Interview with Examiner Lin Woodacre
“Me and my pen”
Our Drama Examiner Lin Woodacre has been to Sri Lanka on her first overseas tour this year. We have interviewed Lin to find out all about her pens...
Did you take a lot of pens with you when you went on your first Trinity examination tour?
The pen is 'mightier than the sword' so an 8 week tour required writing equipment on an epic scale. I flew out confidently with 24 pens of the highest calibre knowing, when examinations commenced, I would be fully prepared. It was a little unfortunate the pens took up so much space in my suitcase that there was little room left for clothes, but I viewed this as a great opportunity to invest in the local economy and expand my limited wardrobe whilst in temporary residence.
How important is a pen in the life of an examiner?
How important is water to a fish? It is our life blood! Writing up to 40 reports a day on tour, my ample pen supply diminished rapidly before my eyes and ran out after seven weeks. The impact... a mixture of horror and disbelief! Again and again I checked my hotel room to discover the pens were no more. Had the extreme humidity finally taken its toll? And so it was that during my final week in Sri Lanka, I was forced to resort to the cheap and cheerful pens offered by sympathetic hotel and office staff. The colour, the size, the contours, the ink flow were all so different, and I must admit I did struggle at this point. However, the examinations had to go on... and so did I, completing my final report with an inky flourish and three plasters on my right hand!
Has anything amusing ever happened to you in connection with your pens?
Pens are wonderful multi-purpose resources. How can examiners live without them? If the remote control for the air con unit is missing, a pen can be a valuable tool to keep you cool in hot climates. It can also remove insects (dead or alive) to a safe distance, well away from traumatised candidates. A pen can unlock a toilet door with a dodgy handle and save you from the unspeakable embarrassment of being late for an examination. And taxi drivers always smile when you effortlessly present your pen to secure that all important receipt for your expenses. It's the perfect solution every time!
Do you have a pet name for your favourite pen?
This may sound harsh, but pens come and go, sometimes at an alarming rate! However, my personal favourite is the delightfully stylish purple pen with the Trinity logo and website emblazoned on its side. Always colourful enough to attract attention, this pen elevates the status of the examiner to experienced professional, and with the instant click-on head, it is always ready to spring into use at a moment's notice.
Have you ever lost a pen while on Trinity tour?
I am proud to admit that in my entire career with Trinity, I have never 'lost' a pen, though a few have been accidentally 'misplaced' in some exotic locations. These include the back seat of a tuk tuk, wrapped in a towel by a hotel swimming pool, beside the well-shaft of a gem mine in the jungle, and under a giant turtle. Fortunately, my Trinity pens are exceptionally well-travelled, though I have heard rumours of a new design that will include GPS.
What did people in Sri Lanka think about your pen?
Personally, I'm quite self-effacing, but I have to say that people in Sri Lanka had never seen anything quite like my Trinity pen. In an age where some people only have contact with screens and keyboards, many were indeed fascinated by the pen's ability to multi-task, transitioning seamlessly between watching performances and producing reports at the speed of light. It's almost like a dance. I guess you have to see it to believe it!