Sunday, 28 March 2010

Subject choice

By this time of year, all across Scotland, secondary school students will have chosen the subjects they are taking in the following academic year. My daughter will be in 'S5' (Secondary year 5, age 16/17) next year, when students study the subjects ('Highers') that will form the basis for their applications to Scottish universities. They then mostly, but not always, do one further year at school and either study a smaller number of subjects in greater depth, and with more independent study, or take new subjects at a lower level. Those not heading for university can leave school at age 16 and go into work or training - hopefully. But of course not always.

The photo shows my daughter's subject choice form for her Highers. You can perhaps just make out what she's chosen: English, NOT Maths (heavily scored out!), Italian, History, Modern Studies (post World War 2 social, political and economic issues, locally, nationally and internationally).

The Scottish secondary system moves in a pyramid fashion, with a very broad base of subjects studied in the first two years. From this 8 subjects are studied over 2 years for the first set of national public exams, which have two variants which I won't go into here, Standard Grades and Intermediate 2. Currently my daughter is taking English, History, Music, Italian, Maths, Biology, Business Management and French. She is dropping the last 4 after this year, taking the first 4 on to Higher, and adding Modern Studies as a 'crash' Higher, which will be done from a standing start. After Highers the system moves on to either 3 or (less usually) 4 Advanced Highers, and here my daughter is thinking of History, Music and Modern Studies.

It all goes so fast - how can she be at this stage already?

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Skywatch Friday - the naming of clouds

Hmm, I think I've set myself an Advanced Higher* cloud question here, rather than a Higher* or an Intermediate 2 *. But 'The Cloudspotter's Guide' in hand, here goes.

Working from bottom left, there's a little edge of cirrocumulus, giving way to altocumulus opacus. Possibly. Moving up the left of the shot, I'm still confused. Is it cirrocumulus or altocumulus stratiformis? Apparently I should have held my hand up against the clouds to see whether the cloudlets were less than the width of one finger, at arm's length.

Then the big feathery bit in the middle is cirrus, possibly cirrus fibratus.

The big swathe after the feather, sorry, cirrus, is mostly altocumulus floccus.

At the extrememe top right there's a patch of cirrus.

I think I may have scraped an Int 2 pass. Some more homework needed!

More clouds, named or not, are at Skywatch Friday.

*To be explained in tomorrow's post.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


I've got a crick in my neck from cloudspotting all week, trying to tell my nimbostratus from my cumulonimbus, and my stratocumulus undulatus from my stratocumulus radiatus.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Vernal equinox

Calm skies and a calm sea at Portobello beach for the equinox on Saturday. The landmarks on the horizon are, from left to right, The Bass Rock, Cockenzie Power Station, and North Berwick Law

Friday, 19 March 2010

Skywatch Friday - Edinburgh skyline

Edinburgh Castle on the left, the spires of St Cuthbert's and St John's churches in the centre.

More skies from around the world are at Skywatch Friday.

(And Kiji at chti-shashin has kindly provided me with a gorgeous collection of fire hydrants with which to quench this burning sky)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

12 kuvaa/photos - my walk to work March

A grey day, but Spring, unmistakably. Wind soughing in the trees, and birds singing - or shouting in the case of the chaffinches.

I'm too late for the 12 kuvaa/photos site this month, but this is my walk to work for March anyway. See the organised bloggers for the March entry here.

Shades of grey over Calton Hill:






Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mother's Day in any language

Two shops side by side on Princes Street. Take your pick as to whether you want to be Mom, or the traditional British Mum.

These photos are from last year's Mother's Day. I've been too busy this year for photos. My Mother's Day present today was our son home from university with a load of washing - and mumps. Given that both children have now had mumps, and my daughter measles bad enough to put her in hospital for a week, I'm wondering what was in the batches of MMR vaccine they were given in childhood.


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