This site is English – get used to it…

Sunday ramble | Freshers week

The Milky Pool Millfields


Students will be starting at university this week. I have been helping university students a little and I expect to do so again this year. If any students want my advice for this year, it is to write your papers or essays with the reader in mind. The lecturer or professor reading them will be impressed with a good layout, clear text and a font that they don’t have to squint to read.


I would start with some kind of introduction and then the body of your text and maybe end with a conclusion. Don’t forget your references, Harvard referencing usually comes at the end of the paper. You can also make use of numbering, bullets, diagrams and pictures, if they are appropriate. Even info-graphics seem to gaining in popularity. You have a message to get across and so make it easy to read. Remember the person reading it might not have quite such good eyesight as you and so make the font, reasonable large at least 12 point. You will probably sound clever if you use long words, but use them wrongly and you will not sound at all clever. The use of politically correct words doesn’t always impress either. Vertically challenged might be more acceptable than saying someone isn’t very tall, but you could just say that they aren’t very tall. There are far more insulting ways of putting it. I admit though that over-weight is better than fat; but don’t get silly and go for horizontally challenged.  Anyway that’ll give you nerds and geeks something to think about…

Smile with tongue out

The kids went back to school last week too and the school runs have started again. I wish kids would walk to school. They put awful traffic calming by schools, because parents are worried about their little darlings. It’s the bloody parents that drive near the schools when the kids are coming and going. The rest of us have to put up with the speed humps, kerbs jutting out into the bloody road, mini roundabouts and chicanes, not to mention traffic chaos twice a day. I was on my way home in the dark last night and had to negotiate all that crap. Yes, I had been to the pub. No, I hadn’t had a drink. Yes, I did need one, faced with that obstacle course…

Smile with tongue out

I’ve talked to a student starting at an English University this morning. If you think you have problems starting at university, she will travel Beijing tomorrow, spend two days there and then fly to Birmingham on a long flight. I thought the flight was 22 hours with two stops, but the one stop was in Beijing, so I  think from Beijing there will one stop. I think that will be Bahrain. After all that, she will be have to cope with an English city for the first time. Totally different to China; with all the signs in a language that will be foreign to her. To make matters worse, it will be Wolverhampton! She’s watched “Skins” on TV, so she will understand some of the more colourful Wolverhampton language. In fact after watching that she wanted to change her English name to “Effy”.

Smile with tongue out

When I was at school, we wore a uniform complete with a badge on our blazers and a school cap. I thought I was getting old when I saw a school cap and badge in Wednesbury museum not long ago. In the pub on Friday night, I really felt like I was getting old when I realised there were only two people in the room that were older than me and I was talking to them. It got worse yesterday, I was watching a film clip, without sound, in black and white from 50 years ago. I thought I recognised a few places and faces; then I spotted my dad…

Smile with tongue out


Yes, students. Whatever you’re writing, you conclude it with a conclusion. Incidentally,  I chose Calibri as my font for my blog and I use that every time; be consistent. This post will be about 700 words and I’ll write another for a zillion ideas before I cook lunch. I’m hoping to take a few photographs for my blogs this afternoon, so I have to get on! The conclusion can sum up what you’re trying to say or add to it; but it is likely to stick in the mind of the reader, so make it good.


5 responses

  1. Hi Mike, I like this back-to-school article. Great advice on writing essays. Works for blogs too. I like your font, I use Georgia. I tried a bunch of different fonts when I re-designed my blog in May and Georgia seemed to look the best.

    I agree with you about the traffic obstacle course near schools. We had a school on our road in England and I tried to avoid the area during school run times. If I forgot and got caught up in the traffic, I tried to content myself by seeing how very cute the kids were with their uniforms, complete with caps and bonnets. Nothing is cuter!

    I sent you two pictures to your Zillion Ideas blog email address on Friday. I look forward to your advice and editing magic!

    9, September 2012 at 11:00 am

    • Hi Carolyn,

      I just saw this, I am going to take photos any minute. I get told off for looking at schoolgirls! lol.

      I got your photos, very challenging! I will use at least one in this week’s Neodigital Art blog. There wasn’t much colour and so I think the monochrome ones I did are the best. I don’t usually touch them up,but I did with one, it was grainy in places. The people who have seen the result like it!

      Thanks for the comment on this, if students pay attention to construction and presentation it can mean the difference between an A or a B; or even a pass and a fail!

      9, September 2012 at 1:56 pm

  2. I had a cap at school, too. Talking of things in museums, I went to The Museum of Welsh Life last year. They have old houses reconstructed (bit like Black Country Museum). They also have an 80s house. Now when you see a house in a museum, decorated as you lived in, that’s when you feel old.

    9, September 2012 at 8:15 pm

    • Hi Nick,

      I’ve been meaning to go to the Black Country museum to take photographs, the light has been terrible just lately; I think I might recognise a few buildings! If the chips there are like years ago, cooked on a coal fired range in lard; I’ll try those!

      I went down Sandwell Valley this afternoon, hardly worth bothering again, too cloudy for good pictures. Friday it was great, but too much traffic! They keep building around nature reserves too and so finding your way in isn’t easy!

      9, September 2012 at 8:32 pm

  3. Pingback: This week – the truth? « Mike10613's Blog

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