Day 62

Home Schooling

There is, of course, a reason I gave up teaching, although I still maintain that the sentence handed down was a bit harsh. Those of you with access to the interwobble can look up the details for yourselves on the Norn Iron Legal Archive, if youse are that nosey.

I never gave up on education, though. Specifically, education of myself. There are those of my acquaintance who would dispute this, citing the oft-quoted criticism directed at anyone with more than the usual one brain cell in daily operation that I think I know it all already. But, sure, what would they know? (I know what I did there, even if no one else does. And again there.) Not a day goes by without my learning something new, or, at least, relearning something I had nearly forgotten. Sometimes I envy other people’s ability to forget things. Part-Time Wife, for example, just one day after what she terms “a tidying spree” will not have the faintest idea as to where she has tidied my essential equipment away to. Not one clue. In fact, ofttimes, she will even forget that she did any tidying at all, and will, manfully, attempt to blame me on the fact that whatever I am searching for is missing on the grounds that I “just leave everything all over the place and make a whole mess of the place”. Nothing, dear Reader, could be further from the truth. (Except maybe the British Government’s attempts to explain that they made a success of dealing with the Kerfuffle because the National Health System was not overwhelmed. Here’s a hint lads: the system was not overwhelmed because you kept around 48.7% of those who had covidnovid locked up and dying in care homes; had you let them out to access medical treatment, your system would have been overwhelmed.) Admittedly my filing system is intricate, and incomprehensible to anyone who is not me, but that does not mean that it is without system. And, sometimes, I deliberately leave items in places where they will “get in the road” as a reminder to myself that I have to do something with that item later on after I do all the other things that I have to do later on.

As for Part-Time Wife’s system, well, ‘system’ is stretching it a bit. She still has not grasped the basic operation of my sock drawer and how the entrants should be filed alphabetically by colour, and preferably matched to each other. But I live in hope, and maybe one morning I shall wake up and not have to let a gulder out of me upon discovering, yet again, that both the sock drawer (a wicker basket, actually) and the knickers drawer are devoid of occupants. I mean, does she think these essential items of underwear just wash themselves, or something? She will occasionally gulder back that some examples of said items are to be found in the airing cupboard, wherever that is. But, I put it to you, your Honour, what good is that to me standing bollock naked in the mezzanine area of the central atrium at stupid o’clock in the morning? What if the teenagers were to crawl out of their caves at that time seeking sugar and see their alleged father standing there with things dangling over the banister? I would be back in court as soon as they had speed-dialed Childline on their mobile phones. Why they have Childline on speed-dial is another mystery worth investigating, but I blame the primary school.

Speaking of schools [were you? – Ed.], I was up earlier than usual this morning to check out how the whole virtual classroom thing is working out with the two male teenagers. (The Marines sent them back, by the way, with a terse note stating that they were both underage, but that the haircuts were acceptable.) Fair play to them both, they are doing the absolute minimum, or approximately 19.6% of the work their schools are virtually sending them, which is about as much as I would do were I in their situation. To summarise, their situation is this: one of them will not be sitting official state examinations this Summer but will be given makey-up results instead which will count as real qualifications in someone’s idea of the real world; the other one is just finishing off First Year and about to forget over the Summer everything he has learned this year, and if his school even thinks about sending him Summer exams over the interwobble, they will find that the wifi connection has suddenly gone down that month in the hacienda. Anyway, they will learn more hanging about with me than they will avoiding classwork while staring at a screen. Because, previous convictions and barrings notwithstanding, it appears that I am once again a teacher, and supposed to be engaged in an activity known as home schooling. I did not apply for this position, do not even recall its being advertised and, thus, treat my “duties” in respect to same with the disdain they deserve.

Someone needs to tell the schools and the department of education this: school’s out for Summer! And maybe forever, if you persist in this nonsense of trying to get teenagers to do work when there is no compulsion for them to do it. Good luck with that! And, remember, they do not require education, anyway: they have got life out there outside their caves; all they need is the correct attitude and they could educate themselves.

Like wot I done.

Day 36

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Shirleen’s Birthday

In an attempt to determine which sex they are, we sheared two of the human teenagers last evening. We could have got away with just shearing one of them had that one turned out to be the girl, because then, ipso facto, the sum of the square on the other two sides would have been equal to the square on the hypotenuse. Ended up being the two males under the lock of quarantine hair (did you see what I did there, Mal?), and, as they now have the requisite haircut, we will be posting them off next week to the US Marine Recruitment Centre. Once we get the required packaging materials from the Post Office. Does the Post Office do deliveries? (That is not a joke – well. it is, but it is also a query: go and find out for me, Question Girl, please, now that you know what google is.)

