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I mentioned a couple of posts ago that we had just returned from Nice.  What a fabulous place and it is easy to see why the rich and famous and not so rich or famous head there.  We arrived to a rather cloudy overcast day  but at least it was warm – about 26 degrees.  The hotel was right on the Promenade des Anglais and our room overlooked the sea.

View from Hotel room

View from Hotel Room

The following day we decided to walk round the headland to the West of the town from Villefranche sur Mer.  We stepped off the train and within a few hundred yards were on a superb little beach with a diving pontoon and a swimming area bouyed off from the boats coming out of the marina.  It sort of set the tone for the whole holiday.  Walk a bit, head round a corner, ‘Oh that looks a nice beach’ swim, sunbathe, potter on a little further.  Walking in the Dales is nothing like this!

The old town of Nice is a warren of small streets full of restaurants, bars and shops.  We ate there a couple of times but it is not cheap – £7 a pint of lager!

Vieux Ville

On the Saturday we took a trip to an island just south of Cannes.  It’s called Isle St Marguerite and is just 4 Km long and about one Km wide.  It has no vehicles and is even no smoking!  The trip took about an hour and was quite bumpy across the bay.  We walked along the coast stopping every so often then on the South side found a fantastic little cove.  It was about 15 ft wide and just exqusite.  I swam out of the cove with Stephen’s camera, which is waterproof to take a photo of ‘our beach’ and will post the photos along with loads of others onto the flickr site when they’ve been downloaded.  It was just idyllic and I could have spent all day just taking photos of yet another beautiful view.  The island is covered in pine and eucalyptus trees making the air scented and delicious.

Isle St Marguerite

Isle St Marguerite

It wasn’t all sun, sea and beaches though, we did visit the Museum of Modern Art and the Matisse Museum which are all free.  The Matisse is held in a beautiful 17th century mansion surrounded by olive trees in a park to the North of the city and is worth the visit.   I also managed to get the timer to work on my phone camera so here are the happy couple on the steps of the Museum of Modern Art.

Lisa and Stephen

Lisa and Stephen

All in all a fantastic holiday the best ever!

My colleagues Margaret McKay and Craig Mill from the Scottish RSCs along with the good people at TechDis have produced a superb resource containing 40 different open source and freeware assistive technology applications which can be accessed from a USB flash drive.  As they are accessible direct from the usb drive so there is no need to install any software.  This means that a user can just plug in the drive at any computer they intend to work on.  They offer software to support those with a visual impairment or motor difficulties as well as assistance in writing, reading and planning.

They are free to download from http://www.rsc-ne-scotland.ac.uk/accessapps/. They also contain a full guide to their use and a complete series of TechDis ‘Accessiblitly Essentials

They’ve even produced a video ad for them.

A great resource and as it is totally portable is completely inclusive.  We are getting some free usb drives with them all loaded so I’ll be handing them out like sweeties in the next month or so.   A full list of the applications is here.

I’ve just come back from a fantastic few days in Nice in the South of France (more later) and while I was away it was the ALT-C 2008 – Association of Learning Technologists Conference in Leeds.  As well as the usual conference keynotes and break out sessions, they hold workshops where you actually have to do stuff.  James Clay is a pal of mine and with a couple of colleagues produced this video looking at the ‘digital divide’. Oh and it was scripted, recorded and all techie stuff done within 30 minutes – impressive.


I’d say a homage to Life of Brian, Smith and Jones and Pete and Dud with the expletives removed.  Well done guys.

My colleague Kev Hickey has been using our newly purchased video and mac editing stuff to produce a short video guide to using a digital notepad.  This is a great bit of kit ideal for use off site and away from computers and technology – and a great video – well done Kev.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1178263&dest=-1]

Well I’m back after a brilliant four days in Scarborough.  I landed back at Leeds Bradford airport and the stewardess greeted us with the ‘welcome to another glorious August day in Leeds – it is 15 degrees outside and raining’.  This didn’t bode well for the trip but in fact it turned out to be wonderful.  After taking the train down to Castleford to pick up a car and managing to cross the new bridge, a really spectactular piece of art/engineering.  It’s hard to believe that the river there is the same one that trickles past my house in the Dales.   I arrived in Scarborough in glorious sunshine and immediately went up to the cricket ground and managed to blag myself in for a reduced rate as it was half way through the afternoon session.  Yorkshire were playing Kent and had got off to a good start.  This was the first time I was going to sit through a full four days of cricket – a bit of a test for me also.  The next few days saw the game go backwards and forwards with Yorkshire eventually throwing an easy win away and only just managing a draw.  I learnt a few lessons – when you are sitting watching a match for essentially 7 hours you need a range of clothing from shorts, t-shirts and sun sceen in the sun to thick jackets and woollies for the late afternoon hours.  The Yorkshire crowd were nothing if not amusing and friends there had a number of choice if rather politically incorrect names for various regulars in the crowd.  Some members where not afraid of shouting advice to the Captain (Darren Gough) the team and even to the PA announcer.  We stayed in a lovely little hotel called Interludes.  It is a theatre themed hotel with each room decorated in the style of different theatres – we were in Odeon so it was all art-deco and mirrors! It also had a magnificent view of the harbour and South Bay which changed all the time.

View from Odeon Room in Interludes Hotel

View from Odeon Room in Interludes Hotel

We did manage some traditional holiday stuff, fish and chips on the beach, visit to Anne Bronte’s grave and a trip to the theatre to see an Alan Ayckborn play.   S’been a fab holiday.

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