Saturday, 11 May 2013

Désolé, je suis en retard !

A little background for the title of this blog. Back when I was in school, I was a little late to a lot of classes. I liked - I still like - talking to educated people about educating things, and being in school just meant the educated people were in closer proximity than ever before.

However, it's also a useful segue, because I've missed not one but two blogs, and this isn't the first time. I know that a lot of visitors to this blog read one page, and only do that because I post links everywhere I have a social presence. I appreciate you coming and reading, and you doing so makes me happier than a tired writer with a book of clichés. I also know that there is a core of about 50 people who visit every day, who visit even when I don't ram the fact that I've written something down your social-media-fed mouth, who come because they like what I write.

To you I want to apologise, because it's not polite of me to tell you that there'll be a daily blog and then skip days without saying anything. I know most of you are hoopy froods and are not bothered in the slightest by my tardiness (and, indeed, are slightly embarrassed by my apology) but go figure; I did wrong, and I want to apologise.

My priest is smiling down at me from wherever he is now. He didn't die, he just got moved.

So what's been going in your life? Me? Well, my girlfriend (whom my sister didn't know existed until about ten minutes ago: note that my friends read my blog while my sister does not) came over on Thursday. She arrived very early and was absolutely shattered, so we pretty much just kipped the day away between lunch, dinner, and a game of chess. We were pretty much intellectual sloths. It's a good way to live, I can tell you that much.

Friday I dropped Mary off at the station at about 11 to meet Kate, and the two of them went off to explore Versailles - although I was invited, and would have loved to revisit that glorious chateau, I had students - and my students come first. C has made leaps and bounds, and we're racing through her textbook. When we run out of book I'm going to get her started on the next in the series; holding children back because the rest of the class is not as intelligent is simply pointless. It makes the other children feel better but the intelligent ones crazy, and I should know. I was the child running around class and hiding under tables in frustration at the pace of the lessons.

B is struggling, but at the same time we're working at a more advanced level and you need to put a lot more effort in to reach the next "plateau" of skill - time he's not putting in at the moment. That's the root, and I hope to get to the base of it before long. After the lesson, I made my way back into Paris for dinner with the girls. Their hostel (called Oops, and an absolute bargain - if you're in need of a place to stay in Paris on a budget, look them up) was well placed on the border between the Latin and the Chinese district (the gang battles, I imagine, must be spectacular) and so we went in search of Exotic Fayre, as Chaucer might have said. We found it, and then some. Kate, being cultured and having travelled extensively in Asia, mentioned - in passing - as she perused a menu that she'd not had a "pho" for a long time. A "pho" is a special dish, a soup with noodles, meat, and heavily scented. It sounded delicious, and so I pointed out the next restaurant, where the word "pho" was stamped in capitals across their awnings. She gave a glorious little squeal of delight and we entered.

Kate is a ball of fizzing positive energy who, in earlier cultures, would have been worshipped. This tells me only that society has moved backwards. In any case, we had huge, steaming plates of Asian food - pho for Kate and me and caramelised pork for Mary, which smelled utterly gorgeous. I had chicken spring rolls as well, which I discovered (to my dismay) had been cooked in the heart of the sun. Unable to swallow (oh god, the burning agony!) and unable to eject the food from my mouth (oh god, the embarrassment!) I breathed quickly through parted lips and prayed for an end to the pain. The end came in the form of the top layer of taste buds being stripped from my tongue.

Never let it be said that the gods do not have a sense of humour.

Following dinner we dawdled over our cups, the conversation turning this way and that. In Aberdeen I confess I was in somewhat of a hurry: dinner over? Let's drink coffee! Coffee drunk! Let's play a game! Game finished! Let's go to sleep! Here - I don't know. I'd like to think I've chilled out a little, despite the amount of coffee I drink doubling. Perhaps caffeine is really a depressant, and Starbucks have convinced us it's a stimulant to generate more business. Maybe.

I feel like this is enough for one blog, there's only so much you want to read in one go.