly glanced to see what these great tenets are: Quality; International impact; Distinctiveness; Collegiality; Professionalism; Sustainability. All very worthy, I'm sure, but: eh??!!? Lord save us, really I’m none the wiser. Neither am I convinced that my international impact stretches that far here in the administrative backwaters. I think I might have to lie down for several hours and have another Starbucks. Maybe two.

Perhaps I shall just rejig what I wrote last year and hope for the best? It might be the wisest course of action to take, I feel. A decision that reminds me very much of a friend I used to share a house with when I lived in London. She played violin for the London Symphony Orchestra and was stressing about a guest conductor they were having trouble with, finally ending with the immortal words: “Well, I suppose when it comes to the night, we’ll play the Bach the way we always play it, no matter how much the wretched man waves his arms at us …” A lesson for us all indeed. UPDATE: Lord H says I should just write "this year I have solved world hunger and created a viable warp drive for space travel" on the form and have done with it. That should make for an interesting review conversation for sure ...

I headed off to the University bookshop at lunchtime, where I see that there are no more copies of A Dangerous Man though whether this means there’s been a desperate rush or whether (more likely) they’ve binned them in despair is anyone’s guess. I was actually after a copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, as that’s the first book under discussion at the upcoming University Book Group, and I’m tempted to join. Even though it’s on a Monday night (double groan). Well, I’ve rather given up on my non-University non-virtual writing groups and commitments now, so I thought I’d approach the joy of books from another angle for a while. It should certainly cause less hassle and at least I won’t have the agonies of having to read stuff out, hurrah! Really, I’m not good at direct contact without body armour, you know – I’m much more normal on paper. Ho ho.

Talking of books, I’ve just finished Suzannah Dunn’s historical novel, The Queen of Sorrows. Her usual wonderful writing style and I was as gripped as ever. The title fits better than her last one too, though you get virtually zilch about the Queen. It’s a slow-burn of a novel but it will have swallowed you up by Page 30 and then doesn’t let go till the end. That said, I didn’t believe that Rafael (the main character) would act in such a ridiculously stupid fashion at the end, but I admit it’s a good twist. If totally out of character. Still, I’ll definitely be buying her next. She’s a great writer.

Meanwhile, I’m desperately preparing for Saturday’s Open Day as it’s my turn to staff the Student Care Services stand in the morning. Darn it, as I could have done with a clear weekend really. Weekend working is most definitely not on my list of favourite things. Nor is it on anyone else’s, I imagine. Ah well. It's good for business, so best get that professional face all clean and glittery then …

Tonight, I have to pick up my usual prescriptions from the doctor on the way home and then I might even try to look at Hallsfoot’s Battle just to see if I can do a few sentences at least of Section Two (of Four). Well, you never know.

And there’s a TV glut –why do they always put the good programmes on at the same time? Honestly, it’s really thoughtless. I shall watch “Lost in Austen”, video “God on Trial” with the glorious Antony Sher, and rely on tomorrow’s repeat of “Who Do You Think You Are?” And then all manner of thing will be well. Possibly.

Today’s nice things:

1. Books
2. Writing
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website


Jilly said...

Always a good move to rehash what you put last year - no one seems to notice in my experience!

Anne Brooke said...

Very true!!