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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just bought this!


I spy a plumber!

He came out this morning and will return on Friday week to take out bath, sink and radiator, so that we can do the tiling etc. (I wish it had been sooner). For some reason, he says we need, not only a 4 inch plinth underneath our shower - but also a 3 inch x 5 inch boxing in effort around the wall, to the waste. So that means that we'll have to take legs of cupboards and bolt them to the wall ... Not very happy. Goodness knows what else is going to go wrong!

I took this picture of myself today (as you do) to post on the conference, as we were discussing hair and age. Nobody thinks I'm too old to have my hair this length. In fact, nobody thinks that there should be any difference how long your hair is whatever age you are.

Anyway, I think I look very studious! Talking of which, I've finished S194 - and just have the ECA to do (which, actually, isn't all that easy!) I'm a bit disappointed, because it took me to chapter 7 (of 8) to get to anything I hadn't already learnt from previous courses! And now, I have 3 months to hang around doing nothing! Not that I have a clue what course to do next year anyway - it depends on the S330 re*ult. It'll probably be SXN390, therefore. And there are some weird things going on with regard to nuclear waste, at the moment. 'Bribe' for councils to take atom waste and seemingly no geologists involved in deciding on a suitable storage place. Worrying.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


... to my baby, Nicholas Jon.

1st Birthday

Now he's all grown up, has a BSc in Chemistry (with Astronomy), a job as a civil servant and a wife, Nicola.

And he's



Where's the plumber II?

This arrived today.

Dual flush and with a 'soft close' seat - therefore, for a toilet, about as interesting as it gets! But it has to sit in our living room as every other room in the house is filled to the brim with other bathroom bits!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Where's the plumber?

The house is a tip, with bits of new bathroom everywhere. Shower cubicle, shower tray, shower, tiles, basin, taps, blinds .... and new towels are neatly 'rolled' into a basket and they're getting dusty! The plumber got married on 30th September and then went on honeymoon to South Africa and Mauritius. It seems he got lost.

This is how the bathroom looks now. Shocking!!!! Actually, it no longer does look like this, as the wallpaper was stripped yesterday! I just can't wait to get rid of
those horrible tiles, which have been there for 20 years ...


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Yawn ....

This was my 'blog' for the National Trust. They certainly struck lucky with my interesting day!!!

"Woke late. Drab day (what's new?). Received a postcard from the Philippines this morning - a Postcrossing one - showing a picture of a Ming vase. (Postcrossing is a current worldwide activity, whereby we sent out postcards and receive cards back, from anywhere in the world - it's supposed to get people back to 'writing' and sending stuff by mail, rather than by text or email). Had a discussion, re global warming (there are people who actually believe we can cure it ...) on the FC conference (an online conference provided by the Open University (a distance learning university). Downloaded my OU S330 (oceanography) exam paper, from last week. Worked out that I have failed (again!). Had lunch (beans on toast). Spent the afternoon doing a new home page. Don't like it much. Hub at work all afternoon and evening (he is an Asda delivery man). Son at work all day (he works at the garden centre). I ate a chicken and mushroom pie and a chocolate (Weightwatchers!) cheescake. Gross. Other exciting things which happened today - I fed the goldfish (twice) and the rabbit - watched 'Bargain Hunt' with my lunch - and 'Eastenders' with my supper. (Jake is in trouble, Ruby is a silly sot and Sonia was crying again. Pauline wouldn't be happy if she saw her little boy kissing her (Sonia, that is!)) Now it is nearly time (10:00pm) for hub to come home from work and we will share a bottle of wine together (Italian) - although I water mine down as it doesn't agree with me!"

Monday, October 16, 2006

Reminiscing ...

Went for a stroll down memory lane, late yesterday afternoon - to Mount Wise swimming pools, overlooking Plymouth Sound.

It wasn't like that in my day!! Aged about 11 or 12, I used to come here, with the school, for swimming lessons. There was no wall to protect you from the harsh sea winds then - and it was always winter-time - generally, it was snowing. We used to stand, up to our necks in this freeeeezing cold water (heated pool? don't be silly!) - and were dragged along by ropes and poles. I remember when Susan Mitchell's regulation black nylon swimsuit took in too much water and the top fell down under the weight. A bunch of pre-pubescent girls, giggling at the sight of the first flushes of mammary buds, was about as cheery as these outings got! When we eventually escaped from this frozen water, of course still non-swimmers - an even worse ordeal followed, as we had to attempt to dry ourselves with towels from home (generally thin, 2 foot square ones). Pulling knickers and socks over cold, wet skin is about as miserable as it gets. Before returning to the bus, and back to school for lessons, undoubtedly in scripture or latin, those of us fortunate enough to have a couple pence in our pockets, would drag our trembling little bodies, over to the refreshment hut where we would purchase a cup of hot oxo (yes, an Oxo cube dissolved in boiling water ...) and huddle together on the steps. Today's kids don't know they're born!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Blog for a day

The National Trust would like us all to do a blog of our lives on 17th October. The duller the better, they said! I won't disappoint!

Today I bought our flights for Portugal next year. We're flying from Exeter to Faro, via Flybe - whether that's wise or not!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Do I deserve this?

(scuse out of focus pic).

Little Gem gift box from Lush (gawd, it stinks!) Ring of Roses Butter Cream, Honey I Washed the Kids Soap, Big Calm Shower Jelly, Rock Star Soap and Honey Trap Lip Balm. Paul bought it for me. "A present for you, for doing the exam." "But I'm pretty sure I've failed it" "Doesn't matter, you worked hard and tried". It brought home to me what were the REALLY important things. At last I have some time to spend with those important things - my family.

First thing we must do is to buy a new toilet!! I think the bathroom man might be starting next week - oh heck!!!

