Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Eve

All round the world there are children getting their sacks ready for Santa tonight, if they've been good. Granddaughter Amelie is no exception - although her pack is pretty optimistic!

So on this night before Christmas a thought from us all, you too, about those many children who don't have a family this Christmas. Let's all see what help we can contribute to make a difference in 2008

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Piste galor. . .

Arrived at the French Alp's Three Valleys for Christmas and New Year with the family and as you see there is cms and cms of snow and, at this stage at least, not too many people. That's me right of the picture. It seems to me that I look more stylish the further away you get, but I'm enjoying every run that i can get to/down.

Everything is open - even the precipitate black runs are all bunny soft and fluffy (ish). . . .

Tomorrow crepes, waffles and chocolat rhum. Mmm

Friday, 21 December 2007


And just to confirm what time of year it is, here are daughter Juliette's wonderful, indefatigable, sparkling (literally today) form class 8L.

I am really looking forward to working with them at BETT in January 08. They have such excellent ideas. Have a good break 8L.

Christmas Cracker (ii)

Well she does look pretty festive all decked out with Christmas LEDs right to the masthead and that's a long way (see August post). Suddenly - and rather late to be honest - a lot of the St Katherine's crowd are all decked out (no pun intended) in lights and very festive it all looks. Stopped work tonight too, so holibobs are officilly here. Hurrah!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Film Awards

Just back from the BAFTA Film Committee and it is all getting exciting as we get near to the Awards - and all the associated parties. At this time off the year we are all frantically trying to watch EACH OF the nominated movies through a mix of DVDs and private showings - mostly it's best to see them on a large screen, but I've even watched a few on my iPod Touch this year. Also in families and colleges would-be-cinema- stars are making their own "60 seconds of fame" because like last year there will be awards for viewer generated content too. Have a go yourself!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Cracking classroom

Cracker was visited by students from schools around Melton Mowbray as together we all design a project where they swap the best features of their schools with others from schools around the world. They all have an iPod Touch to do this on, and are busy over Christmas quizzing friends and family to see who their distant contacts might be (two each!)). After all this brainwork we lunched together on Pizza at the Dickens Inn.

I'd better tell X-yachts - maybe am IMX40 actually is the classroom of tomorrow! I wish!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Ironic or what!

I will rotate the photo later - sorry

At the BBC this morning to talk on Radio 4 about the government's vision for children in their Children's Plan (less testing and over protection, more play etc). To my absolute delight, in the BBC's foyer, is a REAL Dalek which I am all over of course having been a huge fan since childhood. Obviously.

But I was a bit surprised to discover a HEALTH AND SAFETY WARNING on its gun! (to be precise the warning was about the strobe light). In the context of the Today Programme's Children's Plan topic this is rich irony indeed.

"Exterminate!!!" - but first, "do-you-have-a-risk-assessment-form, please earthling?..."

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Frankfurt in Birmingham

For some five years now this Frankfurt Christmas market has been coming to Birmingham (they are twinned). So I find myself there this Friday at the end of a hectic week and simply lose myself in the mass of little craft stalls - like this one offering hand made wooden folk - from nested dolls to... well, you can see.

The market is popular with the stallholders who get to bring their children over to school here and immerse them in English at Christmas. Having been recently to a Polish market in Melbourne and a French market at home in Brightlingsea, (all with some very tasty produce) I can see that this is catching on. Yum!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Hang on, there's a restaurant sailing by. . .

Earlyish morning at St Katherine's by the Tower of London (I'm staying on the boat this week) and I'm rather surprised to see this floating restaurant being towed out into the Thames!

I'd always though the thing looked a big too leaky to go to sea - patches glued all over it and bits were falling off as she was towed out into the lock - you can see one patch at the waterline on her bow - but it turns out she was originally on station in Denmark as a lightship for 99 years and so a big part of their heritage. They are towing her off to the Medway - sounds a bit risky to me!! but it was slightly surreal to see a restaurant (for that is what she had become) being towed through the lock gates. Not sure the one chap with a tiny fender on a long string will help much once they get into the Thames though.

Whatever next...

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Caymanian Navy?

Driving home at the end of a long day - looking out across the bay here in Georgetown on Grand Cayman and there is a very typical sight: Paul Allen's amazing private yacht Octopus is to the left - she is 127m long, has a permanent crew of 60, two helicopters, seven boats and a 10 man submarine. The submarine alone has the capacity to sleep eight for up to two weeks underwater. Read the brochure! Flip.

