Thursday, 30 June 2005

Make poverty history

This weekend is Live8, music and protest aimed at making a political statement and changing the world. If anyone hasn't seen the evocative "Click" video follow that link and check it out.

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

All okay now

It's fine now. Ruth Kelly has said that we need not worry about Higher Education - phew! That's a weight off my mind!

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Struggling to make sense of this

The UK Mathematics Foundation are worried that the state of mathmatics in this country is in a downward spiral and that unless changes in the way maths is taught are made soon we won't have enough maths teachers - which will, of course, add to the problem. On the other hand HEFCE believe that "market forces" should determine which courses are taught at universities and that smaller, struggling, courses will be brought together in National centres. Sir Howard Newby (head honcho at HEFCE), warns against "moral panic" over course closures.

Now I'm probably not the best person to ask about maths but I think there is a contradiction here - how can we meet the shortage of maths teachers if, as seems apparent, for whatever reason there are too few people studying the subject? And in the light of the number of physics departments that have closed are we approaching the end of maths as a recognised subject too? This isn't moral panic - it's pragmatism, once departments close it's a great deal harder to reopen them and the decline in "technical sciences" can only mean that in a few years time we will be a net importer of scientists.

Monday, 27 June 2005

Undefeated in all European competition

VictoryThe anniversary of Trafalgar sees ships from around the world gathering to celebrate Nelson's defeat of a larger French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar, near Cadiz. There is a local link, Victory was built in the Royal Dockyard at Chatham here in Kent.

The ships assembled will represent the largest ever collection of warships, 174 will be present and with a touch of irony the largest vessel is a nuclear powered aircraft carrier - from France!

And the subject line I've used? It's from a Royal Navy recruiting poster.

Whoops update

No surprise that the Grokster decisions has generated a good deal of debate. The SCOTUS Blog has some interesting discussion about the potential impacts and draws comparisons with the development of VHS VCRs and wonders about the Apple advert that exhorts users to "Rip. Mix. Burn." The BBC technology site gives a great overview of the issues and the ruling and the Electronic Frontier Foundation suggest that the ruling might stifle the development of innovative software. As it stands this could be one of the biggest ever legal cases with regards to software and the Internet.


The US Supreme court has ruled that the producers of file-sharing software are responsible for the way in which the software is used, i.e. if anyone is sharing illegally copied films or music files the makers of Kazaa (for example) can be hauled into court by the copyright owners. This has potentially far-reaching repercussions and may even impact of the manufacture of CD and DVD burners. Further, but not discussed in this piece, might we see Microsoft prosecuted if a terrorist uses Word to write letter leading to a murder? Might blog hosts face court for the content of a blog?Will Bic start issuing conditions on how their ballpoints are used? Where might it all end!


I decided to add a feed from the blog purely to find out what it was and how to do it. Thus I went in search of a feed reader and ended up with Bottomfeeder and I'm now able to grab RSS or Atom feeds from sites like the BBC and online newpapers and The Register and such like. It's similar to the old Usenet clients but it has the added bonus of being written in SmallTalk - language of the phrogs!

If anyone wants the feed click on the little buttony jibby-jobby on the right though why you might want to is beyond me. Do have a play with site feeds though as it's a great way of seeing what's new on the web.

Sunday, 26 June 2005

Puzzled of Bishb'rne here

A piece in the Observer entitled "Tax crackdown on home tutors" has got me puzzled. It starts by warning the parents of pupils having extra tuition that the tutor may be subject to a tax investigation - so what? Why might the parents care? But the bit that I found troubling was
'Home tutors are more likely to be educated and aware of the correct ways of doing things,' said the spokeswoman. 'For this reason, although the majority are honest, those who are not will be given no leeway when they are caught.'
Now call me old-fashioned but there are bits that don't make sense to me. First up - being educated doesn't in any way equate to understanding the byzantine tax system in this country and secondly, being educated means you are liable to stiffer penalties or to less leeway! What kind of system is this??? Is there to be a formal sliding scale? Professors might expect summary execution for being late with their tax return because they are very well educated - in Philosophy or Music or Art in the 16th Century, makes no difference. Leave school with two GCSEs though and you are allowed to do whatever you want with regards to tax because you simply don't know any better! Of course the whole thing is thrown into sharp focus when we condier the enormous amounts in question - people are charging up to GBP50/hr - terrible, the tax being lost on that will have the country on its knees. Damn good job that we have tax compliance officers, who cost nothing, sitting round with nothing to do apart from counting the number of people visiting certain houses. Of course the amount of tax routinely hidden by large corporations isn't worth chasing or worrying about because many of them don't employ people with doctorates.

