Today marks the start of Carole’s studying campaign. The start of six years of educational betterment in the field of Arts and Humanities.
My role in Carole’s process is quite simple.
I am to be understanding. That’s pretty much it. Understanding of the time it takes, understanding of the need to shut herself in her study for hours at a time and, most importantly, understanding when I receive a text – while I’m doing my own thing, enjoying the time to myself to look longingly at Charterstone, or whatever – to furnish her with a hot chocolate and a couple of ginger biscuits.
For six years.
I don’t mind in the slightest. Because, you know, I’m practically saint like. And because it’s a brilliant thing she’s doing. Absolutely brilliant.
There have been some wobbles, though, in getting this far.
It has been noticed, by me at least, that Carole has been employing all the classic procrastination techniques favoured by anyone who really wants to put off doing things.
Tidying, going out to visit people for no real reason, more tidying, decorating, more tidying, and leaving the country to explore Lisbon.
All of them are tried and tested techniques.
But, finally, she’s tied down. She’s spent the evening at her desk, ploughing through her first few bits of work. She’s, so far at least, managed to not be overwhelmed by everything, and question whether she’s taken on too much – unlike a large number of people on the Open University forums and Facebook page. There’s even one person who’s considering chucking it all in because they can’t tell if a reindeer is a reindeer or a crocodile. Or a crocodile is a crocodile or a reindeer, or something.
So, you know, she’s doing this course with some very level-headed people.
But that’s why she has me. So I can talk her down from the edge of a poetry cliff or tell her my thoughts on a piece of literature or whatever other things I have been summoned to the sanctum for.