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Sarah Louise North

Sunday 24/12/2023

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Sunday, 24 Dec 2023, 21:40

Christmas Eve!!!

It has been 34 days since I last wrote.

It is now Christmas Eve, and I still can’t believe where the time has gone. TMA 01 is now completed, and I passed it, thank goodness. TMA 02 is due on Monday, the 15th of January 2024, in 22 days, including the 15th.

I have started my TMA 02 and will continue it tomorrow afternoon, even if it is Christmas Day. Boxing Day is just another typical day for me. I don’t know about anyone else, but my day tomorrow will be accessible even though I know I will have a hectic day, like my sisters, who are married. Tomorrow, I will get up early and continue with my TMA 02; at 6 am, I will shower, wash my hair, and dress in my new pyjamas. So will Toni and Dana. Presents will be opened, and our food will be party food so we can help ourselves during the day. What is not eaten will be wrapped up and put in the fridge, and then on Boxing Day, we will top up what is left. That is the plan; I have already washed all my clothes, so I will not have to do it. I also tried my room. I will wash my bed sheets on Friday as they return to normal. I will have my TMA 02 completed by the end of the week; then, I will leave it for a day, go back over it and so on. When I return to work, I will start poetry, but I have already started that, so I will continue that in the week that I will be studying; I will be one week ahead. But because I will have the afternoon, I will study one chapter of the book in two days and then the website in one afternoon. I will start another week and be ahead, so I will not only complete the book and website but also concentrate on my TMAs, go to the tutorials, correct what needs correcting, and do it that way. Will it work? I hope so, but I have to give it a try.

I will write again after Christmas, before New Year and another post after the New Year. I will start a review blog, and I will let you know when that has been set up. That is one of my New Year’s resolutions. I know it is more of a to-do list, but it is what I want for 2024. I am also going to start listening to the books that are needed for my next module.  

Merry Christmas, everyone, and have a happy New Year!!!

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Sarah Louise North

Monday 20/11/2023

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Monday, 20 Nov 2023, 04:38

TMA 01 has now been passed. Our tutor has had to extend the marking of our TMA, and I always get nervous when waiting for a mark because I’m scared I won’t pass, but I guess that is the same with everyone.

I am so glad that I have three days off. I did try to book this week off, but I couldn’t get Thursday and Friday off. I tried for next week and couldn’t get Friday off, so I booked Wednesday and Thursday off and on Friday, but then I have the whole week. I have tried getting a week off for ages and am looking forward to an entire week off.

I am still studying last week's schedule, but I will finish that today, well, this morning, and I will start and complete this week's schedule. Then, I will study the following week's schedule so I am a week ahead. I was looking at the schedule and aim to get to the poetry section during my week off; I’m not looking to study the whole part. I am looking to check my TMA in the morning and the pottery part of the module study in the afternoon; I say the afternoon because I am thinking of going to the library either at Central MK or Westcroft. I think getting out of the house is a good idea. Also, before studying, I can write things down at the library, like the smells, sounds, touch, etc. I am always sitting in my room, and I need to get out; I want to be a writer, but I will be a bedroom writer if I don’t get out of this room, and the last thing I want is not to be a good writer because I was lazy.

So, I have a plan: will I go to the library daily? That is the question. If I do it, I will go on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday, I think I might go to the pictures. I will be the only one-off, so I might go and enjoy myself by myself, and since everyone should be either at school or work, I hope I will be the only or the least quiet one there. What will I see? Again, I don’t know. I’ll look and see what’s up there. I am a member, so I pay once a month, and then boom! I can see what I like. I’m very excited about that.

I have thought about starting my own YouTube channel and am still on the fence because I still haven’t finished Jamie-Lynn’s Things I Should Have Said. This book has many opinions due to Jamie-Lynn’s involvement with Britney Spears or lack thereof. Before I started reading Britney’s The Woman in Me, I thought I should let Jamie-Lynn have her say first and then read Britney, but I have not even finished the book, and that will not work on a YouTube channel. I have many opinions because I am so into pop culture right now, and when I talk about it with my sister or my daughter, they are both like, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about’, and it’s like? How do you not know about this, that, and the other? It’s a hot topic right now. They watch TikTok, and I don’t; I watch YouTube.

I have a busy schedule today, and I will complete next week’s schedule this week in time for the following tutorial, which is all about TMA 02. I know how to research as I had a one-to-one with a tutor, and I asked for advice about how to study because I didn’t have a baseline to go off, so I was stuck. I missed our first meeting and was so upset, so I am happy that he gave me a second chance. I ensured nothing stood in the way of our meeting because I had the most awful migraine the first time and then forgot. So, I made sure I didn’t forget, and because I believe that the reason that I am having problems with sleeping is because of the medication, I have cut myself back. I have, too. I cannot keep going through it like something is wrong with me. I know they help me sleep, but there are other ways to help me sleep that do not make me feel like I am losing my mind.

I'm doing better and feel better; yes, I remember things slightly better than before, so I will hopefully get better at remembering to get better at my job.

I hope you all had a good weekend and have a good week.

Bye for now xx    

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Sarah Louise North

Monday 30/10/2023

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I forgot to blog last week because I was on annual leave and studying. 

I will start blogging on Wednesday because I want to keep updated, and I want to be able to talk about how I feel. When I had a session on Mental Health and how to cope with the OU studying and not get too overwhelmed, I enjoyed it. It was suggested that I say something like, 'How is my heart today?' I thought that was a lovely thing to say because I tend to push how I feel aside and deal with it later. I am the type of person who will act first and cry later. It is hard to call when I want to; I am either at work, with friends or family, and they don't want me sitting with them crying. I cry when I am alone, which is when I am in bed alone, and I think about my life and what I want to achieve; then I procrastinate, and then I kick myself for doing that. I have an assignment this Thursday. Part of the TMA 01 is to partake in the forums. I find it so hard to put myself out there in case someone thinks that I am not good at what I am doing studying this qualification when I can't even write well. Everyone is learning, and I know I am not yet significant, another aspect that was brought up. I am not there...yet. And that is something I have to remember: I am learning, and I am enjoying the course, and I need to push myself, and the only person who is standing in my way is me. I don't know how to move that side of me away, and it is driving me insane. I don't want to get there in my own sweet time because I am forty-five years old. In five years, I will be fifty, and what have I achieved? Nothing. I have a daughter, and she is fantastic. I have made her my life project. She is self-driven, ambitious, and motivated, and she does what she has set for herself; for instance, she wants to move out in 2024, and she will be twenty-five years old, which is fantastic. She drives, has her car and her own life. Now, I want to be able to do something for myself, which is to pass and get my degree in English literature and Creative Writing, and I would love to go on and study for my master's degree. If I have enough faith in myself and money, I would like to go on and gain a Ph.D. and teach adults how to write.

A lecturer at the OU, for instance, does not have a tutor group but gives a tutorial for Creative Writing. Not only do I want to write and get published, but I also want to provide tutorial lessons and be able to help others get where they would like to be. My sister said this is a hobby, but if I could get not just a great job out of this and to write and my goal to be a New York Times best-selling author, that would also be fantastic. What is standing in my way? Myself. I need to put myself out there, and I have to push past this. I am not sure how, and someone said it has to do with confidence. Well, I don't have that yet, and I need to build on that. I will, however, get through this TMA 01, and I will push myself. I will not blog again until the weekend because this is TMA week, and this is what I will concentrate on this week. I will blog at the end of the week.

Bye for now.        

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Sarah Louise North

Wednesday 19/07/2023 - RESULTS!!!!

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Wednesday, 19 Jul 2023, 12:54


They are in. When I was finally able to get on to StudentHome I had my results on my computer but I could not look. I didn't want. I worked hard on my EMA. I thought that if I failed, that's OK I can do a resubmit. But I didn't want to fail. My daughter said she would wait with me but she had to get ready for work so I needed to do it fast. I looked - I PASSED!!!!!!!

I am so happy. I am already registered for A215 Creative Writing - first half of stage 2 - SFE approved. What I am doing now is applying for DSA which is driving me mad. I have to print off the last page, sign it, then scan it back on my computer. This is where it gets messy. Because I work for the OU & a student I know that when it comes to the DSA forms in section 5, you don't have to ask the OU to complete it. You can send it to SFE who will then pass it over to the OU. But that is not what the email sent to me by SFE said. They want me to pass it to the OU have them complete it then pass it back to me, for me to forward it to SFE. DSA from the OU has said no, just pass it back to SFE. I did but then SFE passed it back to me asking me to give it to the OU to complete.     
So as you can see, it's getting messy and to the point that I'm thinking I really can't be bothered with this crap anymore. But, I will do it. I am going to email SFE and put the email that DSA from the OU sent to show SFE that I am not making it up & that I have given permission for the OU & SFE to talk about me behind my back lol, you know what I mean. Let's see where that gets me.

As I have stated, or maybe I haven't I can't remember. The next module workbook I have already got. Not because the OU sent it to me early or anything, I found it on Amazon. I am studying it so when the module opens up I will have studied the workbook and done most of the activities. The reason why I have not completed all the activities is that when I do study the module and I have to study the workbook, it will give me a chance to recap what the chapter is about. Also, it will give me a chance to practice what I am learning from the module so it is not all about just reading but if I practice with the activities, also there are a lot of really good activities in the workbook that are worth doing again. The activities that I do are the ones to do with the readings that are at the back of the book, I write down certain words that I know may course me problems like me not understanding them. I have decided to create my own noticeboard which I have done. Information that I think will be something I need to remember forever not just for this module, like creating character and ideas on how to do that. It's really good so it is taking me some time but as the days are getting closer together to start the module, I need to get my butt into gear and study. I get up at 3:45 in the morning, & I study as much as I can before having a shower, getting dressed, and ready for work. OK, so I have been working from home but I don't really want to go to work. I like working from home because when I finish, I'm at home so I don't have to worry about driving anywhere. I will say that I do prefer working from home. I was under the impression that I would be like I will need to leave the house so it will get me up but no, I like working from home so I think I will do this. It's only the 2 days a month that I need to go into work which is once a month, which is not next week but the week after.      
Just wanted give an update on my results so I should start writing again soon, maybe in the next few weeks but it will be before the module start date which is the 7th of October, but the module website opens up on the 13th of September. I do hope that I have not only studied the workbook but I have completed the OpenLearn courses then I can have the badges on my StudnetHome page. 

