Running The Dog

Having traumatised myself by getting on the scales two days ago, I decided to bite the bullet and take my first steps in improving my fitness and I was determined to get Jack involved (Jack is my recently acquired dog from the rescue centre).

We managed a 5k run with some comfort breaks for dog stuff and I was so pleased to get out running and Jack did so well.  Hopefully my weight of 14st 10lb will start to come down steadily over the coming weeks and months.  We will be out tonight for a good walk and we will be running again tomorrow.  Weigh day is Tuesday and I will post how well things are going and update my blog on my progress in taking of the excess pounds.  Wish me luck and any advice will be gratefully accepted.

So it Begins…..

The first thing to confess is that the picture of me in the header is not me.  Its my face but not my body.  I would need to be a good 2 stone lighter to remotely be close to that.  A group of us are running the Paris Marathon next year and it promises to be amazing.

I am not fit enough and I have a long journey ahead but I will share my journey here by Posting my runs, the triumphs and disasters and also my weight loss.  Come back soon and see how I am doing. Oh and any tips for training will be welcomed. Cheers


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 😀



Outdoors Wars

There are times when no words are needed.

Away Days and Memories

I am currently on a residential visit with our year six pupils at Peak Venture, near Barnsley.  There was a howling wind as I ventured outside early this morning for my usual walk.  I was met with all manner of weather and it would be fair to say it was a wee bit chilly. I even managed to appreciate some rather stinging sleet!

I was thinking about the things I have seen the children achieve during the first two days of our visit.  I have seen the quieter more reserved children show great courage when climbing to a great height and admired their determination to push themselves to their limit.  It has been a privilege to see the children tackle things they have never done before and it has been clear to me that their resilience and determination has grown.

The greatest part of watching children learning is when you see them having fun and they are sharing experience and knowledge with their peers.  This particular group have been very good at being positive and encouraging their friends when things are tough.

I particularly enjoyed watching them during the activities this morning.

Vimy Ridge, Arras and Farming….

It has been a very hectic couple of days in France for us. We have visited Vimy Ridge yesterday along with a trip to Arras, including a fantastic trip to Wellington Quarry.

We went into the trenches at Vimy Ridge and noticed all of the craters and scars on the landscape. It is a beautiful area now with over 12000 Maple trees planted. These were planted to remember all of the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in the first war.

We learned about the battle tactics that the Canadian army used to defeat the Germans at Vimy. The children wore their school uniform for their photograph at the Vimy Memorial site and we chatted to a Canadian man who was working at the memorial sire for four months. He was very friendly and explained to us why he was proud to do some time there to remember the sacrifice of his fellow countrymen.

We visited the town of Arras and were shown around the caves under the Town Hall. This was very interesting and the children found out lots of information about Arras and how it has changed over many years.

We went underground into Wellington Quarry and we were able to see where over 20,000 British soldiers hid, whilst they prepared to attack the German lines by coming up out of the ground. We saw lots of evidence of how soldiers lived in there and we talked about what it would have been like to be there and get ready to fight. We thought about the bravery of our soldiers and how many lost their lives.

Today we visited Le Touquet, where we walked around the market and some of us ate some spring roles. Some of us spent some euros and the staff may have bought some secret cake for later for themselves?

We followed the visit to Le Touquet with a trip to a farm that produces cheese and raises cattle. The children showed how their French is improving and the farmer commented on how well they understood the language. This was very pleasing because when we visit the places we go to, the people always speak in French to immerse the children in the language. A top effort.

We now plan to visit the beach tonight and then it’s off to bed and packing for the trip home. Check back here for more pictures and news later.



Camera Disaster

Mrs Mercer damaged my camera battery pack by not listening to advice.  This is a simple truth, although she protests her innocence, her guilt, and I mean guilt is clear.  Luckily she did show some remorse and, fortunately, she used a table leg to fashion  a screwdriver that meant I was able to sort it out.  I was close to tears but I am now recovered from, what was, a traumatic event.

