Monday, 31 January 2011

Web 2.0 for educators - Part 5

Started Tuesday 1st February 2011  Started 0636 GMT
Words 323
S.I. =  64.6%

Web 2.0 mirrors village life?

The Village preservation society featured in a previous blog. As I have been watching the news over the last two months parallels between village life and social networking activities.  The world has started to become a village again.

A very sweeping statement but I am of the opinion it has some anthropological basis.  A number of stories over the last few days have re-inforced the fact as people we have lived in village or small communities far longer than we have in cities.  We still have the same networking skills since they are I believe innate.

I read today about research reported in the Daily Telegraph that women of 40 or older using Facebook have more friends (up to 4 times more) than other users.  This seems to mirror the sort of informal networking groups traditionally associated with ladies that lunch or dare I say it the Women's Institute.  I  was constantly aware when I was growing up of my own mother's contacts with others and how well informed she could potentially be of what others (possibly even myself) had been up to.

The use of mobile phones and their replacement of the traditional role of  bike sheds for elicit knowledge (reported in Kindle edition of Telegraph but not website as far as I can find) by  Dr Emma Bond from University Campus Suffolk equally applies to all Web 2.0 technologies including Facebook.  Conversations I have had with friends whose children are wanting to use Facebook all centre around safety and knowing what their children are doing.  Most come to the conclusion that they also need to be a friend on the Facebook account of their child and able to see all posts.

More of  Web 2.0 and the impact of Cloud Computing for not only Educators but small business will appear on the two blogs included in the bar next to the title.

Monday Week 5

Started Monday 31st January 2011  1640 GMT

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sunday foodei

The Saturday Garden Shed

Started Saturday 29th January 2011

A visit to the Garden Centre Today It one of those tasks that I did not get round to during the week.  When I left my former employment as a teacher that usual thing happened there was a whip round for a leaving present. I   was not around to collect this as I had basically had enough of the system, but not the people who I worked with .  I eventually collected my own personal  equipment just after the end of my contractual obligations and a large amount of National Garden Gift Vouchers.

The wind of change has been weathered. I am now glad I decided to make the break when I did.  The climate of economic change that is sweeping everybody else along at the moment does not seem to take prisoners at all.  The public sector trained workforce has not yet been whittled down to "affordable levels". I am hopefully not competing against them but have entered a new phase of 21st Century Working.

So back to the garden centre (I have put a link to Sturmer Nurseries website in the bar near the title) and my purchases.  I have mentioned the square foot gardening concept in previous blogs on a Saturday and sometimes a Thursday.  Practicing what you preach is always one of my aims given the chance.

Potatoes, well it is National Potato day tomorrow as shown on my Dipity Time Line   , were the main reason for going to the Nursery.  I chose a first early crop Foremost which is good for baking. Cara a main crop suitable for boiling, roasting, chipping and baking.  The final variety I chose was King Edward a familiar name that I believe did for a while disappear off the national certified seed list.  King Edward is not only good for baking, roasting, chipping but also for mashed potato.  I have most uses covered, salad use might be a problem but that is only an opinion.

The potatoes are now chitting in traditional wooden seed trays lined with newspaper in the top space of my airing cupboard in the dark.  I really only put two and two together of why this top cupboard was probably there a few years ago. Tall ceilings can lead to tall airing cupboards. Which are integrated into the Cottage Garden economy.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Friday Analysis

Started Friday 27th January  2011  0936 GMT
Words 296
S.I. = 59.2

Have I got to Friday yet?

Websites that have been visited and thought to be useful

Olive trees - they can be grown in this country Villagio Verde
Teleworking Association -

Looking back to Monday, have I had a non-reactive week?  It certainly has been a very busy and hectic week.  The tracks that I talked about in the blog four days again had literal truth. On Tuesday I attended the AGM of the Teleworking Association.  This was just off Haymarket.  In order to reach this destination I had to train it.  I returned back to Cambridgee station by way of Liverpool Street, the tube to Haymarket followed by another journey underground to King's Cross.  They seem to have sorted the one system of people flow well ahead of the 2012 Olympics.  I passed the by the  Emirates stadium on the way back on the non-stopping train to Cambridge.  I was therefore back in Haverhill (my home town) by 4.30 pm having taken the bus on the final leg of the journey.

On Wednesday I attended in the afternoon a  lecture on Steam in Agriculture delivered by Tom Doig  at my Local Arts Centre (see Link in near the title above).   This reinforced my growing conclusion that things do not really change in production only the distance the end user is from the field.  As with everything the further you are the way from the event the more like magic it appears to be because of the disconnectedness.  Hence we now have a lot of children answering surveys who do not connect cows and milk.

 So in conclusion for today, yes, I have had a week that was non-reactive since I did  not have to perform Newtonian mechanics and send the problem back in the opposite direction after meeting head on.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Thursday musings on being well

Started Thursday 27th January 2011 0238 Google Server Time
Words 488
S.I. = 97.6 %

Central Heating makes you fat?

On the theme of home working I spotted the above headline in the Daily Mail of the 26th January (Kindle Edition).  According to the article the central heating present in nearly homes may also be responsible for some of the obesity found in the general population.  The effect that central heating  has on the body is to make it feel warm and content.  There is therefore no reason to move.  As the body is up to a more than comfortable temperature natural heat generation by burning calories is not necessary.

