Friday, June 06, 2014

D Day: thank you

Always humbled
Always proud
Always thankful

Always honoured

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Should religions run schools?

Firstly I'm not going to pretend I know a lot about this.

Referring to current debacle in Birmingham where, we are told, Muslims were tring to stage some kind of coup, and become the dominant group running the schools.

I do understand that there are dangers in having schools run by religious organisations, especially if they have extremism at heir core, but, correct me if I'm wrong.... Isn't there many Christian schools that exist, and what about Jewish?

Are any of those viewed as extremist?

Should schools NOT be run by any religion, or be linked to any religion? Just teach all aspects of religion instead?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Could schools 'do better' at FM?

Working in the field of FM in Education is interesting, sometimes hard work, often good fun, always interesting.

But is it always 'right'?

One thing that is often noticeable is how organisations that operate schools do so as a purely academic industry, you may say that it should be but I'd disagree, all industries are not pure, and there is none that do not employ FM as a major part. Schools are no exception.

But what form should FM take in schools?

In my opinion Integration is the key, FM should not just focus on toilet cleaning, replacing light bulbs, or cutting the grass but be part of the main focus of the role that schools play, that of education.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that every caretaker can become a teacher, the two roles can be quite different.

..."FM is considered an integral part of the university experience – and this is a view that’s shared by the university board of governors. But what was quite sobering for us was when we decided to map out that student journey, and could see where we actually touch the student experience, and that way we can determine our spheres of influence". - See more at:

Sometimes teachers carry an 'attitude' that they know best in all things, yet they are not 'Jacks of all trades' and often have a very specific metier. They are educated as professionals within their field, FM staff are trained within their fields of work, but it shouldn't be 'never the twain shall meet', in fact in this case the twain should be intertwined, with Academics and FM working together, understanding each other's roles and working to provide their customers with the best step forward is the only way to go.

Personally I work in such an environment, where FM and Academics mix on an almost level playing field, yet even here more could be done in my opinion.

An example of poor integration is for instance where teachers have named rooms in a strange way, but in reality rooms need to have a reference that is useful across the whole school and beyond, so should be discussed between the groups that need the addresses the most; the students, who need to find the classrooms, FM and associated organisations, so they can facilitate all necessary procedures, such as building management, fire risk assessments, Health and Safety compliance, cleaning etc without the need for detailed explanation as to where the classroom is... this is why householders don't choose their own postcodes!

An example of good integration is often the school play and other events, where both sectors work closely together to achieve success.

Edge Hill University in Lancashire; although not a school is an education establishment with many similarities, has an FM team that is integrated and the result is that this year their FM team has won a prestigious BIFM Award;
In recognising that their students are customers and providing a hotel-style service aligned to the overall university vision, the facilities management team at Edge Hill University has won the 2013 BIFM ‘In-house client team of the year’ award for their excellent service delivery (excerpt from FM World article) 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My 'Art' project

"Sit and read with me
and let's walk through
our imaginations"
               SF 2013 
So.... I thought I'd have a go at making a piece of what could loosely be termed as 'Art', using things I was ready to get rid of, a bit of Upcycling or Repurposing...

I have quite a few books, some of which are ok for resale and some not so I used some of the tattier ones for this.
I also have a lot of National Geographic magazines that I had 'rescued' which would go to make the contrasting colourful feet.

I wanted to convey the journey we make when we read; the bland black and white pages themselves do nothing for the imagination, yet when we read them the colours and pictures come alive inside our heads...

When we read we go on a wonderful journey, which is often better if shared (hence my quote).

On 'completion' it wasn't totally what I had in my mind, and if I was to do it again it wouldn't be the same.
Such as tear pages so that the margins didn't show (giving a wall of text), and mark out where the images go before sticking them; the gait doesn't look right, but the concept still works (I hope) 
... and I may yet coat it with varnish? Or not?

... and what next you may ask?

Well, this is a shared space, and as my sweet S has already become a wonderful part of my life, and will soon be a permanent part of the house too, the next project using this space will be a shared project, hopefully S will come up with a good idea... but I believe there is Art in everyone so I'm sure she will... so watch this space.


