Friday, 31 October 2014

Socially irresponsible

We're doing the tourist thing for a few days in the heart of England. 

Yesterday was torture at Alton Towers and today we're halfway through a day of industrial heritage. 

If I owned Alton Towers I'd want to maximise the social sharing being done by guests. It's a theme park where experience is what it's all about.  I'd want pictures of people pumped with adrenaline and videos of people trying to walk in a straight line after their inner ear balance control had become confused by a disorienting ride. I'd want Twitter and Facebook to be stuffed with images of people winning things, eating candy floss and conquering terrifying rides. 

People obviously need access to the internet to make this possible. We found that the 3G signal was very poor, perhaps due to the sheer volume of people. Alton Towers think they've overcome this by providing WiFi via The Cloud. What they don't realise is how shockingly bad this WiFi provision is. I'm an oversharer and I spent most of my day frustrated with lack of internet connection. I'd be flipping between a failure to connect via 3G and a failure to connect to the WiFi. 

I struggle to understand why the Alton Towers team haven't fixed this connection issue because social sharing is fantastic low cost advertising. 

The picture service they offer delivers your purchased image to a website. There is promotional material everywhere for this feature. It's just a shame they didn't think to invest in the infrastructure to support this functionality.

Today, by contrast, we've been in a museum which has zero 3G signal but free, good WiFi with no sign in required.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Today was Bring Your Child To Work Day.

I imagine that there are some companies where that could be quite a dull affair.  This is where working for an automotive giant has it's advantages.

Now if Hannah had shadowed Dave or me I'm pretty sure she would have found it rather boring but fortunately the Educational Outreach team organised a brilliant day.

Hannah's day included clay modelling vehicles in the Design showroom; a tour of the anechoic chamber (I'll let you look that up); checking out the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) labs; the hot and cold testing rooms (including consumption of an ice lolly); something to do with one of the largest 3D printers in the world (who knew); a plastic moulding thingamabob; a canteen lunch including spotted dick and custard; a hot chocolate in Costa (my treat); checking out cobbles on the test track in a Transit; and what Hannah assures me was the best bit - zooming around the track in a Focus RS.

Hannah has now seen more of Ford Motor Company than I have.  I'm officially jealous.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Tesco troubles

Tonight I was doing an online shop to arrive for later in the week.

The Tesco website kept crashing and throwing error pages at me left, right and centre.

I always, foolishly, assume that problems like that are my fault.  I mean how can a major operator like Tesco who rely so heavily on the online shopper possibly have website issues?

I was blaming the Wifi, Apple, user error, in fact anything except Tesco.  It took so much longer to do the shop than normal and was incredibly frustrating.

A conversation later with hubby meant I needed to change the time of the delivery.

Back onto the hideous website and I must have tried 50 times before quitting.  The page I needed just would not load.

I cracked and called Tesco who took far longer than normal to answer the phone.  I explained what I needed help with and they coughed to "systems problems" which were so bad that they couldn't help me and they suggested I try fixing things later.  The IT team were "on it" and a resolution in an hour was likely.

I suggested that to avoid frustrating customers it might be a nice touch to for their IT team to pop a message on the website letting people know there are issues and recommending people come back later.

I got told that it wasn't the IT team that "put stuff on the website".  So I told my obstreperous Tesco employee that I understood how web authoring worked and perhaps it would be an idea to get someone from the authoring team on the case.

I then said my goodbyes and noticed that the Grocer had awarded Tesco "Onine Supermarket of the Year".  I took to Twitter and tweeted the Grocer's editor, Julia Glotz, and The Grocer's main account suggesting the award be rescinded.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Cutting the cost of motoring

So the Government wanted to cut the cost of motoring for the young.  It's a noble aim and one that I should be behind 100% because it helps to keep me in a job.
There are many ways that this could have been tackled:
  • Scrap VAT on cars
  • Remove VAT from fuel.
  • Reduce fuel duty.
  • Waive the VAT for driving lessons.
All of these would have a significant impact but none of these were the chosen policy.  The Tories have chosen to reduce the cost of a provisional licence from £50 to £34, a whole £16 back in the pockets of young people who are learning to drive.
This saving is less than the cost of a driving lesson, estimated by the in 2013 to be £24.
It's less than the cost of a tank of fuel.
I'm not convinced the Government was that serious about helping young people with the cost of motoring.  If they were, they'd have tried a bit harder.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Christmas present idea

