Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tomkins in curious mode.

This is Tomkins yesterday - he loves sitting on the kitchen table and directing everyone who goes in the room! (grin)
My hand was a bit shaky, as he's had us laughing non-stop this last few day, so the pic is a bit wobbly - when I've got some more batteries for my camera, I'm going to try and get a pic of him when he's in chase mode, as he loves chasing a pheasant feather around the place - it's hysterical to watch, and he's tireless in the pursuit of it. I wish I could bottle his energy - I'd make a fortune! lol
Has anyone noticed that, no matter how much you spend on toys, a cat will love nothing more than chasing a feather or piece of string around, rather than the toy you've spent good money on? (smile)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Puss is renamed!

Well, we didn't continue with the name Dylan for long!
Within a day, we had started calling our newest family member either Tomkins, or Pusskins - and Tomkins seems to have stuck!
I don't know why the name Dylan didn't suit him - but it didn't, - so we are going with what feels more comfortable now. The funny thing is, our daughter had said to us to wait a week or so before deciding on a final name, as he would show us what his name was to be - and she was totally right - so, a week later, Tomkins it is! (grin)
As far as Tomkins is concerned, he has settled beautifully into our home, although he's still growling at the dogs every time they come into the house - much to their disgust! lol
But we are hoping that time will mellow him towards the dogs, so that we can let him roam freely while the dogs are about - at the moment, we are having to put him into his sleeping cage whenever the dogs are in the house, which he has become quite resigned to, but which we hate to do but, as our dogs won't tolerate an aggresive cat, we felt it was safer all round, until Tomkins adjusts to the presence of the dogs. :~/
Trust us to have animals that do things the wrong way around!

By-the-by, I recieved a letter from the O U yesterday, acknowledging my grade 2 pass for A210 - so it's totally official now - Yay! lol

Talk to you again soon - and I hope you all enjoy your holidays! (smile)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I got my results!

I checked up on my student page yesterday and, to my utter delight, the results of my A210 exam were there - I got a Grade 2 pass! Yippee!!!!!!!
I am so chuffed about it, as I had fully expected to barely scrape a pass with the state my health was in when I took the exam.
It has also given me a real confidence boost, as this is the first 'proper' exam I've taken since I left school - I don't include the AZX103 exam, as it wasn't taken under the usual exam strictures and, although a valid pass, it didn't feel the same as this one did when I took it.
Of the three questions, Q1, which dealt with plays, was my weakest point, and equivalent to a grade 3 - and it was here that I lost the points that would have given me a distinction. Q2, which dealt with literature, was a high grade 2 equivalent, which has pleased me no end, considering the work I put in on The Color Purple. Q3, which dealt with poetry, was my grade 1 mark, and I got an 'excellent' for all five points that we were marked for.
It showed me what didn't really surprise me - that poetry is my strongest point, followed on by literature, then drama lagging in last. The only thing I would have liked, would have been to get my actual exam paper, so that I could have seen where I had gone wrong or not - it would have helped me to focus more on what I need to strengthen up for next time!
But, all-in-all, I am amazingly happy with my results, and can now go forward with my next 10-pointer in February with a lot more confidence than I had been feeling!
That's two down, four more to go, on the road to my BA!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A new member of the family!

I had to tell everyone about the latest member of our family - his name is Dylan, and he's nearly 6 months old, and he's coming to live with us next friday, the 14th.
It's been a couple of years since our last cat died, and it's taken us all this time to get over her, and to decide whether to have another one or not - but I fell in love with Dylan when my daughter showed me his photo and, as he belonged to her best friend, who also has his two brothers and mum, I have been allowed to adopt him - Yay! lol
I have spent the last couple of days drooling over cat-stuff - from bedding to toys, and even litter trays! My daughter says I've got it bad, and I have to agree with her (grin)
Because I spend so much time bed-bound, it's going to be fantasic to have my own little companion while my husband is out with the dogs and, as they were brought up with our Thomasina letting them know who's boss, it won't take long for Dylan to be ruling the roost either!
I decided on Dylan as a name, as the poor wee thing had been called Meg - with his previous owners not realising he was a boy - and Dylan has a lot of associations for us. I had really wanted to call him Greebo, after Terry Pratchett's cat from the Discworld series but, on seeing him, Dylan is much more suitable. (smile)
By-the-by, I finished off last month with a word total for my Nano book, of over 60,000 words!
I started this month, having signed on for the National Novel Finishing Month, doing quite well, but have unfortunately hit a slump with my health, and frequent dizzy spells are making it impossible for me to do much writing - so I don't know whether I will actually get to finish the novel - but I will keep on trying! lol
Talk to you again soon, as I give you an update on Dylan and my novel!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yay! I hit the target!

