Tag Archives: the weather

Lovely Dragon Boating Weather

Even the ducks have umbrellas.

Today’s forecast was for rain. The forecast was the icon with the big, blobby raindrops, which never bodes well.

There was a little rain last night, but it was mostly dry and overcast this morning. About mid morning, the rain started falling and alternated between light and heavy showers.

By the time I went out, the rain had eased sufficiently for it to be merely bothersome.

My first port of call was China Mobile to put more money on my phone. By the time I left, the rain had almost ceased and was replaced by another problem.

My next destination was Parkson because I wanted to buy another bottle of wine. Big mistake. The traffic along 人民中路 was completely jammed up and I had to squeeze my way past a long line of cars to find somewhere to park.

The traffic was slowly making its way to the next intersection where it was mostly turning left onto 新生路. It’s now possible to go straight ahead, but I’m not sure whether it’s still possible to traverse the next section or it currently remains a dead end. 新生路 is not only unable to cope with that volume of traffic, but the cars were also barely moving. It’s actually quite a busy side street, but is also an utter bottleneck. There’s a car park along there, which is not exactly the best location for one.

I finally arrived at Carrefour with some rain in attendance. I did my shop­ping and departed. The rain was still relatively light, then heavier, then lighter, and just as I reached 远东百货, it became a monsoon.

Every puddle became a pond, every slope became a babbling brook, and all parts of the road were either one or the other.

Why is it that more often than not, the weather worsens when I get near 远东百货? The occasions when it has improved while I’ve been there are fewer and farther between.

More of the same tomorrow according to the forecast, and thus, the Dragon Boat Festival goes down the drain – or would if the drainage was better.

Autumn is in summer

Spring is in winter.

The Mid Autumn Festival is upon us again. This will be my twelfth, although it’s only in recent years that this has been a long weekend. (I.e., we get one day off, and the other is stolen from the nearest available weekend; why not give us the Friday or Monday and be done with it? [You do realise that that would be sensible. Not something in great evidence in China. –ed.])

I forget what the weather has been like in previous years on this occasion,  but it remains rather summery. I believe the high today is 31°; certainly the sky is blue and the air is reasonably clear. There’s a small scattering of fluffy clouds to the east. In truth, today could be yesterday; today could be a year ago.

Although the weather today bears a greater resemblance to summer than autumn, the weather is feeling autumnal. It might be hot during the day, but the heat is less intense than it was a few weeks ago when it pervaded everything. So long as the humidity is kept at bay, it’s tolerable outside.

At the moment, the weather is not something to be too worried about, but with sports days coming up next, we will be anxiously watching the skies. In all my time in China, I cannot remember a single sunny sports day. It is quite possible that I’ve forgotten, but I typically associate sports days with heavy cloud and the imminent threat of rain. But just as I cannot recall a sunny sports day, I cannot recall the entire thing being cancelled because of the weather. Last year the little darlings had a temper tantrum even although the weather was quite ghastly.

In all likelihood we’ll go through the same thing again, but with the added bonus that if we do have to teach, the week before the National Day Holiday will be very, very long.

Appendix.

I recently learnt that Wuxi is the fifth most affluent city in China. We’re behind Suzhou at No. 3 and ahead of Changzhou, which also makes the top twenty list. [Really? Changzhou? One of the dullest cities imaginable. –ed.] Chengdu may be a good deal more affluent than most of Sichuan, but it’s not in the top twenty.

Meanwhile, the posh new (but unfinished) mall opposite the Xinhua Bookshop on 人民中路 is supposed to have a supermarket exclusively selling foreign products (at more than foreign prices, I expect). I know that the same mall has a Ferrari-Maserati shop, although I don’t know whether this will be ridiculously unaffordable cars or ridiculously expensive trinkets.

In fact, the whole place is a Ferrari-Maserati mall with all the posh designer brands there flogging their outrageously priced designer kit to vulgar conspicuous con­sumers.

Time for topical trivia

Preface.

I’ve been coming here quite a bit, but mainly to see who’s been reading what and then either editing the formatting of old entries or deleting the entry because it should’ve been posted on Facebook because it was topical and trivial.

