Saturday, 31 August 2013

Recycle, Re-use


Pascoe has been a complete hero.  On the last day of the academic year, he raided the rich heaps left by the bins outside the halls of residence at his university.  He shuttled back and forth on his bike with loads of goodies abandoned by students who couldn’t see any use for a saucepan or a kettle over the summer holidays and little regard for the fact that they would have to buy new ones in the Autumn.    Or, more likely, their parents would.

Yesterday we got it all out of the loft and the twins exclaimed “It’s like Christmas.”

They sifted through woks, hair-driers, can openers and assembled a set each.

The deal is that we buy Perran and Carenza laptops, a nemesis we always knew was coming.  They’re not sure about printers as apparently other people borrow and break them and there are usually facilities for printing.

There are one or two other things they may need but they’re going to see how it goes when they get there.  They will probably have to resort to Borrowing and Sharing at times, but isn’t that what student life should be about?

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Friday, 30 August 2013

In-Car Aggro


I would not have chosen to be the one to teach my children to drive, but Nigel has a better alibi, with a full-time job a long commute away.  

“But nurturing learner drivers is in conflict with my anger management technique,” I plead.

In general, that technique consists of a quick shout.  In fact I’m not sure that you could call it anger management.  Maybe just anger.  Nevertheless, I don’t have the necessary commitment or stamina for sulking, so it’s what I do. 

However, it’s not good news to get red and furious when trying to work out a route back to the roundabout which we just left at the wrong exit, not profitable to shout accusations as I attempt to prevent us from taking the slip road onto the motorway.

After weeks of driving practice, finally I think I am beginning to grow up and master my wrath.

Then yesterday, I managed to get into a contretemps with one of the twins.  After a near miss in the town centre, they were clearly expecting recriminations and I failed to deliver.

“I’m not going to argue with you now – we’ll do a post mortem later.”

“But how am I to learn if you don’t tell me?”

“We’re both a bit stressed just now.”

“But I didn’t do anything wrong did I?”

“JUST BLOODY WELL DRIVE THE CAR!”

Equilibrium restored, we were able to move on in peace.

 

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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Firm


When we arrived home after the Greenbelt festival, the opening of the front door was impeded by a lump of envelopes.  Most of them looked boring (bury, burn, destroy).  Some went straight into the recycling box which we keep tellingly close to the letterbox.

But one, with my name on it, bore the UCAS insignia.  I tore it open.

“Congratulations…” it began.

Phew.

Although I had been the first of the four of applicants in our house to receive a conditional offer for a course last year, I was the last to have the offer firmed up.  In spite of being treated like a firm candidate and receiving joining information from both faculty and college, nothing had changed on UCAS Track. 

With my course about to begin, I had begun to experience UCAS Anxiety.

On investigation, I discovered that a routine, yet vital, medical form had been lost somewhere between my GP and Cambridge occupational health.  But now I was into the August summer holidays and seemed always to end up speaking to colleagues of the people who had originally been dealing with me.  It had the air of something which could make Kafka’s “The Trial” look like a walk in the park.

But now I’m sorted. 

The only disadvantage - I’ve run out of excuses to put off tackling my reading list.

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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Greenbelt


Just got back from Greenbelt, a festival of arts, politics and theology.
After several years of my kids camping with friends, we had a fairly orderly encampment of five families or part-families, more typical of how it was before the offspring became teens.
With Carenza, I visited an art exhibition by Nicola Green about the election of Obama, with Perran, I attended  Shobana Jeyasingh’s “Configurations” (Indian Classical Dance alongside a string quartet), I joined Pascoe for  a talk on food security in Malawi and with Nigel, the hilarious comedian Barbara Nice (your Nana’s point of view – but only if your Nana was deeply subversive).
We also shared craich, cups of chai and glasses of wine with good friends.
I have been fed spiritually, but luckily, not watered.  Last year, we were six inches deep in quagmire.  I saw another middle-aged woman slip over.  She arose looking like a chocolate-coated gingerbread man and I spent the rest of the weekend worrying it would happen to me.  But this year was a good one for sitting around on the grass wearing ridiculous festival clothes (of which I have a selection).
For us, it was probably the perfect Greenbelt, but as with everything else, things are changing.  Greenbelt happens at Cheltenham Racecourse where they are about to knock down and rebuild the huge grandstand, so the festival may be looking for a new home.  Plus the twins reckon that if they come next year, it should be as volunteers, to help with the day-to-day running rather than relaxing with us.
But I’m sure that somehow, somewhere, Greenbelt will happen and that most of us will be there.

