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Saturday 23 February 2013


is the day for Taijiguan; one of the highlights of the week. Only lasts an hour, but the impact lasts and lasts.
Years ago I went to the gym on a regular basis for several years, then two things intervened. The gym started charging extra for things that had been inclusive and this on top of the regular membership fees made it too expensive. 
Then, there was shingles. Mine was not diagnosed soon enough although I was convinced that shingles was the problem. Hence, I am prone to recurring bouts of shingles pain. What can you take for it? Nothing has much impact on it at all. Shingles rash lasted 6 months, the pain continued. That put an end to gym membership.

Taijiguan takes place in a local community centre and the group varies in size with some attending more regularly than others. We have two tutors and they have different ways but it's always enjoyable. 

Here is a graceful version of what we attempt. The movements are slow, gentle with the emphasis on balance. Another key is to be relaxed with no tension anywhere. 
The after effects? Circulation - zinging from top to toe. Mind quietened and at peace for an hour remains quieter for a while with no intrusive thoughts. A sense of well-being remains.

Sunday 10 February 2013

From the Guardian
A spokesman for Aldi said random tests had shown that the products they had withdrawn contained between 30% and 100% horse meat.
"This is completely unacceptable and like other affected companies, we feel angry and let down by our supplier. If the label says beef, our customers expect it to be beef. Suppliers are absolutely clear that they are required to meet our stringent specifications and that we do not tolerate any failure to do so," he said.
The main headline story has been 'contamination' as in horse meat found in products labelled 'beef'.
It set me thinking about food, buying and preparation. Thinking of the contents of my freezer, there are no bought in ready meals. Unlike two of my neighbours, H exists on microwave and oven ready meals he buys from Salisbury or Marks & Spencer. The other neighbour buys from Iceland in particular and loves to find bargains.
Apparently there's nothing 'wrong' with horse meat apart from not wanting to eat it or that it might contain 'bute' a pain killer phenylbutazone which has been found to cause aplastic anaemia in some people.
Thanks to being of a certain age, and my upbringing the closest to 'ready' you'll find me using is frozen veg particularly when the price of fresh is too high and veg is poor quality. We buy our meat from butchers.
Do people read the small print on ready meals and 'value' foods with understanding?  

Saturday 9 February 2013

Field studies

Nettlecombe Court  is near Exmoor in Devon and run by the Field Studies Council. Years ago when in the VIth form we were encouraged to go on fieldwork at one of their centres. The year I went with some of the other geographers it was to Nettlecombe Court. 
How come I suddenly thought about it seeing as it has lain at the back of my mind all this time? 
Three reasons, firstly last weekend C told me she was taking her VI th form and some other pupils to one of their places in Wales, secondly, I did a search for the FSC and saw Nettlecombe Court on their map and thirdly I have begun an unusual and mould-breaking course with the OU. 
Off and on over the years I have done fieldwork in various places. Vth form it was studies in the local area, VI th form Nettlecombe Court, college Lyme Regis (Omitting my work / career). 
OU studies - Durham and Herriot Watt universities
OUGS Open University Geological Society field study - Tees Valley, Falmouth and the Lizard peninsula, Symposium and fieldwork Poole, Dorset

The latest OU course is virtual fieldwork! 
For various reasons, mostly political, universities are having difficult times. The creative idea from the OU is to use multi-media to work on-line and perform fieldwork tasks.

C has gone with her charges to Dale Fort. 

Checking out the Nettlecombe Court page it seems similar to when I was there many years ago. The dorms still have bunk beds! The dining room still has refectory tables and the classrooms haven't changed that much.
But, today there is a bar. In yesteryear we snook scrumpie into the dorm, the local pub was too far to walk and out of bounds.

College days - Lyme Regis we stayed in an hotel and as all were over 18 it was legal to drink in the bar. First 'fatal' mistake made by the tutors was to have the day's debrief in the bar. It turned out to be historical geography with a trip to Maiden Castle and numerous barrows, long, round and bank. We did go to Chesil Beach and I remember one of the lads 'falling in' and spending the day rather wet. Then there was the day spent in Dorchester museum looking at archaeology. 

I posted on the tutor discussion page to tell folk about OUGS. Hoping some of my fellow students will take advantage of the fieldwork events run by OUGS.