Category Archives: Reading

Are we all asking ourselves the right questions? . . . . . .

I was catching up on my Blog reading this evening (I get emails from the Blogs I follow, whenever they post anything), and I read yesterday’s post by Kitty S. Jones, in her Politics and Insights Blog.

She was asking the questions to all of her readers, that I’ve been asking myself for the past few weeks and, what she says, is so very relevant to us all, if we don’t want to lose sight of the bigger picture, politics-wise!

At the moment, the Media are going crazy over the Labour Leadership challenge, which would be okay, if they had also become angered, and then let the world know this, at the way the Right-wing Labour PLP had disenfranchised thousands of new Labour Party members (myself included), after promising them on joining, that they would be able to vote in the leadership challenge!

They then went on to charge £25 each for those who still wanted to vote – throught the registered supporters ticket – and then, after the money was paid, managed to get a court ruling that the new members, and the supporters who had paid for the privilege to vote, could not now vote either – a fraudulent, and totally undemocratic, use of members fees!

Despite the anger I, and so many others feel, though, it behoves us all to start thinking more about what’s being done on the quiet, where the Conservatives are concerned!

These are the ones we should be fighting, not each other and, if you don’t believe me, maybe you should follow the link below, and read what Kitty says, and what will happen if we continue to ignore the important stuff. I know that, after reading her post, I’m more concerned than ever over the way Labour’s split is leaving the Conservatives the freedom to take away both our civil liberties, and our Human Rights!


Dead Cat Conditioning, Attention Deficit, andThe Social Order

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Filed under Changes, Choices, Disability Issues, Disasters, Divide and Rule, History, Human Rights, Ideology, Politics, Reading, Rhetoric

This is a New Me . . .

. . and I really don’t know how I’m developing as yet.


I spent too many years listening to some men in New York, telling me that I should have nothing to do with the World, and not enough time learning about everything happening around me – and then I woke up, after learning that those men in New York were more interested in protecting paedophiles, than the children they were supposed to be protecting!

It was quite a wake up call!

Then, before I could turn around, the UK was calling for a referendum, to decide whether to stay in the EU or not and, as it happens, because of a campaign of lies and deceit (on both sides, I have to add), the votes went with the Leave party – and what a can of worms that opened!


Now, when we joined the EU, I was just a young child, and all I recall about that, was my Mum up in arms, because the EU had decided that cucumbers, or bananas, or something of that nature, needed to be straighter (I may have misheard this, of course, but you get the picture, I hope?) and, suddenly, my pocket-money was given in Monopoly money, and I couldn’t buy as much as I used to with it! Lol

Fast forward all those years, where the EU and I were quite comfortable with each other (well, all right, I was comfortable with the EU – I don’t suppose it knows I’m alive! Lol) and I’ve been reading a ton of words about how things should have been, how they may be and, frankly, how nobody knows anything, but it’ll work out okay, won’t it?

Through all the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to learn what I can about those characters who are considered the movers and shakers – aka, our MP’s – because I was going to be voting – something I hadn’t done since the year I turned 18, and voted for a woman as, surely, a woman couldn’t make any worse a hash of things as the men have done – can she?


Anyway, I was reading, and reading, and getting seriously depressed at the dearth of choices we have for our Prime Minister, only to find that the choices have got ever smaller (please, God, don’t let it be Gove!)

Anyway, reading about the various party leaders, I was interested in what was said about Jeremy Corbyn. All I knew was that the Media, and practically every opposition MP, were having a real pop at him but, rather than putting me off the guy, the fact that he seemed to be universally hated by everyone who has had a hand in making the mess we’re in right now, decided me to try to find out what he was trying to achieve.

I was pleasantly surprised:)

After the 172 Labour MP’s tried to stage a coup against Jeremy Corbyn, I expected him to be forced into resigning, as so many politicians had done before him – but, no, he stuck around, and continued to promise the Labour Grass Roots that, if he did ever become Prime Minister, he would do his best to bring things around to the way they should be, where Labour will be about the people who voted for them.

I would love to see a Labour Party that really protects those that need it, whether through illness, disability, through age, or because jobs are presently few and far between.

