Picture the scene, if you will, gentle reader. This private tutor in his favourite armchair, feet up on a footstool, tumbler of single malt by his side and novel in hand – shall we say Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice or David Copperfield? Ah, bliss.
Have I prematurely transgressed the pearly gates? No. As the saying goes, ‘I’m not afraid of dying but I’m in no hurry to die yet.’ Then I looked upon my well-worn Chinese proverb book and found:
The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort, is not fit to be deemed a scholar.
Having always thought upon myself as something of a scholar (!) I ponder the wise words of a wise man. Does the picture I presented above deem me not to be a scholar?
Well, to be honest (you know I wouldn’t tell you porkie-pies, don’t you?) I do like my comforts. Nay more; I love my comforts. In the Comfort League I fear I must be near the top. Let me give you further examples.
Is not one of life’s great pleasures sitting in a large leather armchair in your favourite coffee shop, nibbling a blueberry muffin (one of the high fat ones!), sipping a latte? You see how naughty I am when it comes to cherishing a love of comfort? To eschew further looks of disdain from you good selves I have further comfort confessions:
I always have the best seats in the theatre, I drive a luxury German car, I always insist on on single malt rather than a blended whiskey and I live by the theory that ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ is a maxim to adhere to.
What would Confucius have made of me? I do indeed cherish a love of comfort but does that make me a bad scholar? I wouldn’t fancy sleeping a hard stone floor in a draughty building high on a mountainside, dedicating myself to scholarly pursuits 18 hours every day. Does that make me a bad scholar?
I don’t doubt confucius’ sincerity but would he have been able to resist a (high fat) blueberry muffin?
What about you? What luxuries are you not willing to forsake?
I guess most of us have been there.
With a sense of extreme trepidation the day approaches – this Private English Tutor puts all safety precautions put in place.
‘I leave all my worldly goods to Howl and Growl’ – the local doggie sanctuary.
Surgery is a scarey affair. As a recent first time recipient, I should know. I received my appointment eight weeks before the day. Plenty of time get scared! Having managed to avoid the surgeon’s knife for the first few decades of my life, it was inevitable my time would eventually arrive.
‘Males to the right, females to the left. Sorry, no visitors.’ The packed waiting room gave way to a small 6 bed ward.
‘Experienced Tutors 2nd’ screamed the board above my bed.
7:31am. Surgery starts at 9:00am and I’m the second one in. At least I shouldn’t have to sit and wait until 5:00pm when surgery finishes. Many measured thoughts raced through my head as I took in the five boards about the other beds.
‘Good morning E.T. I’m Emily. I just need to fill in a few forms. Blood pressure and temperature first.’
The file on the table at the foot of my bed stood out in comparison to beds 3, 4 and 5. Number 5 in particular was note worthy. Standing at least one foot (30 cms) high the papers contained therein shouted out at me ‘There’s always somebody worse off!’
One hour later, sitting there in regulation hospital jim-jams, I knew the medical history of all the other five recipients of today’s surgery. Curtains were pulled around beds as histories were discussed but. . . and here’s the weird thing, sound travels through curtains so none of our medical histories, recent problems and awaiting medical procedures were sacrosanct – so why the curtains?
‘Hernia and vasectomy. Buy one get one free’ guffawed the surgeon with his deep, resounding belly laugh.
‘Three kids is enough. Time for the snip,’ Mike told us when the belly-laughing surgeon had gone. ‘Thought I’d have to have two op’s. Glad he can do it all in one.’
‘Okay. They’re ready for you now.’
11.02am the clock beamed at me from above the ward door.
‘Right. Let’s get some anaesthetic in you.’
‘First time you came around you asked for a cup of tea.’
‘I don’t remember that.’
‘Steve will take him back to the ward now.’
1:28pm the clock grinned at me.
Well, that was a fun day out!
Will the dogs’ home inherit? Sorry guys, Private English Tutor says you’ll have to do with a small donation this time. :-)
The image above strikes me as being applicable to not only my day job as a private tutor but as a metaphor for us all as we wander through life.
Many moons ago I used to teach English to adult classes; it was wonderful. They had returned to the classroom having missed out when they were younger. Some went to work straight from school, some started families and some preferred night’s on the dance floor to noses stuck in books. Whatever the reason, now was their time. Some had been made redundant and some had seen their children fly the nest; they now had time to pursue something which had been fermenting deep within their souls – they desired Education.
Chomping at the bit they looked to me for guidance. I was the one with knowledge of the education system. They gave their all. My role was simply to guide them over the hurdles of the system and they did the rest. Classes were disciplined and stimulating, homework conscientiously attempted and handed in on time. To coin a phrase, from my point of view, It was a doddle. Never was the Chinese proverb above more applicable.
One day, I will tell you about the teenage classes I had. . . Oh dear! So many refused to enter the door that I held open and some even slammed it shut in my face. However, they are stories for other posts.
Looking at it another way, though, it can also be said that when one door closes another opens. As we amble down life’s path, either the major ones or the ones lesser taken, there are doors which we have all refused to enter at one time or another. Time cannot be reversed, there is no going back and the present is no time for regrets.
