Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Uppers and downers

Going to the office is great, I'm on a high all the time I'm there.  I have friends to talk to and have a laugh with; work is more efficient as all the files and e-mail are in one place, instead of half on the server and half on my hard disk; I can have instant, face-to-face discussions instead of e-mail/skype/phone discussions. 

Today was the first time I went in for a full day, 9-5, but it was a bit different because the 8 of us went out to lunch on the proceeds of selling half the filing cabinets, part of our quest to reclaim a room in our little office. So we had a two hour lunch break and had fun. They didn't have any chocolate puddings so when we left we sent the boss (since he had a car) to the shop with a tenner, with instructions to buy chocolate bars for us all, of which he did an admirable job despite his comic eye-rolling.  So it was a Good Day.

Then I came home. 

As soon as I shut the front door behind me I felt completely flaked out and lonely and just wanted to cry. It felt like the come-down after a great party, when everyone goes home and you're left alone surrounded by dirty dishes and spent party poppers.

My surefire and certain cure?  Boots off, slippers on, cup of tea, and Alison Krauss on the stereo....

Monday, 29 November 2010

Door to door

I just had a visit from two lads from Southern Electric. I reckon they must have been given the job of door to door visiting on a cold November day as some sort of penance for a transgression. Their hearts really weren't in it.

SE Man : Er yeah, hi, we're from Southern Electric?

Me :  Oh right, have you come to read the meter?  [then notice there's a 2nd man lad]

SE Man : Er no, er this is my colleague. We've got a list of people in your area and er, it look like, er you might not be getting the best deal at the moment?

Me :  Well, I'm with npower anyway not Southern Electric.  [nb. they still read the meter even though the bill comes from npower. Yes, confusing I know]

SE Man : Yeah, but, I dunno I've been given this list and you might not be getting the best price?

Me : I'm sorry, I don't understand. [understanding perfectly that they didn't know what they were here for]

SE Man : Yeah, no, er [points to my highlighted name on his list] apparently you might not be on the best tariff?

Me : Well I'm with npower anyway, and I'm quite happy with my tariff.

SE Man : Er, ok, no worries then.

[walks dejectedly away with his mate]

As I watched them walk away, I felt quite sorry for them.

Happy Monday!

I spent most of yesterday working on my second essay, and every time I itched to put a semi-colon I put a full stop instead. Aaaaghh it hurt!  ok deep breaths.  It's nowhere near finished and isn't due til after Christmas but it's good to have a first draft down. I also need to put in the references, and an intro and and outro which are the hardest bits not to sound waffly in!  Then the second part of the assignment is analysing statistics, so that shouldn't be too hard if I put my logical head on.

I was going to go into the office today, but had a lousy night's sleep; it must have been the glass of wine I had last night, I'm supposed to be avoiding alcohol while on DHC.  Still, when I did sleep I had 'interesting' dreams about friends discovering they had two children they didn't know about and tasked me to find them. I was expecting kiddies but they turned out to be about 18.   The night before I dreamed about riding a temperamental horse that talked, and meeting a lady who had fallen off her penny-farthing bicycle. 

Anyway, I decided to work at home, and can always use the excuse that there's a light frost this morning and our steps to the office are 'treacherous' in the winter. I chose that word carefully by the way, I want to use it before the local press do. Last winter a friend and I ran statistical analysis of the words they used to describe the conditions. I remember that 'treacherous' came out top by a mile. Though to be fair, in January we did have rain/freeze/rain/freeze which resulted in everything being covered in an inch of ice - I needed my spiky walking poles to walk to work, because it was like walking on..well.. ice.

Treacherous walk to work, Jan 2010

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Back in Southern Reality

I had an uneventful journey back to my Southern Reality.  Yes I needed the hankie quite a bit but who wouldn't when hugging and waving goodbye to their ain true love? 

