30 October 2010

Saturday Satire - The welsh pub

An Englishman walked into a pub in Merthyr Tydfil.
"Could I have a glass of white wine, please", he asked the barman.
"You're not from round here", said the barman.
"I am from over the border, I'm English," he said.
"I bet you've got a good job," said the barman.
"Actually, I am a taxidermist," he said.
"What do you mean, boyo, you drive a taxi," said the barman.
"No," he said, "I mount animals."
"It's alright boys, he's one of us," shouted the barman.

29 October 2010

Blowing a Hooly

It's blowing a hooly out there today.. the winds are blowing in from the South West and made our walk this morning much more interesting as autumnal fallen leaves are blowing around high up into the air.

Murphy made me jump this morning, a huge gust of wind startled him and in turn as he leapt against me and I of course was daydreaming as usual. There wasn't anything other than the wind and the leaves but Murphy is a bit of a girlie when it comes to loud noises and wind seems especially scary to him.

We are hoping for a quiet bonfire night; at the Back of Beyond the fireworks would have started by now and continued on pretty much until Christmas and New Year which wasn't that much fun.

We are expecting visitors on Sunday night, apparently a witch and skeleton are going to pay a visit... what do we dress Murphy up as?

28 October 2010

Half Century

SOH celebrates a special birthday today... congratulations!

You have a great day, it's all downhill from now on :-)

27 October 2010

Wet and Windy

Yesterday was wet and windy at the Edge of the World. Even young Murphy wasn't too inclined to come out for a walk at 6.15am and I persuaded him to wear his cissy coat. It is lightweight and waterproof, he wore it for no other reason that it would keep the majority of him dry as my time in the mornings are limited and a dryish dog is better than a soaking wet one.

It is dark in the mornings when we go out, and dark when we get back home so Murphy has to settle for a walk around the roads as it is too dark to see the ball in the park. Luckily the afternoons are a little different and he gets a chance to play ball giving him much needed running around.

On Sunday, the weather was lovely, warm and dry and we took Murphy down to Gwithian beach for a run around. He is getting better with other dogs, still occasionally slipping into old habits but after 10 mins of running wild he stayed more with us and fetching his ball from in the surf. After he had enough of that, we took him the other side of the dunes to a freshwater pond, and this time he had to swim a little to get to the ball. It was a little deeper in the middle and in one of his hastes to get the ball by bouncing up and down he disappeared under the water (having found a deeper bit); he was a little uncertain after that but didn't seem to be scared of the water.

I must admit, I had envisaged in that short period of time when he disappeared under the water that I would be having to resuscitate him after wading in to find him and I was so relieved to see him running around normally. He had a few extra treats that evening and he was so tired he went to bed early.

25 October 2010

Word of the Week : Fool

Now this week's word is an interesting one.

Word History:  Its source, the Latin word follis, meant "a bag or sack, a large inflated ball, a pair of bellows." Users of the word in Late Latin, however, saw a resemblance between the bellows or the inflated ball and a person who was what we would call "a windbag" or "an airhead." The word, which passed into English by way of French, is first recorded in English in a work written around the beginning of the 13th century with the sense "a foolish, stupid, or ignorant person."

1. One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding.
2. One who acts unwisely on a given occasion: I was a fool to have quit my job.
3. One who has been tricked or made to appear ridiculous; a dupe: They made a fool of me by pretending I had won.
4. A member of a royal or noble household who provided entertainment, as with jokes or antics; a jester.
5. A dessert made of stewed or puréed fruit mixed with cream or custard and served cold.
How did this word come to mean both someone who may be unwise, or foolish, and a dessert?
To be fooled, to be tricked; this very much links to a previous word.. deceit to decieve is to fool is it not?

23 October 2010

Saturday Satire - English Lesson

A teacher asks her class to construct a sentence including the word "fascinate"

Cindy puts her hand up and says, my father collects stamps I think that is fascinating.

