My tutor is a nobber (unlike Brian Cox)

I’m very grateful to Professor Brian Cox for supplying me with the word ‘Nobber’; it expresses exactly how I feel about my tutor without me have to resort to really bad language.

My Outlook box is still cowering in a corner and shuddering  from the bile-filled email that my tutor sent me yesterday.  He’s not a happy bunny.  It seems that by having  the temerity to question his comments I have stepped over the line.

I have come to the conclusion that he is a nobber.

He rubbished the course texts I’m supposed to be studying and I sent him an email saying that I didn’t think that was helpful and that he’d be better off taking it up with the Open University rather than telling me.

A decent tutor wouldn’t have made the silly comments he made in the first place.  A half-decent tutor might have made an effort to discuss and explain the points that were raised – that’s what we do in psychology.  What I actually got back was a ‘how dare you question my judgement – I am an IMPORTANT person who knows FAR much more than you about everything’.

Never trust a tutor who can’t spell ‘believing’.

He starts by calling me objectionable  and saying that he will not engage in personal communication with me EVER again. He then proceeds to ask me a host of questions that as I’m not allowed to engage with him – I can’t answer can I?

Nobber.

He denies having any personal issues with the OU course content – then says “I simply stated that, as with the vast majority of psychological texts, the OU text gives the ‘accepted’ false version”.

I think that stating that your employer (OU) is giving out the false version to students constitutes a bit of an issue, especially when said students are supposed to use the course texts as a main reference for their work.

His credibility went straight out of the window though when he also stated that he had no idea who Edwyn Collins is – or was. He wants me to read an article that supports his subjective opinion even if it is in a four year old magazine and full of  holes (of course I read it).  Perhaps he should return the favour and try Googling Edwyn Collins.

Nobber.

The most ironic line in the email – after blasting me with the kind of  ‘ner-ner-ne ner-ner’ rhetoric that I usually get from College Boy is:

“I hope you find these comments honestly and compassionately delivered?”

Either he doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘compassion’ or he’s being just a tad sarcastic. Heavens – how unprofessional!  Anyway – I can’t tell him whether I do or not because I’m not allowed to reply.

Studying with the OU is my hobby.  It costs quite a lot of money; some of which pays my tutor’s wages and funds the compilation and research of course material.  In customer service terms I think I may be getting a bad deal here in that I’m actually paying my tutor to be high-handed and obnoxious to me  AND getting fed duff information by the OU (allegedly).

Like other educational establishments, the OU receives government funding – but only if the students finish their courses – so tutors expecting to keep their jobs and get paid have an incentive to encourage their students to learn and persevere to the end of the course.

Nobber.

“If you do not like my TMA comments and would prefer to carry on beleiving (sic) in psychological falsities, then I suggest that you arrange transfer to another tutor.”

Is he implying here that it is okay for other OU tutors to uphold psychological falsities – but he won’t?  Such a purist – such a nobber.

Yes – I’m dobbing my tutor in to the OU – as a consumer I want value for money –  thanks very much.

 

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There are at least twenty-five other things I should be doing and could be doing….

….. I know this because I have made my list this morning – ticked a few things off already.  The sun is shining; I’ve almost finished breakfast (tick), I am synchronising my workload by watching the news on TV, printing off research papers for my next assignment (tick), drinking my rum-laced hot chocolate (medicinal still) and making soothing but useless noises to the deaf cat who has just given me a look and gone outside into the garden.

Lovely hub has already left on his paintballing excursion (tick) – he had his own list that he started last night.  The amount of organisation that goes into getting his paintball stuff ready is impressive and often mysterious.  Last week I introduced him to the delights of Excel so that he can actually have more complex lists for when he goes off on a paintballing weekend in the Brecons in July.  All well and good but he took to spreadsheets like a – well – you know – one of those things that like spreadsheets I suppose – you can’t have a metaphor for everything.  There have been several occasions this week when we have been competing to use the laptop because of his new-found love for filtering and sorting.

