Monday, 31 December 2012

Decision time?

I've sent my TMA 02 off, four days early.  While I wait for results I shall give serious consideration to whether it's worth continuing with this module.  Our tutor group is still dismal, thanks in part to the attitude of our tutor.  With the OU there is always this element of pot-luck, which is a disadvantage of their system, because if you don't have a good tutor and your group forum is inactive it is such a huge disincentive.
Maybe I was lucky on A174.  The tutor and group forum were both good and the course itself was very enjoyable.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Autumn colour has come late to our garden this year.  But over the past weeks it has arrived in profusion.  From really fiery reds to golden buttery yellows and every shade of russet-orange in between.
We have late flowers dotted around too.  Electric blue salvia uliginosa, deeply golden goblets of sternbergia, autumn crocus in shades of lilac and a beautiful palest pink schizostylis.
At last I have a proper potting shed.  I can now move all my potting paraphernalia out of the greenhouse into the shed.  This has given me enough space in the greenhouse to add more staging which I have started to put to good use already with autumn sown sweetpeas and root-cuttings from my favourite Japanese anemones.  Late cuttings I took from some tender plants are now advanced enough to come out of the greenhouse and be the first proud occupants of my new cold frames.
On the A215 front ... I've had my first TMA result.  Percentage was OK, but I thought some of the tutor's comments were a little subjective.  Our tutor group forum is still dismal, which is a real disappointment! 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Slow Progress!

Bulbs all planted, well except for the tulips.  I'm holding on to those until next month.  I've put the ones which came singly into pots, can't risk losing those outside. 
I have two greenhouses, one small and one tiny!  I've decided to convert the tiny one to a sort of alpine house, so I've cleaned it all out and started to stock it with the potted bulbs.

We're into the third week of A215 now, the work is as interesting as I had hoped, but the tutor group forum is depressingly inactive.  Only a third of the group have posted anything, and that only in answer to prompts from our tutor.  No-one is posting any of their assignments from the workbook, so there is no discussion happening.  So at the moment it's just me and the big red book.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Another Equinox

Study materials for A215 have now arrived. An all encompassing 'Student Cafe' forum has opened - much too crowded.  Already the attention seeking, would be dominant, male student has emerged.  We had one on A174, different guy but same tactics.  Covering the board with his threads and posting on as many others as possible, as many times as possible, even when he has nothing of any use to add to the discussion.
I shall wait for the individual tutor group forum to open before I bother posting anything.

Meanwhile I shall concentrate on enjoying the early autumn weather.  Bulbs of all sorts are arriving daily.  I must find time to plant at least some of them.  I have autumn crocus that should have gone in weeks ago, alliums, by the bucket load, daffodils and fritillaria, some quite unusual which come as single bulbs and need special care.  I also have a whole host of tulips on order but they won't be here for a few more weeks yet.  Come next spring and early summer my garden should be an absolute feast.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Blue Moon

We have the second full moon of the month tonight - officially known as a blue moon.  Very fitting, in many ways, that it should coincide with Neil Armstrong's memorial service.
This month has been a bit of a curate's egg ... good in parts.  After all the rain we've finally had a couple of weeks of sunshine and my garden is looking almost happy again.  We've started on a major redesign of a couple of areas so there are bare patches, which I hate, but it's only temporary.
Coming up next month is the start of my next OU course, the long awaited A215.  After that is an embroidery course at West Dean which I just managed to scrape into and need to start preparing for quite soon, if I'm not going to be out of my depth.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Rain Today?

We've just survived Friday the 13th for the third time this year and now they throw St Swithun's at us!  Will it rain?  It's looking OK at the moment, dry but overcast.  But will it turn to rain later?  Who knows, forcasts differ.  All anyone will commit to is that, since April, we've had the wettest drought on record!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Extra Time!

What did you do with your leap second last evening?  Did you use it wisely?  You could be forgiven for not even realising that we'd had one.  I didn't see it trending on Twitter, or hear it being discussed on the BBC News.  Mind, the News was an hour late! Held over for the tennis. 
Baghdatis was robbed in my opinion.  The Wimbledon Commitee are going to have to come to some sort of decision on that roof.  Either close it before the start of a match, or leave it open and take what comes.  Suspending play for 30mins while they put it in place is always going to advantage one player over the other.

Y180 now coming to an end.  I've written the EMA, choosing the Art option, I just have to tweek it and send it off.  Plenty of time, it's not due in until the 19th.  Then I can start on some reading in preparation for A215 in September.  I'm really looking forward to that course.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Can't Believe It's Been So Long!

I've clearly been neglecting my blogging duties. 
Can't think what I've been doing all this time really, other than Y180 and lots of knitting.  Y180 is not as absorbing as A174, but then I knew it wouldn't be.  I took it just as a fill in until A215 starts in September.
So far we've covered Poetry and History.  I'm now on to the second TMA, when that's done we move on to Art.
It's been raining almost non stop for the past few weeks.  Ever since they anounced the hosepipe ban in our area as a matter of fact.  Hence all the knitting.  Also some embroidery.  No chance of gardening.  Well not outside anyway.  My greenhouse is looking good though!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

New Month New Skill

Knitting has always been a great pleasure, but I've never yet managed to conquer crochet.
A book on 'granny squares' arrived today so I searched out some suitable wool from my stash, found a couple of hooks in an old drawer and set to.
I had planned to sort out some shelves in our dining room today, but learning a new skill trumps housework.  The shelves can wait. 
After several hours and a few false starts I'm quite proud to have ended up with a recognisable classic square.  As the book shows seventy-five possible variations I may need more wool!

I've reached the end of the introductory chapter of Y180.  No word from my new tutor yet though.  Do I wait for contact, or do I plough on into the main body of the course?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Moving On

I've now received the mark for my final eTMA.  It was a big improvement on the first one.  Astonishingly my tutor gave me 91%.
Maths was never my strongest point, but I think that means I have done well enough to achieve my much coveted excellent pass for the module as a whole.

I feel that is encouragement enough to enrol on the year long Creative Writing course, which starts in September.
Until then I shall content myself with Y180.  Course work for for that short module arrived a couple of days ago.  On first sight it looks quite interesting.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Waiting Again!

A174 is finished!!  My final eTMA went about a week ago, so I'm waiting now for the result.
I've not been idle, though! 
I've launched into a massive re-organisation of my lounge and dining room.  Both are looking much better as a result.  The only downside is that I now have a garage full of stuff waiting to be re-distributed. 
I've booked my next course Y180 - Making Sense of the Arts.  As a confirmed scientist, I'm not sure that the arts are supposed to make sense.  But it is a short course and will fill in the time until my Creative Writing one starts in September.

Monday, 2 January 2012

New Year

New Year.  New beginings?
My Dad died on Dec 22nd. 
He saw the shortest day, which was always an important time for him.  But he didn't make it to Christmas.
He passed away, passed over, passed on - however you like to express it.  He spent a few days in hospital and then just fell asleep and stopped breathing.  We didn't visit.  The doctor who was tending him said he could 'keep him alive', maybe even send him home. Dad had other ideas!

So we didn't see him in hospital hooked up to a drip and oxygen.  Mum was the only one who went in to visit and I suspect she would have been the only one he wanted to see at that stage of his life.