I had more friendly wheelchair people to negotiate the airport for me, and left on time for what proved to be a most enjoyable flight. It was daytime and clear skies for most of the way so we had fantastic views of the lightly snow-covered landscape below us.  I took the opportunity for some photography while gazing out of the window.
Looking north east from Glasgow towards the Highlands

Just as much as I love the open countryside and the grandeur of distant mountains, I am fascinated by the  aerial views of towns and cities, with their neatly designed housing estates and road systems.

As we approached Southampton I could see that greenliness* prevailed, not a snowy patch in sight. I smiled as we flew in low over the city - I could see a lit up fairground carousel spinning and Christmas shoppers in the decorated main street, it made me feel almost festive!

Dad was there waiting for me when I arrived and although I suffered my 'passenger stress' on the 45 minute drive home, I was pleased to see the roads were clear and dry.  Maybe we will get some snow and ice in the next week or maybe not; we tend to have our own micro-climate here, maybe it's the southern sea air.

Although I miss my boys like mad, it is good to be back home. It is also rather comforting to know that if it gets snowy or icy I can just lock myself inside and not need to go out. Although, I have just ordered myself some ice spikes for my crutches ;-)

*yes, I made that up, it rhymes with 'cleanliness'.

Six Word Saturday

Flying Home to my other Reality

We woke to half an inch of snow on the ground, but still-green hills!   Checked Glasgow Airport, all scheduled flights leaving as planned.  Friend texted to say there is no snow at home.

Phew, it sounds like I will be home without too much trauma.  Except that of being dropped off by Mr H and Django at the airport, I have made sure I have my hankie in my pocket...

River Doon

Friday, 26 November 2010

In today's News

That's my News, not the stuff you get in the papers!

Firstly, I heard from Nice Policeman Phil (I imagine him in his 40s with a slightly harrassed look) that the report has been sent to the Coroner, and that it all might be done and dusted based on the report and written statements. Even if Mr H and I are not required to attend the hearing to give statements personally we will have the option to attend.  Having been dreading the thought of it, now I rather want to go in the hope of learning 'Why', and oddly also for educational reasons to see what actually happens.  It may well all be an anti-climax of course.

Secondly, I got the mark back for my first OU assignment for this year.  It was ok but not as good as I'd hoped; but then a first assignment in a new year and with a different tutor is always going to be a learning experience.  My tutor wrote a long and very useful critique and comments which was good - I've heard that some write virtually nothing.    One of the things I found out was that "psychology as a discipline generally prefers succinct and concise sentences whereas the 'Arts' subjects are probably happy with longer sentences". Hmm, I suppose I'll have to save my arty sentences and semi-colons for my blog!   Not that I'm a waffler but evidently I am by psychology standards. 

She also suggested lots of other things I could have included, but with a word count of only 1000 words I think it would have risked becoming a list of bullet points.  Still I got a good pass and it's a challenge for the 2nd assignment now.


TP 125: Sepia

I'm not sure whether this is true sepia, but it's as close as I can get!  for Thematic Photographic.

November canoeing on Loch Ard, the Trossachs, Scotland

Not so Feelgood Friday

So, I open my Yahoo mail page this morning and the first news headline is "Jet skids on icy runway at Newcastle". 

And this comes amongst the dire news that Britain is gripped in yet another record snow/ice weather thing. I can't remember what the record is now, the earliest sight of a gritting lorry for 17 years perhaps, or the first time the breakdown services have had more than xx number of callouts a day in November. Every year it has to be a record for something and I'm not quite sure of the point of that, except to throw everyone into a panic about how it's SO much worse than it's been for - ooohhh, a long time.

Anyway... as previously mentioned, I am not a confident flyer, and I am due to fly home Glasgow-Southampton tomorrow afternoon; so that is not a good headline to read and I chose not to read the whole article.  I will bolster myself with thoughts like "It's ok I'm not going to Newcastle", "I expect it was some wierd cheap airline from some random country", "Oh it was a holiday flight, that's ok I'm not going on holiday".