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Monday, 26 August 2013

Kitchen Sink


"Where are we going to put this, Pascoe?"  "I have no idea, Ian."
A couple of times recently, we have bundled everybody into the car for a camping trip, or even a two week holiday touring Croatia, and still been able to see out of the back window.    

It kinda feels like we’re getting away with something. 

It used to be horrendous, trying to pack for every eventuality for three small children, even for just a weekend. 

A low point was setting off for home from the Lake District when the children were still tiny.  We were at a T junction on a steep hill when the hatch at the back of the car sprang open and a bucket of Duplo cascaded down the slope.  Other parents who were passing by, clearly aware of just how expensive that stuff is, came and helped us retrieve most of it.

It didn’t get better even when the kids hit their teenage years. 

There was a period of Clothing Indecision. 

“My goodness me – do you really need five pairs of shoes when we’re only going for three days?”

There has also been Bringing Friends.

On the whole, okay, except for that one time when they’d been to an alcohol-centred party the night before and two of them were sick in the car before we reached our destination.

Still, I’m looking forward to a properly crammed car when we ferry them off to Uni – much more like the good old days. 

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Saturday, 24 August 2013

Result!


So many young people we know have got wonderful GCSE results.   Congratulations to each one of you, including Kit, Alex, David and Cerys.

This year a tiny percentage difference means A level and GCSE candidates  can be prouder of themselves than ever. 

The tiny change I’m referring to is the small but significant decrease in the number of students getting top grades. 

Year on year, the increase in grades has been used to indicate the success of the education policies of whichever regime is in power.  But it has also made it harder to distinguish the very good pupils from the excellent, leading to the invention of the A* grade and the demands by universities for ever higher grades on the part of their applicants.

There are many changes in the education system which I deplore, but I am pleased to see an end to grade inflation.

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Thursday, 22 August 2013

Driving me to Distraction


Can’t believe it

And not in a good way

Lately, I have spent hours, no days, no aeons, in the car while one or other twin practised for their impending driving test.  Lately I’d let Perran off the hook while I focused in on preparing Carenza for her first test today.  We spent yesterday morning  reversing round any corner that would have us and parallel parking the hell out of other cars.  Residents of the suburban estate where we were practising hovered nervously at their windows watching over their vulnerable meganes and corsas.

Eventually we did one last three-point and left for a run out on dual carriageways to a neighbouring town and back.

Then in the afternoon, Carenza collected together her documents, and cleaned the car inside and out.  In the evening Nigel supervised a few more manoeuvres and made a mercy dash to Halfords to get a rear-view mirror for the examiner’s seat. 

This morning, the roads were beautifully quiet as the whole town seems to be on their August hols.  We practised manoeuvres and pootling around town for 45 minutes and arrived at the test in good time.    Carenza had been driving very confidently and safely and now reversed into the ideal pre-test parking bay.

In the waiting room, a genial examiner came to greet us and I handed Carenza over.

I had a good feeling about this test.

Minutes later, I was doing my errands in the nearby shopping precinct when she texted me.

“Test cancelled.”

It appears our car tax disc is three weeks out of date.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

One Direction - The Proof

Some people have been casting aspersions and suggesting that I wasn't really at the 1D premiere in Leicester Square yesterday.  How could you not believe me?  Luckily my new friends Emma and Sarah took pictures and here is the proof:
Me and the boys.



 








It is totally untrue that I was at home making 46 jars of bramble jelly, as this clearly fake picture shows:

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

One Direction Day


One Direction Day

NEW - FINAL UPDATE ON MAGIC MOMENT AT BOTTOM OF POST
Here I am in Leicester Square.  It got a bit cold and drafty last night in spite of my sleeping bag.  One Direction’s fabulous film “This is Us” is premiering tonight and I ‘m here with thousands of other fans to get a front-row view of the guys as they walk the red carpet. 

Carenza was the one who got me fascinated by this charming boy band. They’re all so down to earth and success hasn’t spoiled them at all.  I had hoped she would come with me last night as a nice girly thing to do, but apparently she and Sasoon had something else in their diary.

My friends were a bit dubious about me doing this but I really think it’s worthwhile to have spent the night here because the first two hundred of us should get to actually speak to them, hopefully get their autographs.  I’m number 205 so fingers crossed. 