In a separate piece though it's clear that although academics understand the tax system they can't handle complex sums. It's worth checking out this article as it deals with the ID card and suggests that civil servants will cripple the bill to introduce them. But the Home Office is disputing the findings of a report by the LSE:
However, Home Office officials are thought to be unconvinced by a London School of Economics report, to be published tomorrow, which suggests the total cost of the scheme could be as high as GBP18 billion, more than three times the government's estimate.

The Home Office minister Andy Burnham is due to meet the authors of the report at a meeting of the left-wing Campaign Group of MPs tomorrow. But Clarke's aides began to brief against it as soon as they received a copy this weekend. 'The IT and operational costs are fabricated,' said one Home Office source. 'They have spoken to 20 private IT companies, where we have spoken to 300. We just don't recognise many of their figures.'

The official said that the academics appeared to have simply multiplied the original government estimate of GBP93 per card in order to make the figures look as bad as possible.
So there you have it - academics know the tax laws but not research principles or mathmatics - I hope that helps.

Anovver one

I've added ScaryCheri's blog to the list. I started checking out her blog after following a link from Pyk's blog and I love the way she writes (and I try to do the accents in my head). If you want an intro try "It's free to be Catholic" and as my own tastes are also catholic I think it's a great story.


Associative links, synapses snapping, neural networks working overtime - you know the stuff.

Here's how I got to where I'm going with this one. I've been sitting here reading some terribly interesting stuff about blended learning and how different providers view it and use it when "The Eagle has Landed" came on TV. Now my immediate thoughts were that this is a fair romp to fill a few minutes, Jenny Agutter is in it, it's wonderfully naive and also that this was one of the first things said in July, 1969 when Neil and Buzz stopped off for a walk in the Sea of Tranquility (actually the fifth to eigth words spoken from the surface of the moon).

Of course this also ties in with technology, and from my point of view it's especially significant because of the computer errors thrown during the landing and thoughts of the difference that 30 some years has made to computing. In fact I often talk to new computing students about error 1202.
The cover a book released to celebrate the Apollo missions

Anyway. From there it's a short hop to actually hearing the actors in that magnificent drama, the voices of people engaged in something that had never been done before, men on the brink of immortality. Listen to the voices at and you can also check out the conversation between Houston and Apollo 13 when Lovell said "Houston, We've had a problem" - changed for the film to "We have a problem".

And I am still in awe of the people who made that all happen and also the ease with which we have access to such historical records now. For many of us putting a man on the moon is still proof that mankind should be able to achieve anything given enough effort and political will. Der Adler ist gefallen oder?

Saturday, 25 June 2005

Flipping 'eck!

Got the glasses and I'm amazed at how the world looks now that it isn't blurred! I still have to tame the varifocals but the difference in my distance vision is already apparent and it won't be long before I get used to wearing them most of the time. Fantastic!

I gave them a brief run-in reading the Guardian outside my favourite coffee shop in Canterbury so I'll soon be posting about some of the stuff I found :-)


A little more tinkering and you should now see Nogbad in the address field next to the URL for this blog. And if you use a tabbed browser he'll be there too.

Off to collect my glasses soon and that should improve productivity - right now I'm severely limited in terms of when I can read small type, the light has to be very good and it's really getting me down. I'll let you know how it goes :-)

Thursday, 23 June 2005

Using technology

Anyone who knows me knows that I like technology and I love it when "big" technology is used in trivial or entertaining ways. So here's the idea. Let's play Monopoly and use London as the playing area. Rather than throwing dice we'll decide which piece is where at the end of each turn by fitting real cabs with GPRS trackers and players will select which cabbie is driving their piece. Obviously you'll be able to buy some property and build a few houses and hotels but after that it just depends where the cabs go and whether you've picked popular destinations. So does this sound like a silly idea? You bet it does - click here to play Monopoly Live - it's fun and trivial and free! I'm currently £47M up so let's see how everyone does :-)