I _ am _ happy!
In fact, I will go as far as to say that I am ecstatic!
I did the word verification thingy on the Nano site, and I have reached 50,507 words - and I still haven't finished my story.
It has amazed me that I was able to complete the 50,000-word challenge - and with 5 days to spare - considering I've spent most of my life concentrating on the short story - and I'm not even finished!
I started my Nano-book with a series of short stories that interconnected but, half way through, I introduced a couple of characters that seemed to hijack my book, and they have turned it into something I hadn't dreamed of - it's utterly amazing to see!
I can now see the difference between just writing something down, or in living your story, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the experience of seeing my words settle down like a bird on a nest, and carefully letting the story develop as it may.
The difference between writing a plan, and carefully following it from A to Z, and this whole free-writing until you run out of ideas way, has been a revelation to me, and I can at last see the writing experience coming to some sort of fruition in me - boy, it's a wild and bumpy journey, but it's so exhilarating!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Well, it's day 18, and I've got to 36,984 words in my nano writing - which is a miracle, considering that I never thought I'd get to 10,000!
It's really amazed me just how much detail I can dredge up to fill the word-count monster, and I'm proud that it's all still making sense when I read it back (Yes, I know. We're not supposed to edit our work - but I just do it so automatically [pout]) lol

I've had a couple of bad days health-wise recently, as I managed to get to the cinema with a friend and my daughter - first to see Stardust, which was soooo funny, and a brilliant film to watch and then, a couple of days later, we got to see Beowolf, which has some really amazing scenes in it. I wasn't sure what to expect because the critics had been rubbishing it a bit - but I'm glad I ignored them, as the film was brilliant - a real feast for the eyes!
It would have been a lot more enjoyable for me though, if the cinema employees had helped me a bit.
The bad health was caused because I have great difficulty walking, and use a stick, and I had a long and steep flight of stairs to climb to get in to see the films, and I didn't find that easy, believe me. But it was only after I had been watched, struggling back down the dreaded stairs on the second time of going, that I was told that a side-door could have been used to allow me access to the interior stairs that were shallower, and a lot wider - far too late to prevent the damage I had already suffered, unfortunately!
It also didn't help that the cinema was freezing - they were really mean in not turning on the heating for the matinée performance of Beowolf we went to, probably because the theatre was only a quarter full - but this meant that, not only was I exhausted and in pain from the stairs, I then had to sit for two hours in a room so cold that I was feeling sick with it, especially on top of the pain of my earlier exertions so, by the time the film ended, I was not a happy girl - not a good experience!
The film was still brilliant, though! [grin]
My friend and daughter were angry with me that I hadn't told them how bad I was, but half the experience of going out somewhere, is the pleasure felt that others are enjoying themselves, and I would have hated to have spoilt their fun - they enjoyed it so much, that I thought the pain I was in afterwards was worth it.
I guess the enjoyment of the films outweighed the awful pain I ended up with, but I really think its about time that places like that adhered to the laws of the land, and made their places a lot more accessable and comfortable for disabled users, especially as I realised that, even though wheelchair users may have had access via the side door, if they had needed to use any of the facilities, then there is no way they could have done so - very bad!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Half-Way There Already

Well I don't know how I've managed it, but I'm now at 26,846 words!
When I started this on the 1st, I wasn't sure that I'd have enough steam to keep going past the first few days but, to my great surprise, the words just keep on coming!
My great novel has actually turned into a series of interlinking stories - and it's going to be for children, as Unicorns and furry animals are involved, with a little moral to each story, although nothing earthstopping.
I'd written down some plans for a book I'd been hoping to write years ago, and for my daughter when she was young, and so I dusted the plans off, and decided that now might as well be the time to do it.
The strange thing I've found is that, as I write the stories, they are becoming more complex and real to me. My characters are developing 'character', and my descriptions of the world around them has become more in-depth and so, what started as a basic storyline for young children, is developing into something a bit more complex for the older child - it feels weird, but very natural in progression, somehow!
I know how the second half wants to be told, but I'm finding that it is writing itself in a slightly different way to the first - as if the story has matured, and now wants to be told in a fuller way, instead of a series of shorter stories - so I'm not sure how it's going to fit together in the end - I just know that I've got to keep writing it now! lol
Oh well, this won't get the story told, will it?
So I'll love you and leave you for now - and get back to you, to let you know how the second half continues!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Eve of the Big Writefest!