Whenever I think "Oh no, there is a smattering of snow and it's below freezing", I remind myself that planes fly in and out of skiing resorts (ie. snowy, doh) all the time in the winter.  Yet somehow that's different; we in the south of England are notoriously rubbish at coping with even a small amount of snow/ice/weather - it's not Glasgow airport I'm worried about, it's Southampton.

And my Dad (in his 70s) is driving to pick me up, so I will be worrying about that as well.

Ohhhh why can't I be one of those positive-never-worry-about-anything people??

Thursday, 25 November 2010

LitLove on Studying

Rosie e-mailed me with this link, as she thought I'd be interested (she was right!), http://litlove.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/students/.  It's well worth a read.

It made me think about the pressure for me to do well on my Open University course. I mentioned the other evening that I shouldn't feel as pressured as when I was younger and doing school and college work, after all I am only doing this for myself... but as Mr H pointed out, we are our own toughest critics, and I reckon he is right.

Some of the points in LitLove's post rang a bell; for instance the feeling that 'everyone else' sails through the studying and essays, and retains all the information and can regurgitate it at will, either into an essay or into a conversation or at a tutorial, whereas sometimes my mind is a complete blank.  And the worry about exams, although it is 7 months away.. I'm not so bad that I am doing past exam papers though!

It was also interesting about people being ashamed to admit that they need help; I can definitely relate to that. If I was getting really stuck it would take a lot to get me to approach the OU study help people; it would be akin to going to a debt management company.  Having to admit that you can't cope with something that you have taken on yourself. ie. I got myself into this, I have to get myself out of it.

Hopefully I won't get to that stage, and if I can keep up the excitement and enthusiasm for my future path, rather than thinking "why am I doing this anyway?", that will surely help!

In the meantime here is a relaxing photo of where I am sitting right now, not doing any studying. Kind of working, on our 2011 application form design.  I'm upstairs in the the left hand section of the long side facing you..

Time and Music

Just a couple of days left til I leave to go home, it feels as though I've been here for weeks!   Although the weather has turned colder, sadly I don't think I'm going to be snowed in.  It feels odd thinking that I won't be up here again until 2011.

Last night we went into Ayr to a bar where Mr H has started playing their 'Open Mic' night on Wednesdays.  The bar has been closed for a while and just reopened under new management about three weeks ago, and are trying to encourage musicians who are just starting out; Mr H discovered it on one of his exploratory trips around Ayr. 

Last Wednesday he played for 15 minutes but had to leave to pick me up from the airport, so last night was his first proper visit as we were there all evening.  We met a few locals but it was very quiet as the bar is just getting going again.  They have asked Mr H to play a set on Saturday night so he will be stressing about that for the next two days!  He only plays songs he has written himself, and they seem to love it, so hopefully this will prove a good outlet for his music; he has always struggled down south as people only want to hear things they already know.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Gateway to... where?

I put on my facebook status that I "want to work at the Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics" (yes it really exists, look it up), and facetious as that sounds I have been having odd bursts of excitement at where my OU course might lead me.  I have been particularly excited at the realisation that I may be able to combine my interests in the English Language with Psychology/Criminology.

My latest thrills came from reading last week's issue of New Scientist, which I buy about once every two months and is always interesting. This issue has several articles relevant to what I'm studying at the moment, including the different ways of thinking in different cultures (we in the West are the odd ones out); the configuration of intelligence in our brains, and the question of whether laughing is innate while crying is learned.

There is nothing like filling my head with questions about life and brains and cultures and animals and the world and dreams and reality, to take my mind off little glitches in my emotional state.


Why is is so time consuming to stop following blogs?    Not that it applies to those of you reading this, of course!   But there are blogs that a while ago I clicked on Follow because either:

- it seemed like a good idea at the time
- they seemed funny at the time
- it was Blog of Note and I thought I'd check it out
- somebody recommended it

But later I decide that I don't find it funny, or the content has changed and it's all about sex (and really I don't want to read that) or it wasn't as interesting as I thought; or it's just not 'my thing', or in some cases there are no posts for months and months (Carol you are exempt from that rule!).  So occasionally I decide to have a weed out of my list.

