Last weekend we headed south early on Friday morning for Edgebaston Cricket Club.  It was the third day of a four day game between Yorkshire and Warwickshire. There were a few breaks for rain but after lunch the weather held and Yorkshire managed to storm ahead to a boring draw despite declaring with 600 runs the night before.  We left about an hour early to head further south to Tewkesbury.  We booked into the Weatherlodge there, where Sal is deputy manager.  Jenny and Stuart, and Lorna joined us and on the Saturday we went in Stu’s very nice BMW to the Badminton Horse Trials.  It must be nearly 10 years since we last went and it was still just as good.  It’s a really good day out and you don’t have to be particularly horsey to enjoy it.  Like many live events you don’t see as much on the ground but get a much better feel for the atmosphere and excitement.  We had Sky+’d it (is that a verb?) so watched the highlights when we got back – well done Ollie Townend.

On Sunday we headed even further south to Longleat.  It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and wasn’t disappointed.  I’ll upload most of the photos onto Flickr and facebook but a couple are worth posting on here.

The rhino were very impressive.


Once you get into the big cat enclosures, you  have to keep your windows up.  Stephen was trying to get a photo of the lions and a fly was sitting on the glass – so he tapped it to make it move.  This co-incided with the large male lion getting up and walking straight towards us!


Despite the safety of the car – I for one was pretty worried.  However, what we hadn’t realised was that there was another juicy piece of meat just where we were parked and he just lay down, tucked in and totally ignored us.  It did mean though that Stephen got a fabulous photo.

lion eating

It was a brilliant day and a fantastic weekend.  It was great to see the girls and boyfriends.

We are very fortunate to have an excellent theatre in the City and we try to go to most productions there.  Earlier this year we saw ‘The Hounding of David Oluwale’ about the death of a Nigerian immigrant in Leeds in 1969, and then last month saw Lenny Henry as Othello, both very powerful and moving plays.  Last week however, it was something much lighter and very funny.  ‘When we are Married’ was written by J B Priestley in the 1930’s but set in 1908.  It is in the fictional West Yorkshire town of Clecklywyke and features 3 happily married couples on the day of their 25th wedding anniversary.  It soon becomes apparent that perhaps they may not be married after all.  The cast portrayed very strong Yorkshire characters, fine upstanding men – ‘big in the Chapel’ and strong willful women. However, there were moments when a couple of the women were more Les Dawson than meaningful characters though I suppose it is likely that Les Dawson drew on the play for ‘Sissy and Ada’.  Nevertheless it was a good and very enjoyable performance and well worth the visit.

We landed at Nice Airport and travelled down the coast to Le Dramont just north of St Raphael by train.  It’s a small and relatively underdeveloped place with about half a dozen hotels, a pharmacy and a spar shop.  As you walk under the tunnel at the station you arrive in a square with what looks like and is in fact a World War II landing craft.  On investigation it seems the 36th Texas Infantry landed on the beach here on the 15 August 1944 to begin the movement North from the Med against the occupying German forces.  I had no idea that there had been a southern push into France but they are obviously very proud of their role and the local bar at the harbour has lots of photos taken at the time.

US landing craft in Eisenhower square Le Dramont

US landing craft in Eisenhower square Le Dramont

The harbour is small and there is a small island off shore with what looks to be a folly built on it.  It is supposedly the basis for the island in ‘Tintin and the Black island’  The original book art work  –


And the island itself just off the harbour.


As you can probably see the weather was fabulous.  Although it was only early April, it was warm and sunny and we did spend one day on the beach – though Stephen didn’t really do the whole sunbathing thing!

Stephen sunbathing

This is just a short post – we’re busy getting ready for France.  We fly out on Saturday morning from Leeds Bradford Airport to Nice.  We’re catching the train to Agay down the coast from Cannes. We’ll be there for three days walking in the  Esterel region which is by the coast.  Then on the Tuesday we’re heading back to Nice to catch the Chemin de Fer du Provence which is a narrow gauge railway up to Digne Les Bains.  There we’re picking up a hire car and driving down to Castellane – for the rest of the week.  We’re going to do some walking down, in and around the Gorge Du Verdon which is the biggest canyon in Europe.  I’m really looking forward to a good break and some interesting walking.  I don’t think it will be much warmer than here and some of it is quite high so we’re taking lots of warm clothes.

On a separate note, the first Conference Post is on Inclusive Learning.  We have a twitter stream and hash-tag for the event – #jiscrscnw09.

After a break of nearly five months I’ve eventually come to a decision regarding this blog and the way forward.   I am going to continue to post on here but for personal stuff.  I’ve started a new work based blog on Inclusive Learning which is also on WordPress.  I discussed the separation of work and home identities on a recent podcast with James Clay on eLearningstuff.

On a personal note, now living in Leeds is great and I’m really looking forward to a walking holiday in France at the beginning of April.  The maps arrived today – St Raphael, Cannes/Grasse among others.   We’ve got the cats sorted – with a very fussy lady coming to feed them while we are away.

For the last four or five weeks, we’ve been walking in the Dales most weekends.  While recording the latest elearning stuff podcast last week, we had a brief discussion on the use of animoto so thought I’d use some of the photos from the last trip up Great Knoutberry Hill to do a short video.

Yes I know – too many sunrise and Hellifield Station photos, but I like it.

Just a quick posting – a Flickr tag has been set up for ordinary folks to send a message to the new President Elect of the United States, Barack Obama.  So if you want to send him your thoughts – write a message and then take a photo of it.  Upload to flickr with the tag messageforobama.  Some good stuff there.

The second of the panel podcasts has been published – called ‘It’s because he’s from Sheffield’.  Poor Nick Jeans, we do give him a hard time but there are some very funny moments courtesy of a dodgy Skype connection.  Again it features, Dave Sugden, Dave Foord, James and Nick and has an interesting discussion about the LLW projects in the North West and Yorkshire and Humber.


I’m currently struggling to upload an MP3 file to this so will just have to go ahead with a link only.  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’d taken part in a panel discussion on various topics.  One of these was the idea of the digital native or immigrant as put forward by Mark Prensky in 2002.  The other members of the panel were James Clay, Dave Sugden, Dave Foord and Nick Jeans.

James has managed to edit the file and it is now available on eLearning stuff.  As you can see from James’ post he is blaming Nick’s poor audio quality on skype – actually it’s because he’s from Sheffield.  (sorry Nick!)

A pal of mine, Andy Dubieniec, was diagnosed with non-hodgkins Lymphoma in May 2008.  He’s currently undergoing chemotherapy and last weekend he completed the the coast to coast cycle ride in 17 hours.  He also managed to record a number of mini videos along the way and has incorporated them into an eBook.  What a great use of technology to share what is essentially a very solitary effort.  Great stuff Andy, well done, and good luck with the final chemo today.

Myebook - Coast to Coast - click here to open my ebook

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