Monday, 26 August 2013

Ramblings of Rosie.

A colourful annual event.

As I write this I am watching the fantastic spectacle of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - always a 'not to be missed' programme as the massed bands of pipes and drums play rousing tunes, and dancers - not all Scottish - perform intricate dances. The displays of dancing and military bands come from around the world.

The ups and downs of using IT.

Computers sometimes have a mind of their own as I found out last week. All my writing input from last Wednesday went into thin air. The manuscript remained at the nineteenth of August. Luckily, the diagrams I had prepared in Power Point were OK and in the back-up file as well. I really don't understand it as there is an auto save on a regular basis and on exit. And it was backed up. I really am miffed! Well, hey-ho, it will have to be done again.
Computer maintenance was due and it feels much better for a clean-up, defrag etc. Currently I am installing some driver updates but I think a new system is on the cards. As I am often told even though I have had regular upgrades.

Birthday Boy.

Birthdays come but once a year and it doesn't seem two minutes since hubby had a big one. So this weekend, well this last week, has seen us enjoying a series of lunches with old friends. Nice to be able to be flexible enough to put work at one side. This weekend we went south to have a birthday dinner with family. We also met the newest addition to the family. Our step great-grandchild; a very tiny little girl but very alert and wide-eyed. She was passed around for a cuddle from everyone.
Dinner was at a Steakhouse overlooking the River Avon. Our hotel was comfortable but we did have to mention the lack of maintenance.
On the way down, the M5 was at a standstill near to the M4. Road works! On a Bank Holiday! And on the way back we were held up with traffic for the Steam Rally and then the Sunday Car Boot Sale. Both nearer to home. We made goodtime though and were able to enjoy Sunday Lunch at our favourite eaterie in Rossett.If you are visiting North Wales, you must try it.

A quiet Bank Holiday Monday.

Plans to carry on writing today went by the board and I did some marketing instead followed by more computer maintenance. (New Driver Update software which is taking its time I have to say.)
Pause - This Military Tattoo show in the grounds of Edinburgh Castle rally is something. The skill!

Opening of a new venture in Wrexham.  

Tomorrow sees the opening in Wrexham of The Regent Offices and Business Centre.
 "As well as five offices, the development features three meeting / conference rooms that can be hired for meetings, interviews, workshops, seminars, presentations and more.
The Regent is 'Space to Thrive'. "
Follow the development story here:  (Quote from LinkedIn)

Situated at No 67 Regent Street, it is right opposite the Railway Station and but a few minutes from the town centre with its shops, car parks and easy transport links. The transformation of No 67 into The  Regent was mastermined by Joanna Kinch who, once again, allowed her creative juices and imagination to bring a fresh look to the venture.

Back to books. An Interview with Smashwords.

USA digital distributor Smashwords have been instrumental in the success of our e-book worldwide distribution. Downloads  from the Apple iBookstore and Kobo have been encouraging - mainly for the Just Us Two travel books, but recent reports indicate that downloads to Barnes & Noble Nook  for both the Skills for Employability user-friendly workbooks have zoomed up.
My recent Smashwords interview is now live on the Smashwords site.
So a busy day today, not writing as planned but writing of another kind.

Re planned writing, it will resume towards the end of the week to progress 'Talking the Talk' with a couple of days uninterrupted creativity.

Rosalie x
PS. Handy having two computers!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Coming Up for Air.

So much to do and so little time to do it in. Is that what we all tell ourselves as we zoom around?
I have taken a little time out recently to take a back seat and reflect while I re-charge the old batteries.
It has been a wonderful summer and hopefully it is not over yet. What have you all been up to? Have you managed a break? I managed to catch up with various friends, enjoying lunch, afternoon tea (thank you Judith), a visit to the new M&S store not far away which is the largest in the UK and the second largest in the world - M&S store that is. I also indulged in a long overdue lengthy telephone chat. 
All of this was a welcome interlude after printing off the first draft of 'The Long Leg of Italy' which I am hoping will be ready early 2014.
Lake Garda - Italy
Brenta Dolomites - Italy

In the meantime, back in the cubby-hole which is my study, I have been planning and shaping up the next book in the Lifelong Learning Series. Called 'Talking the Talk:Getting the Message Across' it aims to take the fear out of speaking to a group of people. Many students have to give a short talk or presentation as part of their course and the Functional Skills part of it. 

Well these were called Key Skills and usually part of Apprenticeships ( Work-Based Learning or WBL) They have now been re-named Functional Skills and embedded into courses in school and college. In Wales they are called Essential Skills Wales and there is little difference to the old Key Skills. All in all, they are the essentials skills which we need to function in everyday life be it home, work or leisure. Everyone leaving school should be at Level Two. Many catch up through learning programmes (apprenticeships) in afterwards and even in later life.

You know, when I sat down to write this post I had no idea I was going to spout about all of the above. Lesson over but it is something close to my heart - to help and see people achieve to release and realise their full potential.

But back to the gist of what I was saying. I know from experience in WBL that many students quake at the thought of standing up and talking before a group. Many are terrified at the thoughts of having to give a presentation, especially one where they perceive that they have to use a Power Point presentation for their visual aids. Indeed many are under pressure to do so. They may not have computer facilities at home. They may not feel that they can produce the slides if they have and if they run out of time in school/college. What is wrong with using a product to get the point across anyway? Or a flip chart? Yes, I know that using ICT for the communication part of the programme covers two skills at one - well that is how I used to approach it anyway.
So, Talking the Talk will be aimed at this group as well as those more mature who find themselves in a situation where they have to speak to a group of colleagues or customers and need to 'get the message across'.
I knew I had some work on my computer which I had started to develop about fourteen or fifteen years ago and - I found it! Not in my CPD folder as I thought, but my Learning & Development folder. It was interesting reading what I had written all those years ago. It was just as if I had written it today. All I have to do is to make it less academic and make sure that I am relating to my varied audience. Talking the Talk will also cover the mundane but important details of planning the event be it short or long, formal or informal, as well as the script itself. I have a speaking engagement lined up at the end of September. What I am writing now is a good refresher for my own practice!

If you have any comments on your own hints, tips, and gremlins, feel free to comment below. 

Cover Draft 2
 Comments appreciated. It has to marry in with the others and the top colour not swamp the bottom.

Rosalie x