Saturday, 30 March 2013


Lunch party at 12:30. First arrivals 11:00. Apple crumble, chocolate puddings, citrus pudding made. Slow cooked beef in ale in oven. Chicken and salmon still to do. And canapes (just rushed off to put eggs on to boil).

TSH made vegetable and lentil stew in advance yesterday. Quantity is enormous - used lots of pans. We think we might be eating it for months.

Still to have bath and hair and make-up. Can't decide what to wear. Is it winter or summer?

Happy Easter

Friday, 29 March 2013


So we went to a funeral and afterwards TSH left his mother and sister in the church porch whilst we went for the car to pick them up. He drove back to the church entrance the wrong way round the church one-way system because 'that's OK if you're picking up a 93-year old'. All the time, people were waving frantically at us and I was having an out-of body-experience, in an avoidance kind of way. Then he got out of the car and went into the church to find them. They had wandered off in the opposite direction 'to make things easier for us'.

There I was in a car, nose to nose with the hearse which was ready to leave. Everybody staring at me. Knowing there was no way I could successfully reverse the car  in a straight line back down the narrow space he had driven up. Covering my eyes with my hands.

My father was a funeral director. He would have been livid if anyone had done that at one of his funerals.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

No MA work for the next few days

So the house is all ready for Easter visitors. And we bought a mountain of food today so I hope everyone can make it through the snow. We have collected TSH's mother who is with us for almost a week.

I have ideas about how to structure the essay but they'll have to remain ideas for a while. I think I'll structure the essay just like the course but refer to Cook, who says an advert is a good example of text which can be subjected to critical discourse analysis. And then the multimodality is important because the lexical density is so high that colour and layout are needed to make sense of it.

Last weekend TSH went to a steam rally. On the way, we visited the Black Country museum. I had never heard of it before but it is world-class - a town reconstruction just as good as Ironbridge or Beamish.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

House back

The power flush is done and they've gone!! All over the house all day - house freezing cold. But they worked hard. And the washing machine still works. And the problem with our TV recording system is resolved.

I went to Old Faithful and my hair is done.

The logistics of my life are OK.

Back to direct mail and semiotics.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


When those who run the course don't seem seem to be interested, its very difficult to get motivated. Materials put up a week late, still with no audio. But she says its OK if we hand in the task late. No mention that the work will then run into the time for writing the assignment. And no negotiation there about handing in times.

They really don't get it that part time distance learners work that way because they want to choose when they work. Last week I was motivated and there was no session to look at. Yes, I know, I read up other things and started on the assignment. This week, I'm tired and can't be bothered and I think 'if they're not bothered, neither am I'.  But its for me, not them, so I'll plod on. And it really is plodding at the moment. I hate literature reviews. I'd rather do my own thing.

At least the washing machine is working now. New motor but that was covered under contract. But tomorrow, British Gas are back for a power flush of the central heating. All over the house for a full day.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Domestic disaster

First the spin cycle started being very noisy. Then the spin cycle failed so we had clean but very wet clothes. Now the whole machine has failed so we have wet dirty washing. And we have to go to a launderette!! Fortunately I have already booked an engineer for tomorrow. But if it can't be repaired, it could easily take a couple of weeks to get a new one. And we are going away for a few days and then having visitors over Easter. Sheets and towels.

What did people do before washing machines?

And I'm supposed to be writing 5,000 words about a direct mail postcard.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Almost like a cruise

We went to a presentation from the cruise line we travel with. They gave us afternoon tea at the Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool. And told us about expedition ships to Antarctica and Galapagos. More TSH's thing than mine but I have told him I will go as long as I can mostly stay on the ship and watch from afar. He says that would be just a waste but when we go 'up the Amazon', I intend mostly to stay on the ship. Its a jungle out there.

Home, quick change and then a History Group presentation about the Co-op. I relate to this one because I spent my early years living close to Rochdale, where it all started. I must say the Cooperative principles could well be applied to the current situation in the UK but I don't suppose anyone with any influence would want to do something that might benefit everybody in the country.

I'm still pleased about the comments about the strength of my linguistic analysis. Since I'm doing this for pleasure, should I concentrate on the analysis, which I enjoy, and neglect the literature, which I mostly don't? But I need to play the game to get good marks.

Friday, 15 March 2013


Last night we went to see Verdi's Otello at the Lowry, Salford. Othello is the Shakespeare play I know best, so I really looked forward to this and I wasn't disappointed. Great voices from everyone in the Opera North cast, in spite of an announcement that some of them had colds. I'm not sure if it was this particular production or the opera itself, but it seemed to lack the subtlety of Othello. He seemed to believe the lies about Desdemona all at once instead of showing growing doubts and gradual physical and mental deterioration. But it was a really great evening.

I am relieved that there does not seem to be any problem with my linguistic analysis and that the issues are connected with engaging with the literature and presenting the argument in that context. Its the linguistic analysis I enjoy and I would be devastated if it wasn't up to standard. I find the literature review side of it much more boring. But I know I have to do it.

And the latest material will be made available a week late (maybe). Out of sight out of mind. An MA through distance learning is like trying to get it with hands tied behind back,

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Is this a breakthrough?

I went to see a tutor, who looked through my essays and feedback so far. It seems that my linguistics analysis is, by and large, at the 'distinction' level, but that I'm not using and quoting the literature properly and not giving enough examples. I have a much better idea of what to do now - I should have gone to see someone earlier.

I saw a noticeboard about the 'Faculty Student Learning Advisor', who does regular sessions on campus about exactly the issues I struggle with. I am now in touch with her as well and will take her advice. But why didn't I know about her before? No-one sent us any information. When I was at University the first time, I'm sure this kind of post did not exist. And now I have so many lower marks that a Distinction overall is no longer possible (but I might get a merit??).

I also talked to the Course administrator about the time-table for next year. If I get the MA, the degree ceremony will be held whilst we are 'up the Amazon'. I am really really disappointed. But what a time-table clash! Am I lucky or what?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

No action

The next mini piece of work is due in on Monday and nobody has posted anything yet. I have been concentrating on reading some of the literature so I haven't finished the work yet either. But it is really frustrating to try to follow up a reference and then I can't find the book or journal on-line. If material is only available in print from a university library, it isn't much good to me really.

I spent the afternoon with a friend from school who has just retired and is looking to see what she can do next. We are not a generation to sit around 'being retired' - we all want to do things and complete projects even now.

I am seeing a tutor on Friday about improving my essays - I will wear one of my new(-ish) layered tops made up of many fabrics and shapes and my black boots. And my black vinyl carry-all. Trendy but business-like. I hope.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Shopped and dropped

I met a friend at Boundary Mill and we shopped all day - I can't remember the last time I did that and it was such good fun!! Its between seasons and that meant the bargains were exceptional - I got three black evening tops, two of them Alexon, for less than £20.

Its a Boundary Mill direct mail that I'm analysing for my next assignment on multi-modal discourse. I believe in gathering data from my own real life. TSH has taken a picture of the current plush Boundary Mill to show how different it is from the home-spun image and the chimney with smoke which is on their logo.

The previous afternoon, we saw Mother Courage and her Children at Lowry, Salford. We all really enjoyed it.

Last night I was totally exhausted.