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Sunday, August 31, 2008

So that was the summer...
From tomorrow, I will be concentrating my blogging in a number of areas:
a) LIVING GEOGRAPHY: day to day life as Secondary Curriculum Development Leader of the Geographical Association
b) GEOGRAPHY AND ALL THAT JAZZ (here): general geography stories, and all that jazz...
c) CULTCHA: the Cultural Geography blog (in preparation for SAGT 2008)

Keep reading !


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Do you use films in your geography teaching ?

If so, Chris Lloyd Staples would like to hear from you for a session she's running at this year's SAGT CONFERENCE.

She has set up a SURVEY MONKEY survey where you can enter details of your TOP 10 (or numbers less than that) of films that you use in the classroom...

Speaking of which, Tony Cassidy has been at his "film poster subversion" again...
Just filled in the survey myself and I mentioned a few films that I use bits of.


If it's Thursday then it must be time for another list of the things that are typically British (or in this case, what makes Britain Great)
This time it's linked to a book by a writer called Ian Aitch (I have his earlier book about English summer called "A Fete worse than death" - a phrase I like to use whenever I come across a fete... which is not often to be fair...)
The book is published next week, and is available from Amazon: called "We're British, Innit"There is an article and associated extensive photo gallery (with brief captions) here, thanks to the Independent.

Would be good for Pilot GCSE "My Place" and "Cultural Geography" with reference to Britishness...


Have been enjoying reading this story about Eve Stuart-Kelso and her missing garden gnome: Murphy. He disappeared for 7 months, and was then returned complete with a photo album showing him having global adventures as far away as New Zealand.

How about doing this with your own gnome ?
With Smartboard 10 software you can cut out a gnome from an image (below is one I made earlier, with thanks to Flickr user Mr. Moor for the excellent gnome !), and then superimpose it on another image or location....
e.g. Here is a gnome with me and a Superlambanana in Liverpool !


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crime Mapping

The police have always used geographical information in their fight against crime. Certain patterns of behaviour can be mapped. Do crime maps help ?

The Government plans to produce neighbourhood crime maps for everyone "by the end of 2008". This will enable people to assess their own neighbourhood.

Yesterday's CRIME HOTSPOTS programme on Radio 4, which can be listened to again via the LISTEN AGAIN feature demonstrated once again the value of GIS, and geo-spatial investigation. This moves beyond the old drawing pin on the map. It outlines the behaviours of criminals in relation to their own home area. There is also the tactic of geographic profiling.

The WEST MIDLANDS area already has a GIS in operation, which allows interrogation of crime figures and trends.
Those living in the METROPOLITAN POLICE area also have access to crime mapping.

Will Crime maps work ? - BBC News magazine feature

Interestingly putting the terms"crime geography" into Google bring up a certain well-known Geography website as the first return.
Also high up is the script for the programme on the Geography of Crime that Chris Durbin was involved in producing.

Also led me to an interesting survey on BUS SHELTER vandalism, which could form the basis for a local investigation in urban areas. (Click the link to download a PDF). This led to a useful 7 point classification of vandalism (Wilson and Healey, 1987)

To acquire money or property, for example, breaking open telephone boxes
The damage is a conscious tactic, a means to achieve some other end, such as breaking a window to be arrested and get a bed in prison
Similar to tactical vandalism, but carried out to further an explicit ideological cause or to deliver a message, for example, chalking slogans on walls
Damage in order to obtain revenge, for example, breaking school windows to settle a grudge against the head teacher
Damage in the context of a game; for example who can break the most windows of a house
An expression of rage or frustration which is often directed at symbolic middle class property. It is this type that has the vicious and apparently senseless facade which people find so difficult to understand
Damage done to property defined by youth as unimportant or of no value

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Whisky update...
For those following my eternal quest for the perfect single malt..
This cheeky little number from Stamford Bridge
I might save you some of this Ollie (the Correyvreckan has gone)

I can report that it tastes rather delicious and has a robust and fruity mouth finish...

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Stairway to Devon
Finally found a spare hour while watching PANORAMA TRUE BRITS, to write-up the geo-highlights of the holiday week.