I have a suggestion if you are stuck for a present idea for your little, or even your big, darling.
The Sphero is a unique toy that children and adults will enjoy.  It costs about £80 and you'll probably want to buy a "nubby" to protect it costing (an over-priced) £16 ish.
The recipient will need access to an iPod, smartphone or tablet to be able to operate it.
I'll leave you to Google it and find out more (try  Purchases can be made in many places, but Amazon and Firebox probably deserve a mention.
You'd get more of a sales pitch if I was on commission.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Always read the small print

Apparently the EU wants quite a bit of money from us, and they wan't it quite soon.
It's our fault.  It was in the terms and conditions, we just didn't realise.  Well we did have a clue and never questioned the situation when it was advantageous for us, but now it's less advantageous we're having second thoughts.
Many of us get ourselves into financial arrangements and we all know it's important to check the terms and conditions.
I struggle a little with the fact that this situation has come as a big surprise to David Cameron. But it's OK because he got angry and said he wasn't going to pay by the December 1st deadline.
So, given that the Prime Minister can see fit to renege on an agreement and pretend he didn't understand the terms and conditions he was signing up to, does that mean we can all do that?
Can I turn around to my mortgage company and say "Naff off"?
No, I can't.
Cameron should set a good example.  I'm appalled by his childish strop.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Early onset stupidity

So the Government have set aside £5million to spend on rewarding doctors for diagnosing dementia patients.  For the next six months doctors will receive £55 for every dementia patient they diagnose.
Well the Government believe this incentive will increase the number of dementia patients who get a diagnosis.
Really?  Does that mean that doctors aren't very good at their jobs?
That's a good question.  I think it means the Government don't think doctors do a good job which isn't exactly the same thing as saying that doctors aren't very good at their jobs.
So, does the Government think that doctors don't know how to diagnose dementia?
Well if the Government thought that then one imagines the £5million budget reserved for this would be spent on training.
Good point.  So does the Government think that doctors are just lazy and can't be bothered to diagnose dementia?
Difficult to say really what the Government thinks because this policy make no sense at all unless one assumes that doctors are so lazy that they need a £55 incentive to do their job.
OK, do we think doctors will fiddle the books and diagnose dementia amongst patients who don't have dementia?
Well I have a better opinion of doctors than that and I think they will just continue to do their jobs in the same way as the were in the last six months but with more money in their pay packets.
So you think this is just a waste of money?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Daily Fail

This appeared in the Daily Mail in 1969 (credit to The Media Blog on Twitter).

Some things don't seem to change.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Anarchy in the UK

I was listening to the radio, I think it was the Museum of Curiosities or something equally middle class and from the  Radio 4 stable. 

I recall hating the radio that my parents chose and yet I have fallen into half of their listening, the Radio 4 half. I console myself with the thought that at least I don't listen to Radio 3. 

As I listened to the programme I thought I heard the name of a history professor: Anna Key. I thought that was the perfect name for a history professor in the UK. If my surname was Key and I needed a name for a daughter then Anna would be that name. No middle name required.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Scientific madness

Looking around schools to choose the perfect school for one's child leads one to conjure tricky questions for the poor teachers having to be salespeople for the day/evening.

I don't think it's a stretch to ask teachers to sell.  I think that's effectively their job; they need to sell children an education and more than a passing interest in the subject they are being taught. 

But on open days I've taken to asking questions about science, and what I've learned is frankly shocking. Excuse me while I launch into "In my day...", but, when I was a lass if you had an aptitude for science then you chose which of the science subjects that appealed and those were the exams you took. 

I was a geek and choose Physics, Chemistry and Biology.  If I had been interested in just Biology then I could take just Biology. If I was more of a humanities or languages specialist then I could choose to study General Science which was one subject studied at a low level but providing a taste of Science. 

By the time children are choosing their subjects they will have tasted the sciences as separate subjects and they will know what they like and what they're good at. Most schools today offer compulsory Double Science. This is rather like the old-fashioned General Science subject but to a higher level and is counted as two GCSEs. Some schools may make an option for a less involved exam that is slightly less involved, just core Science, and counts as one exam. If a child shows an aptitude for science then most schools will force then into choosing Triple Science comprising Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Whist this is studied as one exam choice it actually provides three grades in the individual sciences. The bizarre thing is though that it seems that the sub-subjects are joined and cannot be split. 

