School is out as at the end of day for mid-term. Naturally that has limited meaning in our current predicament. Today we chunter through Cerberus’ last batch of realistic assignments and keep our eyes fixed on two prizes.
One; the possibility of a return to a real classroom before February is out. Two; the possibility of us hiring a private tutor to cancel out the phenomenal backward steps we’ve taken through lockdown.
I am a general believer in luck, superstition, serendipity. Call it what you like. The flukery of circumstance or the Divine Hand poking its finger in our spine to make sure we tread the path which avoids the Slough of Despond.
For days now my attention has been grabbed by newspaper articles flagging the dire curriculum in Scottish schools. Rewritten history, overt politicisation of subjects, brain-deadening focus on ‘experiencing’ learning rather than sharp toothed objectives like tests or learning to count, read or write.
Not for a second do I consider we ought to home school; that would be kooky and well beyond our red line. Rather it abets a sense of melancholy whereby even with Cerberus and Medusa in the state education system, and in class, they might still be screwed for life.
Before lockdown I’d a disheartening conversation with a chatterbox solicitor in London who informed me clients were veering away from opening offices north of the border. I instantly assumed this was a constitutional matter, but was surprised to hear it related to the inauspicious situation in schools. It turns out that if you’re in the game of international business, recruiting a workforce from a hotbed of degenerate illiterates is unattractive.
The recollection of that conversation coupled with recent news is making me feel wobbly. I’m minded to drag the Ouija board out and dabble with the black arts to see if I can divine a sign for what steps to take.
We do have options. Mrs M and the children are all American so we’d be tempted to return. The USA oozes possibility in a way the old country’s entrenched ways never could, but we adults are less than thrilled at the prospect of Cerberus walking out of a store with a semi-automatic. We both work on the assumption that providing the boy with a crossbow or a pistol would ensure we’d be pushing up the daisies before you could say parricide.
Quite how everyone can stay as chipper as an escaped mink in these dire times is a mystery. As the Irish poet Ronan Keating once purred, life is a rollercoaster.
In the midst of pondering the abyss our two are tiptoeing towards, day to day calamities escalate. I’ve been reading Cerberus The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe of a bedtime and specially ordered Turkish Delight to provide a 3-D reading experience. I revelled in my inventive approach but the outcome was unfortunate. We gobbled our way through the treat box and Cerberus stayed up past midnight. That delayed my evening deskwork, which I subsequently completed at 4am.
My appearance at a client meeting at 9am via video the following morning brought home the full impact of lockdown. Each participant had sympathetic lighting but not even that could mitigate my hideous mien. I looked like Shane McGowan emerging from a Temple Bar lock-in.
This is the new me however, and I will embrace it. No written word speaks to lockdown as starkly as my face after these eleven months.