Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday 27 May 2012

On Friday CA reported that the Majorcan apartment was lovely, and in a relatively quiet family-geared area, and they'd been to the supermarket, and Erika had survived the flight relatively calmly, and the only thing sh had forgotten was the PIN for her new travel money card. Today she said they were all going on a 5-hour boat trip to a nature reserve island with the chance to try snorkelling for 22 euro. I still can't get over the fact that this whole holiday was chosen, booked, organised and managed by someone who spent most of the last seven years trying to hide.

I've had a wonderful but anxious day of sun and wind on Kinder - the amazing hot dry wind and stupendous views of blue and green and hazy moorland didn't entirely quell my worries about my knee and about trying to keep up with the leader Andrew, who kept up a relentless pace just a shade too fast for me. In the end he was far worse affected by the steep descent to Dalehead than I was, as he slipped and wrenched his left knee at the top, and pain and nausea brought him to a stop. Once he got down to Dalehead, Yvette bullied him into sitting down while I fetched my car to take him to his own, John bullied him into swallowing ibuprofen, and the others commiserated briskly over the random slip that had felled the leader at the end of a bold and brilliant walk. He had even arranged a touch of luxury for us at the hottest, most wearisome stage in the 20 miles - a box of ice and chilled drinks hidden behind a wall in Edale.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Thursday 17 May 2012

Poor Catherine. This was the biggest and heaviest day of exams, 3 hours of Spanish followed by three and a quarter hours of biology. She has been battling for literally months with the barrage of biology facts and figures, going through all the previous exam papers, learning DNA, respiration, photosynthesis, endocrinology etc inside out - all the big topics. But they were hardly mentioned; instead were lots of part-questions about topics she'd thought of fleeting significance, so she came out totally frustrated, crushed with disappointment, sickeningly afraid of not getting a grade 5 or 6 (which she thinks she will need for Trinity), as well as totally bl;itzed by 6+ hours sat in a hot stuffy room beating her brains out. Also she had spent so long studying biology that Spanish revision had got crowded out so she felt she hadn't got enough grammar and vocabulary to do well in what should have been an easy grade 6/7. And she is so tired.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

A good and busy day in London - although one of the reasons I was there was to attend Stephan's funeral, so I walked in the crematorium full of dead people and tears, and greeted Ros, whom I was there to show support for, and told Veronica she'd been tremendous in writing the eulogy  for her Dad and reading it out while wanting to cry. But the rest of the day Dave and I were exploring Greenwich and the Cutty Sark, and the best of it (and my main reason for coming) was that we met Rik at Canary Wharf, the first time I'd seen him since late January. And he's fine; and doing well at work; and they're fairly hopeful Nicole will be accepted on the MA course she wants at Kingston or Reading; and he's enjoying his flat and loving East London for being young and modern and vibrant; and Nicole likes it too.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Thursday 10 May 2012

Catherine is almost half way through her final IB exams and is working like a turbo-charged knowledge machine. There are sheets of biology notes stuck around the shower, lists of French verbs pinned to the curtains, and she reads ESS case studies in bed. She is determined to give herself the best chance of getting the grades she deserves, and if persistence and labour counted for anything she should get top marks. So far she has been non-committal about the papers - 'not too bad' - which probably means quite good, but you often can't be sure what the questions are getting at, and there are some big ones to come, including a horrendous day next Thursday with 3 hours of Spanish followed by 3 hours 15 minutes of biology.

Feeling ill hasn't helped - pains in back and belly, some headaches and nausea - but I think they are all stress related and try not to worry too hard as the symptoms seem fairly non-specific and don't stop her eating and sleeping reasonably well. As well as the monumental effort to study, she is managing an equally demanding effort to look up and out from time to time at the world outside, her forthcoming holiday, and the prospect of a job in a catering company for the summer (though this scares her).

The house seems unwontedly calm, as Dave is at Buttermere with the lads. He took the car, so we have rented one to help with getting to and from exams. It's a Toyota Aygo, small, cheerful and very blue, and suits us very well. We went for a spin up the bypass, but after topping 58mph on the downhill bit decided that was enough excitement and came home.