Well, as from tommorrow, I'll be spending the next month in a writing frenzy (I hope), and will be doing the best I can to write those 50,000 words.
I got an email this evening from the Nano organisers and, as of this evening, they have had 90,000 writers register with them to do the big writing-fest - not bad from such small beginnings, and it goes to show how many of us have the urge to write that novel! lol
I've got my plot and characters all sorted out, so it's a case of setting to and getting the story that's inside me onto virtual paper and, as I'm knocked back health-wise again, and writing this on my faithful lappie while sitting up in bed, at least I won't have far to go if I collapse during the month!
I had a letter from the O.U. this morning, confirming my cancellation of the U211 course that I had been hoping to start in February and, although I know I did the right thing in cancelling it, it felt strange to hold that confirmation in my hand - a little bit like giving in to my health problems, if you like. Although I know it's the most sensible thing to do, there's a little bit of me that hates having to give in to my health problems, yet again! Grrrrrrr
Anyhoo, I'd better get on and do some practice typing, so that my fingers get used to doing 1,600-odd words a day, in order to reach the target in a month. I'll be letting you know how I get on as the month progresses - talk to you soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Think I Need Locking Up!

I know it's only a few days since the exams, but I have to confess to being bored silly! I've got so used to studying all the time that ,even with my Bible study, I don't feel I've enough to do - and I guess that's why I did what I did . . .
I was looking through various writer's sites (as you do) and came across a link for something called and, intrigued, decided to see what it was about.
Apparently, in 2001, a group of 21 people decided to see if they could write a 50,000-word novel in the space of a month, and they chose November as that month, and went ahead. They had so much fun doing it that they did it again the following year, then every year since until, last year, there were 69,000 people around the world doing it - the name of the site is National Novel Writers Month.
This intrigued me, and I decided that, as I was bored out of my skull, that I would have a go - so I signed up for it, and am one of 223 people in Wales to do so - although there might be a few more since yesterday (grin)
Writing a novel is probably what everyone who's ever put pen to paper has dreamed about doing and, when my daughter was little, I often wrote stories for her that friends said were good enough to publish - unfortunately, the publishers didn't think so and, after the 30th rejection slip, I put away my novelist persona, and slipped on something more practical (although I've managed to have 5 poems published in international anthologies - albeit not been paid for them!).
So I guess that this escapade is the last knockings of my little dream of being a novelist, and it will either kill, or expand, my deams of writing 'that' book (smile) we'll see at the end of November how it goes, anyway! lol

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Well I can safetly say that the course is over.
I did the exam today and, while I don't think I did that well, I also don't think it will be the disaster I had feared!
It was only this evening, while looking at the questions I had done, that I realised I'd missed out on one whole aspect of question one, that of performance - but I'm hoping that there was enough casually mentioned details included that could be taken as the missing element.
I quite enjoyed doing the prose section, and found plenty to say, which means that, with the way things are working out for me nowadays, I've probably got the total wrong end of the stick.
The poetry section was completed with me totally winging it, as my brain was a pile of sludge by the time I reached the last question and, although I managed to remember the technical aspects of poetry, I couldn't for the life of me remember even one line of the poems - just the jist of the stories told - so I think I'll barely scrape through with this section, if I'm lucky!
It won't be until December that I'm put out of my misery as to whether I've passed or failed, but at least I know that I've done my best and, if I fail, I can always take the resits!
One thing about doing the exam today, it has convinced me to cancel the U211 course in February. I struggled to remember what I did manage today, so I don't think I would stand a chance at remembering all the detail expected of me for this one.
I've already booked a 10-pointer to replace it, A177: Shakespeare: an introduction, and this will occupy 12 weeks of my time in a pleasant, but not too onerus way, while I wait out the time needed before the A215 Creative Writing course starts in October.
In the meantime, if I get cravings for the OU study way of life, they have a great OpenLearn site that lets you dabble in the courses without having to do anything major, so that will keep me out of trouble until my course starts!
Talk to you again soon!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Oh Boy! Do I Need Help, Or What!

