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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Next One's a Ruby!

On this day in 1973, at the tender age of 20, I took the plunge and married my university sweetheart. Of course, I hadn't yet graduated, and he had another term to go, but we were in lurve!

We split in late 1977, just after buying the house I still live in. He moved back in with his mother, and a few months later she married the man who'd been pestering her for years and moved out! That obviously wasn't far enough, because they then moved to Kos (she was Greek).

We were finally divorced on Leap Year's Day 1980, just a couple of quick signatures on a form and a fee of £25 (I made him pay).

I subsequently went to his second wedding (which also ended in divorce) and his grandmother's and his mother's funerals, and he came to my mother's funeral. Then he phoned me in drunken state (not unusual) sometime in 2000 and asked me if I'd come to his next wedding, and be the only other person there who'd been at all three of his weddings!

A while later, when I was looking into my family history, I had some wonderful news that I thought he would enjoy sharing. I got his answering machine, and left a message. He didn't return the call. A week later the same thing again. The third time I told him to get stuffed, and that was how a relationship that had stood the test of 27 years was finally finished, all because he couldn't be bothered to return a call.

I'm pretty sure wedding number 3 never happened, so perhaps he was too embarrassed to call back. Whatever the reason, it was his loss.

Untethered - Day 21

Pressed up against the wall by Bobby...mmm. Reminds me of that scene in Entertaining Mr Stone. God bless Wendy/Portia.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Untethered - Day 20

Just give me that Chief of Detectives for five minutes, and he'll regret how he treated Bobby.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

How to deal with a drought

At midnight, an order came into force from several water companies banning the use of hosepipes. This is one of them, and it's the one that supplies my water:

Apart from a long period of low rainfall over the last two years (climate change? what climate change?) our water companies, sold off by the wonderful Mrs Thatcher (wait while I wash my mouth out with soap), have appalling records on finding and fixing leaks. It is said that up to 60% of the water that passes through the pipes leaks out before it gets to its destination. Thames is one of the worst.
Once a fortnight or so I pass a leak in the pavement, and until last week I assumed that before I passed that way again someone would have reported it.
Well, maybe they did, because last week I decided to do so, and STILL it is unreported. Two efforts to report it via their website failed, and a phone call produced a rather snotty assertion that I must have the post code wrong, as young Darren couldn't find either street on their system. (Sorry - Station Road? And its busy junction Loampit Vale, part of the A21 along which the Olympic torch will pass in a couple of months?)
Twitter has been as useless. It's taken me several days of insisting on an email address so I could write the problem out in full before someone finally tweeted me one that worked. Everyone else kept sending me links that either didn't work, or didn't include the option of "complaining about service when reporting a leak".
For this "service" they expect the average household in my street to pay in excess of £360 per annum.
Glad I've just had a meter installed.

Untethered - Day 19

Baby's had enough - leave him alone!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Untethered - Day 18

Now leave him alone, you bastards - I've worn him out!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Why didn't anyone else think of that?

This is our illustrious Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. Or it may be Mr Bean.

Anyway, he is meant to be in charge of education for England and Wales (though I think Wales has a bit more say in its own education these days; Scotland always did).

To get into university ove here you have to pass 18+ exams called A levels. Lots of people have been saying for years that they are getting easier, and that students arrive at uni needing remedial classes for their chosen subjects. I have no trouble with believing that, having seen the quality of learning of new teachers coming into the profession, and the ignorance of people in almost any walk of life you care to name.

So our genius boss has decided that the universities can assuage their doubts and remedy their complaints by having a say in the content of the exams and their teaching.

They don't want to know. They say, quite rightly, that A levels are not just used for university entrance. Plus actually putting your expertise where their mouths are might have unforeseen repercussions we cannot begin to imagine for these poor beleaguered academics in their ivory towers.

Thing is, although I've always taught in tough inner city schools where most kids even by 14 don't opt for languages, which is what I taught, I did have A level students on a couple of occasions. To make sure I did the best by them, at a couple of university reunions I asked my former lecturers (what in the US you call professors; for us professors are more illustrious experts who chair departments) if they could let me have a few essay questions for my students. They obliged. And when one student applied to my old university, then didn't quite get the grades they'd specified in their offer, I tried to save her a bunch of sleepless nights by phoning up to find our their decision - then found that my phone call was enough to tip the scales in her favour.

I have to believe that, just as they don't make students like they used to, they don't make lecturers that way either, 'cos 20+ years ago they played a part they seem unwilling to play today. Everybody's loss.

But Mr Gove, you weren't the first to think of it. Credit where it's due.

Untethered - Day 17

I have dozens of pictures of Bobby tied to this table. At my mercy...

Monday, April 02, 2012

Not Forgotten

My beautiful boy Shelley would have been 21 today. He's been gone for more than 18 months, but I still miss him every day.

Untethered - Day 16

Noooooo! He knows what's coming, and he's scared!

This actually wasn't the best picture to illustrate this, but the other one wouldn't display. Technology!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

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