Not quite right the teacher said but very close.

Johnny puts his hand up, now the teachers had trouble with Johnny before and is warry of his reply but she thinks he can't do much with fascinate so she say go on then Johnny.

My grandmother's got a cardigan with ten buttons on it but her t*ts are so big she can only fasten eight.

22 October 2010

Pillars of the Earth

I regularly read this book, by Ken Follett, loving the intracies of the story based around Kingsbridge and Tom Builder and his family.

Not being a great fan of a book turned into a film, or tv series, I noted that Channel 4 had got it on last Saturday evening. I didn't manage to watch it due to various reasons but did eventually manage to watch it on Channel 4 On Demand OD.

I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the programme, it was reasonably authentic to the storyline and the cast worked extremely well particularly Ian McShane as the redoubtable Bishop to be.

Well done Channel 4... a job well done.

21 October 2010


Beautifully sunny but oh ever so cold this morning... enough to have me reaching for my scarf and gloves when taking Murphy out for his daily morning walk.

He is getting really good, when we get to the roadside he now sits without waiting to be asked. This might have more to do with the fact that he gets rewarded for doing this and therefore receives something nice for sitting down but also he is proving to be a very bright and intelligent dog who thinks things through for himself and rarely makes the same mistake twice.

Likewise when we go to bed, he has three biscuits. You cannot fool him by only giving him two as he has worked out that two is not equal to three and he will keep looking for the last one.

He has the run of the house when we are out, he has a bed downstairs and another one upstairs which gives him the choice of where he wants to sleep; usually he is to be found wherever the sunshine is as he loves the warmth.

Touch wood, he hasn't been at all destructive and neither does he explore the cupboards in the kitchen. He seems quite content to wait until we get home to work on his chewing skills, as even if we give him a rawhide chew he leaves it until we are there before he goes to work on with his teeth.

20 October 2010

The Garden at Tre Agan

This is a view of half the garden, standing at the dining room area looking towards the stone wall which faces the back lane between us and our nearest neighbours.

It is a South facing garden, and has sunshine from morning to evening which is great in one way as it is a suntrap, but I would like to have some shading for Murphy.

The stone wall needs clearing of all the weeds, brambles and everything else. but you can see some of the stones near to the pine tree.

The fences are 6 ft high, which provides a nice amount of privacy,  but we have also installed this brush fencing which you can see on the picture middle left. This is where the clematis are planted as they get some shade in the morning.

The picture on the left is one of the two clematis I have planted. Neither one of which is blooming very well, but it has been hot and dry, when they were planted and now is cooling down rapidly as we head into Autumn so I expect them to do nothing until spring time.

And that is the limit to the garden here at Tre Agan, I would love to train some apple and pear trees against the opposite fence, but equally given the softer climate here I would love to have a peach or nectarine bush.

While it isn't as huge as the garden at the back of beyond, it is big enough to have some nice planting and I want to get some fucshia plants in, but not so big that it will take up all my time in taming it which was starting to be a big problem at the back of beyond.

Any and all ideas for planting welcomed.

19 October 2010

Word of the Week : Deceit

 An interesting word this week, as it has more than one use.

1.The act or practice of deceiving; deception.
2. A stratagem; a trick.
3. The quality of being deceitful; falseness.
It has origins in Middle English deceite as well from from Old French, from past participle of deceveir, to deceive;

Everyday we use deceipt, whether it is being false to other people in the form of friendships, care and concern about their personal issues; or to work in that we take personal time instead of doing work for the employer. Most of all, we use it on ourselves, deceiving ourselves of the truth of a situation, pretending to be happy when in fact we may be the complete opposite.It isn't right, but it is a hard habit to break but it is worth being honest if only with ourselves though honesty is also something that should and could be toned down in the right circumstances but that is another day.

