Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Holey Schist 'Review of 2009

Greetings Everyone!

And a slightly belated 'Happy New Year' to one and all!

So that was it - 2009! What a year that was!?! Some good, some bad and definitely, some downright UGLY! So here goes. Brace yourself - it's The Holey Schist Review of 2009 from my own personal vantage point!

January:- Okay, so 2009 got off to an optimistic start with Ruth being offered a job at Nottingham Trent Uni opening the way for our longed for relocation to the East Midlands! Then I received an unconditional offer of a place at Leicester Uni to study Geology! Exciting times ahead . . .

February:- Ruth and Amy move to Loughborough in readiness for their starts at NTU and Robert Bakewell Primary School respectively! Both settle in really well, but boy is it tough being separated from me and Anna back in Bolton. What sounded a straight forward idea in principle wasn't to prove as easy as all that!

March:- Meanwhile, my Open University course - S104 starts to get tougher, more so when weekend study time is swallowed up by trips to Loughborough in order to reunite the family!

April:- Quantum Physics! The subject that I feared most in S104 turns out to be my greatest triumph! It just showed that with grit and determination great things can be achieved! 90-odd percent? Extraordinary! The 'End of Course Assessment beckons!

May:- My 49th Birthday arrives and gifts of money were used to purchase several books of a geology persuasion, including Wayne Ranney's 'Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau' - definitely my 'Book of the Year - 2009'. Simply, a GEM!

June:- After Anna completes her GCSEs we both move down to Loughborough to be reunited with Ruth and Amy! Hoorah! Meanwhile, S104 Exploring Science is finished, done and dusted. Just a 2 month wait for the result! Left my job with Jacobs and endured possibly the most farcical and stressful job change of my life!

July:- Had offer on the house in Bolton! Hoorah! Buyer later pulls out! Boo! Meanwhile, now working for Balfour Beatty - kind of, err sort of jumped ship as it were!?!  Don't ask!!!

August:- Passed S104 with 'flying colours' (whatever that means!?!). Just 8 tantalising percent short of a distinction! Getting that close was something of a miracle in itself, given the mega-stressful year we've all had! Anna also got her GCSE results - umpteen passes as expected! We're VERY proud of her!!!

September:- Can't remember much happening in September other than too much work and stress, Work proving to be fun though - actually involved in building a road - 28 kilometres of it to be precise. Okay, it means turning green fields into tarmac and concrete, but it wil actually improve peoples lives in the long run and help stop lots from getting killed! Yes, really!

October:- Enrolled on S193 - Fossils and the History of life with the OU. Starts in December and is just a short 2 month, 10 pointer. Should be very interesting! Went to sister-in-law Caroline and Charlie's Wedding in Sileby, Leicestershire.  Fantastic day! Lovely couple! Got a tad drunk, myself!

Here's a few photos of the great day....

Caroline, Charles and  his parents.

My gorgeous wife Ruth, with me looking rather like Mr Fezziwigg from Scrooge. I mean me, not Ruth!

Amy Claire and  Anna-Ruth looking beautiful!

November:- NOT a good month! Ruth not well. Details are rather personal, but suffice to say, our 'work/life balance' is a bloody mess and needs addressing as soon as poss! The sooner that damned house is sold in Bolton the better!!! On a positive note, both the girls took to the stage, with Anna singing in a choir called 'Enchanted' while Amy made her first public perfomance with 'Stagecoach'. Step-dad (yours truly) blubbed through every performance! Bless!

December:- Christmas comes and with it snow and weather, the like of which I aint seen for decades! The fossil course is now underway and fascinating it all is!
Above: Gryphaea arcurata, also known as 'Devils toenail' a fossil from  the Triassic/Jurassic. (Source: Wikipedia - 2009).

Regular reference to the 'Geological Timescale' means that it is at long last sinking in! Had a great Christmas break well and truly recharged the batteries in readiness for the NEW YEAR!!!

So there you have it. A 'funny old year' and not one I'll look back on with much pleasure in truth. BUT, at least the family has relocated to Loughborough at last and there's so much to be positive about as we get stuck into 2010.

I fully intend to blog a bit more this year and I'll start with a review on S193 once I finish it off in a couple of weeks time. As there are no written assignments required on this one, I think it would be a good idea to summarise the whole thing in a series of blogs right here!

So Happy New Year and stay tuned for some palaeontology! Nice!



  1. Alyn:

    Nice posting. We've been hearing about your snow.

    I have 3 news books already! Sedona Through Time, Arizona Landforms, and Defining the Colorado Plateau: A Geologic Perspective. Check the web site.

    Hope you are well.


  2. Hi Wayne!

    Yep, here in the UK we've had snow, the like of which we've not seen for many years. And in typically British fashion we're not coping too well!

    I've been looking forward to the new edition of 'Sedona Through Time' and the other titles sound good too, especially 'Defining the Colorado Plateau'. I presume that will build on 'Ancient Landscapes?

    Great to hear from you. Take care!


  3. Hi Alyn,
    I've just discovered your blog tonight... well, now it's technically morning. It's like looking in the mirror when I read your blog. I'm 48, after 30 years in electronics, I'm going to college part time studying geology. I hope the missus is doing well. Drop me an email and we can compare notes. ElectricRook at gmaail dot com. Mike.

  4. Hi Alyn,

    Happy New Year, belated one, have been to Vietnam and other vacations. Now back to the smog filled city of my hometown to repeat the life that I am living year after year. Hope you can share more geo science knowledge here.

    Thank you.


  5. Hi Daniel,
    Thanks for that! Yes, I'll be doing my best to blog more this year, so stay tuned for a summary of my recently finished palaeontology course, coming up soon! Cheers, Alyn.


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