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Sunday, December 21, 2008


Bravo Tom and Camilla!

Friday, December 12, 2008


They might look cute

But they take hours to get back into their hutch - I'm going to get them a huge run (aka CAGE).

So what's been happening? I've had the bad elbow, so have had to limit time on the computer - now that's better, I have bad eyes! Blepharitis, my optician told me. Hot flannel compresses and 'washing' in baby shampoo. Great.

I got 77% for my first A215 TMA, which wasn't bad considering the awfulness of the story. I've just finished writing a wiffly Mills & Boone type thing for TMA02. Somebody I know would have apoplexy if they read it. But they won't. And neither will anybody else, apart from my tutor and a couple selected critiquers! Poetry next. Then life writing. I'm going to write something about my Dad's childhood (with his blessing).

Apart from A215, I squeezed in the short science course S187, Forensic Science. Interesting yet boring at the same time. I've kind of sketched out the ECA.

Soon be Christmas. Great.

Oh and we've decided to go to Hawaii next year, a week on Oahu and a week on Big Island! As long as we don't encounter any cane spiders, it'll be wonderful!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poem for Today

Killing my son

I cooked him a chicken escalope
Asda, Cheese and Chive
It fell on the floor with a wallop
But I scraped it up still alive.
I wiped off the bottom
and put it on his plate
With a dollop of beans on the side
But I couldn't help wondering
What if he got ill and died?
I wiped it again and checked it for hairs
It was as clean as clean can be
If the hub had been home
I'd have given it to him
But he was at work
So it went in the bin.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Anger management

I've been trying to sort out some personal things and found that my emotions had turned to anger. Anger directed inwards and outwards. This is so unlike me and I blame A215 somewhat for this 'inner reflection' business, which I truly think could drive you totally insane! But, this afternoon, we went for a hike up a Dartmoor tor (no idea which one, they all look the same to me!) and I trampled up the hill, puffed myself out, made friends with the wildlife and nearly fell asleep on the way home. Worked a treat - all anger gone - serenity returned! How could you fail not to be happy with such wonderful countryside all around you and that fabulous blue sky!

not the one tor in the middle right, but the one right up the top - it was much further than it looked!

all that lovely granite

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Lack of progress ...

... with A215. Despite having done TMA01, I don't seem to be able to get down to studying and I would've liked to have been a bit further ahead by now (with the Forensics course starting soon). A lot of my fellow students have gallantly been putting their (excellent) work on their blogs, but mine is too poor for general viewing! I haven't really got on very well with clusters and freewrites and this one is about my best effort!!

"Like a spider in her lair, crouched, menacing, hirsute and with clicking joints, the widow spun her yarn. With sweating palms, Lucinda watched from behind the door. She shuddered. The widow reminded her so much of her phobia that she wondered if, at any moment, she might start to eat flies. The black widow reached into her pocket and popped something in her mouth. A sherbet lemon."

Which begs the question(s) - who is Lucinda and why is she behind the door?

Dolly and Dandy's contraception solution

They've been separated. And they hate it. When one comes out to play, the other gnaws on his or her hutch to try to escape. Not sure how much longer the hutches will remain intact!

Note the homage to Captain Bunzee - got it off ebay!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lovely weather

We've had a few nice days; not all that warm, but SUNNY! It's a bit late in arriving, but it's been welcomed, all the same. We walked along the Hoe yesterday afternoon and it was packed, with the ice-cream vans doing splendid business! I wouldn't fancy diving into the water though - brrrh.

I've made an effort at A215, TMA01 - but what I've written is complete garbage! Everything is a bit of a struggle at the moment, because my elbow tendonitis is playing up big time and I shouldn't even really be typing.

Sex is everything

We got two new bunnies last week. A boy and a girl from the same litter - mainly mini lop, but with a little bit of lionhead in them. Anyway, the seller said there was 'plenty of time' to get them neutered and she knew we only had one hutch. HOWEVER, the vet won't neuter, even the male, until they are 6 months old - so we will have to get another hutch and keep them apart until then. It's such a shame, as they are very fond of each other.