It's 4:07 in the morning, and I'm still wide awake! I've had over a week of this, with little or no sleep at all, and I'm supposed to be doing revision for my exam, which takes place on the 9th of October - am I ready? Heck, I'm not!
The plan was for me to do The Rover extract for question one, The Color Purple for prose, at question five, and six Lit & Gen poems for the poetry section, at question 8 - this is the real basic, pared down version of what you can pass the exam with. Well, I've sorted out the poems I want to do: Ain't I A Woman by Erlene Stetson, Wherever I Hang by Grace Nichols, Any Woman by Katherine Tynan, An Obstacle by Charlotte Gilman, The Bridge Poem by Katherine Rushin, and My Last Duchess by Robert Browning.
I had to choose Lit & Gen as, although there were many poems that I enjoyed in the Romantics section, none of them held me like this selection did - I was going to choose Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, as it blew my mind when I first read it, but it is just sooooo looonnnngggg, and my poor abused memory just can't cope with it :~((.
I was a good girl, and organised all that I needed for revision into a separate folder to my A210 course work, and I even organised it into the three sections of Prose, Play and Poetry . . . much good it's done me! I've found that since I started to revise, the moment I settle down to it, something happens. I either get a visitor, have a family crisis or, as it's been for the last week, my health has severely let me down - I so want it to be the 10th of October right now, so that I can face the morning with it all over bar the shouting!
As an aside, I'm having grave doubts about doing U211 in Feb. I've been reading the posts from the students who are currently revising for their exam, and they all seem to be saying that most of the exam involves remembering oodles of facts from the course - with my memory, I'm really worried that I won't stand a chance in the exam, and so I'm seriously considering changing my course for Feb., and maybe doing A215, the Creative Writing course. It's something that I was planning on doing after U211 anyway, and it involves an ECA at the end, instead of a formal exam - what I might do, is see how I cope with this exam first, and then see how i feel afterwards? I'll keep you posted as to my decision.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Government plan Grant cuts for students taking a second Degree course.

I signed a petition today, and it's not something that I do lightly, if at all, but I felt that this one needs all the support it can get, as the government are cutting back on helping with financing where a second degree is being retrained for, so it is something that can affect anybody who needs to retrain for a different job.
The details are as below, and I've included the link to get to the government petition site, so you can sign it if you feel that you can.
The petition runs until 10th November, 07.

We, the undersigned, petition the Prime Minister to reinstate support funding given to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
More Details From Petition Ceator:
for universities offering courses to students taking equal or lower qualifications than they currently hold. We believe to remove all such funding will remove a vital source of retraining where the skills base has changed over the years and mean only the personally better funded students will have a chance to retrain. We also believe that this sudden funding change will be harmful to universities which are based around the ethos of retraining or continuing skill updates and should be reviewed under the premise of Life Long Learning.

Thanks to anyone who signs this, and supports the Life Long Learning of anyone who desires it - not just those who can afford it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Last one gone - now on with revision!

Well, I sent off my TMA 07 on the 13th, and got my result back less than 24 hours later!
Not only was my tutor super-speedy, but she also awarded me with the second-highest score of my OU life - a lovely 72%!
It surprised me to get this result, as I've been feeling quite poorly but - and this proves a point - I wasn't in as much pain since my left wrist has been operated on, so haven't had to take so many pain-killers, which meant my mind wasn't as foggy - and so my results improved :~))
I've just been spending the last couple of days sorting through all my course books, and all the notes and essays I've done - I'm trying to get everything I need together for my revision for the E**m, and my printer has been getting an overload of work while I print out all the various notes, summaries, and copies of poems I'm going to need for it all. I'm not quite sure whether I'm looking forward to going over details again, or not, but I'm determined to do the best that I can now it's almost crunch-time.
I've probably mentioned before about my drop in marks when I do exams, but I'm going to do the best that I can. I've worked it out that, with my continuous assessment marks, I've got a decent average for that half of the marking, but I'm going to need a 70% pass mark for the exam to get a Grade 2 pass. I find it all a bit unfair that half of the marks are reliant on the one exam, when I've been working so hard throughout the course to get the marks I have done. So it's all reliant on the exam as to the Grade I'll get - even though I've done the equivalent of a Grade 2 pass with the continuous assessment. If I get below 70% on the exam, I still only get a Grade 3 (don't get me wrong, I'll be happy with that, but I find it a bit unfair that so much rests on a three-hour exam, despite the work that's gone into the rest of it!).
I'm going to have a day dedicated to my Bible study tommorrow - I've been a bit neglectfull this last few days, what with the TMA and all, so it'll be nice to catch up with my Bible reading. I'm looking forward to the short break between my exam, and the start of the new course in Feb., as it'll give me lots of time to do some more in-depth Bible study and, hopefully, with the pain lessened from my wrists, I'll be able to do it some justice! :~))
Well, once again I'm sitting sleepless (which is why I'm catching up here), so I guess I could treat myself, and read a totally non-OU-related work of fiction - now, what shall I treat myslf to . . . ? lol

Friday, September 07, 2007

And I Still Have A Way To Go . . .

