Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

However you spend it and wherever you are and whoever you are with I'd like to wish you a wonderful New Year and a peaceful, prosperous and happy 2009. Slainté!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Good news!

The day before Christmas Eve I took big child and her brother shopping. We did Waitrose at Paddock Wood and then Sainsburys at RTW. While pulling into the car park there the car started making a most unholy noise from the front bit - technically I understand this is referred to as the "engine".

Rather than camp out in a barren car park for the festivities we collected some delectibles and headed for home. The racket from the front was so loud it was difficult to drown out with the radio; that must give some indication of how bad things were, but the engine wasn't showing any degredation in performance. Arriving home we noticed some smoke from the front bit so unpacked PDQ and locked the car up.

My limited technical knowledge suggested two things. Firstly that this wasn't going to heal itself and also that it might be terminal. Eeeek! No good time to have to replace the car but this is probably the worst given the lack of spendables and the weather and lack of opportunity to get round a range of places to get some tyres kicked.

Anyways - blokey came and took a look yesterday and it's not as bad as it could have been. He's going to get some parts and sprinkle magic "fixing dust" and I need not get a different car just yet! All should be well in a few days - just waiting in some form of sprocket (or rocket or docket or some such which).

I've not been out of the house since the car died though so I'm using Jam Cab to hit a supermarket so that I can restock on carbohydrates - going stir crazy here!!!

Thursday, 25 December 2008


Kid Rock - "Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer long" ripped Zevon's "Werewolf of London" - no brainer

Zevon is worth the time - the other thing is bobbins

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Season's greetings

All the very best to everyone. Whether you celebrate Christmas, something else or nothing at all at this time of year I wish you all you wish yourself.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Norad tracks Santa

I post about this somewhere every year and now they have a video of highlights for those who've yet to check it out.



Oyster Morris in Canterbury

Oyster Morris in Canterbury

Sunday, 14 December 2008


My life is ruined. A heartless unthinking decision by an unelected government employee has blighted my life and probably that of my children and possibly even their, as yet unborn, children. In fact the whole country will probably be laid barren and birds will never sing again. Crops will fail and grapes will wither on the vine. Darkness and pestilence will stalk the land and the long shadow of death will touch us all as was foretold. The cause of all this? The appalling state of Strictly Come Dancing and the latest voting disaster.

Of course I might be overstating the effects - I've never watched the programme so I didn't witness the terrible act - but my conclusions are based on the news coverage today. If the BBC had been playing martial music between news broadcasts I'd have thought the Queen had died.

I only hope we can all pull together, the old Dunkirk spirit, and maybe we'll get through this.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Postgate dies

Oliver Postgate has died. Postgate, working with Peter Firmin, created Noggin the Nog - the real hero was, of course, Nogbad the Bad. For those who don't know about these things check out this page about Noggin and listen to the first sound file. That's Oliver Postgate reading the intro. It's worth having a look round that site, it's lovely and includes a copy of a letter from Postgate giving approval for the site to be created on the understanding that he and Firmin could veto any parts they felt weren't accurate or in keeping with "the Noggin atmosphere". Check the disclaimer for the letter.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Rejoice! Glory is ours!

John Connell is a man for whom I have the utmost respect but he will keep dissing prog rock!

Thinking of Manchester

Thinking about Manchester and this is one of the things that springs to mind.

Friday, 5 December 2008

That blog again

I've mentioned Anne Stott's wonderful blog before but it's time to shout about it again.

I had a look today because I'd mentioned it to a prospective student who expressed an interest in A207. Reading the recent postings, particularly about Cowper, Newton and Mary Unwin (you'll have to read it now!) almost made me sign up for the course. I'm still puzzled about why knitting socks might be controversial or make for an unconventional relationship but what would I know of the world of Arts?

I've shamelessly taken this lovely picture of John Newton from there.

Treat yourself, visit the blog and bathe in Anne's eloquence - you know it makes sense!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


I love webcams, they are one of the real joys of the web and Naughton uses a description of an early webcam - showing the Golden Gate Bridge - as an example of what the Internet means. This opportunity to do something which wouldn't otherwise be possible, i.e. whenever you, as the "viewer", chose to you can look at something somewhere across the world. You don't need to wait for an editor and film crew to be there - the feed is simply available to us.

