31 Aug 2012

Students' Visa Licence Revoked

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced about the suspension of London Metropolitan University's licence to recruit students from non-EU. Because London Metropolitan University had failed in three particular areas (source; BBC);
  • More than a quarter of the 101 students sampled were studying at the university when they had no leave to remain in this country
  • Some 20 of 50 checked files found "no proper evidence" that the students' mandatory English levels had been reached
  • And some 142 of 250 (57%) sampled records had attendance monitoring issues, which meant it was impossible for the university to know whether students were turning up for classes or not.
As a result, the university will no longer be allowed to authorise visas, and some 2,000 overseas non-EU students will have to find an alternative institution to sponsor them or remove from the UK. Students came from various countries paying expensive fees and having great expectations and dreams. If it is the fact, it must be a nightmare for students and the university.

Lately, I think UKBA's conduct is very eccentric. They are desperate to cut net migration as a futile struggle and always drew a line between EU and non-EU. No wonder, the government has a target to cut net migration to tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament. The net migration to the UK has fallen but remains at more than double the government's target of less than 100,000 per year. There is no doubt that the government remains a long way from its goal. They are so blind to see other effects and they are blind to all faults from all possibility area to accomplish the goal.



But I feel their way is a bit reckless, ruthless, cruel, unethical and disproportionate, and which excites a feeling of opposition. It's common sense as human beings, isn't it?

At least a few decades ago, the UK was very attractive country to study. They had a high quality and a high education. The British Council had much more nice service to provide information about universities and English schools. But now the government scheme has prevented the way to access them. They welcome foreign funds but no non-EU people. Obviously the UK has been changing into the distant country for students and other people.

28 Aug 2012

Cromer

We hadn't seen the sea this summer. On the last day of the3 day-holiday, we got on a train and went to Cromer in north Norfolk, England. The town is located in the north of the county town Norwich. Cromer means "Crows" mere or lake. According to Wikipedia, Cromer became a resort in the early 19th century, with some of the rich Norwich banking families making it their summer home.

We've visited some piers, but the Cromer Pier is not so long. I saw many people looked down from the edge of pier with holding rope. What were they doing? They enjoyed crabbing. In their bucket, I could see some crabs! Seemed like the town is famous for crabs. Crabs and lobsters are also the major source of income for the local fishermen. The local cafe in the town we popped in for a lunch was also decorated with fishing equipment and pictures of ship. It was a small cafe but crowded with people.



And also there is a lifeboat station and museum in Cromer. The most famous of the lifeboatmen was Henry Blogg. You can see his bust near the beach, and also a memorial plate which shows how many people were saved.


We climbed up a hill to see the Cromer lighthouse. It was a good for walking. The lighthouse is small, but has an important role around this area. From the top of the hill, the view of the sea was beautiful. There is no country nor island beyond the horizon until the north pole.


26 Aug 2012

Bury St Edmunds

We enjoyed a day trip by a train to Bury St Edmunds, a market town in the county of Suffolk, England. It was quite a nice and vibrant town. We took a leisurely walk in the town centre, and visited the ruined abbey surrounded by the Abbey Gardens, and St Edmundsbury Cathedral.



The name Bury has the meaning "fortress, castle". Edmund was a king of East Anglia who died in 869, killed by the Vikings. He became venerated as a saint, and his shrine made Bury St Edmunds an important place of pilgrimage.


The ruined abbey is in a huge site. I thought the site is like a more ancient ruin like Stonehenge or a stone circle than ruined abbey. It was interesting that two of the ruins seem to be holding up a finger of both hands, and also there was duck-shaped ruin. I felt comfortable in this site.




St Edmundsbury Cathedral is quite bright inside because of white supporting columns and window frames, and also cleanliness.



We had a lunch at a pub near the rail station. It wasa really nice pub. It's one of our joys to go a local pub, when we travel to somewhere. A Tea Room is OK for me, but my husband prefers a pub.

Ludlow

We also visited a market town in Shropshire - Ludlow, which is close to the Welsh border. The town is located on a hill. There are some fine examples of medieval and Tudor-style half-timbered buildings. And also there is St Laurence's Church, the largest parish church in the county.

Ludlow comes from the old English "hlud-hlaw". The hlud of Ludlow came from "the loud waters", while hlaw meant hill. Thus Ludlow meant a place on a hill by a loud river.

