Snows of measured seriousness (aka Board Exam Blues)

Today I wrote my board exam and it was, on the most optimistic of assessments, only so-so. When I walked out of the University building in Parow, I was confident that I’d got the sub-minimum of 70% required to pass. But of course when I got home, I got out one of the Acts and checked the relevant provisions. Ouch. That’s one question on which I clearly didn’t get the sub-minimum. I’ll have to wait three whole weeks before I learn whether I’ll be doing this all again in June.

In the meantime, this is what happens when I’m supposed to be studying but end up watching Sky News instead.

Snows of measured seriousness

If you went down to South Wales yesterday, the hills were alive with tones of measured seriousness. For two days Sky News reporter Katie Stallard has been reporting on snow-covered roads in the South. Yesterday she was at Abelare in South Wales where her coverage had a sense of quiet melodrama.
Now I’m quite prepared to accept that with all the studying and avoiding of studying I’ve been doing that I’ve lost some perspective on the issue but I’ve never seen a snow-covered road in South Wales or elsewhere for look so, well, moving.

On Monday she helped to rescue a man who had been stuck in his old Mercedez Benz on the hard shoulder of an icy road with no mobile phone and five coats which he wore at the same time to keep warm.
“Jamie MacDonald has been sitting in his car since 8 o’ clock this morning,” said Katie earnestly, fixing her eyes intently at a point behind the camera. She added that he had fallen asleep at one point but had finally been towed to safety.

Watching this quiet melodrama, I couldn’t help wondering about the love that the British have for a crisis. Preferably a crisis in which the whole of Britain is at risk of being swamped by danger (in this case snow or the cold) and everyone has to rally round and do their bit.

Was it being trivial to think that we weren’t a million miles away from this:

we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender …

Probably. But the cadence of we-will-survive-against-the-odds is possibly similar.

And then I changed channels. Oprah was interviewing the cast of The Secret Life of Bees and I was hooked. The talent, the drama, the sheer stamina of that national institution that is Oprah. British actress Sophie Okemodo looks brilliant in this too by the way.

And then it was back to Sky in case I’d missed some more of the drama in Abelare before flicking back to South African TV. The Joburg police were on strike and there was political intimidation in KwaZulu-Natal. It was all a bit humdrum and anti-climactic and I couldn’t help thinking that Katie would have done better. Which then got me thinking about what would happen if our daily lives were small soundbites on satellite news.

Katie: I’m here in South Africa where blogger Pete has been holed up in his bedroom for THREE days trying to cram for his Board exam. How do you feel?
Pete: Aaargh, I think I’m losing my mind.
Katie: He says that tomorrow he’s writing his porfessional board exam and that if it goes badly, he could well lose his mind.
Pete: Aaargh, I’m losing my mind.
Katie: This is Katie Stallard for Sky News, South Africa.


14 Responses to Snows of measured seriousness (aka Board Exam Blues)

  1. Good luck with your exams!

  2. Emily says:

    i’ll bet you performed better than you think you did.

    just started listening to my fantastic new cd! thank you!!

  3. adevotedreader says:

    Fingers crossed you pass Pete!

  4. doctordi says:

    Katie: Pete and the READERS OF THIS BLOG are being forced to wait an excruciating THREE WEEKS to know if, in fact, Pete has passed. The atmosphere here. Is. Fraught. With. Tension. Pete. How do you plan to spend the next three weeks?
    Pete: I thought I might take a trip to South Wales.
    Katie: You’ll need a coat. Maybe five.

    (Pete, I am counting down with you with all fingers and toes crossed, I hope you don’t have to do this stinky exam a second time).

  5. Litlove says:

    Love Doctordi’s comment! Good luck for the exams Pete. It really is true that you cannot know how you have done – my students make extremely poor guesses as to their results with remarkable consistency! I have every faith in you.

  6. Pete says:

    Sorry for the delay in replying – had computer woes.

    Lilian – Thanks for the support!

    Emily – So glad you like your CD. My post-exam confidence changes every day. Today? I pass!

    Devoted – Thanks very much. This is all helping the post-exam confidence 😉

    DoctorDi – Love the comment. I can just imagine serious Katie (bless her) milking this one for all its worth 😉

    Litlove – I do hope you’re right. I also thought that my misgivings post-exam weren’t necessarily a bad thing. Although I could have done with more legislation-reading and less Katie-watching 😉

  7. Bee says:

    Pete, I have never watched as much crap TV as when I was supposed to be writing my Master’s thesis.

    It must be hard to have to wait so long for the results. Hopefully you are being too hard on yourself; that tends to be the case with me, anyway.

    There is no story this week but the weather. (It makes a change from the economy.) Gordon Brown would be relieved, I’m sure, except that he is getting criticism for not having the country prepared for a snow crisis. Apparently, we are running out of salt and grit. Disaster!

  8. doctordi says:

    I also think misgivings after exams are very healthy (and promising) – it shows you’re invested in the result, which means you tried your best, and you just can’t ask more of yourself than that.

  9. natalian says:

    Arrgh! The waiting game! I remember it well! Nothing one can do about the past as they say, so kick back and try and enjoy the next three weeks. I am sure your brain could do with the break after all the “Legalese” it had to absorb!

  10. seachanges says:

    Just like your mood, snow melts and becomes watery and miserable. But then, there’s always a spring following and hopefully a good one. We deserve it. I really keep fingers crossed for you – three weeks is a long time to wait… Enjoy some good books – I’m sure you will!

  11. bloglily says:

    Yargh. How did anyone survive exam taking and waiting without distractions like idiotic tv? Good luck, Pete!

  12. Pete says:

    Bee – I’m sure Gordon Brown never thought he’d get panned for not having enough (true) grit! As for the TV, now that I’m not studying that craze has passed. Reading is much more relaxing.

    Di – Very true (and comforting). Thanks. I’m cautiously optimistic today.

    Natalian – Thanks, yes my brain is definitely asking for some R&R. Fortunately I have a good book to blog about so it is happy again.

    Seachanges – Thanks for the good advice, which I’ve inadvertently followed. It’s been so hot here but I’m stocking up with ice so am surviving remarkably well.

    Lily – Yes, it definitely is a survival strategy. Fortunately there’s a lot of mindless tv to keep us busy in those situations 😉

  13. Dolce says:

    Good luck, Pete…I feel another distinction coming on 🙂

  14. Dick says:

    First of all, good luck with the exam. Awaiting results creates a unique kind of tension.

    Re. the snow. Having longed for a good fall of snow each winter for the past twenty, I for one will be delighted the moment the last crystal fades away. It’s a bloody nuisance and my British pulse has not been beating faster for there having been a national crisis!

    And what on earth was that guy doing with five coats in his car anyway..?

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