Anyway - here is a webcam in Ottobeuren in Bavaria. The wonderful thing is that it updates frequently enough to watch people walk across the square - as I write this a couple of people are having a snowball fight! Thanks to George for sending this - it's one of his local towns.

Monday, 24 November 2008

For the LCC posse

Just done this quickly to show what Xtranormal can do

Friday, 21 November 2008

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Lest we forget

At eight o'clock every evening a team of buglers play "The Last Post". It is played as part of a ceremony at The Menin Gate memorial in Ypres, Belgium. They've done this since 1928 with a short break during the German occupation from 1940 to 1944. On the evening that Polish troops liberated the town the ceremony was restarted to the sound of heavy fighting still going on in parts of the town. An incredibly moving way to remember the men and women killed during the Great War, the war to end all wars.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Looking good!

The Sidney Cooper Gallery is in Canterbury, on the High Street towards Westgate. Thanks to Lisa for highlighting it


Halloween and I'm sitting in the dark at a deserted railway station.....

Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone


According to the BBC site the Welsh translation doesn't agree with the English text - check out the news story.

60th Anniversary of the UDHR

New video with folk like Jeremy Irons celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Has to be worth a few minutes of your time doesn't it?

Sunday, 26 October 2008


Paula Radcliffe has just been on the local news because she won the Great South Run. Well done her but how fair was it? From what I could see she was wearing running kit but most of the people she beat were dressed as fairies or hippopotamuses or they were pushing carts or prams. Some were wearing wigs and carrying umbrellas while others were dressed as leeks.

If she wants to be taken seriously she should compete properly and that means wearing the same as everyone else.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Doing the Berrill Dash

From here to the OU campus in Milton Keynes is just over 100 miles, most of them on motorways. That sounds great until one considers that the main motorway involved is the M25.

I set off this morning at 06:45 after a light breakfast of fruit and PG Tips. An accident between J28 and J27 meant a long, slow crawl round the top section - more hold-ups between 22 and 21 and then slow traffic on the M1.

At 10:05 I pulled into my reserved space and was under starter's orders for The Berrill Dash. The route starts on a gentle uphill slope to the first of three glass sliding doors - one is operated by a push-pad while the other two are automagic, none can be rushed. Then through reception and and a short flat section heading for the stairs. Careful here as it's downhill and there can sometimes be people heading up them and we're on the flat again in the Berrill Cafe. Timing is key here - arrive at a bad time and the people filtering away from the servery with skinny lattés form a mobile slalom and then it's hard right to the door. Through there at pace and hard right and the finish line - the urinals.

No idea how long it takes but sometimes my vision is compromised and the footwork isn't good as everything is clenched but I'm sure I can't be the only person who speeds past the receiptionist with a resolute grimace.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

And if you haven't seen this you should... - Try clicking things, try clicking things more than once.


I am not one of those who hoists out a soapbox as soon as someone uses "new English". I know the differences and reasons for the differences between US English and the stuff we use here. I don't gasp in shock when someone uses an expletive on TV or radio. I am, I think, reasonable and reasonably balanced. So why do my hackles rise when I hear "myself" when the correct word is "me"? When did "yourself" take over from "you"? Technically it's called hyper-correction and usually indicates the speech of someone who isn't confident of the correct form so they use the longer version thinking it sounds "posh" but it's crept into everyday usage on the BBC (swoon!). It's wrong, plain and bloody simply wrong. Stop it or our ourselves will pop round to yourselves and explain it with some percussive maintenance.

On an allied subject - Chicken Kiev is a dish where chicken breast is stuffed with garlic butter, panéd in breadcrumbs and fried or - in these health aware days - baked in the oven. Chicken Cordon Blu is the same with ham and cheese instead of the garlic butter. Why does every breaded chicken dish with some form of stuffing masquerade as Chicken Kiev when found on the shelves of supermarkets? I know I should make it from fresh but sometimes these things are easier bought ready-prepared but we're raising a generation of people who can't tell the difference between a veloute, a bechemal and a jus lié and it's just not good enough.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Do not go gently........

In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

Niemöller's poem was written in a Nazi Germany where secret police encouraged neighbours to spy on each other and to inform on those who might have "anti state" views. This continued under communist oppressors in Eastern Europe until the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Despite our knowledge and understanding of this terrible history we're again seeing civil liberties being threatened by a government obsessed with collecting and storing information about the behaviour of its citizens.

