Monday, November 24, 2008

Let me just try something. Just put this in here like this, and put that in there .....

I was reading this thing the other day. It was in a magazine (at this time of the year I don't seem to have enough time to read ..... no that's a lie ..... I'll come back to that.)

I was reading a piece in a Magazine and it mentioned that in some blogging systems you can send things to the blog by email.

So I got out my copy of the Blogger engine and read the instructions .... and lo and behold, it appears that you can do just that.

This may be the answer to a prayer. I've not been adding to the blog for a good month now, but if I can send a post to the blog as easily as I can send an email to somebody. 

That's a laugh. I don't even get around to sending emails to people who I really ought to send them to. I must write to Howard. He will think that I really am a total plonker. Saw him this Summer, had a really good couple of hours over a pint, then I've just never written back. So I must write to Howard very soon.

When I said I hadn't been reading much I forgot that I'm halfway through a really good SF novel, or series I suppose. One that I'm really enjoying. More of that another time. This really was just a trial, to see if the old email thingy really works. Oh please, I do hope that it does!

Love you and leave you for now.

Monday, October 27, 2008


So here I am again. I just read the last bit over and I stopped mid post to go and watch TV. Never came back up that evening and carried on with another full week. The following Thursday evening, it would be October 16th, we got the news that we were having a new style OfSTED inspection. OfSTED is the Office for Standards in Education and is the Government Agency in the UK that inspects Schools. As is now normal we were given about 5 days notice that they were coming in.

They will jus wander into classrooms to observe lessons as the mood takes them. So everyone has to plan detailed lesson plans for every lesson in those two days. I was convinced that they would see me this time as the last time we were inspected nobody came to see me. The GCSE exam results for my calss were not too good last year so I was convinced they would come to see me. 

I had good lessons planned. They went well. The students were attentive. Nobody came near. Not into one lesson on those two days.

It left me feeling really down, despite various people saying, "But it is random" "Not seeing you implies nothing." But I really did feel down when I was not inspected. As is normal with me I got really grouchy about it. I'm really not a very nice person I guess. 

Anyway, the school was declared to be good. Which I could have told you before, but they have to check it out for themselves. But it still feels vaguely that it isn't me who was declared to be good, or even OK. Ho Hum.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

And so we visited Chatsworth again.....

We went to Chatsworth about two or three weeks ago. I think I mentioned in the Blog that we had Moses, our Parish Worker, from Church, for Dinner and we took him to Chatsworth.

They had an exhibition of Sculptures on show, part of a Sotheby's Exhibition, but I didn't have my camera. Moses had his phone and he let me have two or three photos, but I wanted more. So we have been saying that we would return to Chatsworth ever since. However, to do that you have to have a day free, and you had to have decent weather.

The weather forecast on Thursday suggested that the weekend was going to be nice, so we decided to go, as long as the weather stayed nice, on Saturday, because we were both free of commitments on that day.

Saturday dawned grey, iron clad, but the weather forecast suggested that it would be okay. So we decided to go for it. Chatsworth is about an hour's drive away, so we set off at just before 11 am and got there after a very pleasant drive, just before noon. I must admit that, having decided not to shell out for the visit to the House again, I was just a bit amazed to be charged thirteen pounds to go into the gardens, but it was well worth it.

The picture above shows my favourite sculpture. It is not part of the Sothebys exhibition. I assume that it belongs to the Chatsworth estate and for me it shows remarkably good taste. I love it. I call it the Dancing Hare, though I have no idea what it is called.

If you want to have a look at my photographs, you can find them in my online photo- album which is on Picasa. Just follow the link below. It currently features a rather snazzy piece which is supposed to look like Mao Tse Tung (Or is it Zedong nowadays) Jacket, but made out of rusty steel for some reason. I may try to change to picture for another one that works a bit better, but we'll see how we get on first.
Chatsworth on 11th October 2008
I have to admit that I was very taken by some of these artworks, while others left me rather cold. I think my favourite of the Sothebys pieces is the one called "Le Tres Grand Ours", or to put it in English "The Bloody Big Teddy Bear". Now just let me see if I can include a picture of Theodore Bear in this blog at this point. How do we do this....... You know, looking at this I don't think that looks too bad. The thing that you cannot see from these photographs, is the way that these pieces fit their suuroundings so very well. The Big Bear, for example, is the highest up the slope of any of the pieces. So you walk up this quite steep hill and you come out at the top by the side of a mirror pool. You'll see that in some of the photographs. It has a pagoda style building overlooking it. At the right hand end of the mirror pool is a stand of evergreen trees, and the bear is standing right in the middle of them. He looks so very much at home. I must admit that I sent an email to Chatsworth suggesting that they keep Big Ted because he looks perfect in place.

By the way the mad dancing hare is at the opposite end of the mirror pool to Big Ted. I wonder what they get up to at night.

What else did I like. I loved the Horse, but I'm not really sure that my photos of the Horse do him justice because he is bang in the middle of a path running through the wood and it was quite dark there. I did my best. I'm not going to put a picture of Horse in here, you'll have to go to the gallery to see him.

At this point I shall stop and go and watch the results show of Strictly Come Dancing.