But it also has another use, 

Deceit of lapwing: a flock of lapwing—Lipton, 1970.
As you may know, I love the use of language and particularly of words used to group things together. Being of an age group that learnt collective nouns for groups of animals and crows. This was a new term for Lapwings, and I was fascinated by the name similarly a murder of crows.. how it came about, I have no idea but I think it is great.

16 October 2010

Saturday Satire : The Old Golfer

Ninety-year-old Arthur has been a golf fanatic all his life, but his eyesight is failing him badly.

He returns home from the golf course one day and says to his wife

"That's it, no more golf for me. My eyesight is so bad I can't see where the ball goes after I've hit it"

His wife pours him a glass of wine and sympathises.

"I know" she says "Why don't you take my brother George with you and give it another try?"

"Your brother is 103" says Arthur. "What good will he be?"

"He may be 103, but he still has perfect eyesight, and he can watch your ball".

So the following Saturday Arthur and George go to the golf course.

At the first tee Arthur takes an almighty swing and the ball disappears off into the distance.

Arthur turns to George. "Did you see where it went?"

"Of course I did" says George. "I have perfect eyesight".

"Where did it go then?"

"Er, I can't remember".

15 October 2010

PGCE - What it means

I am lucky to get on the PGCert, as you need to be teaching in some capacity in order to qualify and generally in order to get teaching you need to be qualified.. Hmmm chicken and egg syndrome I think.

I have been requested to put a bit more in about the PGCert (or the lesser but similar qualification if you don't already have a degree CertEd). It will qualify me to teach at Further Education (FE) level, rather than at a school level and appeals to me as most people wanting to do further education actually want to do it rather than being forced by their situation to do it.

So how to get teaching, well you can request voluntary teaching to count, a minimum of 150 hours over the 2 years it will take to complete the course is the absolute minimum but that works out to 3 hours a week. Can be a mixture of group sessions and one to one tutoring sessions as well as an additional 50 hours of supported teaching admin - Meetings, CPD etc.

The interview was straightforward, asked about speciality and what you would teach. Luckily again I have years of experience of IT as well as a current role in teaching literacy and numeracy all important to add to your application. A couple of references as to your suitability go down well particularly if they are from academics rather than personal friends as it adds weight to your application.

"If you already have a degree, consider a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). A PGCE course mainly focuses on developing your teaching skills, and not on the subject you intend to teach. For this reason, you are expected to have a good understanding of your chosen subject(s) – usually to degree level – before you start training" TDA Site 

Finally, there are distance options as well as classes. I have done a lot of distance learning and while I can recommend it, nothing like a class focuses the mind on the subject and the four hours on a Monday night go by incredibly quickly. I come home shattered after a 16 hour day and my mind is about as focussed as a flattened hedgehog but I recover very quickly the following day and have the good sense not to book too early an appointment.

So if after this you still have a burning desire to teach, check out who in your local area offers the Initial Teacher Training Programme as they will also offer the PGCert or CertEd.

14 October 2010

October Sunshine

Yes the mornings are cold, but when the sun warms up it is beautifully warm in sheltered spots and I have the advantage that the back garden is both South facing and sheltered from the majority of the winds.

It isn't a big garden, but it is big enough and hopefully I will have some time to spend in the garden making it more than just a green square space edged with fencing. I want it to become a haven for birds and butterflies and yet be Murphy friendly; who by the way seems to occasionally like to dig up things including under the existing pine tree.

I have got some solar lights, which I want to string along the bottom wall, when I have cleared it of all the weeds and other unwanted plants back to the stones. I would like to put some trailing plants like lobelia in to trail down in Spring and Summer.

I want to have a buddhlea bush, to attract the butterflies, and my clematis are now in the ground though perhaps not early enough to establish themselves for this year so hopefully next year I might have a chance at seeing them flower.

13 October 2010

Autumnal Mornings

Monday nights are college nights, I have to be up early Monday 6am to take Murphy out then leave at around 7.20am for the office in Truro (in order to get a space to park), then work through until about 4pm setting up appoitments during the week.

