Hello there, I’m a bit late this week but I’ve been busy (at last!). Yes I am now in proper employment. My training course at Berlitz ended last Friday and I started work on Tuesday. I taught for 19 units this week (1 unit – 45 minutes) and, due to an “emergency” have 40 next week. I suspect that 19 units is more likely to be the standard fare but it does give me a bit of breathing space. It’s a lovely class too, a government class for job seekers – the German government gives those out of work an education voucher to help them acquire further skills to help them find another job – I have five people in my class and they are very clever, very funny and very friendly, which given their day runs from 8am to 3pm is quite impressive. My first few minutes were tough; having sat down with the wrong class (there had been a room change which had not been shared with the teachers) I found the correct class and, after a very (unintentionally brusque) introduction, spent several minutes staring at the first thing – look at the pictures. (What pictures?) It did occur to me, in that hour long 30 seconds, to get up and walk out declaring that I couldn’t do it as I made my way to the airport for an ignominious return to Blighty. I decided, however, that that wouldn’t do at all and that I should give it at least five minutes before admitting defeat, and so I gritted my teeth, looked up and, 6 hours of preparing notwithstanding, improvised. I am so glad I did, it go so much easier after that.
The advent of proper paid work has also meant that I could at last buy a bike. There was nothing I have wanted as much since I arrived in Bonn as to have a bike again. I know that I want doesn’t get but I decided that a proper income justified the purchase, not to mention the exercise aspect. As I had missed the student sales and didn’t fancy getting up at the crack of dawn on the off-chance that there was an appropriately priced and sized bike at the local Flohmarkt, I resorted to eBay. Between lessons on Wednesday I dashed up Kolnstrasse and bought a bike from a very charming History student named Artan. Here it is:
Of course, only once I have become a road user do I appreciate just how many one-way roads there are in Bonn. I suspect I have spent more time pushing the thing than riding it. Still, I will learn my way around. What is remarkably easy, though, is remembering to ride on the right, even if I still occasionally look the wrong way when crossing the road.
I took my bike for it’s first proper ride on Thursday when I went to meet my conversation partner. I was much quicker to the place than I would have been by foot – even allowing for a detour over a level crossing occasioned by the one-way thing. I stood there for 20 minutes only for my student to text me to say he was still at work. Still, at least it was a quicker journey home!
The next plan is to go back to German lessons, I might as well get good at that. So I am now in the process of trying to juggle my DHL student to free up the appropriate evenings. Then there’s now the possibility of travel. Deutsche Bahn are offering a 3 month Bahncard 25 (gives 25% off train tickets) for 19 euros so I bought one of those two when I went to buy my tickets to Dusseldorf for my visit home in November to pick up my winter clothes. Obviously, it’ll be lovely to see everyone again but I must admit that the reunion I am most looking forward to is that between me and my winter coat. It is getting cold here and my cagoule just doesn’t quite cut it. Now I have a bike, I also need my hat and gloves.
So all well. An army chaplain is coming from Paderborn to talk to the congregation tomorrow which will be interesting. I just hope I can get there. Coming home from town this afternoon, my front tyre had an unwonted meeting with a tram line and pitched me into the (mercifully empty) road. Ow is the only word for it. I must say, I was rather impressed at the guys to dashed into the road to pick me up (when I was nearly knocked off my bike in Chichester my a driver who couldn’t bear to let a bicycle go first, the man standing on the pavement just shouted at me) so, thank you guys! I’ve knocked my knee and it has a lovely bruise but otherwise all is OK. It’s just that walking is a bit painful so I’m just hoping that it will be better (or at least bendable) tomorrow. Now I really do miss having a bath.
So, now it turns out that I don’t have to spend hours writing lesson plans I have picked up the new novel again. The Lost Son of Ambrose Garfield, is coming along well. I’ve rewritten a few more passages – that’s what I’m doing today – my plan is to print out the next draft next month and, hopefully, have a reading copy for my dad by Christmas. The first of my books, “Diary of John Evelyn” has arrived and a one more is on its way. There’s a fair bit of research yet to do so, thinking about it, Christmas seems a bit optimistic so we’ll say March 2015 instead. The main thing is that it is in hand and it is responding to the work. There are a few things I have to sort out – mainly the rather massive change of tone at the end, which is also a bit hurried as I was rushing to print it out before I left the country – but they are doable so, it’s 4.24pm and all’s well. Now for a cup of tea I think…