Friday, September 27, 2013

A826 w/c 23/09/13

My tutor sent me an email this week saying i should be on chapter 2 of my thesis, well of course i have started it. The chapter is taking shape and will describe changes in Stratford's economy via a number of case studies on a number of trades. I need to go to Stratford at the end of next week to check up a few references (note to anyone preparing to do A826, ALWAYS write down the page numbers of any sources you use!)

I think i need a bit more research for the chapter, i've got good data on how some trades changes but not anything much on the prosperity of the town itself, though maybe an analysis of retail or luxury goods merchants could be an indicator there.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Preparing for a micro-teach

I have my time and date now for my micro-teach, next Wednesday morning. The micro-teach is a 20 minute teaching session and is the culmination of my PTLLS course. I am going to do it on searching historic archives, something i have done quite a bit of over the last few months.

According to my session plan i am going to do a presentation for 6 minutes or so, unfortunately when i did my first run through the presentation the timer i had set went off long before i reached the end. I have amended my presentation now and have put in a group activity (for kinaesthetic learners natch) which can be a bit flexible time wise.

Now all i need to do is practice practice practice, my wife is so going to enjoy the weekend.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lets make some relish

Tomatoes are the success story of this year's gardening season. Somehow, despite doing hardly any gardening for the last couple of months, i've got a bumper harvest though most are yet to ripen. Perhaps the tomatoes have done so well because i haven't been messing with them. Some of the ripe tomatoes are huge, my neighbour is really jealous to be honest.

One problem is i don't like raw tomatoes at all, so i have made my first ripe batch into some relish. I had to adapt a recipe i found online a bit as i didn't have all the ingredients but the result was pretty good even if i say so myself.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A826 w/c 16/09/13

After months of research, planning and pondering today i finally started writing something. Of course chapter 1 had to be done earlier in the year but chapter 2 is the real meat of the thesis and covers changes in Stratford's economy. I wrote about 1500 words which was a good start though i need to write about 5000 so its just a start thats all.

Thats not to say research isn't something which needs to continue though i don't think i need to visit any more archives for the moment.

The doctor's surgery

Although its for my model railway layout as its a model kit it still counts as Project 050. Dr Lang's surgery and very nice it is too. I've also begun a warship kit.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


You can see more on my model railway blog but i have finally begun the landscape and scenery on my model railway project Eskalon. Using gravel and grass mats i am starting to build up the landscape, using trees and bushes to hide the joins! Its starting to look pretty good too but i am intending a layered approach and will continue to refine whats there over the coming months and years.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Completing the Regent's Canal

At the weekend i had a trip to London and went on a canal walk, i completed a trilogy of walks along the Regent's Canal over the Summer which means i have walked it now from Islington to where it meets the Thames at Limehouse.

One day i'll have to go back and cover the only bit of the canal i haven't visited yet from the Maida Vale tunnel to Kings Cross but thats for another day... first i want to explore the Limehouse Cut and Hertford Union Canals which i touched on briefly as part of my Regent's walk. You can see the photos i took here, and my other Regent's photoshoots are here, here and here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A826 w/c 09/09/13

The week ended with another trip to the National Archives at Kew, earlier in the week I did some consolidation work on the data I am starting to amass. I am trying to identify any gaps in the data but also gaps in contextual knowledge.

An example of this is from the trade directory business data I have been gathering, one business type is described as brazier but what is that? To me a brazier is something men in donkey jackets stood around while on strike in the 1970s but in fact in the trade directory context I think it means brass worker.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Another course!

Not content with a Masters degree i have also started another course! This is not an Open University one however and is much more career focussed, in fact potentially career changing. I have begun a PTLLS course which at the end in a few weeks (if i pass) will qualify me to teach post 16 students such as adult learners or in company training schemes for example.

Staff training was a small part of my previous job and part i quite enjoyed, mostly i was teaching people how to use the university's content management system but also how to use social media. Maybe i shall teach people web design or IT in future. Hopefully it will not clash with my masters though one potential confusion is that the PTLLS course uses Harvard referencing and i use MHRA on my masters. Don't really want to get those two mixed up...

Friday, September 6, 2013

A826 progress w/c 02/09/13

Much more progress this week (which wouldn't be hard as i did nothing last week!) Maybe it was the onset of September that gave me a better sense of urgency. Well this week I went to the Stratford archives as already mentioned. I have also begun trying to tie all the data i have been gathering up to form the narrative i will be constructing when i write the thesis (writing will begin in early October i think).

I have recreated the trade maps i experimented with a few weeks ago, this time i have focussed more on the core area of the town the mapped coal and malter locations from 5 decades (data gleaned from trade directories). That has helped show me that the economy of Stratford did indeed see plenty of changes especially in terms of the coal merchant business. By 1850 the town had a similar number of merchants to the much larger Warwick which indicates (especially as the town's population did not increase much between 1820-60) that much of this coal business was for elsewhere. The transport links therefore did have an effect.

Well thats my idea anyway, now i am going to add to my weight of evidence. More archive trips are planned for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More archive research

I'm trying to ramp up my archive research now so that towards the end of the month i am ready to start writing my thesis. Today i visited Stratford's archives and had a look at 3 documents which may or may not have been of any use (one definitely wasn't) plus gleaned some more data from trade directories.

After that i had a nice walk along the river, plenty of boats out on the Avon on this lovely day.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Floodlit club cricket

Unusually for me i haven't seen any live cricket so far this year yet (though gorged myself on televised cricket during the Ashes). Usually by now i would have seen at least some Warwickshire 2nd XI action but circumstances and bad luck meant i had missed out. That changed last night when i went and watched some club sides in a floodlit tournament at the local Walmley CC ground (nearest ground to me).

It was good fun though the floodlights did not seem to illuminate the gloom that much, maybe it was better out in the middle? The tournament is on all week is free to enter, so why not give it a try? You can see the photos i took last night. Real ale on tap too...