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Lydney Cricket Club legend, Christine Kear, is the wife and mother of her talented foursome team players: husband and three sons. She knows the meaning of being a ‘cricket widow’ and looks well for it.
I first met her husband, Andy Kear, at Shenstone New College forty years ago. We were the best of friends but where has the time gone? I have lived many lives and traveled the world but to what effect?
I think I may have neglected some important things while working hard trying to be successful.
Do you work long hours? Live for employment? Watch out. It will catch up with you.
Do not be like me in neglecting the quality of life by slaving long hours. What is the impact and outcomes on family and friends?
Personal health and well-being are important.
Stress, pressure and working seven days a week harms. The mantra over these lost years was trying to make the world a better place. A tough budget and solving intractable complex issues was the rationale.
There are alternatives. In June walking along a jetty in the yacht marina at Lorient, I saw a desirable tee shirt with the motif, ‘Sail More. Work Less.’
It’s too late now. I think Carol King sang about that in the 1960’s.
Now here is the rub. Catching up with Andy and Christine Kear last week in the Forest of Dean was my salvation. A dazzling epiphany led to a personal redemption. New realisations came from this reunion. Now it is going to be more sailing and less work.
Friendship like team spirit, ethos and excellent morale in winning organisations involves:
Shared, common values,
Neglect these at your peril. Friends are important. Have you got anything to add?
A sophisticated networker with a can-do, get up and go attitude, Tom has linked up with some of the best organisations in the region: Bendrigg Lodge, the Calvert Trust and Lancaster University to support his daring bid.
I caught up with Tom and his father, Peter Green, on a wet August morning orienteering just south ofSkiddaw at the Calvert Trust.
The family and carers are strong advocates in encouraging hard work, self-reliance and independence. Tom is not the sort of person who sits around waiting for things to happen. His drive, enthusiasm and great personality have helped deliver a range of successful outdoor charity fundraising events.
A powerful driver that has facilitated engagement with the wider community is his Lancashire County Council care package. Despite having the capability and potential, Tom is frustrated by the lack of engagement by national brand names employers to offer real work opportunities. What is happening here?
The heritage of commitment and endeavour is part of Tom’s DNA. As a teenager, he represented his school at regional and national games. Adventurous outdoor activities are his oxygen, and the motivation is experiencing the thrill.
Tom needs a full-time employment opportunity. I guarantee you; he and his carer will succeed and be successful if there was a chance. Can you help?
Impressionist painters loved the light of Southern Brittany. Crossing the Bay of Biscay on mid-summer's night at sunset, the boat sailed through intense and mesmerising golden light. During early morning and at dusk, on hot clear days, this creates a sense of awe and wonder. As in biblical and spiritual stories, this phenomena moves the soul. Angels, gods and goddesses live in this world.
When the gods hid, weather fronts zipped in off the ocean. Seeking shelter from the force six winds gusting to forty knots, we piloted to the security of Vannes.
It was a brilliant experience. Observing the French living life on windy summer's day helped gain insights into their culture. Despite the wild weather, the Gulf du Morbihan was alive with sporting activities. It is safe and sheltered inland sea.
During a stormy Sunday, stand-up paddle boarders competed in the Bretagne championships. In true egalitarian style, every part of the community was involved: children, pensioners, athletes and people from the whole spectrum of society racing to complete the white-capped course.
In the same area, the city’s rowing club had twenty boats out on a fun sortie powered by some very unhealthy and out of condition rowers. They were blown into the city by the fresh westerly wind.
The rowing and stand-up paddle boarding malarkey looked like hard work; much effort and not getting anywhere fast. Not my scene.
Smarter people were skidding across the white-capped waves doing about twenty plus knots in catamarans. It was good to see women helming with men crewing these greyhound like vessels.
Windsurfing and sailing are spiritual activities that lead into another world, another way of thinking, experiencing and feeling about life. It comes from the beauty of nature and its physical forces: the sun, wind, currents, waves, ocean currents, light, clouds, stars and the moon.
