Mirinda takes the white line with her

Today, in class, I was basically working on my own. The teacher handed out sheets that had sentences printed on them with certain words missing. The class had to supply the missing words. They were mostly verbs. In most cases the answer required a whole sentence in response like “Is the man standing or walking?” and the response would be “The man is walking.” But, obviously, in Swedish. (Han är går, by the way.)

There were three pages of questions. After I’d completed these, the teacher gave me three more. I then started working my way through my workbook until the break.

The rest of the class was struggling. There was a new member today and the guy from Tuesday who was missing yesterday also turned up. This made six students, including me. There was a lot of chat as they all helped each other. There was also a lot of moving around the room. Not that any of that bothered me, but I wonder how much they are learning.

I think the reason why they were having difficulties is the fact that they were never taught to read and write. Their command of spoken Swedish is better than mine but they have problems putting pencil to paper and understanding grammar.

I know there’s a lot of illiteracy in the world but I’ve never been so close to it before. I find it very, very sad. Humans have the ability to communicate in so many sophisticated ways that it seems wrong to deny ourselves the opportunity to read and write about it.

It also makes me wonder about the effectiveness of the posters in the toilet about domestic violence and who to contact if you’re a victim. Okay, they are written in various languages but it makes little difference to someone who can’t read any of them.

During the break, I went for a walk around Vagnhärad to get some air and exercise. I saw a building that appeared to be drawn in extreme perspective.

There’s no trick to the photo. That’s exactly what it looked like.

Back in class I was surprised to find we had a different teacher. She introduced herself, confirmed who I was, then told me I might want to self study as the class was about IT and how to use a computer. The class was pretty basic and, given my 40 years working in IT, I decided to sit outside and fill in more of my workbook. I assume the class is designed to teach immigrants how to access online, information they may need in Sweden.

I think it’s ironic that they all have smartphones which probably have more computing power than the small notebooks they were using in class yet they only use the most basic bits of them. I guess that’s capitalism for you.

Anyway, leaving the others to one side, while I’m enjoying the classes to some extent, I have found going every day a bit much. I am not doing the things at home that I usually do, which means they either don’t get done or Mirinda has to do them. I am also struggling with not having a proper schedule. As my wife constantly reminds me, I really am a creature of habit.

In order to alleviate my frustrations, I wrote to Alexandra, the beauty queen woman in charge, asking if I could reduce my classes. I was very happy with her answer. Of course, she said, I could do whatever I felt I could manage. I shall reorganise my roster of jobs around fewer classes. And vice versa.

Back at the house, we had an entertaining visit from Beth next door. She really is quite eccentric. She has also had a life full of variety and experience, though she tends to dismiss her achievements somewhat. We spent her visit laughing in the front garden while the deck was being worked on at the back.

A little later, Mirinda drove to the garden centre for some plants. Having loaded up the Tig, she started on her way home. She was caught up in a long queue of cars behind an excruciatingly slow truck. The truck was also very wide and was forcing cars on the other side of the road to veer onto the cycle/foot path.

Suddenly, the truck stopped and the driver got out. He walked down the line of cars behind his truck until he reached Mirinda. He was quite aggressive as he asked her something in annoyed Swedish. After explaining that she didn’t understand annoyed Swedish, he switched to annoyed English, asking her why she was taking the line with her.

She was very confused by this.

It turned out that he was painting the white line on the edge of the road, and she was driving on it. As fast as he was laying it, she was picking it up. The wheels on the passenger side were thickly coated in paint and pebbles.

She would definitely have been the subject around his dinner table tonight.

Adventures in Decking – Day 7

Harald and Roger have almost finished the deck. Today they added the remaining railing as well as the handrail up the slope, finishing in a gate. They reckon they’ll be finished tomorrow.

We couldn’t be more pleased with it. It augers well for a lovely, al fresco summer.

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