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  1. Yes, it was good for us to share about David again. Hazel said I should do so a while back. She was right, but I wanted to write about David, and was wary of making it sound about me, which would have been out of place in the early days. Joy and her husband thought the world of David and miss him terribly (I think Hazel may have told us something like that earlier too). So, when the tribute appeared it seemed the right time to link two groups feeling the same. Thanks to those who mentioned me doing the course. It's a year's course. Some people do it in 6 months because they want or need to get started. I'm not in a hurry and am still in the throes of hospital appointments so am taking my time - I'm about half -way through. I'm really enjoying it and doing well, but I'm no David. We all know his skill and economy with words. I would enjoy doing the work, but I think I'll find the social networking and publicising myself quite stressful. We'll see.
  2. I thought you may be interested in a lovely coincidence. Many of you know that I retired a couple of years ago - I recommend it. I had thought that after a rest, I’d do bits of supply teaching. However, having stopped, I began to realise that I did not want to go back. Teaching is more stressful than it has ever been . . . and it’s not the pupils causing this. Looking round and inspired by David having retrained, I began to look at copywriting. I wasn’t able to talk to David about this as it was just the time he started being ill. I chose an online course and coincidentally signed up on the day of David’s funeral. As I progressed on the course, a few clues led me to think that I could be on the same course that David took – Hazel referred to David’s friend by the same first name as my tutor’s and the name and picture of my tutor’s husband (also running the course) matched those of the man who told us David was ill. Hazel confirmed that these were the same people and that they had become close friends of David’s as well one being his tutor. I assumed that I was on the same course, but it turns out even more interesting. David had signed up for another course and my tutor was his tutor on that course. Unfortunately neither of them gave the course high ratings. The tutor only stayed to see David through and then she left. She and her husband set up their own course and David was involved in this from the outset. So I am actually writing assignments for which David devised the assessment schemes. They both miss him terribly. Last week, the copywriting course put a tribute to David on the site and Joy, David’s friend said that I could give the link on BGO. http://copywriting-apprentice.com/a-tribute-to-a-copywriting-professional/ (Having said that I'd give the link, I'm not sure how to do that on BGO. So I've written the URL for you to copy)
  3. angel