'The best laid plans of Mice and Men.'
A phrase borrowed as a title for his book published in 1936, by the great John Steinbeck, which tells the tragic tale of two Anglo Migrant ranch workers in California, during the Great Depression,
but which comes originally from the poem:
'To a Mouse' by Robert Burns in 1786:
'But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.'

I couldn't resist starting my blog off this way as, all too often, my plans are 'aft a-gley', and it will be no surprise to anyone following my blog that my much-in-evidence-friend, illness, has been at work again.
I've got a week to complete my final TMA and, although I've cracked one half of it, the second is proving elusive, as usual! lol
I know - I should be hard at it over the keyboards (or voice-recognition softwear at the moment), getting it all done so I can get on with my revision for the October exam - but if the truth be known, I think I'm running out of steam :~/
My problem is that I had an op on my left hand on the 3rd, and I've been trying to do everything either one-handed, or through the sofware that I'm still not comfortable with, and which I know I'm not using properly, but I guess that's just down to my stubborness in not asking for help!
We're a strange lot, us humans, always trying to stay independent, and never asking for the help we know we need, but are either too embarrassed, or too stubborn to ask for - I know which one Bob would say I fall under!
Anyhoo, I'm roughly half-way through my TMA, and I guess it'll end up being my usual mad rush a day or so before cut-off before I get down to seriously writing the rest of it. The funny thing, is that I've thoroughly enjoyed both plays, especially waching the DVD's of them, and I've a ton of ideas as to what I want to say but, as usual, I've only got 1,500 words to say it all in and, as you may have noticed, I'm nothing,if not gabby! lol
Ah well, I'd better try and get some rest, then start tommorrow anew - you never know, al that inspiration that Terry Pratchett insists is sleeting through the universe, just might hit me in the night! lol

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Way to go Aphra Behn!

I've just finished watching the DVD, provided by the O.U., of Aphra Behn's The Rover, and what a pleasant surprise it gave me!

I had read of so many complaints about it from other students that I had been putting off watching it, or even reading the script provided - and I wish I hadn't waited so long now!

It probably makes me a very strange person to like it so much, but it amazed me at the subtleties, and the darkness, that Behn showed through her characters - especially for something written by a woman, and in the 17th century - although, when you think about it, she had some of the best writers ever to learn her trade from, and it certainly shows that, despite the downer men had on the subject of women and education at that time, you can't keep a good, and intelligent, woman down! lol

I don't usually like 'modern' plays, where the scenery is minimalist, and the actors play a multitude of parts - but I have to confess that this really emphasised the plot, and themes, of the play, in a way that brought out so many thoughts for me, I don't know whether I'l have the word-count to cover it all.

I've also watched the BBC's 1979 transmission of Shakespeare's Henry V, on DVD, with David Gwillim playing Henry. I've watched the Olivier, and the Brannagh versions of this, but I found this BBC version so much more authentic to the script etc., and thoroughly enjoyed Gwillim's version of Henry.

The production gave a much better idea as to how it would be performed onstage as well, so was very helpful to me in performance matters so, all-in-all, I found it a very entertaining and educational performance.

Now all I've got to do is put all my ideas together for the perfect TMA answer - I wish!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I got my results.

Well, I got the results for my TMA06 - 69% - and am very happy with them!
I really had thought I would get a low one on this, but to stay within my average is great.
I'm supposed to be studying the next block at the moment, but a mouth abcess has given me a fever that doesn't seem to want to go away, which means I'm having a job concentrating on anything at the moment.
I saw my dentist today, and he's given me some antibiotics, so I hope they'll start working over the next few days, so I can start thinking clearly enough to study, as I've really been looking forward to studying Shakespeare, which is what we deal with now.
As I've mentioned before, I'm a Jehovah's Witness, and we had our annual 3-day conference in Cardiff last month. It was called 'Follow The Christ' and dealt with everything to do with Jesus.
I didn't manage to get to the conference this year (although nearly 10,000 others did), as my health has been so bad, but friends brought back a new book released, called 'Come Be My Follower', which also is all about Christ, his life, his ministry, and the sacrifice he made in his death.
I find it very hard to put the book down, and have been reading it avidily. I'm loving all the details given about him, and I decided that I'll probably do a series of blogs with a synopsis of each chapter or, if I've the time and energy, I may write the whole thing, a section at a time, as it's far too interesting to leave anything out! lol
I don't know if I'll do the blogs here, or whether to start a completely new Blog just for this, with maybe a link to it from here? I don't know yet, so I guess I'll pray about it, and see what comes up.
Talk to you soon!

