Monthly Archives: January 2019

A geography teachers skills can be transferred…

See my latest art blog post for how my geographer roots help my art.

Art post

Fatbike ride 2

So I bought a secondhand Calibre Dune fatbike at the weekend. Today I had decided to go out in the day for my second ride. I had some ideas for a route but how much I did would depend on my fitness.

I live up on a ridge called Houns Tout – I descended through my local village Kingston and took the bridleway past Blashenwell Farm. A rock track where care was needed in places. The lower slope then runs onto Corfe Common and is more undulating. I cycled through the village of Corfe Castle and turned uphill under one of the bridges carrying the Swanage Heritage Railway. Soon I turned off to start the climb up onto the Purbeck Ridge (chalk). I cycled about half the slope which is probably better than I was expecting. I walked the second half until I reached the direction stone. I turned back to ride to the tumulus on East Hill above Corfe Castle. I took some photos on my phone to help with a current piece of art.

Then I cycled eastwards along the ridge. in a couple of places I had to dismount for the slope as well as opening and shutting gates.

I reached the end of the ridge above Ulwell and took a picture before descending.

Descending needed care and attention with small pebbles and rock steps aĺl passed without incident. I continued into Swanage and a refreshment stop at Java Independent Coffee House, a personal favourite.

After my Apricot and Marzipan toasted scone (yummy) and peppermint tea it was time to set off back upto Kingston. This time I would be following the southern Purbeck ridge (limestone). I started on the road then went onto “The Priests Way”. Very muddy in places and lots of gates. I worked my way up feom Swanage behind Langton Matravers and Acton and on towards Worth Matravers. Tiredness was setting in so rather than taking the hillier option from Worth that I had cycled on Sunday. I returned to the top road that runs from Langton to Kingston past several local stone businesses. In Kingston I cycled very slowly by now back up through the village and back along the Houns Tout track that passes our house.

In total 16.4 miles covered and I have rested since except for cleaning the Dune.

In 2019 I want to gradually increase the distances covered and the pace I ride at. Some rides will be more road bases and will use my trail /cross bike. An encouraging start to the year.

Exercise – week three

Germs have dominated week two and also affected week 3. We have got out for some gentle walks in the open air at Durlston and Studland Bay. Walking and being outside has always been good for my mental wellbeing and it offers the chance to look about us at our great surroundings here in Purbeck.

Today I travelled up to Fleet, Hampshire to look at a second hand fatbike, but only 6 months old. It was all that I was expecting, so once home a quick lunch and then out for a first ride.

I set off from home and stayed offroad for the first 4.5 miles. The return journey included more road but despite 4.0 inch tyres the low gearing made it easy to ride. I got wet and muddy and had a great time.

In total an 8 mile ride and there will be more like this soon too.

Reminders – positive ones

On Twitter yesterday a Depuy Head teacher that I used to correspond with about various education ideas remade contact. He commented how he had read my blog up until the point that I left social media for a while as teaching as my core thing imploded. In chatting it made me realise that now after two years I have actually moved on. I have landed very fortuitously living in a coastal area, I have the finance to support our life and when I work I can choose to do things I like.

Today, wondering how it might make me feel I scrolled down through all of my blog posts on here back to 2011 and revisited my 365 photo blog that I started blogging with on a platform called Posterous. Then I imported the content into WordPress and Mishmashlearning was born out of my first experience presenting to education peers at a Teachmeet in Feb. 2012. This caused some reflection on how much went on and changed between 2012 and 2016 for me to leave teaching all together. I wasn’t getting upset which is a relatively new feeling, teaching is over.

I read on through 2012 and the amount of initiatives I was aware of and trying to bring into school while discussing ideas with professionals I admired online and in several cases met at education events in the next four years. I still feel passionate about Solo Taxonomy although I resist applying it to everything I do now, I just know that my enjoyment of learning new skills and ideas has transferred into my boat work and art.

So many thanks Dan B. for a prompt.


Yep, most activity now involves four walls from the insides, knowing where my emergency inhaler is just in case at all times. If doing any physical task, pace, do it slowly. Maybe I could…no, don’t be silly.

No, I am not ill very often and in more recent times more mental health than physical illness so crap at being patient or patience. So mental health wise fine, physical – just keep doing a little more each day if body says yes and today I stayed awake for the whole day .. also had the shortest of walks outside, but what a feeling of achievement.

Normal service to be resumed soon – I am a man so apparently this is how we act.

Parenting after they have left home

We have two sons. One no longer lives at home. He chose a different lifestyle to ours. He is only too willing to dismiss our lifestyle choices. He is an adult.

We have two sons. One no longer lives at home. He has many issues including mental health issues, a drug habit, homeless. he is an adult.

