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Sorry i forgot to ask.

How are you all getting along with your new modules?

A222 has been much better organised than DD211 last year.

The module website does not open untill next week, but i already have a tutor and all my tutorials booked for this year.

Glad that is all organised, leaves me free to get on with all the reading...

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Are you resding me?

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Are you reading me?

Cause i am reading text books.

A222- philosophy contains so much reading.

This might be a long module.

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One year of OU blogging

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So in my first 2 years of OU study i posted twice, an average of...let me think for a minute...once a year.

Last year i decided to blog more frequently.

So here i am one year later with 6 pages of posts and 6400 views.

I think it has been fun and i will commit to another year of being an OU blogger.

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Sponsored walk

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Sunday, 24 Sep 2017, 19:54

So today I did a sponsored walk with my mate Steve.

1.5 miles along Southsea sea front.

1.5 miles or 2400 meters, the meters are important, I will come back to that later.

I was not sponsored, Steve was doing the fund raising himself, for the Solent MS Therapy Centre. I was along as his minder, OT, carer, how ever you want to frame it.

So what is the story behind my walk along the seafront with Steve?

Well 3 years ago Steve had a stroke, not a minor one, a full life changing and debilitating one.

Steve died three times in the first 24 hours following his stroke, but each time he was resuscitated he responded. Steve then spend 4 months in the ICU. At the end of the 4 months, Steve's consultant told Lin, his wife, that Steve had lost all use of his right side, lost complete use of his speech and would spend the rest of his life in the agonising neuropathic pain he was experiencing, all day, every day.

Steve was moved to a permanent residential care facility, where he could only lay in bed and cry with agony of the pain he was in. Steve was medicated, but that just meant he slept for 20 hours a day. Steve was there for 8 months, with a daily routine of 20 hours sleeping in bed, and four hours awake to eat and experience the agony of the neuropathic pain in his right side.

That was the first year after having his stroke. His consultant repeated the prognosis that Steve would never talk, move from his bed or be free of the pain again.

Lin was at the end of her wits end by then. I remember very well the day she phoned me at the Solent MS Therapy Centre and told me that she had been looking on the internet about Hyperbaric oxygen Treatment, that we did it at the Centre, and would we see Steve, even though he did not have MS (Multiple Sclerosis). That was the first time I had spoken to Lin, she did not know me and I think I threw her a bit when I said, 'yeah bring  him down, we can try'.

Bringing Steve down was not easy for his first 2 months of sessions, he had to come in an ambulance, on his medical bed and could only do external oxygen therapy ( not the Hyper baric part, that requires going into a pressure vessel, and Steve's bed would not fit through the pressure door).

But after a couple of months Steve did very well, Lin got to the point where he could come in a taxi, not the ambulance, and could sit outside in a chair for the hour session. Steve also started to become a lot more vocal, at first, from nothing, he progressed to yes,yes and no,no.

A couple of more months of oxygen, once a week, on the outside of the chamber and Steve started to weight bear on his right leg, more words entered back into his vocab and the pain was subsiding.

At that point Lin, Steve and I thought it would be good for him to try a session inside the Hyperbaric chamber. So Steve did a session inside, from that point he just shot along in leaps and bounds, he started to see Katie, one of the neurophysio's at the centre and Simon, the Centre's Shitatsuist. I was rather pleased the day he walked out of Katie's treatment room and walked 20 meters along the centre, so pleased was I that I did him a sticker for his fridge to celebrate walking 20 meters.

Steve persisted, coming to the centre every week to do oxygen and physio. Lin also persisted, she got Steve a FES system to help trigger his right leg when walking, and Steve just got his head down, did his rehab and progressed. The Portsmouth stroke group got Steve some speech therapy, and Steve really started to get many more words back in his vocab.

Steve progressed beyond the walking 20 meters thing, I remember the first time he appeared at the front doors of the centre with a big grin, my first thought was 'crap Steve does not have appointment today, so I asked him where Lin was so I could tell her she must of got the treatment days mixed up, Steve had the last laugh, and the biggest laugh, when I asked him where Lin was, he replied, 'at home'. He had walked from his house to the centre, half a mile away, just because he wanted to do it. Lin appeared in floods of tears about 10 minutes later...Steve had not told Lin he was going for a walk!

Steve walked to the centre a lot during spring and summer, Lin would follow along 10 minutes behind him. He even walked home too.

Steve decided he wanted to do a sponsored walk, so I set it up, got him a tee-shirt and made all the arrangements. About six months ago Steve had a follow up with his consultant, the same one that had given the never walk talk or live without pain news a year before. I think the consultant got quite a shock when Steve walked into his office, sat down and told the consultant to 'fuck off'. As Lin tells it, the consultant was fine with Steve's little show of character, he was just delighted that Steve has done so well.

