Learning with Props.

Learning with Props.

A couple of weeks ago, I started learning to drive again. I need a driving license so bad, not only for my future aims in my midwifery career but just generally it will improve my quality of life having driving as a option. Anyway, so far my lessons seem to be going ok. It was a relief to find that I hadn’t forgotten everything since my last adventures in a car and I love the Nissan Micra that I’m learning in. It’s just too cute – in fact I love it so much that when I pass (thinking positive here) I might actually buy one.

It helps a lot that I’ve been able to find an instructor that I can get on with. We do have a giggle and a laugh, but he’s also pretty good at explaining things, noticing my mistakes not as isolated issues but looking for trends in my driving and developing strategies to help me solve some of the issues. I’m happy that so far I seem to be making progress in each lesson and long may this continue.

In a vague attempt to increase my activity level, I have also made the decision a little while back to purchase a bike. In theory, I’d like to be able to cycle to and from work which will help to keep me fit but also cut out the unproductive hour I spend after my shift is over sitting on my bum waiting for the bus. I could walk, I know, but really walking home at my pace would take me almost as long as waiting for said bus haha. I know, I know… initially cycling may not be any faster and in fact I’m totally incapable of cycling up the hill to the hospital at my current fitness level which is about -2 on a scale of 1 to 10. However… I used to enjoy riding my bike once upon a time many, many moons ago whereas I have NEVER EVER enjoyed walking for pleasure up a hill or otherwise. That’s what happens after years of being Mrs. slow plod along left trailing behind her family of enthusiastic hill walkers. It sucks. It sucks getting to the top last, hurting all over and barely having time to rest and maybe look at the view (that’s if you’re lucky enough to have caught a clear day in this country) before you’re being marched on again by those who due to their superiour hill walking powers have already been lollygagging around the summit for a good half an hour waiting for you to show up. Most people who know me probably could tell you I hate being forced to do anything and that includes being frog marched up a mountain because supposedly its good for me.

I’ve never really been a mountain fan anyway. Sure some of them are spectacularly stunning but I’d much prefer to take photos of them than images from the top of them. In my humble opinion, they are best appreciated looking up at an atmospheric summit shrouded in mist. (quite possibly hot chocolate in hand)  than scrabbling and scrambling risking life and limb only to freeze your butt off at the top trying to see through the mist attempting to locate the so called “fools” who have no idea what they are missing. Meh – enough about mountains and my aversion to walking haha.

Back to bikes… well, my bike specifically. I decided to really go for it, blow the budget style. I mean really I’m not going to use it if it’s not comfortable.  So with the help of a very knowledgeable pair of guys in the local bike shop, who are probably still chuckling at the clueless giggling girl who walked in with bags full of shopping looking for a bike and demanding it be pretty! Yeah, I make no apologies I’m a girl – I want things to go together and match and look nice. Function and style, yes sir, and if you think that makes me a silly biking novice with no clue… well you’d be right but my bike my rules :p

I negotiated a spot in the garage with my lovely landlords and all was set for me to pick up my noble stallion. Then it snowed and it was so icy and treacherous that I was forced to leave it in the shop for an extra week……

Eventually the day came… the little ding of the bell as I opened the door once again laden down with my shopping… they carefully helped me pack all my goodies in my shiny new pannier bags. Helmet on… oh crap I put it on back to front, embarrassed. The guy did look more than a little nervous as he chuckled and fixed my lid, offering to walk the bike outside for me (perhaps in fear of further mayhem).

I’m very proud to say I cycled my new steed home, which wasn’t far at all and thankfully was along a very quiet road. I was wibble-wobbling in a way which would have made motorists mutter bad words to begin with but I did at least get things under control by my arrival at destination.