Back in the real man-made world, there is part of the yachting world that is about crowding boats into marinas and rafting up when all the pontoons are full. It is not my way of doing things. At times, it is like being on the bumper cars at a fun fair. Seamanship and careful docking do not appear to be a strong feature on the sailing pedagogy. Boat crash and bash into each other as the perplexed helm woefully lack seamanship skills. It is a male thing. When you see women steering the boat into a pontoon berth, they seemed never to make a hash of it.
Just a few miles north, we moored next to a fifty foot Beneteau that had lost its mast and had major structural damage after a local fishing boat on auto pilot crashed onto its mooring. Left on the high tide early afternoon the next day to escape the bedlam.
After the rigours of pilotage in the fast Spring tide currents in the narrow Gulf channels, the boat was set up to break out into the Bay of Biscay. The weather fronts passed and winds eased. The plan was to sail north to Benodet and to watch the Euros Football Championship, the England - Wales game, then anchor in the Archipel des Glénan for a weekend anchorage.
South of the Quiberon peninsula an Atlantic swell and the wind against tide chop had the nine-meter yacht rolling. After four hours, the Soliel Noir and its poorly crew happily arrived at the heavenly Port Tudy, Ile du Croix.
Here was a place worth visiting with blue skies, hot sands, fair winds and a bar showing footy. Life is worth living at 27C.
Due east, the city of Lorient provides an excellent staging post to change crew, replenish and a secure berth. Check out the Second World War Submarine Base. The Eric Tabarly Museum gives a superb insight into French yachting as a premier water sports nation. Buy a joint ticket and also go inside a diesel submarine. Imagine being part of the crew on these boats or the factors and processes that led to the construction of the submarine pens twelve-foot-thick roof. RAF Lancaster Bombers bounced their bombs of these with no damage. Today, the base is the centre of French ocean racing.
At La Trinite, monster trimarans, the size of New York street blocks and as high skyscrapers, train their crews and maintain a fleet of the world's fastest boats. Pete Goss, the ex-Royal Marine and Ellen MacArthur, would be envious of these facilities. Ben Ainslie, the British Olympic dinghy sailor and master helmsman in the San Francisco America's Cup win for the USA, new America’s Cup HQ looks insignificant against the Brittany team bases for the Vendee Globe races.
In hot thundery conditions with variable winds, distant thunder and lightning with huge black clouds approached from the west. Heavy torrential rain pounded the boat and glassy seas. Very quickly in the middle of the Bay of Biscay, a ferocious electrical storm with sheet and fork lightning surrounded the yacht for three hours. Blind navigation was the order of the day with visibility at ten to twenty meters. The skipper carried out watch duties during the severe weather while the first mate sheltered.
Sailing is like chess. Many factors come into play. Success comes from making the best use of changing winds and making good use of currents and tides for a conveyor belt boost to help reach the destination. Careful planning, prudence, respect for the elements, a bit of luck and help from the gods are essential ingredients.
Sailing in Southern Brittany in mid-summer involves warm seas, fair winds and sublime cuisineYacht charter via http://en.nautiloc.fr/
Conwy is a stunning base for about two thousand yachts. The marina facilitates an expert boating infrastructure for North Wales and the Menai Strait. The area is one of the finest and most interesting cruising areas in the Britain.
The eager competent crew, Louise, was keen to make progress and develop essential competencies. Testa Rossa, a 38' Starlight yacht makes an ideal vessel for sail training. It is MCA approved and well equipped.
On completion of the safety induction, Catherine structured sailing activities to improve Louise's expertise and understanding.
It was impressive to observing Catherine involving everyone in all these processes. A feature was the quality of the learning dialogue. The Horizon Sailing School sets high standards in its pedagogy and syllabus.
Match this with a real sense of adventure whilst voyaging past panoramic mountains. The adrenalin kicks in whilst trying to keep to the Swellies transit on a turning tide.