This has implications for home workers and their overall health and Wellbeing.  The majority of houses have incredibly efficient thermal barriers to insulate their houses.  I have a late Victorian House that is in a conservation area.  When I was teaching I never quite got round to putting in those double glazing units that would have made the house extremely warm as toast.  Now that I am living in the equivalent of a game preserve (I didn't realise I was such an endangered specimen) I am not allowed to have double glazing units under planning regulations.

The consequence of this that I do not have the locally excessive hot spots that may encourage the conditions whereby unintentional torpor occurs.  So maybe what I loose in perceived pleasant conditions (with accompanying heating costs) I might make up in the long term with overall health benefits.  As we experience more cost cutting in pursuit of headline savings my long term heath costs will also be reduced owing to the fact that I have "shivered" the reserves off .  I might also be able to run to the bus quicker when I am unable to afford to run a car as fuel prices take me back 50 years in time to when everybody used Public Transport.

The design  of my house is the original design.  Some neighbouring properties have had their stair well moved form the centre of the house to the side.  The living room and dining room have then been knocked through to form open plan living.  I am not a great fan of this as it often is a temptation to turn the TV on during meal times killing the art of conversation (another stressor on Wellbeing).   However, the movement of air around the house can be aided by adjusting the radiators so that downstairs they pump out more heat than upstairs.   The flow of air up the stairs is naturally encouraged.  High ceilings mean that  a cloud of hot air develops in each  room.  The carpets in the bedrooms insulate the downstairs rooms, while the loft insulation keep the heat in the bedrooms upstairs.  The same chimney principle is also useful for maintaining a cool house in the summer by opening the appropriate windows.  Simples?

 More on this theme of energy management for the home worker and the promised plant lore will feature
in the Blog

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Career Change on a Wednesday

Started  Wednesday 26th January 2011  0700 GMT
Words  372
S.I.= 74.4 %

Career change is never easy.  Finding the right advice is also not very easy.  The world is not a very friendly place to the people who are having to act quickly because they have financial pressures owing to past trust issues with their financial institutes  (I will leave you to fill in the gaps of what this might mean).

I have  a little expertise in skepticism gained from that so called University of Hard knocks over the last 26 years, a whole generation of slaloming through those gates on the downhill course!

I have visited sometimes many fonts of business knowledge.  I have  been dropped in the font a few times, but managed to swim away.  Each time I have become, just, a little wiser.

As I personally contemplate dipping my toes into the digital ocean and go self-employed for part of my economic activities I have found the Lawpack series, in my case available locally from WHSmith or Staples.   I have used the Self-Employed pack.  This gives a series of useful documents and also a  booklet with a self-assessment test that   tests your motivations for going self-employed.  In other words do you at the moment have the right skills or persistence powers to make a small business a viable start up.  If you do not then it does identify areas that you may need to consider bolstering.  Like  taking a  psychometric test new skills and experiences can alter your profile and your perception of your suitability for this mode of living.

Relevant to home working is a new pack that will appear this week.  I learnt this from the author who is a member of the Teleworking Association.  I am personally going to obtain a copy as I have already used the self-employment pack as an aide de memoir when ticking off the way points to being self-employed.

Tomorrow the forecast is for light snow so I will catching up with those bits that need doing such as the Blog articles for 2pointfiveageofman and

Wellbeing tomorrow is the theme and being well in the dark of January is difficult to achieve.  A herbalists' lore (I am a Botanist/Agriculturalist by training)  will be dipped  into to promote health benefits.  

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Web 2.0 for Educators - Part 4

Started Tuesday 25th January 2011   0913 GMT   Location Liverpool Street Station
Words 274
S.I. = 54.8 %

In the footsteps of Isaak Walton, trying not to become the Complete Tangler.

In the very circuitous route today I have been to London and back to meet with some very forward thinking people called the Teleworking Association.  This is a Nationally operating not for profit group that promotes and propagates smart solutions to today working environment.   Previous blogs have outlined some of my opinions on the way that Teleworking can transform peoples overall Wellbeing and be of benefit both to worker and the person who buys their services.  Over the coming weeks the Teleworking Association will be working towards explaining new ways that people can access Web 2.0  Technologies.

It has been a long day so this will only be a short post.  I boarded a bus at 5.50 am this morning to Cambridge Railway Station.  I then took the train along the route of the River Lee.  This was made famous by Isaak Walton in the Compleat Angler.  In the subsequent centuries the unimportance of this valley saw a canal and later a railway  built along the same course.  In some places the canal actually runs almost under the railway.  Even then there were problems securing land for infrastructure from landowners.

Well I am going to end here (it is now 1848 GMT) since Ipswich are playing Arsenal in the Football League Cup .  As I returned to Cambridge on the train from King's Cross Station I passed the Emirates stadium.  Unfortunately not having a ticket and the need to return to see my cat (arrangements had been made for someone to go and check on her during the day) means that I will watch it on a TV screen on BBC 2.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Monday Morning Week 4

Started Monday 24th January 2011 GMT
Words 453
S.I. = 90.6 %
Planning to have a quiet non-reactive week

I like it when a plan comes together.  If it doesn't then possibly the ambition was too great for the resources and circumstances at the time.  I often have the nagging doubt sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear "I told you so!" before I have started to try the plan.  If it's my own nagging doubt I can shut that up by first of all brushing it off my shoulder.  If that is unsuccessful  then  crushing it as I use my shoulder to burst through the next locked door.  The latter tends to be a little painful so I try to use the pain free option if possible.

