The dying art of handwriting

7 03 2013

I read last year that a number of states in the USA will no longer be teaching cursive handwriting. Indeed, I have seen examples posted on the internet of students’ handwriting and it is printing – the letters are not joined. The local International School has a paper-free policy whereby all text will be stored and generated on electronic devices. I guess this does not apply to the art department!

I received the letter below today in the post (another dying institution?). It’s from my uncle in the UK who will turn 90 this year. I visited him last year and he is indeed looking old but his mind is sharp and his handwriting exquisite although I admit I find some of it a bit difficult to decipher. It is certainly better than my writing and the grand irony of that is I won the Headmaster’s Prize for Handwriting in my final year at junior school. Now I have difficulty reading it myself! I do hope that I will be as lucid as my uncle if I get to 90 even if my handwriting has long since deteriorated below his standard.

Cursive writing from a 90 year old!

Cursive writing from a 90-year-old!

All is NOT lost (yet)!

10 03 2012

There is a joke doing the rounds of town. How do you tell if a driver is drunk in Harare? He/she is driving in a straight line! It refers to the appalling potholes in the roads. Churchill Road past the University is particularly bad and I cannot see how it can be effectively repaired without resurfacing the entire road. One can only guess what it is costing the country in damaged vehicle suspension and bent wheel rims. No sooner than one has had the steering re-aligned than it needs to be done again. You get to know where the really bad potholes are – the rim benders. It is a constant remider of the state of the country.

Yesterday I received a parcel slip in my post box. I needed to pay a dollar to get a parcel from Sybille in France. Somewhat irked to be paying the postal service ANYTHING I went up to the counter. A large and battered box duly appeared with a piece of paper attached.

Notice of a parcel found open

The box had been found open, the contents inspected and then the box resealed – I didn’t begrudge the dollar!  In a government company extraordinarily badly paid they could have easily pocketed the contents and thrown the box in the rubbish bin. It was nice to know that this level of honesty still exists.

Two weeks ago I was chatting to a shoulder specialist surgeon who comes up here on a regular basis from Cape Town. Basil V is Zimbabwean born and loves coming back here. Not only does he do a bit of consulting but he also does some lecturing at the School of Medicine at the local university. He said that yes, the S of M is struggling to get lecturers but he really likes lecturing here – the students are SO receptive and very grateful for his work. He told me that when he was registering with the Medical Council the lady who works there told him that around 40 returning doctors applied for registration last year. Now THAT is good news!