Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 30 January 2016
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.