Contrary to all those pre-Christmas ads, this week is nothing of the sort. Apparently, this week is acknowledged as the most depressing week of the year; post-Christmas slump, not the end of the month, broken New Year's resolutions, cold and grey.
To help you get through it, take a look at Diary of An Almost Baby Boomer's Stella Hart. She too was suffering from January blues when her exam scripts arrived and she began her marking.
First batches of exam scripts arrive, delivered by surly Parcel Force driver who thrusts the slippery packages at me, unceremoniously. He did not return my cheery smile. Little to smile about contained within. Yet more evidence of youthful illiteracy, I expect. ‘Would of’, absent or ubiquitous apostrophe, text-speak in abundance among the scrawled pages. Still mustn’t focus on the negative. There will be good stuff as well – the odd nugget, the piece of writing that lifts the heart or moves me almost unbearably. As I slit open the packets, phone rings. A cold caller has slipped under the radar and a barely comprehensible Asian voice launches into her script which I stop mid-syllable and ask who she is and why she is ringing me uninvited. She says (I think) ‘Microsoft’, ‘Computer’, and I tell her she is a liar and put the phone down. Pete says I’m hard on cold callers, remembering his call centre days full of targets and being judged on how good you are at conning innocent people on the other end of the line.
Count and sort scripts into do-able piles. Take few random peeks at the Open Writing section. The signs are not good from the small sample: comma-splicing abounds, capital letters in short supply, paragraphs noticeably absent. This is going to be a long three weeks.