That involves going to Manage Blogs, clicking on the settings for an individual blog, selecting 'Stop Following', waiting for it to register and either go back to the list of blogs, or crash and say it can't do it.  Repeat for other blogs.   Why can't the list have a tick box next to each one and at command at the bottom saying 'Stop Following selected blogs' ?

Or, since sometimes I can't remember from the title of a blog what it is about, if I've not looked at it for ages, it would be nice to be able to go to that blog as an aide-memoire, and be able to tick 'Un-Follow' in the same way that you tick Follow, on the blog page.  (Or can you do that and I've missed it?)

So, invariably I do a couple and then get fed up with how long it takes and go and do something more interesting instead.


for Whimsical Wednesday

Pedro the Pamplemoose
Pampers himself
While dreaming of

*Pamplemousse = Grapefruit in French

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Back to work, kind of....

Today was a wierd day, I spent most of it sitting on Mr H's sofa with my laptop, working. I had toast for breakfast, and toast for lunch (I forgot he said there was a pie I could have, in the fridge); I swore at the electric hob which took hours to cook my egg, to go on my toast, which I burned.

I took Django out for a mid-morning and mid-afternoon stroll in the field by the river, and have somehow managed to make the bungee in one of my crutches loose while banging mud out of the bottom of it (something for Mr H to fix).

I feel more tired from sitting here all day working than I did from walking miles across a beach and back in the fresh air.   I've got niggles about a friend who seems to have gone quiet and is normally very chatty with me, and like we all do I started thinking 'what have I done/said to cause that?' while all the time I know that it's not me, it's her - and the best thing to do is shrug it off and see what happens.

Mr H just pulled up in the van, so time to put the kettle on!!!

Spot's Spot: Holiday

Well, tell you I was mighty surprised to see Mum walk in the door on Wednesday night!!!   I gave her my biggest grin as I ran down the door to meet her.  Coooool, I wonder how long she is staying?

Dad didn't go to work for the last few days, instead the three of us went out in the van exploring and looking at stuff, here are some pics of me:

Me looking handsome (of course)

Checking out the view from Doon Castle

Are you coming, or what?

Whooaaa, vertical ladders into the dock are scary!!

Waves breaking over seaweed are also scary!!!

Today I didn't go to work, I've been in the flat with Mum.   I thought I heard Dad earlier on and had to go and check out all the rooms to see if he was hiding somewhere, but he wasn't.  Mum and I went for a walk round the field by the river this morning, she walks much slower than Dad. It gave me time for more sniffing though.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Islands, roads and work

Today we went down to Girvan which is a little way down the coast.   It is a grey looking town with a seafront and beach very like Ayr, except that unlike Ayr it didn't look as though it would ever be particularly buzzing with people.  I found the town fairly uninspiring but has the attraction of having Ailsa Craig just off the coast; the island is uninhabited and a bird sanctuary, and one of its claims to fame is that Ailsa Craig granite is used to make curling stones.   It is impossible not to stare at the island when you see it, it has a magnetic attraction to the eye.

I don't know whether it was the culmination of having spent more time in a car in the last 4 days than I have in the last 5 months, combined with being driven on winding, unfamiliar roads and Mr H's habit of driving closer to the white line than I do (and he's always hated the fact that I drive too close to the verge!), but for the first time since I've been here I was feeling really nervous and a bit scared on the roads. I felt as though I had suffered a relapse in my recovery to 'normality' since the crash and felt quite upset about that.

I've never been a very good passenger, especially if I think the driver isn't concentrating or anticipating, I've always preferred to be the one behind the wheel.   Mr H asked today whether I thought I'd become a better or worse passenger after the crash; whether being forced to be a passenger would make it easier for me.  I don't really know the answer yet.