When you are managed by others and the brushing method is not noticed or heeded and talked about then I am sad to say that I have at times exhibited or had done to me the  crushing strategy.  Owing usually  to the fact the task manager has thought they saw the light at the end of the tunnel but failed to recognise it was the train coming the other way.  Fine, if you can switch tracks at the last minute.

The theme for this week is for me to counter the phrase a 'Lack of communication leads to frustration'.  By communication I don't mean talking at somebody, but having a dialogue.  So I am going to explore and enhance the networking skills that I have acquired over the last few decades.  This is not so that I can sell something to somebody.

 The aim is to build up trust in a working relationship so that both parties feel they have had a fair input into whatever outcome occurs.  If it is a negative outcome the blame is hopefully shared in proportion to the persons' position and more importantly influence in the decision making chain.  If a positive outcome occurs  then we can all take a break to do something we enjoy away from the task list.  The philosophy being to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself, when allowed the opportunity.

High ideals for a Monday morning but good intentions should always accompany a new journey, especially when you know you will enjoy the arrival wherever that may be.  Even if you are not convinced your journey is really necessary there is still a possibility you will enjoy your new vantage point.  If you know it is not and you still have to go, well..........

Tomorrow I will be exploring some Networking opportunities in my blog.  Further posts will start to appear on the two Blogs that can be found by visiting the links in the bar near the title. 

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Sunday Foodie bit part 2

Started Sunday 23rd January 2011   Time 0655 GMT
Words 289

Cretan food - from the oldest civilization in Europe

Minoan civilization, our name we do not know what they called themselves, was the cultural root of  the tree of Greek culture.  Zeus was born on Crete.  A possible reason why this happened is that  the soils of Crete have been extremely productive over the millennia.  If you do not have to work too hard to feed yourself you then have time to invent and tell stories to explain where you're from both to others and yourself.

Crete apparently has the most wholesome cuisine in the Mediterranean.  The book in the link provides some very good recipes, some of which I have tried.  The use of good olive oil does add to your Wellbeing.  Thus using natural products to ameliorate some of the effects of our normally highly processed life.  This morning I had a Greek omelette and salad for breakfast.

As much as I like Newmarket Sausages,every once and a while a degrease can be useful.  Using locally grown produce (ie your own) is also beneficial.  With stories of food supply shortages in the East Anglian Daily Times it makes sense to start growing a little yourself.  Starch rich vegetables such as potatoes can supplement wheat flour in a number of dishes, gnocchi being an example.  This use of potatoes is very topical as National Potato Day approaches.  Have a look at the Dipity link above to see when and where this takes place.

Further Blog posts will appear on my Blogs and  Follow the links from the bar near the title of this blog.

I am going to finish now and walk down to my favourite local Garden Nursery in Sturmer, just over a mile or so down the road to Colchester.

Micro farms - square foot gardening

A micro greenhouse (a heated propagator) that could
 be solar powered if I connected the right
transformer or rectifier. I haven't done this yet
so still using fossil fuels from the plug socket.
Started Saturday 22nd January 2011 Time 1441 GMT
Words 442

Preparing to square foot garden.

Seeing plants grow is one of the most satisfying activities I know.  Set the right conditions, allow the plants to make hay while the sun shines and then check at night by the light of the moon that all is well and the pests are asleep.  Early in the morning make sure there is sufficient water for the day and that your plants are disease free.  If disease is present plan an appropriate strategy and carry it out. Go through this routine for a number of days or weeks  depending upon the crop, days for alfalfa sprouts or multiple weeks for potatoes.  The reward is the added value of free fixed carbon and a tasty meal.

The following growing season either rotate your crops  and with appropriate  amendment to soil conditions or plant the same crop and be prepared for a yield hit or greater vigilance against pests and diseases.  This is in essence the  agricultural cycle.   This works on the macro scale ( farm size over hundreds of hectares) or micro scale (square foot gardening).    

So what should we be planning or preparing to plant in January.  Essentially whatever you would plant in the soil on a field level can be replicated in a square foot or a container.  Potatoes is one of the crops we should be thinking of preparing for planting.  The process of preparation is known as chitting.  These can then be plated in pots or special bags that emulate the ridging carried out on a field scale.

An interesting vegetable to plant in January is the Jerusalem Artichoke.  Rhubarb can also be planted if the weather conditions are suitable.  The  start of the growing season for individual plants may be delayed or advanced depending upon local climatic conditions.  Fruits that can be planted in January include Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Gooseberries, Loganberries, Raspberries, Red and White currants.  If you have a greenhouse or window sill you can go out of step a little with the season.

So back to the photograph at the top.  In the recycled cardboard tubes I have planted Cat Grass.  I aim to have a continuous alternative vegetarian offering that is non-toxic to my assistant mouse minder.   I might be able to maintain another Malabar Chestnut and some Lucky Bamboo by deflection of the evil mastications of my not so doctored feline.   Hopefully I will not have to use the kitty scarer ( follow link to see effect of kitty scarer).

More detail on how to grow some of the plants mentioned in this blog can be found by visiting the links above near the title for the Blog and Blog   

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Friday Analysis

Started Friday 21st January 2011 Time 1005 GMT
Words 517
SI = 103.4 % Aspirational Target of not achieved

Videos found this week, on Tuesday the classic John Cleese and two Ronnies.  This was accompanied by Village Preservation Society sung by originally Ray Davis and latterly Kate Rugsby.

The ten year plan - fourth year report 

On the 2nd December 2010 I started to tentatively write a blog.  If you are not used to writing a reflective blog (which everybody can see unlike a diary) it can be a little daunting as you have to be aware of the dangers of social networking.   The blog can sometimes turn round and bite you if you are not careful.

