Wednesday, March 31, 2010

31 03 2010

On the final day of March 2010 we have snow. The saying that if March comes in like a Lamb it will go out like a Lion was proved to be correct. I wonder what further surprises the British weather has in store for us?

Today also my small analogue TV fell silent as Wales went fully digital.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

30 03 2010

Today's image is of the Chinese 'Jade' stamp which depicts my birth sign The Rooster with the character for Paul carved on the base.

This loved item was brought back in 2005 and is treasured though these days infrequently used.

Monday, March 29, 2010

29 03 2010

Today's image is of the rain running off the windscreen of the car outside the house late this afternoon..... Apparently this week we are due for the winter to come back and bite the UK before it leaves us for 2010, even though we entered British Summer Time yesterday, by midweek the north of the UK will return to snow and blizzards. We will see.... it is Easter week after all!
It could only happen in the UK..... or could it happen elsewhere?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

28 03 2010

Just look what I found on the shelves at my local supermarket today....... Brynmawr is not known for its antipodean population, yet hey, there its is Vegemite in Wales !!( shown with its British cousin Marmite) No I didn't purchase any on this occasion, however we are expecting an Australian visitor on Friday and I may drop buy and pick some up in the week.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

27 03 2010

Today was such a lovely day that we took a trip down to the Greenmeadow Community Farm in Cwmbran for some close up time with the animals. From our tractor trip down to serious lamb feeding and the sweet piglets seen below, a great time was had for the few hours that we were there.
More signs of Spring

Look out as well for Earth Hour 2010 - 8.30pm March 27th

Friday, March 26, 2010

26 03 2010

Day 85 of the 365 challenge, the image today is of a small group of Terracotta Warriors sitting on the shelf above the family PC. They came back with us from our Chinese Adventure in 2005 when seven family members travelled through, Shanghai, Beijing, Xi'an, Guillin and Hong Kong ahead of a break in week long relaxation in Thailand. This year my hope was to travel down under to Australia and New Zealand however with the planned move of my work department in January 2011 other plans are somewhat on hold!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

25 03 2010

Grey was the colour of the day today, there was very little sunshine to be had outside. Inside was a different story. I certainly felt very different to yesterday and was much more with it.... no more little boy lost!!!
Listen to a friend Robin Morrison talking about how to revitalise a council on a recent BBC Wales Business Doctor programme [link]
'You might not think of your local council as a business - but Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council chief executive Robin Morrison says it is. He wants to see the authority providing a better service with its limited cash.'

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

24 03 2010

Do you ever have those days where you wished you had stayed in bed? Yup, today was one of those days. From my 'Man MOT' ( Well Man) check-up this morning where I knew that I was going to be somewhat overweight, ( eeek 20%!! At least my BP was normal!) to the end of the day and a frantic supermarket dash with the grandchildren it just felt as if I was off the pace ever so slightly..... I blame the enforced fast pre the check-up for leaving me out of sorts throughout the day.... It may just be that I was crabby all day.
Better luck tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

23 03 2010

Tomorrow morning at 8.45 am I have a trip to my local surgery for a 'Man MOT' and in preparation for some of the tests - I now am only allowed to drink water..... NO FOOD! Arriving home I had the purgatory of smelling bacon, sausage, egg and beans being cooked.. Arghhhh! Now trying to amuse myself with some TV after a busy day at the computer screen what do I find? A plethora of cookery programmes on a wide variety of UK stations, tonight of all nights!
This is going to be a long evening.......... back to the water!

Monday, March 22, 2010

22 03 2010

Today has felt like an marathon athlete must feel when they hit 'the wall' the bloggers equivalent has been reached, I realized that at some point this would strike as it is bound to at in a year long challenge, and we are presently 81 days into the 365 (10 days from 25%). A few minutes later and a glass or two of Cabernet Veneto later I await for the muse to return. I may just try one more glass!
(Thank you to Kielo and Fran for returning with this prize bottle from the IB Sports Relief event last Friday - Cheers!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

21 03 2010

Spring has definitely sprung in Wales, it is very like watching animals coming out of hibernation as parks and woodland walks begin to fill with families out to enjoy the sunshine.
Today was the first opportunity following poor weather and illnesses for us to get out into the local park for some cycling ( and some bike pushing!).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

20 03 2010

Today marked the end of the field hockey season, and Abergavenny played hosts to the students from Lampeter University - even though some of us were thirty years older than our opponents the score was 7 - 0 to us.