Today was the last day of my 'holiday', Mr H and I both go back to work tomorrow though I will be doing mine from his flat for the rest of this week, so it's kind of halfway house. It will feel a bit weird and I am very conscious of not getting in the way of his routine, especially in the morning; not that it will be much of a problem as he leaves the house at 7.30am so I'll still be snuggled up in bed!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A day of rest, and off-roading

As you probably gathered, yesterday involved quite a bit of walking... and then one of Mr H's Scots lassie friends from his previous District came over for the evening to sample his fantastic cooking, and stayed the night.  I discovered that white wine + DHC seems to have more of an adverse affect than red wine + DHC and took myself off to bed at 9.30, leaving them up chatting for another two hours.

Today was decreed a Day Off.  This morning was a slow start, the Scots lassie left about 11.30 after breakfast, and the rest of the day consisted of a lovely hot bath (which subsequently set off the smoke/heat alarm in the flat), lunch and an off-road dog walk along the river outside the back door - an hour's round trip back through the village to post some post-cards (tourist!) and check the bus timetables into Ayr. 

I say off-road because parts of the path by the river were muddy and a bit tricky, but I'm getting good on these crutches now.   It just shows how our limitations are self-selected by our own, and others', expectations.... up until now walking up the road to the postbox was an achievement; but since I've been here I've walked on beaches, seaweed covered rocky bits, muddy paths and distances that I never thought I'd manage.

Sometimes it takes a break in routine, and the necessity for making the most of a situation, to show ourselves what we can do. 

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Six Word Saturday : a grand day out

Tired feet, tired hands, good day :-)

Today we met up with my niece who is at Uni in Glasgow, she caught the train down to Ayr and we did the tourist thing.

The end of the day my feet were sore, and my hands were aching (from the crutches), I reckoned that we had walked at least the Lang Scots Mile, twice!   We had burgers and chips in a seaside cafe which sold buckets and spades, and inflatable beach-balls and dinghies.  It was the first time we'd ever spent time with my niece on her own (ie. without one of her parents being there) and it was great to get to know her a bit better.  

Another lovely day :-)

Friday, 19 November 2010

TP 124: Candid

Dublin High Street

An educational day

Today I was driven around Mr H's forest district and I learned....

That areas of broadleaves (birch, rowan, alder) are being planted in the Galloway Forest Park, as well as conifers.

That some trees can grow under water.

That the drainage off the land has to be just right, not to fast and not too slow.

That they can tell what will grow well by the size of the stumps of the previous crop that was there.

That after harvesting an area is left for around 5 years before planting to avoid spraying for weevil, as it is supposed to have been and gone in that time; but then they have to spray for the weeds that have grown up.

That sticks of trees are left on the site when harvesting, for the birds of prey to sit on.

That they can tell what will grow well in a particular place by the natural 'weeds' that have grown there.

That Lodgepole Pine is planted along with the Sitka Spruce because it changes the characteristics of the nitrogen in the soil so that it is better for the Sitka. 

That Lodgepole Pine isn't a very good wood, but will be harvested for things like paper or pallets.

That Larch branches are useful when you get stuck in the mud.

That Larches in this clean air can get so covered in lichen it looks like snow.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Sun, sea and sand...

Despite living and working right by the sea, we don't have sandy beaches at home unless we go to Bournemouth, which we never do.   So it was a joy today to take a long walk on the beach at Ayr, in the wind and rain showers, but we didn't care! . 

We were rewarded with an beautiful, complete rainbow, which started at one end of Ayr town and finished at the lighthouse on the end of the harbour wall.

Unfounded fears (of course)

So I'm here!!! currently sitting in a very quiet flat (compared with home) while Mr H has taken Django round the block, then he's going to come back and make us a cooked breakfast ;-)  this is the life, eh?