So, till I get back to the blog, here is something to be going on with.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Week in View

I don't need to worry about not writing things in here for a week at a time. Unless there is a tool that I have not found, I have no evidence that anyone at all is reading this, aside from D who sends me a regular email, and my dear wife who reads it when she thinks about it. So I can treat this as an entirely private diary that I can write in once a week and be fairly certain that no one else in the world gives a damn.

So this week. Well, the high point has to be going to see Nurse Pippa for my blood test results on Tuesday to discover that everything that can be high is above what it should possibly be. So I was immediately signed up for more blood tests to see what is going wrong. I could have told them that. I am very, very, very obese, grossly fat and slovenly. I am greedy and lazy. So what am I going to do about it.

I AM GOING TO LOSE WEIGHT, THAT's A PROMISE. Well, it's lose weight or die and I have no intention of dying just yet.

Thursday Night should have been a night out with the boys, but some stupid person had chopped through the gas pipe so we had no heat and no food which meant that our meeting was cut down to just 40 minutes and then we all went home. British Gas we love you.

Friday was a training day when we looked at something called the "PEEL" chain. I'm not sure I understand it, and I doubt if it would interest you the none existent reader, so I will ignore it. But it was the first training day for a long time where I really felt that we got something useful out of the training.

I also went to the School Gym after the day ended to be inducted onto the Gym Machines. They are marvellous, better than I expected, really professional machines. So it's just getting up the enthusiasm to start using them after school. Remember, Kevin, you have promised to do something about that vast bulk you call a body, so get going.

On Saturday I spent 2 hours cleaning out the detritus in the old 17th Century Hearse House at Church. What I was cleaning out was mostly bits of rock and dust from the last repointing. Still. I had fun, and I do mean that.

Then we went book shopping at the big Borders Store in Stockport. Between us, the apple of my eye and me spent £80 on books. Got some nice ones. I bought a SciFi book I enjoyed years ago and lost, a new SciFi book that sounded as if it had some mileage and the book I really went for.

Henry Allingham is now 112 years old and is one of the last survivors of World War I. He has written, with help, his autobiography, called The Last of Kitchener's Volunteers. I shall save it for half term as I want to be able to get my head into that book properly.

Today is Sunday, I spent most of the afternoon marking and planning.

Tomorrow Evening is Monday and I must spend most of that evening planning one lesson. Our Executive Head is coming to watch me teach on Wednesday and I must be ready for him.

I shall let you know how I get on. Love for now.

Oh yes, by the way, an old student told me, this week, that lol means Laugh Out Loud. Oh well.

See you all soon, all NONE of you.

Lots of love!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Speaking of Books.

In Zermo's Blog recently, D wrote a review of Bernard Cornwell's "The Lords of the North" and I wondered if, having read "LotN" D had read the two books in the Saxon Series that came before it.

I agree with everything that D says about Cornwell's books, but she says it better, so I won't say anything here. However, if you read "Lords of the North" it makes more sense if you have already read "The Last Kingdom" and "Pale Rider"

Anyway, as it does, that led me to go skating on the Internet where I discovered that Cornwell's next book, which is out in England in October is called "Azincourt" (or, in the American edition, Agincourt") and tells the story of the events leading up to that seminal battle from the point of view of an English Archer.

I'm looking forward to it already. I'm salivating.

You might also try Cornwell's Grail Quest Trilogy, "Harlequin", "Vagabond" and "Heretic" which also tell the story of an English Archer loose in France during the Hundred Years War.

The may not be "nice and accurate" but they are a damned good read.

Good Omens

I've just re-read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

This is a story of Armageddon. The Devil's son has been borne on Earth. The end of days is coming! The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have ridden.

Unfortunately, the job of looking after the Antichrist was put in the hands of the Demon, Crowley, who used to be called Crawley, when he was a snake, or should I say THE SNAKE!

And Aziraphael of course. The Angel with the flaming sword who was put on watch to guard the gates of Eden, but who thought that Adam and Eve looked cold, so he gave his flaming sword to them.

It's also the story of "The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch", the only work of prediction to be a hundred percent accurate.

And the usual host of Pratchett, and Gaiman, characters.

It is a hoot. One of the funniest book I've read in a long time. I won't pretend that it is a work of greatness, but I love it. I would recommend this book to anyone in the world who enjoys reading and likes a laugh.

Smashing Time

Do you remember Pyrex Dishes

When I was growing up you could put a Pyrex Dish on your head to wear as a helmet. Your mates could chuck bricks at you and the Pyrex kept them off. Never broke, even when you fell on your head.

What has happened to Pyrex. Today I dropped a pyrex bowl on the floor, and only from a height of six feet, and it exploded. Sharp edges bits of glass all over the floor.

Thank Ghod we don't have a doggy at the moment!

Is Pyrex less good than it used to be.

Has Pyrex been taken over by the French and all of its' strength leached away.

Or is it like long hot summers, longer and hotter in memory than reality.

Tuesday Night is Open Night

So on Tuesday Evening we had Open Evening for the new Academy. Here comes another little rant. Just skip past this one D you know what is coming so ignore it.