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

Contrast and compare

Education Guardian has a story today about the cuts in spending on Adult Education at sub-degree level, these are the courses offered at Further Education Colleges and include adult literacy and numeracy courses and Access courses designed to prepare mature students for progressing to degree studies at traditional universities. Government funding for these courses is managed by the Learning and Skills Council and the number of students benefiting from this funding is expected to drop by 10% in the next academic year. At the same time the government continues to fund the Aimhigher initiative aimed at increasing participation in Higher Education by those in the 18 - 30 age group - this is funded, in part, through the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The target is that by the year 2010 50% of that age group will have "some exposure" to HE - this "exposure" is a moving feast and originally meant that they would earn at least 120 CATS points but the feeling is that in a few years time anyone who has driven past a university campus will have qualified as being "exposed". But of course the introduction of "top up" fees will make it harder for some to consider moving on to HE. The final factor to consider is that pupils who stay on after the age of 16 can earn £30 each week as an "Education Maintenance Allowance". This means tested benefit is aimed at widening participation in socio-economic groups who might otherwise not study after reaching the age at which they can leave the mainstream education system. Of course making these payments also keeps these young school leavers off the unemployment figures too - an emergent property that, I'm sure, is unintended. And the introduction of Foundation Degrees is also squeezing FE colleges, universities are offering FDs but delivering them through partner colleges because the costs (to the university) are lower and they still gain a percentage of the course fees and government subsidy. This shift to offering more lower level courses, the ones still being funded by the LSC, and FDs means that staffing in FE is creating problems. Tutors qualified to work on Foundation Degrees are unlikely to work on L1 courses as well. And pay and conditions for tutors in FE colleges still lag behind the benefits enjoyed by university academics.

So where does this leave the poor learner and their local FE college? Does it appear incoherent? Does the way in which these fiscal levers are being used make sense if the objective is to increase the skill sets of the workforce in this knowledge economy? Who knows? And that's probably the most worrying part!

PS Thanks Kat - I had forgotten about this: Please also download and look at the Manifesto for Change.

Blogging II

Ann Stott's Blog is a brilliant example of how a blog can be used to support Open and Distance learners and also a damn good read!


An interesting piece on the BBC web site about bloggers in other parts of the world. The Committee to Protect Bloggers lists those bloggers currently under arrest and others at risk. I think that it's also interesting that a Nepalese blogger is commenting on Iranian bloggers - another example of these otherwise impossible associations?

Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice ladies and gents. I hope you spent the longest day well :-)


is the Digital Games Research Asociation and details of the 2005 conference are here. Take a look and don't miss the animation - brilliant!

Monday, 20 June 2005


Click me!

I'm sure everyone knows about the Superlambanana in Liverpool. Well it has been painted pink in support of breast cancer awareness. Of course if you don't know about the Superlambanana you can always click on the image to go to the site.


I'm going to try a little weaving now - technical term that doesn't mean I'm turning the PC off and heading for the loom! We don't (usually) think in straight lines, the power of the brain is that it creates neural networks and we make associative links between seemingly disparate pieces of data from which we create understanding or questions that prompt further understanding. Hypertext allows us to "jump" from place to place and create our own pathways but it's still limited - it's still not as immediate as our brains might like. Enter one of my absolutely favourite sites on the web. It's limited in that you only get so many free shots before they ask for money but the underlying technology is just sooooooooo sexy and I've seen this engine used in a couple of different ways. For me it's another generation of associative mapping and I really wish I had access to this kind of kit for some true mind-mapping. Check out the Visual Thesaurus and see what you think. Can you see how it might be used for linking songs and artists? For mapping communities and the relationships within them? For recipes?

Sunday, 19 June 2005

I love this! :-)

This is so very funny and clever and imaginative. My Lords, ladies and gentlemen I pray silence for - The Google Song!

