Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Stuck behind the dustmen this morning I have no option but to dawdle along in first as the bins are emptied & bags thrown into the crusher. Up near the junction, one of the dustmen (a dustwoman, to be exact) starts gesticulating for me to reverse - the lorry is going to back down into the adjacent road. I watch with admiration as the driver edges this great beast of a vehicle past parked cars, bollards & other hazards. A couple of inches on either side & all would be lost.

Truly impressive.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Tempting as it was to go for a jog this afternoon (sun shining etc.) I make a cup of tea & slowly work through this year's coursework submissions sitting at the kitchen table.

Bitter experience has taught me the value of applying the drop of oil to the right part at the right moment.

Keep the focus now & reap the benefits in July.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The annual trade book festival takes place here in Brussels this weekend but the really interesting stuff (as always) lies around the corner in the (virtually unadvertised) other building - the artist book works.

Walking in I feel immediately 'at home' which is a rare feeling for me. Such abundant evidence of a shared love & enthusiasm. I stop to chat with various people & whether in English or stilted French it's a pleasure to talk about papers, typography, decisions of various kinds. If only all the world were like this.

I buy a tea bag containing shreds of paper stating 'Oui' from a Japanese book artist (name?); an accordion volume 'Pied de Nez' from an Italian - Chloe Francisco; plus this just out from Editions Esperluete ...

A morning well spent.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour.

A revision class on Twelfth Night & I write these lines up on the board.

Then, as if returning to elementary school, spell out the sounds - the modulation of 'o' through "o'er" to "ear" to "sound" & "upon" to be touched again in "violets" & return in "odour" set against the long 'e's working in "ear", "sweet", "breathes" & stealing". Imagine, I suggest, alternatives for "odour" - "scent", "perfume", "fragrance" ...? & why it just has to be "odour" given the expectations set up within the previous lines.

Looking across the room I catch the look in one student's eyes as though - suddenly - she gets it. The absolute co-existence of sound & sense. Thought embodied. A whole world of language suddenly opens & the realisation that - at moments like these - Shakespeare is ... well, The Man.

On occasions such as this you realise why you teach.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nearing the end of the R F Langley Journals which I admire greatly: the eye for detail, the commitment, the rigour. Yet, at the same time wondering ... how he wrote - on his rambles or at a desk afterwards? How to account for the meticulous observation? Or did the sheer regularity begin to attune the senses & allow for such recall? How, too, to juggle this with the teaching commitments & domestic obligations? No doubt an understanding & patient wife - not to mention the kids ("he's writing up his journal again ..." or "off on another of his walks"). Or perhaps not. What do these pages omit of compromises, disappointments, recriminations ... or those hours, days, weeks when he simply couldn't be bothered?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

7:30am getting into the car & it is light.

6:00pm standing in the kitchen & looking out of the window & it is ... still light.

Cheering to see.

Monday, February 23, 2015

& more JogBlog ...

... looking out of the window around 2 pm with the rain lashing down it seemed unlikely I'd be out in the woods today. & then - once again as if by the Jogging god's intervention - the skies cleared & the sun put in an appearance.

A slightly different route: down to the left, across the little bridge & along a rising path. Then round to the right before coming down the main avenue but from the opposite direction. Finally back to the traffic lights. All in all, 4.25 km & I'm not puffed. I have the impression my stamina has improved with the lay off. Now & again there's a faint twinge but nothing sufficient to bring me up short.

& so we continue ...