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Sarah Louise North

Tuesday 11/07/2023

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Tuesday, 11 Jul 2023, 05:08
Module 2

I am now registered for part 1 on stage 2. It is the compulsory module Creative Writing. I did see people in the OU chat forum that most of them were going to start with the options before studying the compulsory module because they wanted to get that one out of the way. After all, they wanted to study Creative Writing. I did think about it, but I thought that it is that way for a reason so I decided that I was going to study them all in order so I can get the most out of it. Also, for the optional module I want to study Telling Stories: the novel and Beyond (A233) the reading material that is needed for that module is so much. What I have been doing is getting the books in audio and book form and listening to them, I bought a book review journal on Amazon, and when I have read a book I write my review down. When it comes to reading the book, I will be able to look over my review because the journal asks you to write your favorite part page number, so I find it in the book and highlight it, and I then write on the card I have in the book. That is how I am studying the books I need to read. Some books do not need to be read as it states you only need to read one of the books that has a star next to them but I have decided that I am going to read all of them because I don't know if I am going to like them all and, it will only make me a better writer. The more you read the better you will become, in any case, you can't read too much literature can you it will make me better, have a more in-depth knowledge of the English language, and be able to use better language instead of using cuss words. I don't mind swearing in my stories but would like a better language, which is why I am studying for a degree. I want my books, and my stories to have a professional look, sound better and not have people think that the book was written by someone who does not have an understanding of the English Language. 
I also just thought, I mean I didn't think about this until right now. As a member of staff at the OU, when I have completed my degree, I can study individual modules. I can study the modules I want to study for my degree but then I can study Reading and studying literature (A230) and then  English literature from Shakespeare to Austen (A334). That will be the whole of the modules that are needed. I may also go on to study for my Masters Degree in Creative Writing. Once I have completed my Master, I might also go on to study for a Ph.D. and become a tutor at the OU, or if not a Ph.D. but a tutor. I would like to teach adults but, to study Creative Writing and to motivate and be an example I need to have written books, and maybe be a New York Best Selling Author that would be awesome, it would mean that the students that I teach will see that you can be an author but still need to have a job to pay the bills. I am getting ahead of myself but that is me, I think of what could happen in the future. I mean I will complete my degree at the age of 49 years old. That means if I studied the two other modules, that will take me to be 51 years old. What I have come to know is that it doesn't matter how old you are, you can never be too old to study and you can always improve on what you know. So what if I will be 49 when I graduate, so what if I am late in life in finding something I want to do, and so what if I don't want to study something for a career? I work part-time at the OU which is why I can study, and the medical problems that I have well, I am always going to have them so I will plod along at my own pace and I will graduate on the same year my qualification runs out. My last module finishes in May 2027 and my qualification runs out on October 1st, 2027 so I just do it. Glad the OU gives you 16 years to complete your qualification. The reason why it will finish in 2027 is because I brought a module over from 2010 as I didn't want to study A111. I'm sorry for all art lovers but I can appreciate a beautiful piece of art but I don't care what brush strokes were used or paint that was used. I can look at art and I can be drawn to it and have emotions about it but I am just not into it the way other people are. I don't understand brush strokes and as I said I would rather look at the finishing product and have an emotional response to it but that is where art ends for me. If I like it, I like it. If I don't, then I don't. But I do ask myself why I don't like it because to look at art and say I don't like it is not an answer. It's understanding why I don't like it so I do ask myself why because what I thought was interesting in studying Cultures was that not liking something is OK, but why? Is it the art or is it that you don't like how it makes you feel, or does it remind you of something? is it triggering for you? when I started asking myself those questions, it was because I stopped to look at the art and it was 9/10 it was how it was making me feel that I didn't like it, but when I looked at the art I saw beauty in it and that is what changed for me and how I look at art. I may not want to study art but I can now look at it and identify what it is that I don't like about it and to me, learning something about yourself is a very enlightening aspect of studying. It can change your outlook on things in general.
Tuesday the 18th (next Tuesday) is results day and I am looking forward to seeing if I pass, I will get my Certificate of Higher Education then my Diploma dn then my Degree. I want my certificates so I can see that I have accomplished something. it has been a while since I last wrote but, as I got my next module book I bought on Amazon, I have been studying so I can spend more time on my assignments and studying the website and spend some time on the Independent Study so when it comes to my EMA, I will be better and yes, I will take another week off work when it is EMA week. When I get my results I will let you know.      
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Sarah Louise North

Tuesday 23/05/2023

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It is now all over. I have completed my EMA and submitted it. I have done a perdition and the perdition states I will pass even if I get the minimum, so I am hoping that I will get a better grade than that.

I can’t believe that is now over. It seems like I have only just started but it is now over Stage 1 is now complete and I will get my Certificate of Higher Education. Stage 2 begins in October, and although people at the day school said that they have enjoyed Creative Writing they have not picked that as their option. Some of the students said for Stage 2 they will study the literature side first before studying Creative Writing. There is no right or wrong answer to this as you can study either one first. However, me, I will go with the suggestion first which is the A215 Creative Writing which is a compulsory module anyway. Then study literature I have a choice of 2 modules. A230 Reading and studying literature or A233 Telling Stories: the novel and Beyond. I already have what I want to study already, I will study A223 Telling Stories: the novel and Beyond. For the A223 there are a lot of reading materials that need to be read. I have already bought some books and downloaded the story on my phone so I can get a heads-up. I haven’t started reading them yet but now that A112 is over I can start listening to them and when I’ve finished reading/listening, I’ll write a review of the book for myself so when it is discussed in a book club, I know there is a book club in the second part which I am looking forward to, I will be able to have a skim through of the book before it’s discussed and look at my review. To be fair you don’t have to read all the books, there is a star next to a few and you only need to read one of them but, the more I read the better I will be plus although I will not need to read the books until I am studying A223 module, I thought if I start reading now, and I am not intending to read all the book before I start the next module, it is said the more you read the better writer you will be and since I want to be a writer and the books I read for fun are not the kind of literature that the A223 module is asking you to read.

I finished my EMA on Thursday 18/05/2023 and I am writing this blog on the 23rd I know this is late but now that it is over, I can’t believe that 1) I stuck to it and completed a module. It is so hard for me to focus and stay motivated. It has been a struggle but this time round I am going to do my utmost best to stay ahead, not ask for extensions unless I need to. 2) On Friday 19th I was so tired. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Restless leg syndrome, swelling of the legs, arthritis in my hips, depression, and dyslexia, and that is just for starters. Let’s just say I have a lot of problems; I take 36 tablets a day so that should tell you something. Anyway, because of dealing with all of that when the module was over, I was like wow!!! I can’t believe how tired I got and how much pressure it was but not in a bad way and 3), I can’t wait until the next module starts. I don’t know what to do with myself, to be honest, someone mentioned to me about studying some OpenLearn courses, they are for free, and if I study a course not only will it help me when it comes to starting stage 2, but I won’t board, I am going to start today reading some of the reading material from the 2nd part of stage 2.

I will write again when I have my results.         

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Sarah Louise North

Wednesday 03/05/2023

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It’s been 11 days since I last wrote, and I have done all the reading I am meant to do and now it’s time to start writing.

I have been writing my story and also just putting what I have done in my commentary reference. I am so glad we have the extra 10% because I think I will need it.

My short story is beginning to be a bit like a novel, and I am only allowed 2000 words and 10% making it 2200 words, but each scene is about 300-500. I am writing the major points of my story, but it is going to be so hard getting it down. I have decided that I am going to write the whole story regardless of the words then I am going to edit it because that way I will be able to see what does not need to be there and just concentrate on what the story is about and the theme of the story. I am enjoying it, but it is hard and I am enjoying writing it and I like that I have a deadline because it makes me want to be better, I have got so many ideas about how to write a story or a book that when I have just about 4 months of not studying I don’t want to lose what I have learned in this module, I am glad that I have the material books because that means that I get to reread things from the module again, and I although it has already been done, I get to practice essay writing in the 4 months so I can get so much better. I have seen that other people have other degrees and I think I may do another degree after, maybe I want to get this one done because this is not about getting a job, although I would love to be a writer and make a living on it I am not that daft that it will happen, but I will be writing in the 4 months that I am not studying so I can get better at touch typing and I already get up at 4:00 am get my computer ready, go downstairs put the kettle on, go into the garden have a cigarette then make a cup of tea bring that up to my room and start writing at 4:30 am. I know it says that you should start writing the moment you wake up but with my hands the way they are I can’t do that. My hands are so puffy in the morning I can’t type or write so I have to wait for the swelling to go down which takes half an hour most days sometimes a bit longer, but I can usually type when the swelling has mostly gone.

This is why I like working only part-time because I can’t work full-time and study at the same time and if I have to leave my degree, I will have to start all over again and I don’t want to do that as I cannot study 120-credits a year that is way to hard for me so I will stick to 60-credits a year.

I tell you what I can’t believe is that I have been working at the OU for a year on the 25th of this month, I can’t believe that it has gone so fast, I have studied this module for a year and I stuck to it and it was hard to stick to it because I had to keep to a schedule and I must say that I didn’t do all that well with keeping to a schedule even though I wrote everything down but I still wasn’t all that good however, in the 4 months that I am going to change, I am going to do things different so that I can keep up with my studies and not fall behind, also I am going to start reading the module website and books early so I can be ahead of time and then when I work on my TMA I will have a few more weeks, I will start early when I do my studying and do things very different, I am also going to go the GP and get a letter from them to say how my disability affects me so I can get DSA, also I do think that they should be able to do that, I also want a referral for ASD & ADHD because I feel that I have all the systems for that because I cannot go on the way I am.

When I was a medical secretary at the GP surgery in Bedford when I would read the symptoms for ASD and ADHD they all sounded like me, what I do, and how I feel so I think I have that but of course, I need a referral for that which is going to take a few years I know but at least I will get it sorted, also I need to have an assessment for dyslexia and I will have to pay for it private because I need one to say that I have it when I know I do but don’t have the proof for it so that is something I am going to have to look into.

Well, that is it for me, I do have a lot of things that I need to get going medically, and I will get my degree and I will walk across that stage, even if I have my stick with me and even if I am losing my mind and I am diagnosed with vascular dementia I will get my degree. That is my goal.     

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Sarah Louise North

Saturday 22/04/2023

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Saturday, 22 Apr 2023, 19:55


It has been 13 days since I last wrote. 

Last weekend I went to the day school in Cambridge. I brought a dictaphone to record everything, and I am so glad I did. The first half before lunch was about essay writing which I found helpful because I will be able to use that in my next module. After lunch, it was the EMA option, so I was in the class Creative Writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was given so much advice, it gave me food for thought and how to write other books that I want to start writing. The hotel was nice, I had a room that had a bath that was also a jacuzzi, and a sauna that was out of this world. The breakfast in the hotel came with the room, which was lovely, and I did enjoy it, I had a meal on Saturday, I had a lasagne and although it was nice, it felt more like a microwave meal, and it cost £13.00 I didn’t have a desert because I was full up. I was meant to have a meal on Sunday but had a migraine. It started on Thursday, so I called in sick, it carried on right until Friday, but today I have another migraine which is starting to annoy me because I feel like I can’t get on with anything.

My TMA 05 came back from my tutor, and I got a 75, I have started to go up apport from when I got a 45 because I only did half of my assignment. She did give me some really good pointers so when I do my commentary reflection, I will be able to address all the advice she has given me.