The things that have worked is recognising when the skill you have matches the current trends as thy are happening.  The theme that has been constant this week from Monday  onwards is that we are undergoing massive changes in work style and lifestyle in the UK.  The skills discussed on Tuesday match those needed to effect the career change as we go from a management driven economy to a society that is tailored to the individuals working needs   The sense of Wellbeing found on Thursday was what I have been planning and working towards since I stepped out teaching seven months ago.

A really encouraging piece of news for my home town is that our Locally Funded School and our Academy are in the top 10% in the country (this story is in the print version but does not appear to be on the web, puzzling).  I feel I have a little self-interest in mentioning this since I taught some of  the children referred to between 5 and 7 years ago.  This was when I was Co-ordinator of Science and ICT in the feeder middle school.  We must as teachers have laid some firm foundations even though it did not show in our SATS results (science, maybe, I will let you make up your own  mind).

 The phrase that was common from when I was at school in the town was "What can you do with the kids from Haverhill?".  Obviously they can do quite a lot on their own given the right opportunities.  Also with the first Free School opening outside town the opportunities for a great start on the journey to where they choose to go, not where others think they may be allowed.

Tomorrow being Saturday I will be blogging about square foot gardening and planning a cook's planting sequence.

PS Why the ten year plan?  On Rhodes four years ago while the moon seen in the initial blog  was above I sat with some other friends around the bar.  Thirsty six of us had all chosen to attend a wedding of two of our fiends.  During this time I formulated my next ten year plan. This was not to be teaching in the classroom full-time at the end of the plan.  Four years into the plan I would not at the beginning have thought I would be writing a blog.  If my new 6 year plan runs it's course (intended or unintended outcome) , it will be time to make another 10 year plan.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Wellbeing - the relaxed Thursday evening

This blog started with a full moon

A full moon in Rhodes

Started Thursday 20th January 2011,
Words 355
S.I. = 71%

Yesterday I blogged about embracing the new challenges for economic Wellbeing in the UK.  The challenges I suggested might be partly overcome by using the computing cloud that has come to over above us. The element that will make it a success is the ingenuity of the people using the tools.  They weren't interested in making them themselves as they had other more important roles in my opinion.

The roles in a cooperative society that they chose have been of educators, farmers, engineers, healers, parents and custodians.  Those roles have not changed but some have found they are no longer are required to be managers in  most cases.   They can do what I suggest the majority of people want to do set their own targets and recognise when they have reached their goals.

I read a story in one of the Kindle editions of the newspapers, I will track it down and edit this post later, that suggested many people were keeping quite for fear of the consequences of stating the core facts before they had been embellished by their boss.  The information that is used a s the basis of most decisions is usually readily available now in what Bill Gates called the new university, the internet. Managers are no longer able to hide their mistakes since there are many people watching.  This I hope will lead to a greater Wellbeing of most as they become managed more intelligently and have their emotions taken into account.

I will finish on that.  I have gained my Black Belt in the  Zumo dojo today.  It took over 24 hours for all the tasks to be completed so that I could have a Web 2.0 optimised work tool.  I could not have done this without  the BT Superfast connection and wireless connectivity.  So although I was not particularly happy with BT a month ago it seems as usual to have come good in the end, until the next upgrade.  It is just a matter of applying skills and persistence and not about writing how you are going to get somebody else to solve the problem .

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Cloud computing and career change

Started Wednesday 19th January 2011  Time 1919 GMT
Words 393
S.I. Index =  78.6 %

Cloudy Day spent flying towards the Sun.

I have had a bit of an Icarus day but so far without any melted wax. I have been flying through the computing clouds and appear to have become a little damp. This is moving a little further on from yesterday's posting towards realising how the Teleworking technology has moved on since 1993 and the founding of the Telecottage Association.  

I have been trying for the last two days to resurrect the net book I bought in August 2008.  The machine has been used quite well over that time, so much so that I had to take the down arrow key apart and wiggle the push switch so I could attempt a reload.  This was not successful.  Even though somewhere I have a 3 warranty that I paid for  I had to have net book connectivity in place today as I had planned.  The meetings I have next week, some of which are featured on the Dipity link above, require that I have a Web 2.0 optimised work tool.  So I went and bought the cheapest net book in town.

Since 11 am this morning I have been slaloming uphill through the gates towards that summit shrouded in the computing cloud.  I am part way through acquiring my black belt in the Zumodrive   dojo.  I haven't yet made up my mind whether going the explorer route or driving the chrome bumpered browser is the best option.  The car seems to be taking the edge though.  In amongst all that I have still had time to apply for a few Web 2.0 based actvities mentioned in the newsletter of the Teleworking Association.

More about this tomorrow in Thursdays' posting concerning Wellbeing.

Further posts can be read over the next by clicking on the links in the title bar  for the  blogs for and

Right I have been labouring away since about 6.00 am this morning.  Fourteen hour day was quite normal for me when I was teaching the difference is that I have set the goals myself.  I can turn the net book off  and go and watch the football.  Indiana Jones is crusading for the last time on BBC, hopefully, it was interesting first time round but is now a little bit frayed around the edges.  

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Web 2.0 for Educators - Part 3

Started Tuesday 18th January 2011 8.28 am
Words 337
S.I. Index =  66.8%

The return of the Agora?