So okay, the new school will open next September, so they have to hold an Open Evening to attract the scions of our town to attend the wonderful new school. But we had only just had a letter saying that new Year 7 students will attend the other School's Building. The brand new building will be open by 2010 (OH YEAH - just watch this space if it's properly built it will take more than 12 months to build, If it's built by 2010 it will probably be awful)

So if the promises are correct then the new Year 7 pupils will be at the other school until 2011, a full year after the new school has been built and the old one pulled down. So why in anybody's name would the parents want to come and look around our old school.

So why in heaven's name did we have to waste an evening sitting around while no more than 30 people came and looked around our part of the building?

What a fun and joy filled evening that was. To top it off the new Principal, in her address, told the parents that they could not ask the staff any questions about the new school because we knew nothing about it.

Really, honestly, truthfully! Why were we there?

Not Being There

I knew that when things got busy I would struggle to get time on the blog. It happened this week. I was out in the evening on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and I just need time to write this. But I feel ever so guilty. I'm going to have to cure myself of that.

In any case, what is the point of feeling guilty about not writing on this when nobody but me reads it. And maybe D from time to time, and possibly the love of my life occasionally, especially now that she is writing her own blog.

She does it better than me!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mamma Mia

Unlike my friend D, I do belong to the Abba generation. I can still remember years and years of watching the Eurovision Screech Contest. At this point we will not get into why a person like me with a modicum of intelligence would ever have watched that Song Contest, but I did for years and years. I watched a series of songs with titles like "Bam bam Bam bam" and "Bong Bong Nong" won the stupid thing.

And then, one day, out of nowhere came Abba and Waterloo.

There was a time, a year or two later, when we were on one of our school trips to France. That year we were staying in Deauville and Trouville (Yes, both at the same time.) One night, we went to the Casino. I'd never been to a Casino and was astonished that I could not see any Roulette or Cards or anything. I never did find those things and a glass of wine cost a fortune. But I do remember them playing an Abba song over and over in the background.

I think that I fell in love with Agnetha and Anna-Frid (I'll own up to the fact that I never fancied the blokes, but grief, those girls were sexy.)

Then, in 2000, we decided to restart taking School Visits. We hadn't been for a year or three. We decided to take a group of girls to London and we arranged a variet of things to do. Being that it was the Millennium we took them to the Dome, the Tower, all that touristy stuff. I had promised the girls that we would take them to a show and promised them "The Lion King". But we couldn't get tickets to that show, it was too new. But the ticket agents said that they could get us tickets to Mamma Mia, which was quite new at the time and for some reason it was easy to get tickets.

I did not know what to expect. The kids were really disappointed but decided to enjoy whatever the show turned out to be. We talked about it before we went and we all decided to get dressed up and enjoy an evening out at the Theatre. So there we were, going to a Soho Theatre. A group of 40 Teenage Girls and five teachers, dressed up to the nines. The kids looked wonderful, I'm not so sure about the adults, but we set out to have a fun night, no matter how bad this Abba show turned out to be.

We found our seat, settled in, the lights went down.


I still get messages from some of the girls who went, on Facebook, saying how they remember that show.

It was breathtaking, exciting, gorgeous, hilarious, wonderful. And the music! Oh wow.

So when I saw that they had made a film of it, I obviously wanted to see it. We saw a couple of clips on the TeeVee on SuperWonderfulTeeVeeShows like "RICHARD & JUDY". I have not seen every film that Meryl Streep has made, but I have never been disappointed by one. I think that she is one of the best actresses that there is. I love Julie Walters and I think that Christine Baranski ROCKS! Colin Firth is a cracker, and the rest were unknown quantities. Except of course James Bond who clearly had the part of the song mangler in the movie.

Had to go and see it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pat and I went one day when we had been going to have a day drive into Derbyshire, but when it RAINEDANDRAINEDANDRAINEDANDRAINEDANDRAINED that day we decided to go to the cinema instead.

We went to the 4.30 pm matinee, on a Thursday, when it was raining, five weeks after Mamma Mia had been released.

When we entered the cinema it was empty. Utterly and completely empty. So we sat in the middle of the back row in the courting seats. By the time that the movie started we had been joined by THREE other souls. We watched Mamma Mia in a 300 seat movie cinema with five of us present. HOW COOL IS THAT!

D writes about going to see Mamma Mia in her blog. There is a link over on the left of the page. It's called Zermo's Blog. Ghod knows why, but there you are. She is, after all, French so you have to make allowances. D obviously knows what she is talking about when it comes to films. After all I go to the Cinema once in two years and the last film I saw at the Cinema was "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" whereas D sees 237 films every week! So she knows what she is talking about. So if she says this movie is "merde" (which she doesn't, but it's what she means if you read between the lines, which is quite difficult when you speak as little French as me) then that is almost certainly the case.

But on that rainy Thursday afternoon I wasn't going to see an arthouse movie, I wanted something that was fun, and mamma Mia fitted the bill.

I absolutely loved it. OK, Pierce Brosnan cannot sing. If he believes that he can then he is fooling himself. But I thought that the film, Mamma Mia was great. If you read this, and let's face it, I have no evidence that anyone ever reads this at all, and you want to see a bit of fun, not a cinematographic masterpiece, but a fun movie, then mamma Mia gets my vote.

Oh, by the way, in the middle of last week, Madame la Presidente de la Republique Francaises, whose name I forget, appeared on the Jazz Music Show "Later with Jools Holland". I tell you what, she can sing a hell of a lot better than Pierce Brosnan!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Forever Young

I think Bob Dylan is brilliant. I see little difference between his songs and poems.