Several years ago I closed a door behind me and set off down the path of being a private tutor.
In the words of Edith Piaf, ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’.
What about you? Are there any doors you have slammed shut or indeed any you have refused to enter? Any regrets?
Not ‘who’ but ‘what’.
It’s an online shop selling hand crafted goods and I’ve just opened one. Yes, from private English tutor to shopkeeper at a cost of $3 per annum – at least that’s what I think the small print said!
Up until a few weeks ago Etsy was a strange four-letter word that I had occasionally come across but had no idea what it meant. However, one magazine article later and I was brimming with enthusiasm and knowledge about the strange word. It seems that people the whole world over have ventured into the Etsy world of individual hand-made goods. I’m talking everything from wedding dresses to flowers for button holes to bead necklaces to hand stitched leather goods and on and on and on. . .
‘What’s good for the goose has to be good for the gander’ thinks I! :-)
A few hours pounding the keyboard and there it was: www.etsy.com/shop/gossamerimages my very own shop, offering the world personalised dvd slide shows. I’ve never owned a shop (or ever wanted to) before but now I have a virtual one.
The origins of this particular adventure began more than ten years ago when I traded in my film cameras for a digital one. That led to manipulation of digital images (Photoshop and all that) which then led to me putting images together with music, captions, effects, movement. . . and here we are offering personalised dvd slide shows. Have you ever wondered about the decisions you make and where they eventually lead to? I have. . .
For several years I have been putting bespoke dvd’s together for customers. These include weddings, family history, graduations, proms, celebrations of all kinds, the life of a pet – in fact, ‘If you can photograph it then I can dvd it!’
So what does it take to produce something that is unique to you? Something that can be shown on the TV in your living room to family and friends? Something for you to treasure for years?
Here’s the process:
1. Digital images required – this can also include video clips
1a. Non-digital images – photographs, negatives, slides, illustrations, maps, etc. I can convert.
2. Each image is optimized i.e. colour corrected, sharpened, cropped if required
3. Images put into running order (that’s you task!)
4. Put together those images where multiple images are used in effects
5. Work on each individual image with respect to timing, movement, panning, zooming in/out, effects
6. Captions where required e.g. names of people on wedding images (that’s your task again)
7. Transitions – the ‘bits’ in between the images – timing and effects
8. Add music of your choice – I’ll decide if you can’t
9. Run show on monitor and make corrections
9a. Second run through to correct corrections!
10. Burn to dvd and check show runs smoothly on TV
10a Correct above version
11. Up load to web site for customer to view and suggest corrections
11a Do above corrections – Check on monitor then burn dvd and check on TV
12. Burn off ‘master’ copy
13. Design images and text for burning on disc – NOT sticky labels
14. Design dvd case cover
15. Pop completed project into post
16. Take a well earned holiday!
See how quick and easy it all is. . .
In the past two weeks I have had three views of the site resulting in no orders.
Time to give up my day job as a private English tutor – probably not!
The past month has witnessed a paucity of posts by this private English tutor.
Having the need to put bread on the table, I have spent June marking examination scripts. Four whole weeks gauging how well (or otherwise!) today’s youth are struggling with the English language. Oh. . . and how they are struggling!
I may have marked a batch of poor candidates – on the other hand, their standard may fairly represent that of the modern generation. Judging by the few hundred papers I marked, I fear for this beautiful language of ours. The good news, however, is that I know my re-embarkation on the good ship WordPress will be greeted with quality writing on a whole myriad of interesting blog posts. For that I thank you.
As my head clears and I ponder the past four weeks, I wonder where time has gone. I am sure it has not really gone anywhere, it’s simply me that has existed in a parallel space – I think!
Delving into my ever-faithful-ever-dependable quotation book I wondered what words of wisdom it contained on the subject of ‘Time’. Here are a few pearls which I would like to share with you.
Hector Berlioz said:
Time is a great teacher. Unfortunately it kills all of its pupils.
I love that – just my kind of humour; going from bleak-dark.
Thinking about the past month and all those scripts the next quote strikes a chord:
Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money but you can’t get more time. (Jacob Bigelow)
How very true. I can’t get those four weeks back, I traded them for the legal tender. Sad but true.
I went to a restaurant that ‘serves breakfast at any time’. So I ordered French toast during the Renaissance. :-)
As the scripts fade into the dim and distant past I start to contemplate my manuscript – Seeing Unseen. Having had it edited I am straining at the leash to re-write/do/hash (delete as applicable). I have been laying the first chapter out on Pinterest. It has been an enjoyable exercise but now I find that I need to rewrite that first chapter so the Pinterest board will have to be adjusted accordingly. The challenge of trying to put my novel into pictures has been interesting and I have received some great feedback from you out there – Thank You.
As one of ‘mature years’, Time is something that I dwell on from time to time – can I have three times in one sentence? Those of you that share this maturity may also, perhaps, have dwelt on this un-graspable subject. Why does it go faster the older I get and why do I understand it less than I did several decades ago?
Is this private English tutor alone here?