Steve had a party, which Lin organised fantastically, last month to 'celebrate' the third anniversary of his stroke. It was a lovely party on a Sunday afternoon, there was cake, songs and yes, Steve gave a speech.

And today Steve did his sponsored walk along Southsea Seafront to raise money for the Solent MS Therapy Centre. 2400 meters, I did not do him a sticker this time, it felt like it would have been patronising if I did. Steve has raised £1000, and has become an inspiration to me, his family, everyone who visits the Solent MS Therapy Centre and to all the service users of the Portsmouth Stroke group, many of who now also attend the Centre.

I took this picture half way along on our walk, behind Steve is the statue for the Marines who yomped (Marine speak for walked) across the Falkland islands. One inspirational man stood next to a statue remembering many inspirational men.

The most amazing part of the day was two fold, Steve walks with a FES sensor and control box, his gait can be a little slow, we set aside 2 hours to complete the 2400 meter walk, he stunned me by doing it in 45 minutes! We chatted the whole way along, talked about the cricket, the weather and the joys of a wind swept walk along the sea front, when Steve got to the finish line at the Rose Gardens (in 45 minutes), a tape was broken , fuss made and photo's taken. Steve didn't stop there though, he wanted to walk around the Rose gardens, so I walked around with him. He pointed out the red and orange roses and then stopped, Steve asked me 'what colour does red and orange make?' I knew better than to answer, Steve wanted to pull the answer out of his memory and say it. So I let him think for a minute and he told me:

'Red and orange make crimson'

I just said to Steve,

'yes, yes'

So here's to Steve, who made a journey today and has much more journey to come.

I give you Steve, an inspirational bloke of Portsmouth.

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Sources of inspiration

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I am off to do a sponsored walk today. 1.5 miles. Easy enoigh for me to do, but a challange for Steve who is doing it with me.

Rather than tempt fate, i will do a longer blog post about once we have finished, at teatime today, and all had hopefully gone well.

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Seeing things for the first time

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My new glasses came today.

I can finally see what i am doing now.

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Other blogs

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I noticed something today.

I was leaving a comment on Simon Reeds blog, Simon has commented on my posts many times.

I like Simons blog, it is always interesting and never dull.

Hopefully the OU will sort out them blocking Cuban students, something Simon has said he will leave the OU over.

So sort it out OU, its quite an easy win for you, and after all the bollocks we have had to put up with from you so far this year, its the least you could do.

I would be sad to see Simon leave, i am disappointed that Cuban students are banned.

So please try to do the right thing OU, after all, is the vice chancellor considering how many chunks of £3000 dollars the Cubans could add to his rapidly reducing budgets?

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Stone age study

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Thursday, 21 Sep 2017, 18:40

Last year i did DD211. A brand new module last year. Only 2 books, all the audio materials online, interactive puzzles and very good 

Now i am on A222. Which is a 8 year old course. 6 books, 1 set book and 7 audio cd's.

The module website does virtually nothing.

It feels like i am studying in the stone age...

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More on that ship of Theseus

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Following on from my last post on the paradox of the ship of Theseus, and following on from the post of some pictures from berlin that are social science relative,

here are pictures of the two sides of the Theseus paradox.

This is the Mary Rose, completely unrestored, the only work that has gone on with her, is to preserve her timbers.

And here is the HMS Victory, the Mary Rose is preserved in the black domed building in the background:

As you can see from the picture, the top part of the Victory's three masts have been removed for some more 'restoration', ergo, 'replacement' work.

So both side of the ship of Theseus paradox, just a stones throw apart.

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The ship of Thesus

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Wednesday, 20 Sep 2017, 07:37

My first book had some interesting reading in it last night.

The ship of Theseus.

Is it still the same ship if every plank of wood in the ship has been replaced because of decay?

The book talked about numerically indentical and quailitive indentical.

Looking very breifly at the philosophical arguements around if the Theseus would be the same ship or the restoration means she is not the same ship.

That made me think of the 3 ships just a couple of miles away from me, in Portsmouth dockyard.

The Mary Rose, 500 years old snd preserved. No replacement of any of the wood. Just preservation work rakes place.

The HMS Victory. A classic ship of Theseus. Virtually all the wood has been replaced over the last 275 years.

The HMS Warrior also has had much of her wood replaced. However as an iron clad hull, much of her metal work is orginal.

All very intetrsting stuff.

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Some social science pictures from berlin

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I have some more pictures from our berlin trip to share, so I thought I would bundle them up here, with how they relevant to the key themes and idea's discussed in my Politics, Economics and Philosophy course...

Marx, the political and economic philosopher, and his backer, Engels.

The Reichstag, power, sovereignty, Legitimate use of violence.

The Berlin Wall, boundaries, international relations, globalisation

Wearing an old soviet republic t-shirt outside the rebranded Russian federation embassy.

International relations,

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Reading and more reading.

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A222 philosophy.