Here is a song / poem that I really like. I often write this one in the Leaving Books of my students. When they ask me to write something, which is not often. See what you think of this. A bit schmaltzy I guess, but I love it all the same. I'm soft hearted. This was first recorded on “Planet Waves” in 1974

Forever Young

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay, in ev’ry way, forever young,

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay, in ev’ry way, forever young,

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay, in ev’ry way, forever young,

Sky High

See, I knew this is how it would end up when I started having work related things to do, like marking exercise books. However, you don't want to know about that.

I decided to go for broke and buy a Sky+ satellite Receiver. We have a Sky Satellite already, but Sky+ allows you to record satellite and do other magical things like pausing reality. So if the Swiss do destroy the world then I can pause reality or run time backwards until before the bang. And I know that this is true because the adverts from Sky tell me it's true.

Besides, later next year they are going to shut down the analogue transmitters in Glossop, along with the rest of Granadaland. At that point, if you have not got a digital system then you will have no TeeVee. HELL ON EARTH! Of course, we have Digital TeeVee, but what we don't have at the moment, is any way to record that digitalk TeeVee. The old analogue recorder will not do the job and our current Digital Recorder will end up only being able to record the one program that is showing at the moment. Which is not much good really.

So when I came into a couple of hyndred quid that I did not expect, Pat and I decided to splurge it on a Sky+ system.

Should be easy, shouldn't it. Read the adverts from Sky. Ring them up and buy on the telephone. Buy online using Use the Interactive Services on our Sky Box. Easy Peasy. Don't you believe a word of it. For starters the price of the box varies depending on where you buy it. Buy online and it is 99 pounds in real money. Buy over the phone and they wanted to charge me two hundred and ten pounds. (HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE) Well at least I thought Hee Hee Hee until I went to check prices in my local Sky Shop. There they told me I would have to pay THREE HUNDRED QUID. The funny thing is that some people pay three times the price and think they are getting a bargain.

So I tried to buy online - and the website crashed. Not my broadband connection, the Sky website. I tri3ed fifteen times and it crashed everytime!!!!

So I tried buying by Interactive Service and the Interactive Service crashed and told me it could not talk to the telephone. Funnily enough it had no problem talking to the phone if I wanted to book a movie.

So I phoned them up. The line connected immediately but it took 55 minutes for someone to answer the phone! The bloke who answered the phone had the intelligence of a small legume (a pea to be precise.) And was unable to sell me a Sky+m Box for the online price. He wanted to charge me £250 quid. Do I look like a Spaniel? Do I???

To cut a very long story short, before I, or you dear reader die of boredom, I finally managed to speak to a Lady who both works for Sky and had a lot of Common Sense. So I have bought my Sky+ box, for the Internet Price. But what about all those phone calls and the fact that the website doesn't let you buy stuff. I wrote a stiff email of complaint and I will assuredly let you know what comes of it.

I'll probably write the next Diary post in another week's time.

Have fun, and don't do anything I wouldn't do. But then, I have a very wide range of tolerances.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Joke

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself.

As he continued walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes. Turning to look, he saw a 7 foot grizzly charging towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. Looking over his shoulder he saw that the bear was closing in on him. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear raising his paw to take a swipe at him.

At that instant the atheist cried out: "Oh my God!..."

Time stopped.

The bear froze.

The forest was silent.

It was then that a bright light shone upon the man and a voice came out of the sky saying:

"You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist looked directly into the light. "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps, could you make the BEAR a Christian?"

"Very well," said the voice. The light went out, and the sounds of the forest resumed.

And then the bear lowered his paw, bowed his head and spoke:
"Lord, bless this food which I am about to receive and for which I am truly thankful, Amen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

If you believe the girls at our school, you'll be lucky. For some reasons ome of the Year 10 and Year 11 girls have decided that CERN are going to blow up the Universe sometime tomorrow.

This is interesting because they have no idea what CERN is or what the scientists there are doing, or anything else really. So just in case the kids are right, and most of the world's scientists are wrong. I thought I'd get in one last word.


Well, if you are going to have a last word, Dimplex will do just fine.

Okay, that's got that over and done with.

I'm sitting here watching the National Movie Awards. They are about to award the Best Actor prize. However, they just had a "Coming Soon" piece and it included a mention of what looked like a new StarTrek Movie. How have I missed that.

By the way, Johnnie Depp won. Good call.

I'm not in the mood tonight, so I'll stop there. See you soon!

Monday, September 8, 2008

And with a bright flash .... it was gone

I can see a pattern developing here. WHAT HAPPENED TO SUNDAY?

So we've gone from Tuesday last week to Monday this week with only one post in between. If I don't watch it this will be the beginning of the end.

Saturday Night was smart. We went out with our friend Barbara & Richard and the other Barbara to the "Sweet Mandarin" in Manchester. If anyone ever reads this and lives around Manchester, give it a try. An excellent Chinese Restaurant opposite what used to be the Fish Market. Modern, superb food and not too expensive. They make a lot of money on drinks, though, but I suppose that is true of all restaurants. We had a very nice mixed banquet but we were talking about it today and the way prices are going at the moment, maybe we need to buy five dishes and share next time.

