Saturday, 30 June 2012

Friday, 29 June 2012

17/52: Enrol on a Distance Learning Degree Course

image from Facebook

so today I did ....

......  I enrolled on a degree course!  It's been on my mind to do this for absolutely ages but, although I've regularly looked at the various courses on offer, I've never got round to actually enrolling.

I'm going to do a photography degree (fingers crossed!) by distance learning with the OCA.  This is the course if you're interested.  I already have a degree but this will be the first time of working for a recognised qualification via distance learning.

Green Day {2}

This week's photos were taken on the road between Melksham & Calne, looking out over the valley and the patchwork of fields.  It's one of my favourite views and I often stop and take five minutes to enjoy the view.

Many thanks to Fiona @ Raindrops and Daisies for organising this meme.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

My Blog is One Today!

image from Google

My blog is one year old today ...doesn't time fly when you're having fun!  Big thanks to all my new friends for your kind words and support throughout the year.  

Welcome to CameraCruise

.... to CameraCruise

Sunday, 24 June 2012

16/52: Try Bookcrossing

Bookcrossing is a method of sharing books with others.  You register your books on the site, annotate the books with the unique ID number and then release the books to be found and shared with other people.  You can either release the book direct to someone who has the book on their wishlist, or the way that appealed to me is that you can release the book 'in the wild'.  This means packaging and leaving the book somewhere it is likely to be found. e.g. on a bus, in a cafe, etc.

I've been aware of this for a long time but never got round to joining in but this week I released 6 books in the wild around Trowbridge.

The idea is that when (or if) the book is found the recipient logs on to the bookcrossing site and registers that they have found the book and when they have finished reading it, it is released again in the wild, and so on ...

I'm not sure that I will do this again. I like the idea of sharing books in this way and although I have never found one I know I'd be excited if I did.  However, there is no guarantee that the book will be found (or you may not know it is found as the finder doesn't register it) and a big part of my brain is screaming that this could be seen as a form of littering or as a suspicious package and I felt uncomfortable about leaving the books.

Still I've done it for now ( although I may go back in a couple of weeks and remove the books if they are still there - they're very visible and if they haven't been collected in 2 weeks then I don't think they will be) and it is another thing crossed of the list - 36 more to do.

Welcome to Andrea

... to Andrea @ Town and Prairie

Weekly Snippets {week 26}

Back to work this week so I haven't had much free time to spend doing all the nice stuff!  It's generally been a grotty week and to be honest I'm glad it's over!  Rubbish weather, teaching was more demanding that usual as the children were hyper because they hadn't been allowed outside to play, we've had yet more problems with our neighbours (from hell!!) and I've had a lot of joint pain this week so have been feeling under par. 

It hasn't been all doom and gloom though and there have been a few highspots.

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My Monday afternoon school presented me with a box of Quality Street chocolates as a thank you. I wasn't expecting it all and it was a lovely surprise.  Sometimes it's just so nice to know that you're appreciated!

still some chocolates left!

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Beginners band practice went well this week.  From them struggling to put it all together last week, we had a very productive and fun practice session this time where they played well together and we moved on to new pieces. They are enjoying it so much their parents have asked if it is possible to arrange some extra sessions - we normally stop and have a break during the school holidays as the older children are busy playing at local fetes, but as the parents are prepared to find a location and host the sessions I've agreed to run some extra beginner band sessions during the long school summer holiday.  I'm really looking forward to it.

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I've had a go at Bookcrossing as another of my 52 things, which I'll post about later.

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I've been partnered with Gill over at Dosie Rosie for the 'Jar of Love' swap, so I'm busy getting that organised.  Obviously I can't say any more about it here as Gill may read this and I don't want to spoil the surprise.  It's another one of my 52 things so there'll be a post about it when the swap is completed.

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We've been cheered up by visits from the (nice) neighbours - we all share the same problem neighbour.  Lisa and Wayne came on Thursday night and Gary popped over yesterday and we just had a long chat, lots of laughter, catching up on what's been happening in each other's lives.  Good times! 

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I'm working again this week - only three more weeks of lessons left to do so I'm starting the countdown!  Also the sun is shining today so hopefully we're in for a few days of better weather.  All good signs that I'm in for a better week.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Welcome to Sexta-feira

... sexta-feira

picture from Google

Green Day

the orchard at Iford Manor

I'm linking up with 'Green Day' organised by Fiona @ Raindrops and Daisies

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Welcome to Gill

.... to Gill @ Dosie Rosie

Monday, 18 June 2012

Installing British Summer

picture from facebook

Welcome to Kirsty

... to Kirsty @ 365 Days of Pinterest Creations

picture taken from Pinterest - cheery door hoop tutorial @ Home Made Ginger

15/52: Make 12 Microloans

I set myself the target of making 12 microloans during this year, originally thinking that it would be one loan every month.  However, some applicant agreed to repay their loans very quickly which meant that I have been able to make the 12 loans within a much shorter timescale.  Repayment of all loans is on schedule and should be completed by the end of January 2013.

