Thursday, 17 March 2011

Week 7 - The Monsoons Cometh...

Week 7) The monsoons cometh.
While paddling my canoe into town first thing this morning, it occurred to me that I actually ought to feel privileged to be receiving a practical education in ancient civilisations from an original pre-historic person. I should feel honoured to be spending two whole hours each and every Wednesday bearing witness to such traditions as exclaiming "I wonder what's in the book box this week?" (It’s always the same books), and sharing my life with elders wearing several obviously hand knitted garments, beneath a bulky overcoat, while complaining incessantly about the central heating being on.
Fossil practically disappears under her pile of outer layers, bless her, and you only know it's actually her, and not a discarded pile of clothing left behind after a prior jumble sale, by the occasional glimpse of her spectacles peering out from within.
The class librarian takes her job all too seriously, and is thrown into a state of absolute panic if anyone so much as flicks through at a hardback without signing away their life for it. I'm now beginning to suspect that know it all does this deliberately to ruffle her feathers, simply so he can delight in a particularly patronisingly boom of "Dear Lady, there really is no need to get your knickers in a twist!" inevitably leaving the poor woman slightly flushed and even more flustered than ever.
With a grave expression, befitting of any funeral director, the lecturer informed us today that new wules and wegulations were afoot within the WEA, and the Colchester branch in particular will be adversely affected by these up and coming changes.
He then went onto announce that it is very likely he’ll choose to retire from lecturing, and the follow-on course he was planning to take …..another 20 weeks of much the same would render me sectioned under the mental health act…… may well not come to pass.
A sigh of relief would've seemed a little tactless under the circumstances, but my elation was surprisingly difficult to contain.
The inevitable mass mumblings and protestations followed, mostly initiated by know it all of course, clearly irritated that although he thinks he knows everything, that piece of information had actually eluded him.
Space invader suggested optimistically over coffee that it would be "a jolly good idea" to have an end of term Christmas social!
I lack any amount of festive cheer at the best of times, but I sank into the depths of depression as terrifying images of being force fed repulsive home made mince pies while know it all knocked back the sherry, flashed before me.
Just thinking about the lecturer belting out Wudolph the Wed Nosed Weindeew, whilst wearing plastic flashing antlers, is enough to send dear old Santa back up the chimney pretty sharpish.
I quickly withdrew from the negotiations, and returned to the distinctly non-festive classroom.
I suppose it should have come as no real surprise, as we are situated in an actual church, but nonetheless, I was somewhat astonished when all of a sudden we were treated to a deafening impromptu organ recital from elsewhere in the building. I think the lecturer was a tad put out by this musical interlude. His only option for the next ten minutes was to show a selection of slides that required no narrative whatsoever. Elephants in water, elephants on riverbanks, hippos in water, hippos on riverbanks, zebras in water, zebras on riverbanks, and so forth were indeed pretty much self-explanatory.
With peace eventually restored, we covered the entire history of ancient Egypt in less than fifteen minutes, and raced into 1800 A.D. at breakneck speed. Space invader made a valiant attempt to keep up by scribbling her lecture notes in shorthand, but I fear we lost her somewhere during the slave trade.
Squelching home in my waterlogged trainers, I pondered, beneath my reassuringly big blue brolly, whether I really should've applied a little more effort in selecting my footwear first thing this morning.
After wringing my socks out in the sink when I arrived home, I feel the rather obvious answer has to be yes. Another valuable lesson learnt.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Week 6...It Must Be Wednesday...

Week 6) It must be Wednesday.

When you’re in a funny mood, under no circumstances should you attend a W.E.A. class.
No sooner had I seated myself on my paralysing plastic chair I spied know it all, sporting his latest hideous t-shirt, emblazoned with a rather unconvincing tiger.
For reasons, which remain unclear, this induced in me a mad fit of the giggles. Fortunately this weeks enthralling lecture had not yet got underway, so I made a hasty exit to the ladies to compose myself and vainly attempted a more appropriate demeanour.
A particularly bizarre knock-on effect of my impromptu sniggers was that the lecturer assumed that his abysmal jokes were actually hilarious, and with his ego getting the better of him the deluded old fool turned into Ken Dodd.
Oh how we laughed at man's recently acquired ability to generate fire, which helped to give pwotection fwom pweditows.
I had to pinch myself quite hard to see if I was having some peculiar nightmare. No. It was all horribly real.
You should really avoid caffeine if you are already feeling hyperactive…. was the thought that entered my sadly dysfunctional brain on gulping the last dregs of my unspeakably strong Nescafe.
Know it all subsequently decided to stand directly behind me and proclaim loudly "There are no tigers in Africa!".
Not wishing to look like a particularly reluctant ventriloquists dummy, I shuffled a few feet to the left and stared intently at my nice, shiny spoon.
The pompous old lush continued; "Tigers are from India!".
Not a soul responded, and an awkward silence fell upon the canteen, leaving me with the distinct impression that everyone wished that India was where know it all was at this moment in time, preferably in close proximity to large, hungry, stripey mammals of the feline variety.
I decided to return to the relative sanity of the classroom.
It seemed a very good idea to disassociate myself from my surroundings, which I considered to be the root of the mirth predicament, and I promptly became literarily productive. I completed my entire weeks shopping list, and was busy compiling my Christmas card list. All was going swimmingly until Space Invader suddenly became interested in my unnaturally studious alter ego, and leant over to peer at my lecture notes. My cover blown, all I could do was smile politely and turn to a fresh page, and at least look like I was actually paying attention to comedy act fuelled with Nescafe that was currently entertaining the masses.
With the room hermetically sealed, the heating on full blast, and oxygen supplies running low, it seemed more than coincidence that we had to hear all about sleeping sickness. Space Invader actually asked me to nudge her if she dropped off! It's a crying shame I never actually got the opportunity to give the old crone a hearty shove.
The recent postal strike turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise, as the pre-ordered slides of more maps failed to materialise and we were treated to a re-run of dubious the cave painting slides that were shown last week.
An exceptionally vivid imagination, and possibly hallucinogenic drugs, would've possibly helped to convince me that the non-descript ochre blob on the screen was a Stone Age hippo.
Last orders were done and dusted and we were turned out promptly at noon, by way of a change from running into overtime.
I have no idea if I shall complete all twenty of the classes. I am already growing ever more senile and it must be only a matter of time before I swap my combats for beige polyester slacks. We shall see…..