Friday, August 03, 2007

On, on, on with the tasks!

Well, I managed to complete TMA 06 in time, with much help from a fabulous tutor, and sent it via the e-system. So now it's a case of waiting for the shoe to drop!
We did Top Girls by Caryl Churchill for this one and, although I enjoyed the play, I found it a little too disjointed to truly enjoy as I might have done - but that's the thing with learning, isn't it? At least you find out what you do and don't like in the literature world!
I've been looking back over my blogs, and I didn't realise just how long I've been stuck in bed until now - it's truly frightening to see how badly my health has gone down!
I've now got 5 things wrong with me, with four of them incurable at the moment - but the symptoms treatable to a certain extent - I've got PolyArthritus (Arthritus in many places), Fibromyalgia (To do with tendons, ligaments, and muscles), Lymphoedema (Damaged Lymph Nodes - with no treatment for it in my area), a blood disorder called Antiphospholipid Syndrome (Commonly known as Sticky Blood Syndrome), and the ever-present Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Now, a least with the Carpal, there's something that can be done, but there has been delays because of the discovery of the blood disorder, so I'm still really hopefull that they will operate in September, so that at least one thing can be sorted!
There were problems because of the blood thing, and I've been told that I'm going to have to have a local anaesthetic for this, as the general anaesthetic would react with the blood problem - it never ends, does it?
On the same topic of health, I haven't mentioned my experiment with the Emu Oil Capsules and the Knotweed Tincture, have I?
Well, as you may have guessed by my lack of comment, it's been a dismal failure - neither of them have done a thing for me, except make me lighter in the purse!
The only thing I can think of, as to why the Emu Oil Capsules worked for the girl who reccomended them to me, is because she's got nothing else wrong with her, and the Fibro was a fairly new thing with her - so it looks like its a good thing for the early stages at least - pity I'm not there . . .
On a different tack, have you found this summer to be as dismal weather-wise as Bob and I have? It's driving Bob nuts to watch all his veg rotting before its ready to be harvested - this time last year we had a freezer full of veg, ready for the winter, and this year - nada!
I've just treated myself, and had a marathon reading session, starting and finishing the latest, and last, Harry Potter book - and I managed it in 30 hours (I don't sleep much, so why not?) I loved the book, and it's put that finale on one of the longest of sagas I've read to date - it's going to be strange not to hear my daughter, Brex, ask if I know when the next one is coming out!
I'm going to have a lazy weekend now, and start my last block on Monday (it should have started last week, but with my health the way it is . . . ). We're due to study a play called The Rover, which I'm dreading, judging from the last intake's comments of it then, pure bliss for me, Shakespeare's Henry V and As You Like It - oh, I'm gonna be enjoying them!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yipee! I got a good pass!

I could barely believe it when I collected my TMA 05 results - 70%!
So, you may say, isn't that just about average for you? Well, yes, it is, but if you had been here with me suffering the utter disaster of losing all your work, and having to start from scratch the day before the TMA was due in, you'd know how I feel!
I confess I was just about ready to give up on it, but my fellow students were so encouraging, I decided to give it another go. After 7 drafts, I'd just about had enough, and sent it in, expecting either a total disaster, or a bare pass, so you can imagine how I felt to get the mark I did!
On the health front, I've discovered that the blood problem I've got is something genetic, which means that my daughter will now have to be tested for it, and also my many sisters! I still can't make head or tails of it really - my blood is thinner than it should be, but it also has the propensity to clot, which can cause a thrombosis!
I spoke to my mum on the phone this last weekend, and it turns out her father died of thrombosis (something none of us were told about) when my mum was 12 - I really hate it when this sort of thing is kept from us!
So far, I've got three problems, healthwise, that seem to be hereditary - so it looks like I'm the gene-magnet for them all! Grrrr
On a different note, I've started looking at the blocks that lead to TMA 06, and have to confess I haven't got much work done this week. I've got three weeks left to my next TMA, and nothing to show for it as yet (although I've got my TMA sheet ready with the question, and some notes - and the start of my bibblybubbly!)
I guess it's a case of doing what I can, when I can - with the various problems I've got, healthwise, I guess that taking each day as it comes is going to have to be the norm - and it's getting so I seem to work better under last-minute pressure, anyway!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Frustration City!

