About Me

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I am a 68-year-old gay disabled amateur part-time writer living in Slough, Berkshire UK. I have published around 50 articles in 20 leisure and lifestyle magazines. I live with a range of health issues including heart disease, chronic kidney disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression, atrial fibrillation and restless leg syndrome. (I'm working my way through the medical dictionary!). I'm a member of Slough Writer's Group which is interesting and informative. Latest News. 10th July 2023 Awarded 'The Sandy Lee-Guard Award for Endeavour' by the Slough Writers Group. 6th December 2023 Completed studying 'Writing for Magazines' with CityLit University. January 2nd 2024. Fell over in the lounge and fractured my left femur (whilst recovering from fracturing my right femur in July 2023). Recovery expected to take 6 - 8 months. May 2024. Completed studying ' National Centre for Writing' course 'Creative Non-Fiction - An Introduction'. You can see the articles that have been published in the 'LATEST WORK' section of my website.

Thursday 30 March 2023


 I'm feeling reasonably okay this morning.

I've also been reviewing and editing my assignment TMA02.

I managed to download the slides from last nights 'TMA02 Online preparation session.' and print a few of the more relevant ones.

I'm considering saving and sorting my files on my OneDrive only to avoid confusion and duplication.

Tuesday 28 March 2023


 Feeling much better today.

Last night, at Slough Writers Group, we had a presentation and workshop on copywriting. It was really good.

This morning, I had an online class on 'Critical Thinking and Writing (Intermediate)' It went over my head.

I've been allowed to 're-submit' my assignment TMA02. There's an online tutorial tomorrow, and some tutor notes due soon. I've realised from my tutorial yesterday, that it could be (much) better, so I'm going to edit it, and go through it carefully, before I re-submit it.

Monday 27 March 2023

Marvelous Monday

I'm feeling better today. Have been working at my PC rather than on my laptop in bed.

In 15 minutes, I've got a tutorial on the phone. And I'm waiting for a doctor to ring sometime this afternoon.

I've been updating my website. I added my 'Statement of Participation' for 'All my own work' in the 'Other stuff' section of my website.

And I've added a link to the 'Gay Authors Workshop' on my links page.

Sunday 26 March 2023

Sunday shorts...

British Summer Time is here. During the night, the clocks went forward by an hour.

Feeling crappy this morning. I must ring the doctors in the morning. 

15:00 Feeling reasonably okay this afternoon. Just taken Lottie out.

16:00 Completed the OpenLearn online course 'All my own work: exploring academic integrity'. Finished at 19:00. Gained a 'digital badge (below)' and a 'Statement of Participation'.

Saturday 25 March 2023

Saturday 25/03/2023

 I've decided to take a few days break from study (as I'm unwell) until 1st April (Unit 7), however, this morning, I found myself actually beginning the unit. I created pdf's, mp4 files and word documents, saved into the appropriate files.

Then, I worked through 'The Students Union' online advice on procrastination and other issues. Then I decided to complete todays entry in my online study diary and my blog.

Watch this space!

Thursday 23 March 2023

Thursdays Troubles

Created a new file under TMA02 called 'Submission' in which I've stored the final edit. Reviewed and completed final draft of TMA02 and submitted it.

Not feeling too well today so stayed in bed. Didn't feel better until mid-evening.

Simon told me to "Put it down" @ 20:45!

Monday 20 March 2023

Monday Musing

 I spent the weekend studying 'Conscious', a poem by WW1 poet and soldier Wilfred Owen. 

His fingers wake, and flutter; up the bed.
His eyes come open with a pull of will,
Helped by the yellow mayflowers by his head.
The blind-cord drawls across the window-sill…
What a smooth floor the ward has! What a rug!
Who is that talking somewhere out of sight?
Three flies creeping round the shiny jug…
'Nurse! Doctor!'-'Yes; all right, all right.'

But sudden evening muddles all the air.
There seems no time to want a drink of water.
Nurse looks so far away. And here and there
Music and roses burst through crimson slaughter.
He can't remember where he saw blue sky…
The trench is narrower. Cold, he's cold; yet hot —
And there's no light to see the voices by…
There is no time to ask… he knows not what.

This is the poem to be analyzed in my assignment TMA02 (Tutor Marked Assignment). I have to analyze the 'Effects', 'Techniques', 'Context' and 'Meaning' of the poem. It's not easy!

Wish me luck!

