There was a nip in the air and a hint of mist and mellow fruitfulness. I think this week was probably the last hurrah for British summertime, judging by the fact that the cold nights were creeping in. Autumn was beginning to announce her imminent arrival. While the trees and fields were turning, the echinaceas, dahlias and sunflowers were blazing away as the rest of the garden fades. This gorgeous ‘Evening Sun’ sunflower greeted visitors to our humble casa.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow,
It’s what sunflowers do”
Thousands of new and returning students were slowly trickling in as the new university term gets underway. The roads were getting busier and queues were getting longer. It was always a very exciting time of the year to welcome so many new faces and the University had lots of events planned throughout the week to integrate them into both the academic and social aspects of life here. The Library joined in the action and welcomed them with a brand new sparkling chi-chi entrance.
I had a very busy week too, getting myself in the full swing of things. I too felt like a new student getting ready for my new term. I participated in the International Student Awareness Training Day as a representative of the ISWG. Nearly 20% of the students were from abroad and we do our best to assist them during their stay and make their academic experiences a memorable one. These students made an important contribution to the intellectual landscape and enriched the campus environment as they engaged with the wider community.
“A college is a place where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed”
~Robert G. Ingersoll~
I also signed up for the Get started training sessions to keep abreast with what was happening in the library. I’d volunteered for 4 sessions and am looking forward to taking the students around the library and showing them what the library has to offer. The Floor 4 renovations had been completed in time for the new term and the students will have another spanking new study environment.
“Education costs money; but then so does ignorance”
~Sir Claus Moser~
The Library also introduced another new search interface called Encore beside the classic catalogue. Another entirely new user experience of the students and also the staff. I attended a few sessions to familiarise myself with this searching platform. To be honest, I wasn’t very keen on a one search button. But that’s my opinion.
Built on Web Services Architecture, Encore provides a platform that allows for content flexibility and streams information from article sources in real-time It was meant to bring a true discovery to library users by offering social features, faceted search, advanced relevancy ranking, peer-reviewed articles, digital collections, books and more. We just have to wait and see. But one thing that I’m looking forward was that we can also bring enriched content and harvested data from our collection into the Encore environment.
I also welcomed the new Library advisors with a quick tour of the department. They need to know where to go and who to see if they’d any problems about the catalogue, Millennium, Encore, classification numbers, missing bibliographic records, authority control, subject headings, reading lists, urgents, shelf-ready, repositories etc. Each of us had our own specialities but we can answer any basic enquiries.
Then my colleagues and I attended another webinar on RDA tool-kit essentials. We need to keep on top of things because we are going all guns blazing on the 30th of April 2013. I’ve even started doing original cataloguing using the standard which was pretty brave of me.
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
This week a month’s rain, about 30 mm, fell in Coventry in just 24 hours during a damp and miserable start to the week. Flood alerts were in place across the Midlands as torrential rain and high winds hit the region. What a way to welcome the start of the new university term. Having passed the Equinox over the weekend, we had literally gone from summer into autumn. With the nights drawing in, as temperatures plummeted, and the winds picking up, it was really the start of autumn. I managed a few brisk walks in between showers when it was a beautiful sunny day but with a hint of crispness in the air, a tiny reminder that the cold days weren’t too far away. And I think this will be my last sighting of a dragonfly for this year.
The weekend was spent chilling at home. Babe was unwell and was in bed with a hot water bottle strapped to his head. He was in so much pain that he didn’t realise that his ear was scalded. Ouch!!!. I spent the day pottering in the garden as the sun had decided to come out and play. I harvested the sweet corn and tomatoes. even the green ones. I had put all the pots of chillies into the shed. None had ripened yet. I put them there to shelter them from the cold nights and opened the flaps during the day to let fresh air and any sunshine in. I had the steamed sweet corn with lashings of pepper and smeared with butter. Heaven :-)
It was equinoxal gales on Sunday but that didn’t stop us from stretching our legs at our favourite playground. Babe needed some fresh air after being in bed the whole day. We weren’t surprised that the reserve was deserted. We must be loco to be out and about in such atrocious weather. We made a pit stop at Baldwin Hide and we can barely opened the shutters because of the strong winds and rain. We made a quick dash on the saturated path towards East Marsh Hide. Only GH was there huddled in the corner. He’d been there the whole morning and gave us an update of what he’d seen. There were Pochards, Widgeons , Shovelers , Common Snipes, Green Sandpiper, Herring Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Water Rail, Greylags, Canada Geese, a Pink-foot, an Egyptian Goose, Hybrids and the New Zealand Scaup escapee. It seemed that we missed a lot. But I’m pleased that the Egyptian goose which I think was the same one that we’d seen at Coombe Abbey and the Hybrids were still there before the later flew off. In between showers, we dashed again to Carlton Hide to check if anything was about. It was as quite as a Dodo. Only a pair of Mute Swans was swimming up and down the lake. What a contrast to what Babe photographed earlier during the week. He’d a very, very close encounter with this adorable fox. How lucky was he to get this close to such a wild creature. Jealous, moi??? But that wasn’t all. Babe also got this amazing photograph of a Sparrow-hawk. Why weren’t they around when I was there? I still haven’t seen any of the Kingfishers yet!!!
September was nearly over. The last time I checked it was 86 sleeps to Christmas !!! What :-) And this was the weather forecasted for the coming months.
When you see excessive spider activity during the first week in September, you are sure to see an early fall season. Also, in September, look for heavy berry harvests to predict a severe winter on its way. Woolly worms are a well known source of weather prediction. If they have more black than red on their backs, there will be an early winter that year. Birds and squirrels gathering food in late July is another sign of a harsh winter to come. And, if the smoke from your chimney settles around your house, rather than floating away, you should plan for a harsh winter to come.
September Folk Lore
You have been warned!!!