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Friday 25 September 2015

There's no such word but


No such word, but it describes many of today's users of social media.

One group (naming no names) has already become 'moans r us'.

The course hasn't started yet the moans are coming thick and fast. I know I'm a cynic, but to me it seems the advent of social media has made some folk lazy. To me the Open University is about independent learning. I can't help but take a dim view of anyone complaining that they have not got a tutor yet. The course opens in just over a week's time, plenty of time to be allocated a tutor. Especially, when you consider that tutors only begin their responsibilities when the start date comes. 

Next on my list of gripes is also to to with on-line comms. When you sign up for a course that says quite openly it has an on-line format, I expect folk to have some digital skills. Granted, the course has digital learning skills built into it, but too many claim problems with working on-line. I did not expect anyone to send the assignment info to fellow students in pdf and glorify in the 'achievement'. 

In fact, I'd like to send these moaners back some 15 years, when there was almost no on-line activity in any courses except the tech ones. No word processing, everything handwritten, no electronic submission, no on-line forum. You were truly reliant on your own resourcefulness. Putting cynicism aside, I ought, perhaps to feel sorry for those that hardly do anything for themselves, those that will not make an attempt to be independent.

When I want to find out something, I do the research, I do not take to social media to ask someone else to do the research for me.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

All change

Another 'sign of the times'. Last year the O.U. used Archbishop Blanch School as the venue for Saturday tutorials. ABS built themselves a new school in a different location. Word went round that the O.U. had parted ways with ABS and in future tutorials would be at Hope Uni. Fine, and in theory no problem until tutorials were announced for 2015-2016. No Merseyside tutorials anywhere! Checking the tutorial finder, everything has been scaled back. The venues on offer used to be - Preston, Chester, Manchester and Liverpool. Now it's Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton.

Owing to 'austerity' cutbacks, several Regional Centres are closing, and this has obviously had a knock-on effect.

Students complain about the lack of face-to-face tutorials. With the cutbacks, fewer students are going to travel even further to the tutorials.

If I were to go to the tutorials, it would mean train to Manchester Oxford Road station and a 15 minute walk down Oxford St. I know, I did it some 12 months ago. I'm even less likely to repeat the journey this year. 

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Getting to grips with linguistics

I've always had a fondness for reading and writing.

At Grammar school (age 11) we read Homer's Odyssey (in translation). In junior school we'd come across some poetry. Over the years, I read / studied Charles Dickens' stories and plays by Shakespeare. English Language and Literature were compulsory, with the bonus that I enjoyed most of my studies.

Recently, I took up the study of linguistics (O.U.). Worlds of English whetted my appetite for more study. This year, I'm doing E304, Exploring English Grammar. 

The website opened last week, so I had the opportunity to look at and download resources. I also accessed the first 5 weeks of the syllabus. We're going to be learning something called 'Corpus linguistics', working with corpora and doing our own research activities. I'm looking forward to it, but I reckon there'll be some who'll moan.  

I had a go at using the corpus linguistics software (O.U.) and was thankful to have done some technology courses, M150 in particular. The GUI graphical user interface looks fairly simple, but not intuitive. Looking thro' the course calendar, study they've built in time to learn to use the software, and something called digital skills.


No sooner did my friend say she hoped to be home soon; than plans have gone awry. She fell, yesterday, and now has a broken wrist.

Can't help but worry. I know she's in the right place for treatment; but to break so easily, that's the next problem. 

Hope she'll be more careful and not have any more accidents.

Monday 14 September 2015

Modern comms

Being a good 60+ miles away, I visited my friend in hospital just the once.

We've kept in touch by sending text messages. Until recently, that was something she just did not do. Needs the saying goes. 

Today's message was the best so far.

Surgery has been a success, the physios have given the 'all 'clear' and my friend will be discharged soon to return home. Not certain whether that will be home as in semi-detached or home as in bungalow, depending on who holds sway.

I can see the advantages of the bungalow, but after hospital 'home's best'. 

Strangers to the Truth

For several years now, I've been studying linguistics.
Today, my interest was piqued by the daughter of an acquaintance who's just gained her Honours in English & German. That she's an accomplished linguist is without doubt, but here's the caveat.

At some 21 years of age she has found herself ' in a school in Germany. Doubtless her linguistics skills serve her well. 

Why the caveat?

