Frozen parodies

I’ve still not watched Disney’s Frozen – I felt for sure I wouldn’t be able to avoid seeing it at school on the last day of term, but somehow managed to avoid it after all – but thanks to parodies on the internet it feels like I know half the songs already.

Since it’s now available on Netflix, it’s only a matter of time till I see the real thing, but until then, here’s Cute Parents Lip-syncing…

(Which itself has spawned a series of parodies of parodies…


The original “Despair of an alto” video has been blocked on copyright grounds, but there is still this using the same track:

Dad who’s had enough of wife and kids singing the same song a million times.

And finally, which I didn’t even find until starting to write this post, is the censored version where they take the old ISIHAC trick of bleeping perfectly innocent words to make it sound rude.

Well, maybe not finally. As we were watching the credits of Tangled this evening, the songwriter credit came past and reminded me, if I ever knew, that the most of the Disney songs of the last thirty years have been written by the same guy who wrote Little Shop of Horrors, a sound track I can probably still sing all the words to myself. No wonder they’re so catchy.

Well. You remember that total eclipse of the sun, a few weeks ago?

Da doo.

There’s a stage production of this in Nottingham at the Lakeside coming up…

A little note on Viking River Cruises

About a year ago, I gave my contact details to Viking River Cruises. They advertise on TV on something I watch, I disunremember exactly what right now.

I also saw their rather lovely looking boats when we were on a school trip to the Rhineland last summer – there is no question their boats were the swankiest on the river.

Their itineraries also look outstanding. Their most recent mailing details an 8 day rail tour where you go from St Pancras to either Strasbourg or Amsterdam, and for all the of the rest of the time they feed and entertain you. It’s full board on boat. There are excursions to a bunch of World Heritage Sites I’d be thrilled to visit, and the whole trip looks awesome.

Since I signed up for a bit more information, though, they have bombarded me with direct mail – two or three emails a week and at least three glossy brochures in the post every month.

Every so often they send emails designed to allay any fears you might have. What is life like on board? Is the food designed with English people in mind? Don’t tell me I have to eat that foreign muck or talk to the boat staff in anything other than the Queen’s English?

After a while they even sent me a survey with the subtext WE’VE SENT YOU A MILLION BOOKLETS, WHY OH WHY HAVEN’T YOU BOOKED ANYTHING YET YOU INGRATE????

Well, there’s a few reasons.

One, all the beautiful stuff they send make it clear that their target market is heterosexual married couples in their 70s. While, to be honest, quite a lot of our holidays have been surrounded by people like this, with whom we have had quite nice times, I’m slightly less convinced I’d want to be shut up on a boat with then what appears to be precious little respite for 192 hours. Seriously, it looks like you do everything together. Eat together, day trip together, German lessons together.

Two, the lowest possible cost – for a broom cupboard with a porthole below the water line in November – starts at ¬£1500 per person. I’ve never had a package holiday so I don’t quite know what it is we spend on going away. But I’m pretty certain even our most lavish excesses have never amounted to a three grand holiday and we certainly can’t afford it. If we were to spend that much, we’d have to save up a bit more and spring for a slightly nicer room where we have a chance to hide from the monoglot septuagenarians for at least a few hours a day without bumping our knees on the wardrobe when we got up to make tea. And, of course, we’d have to go in school holidays which bumps up the price considerably.

Whilst I’d love to take P on holiday to Germany, I don’t think it’s going to be with Viking any time soon.

Milestone post

This, according to the wordpress system, is my 3,000th post since I began this blog in September 2004 with some initial jottings.

That post has some artwork which pokes fun at Ed Fordham, newly famous for his work on equal marriage, and nailbitingly close to beating Glenda Jackson in the last general election. At the time in 2004 his was a name that Simon Hoggart didn’t know – and Hoggart left us recently too.

There’s a link to Caf√©press shop I’d forgotten I had with two designs – one about swearing in French and one about not like Skegness very much. How time changes a person.

If 3,000 posts in a little under 10 years seems a lot to you, bear in mind that for a large chunk in the middle, automatic posts of some sort or another were happening. I had a responsibility to provide content on Lib Dem Voice, which was automatically reproduced here by a machine that permanently knackered my categories. And for a long while, my prolific tweets were also munged into blog posts before the gizmo that did that stopped working as well.