There is quite a nice dedication from one of the books which reads
To my Mother and the memory of her Mother
You asked me once
what I would remember.
This, and much more
Simply because these times, I will remember well


Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Weather etcetera

I must admit my most favourite season is Spring, next would be Autumn, then Summer and lastly Winter.

I hate the cold.... Well, I hate feeling cold... and the feeling too warm as your walk progresses; having to stop to take off your coat and put it in your backpack, there's a good word for that "Faff"

As a walker though, there are usually still good walks to be had. And as the great walker Wainwright once said 
"There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing."
Then there's good ol' precipitation, rain that is (other precipitations are available) it's normally bearable, sometimes it can be a blessing in fact, but mix it with another force and bearable it becomes not (Yeh, Ok Yoda!) .... wind

In winter it can often be driving and adding extra cold to the already over-subscribed cold levels, and it finds it's way in everywhere.

And rain can cause problems for the terrain too, making many areas impassable, again when it teams up with it's BFF many more issues arise. trees uprooted, fences blowing down, you know... you've seen it too.

Well, amongst all these trials I still got out for a little walk.

But not last week, oh no something else decided to wreak havoc with my ability to do anything...


Yep, Flu... Seasonal Influenza as it's now apparently tagged
High temperature, No sleep, Nausea (worst. nausea. ever.), sweating, shivering, intense headaches, eyes streaming, nose streaming, inside screaming, face seeming to have a growth spurt, unbelievably worn out, cough that disabled my voice actuator and aches everywhere. 

I don't know if Einstein had a theory for it, but it was a week that seemed like 3 months.

Over the last couple of days have been improving, and today went out for a simple mile and a half walk (my little dog couldn't believe it "About bloody time!" he would have said if he could just get over the insane excitement of it all)

And Boy! was it tiring! (no need to answer, it's rhetorical... see, no question mark)

So, I have to get back up to a half-decent condition (I'm not going to pretend I was ever at my peak) especially for April

"What's happening in April?" I hear nobody asking... well I'll tell you ... SOON

Watch this space.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Walk in South Somerset - Montacute to Tintinhull and return

An easy 5 mile (2 hours) circuit walk from Montacute to Tintinhull in South Somerset, UK.
Level ground, although some parts through fields and crossing stiles.


Starting at The Square, facing the Phelips Arms, turn left and follow the road around and along Middle Street, towards the Kings Arms, then turn right along Wash lane, follow to the end where it merges with Bishopston.(You can continue along Middle Street, which goes past the Church, and Montacute Working Mens club, before meeting the end of Wash Lane)

Turn Right and follow road, passing the front gates of Montacute House

Ahead you'll see a line of red brick 'Council Houses'.
Turn right onto Station Road at the first house

Follow road until you reach a right hand bend with an island junction on the left, take the lane to the left

This lane was once the road to Montacute station, the Railway line came under the 'Beeching Axe' and is now the busy A3088 Cartgate to Yeovil Link Road, follow the path which leads onto the busy road.

Crossing over you you'll see the dilapidated kissing gate which was once part of the Station

Walk around the old gate following the edge of the field, alongside the old Station house, then the hedgerow,  part way along, cross to the next field through the gate

follow the hedgerow to the old 'Icicle Barn', (the barn is situated on fields once know as Issakell fields) one of a few Somerset barns not made into a house.

emerging onto the unclassified Montacute to Tintinhull road, follow the road straight ahead (with Icicle Barn on your left) until Stoneshells Farm, on the right is a stile

Cross the stile and keep left, following the edge of the field and passing by the gate / entrance
(this path follows the line of the road, but the road is narrow along here, with a poor zone of vision in places)

At the end follow the field around to the right, where you'll eventually come to an opening to another field, where the path runs alongside a house.