Unfortunately I was the designated driver this time, as was Rich, so we ended up on Coca Cola while the women put away quantities of white wine. Ah well, it will be my turn next time.

Sunday was a nice day, despite the fact that it rained none stop all day. At least we have the benefit of living on a hill in the Peak District. I pity the people of Morpeth in Northumberland who received all of September's Rain on Friday. With the following result:

How do you cope with sitting watching TV when your house fills up with water. And the horrible nature of the water at that. We watched the news on Sunday Morning when they showed what was left on the carpet on Sunday Morning.

It was a longer than usual service at Church on Sunday. Philip, the Vicar, was away and we had a visiting Canon. He may be missing having his own church and we got a service that laster 1 hour and 40 minutes. Too long for me. I'm sure that the sermon was very erudite, but he lost me after 20 minutes. Still.

I spent the rainy afternoon mainly doing School Work of one sort and another. It is the great joy of teaching that you get to mark all of this work. Ah I do so love correcting exercises ... NOT!

Then we went back to Church for the once a month service of Evensong. I'm not a modernist. I don't believe that Church Services have to be in "Modern" to be accessible. I am a great lover of the old, traditional, Book of Common Prayer that has been in use since, what, about 1605. It has stood the Church of England in good stead for four hundred years and I find it perfectly accessible today. To the modernists I ask, do we need to re-write Shakespeare as Rap to make it accessible to the yoof of the country?

Anyway, we had a lovely, gentle service that made me feel so very good. And thank you to the Choir for that perfect piece of an Anthem. I know that none of them will ever read this, but it was a great joy.

And so, back to work, another weekend bites the dust!

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Time for another poem. This one is by Rudyard Kipling who is one of my favourite poets. Everyone else in the world hates him, 'cos he embodies the British Empire. However, he deserves more reading, try "Recessional" for a different approach. I might put it in the blog at some point, if I remember, but for now, here is

The Land

When Julius Fabricius, Sub-Prefect of the Weald,
In the days of Diocletian owned our Lower River-field,
He called to him Hobdenius-a Briton of the Clay,
Saying: "What about that River-piece for layin'' in to hay?"
And the aged Hobden answered: "I remember as a lad
My father told your father that she wanted dreenin' bad.
An' the more that you neeglect her the less you'll get her clean.
Have it jest as you've a mind to, but, if I was you, I'd dreen."
So they drained it long and crossways in the lavish Roman style--
Still we find among the river-drift their flakes of ancient tile,
And in drouthy middle August, when the bones of meadows show,
We can trace the lines they followed sixteen hundred years ago.

Then Julius Fabricius died as even Prefects do,
And after certain centuries, Imperial Rome died too.
Then did robbers enter Britain from across the Northern main
And our Lower River-field was won by Ogier the Dane.
Well could Ogier work his war-boat --well could Ogier wield his brand--
Much he knew of foaming waters--not so much of farming land.
So he called to him a Hobden of the old unaltered blood,
Saying: "What about that River-piece; she doesn't look no good?"
And that aged Hobden answered "'Tain't for me not interfere.
But I've known that bit o' meadow now for five and fifty year.
Have it jest as you've a mind to, but I've proved it time on' time,
If you want to change her nature you have got to give her lime!"
Ogier sent his wains to Lewes, twenty hours' solemn walk,
And drew back great abundance of the cool, grey, healing chalk.
And old Hobden spread it broadcast, never heeding what was in't.--
Which is why in cleaning ditches, now and then we find a flint.

Ogier died. His sons grew English-Anglo-Saxon was their name--
Till out of blossomed Normandy another pirate came;
For Duke William conquered England and divided with his men,
And our Lower River-field he gave to William of Warenne.
But the Brook (you know her habit) rose one rainy autumn night
And tore down sodden flitches of the bank to left and right.
So, said William to his Bailiff as they rode their dripping rounds:
"Hob, what about that River-bit--the Brook's got up no bounds? "
And that aged Hobden answered: "'Tain't my business to advise,
But ye might ha' known 'twould happen from the way the valley lies.
Where ye can't hold back the water you must try and save the sile.
Hev it jest as you've a mind to, but, if I was you, I'd spile!"
They spiled along the water-course with trunks of willow-trees,
And planks of elms behind 'em and immortal oaken knees.
And when the spates of Autumn whirl the gravel-beds away
You can see their faithful fragments, iron-hard in iron clay.

Georgii Quinti Anno Sexto, I, who own the River-field,
Am fortified with title-deeds, attested, signed and sealed,
Guaranteeing me, my assigns, my executors and heirs
All sorts of powers and profits which-are neither mine nor theirs,
I have rights of chase and warren, as my dignity requires.
I can fish-but Hobden tickles--I can shoot--but Hobden wires.
I repair, but he reopens, certain gaps which, men allege,
Have been used by every Hobden since a Hobden swapped a hedge.
Shall I dog his morning progress o'er the track-betraying dew?
Demand his dinner-basket into which my pheasant flew?
Confiscate his evening faggot under which my conies ran,
And summons him to judgment? I would sooner summons Pan.
His dead are in the churchyard--thirty generations laid.
Their names were old in history when Domesday Book was made;
And the passion and the piety and prowess of his line
Have seeded, rooted, fruited in some land the Law calls mine.
Not for any beast that burrows, not for any bird that flies,
Would I lose his large sound council, miss his keen amending eyes.
He is bailiff, woodman, wheelwright, field-surveyor, engineer,
And if flagrantly a poacher--'tain't for me to interfere.
"Hob, what about that River-bit?" I turn to him again,
With Fabricius and Ogier and William of Warenne.
"Hev it jest as you've a mind to, but"-and here he takes command.
For whoever pays the taxes old Hobden owns the land.