Artificial societies Vs Virtual Worlds

First up some background. Timothy Burke is an academic at Swarthmore College in the US. It's an elite, liberal arts college so I think it's reasonable to suggest that he's not a numpty! While blogsurfing I came across a paper he presented at DiGRA (No idea!) which deals with artificial societies and virtual worlds and it's fascinating! Okay I have to admit that I tend to read loads of stuff like this and about this subject area so I'm already hooked but he poses some interesting questions and I'm not giving too much away by quoting the final line:
  • "The rigorous exploration of concrete explanation combined with the organicism and messiness of real-world sociality seems a fruitful and potentially potent combination."

I'm not doing that to include something which might, at first reading, appear impenetrable but for just the other reason - this guy is looking at how researchers who model artificial societies might sensibly look at some of the virtual worlds already extant on the Internet - in some ways bloggers and blog readers form part of one of those virtual worlds. Read the full paper here, let me know what you think!

Saturday, 18 June 2005

Misson Kontrol

Calum and I are soaking up the sun on the Mulberry Lawn in the shadow of Walton Hall, spiritual home of the OU. The physical home surrounds and dwarfs WH. Click here for photos.

Friday, 17 June 2005


I really do have roses round the door and I can wake up and smell them! I've tied back the curtain downstairs and on the larger image (click this one) you'll see the screen of the laptop on which I'm writing this. Each morning the bedroom is full of the scent of the roses around the window. I've posted this especially for Pyk as she's a bit down right now and I thought I'd bung it up here to cheer up anyone else who likes flowers too.


Related entirely to my earlier thoughts about music and probably a blokey thing.

What is the best cover version of a song ever released? I have two clear runners (and neither is Rolf's mangling of Rob Plant and Jimmy Page's magnum opus!) but it would be interesting to hear what everyone else would like to suggest. So give it a go - what track is better or as good as that released by the original artist?

A long, long time ago.....

".............I can still remember how that music used to make me smile."

The current success of The Da Vinci Code and cryptography led my head to song lyrics. One of the best known "cryptic" songs of my generation is "American Pie" by Don McLean so I dredged up what I thought I knew about it and then had a swift search on the web for some interpretations. Wow! What a goldemine! Here are just two of the many hits I got. Understanding American Pie is beautifully presented and offers a narrative about each verse. America Pie offers a line by line analysis and is far more deferential, many interjections are offered with question marks and requests for further information.

I don't suppose any of this will mean much to those not of the "Rock & Roll" generation but we have some obligations, we're the first generation to carry with us this musical culture and legacy. We're aiming for "50 at 50", a generation able to spend GBP50 a month on music or films, we can usually point to the musical genesis of current popular songs, something our parents were unable to do - people raised on Glen Miller, Jim Reeves and Frank Sinatra found it difficult to embrace Alice Cooper but there are any number of Alice clones doing the rounds now and many of us can point at the origin of the genre. We recognise (and cringe!) when members of the Bay City Rollers are arrested, the current crop of "plastic" bands are disparagingly compared with The Monkees. We know that Smokey Robinson was a great live act but he might not turn up and that the latest trash metal or thrash metal will have to go a long way to match tracks like "Paranoid" or "The Ace of Spades" for the sheer adrenalin rush. Dylan is poetry to music and despite the attentions Rolf Harris "Stairway" is still a gothic masterpiece. Some of us even know the only rock track with the word "politess" in the lyrics!

So if you believe in rock and roll and that music saves your moral soul share it with the teenyboppers out there now - you owe it to them :-)

Wednesday, 15 June 2005

A different view

I love different views or ways of looking at things. So here's another one - a site dedicated to some superb photographs taken while walking the route of the Circle Line in London. Of course it's the route above ground but it's fascinating to see the range buildings and landmarks joined by the route of an underground rail link, something totally unconnected with the ground above. The photos are taken with a pinhole camera and are beautiful.

Why me?

Why do people always blame me? The wonderful Mrs L has now started blogging and she's suggesting that it's my fault! Check out her blog here and say hello!

