Monday, May 31, 2010

31 05 2010

UBUNTU - 'I am because you are'

On a visit to my local Waitrose supermarket it was interesting to try a sample of a new cola drink that they are selling..... it has an interesting name Ubuntu, listen below to Nelson Mandela's description of the concept of Ubuntu as a philosophical concept.

It is not so surprising then that the name was chosen for this fair trade product.

UBUNTU -' I am because you are' from vanessaleighsblog

Sunday, May 30, 2010

30 05 2010

Today and tomorrow one of the year's high profile events for Abergavenny is happening. The annual Steam Veteran and Vintage Rally. The event held in Bailey park has been taking place for many years. Below are some of the sights seen today on and around the show-field. I was hoping to input some sound files taken from the voice recorder on my Blackberry.....unfortunately my laptop appears to be unable to deal with .amr files! ( I am currently downloading a converter and as a result sounds from today may appear later or tomorrow)
Above and below are some of the fine examples of working scale models of fairground engines.
While below is one of the real iron and steam monsters that were on show today. The one below was running the dynamo for a show organ which was being used by a dancing troupe to entertain the crowds. You can hear a rather poorly recorded audio of the organ in action here.
Many of the engines were until around the 1930's the main workhorses of the countryside, having indeed taken over from the horse in many cases, they were to be superseded themselves by the internal combustion engine. Those with sharp eyesight may well recognise the driver ( in the green top) of the working engine below! That's enough to make anyone whistle!

Well just look at who was seen walking away after taking the steam giant for a spin around the field.........
Of course it was Debbie..... well driven Mrs Harrington!
It was just the large engines that were on show, many great cars show up for the event. The cars vary from Veteran and Vintage to novelties such as the DeLorean DMC-12 
Along with a traditional Punch and Judy Show with daily shows many of us must remember Mr Punch?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

29 05 2010

Following its release on Friday I got my hands on an iPad while visiting the St. David's II Centre. Today's image is of my Ddtaig-goch blog displaying on the device.

I must say it appears sleek and efficient,  the touchscreen is marvelously sleek. I still have my doubts regarding the iPad's shortcomings. ..........the jury is still out on the iPad.

Location : Maesygwartha Rd, Llanelly, Monmouthshire NP7 0,

Posted via Blogaway

Location : Maesygwartha Rd, Llanelly, Monmouthshire NP7 0,

Posted via Blogaway

Friday, May 28, 2010

28 05 2010

The start of a bank holiday weekend in the UK. .........expect the previously warm and dry weather to disappear!!

Today's image sums up how I feel at the end of a long required please!

Location : Maesygwartha Rd, Llanelly, Monmouthshire NP7 0,

Posted via Blogaway

Location : Maesygwartha Rd, Llanelly, Monmouthshire NP7 0,

Posted via Blogaway

Location : Maesygwartha Rd, Llanelly, Monmouthshire NP7 0,

Posted via Blogaway

Thursday, May 27, 2010

27 05 2010

Today the blog image is of a beautiful and exotic tropical  butterfly that has just emerged from its chrysalis - the picture is from Bristol Zoo last Sunday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

26 05 2010 'The Tom Hollister Trio'

I am ever so slightly annoyed at present that I will miss the launch party above for The Tom Hollister Trio in Cardiff next Thursday (3rd June) as we will be delivering Laura ( daughter 3) to Heathrow as she embarks on her US Summer Camp experience at Camp Lake Hubert in Minnesota - this to be followed by John Moores University in Liverpool in late September.

June 3rd as I said is also the date for the EP launch party for The Tom Hollister Trio (th3), their drummer Adam Roberts is the boyfriend of our admin officer, we first heard of them following their launch in Cheltenham earlier in the year. They have now come home and will be performing for the first time on home soil next Thursday. Listen to them below, the sound is fabulous and not what you would expect from a band of their age.

As if to compound my irritation at missing their groups first ever gig in their homeland they have also arranged a fabulous support in Alexander John whose style reminds me so much of my beloved Seasick Steve
If anyone else having listened to the samples above wants to attend the event get in touch and we will see if we can get tickets, this shouldn't be a problem with our contacts!
You can watch guitarist Chris Buck in action here.
Twitter followers look out for #th3 on June 3rd

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

25 05 2010 Relocation, relocation, relocation!!!

