"It is a beautiful afternoon - idyllic actually - the light is fantastic across he back yard and its warm eought ot have the door openm, so Meepy is just sitting in the sun, enjoying the warm on her fur. I'm getting stuck into some reading and Tosh is sitting in the shed looking for a fight. I could do this for ever.
Unfortunately, I've gotta ruin it - I'm meeting Brian and possibly the head of THE WARREN about 3.30pm. I kept saying "coffee" but Brian had decided a pub downtown as his venue. Obvioulsy, I'm not going "on the ale" but this is just to warn you that tea might be improvised tonight (again)"
...is the body of the email that I sent to RHB. What I dont add, and what she will therefore remain ignorant of, is that I'll be writing this blog entry until just before 3.30, rather than reading about "Inclusive Learning". In this, especially given that this subject has recently (ie this morning) nearly killed me, I feel entirely justified.
RHB's reply to my e-mail, full of the dignity and fine sensibility that I've come to know and endlessly appreciate throughout our beautific century spanning eon, nearly un-mans me with it's selfless regard. It is typical of the writing that made her one of the leading Euroscientists in the East ridings of Yorkshire....
"No problem - if you have to get pissed to get the job - just take it
on the chin gracefully."
But perhaps I should explain, starting with my near death at the hands of Inclusive Learning. We are in the gym, attempting to repair some of the damage occasioned by the great occasion that was B and K' s wedding. I am still stiff after the several hours of driving that were involved in traversing this island from coast to coast, so decide that light training is indicated - I am, being something of a string bean, subject to muscle pulls and dont want to risk injury by attempting something rash. Inside the gym, I head for the walking machine (the treadmill, is, I believe an alternative nomenclature for the devices) telling RHB I am going to walk for 30 minutes. I mount my station and gradually increase the incline to 15 degrees, simultaneoulsy increasing the speed to 6.5kms per hour. As walking on a treadmill is possibly the most boring thing that it is possible to do, unless you are a hamster, I have brought with me a paper on Inclusive Learning that I plan to read during my exercise.
THe paper "CSIE: THE INCLUSION CHARTER" starts off promisingly enough. There is a succinct list of six Points, clearly written, that set out CSIE's case for Inclusion in Learning. Following the six points there is an explanatory notes section. "Ah ha!" I think to myself "THIS is where it gets interesting. Obvioulsy, the text that I am about to read will expand usefully on the six points. Before I know it, I'll be knee deep in some excellent theoretical discussions: Foucault, Friere, Levi Strauss, Kant, Leavis, Tomlinson, Gramsci and of course Nel Noddings - all the guys will be there."
Unfortunately, what actually happens next, is distressingly common in academia. THe explanatory notes turn out to be a way of saying exactly the same thing that the Six Points do, only longer. For example, Point Three of the Six points, starts with the sentence:
"We believe that all students share equal value and status."
The explanatory notes for this same point start as follows:
"Students with learning difficulties are of no less value than students who gain Oxbridge entry and are no less worthy of respect."
This all continues in much the same vein, except the rephrasing of the initial point just gets longer and longer and more convoluted and the language gets more and more awkward and unusable. The whole thing is becoming very frustrating and I'm getting hot with all my exercise, so when I reach a sentence (still on point three) that starts with the phrase "Theoretical androgodies emphasize that the value of LD students should be undifferentiated from...."I lose it. "Enough is enough" I say to myself. I fold up the paper, rather ungraciously, stuff it into my pocket, and take off my sweatshirt.
Or rather, I try to take off my sweatshirt, because I have, in all the excitement, totally forgotten that I am on a treadmill. My perambulation is not entirely my own and ceasing to move my lower limbs while removing my sweatshirt does not automatically halt my motion. I realise that I am moving backwards and downhill, at approximately 7kms/hr, only with the hood of the sweatshirt firmly wrapped round the old noggin, and with one arm hopelessly trapped in a sleeve.
After I have picked myself up off the floor, I glance round to see if anyone has noticed. Practically the whole gym is staring in my direction. I hope, for a moment that this is because aliens have materialised just behind me, but another quick glance proves that this is not so. I reassure the nearest young person, who doesnt ask,( and is trying not to laugh), that I'm ok, and casually stroll to the water dispenser, trying to make it look as if my disengagement from the treadmill might have been part of a fitness regime. At the water fountain, the guy standing next to it jumps back, alarmed. Presumably he is frightened in case the thing explodes due to my proximity. I realise I am being excluded.