Thursday, September 29, 2005

'It's just another Manic Thursday ... '

So, a bit of a pain of day. Not only has the Conservative Party decided to formerly start its selection process for their future leader but my day has been rather suspect and it is only 1511.

This morning I woke to the sounds of the Today Programme presenters trying very hard to be interested in their latest interviews with two potential Tory party leaders. This has been an ongoing saga for the party for the last four months and looks no nearer its conclusion than it did back in May. This has to be harmful to the election prospects of the party. If the party cannot convince itself of its future then how is it going to convince the great British electorate taht it can govern. Therefore, my ears were far from overjoyed this morning. Not that James Naughertie was that thrilled to be there and was decidedly grumpy with them which suited my mood!! Having said that, it was a good way to start what had been a rather odd 24 hours for me.

Last night I popped off to the University Concert Band. Picked Tim up on the way there as it was VERY wet and his instrument weighs a huge amount. Once we had got it in the car, it rapidly became clear that reverse and first gear are out of the question when a tuba is a passanger in the front seat. Which makes life rather tricky when having to turn around as you are lost trying to find a hall ... Tim was most sympathetic of my poor navigation skills and we eventually arrived some twenty minutes late!

But, my crumbs, what did we walk into. A small band (no percussion and a mere 9 flutes) of very mixed quality. As Tim put it, it is rare for him (yet alone me) to be amongst the best players. It was when I had to explain to the conductor that she could not conduct 6/8 and 3/4 in the same way. Furthermore all three conductors were not great on working on details - to such an extent that I grimmaced when they did not re-do a chunk claiming it was 'fine'. So, not the greatest success to put it politely. In the break, Tim, smartly dressed in a pink shirt, slightly camp and (rather vocally) horny (as ever) proceeded to chat-up the female conductor which was a pleasure to watch! At least he tried - some of us were not quite so brave .... The second half was no better and the cartoon piece we did was fairly simple and played simply dreadfully. Playing music normally leaves me on a bit of a 'high' and just left me feeling down last night. If it not been for the laughter with Tim, the night would have been a complete disaster!!

Back home and the depression compelled me to go to bed and following an OK night's sleep, I woke and wished I was giving the Tory Party Leadership candidates a real (as opposed to metaphorical) grilling. However, I dragged myself out for 0835 and walked to University. And Walked. Then walked uphill. And then staggered down. And at quite a lick. Normally 25 minutes is just enough time to get to the department. However, this was a lecture theatre in the most of obscure places in engineering and I had not allowed time to get lost. Naturally, I got VERY lost and walked in 8 minutes late. So the day did not start well...

Teaching on the course is certainly of variable quality. There is an old saying that those who are good at something, do it. Those who are less good, teach it. This is not always true. Marie Kinsey (my course director) and my mother are proof that this is not true. However, a couple of the lecturers seem to have had ok careers in journalism and have decided to teach it instead. For example, in one lecture we were discussing what various theotricians considered to be news and I had covered this during my time in France. It seemed to be clear that he was a little unsure of the meaning behind what the authors had said so he blustered accusing academics of being overly wooly ... this from a lecturer! Likewise, today in the audio-editing class with a journalist from BBC Radio Sheffield, he criticised wonderfully though was less good on constructive criticism and twice I would ask for his opinion on my recording and he would proceed to edit himself without explaining why or indeed what he was doing. I felt incompetant and depressed.

Furthermore, some of our tutors lack any sense of humour. Yesterday we had a law seminar in SG - LT 17. Well, I quickly realised the lecture was not in SG (St George's) but in SB (Stephenson Building). All I needed to do was find lecture theatre 17. Easy, I hear you cry. Well I met up with a few course mates in the foyer and we followed the signs for LT 2 -12 and then LT 14 -15 in the presumption that this would get us to somewhere near LT17. When we realised this was not the case we asked a passing professor in aeronautical engineering and he had no idea so off to the Porters' Lodge we popped. There we found the tutor and three more tutees. The porter helpfully told us to leave the building, go to the bottom of the road, turn right down down Broad Lane, take the next lane on the right, go through the archway and it is on our right. Obviously! Would have looked there! The tutor did not find this funny what-so-ever.

Overall, do not get me wrong, the teaching is of a high standard and it is still good to be working towards a career I love. It is simply that I wish we could smile a bit more. I also wish that I did not feel inadequate most of the time. I came top in the year in the first news quiz (very pleased) but still feel somewhat thick all the time.

So, by 1pm today I was ready for a half day's rest. However, due to some timetable movements (I am now going to be doing Monday 10-5, Tuesday 9 - 3, Wednesday 11-4, Thursday 9-1 and Friday 9-5 with a lunch break each day) I am doing almost a full time job, particularly when you consider we are told to do 10 hours OUTSIDE of class for each of our four modules. Thus, the BT appointment I had made on Saturday, had to be moved. Quick call to BT and I discovered that they had cancelled my appointment. Without telling me. So quick grumble later and eventually I get an appointment on Saturday 8th - 5 days earlier than expected. Hate being nasty. The next problem is registering for electricity/gas. Apparently Flat A does not exist ... oh well, another battle commences.

In conclusion, for some reason the last 24 hours have been a bit tough. I would like to blame it on the Conservative Party's Irritating election but in reality I think it is more to do with growing-up, getting used to the nature & style of post-grad study, getting used to being alone and adapting to Sheffield. It's the first time I have done something completely alone since going to Warwick and I think this is a bit tougher than that even as there are so few people in the flat/on the course/post-grads in general. I am so lucky as there are so few of us who have been selected and can afford to do this. And I know that in a few weeks I will wonder what I was e-grumbling about.

Mind you, it will be a relief when the Tories finally decide who is going to lose the next election for the part,

Love and smiles,


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