The UK government is planning to create a database to store details of every telephone call, email and Internet visit in the UK. They plan to do this in our name and hide behind claims that it's for our safety.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Careers advice

Awesome - check out this story on the BBC page. Can only hope that he gets some careers advice because it seems he's not cut out for this job.

Third years


Julian Bream

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Gurkhas win!

Breaking news that five Gurkhas have won a test case about their right to settle in the UK after serving with the British Army. Hopefully this will bring to an end an appalling injustice.

Monday, 29 September 2008

The future is here!

Can't believe that I forgot to post this! In keeping with the earlier Dan Dare stuff here is a real Pilot of the Future! Check out the video on the BBC page. This guy crossed the channel on a jet wing - isn't this what Raymond Baxter and "Tomorrow's World" promised us all those years ago? Now he's done this I don't think we're too far from everyone having one to get to work or home from the pub.

Sunday, 28 September 2008


Today is the anniversary of one of the defining moments in the history of England and English and thus, by extension, all the English speaking countries - and also America.

On 28th September we remember the battle of Senlac Hill, without it we would all speak very differently.

Monday, 22 September 2008

You know it makes sense....

Given the US record on electing comedians and clowns this looks like a sensible solution. And he's a hockey mom (whatever one of those might be)!

Friday, 19 September 2008


Avast there me hearties, yer scurvy sons (and no doubt daughters) of a salty sea-dog (or saucy hot-dog?). Today (19/09) is "Talk like a Pirate Day"

For there's
prizes to be taken
And glory to be found
Cut free the chains
Make fast your souls
We are Eldorado bound
I will take you
For always,forever, together
Until Hell calls our names

Who'll drink a toast with me
To the devil and the deep blue sea
Gold drives a man to dream

No prizes fer finding what I've quoted yer lilly-livered doxies!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
I have to admit that I wasn't really a Dan Dare fan but today I learnt some more about him. In fact I learnt that we have something in common. Both born in Manchester but, and here's the kicker, he's ten years younger than me! Yup - he's only 20. Before anyone gets really tense I'm basing that on his fictional date of birth rather than when the comic was released.

Digby (smaller chap wearing yellow) is a pie-eater and the chap with the large green head is The Mekon, leader of The Treens. Some might remember being caught like a Treen on a disabled spaceship........

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Rother Valley Brewery

Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
The Rother Valley Brewery Buffet - what's not to like??

This is at Tenterden - I've also uploaded a couple of videos taken there today.

Sheep marched over London Bridge

I'm sure that this is exactly the kind of story that those unlucky enough not to live in this country will find amusing. Here is a middle-aged woman exercising her right, as a Freeman of the City of London, to drive sheep over London Bridge.
"Mrs Cottrell, 67, a former High Sheriff of Kent, drove six New Romney rams from the City side to the south side of the river on Sunday morning."
And why not? My only concern is that the photo suggests that someone is driving the sheep on her behalf but as long as that's within her gift then that's fine. She's raising money to help support Canterbury Cathedral, a building which costs a few bob to keep going, and this looks like a far better way than some of those used in the past.

Full story on the BBC site

Saturday, 23 August 2008


A real gem of the Olympics has been the live text coverage on the BBC web site - the numbers are the time of the posting. Ben Dirs and his colleagues have been great value with some real dialogue between the BBC authors and people texting and using the 606 discussion boards. They've used a brilliant "light touch" and been joyously irreverent at times. Well done BBC and thanks for the coverage.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Tell me what you want

Sadly it took a furniture advert for me to get my head around this wonderful piece of rock music. Hearing this fills my heart with hope that this generation might outgrow Britney and turn out alright.

Whoops! (Part XXII and counting)

Thus spake Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, following the loss of a data stick containing personal details of the 84,000 people currently banged up, details of a further 10,000 "prolific offenders" and another 30-odd thousand records from the police national computer.

Ms Smith's response looks very much like "We didn't do it - someone else broke the rules". This rather ignores the responsibility to keep these data safe and any system which allows anyone; external contractor or member of staff, to grab this volume of the stuff without it being spotted is simply not working.