Ludlow Castle was interesting. I love to visit ruins, especially castles. Because you can go up and down old spiral stairs, and walk around one maze-like room after another. You can see fireplaces, a well and windows in a room which inspires you to think of old people's lives. We got through some approaches with excitement like kids, the room we arrived at first was Garderobe Tower - a medieval toilet...
 


The Parish Church of St Laurence is a big church. I thought it was a cathedral. I don't know much about religion, but normally cathedrals are relatively big. I've visited some churches and cathedrals since I moved in the UK, but each building has its own character. We found old and new graffiti on desks. It was nice day trip to Ludlow.





23 Aug 2012

Rebound

If I remember correctly, my husband told me he stopped eating cheese for a while. I didn't trust his words perfectly, and thought as much. He has rebound from not eating cheese now.

Our kitchen is frequented at night by a big mouse (= husband). I set up the traps but they have no effect on him. If he opens the fridge, a walrus (Fridgeezoo) who lives in the fridge gives a warning against him, but he got used to it. I draw a skeleton and put it on the bread as if poison food, this had a very strong psychological effect for a few days, but did not last long.

Eating something is not wrong, but I think too much cheese after dinner time or before going to bed isn't good for his body. Do you have any idea?
 

Bridgnorth

We went to Bridgnorth. It's an interesting town, in a strict sense, it's made up of two towns; the High Town and the Low Town. They are connected by roads, stairsteps, and also Bridgnorth Cliff Railway (also known as the Bridgnorth Funicular Railway or Castle Hill Railway) the steepest inland funicular railway in Britain. It has operated for over 100 years!




Bridgnorth is named after a bridge over the River Severn. The High Town held the castle, the churches and many 16th and 17th buildings, and the Low Town is along the banks of the River Severn. One of the most impressive things for me in the High Town was the Bridgnorth Castle. It was founded in 1101, and in 1646, Oliver Cromwell ordered that the castle be demolished. By 1647 little of the structure remained, but because of the damage caused during the Civil War, it now leans at an angle of 15 degrees. I felt the power and awfulness of fighting.



It was Saturday, the market was held along the High Street. I found many lovely shops. My mother-in-law bought bread at a bakery, it was really good!




22 Aug 2012

Trapped in a Train

We visited my husband's parents in Wolverhampton last weekend. It was a really nice visit. There are nice walk paths near their house. When we were walking the path, an old woman and small white fluffy dog passed by, and suddenly the dog jumped on him! It was just after the shower, his trouser was contaminated with dirt... The dog must have detected something on him..

We also had a nice time driving to Bridgnorth and Ludlow, but these are in other articles. Anyway it was a really nice weekend except being stuck in the train back home for 2 hours due to an overhead line problem! Air conditioner was stopped and we had to wait in the train with, listening for announcements which let us know what is happening. Amazingly nobody complained at least in our train carriage, and there was no more trouble.

My husband said it's not common to be stuck in a train. But about 2 months ago, when we picked my parents up at Heathrow Airport, we were stuck in the Airport because Heathrow Express closed for an hour or more due to an accident causing injury or death. Twice in 3 months, I think it's a high probability, or did we just have hard luck?


16 Aug 2012

Maldon Salt

I got a Maldon Salt at last! I've been looking for it since I visited Maldon. Actually, it is not so difficult to get it. If I had visited shops or supermarkets in Maldon, I might have been able to find it much earlier.

Anyway, Maldon has harvested salt from the sea over 2000 years. The environmental conditions in Essex are ideal for salt making because of low rainfall.

You might try using rich spices and enjoying a meal.




Japanese Flag!?

The London Olympics are over. Are we the only people thinking this mark looks like Japanese flag... This is the sign for trains.

13 Aug 2012

White Notley

It was only us who got off the train at White Notley Station. It was a ghost station. White Notley is a small village. According to Wikipedia, the name is supposed to have been derived from the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) “knut” and “ley” (meaning “nut pasture”).


There was an interesting road for me. The road splits into two; one part is a bridge, and another seems like a flooded road, but it is called a "ford", and you can walk through in the river and cars as well, because this is usually shallow.


White Notley is a quite a nice village, and I saw many beautiful English gardens. These kind of views gave me an idea and inspiration about our garden.