The flight was fine, and in fact despite the strong winds that was the smoothest landing I've had for a long time - thank you Chris the pilot!  The Airport staff were lovely and wheeled me through security and commented about the fact you don't get a cast on a broken leg; then I was wheeled to the plane before everyone else and my crutches and luggage stowed for me.  I could get used to this!   With the tailwind we landed 20 minutes early so after I'd been wheeled round the back way to the exit by a very chatty Scots lad, I had to wait a little while for Mr H; I used the time to walk down to the pickup/drop off point so he didn't have to pay for parking.   Walking with luggage in a rucksack is OK, but I go half the speed..

Then there he was and time for big hugs, and a 45 minute drive back to the flat where Django met me on the stairs with a huge grin on his face - I wish I could have photographed it.

Whooooeeee, I'm on holiday!!

Somewhere in the Trossachs, Scotland - ie. nowhere near where I am now as I've not had a chance to take pictures yet!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Fear of Flying

I'm not a good flyer; I prefer to travel at ground or sea level, but sometimes needs must.

At least, the bit in the air is ok, I don't like taking off and landing. Especially when it is bad weather or windy... and it is windy today, of course!!

I know all the statistics and how flying is 29 times safer than driving, and I'm flying with a reputable company and not "Congo Budget Flights", but that doesn't stop me gripping the arm rest and breathing a sigh of relief as the plane comes to rest at its destination.   My best friend is the opposite to me, she loves flying because it means she is going on holiday or somewhere nice; she is all excited when she lands whereas I am thinking "OK, I survived another one".    Sometimes logic and emotion end up having a big battle in my brain.

A reminder just popped up on my computer saying "HOLIDAY"... I will try thinking about that instead!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

June 1988

My elder sister and her man,
Having got in just before us in February,
Were engaged;
The wedding was arranged:
July 1989.

By summer they had
Had 'their time',
The announcement had been in the paper
(Local, not National);
The congratulations had been
Offered and accepted.

My man and I
Felt that my father could now
Take the news of another one,
Without risk to his health.

We were helping him,
Packing up his dinghy.
My man said,
"There's something we want to tell you..
Juniper and I want to get married."

There was a pause.
"Oh. My goodness."
They had The Talk.

I expect they thought we were young -
I was 22, my man 21;
But actually they were only a couple of years older
In 1958.

My mother said she needed
Three months between weddings, so
We could have April or October.

I doubt they expected to get rid of
Both daughters the same year;
Thank goodness no-one thought a
Joint wedding would be a good idea.

The wedding was arranged:
April 1989.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Legs in Thailand

Here from the random photo pile is one to make you want my job even more.   If I didn't have a broken leg, at the end of November I would have been flying off to Phuket, Thailand for 10 days for their big regatta, the Phuket King's Cup.  It is held every year during the first week of December to coincide with the King of Thailand's birthday and is one of the two events to which I go regularly. No, contrary to popular belief, I don't spend the year jet-setting around to sailing events, if I did that no real work would get done!

My job out there is helping with pre-regatta measurement and issuing certificates, and general regatta support during the week.  I do get some time off during the day once they start racing, and try to get out on the water a few times, either sailing on one of the boats or out with someone from the organisation.  The man who owns this boat always invites me out; I'm the one in the middle with bare feet (not normally recommended, but I discovered my shoes marked the deck - a definite no-no!).

So, Scottish chill instead of Thailand heat this year; but you know what - I'm quite happy with that, I will have my two boys to keep me warm! :-)

Sending things packing

I am in that annoying period where I want to finish packing my bag for my trip, but I can't because I'm still using things.   I sent a few things up by post to Mr H, like shoes and thick fleeces and big pots of body moisturiser, because I'm only taking a carry-on bag (budget flying!) and that is my laptop rucksack now I am taking my work laptop with me. 

I'm working out how much I can wear for the flight, and reckon I can manage my furry gilet and my down jacket (no way I'm going without that); and of course my furry boots.  Here is a picture I drew for Mr H so he knows what to expect..