Triple Science is the subjects bundled together. At many schools it seems impossible to choose just Physics or just Biology and Chemistry. This seems to me to be madness. 

I have a daughter who loves Physics, likes Chemistry but hates Biology. Most schools would force her to take Triple Science but she would want to study Physics and Chemistry.

Why are we forcing our more able students to be generalists? Why are we forcing children to take subjects they don't want to study? If someone has an aptitude for Geography and History we don't force them to study Religious Studies. It's madness.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Free e-magazines

It's taken me a while to figure this out, which is why I'm sharing with you.

If you are a member of Essex libraries (and probably other library services) you can get free access to tons of magazines.

The first thing to do is go to the library website.  For Essex it's here:

Click on the magazines link, browse and log in - this is the bit where you need a library account.  If your forgotten your password it's usually set as your six digit birthdate.

You then need a Zinio account which you create by clicking the Create Account button.

To read your magazines you'll need the Zinio app or you can read in the browser.  Getting the app is easy on iPad and Android tablet but takes a bit more effort on a Kindle.  You can view in browser on a laptop or desktop but a tablet is more magaziney.

On the Kindle you need to visit this url:

Click to download and then you'll need to install it.  To find the file you've downloaded you need to open a browser.  On the left at the top of the screen there will be three horizontal bars.  If you click on this you'll have the option to view downloads.  Choose the zinio download and click it and choose install.  Once installed you'll see it in the choices from your apps menu.

Once you have the app installed you can log in and access hundreds of magazines.

It's brilliant and it's free. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sloe gin

Made a bit of sloe gin today. Here's how.

You'll need sloes. This is what they look like. Rather like blueberries but on trees. They do not taste like blueberries!

Wash, dry and use or wash, dry and freeze to use later. Before using the sloes they need defrosting. It's important the skin of the sloes is broken. Freezing and defrosting can help this but you can also use a needle to puncture the skin.

My defrosting sloes:

You'll need gin, any gin is fine.

You'll need sterilized jars or bottles. I used gin bottles and Kilner type jars. I discovered that putting Kilner jars in the oven can cause them to crack so I recommended the dishwasher sterilisation method. Top shelf without any detergent should sterilise jars and seals. 

I use jars or bottles with a 1.5 liter capacity. In these jars put:

1 litre of gin
450g sloes
350g sugar

Put the lid on and turn it a few times.

Put in a dark place and turn every day for the first week. For each following week just turn once a week.

After eight weeks strain the gin through a muslin into sterilized bottles. Screw top or flip top bottles are fine.

Then leave it. The longer you leave it the better.

I'm at the jar in dark cupboard stage.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Cracking school day

Hannah had something called an enrichment day today at school.  This, for the uninitiated, seems to be a jolly good excuse for larking around doing something other than a regular school day.
Today was all about cryptography and required Pringles tubes.  Pringles tubes we can do.  Cryptography content was provided by the educational outreach chap from Bletchley Park, Tom, and an "old girl" in more than one sense.  Mary used to go to Hannah's school but was also one of the amazing Bletchley Park team during the war.
My school days were never this exciting.  Hannah says that not all of her school friends were as enthusiastic as she was but Hannah had a great time.
Hannah started by cracking codes but she also made an Enigma machine using paper and a Pringles tube, and she got to use a real Enigma machine.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the day though was listening to Mary talking about her recruitment from Oxford and the way she signed up to take part without having a clue what she was agreeing to.  She even signed the Official Secrets Act before the nature of the work was disclosed to her.
I'd have liked school to be like this every day.  It certainly beats cross country running across  footpaths of Devon clay and History lessons with the bearded teacher with rancid body odour.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Privacy policy

I have a Flickr account.  I use it as a backup in case the Mac, external drive and NAS drive fail, basically in case the house burns down.  I've uploaded historical family photos and more recent holiday photos - over 7,000 images.
I've previously set the privacy settings on these photos to be public.  There's nothing I've uploaded that I'm not happy with anyone seeing.
Dave has recently started scanning photos from our pre-digital albums and I've been storing these on Flickr too.
There was some pictures of us at the beach from 20 years ago so I just checked with Dave that he was happy with the public privacy setting.  He wasn't.  In fact he wasn't happy with any photos I'd uploaded being publicly available.
I checked this statement.  Even landscapes and pictures of buildings?  Yes, even those.
These are our photos, they aren't mine or his.  So I've felt that I've had to change the access to these photos; all of them.
I'm not happy.  I think it's an overreaction. But I can't think of a way around it that keeps us both happy.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Sometimes everything works and I appear beautifully organised.

