My job is mobile and I split my time working alternate weeks in Norfolk and Nottinghamshire. I drive down country roads, enjoying rural England through the seasons.

Friday, 31 July 2009

On a mission

Just having a quick break to rest my aching back for a few minutes.

Today I'm archiving all the assignments, portfolios etc from the July boards - and as the powers that be here decided in their infinite wisdom that my archive room is to be up on C floor, that means lugging box after box up 2 flights of stairs. When you put lots of sheets of it together, paper really does weigh quite a bit, hopefully even enough to offset the calories from the Twix bars I ate this morning. I 'm supposed to be back on my diet having put just under half of what I lost in the new year back on, so I'm hopeful that this may be the case.

Anyway, back to archiving (which it has to be said I would rather do than diet). It's quite satisfying in a way, I can see lots of square feet of my office that have been hidden under boxes for the past 3 months, and it almost makes me feel that I'm on top of all my work, that having all this space ready for the next lot, which are already coming in thick and fast, means that I'm prepared and all set for it.

Which is important, as I discovered yesterday that the Institute running my foot course can't organise a p-up in a brewery and posted the wrong information about booking on to the clinical placement on the website. Apparent I could have booked myself on to the one at the end of Sept if I'd phoned them after passing my module 12 assessment, but as I chose to believe what they posted on the website, I thought I should wait until I posted my portfolio to them - and have consequently found that all the placements are fully booked until the end of October!

Thankfully my bosses here like me and are sorry to be losing me (I really don't want that to sound quite as big-headed as it does), and have agreed that I can move my leaving date by a month.

This, however, means that the July boards weren't my last - I have another set to go...

It's enough to make me turn to chocolate in industrial quantities...

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Four down...

... and 2 to go. Essays, that is. I'm more than half way through my final portfolio essays and feeling rather relieved about it. Today's essay was the first one I actually enjoyed out of this latest batch - probably because I can see the end and am feeling a little less pressured. I've written 4 essays in just under 2 weeks, and am racing full speed to complete the theory modules. I am a little disappointed that this is the case. I would have liked to be able to study this year with a lot less rushing and stressing - but as I rather stupidly also embarked on major house renovations at almost the same time as I started the course, I only have myself to blame.
But I'm nearly there, and looking forward to my first week's clinical practice in just over 2 weeks - and to finding out what my accommodation is going to be like. One day I'll write a blog post on the 2 bizarre telephone conversations with my prospective landlady - but I don't have the energy to put it into words tonight. Suffice it to say I'm taking a sleeping bag and my own pillow - just in case.

It's been a good weekend. As well as writing the essay, I managed to get out in the garden for a few hours. We harvested the pink fir potatos yesterday and are really pleased with what we got. We won't be needing to buy any potatoes until the remaining 2 bags are ready for harvesting this autumn. Finally, we're self-sufficient in something!! It's a nice feeling after the cucumbers died on us, the courgettes got drowned in the spring monsoon, the peas didn't quite get there, and only 1 butternut squash struggled its way to adulthood.

It's not been a total disaster - we had lots of lettuce, a good crop of broad beans, and after a shaky start we have more tomatoes than we quite know what to do with at the moment. But I've had better years gardening-wise.

I planted the rest of the leeks out in the plot where the broad beans had been - we now have over 50 in the garden in various places - and in a few months time we'll be self-sufficient in leeks as well...

Not that the point of gardening is self-sufficiency. But it is nice to walk into Morrisons on a Saturday and think - no, we don't need to buy any ...., we've got plenty of our own at home. It's a cross between smug and downright astonishment that we've actually managed to get something from seed/plug to the end stage in spite of the slugs, snails, bugs, frost, drought, floods....

Tomorrow night I start my "diabetic foot" essay, but for tonight I'm having a couple of hours off. I've just caught up on my emails, checked facebook yet again and still don't get it, and have caught up on all my favourite blogs. Time to go make a cuppa and put my feet up for a bit. I might even pick up my next book club book and make a start on it.

Friday, 24 July 2009

The Silver Swan

"The silver swan, who living had no note,
When death approach'd, unlocked her silent throat;
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
Thus sung her first and last, and sung no more.
Farewell , all joys; O Death, come close mine eyes;
More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise."

Orlando Gibbons

He was a composer/musician in the court of King James 1.

Talking about...

Jasmine (my cat) - she came home covered in car oil yesterday, having spent time investigating the innards of the van that one of my neighbours has kindly left to rust and decompose at the end of my garden.