Because fruck this home schooling lark for a game of marleys! They will learn more in their six months in Marine Boot Camp than they would in a month of Sundays on Showbie or Google Classroom. And they might actually learn something practical – like how to speak English to adults again, albeit American English, which should probably be re-classified under modern foreign languages, like. (What I have done there is, without being specific about it, I have satirised an aspect of the paucity of American English usage by using one of its indispensable communication crutches as the final word in my own sentence. And, yes, I have been watching too much Stewart Lee recently, but, sure, why wouldn’t you? There is, as usual, nothing ‘worthy of my serious attention’ on the TV, as Mal’s Da used to say when perusing the television listings in the daily paper, when such listings used to consist of only six channels, and when he used to be alive. Now, how am I going to get out of these brackets?)

And with one bound, he was free! The male teenagers already know how to disobey direct orders from their full-time mother, but they might find that skill of little practical use to them where they are going. I hope, at least, when they come back that they have not been afflicted by the terrible mid-Atlantic, hailstone accent that affects Graeme Mc Dowell (why can he not even spell his own first name properly?) and several other Irishmen who have to spend part of their time in the US of A to earn a few bob. Our wee Liam from Ballymena is not completely immune to it either. I wonder will yer Hollywood star who is currently stranded in Dalkey because of the Kerfuffle be inversely afflicted when he gets back Stateside and start pronouncing ‘many’ as if it is the word ‘man’ with a ‘ee’ sound on the end of it. Here’s a linguistic tip for the Mexicans on this island: the vowel ‘a’ has two pronunciations, and they are not both the same; any questions? Or, as some of them would pronounce it, ‘Annie questions?’

Sorry, I got side-tracked there [from what? – Ed.] (Oh here, by the way Ed., since you’re here, I should inform you that two sub-eds have joined the gang, so watch yourself! And welcome, Lick&Spittle; sort out among yourselves which of you is to be Lick and which Spittle, and let me know, but I will generally refer to youse in the collective noun indicative of the work youse do to keep this blog up to its traditionally (too) high linguistic standards. If I had a Finance Director, he would be on to me about the added expense of all these brackets today.) So, yeah, I can’t say I will really miss the male teenagers when they go off to be marines. They do not really contribute much to the ambience of the hacienda at the moment, unless constant conflict is the parent-offspring¬†ambience we are aiming at. And it’s not, as that is taken care of by the parent-parent relationship. Part-time wife was (slightly) concerned that one of them might get killed when they are over there playing their war games. She did not specify which one (she is not, despite her working conditions, in a Nazi war film) and was (slightly) mollified when I pointed out that we did, in fact, have a spare one, having over-produced on the male offspring project when sex was still a thing in the household. I think she was trying for a wee gay one, but got the cooking wrong. I further pointed out from, as you may guess, the beneficence of my accumulated wisdom that the USian army does not fight real wars these days anyway, so the chance of collateral damage to one of the sons was minimal. Their last two major wars have seen them pitted against an abstract noun (terrorism) and a microbiological virus (covid-19): not much danger of either of those two combatants surprising either son in his trench and stiffing him with a bayonet to the belly. They do still use bayonets in armies, don’t they?

Yeah, the pics? Fine looking cat, if you ask me, and you can see how seriously she takes her guard-cat duties: that garden furniture outside the bay window is going nowhere without her say so. But twas the Marketing Manager made me put them up. She sent me a memo pointing out that if I did not want to continue to flatten the curve of readership of this blog, I should post more cat pictures. I do not know why she sent me a memo as she was sitting right in front of me in our early-morning skype meeting at the time. Marketing types, eh? Who knows what they actually do? (That is neither a joke nor a query, although marketing departments generally are a joke.) But surely rather than cats, it is you, gentle reader, who should be assisting in un-flattening the curve of readership of the blog by using that secret weapon that you keep concealed behind your teeth? That’s right, smart boy at the back of the class, word of mouth. So off you go and tell all your mate(s) about the blog. I will wait on youse here …

… done? OK, two thoughts about the bottom pic: a) which of us is more relaxed? and b) did I copy the cat or did the copy-cat cat copy me?

As for the subtitle of today’s lecture, again twas the Marketing Manager who informed me that Question Girl aka Shirleen is 84 today. All together now, “Happy Birthday to it, Happy Birthday to it, we can’t sing ‘to her’ or ‘to him’ anymore, in case we get in the shit.” Is that how the new version goes?