Today at 4:00pm Sainsbury called asking if they could deliver earlier than the booked 7-8pm slot.

My answer was that that was fine but I wouldn't be getting in until 5:15pm.  Just as my caller was explaining that was OK, I stopped him to explain I'd be going out again at 5:45pm.  He said he'd be outside at 5:15pm.

I got home at 5:00pm.  Jacket potatoes were perfectly cooked having been put in the oven in the morning with the oven timer set to turn the oven off at 5:00pm.  I heated up a filling, served it up on plates just as Hannah and Ethan walked in through the door at about 5:08pm.

The Sainsbury delivery driver rang the doorbell at 5:10pm.  He said he was impressed at my organisation.  He'd seen the children arrive two minutes earlier and now he could see them eating their dinner.

I put the shopping away, said goodbye to the delivery driver, got changed and walked Ethan to football practice which starts at 6:00pm.

I then walked home, cooked dinner, ate with Dave who arrived just before I served up.

I then left the house again to collect Ethan from football and brought him home so that he could shower and do his homework, due in tomorrow.

Next Wednesday though is a different story.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Unlikely bedfellows

I like the Channel 4 series Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners.  It teams people who tend towards Obsessive Compulsive Disorder behaviours with hoarders and people who either don't know how to, or can't be bothered to, clean their home.

These people are polar opposites and the premise for the show is that these two different people can enjoy a brief symbiotic relationship; the obsessive learns that letting go a little isn't disastrous and the hoarder learns that it is possible to de-clutter and clean house.

The pairings aren't always successful but often they are with both participants gaining from the experience.

It made me wonder whether there are other unusual bedfellows that might benefit from exposure to an opposite.  The only one I could conjure was the mixture of an agoraphobic and claustrophobic.  I wonder if there are others.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Genius plan

Vic and I came up with a plan today. 

To be fair it was Vic's idea but I ran with it and semi-claimed it. If there was any money in it I'd already have taken a solo trip to the patent office. 

The idea is a Lego lending library. 

The pleasure of Lego, for some, is the build. The more complicated the better. The problem with this is that complicated Lego sets aren't cheap and they take up space. 

A lending library with perhaps a borrowing fee overcomes the need to purchase and store but still provides the borrower with the build pleasure. 

Being the sort of person who likes to strike while the iron is hot I got onto the interweb and found a nice chap called Steve doing "chat" on the Essex library website. No, not that sort of chat. 

Steve was a bit rubbish. He told me some libraries already do this and shared a link to prove it. The link he shared was about American libraries. I wasted no time pointing out this faux pas. 

Anyway, Steve reckoned I needed to discuss my "genius" idea with Sarah. (I coined the "genius" tag.) So Sarah, Head of Children's Services, has my idea in her inbox awaiting deliberation.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Wine aficionado

Stuart recommended an app to help when choosing wine.  I tested it over the weekend and am a fan. 

The app is Vivano. It allows you to scan a wine bottle label and if it has details of the wine in its database then it'll tell you more than the label will. 

You'll find out what should expect to pay for a bottle, whether it's deemed to be a good wine for that vineyard, region, country our indeed globally. You can add your own notes so that you remember where you bought the wine and you can see reviews by other people. 

On Friday I scanned loads of bottles and came away with one white and one red bottle that were rated well at all levels. We've had the opportunity to try both bottles and, whilst I'm no expert, they were both excellent. So I recommend trying the app.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

For your little darlings

Hannah's school recommends a website and I'm sure other schools recommend it too. I'd never heard of it before but it sounded interesting.

If your little darling has vocabulary that needs memorising or spellings that need learning then you can pre-load the website with the information and it will create tests. Hannah's teachers use it to create tests for the class and Hannah uses it to create her own learning tools.

If only this had been available when I was at school I wouldn't have flunked German.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Posh bread and butter pudding

This month saw my first ever bread and butter pudding. I chose Nigella's posh version. 