This leads onto Yeovil Road in Tintinhull, cross here and turn left, then a short distance turn right (or just keep on the same path around the bend) into Vicarage Street, follow road past Tintinhull Working Mens Club (this part of Somerset had a good deal of working men and women, from Glove making to Manufacturing, hence 2 working Mens clubs in adjacent villages) and the village green, and follow path into Farm Street, around to the right (Signposted to Tintinhull House)

passing a Petters water pump (before they made the first internal combustion engined car in the UK)

and a traditional Somerset Hamstone stile

...not forgetting the beautiful Tintinhull house, which is noted for it's Arts and Crafts Gardens

passing Tintinhull house the road becomes a lane, and opposite a modern house on the left is the footpath on the right, follow the path, through the gate at the end, where you can turn left (incidentally, along Vicarage street there is another path, which joins here, it is shorter, but you would miss so much!)
Follow the path, where you will see two gates

Take the metal gate to the left, and continue through two fields (admiring the view to Ilchester) and then through a gate / bridge / gate on your right.
You will emerge in an L shaped field, the footpath continues as if the hedge (where the gate is) was to continue (which it doesn't) crossing the centre of the field. From here you can't see the next gate and bridge until you're over the rise.

After crossing the little bridge, you will be on a hillock, with a few trees dotted around.
The path isn't always clear here, so walk about 10 degrees to your left, crossing the hillock. Notice a large oak in the hedgerow ahead, keep left of that and you'll find a large kissing gate.

go through, and bear right onto Sock Lane, which forms part of the Leland Trail AND Monarchs Way (that alone is some serious British history...)

emerging onto Yeovil road, just outside of Chilthorne Domer

Simply cross over and into Kissmedown lane to the right (great name, but use caution if Googling)
Follow the footpath (this was the muddiest part so far, after cattle had been moved along the lane, but this was early spring, hopefully it will improve - also be careful of the barbed wire fence, this was laying, partially covered, on the ground along the path but still connected to trees higher up)

the lane becomes a track then road, now called Windmill Lane, passing Windmill Farm, continue straight ahead down the hill crossing the road at the bottom, take the stile in front of you, this lane has deep ruts in places, being lower than the adjacent fields the water run-off has caused some damage to this ancient by-way.


At the end of the lane take the path to the left which emerges onto the busy A3088, (notice the old railway fence posts)


crossing over, take the path opposite that leads down into Mill copse, part of Montacute Park; part of the National Trust Montacute House estate, you can see the ancient by-way, with adjacent wall very clearly along here, this emerges into an area filled with Wild Garlic, and a stream, part of a Mill, of which very little survives.

Follow the path (after you've soaked in the atmosphere of this place) off to the right and into Montacute Park, bear left past the sign and over the hillock you'll see a stile and gate, cross here and walk diagonally up the next hillock with the trees just on your right


There are 3 stiles, which all stand alone without fence, if you aim yourself correctly you should be near them each time.
At the first stile head down to the marvellous avenue of trees, which lead up to Montacute House then head slightly to the right, crossing a spring stream (unless its dried up), in the distance you will see some houses and a large tree in the corner,

walk along the path, and emerge into a small street, turn right and follow the road around to the left. 
At the junction turn right, and head back to Montacute Square

And as the say in Film Noir


Friday, March 04, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you......

....the latest episode from Playing for Change, with his own composition called "Don't beat me around the bush", the wonderful Clarence Bekker


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rare but Equal - 28th Feb 2011 - Rare Disease Day

"February 28th 2011 will mark the fourth International Rare Disease Day coordinated by EURORDIS and organised with rare disease national alliances in 25 countries. On that day hundreds of patient organisations from more than 40 countries worldwide will be organising awareness-raising activities and converging around the slogan “Rare but Equal”.
Hundreds of patient groups and their partners, coordinated by national alliances at the country level, are planning a multitude of events to draw attention to rare diseases and the millions of people who are affected by them. Awareness-raising activities are being planned across Europe, all the way to Russia, Georgia and Armenia, as well as in the US, Canada and as far as Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan!"
Around the world there are people that suffer from a rare disease, and with rare disease comes a difficulty not normally found with other disease; Don't get me wrong, I understand the difficulties and problems with diseases that are already known, but the main added problem that come with a rare disease is that sufferers often have to fight hard to even understand their problem, let alone getting anyone else to understand what they are going through, these people are often getting very ill, and in many cases are dying.