    Michael Gove

    Sadly, as Hazel says, there really isn’t much time to include any wider reading. It has long been a balancing act to fit two (or sometimes three) GCSEs [English Language, English Literature (Media Studies) into the English timetable. Science departments have a similar problem, now that their disciplines are often taught together. One way round this used to be that those pupils who found English difficult just took English Language, but Heads wanted more GCSEs so pushed departments to teach Media Studies instead of Literature. More recently the curriculum didn’t allow pupils to take just Language. If they dropped Literature they took a paper that was part Language and part Literature, so that all could experience reading and hopefully grow to like it. However it can take much longer to get through a book with some of these classes, for all sorts of reasons. Please don’t get me wrong, one doesn’t have to be in a top set to enjoy reading, but there are still pupils who find it difficult to get through a book and need help. That’s where ‘Of Mice and Men’ came in useful. It was short enough to read but gave a great deal of wisdom to be teased out in those few pages. I have seen year after year of lower set pupils enthralled by it and thrilled when they worked out something new themselves. It may not have been new to us, although sometimes it was, because of using a different perspective. Its value per page was immense. It is time for a change though and time to look at other books. It got to the point where examiners were so fed up of marking the similar essays that they were recommending that teachers chose another text. In a way this was sad, because it was new to the pupils and ideally they had their own ideas. Hopefully the marking didn’t reflect examiner boredom, but it did seem as if a fresh essay about a little used text might benefit pupils. That’s not as easy as it sounds though. There have been many recent changes and buying a few sets of new books takes money that has already been spent. Most things Mr Gove does still try to recreate his own educational experience. He seems to forget that all pupils now take the same exams. It isn’t just the top few percent taking GCEs like it was in grammar schools. GCSEs need to be accessible to all abilities and I just hope he is not going to dictate, some unrealistic tomes for all. That will do more harm than good. Yes, we know who did that and where it can lead. My mother was a child in Nazi Germany and my grandmother refused to let her children go to school. This was no easy decision with arrests and disappearances all around, but, schools had to stick to a curriculum of indoctrination that concentrated on Germany’s glory and taught lies about other cultures - Jews, Christians, Communists. My grandmother was none of these, but she knew it was all lies! Many didn't see the situation coming and most of those who did were silenced. My mother’s teacher used to teach her lesson, then say, ‘This is what I am told to teach you, but there is another way of looking at it.’ A small rebellion, but all she could do if she was to carry on influencing children . . . or even living. Mum always hoped that it had kept some young minds open. I agree with you Clavain. History should have taught us. I don’t trust any politician dabbling in the curriculum and experience, so far, is that Mr Gove has ignored educationalists’ views.
  4. Spot on Clavain - in question time, Will Self kept referring back to that point as being the crux of the matter. When somebody said that he did manage to concentrate on just the novel when reading online he asked the man's age (34) and said that that was just about the borderline - anyone older was brought up to read in a single minded way, whereas those younger had always known two way technology, which brought about a different mindset, and took it for granted. I'd better stop now as I don't want to lead us off topic for the thread!
  5. I went to see 'La Boheme', by Puccini, with one of my daughters this week. It was our first opera. I know some operatic stories as my mother used to tell them to me as bedtime stories, but I didn't know this one, so we made sure that we had looked the story up on the internet first. We thought there may be a translation in the programme, so bought one just in case, but there wasn't. It didn't matter, though, because there were two small screens (as chintzy described), one each side of the stage. The writing was large and in an easily read font and there was plenty of time to read and watch the performance because phrases were often repeated in the singing, but not on screen. This was much easier than following in a programme (which I have done for other classical music) because the screens moved on at the correct time and nobody got lost. We didn't know if the screens were how opera is usually translated now or whether this was done by the Lowry Theatre, or was something that 'Opera North' does or had done just for this production. This facility was not mentioned in the advertisement, ticket or programme and we wondered whether or not it might encourage more people to go if it had been. The theatre was only two-thirds full. We did enjoy the performance much more than we expected. The plot seemed a too simple but the dramatic and vocal performances were excellent . . . and we were both crying at the end.
  6. With 'Ulysses' and all the songs you know from your dancing, you'll probably understand many of the references, Barblue. Enjoy.
  7. The sheer repetitiveness of knitting makes it therapeutic - ideal for switching off all the stresses encountered at work. It can relax the mind on the easy bits and then distract it when it becomes more mathematical.
  8. I started reading this months ago, after reading the reviews here. I was really enjoying it and raced through the first half (with a dictionary to hand, of course), but then stopped for a while and read something lighter, ‘The Rosie Project’ (also based on BGO reviews). I returned to ‘Umbrella’, but just couldn’t get into it again. Re-reading this thread helped, and by MrHobgoblin’s advice, seems to have allowed me to stay in Self’s thought current and be carried along. Although I suspect that many references are splashing out along the route, I am once again enjoying the experience. Last week Will Self gave the ‘Richard Hillary Memorial Lecture’ at my daughter’s former university college, so we went along. Some of you may have read it as it was also printed in the Guardian, ‘The Novel is Dead’. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/02/will-self-novel-dead-literary-fiction Hillary died, as a young Flight Lieutenant, in 1943, having been shot down also in 1940. In his introduction, Will started to relate Hillary’s life, and the waste of it, to ‘Umbrella’. He said that ‘Umbrella was loosely based on his own family over the same period, dealing particularly with the two World Wars. His next novel, ‘Shark’ follows ‘Umbrella’ loosely, with a third example of humans and war, Cambodia (not his family though). He chose the name ‘Death’ because of its similarity to ‘Self’, an abstract noun that is uncommon as a name and makes one memorable, but can make others feel slightly uneasy at times. Will Self, himself is good at that. He certainly had a few of his questioners squirming at the end. It is fair to say that their questions showed they had understood little of what he said, but it was an open lecture and anyone could attend, not just students and graduates. Never the less few of us would have been as rude and brusque as he was. I know he likes to be controversial and openly admits so, but I think his reaction was pure incredulity and despair. I don’t like his retorts and would never act in that way, but I do admire his honesty and integrity.
  9. Oh Meg, I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a tough time. It's hard to have to start again with another operation, just when you were expecting to feel better. I hope that your husband's condition is sorted soon too. Keep propping each other up and enjoy the time at home together.
  10. Sorry to hear about your trouble Barblue. . . and everyone else who’s been ill recently. There seem to have been so many and I haven’t been around much so can’t keep up, sorry. It must be ‘something in the water’ up here in the North, Barblue – I’ve spent the last couple of months on hospital visits and a couple of operations later have just got home from having a growth removed and a biopsy from my bladder. Your post about drinking water sounded so familiar. My instructions also said drink plenty of water (no quantity stated), which naturally I did. However, on arrival for the CAT scan they gave me another jugful to drink, which I did. After the scan, the radiographer wanted me to sit for a while as there was a suspicion I could be allergic to the dye injected. I politely apologised that I couldn’t as I desperately needed the loo and the radiographer burst out laughing and said, ‘You certainly do. I’ve just seen your bladder; it’s like a little football’. I hope your problems are soon sorted Barblue. I found that once the consultants got involved things moved faster – hope thy do for you too.
  11. How lovely to have a light, 'easy read' that reads well. So often humorous books are not 'easy reads', but frustrating reads, because the writing doesn’t flow or the plot is too simple. The Rosie Project was just what I needed and I didn’t want to put it down. The words flowed simply and smoothly and even though I predicted the ending, I still wanted to read on to see how the writer resolved everything.
  12. I too am sorry to hear about your husband's uncle, Binker. I pray that you have a good journey and can share some happy memories with your family.
  13. angel

    Rest in Peace

    I too agree . . . with what you've both said.
  14. Having only daughters, we were surprised that our grandson gravitated obsessively to cars and trains. We did briefly wonder if this was a gender issue, but he also plays with his doll and his little sister is just as car mad. Of our own three girls, close in age and brought up together, one was car and football crazy too. so, I like to think that it's down to our uniqueness not our gender and celebrate this. It is such a shame that individuality isn't generally celebrated. I know that it's not easy to curb bullying and it could have been just a stop-gap until all was sorted, but this certainly seems wrong. . That sounds good to me. I think many men like pink and it's not just pastel shirts any more. One of my sons-in-law is a great fan. His guitar and ukulele are both quite vibrant shades of it. A friend's little boy recently chose the pink Lego carry-case and his sister the blue one (I would like to see orange and lime green for a change though). Like you, my husband loves cooking more than I do. . . I've always done the decorating though. Thankfully, most couples are now free to share life without having his and her household tasks now. I wish all had that freedom, but we know from Ting that this is not so.
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