Sunday, 20 April 2008

Sally Geeson

A couple of months ago I told you about a photo of two penguins that had passed the 1000 views milestone on my Flickr account.

Well for some reason this one has been racing up the viewing charts behind it and has now overtaken it with a score of 1,165 to 1,129.

Sally Geeson, you may remember, played the daughter of Sid James in the long-running TV sitcom Bless This House and also appeared in a couple of the early 70s Carry On films: Carry On Abroad and Carry On Girls.

There are not too many photos of her on the Internet which may account for the views of my photo - which in the eyes of any of her fans can hardly be enhanced by having my mug on it! Every day it attracts anywhere between 6 and 40 views!

It was taken at one of the Memorabilia shows at the National Exhibition Centre, in November 2004.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Comments

I've turned comment moderation on now to cut down the spam appearing on comments.

You can still comment on the posts and I'd encourage you to do so, but they won't appear until I've cleared them. A bit of a nuisance but safer than having all these "click here" messages that have been cropping up.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Grow Hair Fast!

I got into the office today after a full week on the road to find this attached to my coffee mug.

"Grow Hair Fast!" it says and on turning it over it reveals a strangely attractive person...

No idea who may have perpetrated this deed at all, but you may remember that on losing a yoghurt, the first place she looked was inside her boots...

Cor! The yoghurt! Wonder what happened to him???

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Enchanted

Last night we settled down after tea to watch this, the latest Disney DVD to hit the shops.

I can't tell you the last time I watched a Disney video really. I remember watching Nemo and yes, it was the fish, not the Captain, and I remember enjoying The Incredibles, but that's more Pixar than Disney.

I know I got a bit bored with them and missed a whole load of them after watching a couple of films that I thought had no magic in them at all. Treasure Planet was one and ...er... Hercules? Something about Greece anyway.

But last night I really was enchanted with this! What a superb film - the animation was excellent and multi-layered and once the characters appear in the real world you realised how well they were animated to look like the actors. Later CGI effects were superb also.

The film poked gentle fun at earlier Disney films and as such was genuinely funny. The part where the Princess in the real world calls up animals in modern-day New York to help clean the flat of her rescuer was laugh out loud funny and the songs were excellent and if you have any attention to spare to listen to the words were extremely witty and funny in themselves.

I'd never heard of Amy Adams before, but am sure I will again - she played the part of wide-eyed innocent to perfection. And James Marsden as the Prince was excellent - let's face it, he was great as Cyclops in the X-Men movies but it was a morose character wasn't it and the only other role I've seen him in was in Gossip, where again he is hardly meant to endear himself to the audience.

Susan Sarandon makes a great wicked stepmother-cum-witch a la Snow White or Cinderella and Patrick Dempsey makes a believable confused then - yes - enchanted and captivated if reluctant suitor.

Oh, enough already! Just go and buy it for some kid's birthday present and insist on being there for the first viewing!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

London Postcard

I love this postcard of Regent Street, London.

It's a great photograph for one, which shows a snapshot of the past with many bits of interest. There are the old cars, the early motor bus, the window blinds advertising the London Stereoscopic Company and the fantastic hats of the two ladies in the bottom left hand corner.

Unfortunately this postcard was never posted, so there is no postmark to give us the date. But it looks from the style of the motor cars (you can't just call those motorised carriages "cars" can you?) that it must be somewhere around the end of, or just after, World War I.

It was bought by a man from Colne in Lancashire, to take back home for the collection of his son. Whilst it has a message and is fully addressed on the reverse, there is no sign of a stamp having ever been attached and, as I mention above, no postmark.

The message is lovely though, as it gives another snapshot, this time of language and sentiment that would sound very out of date to us now.

Dear Harry, just another PC of London for you. I hope you like it. My word, you will be a swank when you get your new suit on. I hope you are a good boy for Mammi and pals to Jack. From your dear old pal Daddy.

The Lady Wulfruna

Sounds as though it should be a song by Lindisfarne or some similar group, but I found this small roadside memorial a long way from Newcastle.

It was in Wolverhampton down Gorsebrook Road, leading to the racecourse and it unfortunately gave no clue as to who the Lady Wulfruna was.

Thanks to Google I now know that Wulfrun (Wulfruna is the Latin translation of her name) was an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman, the granddaughter of King Ethelred I and his Queen Aethelflaed, which also made her the great granddaughter of King Alfred the Great.

She gave her name to Wolverhampton through the phrase "Wulfruna's Heantune" or "Wulfruna's high town".

The site is apparently known as Lady Wulfruna's Well and is reputed to sit over a spring, though there is no sign of any water there now. The memorial (but not the wall or railings) dates from 1901 and used to be a drinking fountain with tap and cup, but they have disappeared also.

I've noticed it before on previous visits to run workshops at the nearby Science Park and this time had a camera with me!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

A Tale of Willy Wobble

No, I'm not being rude.

I'm at a conference for a couple of days and the delegates in the first session of the day were shown a film of a one-year-old baby who had learned to swipe her finger over her father's i-Phone to cause a progression of photographs to appear. This is how youngsters these days are brought up to have no fear of new technology and to interact with it from as soon as - no let's make that before - they can walk.

