Saturday 30 March 2013


Hazel asked me if I could post the recipe for Lentil Dhal.  I was in the middle of doing so in Teacher's Recipes when I realised that the recording of my rambling thoughts around this recipe were more fitted to over here so, Hazel, the recipe is there (click on the link above) and the thoughts are here.

I met Steve on FirstClass.  For the uninitiated, FirstClass was the Open University students' conferencing site.  I loved it - it was a great place where you could get to know fellow distance learning students through a wide variety of study and interest forums, through private and less private chat and through discussions.  It had a mailbox facility which was jolly useful and you could organise and manage the desktop which meant that you didn't have to get lost in the labyrinth of passageways and tunnels that comprised the whole site.  I used to say FC was like the TARDIS - much, much bigger on the inside!  FC was my first experience of conferencing/foruming and all other forum communities tend to be compared with it.

I was often on FC very early each morning and often exchanged messages with other early birds of whom one was Steve.  It was during one of our casual early morning exchanges that he gave me the dhal recipe which, I believe, was one he had created himself.  I met many people that way, a few of whom are now dear friends - Sonja and Judith spring immediately to mind - plus others who remain more casual friends with whom I still chatter at times on Facebook.   When the news came through on FC that Steve had died suddenly overnight, it was a huge shock to all - those who got on with him and those who didn't.  He was sorely missed by many.

 I also met less - er - less likeable characters, some of whom I crossed swords with at times!  There are some amusing memories based around them but these memories, unlike the happier ones, are not for sharing here.

Interesting times, they were.  Great fun.  When you closed FirstClass after each session a little box came up telling you how long you had spent in there in total.  I stopped looking after a while!

The OU closed the site down a few years ago now (too expensive) and the forum area they gave us as a replacement is  (must be polite here) a bit dire!  As a result, a lot of the joy disappeared from the whole thing and what had felt like a vibrant, organic, bustling community now seems slow, dull and isolating, despite valiant, hugely time consuming, frustrating, enormous and very much appreciated efforts by OUSA officers and staff to make it all work for the student body.  If you're reading this, you know who you are - thank you so much.

Time to get back to blog-earth.  Yesterday was a good day.  It had to be really, didn't it?  No school, no long list of Things To Do (that can wait) and time to potter.  I made the bread, I made some soup, I made some Not Cross Buns.  All good fun.

Today I have to go out.  The car battery is dead and needs replacing.  Beth is taking me to Halfords this morning and then Phil from over the cul de sac will put it in for me, blessings be on him!  I really should be able to do this myself and one of these days I will get someone to teach me: it won't be today though because Phil and family are off on holiday tomorrow so he's taking time out of what is going to be a busy day to help out.  Good neighbours indeed.

I also need to pop back into school to finish something off.  I was so tired during the last few days I was making silly mistakes when entering data into Target Tracker so told myself that I would do it on Friday, forgetting completely that Friday was a bank holiday and the library (through which I go to get into the school) remained firmly closed.  So I've got to do it today or I will be In Trouble!


  1. Thank you for posting the recipe. It sounds like it brought back a lot of memories for you! Going to my sister-in-laws for easter but looking forward to making the dahl next week, it sounds delicious x

  2. It really did stir up memories - mostly very pleasant ones too. Many thanks for starting them off with your request.

    J x

  3. How I miss FC, it was idiosyncratic. A wonderful place the forge long-distance friendships and sometimes meet up later on face to face. Despite valiant efforts the 'replacement' is most unsatisfactory.

  4. It is unsatisfactory, I agree. Such a shame and not OUSA's fault in any way.
    J x