Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The Coup

So without a vote of any kind the leader of Her Majesty's government has changed. In some places this is a coup d'etat but not here. Blair visits the Queen and formally hands in his notice. She then invites the leader of the party with the majority of MP's (Brown) to form a government. It can get more complicated as the leader of a political party does not have to be an MP or if no one party holds a majority (neither has happened in my lifetime so I am not sure what happens in this situation.)

I think I will like Brown as he played rugby at a decent level until he got a detached retina from a boot in the face. Incidentally, this means he currently only has 30% vision in one of his eyes and no vision in the other.

He disagrees with the fast tracking of students. He was moved two years ahead so he went to university at 16 and saw the damage the extra pressure can do. In an unpublished 1967 essay, he describes himself the "victim of a totally unsighted and ludicrous experiment in education, the result of which was to harm materially and mentally the guinea-pigs". This might mean he will leave education to settle in all the new changes before making any more.

As the editor of The Student magazine he grabbed national headlines by exposing the university's investments in pro-apartheid South Africa.

After graduating he launched a campaign to be the university's Rector. This was traditionally an honorific post, normally going to a show business personality but it came with a rarely exercised legal right to chair the university's governing body. He swept to power with a campaign boosted by three mini-skirted fans. A man who campaigns for a religious post using mini-skirts has a certain flair! When his three-year term ended, Brown even tried to get the authorities to declare the day a special academic holiday, with no lectures or classes. More holidays for students.
He granted control of interest rates to the Bank of England so it was not a political football but a decision taken by the experts.

It will be interesting to see him at PMQ's to see how well he can deal with David Cameron.


If you have ever listened to the Now Show (and you really should) you can take the mickey about this,

"Come on Tim"

if not, you can't.

PS The new series is available from the link above.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007


Have decided to build ark on the school field, just in case. Will populate it with two of each animals except mosquitoes and very small dogs.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Mother, Hope you enjoy the day. 21 again!

The Gossip

So last night Tom, Emma, Lisa, Scott, Mel and me went to UEA to see The Gossip. This is not a band I had heard a lot of but the write up seemed positive. The evening started in farcical style with the first act called No Bra who is a very tall (6'6") androgynous man/woman who was wore sparkly blue hot pants and a sheer top. His/her hair was passed waist length and seemed to have a bushy moustache. The "signing" was deep in tone, flat, monotone and explicit in a Central European accent. I am not a huge Bob Marley fan but no-one deserves to have No Women, No Crime murdered in such a talentless way.
The second support were called Robots in Disguise. They performed five songs. The last three were passable when they stopped trying to attract all of the local dogs with their high pitched whining and shouting and concentrated on singing! At one point they asked the roadie to come on to the stage and play bass. This was the best song which leads to the question shouldn't he be in the band full time.
The Gossip were okay but as with a lot of gigs lately the balance was wrong. The drums were too loud so the guitars have to be louder meaning the singer should be louder again but this means you get distortion. This means that at least half the times the words were unintelligible. They could have been singing about love, war, relationships, jealousy or root vegetables for all I could tell. Apart from that the drummer and bassist were very good and the singer threw herself around the stage with gusto. The rhythm allowed those in the mosh pit to rock and the whole set had a positive energy. Overall memorable but not for all the correct reasons.

Sunday, 24 June 2007


Today I
  • paid the bills
  • managed my correspondence
  • got West Wing back so now I can send it to Juliet
  • helped Aaron fit the units and appliances for the kitchen
  • planned next week's lessons
  • cleaned the house
  • hung my new picture (not having a clock visible has been strange)
  • sorted out the photo albums (not the greatest idea but needed doing)
  • went to Lisa and Scott for a dinner
  • went to the pub quiz and came second (not on my own) winning jelly babies
  • kept humming Monster by The Automatic and My Bonny lies over the Ocean. Both appear to be stuck in my head.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Its raining and this suits my mood.

Well after two other post I have to do this one. After any number of leaving parties Sarah has departed from these green and pleasant lands and returned home to Missouri. I have always known it would happen from pretty early in the relationship but the pain and emotion are difficult to cope with. Having said that I would not swap the experience for anything. As this blog highlights there have been some special times capped by amongst other things the trip to Paris. This week I have been short tempered with the students and a bit irrational and need to be a bit more professional next week, nothing but being with Sarah seemed important and I was even less tolerant of marginal behaviour than usual. Friends have rallied around and have tried to fill this coming week with activities to help me avoid being maudlin and having too much time to think. I don't envy the task Sarah has settling into a new house, area, job, country and in the full spotlight of her congregation. We remain good friends and will evaluate where we stand in future but are not attempting a long range relationship. As a leaving present Sarah got me a print of my favourite painting which you can learn about at this link but over the fireplace in the lounge it looks amazing.