No names yet - Dolly and Dave are what we 'call' them, but ....

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Poem

The Waiting Room

It was Wednesday, the 10th of September,
Two thirty PM, as I remember.
"Is that a cat or a dog in the box?"
Asked a woman whose face shouted BOTOX.
But the answer was not one of her choice,
"It's a rabbit", we replied as one voice.

Joan Rivers went "oh" and started to go,
"It's just a bunny", she thought, and quite so.
But as hub fed him a yoghurt drop treat,
And I stroked his soft, warm, furry feet,
We wanted to shout, "Don't you see? He's not
any old bunny, he's Captain Bunzee!"

We took him in to see the vet in blue,
But there wasn't very much he could do,
Because the Captain was so very old,
And when we took him back out, he was cold.
He'd gone to the Big Bunny in the sky,
And we could do nothing else, but to cry.

It's so sad when this happens to a pet,
And our lovely bunny we won't forget,
But we're all in the waiting room, waiting,
None sure of what we're anticipating.
Joan Rivers, every man and his wife
Sit in this same waiting room, known as life.

Bunzee's now a part of the glade. R.I.P., Captain.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the earth yet? Keep updated on here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Anyone for Haiku?

The A215 materials should've been sent out on Friday - but there is a delay; probably a long one. So I succumbed to printing out the first part of the book from the online .pdf. About 80 pages so far ...

I've been busy doing freewrites and clusters and actually enjoying it! I've burnt down a house, developed a phobia about an old woman sucking lemon sherbets, commented on Little Black Sambo, as my first ever 'read', written a menacing letter by Marjorie White to her brother, Henry - and other such rubbish - great fun!

Anyway, we are being encouraged to write daily Haiku, so here are my today's offerings.

Poor Captain Bunzee
He smells so badly of pee
Does he want to live?

This is actually not as flippant as it might appear. Bunzee is very poorly - his back legs are paralysed and he cannot move or clean himself - so he is indoors and we are trying to help him, but it's not looking too good. We really do need to take him to the vet, but he is nearly 10 years old and ... well, it's a very hard thing to think about.

Poor Bunzee

This is the other one.

Naxos, Mykonos
Which island shall it be?
Maybe Paros, eh?

Which is attempting to illustrate how utterly undecided I am about which other island to visit, apart from Crete and Santorini. Oh, but I'm learning Greek - LOL!


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

New Course About To Start!

... so I thought I had better update this blog!

When I last wrote about OU stuff, I was still studying S339. Not any more. Not for months. And months. I didn't see any purpose in torturing myself on a course I didn't enjoy and (more importantly) didn't NEED to do. So I dumped it. (But I have all the books still, so I shall slowly read through all of those - one day).

Anyway, I'm back to my BA plans! I registered for A215 (Creative Writing) and the course starts on 17th September; the materials are due to be despatched tomorrow. I'm rather excited about it and rather scared of it also. I've also registered for the new science short course, S187 - Elements of Forensic Science, which starts in November - I'm really excited about that one!

I can't wait to get back to studying again - I've missed it very much.

Otherwise, nothing much has been going on in my world. Captain Bunzee is not too well - he appears to have spells of difficulties with moving his legs. We get him ready to go to the vets and he gets better again. At the moment, he is struggling once more. He is old, that's for sure, so these things will happen, but I think a trip to the vet is imminent. We are also looking for a kitten (or two) AT LAST! We went to see a Maine Coon, but the kitty was a bit too timid and we came home with an empty box. There is no rush and it's best to make sure that the kitten is absolutely right for us - probably we will end up with a moggy.

Tracey got married on 24th August, in Cardiff, at St Davids Hotel & Spa. It was a lovely wedding, and the bride looked absolutely stunning - but the beer wasn't half dear! I wrote a poem - LOL - Elizabeth Browning, eat your heart out!!

