Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Jiggedy jig

Home again, after a busy and happy visit to Canberra, I find it takes me some time to work my way back into my life here. Dr P and I are happy to see each other, all went well during my absence, and SD1 bought him some food, and checked his well-being. I was so rushed before I went that I did not do the weekly shopping. Actually I had to do my argomento for the Italian class, which took hours, and of course I still made lots of mistakes. It is the use of prepositions which seems to trip up all of us, and we have trouble working out which tenses of verbs to use. Then there is the use of the subjunctive. English does not use the subjunctive much, but Italian loves it. All of this sort of thing fosters my conviction that grammar should be taught, as an aid to good and expert use of language and to clear thinking. Although, I suppose that confused thinking has its place in life. (This would take the subjunctive in Italian.) I have not seen the national curriculum yet, but applaud its intention to revive the teaching of grammar. I can go to bed at night and dream of diminished confusion in the use of subject and object pronouns, and in the agreement of subject, verb and object, and such like. And the use of the adverb might be revived.

My argomento was about the film The Young Victoria. Queen Victoria was a most interesting woman, passionate, intelligent, full of complexity, contradictions, selfish, opiniated, with a strong sense of her own importance, and also very emotionally dependent, and especially after Albert's death, very self-indulgent and almost, it seems, determined not to recover from her bereavement. I keep buying biographies of her, and came home from Canberra with yet another. (There is this lovely bookshop which has remaindered stock at delightfully low prices. I came home heavily laden.)

While I enjoyed the film, it falsified some of the history, and this sort of thing makes me VERY cross. Some writers like to write novels according to the way they wished the history had happened, so they go around inventing things, distorting facts, all for their own emotional satisfaction. I am a stickler for truth and accuracy, even though there are lots of events in history which we wish had never happened. But they did happen, and reality needs to be acknowledged, faced and dealt with. Having Albert wounded in the assassination attempt, just to make a romantic point about the shift in the relationship, was quite wrong. He was not wounded, nor was Victoria. It happened otherwise. So there!

Do pardon this little rant, which is not really what I sat down at the computer to write about tonight. Sometimes you never do know quite what is going to come out from your brain via these rather inexpertly typing fingers. As I drove to and from Canberra my mind wrote about all sorts of things, but as often happens when it is not possible to write in the heat of the moment when creativity bursts forth like flowers opening irresistibly, much stuff flows downstream into the sea of unused composition and creativity.

As ever, Canberra was very enjoyable, and I saw family and the grandchildren. The youngest boy is friendly, happy and easily amused. I am not sure that he remembered me as it is about 9 months since I saw him, but he treated me like a friend. I watched the older grandson having a riding lesson, while I brushed away all the flies that hang around horses and their environs. I saw several friends, and Bron and I went to the Australian National Gallery to see the exhibition from the Musee d'Orsay collection. It was very very good, but there was a huge number of people, which made viewing difficult. As I devoted the day to the Gallery, I took my time browsing around. The Gauguin paintings were my favourites, in their use of strong and delectable colours. The exhibition has had so much hype written about it that I was slightly disappointed, partly because of the crowded conditions, but also resulting from my trip to Italy last year, seeing the wonderful gallery at Rovereto. This had a visiting exhibition from Winterthur in Switzerland, from the second half of the 19th century through to the first half of the 20th. Its permanent collection was superb, with many Italian artists unknown to me, and visiting that gallery, known as MART, was a highlight of the trip.

I pre-booked a ticket for the ANG, and to do this it was necessary to use Ticketek. That internet site informed the world that on "Friday's and Saturday's" there were longer viewing hours, and that "Carer's" who accompanied their cared-for persons were also entitled to a discount. You can see why I am cheering about the possibility of grammar being taught in schools. Does no one check such sites? Evidently not the ANG! Shame.

On Friday I am going by train to visit my sister, and the other sisters and I will meet at the station. We hope it will be a good visit for all of us, and most of all for our older sister.


molly said...

My goodness! I'm breathless just reading about all your activity!

Anonymous said...

I very much agree about grammar. I remember in grade one learning about nouns, adjectives, and verbs, and then that was it until Old English at university. Not even during high school French did we really learn much about verbs. I think we can blame the Italian love of the subjunctive entirely on Latin -- Latin seems to use it at any opportunity.

persiflage said...

Maybe we can form a volunteer squad to swoop on needy schools?

Meggie said...

I stand in wordless admiration of your driving to Canberra, from Sydney. I would never contemplate such a drive alone...or even worse, accompanied!
On the occasions I have visited Canberra, I have loved it! Both visits were in March, strangely enough. Different years, though. I was not the driver, on either occasion.

Anonymous said...

I like driving long distances like that, but hate driving into the City! long open roads are fine, sounds like a great drive to me.

Pam said...

Ooh, apostrophe horror. I have spent the best years of my life trying to teach the correct use of the apostrophe, mainly in vain.

That all sounds very interesting, though I don't like Gauguin much - the colours strike me as a big nightmarish.