Monday, 28 February 2011

Doing a happy dance

Hurrah hurrah I've just submitted TMA04 (subject: the passive v. dynamic nature of memory).   I'm now in the mood for a little jig so I think I'll put on Caro Emerald and pour myself a wee dram and 'dance like nobody's watching', just for a little while....

No doubt the hound will lie watching me with one eye open, pretending to be asleep to avoid embarrassment.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Spot's Spot: moving house and new tricks

Hi everyone, sorry I've not been here for a while, I've been SOOOOO busy!  you would not believe. 

Yep, rushed off my feet, barely time to breathe let alone think. What with going to work with Mum sometimes, and then all the eating and sleeping and stuff. You know how it is!

I have moved house, well not house but rooms. Mum has decided to move my big bed (that I have ruined - the floor of it is now one huge hole where I have been scratching at it and doing my 'nesting' thing) out of the kitchen. For a couple of weeks I have had a bed in the corner down by the desk and I like it there, so she decided that can be my new permanent place, and I don't need the big bed there because it's cosy anyway.   She's pleased because now there are less fewer dog hairs in the kitchen (at least, she reckons they are my fault and I can't be bothered to argue).

Also I tend to follow my bed around the house now.  Sometimes when she is studying upstairs she takes one of my beds up and that means I'm allowed to come and lie in the same room as her.  But I'm not allowed up there if I'm not invited.  To be honest the stairs are a bit of a pain but when she's up there for hours it's nice to keep her company.

I've learnt some new phrases recently :  1) 'Come up' which means I'm allowed upstairs as aforementioned and 2) 'See you later' which means she's going out without me so I may as well go back to bed.

Anyway, I have more sleeping to do so must dash.

Love Django xx

Friday, 25 February 2011

Mix and match

I'm working at home this morning and have taken the afternoon off, I've run out of steam this week.   Other than one evening when I forced myself to watch some comedy on iPlayer, I've been in the office all day and then studying most of the evening. 

Yesterday's staff 'workshop' and discussion day went well and we got lots out of it, but our agenda was a little optimistic so we'll finish it off on Monday.    I also got my TMA03 mark back from my tutor, 76% which I was pleased with. Very consistent with my first two marks!  I am determined to get it higher in the one I am writing at the moment so last night I went through all the feedback I had, and made some notes.  Now I'm ripping my 2nd draft apart.... but we also have a tutorial tomorrow so no doubt that will throw some more spanners in the works.

Today's gratuitous photo is me, standing on one leg!!!  I suddenly discovered I could do this yesterday morning, without having to have a supportive hand on something, as I have done.  It's strange how things seem to change all of a sudden.

This afternoon I'm going to the picture framer's.   Many years ago I inherited a glass-fronted bookcase from my paternal grandfather. It's in 3 sections which sit on top of each other, and has hinged 'up and over' glass front on each section.   My grandfather was also an artist and when my parents were visiting his widow recently she gave them a small painting he'd done which includes the bookcase. She wanted whoever had the bookcase to have the painting, and she will pay for it to be reframed which it needs. 

So this afternoon I'm going off to get that sorted out, I've been recommended one not far away.   A friend used to do it locally and was great, she is an artist and has a great eye so knew exactly what would look good. A few years ago she sold her business and the chap who took it over just did what you asked for, was no good for suggesting what would suit the picture.  So I was stuck, but our friend recommended this lady, so fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Between us, Mr H and I seem to have spent the last month WAITING.

Waiting for the job advert to come out.
Waiting to catch a flight to Scotland (or home).
Waiting to hear if he got an interview (yes).
Waiting for my friend to be 12 weeks pregnant so it's not a secret any more (yesterday)
Waiting for the interview (end of next week)
Waiting for my latest OU assignment mark (aagghh soon, please!)
Waiting for an appointment to see a specialist (for the insurance).

"Waiting" sugggests inactivity but don't worry, we're doing things while we wait ;-)  

The freedom of going alone

Today I did something I've never done before.

I booked a ticket to go to the theatre, to see 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.  Not just that, but I'm going alone, to a matinee in 10 days time.

It cancels out so many issues: no deciding who to ask along, no agreeing on which night suits us best, no wondering if we will want a drink in the interval, no discussion about eating beforehand.  Some people would hate to go out to something without company, but as someone who has had to eat in restaurants alone a few times, this is easy.  I like the freedom of being alone, although as social beings it doesn't often come easily to us, and we like to have props such as a book or newspaper. I think it takes practice and the knowledge that unless you are behaving strangely, no-one really notices or thinks you're a wierdo.

Having said that, I did once try long-distance walking on my own, and that was awful (and yes maybe some people thought I was a weirdo).  When you are hiking along an escarpment looking at the fantastic valley below you, and there is no-one to turn to and say "wow, look at that!", it feels extremely lonely.  I lasted one day. The second day I walked with a group I had met in the B&B the night before who took pity on me because I was so miserable!   I didn't see it through, but at least I tried it.