If you are reading this you were not too affected by yesterday.  The return to the time of being a  nation of shopkeepers may appear to be a hard step.  We have all been convinced by the idea that if it is delivered to your home it is of better service quality than  queuing to buy it with everybody else.  This is the real life outcome of  the attitudes  portrayed in the John Cleese and (later) Two Ronnies sketch.

The idea of greater prosperity driven by technological advances was supposed to release us from work to have more leisure time.  A premise was enshrined in law that you had to retire at certain age whether you could afford to or not.  This was  taken as a right and was  supported by the National Insurance scheme.  However these expectations no longer apply.  The reasons  are political opinions and I choose not to work in that area.

So how does this relate to Web 2.0.  Well we have  realised the musing from one of my favourite books Hitch hikers Guide to the Galaxy.  The Babel fish is alive and well in the form of an Android phone.  The skills needed to operate a Web 2.0 driven lifestyle will have to be gained rapidly if you are going to compete over the next few new years and retain all your assets (home as opposed to investment property).   The scenarios announced yesterday that included the NHS revamp and the transfer of maternity leave to become paternity leave makes the idea of Teleworking a necessity for most businesses.

For more on Web 2.0  visit the Blogs  and

Hopefully we will then all be able to reclaim our own village green before the council sells it for redevelopment.

PS Look out for the FSB's Keep it local campaign.  Events for social and micro-entrepreneurship will be appearing on the Dipity timeline via the link above.

Monday, 17 January 2011

The worst day of the year?

Started Monday 17th January 2011 849 am GMT
Word Count = 457
S.I. = 91.4 %

This is supposed to be the worst day of the year.  The BBC  have been saying so all the time since 6.00 am.  The NHS is being shaken up with  Middle Managers going and practitioners of first point of contact services ie Nurses and Doctors are becoming in charge of the care not the people behind the desks who are mostly unqualified medically. 

The concerns of some in the business community of the negative economic impact of fathers being allowed to get to know their children was debated.  The Wellbeing to society of welcoming this change  I believe going return more economic benefits than  costs.  It only becomes a problem if you mortgage is based on the joint income of both parents.

 A problem around joint mortgages was created in the eighties when banking regulation was relaxed. We employed the dinkies before they became 30 something and then wanted to start a family.  The cost of this when recession came and both were made redundant wasn't felt by the banks as they still the property to redeem the debt against.  A win win situation!

A life coach was talking essentially about how to get yourself together (lyrics by U2).  To be able to do that can be quite hard especially if you have been a Middle Manager in the public sector.  This is why I started this blog on the 2nd December 2011.  You can listen to all the advice but the person that has to do the career and lifestyle change is you.  Choosing the SMART choices can take a very long time or a short time depending on how you recognise opportunities for success .  Sometimes it is difficult to see the next hill when you are hurtling up the first.  

The Lighthouse Family were on the sofa being asked why they had not been heard of for long.  A comment that struck a chord with me was that they had experience such a vast change in life. It was apparently like skiing very fast down hill.  At the end of my first year in teaching my boss conducted my first appraisal.   The only thing she wrote down as she listened was a drawing of a stick man skiing up a bumpy hill who had not reached the summit.  A very emotionally intelligent manager for me on that occasion. 

The target for the week is to blog on solutions for the news items mentioned on the BBC this morning. 

The Lifestyle tools I have been using for my own  Wellbeing can be found by clicking the buttons in the bar near the title.  For dynamic content You are looking for the buttons  Blog 2pointfiveageof, Blog,  and  

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Sunday Ramble

All rambles have a beginning
 Started Sunday 16th January 2011  1010 am

Sunday in what now appears to be the dim distant past used to be a day of rest.  I used to put a notice up on the board in the Australian Arms .  Next to the board was the story I wrote about how the pub acquired it's name.   Terry who had lived in the house that was what is now the back half the pub had explained to me one lunchtime how the pub came to be named.  I used to pop into the pub on Tuesday (pension day) lunchtime during half term just to listen to the stories of old Haverhill.

I am technically a local first generation born although I was born in Newmarket. As were all people of may age from the town were as that was where the maternity hospital was situated (14 miles  away) and home births weren't encouraged then.

On the Sunday mornings we would set of for a walk of between 3 and 5 miles.  The footpaths as were surprisingly short in distance between town and villages than the roads.  Haverhill is situated in a very ancient area of human habitation.  According to the book  Suffolk's Ancient Sites Historic places the town's name has it's origins as the "Billy Goat Hill".  The first ramble I planned was across the hill to Kedington.  The half way point was  the Barnadiston Arms named after the local  family of whom  Nathanial Barnardiston, the original Roundhead of the English. Civil War, was a member.  The medieval stone effigies of the Barnadistons can still be seen in Kedington Church which is built on the site of a Roman villa whose floor can seen by lifting a trapdoor halfway up the aisle.  The village had the workhouse for the area which later became the local Hospital for psychiatric treatment.

Walking back over the hill past the British Legion you start to get an idea of how large Haverhill has become since the early  1960s (and still no railway ).   Looking down the hill you can see the church. Dotted also around the town are a large number of non-conformist chapels.  The Ward family sired a number of protestant preachers one of whom John Ward was the first preacher of Haverhill in the USA.  Samuel Ward after whom the school I attended before University was named is another non-conformist.  The school is one of two outstanding post 13 years  soon to be post 11 years old institutions who can be viewed by clicking the links near title relating schools and academies.

As you get to know Haverhill more you find the reason that the locals do not talk much about much about the town to outsiders is that results in many areas of the towns endeavours are self evident if you only take the time to look.


Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Saturday Supplement

The first time I went in a plane
I jumped out of it.  A Reims Rocket
 was the plane. This was
 not such a silly idea if you
plan ahead and have a parachute
It is only the last inch of 2000ft fall that
does the damage
Started 15th January 2010 09.18 GMT
Number of Words 286

Saturday again time has come round really quickly.  I am going to take this opportunity to take my foot off the gas a little.  Three blogs running, two domains and countless, alright a few, meetings this week around the subject of a micro enterprise designed to support social entrepreneurship has been quite tiring.  But rewarding.  I have distilled down the root cause of my career change into what I feel is a reasonable game plan. I can go and watch  whatever sport I choose this afternoon.  I will be without that now unnecessary and lingering feeling of guilt for not doing the never ending mountain of work expected as a teacher. So  I will  select some of the best experiences of the week.  

Web 2.0 has been a theme.  I came across this video of a little kitten which I used as a final link in yesterday's blog.  We also as the cricket was finishing had a visit from Batman and Superman

On the subject of cricket a very good book is Bob Woolmer's Art and Science of Cricket.  I recommend that any parent whose child is taking up cricket should read  pages 616 and 617 which show a bowler's  logbook .   Youngsters can easily become over bowled if they play for school, local club and if good enough county.  Even if you are not a cricket fan the Chapter10 is a brilliant guide to physiology and fitness for any sport. Which leads me onto the final point of mention that a new gym aiming to promote Wellbeing is opening in the town.

I will have a wander down the High Street and complete the Saturday ritual by buying the East Anglian Daily Times

Thursday, 13 January 2011

A TGI Friday feeling!

Started Friday 14th January 2011  At 6.00 am GMT
Word Count =    432 Word Limit = 500
Success Index  S.I.  = 87%
S.I. Between 80 and 90 % thorough attempt at fulfilling Aspirational Target has been made
S.I. Between 90 and 100% means reader able to add their interpretation and take part ownership
S.I. Between 50 and 101% Aspirational Target has been met
S.I Less than 50% means wrong Aspirational Targets set as started with wrong premise

Friday review time.  Early morning Friday I find is the best time to review the week's progress against those aspirational targets I set myself on Monday.  If I have become distracted by the trivia of the process or experienced a systems failure I can at least have a fighting chance of  putting the working week to bed by lunchtime.  Then have a Friday become a  POETS day  (push off early tomorrow’s Saturday).  But it depends on how detailed or how long I consider what my aspirational targets should be on Monday.   It also depends if I am trusted to set the targets. Too many ingredients and too little  time means I won't be able to finish the plan in 5 days time. 

I have revisited as to why I started this personal blog on the 2nd December 2010.  The plan was to reclaim my second age of man. I now a have a clearer picture against the background of public sector cuts my personal goals.

My definition of what the word Education means has been revisited and clarified. I have told myself what it is once and written it in lemon juice so I will not have to repeat it to myself a second and third time.

I have reflected on why I have a dislike of the service economy (two links). I think I now have a 6 year plan to enhance my own Wellbeing.

My Wellbeing was enhanced further this week by an event that had parrallels to an event pre-1979. Ipswich Town (my local Suffolk team) beat Arsenal by one goal.  This is the first FA Cup final I can remember watching on TV because of it's relevance to me.   A good result but it is only the first leg of the League cup tie.

So the next step. I have decided to add to my mission statement that I am going to aspire to work in a Business Civilisation as opposed to a Business Empire. A book that I bought for the title and not the name of the author  contains some of the threads of my personal business ethos.

And finally I tried to avoid being a little cynical in this blog as a critical friend observed this trait. I had already observed this trend before he mentioned it. Since somebody else is aware and I would not want my intent to be misinterpreted I had better change the tone..  So at the risk of being a little catty I include this final link for today.

For more posts visit Blog

For more posts visit Blog

Wellbeing: Are you a Dragon's Den Entrepreneur or Lifetime Indentured Apprentice

So what's your TV preference? Are you a Dragon's Den fan or an Apprentice fan?

Started Thursday 13th January 2010 6.35 am
Word Count 488  Word Limit 500
Success Index (SI) = 98%
SI < 100% =Aspirational Target Achieved

Thursday's Wellbeing theme happens to coincide with the announcement of the Bank of England interest rate.  For the people in this country who still have to be economically active to service their debt this is a very worrying time.  It is probably affecting their overall Wellbeing.

These  people have inadvertently found themselves to be indentured servants of the banks. They  expected this indenturing to allow them passage to the Land of Opportunity across what they thought was a relatively calm sea of life.

They expected to have their release from their indenturship when the law said they had to retire.  

For convenience sake and because they trusted their bank they purchased their ship's ticket through the bank's travel arm.   They shook the hand at the end of the banks' travel arm and watched in wonderment as it then changed into the banks' mortgage arm. 

 As they continued to shake this same hand that had miraculously  changed to the mortgage arm, they listened carefully.  And for a small fee signed up and agreed to vary their financial outlook by reducing their monthly payments.  

Unfortunately like any voyage across an ocean bad things do happen at sea.  The banker was very happy and able to enjoy a skiing holiday.  The  servant wanted to go skiing (spending the kid's inheritance) so again looked down at the hand he was shaking  and was left in awe and wonder as the arm changed back to that of travel again.

The servant became very upset. The bank patted themselves on the back and paid themselves their bonus out of the money the servant had paid  to buy the indenturship.    However, they had signed the loosely worded indenturship and the terms had been met by the bank.  They felt powerless even though they had been morally and ethically wronged.