It is with this in mind that I’ve been dithering over this entry because it will be topical and trivial.


Holiday in Chengdu.

I meant to write something about the holiday in Chengdu much sooner because I knew that much of what happened would quickly fade from my mind.

The weather was generally grey and dry, which was in contrast to the heavy rain and flooding from which Sichuan had been suffering. There was one nice day when we saw blue sky and sunshine, and it started raining again on the day of my departure.

Global CentreLinda and I went to see the Global Centre (环球中心), the largest building in the world, which is on the south side of Chengdu (get off on the second-to-last stop on line 1 of the Metro). The building is vast, and also vastly un­finished. There were some shops, but like Raffle’s last year, so many premises were unoccupied, and the cinema was still being built. The artificial beach was also unfinished. But it seems to be standard practice in China to open some building long before it’s actually finished.

The picture above was taken with my new camera, which I bought because I knew I’d be going to the Global Centre and didn’t want to rely on the paltry camera on my phone. The new camera is a Sony HX 200, which is something like the great grandson (possibly great-great grandson) of my old camera. The only problem is that I can’t get pictures off it at the moment. I accidentally gave Linda the USB cable instead of the USB cable for her Walkman. It’ll have to wait till I’m at school before I can get the right cable back.

We mostly pottered around. Went out to Raffle’s a couple of times; went to the computer centre next door because Linda needs a new computer; went shopping for sunglasses from the camping shops on the other side of the road; and bought a new pair of sandals to wear inside so that I can wear the old ones outside.

I did notice an odd trend, though. One day when we were on the bus, I saw that some girl had gauze pads on her knees, and when she alighted, it was done very awkwardly. I then saw at least two more girls with sores on their knees as well.

I can only guess that this is a result of them tripping over in their stripper shoes. When we were in the Global Centre, I saw a girl with pea-stick legs clinging to her grandma on the escalator for fear of toppling over.


Merlin, the whole thing.

I’ve had a small pile of DVDs sitting on my bed for months, but because I mostly listen to music these days, I don’t bother watching them. I did, though, plough through the entirety of Merlin after I got back from Chengdu.

The story is roughly based on Arthurian legend, but in this version, Uther is mostly alive and fierce opponent of magic. Merlin is Arthur’s servant, and Gwenevere is the blacksmith’s daughter. Morgana, Arthur’s half sister, camps it up as an evil Goth chick with Helena Bonham Carter’s insane hair.

The tone of the series changed over time from being fairly light to being much darker. Evil Morgana was joined by evil Queen Gwenevere, and there was a cameo from the ghost of evil Uther.

The relationships between the characters also fluctuated. It seemed odd that Merlin and various other underlings were quite familiar with Arthur, addressing him by name. In a later episode, the writer seems to have decided that Arthur should be addressed formally throughout, and then in subsequent episodes, there was a mixture of formal and familiar.1

In the end there was a battle at Camlann where Merlin in the guise of Emrys hurled bolts of lightning at the Saxons. Mordred, who had gone over to Morgana’s side after Arthur had hanged his fanatical girlfriend, mortally wounded the king, but was killed himself.

Merlin tried to get Arthur to the Isle of the Blessed, but the series had already been axed, which meant that Arthur would never make it in time to be healed. He did remain alive just long enough for Merlin to inform him that he was a wizard.

The series ended without ever fulfilling the prophecy which the dragon (voiced by John Hurt) kept mentioning, viz. Arthur will unite the kingdoms of Britain to establish Albion.


The weather. I just had to mention it, didn’t I?

Last year the finally two weeks of July were clear, hot and sunny. This year we’ve had less clear and sunny, but more hot. I cannot recall the last time the high wasn’t 37°, and yesterday, it was 39°.

While the weather in Britain has been “scorchio”, it can’t really compare with the searing temperatures which we’ve been “enjoying”.

Is this going to last into August or, like last year, is some ruddy great typhoon going to slam into us?


The new chair.