This 'newbie' 'greenhorn' teacher's assistant comes (as people do) with her own set of baggage from her upbringing. (Enough said).

Straight from uni, she shared on social media a cartoon from one of the textbooks and it shows a jaundiced view of the English. Typically, I did some research and the author/editor of that particular series is an ex-pat with negative views of life/politics in England.

Another storm in a teacup - as one might say.

Saturday 12 September 2015

What a difference...

a week makes...

Last weekend, some nervousness about driving North, finding my way around the grounds of Waddow Hall and finding out what had been happening to some dear friends.

C & S were super-busy and completely worn out by all the work they'd been doing / organising. Folk tend to watch events such as the Tour of Britain Cycle race without a thought for what it involves. It is not simply close some roads and get on with it. Planning had been going on for several months. It's not just about riders, teams and their road crews. The bigger teams booked themselves in to some of the more prestigious hotels. Sky were at the Dunkenhalgh

Then there's the welfare of all the residents and businesses along the route. Liaising with police, fire, ambulance and mountain rescue teams was another 'must'.

Add on to that an accident and the pressure as they say was 'ramped-up'.

N is a volunteer fund-raiser and a marvellous one. For a number of years part of the round of fund-raising has involved crossing Morecambe Bay. For several years this has always involved one of the grandsons. Not this year, unfortunately. N had almost competed the walk when the accident happened. Result, Westmorland Hospital followed by Blackburn Royal Hospital. A plaster cast on a realigned foot and waiting for swelling to subside.

Next, the cast was 'clam-shelled' as in sliced on half, foot checked to see no further alignment needed and another wait.

This weekend, the super-busy pair are having some well-deserved r&r. The casualty is (hopefully) having surgery to plate the injured foot and I'm waiting to hear about the op afterwards. 

Later on
I have officially been instructed to , 'stop worrying'.
The op is over and post-op recovery is under-way.
Worry mode has been disengaged.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Went the day well...

The Tour of Britain Cycle Race came to the valleys of Ribble and Calder.

Pendle Hill adorned with an outline of a racing bike.

Bowland & Pennine MRT shared images of the event.

Ribble Valley Police had a busy day.

Monday 7 September 2015

Waddow Hall lunch

LFHHS Committee at their 'top' table

Ladies who lunch...
Table 4
Hazel Bleazard, Edna Redpath, Heather Penswick, Pat Allouis, Audrey Gunson.
(no particular order)
Pat is a sculptress and also restores paintings.

A good time was had by all.

Eventful, to say the least

Yesterday, I did a tour involving three rivers - Ribble, Hodder and Calder.

I drove northwards, and in my mind was the recommendation to 'avoid the A59'. It was a bright, sunny day, perfect for viewing the countryside. Journey's end #1 was Waddow Hall, just across the Ribble on the Yorkshire side. Yorkshire that is by everyone locally except the movers & shakers of local government and central government. They upset everyone locally by moving administration into Lancashire. As on speaker put it, 'Administration comes from Lancashire, but we still live in Yorkshire.'

After Waddow Hall, I drove towards Pendle and the main road along the lower slope. Thence on to Rishton to stay with friends.

Back to journey #1

Heading northwards, being 'a friend of the M6', I left the motorway at Longridge instead of the A59. I had a lovely time meandering along country lanes, through picture-perfect villages towards Clitheroe and Waddow Hall.

The event was the LFHHS annual lunch to be held at the Hall. (Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Soc.)

Instead of going to the Hall from the Lancs. side I came via the village of Waddington (Yorks) not to be confused with Waddington, Lincs. home to R.A.F. Air Command.

Waddington, Yorks. was basking in the sunshine and looked charming apart from the visitors, walkers, cyclists & bikers. 

Time for a trip down memory lane, a long time ago, when as a child one of our favourite walks was a circular tour to the Ribble, along its banks, crossing over the river and return along the opposite bank. 

Waddington's war memorial and gardens along the brook that flows thro' the village. 

Tranquillity in the heart of the village

When you can see the gardens in bright sunshine, they are at their best!

Thinking of times gone by when Wakes Weeks were in effect and most shops and businesses closed for the fortnight.

Imagine the image without flower baskets and the lower half of the sash window open. Newspapers spread out inside the room on a table by the open window. This was where people bought their newspapers and children bought sweets.

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