I have from today, not including the 18th of May, 26 days until my EMA is due. I have got Word docs in my EMA file, characters, atmosphere, settings, senses, outline, scenes, dialogue, show not tell, and history. What I am doing, is reading from the archives, for instance, dialogue then when I have finished reading practice it with my story. Is it hard? Yes. However, for me, that is the best way to do it. It is more to do with that I am having memory problems and because of that, I need to be able to keep it in my head so that is how I am doing my EMA. I have a notebook in my bag that I keep with me and that is where I write what I see, where I am, how I feel, and what I hear or taste so I can practice writing the 5 senses. What I think is funny is that it seems so obvious to do it but that is where I was going wrong. I didn’t know how to write. I know I wanted to write and yeah OK I may have a good idea about a story but, it was more than just putting pen to paper, I didn’t have a structure and that is what I needed. There was no structure on how to go about writing as such; I needed structure on how to tackle it. What this module has done for me is show me that I need to tackle the 5 senses, show not tell, and all the others. It showed me in Bitesize how to tackle writing a book. When you have all of that down, you can put it all together and that is your story. Then go back to it and read it as a whole. Also, what is a good idea that I got from the module website, is to put the different areas like dialogue, settings ect all in a different color so your story will look like a coloring book but, when you want to tackle each one on different days, you will know what color you are editing so you can miss all the other parts and edit that color. When you have edited your story, you can go back to it and read it as a whole and when you are happy with it, get other people to read it to see what they think and get their opinion on it. See if they all say the same about the same thing and if they do go about changing it, or get them to write down what they think needs changing and why and if they understand what the story is about and not forgetting that the story has to be about a place of home, whether that be a person, like Gaige will be for Cassie and Delphi will be for Gaige and Cassie when she starts to let Delphi be a place for her. When she does that is when she will hear Apollo’s voice and bring Cassie back home.

What I have found interesting is The Writers Bureau. I have had ‘The Creative Writing Course’ for years and have not looked at it. I saw it under my bed so I thought I would get it out and have a bit of a read and wow! I can’t believe I have had this under my bed, and I have not at all looked at it, but it is exactly what I need. It has helped me in the sense that it has shown me how to see dialogue and other bits that I never thought I needed to look at, but it is, so I am now using it. I am mostly using The Open University materials I got with Cultures A112, the module website, and using the archives that I need to continue with because 26 days are not that long at all. Also, I need to study this week’s materials on the website, but it has been great writing it says I need to write about 6 hours a week, but I will be trying to write 12 hours on weekdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays for 6 hours each day. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday’s using as research days. I may need to take a trip to the library but, one of the tutors said you should be able to use the materials that are available to us but I am not sure if she meant that on the essays and creative writing or just the essays but I am not taking any chances so I will be using my research as well because I need to write some history about Delphi because I can’t think that the people marking my work will know about Delphi, I need to write it as if the reader knows nothing about Delphi so I need to make sure I get my facts straight about the place before writing it. Thanks are why I have brought books about Delphi and the Pythia so I get some info on her so when I get to the part where Gaige tells Cassie and gives her a bit of a history lesson, the reader will know about the place and I want the reader to grasp just how special Delphi is so when Cassie and Gaige arrive at Delphi, the reader will not only be grateful that they are there but, will know the place and fall in love with it. What I am having problems with is that I have 2000 words to write all of this, I do get 10% over but I do not know how much 10% is after 2000. I don’t know how many words 10% is so I will have to ask Sarah because I don’t want to use the calculator and get it wrong, I do not want to get penalized for the word count.

I am going to start reading first and when I have done that is when I will put it into practice because otherwise, I will forget. I am so looking forward to it and I have the week of the 18th off so I will have all day. I am still getting up at 4:00 am so I can write for 1 hour before work or before I start my day because I want to get into that habit and finish reading or writing about 9:00 pm at the latest so I can go to bed at 9:30 pm because if I go to bed early, I will wake up early and I mean before 4 am like I did today. I woke up at 2 am and then went back to bed at 6 am only to get up at 10 am. It’s a pain because I feel like I have wasted a day. Tomorrow, I have to do some housework so I am going to do what I can at 5 am even if that is tidy up, polish, or clean anything before 8-9 am so I can start hovering then when my chores are completed, I can then get back to writing or at least start writing at about 12:30 pm.

Going to bed at 9:30 pm is not that bad it means I get 6 ½ hours of sleep. I am excited to start writing my story and getting prepared for it, at the same time I am nervous as hell but…I can’t wait until I write. Do you know what scared me the most? That I have a good idea, but I can’t execute it in the way that I want and can’t express it in a way and it comes across as something not very good or a sense of place & home does not come it. But I guess that is what feedback is.                    

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Sarah Louise North

Sunday 07/04/2023

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Sunday, 9 Apr 2023, 07:47

It has been 7 days since my last entry. I don’t usually write this early but have submitted my TMA 05 on time. I submitted it, I think just before 8:00 pm. I had already done my TMA 05 it just needed editing. I am thinking of writing my story than writing questions so people can fill it in so I can know what needs to be rewritten. I don’t think we send it out to people for a review, I mean I am not asking if they can edit my work but, just to read it so I can see what other people think of my story. I mean, I will have Toni, Dana, and Dad read it. I will see if anyone on my team can read it so I can get some honesty. I may ask my tutor to see whether or not that is allowed. The answer is most likely a resounding ‘no’ but if I am asking other people that I know to read it, it would be OK if I asked strangers to read it, then why not ask someone to read it, not so I can print it but to read it and give me some honest feedback. Again, it may be a no but here is hoping.

I have added a picture that inspired my EMA story. I like the picture so much that I paid money for the picture to be put on an overall ornament. I have it stuck to my wall. I just really like it. The picture is added below.  

I don’t know where to start. I am reading materials, but I have no idea if this is something I am allowed to do. I know about the books because I said I was going to read them but the Writers Bureau, it seems a little out of date, but it may give me some tips on the layout of a story. I don’t know that part and I don’t want to lose marks because of not know how to lay out the story not the story itself.

I may go to YouTube and see what I can learn about something like that. I will let you know when my TMA 05 score is in.

Next Friday I go to Cambridge. Like always I am going to make the journey part of my weekend getaway as I am not likely going to go on holiday this year, not due to the studying but that does not mean I cannot study, in fact, I could study in the morning, have a bit of a sleep in the afternoon then I will have all afternoon to be able to do whatever I want. I will not write or study on one day during that week, so I can have a day out. I want to go back to the Isle of White. I really enjoyed it there also, I was going to go back in 2020 but the week before I went lockdown happened and I haven’t been back, this year will be 3 years, so I need to go back to the same apartment I loved there. I think I will book up for next year, I will not go during TMA week, I will go the week after. I will go on Friday, I will have the TMA day off then go on Friday stay overnight at a hotel then go to the ferry on Saturday, even if that means I cannot get into the apartment until the afternoon, I can go shopping go out on that day, then I would have done what I want to do. Have the rest of the day Saturday – Saturday but I will travel home on the Saturday very early like I did last time. Get home and spend the rest of the day in bed on Sunday & have Monday off. Sound like a plan? If only I can do something like that again, I may be able to do that if I book for the year after I can pay for it this year then when it comes to next year, I can book off 8 days. I think that will be OK. I will not book during the holiday or when the OU are at peak. Just a random 8-day holiday.

I will see what I can do.

Talk later x  

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Sarah Louise North

Sunday 02/04/2023

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Monday, 24 Jul 2023, 12:18

Good morning,

It has been 1 week since I last wrote and I am feeling good. I am up to date with my studying and I am now studying for my TMA 05. I started it yesterday and I can't believe it is nearly the end of the module it has flown by. I am looking forward to do writing my TMA 05 because I want to have feedback to see whether it is a good idea or whether I should just come up with another idea. I am bit nervous about the feedback but I am not the only person in the world that feels like that, so I am just going to bite the bullet and go with it.

I have got my 'Studying Creative Writing' book that was suggested in the archives, I would only get to borrow it for 21 days and although that is a long time I would rather have it as it is the book that is going to get me through to my Degree so I brought it on Amazon. I have also brought other books not on Kindle because I would rather have it in book form just in case I want to write in it, not that I will have found so index cards that I will use if I want to make any notes, if I am not sure where it is in on the page I can put in pencil marks that I can then rub out.

I have bought 2 books about Delphi and the Oracle since I wanted to do more research on it as my main character is a recantation of her, I am also making that the main man in the book is a recantation of Apollo. I am going to make Apollo and the Oracle lovers in the past so it is written that they will be together but at the moment they are just not happy with each other. I am looking forward to writing y EMA but I have come to a bit of a stand still so I am going to do what has been suggested in the books which is freewriting. I am writing in this blog because 1. I wanted to exercise my fingers so I can practise touch typing, I like to stretch out my fingers with finger yoga. I only know how to do some of it so it does look like I will have to look at exercises on fingers. 

2. I am also writing in this blog today because one of the suggested activates in the study module is, you need to get you mind flowing and exercise your mind. To do that when you wake in the morning it is best to start writing which is why a lot of writers always use pen & paper because setting up your laptop or just turning it on wakes you up more so it is best to start writing so when you write about absolutely nothing, something will come out in those precious moments. I did try that and I was still half asleep but I had nothing to say which means I was awake enough to know that I needed to write something so I went on how I was just awake and nothing was coming to me. So, to be better at it in the morning when I do wake up I am going to wake up, go turn the light on then sit at my desk and start writing using pen & paper. I don't know if it will work but the more I do it the better it will become so that is my plan. I gave up after 1 try so I am going to keep up with it.

Now that I am writing, I have my schedule that I will be using to day. I have set my phone up for the week to go off at certain times telling me what I need to be doing, and I have set alarms for the weekend. 

I also think that I am in a good mood because when my books get here, I will also have my dictaphone voice recorder that I am going to be using for my day school which is next week (not this week coming up) I leave on the Friday, I cannot get into the B&B until 2:00pm but, that does not mean I cannot leave home early and have a look around or go out of my way a bit to go to the beach, however I may just do that on the Monday before I leave, go to the beach then go home. I may leave early go to the 

The Fitzwilliam Museum

that will be awesome. I have never been and it would be nice to go to a museum and I may not be studying art for my EMA, but that does not mean that I do not appreciate art and the hard work take to create something so beautiful. I may create with words they create with objects, paints, portraits or all the above. Since it should be really quite because it is on a school day, unless there is a school trip it will also be nice to site & write for my EMA and I will be able to put that in my reflective commentary. Since I will be going to the day school, I am also going to write down like the chaos about Cambridge University because if being in a foster care, group home, then I guess with a lot of children to young adults there will be chaos and fights, yelling and shouting. It will go in my EMA. Unless my tutor tells me that it is a bad idea. Well, it looks like I will have to convince her. 

What i will do is add so pictures in this blog so it may help me when I am studying Stage 2 of my degree that I can do it and I will need to go out get some inspiration. 

Talk to you soon.     



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Sarah Louise North

Saturday 25/03/2023

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I am sorry for writing in my blog for a while, it has been 50 days since my last entry. So here is a big entry and update in the last 50 days.