A pink ribboned chair;
Coiffured hair.
Wonderful food;
A jovial mood.

What a great day!

A beautiful bride;
Dad filled with pride.
What’s that I spy?
A tear in the eye?

What a great day!

A handsome groom;
Roses in bloom.
Sunshine - and smiles
That went on for miles.

What a great day!

New, pinching shoes;
Very dear booze.
But who gave a care
With such love in the air?

What a GREAT day!

The weather here has been disgusting. No summer at all. So I've been busy planning next year's holiday to Greece! We've booked a villa on Crete for a week - and are fiddling around with plans to fly to Athens, stay there a couple of days and then ferry it to Mykonos (or Naxos) and Santorini, before ending our trip on Crete.

Can't wait for the delivery man to arrive with my new books, so I can get down to some more poetry writing! :)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Can't Sleep ...

It's 5:20am and a new day has dawned. Can't sleep. Probably because I slept for 12 straight hours last night. It's called JETLAG!

We've been to the States for nearly 4 weeks. It was FABULOUS! Lots and lots of miles by JUMBO and 4,500 miles by car. RIGHT ACROSS! We went to:

WINDSOR (her Majesty was in THRESHERS)
TERMINAL 5 (long, long walks)
JFK (smaller and more antiquated than anticipated)
TIMES SQUARE (amazing!)
WTC SITE (very moving)
STATEN ISLAND FERRY (ours crashed when we landed!)
STATUE OF LIBERTY (from a distance)
TOP OF THE ROCK - Rockefeller Center (high!)
MACY'S (bought not one thing!)
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM (full of noisy kids, but COSMIC COLLISIONS was good!)
CENTRAL PARK (heavy on the feet when HOT!)
TRIBUNE TOWER (rocks 'n' stuff from all over)
MICHIGAN AVENUE (bank refused to allow us to take out money!)
HARD ROCK CAFE (yet another T-shirt)
NAVY PIER (fun; great views)
SEARS TOWER (even higher than TOTR!!)
BUCKINGHAM FOUNTAIN (best bit was when the wind changed direction and drenched a few!)
ALAMO, CHICAGO to pick up our RED Toyota!
MADISON, WISCONSIN (lots of it - a detour from the floods)
LA CROSSE (perfect little streets, with perfect little houses, with perfect little lawns)
MISSISSIPPI (up close, it looks like any other river)
SIOUX FALLS (pink quartzite .... in my bag)
MITCHELL (why? They have a CORN PALACE!)
BADLANDS NP (wonderful)
CRAZY HORSE MONUMENT (they'll NEVER finish it!)
WILDLIFE LOOP (deer, marmots, burros, buffalo, PRAIRIE DOGS!)
DEADWOOD (I won $37.50)
MT MORIAH CEMETARY (Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane)
LEAD (mines)
BEAR COUNTRY USA (bears all over the place - lightning too!)
CHEYENNE (closed)
TRAIL RIDGE ROAD, Rocky Mountain National Park (only a bit, was we were running LATE)
DENVER (ring road)
SANTA FE (disappointed)
VALLEY OF THE GODS (took 2 hours to drive - car now DIRTY red)
MOKI DUGWAY (OMG - look it up!)
More McDONALDS and SUBWAYS than I care to ever repeat
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK (AGAIN! But this time, no thunder)
LAS VEGAS (WORSE than LAST TIME - 'music' coming out of FLOWERS. EVERYWHERE.)
LAKE HAVASU CITY for LONDON BRIDGE (!) (it was 111 degrees F)
PALM SPRINGS (hot, hot, hot!)
PALM DESERT (scrappy shop!)
SEAPORT VILLAGE (very disappointing)
PETCO PARK (padres 2; mariners 9)
LA JOLLA (HUGE breakers!)
SD ZOO (large zoo, few animals)
LAGUNA BEACH (if only we had MILLIONS)

Now I'm tired. But it's breakfast time!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Oh to be 20 years younger!

