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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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The Tragical Lives of the Minted Children. [20090703|10:25]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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I paid a second visit to Wellington College this week, accompanied by our shiny keen new PhD student Daniel, to run workshops on Space for "Gifted and Talented" students from the neighbouring state schools. (I was more anxious to see that they exhibited the properties "Interested and Awake". Despite the heat, most of them did.) Since this visit involved an overnight stay in lodgings equipped with a full-sized snooker table, darts board, plasma-screen television (with Sky), comfortable beds and an ample supply of tea, I was able to document the hardships endured by those who regularly attend Wellington College.


First there's the little matter of the Great Hall. You'd be ashamed to have to drive up a wide, tree-lined avenue with that obnoxious monstrosity looming directly ahead, wouldn't you? Not to mention the scaffolding marring its symmetry. Dreadful.



The physics classrooms are equipped with projection systems and "smart" whiteboards, which allow a speaker to add coloured drawings to a presentation on the fly. This sounds useful until you realize that the first thing any serious physicist, such as Daniel or myself, will do with a presentation about the potential for finding life elsewhere in the universe is illustrated above. I'm sure you will agree that such "enhancements" do not improve the learning experience of the deprived students of Wellington College.


The quarters in which I stayed, as mentioned previously, seemed generously supplied. However, I must point out that the tea remained unaccompanied by an assortment of biscuits, the switch on the bedside lamp stuck and the water from the tap was not drinkable. Most unforgivably, it was papered with peeling pink roses. See how I'm suffering?


The college grounds, which encompass the local rail station, boast a functioning observatory. Before you get too excited, let me point out that it is 150 years old and though it stands on the highest point on the grounds, that is about 20 metres above the rest of it. The 7-inch telescope must be aligned by hand and cranked to track objects, which it can do for a maximum of 20 minutes. For £26k per annum per student, you'd think they could afford some flash new kit, but apparently they prefer to spend that money on serving jam sponges and syllabubs with every meal. I'd say something scathing about their priorities, but I think I'll opt to remain tactfully silent and instead show you what they've got to keep time in the observatory.


This is a sidereal grandfather clock. (See, they don't even have a clock that keeps time properly!) If it weren't too large to nick, I would have stuck it in my rucksack. Purely as a service to the students, naturally, to force their keepers to buy them something a little more up-to-date.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: senusert
2009-07-03 10:46 (UTC)
This makes me grateful for going to state shcools. We had drinking water from our sinks. And biscuits.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-06 19:33 (UTC)
Yes. You were definitely the privileged ones.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2009-07-03 13:01 (UTC)
State schools are the government ones, right? I get confused by the English system.

Also, *lol* at picture 2. And those boards fascinate me. I don't know how they work! We've just got some at work in the training rooms.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-06 19:34 (UTC)
Yes, state schools are the government ones. I get confused too. In America, the schools we call "public" are the ones the English call "private" and vice versa.

Oh, I recommend playing with the smart boards! They're so much fun.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2009-07-06 20:27 (UTC)
In Scotland we have public schools (government funded, open to all) and private schools (privately funded, open to fee paying students). I think in England these are called state and public respectively, hence the confusion with "public" having the opposite meaning.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2009-07-03 13:10 (UTC)
Just a thought - should you keep this post public, given the title?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-06 19:36 (UTC)
I think I'd feel rather sad if anyone took this post at all seriously.
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[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2009-07-03 19:15 (UTC)
Wow it looks like camping or something. Really roughing it there.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-06 19:37 (UTC)
It was just like those trips my grandfather used to drag my cousin and me on, with no showers or flushing toilets for days. Very hard going. *shakes head*
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2009-07-03 22:52 (UTC)
Totally tragical.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-06 19:39 (UTC)
I don't know how anyone who goes there survives to adulthood.
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From: pbristow
2009-07-04 03:09 (UTC)
"Most unforgivably, it was papered with peeling pink roses. See how I'm suffering?"

Yes... [NODS] Yes, I can see that you are.

Could you maybe suffer with your head cast back a little, perhaps gazing in anguish at the ceiling? And with your legs a little more...

Ahem. I'll stop now. [BLUSH]



Edited at 2009-07-04 03:11 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-06 19:40 (UTC)
It was all so terrible. I had to drink at least four cups of tea before I could muster the strength to leave the room in the morning.
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From: pbristow
2009-07-06 20:48 (UTC)
[NODS] My life in a nutshell.

[PASSES YOU THE PACKET OF SYMPA-BISCUITS]
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