I’m in trouble with College Boy’s teachers again – and I don’t CARE!  On Wednesday he went in for his Psychology exam and came home ‘shattered’ but quite pleased with his efforts.  Whilst having a yack with his mates online I received a text and then an email from college informing me that my son had missed his ‘pyschology’ exam and signed tersely by Tweedledum teacher. Confused – yes. Cross – that too. Subsequent accusatory argument with College Boy was resolved by his assertion that he was supposed to go in on Monday for a mock Psychology exam, but didn’t go because no one else was going according to Facebook (five went in, twenty didn’t). It sounded more than plausible and although I know he has inherited his mother’s fanciful imagination, he’s not very good at telling porkies so I sent off an equally terse email saying ‘When was this?’.

The response confirmed what College Boy said.  So why wait two days to tell me?  Why send the email off just after the real exam had taken place?  I was really cross now, so I phoned college and (as Uni Boy so eloquently describes it) I vented.  Unfortunately I vented at a very nice lady from the examinations unit who had already received a complaint about the message from another equally irate parent (phew! I love it when I’m not the only unreasonable one).  I announced my intention of making a formal complaint because this was the last straw as far as Tweedledum was concerned.

College Boy went off to his Chemistry exam and lovely hub took me and my bad temper out for an airing.  We had the best afternoon on the Wirral;  listening to 80’s tunes in the car and then watching the sea fog rolling in from the top of the (dangerous) cliff top.  We were sitting outside the visitor centre in the country park eating ice cream and watching a bunch of bad-tempered birds annoying each other when my mobile rang.  It was College Boy. “Where are you and what are you doing? Have you heard from College?  Ms T is trying to get hold of you.”  I established that Ms T (Assistant head teacher and someone I have already crossed swords with over Tweedledum) was trying to get hold of me to respond to my Mrs Angry Mum call at lunchtime.  College Boy was fine, he would be more fine if we got him something to eat and drink on the way home because as usual there was NOTHING in the house that he wanted “I’m almost anorexic here!”.  When told where we were and what we were doing, his response was “God, you two are just like OLD people.”  Do old people eat bubblegum and candyfloss ice cream cones and snog in public places?  Yeah – well we did and I don’t care.

Ms T’s email response was waiting when we got home and had finished throwing food and drink at College Boy before he starved to death – yeah right.  As expected it was a standard damage limitation email which defended Tweedledum AND Tweedledee (when did she butt in?) and expressed deep concern about College Boy’s progress if he failed to attend his mock exams.  We decided to ignore it for the time being.  I was tired, my throat was throbbing and I couldn’t be arsed.  I was still annoyed with the snotty comments made by my tutor earlier in the week as well.

Felt lousy on Thursday and if I say that the high point of the day was going for my (scheduled) mammogram no further explanation is necessary.  Got up Friday morning with renewed vigour, and girded my loins for battle.  Lovely hub was in bed and sleeping off his night shift – those police helicopters can seriously affect a good night’s dozing in  front of the ATC console – the Speke massif had been busy again.

Tutor first.  Sent him an email that basically said that I wasn’t fussed about getting high marks – just learning and passing the assignment.  I’d done both. I took an exception to his comments about my using Edwyn Collins’ experience as a case study – because I thought it was very relevant, I like Edwyn Collins’ music and think he and his family are awesome.  I finished my email with an Orange Juice quote that was probably completely lost on my tutor – who sounds as if he’s a good twenty years younger than me and hasn’t had the benefit of my misspent youth.  No response – yet.

Then I started on my reply  to Ms T.  I’d already armed myself with reference material from Ofsted regarding what constitutes good teaching and set about responding to her points one by one and putting more than a few of my own.

Hiatus here as I have just finished printing off the research material  (tick) and need to go and get dressed (tick), put the ironing away (tick) and vaguely tidy (tick) because I have a cherished visitor later on (when the Grand Prix (or Pricks as she sarcastically puts it) is on.

And I’m back in the room.  Clothes hung up (tick), socks paired and put away (NO! I do not iron them – they just happened to be waiting on top of the ironing pile).  Health and Safety alert – my throat is throbbing – time for drugs; I almost broke a nail shutting a drawer and I actually gave myself a nosebleed when the curtain rail above the hated mirror wardrobe fell on me (we took the three of the mirror doors off and put some nice stripey curtains up instead but every now and again I knock the curtain rail off when being over-enthusiastic in my putting away).  It’s stopped bleeding now anyway and I’m only making the occasional whimper.

