I’d be kidding myself if I thought anyone would notice I’d missed a day’s blog, but here’s my excuse anyway: last night I was a) lacking in oomph, b) lacking in inspiration and c) lacking in bandwidth. It turns out that Sera has bought a capped broadband package and once total traffic hits some limit, the service returns to dial-up speeds, the significance of which will become clear in a minute.
Yesterday – Tuesday – as an introduction to the robotics course (already blighted by the ailment of my robotic arm – trapped nerve?) I thought I’d get the kids to decide on a task they could automate with a robot and then design the robot using drawing software. It turned out when I was getting ready in the morning that the school didn’t have suitable drawing software, but I knew the source of a fully legitimate free drawing package … until it turned out the manufacturers have very recently withdrawn the package from their website. I didn’t find an alternative source until I was “home” yesterday evening and it took 5 hours or more to download. It might have been faster by carrier pigeon. There was no point in trying to post anything.
You nearly didn’t get this blog either, but you’ll have to wait for that.
I must admit I’ve rather taken to my little Russian lad – Fedor. He is mathematically very smart and was quite at home taking over the computer to show me what he meant, rather than try to explain it and I can almost hear the frustration in his voice when he can’t explain himself. I guess by the time I leave he’ll be more or less fluent: I think I was told the family are maybe staying for only one term, then they’re off to Bali. Fedor has a marvellous Russian accent, not really a surprise, I suppose; bags of enthusiasm and an infectious enthusiasm. I’ll probably be cursing him before long!
Yesterday’s Staff Meeting just involved some small group of seven or eight of which I was apparently a member: something to do with the classes I see. Rick did his best to liven it up: he had recently fallen heir to various items mostly of dubious value – a quart Pyrex measuring jug, a nifty folding camp chair and a glass vase with a large crack. These were to be given away by drawing lots and I won first choice, however politics and practical considerations suggested I demur and another worthwhile winner was found. Apart from this, there wasn’t much of excitement: it was arranged I’ll be one of the staff accompanying the swimming class one day a couple of weeks ahead and that I’ll accompany Nadia’s class trip the Martin Wickramsinghe museum, which I visited last year.
Nadia is – apart from Rick – the only other white teacher in the school: she is a young Irish woman who has arrived since I was here last year. Rick’s wife, Kris, is not currently working in the school. Along with Angela’s departure from IT, there’s one other change I’m aware of: Nadeeshani is a small, keen and apparently multi-talented Sri Lankan young woman. According to Rick, apart from the Maths and Science which she is teaching, she has an interest in both IT and Music. If I followed her properly, she is going to be taking away my P2-3 tomorrow for cooking. I remember Angela doing something of the sort last year: with a fair wind, I might get elevenses. In fact, I got elevenses today too: Ibrahim – one of the gang of four – brought in a tray of glazed and iced doughnuts for some reason: it might have been his birthday. But who cares? A doughnut is a doughnut.
This evening, prior to starting on this blog, I wandered out to the kitchen for a coffee when Sera called to me out of the dark and there he was sitting with two of his friends I met last year. I think one of them said something like “Come, we are boozing”, but I may have been mistaken. Anyway, feeling obliged not to turn up empty-handed, I went and got my as yet unopened bottle of Balvenie, being kept back for Burns’ Night… It turned out that Sera has some sort of gastric problem and is eschewing alcohol, but the other two suffered no such inhibitions and before I knew it I had a half-bottle left. If he did say “Come, we are boozing”, then he must have second sight ‘cos they weren’t till I got there! So, all in all, I think I’ve done pretty well get this far with the blog.
My working week ends tomorrow, Thursday, at 1:30. I’ve no fixed plans as yet for the weekend: I’ll probably go to the beach at some point. I’m irritated to find out that I brought out Joanna’s old first (2004) edition of the Rough Guide, rather than my own slightly more up to date version. I don’t suppose it’ll make much difference, but the information will just be that bit less reliable.
Now let’s see if there’s enough bandwidth for an upload…