Thursday, 27 March 2008

I would like to thank Ikea for producing a set of screws that have dissolving heads. Two rotations into screwing them in and they won't go further in or out as the head has vanished and there is nothing for the screw to bite on. Cheers

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Down and to the left is a counter showing where people who read the blog are from. In the last couple of days there have been 17 from Glasgow, Rotherham, Milton Keynes, Norwich and London in the UK, Wichita and Columbus in the USA, Medellin in Colombia, Ankara in Turkey, Casablanca in Morocco, Tours in France, Kapallen in Belgium, Curitiba in Brazil, San Pablo Tacachico, Milan in Italy, Maturin in Venezuela and Winnipeg in Canada. I know a couple of people who these might represent but not the majority although it is cool to see so many countries represented.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

White Easter

I'm dreaming of a white Easter
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
To hear the winner of the Easter bonnet competition in the snow

And I'm dreaming of a white Easter
With every Easter card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Easterss be white

And have a merry Easter
And have a merry Easter, too

I'm dreaming of a white Easter
With every Easter card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Easterses
All your Easterses
All your Easterses be white

And have a merry Easter (fade)


Easter was fun and I enjoyed the snow that decided to give us a light dusting. When I was there the dominant topic was family history and Mum gave me some pictures to scan in of relatives. I thought I would post a couple that made me smile

This is a picture of my mum aged 4

This is a group of relatives not of whom I can identify currently but my mum and uncle are the children in the picture with Gran to their left. My uncle seems more interested in the dog than the photo being taken.

More later

Saturday, 22 March 2008


I was planning to go to Berlin just after Easter but am going to go the following week as the travel agents have not caught on to the fact that Easter is not at the centre of the holiday but rather the first weekend so all of the prices are about half.

Friday, 21 March 2008


Last night we went out to "celebrate" a colleague who is leaving to be an estate agent in Turkey. The restaurant mixed up our booking so we went to the bar next door to wait. While there we were assaulted musically by the next up and coming thing, a ukulele trio playing covers of Amy Winehouse amongst others. Now I am glad that they're doing something constructive with their time but I feel that they were lacking musical direction and need a bit more practice to hone thier sound.

Monday, 17 March 2008

St Paddy's Day

Due to an early Easter and the fact that St PAtrick's day is in Holy Week it has been cancelled this year so you shouldn't be celebrating it unless you are in the Republic of Ireland where you should aleady have celebrated it last Saturday.

Secondly Easter will not be this early again for another 150 or so years. Also the earliest it is possible for Easter to be is 21st March.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

It took me a while to realise why Wales are capable of winning cheap Grand Slams every four years and the answer is World Cups. England Italy Ireland and especially France introduced new players to start the build towards the World Cup in 2011.Wales played the same team that couldn't get out the group stage. The best Welsh player in the tournament is 36. They were just about the best team but I would be worried about the future as the others will get better.

Oath of Allegiance

It has been suggested that an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen/ Crown be introduced in a similar style to the USA, a country that's existence occurred after they rebelled against the Crown. Maybe if we had introduced the Oath in the 1600's the world would be different

A levels

I think that the A Level system might have been broken. Until a few years ago a school got paid for the number of courses that it ran in 6th form which apart from allowing courses to run with only a few students in it guaranteed a fairly uniform payout every year. The system has been changed so that schools get paid per student. So now a course has to have enough students to justify itself financially so good bye to subjects like Geology and Archaeology with Music and languages only just hanging in there. Secondly it used to be strict 5 C grades got you into the 6th form but now we are getting students with D Grades or a C on the Foundation level paper wanting to do A levels. Fine but they have to be realistic that at best the will get an E grade and more than likely fail and would be far better on an apprenticeship, practical course or on a trainee scheme at some like Norwich Union. We would advise them to leave in more stringent fashion but you get paid for the number of people on the course at the start, middle and end so it is in our interest to carry them to just before the exam. It would be best in everyone's interest not to let them start.

Sunday, 9 March 2008


I love sport because it is so unpredictable and it can toy with your emotions so easily. Yesterday I was really looking forward to the contests that the day would bring but 24 hours later and all that excitement ended in disappointted. England lost to New Zealand at cricket, England lost to Scotland at rugby, Ireland lost to Wales at rugby, Chelsea lost to Barnsley (not sure why I care about that one), Maccarinelli was out boxed by Hayes, Luton lost to Southend and Duke lost to UNC. Every team or person I was supporting or following closely lost. Not sure what the odds on that were but I wish I had had a pound on it. The quality of the two rugby games makes me long for summer rugby, after all if rugby had been designed to be played in that amount of water they would have scheduled it it in a swimming pool. I don;t know how the Scots always arrange a monsoon for the Calcutta Cup matches but if any stadium needed a roof it must be Murrayfield.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Lisbon Treaty

The Lisbon Treaty should have a referendum screams the tabloid press. Its 152 pages long. It has paragraphs such as,

“ Article 7 shall be amended as follows: (a) throughout the Article, the word "assent" shall be replaced by "consent", the reference to breach "of principles mentioned in Article 6(1)" shall be replaced by a reference to breach "of the values referred to in Article 2" and the words "of this Treaty" shall be replaced by "of the Treaties";"

As a reasonably intelligent person I have neither time nor inclination to read the document neither do I have the intelligence to work out what affect it will have on Britain and the way it operates in tandem with the EU. What I do know is that very few people can say they have read and understand it and its consequence and that level of ignorance is a poor basis on which to offer a referendum. I wonder how many of the newspaper editors have actually read it rather than falling back to their lazy and hackneyed European fall back position. Anyway time for Ice Road Truckers

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Now for someting to scare you. Watch this

It was a bit windy. It landed fine second time around even afer the wing grazing the tarmac

The News

There were two stories in the news about education that caught my attention. The first is that many people struggle with maths and especially mental arithmetic. Many people wish they had learnt more maths at school. This surprised me a bit as first of all you would had done a lot of maths at school already and secondly failing to answer what the square root of 64 is isn't really high level maths. You should have been able to answer this before you even get to secondary school. The problem is more with the question being asked and knowing what a square root is. After a quick survey of two 12 year old both knew 8*8=64. I was then trying to work out the last time I had to calculate a square root for any purpose and failed. Conclusion - the survey set out to try and make it look bad or push an agenda. On a slight tangent what is the square root of 169. Did you use your memory or calculating skills?

The second story was on school selection. Recently was the first time that there was a universal day when students find out which secondary school they are going to. Schools can no longer select who comes to the school based on student ability, parental help for the school and a number of other criteria. In Brighton to try and make it fairer they have introduced a lottery to determine where you go. Before this it was mainly based on distance from the school and this is still the major concern. The problem then is that the house prices around a "successful" school rise and only the middle class parents win. The whole system now seems to be designed to discriminate against parents who care. Thus there is now no benefit for taking an interest in your child's education. If you are prepared to give up your time for the school, fill in forms expressing why little Johnny should go to or volunteer with the school association bad luck. What a fantastic way to help build a build school community and have a group of willing and helpful parents associated with the school, ensuring that their child is prepared and ready to learn. Whatever system you introduce parents who care will try and eek some advantage out of it. On a side note how do you measure a successful school. I have a good handle of the figures and I would not like to say which school in Norwich is the best, which figures are you going to look at?

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Shift Happens

It is no longer who you know or what you know but having the skills to move from situation to situation. As teachers you need to deal with how students learn not necessary what they learn. However to teach people to learn you have to have a subject to sit the skills on. This is where Geography is so good as it lends itself to most skills.