That should pretty much guarantee that Western Scotland enjoys an unseasonable heatwave in mid-November....

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Spot's Spot: Beach-combing

Me killing some kelp seaweed, grrrr!

Dad and I went for a nice walk on a nice scottish beach yesterday, can't remember where it was now but there was a cool house/castle thing on the rock in the distance.   I like the feel of sand between my toes but I'm not so keen on sea-swimming; that sort of thing is for Labradors and Spaniels, not we sensitive Pointers.

Pyjama day

Today is a pyjama day, nice satin PJs mind you, they are the only ones that feel right and comfortable for daytime wearing. I've never been able to relate to people who routinely wear nightwear during the day; it doesn't work for me unless I'm feeling really sick, in which case I am in bed or on the sofa with a duvet. I usually have to get dressed to feel that I have started the day and am out of 'sleeping' mode into 'doing' mode. And yes I know there are those who go to the supermarket in the PJs; I'm sorry but that is just all wrong!

After yesterday I have decided to change my studying method, and read a whole section marking up and writing notes in the margin; and then go back and write organised notes of the important bits afterwards. That way I feel as though I am progressive reading (instead of stop-start-notes) and I get to scan it again when I write the proper notes.  Let's see if that helps; it also means I can read in bed or on the sofa with just a pencil and a cup of tea, instead of having to have everything laid out on the table all the time.

This morning I made the big (to me) decision to start taking some DHC again; my leg has been quite painful this week, probably because of exerting it more using stairs and going into the office.   So rather than put a brave face on it I'll try taking just one DHC a day in the morning and see how it goes; at least now I understand the effects etc. and even a bit about how it works through neurons and synapses in the body, so it is educated drug-taking!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

What is a personality anyway?

Saturday and Sunday are usually ear-marked as a study days, since during the week once I've done a day's work, right now I struggle to concentrate on psychological theories for more than an hour or so in the evening.  And I'm supposed to need to do 16 hours a week for OU, hurrah.   So weekends are for catching up. 

Right now I'm thinking "If this is Year 2, what the hell are years 3-6 going to be like?"  I hope it's just because I'm a bit short on va-va-voom at the moment, those wee neurons and blood vessels and oxygen working hard in my leg as they are; but I'm sure the chapters are getting longer, and there are so many new theories and concepts and words to try and remember it all just becomes a jumble.  I swear that I can't remember a single thing that I read and wrote notes on just this morning!   It doesn't help that I can't sit in a common room and discuss things with the other students; talking in online forums just isn't the same.

The chapter I have just finished was biological psychology which was pretty interesting (you remember my cute neurons); now, chapter 5 is about personality.  I'm only on the third page and already I'm feeling as though I no longer have one.

In my first year I really just wrote my notes in the margin of the book, but this year I am writing proper notes in a notebook, because this year we have an e.x.a.m. in June (in the first year there was no exam, just a final assignment marked by a different tutor) so I will need more revision notes.  That slows me down so much that the chapters seem never-ending, and it's depressing to be yawning over it after an hour and a half and losing the will to read any further, even when it's interesting.

I keep thinking I need to stay ahead now, as I can't carry my study books to Scotland, they are way too heavy; and in reality I'm not going to want to do any when I have Mr H and Django to spend time with, am I!

I'm sure the others on my course are feeling similar; heaven knows how those with small children cope (there seem to be plenty of them); at the moment I'm feeling pretty jealous of those students who study full time!  Sorry to sound so fed up, just practicing that 'out of the head and into black and white' therapy that my friend Mel advocated.

I'll let you know when I've found out the basis of all our personality traits... that is if personality actually exists.

Six Word Saturday

I can't believe it's Saturday again aleady, this week seems to have flown by.

Five days until I see them!