But in the bay this evening there is also a pirate ship (!), small fishing boats and a tender to the tourist submarine. VERY Caymanian! The three huge cruise liners here at lunchtime have gone, so the town is a bit quieter. Luckily they hadn't sold out of Rum Cake, so i bought some. Mmmm...

Would you Adam and Eve it?

Cor stripe me pink. Here in the Caribbean and I find this old London bus- cut in arf! - wiv no sign of a sparrer, pigeon or our Ken innit?. And the bus is a bloomin bar complete wiv its original apples and pears and thatched porch. They're avin a laugh surely!

But in fact they weren't - Deckers is a fab bar on 7 Mile Beach and we have all just enjoyed "all you can eat lobster" (thanks Rick) which was yummy - it turned out that "all you can eat" was quite a lot!

Not fish n chips, but heh!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Empty field filled with possibility!

The bulldozers are rolling. . . and although this is not the most inspiring photo (!) from the Caribbean it does show the masssive progress being made on the groundworks at the John Gray Campus - I'm out here regularly helping with what is surely one of the most exciting makeovers of an educational system anywhere in the world. The new schools are wonderfully 21st century, and will be simply a delight to learn and teach in. But most importantly they are agile enough to cope with tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. As Rick Dewar of architects owP/p commented "These buildings, as much as any school in the world, will allow endless change in future teaching styles"

And there are three all building at once - to keep up with all this visit the Cayman Island's blog of the action

I am proper excited as the whole Cayman Campus project takes shape and as the world watches this corner of the Caribbean. Makes this flat field of dirt and and dust quite thrilling doesn't it?.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Sunrise, sunrise

Sailors love sunrise because they have made it through the night, but above the clouds it always looks beautiful too. I still love sitting by the window and gazing out. Even if what you see does look a bit like Mars sometimes...

This is sun rising as we come towards landing at Los Angeles (although I didn't see any angels) which looks so neat and new from above - everything in tidy rows and so unlike Europe. On the ground though it was complete chaos of course - Thanksgiving crowds and queues galore. And later, Miami was even worse.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Sleep tight

Not quite sure of the genesis or thinking behind this striking art installation on a Melbourne wall - it draws attention to homelessness I think. But these sleeping bodies hammocked to the wall (there are just a few!) Is certainly pretty striking. Melbourne is a city with a heart.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Balloon pioneers

Presenting at a conference from 10.00 till 3.00 (voice now croaky!) . Stopped work (finally!) to sail in the Royal Melbourne Yacht Club's Wednesday night race - and appropriately ("it's not like this here normally!") the weather dropped from 37° to just 17° with rain lashing down and more than half a gale blowing (Melbourne = 4 seasons in one day!). the boat, a Farr 38, surfed like a good 'um so we had fun. Then enjoyed a meal with old friends here (we're looking slightly like Mount Rushmore!) Judy, Martyn (who has been my indefatigable host here all week), Ken (one of my first - and best - university students), myself and Pete (who'd popped over with Judy from Tasmania).

Cue HUGE excitement (= much toasting!) because they had all wonderfully arranged to take me on a dawn Balloon flight over Melbourne today... but alas all this unexpected wind and cloud meant that at 3.30 a.m. as I was started to get ready (dawn remember!) i got a text saying "sorry, can't fly danger danger death argh" or similar. Which was sad. But the race, meal and great company made yesterday a perfect day.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

On top of the world

A seminar / conference on top of the Telstra building in Melbourne gave me quite a view of the whole place - and it is a rather nice combination of European and Australian (i.e. decent coffee in friendly cafés) with some really interesting architecture.

The Telstra people, and their invited guests were smart and clearly very engaged in the whole potential of Telecoms in 21st century learning and I now hope to be running one of my Horizon Scanning events there next year some time.

But what a view! You can see the Yarra River (thanks for the correction anonymous reader) and the sea from here.

Monday, 19 November 2007

VITTA Conference - Melbourne

Just getting ready for this big conference - with an ICT and learning theme, but a title "You say you want a revolution" that has us all chatting about 1968: Paris, Beatles et al! Melbourne is warm - 37°, but the people are wonderfully warm too, as is the welcome, so that it is a pleasure to be here despite the heat. I still have my wooly hat in my bag from England - I think I have season lag!

