The End of an Era

Well, that is college over for now until we start the Computer Programming course in September (when we get around to enrolling anyway!).

We came so close to finishing our final MS Access test but due to some unexpected issues, we had to come in the week after to finish it.

It was a sad goodbye to our tutor Nina, as we have been with her for two ITQ courses now and sadly Totton College currently do not offer the ITQ3 which we would gladly have enrolled on and had her teach us for level one, two and three!.

I would have had this post out earlier but, there were some computer issues which needed a careful application of Smart Defrag, Ccleaner and Malware Bytes to sort out first.

If your computer is running slow, chances are it either needs defragging or has malware (or even both!) I didn’t have any malware, but did need a defrag.  I can strongly recommend these three programs to help keep your PC in top shape.

Tracey is still recovering well and is walking further and faster without the aid of the wheelchair (though we still use it for longer trips when she needs it).

I have been doing a lot of modding of some of my favourite games recently, now I have heavily modded Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas and if I think about it, I will do more posts or possibly videos on each game and the mods I have installed and how to install them.

Well, it is now time for me to go and do some Python and some more writing before sitting down to play a few games with Tracey.  So far we have Stronghold, Rome Total War, Wesnoth and Might & Magic V to try out as well as a handful of Xbox games.

Wish me luck!

 

 

Totton College Taxi Drama

We had an interesting phone call the other day from our tutor Nina at Totton College.

English: Totton College Totton College from th...

English: Totton College Totton College from the Calmore Road entrance. Formerly Totton Grammar School which opened in 1955, the College was opened in 1969. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her and another member of staff, Kirsty had been talking and felt bad that we walked home the week before (and pushing that wheelchair from the college home was very tiring!) and had arranged for a Taxi to pick us up and drop us home for the last few weeks of our ITQ course!.

I was lost for words! I had no idea the college could even offer such a service, and the fact that these two members of staff thought about it and made it happen for us to make our travelling to and from college a hell of a lot easier just blew me away!.

We took a risk and decided not to take the wheelchair as Tracey would only need to walk around the college, but as it turned out we had underestimated the stairs and realised that next week we would be taking the chair anyway!.

It was such a strange feeling sitting in a taxi to and from college like royalty where we are used to walking and it made us both feel a little lazy but my goodness wasn’t it easier and a lot quicker! we usually don’t get home until gone 2200 but we were home a little after 2100.

So if you are reading this Totton college:

Thank you from us both! you have made us both smile and really made it a lot easier for us to complete our course! we look forward to studying with you again in September! (though Tracey will be more mobile by then hopefully!).

Well, time for me to do a spot of Python before going back to modding my Bethesda games (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas) and I will shortly get a post up telling all about this new exciting hobby!.

 

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Totton College Open Evening

Tutoring Center

Tutoring Center (Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations)

We went into Totton College on Wednesday in an effort to complete the Microsoft Access

module of our ITQ level 2.

Sadly, we didn’t quite finish it but we needed to wait around for an hour for the open evening to start.

Fortunately, there is a Costa selling student priced coffee which kept us busy until the Tutors began filing into the cafeteria and taking their places.

Thanks to the newly released prospectus advertising all manner of exciting courses, we had narrowed it down to a small list that we were interested in:

Computer Programming – This featured as a primary objective during my previous brainstorming session. It uses VB.Net but still should be useful to me.

Web Design – Only a leisure course but interesting, sadly the tutor wasn’t there to talk to.

Forensic Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Criminology – only short leisure courses but sound really interesting and could help me to decide if a career in Psychology is for me.

Hairdressing – One for Tracey, something she has wanted to do for years but due to Southampton City College‘s history with bullying and apathy has put her off studying there.

We spoke to all the relevant tutors in a roundabout way, being shunted between the front desk, and table to table.

Most people seem to have only had one or two courses in mind so we were definitely testing their skills!.

These courses also would be discounted if we are in receipt of certain benefits come the enrolment!.

It’s a shame they did not have any Health & Safety courses available as that is another primary objective discovered during my brainstorming session which would have come in helpful for my employment prospects.

There is always the ever present possibility of online courses too for many of the subjects I am interested in, though costs will vary between free and expensive.

Well, time to go back to Python and see how much I have forgotten!.

 

 

 

Brainstorming Bonanza!

I’ve had a lot of stuff rattling around my head the last few months especially with the recent loss of my mother and the hospitalisation of my wife.

It’s been crossing my mind to get all these thoughts, plans and ideas out on paper and last night I did exactly that.

With Tracey’s help, I brainstormed for an hour or two and got out all those ideas and plans that had been bugging me.

I ended up with a whole sheet of A4 then broken down further into another three sheets going into more detail on each main theme (courses, employment and hobbies).

It felt good to get it all out and free up my mind for other stuff.

I highly recommend this technique to anyone with an excess of thoughts and ideas, get it down on paper, it will clarify things and help you figure out which avenue to focus on.

I now know to focus on a Health & Safety course first which will help my job prospects in Catering, Cleaning and Retail (seeing how important the health and safety knowledge is to these three sectors) while focusing my hobbies around programming and writing.

That is the first step, then I will need to find work in one of the above sectors and hope to acquire on the job training on a relevant course to improve my prospects even further.

Well that is the plan anyway! who knows what is actually around the corner that may change all that! but as of right now, that is where I will be focussing my efforts.

Now to go back to Python and try to remember what I was doing last time!.

 

Wheelchair Wonders

I needed to go up Tesco’s recently to collect our prescriptions and it was while I was pushing Tracey in the wheelchair I noticed a very odd thing:

People were making way for us.

There is one road especially where we are normally standing waiting for a good five minutes while cars speed past from three directions.

But the last three times we have crossed that road, people have actually stopped their cars and waved us across!.

We also had a trio of mom’s pushing pushchairs who moved into single file to allow us past! and to top it all off, on our way home today a couple of schoolboys on bikes standing in our path moved aside to let us past!.

I managed to put aside my shock and thank each and every one of them for their kindness.

I remember reading a long time ago about the topic of committing one random act of kindness every day, and this last week I have seen that in action albeit in a small way but it made our trip that much easier.

Maybe all those small random acts I have committed over the years have started to come to fruition? they do say what goes around comes around!.

As it turns out, I should have called the pharmacy before we made the trip today as they didn’t have a delivery yet which meant they couldn’t completely fill Tracey’s prescription.  The delivery arrived while we were waiting outside with a cold drink in the heat but was sadly not opened when I went back to enquire so instead I got the pharmacy’s direct number and will definitely be calling it tomorrow before committing Tracey to this journey for a third time in three days!

At least we are both getting some well needed exercise and fresh air!.

Banjo-Kazooie

Banjo-Kazooie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My wife and I went to town the other day.

As part of her recovery we are walking every day to get her back into shape and exercise her heart, but are also taking the collapsible wheelchair for when she gets too tired.

Tracey walked to the bus stop just using the chair for balance then we jumped on the bus and spent the next twenty minutes being bounced around on the uneven roads which wasn’t exactly comfortable for her.

But eventually, we made it to town and got out our list we had made to ensure we didn’t forget anything.  This was the first time we had been in town since before Tracey’s operation and we didn’t want to waste time!.

We got off at the Marlands and entered CEX, where we immediately headed for the Xbox 360 games and picked up Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts for a bargain low price as I had recently had been playing Banjo-Kazooie and felt like retrying Nuts & Bolts after a brief go a few years ago which ended with me trading it in as there were other games I wanted to play more.

After waiting in the queue for a good twenty minutes (don’t get me started on CEX’s queueing issue!) we headed for GAME in West Quay and promptly arrived at the primary reason we decided to go to town rather than just up the road and back:

Murdered Soul Suspect.

I had been waiting for this game for over a year and had been saving my Christmas GAME voucher and the points on my card for just this occasion, eagerly snapping up each and every trailer released over the past six months.

The tagline is simple: “The hardest murder to solve is your own”.

Then something horrific happened.

I decided to try Viva Pinata.

I had been toying with the idea for a few years since I heard good things about it from a friend.  It just makes a change to play a game now and then that doesn’t revolve around killing or destruction! I can just relax and play this or Banjo if I feel like something different.

To try and deal with the guilt and shame of buying these kids games, we sat in the park and enjoyed some fresh air and sunshine.

After a while we made our way back to the bus and went home pleased with our bargains and an evening of gaming prevailed…

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The Long Awaited Update

English: Main Entrance to Southampton General ...

English: Main Entrance to Southampton General Hospital, Southampton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well hello readers, it’s been a very long time and I have good reasons.

My dear mom passed away suddenly which dropped the bottom out of my world.

The loss of such a beautiful, loving, kind woman is a loss felt by all who know her.

Secondly, my wife has just returned home from major heart surgery and the installation of a pacemaker.

As you can imagine, my world has been extremely busy and I have not been able to find the time to post.

Even if I could post, it would be endless accounts of daily hospital visits to my wife which i’m sure you wouldn’t want to read.

I think I have crossed a line in my writing, I used to simply write for myself but now I am trying to think of my readers (and I know there are a few of you out there!).

Every time I thought about writing (which was admittedly often) I couldn’t start and simply sat there staring at the screen for what felt like hours.

I have heard it said that the best time to write from the heart is during times of high emotion and it is that thought that I kept returning to over and over again.

Though I knew this, I just couldn’t write, so today I feel things have settled down sufficiently to allow me some freedom to write and here I am.

Getting used to life without my mom has been hard, I still expect to pick up the phone and hear her voice and chat about recent events in our lives.

I had the honour of being a bearer at her funeral, she carried me for seven months (I was premature) the least I could do was carry her for a few minutes.

There was a great turnout, a lot of family, friends and coworkers came to pay their respects and say goodbye to a woman who had been such a positive force in their lives.

Coming hot on the heels of mom’s funeral (as in a couple of days later) my wife was admitted to Southampton General Hospital for major heart surgery.

My wife Tracey suffers from a rare connective tissue disorder called Loeys-Dietz Syndrome which amongst other things can cause the aorta (the main artery going to and from the heart) to become enlarged and if untreated can lead to a condition known as Aortic Root Dissection which is where the aorta bursts and is usually fatal.

Thankfully, after running a series of tests and examinations, they discovered that Tracey’s Aortic root was significantly enlarged and surgery was the only option before it got larger and possibly burst.

The last few weeks have been tiring with daily trips to the hospital, seeing Tracey recover quicker and quicker every day and then the pacemaker which she felt had set her recovery back a week or more.  Seeing the excellent care and support she received at the hands of the dedicated Doctors and Nurses was a sight to behold.

We are so fortunate in this country to have such an excellent National Health Service and we are grateful every day for Tracey’s recovery due to the care and support she received.

We now have the long road to recovery ahead of us, and to that end we inherited mom’s collapsible wheelchair so Tracey can go out for walks using it for support then when she gets too tired, she can hop in and be pushed by me (which gives me a good cardio workout!).

So that is you all caught up with my life the last month or so since I last posted!.  My apologies it is a little longer than you are used to but it seemed I had a lot to say after all!.

Now to do some writing and maybe programming before going up the local shops with Tracey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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