When I was a child, it was the family tradition to race across the room to turn off the radio during the first few bars of the theme tune to The Archers, and I still do the same today. For readers of this blog in the USA, I refer to a long-running BBC radio drama about country life in England, complete with jarring country accents and trite story lines.
On the other hand, since I started keeping donkeys and building my life around a small hobby farm in Spain, I listen to Farming Today on Radio 4 every morning. In today’s edition the ever-enthusiastic presenter Charlotte Smith explored the process of animal feed production in the UK, where fifteen million tons of the stuff are produced and distributed every year.
Before you long-suffering readers of this blog quickly click away to another website, let me reassure you I am not going to write about this subject in detail! And for newer readers, in case you missed it the first time, here is the repeat of my video of the monthly Nutrivila van arriving with the donkeys’ food.
Since I was sacked from my teaching position two months ago, I have spent quite a lot of my time preparing my court case against former employer Alejandro Monzonis, owner of Elians Boston SA, and discussing with my trade union Comisiones Obreras the possibility of an out-of-court financial settlement. I have also spent much more time with the donkeys, doing fence repairs, planting vegetables to feed myself more cheaply, and generally being the kind of peasant that my donkey Rubí refers to when writing her Tuesday blog. I do not refer to myself as a ‘farmer’, simply because that term – strictly speaking – implies a quite different economic role. Sweeping up donkey manure while drawing unemployment benefit is not farming, though it might be a suitable story line for The Archers?
Will I return to teaching? The question remains open. When you are sacked at sixty-six the prospect of finding another teaching job is quite remote (hence the need to win the case for unfair dismissal). When I considered the question of retirement a few months ago, I came to the conclusion I could not afford to do that for at least another couple of years. So for the present I am unemployed, pending some kind of resolution, rather than retired. A return to teaching is theoretically an option, even if the chances of obtaining a new post are remote. I am therefore insisting that any settlement with Elians Boston SA includes a guarantee of a good reference from them: and they have no possible cause to deny me that, as the dismissal was for purely political reasons and not professional ones.
Oh dear… this blog post gets more like The Archers every minute, but I don’t follow it, so what would I know? And yet isn’t my own unremarkable personal sacking drama just like all the other trite story-lines that are all around us, all of the time? The Brexit conundrum, the Catalan crisis, the Trump-Russia bore, the tribulations of the faceless man who fronts Facebook, and so on.
On BBC Radio 4 there is a slot called A Point of View where a pointless personage spends ten pointless minutes mouthing off pointless inanities to a captive listener who has switched on the radio slightly too early for the news. A.L. Kennedy is the worst of these awful speakers, with a dreary monotonous voice and the haughty sense of intellectual entitlement we often see in our metropolitan liberal superiors. (And why the pompous A.L. instead of a first name, unless to invite comparisons with people who really did express their intellectual brilliance… like G.K.Chesterton.)
So, what is this blog post about? Straw? Unemployment? Peasantry? Well, quite frankly not a lot. I’m just tinkering with my prose style. Polishing it slightly. Sorry about that. 🙂
Oh no, we can’t finish with a smiley face. Please!