I am dressed (tick), have minimal daytime slap to cover the reddened nose (tick), hair brushed and plaited out-of-the-way (tick).  Window and patio doors open for a through draft and James Martin providing undemanding entertainment.   College Boy is still asleep having been up half the night yacking with his mates – WHY did I buy him the headphones with the boom mike? Hub hasn’t sent his usual update text yet so he must be having a horribly athletic and wonderful time shooting his mates with blobs of paint.  Nice.

So  – Friday morning again – I finished my email to Ms T, woke up College Boy for his Sociology exam and printed off a draft of the email. Unusually, he approved it with only minor amendments – some of which I made, some of which even I wouldn’t dare to put in an email. Lovely hub woke up, chuckled at my tutor email, made some sensible amendments to the college email (he is the voice of reason in this house) but agreed that in time-honoured local government tradition we’d put off sending it out till at least 1645 hrs.  That way College Boy would be home and out of the reach of the harpies, nearly everyone would have gone home for the weekend, and I’m going to be back in the office on Monday and unavailable when Miss T opens the email.  Lovely hub will have to deal with her.

Ooooh  – Masterchef is on – unfortunately despoiled for me now by Jon Richardson’s wicked parody last Sunday night.  In continuance of the hilarity theme; we are off to Stockport tonight to see Chris Addison – deep joy.  Uni Boy is wryly amused that we are spending his inheritance on laughter – poor fool – he won’t inherit anything much  from us really – just  his father’s patrician nose and my lack of respect for authority.

Deaf, smelly cat is wailing a welcome.  This worried me for a while, thinking that he was in distress but I’ve come to the conclusion that his deafness is now so profound that he can’t hear how loud he is.  His purr when I pick him up for a hug is just as loud however and he’s loving the fact that he can walk in through the cat flap and out through the patio doors without let or hindrance.  A simple life.

The majority of things have been ticked off the list now and the remaining items are linked to food, friends and having a good time.  Floyd is making risotto on the TV and I need to read about memory impairment and source mis-attribution.  Stimulating.

Someone cleaned our fridge today – didn’t they?

Horrible day yesterday – well – most of it anyway.

Bright spots were: having Uni Boy home overnight so he could go to the dentist, discovering that Chris Addison was playing Stockport on Saturday AND managing to get tickets, not being at work and having a lazy morning with hub before he went to work.

Not so bright spots: forgetting to take drugs because I didn’t feel too bad – then discovering that I felt worse because I hadn’t taken the drugs – doh, College Boy still being in a bad mood from the night before, flumping around the house all day and informing me that he found an ant in the fridge so ALL the food would need to be thrown out IMMEDIATELY (a statement refuted by lovely Uni Boy who likes a nice bit of bacteria), not being at work and missing my chums, being at home when hub went off to work and worst of all – getting a not-so-good mark for the latest assignment – boo.

It seems that my latest tutor is in dispute with the OU over some of the course material – that’s fine – not a problem – except he marked me down for using OU material in my assignment – like the instructions tell us to!  He quoted some obscure piece of research from ‘The Psychologist’ back in Sept 2008 as his justification for marking me down. I had a slight impulse to send off a snotty e-mail but my boys pointed out that even with a lousy score, with three assignments under my belt I have already gone over the 40% pass mark – so what’s the point? I kissed my Uni Boy goodbye, I watched CSI and smiled again when hub came home.

I’ve had worse tutors.  the girl fresh out of Uni who had never practised social work and marked my assignments down because I had.  She also wrote illegibly and in the end I had to send off my essays for remarking – gained between 10-20 points on each assignment due to her inexperience – thanks chaps. I also had a tutor who waxed lyrical about critical social care practise but turned out to be a chartered accountant from Chorlton-cum-Hardy who dabbled in the OU as a hobby but had no idea about discrimination or deprivation – or lots of other ‘d”s that are thrown around in social care.

There was a big black dog hanging over me this morning as a consequence but I washed it out of my hair, hub and I have cleaned the fridge out together, Uni Boy is safely back in York and College Boy is happy because I just bought him some new jeans and a double entendre tee-shirt.  We’re off to M&S, hub and me for sarnies and a trip to the seaside at Kirby.  so wake up boo, there’s so many things for us to do.

