Boswells Blog - November 2015

13th November 2015

Get Inspired by Adult Education

Get Inspired by Adult Education

An academic life straight after school isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it can be a rewarding and enjoyable addition in later life. Rosie in our Pharmacy shares her experience at Oxford's own Ruskin College.

You're Never Too Old To Learn!

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so be more cat. Academic life isn’t for everyone and many people miss that first step from school to college. It’s a doozy. They invented gap years and clearing to help with the transition from college to University, but, contrary to popular belief, the world won’t end if you don’t get the exam results you wanted. Reality can be tough and it often seems like your choices are limited, and life certainly fills up with chores, hobbies, friends, family, work and debtsand studying disappears from view. I certainly didn’t get the results I had expected and had to radically change my plans. After re-taking exams at the local college I thought that I had enough to get a job. My friends who had studied, moved away to University. I gave up on education and settled for a more domestic life.Exam Image

Still there was something missing. I tried the odd writing course at youth centres and theatres. I even went to Oxford Brookes to learn how to use computers! This wasn’t taught when I was at school but seemed to be essential in the 21st century. With help from the local library and the job centre I gained qualifications that enhanced my C.V. When I started work in a pharmacy I found that part of my employment contract was to study all the medicines that I was going to be selling. With a lot of help and hard work I gained a Medicine Counter Assistant Certificate—and a pay rise!

You’re never too old to learn, but it wasn’t until a leaflet came through my door in 2012, about the courses at Ruskin College, that I was persuaded to follow my dream. I applied to Ruskin College to study Writing for Performance and was amazed that they let me in. It was the start of two of the most challenging, exciting and happy years of my life. I graduated last year with a Foundation Degree and now write pieces for the company blog (like this one) which I really enjoy—I would never have considered doing anything like that before.

Ruskin College is well known around the world for the second chance it gives to people, no matter what their background. Some take incredible journeys to get here because they want to learn and gain the bits of paper that had eluded them at school, or to go on to study at other universities, or improve their skills in their chosen profession. 

Graduation ImageRuskin is aware of the obstacles that make it difficult to study at any age, and offer support for students both with their personal and their emotional difficulties. Several students discover at a mature age that they have dyslexia or other problems that were missed at school, and Ruskin offers specialist help to improve their learning experiences. Though Ruskin is a small college it welcomes students from all over the world with a wonderful sense of community. It was the staff and the other students that made it such a magical place to study for me. The college allows multicultural people of all shapes and sizes to learn together in a supportive environment in the leafy suburb of Old Headington. 

What to Look For in a Course

Wherever you are thinking of studying I recommend looking for these facilities to make a truly supportive experience:

  • Small class sizes and weekly tutorials to allow you to get time to work directly with a tutor and to develop your knowledgebase and skills.
  • An excellent acedemic reputation with highly qualified staff who are there to support your learning every step of the way.
  • A supportive and encouraging environment to boost your confidence.
  • Opportunities for professional and career development .
  • Funding opportunities to help you realistically balance your work, home and study life. 
Learning Image

My friend, the late poet Davey MacArnold, used creative writing to help him overcome the horrors he had seen as a military veteran. Ruskin for him was a lifeline and led to performing his Homeless Oratorio in London. Philip Stevens has collected stories from Adult learners at various colleges (including Ruskin) in his excellent book Rita and Gerald: Adult Learning In Britain Today, so if you think studying isn't for you read about how others discovered a better life through education.

Stay curious and discover more about the things you are interested in. Perhaps you’ll end up teaching or who knows, writing a book. Why not make an academic qualification the next chapter in your life?

For more information on adult education why not take a look at:

The Open University

http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/choose/ppcgeneric?ns_clid=google,281595982,17976108862,[part%20time%20study]&mkwid=ga187-857-7519&KWID=374912437&keywordid=ggluk_[part%20time%20study]&kwcampaign=bau%20england%20-%20generics%20-%20exact#

Oxford Brookes

https://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-at-brookes/

Ruskin College

Library Image

http://www.ruskin.ac.uk/

Birkbeck College: University of London

http://www.bbk.ac.uk/front-page/

Other Local Study Programmes

http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/tuition/other-specialists

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3rd November 2015

Celebrating Guy Fawkes Night In and Around Oxford

Celebrating Guy Fawkes Night In and Around Oxford

Gunpowder Plotters Image

Remember, remember the 5th of November, or so the saying traditionally goes. It was, of course, on this infamous date in 1605 that a group of 13 gunpowder plotters attempted to bring both King and parliament to an explosive end with 36 barrels of hidden gunpowder. Guy Fawkes, the most remembered of the plotters—not, in fact, the leader of the conspirators but rather the man caught holding the lantern in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament—will be burned in effigy up and down the country in the coming days to mark the anniversary of the thwarting of the plot, as has become the custom. And, as well as bonfires aplenty there will be fireworks, hot dogs, burgers, and even funfairs to accompany the burning of "the Guy." Yup, 410 years on from Guy Fawkes’ arrest the act of remembering gunpowder, treason and plot is far from being “forgot,” and has grown into a full scale annual tradition.