I did in fact pass my TMA 03 even though I only did half of it. I have my TMA 05, and this is where I would rally like to get really good marks because this is my qualification on which I am working. It was a no brainer for me, I was going to pick Creative writing. The tutorial last night was great because it was only me and another student, so it was Sarah my tutor who took the tutorial and I am so glad that she only did creative writing. I am on the opinion that if any other student listens to the tutorial and they want to be able to study something other than creative writing and they want to know about the other disciplines then I say they should have come to the tutorial l last night.

I really enjoyed it because not just because it was only me and someone else it was more to do with the fact that I now know how to approach my TMA 05. I am glad I asked about the bibliography because I could not see the point in doing one if it was going to go in question 5. So at least I now have that in my head. I know I did falter about going to this tutorial, but I am glad I did.

I have had it in my head what I am going to write about since block 1. I know that I could do something with it, but this is what it was meant to do, it is all about Delphi and I really enjoyed the classical studies, and it has to do with that I love history which is why I enjoyed it. But I really love the oracle in Delphi at the time I was a bit disappointed that I could not write more about her but now, after seeing my EMA I am glad I was not able to. I don’t know how to write that the protagonist is going to be about her, she is the oracle and he has to bring her home, however he does not want to go back to Delphi but the more closer he gets the more homesick he feels, he realises that he wants to come home, when he brings her home that is when he finds his peace, that is when he realises that not only does he need to come home he needs to rest his anger towards that place, he needs to make peace with Delphi but more than that he needs to forgive, when he finds that peace in his heart, that is when he realises that he has come home, and this time he does not want to go. A bit of a love story, well more of a love interest, but no kissing, to make it about there may be sexual feelings there but that is about it.

I am really looking forward to my TMA 05. I am looking forward to writing it, I am looking forward to researching Delphi more, rereading the material in Block 1, reading about the oracle there is not much about her but I will see if there are any conspiracy theories surrounding her so I may be able to bring some of that into the story to make it a bit like fictional. I am a bit bummed that I had to come to work, I just want to creak on with my TMAs. Then I have a bit of a wait for my results when it comes to the EMA, then there is a wait until October when my next module starts. However, this time round, I will be on my module website when it opens, and I will start studying, I may not have the books, but I will be doing it early.

I will say this, whatever comes first I will be reading or studying. If the books come first I will not only study, I will be doing the activities, so when the website opens up, not only will I have done the activities I will also reread the materials again, so I know it in my head. Start early even if I am ahead then when it comes to my TMAs when people are just starting there is, I will have at least finished, then it will be redrafting so I will get it in on time.

I started this entry on Wednesday but now it is Saturday 25/03/2023 and I although I have studied for this TMA as I only have 13 days until it is due, so this weekend and next weekend but I will not be doing it in a rush. I will finish this week’s study and Tomorrow I will start this week. During the Spring break, I will not stop I will still continue to study because I do not want to miss anything, plus I do not want to ask for an extension or be late for this TMA. I cannot ask for an extension for the TMA so I need all the time I can do so this is the only way I can keep up to date.

I suppose all I am doing is say things that I should be doing but somehow writing it down makes me do it instead of looking to week planner on the website I need to have it down. When the module is over and hopefully pass, I will be on stage 2 and that is going to be a different as that is really looking into my qualification, I think on the next module I will ask the GP to write me a letter about my medical condition and how it affects me because that way not only is it written down, I may be able to get some help with getting an assessment done about my dyslexia and I will have that prove that I am. I am hoping if I get a memory assessment the GP will see if I have ADHD and ASD wish I have but that has to be an assessment. I wish I could get it done privately because it would be nice to know all that time I had in school when I struggled for years, when everyone kept saying I was, still am clumsy that there is a reason for that. But as it is a bit expensive, I guess I will have to wait for the memory assessment. I am hoping that they will notice something because my memory is so bad that it cannot just be the medication I am on, it is something like ASD or ADHD or both mixed in with the medication. I am a little worried but there is no point in worrying about something until there is something to worry about. Well, that is for me so I am going to get on with my TMA and with studying, when I have my TMA 04 back, I will know whether or not I have passed, and I hope to god that I have. It might only be just a pass like I had with TMA 03. I only did half of that, and I still passed with a forty-five and I only need 40% to pass but I did try my best, I just could not get into Jane Eyre, I finished the book but still, it was hard because it is not my type of genre. But I still need to make myself read books that I would not really read because that is how I learn what type of books I want to write, and I will become a writer because that is why I am taking this degree. I want to write and the only way I can do that is if I write and read books on how they wrote things. That is why reading like a writer in the module seems so obvious but at the same time it is not because you do not know how to do something, but you know you have to do them. I really liked that part of the module so that is how I read books which is really strange because since I have started reading like a writer, I have started to read some of my favourite books and I can see what I would have done differently but at the same time I like how it is written otherwise I wouldn’t have like the series, but, for me there are things I would have done differently and that is OK because that is my personality coming out.

I will write soon and not leave it as long as I have.

Bye for now.




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Sarah Louise North

03/02/2023 Catch Up

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I was on annual leave from the 23rd of January to the 31st of January. I am still on Jane Eyre, and I still need to read 2 chapters and study the website. And I still have another chapter to go but I have a plan. Today is Friday, I am going to study the chapters today and I will get them done by the time I go to bed. I will study the website tomorrow, all of it in the morning. Then in the afternoon I will write my forum post, get that good then post it. On Sunday I will start my plan for my essay, then begin to write my essay on Monday and then I am off for the rest of the week. After I sent my essay on Thursday, which will be by noon, actually send it on time. I will then be able to study the chapter that I had to miss out on. Study that on Thursday afternoon and Friday and Saturday, I will be able to start the next chapter, but I want to be able to do that in two days so on Monday I will start the next chapter, and get that done by Wednesday, so on Thursday I will start the next chapter finish that on Saturday so on Sunday I will be able to start the next one. I am going to make sure when it comes to TMA week, I want to be able to have had 2 weeks to do my TMA so I am ahead and will have more time to be able to study my EMA. If I am honest, I am going to book that week off. I will book Friday off than the rest of the week because I am not going to be on pins & needles for my EMA week. I am going to pass this module so I can get my Certificate of Higher Education, then start my diploma. This is the new plan which I will have, and I will have to stick to it if I am to get ahead and not ask for an extension. I didn’t want to play catch up but that is what I have been doing and I don’t know why I cannot keep up, maybe it is because I am lazy or something, but I feel I am always studying. But that is on me. This is the new plan let's see how this goes.        

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Sarah Louise North

Thursday 19/01/2023

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I have a doctor’s appointment today for my diabetes. I didn’t realize that it has been over a year since I had my last check. I don’t take tablets for it I control it with diet, and although I have put on a bit of weight, I forgot about it. It was only when I went for my last B12 injection that they made me an appointment. I went for a B12 injection & I came out with an appointment to have my Covid booster, another B12 injection (that I had on Monday) a diabetic review & results of my blood test that I will have today. I would have had my diabetic check-up earlier, but I got Covid instead.

I don’t know if I am due for another Covid booster, I probably will, but I have decided that I will not have one. I mean what is the point? I don’t think there is a person on the planet that hasn’t had Covid & if there is, it’s few a far-in-between. Well, I have had Covid now & sure I could get it again but, many people have not had the boosters, my daughter is one of them. She got Covid twice she’s fine, yes you can argue that I have a lot of medical problems, so it hits me at my weakest, but I can’t keep on going it’s driving me mad. I say this but I will get another booster when it comes about because I can’t afford to get sick, and I don’t want it again.

I can’t remember if I said in my last post that I am concentrating on my weight. I have put on weight, so I am going to go back on my “diet”. I don’t like using that word, I always say “I am going to change the way I eat for life” which is what you need. Diet always makes me think I lose some weight then I go back to what I’m used to, but this time is different. I started taking these diet pills I don’t believe in “miracle” diet pills, I don’t hope up much faith in diet pills at all. But for some reason, I believe in these pills. I know better, much better I had to have the gastric bypass for me to lose the weight that I have lost but again I am pinning my hope on these pills. I think I have said this in my last post, so I won’t go over things again, but I have noticed a difference. Last night we were going to get takeout, and we got Chinese, I said no, but I will have a few chips which I did. That is all I had I would have had a hell of a lot more but something in me has clicked this time and I don’t know why, and I don’t want to know. I’m also not questioning it either, I am simply going with it and not worrying about the how, what, and why of it. I am running with it. I am doing well if I do say so myself. I will not be slimmer for Jason’s wedding as it is next Saturday but I’m OK with that. I will not be slimmer when I see the London Road girls on the 1st of February and I don’t mind that either when they see me another time after the 1st, I would like to be in better shape and also because I have the exercises that I need to do for physiotherapy, it will also help with the loss of weight and Dana suggested that I go on the walking machine so I thought that would be a great idea so I will do that. I am already drinking lots of water so that helps a lot because it fills me up and I don’t want to eat as much. I am excited for the first time; I think I may be able to get there. I want to be slim when I walk across that podium when I get my degree, which I am sure I have mentioned in my last post.      

I have next week off and I am a little behind so I will play catch up but not all week. I have a plan of action. I will finish chapter 2. Then I will go on the website and read the websites both 1 & 2. This week’s season I will start on Saturday, I get up early anyway so I will study a lot, yes, I will also sleep because I have to but then I will study some more. I should be finished by Sunday.

Monday, again I get up early & I’m off I will start chapter 4. Study all day and again sleep for a bit then carry on then I should finish on Tuesday. Then I will be caught up. But I will start chapter 5 on Wednesday and finish on Thursday. Start chapter 6 on Friday and finish on Saturday. Then I will start planning for TMA 03. I will have a bit of time for it so I can plan and have a good argument. I will make the plan for the forum first, then when the website opens, I can post mine, then I will start planning for my TMA 03 so when it comes to submitting it, I will be OK to do that. I will also then be ahead so I can continue with my studies. I have a day of school in April, so I am looking forward to that. I am just in a good place right now so I don’t want to get anything or have anything that will throw a spanner in the works.   



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Sarah Louise North

Wednesday 17/01/2023

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Thursday, 19 Jan 2023, 18:20

Happy 2023!!!

I know it is about 6 weeks over, but I did start writing this entry on the 4th of January 2023, but I forgot as I have been ill and very busy.  

Another year has gone and another one starting. How did I start the year 2023? I had Covid. So did Toni, Dana, and dad. The four of us were and still are ill. I am so tired and achy, it’s different from the usual that I have. The only way I can describe it is…my normal aches and pain feel muscular but Covid, it feels like a tummy ache would if it was in my arms, or back, or legs. Like I have fluid in my limbs, when you get in a bath and submerge your arms in water then hold it in the air and it feels heavy, that is how I am feeling and very miserable. My body temp goes up and down. If I’m hot, I’m hot. If I’m cold I’m freezing. It’s one extreme to the other. I feel terrible.