  • A loaf of brioche (400g) 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar 
  • 1 cup milk (I used skimmed) 
  • 1 cup cream (I've used double and whipping but I'm sure single is fine too) 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • Large handful of raisins (or sultanas) 
  • Marsala wine (or sherry or port or whisky or brandy) 

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC fan oven. 
  • Soak raisins in your chosen booze. 
  • Slice and butter the brioche (you don't need to use butter, olive or sunflower spread is fine)
  • Grease a large baking dish using butter or margarine or spread suitable for baking 
  • Pop the buttered brioche into the baking dish starting at one end overlapping the pieces so that the tops of the slices stand a little proud. 
  • In a bowl mix eggs, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla. 
  • Scatter the raisins over the brioche slices and any excess booze can be tipped over the top too. 
  • Pour the egg and cream mixture over your brioche. 
  • Bake for 30 mins. 

Best served with custard.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


I'm the first to admit I'm not perfect but why don't you tell me? 

I made another savoury cake this evening using the recipe I blogged about a while ago. As I was reading the method for the recipe I noticed a typo. Instead of the word whisked a spellchecker had assumed I meant whacked. 

I didn't mean whacked. Whacking an egg mixture makes no sense at all. I've been in and edited it but I know some of you read it and just glossed over the error. Please don't. 

I type my blog either on a Mac using Mars Edit software, on a Kindle using a notes app which then allows me to send the post by email to the blog as a draft, or using the Blogger app on my iPhone. Sometimes I'll use Blogger natively in a browser but rarely. 

Often I'm blogging when tired and I don't do any proof reading or checking. Sometimes my eye will catch a mistake but it'll be by luck, not judgement. I don't like typos though. I would much rather present something that doesn't contain mistakes. 

I live with the formatting inconsistency because I don't know how to fix that over the many platforms I use. I only live with the typos because I don't know about them, which is where I'd like your help. 

If you spot a mistake then please leave a comment, or text me, or email me, or phone me, or tap me on the shoulder and talk to me. 

Thank you.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Appearances count

We are doing the rounds of school open evenings and went to one recently that didn't make the best impression, unfortunately.

We arrived early and nipped into the IT department to kill time before the head teacher's speech.

There was no teacher around and when I started to look at a particular screen I was told by a pupil that it was the work of someone in Year 9.

The pupil left us to browse and Ethan and I started to critique the website that was on display.  

Capital letters were not used where they should have been.  Spelling was poor.  Formatting was inconsistent.  Grammar was incorrect.  The overall look of the site was passable though.  Although we were looking at the site together, I said what I was thinking, and I said it made me wonder about the school if they were presenting work of this standard.

Ethan has rejected this school based on this tiny insight into the school ethos.  If they can't be bothered to correct these things on work that is being showcased during an open evening then can they really be bothered by anything?

It's a shame.  We had a great experience in some of the other classrooms and there was some "newness" in the head teacher's speech that was interesting and innovative.

I have explained to Ethan that that particular piece of work being on display could be indicative of an inclusive environment, where everyone's contributions are valued and it isn't just the top percentage of students who get to see their work on display.

But appearances count.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Bakewell tart that isn't

This can't possibly be a tart because it has no pastry, but for me this is its appeal. 

Pastry just adds time and complicates a recipe and there are some diners who detest the stuff, happily cutting it off and leaving it at the side of the plate. 

I can understand this behaviour in the gluten intolerant crowd but there are those who see pastry as an unnecessary barrier to dessert. If I've bothered to make that pastry then I find this behaviour a little rude. 

I'm not sure about the baking time for this recipe. It requires  45 minutes but kept failing the skewer test so had closer to an hour in the oven. I think that 45 minutes may have resulted in a more marzipan-like texture in the middle. More experimentation may be required. 

You need a flan tin or cake tin of roughly 20cm diameter. This must be well greased. 

  • 150g unsalted butter 
  • 150g granulated sugar (golden granulated our caster is also fine) 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1tsp vanilla extract (don't use that plastic essence stuff) 
  • 150g self raising flour (am sure gluten free works here) 
  • 150g ground almonds 
  • 6 tsp raspberry jam (may be easier to use a conserve that is less set) 
  • 150g fresh raspberries (I used frozen and think this was a mistake - see cooking time comment above) 
  • 50g flaked almonds (or fewer if you have fussy children) 

  • Preheat oven to 160ºC. 
  • Cream butter and sugar. 
  • Beat eggs and vanilla together then whisk into creamed mixture adding a bit of flour to prevent curdling. 
  • Fold in rest of flour and ground almonds (using a metal spoon). The mixture is diabolical at this stage and you will think you've made a mistake. Have faith, stick with it and when it finally combines as a cake mass then stop. 
  • Put just under half of the mixture in the cake/flan dish/tin. 
  • Add the jam trying to distribute evenly ish. 
  • Scatter a few raspberries. 
  • Try and put the remaining mixture on top. This isn't very easy. Do little bits at a time. 
  • Push the rest of the raspberries into the top and scatter with flaked almonds. 
  • Bake for 45 mins or until golden.

