Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Golden evening

The one thing about stormy weather is that it produces some glorious sunsets ...

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

We've had it easy

It's been a bit darn wet across the Midlands the last couple of days, and more rain is forecast, but here in NW Suffolk we've got off lightly. Heavy showers and quite a few of them thundery, but nothing like the torrential rain that's flooded Sheffield and other places.

Since the ditch next to the Old Post Office was filled in, the rain has nowhere to go, and consequently there's always a "pond" on the corner of the access to Church Farm in wet weather, (and I'm tempted to float a little yellow plastic duck in it), but the hefty rain we've had has made it expand a bit ....

Monday, 18 June 2007

Flaming June ?

It's also been a bit wet here the last couple of days. More is forecast.

(and I can't claim I took this picture, even though I wish I had ... )

Photo credit: Pat Wong

The "studying blues"

"I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes."

So said the inventor of the Miner's Safety Lamp, Sir Humphry Davy (1778 - 1829). Right from childhood we're taught that success is good and failure is bad. At school, prizes went to those who gave the correct answers, or won the Sports Day events. For those who gave the wrong answers or came last in the race, there was sarcasm and dismissal.

I still recall being put into the "1 Mile Race" at the Grammar School Sports. Four laps of the circuit, and I came in last, huffing and puffing, to the jeers of the other members of Pelham House. I wasn't a runner then, and I've never been a runner. I'm not built for it. I can walk - long distances if I have to, and I can swim, over 120 lengths in one session about 6 years ago when I was fit, but I can't run.

Then there was French. At school I was useless at it. I even scored the legendary 1% in the end of year exam and was thrown out of the class. I then did German for a term until they threw me out of that as well. (It was the same teacher!) I ended up doing triple art periods, plus triple Private Sudy periods for my last year. You were only ever supposed to have double of one or the other. I was labelled an academic failure, though looking back on it I have now reversed that opinion and consider that the school failed me. I now get by in French reasonably well, and when I holiday in the Lot-et-Garonne I can make myself understood, and understand the replies. No lengthy conversations, but I have a basic competance.

And so here I am struggling with a short 12-week Open University course and considering that I might not actually complete it. There are various reasons.

Firstly, the workload of ministry leaves little time for private study, even though I have tried to keep various afternoons free of meetings. I haven't touched the course this last week, mainly because there has been the monthly Parish magazine to compile and get off to the printers. (It went in the post this morning!)

Secondly, I think that the amount of course work one is expected to get through in this short time is excessive. The Introductory Notes say that I can expect to spend 6 hours per week on the course. This is a laughable estimate. It's more like double. And there's a major 5,000 word essay at the end. All this for no qualification but 10 points on the OU scale that can be put towardas a degree (300 points).

Thirdly, I'm finding that I'm not really in step with the academic nature of the questions. I read the material and I look at the questions and I think, "What the hell are they asking?" I then look at the specimin answers and say, "Well, I know that, but how is that an answer to the question?"

So I am asking myself, "Why am I doing this?" I said in an earlier Blog that it was because I wanted to study something outside of ministry and church. That's still the case, but maybe, for me, this is not the right way of doing it.

I'm not giving up yet, but if I do, then I shall have to come to terms with my failure to complete it. It rankles a bit, especially since I know I'm not stupid. I passed the Mensa entrance test some years ago and became a member. Well, I was a member for two years until I worked out that I was being asked to pay a subscription of £25 a year for absolutely nothing. I wasn't that daft, and they'd proved it.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

I know ...

... it's time I posted some more amazing deep thoughts. However, it's a Sunday night and the Chinese take-away is about to arrive, so my concerns at present are warming the plates and wondering why my desk light is starting to flicker ....

Maybe tomorrow ....

Monday, 4 June 2007

Cross country travel

A drive across several counties tomorrow as I travel over to Milton Keynes to visit my mother a few days after her 94th birthday. Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. People say that you either love M.K. or loathe it. I'm one of those who love it, concrete cows and all. I like the grid pattern of main roads that allow you to get around or across the city quickly. I like the way that all footpaths and cycle paths are separated from the roads so that there are no pedestrians running under your wheels or cyclists blithely riding two abreast in front of you. (Whatever happened to the Highway Code instruction that they should ride in single file? Try telling that to the lycra-clad sweating red-faced cyclists that speed around our narrow lanes training for the next event down the main A-road). I like the way each suburb is clustered around a village centre with small shops and sometimes a pub. I like the main shopping Mall with its long parallel corridors of bargain and temptation. And then there's the new IKEA store right near where my mother is in Bletchley. Always good for an hour or so of browsing, wondering how you've ever managed without a rubber spatula or green plastic mincing machine. I'm still looking for two matching single bed-heads, and know exactly what I want, but can't recall where I saw them. I also just laugh at the prices! There's no way I'm spending £150 or so just to replace the mis-matched ones I have in the spare room at present.

So, it will be "tea" with Mother, after she comes back from one of her outings to the Red Cross Day centre. No doubt the TV will be on as she won't want to miss her daily shows, even if I'm there. God save me from becoming that dependant on the illuminated box when I age that I prefer it to real people. Even now I toy with the idea of getting rid of the TV altogether. I could manage with a DVD player and screen without a tuner, and then I could sit back and watch film after film. With radio for the news and weather and selected plays and programmes, I think I could adjust quite quickly. One of these days ....