We need a party that will deliver on their promises of public ownership of resources, rather than selling everything off to private companies with no accountability; we need our NHS back up to scratch, with more training places given free to local people who want to work as our future doctors and nurses; we need to be building more homes for those people who, through no fault of their own, can’t, and never will be able to, afford to buy their own and, as a consequence of that building work, they will generate more jobs! We need a party that will make taxes fair for everyone – including making the super-rich companies, presently hiding behind unfair tax laws, cough up what they owe to a country that has provided their work forces, their raw materials in a lot of cases, and the land that the buildings they occupy stand on!

We also need to put a stop to the awful xenophobia currently splashing its way around the country – and this a country that has been made up of practically every nation in Europe, from the distant past, to the present day – plus all those Commonwealth countries, that were forcibly put under the yoke of the British Empire, had all their wealth stolen away, and were forced into slavery, to help make a few Elite even wealthier than they already were!

I digress!

Anyway, if Jeremy Corbyn can get the Labour Party turned back to its original purposes, and can then help to protect us all from the idealogically-driven ideas of this present lot, then we may actually get back some of that spirit that drove the working man to better his lot in the first place – not by climbing over the bleeding backs of others to get only what we want, but standing on the shoulders of those who came before them, with the dream of making life  – maybe not easier, but certainly better than it’s been for at least the last few decades.

Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’d love to see our MP’s get away from seeing themselves as Career Politicians, or as a way to line their pockets with whatever they can squeeze out of an unaware electorate – and I mean that for every Party!

I would love to see the Politician doing the job they are paid for – protecting the rights of the people of this country, no matter what race, colour, or creed they happen to be!

I guess time will tell, but I hope that, in the meantime, someone will work out what we’re going to actually do about the pickle we’re in at the moment!



Filed under Changes, Childhood, Choices, Disability Issues, Faith, Human Rights, Ideology, Politics, Reading

Nothing to declare . . .

I don’t know why, but I’m feeling terribly guilty at not writing as regularly as usual on this blog – as if I’m playing truant from school! 

I don’t think that’s something that I ever actually did as a child, as I’ve always loved learning (mind you, school itself was always a trial to me, as I was such a bookworm, and a real loner).

Thinking back, as a child living in London, one of the few occasions when Mum sent us along to a summer school (I think she’d got thoroughly fed up of having so many energetic children underfoot that year! Lol), I did play hooky for the day, with my cousin Paul, and Mum knew, almost to the moment, when we had left the building, and where we had gone for the day!

As children, we believed her when she said that she had eyes at the back of her head, but what she did actually have, was an extremely efficient network of friends. 

Mum knew absolutely anyone worth knowing in our neck of the woods in Willesden, and we always seemed to have a huge amount of aunts and uncles – those deemed close enough friends that these honorifics were apt, as they were like real family to us.

Coming from a big family (6 girls & 1 boy, plus 2 who didn’t make it past babyhood), and with a father who was the baby of 16 children, we were used to always being surrounded by hordes of people, and I learned early on to be able to read, and do my homework, despite the noise and bustle. 

If it wasn’t people talking, laughing, joking, or playing about, then there was always music being played, either from our little transistor radios, (in rather garish colours and very much prized as our latest Christmas presents in the 70’s – mine was florescent orange! {grin}), or on my parent’s Grundig Radiogram, where mum would pile on all her favourite LP’s – normally Irish or Country & Western, and she and her best friend Eileen (Oh, I do miss you, dear lady!), would sit with teacups in one hand, and cigarettes in the other, and sing along at the top of their voices, or just reminisce about the dances they’d gone to, before all the children arrived.

At times the noise would get too much for me, especially if I’d just got back from yet another hospital visit, and I’d creep upstairs to the bedroom  I shared with my 3 older sisters, and I’d get into bed, and snuggle down under the covers with whichever book was gripping my attention at the time. I think I was the only one in my family who looked forward to bedtime and, at one point, would be in bed by 6 O’Clock on a lovely summer’s evening, just for the short space of peace and quiet I got! {grin}

It’s an interesting thing, to look back on your childhood, isn’t it? 
Very often, if I mentioned a particular incident in our shared childhood, each of my family would tell it from their own viewpoint – and, more often than not, their memories would bear only a slight resemblance to my own recollections. 
I’ve always understood why the police on TV had trouble getting witness statements straightened out. If a murder was committed in a locked room, with 10 people watching, you’d get 10 different viewpoints as to what actually happened!

Memory’s a strange thing, and mine’s gone from excellent recall, to muddled memories now, due to illness and medications – but the further I look back, the clearer my memories become – is that a sign of age, do you think? {grin}

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Filed under Childhood, Memories, Reading

Ups and Downs . . .