Well done to Michael Potts for completing his first season as captain with a solid mid table finish in South Wales Division Three.

Today's image is of my Twitter T-shirt which was very nearly worn today as both sides in the game above were due to play in yellow. Fortunately Lampeter's shirts contain more black and people were saved from having to see it!

Friday, March 19, 2010

19 03 2010

I couldn't resist this image ...... you might guess that it isn't mine? It is a shot of the three moons of Jupiter casting shadows on the planet. This image is from the hubble telescope as is the image below of a dust storm on Mars brewing in Hellas Basin and Northern Polar Cap - I just love this image.

On the local front, today was the day we said goodbye to a dear friend, Brian Tully of Gwent Hockey Club ( ex Cwmbran H C) - it was again one of those occasions when one meets up with hockey colleagues which is always great for chat and the mulling over of old times ( through somewhat rose tinted spectacles), even under sad circumstances.
Sport remains one of those intangible things which allows strong and enduring friendships to grow from intense on field rivalry.
Present this afternoon were 3/4 of the Cwmbran 2 XI team from around 1990(-ish!) plus umpires and opposition, however we appeared to be minus our goalkeeper! I am absolutely sure that he was with us in spirit - Butty Bach would have been more likely as it was and remains a favourite of us all - I raise a glass now and say,

' Cheers Brian the memory remains strong.'

Many thanks also to Keith Davies, Pal Lottay and Dave Maas for their sensitive handling of the arrangements.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

18 03 2010

The weather finally broke today, I suppose we knew that the sunshine wouldn't last for ever. you can probably tell that work got in the way of blogging today as there is another food image above..... apologies dear reader I really should have got my act together today and taken a better shot!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

17 03 2010

Happy St Patrick's day to all from the Emerald Isle

Time to enhance my feminine side today...... mmm! Well perhaps, I actually dropped in on the grandchildren this afternoon to check on the repair that I had made to the door of Abi's Dolls-house, and as you can see above it appears to be doing well.
Of course i had to stay long enough to read a bedtime story to two very tired little people before heading for home at 7.20pm........ time for bed!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

16 03 2010

Today, an apple for the teacher!

Much of our work today has been in the design and completion of the IB online professional development web portal ( see below) - the astute amongst you will notice that the site will now operate in English, French and Spanish and also that we have grown a 'work with us' tab leading to a dedicated page for those who wish to join us in the IB's online PD project

We would really appreciate feedback from readers

Monday, March 15, 2010

15 03 2010

One of my routes home from Cardiff takes me via Raglan and its 15th century castle which looks magnificent in the late afternoon sun as it dropped towards the westerly hills.""id=

Leaving the lengthening shadows stretching eastward.......

Sunday, March 14, 2010

14 03 2010

Happy Mother's Day
Today was Mothering Sunday in the UK today and with 3 generations of Mothers in the family currently as you can imagine this is a special day. To celebrate the day instead of attempting to squeeze into a restaurant, we set off with Jean ( Deb's mum), Debbie and of course Emily for a trip to the Brecon Beacon's Visitor Centre at Libanus 5 miles outside Brecon.
The weather was so warm it was almost shirtsleeves today at the centre where we watched the local birds and admired the fabulous view of the Beacons themselves ( still as you can see holding onto some snow in the deep gullies) which is my main picture of the day.
My subsidiary picture is of Jaycob amongst the snowdrops which were out in force today, we also saw some daffodils in bloom at the roadside today - the first of the year.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

13 02 2010

Following an early morning visit to 'The Cut Above' in Brynmawr for the best £4 haircut that money can buy, it was on to the hockey pitch for Abergavenny A against Bridgend ( note the new shorter if not less grey hair!)
Abergavenny took the field with 11 outfield players as our goalkeeper appeared to be AWOL! As centre half it was with a degree of deja-vu that we took to the astroturf expecting a busy defensive afternoon!!!! The result..... rather surprisingly was a 6-1 win with the Bridgend goal coming from a swiftly taken penalty corner. Abergavenny gained a well deserved 3 points and are safely in mid table in South Wales Division3 with one game to go against the team at the foot of the league next weekend.
Following the game and a trip to a local hostelry for the post match I left and looking up was able to see the following intricate pattern being woven in the sky above ( this was not alcohol fuelled!)