What I haven't shared so far is that I too have been paid a performance bonus by my bank.  However I am not a banker.  I have been a cooperative society member for the last six years. I buy all my financial services from The Cooperative bank (My Bank shows their corporate face). I receive my performance bonus twice a year.

When I became aware that my financial Wellbeing would be  changing rapidly,  I sought to avoid this Tsunami on my sea of life.  One of my decisions was to change my mortgage to a more expensive ten year fixed mortgage. I continued with my vocation even though I was metaphorically dying on my feet.  So when I finally stopped shaking my employers' hand and walked away I had all my fingers, though they were a little bruised. The bruising is just starting to go 6 months later.

I will share more in the blog

So what are you? An entreprenurial Dragon? An endentured apprentice? Or a member of a society that cooperates for everybody's benefit?

Which one would you like to be?

Tomorrow the  theme is reflecting on the week's progress.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Why are teachers your most valuable Business asset?

Started Wednesday 12th January 2011.  5:35 am.
Total Words 1488  Target 500
Success  = 297 %                          
Anything > 100% Aspirational Target not achieved

An early start.  The birds in the garden are extremely load.  I live in a so called conservation area where the council dictates that single glazed  windows are the preferred option (only option they mean).  However, if the early bird hadn't been putting on a garden party, I would not have seen the programme on the BBC called Hard Talk where Christine Smid (I hope I have remembered the name correctly) was being interviewed.  At the moment I cannot find it on the  BBC iPlayer site. I hope that is only because it was aired at 4.55 am or thereabouts and hasn't reached the iPlayer server. I highly recommend that you watch it.

As I listened to her very astute and carefully worded replies to the interviewers' questions I was left with an almost ashamed feeling of disquiet.  As a voter I am distantly party to the covenants that the MOD have made with our service personnel. As somebody whose tries to take promises and commitments seriously I was appalled at the apparent reluctance for these covenants to be honoured.

After the interview finished my thoughts turned to why I had started this blog on the 2nd December 2010.  My decision to cease being involved with the educational working environment 6 months ago ago was based on a number of factors.  The Gordian knot that I had  tied in the twine holding up my trousers had started to slip from around my waist to somewhere near my neck.  I was no longer feeling capable of delivering that awe and wonder experience that had caused those eleven year olds a few years ago studying for their science SATS, to be on tip toe waving their hands at me to attract my attention in order to answer the question.

Instead I had become over fearful of the child who had their hand up, but had not been able to attract the teacher's attention.  The unsatisfactory outcome  for them was not balanced in their minds by the classroom conditions of  time constraints.  And that three other pupils had been given the opportunity to comment on the learning aim (in six months the fashionable terminology has probably already changed, but does it  have the same meaning?).  Thirteen years ago a similar child who had inspired trepidation as it had a pupil voice, obtained a job at the Department of Education.  I cannot remember the department's title at that time so we'll call it the Department of Education, as that more accurately described what I thought was in the tin.

The now newly qualified graduate working hard to pay off their student loan became industrious under the direction of their political bosses and decided they would attract that teacher's attention.  So they would not be ignored again they locked themselves away in their offices and started writing corporate style notes to the teacher.   So much so that that the notes prevented the teachers from getting out of the staff training room because the door was jammed shut by the paper blocking the corridor outside.  In a final attempt to be remembered before regime change took over, the notes when spell checked showed that the now Middle Manager in the Department of Education could  with enough IT equipment write 1.6 million words in a pre-election year.

I'm starting to get a little self justifying here and going off the planned theme of this Wednesday blog about career change.  My aspirational target of 500 words definitetly not achieved so I will have to give myself a telling off and no solution of what I should do next.

Oh, that's strange I haven't seen the words aspirational and target next to each other in sentence or bullet point on a  Powerpoint presentation for a long time.  I had better try to avoid being flippant in this blog.  somebody might read more in to my intent than I intended.  This dangerous dog of a blog might turn round and bite me.

No sorry I'll take my blinkers and blindfold off.  It turns out the dangerous dog is a warm fluffy little golden labrador wearing extremely loud boots obsessed with being dangerous towards toilet rolls.  When it's had it's  fun I'll just get the Dyson out.   It used to be called a Hoover but that word has now been dammed and sent to the recyle bin.

Oh.......... paper shredder log press and only 1,000,000 words left to shred.   I haven't opened that other cupboard for a while so do not know how many words hiding there.   Maybe I won't have to chop so many logs to go on the fire .

I turned the Dyson on which sent the cat away upstairs to hide under the bed.  Kitty won't be speaking to me a few hours.  This is almost like a Simon's cat scenario.  

Ok.  so back on mission statement for today.

I have exceeded the word limit excessively, so bullet points for short term plan will be written in invisible ink.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Web 2.0 for educators part 2

I should really have a go at finding
 another picture but this is one design
 I had the foresight to commision and buy
 from a graphic designer in Hersonnisos, Crete.
She took the raw design drawn on the equivalent
  I gave her a little quizzically and didn't do a bad
 (English understatement here) interpreting
my ideas a few Polo shirts later and she was even
more happy with the transaction. 
Started Tuesday 11th January 2010 Started 7.00 am
Word Count 475

As promised the continuation of Web2.0 concepts from the Blog last Tuesday   I will continue to outline the general principles but will use my intended 500 word limit to blog on an important twitter feed  from somebody who I follow.  I do not follow everybody on twitter only those that can add insight to my own endeavours.  I have already ceased following a teaching agency that I realised was a little bit of a  twitter spammer (that sounds a bit rude). 

