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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Didn't get to Womad this year, but have just ordered my copy of 'The Imagined Village', which sounds like it would be just my thing and also has a link with Cultural Geography and 'Englishness'...

The following text is taken from the REAL WORLD / WOMAD website.

"Every age re-invents the past to its own fancy. When Edwardian song collector Cecil Sharp roamed England, he imagined the country’s history as a rural idyll, filled with flower meadows and genial shepherds, even though the songs he found were frequently about poverty, death and fornication with faeries. Later, when the rock generation embraced the folk tradition, it was precisely these sexual and supernatural elements that appealed to singers and players like Anne Briggs, Fairport Convention and Robert Plant. Albion became, as it was to William Blake, a land of mystery and wonder. Later, in the 1980s, with acts like Billy Bragg, The Levellers and The Pogues, folk became a defiant snub to an authoritarian government.

The resurgence of folk in the new century, a hundred years after Cecil Sharp became riveted by the sight of Morris dancers, remains a work in progress. Already, though, new times are finding fresh resonance within folk’s age-old contours. The music’s darker strains, its murder ballads and pirate yarns, have been pulled to the fore – witness the recent Rogue’s Gallery project - while in an age of corporate governance, the fact that folk is not ‘owned’ by anybody is cheering.

Folk has also become an inevitable part of the current search for English identity. That’s English as opposed to British, for once Wales and Scotland had reclaimed their flags and history – a process accelerated by an Eighties government largely elected by England that rode roughshod across the lands across the border – it was only a matter of time before the St. George’s flag superseded the Union Jack.

But what is Englishness? That question has already provoked a swathe of books, mostly by Tory diehards - Roger Scruton’s England, An Elegy and Peter Hitchens’ The Abolition of Britain for example - though Billy Bragg’s The Progressive Patriot has recently joined the fray, arguing, like Orwell before him, that patriotism is not necessarily the refuge of rascals. Bragg’s point is that there is a distinctly English tradition that belongs not to royalists and imperialists, but to the people, a tradition that runs from The Diggers to The Clash.

It is in this context that Simon Emmerson’s The Imagined Village arrives, its name borrowed from Georgina Boyes’ book about the Edwardian folk boom. The project – for once that over-worked term is appropriate – reflects Simon’s passions as both musician and cultural activist. Gathering together an array of brilliant and challenging voices, and setting them in a musical framework that honours the past while updating it with breathtaking confidence, The Imagined Village is arguably the most ambitious re-invention of the English folk tradition since Fairports’ Liege and Lief.

Re-awakening to the idea of an English tradition - a process fed by relocating from London to Dorset - Simon started assembling The Imagined Village, a record that would open the book of traditional song to honour modern-day England in all its diversity.

So it is that ‘Cold Hailey Rainy Night’, a song first published 200 years ago arrives on a rippling sitar and ‘Tam Lyn’, a ballad whose roots stretch into the fifteenth century, is retold against a backdrop of hissing electro-reggae. The story of ‘Tam Lyn’ is likewise hauled into the modern age by dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, its tale of a teenage girl seduced by a demon lover transposed to urban clubland. ‘Instead of her lover coming from faerie land, I have him coming from a foreign country as an asylum seeker,’ says Benjamin. ‘Both ways he’s an alien.’

‘John Barleycorn’, a number that’s been a cornerstone of English folk music for the last century, also gets a definitive update. Back in the 1960s, folk trailblazers Martin Carthy and his brother-in-law Mike Waterson both renewed the song - a celebration of the fertility cycle (especially as it applies to the creation of ale) - on their early albums. Their versions in turn inspired rock band Traffic to cover it for 1969’s John Barleycorn album, which is where Paul Weller picked up on it…the folk tradition in action.

‘Hard Times of Old England’, a particular Copper favourite, gets a make-over from Billy Bragg (another Dorset resident), who brings the song’s lament to bear on contemporary rural issues – empty holiday homes, closing post offices, the crisis in agriculture.
The threat posed to such landscapes is made clear in the opening ‘’Ouses, ‘Ouses, ‘Ouses’, where John Copper talks about the bond between the land and its inhabitants."
Unfortunately, the tour doesn't come very close to Norfolk...

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A day on the golf course in the long-awaited sun...
Highlight was my par on the 5th...
Golf and geography have a lot of connections...