For those interested in the technical stuff consider this. It's very unlikely that there are many copies of the raw data sitting around outside Whitehall, it's certainly not available in a prison because they wouldn't be seeing the police data even if they had access to data about all the prisoners - and I sincerely doubt that they have that. It's also unlikely that it's on any single system, i.e. the database storing the offender records is linked to but not the same as the "prolific offender" data which are both a subset of the police national records. I'd bet a few quid of my own money that the police records aren't stored in an Excel spreadsheet but in a rather whizzy database system with posh front-ends and password protection and stuff. Whoever downloaded these records from wherever did so because they have access (or someone did it for them) to a system at a level where access to the clever stuff wasn't a problem - Whitehall or somewhere near the centre?

One other thing to note - PA Consulting, the jokers being blamed for this fiasco, are working with the government on the national ID card scheme.....................

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


One of the traditions of the office I work in is that we take in biscuits for the team, our team has a little area with different biscuits ready for nibbling with a cup of tea. A biscuit always represented is the Anzac so I thought I'd post a picture so that everyone would know how this wonderful ambrosia is packaged.

A project I'm involved with

Are you using social software / web 2.0 tools with your students? For example, social networking sites, blogs, wikis, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter ... ? If so, we would like to hear from you. We are most interested in initiatives that have been running for some time (for example, more than one semester) and those which include a reasonable number of students.

We are working on a JISC-funded project to create case studies of social software use in UK higher and further education. The aim is to help the educational community explore the potential benefits - and problems - of this new domain.

The case studies and project report will be disseminated via the JISC web site in early 2009. These resources will be of significant interest to the HE and FE community, and should attract a very wide readership.

If you think your practice might make a suitable case study, please email Dave Roberts ( at the Open University. For further details of the project, see

Many thanks & with kind regards,

The Project Team

The Open University, UK

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Linguistic dexterity

Who said that we English don't learn other languages? Here is a clip of the ex-manager of the English football team showing his versatility by chatting in a relaxed manner with a Dutch TV crew. Those of you with a keen ear for languages might just pick up a few words of English in there too.

Hat tip to Rob for flagging the video

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


There is a cycle in blogging and I've reached the point at which most of us apologise because we've not posted for a while - so I won't.

The reasons I've not posted include spending the weekend with my son and taking him to see "The Dark Knight" (we're liking that!) and enjoying my birthday with a family meal. I'm also on the final leg of the latest course, E891, and working on the ECA which is due in at the beginning of September. Also writing some stuff for a couple of employers who will put money towards my booze funds if I get this stuff done.

I'm also considering applying to do an EdD (that's a Doctorate in Education) and bumbling around looking at what that entails.

So that's some of why I've been quiet - so there!

Monday, 4 August 2008


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Saturday, 2 August 2008


Shouldn't be surprised that the OU is taking advantage of YouTube to create a presence. Check out OUView for the full range of videos. You might also find me in the "What YouTube taught me" section

Cricket - Horsham Festival

Have to post a little about the cricket festival. It's actually an excuse for three middle-aged blokes to get together for a few beers. We worked together some 20 years ago. Horsham is a smashing little town with some great architecture and brilliant pubs. We also had a day out to Bognor and a hike around Arundel - no beer in Bognor but we visited a few pubs in Arundel. We dined on tapas in the sun on Friday evening and had a couple of beers in the Beefeater next to the hotel.

A good time was had by all. Click the image to go to the Flickr photostream.

Pint of the week (for me anyway) has to be the King & Barnes' Sussex in The Bear in Horsham but an honourable mention goes to the Harvey's Sussex Best in The White Hart in Arundel (shown in the photo posted earlier). Pub of the week is The Bear - anyone in Horsham should visit it for the great beer and friendly folk. Cricket moment of the week was de Bruyn's straight drive over the bowler's head for a big six which landed among the children learning tennis on the courts behind the Church End. Stickiest Tables goes to the Bar Vin in Horsham. No need to wax your arms, lean on a table here and it'll do the trick - the bar is the same (I'm afraid).

Friday, 1 August 2008



Nuff said?

Nuff said?

