Easy As Falling Off a Bike pt 3117

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The Daily Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 3117
by Angharad

Copyright© 2017 Angharad


This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.

I didn’t look as important, wearing black trousers with relatively flat ankle boots, bought on a whim in M&S while I was walking through one morning going food shopping. They were half price and they fit me as their name suggested, ‘Foot Glove’. I’ve worn them quite a lot and walked miles in them so I knew they’d be fine.

I was going to wear a jumper as in the British, woolly jumper (and not bouncing sheep) but decided if I was teaching I might get too warm, so opted for a blouse over a camisole and a black jacket, over which I wore a nice wool coat. It had become colder recently and although only predicted to last a few days, I decided to dress to stay warm. I also made the girls wear their vests and cardigans under their blazers, until they said they were too hot in school.

None of my clothes now came from the likes of Primark simply because I could afford to buy more in the way of quality of design and material. They were all of classic design—well mostly—so likely to last me years if looked after, which they were.

I did much more moving around in my more comfortable clothes, so the lecture was more energetic. I was looking at ecosystems and biodiversity, how these interacted, what we might find in them and why? I had a memory stick with literally hundreds of images on it and all with an alphabetical list, so if they mentioned something, I usually had an image of it, mostly photographs but sometimes drawings or paintings.

We looked at the systems through a 24/365 period and I made them think about how things would be affected by the time of day or night or the season/weather—you don’t get too many dormice building snowmen in day time—though Sammi had manufactured a picture of just that with snowball fights as well. Took her a weekend and I used it as my Christmas card one year—I did pay her for doing it, but it was Trish who printed them off for me on Daddy’s laser printer, which will do both sides of the paper or card. She did me a hundred and Livvie folded them and put them in envelopes. We even had my signature printed off in what looked like my usual Sheaffer fountain pen, with its violet ink—I know, it’s so effete it’s stylish. You remember my pen, the enamelled one, very girly, in a blue-grey and gold casing and no clip—well ladies don’t have pens in pockets—and as I learned in a previous incarnation, neither should boys. I got permanent black ink from a leaky fountain pen all through the lining of my school blazer, my shirt and all over my left breast—well the little puffy thing I had in those days (there was a matching one on the other side but it didn’t have a black nipple, courtesy of Quink and Parker pens).

shaeffer pen set.jpg

Back to my lecture, the fountain pen, a gift a few years ago, was probably older than I was by twenty or more years, but hadn’t had much use and worked fine—the nib was okay, whether my writing deserved such a beautiful instrument was a matter of debate, having been described by a teacher as the result of a drunken spider having fallen into an inkwell. Okay, he was entitled to his opinion, when i was in school I was accused of having girly writing by some of my classmates—or should that be fellow inmates? It was rounded and quite small, I have to write slightly larger with this pen because it has a medium nib. I prefer a fine one, but beggars can’t be choosers.

A couple of years ago, I thought I’d lost it, the pen that is, not the plot—that went years ago. I searched frantically for it high and low and I couldn’t find it. The problem was I didn’t know if I’d last used it in work or home and the bag had opened in the car when it fell of the back seat during an emergency stop—idiot in front of me was day dreaming or changing CDs or something, and I barely managed to stop as he did a sudden one in front of me. Thankfully my laptop survived—I have it in a case within the bag, so it’s sort of double cushioned.

It was when I was marking some essays at home that I looked for my pen in the bag and it was somewhat noticeable by its absence. I rushed out to the car and with a torch—it was dark—looked through my car, under the seats, you name it, with no luck. I looked in the bag—removing everything and I felt heartbroken. I don’t do expensive luxury items such as jewellery or watches in case I lose them, but I do love quality writing instruments, especially fountain pens. I still mark with one today, and with violet ink. I was bereft, Simon said he’d get me another, it was only a pen, but it wasn’t just a pen, it was a gift from a friend who’d since died. It was an attachment to them not just pen.

Using another from my collection, I have about a dozen pens of different makes and values—I resorted to a cheaper Waterman—I continued marking but felt really angry with myself for losing a cherished item.

A couple of months later Trish spotted something sticking out of the base of my seat in the car and when we stopped she unbelted and pulled out the base of my missing pen. I was so delighted I kissed and hugged her. It took the two of us over an hour to recover the cap which had become detached when she pulled out the base, but we got it. I felt like I’d won the lottery and Simon said he’d send the other back. I now had two, the second was blue and gold rather than grey and it was this second one I used for work and the original was safe in its box in my desk drawer and I only use it at home occasionally.

Back to the present, I finished my lecture and Alex waited to chat with me after the few students who had queries they hadn’t wanted to voice in front of two hundred others.

I’d been making a few notes and she saw the pen and admired it, I said it was a precious possession but not as much as the one I had at home. She had enjoyed my lecture and said she felt enthused by it but at the same time depressed because she’d never make a teacher.

“I thought exactly the same when Tom asked me to do some after I got my master’s. I’d seen him teach and he was jolly good and I felt intimidated but he insisted and I started with basic stuff teaching students who’d not done A-level biology, as well as a few tutorials for those who struggled to understand what they were supposed to have learned from lectures. Their responses to me were very positive and I developed my style from there—it’s a performance, so don’t try to copy me—you won’t. Do your own thing, but do it with verve and enthusiasm, because let’s face it, if you aren’t keen, why should your audience be?”

“Thanks, Prof, I’ll do the tutorials.”

“Next term I want you do some revision classes on basic biological systems, see how you get on, if you want to start writing lesson plans or accumulating material, let me know and we’ll give you a couple of hours a week to do it.”

“How many classes do I have to do?”

“Let’s say, eight, one a week, that should give you some practice. Well, off you go then.”

Her mouth dropped open as if she was going to say something, then it snapped shut and she nodded and walked away briskly.


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This story is 1435 words long.