I read my piece 'Y Pentref' out at my writers' group this evening. It was well received with no criticisms.


Friday 17 March 2023

Freaky Friday

10:00 Reviewed notes on Unit 4.

10:25 Began Unit 5 Techniques used in poetry.

I've been reading up such things as 'end rhymes', 'rhyming couplets' etc.

15:40 Reading about 'metre', 'feet', 'iambic pentametre' etc. VERY difficult. Reading also about the requirements for TMA02.

17:00 I've been writing, nothng to do with my studies - just writing! And I'm on a roll!

I'll study tomorrow and Sunday for 3 hours each and write my story for a few hours each day. I'd like to finish it by Monday lunchtime so that I can read it out at the Slough Writers Group on Monday night and the members can critique it. 

Thursday 16 March 2023

Thoughtful Thursday

 10:24 I'm feeling pretty rough this morning. I hope to feel better by lunchtime.

Simon has a doctors appointment (in person) this morning, regarding his abnormally high blood pressure. He's taking in a repeat prescription for me.

I've found an audio clip of 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' and have uploaded a copy of it to the 'Tutor Group Forum'.

12:30 I'm feeling slightly better now.

15:40 Finished Unit4. Tomorrow Unit 5.

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Wednesday's Worries

I'm getting a little worried/anxious about Unit 4 - "First impressions of poetry". I'm having trouble distinguishing between the various aspects of the study diamond: Effects, Techniques, Context and Meaning, the first three in particular.

Did some research for TMA02 and printed some work as wall posters. Downloaded sections of the module book into relevent folders especially Units 4,5 & 6.

Continued to study Unit 4.

Tuesday 14 March 2023


Today is a good day, so far. Although I felt a little unwell this morning - not as poorly as on recent mornings.

I've been studying 'Concious' by Wilfred Owen, a poem we are required to comment on in our next assignment TMA02. I've been applying the four elements of the 'Study Diamond': Effects, Techniques, Context and Meaning.

I'm not so sure that I'm getting it right though. I'm going to try and find an example online. If you know of an example, please share it with me at sloughwriter@gmail.com.

So, I'm not procastinating - other than taking Lottie for a walk, and entering stuff in this diary/blog.

15:30 Received an appointment for Dr.Kabir's Cardiology clinic at Harefield Hospital on 2nd November 2023 - My Birthday!

Monday 13 March 2023

Miserable Monday

 I had a really bad night due to my RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) playing up. I was awake for most of the night.

In the morning, bleary eyed, I began going over Unit 4 again, but it didn't really go in. I've been trying to memorise the four points of the 'study diamond': Effects, Techniques, Context and Meaning. It's beginning to go in, I think.

I helped Georgie (Simon's Mum) set up a standing order online.

I've got an online class this afternoon: 'Academic Writing' from 16:00 until 18:00, and then Slough Writers from 19:30 until 21:30.

Didn't stay on the online class for long. Couldn't understand it.

Studied some poetry notes for an hour.

Sunday 12 March 2023

Sunday's musings

Yes, I'm procastinating! I still haven't looked at Unit 4 (First Impressions of poetry) but I had previously completed it and (hand)written notes in my 'Learning Notes' folder.

I'm not feeling very well, so I'm still in bed, working on my laptop.

I've downloaded a pdf version of 'Block 1 - Finding your voice' and am going to move it into the OU folder that I've created on my desktop.

​​​​​​​I've worked out how to cut out a section of the Assesment Guide and create a pdf document of TMA02 only. I've shared it on the forums.

How is it done? You open the pdf document that you want to take an extract of. Make a note of the page(s) that you want to create in your new document. Select 'Print' and select 'Save as pdf'. Put in the first and last pages you want to include and click on 'Print'. Then save it with a new name in the file location you want. And that's it!

Saturday 11 March 2023

Saturday Studies

 Again, feeling like c**p this morning and am staying in bed until I feel better, hopefully by lunchtime.

I'm still working on setting-up my new laptop.

I think that I'm procrastinating in studying poetry. When I feel better, I'm really going to try and get to grips with working on Units 4 and 5.

16:00 Feeling much better since lunchtime.

Today is the first day of studying Unit 4 'First impressions of poetry'.

I'm not so keen on this as I've very little experience of reading poetry, let alone studying and analysing it.

However, although I'm somewhat anxious about it, I'm confident that if I work hard, that I'll get to grips with it.

