I was watching Andrew Motion struggling in Jamie’s Dream School last night as he tried to get a group of teenagers to engage with their first poetry class. Probably unsympathetically edited, he was shouting within minutes.
First mistake – he tried to get them to engage with an Edward Hopper image: a woman staring out of a window… Perhaps it’s an image that interests him. The kids were entirely uninterested; I know a bit about the artist, but I am with the kids. I should have been sympathetic to Motion’s plight having been faced with a barrage of sullen faces and crossed arms in my own Monday night class when we looked at some poetry, but I was not.
He was just too, well too wet blanketish, shuffling around in his quiet way.
I know only too well it’s not easy. It must be even harder with a camera there to record every moment of your dying on your feet. And of course he only had two hour long sessions – a ridiculously short time to do anything at all.
My top tip would have been to have chosen one of Edward Hopper’s other women looking out of a window (there are plenty, all based on his wife). One like this.
The shoes, the women, the windows, the staring – they all get right on my tits.
As I said a few posts ago, this year for me is about trying to offset unknown mishaps with a joyful event. Before I knew any of this however I had signed up to do a charity bike ride from London to Paris to raise money for the Big Issue which supports homeless people to help themselves. I regularly meet perfectly good people who had perfectly functional lives until some sideswipe from life knocked them off their feet. Once knocked down, it is not so easy to get back up again (unlike the song by Chomba Womba) and some people find themselves unravelled and on the street. What shocked me lately was reading about the lack of access to healthcare for people on the street and the bare fact that their life expectancy is as low as 42 years old, half that of the general population.
Of course I am not entirely motivated by charitable purposes, I am also after a physical challenge for myself, to improve my fitness and to see what I am able for. So I filled out the forms last year and signed up. Now with the weather and my inability to deal with flat tyres and adjusting the seat to the right height I find myself somewhat beset with worry about what I have taken on. That is even before I start the panic about raising the sponsorship money! I had my first anxiety dream last week where, curiously, we were on a coach leaving Scotland for France. All very confusing.
At the moment between snow, ice and flood it has been difficult to get the training in. I identified a spare hour today to squeeze in some hard pedalling before child collection (their being 6 & 4 precludes training with them so far although I have a plan). Frustratingly I spent 45 minutes of the hour:
- looking in the sheds crammed with rubbish for a bicycle pump
locating a pump
finding the pump, or I, at fault and deflating the front tyre instead of the opposite
ringing two people who are more acquainted with on the Health & Safety issues associated with inflating bicycle tyres on garage forecourts with air meant for vehicles
reassured I was unlikely to explode myself to and the bike with said air, walking to the garage with the bike
finding garage air “Out of Order” and walking another half a mile, in high dudgeon, to purchase a swanky and expensive idiot-proof pump
cursing whilst pumping tyres, complete with pressure gauge, outside the shop (humiliating) wondering if it would be safe to reach 60psi as recommended by my telephone expert (achieved half that, tyre about to burst?)
5 minutes cycling to collect girls from school
Which left me with five minutes spare to hang round waiting for the kids to released from the corral. I considered getting another 5 minutes training in riding round the playground but decided that would qualify as “embarrassing” as far as the eldest goes and dangerous as far as school Health & Safety is concerned.
No matter, I now have the tantalising option of setting off for my evening meeting in the dark, the wind, the cold and the rain on a newly inflated tyre. Fat bottomed girls have nothing on me.