I got back from Chengdu determined to do something about going to Ikea here. I had learnt a thing or two since my first failed attempt to get there.

The 328, which is really the bus for Metro, only runs from 6.40pm and would only reach Ikea in time for the place to close. The correct stop was the first one on the far side of 县前街, although I was beginning to have my doubts until I saw the Ikea bus going in the opposite direction and turn right onto 县前街. In other words, it doesn’t even go past the Far Eastern.

But the bus did eventually arrive and I travelled all the way to Ikea (about 10km, I estimate) for ¥2. Since it was a weekday, the bus was lightly populated, and Ikea was also quiet, which is in marked contrast to either in Chengdu.

I found the chair I wanted (the Markus) and arranged for it to be delivered to me the next day, which it was after some sort of hiccup. I think the deliverymen possibly went to the wrong building.

Anyway, it’s nice to have a decent chair to sit on, one which I can lean back when I want to watch something.


Speaking of watching something…

I watched Warm Bodies last night. Basically, girl meets zombie and he turns into a real boy. It’s a bit Pinocchio and a bit ugly duckling.

I assume that there’s a message here, but the question is what the zombies and skeletons (extreme zombies) represent exactly. Some sort of underclass in the US? The proletariat is not entirely irredeemable?

If you’ll forgive the irony of such a comment, the film had promise, but never quite seemed to come to life.


When in Rome?

I’ve been keeping half an eye on the GlaxoSmithKlein case, wondering exactly what is going on. Whenever some foreign company gets criticised for dubious practices, I suspect that it’s the Chinese people running the show here who are responsible. In this case, it appears to be the foreigners who are at fault and yet I also suspect that they were just doing what everyone else does here. (Long-term readers, if there are any such, may recall advertisements for “Brain Boost” at the school in Benniu, which were passed off as safety warnings.)

Why aren’t Chinese pharmaceutical companies being targeted? Why a foreign company? One suggestion I’ve seen is that this has something to do with the previous emperor’s relatives.


When red songs become the blues.

Bo Xilai is finally going to be tried. This provoked some rather robotic pro-government tweets on Weibo. As for the trial itself, I assume the outcome has already been decided. I suspect Bo will survive to spend the rest of his days in the same comfy prison as his wife.

I assume that the decision about his fate has already been made, and that the rest of the trial will be stage-managed.


Georgie Pordgie. Pordgy?

The new future king of England has been born and has been named George Alexander Louis.

At a rough guess, I think I will’ve been long dead by the time he’s king. If QEII lives to be 100, Charles won’t be king before he’s about 80, which means that William may not be king much before he’s 50, and by the time George VII gets his go on the big chair, most of the century will probably be over. I might just live long enough to learn who George’s successor will be.

Notes.

  1. This has me wondering how Dark Age underlings addressed their superiors before Celtic Britain became Englalond. We see Arthur through the lens of how we see the Middle Ages when the servants would not, presumably, have dared to address their masters by name and English got saddled with that ridiculous and artificial Continental custom of tu vs. vous.

What does the smart money say?

It says it’ll be fine on Monday and Tuesday when we’re having our weekend stolen off us.

Once again it’s the infamous 高考, China’s equivalent of A-levels or SATs. After three years without any meaningful exams, a bunch of egotistical 17-year-olds with a grossly inflated sense of their own cleverness will be enjoying the the ultimate three-day extravaganza in the Chinese education system.

As a colleague of mine observed on Facebook, there’s a whole battalion of ninjas on guard around the school ready to make any noise-making miscreants regret their actions, whereas we have been afforded no such consideration during our exams.

And thus we get at least one day off.

The Dragon Boat Festival also falls on some random day around this time because a fixed holiday would be sensible, and that (being sensible) is not part of the Chinese Dream™. This year the Festival is Monday to Wednesday next week. In a civilised country, we’d probably have the whole six days off, but this is a country devoid of human decency, and while we get Wednesday, we’re back at school on Monday and Tuesday.

Currently, though, we’re having the day off. The weather is utterly appalling again, possibly being even worse than the previous occasion. Heavy rain and high winds all morning, and copious amounts of surface flooding – water gushing up from the drains, water gushing out of drainpipes, and water streaming down every available slope.

