From One Extreme to the Other

Five months down the line and I have a destination at last! My gamble with the environment preference paid off after all and I’ve been allocated to a post in EXTREMADURA. It looks even more impressive in capitals. Extremadura, though! Steppe! Ham! Cork oaks! Cortes! Roman ruins! Bustards! And best of all, I haven’t even the slightest clue what it’ll look like in the flesh, since I’ve never even been there! That’s the major draw, of course. As much as I love Andalucia, living there once upon a time means I’ve seen most of it already. Extremadura is a blank slate. And if it all gets too much, then the dear old south is just a stone’s throw away – figuratively speaking. So much is within a stone’s throw from Extremadura, come to think of it. Doñana’s just over the Sierra de Aracena to the south, Toledo’s only a short distance up the Tajo and Portugal’s practically on the doorstep. So it’s safe to say I’m pretty chuffed with my placement! Whether I’m based in Badajoz or Cáceres remains to be seen, but unlike the last time, I think I’ll be more than satisfied with the information I have for some time now. Plenty of reading to do! Not too much, mind – wouldn’t want to spoil the adventure – but enough to get an idea. Cela’s La Familia de Pascual Duarte seems like a good place to start. Still… Extremadura! Can’t even begin to contain my excitement. I’ll be lesson planning before I’ve even got to Jordan if I’m not careful. September can’t come fast enough!

Latest essay came back a measly 66%… not my finest hour. Almost entirely to be blame was my choice of an opening line: ‘the colonial claws that raked the nineteenth century world left few countries unscathed.’ Make of that what you will. I hardly need to tell you that’s it’s not academic language. My marker did, though. Like I said, there’s no escaping the rule of three. Two got under the wire, the third did not. That’s natural. Especially since that last was written at around four in the morning. If that doesn’t lend a shred of credibility to that bat-out-of-hell opening statement, my Burtonesque verbosity just might (I promise I’ll keep the cultural references to a minimum in future). All things considered, 66% is probably a lot more than it’s worth. I’d tell myself to start earlier next time. But then, I tell myself that every time… So now Extremadura’s on the cards, it’s time to obsess over the place whilst I still have a couple of weeks to think in Spanish before I’m whisked off to the Middle East! Here’s a vista extremeña to whet your appetite for the time being. Hasta pronto! BB x

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