Thursday, 23 August 2007

A very proud daddy....

That's me that is <>

Laura has received her GCSE results today. She received seven A* and 4 A grades

Like WOW man!

Just wanted to say, very well done duckles, we's all proud of you


Did you know

The first tongue-twister to be written down was discovered in Egypt. Translated, it roughly reads: "Stars and water, running through the desert, throwing handfuls of sand."

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Been away...

And now we are back. Went to Spain for two weeks. Now, you know me, I not big on holidays abroad, but this was not too bad. It was very hot (in the 30's by 9. am then getting up to 50 in the middle afternoon - sheesh!). So because of the temperatures all we did was the sea, the pool, the caravan for the shade

We hired a car and only put about 200 km on it. They are the most expensive km's i have every driven !

Laura was a bit obsessed with the sun, and ended up with a touch of sunstroke which meant that on the couple of slightly overcast days we had to stay in c'os she was not well!

Still, we all came back a bit browner than we went, and now back in Sunny Cumbria (ha ha)

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

A thief..

Honestly Dad, I did NOT drink any of your full pint of beer when you went to the toilet (hic!)

A quickie Quote


An 'email friend' did the Race for life this weekend and raised £350 for cancer research. Very well done Carol

She has a wonderful quote at the bottom of her emails. it reads:

"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be."

What a great quote to push us all onwards

Saturday, 14 July 2007

The Master strikes again...

I have now become a Microsoft Office Specialist Master if Office 2003 (previously for Office 2000)

I have made an application to become a Microsoft Office Specialist Master Instructor for Office 2003 (again previously for 2000)


Now to start all over again fro Office 2007 - I think that may be a bigger stretch

Friday, 13 July 2007

Return of the Matrix

From Joanne:

As you are aware, we have had David Smith from the MATRIX here at Harrington for the last 2 days assessing our learndirect provision against the MATRIX Standard. I have now had the official feedback (Which brought a tear to my eye).

He thinks we are fantastic and embrace all of the MATRIX principals.

We work as a team who listen to both learners and partners and are continuously improving the quality of our services.

There were lovely quotes from the learners such as "We helped achieve some ones dream"

He gave us a few suggestions on how we could improve such as putting up quotes from learners saving that they have gained confidence since starting learning with us.

My proudest point in the feedback was when he said that he thinks we have improved so much since the last time we were MATRIXed that he suggested we go for the MATRIX excellence awards. He has only suggested this to 3 other centres over the last 6 years which 1 of them went on to win the National award. We are now considering doing this but the closure date for this year is 31st July 2007!

Well done and congratulations to all involved

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

A fun day out in Beamish

Fiona persuaded me to accompany her and her class to Beamish today. Six adults and 33 kids (All about 10 years old, give or take).

We set off at 8.15 am. About 100 miles, two and a quarter hours and one child vomiting all over Fiona later we arrived.

A lovely sunny day thankfully because we have not had many of those recently. We split into groups . I was reliably informed that my group were 'hand picked' hmmmm

We visited the town via tram to see the bank, dentist, grocers, garage. And then the kids woke up when we got to the sweetshop Unfortunately they were not manufacturing, but the kids still bought plenty of sweets toe at before lunch.

Lunch was outside the old school, and then we went inside for an arranged '1897 lesson' Wow how strict. I was terrified. The teacher just about had total control over the class, there was hardly a murmur. Though the leather whip was prominent (but not used). The most amazing thing was the way the children reacted. They were very well behaved with hand going up, no shouting out, getting on with their work. After a while the teacher snapped her fingers and said "right, back to 2007", and blow me over, didn't the kids immediately snap back to 2007 behaviour? Unbelievable

Next into the cottages where the children had to do some cleaning (beat rugs, polish, scrub floors and empty bed pans. One or two grumbled and asked if they were to be paid!

Then down the coal mine to see the working conditions, closely followed by an ice cream and gift shop

When we arrived back at school the headteacher was rather alarmed because we had one less child! Honestly. There was one less that when we set off!