Serve with whatever takes your fancy. I like custard.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


In the office this week we were discussing mobile phone contracts and bemoaning the cost of calls. But calls are cheap. 

My dad worked for BT, and before that the GPO and before that the Post Office. 

I never had that childhood experience of getting in from school and then spending hours on the phone with the friends I'd been with all day. 

Phone use in our house was rare because dad knew the cost of calls. 

I distinctly remember that when we made a long distance call to my uncle we drove to dad's office in Torquay to make the call. 

It's one of those things where I can say I know how lucky I am.

Friday, 3 October 2014


My sister-in-law, Shona, got in touch a couple of days ago asking for help with my neice Olivia's homework; could we supply some names of ancestors?

Fortunately we have a family tree on the Cardus side that goes back to 1676, so I could.

The required names were from a couple of generations ago but I emailed across the ridiculously large pdf anyway.

My brother looked at it and found an unusual name: John Mountain Cardus.

I know nothing about John Mountain Cardus but that middle name brings with it expectations of great things. Or perhaps it smacks of unduly ambitious parental expectation.

Either way, Ian Michael Cardus fancies a name change to become Ian Mountain Cardus. I think it might just suit him.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

How to run the perfect school open day.

I've become a bit of an expert, so here goes. Headteachers - are you paying attention? 

Firstly, find advocates. Find school leavers, pupils, teachers, governors and parents who will speak well about the school.  Now these should not be the volunteers our the people that did it last year, they should be passionate about the school, eloquent and comfortable with public speaking. 

The school leavers should be polished individuals who are happily placed at university or in a good job, ideally both. The parents of children who won't go to university want to know the school can achieve academic results. The parents of the academically inclined child want to know that the school offers a rounded education. 

The pupils should be immaculately presented (we like uniform here in the UK) and should be articulate. They should talk about what the school has done for them and how they've grown as individuals. They should talk about enjoying lessons and about the breadth of extra curricular activities. 

Only the best and most inspiring teachers should be allowed to speak. They should be engaging, caring and funny. 

The governors should address the topic of school performance and facilities, briefly and in a positive light. 

Supportive parents should share the pastoral aspects of the school in a way that makes parents believe the school is like an extension of family. 

The head should be inspirational. He or she should talk about achievements with pride but also talk about lofty ambition for further great strides that are being planned. 

Ok, that's the speech done, now the tour when school isn't operating. 

Getting around the school needs to be easy. Ideally parents should be allocated a role model pupil as a flexible tour guide. This special pupil will know every inch of the school and have key highlights already in mind but will adapt the tour to the specific interests of the parents and children they're guiding. 

All classrooms will have interactive areas with staff and pupils who will behave as though they have been on a sales  training course. They'll actively engage parents and children in conversation. They'll have prepared a sales pitch which they will modify based on the questions and reactions of the parents and children touring the school. 

The approach required for tours when school is operating is somewhat different and may be covered at another time. 

(Typos are the result of attending to many open days.)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


Tomorrow evening we were all set to go and look around a local secondary school.  I say we, but actually I mean Ethan and I were.

This evening I reminded Dave about this, which meant he too became all set to visit the same local school.

Then Hannah announces that the tutor evening she mentioned a while ago is actually happening tomorrow, in the evening, at the same time as the open evening at the secondary school.

Well not quite at the same time, but there's a significant overlap.

So we had two places to be, at the same time.

We started to try and choose which activity had the highest priority.  Then Dave decided that we both ought to look around the school.

The problem is that the school open evening started at 5:00 but Dave wouldn't get there until 5:45.  The tutor evening started at 7:00 but was half an hour's drive from the open evening.

The final solution is a game of tag.  I get to the open evening at 5:00 do the tour and then Dave and I will overlap for about 30 minutes and then I'll go to the tutor evening.