My Open University Course Writings.

I did six Courses from 2000 of which year I watched my daughter do a music OU course. Then 2001 to 2006 I did 6 courses. On the Thursday at 9.45pm of the 10th of January at the beginning of the 3rd year music course of 2002 my mother died in the Colchester General Hospital in the Brightlingsea Heart Ward... I spent 7 days in the hospital with her; I slept on the couch in the day room or on the floor beside her bed. I could not leave her. I  knew the Heart Consultant, Tony Handley,  from my days with St Botolphs; I never saw him, though. The hospital was very short of nurses and I thought Ken Rowe, who my mother brought up , would have provided me with one to help me with her. But he did not even enquire of the hospital. Yet he had built a Hospital for the Salvation Army in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he owns Airline hangers in Halifax!  My parents flew, to stay with Ken and Dorothy at one of their houses near  a river where they had a boat, by plane  first class. The two week visit was paid for by Ken as a 50th wedding anniversary present. I was invited but could not go because I had to care for my sick brother, Stephen....My mother had cleaned the bungalow and left me plenty of food.

Decet vulputate nulla roto


Question 1: In 500 words, write a complete mini-story where the central character is a child. Write it from the child's point of view (using 'I'), and in the past tense. Pay attention to the kind of language a child might use; and to the observations particular to a child. Use as your setting: a busy city street, where something has just happened, before the story actually begins. Use some dialogue.



Accident in a Busy City Street (where the central charcter is a child).

 I had gone with Daddy to Tony's Toy Shop in the High Street on Saturday where he had promised to buy me a new dolly. As we were coming out of the shop, we had heard a horrible skidding sound, a thump and there was a smell of burning rubber.

I looked past Daddy and could not believe what I saw. There was a little girl in a pink dress lying in the road with, oh no, her lolly beside her.

'You stay in the shop doorway while I see what I can do for the poor little girl.' Daddy had turned round to face me, looking horrified.

Then I heard Daddy begging onlookers to stand back, telling them he was a doctor. There was still a smell of rubber in the air, which must have come from the car tyres when the car driver tried to stop. I saw the skid marks on the pavement and in the road after the crowd had scattered. 

Daddy knelt by the poor little girl. Her pink lolly began to melt and trickled towards the gutter. All of a sudden I then heard a 'Whoo, whoo, Whoo, whoo', the sound of a police car. A tall looking lady, like my mother,  stood beside me, taking my hand, giving me a sweet,

'Your daddy's a good man. I will look after you for now. Look, the police have arrived with the ambulance close behind,' that good lady informed me. The touch of her hand had been a comfort to me. I wanted to run up to the little girl, now covered in a bright red blanket,  to give her my new dolly, but the lady stopped me by pulling me back by my coat hood. I seemed to understand that she needed to do this.

The little girl, whose mummy was crying, was then put on a stretcher by the men in green overalls and lifted gently into the ambulance. Daddy was trying to comfort her. He was also looking across at me. The police were talking to some people and taking notes.

Daddy then came over to me and said, 'I have rung Mummy, and told her we shall be late home for dinner. I have got to speak to the police first. That black car over there will soon be towed away.'

I had forgotten about the car, which was a little way down the street: it had been hidden by the crowds. I the looked to where my daddy pointed, and could see an unhappy man sitting on the pavement holding his head in his hands. Two policemen were trying to talk to him.

He looked very sorry, I had thought, wondering if he was a Daddy and had a little girl waiting for him at home...









Activity 4.5 Short exercise  which is continued 4.7 4.9.

around 250 words around one of the following subjects






Use one of more characters and write using all of the points below.

From a third-person narrative point of view

in the past tense

as an omniscient narrator


Schizophrenia was misdiagnosed in Stephen. He previously had a breakdown by over working. He did  voluntary work trying to help people: using his car to get sick peoples' prescriptions; mending cars; courting a beauty, Vicky. The only person who knew Stephen was over doing things was his sister, Janet.

‘Something is happening to you. You must slow down!.’ Janet could see that her brother had looked anxious and tired. She did not like the 'look of things’.

Sure enough, a few days later he had been admitted to Claybury psychiatric hospital. Stephen had gone to the family GP Dr Hayland complaining of  pains and tiredness. That doctor had given Stephen drugs  for schizophrenia, which made him worse.  Stephen had been put on a stretcher and carted away by ambulance.

Their parents had been told not to visit Brian for three weeks, but Janet went to see her brother regardless. As she entered that dark rambling hospital, a sense of foreboding overwhelmed her. The place appeared desserted. After wandering awhile though the winding corridors she came across a large room with high sashed windows. A coal fire was burning in the spacious fireplace to her left. To her consternation she saw  Stephen on the floor by a long wooden table. His wheel chair was on its side with her dear brother in it.