The other girls are fantastic, even if a tad younger than me.  I’m next to Emma and Sarah – bright pink sleeping bags if you see us on telly, and they just managed to start the whole huge  crowd singing “You don’t know you’re beautiful”.  So great to be in a place where everybody else knows the lyrics too.

Will keep you updated during the day, including photos when I get the technology working.

UPDATE


I’d meant to blog more often today but it hasn’t been easy getting a connection.  However, it’s been a brilliant day.  We’re all really hyped about the guys coming along this evening.  I’ve managed to edge a bit closer to the front, so I should definitely get an autograph, and maybe one of those special dazzling smiles from Harry.

Some of the girls here were giving me odd looks because I’m a bit older than them, but then Sarah and Emma who are next to me helped me out by spreading a rumour that I’m Zayn’s old dinner-lady from his schooldays wanting to say “Hello” again now he’s famous.

The others wanted to know whether he’d ever said anything to me, so I had to improvise.

“Yes, er, he once said ‘I don’t like sprouts’.”

Hope to update later.  If any of my readers happens to be passing Leicester Square, I’d murder for an Americano.

UPDATE 2

Oh my goodness.  One Direction is scheduled to arrive in just half an hour. 
Only trouble is, unlike the other youngsters here, I’m not sure my bladder is up to the wait.  I thought I’d make it, but now the excitement is ramping up. 
It’s no good, I’m going to have to use one of those weird public loo pods.  But there’s quite a queue.

Still, needs must.  Emma and Sarah have promised to keep my place and between them, they can stop the breeze from blowing away my 6 foot high banner of Liam’s face. 

But don’t worry - I’ll be back in time to blog the amazing magical moment when the guys arrive.
 UPDATE 3
How could that have happened to me? 
How could I have been SO unlucky?
I knew I was cutting it fine, but I just couldn’t hold on any longer – I had got to the front of the loo queue and I had no choice but to use it.
It was when I’d just taken my seat that the cheering started in Leicester Square.
I could hear their gorgeous names being shouted outside.  The crowd was going wild.  The atmosphere was electric, even inside the loo. 
I was pulling on the door with all my might, but I couldn’t get out of the cubicle. 
I seemed to be rattling away at it with the cheering going on outside for ever.
Finally, I shoved with every last ounce of my strength and burst out onto the pavement.
I could see the red carpet, but no One Direction, and my first thought was that I’d missed them completely, but then I spotted them disappearing into the cinema.  At least I’d seen their backs. 
Then just at the door, Louis turned back for one last wave.
Our eyes met.
My magical moment.
Only thing was, the look he gave me was somewhere between puzzled and disappointed.
That was when I realised my jeans were still round my ankles.
 

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Monday, 19 August 2013

Hitch


So now Perran and Carenza have their results, everybody is sorted right?  Well, no, actually.

Whereas Perran and Carenza now have firm offers on UCAS track, mine remains conditional.  Which of the half dozen conditions that were originally stipulated have I not fulfilled?

I check off -  

Teaching Skills Literacy

Teaching Skills Numeracy

Attendance at Summer School in Classics

Health Forms

Enhanced CRB check.

It’s no good – I’m sure I’ve submitted all those documents.  I contact the course administrator to enquire.  Eventually  I discover that what is amiss is a health form which had to be signed off by my GP and sent by him to the university occupational health dept. 

My GP claimed to have sent it off back in February, but occupational health claim never to have received it.

I choose to side-step the question of who is to blame and focus on getting it sorted.  After a number of phone-calls, a copy of the original form is faxed over,  but when I email the administrator and tell him that this has now gone through I immediately receive an “on vacation” response. 

Looks like I’ll have to go on being conditional for a while then.

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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Boredom and Terror


“Does she still make that high-pitched keening sound every time you accelerate?”

Pascoe is reminiscing with Perran and Carenza about when I used to take him out for driving practice.

“My personal favourite is when she sort of scrabbles at the passenger door, as if she’s trying to get out,” agrees Perran.

“Or the way she keeps stamping on that invisible brake,” chuckles Carenza.

I will not rise to the bait. I will not rise to the bait.

At least those bits are exciting. Nowadays I seem to spend a lot of time staring into space listening to the crunching of one or other of the twins trying to engage that elusive reverse gear preparatory to a manoeuvre.  

I try to stay focused in the face of intense boredom as technically I am in charge of the car.  I don’t use my phone or read a book, but inside my head, I am wandering along the strandline of a Cornish beach.