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Coast: Programme 7
The schedule for this series has been messed around a little, but at 8pm on BBC2 tomorrow you can catch this particular episode, which features my home coastline:
There's a trip on Bean's seal boats too, with the same skipper as when I went on a couple of weeks ago.Also caught the repeat of Top Gear's Polar special last night and although I'm not usually into their 'laddish' humour I quite enjoyed this, especially when the survival expert with the pixellated face pushed Jeremy Clarkson into the water... And I want one of these too...
Rebranding is something I'm preparing resources for at the moment: and a good current example is the Morrison's ad campaign - no more reasons ?

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

New series starts tonight at 9pm on BBC1 with the NW Highlands of Scotland.

Also a supporting site.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

A few things today..
First of all, and interesting (albeit historical) resource is a site to publicise Hadrian's Wall called PLAN YOUR INVASION.

It has a Flash movie intro, and some embedded Google Maps to help visitors create a personalised plan of their route. Lots of information, and the Education section has information on how the area is managed.

Second thing is that I've been reading my copy of the first issue of 'Archipelago' - a new literary magazine which has a preoccupation with Landscape.Nice taster of the new Robert Macfarlane book which is out next month.

Also a friend of mine: Rob Hindle, whose poetry I've mentioned before, won the Late Night Tales competition in the GUARDIAN. Nice one Rob!
And another friend has some paintings in Salthouse 07: a local(ish) art event, described in the local paper the EDP as:
"the bird-rife landscapes of Caroline Kent"

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Friday, July 27, 2007

The Year of Food and Farming
Starting in September 2007

Here are the objectives:
  • To improve the understanding of young people, their parents and teachers, of the food chain and the role played by farming.
  • To develop curriculum materials and projects on food and farming which can be used in schools both during and beyond the Year.
  • To increase links between schools, farmers and food producers, which will be sustainable well beyond the Year.
  • To raise awareness of the contribution food can make to a healthy lifestyle, and within this increase the understanding amongst young people of what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet.
  • To raise awareness of the career opportunities in the food and farming industries.
  • To increase understanding of the importance of the countryside and environmental issues related to food and farming.
Sounds good !
Have registered for updates...

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Surfing Genie

Surfing is a fast growing sport in the UK.
There are a range of surfing resources which have relevance to geographers.
Surfing Genie has a range of useful resources for surfers, and also a searchable database of beaches, to encourage people to spend time in the UK rather than holidaying abroad.

There is also a Surfing section as part of the new RGS-IBG resource: Your Climate, Your Life
written by a friend of mine.
Juicy Geography also has a very useful resource looking at the Surfing industry on the Gold Coast of Australia, using Google Earth.

The Geography department of the University of California Santa Barbara even has a Geography of Surfing course...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Don't forget the postcards !

We've had a card from Mr. Ware already !

Picture copyright: S. Chomoco

It was sent from Tanzania. Mr. Ware has been to Qatar and Kenya, en route to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and visiting the Masai for a week rebuilding a school, then off to Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara...
Beat that !

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Surprises !

Another excellent Independent front cover, showing the scale of the flooding disaster in the South - remember just a month ago when we had the great flood... but that was in the North...There's also a great quote featuring James Lovelock.

In April 1989 Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister, gave her Cabinet a seminar on global warming at No 10 and one of the speakers was the scientist and green guru James Lovelock. A reporter asked him afterwards what would be the first signs of global warming. He replied: "Surprises." Asked to explain, he said: "The hurricane of October 1987 was a surprise, wasn't it? There'll be more."

The floods of 2007 were a surprise as well, and if Dr Lovelock is right, there'll be more of them too. Welcome to the weather of the 21st century.

Watch out for plenty more surprises !

Also, why is this place in the news ?

Follow the link to the MAP.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Flooding Chaos worsensThe news broadcasts are full of the flooding. The River Thames and Severn are threatening to burst their banks even more.
The Independent had the best front cover as usual, and also lots of stories, including one suggesting that these were the worst in living memory.
I would imagine that a lot of people are planning to use this in their teaching (and some areas haven't yet broken up for summer !)

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Hedgehog in the Fog
Slightly geography related animation, which is one of my favourite films !
It's a 10 minute animation made by Russian Yuri Norstein, and uses a technique involving paper cutouts shot through layers of glass.
When it's shown, it usually has dubbing into English, which spoils it a lot.

Thanks to YouTube, there is a version with the original Russian dialogue. Hodgepig !!
Enjoy...

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

My son is really into this track at the moment...
It's catchy ! and has a (rather tenuous) geographical theme...



