London’s crazy but awesome cable cars

London is in the middle of building a huge set of cable cars crossing the Thames.

It maybe a sign that I don’t read enough news or am reading the wrong things, but the only single place I have read anything about this at all is IanVisit’s quirky London / transport / tunnels blog.

He’s been visiting regularly, taking photos of the construction in various phases, and reports that the cables are due to go in soon.

The progress from “never heard of it” to “open to the paying public” seems to be going ever so fast.

PS, if you’ve never heard of IanVisits before, there’s loads there to love, but you might in particular like his photos of deserted London, taken in the early hours of Christmas morning. It even made the front page of Flickr!

Update: Martin on Facebook gives me a link to this video:


Half term film festival

Yes, it’s the half term holiday, and unlike the autumn half term where we had to go back to university for at least some of the week, this half term, we actually get to ourselves.

The week has been looming for all of the last few weeks in school, and I imagine everyone in education has been making mental lists of the things they should finish off, start, and how not to waste the time the system affords us all.

Half term film festival

In particular, I’ve not been to the cinema for weeks, and thought that I could use my neglected subscription to Cineworld to spend all day every day at the flicks, enjoying a half term film festival. Only we’re more than halfway through the week already and I haven’t even looked at the film times. And… it’s half term, so there’s suddenly a rash of kids movies and a whole bunch of things I wanted to see are long gone. And getting diaries lined up with P to go and see the Muppets has been tricky.

Half term beer and wine festival

OK, I have had time to do this – indulge in the luxury of drinking in the week. I’ve really had to cut back on alcohol on school nights because I simply can’t face the idea of ever going into school with a hangover. Not least because the alarm rings at 6am and I have to be able safely to drive by 7am. It’s enough of a struggle to fit in enough sleep to be right enough with the world to get behind the wheel every morning.

Half term festival of housework

Well, yes, obviously, I ought to be doing this. The house is a tip, my bits of it especially, I’ve a laundry and ironing mountain to reckon with, but how depressing to use holiday to catch up with ineffective weekday routines?

Half term festival of lie-ins and Radio 4

Oh, yes, am definitely indulging that. Since I am not car sharing to work at the moment, I can get an earful of Today and PM on my drives in and back, but I haven’t heard WATO or Woman’s Hour for months! And choosing for myself when to turn in and when to get up is great. Although this holiday I am being careful not to allow myself to revert to my nocturnal habits too fully, as I did that over Christmas and getting back into the diurnal swing of things was a real struggle.

Half term festival of catching up with audiobook recording

Oh dear.

Half term festival of applying for jobs and polishing CV

This, definitely, I should be doing. It does feel a little nuts. We are now almost exactly halfway through the course which ends in June, and we all want to line up a proper full-time teaching job for September. But I’m really not sure I feel enough of a teacher yet to be attempting interviews yet! The ads are just beginning to appear, and I have quite specific requirements: I don’t want to move house or drive too far to work; I can only teach French and German, so have to overlook any of the French and Spanish ads that come up. Whilst it has amazed me just how many dozens of secondary schools there are within ten miles of my house, there is still a finite number, and I should be going for any and all that come up. There is a sensational one that just pinged up on the TES job search for an outstanding school and one that would pay for further valuable training as well as help with the NQT year. Really should have been writing the application for that today…

Half term festival of lesson planning

I also have to be ready to return to work on Monday and make sure I can share lesson plans before the weekend with colleagues at the school. So far I have not managed to do more than plan the day ahead, despite ample opportunities to do so. If I can plan 3 days ahead, there will be time to use the school repro system instead of queueing to do my own photocopying at 8am, and also time to run the plans past colleagues for improvement suggestions rather than just getting the feedback after the lesson. Yay, lesson planning.

The Audit Commission should not waste its money threatening bloggers

I read with some concern NCCLOL’s post that he has received a letter from solicitors acting for the District Auditor following posts he wrote about various issues concerning Nottingham City Council and the District Auditor. He states quite clearly what has happened, and you should go and read it.

The way the political system in this country works is that it is supposed to be accountable to the public. Painfully few people take enough of an interest in our many public bodies, and many of them work in completely opaque ways. When people are prepared to put the time in to discover what is going on and write about it, often in depth, it should be something that is rewarded, not something that frightens public officials.

When people holding roles in public bodies take decisions, they must expect to be held accountable for them. That includes criticism from informed commentators such as local bloggers, who can be expected to express themselves forcefully.

It cannot possibly be right that Audit Commission has paid several thousands of pounds to solicitors to send a frightener letter to a member of the public who is doing what members of the public are supposed to do: holding to account public officials.

Satisfied customer of T M Lewin

I’m a bit of a shirt addict. I buy shirts in the way some women buy shoes, and I have a wardrobe with.. 60? 80? shirts in it, many of which only fit if I am planning to wear them with the collars open.

When it came to getting married a last year, I knew I had to get a nice shirt as part of my outfit, and started scanning the high street. I’d never been into Curtis and Hawkes before, so I started there. They have sample shirts for you to try on to work out which size fits you and then you can take your pick of the styles, patterns and stripes they offer. Except, as it turned out, they simply don’t sell a size of shirt that fits me. At all. So, sod that. F You Curtis and Hawkes!

I’m not enormous, but one of the things that tells me that I shall have to get to grips with my weight and size sooner rather than later is that I am different size every two years or so, and that most shops I visit do not have larger sizes than the ones I am currently wearing.

So after the embarrassment of C&H, I went on round the corner to T M Lewin to see if they sold anything that would stretch around my 18″ neck.

They did.

Not only did they have a shirt that went around my neck, they also suggested I try their “slim fit” 18″ shirt. I initially poo-pooed the idea that slim fit anything would go around my not insignificant girth, but tried it on, and it was actually a good fit. They have a good range of interesting shirts, they fit, they look nice. They are slightly fancy, with double cuffs that need cufflinks, no shirt pocket, and extra long tails which means they almost never come untucked (except when bellringing, which would untuck thermal undies.)

I ultimately got married wearing Paul Smith. But that was a frankly stupid amount of money to spend on a shirt that is now discounted to an annoyingly low amount.

But T M Lewin are now providing most of my work wear, as, for pretty much the first time in my life, I have to wear a tie every day, so it’s important I have shirts that go all the way around my neck.

My episodes of Come Dine With Me now available on Youtube

It’s just over a year now since my episodes of Come Dine With Me were on’t telly for the first time. (The first thing that reminded me was my Photojojo Timecapsule email that sends back to me photos from a year ago).

CDWM Nottingham

And so it comes to pass that our week of episodes show up on the CDWM Youtube channel.

Here are the links:

  • Stephanie (the episode with the hilarious microwave ping incident
  • Me – nuff said
  • Janice – the costume episode in which I wear a PVC catsuit
  • Brian – the super uncomfortably night when I got to make a lot of jokes and where we somehow all get a lot drunker just before the puddings. Off cam tequila drinking games? YMTTICPC
  • Barry – final night with the scores, the cloche and gods and godesses costumes.

It’s clear that this interesting experience is going to follow me around for quite a while. Over the past year I’ve been recognised by strangers half a dozen times, the most recent just a week or so ago in Fellows, Morton and Clayton. Several have spoken to me because they knew one of the other contestants – Janice is my beautician, or I went to school with Barry and he hasn’t changed much. And everyone asks whether we’re still in touch with each other. I’m friends with Steph and Janice on Facebook, and bumped into Steph at a bus-stop recently, but haven’t spoken to the other guys since the final night at Barry’s house in November 2010.