A Moderately Happy Man!

See. This is what happens. You miss writing in your diary / journal / blog for one day and suddenly it is the weekend.

Sorry, but then, as far as I'm concerned I'm the only person whoever reads this so it really doesn't matter at all.

Wednesday was a bit of a washout. At the end of school we had a Tutor Team meeting. It bothers me that all we seem to be concerned with these days is the statistical output of results from the girls, rather than considering each individual and aiming to do the best by her. So our meeting was mostly about setting targets for this that and the other. In the evening I spent my time typing up the Minutes from last months meeting of the Parochial Church Council Standing Committee. Oh yes, and Hayley, our friend and Podiatrist came round and sorted out my feet again. There is nothing quite so nice as having nice feet, and I haven't got them, but it's not because Hayley is at fault. So by the time that this, that and the other was done, it was time to sit down and watch "Who Do You Think You Are?" on the BBC. If anyone ever reads this and doesn't know what it is, it's a genealogy program tracing famous people's families. We love it. By the time it was over I could not be bothered getting the computer going, so one day wasted.

Thursday. Pleasant day at school followed by the evening spent out in good company with friends. And the blog didn't come into it! So ya boo sucks to you, blogspot!

Friday. I was dischuffed in School by a piece of paper asking me to account for the different teaching methods I had employed last year in teaching my Year 11 class. The fact that my classes results are clearly appalling, despite the fact that two of the 18 got A* grades at GCSE and several others managed ABC grades. Obviously I am now shit as a teacher. I don't know exactly what percentage of ABC grades my class got, but it was clearly very poor. Apparently my class gained 1 grade and lost 36. So I should be put up against a wall and shot! As I say, there were two A* grades, and it is impossible to get a better grade than that, so how come I only gained 1 grade, because the target for one of those girls was an A* and she got an A* so that is presumably a grade lost, but how the hell was she supposed to do better than an A* when that is all that there is. Okay, so a lot of the girls did worse in History than in their other subjects, but there might just be reasons for that, other than my shite teaching. However, take it from me, I am now clearly judged as being piss poor at the teaching game.

I'm glad that nobody but me reads this as they might object to my language. However, being judged like that on Friday morning does not leave you wanting to write the blog on Friday night.

So I drank a couple of cans of Newcastle Brown Ale instead and watched the new Harry Enfield & Paul Waterhouse Comedy on TV. To paraphrase the Prince Regent, rather than Bugger Bognor we'll go with Stuff School. Still nice and alliterative.

Today. Well, got up late, mooched around, had lunch and trolled into Glossop for a look at the shops. Bought one pair of shoe laces. Wowee!!!!!!!!!!

I have installed the latest version of Rainlendar on my home computer. It is a calendar program that sits on the desktop and shows all of the events from my Google Calendar, which is superb. Since I have several Google Calendars, and it shows them all, you cannot really complain can you. I just wish it did a separate colour for each calendar, that would be even nicer.

I do love software that does its job well. Microsoft Office 7 is superb, but it costs the earth. Rainlendar works very well indeed and does not!

By the way, I installed Chrome, the new browser from Google and so far I am impressed. It looks to be every bit as good as Firefox. Anyway, advert over. If anyone from Google is reading this I'll take any commission in the form of EUROs, as they are worth more today than they were seven weeks ago!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday 2nd September

First day back for the students today. Only the new students started work at 8.30, the rest of them, the old soaks, rolled in at 11 am. My lot have just moved into Year 10, so they are 14 going on 20. In our school they change from a green uniform to a blue uniform when they go into Year 10, and today was the day. They look so nice in their new uniforms. Ahhhhh bless.

I saw my new IT Class in Year 9 for the first time today. There were just six girls present, but I'm only expecting 9 when the class is full. They are not terribly able students and they are with me in order to give them a better chance of doing well. The thing that upset me was that they are so very negative about their ability to use computers. We shall have to see how we get on.

Went to see the nurse at our local health centre today to be told that I am very overweight, which I know, and that my blood pressure is very high, which I suspected. I shall have to do something about it, before I explode. Right, if I announce on here that I am going to start losing weight, maybe I'll stick with it. Maybe.

It's good this, you can say anything that you like because nobody ever reads it. They are always saying that there are millions of blogs in the blogosphere. Does anyone ever read them or do all those millions simply write for self aggrandisement. It is habit forming, though.

See you all tomorrow, if we are spared!


Monday, September 1, 2008

Let us have another poem while I'm in the mood.

in just spring

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



balloonMan whistles

by: e.e. cummings

From "Tulips and Chimneys", 1923

Back at the Chalkface

This is the school that I work at, in Droylsden to the East of Manchester. There has to be a word for someone like me, probably "idiot" as I have taught at Droylsden School for 35 Years now. I started back in 1973 before the Internet or Mobile Phones were invented. Indeed I can remember that when I first started at the school the staff were going Gaga over the acquisition of a Video Recorder that was slightly smaller than a house. How times have changed.

