Photos: Yorkshire Wildlife Park in February

These 54 photos were taken just over a month ago at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. It was a cold, wintry day and most animals were inside or huddled up for warmth!

The polar bears felt at home, though…


Day 59: Two Months In

So, here we are two months down the line from the start of this project. A few things have struck me lately. Firstly, far more people are reading this than I ever would have thought. The data I see shows me that but more telling are conversations I’ve had about the writing on here with people who wouldn’t necessarily know about those things otherwise – their only source of knowledge can be this blog.

Secondly, end of the day blogging has become part of my routine now. I can only really think of a couple of moments when this has felt like a chore. The WordPress app, my work laptop and phone’s general Internet connectivity has meant that an update in bed is very common now.

Thirdly, reflecting upon the days and their end is quite healthy overall, I feel. It allows decluttering to happen – and I’ve certainly needed that over the last few weeks.

Finally, it has meant that sharing the little events in my life. This is not something I tended to do before. My Facebook status is being updated less frequently as I want to save things for here.

I’ve always enjoyed it, but I love blogging again!

Here is Kit enjoying her mousy toy.


Day 40: A Caching Plan Was Hatched


Heckmondwike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My head is still niggling me. Keep topping my pain relief up and that is working.

Spent a lot of the day with my head in data, either analysing it, or creating it in the form of marking reading tests and writing a report about pupil’s views on maths in school.

We did a quick cache earlier in the day, in Heckmondwike (GC424DB – Dodgeball). This takes us to 738 in total and 38 for the year, an average of 0.95 caches per day. In February, we’ve missed the 1st and the 7th so far out of days that we could have cleared up. Nothing wrong with that, we will get them at some point! We’ve now cached on 168 days of the year, meaning that 45.9% of our grid is now complete.

Mrs Pitts revealed to me an idea to create a short caching trail around our local area – not something I had considered before, but is absolutely doable. Maybe that will be a job in half term…

Day 7: Back to Work

Today was the first day back at work in 2013. As appears to have become the tradition, it was an INSET or training day. This one was held at a local hotel, as it is an opportunity for the ten schools in our partnership to meet up and work together.

In case you were wondering, this is relatively uncommon. It is more usual for schools to work on their own and develop their staff within their own environment. This can mean a consultant or expert coming in, but it may equally be given to a member of staff to organise based around a specific subject. As ten schools are involved in organising this, it means a spreading of the costs for said consultant, which is great for our budget!

I am not planning on boring you all with details from today, as frankly it wasn’t great. There were many positive moments, and much of what was said I agreed with. However, as much of the advice given is already part of the way I teach, it’s hard to take anything but a feeling of, “Well, I’m doing OK then,” from it. Which is pleasing and gives me a warm glow inside!

The other main feature of the day was considering my class at the moment. Working with them is not always easy, but I really do enjoy my job.

Tomorrow brings the challenge of not being in class for the morning as I am working with some other staff in school. Being the children’s first day back after a long break, and the instant removal of a key part of the structure of their school day – me – is not going to be easy for them. Time will tell how they react.

In other news, we continued our cache a day challenge to try and fill up our calendar grid. This shows when we have cached and how many we have done on each day.

Our cache a day calendar grid.

Our cache a day calendar grid.

As you can see, we have some way to go, but we have filled in 42.3% of it already. That, as you may have noticed, includes February 29th! We don’t need to go and get a cache tomorrow, so that will be a day off. We hope to completely fill January and February by finding one each evening after school.

I promise tomorrow’s blog will not mention geocaching in any way, shape or form.


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F1 2011: Moveable Rear Wings

Here is the clearest video I’ve seen of the new for 2011 moveable rear wing in Formula 1 taken from the back of Sauber‘s 2011 challenger, the C30.

The aim of this piece of technology is to allow drivers to overtake a little more easily than has been the case in recent years.


Under new moveable bodywork regulations, drivers of suitably equipped cars can adjust the rear wing from the cockpit, altering its angle of incidence through a set range. (The moveable front wing, used in 2010, has been dropped.) The system’s availability is electronically governed – it can be used at any time in practice and qualifying, but during the race can only be activated when a driver is less than one second behind another car at pre-determined points on the track. The system is then deactivated once the driver brakes. In combination with KERS, it is designed to boost overtaking. Also like KERS, it isn’t compulsory.

I’m not entirely convinced I’m OK with this idea being in Formula One. It strikes me as terribly artificial. A pass at the pinnacle of motor sport should be something momentous that should be celebrated in my view. I hope it doesn’t create races where there is so much going on it is hard to focus on what is happening – like in NASCAR for instance (which is ironic because nothing at all happens in NASCAR, and yet when you actually watch it, so much passing happens that there’s no sense of achievement about it).

The wing isn’t going to make a slow car win races, nor is it going to make a quick car lose races. But it just seems wrong to me. With the first race in just over 32 days, it won’t be long until we see its true effect.

Edit: The Bahrain Grand Prix never happened… it was cancelled after political unrest made the country unsafe. The first race will be held in Australia on March 27th.