I got an extension for my TMA 02. I had it in my head what I was going to do over the Christmas period, how I was going to do all the other website courses, but I couldn’t as my extension was for the 5th Jan and I had to catch up so I studied over the holiday period and put it in on Monday the 2nd as I didn’t want to start work with my TMA hanging over my head. Now I am on the week I am meant to be, so I am not even ahead. The only good thing is that I have booked Tuesday 24th of January to Tuesday the 31st of January so I will be able to get ahead as long as I am not behind which I do not want to do. So, I am going to have to keep to a schedule so that does not happen. I will try not to anyway.    

As much as I want to study, I have to start doing something that is for me to do so that I don’t feel like all I am doing is work & study. I have not even started on my Criminology book or even started writing again unless you count that I am writing in a blog. I will say that I have started to do this, I have found a website where you can buy real pictures of people, places, and other things, and you can buy a bundle, which is what I have done. I have even brought a lovely scrapbook and some white craft glue so I can stick them in, I was waiting for a particular picture to come, which has only come today, it’s a picture of Josephine Earp as in Wyatt Earp’s wife. It’s a lovely picture when I saw it, I just had to have it, so I got it. I am going to put it in my scrapbook. My daughter asked why I want pictures of people that do not belong to the family or that I do not know. So, I showed her a picture and asked her to describe it to me, and she did. I told her she sees one thing, but I see another. I said how the picture seemed but then I started talking about the backstory of the picture. She told me that I have no idea if that is true, so I said to Dana, that is where creative writing comes from. Sometimes I need a visual aid to help me with my creative side to come out so I can get a feel of what people, real people will be like or if someone is like us, looking at a picture but they are the ones in the picture looking at themselves. I told her that, it's for me to write, to use as a visual aid to help me write stories, that she got. She had it in her head that I was going to show people and say that it’s our family. LOL like I would do that!!!

Well, so I had my TMA 02 come back and thank all the stars in the sky I passed. I got 1 mark less than my first TMA. I will take it. As far as I am concerned, I am trying my best, really trying & yes of course I would love to have a distinctive mark, but the chances of that happening is like me flying to the moon tomorrow with a cup of tea before breakfast. It is not going to happen, so I am trying the best that I can.

I am so determined to get my degree that in 2027 I will walk across that podium with my cap & gown and throw my cap in the air or do it at home, I don’t care but I will.

I am off next week & I didn’t want to play catch up but that is what I will be doing. I have the chapters (well almost) on week 2 then it will be the website, but I am meant to be on Jane air now which I am not. Tomorrow is Wednesday, I will finish the book chapter and then go on the website. I will finish the website on Friday and then start this week’s reading. I will then (after the tutorial) start this week and finish by Monday, then start Next week’s rota of reading and get a few weeks ahead, that is the plan. I will continue this until I get to the TMA week. I will then study that, get the plan in place Then talk to the tutor & get some help & once I have my TMA all written, the forearm, & part 2 a & part 2b all written I can continue to study, send in my TMA at the right time but still be ahead and go from there.

I have also put half the money aside for the Residential Day School in April so when I get paid again in Feb or the end of February, I will then pay for it then all I will need to do is put money away for the petrol, food & buy a packed lunch for the Day School. I am going a day early as I cannot go on the same day as the school due to health conditions, I will also leave the next day & I have booked off Monday the 17th of April from work as I will need a day to recover. I’m looking forward to it I have to say. I don’t mind going by myself & the B&B I have booked looks so nice, I even have a sauna in the room as well as a bath. I will use that after the day school of off & get some fish ‘n’ chips & take it back to the room to eat then have a bath with my headphone it will be a luxury as I have not been away since 2021.

I have also started my diet again. I weighed myself On Monday when I was having my B12 injection. I have put on some weight, so I am back on my diet, and so far so good. I have started taking this tablet that is meant to be some miracle pill. I don’t believe that I have taken every pill under the sun and the only thing that has given me a boast is having the gastric bypass. So, like an idiot, when I saw the advert online (well it was when I was watching YouTube) I clicked on the link & I saw it. I brought one month’s worth as I am not sure. I have drunk a lot of water since, I have taken it with a big glass of water like the instruction says & although it says nothing about it, I take it 1 hour after I have taken all the other medications that I take. I have sort of gone back to what I was doing when I was going to get the gastric bypass. I drink a pint of semi-skimmed milk with a bit of crushum in it (sugar-free) I drink that after I have taken this ‘miracle pill’ with water as you are meant to have it with food, well the pint of milk is my food. I will have a banana with my 10:00 am tablets at lunch, I will have a sandwich (gluten-free as it helps with people who have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) with a cup of tea as I am trying to cut back on caffeine so I am not even having a can of coke. For dinner, I will have another pint of milk. I was going to have a pint of milk for lunch instead, but my body craves food by lunchtime.

My water bottle has times like 8:00 am – 9:00 am on how much you need to drink, I have no problems with the morning water, but I can get a bit stuck in the afternoon. I have just finished the afternoon water so I will be peeing a lot tonight oh well!!!

I will keep you updated with my TMAs & my weight loss. If I lose weight what made me lose weight in the first place my eating habits or the tablet? If I lose weight, then I will continue with what I am doing. I have exercises I need to practice that physiotherapy gave me to do so I will start those tomorrow for real. Here goes, what this space!!!                 

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Sarah Louise North


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My TMA 01 assignment passed thank goodness. 

It is now TMA 02 week and I am struggling a lot on this one. I was a bit unsure why Art had anything to do with cultures or Creative writing for that matter, but I read the EMA question and realized why. What we need to do for that question is we need analyze words and to be able to do that we need to practice analyzing what better way to practice? Is practice on Art. So I get why we need to do this, but I am no good at it, really no good at it.

My tutor is awesome! I emailed her asking if I have the question correct and she did explain it better which is great because if I do not understand it then how on earth am I going to pass? I want to pass this module but I have to take it one assignment at a time otherwise I really will get overwhelmed.

I have not started part 2 of my TMA I am a bit, OK a lot behind but great news!!! I am off this week, I have accrued 80 hours of annual leave, and I had to book off the Christmas period, but my Team Manager said to me to try and book time off now because I will lose my annual leave as it runs out on the 31st of January. So, this week, starting tomorrow Monday the 12th, I am going to get up like I would if I was going to work, get ready for the day, and at 8:00 am start studying. I will give myself a 15 min break at 10:00 like I would do if I was at work, plus that is the time I take my morning tablets. I will then go back to studying, and although I want to have a breather, I will push forward. My tutor did say she will give me an extension because I had to have an injection on Tuesday but on Wednesday I had to have the day off work because I was in so much pain after the injection. I was in bed all day Wednesday, and I have fallen behind. I don't want to have an extension, but I will ask for one if I feel that I cannot get it in on time.

This is the last TMA this year as the next one is not due until February. So I have a plan. After this TMA I am going to still study for Christmas week, I will study the Study Skills, also I may go to OpenLearn and look at how to write essays so I can get better, I will study the course materials, I am going to make sure that this time I am going to be 3 weeks ahead, and every TMA week stop studying and write my TMA. After that week go back to where I was. 

I could also, if I am 3 weeks ahead, on the study planner when it is TMA week, I could write my essay, go to all the tutorials, tweek my essay, and TMA week, I could just make sure that it is right, make sure that I have all the evidence supported and I could do a great job, then put it in on time and I will be able to plan my TMA during that block so when that TMA is due I will be already ahead and send it off. Then go back to the module and continue that way. I will always be ahead and when it comes to the EMA I may be able to go back on the TMA 02 block and read the chapters I didn't get a chance to ready so I can do a great job. I mean if I find this hard, I am on Stage 2 next and that will be even harder but, if I get into some really good study practice, then when the stage 2 module website opens I will begin to study, and hopefully, always be ahead. Then again, as it starts in October, I will have the Christmas period.  I am getting so ahead of myself, I need to concentrate on this TMA.              

Well on Friday the 9th I went out for a pub late lunch with the team I am in at the OU. I had a really lovely time. On Friday this week, it is the OU Christmas party at Bistro Live and, if I'm honest I don't want to go. It's not my thing. I did pay the money and yes it will be after my TMA so I will be much more relaxed (if I don't ask for an extension) but I know what it is going to be like. You know how you know and it is something that I am just not looking forward to. If it is dancing on the tables as I remember, I will not be getting up dancing so I will be sitting down, yes I will like the music, maybe. There is going to be karaoke which I will not do because I cannot sing and I will be stone-cold sober, and even if I was drunk I will still say no to doing it. I do not have the confidence to do it and I do not want to embarrass myself in front of a hell of a lot of people, so no thank you.

Also, on Friday I met Kirsty, who is on my team. Well met face-to-face. She is great, but she was asking me to go out clubbing with her, it is not my thing and I said I would but I won't. She was drunk so she may not remember but even if she does, the answer will be a resounding NO. What she said was, we could go out, she will make sure I have a seat because I do not want to stand up all night with a stick, then she said she will go off dancing, we will meet other people and at the end of the night we will meet up again and talk about our night out. I don't know if it is me or not, but if I go out with someone I want to go out with them and I expect them to stay with me. I am not comfortable going to a club and sitting by myself waiting for her to come back to me to make sure I am OK and then for her to go off. I get that, that is the way she is but...not for me. so when she was saying that I was thinking yeah not happening but I didn't say anything so I let her talk. But he is a great girl and I like her but, I will not go out clubbing with her. I will go out for a meal, go to the pub but not clubbing, it's not my thing and I don't want to meet a guy at a club. All he will want is sex which is not what I am looking for. I want a relationship which I am guessing will never happen and that's OK. I am OK with being on my own, I am OK with doing what I am doing, working part-time then coming home to study or writing my stories. I am OK with that. It may not be what other people want, but it is what I want so I am OK with being like that. Kirsty was saying she wants me to go out and have fun, but what she doesn't understand is that I do have fun, it's just not her fun but again I am OK with that. I am starting to get my personality back, bit by bit, it's just not going out clubbing until 4 or 5 in the morning. I have an illness so that makes things difficult, which is why I don't drink people think if I am not drinking then I am not having fun. I don't need a drink in my hand to have fun, I am perfectly OK with being me it's just other people may find it boring. I don't care they are not me so who cares?        

I will write either just before Christmas or after Christmas. If it's after Christmas then have a wonderful Christmas everyone. Stay safe, stay warm and enjoy the time you have with whatever you are doing.

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Sarah Louise North

Wednesday 16/11/2022

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Well, my module is well underway and for my very first TMA I had to ask for an extension as I had to go to my sister's house to look after my nephew is autistic because my sister forgot to put a mask on when she was sanding down wood at work. She was wearing her goggles and a face shield but she was sent to hospital by her boss, she went and was put in the hospital for 3 days because of her chest, dust & wood particles. I had Thursday off work due to TOIL so I had plenty of time to read, go through it & see if there was anything that needed redoing. Well, I went through my TMA after emailing the tutor to ask for an extension which she gave me, thank god. She did not put a date but said I have until next week. I thought I should be able to get her my TMA on Friday. But when I was going through my TMA I noticed that my answers did not answer the question so I felt like I had to go over my TMA and redo the whole essay. I kept some things but most of it I had to get rid of as it was not relevant to the question. I have read a lot of books and listened to a lot of books to help me with writing an essay as I have not done it for a very long time. 