While my raincoat and over-trousers protected me to some extent, this is the sort of rain which tends to overwhelm my defences. Although I zipped up all my pockets, the rain got through.

When I got to Carrefour, I looked utterly dishevelled while everyone else looked, well, shevelled, which was rather annoying because none of them were armed with anything more than an umbrella.

All the girls in their hooker (stripper/porn star/70s throwback platform) shoes won’t even be getting their feet wet, but my shoes got soaked, and my socks, and my feet.

I’m predicting that next week while the rest of the country has Monday and Tuesday off, the weather will be fine, dry and pleasant. It’ll then rain again on Wednesday.

Later. As it turns out, neither Monday nor Tuesday was that nice, and Wednesday is supposed to be overcast, but I won’t be too surprised if there’s more drizzle.

If I had a hammer

I would not hammer in the morning.

Yesterday morning I woke up early again. I’ve been waking up too early all week. At 6.27a.m. (yeah, a.m.) I start hearing hammering coming from the island. Saturday, 6.27a.m.

This morning, same again. I wake up too early, and at around the same time the banging commences. It’s now over 2½ hours later and only in the past few seconds have the hammers fallen silent.

What are they doing over there? I don’t know. It must be over a week since the planks were taken up. As far as I can guess, the metal plates of the framework underneath might have got warped at the edges and they’re being hammered to make them flat again. But this is just a guess.

Is there a tool for the job? Probably, but the hammer seems to be regarded as a Jack-of-all-trades here. I think I mentioned the day I saw the frame of a shop sign being pulled apart using a combination of twisting and hammering. Ever hear of a hacksaw? (I have no problem imagining a hacksaw blade being used, but not the whole tool which I see in my mind when I think of a hacksaw.)

The result is that whatever they’re doing over on the island, it’s inefficient, labour-intensive, and noisy. It’s probably also being done on the cheap. Why spend the allocated money on the job, when a chunk can be pocketed instead?


No wonder Apple has made such a huge amount of money.

Out of curiosity, I bought a couple of albums from iTunes – selections from Leclair, Op. 5 and Castello and Fontana, Sonate concertate in stil moderno, which are not available via other sources in digital format. But the prices?! Eek! Apple are charging CD-level prices and providing the bare minimum in return. The albums didn’t even come with booklets.

I watched a piece on the Guardian the other day about how Apple avoids paying tax on its profits by sending them through Apple in Ireland, and I regret con­trib­ut­ing to Apple’s coffers.


Pizza Factory.

A hole-in-the-wall pizza place has opened in the block of shops outside Jinma, which makes real pizza at ¥8 or ¥9 a slice. There’s only a small range, but it’s nicer than, say, what you get from Pizza Hut.


Pacific Coffee.

Pacific Coffee opened in 远东百货 yesterday. I had a look as I passed by, but the mob of people deterred me from stopping and having a look. I was surprised that Daniel T. wasn’t there, fighting everyone else of to be first in line for the first cup of coffee.

My impression of the place was that it’s too exposed. I’ve been to one in Harbour City, which has no walls, but feels as if it has an interior. (So, too, one in Time Square, although that was a little more exposed.) The Pacific Coffee here feels like it’s on a traffic island, and lacked a sense of cosy intimacy with lines of tables next to the aisles because there isn’t the room for an interior.

I’ll pass by again today when I go shopping and have another look.


The weather.

I haven’t posted anything here for two weeks because I’d largely be posting about the weather, which continues to be fairly awful. I’ve cleaned my bike twice in the past two weeks, and two or three days later, it’s started raining again. The temperature is still showing a wide diurnal range, and quite a bit of variation from day to day. It was 17° to 19° a couple of days ago.

Another, more annoying pattern is when I look out of the window and it’s dry. Two minutes later, I look out again and it’s wet.

So much for flaming June.


The Internet.

