musings (201) fun Monday (76) friendship (64) K9 (13)

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Tuesday must do

Usually, I do not go anywhere until midweek, leaving the local shopping centres to others. Today is the exception. Since D has severe osteoarthritis and uses a walking-stick even around the house, the ferrule has worn away.

Last week he went up the road to try and get another, but the shop turned out to be expensive and not to have the kind he required. We went to the shop local shopping shopping centre where he bought the stick (Thursday). It was no longer in stock, but Steve, the ever friendly and helpful phoned up to order a new one.

Yesterday, Steve phoned to say the order had come in. Hence today's visit to the shopping centre to collect the new stick.

Now D has a repaired stick for everyday and his new one for 'best'.

Sunday 28 September 2014

Taking a hint from a suggestions list

Census Sunday is suggested...

There's a forum concerning a couple of small villages in Derbyshire. They used to be referred to a the Great hamlet and Little Hamlet. Suffice it to say, my family has been connected with both for many, many years. So much so that my branch is very much an outlier. To this day I have no evidence to show why they ended up in Lancashire some 100+ miles from the original villages.

Rumour has it that the family went to the four winds when the family business got into difficulties. There was a fire which almost destroyed the business and so various family members left to seek their fortune.

 A problem with genealogy is the number of times names are re-used and in that family the names: Cyrus, Frank, George, Benjamin, Sarah and Elizabeth abound. Occasionally, names such as Ellenor and Ruth cropped up. 

From a company where fathers, brothers, uncles and sons worked it lost most of the family as they headed to Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and the USA.

Two sisters who remained in the villages.

Friday 26 September 2014

Friday - sans Tai Chi

Fridays usually involve a social gathering with folk of a similar age known as the 'Happy healthy hearts' club. From 10 until 11 we attempt to do tai chi, chatting before the tutor arrives then coffee of tea and a chat afterwards.

Barbara is 80 and May usually gives her a lift there and back. Times when May doesn't go for any reason, I do the 'chauffeuring'. But, not today, no lift and no Tai Chi.

D and I went to the hospital, where he had laser treatment to cauterise capillaries in his eye. Arriving at the hospital early, having left home early in case of traffic congestion en route, the nurse out drops in D's eyes. Then we waited, and waited as the waiting room filled up.

The appt time of 9.15 came and went, it was 10 a.m. before D was seen. I carried on waiting for another 3/4 hour whilst he was treated. Apparently, the back of his eye began to hurt and is ratcheted up as the treatment progressed. The good news being the other eye is okay. Consultant had done some preventative treatment on other capillaries, just in case. 

Now there's a two month wait for an appt. for a check-up and hopefully he'll be discharged from outpatients.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Wisdom Wednesday?

Following onwards thro' AA100 I came across a quiz based of the first three chapters of book 1.

Would you say the following statement is true or false?

1. The most reliable written accounts of Cleopatra are those produced by ancient Roman authors. [note Roman, too easy to be mislead ad Plutarch was in fact Greek]

Cassio Dio wrote about Antony and Cleopatra, more than 200 years after the events occurred.

Horace Ode 1.37

2. Cleopatra ruled the richest and most powerful country in the Mediterranean basin.
Certainly, Egypt was a rich country, with vast wealth, particularly grain.Roman power was far superior to that of Egypt.
 The problem comes with the word 'country', was Rome a country? or just a State?

3. Cleopatra manipulated her image to appeal to different audiences. Now, this is something for which evidence can be found.

4. Doctor Faustus retains elements of a medieval morality play.
What's meant by an Elizabethan Morality play? Pause for thought.

5. Marlowe borrowed a lot of his ideas from his reading of Shakespeare. Although some scholars posit that Shakespeare was influenced by Marlowe, could the reverse be true?

6. "Cézanne painted the way he did because he simply didn't have the technique to emulate artists like Bouguereau."
Hm, that would be like comparing chalk and cheese.

7. Cézanne was "the first modern artist"?
Again this is debateable, time to look once again at the group of Impressionist painters associated with Cézanne.

Paul Cézanne - 1839 to 1906 used restricted palette and reworked time and again. Dedicated painter and misfit.
Claude Monet - 1840 to 1926 in Le Havre Eugène Boudin encouraged him as a landscape painter. 1855 moved to Paris. Friend of Pissarro.
Camille Pissarro - 1830 to 1903 friends with Monet and Degas landscapes
Auguste Renoir - 1841 to 1919 began by copying some of the works in the Louvre.
Berthe Morisot - 1841 to 1895 woman impressionist artist, wife of Manet. For a short while she was more well-renowned than Monet, Renoir and Pissarro.
Alfred Sisley -  1839 to 1899 friend of Monet and Renoir, landscape painter, impressionist. Born in Paris to English parents.
Edgar Degas - 1834 to 1917 painting, sculpture and making prints

Monet, Renoir and Sisley founded the Impressionist movement.

Monday 22 September 2014

Starting anew

Carrying on from my previous post...
As we used to say on FirstClass the old OU social media, the registration finger struck.

I've become accustomed to study and relish learning for the sake of it. Having just completed U214 the Art of English, I wondered whether to stop or to carry on. Browsing the OU courses, I came across AA100, Arts past and present. Then I gave in and registered, it starts officially on October 4th.
It's a fascinating mixture of Art History, Music, historical figures, drama and suchlike. The first book in the series 'Reputation', covers Cleopatra, Christopher Marlowe, Paul Cézanne and Stalin. Unfortunately, for this presentation, Faraday has been omitted, so chapter 4 has become optional.

