Tag Archives: Further education

Learning Classical Greek aged 87. Excerpt from Chapter 28 of ‘Woman in a White Coat’

Our grammar textbook

I had wanted to learn Classical Greek and read the Greek masters in the original for some time and finally enrolled for a beginners’ class at CityLit starting in September 2016.

But it was not to be. On August 9th 2016 Death Came Knocking at My Door and i had  a major heart attack.

When i recovered after having had two coronary stents and an intra-aortic balloon pump inserted and been on a ventilator, there was no way i could attend classes that semester and had to cancel.

I started a week’s intensive course in Classical Greek in the summer of 2017 but the beginners’ class the following September was in the evening – and i hate evening classes.

Finally I started the daytime Classical Greek Level 1 at CityLit this September. Unfortunately I’ve catching up to do – one session missed while we were visiting our daughter Louise in the Basque Country and another with a heavy cold caught out there, but I’ve bought some extra textbooks and hope to make up the missed classes.

Read here about what it’s like to have a life-threatening heart attack from my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’.

Buy Woman in a White Coat on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

Extract from Chapter 28 ‘Death Knocks at My Door’

Death came knocking at my door in August, came right in, cold bony fingers at my throat and foul charnel-breath in my face. I had a major heart attack – blocked my coronary arteries and killed off areas of the left ventricle of my heart, the part that pumps freshly oxygenated blood around the body. Continue reading Learning Classical Greek aged 87. Excerpt from Chapter 28 of ‘Woman in a White Coat’

250th Summer Exhibition Royal Academy, London. Reading #3 My Art Class from ‘Woman in a White Coat’

What a brilliant idea!!

What a brilliant idea – having Grayson Perry curate this important 250th Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.

 

Royal Valkyrie by Joana Vasconcelos

 

 

The brilliant mixed media sculpture by Joana Vasconcelos greets you as you enter. And I loved the Architecture Room.

 

The Architecture Room

 

Often I’ve felt overwhelmed at the Summer Exhibitions by the crowds and the works massed together higgledy-piggledy, but this year the exhibition is themed and great. It’s absolutely a ‘MUST GO’.

This fabulous exhibition  made me feel I ought to get out my paints and pastels and start painting and drawing again. After I retired in 1991 I went to a wide variety of classes including drawing and painting.

Hear about the Art Class at the Mary Ward Centre in Queen Square I attended after I retired in 1991 in this excerpt from my memoir Woman in a White Coat’  – Chapter 26 pp 355-356 and pp 361-363

Woman in a White Coat’  is available on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

Chapter 26 Woman in a White Coat

I enrolled for lots of classes, some at one Further Education college and some at another – painting, drawing, cooking, history of art, Spanish, creative writing, pottery, dressmaking, machine knitting, felt making – everything I hadn’t had time for when I was working. It wasn’t just that I hadn’t had the time, I hadn’t had the inclination. My mind was always so full of work. Even when I was at the theatre, I would find myself thinking about a difficult diagnosis or a hiccup in our research.

Continue reading 250th Summer Exhibition Royal Academy, London. Reading #3 My Art Class from ‘Woman in a White Coat’

Dan Colen’s ‘Sweet Liberty’ at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, London

Dan Colen at the Newport Street Gallery

Another fun exhibition – Dan Colen’s ‘Sweet Liberty’ –  at Damien Hirst’s spacious Newport Street Gallery has now  been extended until January 28th.

Note: There seem to be road works everywhere in Westminster so if you’re driving be persistent – there is a way through!!

Colen examines notions of identity and individuality, set against a portrait of contemporary America.

Haiku (2015-17)

His works are said to be read as self-portraits. Colen (born 1979 in New Jersey) must have been feeling quite down when he made this big sad Scooby Doo (Haiku 2015-17).

There are a variety of fascinating shapes punched through the walls (Livin and Dyin) of Wile E. Coyote, Kool-Aid Man, Roger Rabbit and of Colen naked. The walls are around 1 foot thick. I wonder how they were originally knocked through and whether they will be made good completely or become a permanent display.

Untitled (Me and You) 2006-7

This mysterious painting Untitled (Me and You 2006-7)  is one of my favourite works from this exhibition. It is one of a series of Colen’s paintings based stills from Disney’s Pinocchio showing a candle on the workbench of Pinocchio’s creator – Geppetto.

 

Morley Further Education College, London SE1 7HT

Autumn Course Guide 2017

It’s that time again – enrolment for the Autumn term 2017.

It’s a great time for me – choosing which subjects I’m going to study though, with cuts in funding, courses are much more expensive than they used to be. When I first retired, I could afford to attend courses every day, sometime twice a day, but the cost is now prohibitive though still excellent value.

 

I took some Summer Courses this year including  an excellent two-day ‘Getting to know your digital camera’ at Morley. I have a Canon Compact camera and feel most ashamed that I’ve been using it entirely on Automatic when it has so many facilities you only get with an SLR.  Shame on me.

I use Photoshop CC for touching up my images but the course introduced me to Lightroom – a whole new ballpark. I’ve ordered a couple of manuals from my library and will see which I prefer – pros and cons!!

JOHN FIELD COMPOSER (1782-1837)

His 18 Nocturnes
His 18 Nocturnes

Amazing to think that John Field, an eighteenth century Irish composer, travelled all the way to Russia, braving all the hardships associated with long distance travel at that time, settled there, married and had an illegitimate son (Leon Leonov) later a famous tenor as well as a pianist son, Adrian, by his wife, Adelaide percheron, a French pianist and former pupil.

He had moved to London by 1793, where he became a pupil of Muzio Clementi (1752-1832) and travelled with him to Paris, Vienna and St Petersburg, where Clementi left, and Field settled in Moscow.

We tend to associate nocturnes with Chopin  (1810-1849) and Liszt (1811-1886) but they had been very much influenced by Field’s work – his 18 nocturnes in particular.

As well as going back to Bach’s Prelude and Fugue No II, I have started to play Field’s delightful Nocturne No 5. Not difficult to play, but hard to play well.

It’s that time again

The new CityLit building in Keeley Street
The new CityLit building in Keeley Street

Middle of August – time for last minute booking at one of the Further Education Colleges. When I first retired, I was taking eight classes a week – though one was a ‘cook and eat’ course. Next term I’ve only enrolled for three – Literature at the CityLit and at the Mary Ward Centre in Queen Square I’ve enrolled for  Photoshop and Photography – the latter two to help me with this blog. I’m still of course taking private piano lesson with my rather dishy tutor.

I’m not very good at painting or drawing but had a great time taking art classes at the CityLit when the art classes were on the top floor of the old Victorian School on the site where the new building now stands.   Not only were there lots of stairs but being built for children the steps were lower than normal and climbing felt really odd – even before I broke my hip.

Further education

My favourite trouser pattern
My favourite trouser pattern

it’s that time of year – when the Further Education colleges publish their prospectuses for the coming year. Of course the fees have gone up again, while there are always threats to reduce government funding. The powers-that-be don’t seem to realise how much the NHS saves in anti-depressants and other medication by getting retired people out of the house.

I had an excellent dressmaking tutor – very strict and fussy. Everything had to be sewn carefully and finished well. I must have made at least half a dozen pairs of trousers from that pattern. The trouble with clothes you make yourself out of good quality fabric is that they won’t wear out and you’ve no excuse to visit GAP to buy new.

From my memoir Woman in a White Coat

After I retired  I signed up for lots of classes, some at one Further Education college and some at another – painting, drawing, cooking, history of art, Spanish, creative writing, pottery, dressmaking – everything I hadn’t had time for when I was working. It wasn’t just that I hadn’t had the time, I hadn’t had the desire. My mind was always so full of work. Even when I was at the theatre, I would find myself thinking about a difficult diagnosis or a hiccup in our research.

I enjoyed the freedom of doing things that weren’t important, things that weren’t a matter of life and death.

‘It’s wonderful,’ I said to my art teacher. ‘Nothing I do now is critical. If my drawing of the model looks like a human being, great. If not, at least I produced something. If my new cookery dishes taste good or if I can’t eat them and have to throw them out, if I manage to remember whether Rubens came first or Constable, it just doesn’t matter. You can’t imagine the relief and feeling of freedom. My life is no longer constantly punctuated by drama, by death, by irrevocable mistakes – where every word I put in a report is crucial. It would have been devastating if what I said in my report was misinterpreted by the surgeons and the wrong treatment given.

Getting Started

Anyone for Tea

Knitted this tribute to Vivienne Westwood so long ago, I don’t remember how I did it all. Machine knitting was one of the many classes I went to after I retired besides writing. Over the years I went to art history, drawing. painting, cooking, dressmaking, music theory. piano. Spanish, Basque, philosophy and more.

I made a couple of jumpers on my knitting machine but mainly knitted lengths of knitting using pure wool. I then felted it in the washing machine and used the fabric to make myself and my partner fleeces that were light but very warm. I sold my knitting machines some years ago and don’t miss them. The clothes you make yourself seem to last forever. You wish they would wear out so you could buy new ones. Now I mainly use my sewing machines for repairs but recently I did make a complete new set of cushion covers for out living room .