Wednesday, 21 October 2009
This is a (slightly-edited) conversation from my friend Tabitha this week [names have been changed]. She's a Mum with an eleven year old boy who many of us agree is really pretty bright. That is, he's always ahead of the other children his age, but no-one at his school has ever tried to measure his intelligence or aptitudes . . .
" . . . . It feels a little pretentious calling one's son "gifted" but according to the government website definition . . . . I believe he falls into that category and I will at very least be in contact with Head of Year 7 accordingly. (Interestingly he has already dropped the word "gifted" into conversation with regard to ' Johnny and computers' at least twice at the Year 7 Parent Teacher meeting.)
I've had enough of having to tell Johnny to "keep his mouth shut" about his knowledge at school, and with teaching staff always referring to what I see as his rather remarkable talents as a "problem".
The rhetoric seems to be there on the official website - in practice I have yet to see [it]. Certainly when I (and my mother before me) [were] at school no such thinking was in place. It was criminal the hours, days and years I wasted at school (and even at college) bored out of my brain knowing I was capable of far greater challenges. I remember wasted English lessons in Scotland being forced to spend an entire "lesson" watching 15 year old boys in my class getting the belt - boys who were roaring with laughter and . . . etc. When I think back to all the dreadful so-called "lessons" I sat through wishing I was elsewhere it makes me so angry.
Not just that, the secondary school where I sat my A levels lost my course work, claimed I had not attended exams which I had . . . . and failed me in music when the invigilator, nasty pervert, had for 2 years . . . . when the two of us were alone in the room.
God knows how I was so shy I thought I should not say anything, just thinking back to those days makes me feel like . . . - and demanding some recourse from the school for all their failings.
Ah well, that was then, this is now, and I am hopeful this secondary school will prove more suitable than the primary he attended.
I am increasingly convinced that I also have a duty to Johnny to stick my neck out a bit.
On a day when [Gordon] Brown reminds the nation of words of a former US president, I too must think of the wisdom in the words "If not me then who, if not now then when . . . ."
Every school in the UK is eligible for this extra funding. It will provide resources for any children at their school who may be Gifted and Talented. Click on my post header above to go to a list of resources. Your child may be one of these . . . Do you want to help them ?
Saturday, 17 October 2009
Within the past few weeks in my own family we've had someone who 'all of a sudden' realised she had a brand-new lump on the breast. Cue utmost anxiety, fear, gut-wrenching waiting for the emergency hospital visit to the specialist.
She says that after the testing they took her to the little room at the end of the corridor. You know, the one where they break the bad news. They waited, and the doctor told her 'It's just a cyst; we can drain it and you can go home.'
I was thinking of her this morning as I read Aida Edemariam's article in the Grauniad, about Maggie's Room. It's astonishing that someone's come up with the idea of a place where you feel very comfortable at hospital, find a quiet corner where you can chill and have a cup of tea at your own pace, talk to the medical folks if you want or just come to terms, in a comfy environment, with the news many of us most dread, 'You've got a terminal disease'.
I was once a builder, and am pretty surprised that some of the biggest names in British architecture are involved in designing these 'comfy places' at many hospitals in the UK. Susan rang (really) just as I finished the article and turned the page, wondering whether it was time for a cup of tea. I told her to buy the Guardian, and read the article. You can too, by clicking on the title above.
Friday, 9 October 2009
Sunday, 4 October 2009
I found a fun explanation on the 'Net, of the way to organise all my open desktop windows EASILY on my Mac. Click on the blog post title, as always, and enjoy the cruise through the techie stuff.
I must say this is all VERY easy to use, once you know it's there. And boy oh boy, it does really simplify my computer time. A LOT . . .
I'm doing PhotoShop, Safari (Internet Explorer on a Mac), iTunes, Mail, Finder (eight open windows, as I'm looking for old documentary photos), System Preferences, Scanner window, Printer dialogue box, Address Book, and Pages (Apple's version of Word).
That's a lot of windows. I can HIDE every one, and then see wnat I've got open by going to a corner of my screen with the cursor. Voila ! There's all my open windows, and when I click on the thumbnail, that becomes the active 'full-screen-size' window. Sooooo easy, but I think PC's don't have this, do they ? Click on the title, as always . . .
Saturday, 3 October 2009
The Review section of the Guardian has done a superb job with Jenny Turner's review of not merely the sequel to H2G2, but a coherent explanation of where the H2G2's original author Douglas Adams was 'coming from', ie where he got the ideas, and how these ideas elided so well with the late Seventies' & early Eighties' technological zeitgeist, as we who were there remember. She's immersed herself in what is now an alien literary landscape of 'the future as seen in the 70's' and as looked at from the perspective of now. It's dated and clunky, but logical. Whether I actually buy Colfer's sequel 'And another thing' is immaterial. I so loved this review, for re-visiting the past with such clarity. It is a fabulous read, and I forgot my sardine sandwich until I'd lapped up every word . . . As always, click on the title . . .
You COULD go to
for a very technical explanation. Or, in the Guardian this morning Julian Glover shows us a BLUE graphic of the UK. The Tories will sweep the board, if we just hide under the duvet. Click on the blog post title.
Next week the mainstream party I'm a member of is selecting candidates for next May's local London elections. The most alarming sight has been the casual littering of my Google search with BNP (the fascist British National Party) sites, all talking about election issues. That can't be good . . .
Marc Vallee is a photojournalist. His website has pretty useful stuff on what Section 44 means, and how to cope with people (NOT always police, sometimes just opinionated security guards or (shock !) ordinary members of the public) who think you MIGHT BE doing something wrong. Or, they just want to spoil your fun.
As always, click on the title to go to . . .
It seems there's lots of us photographers who are sailing close to the wind re: this Section 44 (or is it section 58A ?) of the Terrorism Act 2000, and section 76 of the 2008 Act. Click on the post title above, to go to the British Journal of Photography site . . . Thanks, Vikki . . .