A few days ago, I had a message from Google informing me that Buzz was being put down. I told Google to delete what little I’d ever said on Buzz and got sent to my G+ profile page. I thought that was odd, and I tried G+ itself, which was unexpectedly accessible, but the next day, it was blocked again. I tried it yesterday, and again, I could access it; but this morning, it was obviously blocked.

Perhaps Nanny doesn’t care that much about G+ which was refurbished recently, but still feels impersonal to me. (In an aside, I’ve also heard that gmail is going to be refurbished again.)


Shopping news.

I went into the supermarket in the basement of Parkson just recently and found the place was having a sale, with the prices of certain wines (Australian and Chilean, for example) being slashed by over 50%. I’ve rather indulged because this has saved me quite a bit of money, and the wines are much nicer than the stuff I usually buy.


Last week.

Last week was entirely exam free. I gave the AS students classes on the interview text type, but only a double for each because the rest of the week, numbers of them were off in Hong Kong doing SATs. We’re giving them an IB English exam (reading) on Tuesday, and after looking at the form over the next two weeks, I find I probably can’t give them the writing until Friday next week. Ugh. Mind you, it’ll give me something to do in class.


Signing out.

And the hammering continues. It’s lessened over the past hour and a half, but nearly four hours after it started, they’re still going strong. I’m hoping that they’ll stop after lunch because I need a snooze.

Waffle on Saturday

Uh-oh! The weather blog is back.

A few days ago, it was 32°, and clear and sunny. On Thursday the rain was probably the heaviest its been since Typhoon Haikui in July last year. The day started as drizzle, which was rain by lunchtime, and after a brief hiatus, it returned with a vengeance and didn’t ease until sometime on Friday morning.

Friday seemed to start dry, but when I left for school, I discovered that invisible light rain was falling. This is the stuff which is as saturating as heavy rain even although it can’t be seen from the window, and leaves no clear traces in puddles. But eventually, that turned into micro-drizzle for most of the rest of the day before the rain returned in the evening.

This morning the rain is still invisible, but I can see the telltale ripples in the puddles along the lane behind Jinma.

I’m sure that this is one of the wettest and most contrary springs that I’ve experienced here. We started the week on 32° and got drenched on 20°.


The week in education.

The PAL students have had both of their English exams. The Reading and Writing paper was par for the course. I think the note-taking and summary exercises may have been a little tricky because of the risk of distractions. The summary, which was about the advantages and disadvantages of e-books, was at risk of becoming a summary about e-book readers, I think.

Ex. 6 was a letter to a friend about borrowing something. I can imagine that the language of polite requests, which occurs in one of the early units in the book, had long since been forgotten, and I can also imagine how dull and mundane the requests were. It was another topic which though outwardly rather dull offered scope for some far-ranging flights of fancy.

Ex. 7 was an article about success. I’m sure the little darlings whipped out their finest clichés and used the usual Chinglish phrases about having “a big achieve­ment”. I thought about the topic myself and concluded that success is the product of achievement set against ambition. Success is gradient, from complete fulfilment of an ambition to any degree of partial fulfilment after that. At some point, the level of success is no longer satisfactory.

The Listening exam was on Friday, but I haven’t seen the paper yet, which probably had the usual stuff about chocolate, fruit, and dinosaurs.

It seems that I’m probably going to be teaching AS and A2 English next year, but there are certain issues with the timetable which make things awkward unless there’s a second teacher. I’ve also been told that we probably won’t be getting a third AS class next year (but the best laid plans etc.). The new students in those classes are either very good or very bad with nothing in between.

I don’t know quite how the rest of term is going to pan out. Part of June will be IELTS and TOEFL classes, but part of the next three weeks needs to be English class with the AS students, who are going to be having an English exam early in June. The main problem is that we’ve run out of time and there are other things such as SATs to distract students from reality.

Mr Bamboo, Comptroller of the Weather

Mind where you park, moron.

Merida01
The infamous Lolita Complex Merida bike.

A couple of days ago I took my bike outside at school and cleaned it. Now it’s raining. It seems to be a pattern. It rains, I clean my bike, it rains again. The only logical conclusion is that I can control the weather by cleaning my bike. If I want to cause a drought, I don’t clean it; if I want to cause flooding, I do clean it.

