Sunday, 4 November 2018

Modern Communication

One of the absurdities of being a Physics teacher occurs when you realise just how old fashioned the subject material is.  Back in the UK, I fought for many years to keep the last remaining chalkboard in the school and the projector for showing overhead transparencies. They are extremely useful in our craft.  Out here, my lab only dates from last year and all the equipment has had to be bought from scratch.  Before coming out I'd been hoping there would be a goodly supply of Soviet era classroom equipment to be found.  Sadly I have not managed to find any of this, though with a colleague who is also a bit of a Russiaphile we have tracked down the Russian catalogues and they still seem to be making good quality, old school, science kit that will last till hell freezes over. The Euro equivalents are shoddy and expensive.

The students have to learn about AM and FM radio signals, and none of them can remember ever using a tunable analogue radio.  These are the same students who have never posted or indeed written a letter on paper.  Yesterday I spent the day wandering round flea markets looking for a portable radio.  I feel they need to experience the delights of an old fashioned radio: watch the air capacitor twiz round as you tune into a station, see the antenna coil, hear the rich analogue sound and differentiate between the quality of AM and FM for themselves. Internet radio just doesn't cut it.

It is a good job I live alone.  I don't think anybody would put up with me doing this.  It became a bit obsessive and when I did eventually find a radio, I was probably fleeced, but I don't mind.  I now have my very own 1963 Nordmende Stradella and spookily once I'd coaxed it into life, the first thing I heard from it was the Beatles "She Loves You" as if it had been hiding in the capacitors since it had been constructed.  I loathe the Beatles. Always have done.  I am only slightly disappointed it doesn't have Long Wave, it is always a delight when you pick up some far off crackly station and it would allow me to tell the students about the quirkier and brighter side of Blighty: the Shipping Forecast and Test Match Special.

A second bit of spookyness was its similarity to the radio that lived at the bottom of my pram when I was a baby. There are reels of silent cine film dating from the last days of the 1960s with me in my pram in my grandmother's garden in Rathgar with a crimson portable radio blasting out something to keep me amused.  Apparently I loved the radio. I can't have been listening to the Beatles.

I went to a Novus Ordo Mass in the morning.  This depresses me.  When I first returned to the church over 20 years ago, I was one of the youngest in the congregation.  I am still one of the youngest in the congregation. Indeed this is more than depressing, it is frightening. However the readings were good and indeed I am glad I heard them. The rest of the day has been spent cooking, planning my holiday to Iran, darning my socks and trying to learn to sing a psalm in Serbian.  Such are the delights of a dowager's life and right now I am very content.  I've decided to learn Serbian but I will learn to praise God before I learn how to buy a kilo of tomatoes, hence the psalm singing and psalm 135 is my psalm of the moment.

I'll never be this good:

Славите Господа, јер је добар; јер је довијека милост његова

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