Janet looked around the large deserted room and spied a patient in a scruffy tweed suit by the entrance staring at Stephen.

‘Can you tell me where the nurses are?’ Janet spoke slowly so that the patient understood her. The bulging eyed sad man had a pink bow tying up his greying frizzled shoulder length hair.  Without a word the patient made a quick exit. Two nurses then entered the room to see to Stephen. 

A few weeks later, Janet was invited with her parents to see the top psychiatrist of Claybury hospital.  To her horror Janet saw that he was none other than the ‘patient’ with the pink bow who had been staring at her poor brother on the floor in his wheel chair.  Dr Klasnic was now clean shaven with short back and sids, but was still recognizable by his bulging eyes.




Hansa`s and Philip’s essays caused me a bit of a headache. Having studied the detailed discussion in the set book pp 105 - 135, it has made me more aware of the need to pay attention to the way an essay is written and the grammar.  Sentence structure is important, simple sentences being preferred. Long and complicated sentences, and too officious language, only confuses the reader. Punctuation is very important, as it steers the reader forward. Paragraphs should have connecting words and should contain one idea each. The essay must end with a conclusion which refers back to the title and the introduction.

        The set book recommends that we improve our English language skills by, either attending classes or buying books on the subject.  Many years ago, I bought a correspondence course from America which included the translation of words into English - such as automobile, for car. It cost me £20, which was three times my weekly wage in the mid-1960s. But it proved very useful and I still have it now. So, I must refer to it. The course materials included the Hartramps Vocabulary Builder, an American dictionary and a few booklets on writing skills plus a tutor. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete the course due to ill health! But I did a goodly bit. The two main course books gave detailed instruction and focused on sentence exercises; even drawing structures and diagrams of the clauses, adverbial phrases etc.

        Both Hansa’s and Philip’s essays lack a strong introduction. Because philip does not have the title written at the top of his essay, it is difficult to know what he is going to discuss and argue about.  Hansa does not refer to the question in her introduction, although she does make an immediate attack on dealing with the essay material.


Janet Swann.


Activity 3.9


`Victorian moral values applied equally to all`

Discuss this statement in relation to the lives of mid-Victorian women as described in the texts.

(Discuss equality in Victorian moral values in relation to the lives of mid-Victorian women as described in the texts.) 


I have done my best to grab the readers attention right from the start. I believe that I have addressed the title and included the key words. Also stating that the aforesaid is now going to be discussed and the texts examined.


1a) Equality in moral values were wide off the mark in relation to mid-Victorian women’s lives.  High society women, though more privileged, had the tendency towards affairs. Their husbands and families suffered moral deprivation because of this.  But moral values during Victorian times were thought to be very high.  The British Empire was at its highest and Prime Ministers, such as Lord Palmerston, were giving lofty speeches about how `grand` Britain’s moral values were, and how anyone can attain to them. But how did this apply in relation to the lives of mid-Victorian women? This will be discussed through the `eye witness` accounts of Mayhew and Mills.


1b) Equality in moral values were wide off the mark in relation to mid-Victorian women’s lives.  High society women,though more privileged, had the tendency towards affairs.Their husbands and families suffered moral deprivation because of this.  But moral values during Victorian times were thought to be very high. This view was often given in the `lofty` speeches of the Prime ministers of that time, especially Lord Palmerston`s. Through the eyewitness accounts of Mayhew and Mills it will be seen how these moral values applied in relation to the lives of mid-Victorian women: did they have equal values?; how did these moral values apply in the lives of both poor and wealthy women?; how did the men involved  treat these women? These questions will have to be fully addressed, and the texts of Mayhew and Mills are discussed and examined in order to find the answers.


I have done rough drafts of two possible introductions to the above ETMA questions 


Could anyone be kind enough to comment on any aspect of  the above work.


By the way, where is everybody. It feels like a `ghost site`!


Janet Swann


Activity 3.3 - 3.7


Having attempted the sentences, and made a mess of them, I am going to study the activities again to get the most out of them.


This is a thought a woke up with this morning. Not exactly what we were told to do, but I deemed his good practice, perhaps.


Is it true that behind every great woman there is a man? (Men are not all  bad. Some women are.)


To understand whether it is true that behind every great woman is a man, it would be a good idea, as well as interesting, to look at our own experiences of `good men`. Ones that we have had the privilege to get to know throughout our lives, and who have helped, shielded and mentored their womenfolk.