I’ll admit I need more practice. but I put the bike away in the garage feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Some of my Uni girls have been joking that I’ll be the next Call the Midwife style Madwife on a bike. What an idyllic image, I’d actually quite enjoy that at times I think. You know, sunny summery times when the weather is playing along. Right now my reply is that is will be marvelous so long as all my women live along quiet flat straight roads or along lovely cycle paths…

Alas, so far this is where the story of  bike (yet to be named – Suggestions welcome) and me stops. So far I’ve owned it a couple of weeks and it has yet to leave the garage where I settled it after my first ride home. I need to figure out somewhere I can go to have a few hours practice and get my confidence up. I have not given up, though.

This is not the end of me and my duel quest for new wheels…

New Wheez

New Wheez

Ali xX

School’s out !

I sit here writing next to a pile of completed college assignments which are all done dusted and ready to hand in tomorrow … school’s out for summer!  woot wooot 😀  I swear I can almost here the Hallelujah Chorus looking at the 6 Assignments I’ve completed in the last week. YES 6! I literally got buried under a pile of biology topics as my tutor realized exactly how much she hadn’t covered that we still needed to be assessed on … We were left on our own at the end there… pretty much… except that every time I would go to school I would get handed yet another task to add to my heaving to do list. You get kinda sick of that after a while.  I burnt my fingertips last Monday on a Bunsen burner flame as I was attempting to grow an E-coli culture. Yeah, I know… stupid right? They stung like a bitch! lol Proud of myself for  A) not dropping the  E-coli bacteria all over the floor B) keeping my language family friendly (BIG achievement for me in these circumstances) and C) completing my assignment experiment despite my war wounds. Someone tell me when I’m a midwife someone else will deal with the microbiology ‘cause its clearly not my strong point.

Such a great feeling… except I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I keep looking around at my books and notes wondering what I’m missing. I can’t quite relax yet as I keep feeling I should be working!  Now just to cross fingers and hope the results are good when they come out on July 1st…

So now what? Welllll… I have a ton and I mean big hayoooge piles of paperwork to complete to ensure that I can start university in September and that when I do I won’t be flat broke.  It seems the NHS wants to know my life story and needs copies of every piece of documentation I own. YIKES!  I’ll be working on that then.

Especially as my doctor doesn’t seem to have any health records for me so I’ll probably have to take all my vaccinations over again. I so love my arm being used as a pin cushion, don’t you?

Learning to drive continues … my instructor and I are now bickering as if we were family and my test is booked (ohhhh lordy). Nope, I’m not telling when it is … ‘cause you know PRESSURE! I’m seeing whole new areas of the world around me on my driving lessons… places I’ve never been to in three years I’ve lived here simply because my world is currently restricted to  well operated bus routes.. KM is already talking about all the things we can do “when you get your car Ali…”

Ohhh, one last  thing…  remember last year I did the 5km Race For Life to raise money for Cancer research UK? mmmhum I knew you would … I didn’t think I’d be around to take part this year but it turns out I’m freeeee! So, I’ll be taking part again on the 27th of June at Aintree Racecourse made famous as the home of the Grand National.

There are two reasons you should care so pay attention for a min ok?

1) Cancer sucks.  It’s awful. Really. Most of us know someone who’s fought that terrifying battle. More and more people are surviving, thank God, but still too many amazing fighters are not so lucky. It needs to END… like now… yesterday. I know it’s not much, me walking a measly 5km to raise a little cash which, lets face it, will be a drop in the ocean of what’s needed, BUT we will only get to a cure for cancer one step at a time. It all adds up. So I would humbly ask that you consider doing something. Sponsor me here if you feel so inclined, take part in an event of your own… make a donation… badger your mates to make one… whatever.

2) You might have seen from last year’s pictures that all the walkers wear these pink panels on their backs where we chose something to write about why we are walking … last year mine included dedications to BeautifulMess’s mom , In Due Time’s Aunt K and Geek By Marriage’s uncles among others. So, dear friends, if you have someone you would like me to walk in honor of or a dedication you want me to make please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to include them. Thanks!

Ohh and after all these are taken care of… I’m going to America!!  Ohhh summer… how I love thee 😀

Hugs and kisses

Ali xX

My E-coli Creation 😛