Aside

Picture of a marking jail

Marking jail cell

Picture of a marking jail

Foreground, right to left: laptop displaying mark scheme; notepad and red marking biro; unmarked exam script, obscuring mark-sheet; mug of strong Kenya tea; typewriter with hard-copy comment sheet wound in.1 Rear of table: exam paper, atop one of three packets of unmarked exam scripts, instructions to markers. Dimly visible in background: open digipak of Hawkwind’s Space Ritual, desktop computer slowly defragmenting after refusing any longer to save my largest charter file and thus removing my primary form of diversion. Not shown: exam scripts so far marked (too few for comfort), other two packets of unmarked ones.

This is the current reason why updating isn’t happening, and why any responses from me for which you may be waiting in other media or protocols aren’t yet reaching you. Hopefully I will soon run out of reasons for both sorts of delay, but till then, I’ve got a few days left in jail yet, sorry.


1. Yes, I still have a typewriter for these things because no-one can be expected to read my execrable longhand. Not for nothing was I once known as Cambridge’s most illegible bachelor…

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11 responses to “Picture of a marking jail

  1. Blessings of the marking gods be upon you. I’ve just been released from equivalent penury and it sure feels good. Diversions now being supplied by local minor earthquake and subsequent necessity of brushing up on geological trivia long forgotten from high school… What is the interweb for, eh?

  2. There’s nothing like examining to test one’s basic grip on palaeography. I once had a brilliant student with a single spectacular flaw, which only ever registered when exam season came around: she was known by her examiners as ‘The Seismograph’, and she had the kind of writing that left you staggered by the capacity of human brain to identify patterns correctly. The secret lay in not looking too hard or letting your eye settle too long on any single elongated squiggle. She at least was rewarding. Others were pleasing for different reasons: like the person who achieved immortality with a disquisition on the ‘bouillon economy’ of early medieval Scandinavia (“easy on the pillaging if you please Thorleifr; but just a soupcon more burning would be simply exquisite”); or the international student who assured his MPhil examiners that Beowulf’s struggles with knickers at night were legendary (cf. Bwlf 420b-422a). Goodness me, I might almost miss it.

    • Fabulous! I may have to make use of the Seismograph in my markers meetings if that’s OK – all due acknowledgement given. :-)

    • I will not tell such stories on the blog, because this has got me into trouble before; but rest assured, there’s at least one good story in every batch of scripts. It’s like reading charters (palæography included) but with fewer moments where you learn something…

  3. Sorry for the indelicacy: I blame Kathleen for bringing up earthquakes in an exam context, and so leading my thoughts inevitably to seismographs of my acquaintance…

  4. Pingback: Link love « Grumpy rumblings of the half-tenured

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