The conference is at the Racecourse - home of surely the most famous horse race in the world, so a pretty exciting place to be - and there is something exciting too about all these seats which will be full in a very few minutes. As you see, my faithful MacBook is all fired up and ready to go...

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Manly Beach

I'm afraid this phoneblog could get pretty intolerable for a few days if you are in a Northern Hemisphere winter. Sorry.

Had a half day clear so took the early morning Manly Ferry to fab Manly Beach which even early on a Saturday is a mass of activity: beach volleyball, surfing, surf boats, kayaks, lifesaving etc most of which I have spared you - this is the lifesaving competition in quite lively surf.

Curiously Comms has been a problem here - mostly problems with port numbers I think - but the good old phone to blog never fails. The Australian federal election is being hard fought here - promises include one-laptop-per-pupil (but not teachers though!) and an overdue national broadband development.!

Friday, 16 November 2007

Iconic and warm too

After a hugely enjoyable day with the students, mentors, administrators, teachers and heads of the Sydney Catholic School system as they presented to, and swapped ideas with, each other I find myself enjoying a late afternoon macchiato in the late afternoon, but warm, Spring Sydney sun.

And however much fab architecture I see round the world the Sydney Harbour Opera House takes a lot of beating, especially close up with its wonderfully white tiled surface and wood textures. Wow.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Flood alert

Oo er. A not huge tide at just 4.7 m (really high is approaching 6 m) on the East Coast, but coupled with a storm surge in the North Sea of maybe 2m or even 3m it produced the potential for some REALLY serious flooding. If the surge and the high tide coincided, then...

...but they didn't, quite (phew!) today, so although the tide never really went out (as fast as it went down, so the surge moved it up again) we didn't see life threatening floods - although some villages were evacuated and a few major roads (eg A12) were blocked. This is Brightlingsea, from the Colne Yacht Club, usually a fair way back from the water. Click to enlarge the phone-photo and look at the town jetty with the gangway to it going UPWARDS!. Oo er indeedy.

It is inevitable that one day the surge, a really big tide and time will all coincide. I'm just glad that today wasn't the day.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Take two

Cracker had barely been tied up at St. Kats for a day and already she is a film studio as I am interviewed about learning technology and futures. It will be on iTunes as a podcast and elsewhere too on doubt. A perfect sunny day made lighting straightforward, and it was all great fun as usual. It is curious that now I am formally doing Horizon Reconnaissance for the government everyone else seems to want to know about the future too.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Dawn at the Tower

After a fab and very fast trip up to St Katherine Docks: fireworks all along the coast, bright starlight, phosphorescence in our wake, calm sea, clear moon. . . We arrived VERY early and so we are waiting here enjoying eggy bread and sleep. Perfect.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Yummy Touchy

Flip! iLove my iPod Touch. It is so slim - smaller than the iPhone - and has so much power. I've hacked mine (well, of course!) using the wonderful Jailbreak and some other geeky stuff so now it has a host of powerful applications - screensful of little icons in fact - and is well on the way to being a fully functioning little computer on its own.

Mine is currently having much fun running as a web server too (good old Apache!!) but it is the very sensitive and subtle motion detection that is so seductive. And using Remote Buddy I can even monitor the live video camera on my MacBook remotely over a wireless link - from anywhere! How cool is that! Very.

Listen, just go out and buy one. I've bought eleven so far (well, children, partners, etc etc) and they are all fab!!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

100 is. . .

... a lot of miles in Europe and a lot of years in America, as they say.

Being guided around beautiful and compact Stockholm by ex-Aussie Swede friend Ian he led me into this private and little room left over from the original cathedral. The painting on the ceiling is 13th century but the room is much older. "The Lutheran Church in Sweden started here" says Ian breezing through a millennium or two of history.

Sometimes we take all this for granted don't we? Last time I visited Stepping Stones school I gave all the students a (real!) Roman coin. There aren't many times you get to own something from 500ad are there?. . . Ian uses the old room for choir practice by the way!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Virtual violins?

In Stockholm today to open an international conference Real Learning in Virtual Worlds.

But it opened with a stunning performance by a student violin ensemble, all playing with obvious enjoyment and indeed fun. Music in education is usually mixed age, project based (the "School Production"), in large time blocks (very large if it isn't going too well!), where students are often teachers too. And do you know what? - it works SO well that you can't help but wonder why so much else in schools is NOT like this as well. There is so little evidence that same-age, time-limited, closed, unambitious, task-orientated learning works is there?.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Sailing Style?

this week, I'm down on the Med in Puerto Banas - a break but with broadband (surely that is an oxymoron?) only to find a LOT of boats and a HUGE number of designer shops: Versace Chanel D&G and so on.