Well, it was definitely a week of ups and downs for me this week!

The virus is still hanging about like an unwelcome guest at a party, and I’ve got no energy whatsoever, but I’m slowly but surely struggling along with my studies. 

I’m managing it by doing 10 minutes here, and 15 minutes there, and just doing what I can, when I can.
Unfortunately, I’m not absorbing as much as I would like, which means I’ll be having to go over it all again to do my TMA – but I guess I’m getting used to having to do this now 😦

On a high point, I’ve finished the section on Tom’s Midnight Garden, and have  actually started reading Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry (ROTHMC) again, as I had read it once in the summer when my books arrived, so at least I’m only a day or two behind schedule! 🙂

Both Hubby and I are going around feeling like wet rags, and we’re just hoping like mad that this virus goes away soon. Mind you, at least I haven’t got the ragged cough that Hubby has – one of the benefits of giving up smoking nearly 5 years ago now! Lol

I have to admit that, as much as I am enjoying this module, I am finding it the hardest to concentrate on out of all of them – now all I need is for my mind to clear enough to do the job I want it to! :0))

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I had a phone call from a fellow student from my tutorial group, and she told me our results were in, so I quickly went to the site to get my results and, much to my amazement, and total delight, I’d managed another 85%.

I honestly hadn’t imagined that I’d get as good a mark as my previous one, so I’m over the moon with it.:)

Now all I have to do, is to try and shift this virus that I’ve got, so that I can concentrate on the next Block of the Module – much easier said than done at the moment, and I’m even having a job to concentrate enough to read the set books. 😦

I managed to finish reading Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, and I’ve also even read all the critics for that section, but I’m now on to Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce and, although I’m enjoying the story, I’m finding it a job to concentrate enough to keep reading the book, let alone all the critics. I manage a few pages, and then I find that I’ve dozed off – not the fault of the story, but just this virus dictating to me! Grrrr

I’m really, really, hoping that I feel better soon, as there is so much reading to be done in this section, and I just can’t concentrate enough to do it at the moment 😦

I’ve not only got TMG to read, as well as all the critics attached to this section, but there is also Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor, to get through – although I do remember it being an excellent story, so I’m looking forward to that 🙂

 I did read all of the set books (apart from Swallows and Amazons) at the beginning of the summer last year, and I do still remember the basic plot-line of them all but, of course, I need a lot more than that to be able to complete the activities necessary to get my TMA04 written.

Let’s just hope the virus goes soon, so I can get what little energy I would normally have, back again 🙂


Filed under Celebrations, Health Issues, Reading, Studying, TMA's

New Year, new goals . . .

Well, it’s certainly been a busy two weeks for me since I posted last!

I’ve been ill with a virus that, thankfully, didn’t turn into the swine flu I had suffered through, in October 2009, although the high temperature, blocked, and very painful ears, and itchy, scratchy throat are still being a nuisance.
At one point, my temp was so high I was hallucinating a bit, which wasn’t too pleasant but, despite it all, I had a 2,000-word essay to write for TMA 03.

I’d chosen Option 2 for this, as I wrote previously and, although it took me ages to find all the quotes I wanted from the various critics involved in the course-work (or modules, as we have to call them now), I managed to get what I needed to answer the question.
Despite marking things as I go along, normally in different colours for each critic, or subject, my short-term memory is so bad, I forget most of the time just why I’ve marked a particular passage 😦
I’ve tried all sorts of things to aide in memory retention but, as usual, I never remember them, and end up having to trawl through the sections I need for each particular question.

It gets so very frustrating for me, this lack of memory thing, as I used to have a superb ability to bring anything I needed out of my short, and long-term memory storage. Alas that is no more! :/

Anyhoo, I worked away for most of a week, getting a rough draft together, which I then sent off to a fellow student, with whom I swap essays for proof-reading and, apart from a few bits and bobs that made no sense to her (and which I concurred with after reading it again), she said it answered the specific question, which was all I was concerned with really 🙂

For the next few days I edited!

For me, the process of editing is an all-out experience, and I give over everything that I am to the process – no half-measures for me! Lol

So, in between bouts of hallucinations, and deathly tiredness, I worked on the essay until, if I’m honest with you, I was then sick of the sight of {grin}. I kept editing until I thought it worked with a definite smoothness between paragraphs, and the word-count had been reduced by about 500 words, back to the 2,000 word limit, plus the 5% leeway allowed (thank heavens for the leeway! Lol)

I went over it again the day I posted it to the O.U (two days ago), made some last-minute adjustments (as you do), and then sent the thing packing, with a huge sigh of relief! {grin}
I won’t get the results for it, until around 14 days after the final submission date – which was today at mid-day – so I will now be worrying myself sick that I’ve done disastrously, until it comes back marked, and I’ll know then if I’ve done right or not.