Spent a week in Dartmouth in late August in a house overlooking the harbour and the lower ferry. We had good weather most of the time, despite a string of depressions. Some highlights:

  • There was a lot of traffic, as expected, heading to the SW, and ended diverting over the Newbury bypass and past Stonehenge in a queue. It was a wet day, and splashed our way through Totnes, and made it to our house above Bayard’s Cove overlooking the RIA that makes up the lower stretches of the River Dart.
  • Lunch thanks to RIVERFORD ORGANICS, BURT’S CRISPS and ROOKBEARE ice cream. Click the HOW potato on the Burt’s website to see how they are made (and check the pack to see who fried them: mine were fried by Mike)
  • Crabbing in Dartmouth harbour: apparently they love smoked bacon.
  • Arrival on the high tide one morning of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENDEAVOUR, which left on the next high tide, on its tour of the British and Irish isles.
  • Along Slapton Sands, to the memorial, and then along to Torcross and past Beesands and towards Hallsands. Hallsands is a village that was lost to the sea on the 26th of January in 2017. A good quote from James Fairweather (1912), who produced the following description: “The hamlet of Hallsands itself looks as if it properly belonged to the sea, and has only been borrowed from it for a time.” – it used to have 37 cottages and 128 residents. I visited in 1984 when you could approach the cottages much more closely. It is more difficult now.

This excellent image by Noel Jenkins shows some of the few remaining remnants of Hallsands.

  • The Eden Project. Arrived just after it opened for the day (don't forget to gift-aid your entry fee for a free year's membership with free entry), and into the rainforest biome with the rain pouring outside, then emerged from Mediterranean biome to clearer skies, and wandered round outside. Back for very nice fish and chips!
  • Salcombe in the sun, followed by a few hours at Bigbury on Sea, and wandered across to the art deco splendour of Burgh Island. A pint of ‘Spring Tide’ in the Pilchard Inn, was the closest I was going to get to a drink on the island: the tariff is eye-watering. Back via Modbury: plastic-bag free town.
  • Report on Spotlight SW on the economic impact of the RipCurl Boardmasters competition in Newquay, and the local areas of Goodrington Sands and Watergate Bay, which are being used as an example of rebranding by many doing the new Edexcel A level.
  • A wander along the seafront at Torquay, where they have the HIFLYER balloon. Rock-pooling and ice creams, and back via the tat of Paignton.

  • Blackpool Sands in the evening, with the Venus Cafe obviously doing very well !

Dartmouth is well served online. The “Discover Dartmouth” website is very useful. The Dart Harbour website is excellent as well. Provided the map of the Dart estuary below....

We missed out on the Farmer’s Market, but Devon has a website and campaign to support local food and drink called Love the Flavour.

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Little People in the city...
The other day I was watching 'Smart' when they had a feature on someone who made tiny figures and placed them in city streets and took photos which were close-up and then actual size to show them in context.
Turns out the person is called Slinkachu.
His blog has quite a few examples of his artwork, which could potentially form the basis of a geography homework (although I'd need to think about that a little more...)
I like the idea of playing with scale...

A GOOGLE IMAGE search will lead you to more...

Book out in September.It has a foreword by Will Self.

For more on WILL SELF, check out an interview on his walk from La Guardia airport into Manhattan airport via SPEECHIFICATION.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Goodbye to the Tinsley Towers...


LiverpoolJust back from a quick weekend in Liverpool. Took in the Gustav Klimt exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a repeat visit to Anthony Gormley's ANOTHER PLACE, Albert Dock, Matthew Street festival and the Beatles music, a Ferry across the Mersey (and back), some Superlambananas, 25 redevelopment projects, a few decent pints of ale and plenty of sunshine !
A fuller set of images on my FLICKR page.
Thanks to my mum and dad for looking after the kids...

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Thinking Allowed is a Radio 4 programme.
Laurie Taylor is the presenter.
A month ago, I went to BBC Broadcasting House to see the recording of a programme with Will Self and Doreen Massey on Imagination and the City.
At the moment, you can listen to the previous programme, which featured Iain Sinclair and looked at the SUBURBS.
Listen to it AGAIN (or for the first time...)

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

To Stamford Bridge today: the Yorkshire town not the football ground. Passed through after swapping my car for a more fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly model which only costs £35 in road tax each year.
The river Derwent was well up, as is the Ouse in the centre of York. Hoped to get in for some pictures but didn't manage it.
There's an excellent WHISKY SHOP here, and in the continuing search for geographically related ales, bought a nice Organic ale called Ben Nevis, and a couple of beers from the ORKNEY BREWERY, including one called NORTHERN LIGHT.Also purchased a rather splendid bottle of Arran whisky aged in a cognac cask..
More on that later too....


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Football: the global game

Came across the GLOBAL GAME website / BLOG which looks at the sport of football and features a range of articles, images and statistics.
Worth exploring for those looking at the GEOGRAPHY OF SPORT.

If you are using SPORT as a context for teaching some geographical concepts, check out the Geographical Association's new PLANET SPORT website.
En route back from Devon, met up with Dan Ellison, and had a sneak preview of his Mexico City Urban Earth walk, which he had recently completed. The day after I spoke to him he flew to India: fuelled by red wine and pepperoni pizza... URBAN EARTH has taken up a lot of Dan's summer.