Be warned - you'll be singing it all day !

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Got landscapes on my mind at the moment due to a major project I'm trying to finish...
Just seen a trailer for what looks like being a good series: 5 parts, each an hour long, and starting at 9pm next Sunday evening...
Here is the description of the series:

Griff Rhys Jones will be undertaking an arduous journey of the British Isles - from the far north of Scotland to Dartmoor in the south across the roughest mountain landscapes. He encounters sublime scenery, wildlife and dramatic shifts in the seasons.
Along the way he meets crofters, poets, photographers, mountain rescue teams - from lords of the manor to the well-travelled postman. He will show us what it is like to live in the shadows of the hills, and meet the people who go there with the aim of conquering their heights. Griff will also look at the historical tales of the British mountains - epic battles, early pioneers and geological marvels. For the viewer this will be visually sumptuous; for Griff Rhys Jones it will be a physical, mental and emotional challenge. A novice hill walker and climber, we will witness him scrambling down a scree and negotiating a perilous ridge. He spends the night in bothies and snow holes, braves the wind and snow, and hopefully tackles the most difficult ascent in the country - the infamous Inaccessible Pinnacle of the Cuillin Hills in Skye.

The last bit appeals to me as I have climbed the 'In Pin' as it's also known - will try to find some of my pictures of the In Pin....

Here is SIKYIP's YOUTUBE fly-through



More books on similar themes are also on my shopping list.
Just finishing off Wildwoodthen it's on to Wild:

and a must-read for September will be Robert MacFarlane's new book: "The Wild Places" which is already ordered... Will soften the blow of the fact that it comes out on the first day of the new school year...

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Summer reading.
One of the great things about the holiday is being able to read books for longer than 5 minutes.
Finished off Tim Harford's "The Undercover Economist" this morning, and now a couple of hundred pages into Roger Deakin's excellent "Wildwood: a journey through trees"

Spent part of a wet afternoon making this.. Enjoy !

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Thanks to Rob Chambers for pointing out the Soundsnap site.
This features thousands of free sound and music files which would be very useful for embedding in various media creations.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Remember last year ?
Here's the front page of 'The Independent' from the 19th of June 2006 to remind you...

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Wet!
Don't know about where you are, but it's flipping pouring it down in NW Norfolk today. Not that I'm complaining. I'm sat on the settee flipping between the Open Golf and the Tour de France, pottering away on my writing project, and drinking mug after mug of tea with some freshly baked flapjack.

Last few days have been very productive in terms of identifying some interesting new web fodder.
Let's start with Craig Robinson, who produced the FLIP FLOP FLYIN website, which has a unique style of representing characters from popular culture (more on Cultural Geography later)

Later this year, Craig's style is being applied to an exploration of different countries in a new hardback book called ATLAS SCHMATLAS.

This is already available on PLAY.COM for pre-order.
Here's the front cover:

and one of the maps - this one of Antarctica: an Extreme Environment studied by many Pilot GCSE groups.

This follows an earlier mapping project looking at the songs of Bruce Springsteen.

Second up is a site called MY Abodo, which is part of a whole range of sites aimed at exploring energy efficiency and carbon footprinting. This allows you to design and choose from various aspects of house design and lifestyle choice to look at the impact these choices have on the environment.

This allows you to create your Abodo and then send it to the site for others to view.
Here's the emeddable code for mine:


Also held this week was a meeting of "Passionate Geographers" up in Newcastle. Looking forward to some further feedback.

Have also been starting some preliminary planning on the Cultural Geography stuff I'm doing next year.

One of the contexts I'm going to use is FISH and CHIPS. This is comfort eating of the highest order, and I never tire of seeing big pictures of fish and chips on the screen...
A useful FLICKR group has been set up to collect pictures of Fish and Chips from around the world.

G2 today had a fantastic article which sets the scene for a short unit on Fish and Chips. There is a lot of cultural history and immigration thrown into this...

Thanks to Phil Wood for saving me many hours of planning by sending me a very interesting booklet.

The Independent also had a useful front page for the Pilot GCSE on Transport planning.


Also came across a site which is useful when exploring LANDSCAPE. It's poduced by the Macaulay Institute.

OK - diversion over - back to the writing...

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

School's Out !
Just back from final activities trip, and now have a few days of writing to look forward to !

BBC Radio 4 has a few interesting programmes worth checking out.
First of all there is the TRAVELLERS TREE programme: an interactive program about travel. Just listening to programme about New York.