So far all my loans have been to people in other countries ( 2 to Ecuador, 7 to the Phillipines and 3 to Cambodia).  I'd like to continue with microfinancing but plan to look for an opportunity to do it in the UK.

That's 15 things completed now, only 37 more to go.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Weekly Snippets {week 25}

No teaching again so I've just been pottering along all week.

Highspots of the week were meeting with Joy which I already blogged about here and an afternoon spent with these two:

she didn't want her photograph taken and this is the
only decent one from the entire afternoon!

she's laughing at Ced ... we don't know
why because he wasn't doing anything
- she just finds him funny!

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Disaster of the week was dropping my camera! I'd just finished taking some photos and was walking back to the car when I twisted my ankle and couldn't stop myself falling.  It was one of those heart stopping moment when I saw my camera hitting the pavement and rolling down the slope.  I managed to pick myself up and grab the camera and .... quick check .... sigh of relief .... few tears .... the camera was fine, no breakages just a bit of a scuff on part of the casing and I was fine too!

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I ordered a kit to make Dorset buttons (as one of my 52 Things) but more about that when I actually get round to making some.

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I went to my card making techique class.  It was brilliant, much better than I expected.  We learned three new techniques and made a card to go with each one.  Here's the cards:
Making a loopy flower from ribbon

using the scoring board to make a grid

making patterned paper using
Versamark resist

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I've done some more work on the Meaden family tree which is my maternal grandfather's line.  I haven't made as much progress as I'd hoped as I'm currently bogged down sorting out three men named John Meaden who could all be the John I'm looking for.  They all live in the same small village, are about the right age and to make it even harder, two of them have wives with the same first name!  I think they will all end up being related, I just have to get it sorted out.  But that's what doing a family tree is all about so I'm not complaining - rather have too much information than not enough.

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Saturday morning practice has restarted for the Youth Band so I was there bright and early to take the beginners - much more fun with the current intake as Tinkerbell and Tweenie have joined so I get to spend extra fun time with them.  They've both opted to learn the tenor horn which happens to be my principal instrument so, if they keep going, I can see some great times ahead.

Our first performance (for Tinks, Tweenie and myself) will be in July and will be a housewarming present for my sister and her husband, their grandparents.  We're going to give them the gift of music in their new home and the children are going to play (with my help), two simple tunes.  Lots of practice needed, but it'll be alright on the night!

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And finally, I've been doing lots of research on which degree to do.  I've narrowed the choice down to a photographic degree all done by distance learning.  Just some final sorting out and then I'll do the application.

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Back to work next week but I don't have any children entered for music exams this session so the pressure is off.  And I only have two performances to arrange and 4 weeks worth of lessons and then I've met all my contracts for this school year.  Yay!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

26 Week Photo Challenge - Hands

Better late than never, here's my pics for Karen's photo challenge.

I sort of like all of them, but am aware that technically they all leave a lot of room for improvement.  I've had to crop all of them and fiddle with the exposure, contrast and brightnesss to get something suitable.

The first two are Lauren's hand; can't remember now what she was doing but you have to enter the scary world of 'teenager' to understand what she is 'saying'.  I don't talk 'teenager' so can't translate for you!  The final one is Wriggle holding her mum's hand.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

14/52: Meet a Blogging Friend

picture from Google

I completed another of my 52 Things today .... meeting with a blogger friend for the first time.  I had lunch with Joy (Welcome to Daisy Rowat The Old Bell in Warminster.  It was lovely meeting up with her, we found plenty to chat about and the time simply flew by. I'm looking forward to seeing her again, maybe in the school summer holidays when I'll have more time.

I did fail miserably as a blogger today as I completely forgot to take a photo but the image above is very close to real life - I'm the one on the right and Joy is on the left, but her hair is fairer and a lot shorter.  Apart from that it could well be a photograph of the two of us!!! 

I'm going to curl up in front of the TV now and eat the yummy strawberries which Joy gave me. I may even share them with Ced!  Thanks Joy.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Five Random Facts

Fiona over at Raindrops and Daisies has challenged us to tell five random facts about ourselves.  So here goes ...

