Monday, 12 April 2021

On being an expert. Busy Sundays. Television watching.

Here’s something written by Geoff Barton, who, according to stuff I have found looking him up online, originally wanted to be a disc jockey but ended up as an English teacher. I know others who did that sort of thing. It may not be as glamorous, or at least it may not sound as glamorous, but teaching can be great fun, if you can stand the workload, and it brings its rewards. Anyway, here’s something he wrote recently:-

““I can no longer bear to listen to music while operating,” writes eminent neurosurgeon Henry Marsh in his revealing memoir, Do No Harm.

That insight got me thinking: does the medical profession get lecturettes from the health secretary about which is the best kind of operating theatre – one that is silent, or where complex operations are conducted against the surgeon’s latest music compilation?

Similarly, would surgeons expect their health minister to tell them how best they should deal with, say, chronic haemorrhoids?

The reason I ask is that this week the education secretary has been saying and writing things. And, in fairness, there’s a lot he could be talking about.”

Mr Barton goes on to write a whole lot more but basically what it comes down to is that Gavin Williamson has been going on about discipline and how schools should ban mobile phones and so on and so on and so on. It has always been this way: everybody thinks they can tell teachers how to do their job, in a way they wouldn’t think do with other professions. Nobody claims to be such experts in any other field. And Gavin Williamson might well be education secretary but that doesn’t mean he is an expert in all things educational. However, like everyone else, he has been to school and therefore thinks he knows all about it.

After all, we all have hair (or in some cases, used to have hair) and we’ve been to the hairdressers (but not for a while now in my case) but that doesn’t mean we know how to cut and style hair. 

After we almost had a flood in the bathroom yesterday as Phil “fixed” a dripping tap, I wonder if the same should be said about a lot of DIY stuff around the home. I exaggerate, of course. Nowadays you can learn how to do all sorts of things by watching tutorials on Youtube, and in fact Phil is pretty good at such things. 

We did quite a lot of sorting out stuff yesterday, putting together IKEA garden furniture, rearranging things in our quite large kitchen-dining room to find a corner to store it, the weather being too inclement just to leave it outdoors at the moment, sorting out dripping taps and dealing with minor floods! It was such a busy Sunday that we completely forgot to watch the next episode of “Line of Duty” in the evening. Another factor is that we have quite got out of the habit of watching week-by-week episodes of series. 

We did watch another episode of “La Casa de Papel”, known in English as “Money Heist”, a Spanish series about a finely orchestrated raid on the Spanish Mint. It’s very cleverly done so that the viewer, well, this viewer anyway, is rooting for the bank robbers (who plan not to steal money already in existence but to print a whole load more for themselves) while at the same time feeling lots of sympathy for the female police inspector leading the team negotiating with the robbers for the release of their hostages. There’s also a rollercoaster element: just when you think the robbers are going to mess it all up something comes along to make it right. And each episode ends on a cliffhanger! Well worth watching!

As for “Line of Duty”, we’ll watch last night’s episode on catch-up this evening, and get back to our Spanish series tomorrow evening. 

There’s precious little we want to watch on mainstream TV at the best of times and at the moment it’s further reduced by mass coverage of the life and times of Philip, Duke of Edinburg. 

Here’s Michael Rosen’s take on the whole royal family business, by the way:

I gather 

they give us continuity

I gather that

if we didn't have them

we wouldn't feel continuous.

If I want continuity

I read an old book

I gather

they give us permanence.

I gather that

if we didn't have them

we wouldn't feel permanent.

If I want permanence

I look at a rock.

Someone suggested a last verse to do with 'unity' which I have adapted as follows:  

I gather

they give us a sense of being united.

I gather that

if we didn't have them

we wouldn't feel united.

If I want to feel united

I join a union.

It is, of course, de rigueur NOT to criticise the royal family at the moment. Goodness, even the sort of estranged Prince Harry is criticised for not being sufficiently effusive. I think this came form a New Zealand newspaper:

"Harry and Meghan's 'Thank you for your service. You will be greatly missed' just beat out 'Cheers dude' as their tribute for Prince Philip."

But we’ve got something else to think about now. It’s Monday April 12th and shops and restaurants (with outdoor spaces) are opening again. Apparently people were queueing early this morning for shops to open, presumable to buy all the stuff they haven’t managed to order over the internet! The mind boggles!

But the sun is shining. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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