The other one is LETTERS HOME (which should be available on Listen Again soon), which features letters home from a Zimbabwean student who became an asylum seeker. Useful for migration.

Also been exploring an old find which I hadn't visited before: the STRANGE MAPS blog. This has links to some great maps and images.
Particularly like the idea of Vlad Gerasimov's INVERTED WORLD at his blog.
Latest wallpaper should appear below:

Vladstudio Wallpapers


Also some great images.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Was just reminded of Hocus Pocus by Focus. It's a long story...
Used to listen to this in the 1970s...

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A great Dutch campaign video to save the Amazon via my old favourite HOUTLUST.



And an image from an Austrian fundraising campaign...

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One day to go until summer...
Had a pleasant day at the Maltings Snooker Club today...
Tomorrow it's off to Duxford Imperial War Museum. You can download a useful Travel and Tourism PDF (40 odd pages of useful details) from THIS PAGE.

And this is the 300th posting on this blog...
I'll open a bottle of Fraoch to celebrate...

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SNIPPY
Thanks to Kate Russell for pointing out this little resource.
SNIPPY can be downloaded by following the link.
Click to 'download' and an icon like a pair of scissors will appear on your tool bar.
The cursor will turn into a pen and you can then draw to 'cut out' a section of a web page or screen view.
This is similar to functionality which has also been available for those using Smart Board software for some time, but means that those people who don't have these can now do some snappy snipping...
Here's something I snipped earlier...

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Got home today to find a booklet from a well known supermarket emblazoned with the words "Back to School - All you need to kit them out for the new term"
I haven't even flipping broken up yet !

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thanks to 'mountainman' Dave from the SLN Forum for pointing out this BLOG on the developments that are taking place on the summit of Mt. Snowdon: a good one for tourism schemes, or those investigating the impact of people on 'wilderness' environments. A useful extra to the Cairngorms funicular debate.

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An oldie but a goldie...
Some of you may not have seen this site: the FIRETREE flood maps.
Zoom in to your home area (especially if you live near the coast) and raise the sea level.
I'm OK up to around 7m and then I need an inflatable dinghy...

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Monday, July 16, 2007

One day to go until the end of term.
Just doing various 'end of term' type things...
Just booked my Decemberists tickets for October - have missed them everytime they've toured. But not this time...

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

St. Swithin's Day today
According to weather lore, if the weather is wet today, it'll be like that for the next 40 days...


Update: it poured it down for about an hour earlier...

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This DVD comes out in a week or so. We have the first 2 series in the department.
Last night they repeated an episode rather than showing the next in the series - not sure why...
One episode is called King's Lynn to Felixtowe, so will look forward to that - should be a useful trip along Norfolk coast.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

New GEOGRAPHY Key Stage 3 Programme of Study

Head over to the QCA to download a copy...

Also some good ideas and templates for powerpoints at PRESENTATION HELPER site.

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More pictures from SLN's weekend have now been put up by Andrew Stacey at his marvellous site.
Here's one of Blakeney Point with a threatening sky:

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Saving our Landscape ?

This week has seen a few interesting developments...
On Monday, Bill Bryson became the new president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
He gave a speech which was reported in the Guardian and can now be read on the CPRE's website.
Bill Bryson's speech

This had a lot of useful Geography in it: particularly the idea about the UK landscape and the threats that it faces.

Later in the week, there was an interesting letter from Peter Dunn published in the Guardian which gave an alternative view of CPRE's policies, referring to Prunella Scales, who starred in a series of Tesco ads, but was also a former president.
A good section in the middle of the letter would make a great discussion starter:

"I've never met a farmer who doesn't loathe supermarkets for what they are doing to the farming community, yet the CPRE saw no conflict of interests in her appointment. Likewise it remains coy about the annexation of rural housing by wealthy townsfolk whose infrequent visits to their tax-break cottages have reduced hundreds of villages to ghost communities. Most of these visitors have CPRE stickers in their 4x4s. Bryson could have confronted such issues in his presidential address."

This idea was also mentioned in this ECOLOGIST article.

The idea of affordable housing was also mentioned this week, and the fact that most of the flats and houses locally are bought by buy-to-let speculators who can afford to act quickly and have the cash ready, rather than the local people for whom the houses are supposedly meant.