A comparison

Having seen Sarah in action and comparing her to a St Barnabas service highlights problems that the C of E has. The whole service was a lot more personal (church size?) and the first half of the service was open to the interpretation. An example of this was the way Sarah saw a couple of children in the congregation and decided to have a chat with them directly comparing the Eucharist to receiving Christmas gifts that you don't deserve. On further investigation this was an unplanned and off the cuff move thought up during the preceding hymn. She does not hide at the end of the church and but a barrier between herself and the congregation (St B don't do this anymore but they used to). The part of the service that did follow the service book was quite short and apparently Methodist prefer this. Sarah also delivers a mean sermon which is both in depth yet interesting. I have not enjoyed a sermon that much since Russel Stannard and his linking of science and religion. It is interesting to see someone you know at work and I wonder what would happen if she was in my classroom. I suspect I would be more distracted than she was.


About a week ago Nick told me that Cydney was pregnant. I do not think that he was very happy about the whole situation by the sound of his voice. I wondered when Mum and Nick get married will his make me a step uncle? Can you become a relative retrospectively? Is the title step uncle even a real type of relationship?

Sunday, 17 June 2007


It is June, the weather is warm (20 degrees Celcius) and wet. It is rather like being in a washing machine. I now have a river view from the kitchen as shown in the photo although it is not as serious as it looks.
I have also decided to stop using the phrase global warming as it gives people the wrong impression and instead use climate change. For those that wish to argue, the climate is warming and in Britain it is causing more evaporation and thus more rain.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Juliet. I hope that you enjoy the presents and have had a good day to celebrate.


On Thurs 21st June I will have a meeting that is three hours long running from 11.00 to 15.05 with a stop for lunch. It is to co-ordinate with a colleague over the new work we are implementing. The comedy aspect is that my colleague can't attend and rather than the meeting being cancelled it has appeared on the meeting schedule with just me attending. Great a three hour meeting with myself. This situation becomes more humourous when the union rules on meetings are applied.

1. All meetings must have an agenda.
2 If you don't get an agenda then you don't have to attend as you cannot be expected to participate fully

so if I issue myself with an agenda I have to attend but if I don't send myself an agenda I could get into trouble for not sending an agenda, to myself. Can I participate fully in a meeting with myself without having seen an agenda prior to the meeting?

3. All meetings should be minuted
4. The minutes of the meeting should not be taken by the person chairing the meeting.

So do I chair the meeting or take the minutes? If nothing is said out loud then can any minutes be taken? How do I know when the meeting started or indeed finished? Do I record my internal monologue? If I write down my internal monologue is it still internal? Should I thank myself for providing refreshments for me?

So I did what every teacher does in this situation and consulted the union to find the rules for this situation. They wisely suggested I sent my apologies for not attending the meeting to myself!

Thursday, 7 June 2007


Someone stole the milk from my doorstep. I saw the milkman deliver it at 6.10am. I had a shower and then went to collect the milk but it was gone. If they had asked they could have had it but to take it and stop my having breakfast is irritating.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

12 things that you never knew about Paris

1. The metro doors always seem to open on the same side unlike the Tube where the station could be on either side of the train.
2. The price of a fibre optic Eiffel Tower is currently 5 Euros and can be bought from any number of people around it
3. Don't use the large popular boat companies for a trip down the Seine as they are crowded and noisy.
4. You queue for the lift to stage two of the Eiffel Tower and then queue again for the lift to get to the top. Overall it took 1 and a half hours.
5. The Eiffel Tower flashes for 10 minutes on the hour at 10 and 11pm
6. Rodin's The Kiss may have been inspired by the Greek legend of a kiss between a brother and sister which doomed both of them.
6. At the top of the Gates of Hell there is a miniature sculpture of The Thinker
7. The Kaiser Chiefs are played a lot in Parisian restaurants
8. Sometimes you can find Jazz quartets riding the Metro.
9. There are many statues of dudes sitting on horses in Paris
10. The Palais Royle Gardens were the best and out bloomed the others that we found
11. Don't overlook the Eglise de St Eustache and the surrounding gardens and fountains.
12. Paris street planning was excellent and the design of the boulevards ahead of time but the buildings are all similar and you can't tell the difference between the different areas on style of building.


On Monday Sarah and I travelled to Paris for a couple of days rest and relaxation. We travelled down to London to meet up with a friend of Sarah's who was on a tour around Britain and the idea was to go on the London Eye but a very long queue and cold rain pushed by a strong wind meant we headed for the nearest restaurants instead. In Paris we did all of the usual touristy things as can be seen by the photos that I have attached including the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur as well as some of the less well known areas such as the Musee Rodin and the American Church in Paris.

We stayed in a hotel on the Rue de Richlieu which is about 10 minutes walk from the Louvre and Metro Line 1 which meant that it was easy to get around and to visit the places of interest. We were able to find the correct balance between relaxing and sightseeing as well as the places Sarah was more interested in such as the Notre Dame and places I was more interested in like the Musee Rodin. Overall a very successful trip which allowed us both to forget the stresses and strains of work and living and to concentrate on the day ahead and what we wanted out of it. I feel that it a side to Paris that we did not see staying mainly in the tourist areas and there must be a number of interesting things off the beaten track that we did not get to so a return visit is a distinct possibility