f i r s t w e e k

990216.2327 tamarisk farm

i arrived at this place seven days ago . i have neither started tearing my
hair out nor woken up to find , i don’t know , a pilchard head on my pillow
. i must therefore count the week to have been a success . this weekend i shall be travelling up to london for a school commitment on monday . i find myself mildly resentful at having to leave so soon after arriving , unwilling to break the spell . i shall be back soon enough .

as i write the electricity is momentarily interruputed from time to time . i should be brief and send this message on its way . what is happening , i wonder ? now that the island is served with electricity from the mainland you’d have thought the supply would be stable . when i first came here every house relied its own diesel generator . how quickly people take such advances for granted , become intolerant of any deterioration .

after several still days the wind started to rise again yesterday . it has been a wonderful bright day , and this evening the sky was glorious . in between tasks i took the opportunity to wander down to the sea and stare out across the western isles , hazily silhouetted against the golden and violet eruptions of the setting sun . i saw at least one islander similarly engaged . it is heartening to see confirmation that these wonders of nature still inspire marvel after a lifetime on the island . here the sky is so broad . my camera was with me .

i’ve spent the last couple of afternoons wrestling with the pc in the school here on st agnes . finally it is willing to go online via an isp other than msn and with a browser other than internet explorer , but it was a close thing . i gave the teacher , sue major , a brief introduction this afternoon . her job must be rather different than most teachers . at present there are on the island ten children of primary age ( between four and eleven ) . this fluctuates quite widely over time , but ten is about as high as it gets . with such small numbers of course everyone learns in the same group , so sue must structure exercises such that everyone may find an appropriate challenge . i can’t help feeling this is a much more natural environment in which to learn . it takes a gifted teacher though .

nervously i stuck a poster to the island blackboard outside the post office / shop this evening :
not so scary after all

A haphazard introduction for luddites , technophobes and complete beginners . Brought to you by Mr Charles Armstrong , late arrived these parts .

The School , St Agnes
( courtesy of the Governors )
Thursday 18th February
at 6.00 pm
truth is , i don’t have much experience helping beginners , and i’m not sure i know where to start . but i was asked to do it so i’ll do my best .

: cH

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