"Is it a bird, is it a crane...no, but it's possibly a geologist. The students who used to be teased at my school for "just fiddling around with rocks" are the new superheroes of the American job market. It's no longer just oil - soaring prices for copper, silver and gold have made geologists as valuable as, well, gold dust. Geology graduates in the United States are now receiving higher average starting salaries than people with Harvard MBAs. And immigration experts report that if there is any other occupation more guaranteed to speed your entry into America, they have yet to hear of it."

From today's Daily Telegraph (so I've been told - I wouldn't read that Tory rag!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


In what must be a record time, my S339 TMA01 was returned to me yesterday. I got 80%. EIGHTY PERCENT! My tutor wrote that it was an excellent assignment. He even gave me marks for an 'error' that I'd found which wasn't an intended error, because I was right and because of my argument. Or something. And (get this) I got 20/20 for that question with the plates that I'd struggled with so much!

Today, I got my result for S186, the level one short course on volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. There was no mark given, just a 'pass', but there were some indications of learning outcomes; well achieved, achieved, just achieved, not achieved. I didn't do marvellously - only got 2 well achieved's and there was one question which I got 'just achieved' for. This was a question on volcanic risk - what I'd done for SXG390!! I can't, for the life of me, see what was wrong with my answer!

I've 95% finished reading through block 2 of S339 and have had a quick glance at TMA02. I can say, with extreme confidence, that I can't do it.

Britain takes over America

Sent to me by an OU friend, Carol (an American!)

Britain is Repossessing the U.S.A.

A Message from John Cleese

To the citizens of the United States of America:

In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for
President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical
duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except
Kansas , which she does not fancy).

Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a governor for
America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any
of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following
rules are introduced with immediate effect:

You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.

1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You
will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and
'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without
skipping half the letters, and the suffix -ize will be replaced by the suffix -ise.

Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to
acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary' ).

3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises
such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of

There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on
your behalf. The Microsoft spell- checker will be adjusted to take
account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize. You will
relearn your original national anthem, God Save The Queen.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns,
lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and
therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent.

Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to
sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then
you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything
more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if
you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for
your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what
we mean.

8. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will
start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time,
you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion
tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British
sense of humour.

9. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been
calling gasoline)-roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French
fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling
potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal
fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

11. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not
actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be
referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be
referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer.
They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them.

12. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as
good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to
play English characters. Watching Andie McDowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a
cheese grater.

13. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind
of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough
will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American
football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty
seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try
Rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.

14. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to
host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played
outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world
beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we
will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their

15. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

16. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's
Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all
monies due(backdated to 1776).

17. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, never
mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; strawberries in

God save the Queen.

Only He can.

John Cleese

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yes please!!

(Thank you Circle Line)

That brought a smile to my face, after an afternoon of struggling with 3 strips of paper (marked Plates A, B and C) and a ruler, with no real result.

Friday, February 29, 2008

First assignment for S339 due

That's what it says on my OU student home page - and they're right! I finished block 1 some time ago. I didn't do the assignment, at that time, because block 1 flummoxed me. They presume you have done S267 (nope) and block 1 is an all too hazy revision of that course. So I am quite lost! I'm now about halfway through block 2, which is altogether more to my taste - although I still don't understand half of it! Anyway, I MUST sit down and do this first assignment SOON! It doesn't matter too much how well I do (just as well), but I have some pride and don't want to give my tutor the impression that I am totally geo-ignorant! Besides, I need to do it as prep for the MSc - now scheduled for an Autumn 2009 start.