I won't put her link on here because that wouldn't be appropriate for the potential traffic she may get.  Also twitter appeared to be having a growth spurt yesterday was looking awkward and gangling,  so much so it wasn't recognisable.  I am sure when it's hormones calm down and it's calm again you will be able to find myself and Andrea if you have the inclination.

So what was the twitter feed about?  The knotty issue of Web 2.0 technology safety.  I will not attempt an Alexander the Great solution to this Gordion knot of a challenge.  It is a swinging not and I might miss, severing my own means of remaining balanced on both feet.

A good starting point is the safety principles contained in the Schoolsofeverything website.   The rules for meeting in real life apply equally to encounters on the digital ocean of Web 2.0.  Rather than comment on specifics here and fill up/slow down Google's Public servers for everybody else I would direct yo to the Blogs I run on my domains that are hosted on Business orientated servers.   The links are in the bar near the title of this blog posting. 

So what arrived in the Kindle this morning.  The yellow snow award for journalism goes to the story about  the teacher who let his pupils go sledging.  I won't say where my sympathies lie since I might at some point inadvertently be guilty of eating yellow snow myself.  Web 2.0 has a nasty habit of coming back to bite you when you least expect it.  An Australian friend of mine, who is a computer consultant, was last Friday night was expressing in the pub   his open mouthed disbelief at the  deviousness of some recruitment agencies use of Facebook to select people by assessing their ability to slag their boss off (additional Blog informationn).  This is back on theme with Andrea's twitter.

The moral of the story?  If it's yellow it 'ain't snow.

And...... Finally what would Samuel Pepys have experienced on this day in 1668?  I will not spoil your chance to to make your own interpretation since I have probably exceeded my self-imposed 500 word limit.  

 Tomorrow I will try to answer the question "Why are teachers are a  business' most valuable asset?"

Monday, 10 January 2011

Week 2 A River runs through

Started Monday 10th January 2011 Started 9.20 pm

Words 350

A very large amount of water flowed past the bottom of my street.  Still the artery is now cleansed, still has the odd shopping trolley here and there.

Previous post set the aspirations of what turned out to be a busy weekend putting the finishing touches to the structure of this blog page.

The next steps for this week are to publish details of the courses I am making available on Schoolsforeverything.  The link you will see in the bar below the article title.

The structure of the blog is such that all information on this page is free.  Links away from the page may lead to opportunities to buy services from or via me.  Alternatively they may just be informative or empowering allowing you to also benefit economically  ie the pay free links to the FSB and Teleworking Association.  My aim is to provide links to websites that promote those aspects of social and micro-entrepreneurship.

This is not about who has most desirable shiny objects and charging the Earth for said baubles. As I have tried to explain in some of my previous blogs (the demise of the role of the middle manager being one example) how managing the change that many people are experience in the UK is a challenge but only another a mole hill.  The trick is to step over the molehill.  If you are feeling extremely small and put upon by the systems you have been working under I can empathise in the true sense of the word.

So by the end of the week one brick in the new foundations of my personal wealth and wellbeing (wellbeing being the more important) should have been put in place. I will repeat the mission statement I made in last night's blog.

In 2017 I will take home the same salary as Steve Jobs.

I will earn $1 salary for the work style and incomes I am involved in at this instant.  This will be more than just enough.

Tomorrow's blog as promised last week will be part 2 of Web 2.0 for Educators.


Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Ten minutes to midnight resolution (plus or minus 15 minutes assertion time)

Started Sunday 9th January 2011, 1148 pm

In 2017 I will take home the same salary as Steve Jobs did in 2010.

I will earn $1 salary for the work style and incomes I am involved in at the moment at that instant going into 2018.  This will be more than just enough.

The Phoenix that is slumbering in the ashes of the paper bricks made from the 1.6 million words up to the last election will be stirred.  The Phoenix will explain to the Parrot why he has risen.

The Parrot will be selective in it's message to the Raven.  The repetition of the Parrots' message to the Raven will cause it to retreat back to it's Gutenberg page.   The Raven will not say anything anymore.

Until the Phoenix sleeps again in the ashes of the policy document.  By that time it will Year 2018.

That is the mission statement.

To follow my aspirations for the next 24 hours .........

click on the link above to the WordPress blog "Blog"

The Sunday Foodie bit

That Eureka moment, how have I stopped my assistant
blogger from chasing the mouse, she's taken over
one of my old laptops to work on, however she seems
to be lying down on the job!  
Started Sunday 9th January 2011. Started 8.15 am.
Word Count 219

Steak and Kidney pudding.  For the readers in Germany and the United States (and elsewhere) this is a traditional British dish.  It is made with suet pastry that is used to line a pudding bowl and  encase a mixture of steak and kidney and onion.  It is covered with a plate and foil then steamed for between 4 and 7 hours depending on how you cook it!  See the link to food where the recipe will appear later.

The occasion for this celebration of British was that my father had turned 69 the previous week.  His request was for this dish.   Owing to the length of cooking it is one that doesn't often make it's way out of my mother's repertoire of dishes.  These are the so called family recipes that nostalgia buffs often talk about.  When served with boiled potatoes and seasonal vegetables this is classic British cooking at it's best.

Only a short blog today since I have added more structure and content to the blogs and websites to include more of those socially empowering sites that I have found and tested.   

 Ipswich Town, my local team, are playing Chelsea to day in the FA Cup.  I’m going to go and see if it is on a TV near me today.