Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Big Freeze 2010

Thought I'd post a few pics on here of the snow around my parts just for future posterity and interest!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A very merry Christmas to you all!

Although posting has been somewhat infrequent lately, I felt I would take the time to wish all readers a very Mery Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I am now enjoying my annual visit back down to London for Christmas and appreciating the space and comfort of 'bricks and mortar' even more! Went last night to see 'Wicked' in the West End. A very different show; enjoyable with stunning lighting and effects and a very deep storyline - not a children's show really. We plan to see another show next week but not sure what yet. Tickets are already booked however for me to take my father to see 'Phantom of the Opera' on Monday 28th December as he would like to see it - it's part of his Christmas present but he does know about it!

Most of my regular posts are now via my Facebook account as I can do it easier and upload pictures then and there taken on my mobile device. Any regular readers who wish to keep up to date with my ramblings and boring life, please ask to be a 'Facebook friend' of mine - you may wish to identify yourself as a reader from my blog or I may deny the request!

Anyway, have a great Christmas and 2010 to you all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Weekend walks

Better late than never! This is the weekend post. The weekend saw some lovely weather on Saturday but the day was too busy with coal runs, cleaning, Christmas card writing, present buying and wrapping etc. On Sunday the weather was not quite as good but I did manage finally to go out for a walk and investigate the new towpath along the Oxford canal outside All Oaks Wood. A jolly smart job too as these pictures show.
The evening saw a glorious sunset over the marina.
Friday saw an internet crisis. My Ticalli modem packed in - it refused to switch on and no lights lit. I phoned them expecting a new modem to be sent out immediately. 40 minutes later and the guy in the Indian call centre informed me he would have to escelate it to the next level. Apparently the process is that another guy would ring me back and go through the same checks in case anything had been missed, then an engineer would be sent out to check it and the line, then a new modem would be sent out to me. Not surprisingly, I told them not to bother and rung Orange. They signed me up and told me my new equipment would be out by Monday and working immediately. Monday came and went and no equipment. I phoned and was told it was due to be sent out for connection on 21st December. I hit the roof - again!! I am now running through my very slow Orange dongle until my new equipment can be sent out and got up and running - is noone competent in this world any more!!??

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Feeling Christmassy!

After the stress of surviving Ofsted last week followed by the school discos last night, this morning was a relatively lazy day. I had to pop in to school this morning at 11.00 for an hour as we took part in the Tree O'Clock attempt to break the world record of the most number of trees planted at the same time across the country! Our effort planting 2 trees hopefully helped!
I then came home and began catching up with the many tasks oustanding on the boat: pump-out, water, (I haven't filled up for over 2 weeks!), hoovering, cleaning, washing etc.
I then decided it was time ofr Christmas to start so I put up the lights on the outside of the boat:
My little fibre optic Christmas tree was looking very sad so I decided it was time to buy another one. A quick visit to Homebase confirmed they had sold out so I decided to see what 'real' ones they had! I fell in love with such a cute little potted Norway Spruce - only about 2 foot high. £20 later and I had a tree, some lights, one strand of tinsel and a few baubles - doesn't it look fine!?
I can now start feeling Christmassy as I begin the endless cycle of Christmas concerts and shows at school this coming week.

Friday, November 27, 2009


So I got into school this morning at my normal time of about 7.45. Got my toast and a cup of coffee. My paths crossed with the Head at around 8.00 and the conversation went as follows:

"Good morning - hey I had a dream last night and I never usually knowingly dream!"
"Oh yes, what was that about?"
"Well, I dreamed of school and I never normally do that either!!"
"Go on?"
"It was wierd, I dreamt that Ofsted phoned today and said they were coming in on Tuesday and it was so real, I woke up believing it!"
"Oh don't - we don't want that and anyway, they might not give us that much notice."

The day continued until half way through my maths lesson at around 10.30 when an ashen faced Headteacher beckopned me outside through the glass door.

"I'm not kidding you, I promise," He said, "Ofsted have just phoned - they're coming in on Tuesday and Wednesday next week!"

I was more spooked by my premonition than by the 'O' word!! To say I was shaking for a while was an understatement.

....but it's true - You can imagine the rest of the day, (well, those of you in education certainly can) Total panic as conference calls were had with the lead inspector, Timetables and staff lists collected and emailed through, Staff meetings were held and the Pre Inspection Briefing was scrutinised and copied for all relevant managers. Not to mention, the beginnings of endless lists being written of all that needs to be collected over the weekend.

