Monday, 28 September 2009

Testing, three . . .

So . . . if the first time I finished my university exams, I went straight to the bar, got drunk and vowed never to do an exam again, what did I do second time around?

Well, I didn't go straight to the bar and I didn't vow never to do an exam again. I went home and had a cup of tea. Then I took the tube back to Tottenham Court Road and joined my fellow students for a couple of drinks. I didn't get drunk, though, and I didn't vow never to exam again.

I was, to be honest, fairly tired by this point. I was writing a book. I was running the usual life of someone with a living to earn, three children and a small dog. I also had another long-term project which I was about half-way through. Right through the revision, I'd had a touch of back ache which I kept at bay by doing yoga stretched every hour or so.

So what happened next? My back went, of course. I spent weeks in which the smallest journey - across the room, say - was a real struggle. Like everyone else in that position, I suffered through the reality of what some people spend their life having to deal with - and got an unpleasant foretaste, perhaps, of the inevitable difficulties of old age.

I learned, too, that you can keep working through. In fact, I found myself feeling really fortunate that I could keep working through. A lumberjack, say, or a hospital cleaner, would not be so blessed. Me, though, I could sit at a desk or table tapping out words and working hard not to feel sorry for myself.

It was a strangely restricted life. Work. Get fed - itself something of a novelty for me, as I'm usually the one doing the feeding. Sleep. Get up. Work. Get fed. Sleep. I didn't see the local shops for almost a month. I still remember the day I managed to walk to a restaurant for lunch - 200 metres or so. When I got there, I had to sit on the steps for a minute or so to recover.

All of which adds to the reasons I didn't write much about the exams before now and why my blog was so episodic for a while.

So how did I do this year, in my second set of exams?

Next up The answer to that question.


Lo Jardinier said...

Hope your back's better - mine goes sometimes but not as bad as that. You'll soon be singing along with Ry Cooder: School is out at last, I'm so glad I passed...
But maybe not dancing.

Peter Silverton said...

That back outage was last summer, actually. I should have made it clearer. This year I only got a bad foot, turning me into a hopalong. As you'll see from the next posting, I have now finished my course and can return to a life.