Someone else suggested in a session that it may be taken as proof that the human brain now learns in different ways from the way human brains learned in those dark dark days before computers. I disagreed.

In a room full of strategic managers from colleges and the great and glorious from government funded support agencies I told them about the rattle toy I had as a baby that was called Willy Wobble... I kid you not.

I pointed out that as a child with a rattle stuck by a suction cup to the tray of my high chair I learned that :

(1) by striking it sideways it made a noise that I found pleasing

(2) that it didn't hurt, and

(3) if I did it enough my Mum got annoyed at the row and removed it.

Therefore I learned to draw a balance between how often and how violently I wanted to make it rattle and how little I needed to do it in order to keep the use of it. This caused much hilarity in the room...

Since then people have come up to say how much they enjoyed my input.

How do we learn then? Well I think we leanr from absolutely everything we do. We learn from experimenting, we learn from playing, we learn from people telling us stories; whether in person or from books or now from a web browser.

If anything has changed in the short time that computers have existed it is not the human brain because I don't believe that evolution is as rapid as all that. I think it is more in the way that opportunities are presented to us or kept from us and the ways in which, havihng tried something new, we enjoy it, or appreciate it. That can be a good or bad thing.

In the far away past, before books we were told by people in authority over us - the Church, quite often. We didn't know enough to challenge them. Then when books became the norm it was quite a job to be published and you had to jump through a number of hoops so in the main text books were written by people who were well informed and other people checked content before publication.

Now we can all be publishers because of the wonderful world of blogs. It's easy to learn what we like and therefore we look for more. But it's sometimes less easy to know what's truth or what's accurate and what's twaddle.

I need to get back to another session now though other stuff is bubbling in my mind. More later perhaps, but for now - thanks for reading my twaddle...

Monday, 7 April 2008

Rogue Comments

I've noticed a crop of comments on some blog entries recently that say almost nothing other than "See here" or "Click here" with a link to another website.

Readers are advised very strongly to ignore the links.

I delete such comments as soon as I find them but sometimes if I'm travelling it can be a few days.

Billy Fury Track

We have a new song on the Billy Fury web site for the month of April.

Picture of You was a smash hit for Joe Brown in the early 1960s and comes from our third album, Right On The Line.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s Billy Fury was billed as England's answer to Elvis. Born Ronald Wycherley on 17 April 1940 in Liverpool, he became one of the Larry Parnes stable of artists, appearing on TV shows such as "Oh Boy". During the 1960s he had 24 chart entries, clocking up an impressive 258 weeks on the Top 50.

The website keeps Billy's name and music alive through an excellent collection of sound and video resources, interactive forums and the monthly "Sounds Special" feature which contains an free album's worth of music recorded by artists from all around the world. During April the website is celebrating its 10th anniversary and is must for Billy Fury fans.

We hope that our fans will have a listen to all the songs not just our own. There are some superb artists amongst the regulars! You can comment on the "Sounds Special" songs using one of the forum entries.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Good (Not Great) Railway Journeys

I occasionally watch programmes with names like "Great Railway Journeys" and wonder why can I not have some of those?

Today I had a "Good Railway Journey". Which means the trains were on time - one actually arrived nine minutes early, my goodness that must have thrown the station staff into a mild panic...!

There's something about a Virgin train that somehow conspires to take the "Great" out of a journey though. Small seats (or is that just my large figure?) and luggage space for a packet of smarties each. Every seat taken and people walking past glaring at seat reservation signs that since digitisation hardly ever work or (as in my case) have been double booked.

But the weather was fine and made for pleasant views of England's green and pleasant - er... make that waterlogged - land. Streams, rivers and dykes looking full and land at either side showing signs of recent flooding with a water table levelling out around half an inch above ground level. That can't be good for crops or sheep's feet...

Nobody in any of the three trains I've been on seemed to want to inflict their personality on the rest of the carriage. This is frequently not a good thing anyway but very occasionally there is a gem who brightens the journey of everyone else. Today the closest was a lively 3 year old who had been on the train for far too long, travelling to Penzance and even then he did nothing more annoying than run up and down the deserted aisle, smiling wonderfully at us all. In turn everyone else smiled back at him and at anyone else who met their eyes. I can certainly live with that!

And despite a journey with crowded trains and two connections to be made I arrived tonight in Taunton at the time originally planned and to a climate borrowed from Summer.

I jumped straight into a taxi with no waiting or fuss. The driver had an agreeable and totally desirable "Zummerzet ahhhxant" and furthermore had a face full of beard that would have not been out of place on an 18th Century stagecoach and which I could immediately picture streaming with cider later on tonight.

Clive meanwhile is battling the roadworks on the M1 and I can do no more than leave him alone to it and sit down to enjoy a relaxed meal and then wait for him in the bar. It's tough but someone's got to do it.

Tomorrow we treat the colleges and universities of the South West to a Change Management workshop. Then more travelling. I'll tell you about that later! For now, I'm going to go and peruse the menu!
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