The weekend is now officially a write off. In school all weekend to panic quietly until found gibbering incoherantly in the corner of the staffroom.

It's a strange sensation; I personally don't care about the outcome, (incidentally, I didn't dream that part unfortunately!) I don't care about the findings or subsequent action plans but I do care passionately about allowing our staff, parents and children to be part of something that is at least 'satisfactory' ideally 'good' or even 'excellent'! The whole staff give more than 100% to this school and their children. Every lesson is delivered with passion and enthusiasm, every child is cared for and nurtured, and the thought of someone who hasn't taught for years potentially condeming it as not good enough is so stressful words cannot explain.

Visit a school just pre an inspection and then support the current politicians and their new and whacky theories of teaching. If there is anything that squashes a creative curriculum - it's Ofsted: Christmas rehearsals, exciting DT lessons, the positive staff/pupil relationships - all out the window until the doom is over, our fate sealed and we can, once agian, begin to pick up the pieces, dust ourselves off and probably 'coast' to the end of term!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nothing to report!

I'm sure many of the so called and self appointed blog experts would slate me for posting a blog entry with such a title that immediately denotes the importance of the subsequent text but hey I never have and never will conform to the 'conventions' imposed upon us in this mad world we live in! I am a non politically correct, non conformist, say it like it is blogger - and proud of it!

I simply felt that having not posted anything for such a long time, I ought to post something! As the title suggests thre is nothing to report however. For the last 5 weeks, my entire Saturdays have been spent in school catching up leaving Sunday as a manic day to catch up on boat chores. Getting home at 6.00 or later in the evenings and then spending an average of between 3 - 5 hours working, (I got to bed at 2.00 in the morning one day last week,) means that there hasn't been a lot of time for anything else right now!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Railway videos

More for my own interest I have uploaded a few videos of Little Foxwood with three trains running. I spent much of the day in the village today as the wind and rain prevented anything outdoors happening. In fact, the wind has been howling all day and is extremely severe!

I've tidivated bits and added bits and then decided to take some mobile phone video of it all running to see how it came out. It's not great but it gives an idea!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Ever since seeing the launch of netbooks, I have wanted one! I am a bit of a self confessed gadget freak I have to admit and the thought of having a fully blown laptop small enough to take to school and on courses as well as when I go off to London or camping and not have to unplug, de-wrire and carry my full sized laptop with me, was something I have aspired to.

Last week, I saw one in action and had the chance to play with it and was very impressed. I have now bit the bullet and bought a very nice little Samsung NC10 netbook.
I have just about set it up and with the 160GB hard drive, I have been able to load most of the applications and files/documents that I need so I can now carry everything with me everywhere I need it!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wonderful walking!

Just returned from a fantastic few days of walking in the Yorkshire Dales. I love it there! No boating holiday this half term, the need to simply 'get away' and clear my head was just too much. We left on Saturday and returned today having conquored Penygent and Whernside and almost reached the summit of Ingleborough but the wind and fog was just too much and we weren't able to stand as we approached the scree slope so gave up and returned to base.

Believe it or not, the views here are stunning as we descend Penygent!
....and here on the summit!
....and here as well - this time on a beautiful scenic drive!However, with this view to return home to each evening it more than made up for things!We did stumble across this. A fascinating project of Hydro Electric Power in Settle. They have an excellent website and blog here. We stopped and took loads of pictures as we happened to stumble across it at the very time the 'screw' was being installed - very exciting!
We also stumbled across the most amazing pub/hotel/restaurant. The Harts Head Inn at Giggleswick. The food was outstanding and so reasonably priced that we returned each evening for our evening meal. Highly recommended if ever passing through!
Tomorrow, back to school for prep!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Counting down!

I know I've only just gone back to school from the summer but after a week of late evenings including one where the day lasted from 7.30 in the morning when I arrived in school to gone 10.00 in the evening when the Governors and Parent association meetings finished and having had no break whatsoever in between times - I feel I need a holiday! This week promises to be almost as bad with parents evenings on 2 nights and a course on another so I am looking forward to the half term in 2 weeks time.
Half term is a non boating affair this time with a caravan booked for a walking holiday in my favourite place - the North Yorkshire Moors.
In preparation for this, today I went shopping. A visit to Go Outdoors in Coventry allowed me to buy a new pair of walking boots...
...and a new sleeping bag!!
I also popped in to Castle Trains in Warwick to get a few more bits for my growing colliery scene in Little Foxwood.
Once finished I shall post some pictures of it.
Tomorrow - a huge pile of marking to get done as well as all next weeks planning!