Category Archives: Thanks

SKWAWKBOX 2017 in review: exclusives, narratives, impact and more . . .

To read the rest of the Post below, please click here: 

It’s been quite a year. At the beginning of 2017, the SKWAWKBOX was a relatively unknown publication that had made enough splashes since its reboot in late summer 2016 to be listed as ‘one to watch’ for the new year.

skwawkbox news at ten

By the end of 2017, it had one of the highest profiles among the ‘new left media’ (NLM), was one of the most often maligned – and copied – by the mainstream media (MSM) and had featured on the front pages of most MSM papers, as well as frequently on the BBC and other channels and was described, inaccurately, as ‘the unofficial organ of the Labour leader’s office.

2017 saw a seismic shift in the political landscape and Labour now stands on the cusp of an historic victory that will herald a new direction not seen since 1945. Skwawkbox has been there every step of the way.

Skwawkbox has been an essential compendium for anyone interested in the Labour Party’s policy direction. It has regularly broken news about Labour’s internal machinations as the party transitions from more than two decades of the discredited New Labour era to the progressive socialist future yearned for by hundreds of thousands of members and millions of supporters.

Skwawkbox champions the democratic rights of grassroots party members and will play an increasingly important role in 2018 as the public are increasingly inspired by the policy agenda articulated by Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour Shadow Cabinet minister Chris Williamson

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Filed under Changes, Choices, Democracy, Disasters, History, Ideology, Media, Politics, Thanks, United Kingdom

Birthday Treats . . . . .

It was my birthday on the 24th of this month – I’ve now turned 56!

It’s something that I’ve not celebrated for many years, being a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses but, as I’ve left that organisation, I decided that I’d do something this year, and so our daughter, who is always so busy travelling around the UK, or Europe, or the USA and Canada, decided to visit in time to celebrate with us.

I had wanted to go to a new Vintage Cafe, that has opened in my nearest town of Aberaeron, to have a High Tea treat (something I’ve not had since my Great-Grandmother died when I was 10), and so we booked a table for 3, down at the ground floor, as I can’t manage stairs, ready for my big day.  The place we chose, was here: McCowans, Aberaeron

I had heard good things about it, so we got there, looking forward to a nice meal – and we weren’t disappointed!

I enjoyed it so much, that I wrote a review for Trip Advisor, as it would be great for even more people to know just how good they are – so good, we’ve already booked a meal for our wedding anniversary in October 🙂

High Tea @ McCowans, Aberaeron - 25-09-17

High Tea @ McCowans, Aberaeron

I didn’t expect much else for my birthday, as everyone we know were used to me not celebrating, but I got a wonderful card from one of my sisters, made by her own fair hands – and lovely it is, too. I also got wonderful cards from good friends of ours, and also from my hubby and our daughter – and some great pressies, too!

But only a daughter would know that a Unicorn Egg, and a Venus Fly Trap Terrarium would be things to please me greatly! Lol

I was determined to make sure that I kept a pictorial record of my presents, as both from my daughter were meant to develop over time. So I started to take photos of the Unicorn egg first, as it was supposed to be immersed in water, in order to grow.

Within hours of putting it into water, there was a crack in the egg, and, over the next few days, I’ve watched it grow and grow – I’m not sure how much more bigger it will get, but I’ll leave it a few more days more, just to see if it does. I beleive it shrinks back to the size it began with, if you take it out of the water, so I’ll be trying that, too.

I have to admit, for a child’s amusement, it’s kept me so, too 🙂

Unicorn Egg from Brex - 24-09-17

The Growth of My Unicorn

As for the Terrarium, ever since I saw the first photos of her carniverous plants, posted by a fellow Blogger The Snail of Happiness, I’ve really wanted to attempt to grow some myself – especially as we get plagued by midges and mosquitoes at certain times of the year, living near boggy ground as we do. The delight I felt, when I opened my second present from my daughter, knew no bounds! A Terrarium, and everything I needed to grow around 10 Venus Fly Trap Plants!

My daughter apologised, telling me that it would take some time for them to grow, but I knew already that it can take up to 3 years for a seed to grow into a fully mature plant and, stuck in bed for so much of my time, patience is the one thing I’ve learned really well.