At the end of an action packed day, a more soporific pace and a sense of awe happens as you approach Carnarvon castle. The Victoria Dock has a welcoming marina. The friendly staff provide a great welcome and delivers superb support to visitors.
If you have time, sail over Carnarvon bar and explore the Llyn Peninsula and Angelsey.
After three nights and two days Catherine had instructed on:
Using transit marks
Passage planning and
Knowledge of boat
Picking up moorings
General duties on board
Horizon Sailing caters for friends, couple, families, business or women only groups.
Catherine Dobson RYA Instructor, Conwy Marina, Digital PR, Eddy Jackson Media, Menai Yatching, N Wales sailing, North Wales Crusiing, RYA Sailing School Menai, Sailing School Conwy Marina, Sailing School Wales, Video Marketing UK, Yatching Wales
Lancashire Special School & Fleetwood Schools Drama Celebrations & Film
Rachel Gartside, a RSC actress and education advisor, has been developing students’ confidence by using drama. Working with nine local schools, The Grand Theatre, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. They are performing Mid Summer’s Night Dream for the 400th-anniversary celebrations.
Each school in the cluster has chosen a little chunk of the play and are going to share this. Every school will film their individual part that they have acted out. All the individual contributions will be part of an afternoon and evening film performance where parents and class staff can celebrate their children’s productions.
It is premiered at Larkholme Primary School Fleetwood in June.
Rachel praised the children’s enthusiasm and said it gives them a great sense of achievement.
Drama helps by enabling understanding the characters and events in the play. New learning and understanding come through the use of new expressive language and role play.
The senior class enjoys wearing costumes, using props and learning actions. Some students have learnt to recite lines. Every student has gained increased confidence.
The focus is on how they deal with their feelings by using some of the words that come from Midsummer’s Night Dream. These are in the same language spoken four hundred years ago. It explores the many different contexts of the play and celebrates its famous words.
Rachel says all pupils have the right to speech and understand how these words make us feel. By making children feel confident, they can speak something that is old-fashioned, may appear boring or perhaps has nothing to do with us. It is a vital part of our English heritage.
The purpose is to get the students to feel the language and the meaning behind the words. When the hobgoblins are teasing the four young lovers lost in the woods, they speak the words that those characters speak. Teachers agree that Shakespeare’s is excellent for teaching effective speaking and listening skills.
The biggest thing and the most enabling about drama is its ability for creating connectedness to be characters in the story. By imagining ourselves differently and by putting ourselves in some else's shoes learners have experiences that they might not get a chance to have in their ordinary lives.
The Mid Summer’s performance is about being heartbroken and confused. They help pupils learn about common human experiences. Within the story and the play, young people can practice what that feel like in a safe space.
The most enabling thing about working in drama for Rachel Gartside is its ability to deliver deep empathy that is created by actively acting and being in the stories you are playing in.
Red Marsh Special School, Thornton Cleveleys near Blackpool, Lancashire, UK, has a great reputation. Parents like its inclusive learning and the support they receive. A customised curriculum with a range of alternative communications systems supports pupils. Many have difficulties in understanding or cannot not speak.
“We want everyone to achieve their potential.” The Deputy Head, Alison Brown and AAC Nursery Nurse, Sarah Holyhead, express enthusiastically. They believe the ability to receive and start communication interactions is essential. Children with special educational needs have difficulties in this area.
Brown and Holyhead, acknowledge that their learners will use a range of communication modes. Success is about helping individuals to achieve this. It means using the best approach matched to the child’s preferred learning style.
The school’s curriculum has a strong focus on using alternative and alternative communications. (AAC) Structured language strategies and assistive technologies drive it.
Language and Learning Red Marsh School
Each child engages and achieves by using unique resources developed in the school. A sophisticated pupil tracking system helps assessment, recording and tracking pupil progress.
All staff receive training and support in the use of communication strategies. Inclusive learning in formal lessons, PE, sensory play, or the Nursery powers the school.
You can observe the miracle of non-communicating children successfully making themselves understood.