Actually, we took Hayden with us, and he stayed over there with his Aunt Janet so all was well.

A good day, and I got to find out who everyone fancies!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

A bit of a do..

An ever shrinking group of CREDITS die hards gathered at Upperby CDC on Friday night to say a fond fairwell to Chris Kania who has moved on to a normal job (Snigger)

She is still involved with Adult Education however and now works '9 - 5' with ITQ's and about 200 apprentices (oo err misses)

We all had a few wines, and a bit of a buffet. A 'slush' fund was presented to Chris with some flowers, which Chris told us she would spend on herself not soft furnishings for her new flat.

Talking of new flats, at the close of the evening a small posy descended on the new flat to have a good gander about. All agreed it was a lovely place - an 'Aladdin's cave' no less. One cupboard in particular was like the tardis. We actually like the tardis in reverse. You open the door and wonder where the room as gone

Best wishes Chris and keep in touch please

Enter the Matrix

Harrington CDC are having a MATRIX audit this week to re-new their accreditation. I was telling a a friend about this, and her immediate response was that we were having a 'NEO' theme day.

I told Hayden and he kindly mocked up these photo's

Good luck to everyone involved and just be yourselves. Don't try to be anything you are not, there is no need your are all excellent as you are!

A tired story..

We all read those 'helpdesk' stories (like Val's below) with a snigger, but also a bit of disbelief. Are they really true?

Well this is:

One of our tutors recently sent me some ECDL files four double marking. She explained that one gentleman had unfortunately failed the 45 minute test because he ran out of time.

She went on to explain that he ran out of time because he had actually fallen asleep!

I had to laugh, and I enquired further only to be told it was more serious than that. They had actually thought the man had dies, and she did not want to to stop the test until all the candidates had finished !!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

One of Val's goodies

From the WordPerfect Help Desk

This is a true story from the WordPerfect helpline. Needless to say, the help desk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the Word Perfect organization for "Termination without Cause."
Actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee with a caller:
"Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?"
"Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
"What sort of trouble?"
"Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
"Went away?"
"They disappeared."
"Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
"It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."
"Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
"How do I tell?"
"Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"
"What's a sea-prompt?"
"Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"
"There isn't any cursor, I told you, it won't accept anything I type."
"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
"What's a monitor?"
"It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"
"I don't know."
"Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."
".......Yes, it is."
"When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
"Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."
".......Okay, here it is."
"Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."
"I can't reach."
"Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
"Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
"Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."
"Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."
"Well, turn on the office light then."
"I can't."
"No? Why not?"
"Because there's a power outage."
"A power... A power outage? Ah, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"
"Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
"Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
"Really? Is it that bad?"
"Yes, I'm afraid it is."
"Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"
"Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."

Saturday, 30 June 2007

West Coast CDC Consortium Awards evening

Thursday 28th June saw this year's awards ceremony. These are held yearly to celebrate the achievement of all learners at the centre.

Learners and their guests were welcomed by the Maitre'd (That would be Clive) who directed them to the free bar where a glass of wine was offered by the two delectable bar staff (Debbie and Julie) Julie brought a wealth of expertise to the role as she has worked at the Seacote in Silloth. Debbie spent the evening grinning at fond recollections of lyrics she had been singing all day (something about bags and dancing)

Joanne started the evening by welcoming everyone and introducing the star guest. Peter Routledge, learndirect area manager, gave a short speech congratulating everyone for all their hard work.

Proceedings were then held up slightly while a new battery was sought for the camera.

