Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Unseen

In the Autumn I shall train to be a Classics teacher, but until recently, it was thirty years since I had studied Latin, apart from the odd brush with mottoes and grave inscriptions.  What started me again was Carenza, Perran and their friend Beth starting to learn Latin.  Perran didn’t last as he was already studying too many other subjects, but Carenza and Beth have continued.

They have been proceeding steadily with a tutor, David.  How many times did I say

“Just enjoy it, girls – it’s not one of your main subjects – your university offer won’t depend on it.”

And then Carenza received her offer from Oxford, and it stipulated “Successful completion of AS Latin.”

Suddenly the Cinderella subject has come to the fore.  This is a pain as Carenza needs to ensure she passes the exam rather than studying for pleasure, but It is also a gift to me, as I love retreating to the sofa and spending a quiet half hour with her, undertaking a translation.  Translation from a piece of Latin one has not studied before is known as an “unseen”.  Unseens are perfect with tea, biscuits and the fire on.  They promote serenity and mother-daughter bonding.  Latin is the first of the exams Carenza will take and I shall miss it when it’s over.