When I went through it, I feel that I am happy with it but what I am looking for at this point in my first TMA is just to pass. I mean, I think you need 50% to pass so I will be very happy with that. TMA 02 will be so different. I have put bookmarks on pages that are suggested to read & pay close attention to so when I get to them, I will be ready to make a lot of notes. My Tutorial for block 2 starts next Monday so this week, although I put my first TMA in yesterday, I do think I can catch up because I only work part-time. I will have to study on the weekend because now I have caught up so now I am on the weekly planner. The good thing is my TMA is due on the 15th of December and this will be the last one until January. I will use Christmas to get in front so I will have additional time if I can't study one day. 

I'm getting a bit annoyed with myself. I have a planner, I write what I will be doing each day but I do not stick to it I want to but I don't know how. I think I am just a bit intimidated by the module which I do not want to be. But, I will not quit I will continue because I want my degree. I am going to see about studying criminology and I have already brought a book that will help with that. I thought that it is only 5 years until I can finish my degree because then it will be 16 years, so glad it's 16 years. So I have a plan it goes like this:

Finish my English Literature and Creative Writing Degree - let's hope I pass this TMA not sure what to do if I fail it, maybe there is a chance I can redo it or something.

When I have finished I might do an access course in Criminology to see what criminology degree course I want to study next or Open Degree.

I will study a few individual modules like computers so I can get better at it and maybe do another Degree course in Computers, but if the OU will not pay for it but pays for the other 2 degrees then I can always go back to SFE to pay for my degree 7 that is if the OU has me stay. I want this job because it suits me well.

Well, it is a Wednesday and I have some studying to do so I will do my damndest to stick to my schedule so I will not fall behind and I can then concentrate on my studies because next week is tutorial week and I really need all the help I can get, plus I am now more determined not to fall behind and I do not want an extension on anymore TMA's I want to be able to submit them. 

On the module website, it has Study Skills so I will be having a look at those, but if every day I am studying I am not sure when I will be able to do them. The only chance I have is during the Christmas period which will be after my TMA 02. So I will only look at what I need to get through this TMA then I will have a look at the Study Skills and do the rest of the activities but I will have to start at the time I say so I do not fall behind. There is always tomorrow to make sure that I stick to the schedule. 

All for now!!         

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Sarah Louise North

Monday 17th October 2022

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Monday, 17 Oct 2022, 15:43

17 days have passed since the module opened up. I am not behind, but only behind for me, the week that I am still studying is this week's schedule. I am still reading the chapter, I have had a busy week.

I asked if I could work from home on Thursday & Friday which was approved. On Wednesday I went to Bedford to see my old work friends, I had a great time and really enjoyed it and got the day off. It was so lovely to see my friends as I haven't seen them in ages, it was great to catch up, and have a laugh, I just had the best time ever.

On Thursday at lunchtime, my sister & daughter were in the living room and I was telling them about Wednesday when I said I was telling my friends what I got for my birthday. Then I said "oh when are we going to the theatre?" as it was part of my birthday present from my sister Toni and daughter Dana. They both froze. Dana, who is always on top of things like that put her sandwich down and then looked at her phone, saying she thinks we'd missed it, as all of us completely forgot, we knew it was in October but that was about it. 

She looked at her phone and then said "it's tonight" we all laughed because had it not been for me mentioning it we would have completely missed it. Dana had already made other plans so we managed to get a friend of Toni's to come with us so Dana could still make her plans. Toni, Emma and I went to the theatre and saw the musical Bugsy Malone. It was fantastic. See, I remember the film. I remember the songs, all the words, it had 'Chachi' in it from 'Happy Days' and Jodie Foster as Tallulah. It was so great, I was miming all the words. If you get a chance to see it go and see it, just fantastic. Everyone stood up at the end, everyone was on their feet clapping and cheering. Then the cast say get on your feet, which we all were then they play parts of all the songs in the play with up-to-date music and they each take it in turns to dance and all the cast were kids, just like in the film. They even had the famous peddle car. The way they did the car scene was just brilliant. Awesome!

On Friday, I called in sick. I was not feeling well. My legs were killing me and yes I understand that it may have something to do with the fact that I went to the theatre the night before so it did contribute but I could not keep my eyes open. So, I called in sick. However, it has taken me over the weekend to get over it. I got up early as I had my first tutorial for this course and by the end of it, I was in bed for the day and the same on Sunday.

Today, I feel shattered. I had to have some pro-plus caffeine tablets because I was so tired when I woke up this morning. I was going to go into the office but I was running late and if I had to go to work I would have been late so I decided that I would work from home instead, plus, my legs are still hurting me. I went to bed early last night at 9:00 pm but I still woke up tired. This week I have some training that I will be doing so I have emailed my TM informing her that I will be working from home all this week, which I am assuming is OK as I have not got a reply saying it's not a good idea. I know it's OK because other people at work either come in or work from home, and since I only work from home when I am not well to go to the office, I can work.

The thing is, I had more trouble than my legs being in so much pain. I don't have COVID, as I have been tested but I do feel like I may have as my throat is sore, I can't really smell anything but, I am due my B12 next week and I always feel run down when I am due, plus its flu season and I am due a flu jab. I am also due a COVID 4th booster jab, but I am so sick and tired of jabs for this, jabs for that, that I have decided that I will not get another COVID booster I am just so sick of injections, medications, etc. I know I might change my mind and I probably will but still...

I have never had COVID the amount of medication that I am on it probably kills it, and the other reason is I have had all the boosters so it does do something but I just can't deal with it. We see how it goes. 

It is now coming up for 3:30 pm and I would like to finish what I should have already finished last week so I am going to get on with my studies. 

Talk soon for a catch-up.    

Oh, I almost forgot. I have already booked all my tutorials and on Saturday my tutor Sarah mentioned the day schools. It has started to open up again after COVID. There are only a few weeks that they are having a day of school. The first day of school is next Saturday which is too soon for me but they have another one in April which I am going to. I am going to Cambridge and I have booked a hotel. I will book Friday off, and drive to the hotel. Then On Saturday, it is only an 8 min drive to the University. After the day of school which I am sure I will be shattered, I will be able to go back to the hotel and sleep for a bit then go out for dinner. Then on Sunday, I will drive home. I will also book the day for Monday. I will most likely check out of the hotel about, and this is not a joke, about 4 or 5:00 am. Start back, it is only 1 1/2 hours or maybe 2 hours depending on if I get lost which it is me so that is a possibility. So I should be home if I leave at 4 in the morning about 6:30 am as I will most likely stop halfway home. If I leave at 5:00 am about 7:00 am. I will be able to beat the traffic, which is great as I hate driving in the traffic on the home from something because all I want to do is get home, shower, sweatpants, and laze around all day. I will still have Monday off just so I can rest all day Sunday, and on Monday I will be able to get up later but have the full day to catch up on my studies as I will not study on Saturday, I had to cancel a tutorial for that day but for the day school, I think it is worth it. Also as of this day school talks about essay writing and although by that time I would have already submitted TMA's it will be coming up to EMA, and I need to pass this module as I need to pass each module each year.    

I think that is everything. I am excited about the day school as I know it will help me so much in my next modules as I pass each stage. 


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Sarah Louise North

Tuesday 04/10/2022

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Tuesday, 4 Oct 2022, 14:50


Well, my module Cultures is now open and has officially opened. I am one week ahead of schedule which is great but I do not want to get too much ahead. 

I am going out with the girls from London Road on Wednesday the 12th and on the 24th I have a doctor's appointment, which is the same day as a tutorial but I think my tutorial is in the evenings. 

I am enjoying it so far, which is great because it's the next one I want to do, but I have to pass this module before moving on to stage 2. 

I am now studying chapter one of book one. This is meant to be 8 hours also, and some additional reading, also, there is included with this module independent study. The website states they have set aside three hours a week I believe it is for you to do this. I have done some independent study already, this is new to me. When I first started studying (admittedly it has been 10 years) the website & independent study was not on studenthome. I thought I would have to do some independent study at the same time as studying the module so I am now on week 4. I have stopped as I now know what i am doing so I can just start reading the book. I am hoping to finish chapter one tomorrow so on Thursday, I will be able to nearly finish the week and hopefully start Week Three on Saturday then I will be able to start each week on Saturdays like all the other weeks on the study planner. I am now going to finish up on my blog so I can get some work going. I am listening to music as I am writing but when I study the book I think it will be better if I put on my noise cancelling headphones so I can concentrate, I brought some of those for work with a mick & I must admit they are amazing because I can just block out everyone and get on with my work, I have noticed a different and I want it to be the same when I study as I can get on with it and pass this course. 

Write again soon... 

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Sarah Louise North

Wednesday 14th September 2022

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Monday, 3 Oct 2022, 22:00

On the 7th September the website for this module opened up. I have looked at the website, even said a hello to the group. However, I have not been able to read or study at all. I have not been well. I thought I had Covid but I don't which is great but I am still feeling like rubbish. No point in saying my symptoms but I could not work yesterday & I only worked for 2 hours today which is really bad because I only work 4 hours a day 8:00am - 12:00pm. I even tried to work from home but I just could not get through it. I had to call work, send a few emails to let my TM know that I could not carry on. I am going to work from home tomorrow as I am just not sure I will be able to get through my shift. I have just got an extension on my contract until the December. I have been working at the OU since the 23rd of May & the 13th September is the first day I called in sick. I really don't want to call in sick as I get paid weekly & since I am on Agency I really don't want to take anymore time off. I will just have to try & get through it & power on...

So the module. I have had a look at the first TMA, & I have to be honest I am a little bit worried because the first half of the question is to write an answer on the group chat, but I thought that you are not meant to do that so I am a bit scared as I have no idea what that means. But, I am hoping that after reading & studying the materials it will become clear. My books have now been sent & hopefully I will receive them on Friday. 

Monday the 19th of September it is Queen Elizabeth 2nd funeral & now we have a king. I don't think we know what name Prince Charles will use, some people think it should be Prince William who should become king but, Charles has been waiting for a ling time, as this is his birth right. Carmilla will then become Queen no matter what the English people as there are people that think that Carmilla should not become Queen. Me, well he is married, she is his wife so I don't think it should be a real problem, it's just my own personal opinion.      

I am just writing anything here because it has been a while since I last wrote. 

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Sarah Louise North

10 years later....

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Edited by Sarah Louise North, Wednesday, 3 Aug 2022, 16:45


The last time I was on this blog was in 2012 - quite a few years ago (10 years in fact!) 

I was at the time studying BA (Honours) English Language and Literature. I was studying that degree because the course touched on creative writing, which is what I wanted, this degree course did not exist at the time. Well, what has happened to me in the last 10 years...