I'm no longer ahead in the schedule, so I must try and not procastinate. 

18:30 I've just been looking at the Slough Writers Group website. It's reminded me what a nice bunch of people they are. If you're in or around East Berkshire and interested in writing (at any level), take a look at their website which is at www.sloughwriters.org and if you're interested come along to Burnham Working Mens Club on Monday nights (during term time) 7:30pm - 9:30pm. The first two sessions are free, and if you decide to join, it costs £36 per year.

Friday 10 March 2023

Frosty Friday!

I just took Lottie out for a walk. It's a bitter biting wind out there.

I'm setting-up my new laptop, especially the desktop and Open University folders.

I had promised myself that I'd carry on re-studying Unit 4 'First impressions of poetry', but I'm not in the right frame of mind, or maybe I'm procrastinating!

I'm expecting a delivery from Amazon; a wireless mouse for my laptop and an adjustable swivel stool for Simon for when he's doing his artwork.

18:20 This afternoon/evening, I put together a short(ish) proposal for the Slough Writers committee for a workshop idea for next term.

I recieved and assembled the swivel stool for Simon and set-up the wireless mouse.

Thursday 9 March 2023

Thursday 09/03/2023

 I haven't done any studying today. Unwell this morning and things to do this afternoon.

I took delivery of my new laptop this afternoon. It's Windows 10. I like it.

This afternoon, I had a telephone consultation with a cardiac specialist from Harefield Heart Hospital. After discussing my current health he said that I needed to have an 'angiogram', a 'nuclear heart scan' and an 'MRI' scan.

I'll continue work on Unit 4 (First impressions of poetry) tomorrow.

Tuesday 7 March 2023


 As I'm finding studying Unit 5 extremely difficult, I've decided to re-study from the beginning of Unit 4 'First Impressions of Poetry'.

I'm going to focus on the use of the 'Study Diamond'.

I've tried to analyse the poem 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' (by Wilfred Owen) using the 'Study Diamond'. I've sent my interpretation to my tutor to seek her advice on whether or not I've got it right. Fingers crossed!

Monday 6 March 2023

Monday Musings!

Not doing any studying today. Not feeling too well.

Updated my diary to include online classes. 

Yesterday, I emailed Samantha, covering the difficulties I'm having with studying poetry. Here is her response:

"My advice would be to perhaps slow down a little to give yourself good time to take in, reflect on, and also appreciate what you're learning in the module material. 

Do build in those strategies in your learning and approach to the different works of poetry that we discussed in our last tutorial. 

Also, as previously touched on, there really is no need to go outwith the course as regards seeking other learning resources (other than Stella Cotterill's Study Skills Handbook as I recommended), although embedding study skills is well-taught throughout the module."

Sunday 5 March 2023

I have to admit to being somewhat depressed about my diagnosis of having coeliac disease, but today I joined 'Coeliac UK' which I hope will help.

Worked on 5.2 and attempted 5.3 (Metre), but having difficulty. I don't think I'm progressing here.

Sent a copy of my poem 'A lads Tale' to Lorraine and asked her if she'd be kind enough to read it out for me tomorrow night.

Sent an email to Terry (Chair - Slough Writers), offering to facilitate a workshop on 'Writing for Magazines' sometime during the next 'term'.

1. Thoughts and feelings about the different aspects of your studies. I am feeling positive about my studies so far, and pleased with my first TMA. Howevr, I'm having quite a lot of difficulty on aspects of poetry.

2. Areas in which you feel you have progressed. I think I'm developing skills in Academic Writing. I'm also improved in 'studying something new'. I'm heading towards my learning goals. I felt positive about Units 1, 2 and 3 (Reading and writing; Speaking and listening & How we use language.

3. Areas in which you would like to develop your skills. I would really like to develop my skills in the reading and analysis of poems and use of the 'Study Diamond'. I would also like to conquer my tendancy to procrastinate and I'm still struggling with taking/making notes effectively.

Friday 3 March 2023

More bad news!

I had a call from the doctor yesterday. She told me that I'd tested positive for coeliac disease. That makes thje list: heart disease, chronic kidney disease, coeliac disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression, atrial fibrillation and restless leg syndrome. (I'm working my way through the medical dictionary!).

So now I'm stuck with quite a severe diet regime - no gluten! I and Simon went to Sainsburys this morning to look at gluten free foodstuffs. It's so expensive!

I'll stay in touch!