Sunday, February 26, 2012


This year, I've decided that for each day of Lent, I will try to throw away or give away - this can include taking it to the charity shop (thrift store) -  at least one item that I don't need or which is broken/junk in the case of throwing away; or else recycle something to become useful. If that then gets given away so much the better. I'm not doing too badly and the shelves and cupboards can attest to this!

Here's a bit of recycling:

This is a vase made from scraps of wool knitted up on a bobbin (French knitting) and an old jam jar. I quite like it. I'm giving it away tomorrow.

It's been a good learning experience in terms of discovering how little we actually need but also how things which we regard as lovely, or things which we have made - especially for others - can also make us happy in our surroundings.

And surroundings are interesting. I stood at the top of six flights of stairs at school one day this week and listened to the echoes of the voices at the change of lesson (class). Wouldn't schools be sad without the voices of children? I went in to work one day this week about ten minutes later than usual so I actually saw a fair few of the students as they walked in. A traditional scene I suppose in lots of ways - I was glad that the vast majority of them looked happy and as if they were anticipating a good day ahead.

I suppose we all give away a bit of learning every day, and we get repaid handsomely.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

the first step

I am sorry that I cannot remember where that quotation came from - maybe someone knows?

As seems to so often be the case, today I learned that I don't know anything at all.

Still, continuing the theme of quotations, here's one from T.S. Eliot:
What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.

and another from Lao Tzu (attributed):
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.


But, Spring is on the way, with crocuses and daffodils beginning to show. Hope springs eternal ...... (who said that?)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hold Your Beliefs Lightly (G Perry)

Still continuing with the theme of learning at the moment. I should post every day because there certainly is something every day but I can't keep up with scribbling it all down.

It was a grey day but I love to see the Thames as liquid steel.

So, today I went to the British Museum and we went round the Africa exhibits - excellent, especially the textiles, and I loved the 'cloth' made from metal bottle collars - the Grayson Perry exhibition (see below), Ancient Rome and Egypt - all in 4 hours! The ancient exhibits always make me think of Ozymandias.

There were two written comments in the Grayson Perry exhibition that really made me stop and think:

“The “journey” has become a tired metaphor of reality TV describing a transformative experience. I come on a journey every time I visit the British Museum. I enjoy idealised foreign travel in my head. Walking from my house in WC1 within 20 minutes I can have an encounter with the world.”


“We have always had images at gateways to warn and protect. Cathedrals had carvings over the doors showing the Last Judgement and the damned going to hell – now we have CCTV to dissuade us from misbehaving. Some images are there to accompany us into different states, drunkenness, sleep or death."

Why did these two especially have meaning for me I wonder? The first because, I suppose, I love to people watch and to ponder the lives behind the people I see every day - the postman bringing letters from long lost friends, the train guard whose humanity shone through his fit of the giggles on the loudspeaker, the lovers oblivious to all but each other, the grandma and her ward for the day who are exchanging their knowledge of worlds old and new. The second because I remember my father telling me of Gog and Magog guarding the city of London, the images we carry through life to remind us of how others have taught us how to behave.

And, as a colleague said to me recently, I hope never to be deprived of my dreams.

More learning! Reflection and reflexivity - thinking about what has happened and what may yet happen
- and overall, Perry's comment: Hold Your Beliefs Lightly

Why? because our ideas change with new knowledge, often born of troubles and because we should never take ourselves too seriously!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

sunlight on snowy fields - and stuff

Today has been totally about learning. I've been on retreat in Sussex (Hove actually) and I've learned a little bit more about Dharma, Karma and Sangha. The teacher was amazing: spoke with no notes at all, witty, down to earth, practical examples, eye contact - and he can sit cross legged for hours at a time!

And I definitely made some Sangha friends. Some were total novices like me, others more experienced and some actually Buddhists. It was brilliant to chat.

I decided to drive back past Brighton Marina and up across the Downs. (why are they called downs when they are up?). It was the last of the sunlight glinting on snow covered fields - absolutely stunning. The sun looked the shiniest penny you have ever seen glinting through a frosty window.

As the sun got lower, the brown tree branches that had shed their coating of snow took a kind of auburn hue against the white backdrop - amazing.

lovely day

Saturday, February 4, 2012

will I get home tomorrow?

It's snowing steadily. I've loved being here for this study weekend, which is only half way through. My favourite bits:
  • listening to people speak passionately about their research
  • finding out ways to support them
  • hearing academics challenge each other in an erudite fashion
  • getting loads of ideas
  • having a laugh
  • finding people seem to think I have something useful to say!
More tomorrow too, brilliant stuff.

Hope the folks at home are keeping it warm and tidy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

learning from colleagues

I went to an excellent CPD session today, run by two colleagues. They gave up their time freely to run this and gave an amazingly packed hour on forums, MLE, blogs, prezi and twitter.

You can take a look at the #shscpd stream if interested.

Thanks to these two ladies!

Janshs Thanks for a great #cpd session from @ & her colleague #shscpd
Janshs “@: loads of great esafety resources in email from ofcom - it's not on t'internet.It is now” #shscpd
Janshs Do you have to be brave to join in twitter ? #shscpd
Janshs Share your interests to develop #PLN #shscpd
Janshs #shscpd @ shows us how to use prezi as well
Janshs #shscpd the best staffroom in the world #twitter @
Janshs #shscpd @ talking about how to develop a PLN on #twitter
Janshs Prezi by @ now #shscpd
Janshs “@: @ good session on blogging” #shscpd
Janshs Another benefit of blogs is that you are less likely to lose work #shscpd
Janshs Moving on to prezi in a moment #shscpd
bellaale #shscpd if it wasn't for Twitter, I wouldn't know amazing virtual (but real!) colleagues such as @... ;)
Janshs Plagiarism needs monitoring #blogs #shscpd
Janshs Blogs enable some students to express themselves netter than writing #shscpd
Janshs Blogs mean students can use skills other than prose #shscpd
Janshs Blogs very flexible for different media use #shscpd
Janshs #shscpd @ says blogs good for reflective learning
Janshs “@: @ use liewriter to compose off line then upload - I do it quite a lot.” #shscpd thx
Janshs Good for resource sharing as well as asking for help #blogs #shscpd