Two statements both true. Do they evoke different responses? Possibly. Key words that get a reaction. Today like on many other occasions a sudden message that he wants us to sort out help for him.

Issues with that;

– we haven’t made direct choices for his actions for at least five years

– he rejects our lifestyle and choices

– when offered help it has to be on his conditions so usually fails very quickly

– lies about current drug situation

– he thinks we have an endless supply of money and influence

– he won’t actually approach for help himself except under his conditions (see above)

Why am I posting this? To be honest I don’t know as I don’t seek answers, I don’t think there is a clear one except that he needs to take responsibility for himself. More of a vent after an afternoon where I became concerned he might “go for” a member of the public because of his mood so ended up in a phone trail to where he was to look after people.

I used to work too much, I may have contributed to his issues but there is no clarity. I just get wound up, snappy with those around me, all for someone for whom my decisions aren’t acceptable but I am expected to help them out while being bombarded with random insults.

I could drive to his side of the country and be there in person and it would just be the same except face to face, no difference.

Loud frustrated scream like noise at this point……

Vent over.

A good way of feeling relaxed – Alpaca walks

Today, Anne took up her birthday gift of an Alpaca walk, she had to cancel back into November due to very strong winds and rain. Today we went to a local centre at Longthorne Farm, just north of Monkey World in Dorset.

We were to walk with Harry and William and Anne was to lead Harry. These two young males get on famously apparently. We were given lots of facts about Alpacas which I admit I generally let roll past me. Very calm animals with “teddy bear”like coats. We were allowed to stroke their necks. William was fairly “talkative” throughout the walk. The biggest noise was the tanks passing to their training grounds, the Alpacas took it into their stride as for them it must be a familiar sound.

When an Alpaca decides it wants to eat, drink, scratch you stop with them, a mind of their own but no mean spiritedness at all. We got to feed them in our return too. When we left I felt incredibly at ease and we will be back again.

Stopping in the cool stream and having a drink.

Time for a group photo.


Harry allowed Anne to stroke his head, William wasn’t keen although he allowed his ears to be stroked.


Feeding for two.

Harry demonstrating how Alpacas settle similarly to a camel.

I have had allergy issues with horses at sanctuaries before that meant I couldn’t visit. The Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic and I had no trouble being around them.

A big thank you from us both to Longthorne, Farm.

Exercise plan (not a resolution) week one

So, today I was up for the third boat out – earlier two due on water at 7.45 am and some edging at 7.15 beforehand – I was asleep. We rowed for just under the hour and lots of technique work which is my focus. Great to be out on the water again especially as the water in the bay was very calm once in the wind shadow of Ballard Down.

This week has gone well, next week meetings clash with training times so I will need to be more proactive. My right knee is unhappy so I shall fit in some exercises where it is not having impact and see how it responds.

Anne and Andy walks

Today the intention was a walk at Studland beach and we did this after some errands in Swanage first and the walk in and back from free parking via the seafront. We then drove to Studland parking at the Knoll beach National Trust car park.

Usually we do an out and back walk on the beach, today we went through the dunes and heather / gorse area and then onto the beach just after the naturist area signs (a bit cold for them we thought). We then returned along the shoreline enjoying the antics of various dogs and their owners.

A small lunch and a piece of napkin art for me (see art blog). Then back home. Between Swanage and Studland we had walked 3.6 miles, an encouraging start to our plans. I did not paddle in the sea but had shorts back on.

This morning;

I went on an additional walk as I woke early and felt the need to get out. I walked from home to Swyre Head and back. It was very frosty and the only other people I saw was a farmer on his tractor and the estate gamekeeper out feeding the pheasants. I took a range of photos to use for art inspiration and walked about 3.2 miles.

For me then just over 10km, my right knee let me know it had worked hard, so rest physically and admin for art to keep me busy.

January 19: Good intentions

January is up and running.

My first commitment Artisans on the Beach has completed bar the wash up feedback meeting. I am tidying the art materials and work pieces away so as to not make too much impact around the house, well trying too.

Thursday night yesterday saw me straight back to men’s training at the rowing club – the beach hut event had not involve a lot of leg work, last nights training did – aching legs today then. I worked harder and achieved more from the session than pre Christmas but still have lots to work on.

The start of the month is a sensible slowdown after Artisans on… including avoiding germs as much as possible. Tomorrow we (Anne and I) hope to start that intention re walks and enjoy some time at Studland beach, maybe even my first paddle of the new year, we will see.

Exercise – I used to keep an array of exercise books as diaries in the past, my solution last night to set up on the iPad a training log where each sheet will cover what I have actually done each month. A sort of GOE record – Glimpses of Exercise to look back on or identify obstacles that disrupted my fitness ideas apart from apathy / laziness.

Onwards …