I was all for starting straight away, but it turned out that I would need distilled water to plant my seeds, as Venus Fly Traps, as well as most carniverous plants, can’t tolerate a richly mineralised soil and, as my daughter’s shopping trip, locally, produced absolutely Nil in the way of the water, I had to succumb to going online, and I bought 10 litres of the stuff, just to make sure I always had it here for them – and there was the added bonus that I could use it for my crochet steamer, too!

As soon as the water turned up – on the day that my daughter had to leave, due to work commitments, unfortunately – I quickly placed the peat circle provided into the base of the terrarium, then added the 480ml of the distilled water specified. I couldn’t believe just how quickly that thin circle blew up and, before I knew it, there was enough peat to fill the base.

I then had to put the small blue stones provided into a container, so that I could swill them through, until every bit of dust was gone, then I carefully arranged them over the peat, in a swirly pattern, I then opened the seed pack, and gently poured the seeds  onto a creased piece of paper, then gently shook them so they landed as evenly as I could make them, on the peat.

The instructions then told me to put the lid on the terrarium, which I did, and to make sure I open it up once a day, to make sure plenty of air gets in – but to make sure the peat doesn’t dry out, which I’m doing every day now.

So I guess it’s now a waiting game, and I’ll know at least in a month or two, whether the seeds have germinated – and I’ll be taking photos to keep track of them as it happens – what a wonderful experiment my daughter thought of, to keep me amused, and to whet my appetite for learning about those strange plants, by watching them grow! 🙂

Venus Fly Trap Terrarium from Brex - 24-09-17

The Beginning of my Venus Fly Trap Terrarium

Oh, I was also provided with a tiny plastic Iguana in the kit, to put on the stones – are they to frighten away something, I wonder? Lol



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Filed under Birthdays, Celebrations, Family, Humour, Thanks

And another parcel arrives . . .

There was a loud knock at the door, and hubby went to see who it was, and there, holding a largish box, was a delivery man from a firm called Yodel.

This isn’t a delivery firm I’m familiar with, but hubby signed for the box, then saw it was for me. As I knew I hadn’t ordered anything from Amazon or eBay (my usual online shops when I want to buy something – normally books!), I was puzzled as to what it could be.

Imagine my surprise to see, once hubby had managed to open the box for me, all my new course books, guides, and CD-Roms sitting there! I was delighted that they’d come so early, as it means I’ve now got two sources to be able to read, no matter what my health is like.

Further to my last post, I’d said how delighted I was with the O.U., as they’d gone out of their way to provide me with alternative sources of my course books, as soon as I’d let them know I had health problems, and now I had been delivered of comb-bound versions of these, too. 

Any book that is over a certain length, is automatically broken down into smaller sections, and then comb-bound, which means that, when I’m able to handle my books, I’m not having to struggle with large and heavy tomes, but smaller sectioned parts. This makes my life so much easier, and the fact that the O.U. get them sent out in such good time is a real bonus for me 🙂

When I first started studying with the O.U., I’d started with 10-point courses, to help me get back into study mode, but the instant I’d booked my first 60-pointer and, in a questionnaire sent to me, had informed them of my health issues, I was contacted, and asked if I needed an assessment, as the Uni would then be able to see what was needed to help me function properly as I studied.

Out of that assessment, I became the proud owner of my very first laptop, along with the Dragon Naturally Speaking software that enabled me to be able to continue to write my essays, even when my hands were too bad with the arthritis to be able to use the keyboard! 
As well as this, I was given a brilliant book-chair, to hold any of my course books open for me when studying. I was also fitted with a very up-to-date chair, one that was ergonomically shaped, so that I had the best support I could need while using my computer. I was also provided with a special roller-ball mouse, which means that I don’t need to keep physically moving it. Just very light touches to the roller-ball, and my cursor moves just where I need it to be!

These aides have made such a difference to the amount of time I can study!

Admittedly, my health has got even worse over the years, and I’m only able to study in short bursts of 10-20 minutes at a time now, before I need to rest, but all these aides make the difference between being able to continue studying, or having to give up on my aim of getting my BA (Hon).

So now, I’m on the brink of studying my very last course – or module, as they call them now – and, probably quicker than I can imagine right now, I will be writing my final End-of-module Assessment, then waiting anxiously to see if I’ve passed it.

If I do, I won’t be doing the awards ceremony thing, but I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I have completed something started, very nervously, around six years ago – and something I’d dreamed of doing many years ago while in my teens, but didn’t get the chance to do.

