Sunday, June 17, 2018

Chasing my own tail

It's been pretty hectic this week in the Flatlands. Being the end of the academic year, there are exams to mark and courses to finish up before everyone knocks off, or goes down for the summer. To be truthful, I feel as if I'm racing to the finish of far too many deadlines and am in danger of overshooting all of them.

I've also been wearing my Cambridge speaking examiner hat quite intensively this week. The British Council, the largest of the organisations that runs these English as a Second Language exams, was a bit short of examiners for this round and sent out a plea to anyone examining for the other centres to see if we could help. I am attached to a centre in Rotterdam and do the job for them three times a year. They have first call on my time and I am committed to examining for them when required. However, as a freelancer, I can do sessions for other people if need be, so I offered my services to the urgently seeking British Council and found myself at a school in Goes, Zeeland bright and early on Monday morning.

The harbour in central Goes 2016


Goes is a lovely place although I didn't see much of it. I spent the whole day working at the school, which was pretty intense. It was great experience, though, and I met some other examiners who gave me some useful tips from their much longer experience. After that it was put foot to the pedal (as we used to say in South Africa) back to Rotterdam as I was adjudicating a university speaking exam on Tuesday for a group of staff. Wednesday was a normal work day, but I had more Cambridge examining on Thursday in Rotterdam and all day on Friday at a school in the suburbs. It got to the point that I couldn't remember who I'd been with, where or when, or even where I was supposed to be. Predictably, I was totally shattered by the time I arrived back at the crumbly cottage on Friday evening.

One of the classic Goes houses

Meanwhile, I still had all my academic writing assignments to mark for the Amsterdam students I teach. Thus...no peace until today, when I managed to get out and paint a wall. You have no idea how therapeutic and rewarding that was! A plain, white, simple wall.

Next week, things will begin to wind down again. I still have some Cambridge work, but just for one day; otherwise, life reverts to normal and at the end of the month, it will all be over for the students...and largely speaking for me too! Maybe, just maybe, I'll have time to write again. I've been looking at the outline of my WIP longingly, so I'm keeping everything crossed. But with boat maintenance calling...well...we shall see!

On a sad note, I have lost my little Panasonic compact camera that I have taken everywhere with me for the last few years. I cannot believe I've left it somewhere, but it seems that's what I must have done...it's just vanished. I am quite bereft because I was really fond of it. What's worse is I've lost the photos that were on it too; not that many, but there were some pictures of the poppies around here which have been quite spectacular this year. I'll just have to rootle around in my archives to see if I've got any older poppy pics to relieve the empty spaces in this post.

A few years ago, friends of ours taking poppy pics

The delicate vividness of the poppies. I've always loved them
but this year, they've been phenomenal

Well, that's me done for blogdom this week. If the WC is your bag, enjoy the games and if not, I guess there's tennis or athletics or even just enjoying summer days outside.

I'll the the one wielding a paintbrush and sander...ooh, and yes! I've got a diesel man coming to service the Vereeniging's engine this week. Woohoo! I can hardly wait!

Have a great week allemaal.


12 comments:

  1. Hi Val - sometimes it's just peace and quiet we need ... painting a white wall white again ... would suit me too. Love poppies - I haven't seen any in the wild here ... well don't think I have! Lots of other plants though ...

    Well done on finding your way to the cottage for the weekend ... and one more week of a fair amount of work, then as you say wind down til you can set 'sail' again ... enjoy ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you, Hilary. Yes, I'm so glad I have the crumbly cottage to escape to although the Vereeniging really needs my free time, I need it too! Our poppies have been unbelievable this year. So strange that some years we rarely see them and others they come out in such profusion!

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  2. Enjoy the freedom of summer Val. x

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    1. Oh I will, Carol! We are setting off for more adventures in Belgium and France again in July...can't wait!

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  3. Argh! How annoying that you've lost your camera, I hope it somehow turns up for you.
    Not long now until you can relax and enjoy the summer.

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    1. Thanks, Maria. I'm narrowing down the possibilities now, so at least I can concentrate my search! I'm definitely looking forward to the summer holidays now, though :)

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  4. Oh how you need some time off! Let’s hope you have sunshine too.

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    1. It's coming, Jo, it's coming! Thank you!

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  5. Lovely pics....busy times and quiet times...we need the balance, don't we?

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    1. We do, Carol. Now, more than ever with the world in such upheaval!

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  6. I am sorry you have lost your beloved camera Val. Alway so upsetting when we lose something that we love. I hope you find some time to relax and enjoy after such a busy spell.

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  7. Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

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