Yes folks I am going for my first visit to Ayrshire and I can't wait!   Well it's not strictly my first visit, since we did the 8-hours-each-way drive up in May to view the flat (apartment), and back the same day; we had about an hour to look round the flat and check out the village and dog-walking possibilities and got home at 2am.    Yes that sounds mad but the flat sounded perfect and we didn't want to miss it, that is the problem with looking for somewhere to rent 450 miles away.

This is one of the things that sold it to me...

We don't have a bath at home, only a shower.  This place has a bathroom and a shower room, decadence! (Yes that's me in the mirror)

This was one of the things that sold it to both of us....

30 seconds outside the back door - a big rough area for walking Django and a fly-fishing river for Mr H in the summer.

So now I am going for my first proper visit, it's going to be great to explore the area and see the places Mr H works.  I'm flying up and have assistance booked at the airport, which means I get someone to push me around in a wheelchair and board the plane first.   That is going to offend my independent sensibilities but I am going to swallow my pride and enjoy it ;-)

Friday, 12 November 2010

IF: Burning

"Keep a candle burning in the window..."

watercolour pencil

TP 123: Black and White

Thematic Photographic..

Black and White fun!

Feelgood Friday

First up, I have recently discovered Beautiful World, which is a photo blog (of beautiful photos of course) with various contributors including some of you reading this!  Take a look for a little haven of tranquility.

Feelgood Friday....  what made me feel good this week?    well the general progress of getting the house back to normal of course, but one thing put a particular smile on my face.

I got a little parcel in the post from Mr H, unexpectedly.  What could be in it?   maybe something that he thought I might need at home, or a funny something he's found like the vole pike-fishing hook he sent me once; or maybe a block of tablet, mmmm!   

When I opened it up there was my old friend Hedgey, who had been sent home so that he could be my companion on my flight up to visit next week. 

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Change of routine

It didn't occur to me when I decided to move back upstairs, how much it would change the routine I got used to over the last 4 months.

I used to wake up at 7, get a cup of tea, then sit in bed until 8 with my laptop reading people's blogs (and writing mine).

Now I wake up at 7, go back to sleep, wake up again at 8 (or 7.30 if I'm going to the office). I usually check my home e-mails but then it's time to have my work computer on and get on with that.

I used to work until 3, then have time to do some studying, reading, chilling out.

Now I work until 5, take half an hour to look at some blogs/emails, then have to do an hour's studying before thinking about cooking tea.   Now that I have set up my studying desk upstairs I am not constantly distracted by the computer when I am supposed to be reading!

So, this all means that I am not finding so much time to read everyone's blogs, especially the long ones, so I apologise for that!

I don't even seem to be having so many random thoughts to talk about as I used to.. I need to make sure I don't get back into the old rut and still find time to expand my mind.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Latching on

In the garage, Mr H has a stack of workshop boxes with various things in them such as nails and spare car light bulbs; there is even one labelled 'fake £20 notes' but sadly it's always been empty.

My favourite is the one labelled:

Apart from the very satisfying rhyming of the label text, it is full of all sorts of - well, what it says on the box. Anything from tiny bolts, to window handles and old brass hinges. 

Yes we tend to collect stuff like that, I hesitate to say 'hoard' because it is in manageable proportions, but I like the fact that if we need just the right thing for a particular use, we are likely to be able to find something that will do the job in the garage. And it will usually be an old part, rather than a horrible shiny, weak willed new part from a shop.

What secret but incredibly useful store of stuff do you have that you have collected over the years?


I have been reading about neurons and the central nervous system as part of my studies, in the biological psychology section.    I never took much interest in biology when I was at school but now I find such information interesting; and when studying psychology it is nice to have some black and white facts for a change, instead of the constant greyness of psychological theories.

Neurons are information processors, the little fellas who get notifications about pain and other tactile happenings to the brain and then back to the muscles for action. I think they are pretty cool.   It got me thinking about how my neurons had been affected by the crash and the fact that the shock means you don't feel the pain straight away.

This is what I think the neurons in my leg were saying:

Click to enlarge