But this is not sailing gear as I know it - the style is heavy on bling, leopard prints, Lycra and flimsy chiffon. No GoreTex at all! I'm not sure how this "look" will go down on the UK East Coast in November. I'll ask the team. . .

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Caymanian Rum Cake

. . . Is a HUGE export for the Cayman Isles and the simple reason for that is because Caymanian Rum Cake is truly yummy, as indeed anything would be that had been soaked in rum for so long!

Here Cracker's sail controls' supremo Cali models an (almost!) new cake (that starboard grinder Jonathan brought back from his recent visit) for our post race feast. It went pretty quick, like Cracker really!

Monday, 8 October 2007


Kentish Town has the longest escalator on the London Underground (in fact, in Western Europe apparently!) and it IS whopping although a mere babe compared to Hong Kong's mile long one (yes! MILE long) that starts at Queen's Road Central. By the way, I like the way when you travel on the HK one you can swipe your Octopus card on the way and it CREDITS your for not using the underground at busy time periods!!

But while we are on Underground trivia which tube station/s use all 5 vowels aeiou?
See comments to this posting for the (two) possible answers.

Monday, 1 October 2007

October already! and Summer is done... we will be swapping our team shirts for gillets and layers of Thinsulate fleece and GoreTex cloth. We do have a few more autumn races left to enjoy though, and them it's off to park at the St Katherine Docks, by the Tower of London for winter - and a few parties too no doubt.

It's been a fun and fab year and Cracker has got quicker and quicker. As you see, we are quite a team, even with baby Amelie on board (can you spot her here?)!

Friday, 28 September 2007

What a scrum

Popped into the Regent Street Apple store to buy (yet another - I loose them) power supply for my MacBook only to fine a HUGE scrum round the showcase of iPod Touches. With lots of "oos" and "ahs" as people discovered how cool the interface on this Mac-disguised-as-an-iPod is.

Glad I ordered mine by post (and Lys')! I'm going to try doing presentations from my one - web pages, Quicktime movies etc! Wish me luck.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Slow slow slower

Up at 5 to dash to Bournemouth University, home of much fab media work. But as you see, although my trusty car Polly can do 172 mph (not on public roads obviously - but fun on tracks) on this particular morning we are stuck for about 3 hours (so far) doing no mph at all. But at least I can phone-blog while we wait!

Often when abroad people ask me about the M25 which is fabled for its jams (best joke is that, since it is a circular road, it is the car behind that is holding you up!!). Well, the news it that it IS this bad. zzzzzz

I tried to pass the time calculating the carbon footprint of a 3 hour 7 mile 4 lane jam all with engines running but the number was so big that I fear my maths must be wrong. I hope.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

By teachers for teachers. .

Fabulous! Up in Glasgow to do a mass of interesting things including a keynote at the Scottish Learning Festival. This huge event (7,000+ teachers!!) has a Fringe Festival too and so here we all are at a wonderful fringe Geekfest.

The rules are simple: everyone arrives with (or has hurriedly created!) a 7 min presentatlon on something cool and learning related that they have tried / are trying for real in their schools. A random "one arm bandit" name selector chooses who presents. Currently I am listening to 7 fascinating mins on Google Map mashups by Ollie Bray. All by teachers for teachers, and all fab.

Oh, and free beer, crisps, stuff.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

11 weeks old and first race!

So here are (some of) the Cracker team winning the Colne YC regatta (in perfect weather) but the smallest crew member is little Amelie who managed to complete both races on borad although, to be honest, her tactical input is not (yet) as good as her mum's. On the other hand starting out with two firsts showed promise. And she did seen to like rope a lot. And wind.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Green Park, green parks

Arrived a bit early for a breakfast meeting and so had a few moments sitting here in London's Green Park which links Parliament with Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly.

So many parks are what makes London special and, in a week where research has confirmed how important play is for learning, it is properly food for thought about school designs: space, play, tranquility - it is so easy to scrape an informal amphitheatre into the earth while the groundwoks are being done, and many schols i work with have made really great use of the outdoor as well as the indoor space . .

Friday, 7 September 2007

Little acorns... big trees

So, here we all are at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in London - with colleagues from Australia, China, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Wales... the result of a lot of hard work which has now grown significantly from that earlier fragmented conversation (see In Bafta - below) via Skype and mail and so on before the Summer.