I’m sure that we’ve probably had as much rain today as we had throughout the whole of last week. The ponds on the island are full to the brim, and as I write there has been a rumble of thunder. It was very heavy at lunchtime, and just as bad on the way home. Surface flooding once again leaves me wondering why it is after 2,500 of “civilisation”, the inGlorious Motherland can send people into space and build aircraft carriers, but can’t get the drains and drainage right.

A few weeks ago I mentioned how a car had gone over the edge of the low shelf outside Houcaller, which marks the edge of the pavement. Today at lunchtime the same thing had happened, and on this occasion some nitwit had managed to get their car even further over the edge. I wonder how commonly it happens, though, if it’s taken this long (four years) for me to see it twice.

My little darlings had their Reading and Writing exam yesterday, and will have Listening tomorrow. I had a look at the paper this morning, which was par for the course.

Today’s interesting Internet find (via languagehat) was a website devoted to the correspondence of Bess of Hardwick (aka the Countess of Shrewsbury), who was a contemporary of Elizabeth I. The site is interesting for the history, the insights into the people of the time, and the language when people still wrote much as they spoke.

Temperature, temperature quite contrary

Make your mind up.

The high of 27° on Saturday was answered with a mere 8° yesterday. This morning was wet, contrary to the forecast, but has turned dry since. Tomorrow it’s meant to reach 20° or 21°, which seemed quite promising until I saw Wednesday’s high of 9°.


Take it onto the road.

Another episode from Moronic Chinese Motorists this morning. I was heading along the cycle lane past Vanguard and Suyou only to run into two outstanding specimens of motoring stupidity. One car was heading north and the other south, with little more than the thickness of a credit card between them. Instead of one (or better still, both) of these drooling halfwits reversing, they both persisted in driving forwards. I manoeuvred around them and continued on my way, but I shouldn’t have to be manoeuvring around cars on the cycle lane; or, Access Road as the petrol-driven plonkers call it.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting to turn down 解放路 at lunchtime on my way to Yamazaki when I hear some turbocharged engine approaching, and through the intersection comes this BMW (probably an M3), which is going far too fast. The car is also hot pink. Eek! Now while a Matchbox BMW M3 can be hot pink and get away with it, this is just hugely ghastly. I saw it parked outside the hot pot place as I was heading back to school where it was scaring the other cars away.

Meanwhile, back in the control room

Nanny hit a switch.

The news this morning, which has no doubt caused outpourings of joy and hap­pi­ness across what China thinks is the Internet (but is just a ship in a bottle), was that the IMDb has been unblocked. I don’t know why it was ever blocked in the first place, but it’s been off the menu for about the past two and a half years.

Since the IMDb is a useful source of reference, but not much else, this wouldn’t seem to be heralding a more mature approach to the Internet. I have been won­der­ing if Ang Lee’s success at the Oscars perhaps led to the site being unblocked as a weird sort of reward.


The weather. A perennial favourite.

The temperature has reached its high-water mark today after steadily increasing every day for about the past week. Tomorrow, it’s meant to fall by about half to a mere 14°. A couple of weeks ago, that was quite pleasant, but it won’t be fun this time round. The weather this year has been unseasonably warm since I’ve noted in recent years that it’s not until the week of the speaking exams in April that it really improves.


Cough, splutter.

It seems that the old laptop (an Acer 6920G) is dying in spite of the hours I spent reinstalling Windows 7 and patching it. Since then, it’s got even slower, and the e­vid­ence sug­gests that the HD is dying. The D:\ drive is there, but impossible to access, and the machine’s performance is dismal. I tried running Excel 2007 on it, but every key stroke was taking seconds to have an effect. The HD light is often on as well.

I managed to install a whole bunch of patches on the machine last night, but there’s another one (.NET Framework patch) which is going nowhere. In addition, Ex­plor­er is often slow and cranky.

The entire problem seems to be down to a file called classpnp.sys, which I identified as the source of the original issue, and which seems to be the source of continuing problems. It’s a problem which has affected others (for example), and which seems to be highly resistant to being repaired.