Expensive date

I met a charming young lady today, she was very attentive and we spent about an hour together. She paid particular attention to my eyes and lots of time gazing into them. At the end of the time I gave her a couple of hundred pounds and I'll collect two pairs of glasses in just over a week - now I'll have glasses to drive in as well as reading glasses and I've gone for varifocal, one pair are sun-glasses.
A sign of advancing years I suppose 8-)

Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Pity the poor Polish plumber

The recent European referenda have seen much mention of the "Polish plumber", an expert in soft solder and copper pipe bending who is threatening to flood Europe with cut-price plumbing services. However I think people in this country are forgetting the natural defences at our disposal. When I last passed through the Dartford Tunnel toll plaza one of the "Cash only" automated lanes was blocked by a car with Polish registration plates. Wandering around was the driver, clearly confused and looking for change but defeated by a combination of our non-standard coinage and our monolingual signage. Of course we'd all like to have helped but we were too busy queuing, another national pastime which confuses our continental neighbours, or pretending we couldn't see a problem. So anyone in Essex or further north who is expecting an Eastern European plumber may be in for a long wait.

Hovis Presley

“I once spent an evening with Lola or Layla. She said make me breathless, I hid her inhaler.” Presley H.

the author of this has died aged 44.

Monday, 13 June 2005

The roar of the greasepaint

Our hosts on Saturday evening, are theatrical agents and are working on a web presence. Check out Liberty Management for details. They represent a lot of famous telly peeps - I wonder if it's time for me to change career direction (yet again :-)) The site is under construction right now but I know that Stuart would love to hear any ideas on look and feel.

Writing skills

On his blog John Naughton points to an article about writing. It's specifically aimed at journalists but I think it has far wider application and outlines a useful process for anyone who writes - including students writing reports and essays for assignments. I particularly like the way the author has narrowed down the process to a series of simple steps, I often find I get tangled up when writing stuff because I haven't followed the stages correctly so any reminders are useful. Check it out - it might help!

Nice being able to write these posts from a PC again. The stuff from Scarborough was written using the mobile phone and while fine for a swift text message the user interface and the screen really don't help with anything beyong "Am on trn" or "C U l8er m8". Despite suggestions to the contrary the typos were not caused by alcohol!

Sunday, 12 June 2005

Nice view

Home again! 770 miles, a few pubs, a few tears and a good few laughs. Saw people I've not met for 25 years as well as sharing time with people I usually speak to online or by phone. In a symbolic way the trip from Scarborough, my home for a while and a very important part of my formative years, took us through Milton Keynes, a place which has had a direct impact on my later life and still does on a daily basis.

The photo above was taken at 07:30 and is part of the view I referred to in the earlier posting. Click on it to see the image in full

Many thanks to all the people who sent me texts and mails while I was away :-)

Saturday, 11 June 2005


I'm writing this from St Nicholas Gardens. High on the headland to my left is the castle and below is the harbour and the beach. Gulls are crying from roosts on The Grand and the ornately confected Royal with its fine, wrought iron balconies is behind me. Time for a coffee and then the motorway. The reason for the subject? On 10/06/1943 Lazlo Biro patented the ballpoint pen in the US - so don't say I never tell you nowt :-)

Lustered orb

I am clearly getting old. My favourite pub during the Scarboro visit is The Golden Ball. Why? As the sign at the door promises - No live music, No TV, No karaoke! I don't have a hangover but my ears are buzzing from the sound assault that entertains the fair folk of Scab - being blinded by the noise simply doesn't work for me.

Friday, 10 June 2005

Sign of the times?

The first bank account into which I had my wages paid was at Northway in Scarborough. Barclays have moved on now it is a 'Cash Converters' - go figure!

Johnny B Goode

So I'm in a pub in Scarboro engaged in a wake for three people. There is a brilliant Elvis giving it large and we've toasted friends no longer here. It's not always easy going back, I lived here over twenty years ago, but oftentimes iteration reveals new understandings. Mebbe one day I'll understand it all - and mebbe one day I'll realise that understanding is really not so important. Anyone who tells you that you cannot go back is wrong! From a pub in Scarboro, signing off. Drinks are flowing and I'd like you all to say whatever you say for Margaret, Alan and Frankie.

Good health!

Thursday, 9 June 2005

Gruess Gott

Here at Leeds airport waiting for a delayed arrival and sipping a large frothy one and mulling over stuff. Recently German TV showed 'The Longest Day' and John Wayne spoke perfect German. Now I'm prepared to bet that The Duke couldn't order a large beer in Deutsch let alone carry his part in a major film. Worse still - the subtle irony of having a passionate Scot playing England's most celebrated secret agent is also lost - Connery speaks German beautifully it seems. End of mull :-)

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Morris at The Mermaid

A sign that you may have fallen into a parallel universe might be when what sounds like a fight outside your front door turns out to be a team of Morris dancers strutting their stuff.