Well, my daughter at the time when I first started my journey at The Open University was 13 years old, she is now 23 years old. She has a full-time job, drives, and has her own car, which is great as I was always driving her everywhere. She still lives at home with me, my dad, and my sister. 

I tried being self-employed as a writer, I have even written a novel and a few short stories under a penname. I went to Dublin on a book tour where I met other self-published writers. I drove and took a friend with me; we were there for 5 days, and I had the best time of my life. It was awesome!!!

Unfortunately, it was not really making me any money, I did make £500.00 but that was over a long period of time. My daughter started working for a hotel which she was not really enjoying so she started looking around. She saw a job offer for new health advisers for 111. I causally said, "I could do that job" and since I was on benefits due to my disabilities (I thought I was unemployable) but my daughter told me to go for it. When I looked at the interview process, she lost interest, but I went to the interview, had 3 tests, past them, then got a phone call the next day informing me that I had the job. I was over the moon. I ran in the next room where my daughter was, then told her the good news, she was so happy for me, I went downstairs and told my parents. My mum was so happy for me and so was my dad. It was fall time, and although I was a bit worried about my CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) I was happy to be in a fall time job. My sister brought me some black trousers, not that there was a uniform or anything as 111 is a call centre. I was first trained up on what was called 'TEL' as the groups for training for 111 are small, the rest of us were trained up on 'TEL' which patients call the national number and book their hospital appointments they have referrals for. Of Couse you do have to understand that when people are ill and need a hospital referral from their doctors, not all doctors inform their patient's they need a password, which is on the letter they get or where to find this password (it has all changed now) without this password they cannot book their hospital appointments online, so they call the national number - me. 

When you must tell the patient the earliest appointment is in 6 - 12 months’ time, as you can imagine they are not happy, so you must deal with very angry patients who have waited on the line for 10 - 30 minutes to get through to someone, only to be told they must wait longer for their urgent appointment. You can tell that person that choose & book is only a way for the hospital to get the referral, once the hospital receives the referral the patient is put on the hospital books, and they will then see if the patient's appointment needs to be brought forward or stay where it is. Sometimes the hospital downgrades a patient from urgent to routine or upgrades a patient from routine to urgent, that is not my fault, I am a call centre booking appointments for the UK. But people still shout, swear, blaming me but all that does is not make me not want to help anyone it just puts me in a bad mood. People can shout, swear but it's not going to change the date or time for their appointment, all it is going to do is make them wait longer as other people are booking appointments and people are also booking appointments online.

The company I was working for then lost the bid for TEL and the centre was only going to be a call centre for 111. So, everyone had to be trained up fast. I was working for the company 1 year by the time I was getting trained for 111. I went through the training; it came to the first exam. It was a written exam and you needed 60% or more to pass. I got 49% which means I had to re-take the exam, that same day after my lunch break which was in 30 minutes so no time to study. I sat in the car and cried because I can retake the exam if I fail, I am of the training course and I will have only 1 more chance of retaking the course, if I fail again, I will lose my job as I will be inadequate to do my job. So, I had all that worry. I failed the second retake. The pack that I was given I started reading it like the bible, I would read a little each night, then go to sleep. When I reached the end of the pack and it was a huge pack, about 105 pages, front and back. When I finished the pack, I would start again. I just kept rereading it. 9 months later, I had to go for training again. I was more confident and since my training, they had changed a few things like if you fail the exam, they gave you a week to restudy for the exam, which is great as I had only 30 mins and all I did was cry in the car. I felt more confident, I remembered some of the things that was said the last time, so I had only a bit of an advantage, but not much. I sat the exam, it also helped that by that time I admitted that I have dyslexia and reading on white pages was difficult. They swopped everything in green for me to make things clearer so when I sat the exam, all my papers were in green. I took the exam, I passed with a 95%. I was over the moon. I was OK with the computer work it was the theory I had problems with. During the weeks of training for 111 I got better with the computer work, knowing which pathway to take. Although this is long all in all I passed, but that was not to say I had it easy.

During the training I was with a group of mostly young people who clicked together, and I felt a little left out. Also during this time because TEL was going over to another company, there were people in the office who was employed to only work on the TEL contract, so these people now can either train for 111 or they will be made redundant, most of them said no to 111 and looked for other jobs, which meant there was not a lot of people working on the TEL contract so us trainees had to stop training for 111 and go back on the TEL contract. Well, since we are adults, we were left in the 111 room with no manager, so people took advantage of that and went for longer breaks, went out for a sneaky cigarette break, or did not bother coming for the TEL contract and just came back in the afternoon when we got part time training. Well, it was noted by other managers, and on one day, the sun was out, it was hot and a beautiful day. We were all told to go on the TEL contract until 6:00pm. At lunch time, the others went for their 30-minute lunch break and did not come back, I overheard one of them saying they were going to the pub. Well, I did my job as I needed the job. I went on my scheduled breaks only leaving later if I was still on a call. I carried on but by 6:00pm when the others came back thinking no one would know, I told a girl that when you put in your smartcard it reads when you clocked out and when you return, I told her that they will know because it will be on the managers computers who is meant to be on and who's in 'wrap up', comfort breaks, 15 minute break, lunch break etc. When the others came back, thinking they will just carry on because no one will know that they left, considering you must sign in with your card and out so that too is logged. One guy came in and because I don't drink, I could smell the alcohol on him, the others were laughing because his eyes were bloodshot, his breath smelled of alcohol and the idiot drove back to work and needed to drive home, so everyone was getting him water and coffee to sober him up a little. I did not find this funny because people die in drink and drive accidents, it is never the driver that gets hurt, no it's an innocent person. Unfortunately, I have this thing where I cannot stand up for myself. I buckle under peer pressure. I also, cannot tell someone what another person is doing because I just find it so hard, I am nearly 44 years old, and I still cannot do it. I don't know if it's a confidence thing, but I am a pushover, I am the one that gets bullied. One of the trainers asked me where they went because she was in early, and I was the only one in the room doing my job and only stopped when she told me to make the call, I was on the last one. Which I did. She asked me where the others were, I didn't want to be that person, so I said I didn't know. I am a bad liar; she saw right through me. She looked me right in the eye and said, "Sarah where are they?" I was going to say I didn't know but then I thought, why should I lie for them? I could lose my job and I need my job, so I told her they went to the pub, and they are now outside as it was their break. She, of cause was not please so she went to the other trainers and told them, which is how our main trainer found out. One of the girls came up to me and asked if I told "John" (not his real name) they went to the pub, I said no because I didn't, "Jane" (not her real name) told "John". They didn't believe me. John came in and informed them that if we were all told to go on the TEL contract and we don't, our names come up on the computers that is on the TEL managers that shows which ones did not log on. They didn't realise this, but I just sat there. They were each called up, they went in another room, and was given a pack on what happens next. 

I had to give a statement because I was there and I knew where they were, but by that time, it really didn't matter because they all thought it was me anyway. After that, things got very awkward. We all know the phrase 'you've been sent to Coventry' well that was me. I came home in floods of tears, no one would talk to me, if we had to work in a group and I said something everyone would laugh and ignore me. I would go in the room in the evening, as we were not allowed in the training room unless there was a manager in there with us. I would go and sit with the group and as one they all stood to sit on the opposite side. Some of them lost their jobs, others got warnings. At lunch I sat in my car to eat because if I went to the cafeteria, they would talk about me, they would loud whisper about me, I was called all sorts of names, I was made fun of because I am not the slimiest person, I walk with a walking stick so I was called a 'fat cripple, stupid' because they all knew that I had green paper due to my dyslexia. I was "bumped" accidently making my trip. If I was reading the course material and someone got up someone would say something like "you better tell someone you're leaving, in case someone else does or don't go anywhere you're get fired" it was horrible. I nearly quit. I went home saying I can't do this, it made me feel like I was 15 years old again where I was bullied so much that I took tablets to kill myself and that is how grown working adults were making me feel. My family were so angry, they know I can't defend myself and they wanted to do it for me which made me feel so much better. In the end I had talk to the manager, I couldn't keep it up. He was so nice, and although I cried, I got really embarrassed, he was so good about it. He did something about it, and it stopped. I told "Jane" that I just want to hurry up and get out of the training group, she agreed so she helped me with my set of live calls I had to take. You must get 5 calls correct in a row before you are signed off to take calls on your own. I did 5 calls in a row first time. It was great, I got signed of and I was ready to take calls with a floor walker, I was through with training, and I survived. 


I was at 111 for 2 ½ years and I did enjoy the job, but the hours were not so great. 111 is a 24-hour job and although there are more then the site at Milton Keynes, it was just hard because the most I would see of my family was a little time in the evening on my days off because I spent most if not all my time in bed. Some of my shifts started at 5:30 so I would leave home at 4:30 because of traffic, I was going to work, and my daughter was coming home, and we waved to each other as we drove passed each other. All I was doing was sleep work, sleep work, and nothing else. I didn’t always get 2 days off together, I got my weeks schedule on Friday’s, and I never knew when my days off will be so you couldn’t plan anything, if you went away for a week’s holiday, you had to phone in to ask when you are due in and what time. Sometimes I would work up to 12:00 or 1:00am then start work the next day at 3:00pm. Someone like me who has CFS I need to know when I am off because I need to have extra sleep. But I continued with the job. During this time, I got the best news EVER!!!!! I was going in hospital to have the gastric bypass surgery.

I had the bypass surgery, and I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did. I am still losing weight, but it is slow. I went in at 26 stone and now I am 17 stone. I haven’t been 17 stone since I was 17 years old, so I am so, so proud of myself. After my surgery and having 4 weeks off, I was meant to have only 2 weeks off, but I got an infection which meant I had to have antibiotics, the doctor I saw said he was going to sign me off for another 2 weeks because I had abdominal surgery and he needed to make sure that the infection was cleared before going back to work, which was fine by me. It was during my time off that I went looking for another job. I saw a job advertising for a receptionist at a GP surgery in Bedford. So, I applied. I got an interview (thank goodness it was on my day off) I went to the interview, which went well. A few days later I got a voicemail telling me I got the job. So, I put in my notice to leave 111. Only it was not that simple, the boss at 111 didn’t not want me to leave, he told me I was one of the good health advisers. I spoke to my team leader Fiona, who said I should ask for this that and the other. I wrote it down and gave it to the boss, they were willing to give me what I wanted, regular 2 days off a week (Wednesday & Thursday) only work 9 hours a shift including my 1-hour break (15 mins, 30 mins lunch & 15 mins) They were bending over backwards but I was not getting anymore money. I went home & thought about everything. I was going to going to stay at 111. But went I went to write my email saying my circumstances has changed, I was gutted because I wanted to work at the surgery. My mum said that was my answer, so after explaining it all to Fiona I said I am going to stick with my original statement that I am going to leave, which I did to work at London Road Surgery Bedford.


