DROPPING LOOPS, MAKING HOLES AND STUFFING THINGS

A feature on yet another revival of homely hand knitting reminded me……. At primary school, the girls’ craft classes were the bain of my life. Could I knit as a six year old? Much as I tried, sitting at an old wooden desk, with oversized knitting needles and a well re-used ball of wool, made the whole experience a clumsy affair with little to show for it. There were some loops on the needle and maybe I managed to put some wool through a loop or two, I don’t really remember.

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I do know, that there were some stitches on the needle that did not seem to be very productive.  I was glad when the tortuous efforts came to an end and another lesson began.

Then there was the class where the better little hand-stitchers made bunnies with lovely fluffy cloth already cut to shape, probably by the teacher, a grandmother figure, who taught that girls’ class. Once stitched to the required point, busy little hands had lots of fun stuffing the bodies, arms, legs, hands and ears of their creations, (through a small opening left in the seam) with what I believe was Kapok. Polyester fibres were not in use all those years ago to stuff things. The opening was then closed up by each young  ‘creator’ with even and neat little running stitches.

-1

We, the ones relegated to the ‘untalented’ corner, (the majority of the class) had a bit of rag each plus a needle and thread to practice with. I cannot say what others may have thought, but it seemed to me, the three or four bunny-makers looked more than a teensy bit smug.  Just a bit of me would have liked to have been with them bathed in their success.

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A couple of years later, I discovered the Grandmother figure really was granny to two of the girls in her ‘better’ group.  Also, another teacher in the school, who was French, was her daughter-in-law.  By then, I was old enough to understand that a big war ended not so many years before, so, it was likely that the girls had no dad.  Mum and granny were supporting each other and the two girls on prescribed lower women’s salaries, much lower than their working male teaching counterparts.

From the amount of time we spent in church and on religious education, I wonder if there wasn’t some hope of recruiting future nuns and priests.

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This primary school was certainly schooling the girls, for at best, domesticity, sweat shops, or, subservient jobs, and the boys, likewise, to be unskilled. We weren’t seen as having much potential.

Poppy Memorial Scott Monument

Scott Monument Princes St Edinburgh+ Poppy Memorial

When we all divided up to move on to our next secondary stage school experience, it was really surprising how many children started to thrive in a different educational environment, even though the development of domestic/service/cooking skills, was still a theme for girls.  Many of us as schoolchildren, were undervalued. Notwithstanding, many of my school friends, both genders, broke the expected mould.

YaY !!

WHERE WILL IT ALL LEAD?

With all that’s been going on, and very publicly, here and abroad, I have been at a loss to know what to think.  If I feel disempowered, how on earth must millions of other people feel.

Those that can, have grouped up and made their feelings known in public places around the world, often at personal cost to themselves. The amount of courage and positive human energy there is to care, is truly amazing.

I am not qualified to speak of what the security services at all levels do, or, what they do not do.  Like most people, I only know what morsels are given for public consumption. I am extraordinarily grateful to have been able to live a life that has been mostly safe and away from major conflicts. There are so many who cannot say this.  Every day we hear heart-rending stories, many of which are streamed into our visual consciousness to our homes. It does make us face the reality of the suffering that has been and is being endured.

With the current ruptures, of a type generally unknown to many of us in our lifetimes, our own comfort blankets are disappearing at speed.  The peace in Europe of the last seventy plus years is politically in the balance and it is also affected by major influences from other continents. There is a serious ramping up of aggressive rhetoric.  Where will it all lead?

 

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

All the capable men waiting to be discharged from the day operation unit were asked if their wives or someone would help them to administer their post-operative medications.  Anyone with previous experience, however long ago, was given cursory advice, and was asked if wives would help.  One man who already had experience of his procedure, but some time ago, asked to have an update of what was needed.

A relative of a woman with dementia was given instructions to pass onto carers.

Not one compos mentis woman was asked if she had anyone at home to help her.  Obviously, the expectation of the relatively young female nurses was that women could just get on with it!

nurse-tux-icon

THERE IS NEWS FOR YOU

Government spokespersons, or is it a lone person, whoever it is/they are, they/it remain/s nameless, nameless, publicly contradicting the tide of feeling that there is in Scotland following areas in England and Wales to vote for Brexit. …….No there’s no appetite in Scotland for another independence referendum vote…….then, sometimes adding, there are no grounds to pursue it, Scots do not want it…… Well now, to paraphrase…have the Scots got news for you!

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The Westminster Government, (now there is one) believe having spokespeople talking up the impossible will arrive at what they want as the possible.  The Scots are not that easily swayed. They’ve been duped once in 2014, by Westminster Government promises that were turned on their head the day after the Independence Referendum result.

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To many who voted to stay in the Union, The Union was a complete package with membership of the EEC. I have not yet met one person on my Scottish travels who wants to be part of Brexit.  Sure, there was a small percentage in Scotland that did vote for Brexit on the 23rd June 2016,  I have not met any of them, or, anyone who admits to it.  There are individuals who the media find to provide alternative pop vox.

For the record, what I do hear is that people who sincerely voted to stay in The Union last time, would now vote for Scottish Independence.

My ongoing unscientific sample supports the Scottish resounding YES  vote to EEC membership. There are a number of sound reasons for this sentiment, the biggest one that is voiced, is that the EEC has been instrumental in maintaining peace between the European nations.

