my first attempt at study for many, many years. And I have loved it. I was mentally whisked back to school days where I was a hopeless, defeated student before I even began. Scared of failure, scared of not understanding, scared of what was expected of me – I never understood. So I was the class clown – the most important part of the school day was the spaces between lessons for me. So to find in the last period of my life I am neither stupid nor a reluctant students is quite a bonus. But it just proves we all weave our own life patterns and I regret nothing. In fact what a great time to start learning basic maths and learning how to use a calculator properly (and feeling your brain slowly using parts that have not been exercised for many a long year – I actually felt ‘brain-ache’ and remembered the old adage ‘no gain without pain’ but you also get the high when you realise you do understand and/or you have the right answer). Learning how you can diminish huge numbers into manageable size by describing them as being multiplied by 10 to the power of ? whatever (by the way ANY number multiplied by 10 to the power of 0 is 1 and if that doesn’t bring us all down to size I don’t know what does!). Anyway I now read graphs with interest, question on how the original data was collected and what was the source. I now question averages, those useful statistics that are thrown at us to prove anything and everything, and now ask how were these averages were arrived at!! Yes a little learning can be a dangerous thing but surely allowing you to form judgement based on proper reasoning can’t be a bad thing? Anyway many thanks to Open University it has certainly opened me up. I don’t intend to study during the summer as I am getting fired up to use all this new discipline and belief in working and enjoying my garden using all these wonderful mathematical structures and calculations.
But really I want to encourage anyone who feels they would love to learn something. I will probably go for either science next OR art history. The science bit is because I have absolutely no knowledge at all about the subject. Have never been near a bunsen burner in my life. And after the experience with this lovely, engaging Maths module I am just finishing feel it could open areas of unknown amazement for me. The way the Open University have introduced the maths is making it all relevant to our every day lives which really helped me not being overawed by all the topics and I feel sure the science module would have that same friendly accessibility. The art history would be a labour of love. But believe me folks it is all there for the learning and it is such FUN! And YOU can do it all from the comfort and privacy of your own home – BRILLIANT.
is I cannot bear to waste it. As I have always worked this longed for space is now mine. And I love it.
last veg bed to finish weeding
The great thing of having a job or business is the structure it imposes. Children impose a structure (oh those school holidays, free days, half terms, etc). And mostly these structures are great because you enjoy the job/business/children and the spaces in between servicing all these demands allow for a bit of self indulgence. Of course its a different scenario if you hate your job/failing with the business/and all is stress,stress,stress. BUT I’m not going down that very different and difficult route. For a start all jobs can be boring at times, businesses need constant attention and families are always fired through with patches of difficulty so stress, anxiety, fear is always lurking around even the most seemingly ‘perfect’ lives.
My life is now structured by self indulgence because although cash not-so-rich my days are MY days. WOW how wonderful! And it is. and of course it isn’t. Because the only person who is now in control is me. I don’t mind me but oh the imperfections glow like so many night flies flitting to and fro as the sky turned inky black. Push too little and I fritter and do nothing. Push too hard – exhausted – leading to frustration at my own inabilities etc. etc. Tiredness feels wonderful when all has gone well and the weariness deserved. But I am slowly starting to recognise my new strengths and accepting (and forgiving) my limitations.
Do you want to be my friend?
Who on earth is he?
I am now on facebook (faceless of course). What an extraordinary faceless world it is. An enormous mass of people who know someone you know and might want/will/maybe become my friend! But all this twitter and facebook has a strange emptiness about it. Hours can disappear into a very fragile communication. I realise as I write this I haven’t yet found my way of using it as a useful communication tool or if I ever will. My life would be much harder and lonelier without the use of my computer. It has opened me up to so many possibilities within my scope and taken me out of my scope and either confirmed lurking ideas or shocked me out of complacency. Plus I can always browse through eBay for the hidden gems! Thats entertainment. So I am not dismissive of the world wide web of communication just feel the information one can glean can leave one feeling a bit empty. You can never replace a really good conversation with another human eye ball to eye ball – I’m sure Skype is better than nothing but its not the same. And what really concerns me is there is an instinctive feel to those live conversations. Body movements, hand gestures, tone of voice, spaces between sentences even words and the look in the eye. And when all goes well the warmth between you. Just genuine caring warmth. And if it doesn’t go well the sheer relief of escape! So I suppose as long as we understand the limitations of facebook/twitter/blogs/’e’mail and that they will NOT and cannot replace genuine one to one contact, its a great way to keep in touch – if we really want to!!!!!
Treat of the week – listening to Maureen Lipman being interviewed on BBC3 Essential Classics at 10.30am. Dig and weed then coffee and toast then back to dig and weed. Pretty good, ah!
times are hard. It seems the whole world is struggling and I’m in there thrashing about with the best of them.
But I get on my local bus and Alan the driver always greets me by name as he does most of his passengers. And if Davy, who uses his bus pass to gently while away the day by just sitting and observing to and fro on the local journey up past the Beauly Firth, can help someone with a pram or a suitcase he does with pleasure and a shy smile. People are basically kind and friendly – we all need a pat on the back occasionally and we all blossom when we are acknowledged for just being a person. Because I am retired and my hobbies are quite isolating climbing onto ‘my’ transport taking me into the ‘world’ has become a simple pleasure. Now and then I do miss not having a car but I only have to look at the debit and credit accounts on owning a car and I know for once I’m on the right side.
Not long ago I signed up for a course at the Highland Printmakers Studio ( should be able to link this but sorry I haven’t got there yet). A really great place full of creative energy and very helpful, friendly artists who are eager to share their enthusiasm. As I have no knowledge, or experience of printmaking I just found a course that still had room which was Collagraph. Never heard of it but thats what I wanted to go and tackle the unknown! Next week is the last of a 6 week course and I have really enjoyed myself. Back to childhood covered in glue and ink, thank goodness for aprons. I have started drawing again I have been made more aware of shapes and textures and my first love colour was given free rein but in a new constrained way. I loved the way you created a ‘block’ you printed from with paper, card, bits of fabric, cotton thread, string pretty much anything that would work all torn or cut into shapes and glued onto card – the net bag lemons and oranges often come in add brilliant texture.. Then you applied printing inks – hard work this as you had to rub into all the edges then remove some etc etc etc. or you used a print roller for a different effect. The inking is up very interesting as there is always an unknown element after its been under the press. So exciting as all the protective layers are stripped away and you gently peel the dampened paper of the block to either a shocked silence or a little yelp of pleasure. I am now busy at home making a ‘block’ for the last session – its been a fun experience and pushed me gently along a path I know I want to explore and enjoy much more.
Just wish the weather would cheer up a bit. But the potatoes are coming through and so are the cabbages and leeks must check on the broad beans. Indoors my tomatoes seeds have germinated as have the cucumbers and peppers so now I have to nurture them onwards and upwards. The polytunnel eventually gave up the ghost this winter but we can re-cover it so all will be ready (hopefully) by the time the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers need to be in their warmer home to grow and produce some wonderful fruits. I realise with gardening you either love it or tolerate it or hate it. Like most things I need to get into the mood but once in I love to garden. For me its a great big adventure playground and in fact this year I am going to put up our big green canvas tent to use as a summer house plus the barbecue and a mattress and a sleeping bag and my summer holidays are sorted. The dog will be delighted! If you want to join me bring a tent (and the sun) I’ve plenty of room and you’d be very welcome!