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Friday, 16 August 2013

Aftermath


Following a happy results day yesterday, both twins had scheduled a hectic evening culminating in a foam party at the local nightclub.

This left me quietly at home trying to turn out my cupboards and generally get organised for when I start my PGCE course in September, now scarily close.  In the bathroom cabinet  I discovered an elderly  pack of alka seltzer.  It contained two sachets which proclaimed themselves to be good for “head-ache with upset stomach”. 

“Out of date, or not,” I thought to myself, “These could come in handy tomorrow morning.”

Over breakfast, I asked Perran whether he’d like some of this effervescent pick-me-up.  I could see him weighing up whether it would do his head less damage to nod or to simply say “Yes”.

Carenza, on the other hand, was not here at all: she had stayed over at her friend Lauren’s, and later called to ask me to pick her up. 

“Okay, but if I come for you in the car, you’ll have to practise your manoeuvres.”

Which was how I came to be sitting in the passenger seat this morning while Carenza made three point turns in the road wearing a pair of Lauren’s pyjamas and some gold sparkly shoes.

“You don’t look as if you’ll need the alka seltzer this morning.”

“Nope.  Lauren and I didn’t stay too late because the foam smelled of wee.”

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Results


Today is the big day. 

The results arrive in two parts. 

First, UCAS announced their website would open at 8am and UCAS Track would say whether or not the twins had attained a place at either of their university choices. 

At 7.30 I had calculated that it was safe to go have a shower – there would be nothing for a while yet.  As the water drummed dully on the lime-scale of the tiles, I began to make out distant whoops and shrieks. 

I nearly ran out of the bathroom but quickly decided that I wanted today to be remembered as the day the twins got their results, not the day their mother appeared nude on the landing.

The twins had been constantly refreshing their browser and had logged in the moment they were able, rather earlier than 8am. 

Perran had gotten into his first choice – Bristol and Carenza hers – Oxford. 

Gradually, news was filtering in from friends.  Many had attained their first choices.

Congratulations to each and every one of them, and the very best of luck to those looking at adjustment, clearing and priority re-marks.

It is Cara’s birthday today, so particularly gratifying that she got her first choice.

Then Perran and Carenza headed off into school to get their grades.  In the excitement, it seemed like a long time before they rang home.  They had both attained their offers on the nose.  Although there were surprises about doing better in some papers than expected and worse in others, it averaged out to be exactly what they needed.

I was particularly pleased that Carenza also did very well in her AS Latin for which I had coached her.

Well, I’d put aside today for dealing with emergencies, but it seems I didn’t need to.

Guess I can go wild and catch up with the housework.  Whoop.  Whoop.

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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Fruit Friends and Vegetapals


 Today must qualify as one of the tensest of the year so far.   The A2 results are out tomorrow.

We’ve checked the letter from school as to times and procedures.  Perran and Carenza know who they have to ring in case they have to plead their case. 

That just leaves twelve hours for thumb twiddling. 

Actually, by lunch time I had already done three things guaranteed to cause friction –

1)      Taken Perran out practice-driving.

2)      Taken Carenza out practice-driving.

3)      Gone shoe-shopping with Carenza.

Oddly, we didn’t have any rows.  What is the matter with my children?  Are they so completely cowed at the prospect of results tomorrow that they can’t even muster a little tetchiness?

Perran and his friend Sarah (also awaiting results) found a therapeutic way to ease tension
this afternoon. 

They huddled over the kitchen table with marker pens, glitter and glue and made-over mangoes, adapted avocados, beautified bananas and rearranged oranges.

When they had finished their Fruit Friends, however, I thought some of them looked a little wistful. 

“Oh dear – I hope they’re not fretting over their results too?”

“No, Mum, they’re worried about being eaten.”

Puts everything into perspective really.

 

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Sponge pudding


Dan, Pascoe and Abu with logs
It is certainly useful to have young chaps around: yesterday, Pascoe and Dan spent many hours splitting logs for our winter fire while Abu delivered a helpful commentary from the comfort of a deck chair. 

This log-splitting can only be seen as altruism as most of the wood will be burnt while the lads are away pursuing their studies.  Although already I am looking forward to them being home for Christmas and they’ll enjoy  a roaring fire then.

Every so often, I peered out of the window apprehensively – you know the old saying:

“Firewood warms you three times – once when you burn it in the hearth, once when you chop it up, and once when you sit in an overheated casualty department following a nasty accident with an axe.”

(“Is that why it’s called an axident?” I pondered.)
 