Do you ever get the feeling that, if you start to scream, then you'd probably never stop? I must confess to getting close - this continuous illness is driving me mad, as it's interfering with every aspect of my life!
I've started on my next Block with A210 - Literature and Gender - and will have to buckle down soon to seriously start on work for TMA 05. With this one, I have to study The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, and then choose another piece of prose fiction - I'm choosing 'Girl' by Jamaica Kincaid - then I have to discuss the relationship between rebellion and conformity, and how it affect the two texts - all in 1500 words!
I had seen the film of TCP before, and had loved it. Whoopi Goldberg impressed me no end with her role as Celie, but to read the book for the first time was a joy! It utterly took my attention by storm, and I couldn't put it down until it ended (I'm now on my second read of it, and starting the proper study process).
Alice Walker's story of Celie, Nettie and Shug Avery, and all they had to bear with the men in their lives, put my problems in their proper perspective - it's quite humbling when you read of the things that people have to bear in their lives, and how they either overcome them, or get swamped by them.
Now, I know this is a work of fiction, but I guess the things that were suffered were, and probably still are, being endured all over the world right at this moment, and it makes me feel grateful, and humble, for all the privileges I've had in my life, despite the ill-health!
The second piece of prose fiction, 'Girl', is a short piece - a stream-of-consciousness passage, that I loved as soon as I read it. It has very similar themes to TCP, although in a severely reduced format, and I'm hoping I'll be able to synchronise the two into a legible and, hopefully, interesting essay - the one problem I'll have - as usual - will be the 1500 word limit! lol
Well, I guess I'd better stop procrastinating, and get back to the coursework I'm supposed to complete before I do the TMA - it's amazing what we students will think of to do, rather than get down to the sometimes boring, sometimes frustrating, but always necessary study!
By the way - I'm on day 9 of the Emu Oil Capsules - no change yet, but the girl who recommended them said it'd take at least 10 days to show any effects - so I'll keep you posted as to any change.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another one in the bag!

Well, that's another TMA out of the way - I'm at the half-way mark in the course already! lol
Considering the state of me when taking it, I'm fairly pleased with my 68% score - I know I could have done a lot better - if I didn't have this constant pain - but just getting through each TMA is becoming an achievement in itself!
I don't know whether I'm mad - or a glutton for punishment - but I've booked up next February's course now - U211: Exploring the English Language. I'm sort-of looking forward to it, and will probably greet its start with glee, as I've not booked a winter course this time - I'm determined to take some time out, and try to get a bit better health-wise!
Talking of which, I've just started taking a course of Emu Oil Capsules, which are supposed to be a miracle-cure for what ails me - now, me being a cynic, I don't quite believe the 'miracle' claims, but if it improves my health in any way, I'll be over the moon! lol
I'll let you know how I get on with them, once I've used them for a week or two. :~))

Friday, May 25, 2007

TMA Avoidance - again!

I know - I should be studying, not coming on here! lol
I'm having a real problem with my O.U. studying at the moment - my ill-health, and the medication I'm on are conspiring to leave me very little energy to concentrate on it all -when I can get my brain to concentrate!
Then, what little energy I have, I prefer to use for my bible study which, after all, is much more important to me!
I 'phoned my rheumatology consultant on tuesday, to find out what date has been booked for my Carpal Tunnel operation. He told me when I saw him a fortnight ago, that I was on the urgent list, and so I expected to be going in within a week or two - much to my surprise, and disgust, I've been informed that it will possibly be August, but probably September before it's done - and this with being on the 'urgent' list! Grrrrrrr
I have skim-read through the various chapters needed for this poetry block - and it has really disappointed me in the way it's been set out. I have always loved poetry, and have tended to use it in a cathartic way when under stress, or when feeling emotional, but I haven't been able to make much sense out of the writing on this one!
Don't get me wrong - I'm enjoying the poetry (although I've discovered that Wordsworth is a bit of a windbag), but the actual coursework itself makes no sense to me at all. If it wasn't for the fact that so many on my course have the same complaint, I would have taken it as my own lack of understanding, but too many fellow students have made the same complaint for me to think it's just me!
I really hope the course will be re-organised for future students - at least it will bring a little more pleasure to their studies - something that's in short supply for me, I'm afraid!
But, whether I like the course-work or not, I have another TMA due on the 7th June, so I guess I'd better take a deep breath, and try to plunge myself into the morass that's in front of me - wish me well, won't you? lol

Friday, May 11, 2007


I have to give a great big YIPPEEEEE!
I got my TMA 03 results today, and I got a really respectable 72% - something I hadn't expected considering the state of my health (and my memory) recently!