All thanks to The Open University! 🙂



Filed under Degrees, Disability Issues, Studying, Thanks

The Open University are definitely OK by me!

Due to the various health problems I suffer with, I’ve been having more and more trouble with holding the books I need for my various modules. My last module was the hardest yet, and was also the hardest to cope with, health-wise, especially as I had a really bad flare-up of more than one health issue, which continued throughout the whole course, particularly at the beginning, and at the end. 

So it was with delight that I received a parcel in the post, from the OU, containing a CD-Rom, which has supplied me with all of the PDF’s for my latest, and last, module, starting in October!

The OU have included both course books, the 2 study guides, and the course guide on it, which means that, when I’m in too much pain to move, let alone hold a book, I’ll still be able to keep up with my reading, using the CD-Rom.

I don’t know how good it will be as yet, at least, not until I start the module. Due to my health being so variable, I never know from one day to the next, as to whether I can study or not. But one thing is certain – the Open University have gone that extra yard for me, once again!

In the meantime, while I wait for the module to begin, I can at least have a good read of the course books, and this will give me some idea as to how I will be able to cope with whatever my health allows 🙂

I’m so very glad I joined up with the OU 6 years ago. They have done everything within their power to help me get to this place – just one more module, and I hope, and pray, I will have my BA (Hon) Humanities with Literature! {grin} 

The confidence this has given me is absolutely priceless, especially as I started this journey feeling totally and utterly useless, both in myself, and in relation to those around me who love and care for me. 
I don’t know whether I’ll ever be well enough to use all the things I have been taught in my time with the OU but, for a certainty, it has kept me sane, kept my short-term memory loss from getting too advanced, and has also kept the depths of depression I suffer with at a manageable level.

Thank you OU!


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Filed under Degrees, Disability Issues, Memory Loss, Thanks

Well, it’s definitely a start, anyway . . . Lol

I got an envelope from the O.U. in the post yesterday, and I was quite excited opening it up, as I hoped it would tell me something about my new course.
It actually contained all the transcripts I’m going to need for the CD’s and the DVD that will be part of my new A363 course.

I receive these, as my hearing isn’t brilliant, so I can’t hear the CD’s as clearly as I need to, and I’m more grateful to the O.U. than I can say for this facility. It actually means that I can really go over what is said, and pinpoint words or phrases that have a significance for me during my course work, and it makes life so very much more easy for me.

It’s this sort of thing that makes studying with the O.U. so very good for me, and for many more students with problems both physically or otherwise. The Disabled Students Association does a lot of work behind the scenes, organising things for every disabled student that asks for their help and, although there can be a few problems with communication, and the occasional hickup where applying for this help is concerned, on the whole it does a sterling job for us, the students.

I know for a fact that there would be no way I could have continued on doing my courses towards a degree, if they hadn’t provided things for me that help me with my study, like the laptop I’m currently writing on, or the software called ‘Dragon’ that enables me to write my essays when my hands are too painful to type, and it’s this sort of thing that the O.U. are renowned for, and that make such a difference between success and failure for me. They truly do try to make the playing field as level as they can for us students with problems, giving the restrictions of finance, and they should be proud of the advances they have made towards helping to make as many disabled students as possible to have access to higher learning.

I have just completed the third of six courses necessary for my degree, and I wouldn’t have got this far without the practical help they offered, and it means I can continue on towards the next goal – my very first Level 3 course – with the confidence of knowing that I am supported whenever I need it!


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Filed under Disability Issues, Health Issues, Open University, Studying, Thanks

The results are in!

I went online this morning, and got an email from a fellow student and friend, telling me that she had her results.
As soon as I read this, I immediately signed on to the O.U. site and looked for my results.

I was over the moon when I found I had a Grade 2 pass! I got an overall score of 82 – just 3 points short of a distinction! Lol

This has really made me even more determined to continue on with the Advanced Creative Writing course now. I know it won’t be the same as this previously taken course, but I am looking forward to learning about the mysteries of scriptwriting, ‘though I have to confess to being a bit more nervous, since I heard that one of the students who did the course with me has decided that she’d rather not continue with the advanced course.
I’m just hoping that I find some like-minded friends among the many students who have signed on to do A363!


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Filed under Celebrations, Exams, Thanks