Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A Japanese poem

Today the Guardian have an interesting article by Ian Martin - 60 thoughts on being 60. One of the comments quotes a poem which I think is great. It was put on by yoyoga

30 April 2013 10:00am

Look forward to getting old... excerpt from my favorite poem, Hokusai Says by Roger Keyes. ( Hokusai was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period.Hokusai is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji )

Hokusai says Look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.
He says Look Forward to getting old.
He says keep changing, you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself as long as it's interesting.
He says keep doing what you love.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Good day

As a reward for handing my assignment in, I spent the day dressing up. Going  through my wardrobe to check what I've got for the summer (if it ever happens). I really enjoyed it - it was like retail therapy as I've got lots of things I'd forgotten. And everything still fits! Can't justify buying anything much, since we don't get to wear summer clothes that often. Except new sandals for smart/casual evenings. And an ivory camisole for under jackets. And I think I'll try some leggings for under long tops.

Then its on to stylistics and a poem about pain. We are looking at the use of metaphor at  the moment and how people use it  to describe pain. I think its a dreadful poem.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Handed in

5,000 words about an advertising postcard from Boundary Mill handed in. I've tried really hard with the literature review this time so I think its better but probably not good enough. My confidence in putting together an essay is very low but I know I can write a good report and I know my analysis is good. But I worry that by trying to do the literature review, which I am weak at, I might have lowered my mark. I intend to send some of my work to the learning advisor for comment.

Only 6 weeks to go til I get the result.

I was just shouted at by an electrician I just cancelled. Basically, he turned up but didn't do the job because it was more complicated than he'd worked out at his first visit. He said he couldn't do the burglar alarm side of it at all. After we'd cleared out half the bedroom cupboards and shrouded the bed in plastic for nothing. We arranged for him to come back at a later date but meantime we got somebody else in who's done a good job on electrics and alarm. But I'm 'Bang out of order'. Ooops!

Monday, 22 April 2013


Over 3,000 page views of the blog now - thank you for coming over.

Had electricians in all day replacing bedroom lights. The panic button is now where the light switch used to be - could lead to trouble and confusion.

No work on assignment today - too stressed with workmen. But I made great progress over the weekend and I now have around the right number of words and most of them are good. I need to revise a bit more and smarten up the references and then its done!!!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Gritty Northern Drama

Rutherford and Son at the Lowry is an excellent production. Barrie Rutter in the star part dominates the stage in his usual way. He must have been born with charisma and the performance gene but the way his character was lit probably helped. But the young woman playing Mary was his equal by the end and the final scene with the two of them was chilling. Listed as one on the 100 best plays of the twentieth century. See it if you can.

Another afternoon with the assignment not progressed.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Pompeii, Herculaneum and Roger McGough

We went to the British Museum exhibition about Pompeii and Herculaneum - the two cities destroyed by the AD79 eruption of Vesuvius. The presentation was excellent - they started us off with a film which alternated historical facts with footage of present-day Naples. This brought home the fact that the people who died were real people with lives not dissimilar to those we lead today.  Although I have visited both sites, there were many objects which I have never seen before, such as carbonised recognisable food. And the models of the victims, created using the moulds they left behind, were chilling. Much to be recommended.

And the latest 'face-to-face' session was stylistics, which is really the literary use of language. We looked at a Roger McGough poem which I had never read before. Stylistics is very dependent on the effect sometimes ambiguous language has on the reader. Many of the people on the course are teachers, so they know far more than I do about today's pupils. But when it came to the line 'I wish I could remember my name', all I could think was 'there's something wrong with this child'. But all the teachers were understanding and thought it was normal to be in such a panic. Now, I was timid (still am, honestly), but there was never any possibility of forgetting my name. Does this really happen?

This part of the course looks really organised - all the materials are there already, as they should be, so we can work at our own pace.

Meanwhile, back to Critical Discourse Analysis and my Boundary Mill postcard.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Well, its a perspective

We went to the ice age art exhibition at the British Museum. It was awesome in the full sense of the word to see artefacts created by humans 20,000-30,000 years ago. It is a great exhibition.

But ... these marvellous objects have been hijacked by the artists (yes, I know, the clue is in the title). And they've interpreted everything in their own terms (imagination, religion etc). When really, they might well have been engineering diagrams depicting literally the world around them. I know I have a BA now, and I'm working for my MA but I'm still the BSc computer nerd at heart. And the world is ours, too.

There were some really interesting carvings of women but the interpreters had used modern values to group them as 'young, slim and erotic' or 'old obese and not erotic'. ITS NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. 

My favourite bit was the description of a carved duck, which was 'positioned in the void between the upper and lower cosmos' meaning 'there's a lot of blank space around it'. And then they'd added 'Or its a picture of a meal with a useful bundle of feathers'. That one got through the Pomposity Enforcers.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

I'm not often annoyed with TSH but ...

Today we had the ceremony of the switching on of the pond pump. And it caused the electricity supply to the whole house to trip out. Including my computer when I was mid-essay.

Fortunately, I 'save' fairly often so I hadn't lost a great deal. But its not the paragraph you knew you wrote that's the issue. Its the minor corrections you make when re-reading earlier bits.

He is very sorry.

I still don't know what to wear to the seminar. My best winter top, which might be too warm? My second best, which I think I wore last time? Something more Spring-like, with a thermal layer underneath? Crammed wardrobes and nothing to wear.

I know, really. No-one's looking at me.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Structure improving

Yesterday I was really depressed about the assignment about the advertising postcard for Boundary Mill. Yes, I know, trying to write 5,000 words about a discount store postcard. What did I expect?

I spent  yesterday afternoon doing little more than staring at what I had written and doing a bit of 'rearranging the Titanic deckchairs'. But today, I have been a lot more focused and I fixed the structure. I am going to follow Cook, who deals with material (its a postcard), language (words, grammar, colour, typeface, layout) and then people (readers, writers). I now have over 4,00 words, although they won't all make the final cut. I still have a tendency to retreat to my spreadsheet and count something else. Because I can. And I'm a nerd at heart. All those years of maths and IT are deep in there and I still feel I'm a cheat as an arts graduate. Me, with a BA!!

And the next problem is what to wear next weekend. Its the start day for the next module, which is stylistics. And I don't know how the weather will be. Its getting a bit warm for full-on winter but its certainly not summer. Is any of last year's spring wardrobe smart enough?

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Not the best day

It started well with a full English at our favourite hotel (Trout, Cockermouth). Then we went to two smart clothes shops. Found nothing to enhance my Spring/Summer 2013 appearance. The coffee bar we normally use was closed and the other one totally full. So we went to a garden centre, where TSH couldn't find the plants he needs. Then he had the 'worst cappuccino ever'. And he scraped the car. These things happen but he is in, I estimate, a three day strop alternated with depression.

Monday, 1 April 2013

They think I'm mad

Sometimes I can see it in people's eyes. 'Why are you putting yourself through essays and dissertations and exams at your age?' 'What's the point?' 'Why do you care what someone else thinks of your work?'

But I don't criticise what they do. I would hate craft lessons. I started a book club and was bullied out because someone decided she didn't like me. I'm not any good at sport. Never have been. And I still find time for Tai Chi and holidays and  days out. I'm living the dream.