My huge apologies to you all for the extended absence. As I said in my last post I was away in Edinburgh for a while having a bit of a break and some much needed TLC. I'm feeling much better for my trip and I had a lovely time doing a whole host of things. One evening we went to see the Nederland Dans Theatre, which I'd expected to be ballet, but turned out to be modern dance. It was very interesting, very enjoyable and quite thought provoking too. The performance we saw was by the young people's section of the company so all the dancers were between 17 years and 23 years old, and they were amazing. I swear that they were made of elastic! Bodies just shouldn't bend like theirs did!
I had a couple of days where I did some study and managed to get a substantial amount done for an assignment that I had for one of my OU courses. I didn't actually write the assignment until I got home, but I did a lot of the poetry analysis that was needed for the essay, so although it wasn't the most enjoyable thing to be doing while I was away, it was very useful and quite productive. We did plenty of other things though such as visiting the botanic gardens, which were beautiful and so peaceful. It was with surprise, though with great pleasure, that I found that entry was free, and if any of you are up in Edinburgh at any time and you fancy a nice, free day out then I can thoroughly recommend the botanic gardens.
On the Saturday of my stay the three of us (me, Mum and my step-dad) went on a trip to the zoo, which I thoroughly enjoyed and took about 200 photos, although about a third of those have been discarded (the joys of digital photography!). I was slightly disappointed to discover that Edinburgh zoo doesn't have elephants or giraffes, but was consoled by the existence of the UK's only koala bears. Seeing as koalas sleep for around 23 hours a day it wasn't a surprise to find that they were asleep when we saw them, and they did look ever so sweet perched up in their trees, propped up by the branches, and snoozing away.
Since getting home I've been rather busy, first of writing the essay that I mentioned before, and then worrying slightly about still being so far behind with my studies ... and I'm yet to do much about that, having been somewhat paralysed by the panic. I must make a concerted effort this week. Part of the problem at the moment is that the photography course is approaching its final weeks and I have to compile my ECA (End of Course Assessment), which consists of a slideshow of ten of my best photos taken through the course, and then a short commentary (about 600 words). I'm mulling over which photos to include, though I haven't reached any final decisions yet, and the course hasn't actually finished so there may be photos that I haven't yet taken, but will want to include in the ECA. I'm never the worlds best decision maker so it isn't going to be an easy task deciding what to include in my slideshow.
The past couple of days, I have to admit, have contained very little study indeed, but it's been for good reason - I've been looking after my nephew. My brother, sister-in-law and 18-month old nephew came up to stay with my dad and step-mum so that my bro and sil could help dad do a major sort and clear of his study. Dad has always been a hoarder so needed a lot of firm, though sensitive, encouragement to part with things, but it needed to be done, because he and my step-mum are shortly going to put their house on the market and move back into Newcastle from Northumberland. So anyway, while they've all be doing that I've been looking after Oliver. We had a lovely day together on Friday, which was helped by the sun being out so we could spend most of the day out and about. Ollie fell asleep in the car on the half hour journey to mine from Dad's, which was good as he was ready for a nap, but when we got to mine he was a little too bemused by the new surroundings to have a proper afternoon sleep. I took him down to Pets Corner in Jesmond Dene where he had his first encounter with live chickens and cockerals. He was so funny with them, completely enthralled by the wobbly red bits on their faces and then rather startled by the cockerals' crowing. Every time they crowed Ollie would turn and stare at them, and then started to tell them to be quiet by puttin his finger to his lips and saying 'shh', which is something that his daddy does to him when he's being particularly 'vocal'. As we walked away from the cockerals, Ollie would stop and turn, and give them a side-ways glance when they made a noise, but eventually he was distracted by the piglets and goats. We had a lovely wander around in the sunshine and Oliver had a little play in the park area with some other children, who he was most interested in, and then we wandered up to see a friend of mine who has two children aged 4 1/2 and 2. We spent an hour and a bit at their house and then made tracks back towards the car before going to another play area with some swings that was on the way home. Oliver loves swings and slides so he had a great time playing there, but it wasn't that long before it was time to be getting him some dinner, so we came home and I fed Ollie and then took him back to Dad's. He fell asleep in the car almost immediately, and I wasn't surprised as he'd seemed very tired and it was a little after his bedtime already, but I certainly had had a lovely day, and Oliver had seemed to enjoy himself too.
Yesterday I looked after Ollie again, but this time at Dad's so that my bro and sil could see Ollie at times through the day. We played a lot of 'this is the way the lady rides', which he particularly enjoyed when I lay on the floor and he could bounce on my tummy! He also quite liked walking in bare feet on the pebbles on the drive, in the rain. I didn't think this was such a great plan, but as he was happy enough I let him do it for 5 or 10 minutes ... and then I got a bit soggy, let alone Oliver, so I scooped him up and 'encouraged' him inside.
Anyway, despite the weather being utterly miserable yesterday and not being conducive to the short trip to the beach that I'd thought we might have had, we did have another lovely time together. He, my brother and my sister-in-law are on their way back to London now, but they'll be up again in a few weeks time for Dad's birthday, for which he's having a week away and inviting friends and family.
Well, I'd best be off for now, because I'm going to be late for church.
Take care all, and again, sorry for my long absence.