Lying on this big Premier Inn bed in Stoke, I’m finding it hard to fully process that it was this morning that I walked into a huge empty lecture theatre with no desks laid out in it shortly before I was supposed to be invigilating an exam in it.
Maintenance had forgotten to put the desks out. There were only four of us instead of five. 100 desks had to be laid out, and then all the papers and then the candidates to come in and settle… Also there was a partition wall down. We needed that out. Plus it was touch and go as to whether the desks would all fit. Chairs were stacked in the corners. The desks were all wheel locked and folded.
Different people react to things in different ways. One of us started panicking. Two of us immediately announced that they had bad backs / shoulders and couldn’t actually do anything and anyway it’s not their job. I took a deep breath and started laying out the fucking desks with an eye to making sure they all fitted etc. Panicky got a bit better, but he’s too organised for this sort of thing. He needs to know how things are gonna be done and by who but this was a time for doing first and thinking about the details second. Yes it’s not our job but fuck it, I’m not an invigilator and honestly I’m just ticking that job over in case my leg suddenly falls off and I have to make scratch money from somewhere other than running all over the place doing random crap.
The students had a nice calm room with only one mistake in it, easily solved. They had no idea the extent to which I had been haring around moments before. Maintenance showed up en-masse just before kick-off and took down the partition wall just in time. We nearly got driven off a cliff. Idiocy but I thrive when things are on fire.
So then I drove up to Stoke. Staying in a Premier Inn but rather than eat stinky burgers in some “gastro” pub I went to The Upper House. Former stately home for one of the Wedgwoods, then old folks home, then ruin, now in loving hands serving expensive but tasty food with a beautiful garden. I had venison for £35 and it was marvelous. Now I’m getting an early bed so I can be bushy tailed for tomorrow’s Engineering Masterclass that I am, of course, helping to run.
Life’s rich tapestry, eh? Blaaaaaarrggghle