These days the tone has changed as my work has moved from politics to education, and there has been the suggestion made on more than one occasion that living one’s life so publicly on the internet is a bad idea for a teacher. Although the writing contained herein is not worth a hill’o’beans it is perhaps the one project in my life that has some sustained continuity to it and it holds a great deal of sentimental value for me. As it happens, I don’t think what I write is of interest to my students, so although the blog has vanishingly rarely led to questions in the classroom like “what on earth are Mr Brain’s Faggots, sir?” I think I can continue with it without too much concern.

Indeed although some of the things I write about has a little interest for people other than me, most hours the hits to the blog are in single figures these days.

I’ve always struggled with the difference between personal and professional blogging, and mixed the two up merrily with scant regard for building an audience. I write, sometimes at length, what I want to, when I want to. It’s a personal archive as much as anything else and when I want to try and remember something I’ll often come here first. Had I wanted to be a solely political blogger, or these days, a blogger with a focus on education, I’d have had to follow the instructions better; write more tersely and remember Duffett’s first law – it’s not about you, it’s about them.

Updating an ancient post about Paris

I’ve just added a new footnote to a very old post here describing a few things that are worth doing in Paris.

The new footnote is just this link in French to places with incredible views over Paris which came from one of the mfltwitterati.

My next trip to the City of Light will be with a coach load of Y8s. In December. Which may well give me a whole new perspective on teaching and indeed on Paris.

Winner of book competition

Drum roll please.

For fairness, the four entrants’ names are on a piece of paper

Drawing lots

(literally the back of an envelope, it appears)

Folded and placed not in the hat but the rather lovely Carcassonne meeple bowl that I currently deploy to hold the contents of my pockets overnight.

Drawing lots

Across the corridor to ask my glamorous assistant to pick a winner…

Drawing lots

I shall try and get it into the post to Penny tomorrow :)

Link love: Delia’s Silk Road

I am really enjoying reading Delia Monk’s travelogue.

I met Delia when she was a reporter on the Nottingham Evening Post, but right now she is months into an epic journey across the world.

She’s travelling the Silk Road, taking pictures, and having the most awfully big adventure.

Her recent post about Georgia is a good recent one, but there is huge variety in her topics, and she’s travelling through Europe at quite a speed, so who knows where she will be next week?

She’s definitely contributing to my growing sense of wanderlust.

Annesley Hall obsession

My commute to work initially took me up the M1 from J26, but the A610 is so congested and slow every morning adjusted my route to go through Hucknall and Annesley and join the motorway at J27.

There is a superb stretch of the A611 when the road splits into separate carriageways and it takes you through fields and woodlands, and I look forward to it every morning. It was utterly beautiful in the snow, and at the moment, I am just getting used to seeing the leafless, skeletal trees breaking through the dawn. It’s a much needed little lift to the spirits every time I drive through.

But at the far side of one of the fields was a large, double bay house which looked rather special. As the snow fell and I looked out for it every morning, I came to realise it was deserted. There was never a light in the windows, the snow didn’t move, no sign or heating. I started little fantasies about moving in and doing it up, having my own Grand Design.

Annesley Hall

As you turn the corner, the road travels quite close to the building, and there are clearly public info boards next to it, as well as some completely derelict buildings with the roof falling in. Further along, still from the road, you can see what I assumed to be a walled garden.

A few weeks of thoughts like this and I took to Google Maps to find out what exactly the place was, and it turns out that it is Annesley Hall. The modest two bays you can see from the A611 are in fact the building end-on and it is huge – six bays in the other direction – along with a mass of ancillary buildings like stables, lodges and a ruined 11th century church.

Annesley Hall

Given that there are info boards, and small places to park, I decided to visit last weekend, when the weather warmed up a little and the sun came out.

It’s all rather lovely. Huge stables, massive house, large parts of it derelict with the roof caved in.

It needs millions of pounds worth of restoration, and as a listed building that wouldn’t be straightforward.

It was initially down on my “if I won the lottery” list, but I think now my putative lottery win would be better spent elsewhere. My next thoughts were Landmark Trust, of Holiday Property Bond but its location is now hugely overlooked from various busy main roads, and it is right next door to a huge business park. It doesn’t have the seclusion needed for a luxury holiday location.

It’s also one of the most haunted buildings in England. Tough sell as a health spa.

Annesley Hall – Wikipedia / Ashfield District Council planning pages / Most Haunted Youtube

Annesley Hall

Annesley Hall