Picture from here, quote from To Kill a Mockingbird

So, back to the start of the post, many people read the book as part of their school curriculum. I didn't and it was just one of those titles that I knew, but didn't know the story until I finally got round to reading it last year.  I'm not going to postulate on the book or it's meanings, there are people far more qualified than I for that, but I am looking forward to seeing the stage interpretation of it.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Meet a new friend

Well everyone, let me introduce Cliff. 

Yes you can guess why he's called that can't you?  Yes another abandoned furry thing, left to get cold and wet, on the clifftop this time.

He's had a bath, and a tumble dry, and maybe I'll give him a carrot to knaw on later.. after he's finished reading the chapter on Freud.

Django and I walked quite a long way this morning, the cliff path (after the paved bit finished) was a bit muddy so we picked our way at a strolling pace.  The sea on the shingle below was so soothing, at one point we stood and shut our eyes and just listened to it, in and out, in and out.

This afternoon I went with my friend G to see the pony that she looks after two days a week.  She's a piebald cob mare, about 14.2hh, and very easy to handle.   I love the smell of stables, and horses, and hay. It makes me miss my riding days whenever I smell it.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Natural resources

Here's where that driftwood went...

We're not wood sculptors I'm afraid, but we do like fires ;-)

Catching up and taking a breather

I'm taking a break from The Essay to say hello and catch you up with some stuff... not that anything hugely exciting has happened, everything seems to be a bit limbo-ish at the moment. The waiting sort, not the contorting under a horizontal pole sort.

I have recovered from the cold, which decided to go on for nearly a week in the end, so that got me down, especially as I was getting stressed about The Essay at the same time. Thankfully now the cold has cleared, my mind is working better and I'm actually making some progress. Hopefully after another stint tomorrow morning I might be able to give it a break and do some other reading, and come back to it later.

The way the course is structured sometimes seems a bit odd. To take these few weeks as an example:
Wk 1/2 read the two chapters concerned with the next essay, which will be a choice of two questions.
Wk 3 read another chapter not related AT ALL to either question.
Wk 4 you get a 'TMA  week' which is for working on your essay.
Wk 5 a chapter of the Methods book.
Wk 6 another totally unrelated chapter, at the end of which the essay is due, and you've totally forgotten about the two chapters that were relevant to it, because you read them 4 weeks previously. 

Hence, although this essay isn't due until March 16th, I will do it now otherwise it will get mixed up with all the other information I have to fill my head with over the next month.

Mr H has submitted his application for the new job, which would effectively be a promotion to the level of his current boss, but in a different district.  Through his mole, he has found out that the first sift will be done on the 22nd, and interviews on the 4th March.   Hmmm, he has a flight booked to fly home on the 3rd March! firstly to see me (of course), secondly to see KT Tunstall live, and thirdly to come with me to my next x-rays. We had already worked out that because of the usual time spans of these things, it was highly likely that interviews would interfere with that visit, but we were hoping anyway.

So now we have two good news/bad news scenarios:  if he doesn't get an interview (bad), he will be coming home that weekend (good); if he does get an interview (good), then he will have to get another flight home a different weekend (bad ££).  So, we are now just waiting to hear if he gets an interview, and obviously, that latter option is the better of the two.  So we are feeling pretty pragmatic about the fact that he might not be home as soon as we thought, there's really no point in being any other way, is there?

Gratuitous Scotland photo

Next Thursday we are holding a 'workshop' at work, for all the staff to get together and discuss - well lots of stuff basically. All the 'it' phrases like team building and empowering just don't seem to fit our little team but I guess that's some of what it's about.   We had originally planned it for last year, June 28th, but of course that got canned due to the car crash the night before (I will do anything to get out of having to possibly speak in front of people!),   Anyway, it's been rehashed slightly, I've even done a power point thingy whatsit for one part of it, but decided against irritating flying words, you'll be pleased to hear. It's the first time we've done anything like this so it will be interesting to see how it goes, and whether anyone is talking to anyone else by the end of it.  Oh and we get lunch at the Sailing Club ;-)

So that's about it really.

Oh, and Django says "Hi everyone! xxx"

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Who ate all the .. planets?

Sorry, it had to be done...

"A group of oddly bloated stars may have grown fat
by eating their own planets in a feeding frenzy."

Random photo

On a beach
We collected driftwood

Monday, 14 February 2011

Mid-course slump

Help, I seem to have hit a brick wall on my OU course :-(  

I'm finding the content interesting still, but I seem to have completely forgotten how to start, let alone complete an essay. In this case it's one evaluating claims and we are bombarded with warnings about what we must include.  I keep procrastinating but I hope once I make a start (tonight) things will start to fall into place.

For the first time this week I felt as though this is all too much hard work and wanted to give it up.  That must be a sign that I'm feeling generally down and not 100% because I'm not a quitter.  I suppose there have been times things have 'faded away' out of my interest boundaries, but that's not quite the same.  And it's not as though I'm not getting the marks, so it's just my own lack of ... something!!

I'm really hoping things bounce back a bit soon, otherwise I'll start getting behind with the work, and that will just perpetuate the negative feelings. 