Divine comedy

Well – the antibiotics are finally working and today  – I feel more like a human being than a giant throbbing throat.  Which is just as well as we are off to Manch tonight to see Jon Richardson at the Lowry.  I would probably have crawled over a few hot coals to be there tonight anyway  – but feeling better is a definite added bonus.

I have been the couchiest potato ever for the past couple of days, me, the cat, the TV and the Kindle.  I’m giving the Kindle a day off today because it is suffering very badly from delivering me some literature that I now understand is called ‘Mummy-porn’.  Ooh-err – in my innocence (can you get to my grand old age and still be innocent?)  I downloaded a trilogy from the Kindle store because it was cheap and it looked escapist and it was on the recommended list.  Flippin’ heck!  I blushed, the Kindle blushed – I didn’t dare let the cat look at what I was reading.  I had to escape and immerse myself in a cleansing dollop of Stuart Maconie’s  ‘Hope and glory’ in order to cool down. Lovely hub has found it vaguely amusing but has been equally immersed in his paintball stuff – not sure if they do paintball-porn?.

I did take a brief time out to watch the flypast yesterday  – not from any loyalist leanings – just for the planes and helicopters.  Lizzy went very slightly up in my estimation when she clapped the Hawks and the Red Arrows.  I only discovered my penchant for flying things when hub to be took me to the roof of the Queens Building at Heathrow on one of our first dates.  I watched Concorde  (and felt it ) take off.  It was another one of those moments:-))))

It’s okay – I’m chilled again now and revving up for a gentle trip to get some food stocks in as we’re going to need extra this week.  College Boy is back from his airsoft sojourn with a pile of dirty washing and Uni Boy is paying us a flying visit tomorrow so that he can get his dental check up.  Hub is back to work tomorrow and I am signed off for a week till I finish these drugs and my throat returns to normal – still got the sexy voice though – according to other people that is.

I will get  some writing done this week and stop reading silly novels that have too much bonking and not enough plot.  Meanwhile there’s always the  divine comedy of Mr R tonight.

Not whingeing but drowning

Hub and I took a week off to celebrate his birthday – not one of those big scary ones yet but I’ve been whimpering about needing a holiday or something and as  our boys have put the mockers on going away anywhere – it has to be something. (College Boy cannot be left alone for any length of time in case he has a wild party and the house ends up looking tidier, and Uni Boy is an expensive investment that has written off any chance of going away – ever).

Saturday was my first day of freedom – a gentle trip to town was mooted to get hub a few extra presents – this idea was quickly demolished by College Boy who insisted that we had to take him to a courier depot to pick up a vital piece of his armoury before 1230.

I made the most of it.  I downloaded ‘Falling and Laughing:The Restoration of Edwyn Collins’ to my Kindle.  It’s a wonderful read that made me cry all the way out to the courier’s at Speke but also proved invaluable research for my latest assignment on psychoneurology.

Then College Boy decided that he would let us take him food shopping.  I am very proud of the fact that he has stuck to a diet and lost at least a stone if not more.  I just wish he wasn’t such a pompous ass about it.  All the way round Asda  he commented in a very knowledgeable but negative way on everything I put in the trolley.

I’ve been eating for a long time now and I know what is good for me, what is bad for me and why I prefer the latter.  I don’t need some self-righteous seventeen year old who but a few short months ago was stuffing his face with Bombay Bad Boys and bacon-flavoured Super-Noodles laced with Tabasco sauce  (Ugh).

Bu the time we got to the tea and coffee aisles I was suicidal.  Then, my lovely hub, who is usually so supportive and a stalwart ally against the onslaught that is College Boy, made a comment about one of my more frivolous purchases. it was a perfectly relevant comment; logical and not in any way unkind but in terms of camels and backs it may just as well have been a whole bale of straw.

I so wanted to be the mother in the advert who throws herself to the ground in the supermarket aisle, screaming and drumming my heels against the floor, but I contained myself and limited my tantrum to some muttered threats and minor curses as I steered my trolley to the freezer section in order to cool down.