Here is a brief 'working outline' of the content of the 60-point component course (180 points total required):

S808 Earth Science: a systems approach

1. Introduction to Earth System Science: an overview of how a systems approach to Earth Science offers greater potential to investigate, interpret and understand interactions between different Earth systems from the core to the top of the atmosphere; this section will provide an introduction to each of the main topics below (3-4 wks)

2. Mantle plumes and sudden climate change: covers topics such as - climate change; oceanography; mantle plumes; large igneous provinces; sedimentation rates/processes; metamorphism by sill emplacement; tectonic and geochemical insight into deep/mantle processes; geochronology and effects of plumes on sedimentation; relationships between mantle plumes and global climate change (4-5 wks)

3. Mountain building and climate change: focusing on two main areas i) Ordovician-Devonian Earth and Cenozoic Earth - tectonic processes; impacts on global climate; evolutionary changes; weathering rates and influences; geochemical and isotopic tracers and ii) the interplay between tectonics and the hydrological cycle and how water interacts with the crust, thereby facilitating the formation of metal and hydrocarbon deposits (4-5 wks)

4. Antarctica and ocean circulation: environmental sensitivity, conservation and preservation of ‘wildernesses’; impacts on global climate; inter-relations between the oceans and global climate; transfer of nutrients within the oceans; carbon sequestration; plate tectonics and circulatory systems (i.e. the focus will be scientific rather than environmental studies issues) (4-5 wks)

5. Living with the modern Earth system: summary section reviewing the key concepts and issues covered in each study topic from the perspective of a broader stocktickerESS framework. This section will also investigate recent developments in a systems approach to Earth Science and where future research interests may focus and/or lead. (2-3 wks)

ECA – mini project/essay, 4-6 weeks study time"

All of which will lean more heavily on the 'hard' rocks side than I might have hoped - and, therefore, at least a basic command of S339 is kind of essential!

And I've only gone and pre-registered for the new Ecosystems course, which starts in November ...

Apart from not studying much, I seem to be busy doing nothing at all! I *think* that the holiday planning is now more-or-less completed. A couple changes have been made - not least that we are now going to fly from NYC to Chicago (JetBlue?!)

The scrapbooking continues, with no regard for bank balance. I decided to do a new blog for that and it's on here - not very exciting.

The daffodils are in full bloom, but are, as always seems to happen, being bent and broken by lashing rain and high winds. *sigh* Soon be spring.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Message to America

Please choose Hillary as your Democratic candidate. Nice though he is, Obama will not win the presidency and we will be stuck with another Republican ruling the world. You know it makes sense - thank you! :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where've I been?

I'm not sure! Neither am I sure where I am now!!

New Year's Eve, both Paul and I had flu. (Reminder to get flu jab next year). We both had terrible coughs. But my cough turned into a chest infection. They gave me anti-biotics. I took one and my temperature shot up to about 106!! So they gave me another lot of ab's. Levofloxacin. I took one - about 10:00pm, 8th January. Almost immediately, I came out in hives, all over. 999. The ambulance folk were very nice and injected me with some antihistamine, which worked within 10 minutes. Fortunately, my 'vital signs' were fine, but they decided to take me to A&E anyway. Hub and I were there til 4:00am... My temperature was, apparently, horrendous! I had a chest X-ray and they decided I had 'nearly' pneumonia and I was given TWO lots of antibiotics. LARGE STRENGTH!! Amoxycillin + doxycycline. Seemingly, I had a slight urine infection too (?) - but they allowed me to go home - phew!

The week taking the antibiotics was awful - I felt SO ill and couldn't eat, because everything tasted vile! I even spent one whole day in bed, which is something I NEVER do! FINALLY, I finished the course(s), only to discover that I now had thrush, brought on by the antibiotics. Everywhere. Easily fixed - apart from the oral thrush, which is STILL lingering. I'm taking Nystan for it and is has improved somewhat - but I went several days not being able to swallow!! Now I can swallow, but I cannot chew - not helped by the fact that I broke a tooth!! I have a dental appointment tomorrow morning, which I am dreading, because my whole mouth is so sore. However, the next appointment wasn't for TWO WEEKS!

I can breathe. I can eat (just). And I am sleeping for England. I am MUCH better. But I have most certainly lost most of this year, so far!