Saturday 2nd June, 2012
A day of enormous contrasts. The day began with a hangover, naturally, and then finally I began marking essays. I began that process with coffee, toast and a sit in the sun. It was still impossibly hot and the three cups of coffee, coupled with the excruciating hangover did nothing to stop the relentless sweating, even in the shade.
The weather turned spectacularly around lunchtime, when from nowhere the wind got up and all the marking started dancing around the veranda. It was a signal of what was to come. The afternoon was spent doing more marking, rehearsing half a dozen new songs for the concert last night, then marking some more. We travelled the few minutes to where the concert was, by which time the weather was turning decidedly nasty. From 35 degrees, we ended up somewhere in the teens, with fierce wind and eventually torrential rain. Really hard, proper rain, really cold, horrendous wind. Brilliant. I say brilliant, I mean shit. We were doing a concert in a restaurant, who kindly fed us, but the shambolic nature of the event meant that I could neither hear nor see almost anything which went on, including the half a dozen soloists, which was weird and rubbish.
OK, I’m going to pause there because I’ve realised what impact this marking has had on me. It’s made me start writing in a tedious, clumsy, boring, unintelligent way and I’m sorry for that. I’m not saying that the essays I’m marking are tedious, clumsy, boring or unintelligent; if you read that into what I’ve said that’s your problem. I’m just saying that it’s the effect it’s had on me. I’m consumed by it, and it feels right now (on Sunday afternoon) as though there’s nothing I can do about it and all I can do is rush out this rubbish until my university declared word count is up. I don’t have one of those. It’s just how I feel about it. Arse.
So anyway, I marked, I ate, I marked, I rehearsed at length, I ate, I did a concert which mostly passed me by. It rained. A lot. I came back. I drank heavily. Really, really heavily, mixing the grain and the grape, talking nonsense to idiots until dawn broke. This is a stupid idea. I get bad hangovers. I never drink heavily and don’t have a hangover, so quite why I was playing drinking games with the idiots in the early hours I have no idea. Of course I kept up, but that’s not the point. I also talked nonsense to a couple of them and once the crying stopped I think we reached some kind of passable middle ground. I then went to bed.
Yes, another paragraph not unlike those I’ve been reading recently. But hey, at least I’ve made a start. Tomorrow is another day. Another day which will start with a hangover, and include lots of marking. This is not a holiday – how many more times do I have to tell you. It’s like marking in Manchester, just with the door open.
Drinking done: Staggering amounts of beer and red wine, way more than was necessary and way more than my frail old body can handle.
Marking done: Eleven essays. Yes!
Morale: Again, rather varied, but on the whole, OK. Missing Mrs. Faint.