On Monday I was thankful the last exam was over. Okay, I didn’t actually sit any of them, but I did study for one** or two (sort of) and definitely I stood helpfully by with hugs, soothing words and warm drinks and I helped find lost books and papers. These are, of course, just the practice exams, and the real ones that result in certificates never-before-seen aren’t for a few months time. But they will be a doddle* in comparison, since they are spread over 5 weeks instead of one week and a day.
I’m not in the habit of ranting on-line. Sometimes I do rant in real life, but I realise that what I don’t like in someone else is just what I don’t like or repress in myself. This means I must have a ferocious exam-creating-bureaucrat inside me who is just desperate to get out and make teenagers’ lives as stressful as possible. Whoever created the brand new Scottish qualifications for fifteen and sixteen years olds must have (a) forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager, (b) way too much time on their hands, (c) forgotten what it’s like to be a teacher and (d) forgotten what it’s like to have a life.
* for anyone outside the UK: doddle = easy peasy
**And just in case you are wondering, the exam I studied for was Art Appreciation, or critical activity or art criticism or something. The name changes with the wind – let’s just say it’s the exam where kids write about art instead of doing it, and the teaching of it apparently involves showing pupils pictures by famous artists and saying, “This would never pass the exam.” I used to teach art, and yet I had no clue what the requirements were for this exam. So we got a book produced by SQA (which stands or Sadistic Qurazy A——- – oops sorry, I mean Scottish Qualifications Authority****) and we worked out what daughter needed to do. At least I think we did, though I might be deluded on that. I’m not sure the teachers know even.
On Tuesday I was thankful that the first exam result was a good one. Enough said.
On Wednesday I was thankful for my physiotherapy appointment. Shoulder still hurts but less than it did. I was also thankful for a nice café nearby that had a pot of tea for £1.50. I thought I might have time travelled back to 2000, but no, a while later my husband arrived and it was 2014. I knew this for sure because his phone kept pinging to signal text messages arriving with more exam results. Yes, I think she probably was in class when sending some of them, but she was excited! More texts, this time from younger daughter who had tests this week (not serious practice exams with a timetable, but still important because the Sadistc – oops – SQA likes to keep kids on their toes with a test or two every week.) And yes, younger daughter did well too. So I was thankful for text messaging and mobile phones. And for daughters being pleased with their results.
(Cool aside here: I picked 2000 at random but it turns out that 2001 was the year mobile/cell phone text messaging became commonplace! And that’s not a photo of the cup of tea I had, but it is a photo of a cup of tea.)
On Thursday I was thankful for Bookbaby. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this company before, but I love their website. They would probably prefer it if I signed up to give them money to publish all my ebooks, but I’m still hoping a great big publisher like Little, Brown or Vintage or Faber and Faber to come along and give me money for publishing them! And so I’ve only self-published in e-book form so far. But, I love, love, love Bookbaby’s site. They have so many great articles full of useful advice for writers. Up till Twitter has been the place where I reply, “I am working on it, honest!” when Lizzi sends a message @Yvonne__Spence,*** saying “It’s TToT time, are you in?” This week I learned that Twitter isn’t such a terrifying place after all, thanks to Bookbaby’s free download on How To Promote Your Book on Twitter: a sane strategy for busy writers. (If you don’t have a book, their suggestions would be fine for any writer.)
*** If you follow me on Twitter, note the new username.
On Friday morning, I was thankful that I didn’t have to get up at the same time as my husband at far-too-early o’ clock. He was going to work, but if I had been getting up then it would have been to have an operation. It hasn’t been cancelled, but it has been postponed because things have improved and I am hopeful that the op might never be needed, especially since I am taking prescribed herbs and following Dr Lissa Rankin’s suggestions in Mind Over Medicine. (And which I reviewed here yesterday!)
By Friday evening I was thankful for a productive day when I’d managed to meet my writing aspirations with some novel writing and one and a half blog posts. I love when it all seems to flow.
And now it’s Saturday and I am thankful the rain has stopped, that older daughter is starting voluntary work in a charity bookshop and younger daughter has baked sugar free, wholemeal cup cakes. I am not currently supposed to eat any refined grains and she used Rapadura Organic Whole Sugar, which is the sugar equivalent of whole grain. So I could eat a cupcake (minus the icing, but I don’t like icing anyway.)
And finally, I am thankful that we can mess around and joke about exams and SQA and so on. It relieves the pressure. We have decided that the SQA is not a bunch of people with real lives, but a great big squidgy entity that hovers somewhere just above the ground, and it feeds on teenage worries in the same way that pimples do. Actually maybe it’s really a giant pimple.
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