April 27, 2021

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going (Thomas Merton, ‘The Merton Prayer‘, Thoughts in Solitude (1956)).

Monday, April 26. 8.00 am: I knew where I was going for now. En route to the Promenade:

8.45 am: Business with a builder on the phone. 9.00 am: A review of the inbox/day/week. These three are always causally linked, in my experience. Thus began Term 3/Semester 2’s final week of teaching for taught courses. I batted-off the morning with responses to student queries and mop-up admin. Some Monday mornings (and this was one of them) feel deeply uncomfortable. It’s as though there’s something malevolent hiding in the background, ready to pounce: variously either a reckoning, a disappointment, a disapproval, an unjustifiable demand, or an unforeseen calamity. Those matters that I find most irritating, stressful, and unsatisfactory often lie outside my immediate control. Usually, they involve someone else who isn’t either behaving professionally or sufficiently informed, or else is (for no fault of their own) the right person for the job. 10.30 am: In between administrations, I began drafting a short article for the EGO magazine in readiness for the new CD’s release. (I did the same for the last two albums.)

3.45 pm: ‘Dil the build’ turned up to provide an estimate for several longstanding remedial jobs in and around the house that have remained untouchable during the various lockdowns:

6.30 pm: Practise session. 7.30 pm: I’d made good progress on the article during the afternoon. I set aside the evening for polishing it.

Tuesday, April 27. 7.00 am: An earlier morning walk. The tide was coming in, determinately and energetically — as though driven by a wind that I couldn’t feel beneath that steely-grey sky. There was a ship anchored on the horizon. I recalled the coasts of Scandinavia, Orkney, and the Hebrides, from which I’d looked out onto the Atlantic, North Sea, and Norwegian Sea on such a day as this. Today Aberystwyth was to me like a strange place that I’d just woken-up to, having arrived late the previous night.

As I walked passed the Old College, I looked up towards the the West Classroom on the top floor, where I used to teach, and honoured those memories. Like the one of the ferocious gale that blew-in a window, while I was conducting a tutorial, which was henceforth boarded-up:

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: A review of the day and incoming mail. 9.00 am: I began (online) my morning of MA fine art tutorials. 10.00 am: On the road and up the hill to my charge at P4, Penbryn (which used to be called the Thomas Charles Edwards hall of residence, as I recall). This would be the final, formal one-to-one tutorial for either their Portfolio or Exhibition modules. Hereafter, we’ll be talking on an ad hoc basis about the submission of their PowerPoint-in-progress. My hope is that nothing new will emerge in the course of their work for the next few weeks. For the objective, now, is to end, rather than to begin, things. This is the only time when I advise them to hold-fire.

1.00 pm: Done! 1.45 pm: I caught up on postgraduate admin and undergraduate Exhibition inquiries, before reviewing and finalising my EGO article. In the midst, I responded to incoming correspondence from various platforms. 5.00 pm: Jobs done. 6.30 pm: Smalls duty. 7.30 pm: I indulged a mixed bag of ‘leftovers’, postgraduate matters, and planning.


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