Monthly Archives: Apr 2015


I went to the Harry Potter studios in the Easter holidays. I didn’t go alone, I went because one of my friends from Wayfarers wanted to go, so she asked, and we went.

As well as her learning disability, F has a visual impairment which means she has problems with her peripheral vision and her depth perception. She carries a white stick to help others identify that she have difficulties. She decided we were going on the train, so I booked the train and the tickets to the tour (carer goes free! – although we split the cost because it’s a fun day out for me too) and off we went.


I am very aware that I travelled as her supporter, at her request. We took photos everywhere, including – to her amusement -the obligatory train selfie. I made sure she had what she needed, if anything needed to be explained and we were happy. On arrival we were early, but since it was quiet we managed to get in before our allotted time. Now, I made sure that F looked at and interacted with everything she wanted to see. We went on the Hogwarts Express, we sat in actual carriages used for filming and we tried on the sorting hat in the shop. We also tried a wand or two for size! People were spoken to, questions were asked, more photos were taken and I did my very best to ensure F had an amazing day out and understood what was going on.


We coped with the people who walked into us, who just stopped walking and who, in some cases, were quite rude.

One thing we both noticed was that there was a younger person going through the tour at the same time as us, with two carers. This young person was in a wheelchair, and appeared to have PMLD. They clearly were a Harry Potter fan, as there was eye contact and interest in the world around them, but the thing that upset me was the lack of interaction from the carers. Whereas I kept up an almost constant stream of questioning, explaining and checking with F as we were walking around, the two carers for this youngster were chatting away to each other and not paying the least bit attention to the person they were being paid to care for. (I’m assuming they were paid carers, I’d imagine family would do a better job!). Often badly positioned to see anything, no conversation about what was being seen, no attempt to get ‘into’ exhibits and really feel them.


I’d like to think that when I’m working with PMLD youngsters, and adults, that I give them a better experience of the world around them. I know that parents have to trust others to take their child out in order to get respite, but I wonder how much training these people have. I did similar work when I left university, with hardly any training. In my mind, it’s a missed opportunity – take on youngsters as support workers, pay them peanuts and don’t give them any training. Just a few hours of suggestions of how to work with someone with PMLD and life would be so much nicer for all involved.

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#100WCGU #149 – Garden

The prompt this week was ‘April


April. That month where the garden bursts into life. First the blossom on the cherry tree, and then the snowdrops and the tulips, in all their multicoloured glory. The meadow flowers on the lawn start to grow, although right now they are still short, with promise of greatness to come as we head in to summer. The lily puts its leaves back on the top of the water in the pond, with buds just beginning to be visible. Somewhere, at the back, there are lupins trying to remember what to do, while the last of the winter primroses fade away.


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Clean Air 5

I just remembered I didn’t finish off the series from last term.

We looked at graphs, getting data from them in particular, as we prepared to take the Science Plus test associated with the topic.

I used this webpage which I suspect will be going soon, as BBC rearrange their Bitesize pages. Most of the students were able to access at least the first part, although for some it did go too quickly and the ability to pause (for a discussion) would have been useful

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#100WCGU #148 – Leaving

Photo prompt this week


-I’m leaving

-What?! You can’t do that! What about the dog? and me?

-Well, love, there’s a big wide world out there that I want to explore. I can’t do that while I’m stuck here, can I?

-But I’ll miss you. I need you. Who will walk the dog and do the washing?

-I don’t think you do. It’s about time you learnt to fend for yourself. I’m fed up of having to do everything all the time.

-You don’t….I do my bit. It’s hard, being at work all day.

-I’ve quit my job, I can’t do it all either. I’m off

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#100WCGU #147 – Cake

The prompt this week ‘all seven were just arguing amongst themselves’


The noise coming from the other room was unbearable. So much for the fun family party to celebrate passing her exams. It had just degenerated, as usual, into a drunken mess with all her siblings and their partners. Being the only single one, she felt it more sharply at these occasions than in everyday life. Still hungry, she braved the noise and bustle of the kitchen to find what she was after. Her dad had joined her siblings and all seven were just arguing amongst themselves so she was able to sneak past them all and take the remaining piece of cake unnoticed.

It all went quiet.