Typically, I've been dabbling thro' the available resources, downloading pdf, transcripts and audio files. So far, I've watched a video presentation on Cleopatra as portrayed on film from 1917 to 1963. The latter was the famous Burton and Taylor epic, which I remember watching in the school hall as an end of term treat.

Next, I played the recording of 'Dr. Faustus' whilst following the text. The version edited by John O'Connor has the text on the right-hand pages with 'helpful notes' on the left. The bulk of the book covers Marlowe's life, playhouses, language, criticism, performance, plot and study skills.

Later, the course looks at quartets by Schostakovich. 

I'm really looking forward to working my way through.

Apols for repetition, put it down to pleasant anticipation of things to come.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Studying - what? me?

After my successful result for the Art of English, I half thought of stopping at that. Then the registration finger 'struck' and now bring on Arts Past and Present. 

The website opened today, the official start of the course is in October.

I love accessing course resources and organising files and folders to take the information. Now, I have pdf versions of the course books and an assortment of other necessary pdf. Probably a sign of my generation, but I was brought up to treat books with respect. Later generations daub pages with highlighter of various loud fluorescent colours without a qualm. Then they have to nerve to sell on their disfigured books. Worse still, some folk will pay good money for them!

That's why I love pdf, I can highlight to my heart's content (guilt-free) and the search facility is a boon, far superior to indexes at the back of an ordinary book.

Arts past and present is a pot pourri of a course - Cleopatra, followed by Marlowe's Dr. Faustus, then Cézanne, just for a start.

Unfortunately, the OU has had to alter some of the ways it operates, hence chapter 4 on Faraday has become optional. Another effect has altered the scheduling, length of 'terms' has been shortened and holiday breaks lengthened. It will take some getting used to.

Saturday 6 September 2014

#2 Tai Chi

For the last few weeks, I have been going to not #1, but #2 sessions of Tai Chi.

The usual Friday session is more for being sociable, rather than a strict session. Although some folk have been attending those sessions for many years, the level remains the same. I had begun to wonder where to go to move up in skills. Hence, I now do Tai Chi on Fridays and Saturdays.

1 Tàijí qǐ shì Taiji Begin Form
2 Jīngāng dǎo duì Buddha's Warrior Pounds Mortar [1]
3 Lǎn zhá yī Lazily Tying Coat
4 Liù fēng sì bì Six Sealing And Four Closing
5 Dān biān Single Whip
6 Jīngāng dǎo duì Buddha's Warrior Pounds Mortar [2]
7 Bái é liàng chì White Goose Spreads Its Wings
8 Xié xíng Walk Obliquely
9 Lǒu xī Brush Knees
10 Shǎn sān bù Step Three Times
11 Xié xíng Walk Obliquely
12 Lǒu xī Brush Knees
13 Shǎn sān bù Step Three Times
14 Yǎn shǒu gōng quán Hidden Thrust Punch

15 Jīngāng dǎo duì Buddha's Warrior Pounds Mortar [3]

That's as far as it goes, unless there's someone new, in which case everything is broken down into more segments.

Saturdays are far more purposeful. Today, we focussed on some moves after Buddha's Warrior Pounds Mortar [3].

Green Dragon Emerges from the Water  (Qing Long Chu Shui) 

Pushing With Both Hands (Shuang Tui Shou)

Fist Under The Elbow (Zhou Di Kan Quan and Chui Zhou Di Chui)

Stepping Backwards And Whirling The Arms (Dao Juan Gong or Dao Juan Hong)

White Crane Spreads Wings (Bai E Liang Chi).

Diagonal Whip (Xie Xing)

Turning Back With Arms Twining (Shan Tong Bei) 

Flashing The Arms,

To be covered soon - Flash The Back, Flashing Turn To The back

One of the really good things about Saturday is the focus, no unnecessary noise, everyone determined to do their best.
Then, like today, it is a mixed group with some using  it as a warm-up for the next session. No matter where you look, there's someone more expert whose moves you can imitate. 

Tutor David G 


Don't stupidly repeat the form and think that you are going to get fighting ability. You must take out single movements from the form and train them repeatedly until you completely understand them.

The form is not a dead thing. Many people can do an outside imitation of the form, but they are lost in, as one participant put it, "copy and paste mode". The form must be alive within the principles.

Use slowness to achieve detail. I cannot emphasise how much importance Wang put on the fundamental need to train slowly.

Monday 1 September 2014

September, I'll remember...

So goes  familiar song from Simon and Garfunkel. 

September 1st and the start of another year for my teacher friend. I wish her well.

Once again the media is full of yet more government interference in education; my goodness, how they love their social engineering! 

I am thankful to have the inestimable benefit of retirement. Part of me still wonders how those returning to the 'chalk-face' continue to cope with the overwhelming burden of management directives. Teaching is hard enough without those whose education bears no resemblance to anything they inflict on children today. 

Cynical, that's me...whenever these initiatives are enforced

The guy fronting the initiative in the media...

Nick Gibb was born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire

  •  educated at the Maidstone Grammar School, Kent
  • Roundhay School, Leeds
  • Thornes House School, Wakefield
  •  College of St Hilda and St Bede at the University of Durham
  •  received a Bachelor of Arts degree in law in 1981.
Therefore, he's from the generation of 'O' levels and 'A' levels, pre- GCSE which was introduced mid 1980s.

Whenever these initiatives are brought in, money has to be spent on resources. Someone authorises companies to do training, publishers bring out new textbooks and in these days, new computer software for schools.

The burden on teachers is to use an American expression 'ramped up'. No-one takes into account the endless hours teachers put in to getting ready to face the challenges, or the increasing stress levels.