Saturday, 15 May 2010

Trouble at t'mill

The Examinations Officer looks shocked
and the Deputy Examinations Officer looks anxious.

The evidence is indisputable.

The Examinations Officer walks back to his office,
composing a steely email in his head
that he *might send to all academic staff.

Dear All,
This morning, it was discovered that the Examiners' biscuits had been taken without their consent. I am disappointed to report that the situation is even more serious than would appear at first sight because the chocolate biscuits have been taken from the second layer before the boring biscuits on the first layer have been finished. This is a very serious breach of discipline. It is unacceptable and must not be repeated.

While I have had no objection – so far – to colleagues using the Examiners' room, it is vital that you understand that the biscuits have been purchased for the sole use of the Examinations Officer and his Deputy.

I trust I will not have to write again about this matter.
The Examinations Officer

(*but, of course, he didn't send it...
Examinations are serious matters...
there must be no accusations of levity...
or the remotest suspicion of frivolity.)

MrsM hurries out to the shops and buys more chocolate biscuits .

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Friday, 14 May 2010

the world comes to me

The young academic who often visits China
has just returned from a trip to Iceland
when he drove to within 4km of Eyjafjallajokull.

He tells me of the extraordinary crackling sound
of the volcano exploding; twisters of volcanic dust;
a smell of sulphur that clings to everything;
the gigantic plume of smoke that fills half of the sky
and leaves the other half clear and blue.

He thinks that it is unlikely that
he will ever see anything as exciting again in his lifetime.
I make him promise to show me a photograph
and when he sounds surprised
I insist that I would really, truly love to see a photo.

"Well..." he says "if you are really, really sure
I will send you a photo whenever I go somewhere interesting."

"I'd like that a lot." I said.

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