Sunday, June 03, 2007

Working hard

Our son has been revising for exams in obstetrics and gynaecology, breast disease, haematology, oncology and palliative care, renal medicine and urology.

It seems no time since he was just a little blob of gynaecology himself. How can he possibly be almost a doctor? I can barely spell these words he needs to write exams on, and I'm much older than he is.

There’s a lot to learn, all in medical language. I don’t know how he remembers it all. He was a bit anxious that he wouldn’t. Here he is, surrounded by books and other marking detritus in our kitchen, looking unaccustomedly stressed. Now that I look at the photo, I rather like the juxtapostion of the half-eaten apple and the Apple computer. Anyway, the exams were yesterday and he seems reasonably sanguine about them now.

My jug cupboard is behind him. I like jugs, as you may guess.

I’ve been marking exams at the other end of the table. Here are my marking “toys” – things that I twiddle with my left hand while marking with my right. It eases the boredom somewhat.

One of the passages that the students have to answer questions on is about libraries and how great they are. The extract – from a male writer - begins: “I have a halcyon library moment. I am sitting under a cherry tree in the tiny central courtyard of the Cambridge University Library, a book in one hand and an almond slice in the other. On the grass beside me is an incredibly pretty girl”.
Question: What mood is created in these lines?
Student’s answer: A dull mood.
Well, I suppose it’s all a matter of personal taste. This candidate might not like cherry trees. Or books… or girls...
… or indeed almond slices.


  1. Hmmmm. Odd student! Or sign of the times. They seem to need noise and entertainment, not peace and introspection!
    I am so glad your son's exams are over, and he is sanguine enough.
    And that you are plowing through all those papers! I go back to school and LEA inspections tomorrow. I do not want to go back. After a week away, it seems more alien than ever. And my son starts his exams tomorrow.Sigh.
    The sun still shines, though!

  2. I love your descriptive writing and pictures. It's been so nice to hear a bit from you, amidst your grading papers! Take care!

  3. Your son seems to be a very clever man! I hope he does really well in his exams.

    As to the reader, in the paper you marked- perhaps he is a dullard?

  4. I suspect your little blob of gynaecology would have a slightly different response to the halcyon moment than the dullard dunce ...Tough times for everyone when the pressure is on .... But an end in sight??

  5. Maybe the passage points up for your student that he has no pretty girl sitting beside HIM, hence the "dull mood"! Good luck to your son for his exams.

  6. Perhaps he'd prefer an incredibly pretty boy sitting next to him?