So the teachers started today and the girls return to school tomorrow. And this is the last time that any of us will start a new year at Droylsden School. On the 31st of August next year, this school is being closed by a grateful Local Authority. God Bless You Tameside! On September 1st 2009 a new, and better, (it must be as it has been created by our wonderful Labour Government) school will open for business, initially in the same building. The new school will be one of HMG's new ACADEMIES. A super school for super students. Our girls' school will cease to exist so that another co-educational colossus can be created.

Next year there will only be one single sex school for Girls in Tameside, but hey, that is fair isn't it, after all there will only be TWO single sex schools for Boys! That is only fair isn't it.

I hope you will permit me to be bitter about what I see as the needless destruction of an excellent school and I still have to be convinced about the educational justification for this!

Let us all remember the mantra

All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

e e cummings

I think that we should add a little art, here and there. Many years ago, when I was at college, my friend Coker introduced me to the poems of e e cummings (who did not believe in punctuation.) (I've probably got that wrong, but since nobody reads this except me, who gives a damn!)

Here is a poem that I love.

since feeling is first

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for eachother: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

The poem finished at that last line, this is me again, still suffering from the machinations of the Widow Cliquot. Happy August, World! See you in September.

La fin d'ete

Yes, I know, the French is crap! Not to worry.

I was going to put another rumination on the end of the holiday, but I decided to do something different. 7.40 pm on Sunday 31st August. School starts at 8.30 am on Monday September 1st. So nothing much to do but panic.

No, siree. My wife and I have just had a chicken dinner to die for, the chicken was so moist and succulent. Thank you St. Michel, you really know how to raise free range chickens! However, to help it go down and to celebrate this last day of Summer, we had a very nice bottle of the Widow Cliquot's best frothy white pop! C'est Magnifique! Good grief, or even Sacre Bleu, that widow knows how to make a bottle of fizzy pop. However, I probably don't know how to make sense after drinking it.

I have had a very nice last day of the holiday. We went to Church at 8.30 to a Book of Common Prayer Communion, which will mean nothing if you aren't someone like me who adores the BCP. Then we came home and I washed the car (and as soon as I finished it started to rain and has not stopped. So what! Then we had a salmon salad for lunch and went out to a local Garden Centre and bought a tray of Pansies. Then we came home and had a cup of tea and a cake. Did a bit of sorting out my school bag for tomorrow, then had Dinner and the Widow's Wine. And here I am.

Nothing much more to say really.

The question is, can I keep the blog going when I'm back at school. We shall have to see but I will do my best.

My target is to write something, even if it is just a very little, every day. But I still haven't finished going back over my Summer Holiday photographs. My aim is to get my photos online and keep the blog going. And build an igloo out of ice cream.

If anyone evr reads this besides me and Pat and maybe Daniele, go and look at Boris's Blog, it is in the margin on the right? It is A M A Z I N G. Grud! I wish that I could draw like him!

C U 2Morra

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Justin Thyme

This is the last step on the bottom patio, or it was. It has been wobbling for a while but about three weeks ago it popped up when I stepped on it and then smashed into three pieces as it returned to its position. It had to be replaced or it was going to cause real problems.

Before we went to Suffolk I made a promise that I'd fix it before I went back to school. Nearly didn't make it!

However, today I got on with the job, mixed the cement and laid (or is it layed) the new paving stone into place.

Now this may not seem to be important to anyone else in the world, but it matters to me. As a history teacher I don't make a very good pavior. So I'm quite pleased with myself tonight. Though I must admit that my back doesn't half ache.


And it is Saturday, 30th September. In real terms the holiday is over and it's back to work at the chalkface on Monday. So today isn't the penultimate day of the holiday, but just another weekend. Bugger!

Yesterday we went into Manchester. We do that fairly frequently because Manchester is our nearest city. We had to go for a meeting, but we got there four hours early. We parked in the car park for the arena, opposite what used to be Boddington's Brewery. Now, sadly, just a car park with this rather forlorn chimney left standing in the middle. It's a real shame. I mean, I never really drank Boddies, it's not my sort of beer, but it was Manchester's Beer, and now they make it somewhere else, probably in Poland or the Czeck Republic. How can "The Cream of Manchester" be made anywhere else. The funny thing is that they brew Scottish & Newcastle Beer in Moss Side, now where is the sense in that?

It's very liberating, writing a diary like this that you know will never be read by anyone. You can say anything you like.

Anyway, we parked in Salford and decided to walk into the city, it isn't that far. On the way we passed the Cathedral. Now we go to visit the Cathedral everywhere we go on holidays. I love looking at Cathedrals. But we never visit our own. Well, I've been once, many years ago when I was in the city doing a town trail with a bunch of Year 11s. But I only popped in. pat has been a few times for Guides, but usually for services. Did I take my camera, did I hell as like. "Oh, I'm only going into Manchester. What will I need a camera for there?" I must go again fairly soon and take a decent camera. That Cathedral is lovely, small but very nice indeed. More of this, I'm sure, anon.

