Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Game Changer

I haven’t written for a while – haven’t even been on Facebook either.  It’s not that nothing has happened in my life, rather that too much has.  I hardly know where to start.
First HUGE thing, on 19th March 2015, our daughter gave birth to a baby girl whom they have named Jemima Joy.  After all these years of waiting we are grandparents – and I can tell you it is totally awesome.  I mean that in both the modern and the literal senses of the word J.  This tiny, beautiful scrap of a baby and I am her grandmother – what an honour and what a responsibility. 
We have been living 6000 miles away from our daughters, but now this has to change.  The trouble is that we really like living in Cape Town, and we enjoy the outdoor lifestyle which the weather affords.  My husband, Colin, loves his golf – but is the first to admit he is a fair weather golfer – so not for him the donning of heavy waterproofs and playing in rain and snow (joke I think – they wouldn’t see the ball in the snow J but we have known some very hardy golfers).  But we definitely need to spend more time in England.  Fortunately we both have dual citizenship so there are no nasty visa problems.
While we were over meeting Jemima we visited out other daughter, who was about to qualify as a vet, and received the amazing and very welcome news that we were to be grandparents again.  Come November we are to have another granddaughter!  What was that joke about buses?
All in all this has turned out to be a very expensive year for us.  We will have made four (!) trips to the UK – starting with February when we flew over for the funeral of Colin’s aunt to whom we were very close, then April to meet Jemima, July for the graduation (arranged over 5 years ago), and now we will be over for Christmas and at the same time meet our new granddaughter.   We are not wealthy people so this has made a huge hole in our capital – but from next year we plan to become ‘swallows’ spending half the year in England and half in South Africa.  So only one return trip a year, with our dogs.  A neighbour has kindly offered to look after the cat while we are away.  Unfortunately our daughters live several hours drive from each other so that is a logistical problem of its own. 
I tend to have a low boredom threshold but right now I am in no danger of being bored J

Till next time J

Sunday, 8 March 2015


I never thought I’d hear myself say that.  I only learned the term MOOC last month.  (It stands for Massive Open Online Course in case you are as ignorant as I was up till a couple of weeks ago.)  What happened is that I did a course last year, through the U3A, called Introduction to Astrology.  I really enjoyed the course (knowing nothing about the subject) and wanted to learn more – so looked online.  There I came across Coursera, and the rest, as they say is history.  I didn’t actually do the Astronomy course, though I do plan to in the future, as my life was too busy with house alterations and then a family visit (part of the reason for the house alteration).

I am just finishing my first course, Introduction to Genetics and Evolution.  It’s a Coursera course (when I found out about MOOCs I also found out about other MOOC providers though Coursera is the largest), taught by an amazing professor from Duke University, Professor Noor.  He’s an inspired teacher, teaching with zest and humour and so much enthusiasm for his subject it rubs off on all his students.  I have loved every minute of it, finding  the course interesting as well as challenging – last time I did any biology I was 14 so it was quite a steep learning curve for me.  Each week there is a set of videos to download  and watch (multiple times in some cases for me) then once a week a problem set to do online.  Two exams, one mid-term and a final, which I hope to do next weekend.    I love having a deadline to work to – it’s only with a deadline that I accomplish anything.  I think that’s a sign of natural laziness J   Then next week my next course starts – Forensic Psychology by the Open University, though the MOOC provider is Future Learn, then in June another Coursera course, Animal Behaviour though Melbourne University then in September I’m doing a course in American contemporary poetry.  Might tuck in a few others in between.   Can barely remember what I did before I started this!   And I only started in January this year!
These MOOCs should come with a health warning – seriously addictive!
Till next time J