Sunday, October 09, 2005

Into Orbit

Well, bicarbonate of soda will not exactly send you into orbit - as some taste experiences apparently do if some food bloggers are to be believed - the photograph is only here because I referred to the 3 1/2 pence mystery ingredient at the back of my cupboard in an earlier post. I think even the design betrays its belonging to a bygone era..., and I reckon it was one of those items that my mother-in-law likes to pass on regularly after one of her clear-outs, with the ominous words, "I think you're more likely to use this up than I am..."

Anyway, not what this post is about, not at all. This post is not food-related, it's about my first week back at Uni.

Monday did not start well inasmuch as the Head of German phoned me to ask whether I could teach a level 7 course that night when I had been planning on finally getting stuck into my preparations for the first year teaching... But of course, even though I hivered and hovered, eventually, in the end, I agreed. The fun really started when I got an e-mail informing me that my Wednesday morning class was to take place in one of the Physics buildings ( Orlitt 2), with the added note, 'I'm sorry, but I know you are one of the tutors least likely to be fazed by having to find a room previously unknown . . . you know, "to boldly go where no tutor has gone before" and all that. We've not been allocated this room before, but you never know, it might turn out to be a gem!'

WELL..., this booking into Orlitt 2 might just as well have been into Orbit 2 (to stay with physics metaphors, as it happens to be The Year of Physics, apparently!!). It doesn't seem to be on any map of the campus, even students doing physics had never heard of it, and when a frazzled secretary (having been pestered by desperate students all morning ...) finally phoned room allocation, THEY didn't even know where it was!!

But of course, spot on, I wasn't going to give faze a chance, I took appropriate precautions: I arrived at the University for 8 am, so that I'd have enough time to find the room. Well, it was very unlikely to be a gem, and it isn't. Behind all the other physics buildings, nearly off the campus (but very close to the Barber Institute of Fine Art, where I intend to go straight after those exhausting 2 hours of beginners' teaching), there are two hut-like buildings, both helpfully called Orlitt 1 (though one of them also carries the immensely useful further clarification: "104"). Luckily, on the day in question, another early bird member of staff noticed me looking puzzled beyond description, and volunteered the information that teaching room 2 should be the one on the left, and should he unlock it for me? (Ah, I thought, another little obstacle to make my Wednesday mornings "interesting"...). The one-story building - the words 'pre-fab' and 'temporary' come to mind - seems almost deserted and a bit spooky (one room contained, apart from some other festering items, an empty fridge, with the door wide open), and there is definitely no toilet around for miles. The room itself is passable enough, with newish chairs, unlike others I've encountered, where the filling is dying to burst out into the open or which have raw metal poking out where a side-rest should have been - a sight that greeted (and almost injured) me on my first day at work! -- It is not an ideal room, as there is hardly room to manoeuvre (which is what we have to do quite a bit in Modern Languages!!!), but hey, no room ever is! (Except for the ones in the School of Education, which - believe it or not - we can only use if we pay for them.)

As for the students, they turned up one by one, all 15 of them, in the end, and the Head of German and I were pondering whether we could use this little IQ test as an indicator for future exam success... (Mind you, the first student was simply lucky, he was able to just tag along with me...).

All in all, it made for quite an entertaining morning, with plenty of opportunity to bond with my students, especially the girl who studies "Disaster Management", who has clearly come to the right place for immediate application of new insights and skills! I had to suppress the question whether she does home visits, although I'm sure a stint at my house would classify as a
field trip!!!

I have a feeling that the lovely collegue who arranged this room for me simply wanted to provide me with a foil for one of my "things that happened to me this week" stories!

Yes, yes, still to come:
- EBBP2: the making
- my recent cultural exploits
- the whole backlog of recipes from the Childhood meme
- AND another parcel to report on!!! This time from New Zealand! From the lovely Barbara over at winos and foodies

Oh, and of course, how about the fact that Andrew must be aware (but has kept stumm!) that there is another blogger, someone who's also been part of EBBP2, who lives so close to me that the first part of our postcode must be virtually identical... Just how exciting is THAT?


Barbara said...

The Post Office has excelled itself then. My parcel took only 6 days to reach you!

Andrew said...

there is? Are you sure? I wonder who that can be - not sure they took part in EBBP2 though.

Zabeena said...

yes, very impressive! A postcard from Rouen took nearly 4 weeks to reach my mother-in-law!!

yep; it's Melissa from hecticium. I wouldn't have come across her blog had it not been for EBBP2.When I do stumble over a blog, in true procrastinator style, I can't help but read more than one entry..., and so, bit by bit, I realized that, not only does she live in Brum, but in or very near my particular area...

laughing snail said...

Hi Zabeena
I'm so surprised, not only did I not realise that people (other than my family and a few friends) read my blog but to have someone 'just around the corner' is amazing! I'll be back to Brum next month but in the mean time there will be (I hope updates) from Mexico!

Zabeena said...


I've been enjoying your blog very much, especially as you seem to be into similar things (apart from the food, obviously)! It's great to read restaurant/music/exhibition reviews of places I can actually go to!!!

Mona said...

Hey Zabeena, I've finally gotten to the childhood meme!! Ah, will you ever forgive me!! Hope you're well!

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! » » »

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