Sunday, 16 March 2014

Blue John Cavern

Simon and I went to Blue John Cavern on Friday.

Driving through the Peak District easily makes you wonder if you missed a turn, you go through a few villages but mostly it's just empty countryside, which is gorgeous, but sometimes makes you worry you've gone the wrong way somewhere. 

When Simon and I got to the Blue John Cavern parking lot we weren't sure if we were in the right spot. There was a sign for the cavern on the side of the road, a footpath leading from the sign down to a small cottage all on its own, the parking lot consisted of a few spaces on the side of the road, and the road continued past the sign for the cavern. I like the fact that it's quite small though, and that it's not really commercialised, makes it seem more special.

It was quiet at the cavern when we went, so Simon and I got a guide all to ourselves! We got along very well with our guide, Ben. It was more like just walking around with a friend who told us various facts about the cavern. Another benefit of working shifts instead of Monday to Friday, you can go places when it's quiet.

I enjoyed walking through and learning about the cavern, it was a really nice day out. If you're in the Peak District I do suggest putting a couple of hours aside for visiting the cavern. I suggest wearing good shoes when you visit the cavern though, the ground is wet and slippery in places. 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Twycross Zoo

At the end of February I went to Twycross Zoo with Simon. I'm only just getting around to writing this post thanks to studying.

We had perfect weather for walking around outdoors when we went, a bit chilly but nice and sunny.

I had a lot of fun watching the animals. When the animals were playing their personalities really shone through, especially the primates'.

Simon and I went in the middle of the week, when there was no school holiday,  so the zoo was really quiet. The very few people in the zoo made it feel like we had the place to ourselves most of the time!  I don't know how busy it gets in summer or on weekends, but if given the opportunity you should go mid-week while the kids are in school. Unless you have a school-aged child you want to take with you of course!

In all Twycross zoo is a nice day out. If you like the zoo and you live close by, a zoo membership might be worth considering, you will only need to go 3 times a year to pay off the price for the annual pass.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Finally studying! For FREE!!

A couple of months ago one of my friends on Facebook posted about MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), a website offering FREE online courses! Of course I had to check this out since I've been wanting to study for ages, but either not knowing what I wanted to study or just not had the money to actually study a chosen subject.

I got a bit too excited about all the interesting free courses and signed up for 5 at once! Normally each course is only supposed to take up a few hours of your time each week, I have been stuck inside on my laptop every free minute I've had! So take it from me: don't sign up for more than one or two courses at a time!!

Although studying has been taking up most of my time for the past 4 weeks, I am absolutely loving it! It's been really nice to have something to do other than veg out in front of the TV when I'm at home.

The great thing about these courses being free is that if you find that the course isn't for you, or that you don't have time to finish it, you haven't lost anything. You haven't wasted a chunk of your money and you haven't wasted time because time spent learning something new is time well spent.

We are never done learning.

I only signed up for one course at first, one that didn't offer a certificate of achievement. I just wanted to see if I was even able to study at home on my own. Then, after I had spent one day doing the first module of that course, and loved it, I signed up for another 4 starting the next week... A tad too ambitious, but when I saw a course I liked the look of I just wasn't able to leave it and wait for the next time it would start.

I am now in the last week of my courses, I need to finish them all by Tuesday. So far I have finished 3, I've only got 2 left, the "problem" is that I've got 2 weeks of catching-up to do on both and they are the toughest ones, I think anyway. I still love them though.

The courses I signed up for are:

They are all very interesting subjects, I might write more about some of them in a separate blog post.

Take my advice though; although I know I will be able to finish all 5 courses before Tuesday I would (hopefully) not sign up for 5 at a time again, I need to limit myself to 1 or 2 so that I can also have a social life as well as be able to have some "me" time.

We can never learn too much.

The courses might not offer academic credit but it might help you find out a bit more about what you like, what you might want to study for academic credit, what you might want to work with... Or it might just be a bit of fun learning.


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