Right, on with starting an essay plan about memory being a constructive and dynamic system.   Hmm, mine is isn't feeling very dynamic at the moment!!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

TP 134 : Strangers

Windswept stranger

Do you want to go to the seaside?

Do you want to go to the seaside?
I'm not trying to say that everybody wants to go
I fell in love at the seaside
I handled my charm with time and slight of hand.

Do you want to go to the seaside?
I'm not trying to say that everybody wants to go
I fell in love at the seaside
She handled her charm with time and slight of hand, and oh

But I'm just trying to love you
In any kind of way
But I find it hard to love you girl
When you're far away

Do you want to go to the seaside?
I'm not trying to say that everybody wants to go
But I fell in love on the seaside
On the seaside
In the seaside

Pictures by me
Words by The Kooks

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Great Kindle Debate

I generated a large number of comments on Facebook the other day when I said I was considering buying a Kindle electronic book-reader (is that what you call them?). 

Picture from Amazon

Most of the comments were in favour of them, people saying that they read more now they have one, and how useful they are for travelling.    The screen is clear and not like reading off a back-lit computer screen, the books are free or cheap and it holds 3,500 books at a time.  

However, I (and Rosie) can't get away from the fact that nothing compares with reading a real book. The look, feel, turning of the pages, smell of the paper. And what about lending/borrowing books from friends?

For myself, I can think of times where it would be useful not to have to carry bulky novels, but really it is a 'one hand' number of times a year.  Deep down I know that the attraction is that of having something new to play with, which will get put a way in a drawer and used once a year.

What do you think about books in general, or the Kindle or other equivalent electronic book-readers?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Shorts: still here

I have succombed to my first cold since before the crash, so that's about 8 months. I reckon that's good in anybody's book, especially as everyone around me seems to have suffered from colds/flu/nasty things over the last couple of months.  I guess my immune system (built up by never using any of those things that Kill 99% of All Germs) is still as strong as ever, but taking flights is the worst thing for catching stuff isn't it.

I've got a load more photos from the weekend, some of which I will share with you, but they aren't downloaded onto this computer yet. And right now I'm going to *** off and curl up with Oscar Wilde (well, his book, not him) and have an early night. Because I can.

Be back soon....

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A precis of events

Dear diary,

Waved goodbye to Django. Lift to the train to the airport. Awful flight up, 70mph winds in Glasgow necessitated aborted landing and diversion to Newcastle. Four hour coach trip back to Glasgow to be picked up by Mr H. at 10pm who had spent four hours window shopping. Nerves shattered. Considered that if it's still blowing dogs off chains on Monday I can catch the train home. Much needed cup of tea followed swiftly by bed.

Windy again!  braved the seafront in Ayr for wind, spume and photo opportunities.  Selected cafe for lunch which served over-priced toasties which we ate while watching hoardes of school children file past... and back with Cokes and MacDonalds.  Drooled over books in Waterstones but escaped with only four.

A homebody day. Walked by the in-spate River Doon in misty drizzle, missed having a dog beside us.  Back to the flat for tea, home-baked biscuits, novel-absorbing and job-application-proof-reading. In the evening back into Ayr for a live-music gig at Mr H's local pub.

A day out to the North!   Drove past familiar yet normally distant regatta venues to catch the little red ferry to Dunoon.   A reccy for the potential job including checking out rental cottages and the potential of Dunoon as a place to live.  It got a positive score of supermarket, pharmacy and real shops.  I drove the 'new' van so that Mr H could do the Looking Out of the Window bit. Lunch and awe-inspired gasps next to Loch Eck, more photo opportunities.  Home on the 3.20 ferry and roast beef for dinner.

Woke to windy weather, but forecast said calm by late afternoon.  Popped across the courtyard for a cuppa with Mr H's neighbour and half her family who were staying. A jovial gathering which mainly consisted of conversation about speed traps and driving.   After lunch and packing departed for Silverburn shopping centre for more window and real shopping before being dropped at the airport. Goodbye Scotland for another time.

Uneventful flight home on a half-empty plane, to be met by my colleague who imparted all the office gossip on the way home. 

Picked up Django from his 'grandparents', who had throroughly enjoyed his company.  He is now snoring in his basket in the kitchen.

A Grand Weekend.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


You to me are as comfortable as that favourite old boot.
You know who you are.

And now for a short break....

Hello, just to let you know not to worry about me if I'm not around for a few days. It's time for my visit to see Mr H, I'm flying up tomorrow and can't wait! 

Django is going to stay with my parents for the first time; hopefully not the last. I guess that will depend on how much he whines during the night, right below their bedroom....

The work 'crisis' is sorted.  Not in the way we expected, but at least I had time to get some work done today before going away.

So, bye for now. Backson.

'Owl looked at the notice again. To one of his education the reading of it was easy.
"Gon out, Backson. Bisy, Backson" -- just the sort of thing you'd expect to see on a notice.
"It is quite clear what has happened , my dear Rabbit," he said.
"Christopher Robin has gone out somehwere with Backson. He and Backson are busy together.
Have you seen a Backson anywhere about in the Forest lately."'
from here