Hub tried to make amends.  This included sneaking said frivolous item back into the trolley when he thought I wasn’t looking (ha! some chance).  After College Boy’s initial words of reproach about showing him up in public – yeah Asda is SO full of his friends on a Saturday afternoon – he finally shut up and the rest of the trip continued in an icy silence.

I kept it up till we got home, then College Boy, realising finally that he might have gone too far again, unloaded the shopping and took it indoors whilst hub patted and soothed me back to civilisation again.

I spent most of Sunday sweating over a hot assignment and making arrangements for Uni Boy to pay us a flying visit for lunch the next day to celebrate his Dad’s birthday.  The assignment was in its first draft.  College Boy was shouting happily at his friends on Skype and all was reasonably pleasant.

Hub’s birthday went well.  We had a lovely lunch with Uni Boy and did a bit of birthday shopping.  Came back home and Uni Boy checked my assignment – pronouncing it reasonably scientific  (I had spelled positron emission tomography correctly and knew the difference between fMRI and MRI – I’ll make a pseudoscientist yet).  We took him back to the train and bought Chinese takeaway for us and the College Boy to make things even.  Feeling slightly smug I finished off the assignment and sent it electronically winging its way to me tutor feeling more than a little happy that we had the rest of the week to go to the gym, take my Dad out and ensure that hub spent his birthday money on himself – not on food for the family.

Sod’s law.  The virus goblin struck in the night leaving me with a throat filled with sandpaper and ground glass, a streaming nose and eyes that were blinded by the light.  My efforts to laugh it off as a cold and to carry on (forget the keeping calm stuff) managed to get me through more food shopping and by mid-afternoon we were in a very large camping shop looking for a megadocious sleeping bag for hub.

He is going away with his mates for a paintball weekend in July.  He did this last year in September but without me to keep him warm, got very cold and desolate.  My days of braving the storms under canvas have come and gone – both as a revolting houseparent thirty years ago and as an equally revolting parent when our own boys were younger and more malleable.  This is a body built for decent beds and non-leaking roofs, and whilst I will miss him in July, I’d  rather be here at home than freezing in the Brecon Beacons thanks very much.

We found the sleeping bag anyway; and some waterproof trousers and some very expensive socks.  Like a latterday Goldilocks I spent the time between admiring sock quality and sleeping bag thickness in finding something suitable to perch on before my wobbly legs gave way.  There were camping chairs of all descriptions but they mostly looked insubstantial or were almost impossible to get out of without falling onto your knees and crawling away in a very undignified manner. I eventually found a solid wood table covered in cut-price fleecy tops and shoving them to one side, sat my achy-breaky body down whilst hub deliberated between two almost identical pairs of waterproof trousers.

By the time we got home, I think we had both realised that this wasn’t just a cold and that maybe I should have stayed home in the warm.

The last thirty-six hours have been a blur of TV dozing punctuated by antique show programmes, caffeine, paracetamol, honey and lemon sucky sweets, hot chocolate and rum.  I have tried sleeping in bed at night but this poor old body is fluctuating between gas mark 9 and total freezer; it just wants to sleep fitfully wherever it can and all night is too long for it.  My nose is either snotty or bleeding from sneezing too much and although I sound sexy  – I’d rather have a throat that wasn’t tinder dry and sore.

But I got up at six this morning.  I have made my own hot chocolate and rum (with a slightly heavier hand than my hub’s I feel) and woken the College Boy for his exam.  Today I will throw myself into a shower that is redolent with Olbas Oil and put some slap on this tired visage so that hub and I go out for a drive somewhere.  Maybe to the seaside so that even if I don’t get out of the car, i can at least wind the window down and breathe a bit of fresh air. We won’t manage the gym, and I’m keeping my distance from Dad because I don’t want him to get my germs – some holiday.

I will not be beaten by this bug though.  I’m working Saturday night and then on Sunday – joy of joys – hub and I are off to the Lowry to see Jon Richardson – the only man I know that can make OCD seem sexy.  I won’t sleep through that.

The year of laughing dangerously part 2

I really was supposed to be doing some work for my assignment on Friday morning – well I did some reading and took some notes anyway.  Then I took a little wander over to Facebook and discovered that Jason Manford was giving away pairs of tickets to the Laugh Inn at Chester.  Nothing ventured, I emailed and was successful in getting tickets for me and lovely hub for Saturday night.

