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.