Saturday, 30 January 2016

Gertrude's eye


We are sitting in the middle of a big high right now, so it is crisp and sunny outside, but I know that when the gale returns, it will be rotating in the opposite direction to yesterday. That should be sometime tonight.

I got out of bed late - about 10.30 - and the phone rang twenty minutes later. It was Green-Eyes, saying that she intended to come round so I could check the grammar on her essay, at 1.30pm. Plenty of time to shower and dress. Ten minutes later the doorbell sounded, and she was sitting in the kitchen with her laptop open. She must have turned off her phone and walked straight round.

It is difficult to proof-read anything when you have only just woken up, let alone read any meaning into it at the same time - especially when the subject is paediatrics. My knowledge about the health of children is limited, having not read all the published papers which she is supposed to have.

The government has passed legislations to ... 

"There is no such word as 'legislations'."

"But I want to say that they have passed more than one."

"'Legislation' is all you need to say."

"But they passed dozens."

"I'm telling you, there is no such word as 'legislations'."

"Well all right then, but I still think it should be legislations."

She worried when I took out words like 'what', as in, 'like what they did', because it decreased the word-count, but was soon reassured when I added a few others by telling her that she could not (couldn't) use the conversational apostrophe in a formal essay such as this one without losing marks.

There is, she told me, a software system they use to detect plagiarism. The essay is scanned in a second, and if you hit certain words used in the research material - no matter where it is sourced - over a certain percentage, you are automatically disqualified and thrown out of university. This explains why I kept saying, 'wouldn't this be a better word to describe...', she would tell me she couldn't - sorry, could not - use that one because it was used in the source material. So this resulted in quite a few inferior words and meanings. (If she were to have used this last sentence, I would have made her re-write it, but I'm too tired to do that myself).

Her next exam is maths, and she expects to sail through that. I would get somewhere around 10% either side of zero, but I have never expected to be administering medicines to children and run the risk of increasing the dose by one thousand-fold. When I make a mistake with numbers, nobody dies. I just lose money.

Two hours later, and I had scanned 2,800 words (10% either side of 3000) and the essay was ready to send off to her dyslexia teacher. If the teacher tells her she should have said, 'legislations', then I will lose all respect for the profession.

The sun is going down and Gertrude's eye is beginning to close. Batten down the hatches.

20 comments:

  1. Every day there is an issue. Today's is that it won't let me upload photos...

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    1. Now it - reluctantly - has. Any excuse to look into those eyes.

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  2. Oh dear ..... you'd think that they'd have made legislations about Gertrude wouldn't you ? Maybe they couldn't !!!!!
    You're a lovely Grandad/ Great Grandad { I forget what relation you are to Green Eyes ! } ! .... XXXX

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  3. Green Eyes is fortunate to have a fixed resource. A resource fixture? The math heads are departing my house one by one and poor Laura, the artist, will have to Skype her sister for explanations of math.

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    1. They have to fly, but - like swallows in Springtime - they will be back.

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  4. I never wish to read and correct anyone's essay/dissertation on any subject ever again.
    I hate Gertrude and now find that as she departs Henry will arrive and he will be even worse.

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    1. I thought you were joking about Henry, but now I hear his name on the radio. He will arrive tomorrow...

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  5. Replies
    1. Yes. I never tire of this picture, and I never tire of looking at the real things.

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    2. Her eyes haunt me. I have green eyes too but her eye shape is very different to mine. I never thought about eye shape so much before today.

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  6. I absolutely love the fact that she feels that she can drop in on you at any time for your help and that she is right. I mean this as a compliment. It's good to be there for the people in your family.

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    1. They are there for me, and there is no real reason for this to be so, so I am so grateful for their love. We are not blood relations, but we are still solid family. I was the 3rd person to hold her and her brother when they were babies, and I drove their mother to hospital on both occasions.

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  7. Oh and by the way, she will make a wonderful nurse. I have never met anyone who cares more about people than she does. She was born to care.

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  8. I once underlined a neighbour's English mistakes in pencil on the rough copy of some exam paper she was about to submit. She had written all the words that normally end in 'ise' as 'ize', and under each one I put a small pencil mark. She didn't like it and refused to change them. Later she even came to me and said that her teacher had said it was OK. Even teachers get things wrong!

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    1. Every spell-checker on every bit of American software (and they are all American) gives you the choice between U.S. and U.K. English, but still underlines anything ending in 'ise' in red, preferring the U.S. 'ize'.

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  9. One of the reasons that I like your blog is that your spelling and grammar are excellent. That goes for Cro and Rachel too! Another, who we all read, is not so perfect, but I love him too!

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    1. He gets quite tetchy if you correct him.

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  10. The "software system they use to detect plagiarism" seems downright silly to me - typical for thinking only in statistics. (Or should I write: statistic?) Plagiarism is a crime (and in Germany a few ministers lost their doctor's degree rightly) - but I bet: if you scan world literature with this "system", we will lose many novels.

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    1. It was probably developed to help with author's law suits. The Marx Brothers were sued by the Warner Brothers for calling a film, 'Casablanca', so they sued back for the word 'Brothers'.

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