At 5pm the course starts, I am doing a PGCE, which will qualify me for teaching officially (at the moment I am a trainee). This finishes at 9pm when I get to get home and I am usually past the point of being tired. My brain is screaming overload, my stomach gave up long ago the hope of being fed anything but snackfood. I do take sandwiches, but somehow they lose their appeal along the way. I want more drink than anything else.

Final job is to make the lunchboxes for tomorrow, on autopilot, but anything goes. I am trying to keep Tuesday mornings free as a break from the grind on Mondays but Murphy still wants to get up and go out in the mornings early so we get to see the sun rise and it has been absolutely glorious display of autumnul sunshine through the mist.

Murphy has been released from his cage during the day, instead he behaves himself immpeccably and has the choice of two beds, one downstairs and one upstairs. He has a couple of chews and toys to play with and gets to go outside before I get home each day.

12 October 2010

Word of the Week : Respect

The word respect comes from the Latin respicere which means look behind. It evokes the idea of judging something regarding what has been done in the past when it is worth being acknowledged.

Not just for other religions, or beliefs, privacy, age, rank, customs and relationships. Respect is important in everyday life, the way we communicate with each other using appropriate language and gestures. It should be done by default without thinking about it, and goes along with manners Ps and Qs.

There are some people who say respect should be earn't; just how can that happen unless we start off with a mutual layer of automatic respect which is then built on?

When respect fails, so does society. I know I am not always right, but I do try to do my best.

09 October 2010

Saturday Satire - Ghosts

A professor at the Auburn University was giving a lecture on Paranormal Studies.

To get a feel for his audience, he asks,
'How many people here believe in ghosts?'

About 90 students raise their hands.

Well, that's a good start. Out of those who believe in ghosts, do any of you think you have seen a ghost?'

About 40 students raise their hands.

That's really good. I'm really glad you take this seriously. Has anyone here ever talked to a ghost?'

About 15 students raise their hand.

Has anyone here ever touched a ghost?'

Three students raise their hands.

That's fantastic. Now let me ask you one question further...Have any of you ever made love to a ghost?'

Way in the back, Ahmed raises his hand.

The professor takes off his glasses and says 'Son, all the years I've been giving this lecture, no one has ever claimed to have made love to a ghost. You've got to come up here and tell us about your experience.'

The Middle Eastern student replied with a nod and a grin, and began to make his way up to the podium.

When he reached the front of the room, the professor asks, 'So, Ahmed, tell us what it's like to have made love with a ghost?'

Ahmed replied, "Oh s**t, from way back there I thought you said Goats."

07 October 2010


I have always loved this poem by Rudyard Kipling, and sadly today, like then, I believe the forces are badly done by...

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,

The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."

The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,

I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";

But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,

The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,

O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,

They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;

They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,

But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";

But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,

The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,

O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep

Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;

An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit

Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"

But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,

The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,

O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,

But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;

An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,

Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",

But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,

There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,

O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:

We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.

Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face

The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"

But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;

An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;

An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

06 October 2010

A welcome surprise

Zeltus acquired a load of audio books and shared them with me, and amongst them was the napoleonic chronicals written by Julian Stockwin starting with Kydd. I took these on a couple of MP3 players on the recent trip to France.

Thoroughly enjoyed the books, and decided to look up the author to see if there were more books in the series. Having found the website, I signed up to receive the Bosun's Chronicle which is a tidbit of information about seafaring and whatnots etc. No sooner that I had done this I received an email saying I had been selected as the 'fan' to receive a mystery package which arrived on the doorstep forthwith.

As well as a leather bookmark, a couple of postcards showing naval scenes and a book entitled Maritime Miscellany which has been signed by the author.

I feel very lucky indeed.

02 October 2010

Saturday Satire : Marriage

Marriage is like a pack of playing cards.

You start out with two hearts and a diamond, but all you end up wanting is a club and a spade!