Adventures in Woodwork

I have, for the past 6 months or probably a while longer been a pupil at John McMahon’s school of Fine Woodwork.  I am a novice and I was kept well away from the tools at school.  I was not confident and I have always boasted I could take thousands of the value of a house with my diy  skills.

I have been using newly taught skills with a wide variety of hand tools to make a simple bench hook and then a tool box.  This has been done using traditional skills taught to us as a group and individually by John.  He has the patience of a saint and nothing is too much trouble.  I have asked dozens of questions and I have always been guided when I needed it.

This was all new to me and I had the chance to show some of the children in my school my toolbox as I planed it with my smoothing plane.  They were keen to know how I had done it and I was keen to tell them that I had found learning these new skills tough.  It was good to talk to the children about the challenges we all face when learning new tasks.

I have learned so much from John and met some lovely people on the courses and I will be carrying on so I can become a confident woodworker.  If you have never tried it I can recommend it enough.  Great teaching in a friendly environment and the venue at Pleasely Vale is pretty interesting too.  My pictures show my work in progress.  Thanks for looking.

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I recently returned from taking a group of children to France for a residential visit for one week. They had a wonderful time and experienced lots of different aspects of French life. The children were immersed in the language and improved their vocabulary and knowledge of the French langauge and culture. It was a great experience and I am looking forward to returning next year.

I remember a discussion a while back where a parent was asking my view on safety due to issues around the World involving terrorism. I talked through the visit and discussed his concerns. He decided that his child would be going as he felt the level of risk was not an issue that would stop his child from going to visit France. I was pleased that he came to the decision as we discussed the areas of concern and exchanged views on what we felt were the main issues.

Children gain so much from these visits and they make memories that last a lifetime. They learn about conflicts in War that have lead to a significant loss of life. These experiences really bring home what has gone before us in terms of history.  My own son went on the visits and learned so much and I did not hesitate to agree for him to go.

Given the nature of the current climate, would you send your child on a visit like this that offers so much or would you decide you would rather not? This presents a real dilemma. The region we visit is quiet and peaceful and does not involve buig cities. To go or not to go…..Discuss.


Hope Valley Drama

We have had an amazing time at St Michael’s in Hathersage and it has been a great pleasure to see the children work so hard over the past few days.  It has challenged every child but they have responded so well and shown great determination to do their best.

We have walked, explored, carried out a stream study and fell in the water a couple of times.  It was shallow so we just had fun and carried on.

We explored the church and visited Little John’s grave and tonight we endured a huge storm and this included flash flooding.  Mr Machin got very wet as a car drove by fast and it was very funny.  it was less funny that the cottage flooded and we had to,get the drier in to it in order to remove the moisture.

The cottage is where I stay during the visit so it has caused me stress.  I worked furiously with the mop and deflated my dinghy as the waters started to fall.

In summary of the whole visit….Top place, top staff, but most of all top children.  They have been amazing and a credit to their families.  See you all tomorrow 😀



Football Festival?

I have watched the news items regarding the European Championships with interest recently.  Sky News seemed determined to have their reporters find fans that were involved in anti-social behaviour.  Little interest or coverage is given to fans who are just enjoying the event and going about their business peacefully.  This fills me with dismay and I get slightly exasperated at the behaviour of the media regarding their approach to reporting on these issues.

I am sickened by the behaviour of a minority of fans who seem intent on spoiling the occassion for the vast majority of others.  The simplest way of dealing with these people would be to arrest them and hand them to the police force in their own country.  Remove the trouble makers and send them home.  This would make things better for the law abiding majority and reduce distress for locals and their businessess.

Alcohol and the fact that it seems to be available to consume in large quantities also exacerbates problems.  I think closing the bars earlier and removing access to alcohol would just mean people would be more inclined to go home early, thus avoiding crowds gathering locally.  Allowing a mob to get more and more drunk during an evening then decided to advance on them to ” disperse them” is not a sound strategy.

We will be watching the game in school so let’s hope the reporting later is about an England win and not about the behaviour of a minority of idiots, spoiling it for the many.  Fingers crossed!

The Big Camp Out and Blogathon

The camp site is set up and the children in Year six are enjoying a day that is packed with great challenges and activities.  They have had a great time so far and they are really enjoying themselves.  The talent contest is in full swing currently and many are still exhausted after playing basketball.  It really has been a pleasure to see the children forget the recent tests and the stress that goes with them.

We enjoyed watching the tents being errected earlier and seeing the children support their friends was a testament to the kind of people they are.  It will be interesting to see if the tents are all waterproof and last through the night.

Seeing the staff in school after hours has been a real privelige.  They give their time freely and make sure the children have a brilliant time.  Without the willingness of the team to contribute the children would miss out on amazing experiences and good quality time with their friends.  I am grateful to them all.  An amazing group of people.

Karate Championship Sheffield..Norbridge and Langold

A sneak preview of Today.