Walking up Regent Street, during an eventful Saturday, I accidentally stumbled across a protest demonstration.
By chance, the day before, I had been researching Baudrillard's codes and the political economy of the sign.
Set against the background context of the prestigious shops, their brand advertising and sophisticated, high-value real estate, I was struck by the irony that history, democracy, and politics have failed the voting public.
The nearby dilapidated TUC House and Maynard Keynes’s Camden home, are symbolic relics of the narrative, aspirations and values of a significant number of people in the country. They have been deleted from the agenda and policies of parliament and local councils.
How can a so-called democratic country neglect and ignore these views? A government elected on a mandate of only thirty-seven percent of voters in the national elections acts like an authoritarian, one-party dictator state.
The protesters' sign’s, symbols and slogans are unambiguous. They clearly express not only viewpoints but more importantly the harsh realities of existing with little to survive on.
These humanitarian values are contrary to what George Osborne, the Chancellor of Exchequer, presented in this week's budget. Higher tax ratepayers got a break and people with disabilities bore the brunt in reducing the nation’s budget deficit.
Ian Duncan Smith resigned at the shenanigans and the political posturing for the leadership of a divided Conservative Party. As per the well-rehearsed historical script, the Tories are going through their regular second term ritual of destroying their credibility.
The Labour Party has now gone very quiet after its own lunatic leadership fiasco. Can they believe their luck? Instead of being out of power until 2025, a window of opportunity has now suddenly opened up and presented new opportunities.
To be successful, socialists need to refresh and update their language and rhetoric. Like the demonstrator’s placards, they are past their sell-by date. The weakness is always in left-wing economics and cuckoo land fiscal policies. Ask anyone with an iota of intelligence. Marx was a great political theorist. The City of London has been successful in exploiting his concepts, but the Left is beached high and dry for not delivering a successful economy for voters to buy into. It does not help the people the protestors are advocating for.
A political commentator in her recent column in The Times asked why demonstrators bothered. Nobody ever paid attention to their protest anyway. Could they not find new ways of getting their point across?
This view, the arrogance of the ruling conservative party and the media sharing this viewpoint, is the crux of how corrupt, obsolete and the pointlessness of a two-party, first past the post, antiquated parliamentary system. The home of democracy? What does that mean? The question to ask is who hold's power and how is it exerted? Think about it.
Today's political news about a resignation, disability benefits, and the London demonstration presents contradictions and highlights the nadir of a system that does not work for the majority of people.
I am setting out the scene on where I stand and my viewpoint. Very close to where I took these images, I went to the University of London and as part of my post-grad research focused on the American political philosopher, John Rawl's, ' Principle of Redress'. Whether applied to civil rights, the law, politics or special needs, it is an excellent and proven concept.
I note that George Osborne has delivered a Herculean performance in saving the economic credibility of the country. The impact has created jobs and employment in the private sector. He has destroyed his astute reputation in his eight budget by hitting the weakest section in society. People receiving disability payments are the target whilst those earning hundreds of thousands of pounds get of with tax perks. This is why I am highlighting the political signs and symbols of today's activist. The advertising in Regent Street and the political signs are a reflection of Baudrillard's insights. New successful solutions and policies that bring communities together are required.
The Donald Trump's of the world and professional politicians need to up their game. We the electorate, the voters are tired of the misuse of the political system. Where have all the great leaders gone?
Today we need great leaders that can reach out to all segments of society and work on behave of all communities, not George Osborne's champaign drinking business owners and elite friends.
Representation in politics needs to move towards proportional representation. A more inclusive society will help make democracy work. Anything else is a sham. Just go and observe your local council in a two-party council chamber. You will cringe with embarrassment.
Today’s demonstrators were representing those in greatest need. John Rawls and Ian Duncan Smith made strong cases for these people. There is much more to be done.
Chancellor of Exchequer, Disability, Eddy Jackson Media, George Osborne, Ian Duncan Smith Conservative Party, Local Councils, London Demonstrations, Parliamentary Elections, PR Videos, The Budget