I peered out of the window.
"Be careful," Pascoe mentioned to Dan, "There's a tiny chance the head will fly off this axe."
"In that case, perhaps you'd like to stop chopping for a moment while I walk past you."

Anyway, by dinner time all was still well and the first aid box remained untouched in the bathroom cabinet.  Abu went home but  Sasoon had joined us and Dan and Pascoe were ravenous.  Perran who had conserved his energy, basking in a patch of sunshine during the day, now came to the fore and quickly whipped up a real man’s pudding which was deeply welcomed.

I promised my houseful of current/prospective students that I would put the recipe on the blog, so here it is:

Sponge Pudding – Microwave

(Recipe from my friend, Julie Billington)

 
2 tablespoons of jam or golden syrup

4oz (100g) soft Margarine

4oz (100g) caster sugar (ordinary sugar will do)

4oz self-raising flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons water

 

Grease basin

Put jam in bottom of basin

Beat or whisk all other ingredients together for 1 minute

Pour into basin

Cook on microwave Hi for 4.5 – 6 minutes (uncovered).

Serve with custard

 

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Sunday, 11 August 2013

Not Dogs


I have realised that my blog yesterday implied that my children were in some way to be compared to a dog. 

By saying that I could fill the void they were leaving as they departed for university with a hound, I inadvertently indicated equivalence.

How could I have been so rude and so wrong?

Let me state unambiguously that:

My children eat with knives and forks instead of just plunging their noses into a large metal bowl.

They refuse to sleep in a large basket in the corner of the kitchen.

Carenza hates country walks.

We do not have to carry a plastic bag in case one of them performs in the street.

Pascoe never chases cars down the road.

I rarely have to take Perran to the vet.

I have never caught the twins smelling their friends’ bottoms.

 

On the down side, however, they never bring me my slippers and the newspaper when I arrive home, and they seem pretty lack-lustre about guarding the house.

 

Friday, 9 August 2013

Should I get a Dog?


Clearly as my children are about to leave home for university, I will have unused capacity for care and affection.

Won’t I just crave somebody to bark orders at and clear up after?

Friends have suggested a cat.

However, I don’t think a cat will cut the mustard as they don’t make quite enough mess, and seem emotionally self-sufficient. 

A dog, on the other hand, might be just the ticket. 

I would like one which lollops round the sitting room knocking things over and preferably a fussy eater.  (A little pate de foie gras in a wedgewood bowl will do.)

Long white fur would be an advantage – it would mean I needed to hoover often.  Also, I would have to wash the mutt after each country walk.

Speaking of which, when we’re out and about, it should display absolutely no traffic sense and should attack indiscriminately dogs which are much larger than itself.

Also, could it please perhaps have some long-term difficulty like “weak kidneys” which means that we’ll never be confident to go on holiday and leave it in kennels.  

Right, that’s my life sorted out for the next fifteen years.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Teen Idol


Tribute to Bowie from a couple of years ago
We’re torn between having  a quiet catching up time after our summer hols and keeping busy in order to ward off presentiments about results day.  But a treat that we booked back in April just came up – the David Bowie Exhibition at the V&A. 

David Bowie was the soundtrack to my teen years – my brother idolised him and played him constantly.  I always liked Bowie but was not passionately smitten.  Nevertheless, I wore out my red shoes dancing the blues.

Nowadays, Bowie still pulses through my bedroom wall.  This time however, it is Perran who is playing the albums, and he has been waiting patiently for his trip to the V&A.

We had difficulty getting tickets at all, but finally achieved an evening slot in this, the final week of the show.  It was a very cool exhibition with a sound track fading in and out and a tension between covering Bowie by theme (clothes design, acting career, song lyrics) and by period (Ziggy Stardust, Berlin).  The fashion, the make-up and the art were fabulous, but most of all, the music.   Perran was completely absorbed by the whole experience, and aged fifty, I have finally decided who my teen idol is – Bowie.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Scottish Results



Nearly at the summit now.
Yesterday, a parents’ newsletter from UCAS dropped into my electronic mailbox and I couldn’t feel better supported through the process of my children receiving results.  Which is just as well, because the news that today is results day for Scottish Highers students makes my stomach churn with anticipation for our own English results next Thursday.

For the two results days, UCAS is changing their home page (http://www.ucas.com/ ) so that those needing quick answers have the options before them immediately.