The image for today's blog post is again borrowed and is an image of Den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands). The reasoning for this is that today with a number of colleagues I attended the latest in a series of 'relocation seminars' as we look ahead to our jobs being relocated to The Netherlands in early 2011.
I have refrained from thinking about the move for some months now, as it can be quite disheartening  to consider the possibility of moving country in order to retain ones current role. However in July my department will receive our relocation letters which will mark the start of the six month process to our move.
Undoubtedly my employers have given a great deal of thought when putting together a relocation package which will certainly encourage their employees to contemplate the move - a combination of tax breaks (30% tax free income), relocation payments, the covering of housing fees for two years, paid commuting ( which would personally save me £170 a month plus the cost of running a car) and the retention of some current terms and conditions for existing employees, are certainly enough to make us all think long and hard about relocating.
Issues  for me are as they will be for all 160 individuals in Cardiff many fold. My age currently when it comes to looking form employment in the UK could be a disadvantage - this has been exacerbated by the new UK Governments cut backs in public sector employment.....( and the closure of an organisation such as Becta!)..... however what will the difference be in 3-5 years time if I move and then return to the UK ( 56-58 mmmm !) As far as home circumstances we have the benefit of the fact that our last daughter will leave home for University very shortly..... however we have grandchildren ( 3 and 4) and the thought of living in another country and not being able to visit regularly is quite a thought for this grandfather.... would Skype fill the gap????
Added to this is the fact that Debbie is unlikely to move because of her job and would need to live in the house here.

Oh there is so much to consider..... this would be easier if it wasn't also the fact that I am really enjoying the challenge of developing a range of online PD offerings for teachers, it is going to grow hugely and I want to grow with it!!!

I still have no idea what my final decision will be..... at present it is 60:40 in favour of moving. This story will come back as the year progresses as by the time we get to December my choice will be made.

Monday, May 24, 2010

24 05 2010

With the sun going down on yet another fabulously sunny day, I had some catching up to do in the garden as my small patch of Wales required some attention. Having been out enjoying the sun over the weekend my lawn would wait no longer.

On the world of educational technology here in the UK as the incoming coalition government took the secateurs to Quangos with one victim being BECTA the twitter network has lit up as the community comes to terms with the loss. I always held mixed feelings about the organisation, however more worrying than the loss is the message that this sends regarding the new administration's view of technology in education?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

23 05 2010

Today  Debbie and I took Emily and the grandchildren to Bristol Zoo as the weather forecast was very encouraging ......with 27 degrees C expected.
As with many zoos around the world these days Bristol is much more 'hands on' than it used to be, as you can see above in the Lorikeet feeding area and below in their  'meet the animal' encounters.
As you can see above the weather was fabulous, we had a great if exhausting day!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

22 05 2010

Mmm a nice cup of herbal tea on a warm day, there's nothing better in my book!

Friday, May 21, 2010

21 05 2010

Wow!....... Whisper......... we appear to have entered a new season, I hesitate to mention the fact, however it was very warm (25deg C) around Cardiff today with clear skies and outdoor lunches being tried by many. I have to say dear reader that the scrumptious looking desert below served at The Unicorn Inn this lunchtime was not mine!
I felt that a desert such as this may have pushed me over the edge, I would have found it very difficult to return to work after tackling such a thing. The almost empty pint glass in the left foreground was mine :-) and a very nice pint of Abbot Ale it was as well! A pleasant Friday Pub Lunch was had by the four members of the Cardiff based IB online professional development team today......... this a is departmental group who know how to enjoy the good things in life and very much embody, work hard, play hard!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

20 05 2010 (140/365)

A mystery shot today...... what could it be? The shot was taken on Cardiff Gate Business Park at a German car dealership...... but which on and what car?

It is our local Audi  Dealership (Cardiff Audi) and hidden away under the wrappings direct from the factory is an £85,000 Audi R8 V8..... cool for all petrol-heads!

This post was updated from Blackberry ;-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

19 05 2010

Today's images and video clip below are of the London 2012 Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville who were unveiled to the public today for the first time today.

(apologies for the video clip being a little wide for the page format) look at the full video here at the official London 2012 mascot site (see below) where you can become their friend and follow their journey around the UK.
The names of the mascots are directly linked to both the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Much Wenlock in Shropshire is considered by many the birthplace of the modern Olympics. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the IOC, visited the town in 1890 and took inspiration from the annual Games organised by Dr William Penny Brookes, a local doctor, to “promote the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants”.
Stoke Mandeville’s famous spinal injuries unit meanwhile was where the Paralympic movement began, and the naming of one mascot after the hospital is an explicit attempt to raise the profile of the Paralympic Games.

The mascots have been brought to life with a story written by Michael Morpurgo which shows two blobs of steel from the last castings for the Olympic Stadium that are taken home and fashioned into the two characters.

You can look forward to many more images of Wenlock and Mandeville as we approach the Games.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

18 05 2010

Look closely at today's shot, just as I was leaving the office I happened across the scene above - not much to see however look more closely....... what is happening?

You can see the magpie on the left, he was hungry however he was unable to land on the bird feeder, look closely at the bird table and there inside is a grey squirrel helping himself to the food supplied...... Mr Magpie just had to wait until he had had his fill.

Monday, May 17, 2010

17 05 2010

Monday, Monday, don't they come around so quickly?
I am not ready yet and plan to spend some more time in my garden!
With the views of Gilwern Hill caught by the dipping sun on the opposite side of the valley

Sunday, May 16, 2010

16 05 2010 ( 365-140!)

I have to own up that today's images were shot by Debbie, they are a series of images of a male and female coal tit constantly re visiting their nest-box where they have a number of chicks who from the sound of it are not far from fledging.
One parent arrives with a beak full of locally gathered food for the chicks.