And that includes Children.

My Niece, Lyndsay and her former husband Andrew wanted to know why Ben was not doing well in school, why was he ill? And why couldn't they get an answer?

Like other people around the world they fought a long and hard struggle to get a definition of the illness that was affecting their little boy.

And like all parents would, they wished that someone could make him better.

Sadly, this wish will never come true

On April 29th 2008, when Ben was 7 years old, his Mum and Dad were given the news that their son had a degenerative disease known as Niemann Pick Type C, often know as 'Early Childhood Alzheimer's, a degenerative disease that leads to dementia, and then death.

On that day the Lyndsay and Andrew faced the devastating news that their Son would not live past 21.

Time goes by for us all, we get older, things change, Lyndsay and Andrew are no longer together*, except for the children, which of course, includes Ben.

And time too, affects Ben; In this Daily Mail report you see Ben grinning while he climbs on the table, in this BBC Points West report you see him unable to carry his own weight, yet still playing (and grinning).

Now he can still smile, but is now fed via a tube, and now completely immobile.


Awareness may help those with similar diseases get recognition, donations will help scientific development.

Whatever you can do to raise awareness is going to help.

*I think it's worth mentioning that people are still people, having a disabled child doesn't stop that, but one thing that has come from this break up is that Lyndsay and Andrew still work together for all the children, and they now both have a happy relationship with new partners, who are also involved with the whole family. My hat is off to them both.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When will it stop?


From every corner of this Earth you hear tales of men forcing themselves on others; Rape is global.
In Sudan rape is used as a means of ethnic cleansing (also read Namaa Blogger's post on the problem here) and in South Africa rape is used to "correct" lesbians.

These are some of the stories that appear on the news, but these reasons aren't the whole story.

These 'excuses' simply don't wash on their own, because no matter where you are in the world, there is a chance that someone you know has been raped.

And lets get something straight, the control of one person by another against their will by
using sexual means is how I see rape, raping children is indeed more horrific to think of, but the action and the mind of a paedophile and a 'rapist' is NOT a million miles apart.

In my view they are very much the same.

Also, mass rapes are worse for those that hear of it after to comprehend, to the victim it really doesn't matter whether the whole village went through it, or if they were totally alone.
They would still be scared, and hurting, and sick, and confused.

They don't want or shouldn't have this happen to them.


heres a test for you...
 Which is worse
Rape or Bestiality (sex with an animal)?
 (I do not condone either btw) 
Now ask Why?  
If you said that the animal isn't able to prevent it, or is unaware of the events then you truly don't understand.
Sometimes the act itself doesn't happen, some women have a 'near miss', and many people say that they were "lucky", some would measure events in Sudan or South Africa as a marker, that all women are indeed "lucky" if they don't live in a mass rape area.

It isn't lucky at all, it has nothing to do with luck, it has everything to do with the sick treatment of other human beings by those that should know better.

And the fact that rape itself didn't happen doesn't negate the fact that someone had planned it to happen, doesn't stop the turmoil that exists after the event.

It wasn't LUCK that saved my niece after she was drugged in a pub near Bridgwater (UK) last Friday, chance maybe, but not luck.

Lucky isn't being rushed to Hospital because you've stopped breathing

Luck isn't there to help you cope with the "What-if'" questions.

It's really not fucking lucky to have some sicko rapist lace your drink!

At this time my niece has decided not to involve the Police. For all those that can't see why, then face facts, crimes against Women in this country is not really taken seriously enough, and the UK rank very low in the world when it comes to getting charges against rapists (or even less lilkely attempted rapists). Add to that our local constabulary isn't very high in (the already very low) ranking for this type of crime (if they ever invent a yellow box to catch 'em, they'll be on top) . All that aside, these investigations can be horrible for the victim, and no matter what is done to make events better, it is still a difficult and harrowing thing to go through. Add to that; my niece is gay and that she was there with her partner it's likely that this was a mistake by someone who thought events were going to be very different.