My father was the first good man I got to know.   He fed and watered me: took me to music lessons; taught me good table manners; taught me when to speak; how to treat people; and never to bear a grudge. He never hit or abused me. Without him, I would be nothing. He bought me dictionaries, games and taught me to paint. We, as a family, would play these games, which included Waddington`s Cluedo and Monopoly, well into the evening at bank holiday times. Each year he would provide us with a holiday, for which he worked hard, during the evenings, lecturing at the London School of Lithographic Printing, Elephant and Castle, London. During the day he would artistically print out books, patterns, pictures etc for well known firms. He once tried his own business. 


Unfortunately, when my brother became ill, he could not keep up the pace and gave up his evening lecturing at the school in order to help his wife with their sick son. Disappointingly, he had just been offered full time position at the school to lecture full time, which he had to refuse. He had won the place over men with degrees. That is the sort of man he was. How my brother and I miss him, now that he is gone. He died of cancer of the oesophagus at the age of 78 a few years ago. Our mother followed him after a heart attack in January 2002.


Father was Christ-like with his dealing with mum and me,(and is sorely missed by everyone who knew him). We might not be great women in a worldly sense, but hopefully `great` in a spiritual sense.  Through him we overcame difficulties `against all odds`. Mum, her ill-treatment at the hands of her sister, Bessy; and me, overcoming athetoid cerebral palsy and deafness.


Mum`s sister, Bessy, had four strong boys. Because her own mother had had my mother at the age of 49, after a stroke, Bessy took her in at the age of nine years in order to do her housework and look after the babies. Mother had previously been fostered. The first foster mother only lasted a week because when her father had  gone to pay the women, he found baby Ivy outside in her pram in the pouring rain. He did not stop to pay that women - whom he saw through the window reading a book - but took his new born daughter to a farmers wife who had just given birth to a still born girl. When this foster mother died of consumption another was found. This one bought Ivy dolls and was going to have her taught the piano, but she also died of consumption. Now living with her sister, my mother’s life became hell. She was hit and kicked in the back and told, “I hope you never walk again!” Ivy was kept from school and when the school board man came to the house enquiring how Ivy had acquired a split head and blood matted hair, (she was sent to school like this), Bessy would say “ OH, silly girl, she fell over on her way to school. She is always doing this.”.


Bessy’s second eldest, Ken, (or Cecil, as he was called then) was shielded and looked after by Ivy. She received the knocks for the boys. Ken never experienced the battles between Bessy and her husband, his father who died early. Mum brought up the boys, while her sister worked as a hotel manageress and barmaid in the evenings. She could have married the elderly owner, but preferred younger men - to her detriment. One conned her out of all her home!  


Even now Ken relates the wonderful times he had with my mother, when he was growing up.  Is now a business entrepreneur in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  He is an Honorary General of the Canadian Airforce. He has received awards and recently met President Bush over business in Canada - how Bushes policies will affect Canadian business.  The latest report, is that Ken is receiving an award in Ontorio.


What all this has to do with mum being a `Great Woman` through a man? Well, when my brother became ill for the second time, in which he suffered a physical breakdown, the Maldsly Hospital and Claybury Hospital, London, and Several`s Hospital, Colchester, tried to lay the blame upon my mother (and even me for being a spastic) in the way, and because of how, she had brought my reared my brother, Stephen! How awful to have it laid at ones door for your son’s illness by `trick cyclists`; in correct English, psychiatrists. Anyhow, paradoxically or ironically, mum has been vindicated by the fact that while still a child by law, she was responsible for Business magnate sister’s son’s upbringing.  Her sister was an unfit mother, who beat her youngest son, Johnny, (I eyewitness to this when I used to stay with her as child) and allowed her new husband to beat him with a belt. This effected him through his life, but he still has four lovely girls, but because he became a Brethren, he disowned two daughters for becoming nurses and disowning his religion!


I am pleased my mother has been vindicated by Ken, because it must be her upbringing that made him so great in this world. He was responsible for the introduction of the very small needle that saves premature babies lives. This invention appeared some years ago on the BBC program Tomorrow`s World.

In a way, mother has become `Great` against all odds, despite that the bad births she suffered with my brother and I were down to her sister`s mis-treatment. She had the pleasure of going to Canada, traveling first class for her Golden wedding, paid for by Ken! My brother and I were invited too but I had to stay behind and `give eye` to him because he never fully recovered from his breakdown - Stephen has a website which explains his condition - and he has written a book: or My mother’s nephew, Ken, has websites: I.M.P.,  Imperial Marine Products inc., is his logo) Yes, behind every great woman there has to be a man, and I could give other instances where this is true, such as Catherine Cookson and her husband,Tom.


Janet  - must concentrate on draft for Essay on mid-Victorian women who were and were not abused. High society women abused their men by having affairs. Poor women were more likely to be abused by men. The ETMA Essay will have to be written in academic English - not so much of the I or not at all! I mean first person.




Email me, Janet Cattier:-

My brother, Stephen Cattier's website: