Friday, April 27, 2012

I have been informed I have to upgrade blogger... I'm not too sure about this but I guess I will give it a go.
I am gradually recovering from the leurgy and back at work although today is thankfully a study day. My get up and go got up and went. Wrapped in several layers with the heating on and an endless stream of tea, coffee and hot chocolate got me through. The diet gave up the ghost over the past week as the comfort of carbohydrates (Toast!) provided succour. It is never pleasant to be ill but this has come at a most inconvenient time... right in the middle of my placement but I can make the time up over the next five weeks.
On a brighter note, twitter, radio and the kindle provided entertainment during those spells where I wasn't in the arms of morpheus. I lost track of time during the week and the wintry weather hasn't helped. It's nearly May and we're in drought conditions where it has rained every day for the last two weeks. With mini tornadoes, monsoon rains and gales... nothing more points up the ineptitude of government and business investment in the utilities than the wettest drought on record. Let's invite millions of people to settle in south east England, build more houses but inconveniently forget about any necessary infrastructure such as reservoirs, pipes, transport, etc... which was struggling to cope prior to 1997. I have been following politics and news on twitter which does offer some 'unique' perspectives. Lamp posts and rope is a frequently stated response to political issues as well as all the other nonsense that goes on there.
One tweet did cheer me up and that was an unsolicited tweet I received from Mary Beard whose programme 'Meet the Romans' has been on BBC2. As a keen amateur 'historian' and lover of all things historical I have avidly followed this programme. I love her passion, enthusiasm for and her knowledge of classical history as well as her humourous and earthy presentation. Absolutely wonderful. A critic in the UK has picked fault because she is not an airbrushed flawless blonde weather presenter with a boob job. I have said it before and I'll say it again, that flawless plastic bimbos don't rock my boat and I have always had a penchant for older attractive women and Mary Beard does tick that box for me. Notwithstanding that, it is her knowledge which attracts me into watching the programme in the first place and everything about her presentation that keeps me hooked and watching it. If you get the chance to see it please do so as I can highly recommend it.
Sadly, No.1 did not get invited back for another interview for the apprenticeship. He is considering a return to college to study IT as there are no jobs at all locally. Two related news items came up regarding employment which thoroughly pissed me off. The first was a tweet fom Herman van Rompuy stating there are 2 million jobs going in the eu and the second was a news story about six people employed in new jobs in Kent but not turning up for work because it was too wet / better off on benefits / couldn't be arsed. The first we can well do without and it is well past the time for leaving the eu and the latter... words fail me. I guess No.1 could move to Finland or Austria to see if there is any work but failing that: check out the latest unemployment figures for young people in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy and Ireland as well as over here in the UK. I am going to boil the kettle for tea but I sometimes think I may as well boil my head when I read this nonsense.

Monday, April 23, 2012

                                           Happy St. George's Day!

The various potions and pills haven't yet done the trick as I work my way through my body weight in tissues and the sinus pain is particularly unpleasant. However, I am wrapped up warm and fortified by tea and spotify. It is also the Bard's birth and death day so I'll have a trawl through BBCi for anything that might be on the radio. Otherwise it's back to bed for me with plenty of Vicks vapour rub and Olbas oil. Enjoy the day...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The first week of my placement now completed and an interesting week indeed. A number of assessments done with debates and discussions with a variety of social workers along the way. Some late finishes especially when a referral comes in late in the day but that is the nature of the job. As per usual the pressure and stresses of the academic world fall away and I succumb to a cold. This weekend has been aurally muffled with frequent requests... "I didn't hear that can you repeat it please". Generally to Mrs C. although she states I am selectively deaf anyway. One of the interesting assessments saw me waiting outside a police station waiting for a supervisor in the pouring rain, hence the combination of wet weather and tiredness did wonders for my cold as did the deep puddle I stepped into. Thank the gods for Olbas oil and paracetamol.