The seafront in Bognor

The seafront in Bognor. In the teeth of a gale, nobody about at the height of the season.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Off for rain

Off for rain. Tresco has 53 and Somerset are 106 for 1 chasing 419. Pint and a burger for lunch.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Sunday, 27 July 2008


Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
So now the dust has settled and I'm starting to wake up after two weeks of late nights and early mornings I can stand back from what I've learnt about geology.

These magnificent chalk cliffs were built by badgers some bazillion years ago. Why they created these cliffs is unknown but it's probably related to the need to keep the sea out and may have been motivated by the need to give bluebirds somewhere to fly (cf Dame Vera Lynn). Badgers are not thought to have been responsible for later work at Stonehenge.

It is no coincidence that they used chalk as the building material - this was before education so chalk wasn't being used in large amounts by schools, there was lots of it lying around with no real purpose.

Support for the badger theory is also offered by the way in which they inlaid bands of flint, these layers give a distinctive black and white pattern which is also synonymous with these nocturnal mammals.

I hope my writing this doesn't spoil SXR103 for any students yet to attend the residential school at the Uni of Sussex.


Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
"Tulane and Johnny opened a novelty shop
Back under the counter, was the cream of the crop"
Chuck Berry wrote it and 30 years ago I'd tramp around the north west of England to watch this guy play and sing it. The Steve Gibbons Band were a part of my formative years so I was amazed to see that he's playing Brighton! Not so surprised to see that he's sold out though. If you like rock and roll played properly and with clever lyrics check out this guy's music.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

ELT2 Revisited



Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
These guys are using a quadrat in a measured area to randomly sample for six specific species of plant. Lots of crawling around and a general scrum in the background. Who knew that ecology could be so much fun?

Birling Gap

Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
A group walk along the beach below Birling Gap with The Seven Sisters in the background. Note that everyone is wearing a hard hat - while we were down there we didn't linger under the cliffs - but as we left a couple were undressing for some nude sunbathing against the chalk face. At the front are the leaders wearing yellow hats.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Flower question

Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
Can anyone identify this plant? Go to my Flickr stream to see more photos of it and let me know if it's familiar

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


Lovely evening - sitting outside the coffee shop enjoying the sunset

Monday, 21 July 2008

Friday, 18 July 2008

Uni of Sussex

Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
View from the library steps. The circular building is the Meeting Room.

Thursday, 17 July 2008



First last night

Live jazz and light rain on the East Slope on the last night of the first week of resi school at Sussex. Everyone buzzing like a fridge. Lots of smiling, succesful, tired people

Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Resi school

I did this outside and couldn't see the screen which is why I'm squinting at it - I promise I don't look that rough in real life

Sunday, 13 July 2008

All change

One week on from the schorchio of Kuwait I'm at the Uni of Sussex in Brighton. Nowhere near as warm :-(

Saturday, 12 July 2008


I'm dropping this here so that I can find it again and write some more. While I'm thinking about that check out the contents of that link:

Sunday, 6 July 2008


There ya go! Done some work today

Saturday, 5 July 2008


Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
Beautiful minaret amongst the tower blocks


Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
I think that "warm and sunny" sums up the weather here

The lobby

Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
Eight floors down from the balcony in my room

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The Quad - LSE

The Quad
Originally uploaded by nogbad the bad
Having visited Manchester it's hard to think of a bigger contrast. Manchester takes on nearly twice as many undergraduates each year than the LSE has across all UG courses at the moment - they've got around 4,000 with a further 5,000 graduate students.

For those who don't know where it is the LSE is in Holborn, Central London. It rubs shoulders with the Royal Courts of Justice and the BBC and is a stone's throw from Theatreland - one of the halls of residence is on the corner of Drury Lane and High Holborn. The photo shows "The Quad" which is an indoor area used as a concert venue and nightclub but I've stayed in larger bedrooms - that really sums up the LSE (phsyically) in that it's tiny. But it certainly punches well above its weight when it comes to reputation and it was claimed that the average starting salary for an LSE graduate is £26k - I don't suppose they are all working in McDonalds!.

I guess.................

I guess we're not at the LSE anymore Toto!


Live blogging from the LSE

Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

Queue to register

Queue to register - literally round the block

Monday, 30 June 2008

Social networking

This is my first ever video - not sure about the quality but I've learnt a lot by doing it


No real surprise I suppose -I'm glad he's held his hands up though. Sadly this young man has been made wealthy by football but remains a thug.