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Results August 24, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Craftiness, Look what I did, Lovely people, Really good day, Sheer bloody-mindedness.

I’m back!  Arran was fantastic, and I love it to bits.  I also have swag, by which I mean a fair bit of yarn from Arran itself and from The Wool Baa in Sheffield, into which Dad and I nipped on the way home.  He’s a bit scared of knitters, is my dad.  He’s barely met any, and he wasn’t looking forward to going into a yarn shop and potentially having to converse with people who are interested in very different things to him.  Half an hour later, therefore, we emerged from the Wool Baa with me clutching a skein of teal Araucania Ranco Solid (try as I might, I’ve never been able to resist Ranco) and some very pretty Cascade Heathers, probably for Verity, and him grinning from ear to ear looking for all the world like he’d made a new best friend.  This is what knitters do to you, ladies and gents.  It’s such a sociable sport.

We walked miles.  It was fantastic.  We went up hills, and over moors, and ambled around standing stones and discovered trig points and ate a lot of chocolate raisins.  We got a fair few scratches and bruises from heather, and enjoyed ourselves so much.  After having been cooped up indoors at work for so long recently, it was the best thing I could possibly have done.  I adore places where the land meets the sea and the sky, and where different heights and colours and sounds are just so close to each other.  Let us say, there is no chance of my ever being agoraphobic.  Dad has photos, and he’s as good at procrastinating as I am so I haven’t even seen them yet.

Other than that, I knitted loads, finished a pair of socks (remember the bright green ones I was knitting on Grey Day? finally finished!) as well as my First!Completed!Cardigan!Ever! which is yet to be blocked, and is a test knit so I think deserves a post to itself.  I also read The Hound of the Baskervilles and ate my body weight in smoked salmon, prawns, oatcakes and cheese.  Dad took the opportunity to introduce me to the concept of ale I might actually like, and at the age of twenty I drank my first pint – of Arran Blonde.  I’m still not entirely won over, but it feels like a milestone to me.

It was everything a holiday should be, is what I’m saying.

In unrelated news, if you’re in the UK you probably haven’t been able to escape the fact that A Level results day was last Thursday, and it’s all getting easier and we’re all getting thicker and should just stop doing degrees because there aren’t enough places and 95% of courses are overrated anyway.  Just thinking about my A Levels, two years on, puts me in meltdown – especially the subtle implication of the British media that I don’t really deserve my three As, or that anyone could have got them, because it’s all easier than it was thirty years ago anyway.  All of which is by the by now anyway, because I’m done with A Levels and part way through a Batchelor’s degree, so of course now is their opportunity to spend the next five years devaluing those as well.

What this was intended to be, however, before it was a rant about how nobody cares if I work hard or start taking coffee intravenously and memorising the relevant sections of the Dewey Decimal System, is that it’s GCSE results day today, and my fantastic and brainy and front-page-on-results-day-worthy little sister got hers this morning!  I am slightly teary, who knew she was that grown up?  And she’s done brilliantly, as we all knew she would because she’s a clever sod, and better than I did, which was equally inevitable for the same reasons.  I am so very proud of her.

(That’s a very sexy hat you’re sporting there, Midge.  Is that a slight hint of grey cabley goodness with moss stitch panels?  I cannot think where you might have got it.)

(Note to everyone: I am related to her.  Yes!  I know!  I am hoping to goodness some of it is genetic.)



1. luciainfurs - August 24, 2010

“Just thinking about my A Levels, two years on, puts me in meltdown – especially the subtle implication of the British media that I don’t really deserve my three As, or that anyone could have got them, because it’s all easier than it was thirty years ago anyway.”

Oh lor, I remember this. My parents reactions to my ABB results were pretty much “Oh, but everyone got As. We saw it on the telly.”

Sod that. Well done Midge and well done every other school and college child in the country. I saw how hard my sister was working this year. She made herself wrecked, reclusive and ill getting these results. It – was – not – easy. Well fucking done.

2. Jenny - August 25, 2010

This is the thing – if the whole thing is supposedly so much easier, why are more students apparently getting more stressed and into more trouble mentally every year doing these exams? And if it’s still as much of a mental leap from pre-GCSEs to GCSEs proper, or ditto A-levels, then frankly they’re just as hard as ever they were because there’s still the same amount of progress to be made. Furthermore there was an article in the Guardian about a journalist who decided to try taking English A-level this year just to see whether A-levels are as easy as everyone says – and she concluded that they’re not. The skills that are required at A-level these days are different – less memorising, and a lot more thinking for yourself. Essay questions are a lot more specific and complex, and yes, there are more hoops to jump through. I don’t think it’s even reasonable to try and compare A-levels Then And Now, to be honest. I think from all that I’ve heard that they’re very different beasties.

And heck, I felt pretty bad about my results. The Entire. Bloomin’. Country got three As if you read the right paper, but wait, no, Jenny Mohan got ABB in her first set of A-levels and AB in her second.

So, no. I don’t think they are easier. And I don’t think journalists and reactionary middle-aged men should have any right to say any such thing, really.

Furthermore, of course it’s all genetic. You’re both bloody gorgeous and stupidly intelligent and basically we want to kill you both except that you (and I suspect, your sister too) are just too lovely. Not fair.

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