We have seen some serious rainfall in the past day but the sun has come out too and we have had some very interesting visits.  We played games in the woods last night and the children had a great time playing a game called capture the flag.  We then walked back to the accommodation and then Charlie reported he lost his wallet.  An instructor went to look the following morning and I walked around looking for it.  I was convinced I was about to find myself fifty euros but it was not to be.  Charlie then was seen using his wallet at the sweet factory to purchase some goods.  He confessed he had found the wallet ages ago.   There was a joyless expression on my face.

The visit to the boulangerie was great fun but I did not consume any croissants or pain au chocolat because Miss Bird was worried that I was consuming lots of bread.  She may be right so I exercised some caution in this case.  Luckily I felt compelled to buy some chocolate buttons and boiled sweets from the sweet factory visit.

There was a tricky moment when one child was sick in the sweet factory so I pitched in to sort the cleaning.  I have only just spotted a small amount of sick on my knee, however I still feel I have come through relatively unscathed.  My room has been sabotaged but I don’t mind because revenge will be sweet.

The behaviour of the children has been impeccable and I am really proud of them.  Speaking of behaviour the waiter from the crepe restaurant will be looking forward to us dropping in.  He passed me a crepe on a plate last year and when I held it he did not let go for a few seconds and I noticed he was holding the plate with a napkin.  It was red hot and I seem to recall I could smell burning flesh.

Please come and check my blog later to see the photographs.

Social Media in school…A great tool or a menace?

As we start the new term we are already updating our twitter feed regularly to share the magic moments in the early part of the year.  We have many parents that follow us and enjoy being able to keep up to speed with events.  There is little doubt that staff and parents find twitter a valuable tool.

We decided to investigate the power versus the danger of social media over one weekend.  The task was simple enough; I was going to post a picture of an image that urges caution with the words in it that state, ” Don’t be mean behind a screen.”

I posted the image on Facebook and urged my friends to share the post to see how far it would get and how many times it would be shared.  I then posted the image on twitter and did the same thing.  It was retweeted thirty times and over 1,500 people viewed the image in 2 days.

The Facebook post was even more fascinating as the post was shared over 30 times by people on my friend list.  The interesting part is that Facebook showed me the post has been shared 102 times at the time of writing.  It is strange to think that 70 people shared my post that I do not know!  In other words, my post is out there and I have no control now over who sees it or who shares it.  This is a stark warning to us all.

If you publish it be prepared for it to go across the country and world in minutes.  At the time of writing my post was shared in Alabama, USA, Utah, USA, Australia,  Salou, Spain, Corfu, Tenerife.  In the UK it went to Durham, Ashfield, London, Stockton, Cornwall, Nottingham, Halifax, Ushaw Moor, Durham, Ollerton, Manchester and the list goes on.  Who knows where the 70 people who reposted it sent it?

I guessed the post would be shared because of the nature of it but I was very surprised at how fast it travelled.  This all happened in only two full days and the speed at which it travelled was surprising.

I am always careful about what I post on-line and this has made me realise the need for further caution.  If you post something or make a statement make sure you would be happy to have it painted on the front of your house or on a t-shirt you are wearing.  If you would not be happy with doing that, don’t post it.

There is some confusion about expressing an opinion and the differences between that and publishing that opinion.  If you post it on Facebook and your privacy settings are open; you are proclaiming your post to the world because it is not a private opinion.  This may not be criminal but, in terms of a civil issue you can find yourself being accused of making slanderous or defamatory comments.  This is particularly important if what you print, is factually not correct.

When such things are posted and a friend writes a comment to spur you on such as, ” You tell them mate” or ” Go girl.” They would do well to add as a footnote “Face the consequences.”

If you want to raise an issue with an individual contact them in person to have your issue resolved.  If you have a complaint, in the case of schools or organisations; ask for their complaints procedure.  This will help everyone in the longer term.

Finally, if you are angry, put your keyboard and phone away until you cool off.  The saying ” Act in haste and repent at leisure” is entirely appropriate.

Communicating online is going to continue to grow and can be so powerful in sharing good news.  For those of a certain age her is a quote from a long-since discontinued drama series; Hill Street Blues

“Let’s be careful out there.”