Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Enough already!

It's one of those days where I'm going to kvetch. It hasn't stopped raining all day. The rain is now falling in vertical lines and creating huge puddles on the patio. When I walked the dog this morning - yes, I know, but I had to - we both got soaked. My jeans, my anorak, my hat. Even my boots leaked water. My very expensive Ugg boots that I really would have believed would have been better made. Maybe it was the wrong kind of water! We had to avoid the baby-lakes that lay in wait for us when we walked uphill. The cars, seeing us huddled into the bushes by the verges, kindly slowed down and drove around the grey, cold stuff so that we didn't end up totally wet from top to toe. As it was, the poor dog kept on shaking his fur but it just got wetter and wetter. J. wrote me a text from home: "It's weird seeing people in their summer clothes! It's February! Is this global warning (sic)?"

Zach came around last night so that he could work. I still can't get over him being so responsible and so possessed of doing the right thing, on time and creating lesson plans and making sure that everything is correct! Another personality - although it is the one that resided there beforehand. It's just that we hadn't seen it for such a long, long time. He even makes sure that he gets enough sleep. I keep tapping myself on the head to make sure that I'm not dreaming. The nice thing is the knowledge that there's still sufficient grey matter there that hasn't been eradicated by the oh-so-copious use of narcotics.

I see that the cannabis diaries has been published. Splashed all over the Daily Mail last week. Lots of photos of son from childhood to present day. All real names. Felt sorry for the boy, really. Not much fun having your face spread all over the tabloids with the nomenclature 'addict'. Because I wouldn't compromise and divulge real names and faces, the tabloids weren't interested in me. Such is life. So long as it gets borrowed and people read it, that's fine.

They predict that this rain is going to turn to snow within twenty-four hours. Then I'll really have something to kvetch about. So long as I don't go head-first again. I have a course to go to in south London tomorrow. 'Listening and responding' to cancer patients. Hope that we don't have the wrong kind of snow.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Those kill-joy Saudi Arabians

What kill-joys the Saudi Arabians are. Anything pink, from roses to chocolates, have been banned from being sold in shops in the peninsula. Why? Because it's against the religion to celebrate St. Valentine's Day and the pink stuff is just so anti-Islam. So between marrying eight-year-olds to 80 year olds and stoning adulterers and cutting off the hands of thieves, the religious authorities have the time to ensure that no one buys anything pink or sends a Valentines' card or buys their loved-one a pretty bunch of flowers because it insults their religion. Gosh! They must have so much time on their hands. Insanity.

Today there's two full pages of Gordon Brown; he of the bitten, dirty fingernails and greasy hair, whining about how he should have been the one to have been the PM instead of Tony Blair. He's now joined the celebrity brigade of the woe-is-me I too suffered, crying a little tear when speaking of the death of his baby daughter. I agree. That's sad. But to use her death as a part of his electioneering is depraved. He is so out of touch with the electorate that he may as well be on another planet. Hold on. There's an Endeavour Shuttle going soon...

Isn't everyone just sick of winter? It just seems to go on and on. I know and realise that it's still only February but the cold is getting to me. Maybe it's my age. I need to see and feel some sun. Yesterday it was bitter and the only thing going for it was that the dog didn't get mucky on the Heath but came back with icy paws. He refused to go out again later in the afternoon. You'd think that with his coat, he wouldn't feel the steely winds. Today we did a street walk because the mud had reappeared. The thought of hosing him down yet again deterred me.

Zach's still good and working twelve and fourteen hours a day, preparing his lessons and researching topics to teach. The reversal from total layabout to obsessive tutor is remarkable. One addiction replaced by another but at least this one leaves him no time nor desire for the former. The fact that he is really enjoying the strictures of the course and the people he's with and the positive future presented to him thrills me. Let's hope it continues along these lines. The shops filled with pink heart-shaped balloons and pink-ribboned boxes of chocolates and cards and flowers present no threat to people who have sanity in their lives. There's enough kill-joys even here but this is one instance where we are all free to express our freedom to worship at St. Valentine and maybe even Zach will have found someone to share in this.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Bipolar disorder and the most able students; Zach's progress

A piece in the paper today stated that clever children have a much higher risk of developing Bipolar disorder than less able ones. I guess that's news. Research has shown that the more intelligent children are four times likelier to go on to suffer the condition. The people I know who have Bipolar disorder? Yes, they're all the brightest ones. Zach certainly is. He coasted through school, never really putting in any effort and pretty much under achieving because he didn't feel the need to.

Talking about Zach's education the other night, he pointed to the fact that he didn't read any of the texts for English Literature A-level. Just the crammers. Still managed to get a B. With a bit more reading, there's no doubt he would have managed A's all round and gone to Oxbridge but he just didn't want that. The irony is that he's now started a teaching course and is (so far) loving it! I always thought that he would make an excellent teacher. He's bright and funny and articulate and well spoken and manages to get his point across succinctly. I can see a class of students enjoying his input. Let's hope that he succeeds.

The interesting thing about the brightest kids being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder is that it is also these kids who are the most creative too. Kay Redfield Jamison, in 'Touched With Fire, Manic-depressive illness and the artistic temperament,' explores the relationship between creativity and madness. As one of her critics wrote about her book, it is "an emphatic analysis of the creativity that emerges from a little madness and the horror from too much." Zach is studying hard. He's teaching class and he's researching and preparing his next lessons. He's still also writing music and wants that project to be successful too. 'I'm a little manic,' he said to me last night. 'It's a good manic,' he added. 'I'm watching it. Not letting it get the better of me.'