  1. Before the UK laws about gun ownership changed I used to go shooting (with Ced) regularly.  I owned 3 pistols of different calibres and we were members of a club which met weekly at the army shooting range in Warminster.  I also had my own 20 bore shotgun for clay pigeon shooting, also a weekly event at a range owned by one of our friends.  It's one of those things that I never would have done if I hadn't met Ced ... it wasn't even on my radar!  I wasn't much good but I loved it and was sad when it had to stop.   The pistols had to be handed in to the police and at about the same time the clay pigeon shooting stopped because our friend moved to Cyprus.  With the compensation money from the pistols and the cash from the sale of the shotgun I bought a new car.
  2. I've decided to do a degree course, not for any career advancement but just because I want to.  Not sure yet which subject but have narrowed it down to a choice between music, photography and history.  It will be a distance learning course, either Open University or Open College of the Arts. I've made the initial enquiry about funding and am waiting to hear about that before I do the actual registration.  Watch this space!
  3. I'm a list sort of person.  Love them.  I always organise myself by starting with a to-do list ... okay so sometimes only the list gets done and then I get sidetracked - I keep coming across old to-do lists which I've abandoned around the house, usually near the piano!  I always do a shopping list and I also do my lesson plans as bullet point lists.  Does this need for lists say something about me?  Not sure!!
  4. I love tracing family trees  and I used to do it for other people but the growth of the internet and the introduction of companies like Ancestry have put a stop to that particular activity.  I'd love to work for one of the genealogy research companies (like the ones in 'Heir Hunters') but as far as I know there isn't one locally.  Maybe one day!
  5. I hate, hate, hate shoe shopping.  It's just an ordeal.  None of my family will come with me and friends only ever seem to volunteer once! I have one foot a size bigger than the other and the front half of both feet is longer in relation to the back of each foot, the end result being that my instep is in the wrong place for most shoes. I spend my life in sandals and flip flops even in the winter.  I did have some wellies but they fell to bits last year and I couldn't get any more to fit.  I'm psyching myself up to trail round the shoe shops some time next week.  Wish me luck!
I'm not sure if I'm supposed to pass the challenge on or not.  I'll leave it up to you but please let me know if you do decide to join in so that I can read your answers.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Weekly Snippets {week 24}

Here’s a peek into my week .....

It's half-term so no teaching required! This meant I had the time to get on with our family trees.

picture from Google
I'm working on 8 different family lines (Ced's four grandparents and my own four grandparents).  Most of the week has been spent getting previous research organised and loaded onto the Family Tree Maker software and I'm chuffed with how much I've managed to get done.

The progress so far is:

Ced's lot: 
  • Purcell (no progress)
  • Jarvis back to abt 1680
  • Hobbs back to abt 1730
  • Jeffrey back to abt 1800
My lot:
  • Taylor (no progress)
  • Briant back to abt 1740
  • Meaden back to abt 1850
  • Hardy back to abt 1595
I'm going to concentrate on the Meaden family next as I should be able to trace them back a lot further.

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On the crafting front, I've booked my places on two events - 'Christmas in July' (when we get to make a load of Christmas cards) and a 'Stampin' Up Technique Class'. I'm really looking forward to these - I've got out of the habit of making my own cards and I want to get back to it.  Hopefully, these workshops will kickstart my cardmaking mojo! 

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I've already posted about my day out with Lauren.  Well I finally managed to beat the printer into submission (took all yesterday evening and all this morning!) and sorted out the prints she needs for her art homework.  Here's a quick peak at her efforts - all her own work except the flower in the centre of the top row -  I think she's done a great job ...

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I've just bought the books for the Summer Read 2012 with the Richard and Judy Book Club so they'll keep me busy during the summer break. 

I've also started on the Big Read top 200 books and I plan to read a lot of the children's books from that list during the summer as well.

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I'm excited about this news ... I've arranged to meet with Joy from Welcome to Daisy Row.  We're meeting for lunch next week.
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And finally two bits of really good family news .... my sister has sold her house and their new house is about 15 minutes closer to me.  They should complete in July and hopefully they will then be close enough for Ced to feel comfortable about attempting the journey in his wheelchair.

And best of all my niece, Keri, came to see us on Monday with her husband and her two youngest children.  They live in Wales so I don't get to see her very often as it's so difficult for Ced to travel.  I had lots of cuddles with Boo (nearly 2) and got to meet her new baby boy for the first time.  Her eldest boy, Bean, was spending the weekend with his dad so hopefully I'll see him next time.
The boy (still waiting for a nickname!)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jar of Love Swap

Join the Jar of Love Swap!

Finally, I've found a swap to join in with!  It's the 'Jar of Love Swap' organised by Katie over at Booty-full ThingsYou have until the end of the month to join in if you are interested and parcels must be posted by 1st August. 

Very excited!!

And I thought homework was a thing of the past .....

.... but it seems I was wrong.  Today I spent the day with Lauren, my friend's 15 yr old daughter.  She had to take a series of photos of trees for her GCSE art homework, which meant she needed me and my camera.  I haven't posted any of her photos (although I'm very impressed with her ideas!), she took 124 photos throughout the day which she whittled down to 12 to be printed.  As usual the printer went wrong when she was here so guess what my job is tonight!

I did manage to prise the camera away from her to take a few photos.  We ended the day at Heaven's Gate on the Longleat estate but I took a wrong turning and ended up driving up to the main Longleat entrance where I took these two shots.

the main entrance to Longleat

looking back down the drive at Longleat

Managed to get back on the right road and found our way up to Heaven's Gate. 

looking down to Longleat House

I'll go back again to take some more photos when the weather is better ... we spent a good part of the day dodging the rainshowers and it was too misty for decent landscapes.