Ooooh Miss … Miss … I Know … Miss …

As is so often the case when I have an idea for a future blog post my real life takes a connected path just before I write it!

As part of the WordPress family we have statistics that tells us where our readers live (it’s okay  don’t actually get your address – just the country you are surfing from); which posts have been read and then it tells me if people have found my blog using a search engine and what the question was thy were searching for answers to.

This last one intrigues me and frustrates me at the same time.  Intrigues because I am curious about how people search for things; I am often asked about something, do a web search and provide an answer and the requester wants to know how I got an answer and they didn’t.  I guess I am just good at asking the right question in the first place.  It frustrates me because very often I know the answer to the question that has brought a person to this blog – even though the answer is not actually in my blog.  Frustrates me because presumably the answer is not readily available to them in the place it should be – let me share an example:

“Can Children use megariders?”

Now obviously that has linked to my blog because of the word megarider – but people really should be able to quickly and easily find the answer to this from Stagecoach as the ticket provider?  So I am happy that they may have paused and had a look at some of the posts here but saddened that it didn’t answer their question.  I have no way of letting them know what I know in answer to their question because their search is not interactive.

It doesn’t just happen here … on the fora of which I am a community member I enjoy answering questions and helping people out – I have one of those brains that stores seemingly useless information only to dredge it up prompted by a stranger’s question.  It isn’t something I set out to to it is just something that frequently happens and often when I am not conscious that I know what I say.

When I see inefficiency and ineffectiveness I have  a tendency to speak up … so do I drop Stagecoach a line with the feedback that their FAQs are not doing their job?

So I had made a note to write about this and given it the title you see … which made me think of how I was at school – always first with my hand up and an answer (although I was too polite to jump up and down and demand to be heard) actually as I got older I hated being able to answer so readily and I used to pretend I didn’t know so that other kids had to take a turn (that is my candle vs mirror philosophy establishing itself I guess).

Anyway how does that connect with my real life here and now?  I was very fortunate in my last year a primary school to have a lovely and gifted teacher, Mrs H.  It was a tiny village school and there were less than 10 of us in that year but our class was two years together.  I only attended that school for that year having recently moved and would not have had Mrs H apart from a cruel twist of fate.  The day before my mother took up the deputy headship at that school the Headteacher had a heart attack.  He took a long time to recuperate so my Mum started her first deputy headship as Acting Head … and she never looked back.  But that meant that the school was a teacher short and Mrs H was drafted in.  By another coincidence Mrs H and my parents had known each other when they were all at the same college but had lost touch.

I have very fond memories of that last year in primary school and Mrs H has been a family friend since then … so I no longer call her Mrs H, but use her given name.

Mrs H was feeling a little poorly just before Christmas and it has got worse over the holidays and she is having some scans and stuff to see what is the cause.  I usually get their news via my parents but we do ten to exchange e-mails a couple of times a year directly.  As I was thinking about the title of this blog I was also thinking about how to write an e-mail that was upbeat and cheering without belittling the concern that Mrs H and her family must be feeling.

A few days ago when I was sorting through some of my life’s junk I found a toy … one that I made when Mrs H was my teacher.

toyThis womble was Mme Cholet – complete with a mob cap and apron – all handsewn by me and she is stuffed with cut up tights!  As you can see she is rather sad and sorry looking now but I still love her because I was in Mrs H’s class when I made her.  This started me thinking about some of the other highlights of that year – we did an ambitious maths programme where we had a matrix of tasks to complete and we chose what order to do them in.  All the lessons were serious but it was done in an exciting and fun way – such a shame that many other pupils never got the time to try that programme but undoubtedly part of the reason I loved maths and went on to do 3 maths based a-levels and an engineering degree!

We also wrote and printed the school newspaper – I was co-editor with a boy called PB.  I remember another project where we studied the Canterbury Tales because the school was near the famous Pilgrims Way and we each made a character to go on a wall frieze in the classroom.  I remember the playground games and how nurturing an environment that small school was.

I want to share two things with you:

  1. If you still have young children seek out those nurturing environments for their learning – they will thank you one day
  2. We often never know how much we have influenced another person’s life and destiny – if you know someone who has made a big impact in your life please if you can get in touch and make sure they know

Mrs H and I have often talked about those days but I wanted to really let her know how much I value the contributions she has made to the woman I have become; so I wrote it in that e-mail for her and I sincerely hope that reading that will give her a boost of self esteem when she is having a tough time.

I spent the rest of today using the Universal Job Match (UJM) website – you know that one that supposedly records everything I do on it when I am logged in; the one that I have to demonstrate I am using efficiently to make an effective job search!  

  • It is not doing what the job centre staff think it does – either they have been misled OR they have misunderstood.  
  • It is a useless piece of webservice and when I have gathered another couple of day’s evidence I shall be writing to some politicians to say that whomever specified and commissioned that system needs to be sacked and sent to try it out as a job seeker themselves.  
  • A complete waste of taxpayers money that is being used by job centre staff to bully people who are already demotivated just so the job centre staff can say they have got so many people back into work.  
  • The worst aspect is the time I spend on there finding that all the jobs they list are not suitable is time I could be spending on other job search sites that do suit my needs and which are professionally run and time I could be spending making high quality applications to the jobs I have seen advertised on those other sites.  
  • UJM is neither efficient nor effective for me (and probably many others) … the difference is I am able to understand a poor webservice and articulate the issues.  

So now as well as being a full time job seeker I am doing part of the job that the job centre staff should be doing in making sure the tools provided are fit for purpose!

Of course I have spent time with my camera and my boys.  The morning walk was much better today – we still had our moments – like Dog taking himself through a wire fence and coming back through the gap above before sitting on his lead which Pup then managed to wind himself round too.  I didn’t come back looking like I had been to the supermarket for messages (only two small bags of poo today) and I didn’t have hair plastered to my face! oh and Pup did his second poo in the right place too this morning!

The morning walk obviously suits him and he is a much nicer Pup to be with as a result – the calmness lasts all day – which means I can concentrate better on my photographs …

Monochrome digital processing (technical stuff is available on the link)


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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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