A quick update on what’s been happening recently…
Back to work – eventually!
Although I’m still officially on a career-break, I’ve been thinking about the work I’ll be starting on in October. The project, called Information literacy for democratic engagement, has three aims:
- To evaluate how Community Councillors (1) access and understand information on their duties and rights; (2) keep up to date with local developments of relevance to the communities that they serve; and (3) disseminate information to their communities, and identify where future efforts need to be directed to improve the skills and practices of this group.
- To test and validate a proposed model of information literacy for lifelong learning (Irving, Hall & Brettle, 2015).
- To investigate the role of public library staff in the training of Community Councillors, as well as broader issues related to communities, social capital, and citizenship.
As I see it, information literacy – basically, the ability to source, process, store and pass on information – is a key part of CC duties. According to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973,
In addition to. any other purpose which a community council may pursue, the general purpose of a community council shall be to ascertain, co-ordinate and express to the local authorities for its area, and to public authorities, the views of the community which it represents, in relation to matters for which these authorities are responsible, and to take suchaction in the interests of that community as appears to it to be expedient and practicable.
Because CCs are also often given information to pass on to their communities, I mentally model the information flows asI’m looking forward to finding out how much information flows each way, how much processing CCllrs need to do, and how they learn to do so. Information literacy is, in my opinion, distinct from Information Technology literacy: the latter is a set of channels through which information can flow. However, it is very likely that IT is frequently used to gather, process and forward information.
As I recently reported, on 29th August I agreed with the GI specialist to try using Linaclotide (wikipedia). However, my GP didn’t receive his request to prescribe this medication. I emailed the specialist earlier this week to find out what was going on. He then emailed me a copy of his letter (dated 29 August) to my GP. I took a copy of that letter to the practice yesterday (14th September), and will pick up the medication from the pharmacy this afternoon. I may not start taking it until we get to our holiday destination on Sunday, because a potential side-effect is diarrhoea, and I really don’t fancy getting the screaming trots en route. Meanwhile I’m stumped as to how his letter to my GP didn’t reach her.
On Monday I attended a community council meeting for the first time since March. The meeting was informative and interesting – there’s quite a lot going on in Edinburgh just now. I didn’t minute the meeting, but I did record it so that the minute-taker could refer to this when writing up. I’m please to say I could sit through a two-hour meeting, paying full attention, and being ready to say things when relevant. So I look forward to resuming minute-taking for ‘my’ CCs in October.
After the meeting, several of us went to a nearby pub. Although I only drank diluted orange squash, staying out until well after midnight then not sleeping well that night mostly wrote off Tuesday. So I’m not fully back to normal, and will need to watch how much I do. Fortunately, the research project I’m due to start should only take 3 days per week, so I should be able to arrange my hours to suit.
Yesterday was Elly’s birthday, so I made her a birthday cake. I had planned to cook a starter and main course as well, but it took too long to find ingredients for the cake, so we ordered in from Mezbaan. The medu vada, idli and coconut chatni were just as I remember from my travels in Kerala, and the sambar (called rassam in Kerala) was pretty close too. I can’t recommend south Indian food highly enough!
The 7 was made with a tin hired from Joyce’s cake shop. I tried to make the superscript 2 by cooking a few cup-cakes with the same mixture, then cutting around a printed 2 but the cake was too soft to hold together. Were I to do this again, I’d need to make a suitable tin. The recipe was adapted from a gluten-free recipe from the Vegan Society, but I couldn’t find gluten-free flour, and the vegan cream cheese I thought I had was off, so I replaced it with an Alpro vanilla soya dessert – this is why the icing is so runny, despite using almost double the suggested amount of icing sugar.
OK, time to stop boring you with this and get the potential laxative!