Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Duke of Edinburgh

Despite being talked into more than I agreed to the Duke of Edinburgh expedition was surprisingly enjoyable. One aspect that I liked was the level of Independence that the keys are expected to display. On a regular school trip everything has to be risk assessed and while safety is still a priority the reliance on the adults is low. For instance on the Friday the students arrived and had to put up their own tents with no or little help and then cook their own dinner on a portable stove. They had to bring their own ingredients, decide how much to cook and eat and then wash up afterwards. After that they then had to plan out their route including timings and checkpoints along the trip.
Saturday morning and the Silver awards students have to be up, packed all their equipment including tents and cooked a hot meal by eight. They where then dropped 16km from the campsite and expected to get back to camp. The leader walked with them for a bit and then was picked up in the van. After that they were on their own. The bronze had till 10am to pack up and then they set off on their 12km route with their leader checking their navigation. My job was to pick up and drop off the various leaders around the district in the bus. So I would get a call asking to pick up one of the seven leaders and transfer them to a checkpoint 4km away. With seven leaders I was certainly busy visiting the central village of Trunch far too often for my liking. When students got back to the camp site they had to re pitch their tent and cook their dinner.
On the Sunday the students were expected to do the same again but this time with no leader only the expectation that their leader would appear at various checkpoints throughout the day with me doing laps around the local villages in the bus again. Credit to Mitch the navigator who did not get me lost and we did better than Jamie who tried to drive her Mini down a footpath.
The only issue is that there is a very definitive way to camp Duke of Edinburgh style. Rule shave to be followed. Students must walk on average three miles an hour. Breaks must be longer if you are walking quicker. To light the stove you must use matches despite the fact that lighters don't get wet. You must have a hot meal in the morning. I am sure that there are good reasons for this but in the reality of real camping expeditions you do what is easiest.
In summary I enjoyed it so much that in a couple of weeks I am involved in the real expeditions and not just the practice. Pictures of some of the places we stopped are below.
Lower Street


St Botolph's Trunch

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

I'm not dead

Well this is the intense time of year. The coursework needs to be marked and sent of after the bank holiday weekend so now is the frantic time of demanding coursework and ensuring that it is all handed in. This year that is approximately 600 separate piece of work ranging from half a page to 5 or 6 sides in length. The work is on my pen drive, laptop, home computer, CD and backed up school network just in case. There is a fair amount of paperwork associated with it as well that needs to be collated and sent off. Next year is the last year of coursework and personally I can't wait. All of this is on top of the usually teaching load

Also filling my time were;

1. A trip home to see the folks include a lovely day out in the sun to Stoke Bruin

2. Getting the hydraulic cylinder in the clutch replaced

3. New glasses

4. Improving the state of the garden

5. Reports

6. Parents Evening

7. Swimming

8. Knitting a haggis

9. Preparing the students for exams in the next couple of weeks

To top it off I said I would drive the van (a rare skill since the government changed the law) for the Duke of Edinburgh Award people thinking that would involve dropping them off at the start of the weekend and collecting them at the end. Somehow this minor involvement appears to have morphed into a whole weekend away, certainly more than I was prepared to give with so much work to do. I hope that while they are doing their expedition I can find a warm cozy spot with a plug, hook up the laptop and get marking. It is my own fault - as they say in the Navy never volunteer for anything.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Johnstone's Paint Trophy

Luton are playing at Wembley at a cup final and I am not there and pissed off because

I made 7 unanswered phone calls (some immediately after getting an engaged tone)
I sent 6 unanswered emails
The ticket website kept telling me there were not able to provide two tickets
No-one would talk face to face about either the stupid website or any other topic

When I finally got through they told me that they had given all the tickets to Supporters Clubs and there were none left.

This is a club that is short of money and are making it very tough for me to give them any.

They are big underdogs as they are playing a team from the league above but go Hatters.

Sarah and James get married.

A lovely day in the Spring sunshine in the centre of rural Norfolk. Bride and bridesmaid looked lovely. Groom bery smart in his uniform. Honour guard with real swords.

Things about the wedding.

1. The bride, bridesmaid and a few friends met in the pub for lunch at 12 before heading off to get ready.

2. Church had a traditional round tower which is very Saxon and very Norfolk.

3. The sermon was on the 4 types of love (physical love that occurs between a couple, attraction that occurs between friends ? which I can't remember and divine love which is unconditional love and not based on emotion.)

4. Flower were primulas and not cut so they can continue to grow

5. We travelled slowly from the church to Home farm, the bride and groom were a bit quicker in the MG with the roof down.

6. Main course was hog roast with a cheesecake dessert made by Mel that you may as well pour straight into arteries.

7. Live band were good playing covers really well although the DJ (Bernie Ecclestone's younger brother) looked pissed off when they got an encore.

8. Fireworks were very good.

9. Photographers went a bit above and beyond and were still annoying people at 11pm especially the bridesmaid.

10 James is not ginger despite what the best man would have you know.
11. The dog ate one of the tiers of the cake on Thursday

Thursday, 2 April 2009


Good to see all the anarchists were out in force for the G20 conference but it did bring up some interesting questions

1. Who organises the anarchists
2. Did they have a meeting? If so who chairs it?
3. Were minutes taken?
4. If someone organises the anarchists to arrive at the same place at the same time can you rely on them to arrive
5. Can they cope with grouping together to form a protest?

Wednesday, 1 April 2009