We also had a very nice lunch at Bella Italia on Deansgate (Which I now believe to be short for St Dennis Gate). St Dennis is one of the patrons of the Cathedral. Back to lunch. We had a lovely simple lunch, Bruschetta, A Goat's Cheese Salad and Cheesecake. Bottle of beer (Peroni) and a lovely lunch with my wife. What more can you ask for? But don't go to the Bella Italia in Piccadilly. We went there three weeks ago and the service was abominable. So if anyone from Bella Italia ever reads this blog, sack the manager!

Then we had our meeting, then we went shopping at Tesco, then we went home. But it was a nice day!

Today I plan to do a little bit of heavy work in the garden, and if I don't stop this then I will never start. So TTFN.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Link to Picasa Web Gallery for Aldeburgh



Hmmm. So you can publish a photograph straight out of Picasa into the Blog. This picture is described as large. It doesn't look large to me. Oh well.

So we came back from our Suffolk Holiday last Friday. I just told you that in my previous post. We stayed in a village called Dallinghoo, and if anyone ever reads this, and if anyone who reads it wants a nice place to stay, I can seriously recommend Wheelwrights Cottage. More about that in another, later, post.

On the last day of our holiday we went to Aldeburgh. We have been before. Once, when I was young I might well have hated a place like Aldeburgh. I very much doubt that there is anything to do around there if you are under 18, but then I may be wrong and this is no social commentary.

I love it, now. I adore the sky, it is so immense. I have always lived in hilly areas. Born in the Lake District and now I live in the Dark Peak of Derbyshire. So you go to Suffolk and it is flattish, and gently rolling. Go to the sea coast and the vista opens up over the North Sea. We spent about five hours wandering around, from one end of the village to the other, it doesn't take long.

To the south of the village, or town, there is a Martello Tower which was built to keep the French out! The picture above shows the view back towards Aldeburgh from about half way to the tower.

Now I'm just going to post this. Then I'll try to put a link to my photo album, just so that you can be critical. See you in a bit. (Might be 20 minutes, two days or six years.)
Posted by Picasa

Ruminations on the end of a holiday (Part 1)

I need to point out that I never claimed that I would be good at this blogging, and I'm awfully aware that nobody is ever going to read it. However, I can treat it as a diary, but I was never much good with diaries either. When I was young, like lots of people, I used to get a diary every Christmas as a small present. Usually thin and crappy from Woollies, but the thought was what counted. I always set to with a will to keep a diary every day for the next year, and usually got as far as January 5th, by which time I was getting bored of writing, it's raining again and it's cold.

So Samuael Pepys I am not! But if I really try, I may not write anything every day. Unlike Daniele I have not got that much time!

Let us see how we go.

Pat and I got back off holiday last Friday morning. As is our wont we decided to come back early because, being the August Bank Holiday, we expected the roads to get very busy. They were. So we drove straight up from the Suffolk coast where we stayed, near to Woodbridge in Suffolk, and straight home to Glossop in Derbyshire. I don't know how long that is, but it was four and a half hours straight driving, with a couple of breaks for breakfast and coffee. We set off at about 5 am and got home by about 10.30. But I was knackered. Somebody like my friend Richard, who drives for a living, would say that four and a bit hours driving was nothing, but my driving is usually limited to an hour at the outside.

I didn't do much for the rest of Friday, just sat and read a book. Must come back to that book! I really enjoyed it.

I've then spent the best part of three days faffing (you won't find that in the French / English Dictionary D.) about with my photographs. Two computers and two "My Pictures" Directories, both with different content and both with multiple copies of the same image. I do not claim to be a good photographer, but I do try to get something nice out of my camera. Anyway.

So I spent what seems like days getting that straight. I now have one, consolidated, set of photographs. I have also fallen in love with Google. Not the Search Engine, but all the freebies that they let you have as well. So here I am writing a blog on Blogger. I've got my Calendar going and I thought that I'd give Picasa a go as well.

Maybe I'll let you look if you are good. But you will only carp about my photographs.

Well, I think I will see if I can work out how to link the two things together.

Bye for now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

You have to start somewhere!

For everything else that I might have done, I never really thought I'd start a blog. I bet I don't keep it up.

Originally, I come from Kendal, that's the Auld Grey Town. Me and Pat have been there for the weekend. "Let's have a weekend away". "Why not".

So we stayed in a hotel and I thought that I knew which one I was booking, but it turned out that I didn't. Have you ever seen Fawlty Towers because the weekend had touches of it.

The hotel looked OK, except, perhaps, that it was in the middle of a housing estate. Our bedroom had no wardrobe, the skirting boards were dusty and the floor under the bed was an inch deep in dust.

On Saturday at Dinner we were served our pudding before our main course. At breakfast we were served cold coffee and when we asked about hot coffee we were told that the Chef knew it was cold but told the waitress to bring it out and see if we complained.

Having said that, we actually had a good stay. It looked a bit grim but the bed was really comfortable and the shower was hotter than we have had in many better hotels. There was a certain hotel in London, part of a top chain, where the room was smaller than a cupboard.

No, I might be willing to stay in this Kendal Hotel again if they didn't charge more per night than the local Best Western.

Anyway, back home tonight. Anything can happen tomorrow. Who knows, I might even write in this blog again.