I honestly don’t think I’ll get as good a grade as with TMA 02, but I do hope it’ll be more than I got for TMA 01!

In the meantime, I’ve started reading the set book for the next block, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome and, much to my surprise, I’m actually enjoying it! 
There’s a tad too much nautical expression for my taste but, over all, I’m surprised by myself in my enjoyment of a story about middle-class children, who are having an adventurous boating holiday in the Lake District, set in the 1920’s.
I’m just about half-way through it now, so I reserve my final judgement until I’ve finished it, but I think it will be an overall pleasant reading experience for me. 🙂

A few days ago, I decided to look at my overall work with the O.U., and I figured it was time to choose the final course needed for me to gain my BA (Hon).

The choices that I found are quite limited, as anything with an exam at the end of it is a definite no-no, as my memory problems would make attempting an exam a total disaster, and a waste of all the energy I have to put in, to do the module work itself.

AA306 Shakespeare: text and performance was out, as was the module that really appealed to me, AA316 The19th Century Novel, as both had an exam at the end. 😦 

Another choice could have been E303: English Grammar in Context but, as I haven’t dealt fully with the grammar side of things, it would be a disaster waiting to happen! 

The only other choice – or so I thought – was A300, 20th Century Literature: texts and debates, which does have an EMA (end-of-module-assessment), but the books being studied, most of which I have read over my lifetime, just didn’t appeal to me very much. 
This left me in a real quandary, until I happened to spy E301: The art of English!

I clicked on the link, and read the module introduction, and it looked quite intriguing, so I went onto First Class, looked on the Signpost for the E301 Forum, and placed it on my desktop, so I could ask the students, presently studying it, for their opinion and, as luck would have it, I spotted the names of two students that I’ve known since joining the O.U.
I messaged them privately, to ask their opinions, and received a much welcome response so, with no hesitation, I’ve now pre-booked my place for the October, 2011 start!

I know the course is going to stretch me but, from all I’ve seen of the work involved so far, I think it’s going to be an enjoyable challenge – one I think I need, if I’m going to keep my poor old brain working to the best of its capacity!

So, I’m now half-way through this present module, and I’ve got my last module for my BA (Hon) decided upon. Which isn’t too bad a goal, for a working-class girl who had to break short her first attempt at further education in order to help support her family, who now has a body that doesn’t want to do what she wants it to, and a brain that decided to stop working properly some time ago!


Filed under Choices, Health Issues, Reading, TMA's, Writing

The results came in . . .

Due to being terribly busy with my course work, it’s been a while since I came to my blog, and I realised that I hadn’t posted my TMA01 results.

I got them back two weeks after the cut-off date and, for the first time since I became a student with the Open University, I was terribly disappointed with the results.

I had got 64% – the lowest ever for me – and it was a good few hours before I got over the disappointment – mainly due to good friends telling me off for trying to be such a perfectionist, both because of my state of health, and because this is a level 3 course and, apparently, for the first TMA, this was a fairly good result!

It just goes to show, how habit has a way of ruling your life, because, throughout my education while growing up, I was always a straight-A student, and the limits my bad health have put on me now are things I rail against fervently!
I could cry at times when I think of how sharp my mind was, how good my memory and, now, through illness and medication taken, I feel as if I have been robbed of something special, something that was an intrinsic part of who I am.
(Sorry folks, I’m over my winging fit now {grin})

Anyhoo, as I was saying, I’ve been really busy since I sent in my first TMA, and it has been a bit of a shock at just how much I’m having to read for this course – this not being helped by the fact that I fall asleep at the drop of a hat, so I find myself having to re-read what I’ve already done, just to remember what it was! 
Veeery frustrating! Lol 

But, despite all that, I’m actually enjoying this course much more than I thought I would, despite the fact that there’s just so many critics to read, understand, absorb, and comment on! 🙂

My mantra has become, ‘I know I can do it, I’m sure I can do it, I will do it!’

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Filed under Health Issues, Learning, Memory Loss, Reading, Studying, TMA's