Above the Parapet

After four years of blogging pseudonymously, I have come back to my real name. Now that I am no longer a school teacher, hopefully I will not have to fend off abusive comments and denial of service attacks.

I considered clearing out the archive, but I have left the old posts up because I think there some worthwhile things to read. I’m sure there are a few clunkers in there somewhere and a bit of radicalism that may have since mellowed in my middle age. I might go in later and clean things up, but maybe not.

I hope to blog about things are productive for the various ventures, professional paths, avocational interests and spiritual walk I pursue, some of which are looming on the horizon as I enter into a very big new phase of life.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

There is really only one news story today. The Shire is surrounded by disaster areas. While we are not as badly affected here, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire have seen the worst flooding in at least 150 years – and it’s getting worse. The River Severn hasn’t just breached its banks. In places it is five or six times wider than it was last week.

Over 150,000 of homes are without water because the water treatment plant has been flooded. An electrical substation has been shut down, cutting off power to 43,000 homes. The military has been called in stop another substation from flooding, as it would cut off as many as a further 500,000 homes.

The eastern part of the the Shire has been similarly affected, with a pumping station flooded and water cut off since midday yesterday. There is more water coming down the Wye and the rain continues. The worst affected may be the soft fruit farmers, with the polytunnels flooded it could ruin the late summer crops. Parts of Hooterville that have never flooded in living memory have been covered with water. Even though we live much closer to the river, we have not been affected so far.

Apologies

Checking my stats tonight, I saw that I had referrals to this site from stantonythegreat.org.uk. I thought this a bit strange, since I don’t have a link on that site. Then I realised that through all my messing around with my domain name, I had messed up that site, which is set up to reside in my old hosting account.

The site has been moved to new hosting and the links have been fixed. My apologies to anyone who might have though the views on this blog represent in any way the views of the Herefordshire Orthodox Fellowship of St Antony the Great.

No Forwarding Address

I seem to have a lot of emails that have just disappeared into the ether between the earth and the moon (a location frequently referenced by my Evidence professor in law school).

I bought some genuine web hosting a couple of days ago (not for this blog, but for some other stuff) and decided to point my holford.org.uk domain at it to restore the old HolfordWeb site. Bad move. When I changed name servers, I lost the MX records where the domain is hosted here. This is bad because the web hosting can’t provide mail service just by me changing name servers on a domain.

So I brought the domain back over and pointed it back to this blog (go ahead, try it) and confirmed all of the mail forwarding. Now sending test emails they don’t kick back as errors, but neither do they forward through. I tried to ring my domain host, but they have been shut for two days because of the flooding, as they are located next to the River Severn.

So I’m stuck in email limbo. The only good thing is that I have been getting a lot less spam.

New Bed

The entire day today has been spent getting and constructing Aidan’s new bed. Mrs H had been wanting to get him one with the bed on the top bunk and a sofa and desk underneath. The going price is about £800, which is just a little out of our budget range.

That’s why eBay is such a great thing. We got one several years old, but in perfect condition, for 10% of the cost of a new one. We did have to hire a moving van to get it up here, but that’s why grandfathers are such a good thing.

Before we even drove down to pick it up in just outside Grampy’s town, the children were buzzing with excitement. Once we got it home it was impossible keeping them out of the room while we put it together. As soon as it was finished they were all over it. They wouldn’t even eat their dinner because it was too exciting. It wasn’t even ordinary dinner – they abandoned pizza and garlic bread and pop.

If you thought there was any chance the Abby wouldn’t be staying in Aidan’s room, you’d be wrong. Even if we tried to make her stay in her bed, she would stay up as long as it took to successful sneak in there, impervious to hell, high water, and any sort of punishment. There are some battles not worth fighting.

We freecycled Aidan’s old bed and it has ended up with the same family who took Bubby off of our hands.  We got a thorough report on how she is doing. She is much happier than she was having to stay in the hutch. She has the run of a small fully enclosed garden.

Stick a Fork in Me, I’m Done

The summer holidays are finally here! Not that you would know from the November weather.

Rather than usual end of school wind down with wine and leaving speeches, the day ended rather abruptly. We have had torrential rain all day and flooding, so the school shut early and all staff living in affected area were encouraged to make themselves scarce.  That included me.

Some pupils went out of their way to let me know how glad they were to see me leave. Fortunately a few actually let me know they were sad to see me go.

Next year it will be a new school with new responsibilities.

Radio

This week I have been showing most of my classes the same film. Under normal circumstance we don’t just show videos in RE – despite the reputation of the subject in some circles. And theoretically we shouldn’t show them in the last week of the year, as this detracts from the work ’em to the last minute ethic.

I was originally just going to show it to my Year 10s, but I realised that it has a message that all of my year groups could use and with only one lesson left to leave one message in their heads, I chose to show them Radio with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris. I wanted them to realise that they have the chance to make a difference to the world around them. They need to see a positive example of how the way we treat others can change us as well as them. And they can see that even someone who society might otherwise reject can make an impact on the world around them in a positive way.

Unfortunately I wasn’t surprised to learn that many of them cannot even sit and watch a movie without being unbelievably disruptive.  I had to abandon it altogether with one group because I couldn’t even get it started. Because it is longer than the lesson period, I offered to show it at lunch for anyone who wanted to finish it. I had some top set Year 9s take up that offer, but no others.

That doesn’t mean I’ve changed my view of the potential of the film. I’m trying to work it into my schemes of work in my new school. I think it deserves to be shown over two or more lessons, with opportunity for feedback and analysis.

If you are familiar with the film, you might be interesting in the page about James “Radio” Kennedy on the T. L. Hanna High School website, or the official site of Radio and Coach Harold Jones.