He has now completed his walk across Mumbai.
Check out a sample walk, which maps out Salisbury's ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT by watching the YouTube clip below...

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Goodbye to the Two Towers...

I was born in Rotherham in the early 60's, and for "the whole of my life" I remember the two cooling towers of Tinsley Viaduct. I've just read up, and discovered that the Viaduct was opened in 1968, so it must have been built about the time I started school, and the cooling towers are the remaining two of the original 7 that were part of Blackburn Meadows power station.

The local media have been very interested in this story.

The viaduct is an impressive structure: the first 2 level motorway bridge apparently. It sways with the traffic...

The towers are all set to be destroyed on the Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend.
More later.


Crumbling Coastlines

A lot of stories at the moment related to the Norfolk coast, and its possible future.
This followed a report, and comments by Lord Smith of the Environment Agency
This was featured on the BBC NEWS, and there was also an excellent discussion on the GUARDIAN's WEBSITE.

The PRUNED blog had a very interesting post, which included some of Andrew Stacey's wonderfully sharp images of Happisburgh. Well worth reading - thanks to Noel Jenkins for the tipoff there.

Check out this DEFRA website for suggestions on adapting to climate change. Also check out the STAND UP TO CLIMATE CHANGE website.

Today's Eastern Daily Press had a front page which featured Happisburgh. Head over to site to capture the articles quick.

Also got a letter today from the RSPB. There are 2 RSPB reserves within 10 minutes or so of where I live: Snettisham and Titchwell. The letter was to tell me about the Titchwell Marsh Coastal Change Project. The plan is to put a breach in the current defences to let saltwater into a current brackish marsh.
I'm going along to an information day at the reserve on Sunday the 21st of September...

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Monday, August 18, 2008

One of several clips from BBCs BRITAIN FROM ABOVE series that are on BBC's YOUTUBE channel.
Tony also has one on his blog, so I thought I'd copy him (again) ;)


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Prepare for a biggie...
This is a catch up from a prolonged absence from the world of all things web based. Had a very nice week down in Devon dodging the showers. I am currently downloading over 300 high quality digital images, and my wife took another 400. Look on FLICKR tomorrow, and will also be Animoto-ing some of them. Also enjoying listening to the WALL-E soundtrack at the moment...

On my return spent the rest of the afternoon (and now started into the evening) catching up with a heaving inbox, and various programmes I needed to download on iPlayer (the TV in the holiday home only had 4 channels - can you imagine that ?)

There were lots of interesting news items that occured while I was away....

First of all, well done to all KES Geographers for their A2 results. 100% pass rate and some very pleasing individual performances. Particularly well done to Chris. Below is the front of the Lynn News, which has a very pleasing headline, which of course refers to KES...

  • Publication of a report called "Cities Unlimited", which looked at the issue of regeneration and in particular the relationship between the North and the South of the country. The basic message was that the North was not as good as the South. Stuart Maconie and others produced an interesting supplement in the Guardian.
  • Olympics - great story in Times comparing the boys of Eton with the developing world in terms of their Olympic success
Several new leads from SLN and blogs.

The first was BLOG ACTION DAY. Last years's was on the theme of the Environment, and this year's is on the theme of POVERTY. If you have a blog, sign up to get involved...

Then there are some METROPOLITAN POLICE CRIME MAPS that were posted about on SLN. Handy for those about to start teaching this topic in the Autumn Term.

Also lined up a BBC 7 programme on iPlayer on the TAKE AWAY, which looked at the nation's favourite: FISH and CHIPS. Planning a unit on Fish and Chips, and have some nice new images from Devon that are relevant. Also had some very nice fish and chips while there....

While watching that I read through some proofs for a forthcoming publication of note that is due to arrive in all secondary schools next term...

Also caught up with Kevin McCloud's new programme "THE BIG TOWN PLAN" redesigning Castleford. Anne Greaves reminded me of some excellent resources on the GA website which were put together by Wendy North and colleagues.

Noel Jenkins posted about a blog with the intriguing name of WHERES THE PATH. WHERES THE PATH has a beta for a service which shows OS maps side by side with aerial photography which pans: similar to the Memory Map interface. Also available is a FULL SCREEN OS MAPPING service, which has a limited bandwidth each day apparently. Interesting stuff here.Above is an example printout of image of Dartmouth, where I spent the last week, looking out across the harbour and letting the world pass me by. Images are of course copyright the Ordnance Survey and Google's imaging partners....

While in Dartmouth, the National Geographic Endeavour docked. Was unable to find out more while I was there, but it seems it's in the area for 2 expeditions of the British and Irish isles, and this includes a stopover in Dartmouth for its link with the Pilgrim Fathers. Prices go up to around £8000 per person for the cruise. A pity it was raining most of the time they were in port...