It was as you can see an amazing day with wall to wall sunshine again, and St Mary's Priory Church ( known as the Westminster Abbey of Wales) looking magnificent in the mid afternoon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

12 03 2010

An Audi traffic jam in Cardiff.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

11 03 2010

My very good friend @jamesfk and I appear to have been the target of some levity today, as we were snapped on our way to lunch at Cardiff Audi. We apparently appear to have set a uniform for the online professional development team at the IB - the email trail mentioned Twins, which lead to a certain amount of picture manipulation leading to the above shot being given DaVito and Swarzenegger heads..... no guessing who was who!!!
I prefer the Morcambe and Wise analogy

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

10 03 2010

Today @jamesfk and myself journeyed north to Treforest in order to attend a University of Glamorgan CELT Seminar presented by Frederica Oradini from the University of Westminster.
The title of the Frederica's seminar was the use of 'e-portfolio's for PDP '(Personal Development Planning) - Westminster have piloted the use of e-portfolio's with students across a range of courses in order to enable the students to organise their personal and academic achievements which they can then use as in their search for a career.

The seminar was introduced as ever by Haydn Blackey, who is always an excellent host and has ensured that the university continues to offer a range of presentations which appeal to those outside the institution as well as those inside. Our attendance was linked to our research into the use of e-portfolios for IB teachers making use of our online PD workshops.

One additional piece of news which we unaware is that the University of Glamorgan has become the first University in Wales to have an iTunes U space. Please do check it our I feel sure that they would be very pleased to receive feedback from teachers and academics.

Following this high academic discussion on the way back to the office JFK and myself felt the need to visit another excellent institution which was of course on our route back to the office for a glass of the excellent TRING - DUCKETTS DELIGHT - 4.2% and COLLEY'S DOG - 5.2%
Ladies and gentleman I offer you Fagins Ale and Chop House, Taffs Well

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

09 03 2010

Has Spring finally sprung?
It would appear so, as even through the frosty mornings that we are experiencing at present the growing signs that the year has turned are showing more and more. From the catkins appearing above on the hazel a few yards from our front door, to the appearance of a multitude of bounding, gamboling lambs in the fields with their mothers, also crocus and snowdrops pushing to the surface in gardens and borders.

Monday, March 8, 2010

08 03 2010

A chilly start to the week in South East Wales - it looks as if the temperature dipped and that there wasn't much moisture in the air as these amazing ice crystals formed on my car's side windows, and main screen.
Leaving a thin icy crust on the roof.
It was the prelude to a day that was wall to wall sunshine - someone needs to develop a discrete camera that can be fixed to the head in order to take those one off photo opportunities. If I had one of these I could have captured the brilliant sunset at the end of the day. I did my best to find a spot in order to capture the sun picking out the wisps of cloud - the shot below does not show the true impact and uplift to the soul that this vision gave to me and I suspect many others on their journey home with me this evening.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

07 03 2010

A trip to the movies today to see 'The Princess and the Frog' with Emily and the gang, and as you can see from below Jaycob was back to his usual enthusiastic self, busy in this picture looking at upcoming events prior to the main feature.
It's great to see him back doing what kids love doing.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

06 03 2010

Today's image is a bit of a cheat as you will see it is a cropped image from 3 weeks ago, however it is a more or less accurate likeness of yours truly today in our match against Gwent B in the South Wales Hockey Division 3. The game was played in an excellent spirit and our opposition were well deserving of their 4-0 win
It was with a great deal of sadness that at the game we heard of the death of a great character and pal, Brian Tully - you can gain a good snapshot what type of person Brian was from the short piece written by another friend Dave Maas on the WHU website earlier in the week. Dave umpired our game today at which we held a minute silence for Brian.
I believe that looking down ( or up!!!) Brian would have enjoyed our encounter today. I believe he has organised himself a jolly good 'wake' at the Three Blackbirds following his funeral on 19th. Thank you Brian you were a gent and great drinking buddy.......... but often a frustrating umpire :-)