Day 12

I discussed lingustics this morning. With the cleaning lady. She did most of the talking.

My hosts (socialist, self-educated, kindhearted and moderately untidy) employ a woman (socialist, self-educated, kindhearted and in need of cash) to come and clean up once a week. She and I spent a happy half hour speaking of regional accents, their associated snobbery, and varieties of immigrant English.

I thought the course would get easier (at least subjectively) after the halfway mark. Sometimes it seems it is, and sometimes just the opposite.

There's a kind of exhaustion that sets in after a period of studying or doing just one thing intensively. It's not that we're physically exhausted, or mentally - it's emotional exhaustion.

We can (and have to) be bodily active, and use our intellects constantly to learn and apply what we've learned. That's not the problem. It's like we have to constantly apply willpower, as though to break an addiction, and it's the reserves of will that are getting drained.

There is of course another word for emotional exhaustion - depression.

London can be quite Kafkaesque sometimes.

At 1900, I left the school and walked to Covent Garden tube station. Which had been closed off by the police, who were directing traffic because the traffic lights weren't working. Rail staff were standing outside, directing commuters to alternative stations, but refusing to say why their station was closed.

Bomb scare? Why would that affect the traffic lights? And why the secrecy?

So I took the ten minute walk to Holborn station, which was likewise closed. But the rail staff there said I should get on a number eight bus to Oxford Circus, and travel from there.

So I got on a number eight bus, which took twenty minutes to travel halfway back up the road I'd just walked down, before stopping with the announcement that the final stop had been reached. Humph.

So I decided to walk to Oxford Circus. Not that I was entirely sure where Oxford Circus was, but there were plenty of quarter-full busses, refusing to take on new passengers, headed there. So I followed them. And sometimes overtook them.

Half an hour later, having found Oxford Street in the increasing rain, I was starting to wonder just how long the street was. Then suddenly there was Oxford Circus tube station. With a newspaper stall outside displaying headlines like "Maddy: McCanns Kept Body in Car" and "Menezes Cop Weeps in Court".

Suitably informed of world events, I took the tube to my lodgings, catching one more headline: "Fake Condoms Trigger Sex Disease Fears".

And now, vaguely pondering what a fake condom might be, I'm going to write a lesson plan incorporating as much detail as humanly possible about the difference between "I have studied English for two years now" and "I have been studying English for two years now".


  1. Yay! First!

    Do you know, it seems like fucking eons since we've been here. When, in actual fact, it's only been ages.

    Covent Garden? You fucking snob!

    This post today is almost like re-living life before Tazzy.

    Anyway (fave word)... Hello!

    See. We havent forgotten you!

  2. They HAVE forgotten you, Kapi.

    The only reason they're here is because they Googled "fake condoms."

  3. '...the difference between "I have studied English for two years now" and "I have been studying English for two years now".'

    They both seem fine to me, though personally, I'd use the second, thusly: "I've bin studyin' 'kin Engrish fer a bit. Wos it ta yoo mate?" Feel free to use this in your lesson plan.

    Did you ever find out what a fake condom was?

    Camy ;)

  4. P&T:
    Hello there, you perverted lowlifes (or is it "lowlives"?). I haven't forgotten you either. No matter how hard I've tried.

    If my life now is like Piggy's before Tazzy...does that mean I'll fall in love soon?

    Why does "to google" sound like a rude verb?

    They are indeed semantically identical. There's a few cases where the two forms (present-perfect-simple and present-perfect-progressive) can't be used interchangably, and a few more where native speakers could use either but only use one.

    Still no idea what a fake condom is. Presumably not the same thing as an illusory condom.