It was good to meet up with Dan Ellison in Thatcham for a pint of Otter and get a sneak preview of the movies of the first two of his Urban Earth adventures: Mexico City, an incredible adventure, and then London - great movies, and Mumbai to come in a week's time. Thanks for the MOO cards too.

The STANFORDS blog has now launched. This is something that I will be contributing to at a later date. It was supposed to be launched earlier in the year. Stanfords is one of my favourite places: the famous map and travel shop on the edge of Covent Garden. Go there now to see some articles by Dan, Kye and Duncan.

Also news relating to an event I am doing in September, which is a lecture for the GA Manchester branch

The lecture topics have been especially chosen with the new `A Level Specifications in mind

Wednesday 17th September 2008


Manchester University

High and Dry? Geographical Lessons from the Yorkshire Floods of June 2007

Alan Parkinson



Later in the season there are 2 far superior events taking place...

Wednesday 1st October 2008


Manchester University

Liverpool 2008, Capital of Culture Has the city benefited; has the cultural programme been a success; will there be a lasting legacy?

Miranda Sawyer


Wednesday 12th November 2008


Manchester University

Food Stories: Exploring recent changes in the British food industry

Peter Jackson


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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thanks to John Barlow and his new departmental blog for guiding me to FLOODSIM.

This is a flood management simulation produced by the insurers Norwich Union (or AVIVA as they are being 'rebranded'...)

The landing page for the game features some rather 'good' simulated pictures of inundated city centres, including Manchester, York and Norwich.
Head over and have a go...


Yorkshire Floods Animoto

With thanks to the numerous Flickr users who chronicled the floods. Ready for my lecture to the GA Manchester branch.

Regular readers of the blog will remember my small part in blogging MARK BEAUMONT's record breaking cycle journey around the world.

You can now watch the AD and an accompanying 10 MINUTE DOCUMENTARY at the ORANGE website.

It features Val Vannet very briefly, who did the 'blogging journey' alongside Mark, and also lots of scenes inside her classroom...

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Just had an e-mail announcing another delay in the delivery of my Elonex PC. Will now be "the last week in August" instead of sometime around now...
Also awaiting delivery of GRANTA 102, which I mentioned in an earlier post. One of the features of this item is a 10 page comic strip by David Heatley. This follows the creation of a classic burger and fries...
You can read more on David's BLOG here.
Below are the final frames of the strip...The blog also features some of David's other work, particularly a wonderful map of Jackson Heights.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

You (and your kids) should get out more...

Today's BBC NEWSROUND had an article on how young people today are not allowed to play out any more: climbing trees, or cycling to friends...

This is the area that we are hoping to challenge with MISSION EXPLORE.

More on getting out at PLAY ENGLAND.


Spent most of today sorting out materials for 2 events I'm doing later in the year.
The first is a conference for SfE, which is described HERE and below:
Been preparing my resources for the afternoon seminar. Before I start, there are the sessions below:

Then after lunch, there are 5 seminars: one of which is the one I'm doing....

Maybe see some of you there...

The second event is in September, and is a lecture for the GA Manchester branch on the summer floods.

..maybe see some of you there too...

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Credit Crunch
Apparently car-boot sales are doing particularly well at the moment, as people try to make an extra bit of cash by flogging off their old tat, or saving money by buying someone else's. Went up to one yesterday morning: got back just before it poured down with rain. Managed to buy a good board game for 50p. You have to make your own entertainment. Also came across the term "crunch-washing", which means adding the term "credit crunch" to tenuously related stories just to make them a little more news-worthy (or as an excuse for something)...Image by S. Parkinson

Who are the winners and losers of the credit crunch / food price rises / oil price rises ?
  • Which businesses are benefiting ?
  • Which sectors of the economy might be benefiting ?
  • Which jobs might be lost / gained over the next few months if the conditions persist ?
Image by Andrew Stacey (or possibly by me...) - Holme next the Sea / Thornham path

Interesting story in local paper.
The Hunstanton lifeboat was called out 4 times in quick succession recently, and lifeboat crews have been calling out for more multilingual signs like the one above. Two of the callouts were to foreign visitors, one was to a Russian girl. There are a growing number of overseas tourists (and migrant workers) in the region, and the Norfolk coast is a dangerous one. During spring tides, the tide ebbs and flows faster than usual. Signs were improved following a tragedy in 1996. Another consequence of migration ?

Look at the sign below: do you understand what it says if you couldn't read English ?Images by S. Parkinson (top one: Southwold, bottom one: Wells next the Sea)

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Post It note generator via GENERATOR BLOG


Friday, August 01, 2008

Happy Yorkshire Day
Oh, and by the way...Check out the ONE HUNDRED MONTHS website.

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