I think this group of pioneers may well be the beginning of a mass of cohorts of teachers in schools, all working together to improve their schools, with research support from children and parents. The result of that improvement will be a whole cohort of staff graduating with a professional Doctorate before passing the baton on, so to speak, to the next cohort from the school to move the place forward again...

As before, not the most exciting picture in the world but flip (!) quite an exciting prospect!!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007


Arrived at the BBC's Television Centre for am interview on their BBC1 Breakfast programme and sat chatting in the green room with Childbirth expert and Identity Card chap (both on before me) who had great expertise and were fascinating. Of course, for the show, we all do our 5 minutes on the sofa which is great for awareness raising I guess...

... but I do worry about where the in-depth debate happens nowadays. . . all the issues we covered this morning deserved a lot more exploration somewhere else. Mind you, I was amazed that SO many people saw the interview - the BBC really does reach out across the nation, doesn't it?.

Monday, 3 September 2007

BBC outside broadcasts (2)

Doing an interview this moring on the BBC's flagship Radio 4 Today programme (it was all a bit rushed - the Prime Minister earlier had gone on a bit, so time was tight...) but it was nice while waiting to reflect on how easy this all is these days - no more driving to Broadcasting House (and entering through the door that says "Let nation speak unto nation" over it), no more ISDN Studio in Chelmsford.. just Skype, a decent Samsung microphone and a bit of bandwidth and it's all done from home - intimate chat with John Humphrys and all!

Now... back to my email- (and there is plenty of that! Nation appears to be speaking unto nation pretty well

Size matters (2)

Back to working properly today - it's September now - and it's time I finished my (slightly overdue) Guardian column "Back and Forth" which this time has a hand-held technology theme. So I toddled up to the attic and dug out my first mobile phone - this is it (!) - and it weighed a ton.

A good freind at the UK's education policy department (currently named Department for Children, Schools and Families) reminded me the other day that it is now 20 since I plonked a "mobile" phone down on his desk and commented that a significant part of learning's future was right there...

As you see, the technology has come on a fair bit since, but I'm not sure to be honest that policy has - schools are still, in many cases, confiscating them!!

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Smack and barge race

As usual, there was a big crowd in Brightlingsea watching the 7 a.m. start of the annual smack and barge race. A big fleet of smacks - with a few of our Cracker crew on board this year - fought for a good start. There days the smacks are tuned and rigged to race and many of them carry some serious sail areas, carefully set.

It's good to see a town turn out at dawn to watch too - a proper sense of community. Seaside towns are special places aren't they?

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A perfect end

Work for me shuts down for August - as you will have deduced from the phone blog (!) and sailing dominates. Lys is sunning herself in Le Touquet!. But it's the end of August and we have just arrived back in Brightlingsea to enjoy the Mirror dinghy National Championship and to race in the complex annual "Round the Islands" race (three islands, any order, any direction... hmmm, tricky) - we were second this year (nearly, so nearly).

But arriving back after a long delivery trip from Cowes we were greeted by this end-of-the-day vista of our home port. Sunset at the end of a long voyage, a fab August and a real sense of back to home and work - both of which I enjoy hugely.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Fog. . .

I really do hate sailing in fog although in the summer it usually means a lovely day later. It has almost gone here - blue sky above already.

It is the way that things appear so suddenly: buoys, rocks, ships, Kraken. . . or in this case a helicopter. Fog masks sounds so that a buoy appearing with its bell clanging is very sudden - despite the boat bristling with electronics so that there are really no surprises, the effect is always a bit scary - esp on our UK East coast where the buoys often have sound chambers operated by waves which sound very spooky - "whooooaaaooo".

Luckily this fog bank cleared before we crossed Dover with all those fast ferries (and they are REALLY fast. The rest of the day was sun, wind and a fair sail home (at last!) from Eastbourne to Bightlingsea

Friday, 24 August 2007

Diversity works - boats, schools et al

Taking time out as we waited for the gales to subside - popped into Gurnard to watch the Prince of Wales trophy race for International 14 dinghies - one of the world's oldest development sailing classes. As a development class they are always trying for new ideas and the class is a wonderful confection of carbon and ingenuity.