My lovely tutor gave me some encouraging words of advice as well - something that I hope to use in the next TMA, which also deals with poetry. All I need now is to get a bit better so I can concentrate a bit more on my study.

Talking of getting better, I saw my Rhuematology Consultant last tuesday, and he is arranging an operation that he hopes will ease this horrible Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that I'm suffering with. He did warn me that it may not work though, as my Fibromyalgia is also in my arms and hands, so some of the pain I get is from that as well - I don't mind if it eases it a bit, as some relief is better than none!

On a note of light relief, one of my fellow students put a link online to see if you are a geek, nerd or dork - I did the test (as you do!), and my results were:

56% Nerd, 13% Geek & 60% Dork!

And this is the explaination I was given:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Dork, earning you the coveted title of:

Tri-Lamb Material

The classic, "80's" nerd, you are what most people think of when they think "nerd," largely due to 80's movies like Revenge of the Nerds and TV shows like Head of the Class.
You're exceptionally bright and smart, and partly because of that have never quite fit in with your peers or social groups. Perhaps you've realized, or will someday, that it is possible to retain all of the things that you like about being brilliant and still make peace with the social cliques around you. Or maybe you won't--it's really not necessary.
As the brothers of Lambda Lambda Lambda discovered, you're fine just the way you are and can take pride in that. I mean, who wants to be like Ogre, right!?

OH Dear!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Same old, same old!

Well, I'm still no better healthwise!
I'm really getting fed up with not being well and, more to the point, not being able to concentrate long enough to do my O.U. work! Pshwaaa!
I've managed to print out the 'Washing Day' poem, so that I can study it, and scribble all over it as much as I need to (I absolutely hate to write in books, so this is a better bet for me!), but still haven't found the energy necessary enough to do an in-depth analysis of it.
It's a real shame, as I'm really getting to like the poem - but I'm finding that the concentration needed to focus on rhyme, rhythm, alliteration etc., is just beyond me at the moment.
I've a feeling that I'm going to be asking for an extention on this one, which is something I hate the thought of, as it will then make me behind with all the work to come - I guess I'll have to see how I get on over the next week or so, as the 10th of May is almost upon me already!
I've been looking around for alternatives to all the tablets I'm taking for my various complaints, and have come across a tincture called knotgrass, that is supposed to be especially good for both Fibromyalgia and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, so I'm going to be ordering some in the next few days to see how I get on with it - it's got to be better for me than all the artificial chemicals I'm having to take now!
I'm thoroughly enjoying this good weather, although my husband, Bob, is hoping for rain to water our veg. patch. At least I'm able to look out the window into our garden, and the field beyond where our sheep are grazing!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's been a long time . . .

Well - I didn't realize it'd been so long since my last blog!
I've just spent the previous 5 months battling ill-health, due to the onset of Lymphodaema in my right leg, as well as my Fibromyalgia getting worse than ever due, a nursing friend tells me, to the battle the two are causing in my body!
To make things worse, my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is playing up something chronic and, as I'm not allowed any more injections of Cortozone, as too many can cause Brittle bones, I am now on a concoction of various drugs to ease the pain of the three different things wrong with me! (I'm very greedy, to have three things wrong with me, aren't I?) lol
Due to this, I have only just got around to checking my blog - I really have lost track of the time, haven't I?
To get back up to date - I passed my last course with a decent Pass3 (only a few points off Pass 2, much to my disgust!), and I started my A210 (Approaching Literature) course in February.
I don't think I've done too bad so far, especially considering that I've done the first two TMA's whilst on morphine!
I got a great 76% (my best mark so far with the O.U.) for TMA 01, which dealt with doing a close analysis of an extract from Pride & Prejudice, and I got 68% for TMA 02, where we had to assess a particular novel (in my case Frankenstein), as to whether it was, as a novel, written to draw us into thinking 'this is fiction', or not.
Considering the pain I was in, and the medication I was taking, I am very pleased with this result - I fully expected to either fail, or only to get a bare pass!
Our next section is the Romantic Poets, and I have to confess that I haven't even looked at it yet, although I've checked out what TMA 03 is - it's a close analysis of the poem 'Washing Day' by Anna Laetitia Barbauld. I think I'm going to need the course work to appreciate this, and am trying to get myself well enough to concentrate on it fully.
I'll get back to you as I go along, and let you know how I'm doing - both health-wise, as well as in the O.U!