I need to uninstall Acrobat and Office 2007 on the old machine before it gets to the point where I can’t even boot up at all.

It seems to be such an ignominious end for a machine which was such a solid piece of kit.

The next day. I uninstalled Acrobat last night, which took over an hour in spite of claims to the contrary. Office took a smidge longer – somewhere around six to seven hours, I estimate. I’ve packed up the old machine since the amount of effort required to maintain it far exceeds the value of such an exercise.

[04.10.14. After I resurrected the nine-year-old grandfather of my current machine and managed to get it working properly, I turned my attention back to its im­med­i­ate predecessor, which was still operating chronically slowly because the D:\ drive was there, but not there. (It’s a bit like my pupils’ intellects – supposedly there, but then they write something in English, and there’s no sign of any intellect whatsoever.)

After some unsuccessful fiddling with the Windows tools to see whether I could access the missing drive, I tried reformatting it from the command prompt. The process worked, and the machine is now chugging along about as well as a six-year-old machine can.]

The Sheen of Spring

It’s winter. It’s spring. It’s winter. It’s spring.

It’s just been February, which is not a month I typically associate with warm weather, and yet this seems to have been the warmest February since I’ve been in Wuxi. March has just started and already there is a shimmer of green on the trees alongside the canal. There are some flowers out at school, and in general spring seems to be shoving winter out of the way without so much as a by-your-leave. In my mind, the weather doesn’t really turn warm until about the time of the speaking exams in April, but my mind is being proved wrong this year.

Winter, determined not to to be bullied off stage by some upstart, has been fighting back. A couple of days ago a storm blew through, and yesterday the fantasy temperature was 12°; the actual high was 7°. This morning it’s absolutely clear (enough to see the line of the hill to the east) and sunny.


School news.

I learnt the other day that we’re getting a new CP on Monday. At the moment, I know little about him – Dan, American, has been in Vietnam. I suspect he’ll find he’s replacing one chicken coop of unnecessary dithering with another.

With Peter’s departure, the triumvirate of Peters has been broken, but with the new CP’s arrival, we now have a triumvirate of Dan(iel)s.

The first week of term has seen two changes to the timetable. I’ve now been lumbered with an eight-lesson Friday, but my Wednesday and Thursday are comparatively light. I lost two PAL 2 classes, and my PAL 1 class on a Monday, which was originally third period after lunch and then switched to the second, has now gone back to the third. In past years, the timetable with which I started has been the one with which I’ve finished. This year it must’ve changed at least four times. It’s also been my worst timetable.

For reasons that we cannot fathom, the school dog has been hanging around at the main gate for the past week. Sometimes she trots through when the gate opens; other times she hesitates. I’ve also seen Wayne the School Cat a couple of times. He seems well fed.


Blogging.

I’ve been meaning to write another entry, but have felt no compelling urge to write another. Topics which swirled around in my mind were why the Pope’s abdication was called a resignation as if he’s the CEO of Catholicism plc, and why North Korea’s Mr Sexy said “Someone set us up the bomb!” the very next day. (Bonus points if you can recall the meme.)

The story about China being a source of hacking also crossed my mind, but as the savvy punters noted, the Empire’s role in all this was being played up, and there are plenty of other state-authorised nuisances out there, the US not being the least of them.


Music.

I’ve been trawling my way through the Classics Online website looking for albums to go on my wish list there. I’ve been doing a label crawl, which is all right for some of the smaller ones, but Chandos has 1804 albums, and EMI Classics puts that in the shade with 5008.

My searches have yielded a couple of albums of music by Telemann which consist wholly of tracks which I don’t have. I suppose (given the huge size his output) that such a feat is not impossible since I only have 137 works altogether. [Only 137? –ed. 05.09.14. 293]

I’m also keeping half an eye on less well known composers such as the French composers, Marin Marais, Jean-Fery Rebel, and various Italians such as Castello, Marini, Picchi, and others. I have some of their works, but they tend to be scattered across various albums.