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Geeky fiddling

I’ve spent a little time this weekend updating my Google Calendar and my phone’s calendar. Half way through I realised I could probably get them synchronised and only have to do one. And I could. Which is fabulous. It’s now set up to work both ways, one updates the other whenever it’s altered. If only my paper based diary was so simple to keep sorted…

(Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone)

Location:Highfield View,Leeds,United Kingdom

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Sticking it to the The Man…

Although there are a couple of elements that I find a little hard to believe about this story, the original link has a graph. So it must be true.

It is hardly the boy racer’s vehicle of choice. About 14 years old and with 130,000 miles on the clock, the Honda Civic driven by Dale Lyle was barely capable of reaching the speed limit. So when he received a ticket for apparently driving at almost 100mph on the motorway, he told magistrates the mobile speed camera must have got it wrong. Prove it, they said. He did… but it wasn’t easy.

Mr Lyle, 21, who has a clean driving licence, had already sold the car to a friend for £600. He had to take out a bank overdraft to buy it back. Then he had to pay an independent driving expert £600 to test the 1.3litre Civic’s top speed at a circuit in Bedfordshire.

The result was as expected. Even when driven flat-out, the Honda could still only do a top speed of 85.4mph in fourth gear and 81.3mph in fifth. Next, Mr Lyle obtained the mobile speed-camera footage of his alleged offence – travelling at 98mph on a 70mph three-lane carriageway of the A38, near Plymouth, on December 13, 2007. The three-minute film shows three other cars in the frame at the same time, he said, which he believes means his vehicle was mistaken for another.

Mr Lyle could have faced a maximum £1,000 fine and a six-month ban for the speeding charge. He said: ‘The video evidence the CPS sent me was just appalling. They are just picking on innocent motorists. It makes you wonder how many people say, “Fine, give me the points”, when they are not guilty.

Eventually, his hard work paid off, and the Crown Prosecution Service informed him the case had been dropped. ‘I’m really glad I fought the system and won,’ he said. ‘It’s shocking how hard it has been for me to prove my innocence.’

Mr Lyle, a finance worker, from Staple Hill, Bristol, recalled his feelings when first served with the prosecution. ‘I was in total disbelief when I opened the letter,’ he said. ‘I’ve never driven my car over the speed limit, let alone at 98mph. It’s such a small car I wouldn’t feel safe. I told the magistrates that the car was ancient and that there was no way it will do that speed.’ He intends to return to court to seek compensation for the £1,200 he spent proving his innocence.

The CPS said: ‘We came to the conclusion that there was no longer sufficient evidence to provide a prospect of a conviction. Recompense is a matter between the defendant and the court.’

Via: Nick Abbot and The Daily MailI never thought I would be using that as a source… but it was the best link that came up when the story was given a thorough Googling.

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Henry VIII: Romantic At Heart?

From BBC News:

It seems even one of history’s most notorious womanisers had a romantic side – at least in the beginning. Concealed in the Vatican for almost five centuries, a love letter from King Henry VIII to his second wife Anne Boleyn is to go on display at the British Library in London.

Probably written in January 1528, it shows a softer side to the infamously bloodthirsty royal as he pursues her. He assures Anne that “henceforth my heart will be dedicated to you alone,” and apologises profusely for ever suggesting she could be a mere mistress.

Unfortunately, that devotion did not last and as school children learn, things ended badly for Anne. Henry eventually had her beheaded at the Tower of London in 1536 and subsequently married another four women.

The letter is part of a major exhibition on Henry VIII opening at the British Library in April, the exhibition will have some amazing stands from a exhibition display company uk. Never displayed publicly before, it was almost certainly stolen from Anne.

It speaks of the king’s “unchangeable intention” to marry her and marks a turning point in their relationship. Before then, Anne had held out – aware of Henry’s womanising reputation – and had refused any pre-marital sexual relations. The letter – originally written in French – appears to show that she has finally made a “too humble submission” to his advances.

It reads: “The demonstrations of your affection are such, and the beautiful words of your letter are so cordially phrased, that they really oblige me to honour, love, and serve you for ever… For my part, I will out-do you, if this be possible, rather than reciprocate, in loyalty of heart and my desire to please you. Beseeching you also that if I have in any way offended you, you will give me the same absolution for which you ask, assuring you that henceforth my heart will be dedicated to you alone, and wishing greatly that my body was so too.”

The letter is signed like a love-sick schoolboy, “H seeks A.B, No Other Rex,” alongside his beloved’s initials in a heart.

Henry battled with the Vatican throughout his life, ultimately leading to him separating the Anglican church from Rome and creating the Church of England. The exhibition – which also includes portraits, tapestries and armour, as well as correspondence, official documents, maps and books – gives an insight into what drove him.

It is curated by historian and broadcaster Dr David Starkey, who said: “Henry is not only England’s best-known king – with his wives, his girth and his bloodthirstiness – he is also our most important single ruler. When he came to the throne, Henry was the pious prince who ruled an England at the heart of Catholic Europe. When he died, he was the great schismatic, who had created a national church and an insular, xenophobic politics that shaped the development of England for the next 500 years.”
Henry VIII: Man and Monarch is open from 23 April to 6 September.

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