Is White Notley famous for Duck Race??? Also I found an interesting sign "CAUTION DUCKS CROSSING", unfortunately, we didn't come across any ducks though...



We visited an old church, but the door was locked. There was a large graveyard. Some old graves were covered with long grasses, looked crying with solitude without visitors.

A 10th Century Church in White Notley
When we went back to the village centre, we walked along a narrow path, where many nettles grow. Nettles have many hollow stinging hairs, and is known that they produce a stinging sensation when contacted by humans. On that day, I was wearing shorts and sandals. He said "I'll hold nettles by my foot for you." At the same time I thought how gentle he is, he took a step forward before I finish crossing. Ouch! A long nettle was off from his foot and turned swiftly onto my leg. I started to get a stinging sensation. In my mind, I shouted "Hey, weren't you looking?" as I was controlling my feelings... He said he didn't mean for this to happen and gave me dock leaves, which has analgesic properties against nettle stings. The dock leaves were effective. My leg had red spots and I learnt how you feel if you touch nettles. Thanks. After that happened, we had a nice lunch at the lovely local pub in White Notley.

Our strolling in Essex will continue.



12 Aug 2012

Organ Recital

Last night, an organ recital was held at the nearest church. It was the second time for me to enter the church, because usually the door is locked due to security reasons. It was a wonderful recital, gathered some local people. The Organist was a young man, and he had great a performance.

His back figure and organ reminded me my sister, because she is an organ tutor for kids and she used to play J.S.Bach at home. Since she was a teenager, she had commuted to learn organ lesson and had a nice organ tutor. Because she has musical ability. And I sometimes visited her school concerts.

On the other hand, I gave up learning organ when I was 4 or 5 year-old. During a lesson, I realised I am NOT a perfect-pitch person and I said I quit organ lesson to my mother. When I joined a class concert at last time, the musical instrument I played was, not organ, not xylophone, but castanet which is not required an ability to recognise tone, required just a rhythm. I was standing in one corner in obscurity, behind someone. I was too shy.

I listened to the music thinking of such things. Anyway, the organ sound had a tremendous impact. We really enjoyed it very much. After the recital, refreshments were served, people had a glass of wine and canapes and chatted. The other recital will be held during this year, so we are going to visit again.

A view from our favourite place in Chelmsford Cathedral.
The image is not related to the recital.

9 Aug 2012

The Wine Cellar

There is a nice bar & bistro near Chelmsford Cathedral, we went there last year. Unfortunately, it's not always open. It has a high probability of being closed when we visit there. Yesterday, it was busy with business men and women in suits, and also people without bookings. I had a nice sandwich for lunch. When I first visited there, I thought it's a big portion, but now it became common for me. I have a pretty healthy appetite!

(Inside of the Wine Cellar; http://iadnes.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/retry.html)




4 Aug 2012

Ted

We saw the comedy film "Ted". It's a funny story about a friendship between 35 year-old man John and his live teddy bear, Ted. A Christmas wish John made when he was 8 years old brought Ted to life, but the teddy bear is very rude, crude and unreliable.

It's an unrealistic story, but John is a realistic man of today's world. John is a fan of fantasy fiction and superhero characters. And I am sure many people wish for similar things on at least one occasion, like many Japanese wish for Doraemon and his tools. But a character like Ted might be troublesome. What would you do if you met an adult who has a friendship with a rude teddy bear?

Well, I admit I still have a child's mind. Any complaints?

1 Aug 2012

London Olympic Games

Are you enjoying the Olympic Games? Yes, I am! I saw the opening ceremony on TV with my husband. I think it was absolutely wonderful and very British. He said he didn't like the Olympic Games very much. But he reads the news about the Olympics everyday assured me that it is not altogether bad to him.

Basically I like watching Olympic Games (on TV), but I hadn't had the opportunity to take an in-depth look at games, because of time differences or my job. It doesn't mean that I have spent hours each day watching TV but I feel it's a very familiar Olympic Games this time. Maybe because I saw the Olympic stadiums out of the train window many times, and the year 2012 is special to me.

I think Olympic Games are one of good chances to be in close contact with sports you don't know very much. Some children may wish to be like some athletes in their future.

Many problems has been reported during the Olympic Games, but I'd like to enjoy it to the end.