And finally on Wednesday there was a full page report on a group of organisations who have established a new campaign.
PLANNING DISASTER

The campaign is supported by:
Airportwatch
Woodland Trust
UKRIGS
The National Trust
Enough is Enough
The Ramblers
RSPB
CPRE
NEF (one of my favourite organisations...)
The Grasslands Trust
Council for National Parks
Restore UK
UK Wildlife Trusts

And THIS IS WORTH WATCHING too. (YouTube video...)

Oh and I might as well add this link as well as it's a useful little video and worth watching.



Just been watching the final 2 episodes of Michael Palin's HIMALAYA series as research for a project I'm a bit behind with... Mention of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan.
Great stuff !

Some interesting stories in the papers this week about the various curriculum changes. Less mapwork and more climate change eh ?

Also reading Leo Hickman's "The Final Call" - a very useful tourism resource.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Just a quick mention of a great YouTube video, which was brought to my attention by Justin Maguire on SLN.
Great for development issues / geograpy of music / consumption style lessons.

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Good to see that we feature in the school day of the future.
From the front page of today's INDEPENDENT.

The Historians were also perplexed about THIS

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2 interesting snippets in the TES today:

The first was on the back of the magazine.
Dan Raven Ellison and David Rayner are doing a session at the TES Education 2007 event on Saturday the 29th of September.
It's from 2pm-3pm and is called
'Geography Rocks Glastonbury',
referring to the 3 days that the GGiP campaign set up a stand in the Green Futures field at this year's festival.

You can book your place for FREE by clicking HERE

The second was news of a new Climate Change site (yes, yet another one ! )This is called OPERATION CLIMATE CONTROL, and is based around a climate game. Haven't had a play yet, but will try to later...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Big Huge Labs

The website is HERE, or click the banner...


This is just to big up one of my favourite sites, which offers the chance to manipulate FLICKR images, or those stored elsewhere...
Since I started using it in about 2005, it has expanded.
My favourite tools are:

BADGE MAKER
MOTIVATOR TOOL
FILM POSTER MAKER
FRAME MAKER
MAGAZINE COVER MAKER
HOCKNEYIZER


Something I found on the blog is the list of the Top 100 Web apps as voted for by CNet viewers.
Check out the most popular Web 2.0 tools.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

ARTWORK EARTH
Just revisiting an earlier idea which was also taken up by Noel at Juicy Geography. This was originally developed by Icelander S. Fjalar.
Here's one I made just now... Some student examples hopefully coming soon...

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Ken supports the Give Geography its Place Campaign...

Any other notable figures prepared to stand up for Geography ?!

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Live Earth, Live Geography

It was a busy wekend of music in London (and also Sport of course...)

At Wembley Stadium one of Al Gore's LIVE EARTH concerts took place. There were also concerts in lots of other venues around the world.

Image by Danny O' Callaghan

Venues were:

London

New York

Shanghai

Sydney

Rio de Janeiro
Tokyo
Johannesburg
Hamburg

There was also a special broadcast from the Rothera scientific base on Antarctica.
The band was called Nunatak (a very geographical name... look up what the word means...)

Keeping the GGiP campaign going was Danny O Callaghan. He had hundreds of Live Earth, Live Geography badges to hand out, and also some publicity hands...
Below are some of the images that Danny took on the day... Share the Geo-love !

The long hand of the law...


Morning ladies... Fancy a badge ?


Setting up camp near the front of the crowd...

Outside the new Wembley

The hand was visible at the start of the concert, during the set by Genesis.
Genesis were playing later that same day in Manchester at Old Trafford, because my sister had tickets to see them there... Wonder how they got from London to Manchester ?

You can also see the hand at the midway point of the Madonna performance of 'Ray of Light'....

Coming soon - some embedded YouTube links

And if you find a wallet it could be Noel's...

Also check out the forthcoming film: The 11th Hour.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Another one of those World Clock type things, but seems to be going down well with Geographers...



Created by Poodwaddle.com

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A very busy weekend.
Seems like a long time since Friday morning...
Since then :
  • Been to Leicester for final Young People's Geographies meeting - some great outcomes from the project, which will hopefully be continuing - good wrapping up by David Lambert of the work done by the 7 schools
  • Out to Norfolk for a great weekend of Geography networking - see the image above as a taster (taken by my wife in Burnham Market) and the ones below taken by me...




Also other busy things:
  • Start of Tour de France - I hope Mr. Douglass got me some good pictures !
  • Wimbledon Finals / British Grand Prix
Also today it was down to London for a GA meeting and some writing on the way back on the train until my laptop battery died...

Thank goodness there's only 8 days of school remaining...

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