·         After getting your results

·         Clearing


As a parent, the main bits of information that I noted were that from 8am on results day, the news about whether or not a student has been accepted by their chosen university will be going up on UCAS Track (although the decisions continue to go up throughout the day so not everybody will know early).  Therefore, before results day, I shall ask Perran and Carenza to rehearse logging on to Track to make sure they still have ID and password to hand.

Also, information about which courses will be available through Clearing will start to go up on the UCAS website from the midnight before, so if a student has a strong suspicion this might apply to them, they can begin to assess their options early.

In the mean time, there is a carrier bag of duty free spirits in a corner of our kitchen, but nobody quite feels like arranging a party yet!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Back from the Family Holiday


So we’re back in the UK after what was potentially our last family holiday.  I am about half way through the European Laundry Mountain.  I can’t help registering the changes that have occurred over the years – the row of drying aqua shoes now look like a line of boats rather than the dinky little models of former years.  The swim-suits take up much more clothes line than they used to, with the possible exception of Carenza’s. 

At the duty free shop on the way home there was a rack of cuddly toys which would, in the past, have been the focus of Perran and Carenza’s pleas.  I remember once in a moment of long-haul flight weakness buying a furry kiwi.  But this year they passed them by without a second glance and moseyed straight over to the bargain spirits, calculating their needs for future parties.

On the up side, however, they didn’t whinge about each other every time we got in a car, they cooked us a couple of lovely dinners and washed up.  And when this lot of washing comes out of the machine, they will be the ones to hang it up!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Education


Wild Mallow by Carenza
You hear all the headlines at the moment about children being ranked, about having to learn fractions at five, about standards being "raised" through rote learning.  For children and teachers alike, school is sounding like a grim slog. 

So why do we put our kids through all this education business?  Surely the answer is to pass exams and get a better job.

But I was recently reminded of the true answer. On the London Summer School in Classics, Carenza, Beth and I worked hard in our respective classes and in each case, our Latin has noticeably improved.  Passages that looked tough at the start of the week looked manageable by the end. Our minds feel as if they had been given a work-out. And the boost to our confidence and cheerfulness is palpable.  I actually felt taller.  Education is a blessing.  

I worried that Carenza might regret spending the sultry heatwave indoors, but she said,

“No – I feel like I’ve learnt loads.

And besides, the classroom was air-conditioned.”

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Friday, 2 August 2013

Personal Statement


Perran - not worrying about his personal statement this year.
I asked Carenza, what the new Year Thirteens should be doing right now, and she said,

“Definitely working on their personal statements.” 

If you wait until term time, it can begin to look like an unassailable mountain and will take time away from your schoolwork. 

I have heard all sorts of statistics about the composition of your personal statement, but common advice from admissions tutors seems to be “Two thirds (or more) subject-based to one third (or less) extra-curricular.” 

It can often be that although you love a subject in school, you haven’t yet done very much about it on your own initiative.  If your personal statement is looking a bit light in this area, read some books (teachers and university websites may offer suggestions), watch documentaries.  Attend relevant exhibitions and public talks.  (For these, local museums, research establishments and universities may offer opportunities.)  If you can fit in a week of appropriate voluntary work, even better.

Extra-curricular material should be phrased in terms of personal qualities which will help with your degree, e.g. “I have learnt to manage my time in order to attend practices as a regular and enthusiastic member of the school football team.”  “I thrive on team-work, as is shown by my three-year membership of the fund-raising group for the local hospice.”

The best thing about writing your personal statement now is that it’s only a draft, so there’s not too much pressure. Plus, there’s still a month left of your holidays in which to fill the gaps you find.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Leaving


My last summer at uni, I took a heap of photos, attended every party.  I knew I’d had the time of my life and that it was nearly over.  At the end of term, with my friends, I stayed until we were on the verge of being thrown out.  The place had a sad, half-empty feel about it and on our last evening, we took Annabel’s model of a Viking long boat, set fire to it and pushed it out onto the fellows’ pond.  Our own last rites.

In fact, owing to a failure in arrangements, I was even there for one night after the final date for departure and slept like a fugitive in a deserted room.  It really was time to go.

Pascoe and many of his University of East Anglia friends however, left in style.  There was one last massive LCR party, with fairground rides and Sara Cox DJing as they bopped the night away.  And for many, an all-nighter was really the only option as the rent ran out on their student houses weeks ago so there was nowhere to sleep.  But even that gave rise to one final magical moment when a number of them strolled down to the edge of the lake (the UEA Broad) to see the dawn rise. 

They definitely left with a bang not a whimper.