Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A day out

Went on the train to visit my sister for the day - I had no idea of the level of over-crowding that is now considered quite normal. I had booked a through train but when it arrived, it was completely full so that it was impossible to get through the doors. So I had to get a later train, which was almost as crowded, so that I had to stand and change at a busy station, which is what I had tried to avoid. I arrived an hour late. On the way back I had a seat, but for the last part of the journey it filled up again and I was worried about whether I would be able to make my way to the door. Passengers formed groups to force their way off - it was incredible.
All the regular travellers have been beaten (and worn out) into submission but all the time I was composing letters to David Cameron in my head. They would not allow animals to be transported like this!
I have complained to the train company and written to the Department of Transport and to my MP.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

No rail card yet

I expected to qualify for an older person's rail card when I was 60 - this is what happened to TSH a few years ago. But now they are putting  the age up gradually - I have no idea when it will happen for me.

People who are my age never 'came of age' - when we were 18, the age of majority was 21 and by the time we were 21, it had changed to 18. Now we are getting our bus passes and rail cards at 61 and a bit (or something like that). I wonder what it has done to us to miss out on TWO rites of passage.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Discount on bread

Our local baker's shop is offering 10% discount to students. They were polite enough not to show their surprise when I produced my student id. We don't buy the expensive cakes or the fancy coffees but a few pence off our daily multi-grain is worth having!!

TSH ran the Tai Chi class today as the instructor is training in China. He made a good effort but keeping track of where you are in the sequence whilst stopping and starting and moving around the room so that people can see is not easy.

Monday, 17 October 2011

This is the most difficult thing I have ever tried to learn

I really am beginning to think I have made a mistake. I have never before been confronted with this number of complicated new terms in such a short space of time. And I have no idea how to tell if a sound is 'voiced' or 'unvoiced'. It has something to do with your vocal cords but I have no idea what mine are doing. Or putting your finger in your ear and listening for a buzz. They all sound pretty much the same to me.

In the unlikley event that I get through this module and manage to scrape a pass, if anything else is this difficult I am leaving the course.

Last week I made the Christmas cake - I can still do something.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The most difficult subject I have ever studied

This course might be  beyond me. We are studying Spoken English and half the time I have no idea what they are trying to teach us. It is all about the International Phonetic Alphabet - which is not too difficult - but about the shapes the mouth makes when it makes the different consonant and vowel sounds. My mouth does not seem to do the right things. And there is a lot of stuff about 'release' and 'stops', which goes right over my head. I have seriously thought about giving up.

I am OK when they apply the concepts practically. For example, they pointed out that Northeners say 'bath' with a short 'a', Southerners say it with a long 'a', but people (like me) who have started off in the North of England and then either travelled about or mixed with a lot of different people seem to say it somewhere in between. We don't want to appear too Northern but the full-on long 'a' is a step too far. I'd never worked it out like that but that is exactly what I do. It's little gems like that which make me realise that I am interested after all.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

TSH calls me a p*****k

No, not when I got searched at airport security because they found the anti-bac gel I had forgotten I had in my camera case. At least it meant I was clean!

Not when I paid a car park fee and managed to lose the ticket in the two minutes before we arrived at the exit barrier.

Not when I put the 'Please Service my room' tag on the wrong way so that it read 'Do Not Disturb' and our room did not get cleaned.

It was when we were packing to come home and he was weighing the cases to check they were under 20K each. We had equalised and finalised and he had locked them and put the straps on. And then, in my hand luggage, I found my medical bag. Full of tablets and liquids. And a knife.

I wonder if I'll ever get my MA?

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Back from Spain

Got back yesterday afternoon and now its washing machine time. Holiday was excellent - paradors in Spain offer good accommodation and Spanish food. Those at Jaen and Arcos de la Frontera also give stunning views as they are very high up. In the latter case, the view is at the expense of driving up through narrow alley ways, partially blocked by parked cars and tourists and local residents on foot. I got very stressed about it but TSH is very laid-back and managed it without scratching the hire car.

My pedicure lasted well but the varnish on my nails chipped as usual. But it was glittery so it looked better than a solid colour would have. My hair was low maintenance but didn't really look good - I'll be glad when it grows a bit.