It eventually braves to audience watching and makes it to the nest.

An amazing shot below captures the adult bird leaving the nest

Excellent photographs caught on a real camera (Kodak Easyshare Z740) not a smartphone, I don't think that an iPhone or the G2 Android would have got the third shot....... brilliant shots Deb, thanks doe sharing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

15 05 2010

Back in 2005, nine members of the family including my mother in law ( who paid for everyone!) went on the trip of a lifetime around China. We visited many of the main tourist centres in the country - Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Guillin and Hong Kong.

The feast of experiences left lasting impressions on many of us, non more so than my mother in law who became fascinated by the Chinese method of painting. On our return Jean enrolled in a local group in order to learn some of the techniques essential to Chinese Art. The group had an exhibition in a local gallery back in 2007, however in the intervening two years Jean has been too busy ( at 80 y.o.) to return, it was wonderful to see on an impromptu visit this afternoon that after a two year break Jean has returned to the art that she loves so much.

You can see above  the essentials with some works in progress while below is one of the works awaiting framing which depicts a typical Chinese is marvellous to see Jean back in action

Friday, May 14, 2010

14 05 2010

Following the return of the clan Harrington ( Emily and the grandchildren) from Kiln Park Tenby today following a week away, I finally got one of the images I have been waiting for some weeks to snap.It is the image below which  shows  4 year old Abi using a Linux based keyboard skills program on her Asus 701, which she has been using for some weeks now. The next image that I have to capture is that of the two children side by side on netbooks with Abi taking the role of teacher, this has happened, however I have not been there to record will be captured soon!
I am getting used to the new 'Blogger posting interface which on first impressions seems simple to use, time will tell.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

13 05 2010

Today's image is part of the long and winding road home.... today particularly as I am taking a day of leave tomorrow in order to travel across to Tenby to bring Emily and the grandchildren back from their holiday at Kiln Park. All was as normal until blogging time when I found that the Blogger 'New Post' page has changed with a new set of  icons at the top of the post page, there are also some code changes... hopefully for the better, time will tell.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

12 05 2010

This evening Deb and I met up with an old school friend Paul Servini and his group who are in Abergavenny on a visit to Wales from their home in Dole. Paul teaches the members of the group English and they have come over to practice their new language skills in the UK. It was a long day for them, as they left Dole at 6am to travel via Geneva airport and Bristol airport to arrive in Abergavenny at around 6pm. They were excellent company and we were impressed by their English, it must be down to their excellent teacher. Look out for the group who will possibly be visiting Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium tomorrow and Big Pit Blaenavon on Saturday prior to returning home on Sunday.
We of course cannot say how long ago Paul, Debbie and I left school however it was before Margaret Thatcher came to power in the UK and even before the Queen celebrated her silver jubilee!!!!! I leave it up to you dear reader to decide when this was!
We hope to meet up with the group again on Friday evening, if you are in Abergavenny please do come along to join us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

11 05 2010

A momentous day today following days of indecision the shutters have finally come down on 13 years of the New Labour Government. And as you can see Prime Minister Gordon Brown headed to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to The Queen, while the new Prime Minister David Cameron waited his time to arrive and accept the post followed by his triumphant return to Downing Street.
There has been a great deal of negotiations since the hung Parliament was voted for by UK voters last Thursday, we now enter into a coalition Government which is new territory for us.... a Conservative: Liberal Democrat coalition at that.
I must declare that I would be a natural Labour ( not New Labour) voter however I as many others felt that the time had come for the incumbent regime to be taken out of office, they need time to re build on 'true Labour ideals' which they have given up for the past 13 years.

Monday, May 10, 2010

10 05 2010

Today's pair of images are of my favourite magazine WIRED (UK edition). The inventive brains at WIRED have been championing a variety of cover styles and types and for June 2010 they tried the 'scratch-card' approach - you can see the before and after images captured below.
I would urge any 'tech hungry' person in the UK to get down to their newsagents and purchase your copy ( or take them up on their offer of 12 copies for £24 a saving of 49% on the cover price).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

09 05 2010

The image above was seen on the rear of a Peugeot 307 in a car park earlier today :-) I couldn't resist a snap. It certainly brings a whole new insight into religion!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

08 05 2010

This evening and a chance for the oldies to let their hair down (what little is left!!) at the annual AAODS ball.

Live blog with, 'Under the moon of love' blasting from The Elastic Band in the background.

Friday, May 7, 2010

07 05 2010

Two young people playing with their umbrellas.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

06 05 2010

Today is an important day in the UK as we go to the polls to vote in a government who will see us through for the next five years. Everyone in the country is aware that we are in for a period of extreme austerity ...... Do the politicians really want to win???? Why??

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

05 05 2010

Today's image is a capture from last week when we celebrated our boss's birthday prior to her returning home on the weekend. It happened that the cake that was purchased when cut gave us two interesting slices - one spelled  PD which for a Professional Development team was cool. While the piece shown above was mine. : -)