Anyway, I had to bath Jasmine to get the oil off her - not as difficult a process as you might think because although she protests loudly, I think she secretly likes all the attention she gets.

She doesn't like being laughed when she's all wet and spiky though...

And talking of swans, this is what I saw driving through Sprotborough to work this morning:

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

7 things about me and 7 blogs I read

Thanks Fran from Being Miss, for recommending my blog. I'm still fairly new to blogging and all that, and am very chuffed to have been mentioned as an interesting person. Now I have to try to live up to it...

So here goes - things you might (not) want to know about me:

1) I like trees - a bit obvious this one, to anyone who has looked at my blog already I suppose. I blame Tolkein, I was perfectly normal until I read about Fangorn in The Lord of the Rings as a teenager. I only have a tiny town garden where I live - but I've already packed over a dozen (baby) trees in so far.

2) I'm a bit of a twitcher - card carrying member of the RSPB in fact. Maybe it goes hand in hand with the tree thing? It's the every day song birds I love the most, the ones I grew up seeing and taking for granted all around me - but that are unfortunately not quite as common these days. We put seed out of course, and in addition I have my mother trained to put catfood out twice a day for "my" garden birds - mostly starlings, sparrows and blackbirds with the odd robin, magpie and thrush, althbough a greenfinch did come visit the other week, and I have seen a wren in the garden... The cat isn't keen on the use of "her" food in this way - which brings me on to...

3) I have extremely spoilt and stroppy siamese oriental cat. I love her to bits but at least one of my sisters has referred to her as "the devil's child". She's most definitely a child substitute. Siamese cats have the intelligence and attention span of your average 3 year old, so it works very well. Better in fact, because when I go on holiday my parents are resident cat sitters and I don't have to take her with me.

4) Song that best relates to me? El Condor Pasa, sung by Simon and Garfunkel. And as a bonus it mentions swans, wonderfully mythic creatures. Plato and Socrates believed that swans sung at the moment of death "more sweetly than ever, rejoicing in the thought that they are about to go away to Apollo, whose ministers they are." (from the Phaedo, I think). I've also got a verse from one Orlando Gibbons on the subject - but will put that in a separate post sometime.

5) I like lists. And notebooks. And paper. And handbags.

6) I like to knit and crochet - although I am notorious for starting lots of things and finishing relatively few of them. Getting better though - last year I crocheted 2 throws and a fancy long cardigan/housecoat-thingy. I have a bedding trunk full of wool bought in sales or impulse buys from markets/wool and craft shops.

7) My favourite author is a relatively unknown, and rather old fashioned lady called Elizabeth Goudge. There's a link on the left of my blog somewhere to a website about her and her books. I have almost all of her books in paperback editions and am working my way through purchasing "proper" hardback first editions for my bedside bookcase.

And now, finally, the blogs that I'm reading the most at the moment...








Monday, 20 July 2009

As changeable as the weather

Moods are funny things aren't they? They're us, or at least a part of us - they affect the way we act, think, respond to and interact with people and the world around us. We talk about being "in" moods, which kind of implies that they're not really us, just passing phases or optional states of mind.

I try to be in control of mine, I don't want random hormones or passing emotional triggers to get the better of me. But I'll admit that I'm finding that quite hard at the moment. I can go from reasonable and rational to "Kill Bill" mode in about 2 seconds flat.

I'll start with my excuses: I'm tired, I've been very busy recently - my studies and final portfolio essays, going to Norwich and back twice in a week to help Kathryn move house, UCD exam boards, Oxfam on Saturdays, keeping house...

Meditation and deep breathing only gets me so far I find.

Especially when my favourite (and only) teapot gets smashed, and I have to say "oh it's all right, anyone could have done it, it's an accident. Don't worry, we'll get a new one to replace it".

Sulking? Me? Well, yes - but only in this blog! Hopefully this will get it out of my system and I can move on to something more important in my life.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Some pics instead of text

Will come back and maybe add some text to this later, but for now I only have time to put some photos I took during my whistle-stop visit to Kathryn's this weekend to lend her a hand with the house move.

These are taken from near the stables out Claxton way, looking out towards Halvergate marshes and the broads.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Trees - a poem


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer

Didn't this used to be an ongoing sketch in The Muppet Show in the 70's? If not, I can't think why that show always comes to mind when I hear this poem...

