Monthly Archives: February 2014

100 wcgu #123 shoes
this week, the prompt was ‘…but surely it is pointless…’

She stood, again, looking out of the window at those blasted shoes. Spring was coming, the days were clearly lighter and she thought she really must do that exercise. There was a 10km run coming up, she could aim for that. But she needed kit and was strapped for cash, and they were still useable. But surely it is pointless to buy any more, she thought.
She took a deep breath, found the key and went into the garden. She hated that shed, spiders lived there. At least, she thought, brushing off the cobwebs, there were none to be seen today.


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Friday Smile!

Love it

Julia's Place

Another share from my dear friend Rachel Orr!

We must get our hugs right!!


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2-19: A continuum of learning


One of the characteristics of Special Education which often sets it apart from the mainstream is the fact that we can have children on our roll for the duration of their entire statutory education. Whilst there are some age phase specific Special Schools and some mainstream schools which are all through, 2-19 provision is still currently more prevalent in Special Schools.

With this comes with some specific challenges, in particular the creation of a sense of progression through education whilst not necessarily having the very visible differences marked by going to a new school. However there are also some things which must be constant if we are going to be able to maintain developmental momentum as children move from class to class. How we achieve this is fundamental to the success of the education we offer. Here are a few examples of how we ensure that we create an effective…

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100WCGU #121 – Cleaning

This week, the prompt for 100 Word Challenge was ‘…on the cat walk…’

The first line comes from this song – I’m Too Sexy, by Right Said Fred


‘..On the catwalk, on the catwalk, yeah…I’m too sexy for my shirt…’

That old song blasted from the radio as the spring clean got underway. It always helped, to have something to dance to, to keep moving while I dusted, hoovered, moved furniture that hadn’t moved for a year and generally made more mess than there had been before I started. It was worth it though, by the end of the day the house shone. There was an enormous bag of clothes for the charity shop and I’d even found £20 in the pocket of an old pair of jeans!

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100WCGU #120 – abandoned

Prompt for 100 word challenge this week was a photo

They sat there in the window, mocking her. Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to buy PINK trainers? Were they meant to be an incentive to get exercising? She really couldn’t remember. Instead, they sat there in the window of the shed, collecting dust and spiders.

On reflection, she didn’t think that she would ever wear them again. The motivation was gone, it was cold now, and dark when she got home from work. She couldn’t even remember putting them in the shed, certainly not in such a prominent position.

Maybe next summer she’d throw them out.


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5 Unretouched Beer Labels That Breweries Don’t Want You To See

made me smile

Literature and Libation

Beer magazines always objectify our brews, display them in unrealistically ideal poses and glassware that are so disconnected from what’s “normal.” These images establish a ridiculous standard of beauty and make us feel bad about the askew labels, slightly rusty caps, and greasy fingerprint smudges of our own beer.

Well I say, “no more!” No more making otherwise happy, healthy beers feel bad about themselves. No more perpetuating an unattainable stereotype of what is “beautiful.” No more faked, Photoshop foolery like we see from Vogue and Disney.

With some clever sleuthing and some help from some insiders (who will remain unnamed for their own safety), I managed to get my hands on some of the raw versions of the images they plaster on the glossy fronts of magazines – before they’re manipulated and edited into unrecognizable fizzy facsimiles

Warning, what you’re about to see might shock you with truth…

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Interview with Nick Poole (Ice Hockey)

The unedited version of my interview with Nick Poole, Head Coach of MK Lightning – for those Lightning fans who don’t read the Blaze #OnFire magazine


Milton Keynes Lightning play in the EPL, where they are allowed to ice only 4 imports and to have up to three on the ice at any one time. Amongst their number this year they have former Blaze players Tom Carlon and Leigh Jamieson. They have also called up Josh Nicklin and Adz Andrews from the NIHL Blaze to help them out when they were particularly short benched over the Christmas period.

This summer, Planet Ice in Milton Keynes closed for refurbishment, which left Milton Keynes Lightning temporarily homeless. They relocated to Coventry, where they have taken the Saturday evening face off slot.  I spoke to Nick Poole, the long time head coach of the club and asked him when they expected to be moving home.  ‘If it’s on schedule the developer hands over the keys to Planet Ice mid August. Allowing a certain amount of time to get the rink kitted out, we should be back in by the end of September. Fingers crossed for everybody!’

It’s not easy playing away from home, and being an hour further north saw some MKL players unable to commit to a season on the road. Nick explained, ‘we’ve had a pretty stable group for the past six or seven years and most of the guys were on board with the move. We had a few players who travel from further south and that extra impact on travelling meant that it was too much for them. We missed out on one of the key players that we were going to bring in from the south this season, but on the whole we got all the guys we wanted to and we were really pleased with that.

One of the new players to the team this season lives in Coventry and has iced for the Blaze in the past. ‘Tom Carlon was a player that we’ve spoken to for two summers now and I’ve always admired the way he plays. This year it was ideal for him to test the waters with us and it was more convenient for him. I think he’s having a really good time with MKL and touch wood he’s with us for a few more seasons to come. He’s a great player, as well as putting up the points, I like the way he plays,’ said Nick.

Playing away from home means that pre-game routines are a little different. The majority of the players meet in Milton Keynes and travel up together by minibus. ‘It’s a little bit different this season. There’s nothing better on a hard Saturday to get in the car and drive five minutes to the rink and play in front of a packed house.  Mentally we need to be a bit more switched on because as great as the fans are who travel, as well as the local fans who come and watch us, we’re still playing in front of a relatively empty building and it’s really tough to get that atmosphere. We’ve changed our warm up routine a little bit but on the whole it’s going pretty well.’

Playing out of Coventry also means that training opportunities are limited as well. The team have had an hour and a half every Wednesday in Coventry, getting on the ice at 10pm. ‘That’s been tough’, said Nick. ‘We’re getting off the ice at 11.30pm! It’s late, all the guys work full time and after a long day at work you can see that we’re not exactly fresh on the ice. But the guys have been good and there’s been no complaining. We said at the beginning of the season that we’ve just got to get on with it and credit to the guys they have done that.’ There’s a new, temporary rink in Milton Keynes, housed in a disused warehouse, which has helped a little bit. ‘We’ve now got an extra hour at MKIce on a Thursday, which is helpful, but it’s so small and the dimensions are so different that there’s not a lot we can do as far as team training goes,’ Nick added.

It goes without saying the playing an hour away from home has had an impact on attendance, most weeks there are about 500 people in the Skydome, some from Milton Keynes – there’s a coach that is put on each week – and some who are more local. ‘We realise that we are lucky to get as many fans as we do, it’s lot of commitment from them. It would be great to have a bit more atmosphere and the place to be a bit louder. Often, if things aren’t going well on the ice, the fans would lift us. It’s tough sometimes when we’re a bit flat and the atmosphere is a bit flat to find a little momentum, on the whole we are really incredibly grateful for the support that we’ve had. We are also so lucky to have our Supporters Club. Over the years they have generated so much money for us, and with a smaller supporter base it’s harder for them as well. Once again, they have stepped up and helped us play wages, equipment, travel expenses. They have been fantastic.’

Does the Skydome feel like home yet? ‘No, we know it’s temporary, it was never going to be a home,’ explained Nick. ‘We know that we are guests here, that we have impacted on Coventry’s hockey community and hopefully when we leave here we’ll be a closer community. The rink staff and the people who have helped us out in Coventry have been fantastic and we’re really very grateful.’

The ideal end to the season for an MK Lightning fan would be to see the team at the EPL Playoff finals, and make the most of the home advantage. ‘That’s the plan!’ laughed Nick.

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