It is all about the reading baby.

6 course books and 1 set book.

Thats alot of reading.

Does anyone reading this, have any advice about reading all that?

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New study planner layout

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I think the new study planner layout is good.

But then i have a new pair of glasses!

The others were 10 years old.

So rather than splurge on new stationary for the start of the module, i went for new glasses instead.

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Here i go again

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To quote whitesnake...

Here i go again out on my own...

The study planner is open, the books are with me,

Time to start the 9 month A222 philosophy adventure.

Happy days...

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where did the summer go

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Hope you all had a good summer.

Mine was okay. I changed jobs in August, so i did not get a summer holiday.

I get get to go to Berlin with my son, to celebrate his 18th birthday. That was a great trip.

Berlin is a beautiful city. Here is a picture of us at the Reichstag dome.

as well as that trip, I also abseiled down the spinnaker tower to raise funds for the Solent MS Therapy Centre.

This is me 315 feet, 103 metre's up the tower.

I got 79% for my DD211 exam, so a overall OES score of 79%.

So a 2:1 score so far.

Now here I am, it is September again and time for fire up for my third module.

This time round it is A222- Philosophy.

Let the fun begin, and more blogging, now that we are back to study.

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Exam done

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I completed the DD211 exam this morning. I thought it went well. Lets hope my confidence is reflected in the mark.

My wrist did not even hurt and the time just flew by. I might even say i enjoyed it.

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the hits keep coming.

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also as well as wishing my cohorts good luck in the exam tomorrow, I just wanted to thank all of you who have taken the time to visit my blog, it is much appreciated. The hit counter now stands at 3600 views, which is amazing. I hope everyone who has visited my blog has found something of interest in it, I wonder if I will get to 4000 views before the end of June. I imagine the blogs slow down quite a bit during the summer recess.

Thank you.

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revision, done-exam, tomorrow!

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So I have finished with revision, I will read through all the introductions and conclusions from the module books this afternoon, and then that's it.

The exam is tomorrow at 10 am in Southampton.

glasses, pens, watch and ID all prepared, and so it is time to mentally prepare for the 3 hour exam.

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all change-again

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Edited by Michael Gumbrell, Sunday, 4 Jun 2017, 10:17

I do like to be organised, although sometimes life really does try to throw challenges into the best planned schedules.

however, I have managed to arrange another life change, which will not put any pressures on my open university study time table.

I have been the manager of a medium sized regional charity for 6 years now. The Solent MS Therapy Centre provides therapy and support to people with Multiple Sclerosis in Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight. If you would like to see more information about their work, this is the website:


Before he passed away my father lived two streets away from the Centre, so that was very convenient for me. Since his passing, my mum has decided to sell the house and move out of Portsmouth to the suburbs. This meant that my reasons for coming into Portsmouth every day have been reduced. I only go into Portsmouth now to go to work.  So with these changes I decided to apply for some other jobs, out of town and nearer to where I live in Havant.

I have been very lucky to have been offered a job with a National Charity. I am now in my two month notice period with the therapy centre and on 1st August will start my new role as the national manager of the Hounds for Heroes.

The hounds for heroes is a large national charity that provides assistance dogs for injured veterans.

You can read more about their work here:


So I am sad to be leaving my current role, however life changes mean I needed to seek a new role and I am delighted to be appointed the national manager of a large national charity.

So life changes again, and thankfully it changes in the summer, during my study break from the Open University.

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No luck with my sponsorship challange

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So i got all the way to the top of the Spinaker tower.

Harness and helmet on and ready to step out onto the platform at 105 meters up,

When the safety chap calls me back and tells me there is too much wind.

So we wait for one hour and the wind only gets worse.

So it was cancelled.

The next available date.. monday the 28th of august.

So i will try again in august..

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Todays the day

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Today is the abseil day. 315 feet or 103 meters down the Spinaker tower.

I have been leant a go pro to record the abseil from my safety helmet.

So the will be a film of me doing it.

Should be fun.

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me.

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so i have now been going through the books for my revision program.

I have been going through each introduction and conclusion, then revisiting the chapter to revise key points, just a couple of more days for that and then it is onto a week of practising writing short and long answers to the specimen and 2016 exam paper.

Only 9 days to go before the exam gets done.

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Here is the link to my latest specialistgeneralist.net blog:


The blog deals with the current general election and a fledgling political party in the U.K which hopes to offer a Centrist alternative to the political agenda in the U.K

I hope you follow the links to the Centrist UK page and have a look through their materials.

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getting on with revision

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So I bundled all my flashcards up by block and published them on my blog:


I included some other musing about the relationship between states and globalisation and Weber theory on the 'legitimate use of violence'

Now I really must motivate to revise from the module books...

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snap election word bingo card

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I made this for the local micro news site I volunteer for,

The 2017 snap election word bingo card...

What's your score?

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