In need of fresh air by mid afternoon on Friday, we drove off to Otterspool and watched the tide sliding out with some reasonable cider and crisps – a little too much cider in my case so that the subsequent food shopping trip took on a whole new and vaguely hysterical dimension.  Still managed to get the ingredients together for a reasonable curry that hub is still happily eating a couple of days later (I still cook for a family even if there’s only the two of us).  College Boy was offered curry but turned up his nose once he realised that I was putting  ‘seeds and pod-things’ (coriander and cardamom) in it.

All the more for us then 🙂

I ironed once I’d sobered up – nobody died or even got burned.

Saturday and I was on call from nine to five (six in the end due to a late call that had to be logged before I could finish).  It was a busy day and almost every crisis that could occur did occur – no births though just for a change.  Sorted them all out in the end but nine hours of having my bum glued to an office chair in my back bedroom and my ear glued to the phone,  is not the best preparation for an evening out.  Hub fed me at lunchtime and whingeing cat provided some respite by crying for a cuddle at least four times during the day.  The only way to quieten him down is to pick him up and hug till he’s had enough.  You can’t do much else with your hands full of cat so it’s a good stress reliever.  He does smell a bit though.  By ten past six I was in the shower and dropping hints that hub might like to put on a shirt instead of his usual polo shirt and jumper combo.

We liked the Laugh Inn a lot.  Nice atmosphere, our names were on the guest list, four excellent comics and Mr Manford lurking in the DJ box at the back of the room.  We didn’t feel old or unfashionable, there weren’t any mindless drunken hecklers and although the chairs were a tad wobbly – at least we got to sit down.  We’re going again and we’re quite happy to pay this time.  There’s something very liberating about spending the evening laughing till your ribs hurt with a bunch of other people who are laughing too. a far more palatable alternative to staying in and watching ‘The Voice’ or BGT.

Had the munchies on the way back but managed to restrain ourselves, avoid the kebab shop and wait till we got home to raid the fridge.  College Boy thinks we are dirty stop outs – yeah right.

My ribs had recovered by the following morning and we collected my Dad before lunch to do a small road trip to a food and craft fair in Macclesfield.  Not terribly exciting but we all like food, the sun was shining and Sundays are the worst day for Dad since Mum died because he can’t get out for one of his bus jaunts.  The fair was held in the grounds of a nice-ish stately home and lovely hub was immensely cheered to find birds of prey and a flying display scheduled. We got talking to the falconer, replete in moleskins and suitably torn tweed jacket; a lovely man who we could very happily have listened to for hours.

We bought cake.  We bought chocolate. We ate lunch and wandered over to the flying display.  We both like hawks and eagles and have seen dozens of these displays over the years.  In the early days of our relationship at a country fair in Michelmersh we both discovered this mutual affection for birds of prey and it was whilst watching my hub enthralled by an eagle owl swooping low over the crowd that I came to the conclusion that this was the man I’d rather like to spend the rest of my life with.

Flying displays are often tame and don’t really allow you to see the beauty of the flight or the real savagery of the birds; this one was different though.  The falconer took a few risks with his unpredictable birds and as a consequence what we saw was spontaneous, amusing and gave a rare insight into these lovely creatures. The falconer does a half day or a full day falconry at his farm and we were very tempted  – he says autumn is better though because he doesn’t like hunting young animals and he likes to get the ferrets out in the autumn.  Better start saving up.

Home for curry and a happy College Boy stuffing his face with chocolate and cake.  We were good parents.  It only lasted till bedtime when we became minging moaners for asking him not to scream, hoot and swear at his little (!) friends on Skype all night.

Happy anniversary for us today and we decided to stay home and chill (hub) study (me) eat and grumble (College Boy) whinge (cat).  Cards from the family, each other and the cat,  and a call from Uni Boy who may be coming home for a visit next week.  Hub and I are both on leave because he’s having a birthday in a week’s time and we don’t believe in working on birthdays

Chinese takeaway for all three of us tonight to celebrate 24 years together (have forgiven College Boy for his nocturnal screeching) .  A busy but very different weekend and more opportunity to expand the year of laughing dangerously (that just refers to my aching ribs and the dodgy chairs really).