I started at LRS (London Road Surgery) as a receptionist. I felt good about the place, I got on well with other people, I did learn the job and I felt I was good at it. During this time my mum was getting ill. She was not eating, not just eating little bits no. Mum stopped eating altogether, she was constantly vomiting, she couldn’t keep water down she was losing heaps of weight, it was falling of her. Dad was taking her to the doctors because mum had lots of problems, she had MS, she was partly sighted due to the MS, she could not feel her hands as they were numb, after mum seriously burning herself when she tried pouring herself a cup of tea because she is so stubborn, she didn’t ask for help. When she was burnt herself with scolding hot water, she was banned from using the kettle. Mum also had asthma, heart problems, diabetic and she used a delta frame around the house but had to go in a wheelchair if she went out.

Mum was having tests after tests at the hospital, referrals and they couldn’t explain anything. One morning mum & dad was going to see my younger sister in Northampton, but mum was holding onto her right lower abdomen, she was moaning & I said to dad if I was still at 111 & you called me up, I would be sending mum to the hospital. Dad said he will take mum, when he did it was diagnosed that mum had appendicitis, she stayed in hospital as the doctor wanted another opinion. When mum’s x-rays were shown to him he saw a single white spot. About 4 hours later mum was diagnosed with upper bowl cancer.

Mum was put on a lot of medication that was making her violently sick, so she was given medication to help take her medication including sickness tablets.

On the 25th of December 2019 mum was rushed to hospital. On the 30th of December she had a massive operation to remove her cancer. No organs were removed, we were told by the consultant that if she does not have this operation there will be nothing they can do. She had a 5 ½ hour operation. During her stay in hospital mum got pneumonia, she was on the maximum of antibiotics, steroids, and other medication, not to mention the medication she already needs because of her other medical conditions. The doctor said they will start to reduce her medication so her body can fit against the infection. It was touch and go for a while, but mum survived.   

During that time the world was going Covid mad as every country was suffering. It had not hit England yet as such. In other words, England was not on lockdown yet.

Mum was realised from hospital on the 2nd of March, but she was bedbound. Due to the operation, pneumonia, and everything else it took it’s toll on her. We were told by the specialist that she will not be the same, anyone who is health who had the same operation as mum would never be back to the way they were, but with mum with all her other medical conditions and as long as she does not have any infections, will be a very long road of recovery time.

Covid hit England and I was due to go to the Isle of White, I did try and cancel my holiday because I nearly lost my mum, but my mum told me to go. One week before I was due to go, lockdown happened and I couldn’t go anyway which I was grateful for because I tried several times to cancel my holiday, I even had arguments with my mum and dad because I couldn’t leave my dad with my mum or sister or daughter, I got my money back and that was that.

My daughter was furloughed, I was working for the NHS, so I had to go in, my sister was working from home a few days a week, but she’s a lab assistant so she did have to go in a few days. Doctors and nurses’ staff were just going down with Covid and they had to be off work for 14 days along with people in their household. At the surgery, we lost a nurse and a HCA due to Covid.

Mum kept getting infection after infection in and out of hospital. She was not having chemo as the surgeon was sure they got all the cancer out, but she still got infections to the point that the infection was just seeping out of her skin. The carers that came over 4 times a day to help my dad care for my mum said to call 111 which we did, and they sent an ambulance out. She was taken into hospital. This was on Sunday the 12th of July.

On the Tuesday the 14th of July I was given a message to call my daughter, I don’t know how I knew but I knew it was about my mum. I called my daughter who told me to come home, which I did. Mum’s BP dropped very low, and the doctor is asking for another opinion about treatment but if not, my mum was going to go into palliative care end of life. My dad, 3 sisters, and daughter were in the living room waiting for a phone call because it was in the middle of the pandemic so we couldn’t go and see her. The doctor called and said we can all come up and see her. We were told that unfortunately there is nothing they can do, they will make mum comfortable, but she has days to live.

When we all got to mum & dad’s house, we were just sitting there not doing anything, going outside smocking but nothing to do really. Dad was trying to get it arranged that mum could come home but after an evaluation it was said that if they tried to move her, she will be dead before she leaves the ward.

My baby sister who lives in Northampton stayed the night; my older sister went home but she lives 10 minuets away. At 1:30am there was a phone call. It was the hospital saying mum has taken a turn for the worst. Dad said he wanted to go and see her which they allowed. I called my sister Penny, who like the rest of us wasn’t sleeping. She came over. We called mum’s sister who was coming up from Essex who was just getting over a minor stroke.

On Wednesday the 15th of July, dad came home as he is a diabetic, he needed his medication and 5 years before that he had a massive heart attack and he had a quadruple bypass surgery, so he needed his medication, change clothes then go back to the hospital. The hospital said we can go and see mum anytime. The hospital called and said to get to the hospital quick, dad, mum’s sister, me and my 3 sisters and daughter went to the hospital and was told we missed her by 5 minutes. Mum had died.

It was hard to see her and say goodbye to her, she looked like she was asleep. I wanted the doctor to come in and tell us that he was sorry but there was a mistake, she’s just in a deep sleep, wishful thinking on my part I know. When I saw her, I know she wasn’t in pain anymore, I know she was at peace but there was this selfish part of me that just didn’t care. I wanted my mum, I wanted my person and best friend back, and I knew I will never get to hear her voice, her laugh mum saying when I came home from work and sat with her with a cup of tea she would say ‘come on Sarah let’s hear the gossip’ and I would talk to my mum for hours. Now I had no one. Selfish I know but that is how I felt.

Telling the rest of the family like mum’s brothers, her twin brother. My dad’s family it was just hard. I wanted to go to sleep and wake up in a years’ time so I didn’t have to feel like this, this feeling would be over. It was like being in an out of body experience I was walking around in a daze, I didn’t know what to do with myself, what to say. I wanted to be near my daughter, my sisters my dad I didn’t want any of them out of my sight just in case I never saw them again. I just wanted them close. I got a week of from work, then I called my GP told them I needed a sicknote for bereavement. By the time I was talking to the GP I was in floods of tears I’m not sure if she even knew what I was saying. But I got 2 weeks off, getting the funeral ready was a pain the ass because we had to book appointments because of Covid, mum was getting cremated because that is what she wanted, we were only allowed 17 people at the crematorium not including the minister. But what the crematorium did do was do a zoom screening. They gave us the login details and people can watch. My dad’s family and mum’s family watched online. Dad had a lot of support as mum and dad were religious so friends who could not go in the crematorium were outside watching on phones or tablets. The good thing is the funeral would stay in that zoom for 7 days. When my daughter got home, she went on her laptop downloaded it and recorded it. I did the same. I know it may seem weird taking a funeral, but I would rather have it knowing I will never watch it then not have it, if that makes sense. My baby sister and her husband came to the funeral but their 4 kids (2 adults and 2 still at school) stayed at my parent’s house as they were not allowed to come because we were only allowed 17 people. It was my niece who said they will stay at the house and get things prepared for when everyone came back to the house.

Slowly but surly things started to get into a routine again. I was back at work, my daughter was no longer furloughed, people were starting to go back to work, and mum was in the back garden. Her urn is in a big flowerpot, we planted her favourite flowers, and I got a small plaque made from Amazon that is planted in mum’s flowerpot.

It has been a little over 2 years since mum died and I still can’t believe that she is not here. I still say to myself ‘I can’t wait to tell mum when I get home’ then I remember. I said that to myself only a few days ago.

Still for me a lit has happened. I got promoted to medical secretary at the GP surgery and I was over the moon. I started having medical problems of my own as well as what I already have. But I soldiered on. I was doing the job for 17 months, but I was getting me down. I was getting up at 4:30am as I worked in Bedford, and I was diagnosed with arthurites. I already walk with a waling stick as I have chronic fatigue syndrome, restless leg syndrome, lymphedema and wear compressing stockings now I have arthurites. The I was diagnosed with endometriosis, polycystic ovary, and fibroids, then got told I was going through the menopause. It was a little too much for me to handle. Working fall time and still getting over the death of my mum.

After a long while I decided that I needed a new job, I wasn’t happy working at the surgery as I once was, I felt like I was not giving the same opportunities as the other 2 secretaries that I work with and get very well with. I felt like I was being pushed out and I couldn’t take it anymore. I was depressed, I was always sleeping I start, without meaning to, to isolate myself from my family. I started having financial problems everything was getting to much for me. I ended up seeing my GP or speaking to my GP over the phone who diagnosed me with depression, and I was put on medication. Was due to work I was depressed? My medical conditions because I was always in so much pain with my legs, as well as the new medical conditions that I was diagnosed with. Going through the menopause is hell on earth, I think my family will agree to that. So, I went for all sorts of job interviews. I just needed out of the surgery. I went for a job as student recruitment at The Open University. My interview was done in teams meeting, I logged in on my phone and had my interview. It ran over my 1-hour lunch break, but I didn’t care. I wanted the job not only that I knew it is something I feel I would be passionate about. It is only temporary, but I wanted the job. I got a call from the agency that works with the OU to tell me I got the job!!!! I was so, so, so, happy. I was bouncing up and down in my chair. I was so happy.

I was told on Thursday, and I wated until Monday to tell the manager assistant that I have a letter of resignation that needs to go to the operational manager, but she was on leave for a week. (I knew that which was why I waited until Monday) I sent her an email instead but left my letter in her pigeonhole.

I was meant to put in 4 weeks’ notice, I worked for 2 ½ weeks and my left-over annual leave time, head office put that towards the time I should have worked my notice and ended up losing only 1 day’s pay which is not that big a deal. I don’t think it was a whole day it was more like 4 or 5 hours. That was fine with me, I just wanted out. I know work 20 hours a week as a student recruitment for the OU. I know I am only hear until mid-September, but I am hoping that I am really, good at my job that I am asked to stay on. That is what I am hoping. I have found a job that suits me, I get to talk to people, I am not abused over the phone where I was when I worked for the NHS. I get to encourage people; help them, and I love being able to tell students (which took me a long time as I kept saying patients lol) that they are registered on their course, they have completed payments and it has gone through. I really think I have found that perfect job for me and I really, really want to stay. Training for this job encouraged me to get back into studying. I thought my course was done and dusted but I have until 2027 before my 16 years are up. I have a study plan and if all goes well then, I should have my degree in English Literature and Creative Writing by June 2027. That is a little close I know. So, if the OU asks me to stay, I need it to be part-time I cannot work full-time. I love finishing at 12:00pm and having the afternoon to myself which will be filled up with studying. I can’t wait to start studying. I already have the set books that is needed, I have started reading them already because I have dyslexia it can take some time for me to remember and take in. I am set to go; I must wait until the 7th of September when my modules open on my StudentHome page.  

Well, that is it. 10 years of my life all written out. I am now here on the 03/08/2022 finishing up writing for my blog. I am hoping to write a little something every day. Even if that means I write something like ‘I have stuck to my schedule and I am up to date with studying and my reading’.

Hope everyone is well and doing better then I am, or unless you are just plodding along. Hope you enjoy this module. See you soon.





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