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Cheap Days out in Notts

I had the day off work yesterday - very unusual this close to the exam boards (which are next Tuesday and way too close for my comfort) - but as my family is such a small one, visits from relatives are relatively (if you'll pardon the pun) big deals for us. In this case it was my cousin Michelle, her hubby and little girl. My mother has one brother, with whom she doesn't really keep in much contact, but Michelle and I get on well and when we lived nearer to each other, we used to meet up fairly often. Now that I'm in Notts and she is still in Lancs, we have dwindled to bi-annual emails and phone calls and the odd visit.

So it was a big deal, and a very nice day spent with them. And as Kassidy is only 3 and not of an age to sit still for too long, we braved the elements and went out - to Sherwood Forest visitors centre near Edwinstowe - a first for me in spite of having lived down here for the past 5 years.

And it was lovely, in a run down, slightly neglected way. The council didn't manage to get the funding they applied for last year to turn it into an all singing, all dancing major tourist attraction - for which I am very grateful. There were only a few other people besides ourselves, the woods were quiet and tranquil, and as the rain held off and the sun even came out for a while, we had a lovely ramble around along the paths to and from the Major Oak.

I forgot to take my camera though, so have filched this one from the Notts county council website.

Like any other old lady, the tree would be lost without her sticks - and in this case there are quite a few of them holding the tree together and upright - so it was hard to conjure up any spirit of romance and derring-do. But I still felt a lot of admiration for her age and sheer tenacity - I'm so glad they haven't managed to Disney-fy her yet.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Silly phobias

I have what must be one of the stupidest phobias around.

You know when you run a bath and put the bubble bath in - unless you occasionally give it a bit of a whisk around, the foam and bubbles all pile up beneath the hot tap?

Well that's my phobia - putting my hand into it once it's turned into that foamy mountain!

I'm fine with it otherwise - in fact hate having a bath without the bubbles, it's just that bit, putting my hand into the foam. Once I've done it and the bubbles are nicely distrubuted around they turn back into nice comforting bubbles again.

And if I don't, well, that doesn't work. At some point I have to break it up, or there aren't any other bubbles to soak in. And I never have time to give the bath the odd stir while its running - the water pressure is really low so I go off and make a coffee, feed the cat, brush my teeth... while I'm waiting. I never remember to come back and give the water a stir so I only notice it when the mountain has got to "phobia" size.

So every day, I have to steel myself, close my eyes and plunge my hand in and madly whisk it around a bit.

And then I'm fine.

And no, I don't have a shower, so that's not an option.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Just a very quick rant before I go back to my exam board lists..

Just been reading Being Miss's blog post on the comprehensively helpful advice given by the BBCs health pages on dealing with the heat, aimed perhaps at people with a very small and limited experience of life in a hot country - or maybe of life itself? I'm not IT literate enough yet to put a link thingy to her post (oops, am I being unconsciously ironic here?) , but she's listed below left in my blogs list.

But whilst sagely nodding my head and agreeing sadly that we simply aren't given enough information to protect us from ourselves these days, I would like to add my own criticism of auntie Beeb.

And that is - what have they done to the tennis coverage? I haven't watched Wimbledon for a few years admittedly - moved house, went on holiday, went a few years without telly etc etc - but when I watched the Murray Warwrinka (might have added/missed a consonent or 2 there) match the other night I nearly ripped up my dad's free over 75's TV licence and put the telly on Ebay.

What's with the constant shots of the audience - who cares about them? I don't, and I certainly don't want to see them jumping up and down, oohing and ahhing and cheering every 30 seconds or so. I also don't want constant shots of the night sky, the moon, the covered roof and every other sort of attempt to show the cameraman's versatility.

I want to watch the match. I want to ignore the crowd cheering when Murray's opponent loses a point - how unsportsmanlike can you get? I don't mind (too much) the cheering when someone wins a point, but when they lose one it's just not, well it's not tennis! I can turn the sound down, but I can't keep turning the telly on and off.

So sort it out Beeb. Let me watch the tennis, and not the audience!

A room with a (summer) view

"My" squirrel friend has been visiting a lot recently, so I brought my camera in to take another snap - so of course s/he's decided to go visit other friends and relatives and give me a miss today.

But as I mused on the dangers of working with children and animals, I remembered my intention to take pictures of the trees and view from my window every month so I could record the seasons.

So here are June's snaps. Trees in full leaf, everything looking very big and very green.

I will miss this when I leave. My first ever office to myself, and such a great view.