Last days

31st March
The start of today was murder. I left myself 180 km to drive from Hay to Narrandera early in the morning, and the sun came up as I set off. Wide flat country and the highway leading directly into the sun. The dazzle on the windscreen was impossible, and there was grease on the glass I couldn’t get off. I drove like driving in a fog, peering out through the side window, focussing on the line at the side of the road. I couldn’t drive real slow or I’d never have arrived in time. Luckily, there was v little traffic, and although the straightness of the road meant I never escaped from the sun, at least I didn’t have to worry about steering round bends.

So I got there in the end–High School. It was my hardest working day, with 4 periods of fifty minutes. I know my voice will last out for one more day tomorrow, but it’s definitely raspy after today.

Kids were fine; some had read the first few chapters of Worldshaker, so that made for one specially interesting interactive talk. In the afternoon, I did a workshop rather than a talk, which ended up harder rather than easier for me. Later in the day probably isn’t the best time to give students actual work to do!

(Pity my photos often look the same: I have many great pics of awarding students the giveaway prize book, or talking to students after the talks, or specially keen students who came to chat over morning tea or lunch. But you can’t show students’ individual faces unless you clear it with their parents, which is just too much hassle for everyone. If I put up photos that showed faces, that could create difficulties for schoo librarians/coordinators – so I don’t.)

Afterwards I did email on a library computer — scary, how much email piles up in 10 days away. Then on to my motel, buying Italian bread and cheese and tomatoes and prosciutto on the way. I sat by the swimming pool and dined Italian style with the rest of yesterday’s bottle of red.

Leeton High School tomorrow, then the long drive back home.

1st April

April Fools Day!

Leeton High School was one big talk followed by two smaller workshops. The talk was in a huge echoing gymnasium type of space – I thought I’d need a mike but I didn’t. The projector and computer wouldn’t talk to each other, so I couldn’t use the slideshow – but no big deal, I never rely on it anyway.

The workshops were fun, the best ones yet. Probably the small numbers helped, and the fact that they weren’t on at the end of the afternoon – also, they were Years 8 and 9, rather than older. The exercises I do depend on imagination and empathy, on stepping into the shoes of other people, other characters, and younger participants are often better for that. Or if not better, at least less inhibited.

The drive back to Wollongong seemed to last forever … the watched pot-principle? Time always seems to drag more slowly when you’re hanging out to reach the end. I couldn’t believe how long it took to cover the last 100 km to the Wollongong turn-off.

So I’m typing this up after dinner and unpacking, but I won’t publish it until I can add in the photos. It was a great trip, I feel it was very successful, but right now I’m just looking forward to a bit of veging out! Zzzzz!


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