I b*llsed it up!!

I was really poorly on Tuesday - gastric stuff. And I haven't eaten anything for a couple of days, so wasn't feeling too grand this morning, for the dreaded thing. But, otherwise, I was as prepared as I could've hoped for (I didn't know all that much, but that's beside the point). Anyway. I read (quickly) through the paper and thought 'I can pass this'. I eagerly set into the 10 short questions (worth 40%) and was pleased that I reckoned I'd done enough for 20% on that. So then, just 10% each on the 2 longer question (of choice out of 5) and there was my unexpected pass! I was feeling rather bubbly. I chose a question I thought I could do quite well. The biological one; not because it was biological - I hate biology, but because I knew the answers! Or so I thought ... I wrote about 4 pages and then, when I got to the last part, I realised I'd done the WHOLE THING WRONG!!! When is a --> not a --> - when it's a <-- - that's when!! But I did it WRONG! That is a cardinal and unforgiveable error! The trouble is because I didn't know my -->s from my <--s, the rest of my answers which followed were completely WRONG too! I panicked. I should've done the thing again, but I only had 30 minutes left - and still had to do another question. I picked the wrong 'other question' and could only answer a very small part of it. In retrospect, I should've redone the question I'd b*llsed up, because then I would've passed; I'm pretty sure. But I haven't....

Very CROSS with myself. I wouldn't be cross with myself to fail - but I am cross with myself for letting myself down so badly.



Exams! (If only this had been an assignment!)

Oh, bother! To make matters worse, still upset, I went around to see my Dad and had a row with him!

Well, I can, at least, look forward to doing SXN390 next year now (probably on nuclear waste) - and finish off my honours next year, as I had originally planned. Yeah, the oceanography was a 'bonus', but I COULD'VE passed it!!

Off now to open up the S194 book - what joy not to have to do any more revision!

Monday, October 09, 2006


'Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep,
The Kraken sleepeth ..."

Thank you to Alfred, Lord Tennyson for this introduction to the chapter, "Biogeochemical Activity in Deep-Sea Sediments", which, amongst other things, tells us all about manganese nodules. They are formed by authigenesis. At least the top bits are, as they take iron and cobalt from the sea-water (somehow). And the bottom bits (below the sediment) are formed by taking manganese, nickel (?, what is Ni?) and copper from the pore waters. So that is diagenesis. The Indians are exploiting these. Churning up the sediments with enormous suckers and dredgers - all for a few handfuls of metals in a ball.

I'm just about ready to drop. So much to try to take in - but no sooner does it go in, than it slips out again. It's all quite hopeless, I'm afraid! I think I will do a quick wiz through trophic levels and 'Laws' and then wait and see what the fates have in store.

I am determined that, if nothing else, I shall write neatly.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Retail therapy!

I had a break from the revi*ion today - and we braved a visit to the new shopping centre, which opened today! They estimate that 100 000 went through the gates - and it felt like it! I wasn't sure what to expect - as the outside of the place is an absolute monstrosity - but the inside is very COOL and I was pretty impressed!

M&S, Boots, Next, Primart and Waterstones are HUGE and very spacious and light - much like the stores in an American mall. Lush and Hotel Chocolat could've been a bit bigger though! Oh, and ...


Caffe Mocha (decaff).

We were pretty worn out by the time we escaped - but it was a most welcome break from the other. It seems as though a lot of people are feeling like I am - the more we study; the less we appear to know. And I knew very little in the first place! Oh, well, head down tomorrow and the next day and the next - how I shall celebrate when it's all OVER!

Malcolm has a friend!

Welcome, Bubbles ....

Unfortunately, Malcolm doesn't appear to want a friend - and is terribly territorial, butting poor Bubbles up the bum and shoving him out of the way constantly! They appear to be a little more peaceful today ...

I also added a stone sucker (that's what they called it in the shop) to the tank - it's meant to deal with the algae. It's a bit like a spotted slug, which suctions itself onto the pump. We named it Thing.

Where's this then?!

I was feeling pretty low, the day before yesterday - and the postie put this through my letterbox!

Which cheered me up no end! Ah, my mountain! The card even shows the hotel we stayed in, by Lake Union!

Thank you, Sarah - and good luck with your studies!

This was a Postcrossing card, of course - and I've now got 66! My history map looks like this!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Not long now!

The wierdest thing is that I am no longer worried!! After some fraught encounters with past exam papers, I got myself seriously stressed and I had a half mind to cancel my exam (what hope is there?), but then decided I wasn't a quitter. However, in the process of telling myself it doesn't matter too much, and looking forward to what I might do next year, I'm actually now rather looking forward to FAILING!! But I'll do what I can, and, if by some major miracle, I were to pass, then I can re-examine my options - depending on how I've also done on SXG390.

I've hidden all my past S330 exam papers away, and am sticking to my revision list only. This is the short version - there is a much longer, more specific one, but this is the gist list!

Amphidromic systems (practise diagrams etc)
Geostrophic flow, divergences, convergences etc
Energy transfers
T-S diagrams
Estuaries, deltas and beaches
Hydrothermal plumes etc (look at those equations!)
Hydrothermal vents, esp Mg
Things like thickness of thermocline etc
Check up on seismic measuring thingies
Total carbon
Turbidity currents
Med, Black Sea, Gulf Stream, Juan de Fica

and a few more. If I spent less time making lists and getting on with it, I might do better!

The ballet tickets have arrived - our new shopping centre opens this Thursday (Starbucks, Hotel Chocolat, Build-a-Bear, Lush ... ) and Malcolm Dumpling-Smith has a new tank, with amazing bubbles. Do you think he looks lonely?

Life doesn't get much more exciting than this!