Monday, 15 April 2013


I'm writing even as updates appear in the left hand corner of my screen about some explosions that have occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It's really quite weird to even consider writing about my day when these events are happening, but happening they are, and they are happening half a world away from me. I can't change that, though I'd like to, so rather than sitting here twiddling my thumbs I'm going to say only this:

  1. Donating blood is easy. You can do it anywhere. I recently did it here in France and was only a little afraid I'd be misunderstood and have my entire body accidentally drained.
  2. Donating a little cash is even easier and even less painful. Consider giving a couple of quid/dollars/huge rocks with holes in (delete as applicable) a month and feeling smug for saving someone's life.
Easy peasy. Please do one of those two things before reading on, or at least do it simultaneously. If you're giving blood then with any luck my prose will cause you more pain than the needle and thus distract you. Onwards.

My morning was beautiful. The sun is shining, the air is warm, and rather than leaving my skin behind when I arose I was instead a rather nice light tan colour. The wonders of my Spanish heritage, which turn up only when I'm under attack from ultraviolet rays sent through space. Or sunlight, if you prefer. I installed myself in my new office, brought my computer down, and plugged everything in. There is a curious satisfaction to currently connecting all the bits and pieces of a computer; everything fits together perfectly.

My morning was taken up with a thirteen-page read through of the third chapter from the book I'm proofreading. No sign of chapter two, as I'm sure you noticed. Where that is nobody knows, but we're certain it exists somewhere. This chapter was a lot easier, and finding out the history of the place in which I live is really very interesting.

My afternoon was all about unpacking. At this point the sneaking suspicion grew on me that books multiply in ways we cannot be certain of; while I cannot prove it, I am sure that we now have more books than we did when I boxed them away. I stood looking at shelves heaving with books, and then the pile of books still to be unpacked, and could not work out how to recombine the two in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

Several hours later, and with filthy hands, one of my students turned up to tell me that nobody would be coming to class today, as they all had project work or were on vacation. While a warning of more than ten minutes would have been more useful, and would have better allowed me to plan my free hour, these kids are really busy and the mere fact they sent an envoy was very good of them.

So I upped and I left and managed to read a little more Machiavelli before supping on soup and going off to my private student, who is as charming as ever. The evening was so barmy we sat outside in the heat and sipped beer and talked. I keep saying this, but there is nothing as brilliant as looking back at how a student used to be, and how they are now, and realising the leaps and bounds they've made. Fantastic.

Home; no greasy take-away meal for me today (though my stomach, being naught but a dumb animal, protests at the indignity). The awful events in Boston are still unfolding so I'm going to stop here and just restate that giving a pint of blood will impact your life only so far as some of your lifetime will not be spent doing precisely what you want. Please, please do it. If you can spare a little wonga too then fantastic, but blood is absolutely more important. 

I can't say it without saying cheesy, but if you save a life with your own damn blood, that makes you a superhero. 

Go forth and be a superhero.