Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

I recently heard the story of this image. It wasn't staged but a photo taken while Che was preparing to speak at a memorial service; he was listening intently to a speaker and the angle of the shot lends intensity to his expression. The man who took the photo was a Cuban photographer Alberto Korda. It's travelled around the world and become a symbol meaning different things to different people. It's not just pop-art! Korda refused to accept money for the photograph - he was Castro's personal photographer and a devoted Communist.

And Cal is currently somewhere above the Atlantic on his way to Cuba for a school trip so I thought that was a neat excuse to use the image.

The title comes from how Che signed off his last letter to Fidel.

Monday, 29 March 2010


In the centre of RTW

Saturday, 27 March 2010


When I worked at LCC I used to drive over the East Malling and on a good day I'd have a cup of tea at the station.  On the train I'd plug in the phone, later the MP3 player, and this would always be the first track I'd listen to. Going from rural Kent this is the stuff to wake me up ready for the Elephant and Castle. It's aural amphet - listen to it through earphone for the full effect. Great track for getting a buzz on.

Bring before me what is mine

I saw this tour - and a few others by this band. Play loud, no synths.

For George

Those of us who lived in a pre-Schengen Europe would have to show our passports at national boundaries and that often meant during daily trips for work. Because some of us carry passports which instruct everyone to allow us passage "without let or hindrance" or Her Britannic Majesty would get tense we'd generally get waved straight through.

However every now and again the border guards would stop cars to conduct a more thorough check (I know a German joke about Austrian border guards but it works better in German and my written German is appalling). The quickest way from Germany to the French ports is through Luxembourg and then across the Belgian Ardennes - as students of twentieth century European history will be aware.

The biggest worry, when driving, was being stopped at the Belgian border because an additional test was having to name ten famous Belgians. Failing the test would mean diverting down into France which is slower. Anyways; if one is ever stopped and asked to name any famous Belgians the list is here on

Thursday, 25 March 2010


Today I spent some time with a group of Open University students. The group included two OU graduates, one of whom is now studying for a Masters degree in International Development. They are part of a group of sixty or so OU students studying in HMP Swaleside, a B cat prison on the Isle of Sheppey. In total more than 100 men in Swaleside are studying through distance learning; that's more than 1 in 10 of the total prison population. Sadly changes in the way prison education is funded mean that they are unlikely to be given the support needed to continue studying.

The Learning and Skills Council (soon to be replaced by the Skills Funding Agency) have shifted funding so that distance learning, any learning over NVQ level 2, isn't going to be supported by the education teams in prison. This means that anything above GCSE level will not be supported. Distance learning encompasses more than just Open University studies, it also includes vocational courses from providers such as ICS who offer City and Guilds accredited courses in electrical and mechanical engineering.

Education in prison helps with rehabilitation and if people are to be fit for being released into society it's important that they have the skills and education needed to contribute. Curtailing the opportunities for learning can only lead to more men and women being unable to readjust to life outside.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010



Somewhere through this urban clutter you might glimpse the river.


Can you believe this? A web site dedicated to liquorice.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Lie-in for teenagers

Teenagers benefit from a lie-in
"A school that has allowed its pupils to start the day an hour later says it has seen absenteeism decline." [BBC News - Monday, 22 March 2010]
Not sure why anyone might find this surprising. Time is an artificial construct, simply a way in which we can all agree on a common point of reference in order to make sure we don't miss kick off. The idea that we all perform well because we are awoken at a similar time makes no more sense than the idea that  testing all children at a given time on a given date is in some way egalitarian.
I'm surprised that they've not mentioned how beneficial a day in bed can be for adults too. 

Monday, 22 March 2010

Eat your greens

Eat your greens
Eat your greens, originally uploaded by nogbad the bad.

In the foreground a little bit of fence is visible and this is behind the waist-high wall so one way or another it's not easy to frame shots across this field. It's a shame really because there are some interesting shapes created by the trees in the orchard beyond. I like the "bird of prey" shape formed by the tree to the right.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

It's a sign

It's a sign
It's a sign, originally uploaded by nogbad the bad.
Lovely weather today so I went for a walk. This sign is paired with another at the other end of the lane. This end is Busbridge Road near its junction with Stockett Lane. It runs through Loose and becomes High Banks where the other sign is in much better nick.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Tattoo locations

Nicked this from Cat (thanks Mousely). Mine is in the "socially acceptable" zone.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Possible GCSE Maths questions

Nissan have announced that the electric car; the Leaf, will be manufactured in Sunderland. This car has a top speed of 90 MPH and a range of 100 MPH. Currently the only public charging stations in the south east are in London.

  • Q1 Exactly how long will it take (in hours, mins, secs) to run out of power assuming no traffic jams?
  • Q2 Exactly how far from home (miles, feet, inches) would you be when the charge is fully dissipated?
  • Q3 Within 1 degree how cold will it be on the night that this happens? 
  • Q4 Will it be raining?
  • Q5 Will you still feel smug about buying a technology which isn't really commercially viable yet?  

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Some cultures have yet to grasp the value of pastry in relation to meat dishes.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Needs a haircut

Cal in Tesco at Lundsford Park

Dane John

Thursday, 11 March 2010

This is wonderful

More Steely Dan

Just got this song stuck in my head.

Need this

Must be my age or something - I think I need some of this.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Imp (next in the series)


Looking the wrong way

BBC News - Newsnight - Paedophile priest left unmolested by Church and state
"Former priest Bill Carney was named as one of the worst paedophiles in Dublin's Catholic diocese in the Murphy report into clerical abuse there. However, for the last 10 years has been free to live quietly in Britain."
Bear in mind the current furore over the killing of Ashleigh Hall by a convicted sex offender who wasn't supervised sufficiently on release. Here we have the story of a paedophile protected by the church and state; a man assessed as having a "psychopathic personality disorder" and for whom "the prognosis for a cure is bleak".
We seem to continue to pretend that the internet is the cause of the world's ills and ignore the real problems that are out there. Today Chris Huhne (LibDem MP for Eastleigh) suggested that convicted sex offenders should tell the probation service their email address and IP address so that their online activities could be monitored.
That demonstrates eloquently how little many of our MPs understand the defining technologies of the early 21st century. Sadly his views are probably held by many probation staff and police officers. And in the meantime men like Carney are allowed to live a normal life without any controls whatsoever.

HE Review - OU evidence

If anyone missed this it's well worth a watch for a number of reasons. Firstly to see Martin Bean in action - this is one very impressive performance. The preamble is a tad dull but once he's answering questions he demonstrates his grasp of the agenda and environment and the wider political concerns. Listen to what is said. For me the key part is that the OU will not sacrifice quality therefore it must cut numbers as a response to the financial constraints.

The website for the HE Review is and there is a great deal more stuff available.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Sunday, 7 March 2010


Sitting in a warm bed with a book, the news on TV and liquorice - not too shabby.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Friday night music

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


Today's meeting was cancelled so we had a coffee and a chat and a walk. It was misty and the sea was dead calm. 



Early morning

The cows across the road on a frosty morning.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Mad maths

I've just seen John Denham suggesting that councils canprotect and improve front-line services while cutting costs. He said that these cuts will be 'behind the scenes'. 
How? Where? Does Denham seriously think that local authorities are awash with fat which can be cut without causing harm? If they are who is responsible given that his party have been in power for more than ten years?
Let's face it - we're stuffed, the cupboard is bare and Denham is one of the idiots responsible. That he thinks funds can be cut without reducing services demonstrates how poor his grip has become.

The Sarf Dahns