Who cares about the crap government and the recession when you can go out and have a laugh?

 

Simple pleasures, sparkling fingers and good friends

Happy Anniversary to Lovely hub and me on May 7th – the man deserves a chestful of medals after 24 years of marriage but says he’ll be happy with a card and a Chinese takeaway.  A week later and it is Lovely hub’s birthday but this year I think I’ve managed to actually buy things that he wants (that means that he has acquired them rather than letting me run amok on the Internet as usual).  Work first however.

So – the title of this month’s OU assignment is

 

‘Critically evaluate the contribution that patient case studies have made, not only to our understanding of cognitive processes, but also to the development of cognitive neuropsychology as a discipline in its own right’

 Not necessarily the most inspiring title but definitely less challenging than last month’s statistical horror – still having nightmares about two-tailed hypotheses and ANOVAs.  Shudder.

Lovely hub’s birthday falls on the day before the assignment is due in – we have the week off together and I am determined to get the assignment written well in advance so that my time off isn’t disrupted  by stress and teeth gnashing again.

That said – did I study last night?  Nah.  Caught up on some of the digibox goodies and dozed fitfully until hub came back from work at ten thirty.  Then we jumped into the car and drove off to Manch to collect College Boy and his friend from a gig.  We were a bit early and hub was hungry so midnight found us sitting outside a takeaway in downtown Manch eating kebab, listening to late night rock and waiting for the lads.  Had to make a detour on the way home to Maccy D’s to fuel up the starving teenagers who turned their noses up at the kebabs.  A carful of dubious looking youths pulled up next to us in the car park but ruined their street cred because they were all tucking into McFlurries – aah – bless.  It was quite un-middle-aged to be whizzing off anywhere at that time of the night and for once, my College Boy  was the lovely funny enthusiastic person that I know he can be – instead of the hulking,brooding stropmonster that frequently inhabits his body these days.

 And tonight – did I study tonight? Nah.  We voted.  Hub administered some mild words of warning about not haranguing the Tory Boy lurking outside the polling station again this year – he spoils ALL my fun.   I promised to be good but only if said Tory Boy didn’t accost me and ask me for my polling card number.   I wasn’t good.  I wasn’t that bad either although I vaguely remember muttering ‘Tory scum’ as we came back out of the hall.  He shouldn’t have stood in my way.  Them’s the rules.

We came home and ate, then fell asleep until College Boy’s return from the Astroturf brought a rude awakening – he cannot do anything quietly  so no future for him as a cat burglar or a ninja warrior then.  Hub was on nights but dropped me at the home of my dear friend who enables me to indulge in my vanity of vanities – my ravishing red fingernails.  Dear Friend (DF) is a woman of many and varied talents who transforms these fingernails into the stuff of dreams.  Her own magic fingers are adept at massage, reflexology, manicures and pedicures.  Lovely hub says that when DF has done his feet he feels like he is walking on air – I usually manage to bring him back down to earth with a bump though.

So I have scarlet fingernails with holographic sparkles that make me feel positively skittish and not all respectable.

Tomorrow I will be good. I’m taking a flexi day before my hours reach astronomical proportions.   Hub will be asleep all morning, College Boy will be off harassing his teachers and it will just be me, whingeing cat and reading up for the assignment.  When hub wakes up we may run away to the sea, or a river or somewhere with a view for a couple of hours – all work and no play and all that stuff.  Sometimes you just need to step aside from the things that you should be doing and do things that make you feel at ease again.

This makes it sound as if it’s been a dreadful week – it hasn’t.  It’s been busy and tiring but sprinkled with diversions much like the sparkles on my fingernails; hub’s silly (and sometimes naughty) texts, e-mails from a new friend that make me smile, the random banter of my team mates, whingeing cat’s enthusiastic purr when I pick him up for a cuddle, and the grudging admission from College Boy that we aren’t that bad as parents really (but we mustn’t let it go to our heads).

Bed beckons now and these eyes really won’t stay open for much longer unless I find some match sticks.   I purely love my fingernails.