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#100WCGU #173 – circle

The prompt for this week was ‘and so it begins’. I’m not sure about my effort, thought I’d try something a bit different


A look
A smile
A shared moment of recognition
A touch

and so it begins

Time getting to know each other
A cat man; a dog woman
Smoker/non smoker; drinker/non drinker

Finding common ground
shared friends, shared ideals

Enjoying the company, spending time together
Date night becoming a thing of the past

And then, without noticing,
Trying to impress stops.
Bad habits set in, and it becomes routine
and no fun any more

and so it begins

learning to live alone again
to entertain oneself
finding new friendships, new activities to keep occupied
enjoying the solace


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#OnFire Blaze Webcast

The Blaze webcast is something that the majority of fans have no live experience of, but the majority of us have seen the highlights package the team also produce at some point.
However, for away fans who cannot travel but still want to watch their team play, it’s proved to be an invaluable service since it was set up five years ago. Improvements to the infrastructure in the Skydome during last summer have helped it go from strength to strength.

With Pete Ballinger in charge of the technical side, and Ed Kimberly and Dave Adey usually providing the commentary, it’s clear to see that they are at least part of the reason why the webcast has been a continuing success.

Pete explained the recent changes. “Finally we have a solid, fast internet connection which has allowed us to replace all our analogue equipment with the digital equivalent. The computer can now do a live edit of the game, including graphics and the scoreboard – which people have been asking for for a long time – but also we feed out from up here, so if there are any issues which need investigating we are able to do that much quicker than we used to.

The numbers watching the webcast have increased by about 30% year on year. People now expect a club to have a webcast. Sheffield and Cardiff have upped their game recently with theirs. We were one of the first back in the day, so now we’ve got to catch up with them again!”

Clearly, Ed agrees, “We have a great team. Pete’s really passionate about making this the best webcast he can. There’s a clear vision where we want this webcast to go. The play by play job is pretty easy, you call what you see. Part of being good at it is having the vision to see what’s going on – being able to predict what is going to happen. You almost need the words in your mouth to call that first. Knowing the game helps enormously!
During the off season I’m constantly keeping up with player movement – where they are from, who they played with before, who coached them, where they’ve won championships. For instance, Greg Jacina in Nottingham used to be coached by Weber when he played in Augusta. Before a game I have a refresher – I write a sheet of notes on who are their most dangerous players, top scorers, how many goals, assists and points they have. If I can find the plus/minus I put that in there too.”

A large part of the webcast for the away fans is the interaction that they can have with the team through Twitter. Dave explained ”The Scottish teams have a good following, Fife and Braehead in particular, and they are great to interact with, even though they try to catch me out at times with naughty names – when you are trying to shout out quickly you don’t always read them first! They are knowledgeable fans as well. I love doing the webcast, but if I go quiet that’s because it’s a rubbish game, and when I get too excited Pete tells me off as he has to edit it if I get too loud. We try and call it the way we see it, and be mildly entertaining and if it’s a drab game we try and add some humour.”

Ed added, “I think that Twitter is really good for interacting with the fans. You learn so much about other teams. It’s a unique environment, players interact more and learn about the fan base. It’s essential – from a webcast point of view, most of our fans are away fans. If you don’t interact with them and give them a shout out you aren’t doing your job properly.”

Pete continued, “It’s like any broadcast – some people love the commentators, and others will say they don’t like you. You can’t please all the people all the time! Recently we’ve had a couple of guest hosts – John Donovan from the Cardiff webcast team and Patrick Smyth from the Belfast podcast ‘A view from the Bridge’ “

Ed chipped in, “There’s always the chance to be commentating with different people. I had Patrick Smyth with me the other night, and he was really good. It keeps it fresh, having different people at times. You’ve got to keep it relevant and keep it entertaining. It’s important to have good chemistry with your partner – knowing what they are going to say and where they are going to take a conversation.”

Dave seemed happy with sharing the commentating with someone different. “The night with John went really well – he called the game when Cardiff had the puck, and I did when Coventry had the puck. It complemented each other nicely. You have to have a thick skin to do this job, sometimes people think I’m a little controversial, but I call things how I see them! It’s great fun, and now we’ve got all the new gadgets it’s even better!”

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