Why the above picture you may be asking?
I discovered this morning that Mog, for it was he, has been extremely well trained in the use of the cat litter box which he couldn't access this morning because the door was shut. He found a solution by depositing his load into one of my slippers. Luckily, I happened to glance down before inserting my foot and the silence was rent asunder by Anglo-Saxon profanities. Mog is currently asleep underneath my chair as I type. He's in during the day and will be out overnight sleeping in his penthouse suite on the bird table, little furry bugger.
More coffee and paracetamol required as I attempt to kill off this cold. Blocked sinuses and earache aren't conducive for me arriving bright eyed and bushy tailed at work tomorrow. Especially since the last piece of work I did on Friday with the crisis team will undoubtedly be requiring my attention at 9 tomorrow. I may have to resort to a stiff Bourbon tonight ('Old Samuel'... quite tasty) if nothing else works.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tired today but for once it is a consequence of social and home life. No.1 son had a job interview last Friday across the watter in god's own country... East Yorkshire. It was four hours of interviews, tests, tour of the plant and more interviews. Whilst he attended that I popped over to Withernsea for some bracing North Sea air and chips. No.1 is now waiting for feedback and fingers crossed for the next interview down at Loughborough. If successful he will start a four year apprenticeship with much of the training taking place in the East Midlands and placements at power stations across the country. Fingers and other appendages crossed!
I then spent the weekend in Bolton for a reunion with some old friends from kibbutz days. It was the first time in twenty-eight years that all of us were together in the same place at the same time. Great to hear Dutch spoken again and to reminisce about days of yore. We are planning to meet up more regularly and to arrange a further reunion in Holland at some point. What surprised me was the ease of the journey despite roadworks on the M62. Three hours travelling with a break to stretch my legs included and wonderful views of the moors. Lots of walking whilst in Bolton and looking at architecture as well as chewing the fat.  But three days of driving, fretting over No.1's inteview and late nights with plenty of beer and early mornings took their toll. Hence today's study day was conducted at a leisurely pace with plenty of tea for fuel. Placement proper begins tomorrow and I am glad to be out of the classroom and back in the real world.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here for Miss Mapp is some of my preferred grimey music.

I have mentioned in a very early post my broad, somewhat catholic taste in music (incense optional). I see nothing wrong with enjoying the above band and at another time enjoying the following...

I guess it depends upon my mood, whether I need a boost, to relax or an aural massage for my bruised ego. I can also enjoy some of the sugary pap on offer or a cheesey song.

Then there are some which are a combination of a wonderful song, a beautiful voice and talented musicians who combine to produce sublime music...


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thanks to our good neighbours I have now planted some runner beans which will be a first for me. I have opted for a large tub filled with some well composted soil and fresh compost. As I have a few days off I can finally tend the garden in between the rain showers. Temperature dropped very low last night so I am still reluctant to place anything in the greenhouse. Lots of chilli plants coming through but no tomato plants. Cucumber looking good as are the herbs. I don't intend to go mad with the plants compared with the tomato glut last year but just enough to ensure some fresh vegetables. Mrs C has planted lots of flowers including wild flowers to encourage the bees. The bluebells are out again and I look forward to 'hot' summer spent in the garden, listening to music and avoiding the olympics. It's not that I dislike athletics but I do dislike the political jamboree, the commercial  razzamatazz that surrounds it all.
We have a patch of 'lawn' that requires reseeding although given the drought I might opt for the long held plan to extend the patio: less grass cutting and large pots for the herbs. I also intend to get some marigolds in as the mosquitos dislike them. Enough faffing about on here, the sun is shining weakly and I can't waste the opportunity.

Part 2:
So much for the dry spell with hailstones and a biblical deluge. I used the opportunity to pop out and buy more compost as well as pot up some of the smaller plants. April showers...                           

Monday, April 09, 2012

Not a good start to the day. I slipped on some algae near the river and skinned my knees as well as losing half the shopping. Cue a return to same shop to buy same items much to the surprise of the same checkout girl. But the dog has also now been walked and I can relax with a cup of tea and some delicious Cox's apples with ham for my lunch.
The essay is now completed bar the usual read through although no spelling or grammatical errors. My senior school (Stationers' Company's School) had just changed from a grammar to a comprehensive in the early seventies when I joined it. Consequently we enjoyed a pretty good education until the rot set in. Back to the essay after that aside... references, etc still to be added but it will have to await the return of the lecturers tomorrow as we have to use something called 'Turnitin' to check for plagiarism, use of quotes and how naughty we may have been. But having sweated throughout the weekend to get this bugger to bed I feel wiped out. Given the current drought conditions requiring umbrellas and waterproofs the next week off will be spent reading and relaxing with the occasional beer and the odd foray into the garden durng the dry moments. I also have a reunion with some old friends in Bolton this coming weekend to look forward to.
Hmmm... I am sure my knee isn't supposed to be that size. Time for more germolene and an ice pack.

Friday, April 06, 2012

                  (courtesy of  boyerwritesdotwordpressdotcom)

So much for a lie in this morning on my day off. One of the cats (Molly) decided to clamber all over me for attention at a decidedly early hour. So up and at 'em: breakfasted, shopping done, pooch walked, bills paid, gym workout completed, showered and finally a welcome cup of tea. No studying today as I plan to relax and leave the essay for over the weekend. We have a week off with the bank holiday weekend and study days to complete the essay for the deadline on the 16th April. I had hoped to get down to Essex over Easter but that will have to wait until my placement and the course is completed. But the last six weeks and the second exam particularly left most of us exhausted and keen to do anything but studying this weekend. My plan is to write over the weekend and get it completed by midweek at the latest so I can enjoy a few days off when it is all done and dusted.
For the rest of today though I plan to cook a nice meal, have a few beers and catch up on DVD's and TV programmes I have missed over the last several weeks. It's also nice to restart gym training after having used the excuse of studying to avoid it during that time. So, tired physically and mentally but in a good way... Oh! Have a Happy Easter and don't forget, chocolate bunnies have feelings too.

n.b. It is also Happy Blogday! Six years of this trivia...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Absolutely tipping it down here and No.1 has gone off to the Isle of Wight with Network (Scouts) for the next few days. I dropped him off and then watched in amazement as one of the girls produced enough stuff for several weeks camping including a large cuddly toy. No 1 is excited and it's good to see him in a good mood after further no shows when applying for jobs. He has now approached a local pizza chain who are looking for workers after spotting an advert in the window. I guess there will be the usual 200 applicants because there is nothing else around here. I jokingly said if he gets the job it will be a family tradition as I made pizza's for a living thirty years ago. Writing of the lack of employment opportunities leads me to education and the following article. I think some people (Jon Overton) could benefit from shepherding sheep for the next decade or three because clearly they are a menace to children. On the world stage of education how many graduates of a high calibre are being prduced annually from India, China, Indonesia, Korea, etc...? Does this numpty heed believe those graduates achieved this without a good basic education? As for buying a young child a smartphone... If my son was starting out in education now I would be applying for jobs abroad to give him the best chance in life. He is looking at college courses (I.T) although he is worried about student loans, etc... I suggested if that's what it takes to go for it and that any menial job which brings him a wage will see him through it. The trouble is that even the menial jobs are over subscribed when they crop up. We'll see how it goes over the next few months...

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

One exam down and just one more to go with a bonus study day off tomorrow to prepare for Thursday.The exam was generally easier than I anticipated although the hours spent logging through books, articles, lectures and discussions made that so. Several of us went through the post exam analysis over a coffee with a lot of laughter, grimaces and the occasional expletive when mistakes were realised. However, the general feeling was 'one down' and another milestone towards completion and passing the course. We also spent a day yesterday with qualified amhp's and it was a sobering experience realising what awaits us early next year when, hopefully, we qualify. But for now, after a brisk walk with the mutt where we both got thoroughly soaked to the skin, I intend to chill out...