Like learning, sailing has a huge number of variables - the physics of it is fascinating, but so is the meteorology, the tactics, the engineering, the teamwork and the battle against sometimes really horrid elements of wind and waves. Of course teams vary too - in the Int 14s there are many solutions to the single measure of success (ie "did we win") and the boats look very different, but perform in very similar ways; some conditions suit one solution, others suit a different "recipe" of the known ingredients of design.

It is just the same in designing schools - and here of course there are many and more complex measures of success (self esteem, exams, engagement and so many more). It is SO clear that one size does NOT fit all, and yet I keep meeting people who would seek to impose "one way" of doing things on learners.

Maybe they too should take time out to look at the International 14s?

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Hurricane season?

After a week's classic boat racing up on the East Coast in our 1939 Brightlingsea One Design we returned to Cowes to sail Cracker back home only to be trapped by some really horrid gales and rain - and this was in August!
Moored (if that is the word in gales like these) in Shepards Wharf on the Medina we looke across to Don's boat on the pontoon outside ours - his Iolare at 103 years old was struggling with huge standing waves - this isn't the best image - the boat was porpoising, but so was the pontoon so I had a bit of trouble getting near enough!!. But just ciount the bow ropes he had to rig to try to hold her down...

A couple of boats rank on their moorings during this storm - and we were quite pleased that we didn't get away - the gale in Dover (on our route home) registered 50 knots!! Some summer.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

English summer

So, after Cowes we dashed East to race our old 1939 Brightlingsea one design in Pyfleet Week. Unusually for the East Coast we had gales and some rain. Here is Lys's lovely lad Harry enjoying the rain. Irrepressable kids, aren't they? The Bucket Hat may be the fashion hit of 2007, given the summer we have had. . .

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Instant community. . .

It's amazing how quickly communities can form when there is a common interest. We are rafted with 6 others for Cowes Week, one of countless similar 'columns' all over town. We - Dutch, French, English, Scots - all follow each other's results, hopes, dreams, tragedies and more. But after 8 exhausting races we will be gone. Until next year. . .

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Going up

Here in Cowes Week with almost 1,000 other raceboats - surely one of the biggest sailing regattas in the world and huge, huge fun.

The racing in Class 3 is very competitive - lots of pro teams and a great standard. We are pleased to be doing well but are still finding little details to give up more speed. Here David - one of our bow team - is up our big carbon mast fixing a few details. Proper brave and yes, it is as high as it looks!

Friday, 3 August 2007

Size matters?

Well. Cowes Week starts tomorrow and we are down serf doing all the prep needed for a thousand boat regatta. We have 53 boats in our class 3 but there are some whopping boats here too. As you see our trusty white van is dwarfed by the behemoths around it. Cowes gets bigger every year - so do the boats and now so do the vans! Should be a fab week, watch this phoneblog. . . .

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Caribbean meets Atlantic

Airfields don't get much prettier than this. I'm in the British Virgin Isles (BVI) to help their education team a little. With the progress we are making in the Cayman Isles the whole region is noticing, and excited. Since the caibbean is built on community, ingenuity and stability it is potentially a very exciting region for learning, isn't it?. At this Beef Island airfield planes land right where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. Geography fans will be noting characteristically conical volcanic shapes that make up islands out here.

Between June and September we are in hurricane season - and I'm here in July, so many boats are tucked well away in lagoons inland. It is rather strange to be driving along inshore and to suddenly see clusters of tall sailboat masts behind trees!

Fish n chips in Miami

...and as you see the chaps here have not quite got the hang of it. No chips! But on the other hand lots of lemons. Must be a new world healthy version? Or maybe not - i didn't risk the luminous sauces.

I'm sitting here nibbling the above in a South Beach marina and looking out on the boats (no surprise there then). Nearest to me is a smallish fishing boat but with three whopping 300hp engines (3 of them!!!) so either the fish here are jolly big (eg whales, Kraken etc) or the local gentlemen have some other (ahem) hobby. Where are Crockett and Tubs when you need them? Mind you, they were driving a Ferrari on a police salary so maybe everyone here does a bit of "fishing" - or is this a just case of life aping fiction?

Friday, 27 July 2007

Bar ceiling. . .

Now, it IS rare to be staring up at a bar ceiling but still stone cold sober (which I am).

But divers + sailors in, visitors to, and travellers across, the Caribbean all habitually celebrate their stay with painted driftwood, rocks and so on. Hence me and my phone looking up at this ceiling of the Beach Nuts Good Time Bar on Little Cayman (pop 150).