 Concert Hall Approach London UK

If, or when Scotland becomes independent from England, there could be a very rocky time, but then, we are only just  beginning to see the reality of where Brexiteers are taking the UK;  uncharted waters to rockier times on a much bigger scale.

Glorious Pineapple Head

Eucomis – Glorious Blooming Pineapple Head

 

 

 

 

BUSY WITH THIS AND THAT

Hi Folks,

Just been rather busy since November last year, though there was a lull for a few days over the Christmas break.  Just as well, because with the dire flood warnings, which sounded like they were near, or, at home, we cut into our break  and dashed back to see if everything was okay chez nous.

The busy business will continue for a bit.  It means I won’t have much time for posting, (though I will take any opportunity that presents itself).  However, I intend that all this busy stuff  will not get in the way of keeping in contact and commenting.

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.  This morning, I heard a very poignant story on the BBC Radio 4 Programme, ‘Midweek,’ about a sock that belonged to a survivor.

January is nearly over; we’re getting an extra hour or so of daylight now.

 

🙂

MOOC OVER

Mooc over….the final  statistics were amazing. 21,000 people throughout the globe participated.  The total number of full time students at Dundee University, Scotland, this academic year  is 17,500.  For six weeks, ( the length of the course)  the mooc more than doubled the university’s student population.  What a triumph for Dundee University.  Mooc questions and comments were totalled up, the final numbers being enviously fantastic.  The ‘Educators’ who are members of the departmental academic staff, including the professors, were very active in encouraging us in our tasks and answering queries. The live interaction was terrific.  Every week, at the end of the unit, there were mooc video seminars when our forensic queries were answered in more detail.  The facial reconstruction feature was brilliant; we students  got to do it.

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The departmental staff have extraordinary busy and demanding working lives and they gave up a huge chunk of it from May this year, to develop the course and then to interact with their short term course intake. Rumour has it that the course, the forensic sciences in Identifying The Dead, will run again in 2016.

 

 

What is a mooc? It is a free of charge massive open online course. Participants can, if they choose, buy a certificate of attendance, at nominal cost, but not till they have completed a certain percentage of a course. If you want to, and you live where it might be possible, you can book for, and pay to take an examination.  While these courses do not count towards a higher qualification, they are accepted for continuous personal development, if what you learn is relevant to your profession. One of our local pharmacists is currently doing a relevant mooc, which, just happens to be with Dundee University too.  He is very impressed with the quality of his course.

I am dabbling with another mooc, which in contrast to the first one, is nowhere near as dynamic. But then, can criminology be as lively as the forensic study of identifying the dead?  I have not yet seen much Educator activity, though with week two starting,  you never know what might happen. The numbers of participants are not anywhere near comparable as the Dundee University mooc.  They are substantially lower.  As I have a few distractions coming up, I may have to bow out of this course about half way and maybe pick  up where I leave off, another time.   One helpful feature is, the courses are always there to continue on with, in silence, or, you can wait till a course is interactively offered again.

 

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DROPPING LOOPS,MAKING HOLES AND STUFFING THINGS.

A feature on yet another revival of homely hand knitting reminded me…….  At primary school, the girls’ craft classes were the bain of my life. Could I knit as a seven year old? Much as I tried, sitting at an old wooden desk, with oversized knitting needles and a well re-used ball of wool, made the whole experience a clumsy affair with little to show for it. There were some loops on the needle and maybe I managed to put some wool through a loop or two, I don’t really remember. I do know, that there were some stitches,  on the needle that did not seem to be very productive.  I was glad when the tortuous efforts came to an end and another lesson began.

Then there was the class where the better little hand-stitchers made bunnies with lovely fluffy cloth already cut to shape, probably by the teacher, a grandmother figure, who took that girls’ class.   Once stitched to the required point, busy little hands had lots of fun stuffing the bodies, arms, legs, hands and ears of their creations, through a small open seam, with what I believe was Kapok.  Polyester fibres were not in use all those years ago to stuff things. The opening was then closed up with even and neat little running stitches.   We, the ones relegated to the ‘untalented’ corner, (the majority of the class) had a bit of rag each plus a needle and thread to practice with. I cannot say what others may have thought, but it seemed to me the three or four  bunny-makers looked more than a teensy bit smug.  Just a bit of me would have liked to have been with them bathed in their success.

A couple of years later I discovered the Grandmother figure, really was granny to two of the girls in her ‘better’ group. Also, another teacher in the school, who was French, was her daughter-in-law. By then, I was old enough to understand that a big war ended not so many years before, so, it was likely that the girls had no dad.   Mum and granny were supporting each other and the two girls on prescribed lower women’s salaries, much lower than their working male teacher counterparts.

From the amount of time we spent in church and on religious education, I wonder if there wasn’t some hope of recruiting future nuns and priests.  This primary school was certainly schooling the girls, for at best, domesticity, sweat shops, or, subservient jobs and the boys, to be unskilled. We weren’t seen as having much potential.

Scott Monument and Poppy Memorial Princes Street Gardens Edinburgh

When we all divided up to move on to our next secondary stage school experience, it was really surprising how many children started to thrive in a different educational environment, even though the development of domestic/service skills was still a major theme for girls.  Many of us as schoolchildren, were undervalued.  Notwithstanding, most of my school friends, both genders, broke the expected mould.

YaY !!