To mark this occasion, and to help you make the most of Guy Fawkes Night, we’ve gathered up a list of upcoming bonfire and firework events in and around Oxford.

Fireworks Image5th November

For traditionalists that like to celebrate on the day itself:

Bonfire Night at the Plough—OX2 8BD (Fireworks and BBQ, 6pm).

Fireworks Night & Bonfire, St Michael’s Primary School—Marston, OX3 0EJ (5:30pm).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/oxfordshire/jacktivities/event/4514/

Dorchester on Thames Village Firework Display—Recreation Ground, Dorchester on Thames (5:30pm).
http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/events/Dorchester_on_Thames/1100641.Event.VILLAGE_FIREWORK_DISPLAY___Dorchester_on_Thames/?s=98e465080e7027cc8a1fe1f6f09a1a90&i=1

Kidlington Fireworks Display—Stratfield Brake Recreation Ground, Kidlington (fireworks to music, 6pm).

Stadhampton Fireworks Display—Stadhampton Village Green (Bonfire at 5:30, Fireworks 7pm).
http://www.stadhampton.org/news/stadhampton-bonfire-and-firework-display/

6th November

Botley School Fireworks—OX2 9JZ (Fireworks and refreshments, 6pm).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/oxfordshire/jacktivities/event/4443/

22nd Oxford Sea Scouts Firework Display—OX4 4BJ (Fundraising firework display, BBQ, 6:45pm).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/oxfordshire/jacktivities/event/4400/

7th November

Oxford Round Table Fireworks Display—South Park (48th annual charity fireworks display, live music, refreshments and funfair, gates open 4:30pm, fireworks 6:45 followed by bonfire).
http://oxfordfireworks.co.uk/

Night Lights Event—Barracks Lane Community Garden, OX4 2AP (Music, bonfires, stories, fire whirling and fairy gardens, 3:30-6:30pm).
http://www.barrackslanegarden.org.uk/events_item.php?id=1099

Hanborough Musical Fireworks—The Pavillion, OX29 8JQ (Fireworks to music, BBQ, refreshments and funfair, 6:00).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/surrey/jacktivities/event/4597/

Marsh Baldon Green Fireworks Display—The Green, Marsh Baldon (Bonfire, fireworks, funfair, refreshments, 6:30pm).
http://www.baldons.org.uk/content/content_home_popup.php?id=232

Didcot Charity Fireworks, Bonfire and Funfair—Lloyd Recreation Ground, OX11 7BN (Fireworks, funfair, refreshments, proceeds go to charity, gates open 5:30pm).

http://www.didcotrotary.org.uk/

Bonfire Image

Standlake Cokethorpe Sea Scouts Annual Firework Spectacular—Standlake Village Hall (Fireworks, BBQ, Tombola, 6pm).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/oxfordshire/jacktivities/event/4488/

Bicester Round Table Firework Display and Bonfire—Pingle Field (Fireworks, fairground, bonfire, refreshments and music, 6pm).
https://www.facebook.com/events/1498320193823349

Old Swan and Minster Mill Bonfire and Fun Weekend—Witney, OX29 0RN (Bonfire, fireworks and refreshments, 6:00pm).
https://www.facebook.com/events/377774989072790/

Image copyright of Leonora Enking.

8th November

Witney RFC Bonfire and Fireworks Spectacular—Witney Rugby Club (Fireworks and bonfire)
https://www.facebook.com/bonfirefireworkswitney

Lantern Image

We recommend taking a November trip to The Ashmolean Museum where, in the basement, you will find the lantern purported to be the very one Guy Fawkes had with him in the cellars of Parliament on November 5th 1605.

If you know of any other firework or bonfire events taking place nearby we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at web@boswellsltd.com or contact us via facebook or twitter.

Image copyright of Ben Sutherland.

We also sell a range of KimBolton fireworks in store—now available for the first time through the click and collect option on our website—so if you’re planning your own display, big or small, we can help you to make this bonfire night something a bit special. If you’re not sure what kind of fireworks you need you can always pop in to store to talk to one of the members of staff on our fireworks desk, near the Broad Street entrance, who will be happy to help.

So wrap up warm, get to a display nice and early for the perfect view, and remember, remember the 5th of November in sparkly, spectacular style!

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