Click on the photo to see some more images of Oyster Morris in full flow. Sharp-eyed observers may spot that some of the Morris team also feature on photographs taken at the cricket matches. The explanation is simple, this is a very small area with few people so some have to double up and do more than one job.

Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Totally trivial trivia

Of little value but the sort of stuff we carry around in our heads.
Towards the end of "Earthly Powers" the characters meet in the Royal Oak. The rector arrives and greets a number of the pub goers by name (Mr Amos, Mr Catt and Mr Willard). One of these people works for the Open University, not just someone of that name but someone who knew Anthony Burgess and Burgess immortalised him in the book.
Not a lot of people know that!

Calling all sports fans!

You might know that Bishopsbourne has a beautiful cricket ground in the Charlton Park estate. On July 23rd a touring team, Welford CC, will be playing there and I'm told it's a real carnival with the Welford players dressing up and great fun is had by all. Anyone in the area - or further afield but with transport - who enjoys a picnic and a glass of something cool in lovely scenery with enjoyable, friendly banter and the occasional diversion of leather on willow would be well advised to pencil that in their diary.

Bluetooth but no tattoos

My mobile phone is a PC, running a version of Windows CE. My PDA runs Palm OS and this PC is on XP. I've just driven a couple of hundred miles and can usually collect emails on the mobile and if the light is good I can even read them (I must replace the lost reading glasses). I can write reports and spreadsheets on the PDA, listen to music and store photos on it - then pass them back to the PC for further work. The phone has an addictive game (Jawbreaker) and can "talk" to the PC and PDA using Bluetooth (named after a Norse chieftain!) - all this kit will pack in a small bag and I'll be carrying it on the trek North.
So if I can tame all this leading edge stuff why am I still unable to set the time on my video recorder or even tune it in to stations other than channel 3? Worse yet - why oh why can I rarely get the alarm clock to go off at the time I want it to?

Anyway - enough of this. Nice evening with a colleague, we work together but meet only rarely so it's always good to catch up f2f and see how many more grey hairs we each have (I seem to be winning that one hands down!) and to see if we can find any late-night tattoo parlours but they are thin on the ground in genteel, rural Hampshire.

Great news from the IOC though! London has overcome its transport problems! I wonder if anyone stuck in the southbound queue for the Blackwall tunnel tonight, or on the Embankment, or sweating on overcrowded tube trains has heard this yet!

Monday, 6 June 2005

Morning Loves-It!

Morning Loves-It has joined the blogging world! Pop along and say "Hello" :-)

Sunday, 5 June 2005


Scarborough is 309 miles from here (according to Autoroute) and I will be there on Friday for a funeral. It looks as though I'll be going via Leeds/Bradford airport to collect a very dear friend who is flying in from Spain and dropping him back in Aylesbury on the way back on Saturday. Anyone spotting my tatty Peugeot on Thursday or Saturday would be well advised to avoid me as I'll be in a rush whichever leg of the journey I'm on :-)

Saturday, 4 June 2005

Off out

I'm popping out for some exercise but before I went I simply had to post this URL! Click here for something that has had me in stitches since I saw it :-)


I'm sending this via email to test my email account. B£$%$y technology! Last night my main ISP (I'll not say who so that their identity is protected - let's call them BT for now) refused to recognise my user name and password but using the same information I could check mails on their web page and through my mobile. As both use different access portals it points to their validation server but what a pain. I use Mailwasher to catch and kill spams and it checks my accounts every three minutes so every three minutes it gave a bleat to say that it couldn't get in to BT. Of course I've determined the source of the problem after some reflection - at the time it's amazing that you find you have ten thumbs, I need this account as it's the main "business" one and I sat wondering what had gone wrong, what had I done this time?


Well I've run Spybot and Spyware Doctor, Sophos and Stinger, I've lighted incense and threatened next door's cat, I've sworn and raged against the dying of the light and I think it's hanging together - damn technology!

Displacement activities.......

Of course the problem with displacement activities is that I keep forgetting what I'm displacing........ I think I must be having a CRAFT moment.


