Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Another busy day.

My Spanish lessons are coming on a treat after i got hold of some new audio lessons for my Ipod. I will not try to dazzle you with my fluency in Spanish - because I am far from that, but the exciting thing about these new tapes is that they use real Spanish speakers - the other one I had - which is great in its own way - does not. At this stage I have some rudiments of the language but i really need to tap into the rhythms of Spanish as it is spoken and come to terms with the fact that real Spanish speakers do not speak slowly and clearly for you, but rattle off the words and run them together. Even at that I will still have to come to grips with the dialect spoken in Malaga, which is even less distinct, or so I am told.

So now I start the day with my bicycle ride - out to the Mostvatnet to cycle round the lake. Then it is back home for a pot of coffee and my first half hour of Spanish. I like to do it in small modules as I find my concentration starts to wane after a short time. In the evening when I take my brisk walk around the harbour I plug into the Ipod again and do my second lesson of the day. I did an extra half hour at lunchtime today with the reader, but am not sure that i will do that every day - you cover a lot of ground with that part in a short space of time so probably once or twice a week will suffice for that.

You see we only have four months left before we head out to Spain for good so I need to be regimented now. That is a deadline and i thrive on deadlines!

Obviously I then went on to finish off this drawing of Vic with that darned moth again. This one did not go so well for me - but I think I pulled it round in the end. I had to do a lot more drawing so it has become darker and denser. It is interesting learning more and more about the materials that I am currently using and getting the hang of how to use them to create the effect that i wish to achieve. Even at that there are going to be days that things will not go right for me, but those are the joys.

I actually finished another drawing today too. I will save that for you tomorrow. But you see I have been productive.

So you see how important a deadline is for me - my end of sojourn exhibition is planned for the end of November so that is less than three months away now and I still have a multitude to do!

Changing the subject slightly. There is another really cool thing that has happened to me in the last month or two. I have begun to read again. When I was a child I grew up in a very bookish family. My parents were always reading as were my brother and two sisters - I was a bit slower to pick up the book. In fact I was very slow learning how to read. I did not get the hang of it until i was 9. My mother was beside herself with worry about it. She tried me with glasses and i think it was whispered that i was a bit slow, you know, they call it a learning disability in these trendy times. And I think in fact it was - but not in the sense that I was backward. i remember just not thinking that it was very important to be able to read. Add to that the fact that I had and still have a bit of a problem conceptualising things. I can reason it out a bit better now, but when i was little i just liked looking at clouds and feathers and things - and buying umbrellas of course.

Anyway then I did read quite a lot of children's books that we had in the house - all the classics, A little Princess, Charlotte's web, Green Smoke, Five children and It etc and I absolutely adored all of the books by Alan Garner. Of course i loved the big books of fairytales that we had: The brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and the Russian Fairy tales (which book I still possess). In fact i probably did read quite a lot unbeknownst to myself. i graduated on to Agatha Christie of naturally - very enjoyable.

In my mid teens and twenties i was a really avid reader. I read everything and after moving to Ireland frequented the mobile library that came to the village every Thursday. I had my son in tow then and we spent many a happy hour picking out books to bring home. I remember being addicted to Thomas Hardy in those days and Oscar Wilde - but he was an ongoing love affair really.

Then I suddenly stopped - probably at around 30 years of age. I think my brain just died. I was a wife and mother and working at rotten jobs and i was just plain tired too. I tried to read a book every so often but found it very hard to concentrate.

When i went to college I only read textbooks for essays and so forth and that continued as I embarked on my lecturing career. I almost had an aversion to books at that point - i wanted to do other things than stick my nose in a book in my free time.

So years have gone by and now I am 49 and finally living a life again of some regularity that does not involve constant studying and homework and I really am not a great watcher of television, but you need to have some entertainment in the evening - so i borrowed a book from the library. And i read it. And then I borrowed another and read that one too. And suddenly I have read lots of books and I think of myself as a reader again. i have not trouble concentrating and if i get a book that does not enthrall me from the first few pages i just put it on the reject pile and take it back to the library unread.

It is wonderful! such a wonderful feeling of going into other worlds again and losing myself in other people's lives. One thing i will say though is that I have forgotten which are the good books to get out and I have been reading rather a lot of books with very miserable stories which do not seem to have a proper ending (but that might be a modern trend). I find that most unsatisfactory, but will probably get better at it again. I like books about people with problems, but I like them to solve them and learn something on the way. I must say I do like a happy ending but am not averse to a good cry on the way.

Oh dear I have gone on. Probably because I did not blog yesterday and so had everything all bottled up inside. Well the genie is out of the bottle now so I can leave you and go for a quick walk and a Spanish lesson - although it will be in the rain :-(

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