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GCSE Maths (Higher Tier)


I failed my O Level maths at school in the 1980s. So when my employer (a college) offered this to staff for free I signed up before I had a chance to talk myself out of it!

Monday evening is maths class – here’s what I covered yesterday.

  • Times tables: I had these drummed into me as a child, so I’m fairly confident.
  • Long multiplication and long division: The method for long division is now much easier. No need anymore for that huge ‘ladder’ underneath and dropping down digits – just carry over.
  • Prime numbers: divide only by itself and one,.  Cool
  • Product of prime numbers: I started to get a bit worried. But it turns out that its multiplying two prime numbers.
  • Write the product of prime numbers in index format: What?…and breathe, it just means writing 2 with a tiny 3 superscript instead of 2 x 2 x 2
  • Highest Common Factor (HCF) and Lowest Common Multiple (LCM) of a pair of numbers: Take a big breath now
  • HCF: find the prime factors that are common to both and multiply them.(actually not so bad)
  • LCM: find all the prime factors. Take all from one of the numbers, and any extra factors from the other and multiply them all.
  • Write a number as a decimal with two, three or four places: count the number of digits after the decimal point
  • write a number as with two, three or four significant figures: the same, but round up if its five or more

Yaay I survived, and even did my homework on the bus going home!


Top Ten Albums – what are your favourites?

In social media there is a trend to ‘nominate others to do something’. Mostly famously the recent Ice Bucket Challenge.  But here’s another one – name your favourite top whatever. I’ve been nominated on Google+, but I’d thought I’d repeat the list here too.

My Top Ten Albums? Oh boy. Okay so I’ll take a deep breath and see what I can come up with.

I haven’t brought an album for many many years.  A combination of lack of budget, prioritising other spends, a gradual drift away from the music scene, and losing my hearing.  So I’ve thought back to the time when I was buying and listening to music, my late teenage years in the 1980s.  I found that I could recall the name of the band, or visualise an album cover, or a single, so I’ve compiled this list with a bit of help from google and Wikipedia.  But I figure that the music I remember, is the ones that had most impact on me,  I must have played these albums the most because they were my favourites.
In no particular order…

Marillion – Script for a Jester’s Tear
Truth be known, I originally bought this album because of the Tolkien connection. I was determined to read the Silmarillion, but never got past the first few pages. I’ve tried and failed a few times since then too.

Iron Maiden – Powerslave
I went to see Maiden in concert at Birmingham Odeon, possibly the World Slavery Tour, but I honestly can’t be sure.  My ears were ringing when I came out, and for most of the next day too.So Iron Maiden gets the blame for my hearing loss, but hell, what a way to lose it! I brought as much of their current and back catalogue as I could: Run to the Hills, Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind, The Trooper, Two Minutes to Midnight, Aces High.  My favourite was Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which blew my mind. Such an innovative mix of poetry and rock, I was hooked.

Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow
I was fascinated by the cover of this album, and even as a teen, I vaguely recognised that Richie Blackmore was an important person in rock history.

tangerine dream
Rubycon Two – Tangerine Dream
I’d really gone off the rails by this point, disappeared into a private world of my own making. And had a fabulous time there! Guess they’re a marmite band.

LA Woman – The Doors
I also had a compilation album, some sort of ‘best of’ album.  The only photograph I ever ‘stolen’ is one my boyfriend, Gareth, in THAT Jim Morrison pose. Just oozing sexiness.  Oh I’m coming over all funny, excuse me…I’ve err.. got to pop out… back in a minute.

Yep..the Doors are amazing, as a piano- playing teen I was in love the keyboard sound of the Doors, something very special. And a little bit in love with Jim Morrison too.

Shy - Once Bitten...Twice... (Front)
Once bitten, twice – Shy
Here is my claim to fame.  Shy were a band formed in Birmingham.  I went to their pub gigs and shared a pint or two afterwards, yes I was a small-time groupie. The band is still going strong, although with a change of line up.

Thriller by Michael Jackson
It was Vincent Price who introduced me to this album. His spoken vocals on Thriller are just so menacing and delicious.  The whole Michael Jackson thing has of course been tainted by events, but it’s hard to completely dismiss an album this good.

Cry like a Rainstorm, Howl like the Wind by Linda Ronstadt with Aaron Neville
A guilty pleasure, great duets, soppy romantic lyrics.

silver machine
Silver Machine by Hawkwind
Admittedly this is a single rather than an album, but I loved it, so it makes my list.

That may or may not be ten, but its thereabouts.  Hope you enjoyed the list!

A Beginner’s crochet adventures: dogtooth

I’ve had a request from my 14year old son for a crochet blanket with sleeves.
I picked the pattern, mainly because it fulfilled his request criteria and only gave a passing  thought to the complexity or simplicity of it. How difficult can it be.  It’s mostly a blanket after all.


Glyn picked the colours, stylecraft special dk sherbet, royal, and khaki. Manly man colours, no purple or pink this time!

I rewrote the pattern, omitting the alternative sizing, changing from US  to UK terms. And at Glyn’s request adapted the colour sequence from ABC ABC to ABCBABCBA.
I ordered the yarn from the lovely Emma at Lemonade Yarns in Cardiff and got stuck in. Well what else are weekends for?



..steadily turned into this…


…which grew into this…


It was about this point that I recognised the pattern developing before my eyes. Dogstooth. Or houndstooth. Apparently they’re the same but in different sizes,  with no consensus about which is the larger and which is the smaller.
I’m thrilled.  I’m a dogstooth virgin, so this is quite exciting!

I’ll post more pictures as it grows. And of course there’s the sleeves and neckline to think about. ..but that’s 150+ rows away, no need to panic yet!

Enjoy your weekend x

A Beginners Crochet Adventures: mid way point

A quick post, because I’m anxious to pick up my hook and get crocheting.  I want to share with you a couple of photos.

My ripple blanket is now around about half way. It’s long and narrow and almost too big to get into one photo.


I’m amazed at how fast it’s grown. Little by little, stitch by stitch, I’m closer to the end than the beginning.
Half a row before work, half a row at lunchtime.  A whole row each evening.  And its completely taken over my weekends. Its become a challenge to do as many rows as possible each weekend,  while not neglecting the housework essentials.
Fortunately Gareth has been on weekend camping trips, so I’ve had the place to myself. Otherwise Gareth could rightfully complain about being a crochet widow.


Last pic before I crack on. My attempt at an artistic rumpled  photo! !