Just filled a happy while following random links to different blogs. The way it works (for anyone who took even longer than me to work it out) is that you click on a word in someone's profile and you'll be presented with a list of people who have the same film/book/music in their profile - then away ya go! Maybe it's just me but there are some seriously interesting things out there and stuff I would never otherwise have heard about. I'm not going to mediate your adventures but have a look at some of them - it's brilliant!

Even though I'm not going to guide anyone I must just plug Pyk's piece about the window cleaner - it had me in stitches! :-)

Finally - something about the Open University on the BBC site - click here to read it. Very interesting methinks.

Friday, 3 June 2005


So after the storm the sun came out and the sheep came down for a quick game of footy!

Weirdness on the blog though - I know that someone has posted a comment, they are emailed to me automagically, but it's not appeared on the page which is a shame as I was going to ask the poster whether he'd like to retell the tale of taking the trailer to be MOT'd and nearly not bringing it back :-)

I'm also trying to talk Morning Love-it into blogging, I think she'd be great and it would suit her style but she's not taken the plunge yet. If it doesn't happen soon I think we'll be organising a million people marching on Dorset!


Summer? Pah!

The mother of all thunderstorms hit in the early hours and it's still rolling round. Rain of biblical proportions has been lashing down and it's as dark as night here right now. It's so dark that the flashing orange light of the rubbish lorry has just lit the room like a 70s disco. Any plans for gardening (okay - I didn't have any) will have to wait and if I can work out what a cubit is I may make a start on an ark. You really have to love English summers don't you?


Thursday, 2 June 2005

From The Mermaid!

To be on your own, with no direction home............

Grief - various email accounts with a range of queries this morning so here are answers to a couple:
  • Poetry - Yes! A range of compilations and I also include reading (or listening to) Dylan. Anyone catch the interview on Mayo on R5 yesterday? The guy (found his name now: Greil Marcus) who has written a book about the song "Like a rolling stone". Fascinating and certainly on my shopping list!
  • Broadbanders can listen to the complete show on the BBC R5 web site or simply scroll to that interview (it's at about 1:36:30 in elapsed time) - this link may only work for a few days as they seem to use a rolling rota and simply name the files by day rather than date
  • Morning Love-it has threatened to leave body parts littering this page - please don't but by all means leave a comment and say "Hello!" :-) For those who don't know her - Morning is a techno-tiger based in Dorset but with near global reach.
  • Pyk wants me to thank everyone who has visited her blog after I mentioned it elsewhere and invites any and all to post comments and get a bit of banter and yattering going!
Like a rolling stone
Always something to bear in mind!
So I hope that deals with some of the queries, I've done some others 121. Have a nice day one and all :-)

Wednesday, 1 June 2005

It Asda do!

Shopping should always be nice but we had a smashing time today.

Instead of doing the boring local store we went to Broadstairs where there is a nice big Asda which means different stuff to prod and poke. We bought some DVDs, currently watching "Men in Black 2" (because both children like it) and I also got "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Usual Suspects" - perhaps not children's viewing but just right for a glass of red! Just looked at the DVD collection and it's looking decidedly "blokey" - except I've also got "All that Jazz", "Cabaret" and "Casablanca" but other than that it's action or humour all the way! (Not unlike my life?? In fact not at all like my life :-))

A Hawker Hurricane

From there we went to the Spitfire and Hurricane memorial at Manston. Anyone in the area should check it out - free entry and a small, compact museum which includes a Spitfire and a Hurricane as well as uniforms, medals, pieces of aircraft from around Kent and stories of many of the local men (and women) who played a part in WW2. Not the best photo I've ever taken but not bad given that I used the phone!


White rabbit!

So it's half-term and I have two of the children here. It's constantly amazing how the dynamics change when one or other isn't part of the triumvirate and this week the missing link is camping with the Guides so I have the "littlies". No real plans, the weather isn't that great and now that they've told me what they want to eat I need to get some shopping so we may trundle down to Whitfield for the shopping and then down into Dover to have a look at the sea and have a stroll.

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours!

First of June - where does the time go? The photo shows some of my neighbours over the weekend. They come down from the top field for a drink in that trough and then wander off again but it makes for a nice soundscape with their bleating and mewling in the background while working or chilling in the garden.