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Cathy Winsor

18th April

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Edited by Cathy Winsor, Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 11:02

I was looking at the description of my next OU module, Creative Writing. One area of the course is designed to create a daily writing discipline. This worried me slightly as I haven't even had the discipline to keep up a daily blog. Must try harder. I blame it on the weather. We had a wonderful week of warm weather before Easter and then it turned all wintry. I had to get out the thermal underwear again. Happily the conservatory acts as a large radiator, so we haven't had to keep the stoves lit. The biggest disappointment is my seedlings. Most of the vegetable seeds have germinated, but the tomatoes and chillies have done little beyond that. Most of the blue flower seeds I planted for cut flowers for the wedding have done nothing at all. Lisianthus, blue lace flower, larkspur...nothing at all. So I have reordered seed and will try again when the weather improves. No problem with the white marigolds, but anyone can grow those.

My Tma as predicted came back with a couple of areas not achieved. Writing the correct number of words should be easy, but owing to the difficulty of reading my computer screen in the bright light in the conservatory I somehow read 500 as 600. (I have the same problem with sudokus!)

Visitors have come and gone for the Easter holiday. Having the children and friends here meant a week of sporting activities. They used the week to repair the damage done by long hours in the office or in younger sons case studying for his finals, so there was cycling trips, a mountain walk and daily runs near the house, hopefully they all went back feeling refreshed by a week in the French countryside. We even had an Easter egg hunt, it was all quite competitive. I wish they'd taken their chocolate bunnies home with them. I've just eaten the last one.

Yesterday we finally had a day of sunshine so drove up to the Valle Louron, there is a good walk to a refuge at the top of the valley, busy with tourists in the summer, but yesterday we were the only car parked at the start of the walk. Blue skies and snow laden conifers are always spectacular, made more so as we were walking up on pristine powder snow. We made most of the ascent but couldn't reach the refuge, at one point the path was covered by a deep avalanche, initially we tried digging our way across but then decided to be sensible and stopped for our picnic at a small shrine further back down the hillside. We came back down the contouring lacet (shoe lace) route. At intervals the gas company which operates the Louron hydro electric plant had erected information boards. Not just of pictures of flora and fauna which themselves were very interesting, but display cases of animal poo which enable identification of herbivores/ carnivores and another case of pieces of regurgitated bird vomit, which varies between nocturnal birds and vultures and indicates the size of the bird. There were also casts of animal and bird footprints. It was fascinating, such a good way to get people interested in nature.

I must get down to studying the Chartists. We tend to take living in a democracy for granted. Maybe less so here in France where the revolution and motto 'Liberté, égalité, fraternité' is instilled into every Frenchman's consciousness.

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Gillian Wilkinson

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Good morning Cathy, yes, hasn't the weather gone really really wintery? I'm hoping it will get warmer again, I'm not too bothered about the rain as the vines need it but I would quite like to put my jumpers away!

Which creative writing course are you going to do?


Cathy Winsor

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Hi Gillian, I'm doing the A215 starting in September, I did the A174, it was such a good course, isn't the Ou material structured brilliantly, wish we'd had notes like that at University. Are you doing the A215?

Lucky you having vines. Do you make your own wine?