The centre tutors then presented learners with certificates in groups. Val, Janet, Liz, Tracy, Clive, Joanne and Ron all welcomed learners to the stage and photographs were taken

One or two of the women learners threw themselves at Peter's feet. You could tell Clive and Ron were getting jealous, until we realised that the steps were a bit high. At which point Ron was asked to provide a helping hand to prevent an accident. Many were grateful for the assistance, especially Alan Baird who held his hand a little tooo long ;-))

Once all certificates had been presented, Peter was thanked and presented with a small gift from one of our youngest leaners (Mhairi)

We retired to the buffet table for sandwiches and pie

Joanne, the centre manager said to her staff

"Thank you very much for all your hard work in last nights awards ceremony. The night was a great success and Jen has emailed the Times and Star with a picture (complete ECDL students) and a statement so look out for this in next Friday’s addition. I would like to make a special thanks to Julie for doing all the arrangements for the learners to come, buffet, glasses, drinks, presents. I know its hard work but Julie does it so well, so well even that when Clive and Janet came in early and Val and I return from our meeting to help there was nothing left for them to do (great we had time to have a coffee before the evening started). All we had to do was enjoy the evening. "

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Romance mathematics

Not much happening at the moment so thought i would give you some maths to do instead

Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man + dumb woman = affair
Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy

Smart boss + smart employee = profit
Smart boss + dumb employee = production
Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion
Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.

Married men live longer than single men do, but married men are a lot more willing to die.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.

A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me, "You're next." They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

The Weekend

Laura had a good weekend - a practice for her Silver Duke of Edinburgh award. Well, at least she did not give herself food poisoning ;-))

Around 18 students trekked and camped at Eskdale all returned with sore feet and fond memories of Laura's Thermals.

Hayden also had a good weekend. He was the only boy at a party on Friday night. Just him and five girls on trampolines, swimming pools, ten pin bowling. A Chip off the old bock? Nah -I would have run a mile

I and friends from work at a lovely meal at Casa Romana' s at Whitehaven. Thanks to Laura I advised them all to be careful when ordering chicken (Pollo)

The photo's on the left show every one in a happy mood. And you can even see Jen and Debbie having an intellectual conversation. They were whispering at the time. Fortunately I can lip read. Debbie was saying to Jen - "I wish he would point that bloody camera somewhere else"

Unfortunately I did not have the camera ready for the best picture of the evening, when the waiter told Clive there was no draught bitter - just a bottle (Belgian I think). Actually no, the best picture would have been when Clive tasted it)

Conversation was good and included who we would like to join us (Robbie Williams was top of some peoples' list - Can you guess who?), holidays (and why i hate going abroad), the disappointing olives (And me suddenly realising where olive oil comes from -doh)

There was much frivolity from two rather disturbing conversations.

The first had everyone in hysterics over Debbie and Tracy's recollections of their mothers falling over . Yes, that is right, everyone laughing at two women falling - disgraceful. But wine had been flowing at that point (Or pints of lager for Debbie)

The second most haughty moment was , well all I can say is tinned whipped cream, and I am leaving it at that

And I can say even less about the story of wet shoes!!!!!

Thanks all for a lovely time, and looking forward to the Quince and Medlar - at least i will be able to have a drink

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Laura's tipsy

Just got back from picking Laura up at St Bees. There was an end of exams party / barbecue at a friends house. Laura's voice was a bit 'slurry' but apparently she is just tired!

Haven't we all tried that one?
Val kindly sent me this picture. She said it would look good on my blog as a self portrait!!
OOo I say Misses - the cheek of it - lol
I will have to scan in that photo of her that i found in the paper a few years ago - Fiona has a copy of it somewhere
A quick puzzle for you:
Look at each of the following words, there is a connection between them. What is it?
Leave a comment with your answer - a prize to the first correct answer

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Some jokes

Nothing much happening today.

So some Jokes

First, one from Val:

There once was pirate captain who, whenever it looked like a battle would be imminent would change into a red shirt. After observing this behavior for a few months, one of the crew members asked him what it meant.
"It's in case I get shot. I don't want you crew members to see blood and freak out."
"That's very sensible, sir." At that moment, the crew member spotted eight hostile ships on the horizon. The captain all of a sudden looked very concerned.
"Get my brown pants."

And one from me:

Britney Watches the Birdie

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were walking on the beach. Justin said, "Hey Britney, look at that dead birdie!"
Britney looked up at the sky and said, "Where?"

Monday, 18 June 2007

The Twins

The newest additions to the family. Isobel and Emily. Twin daughters to Steve, first grandchild to Carol and gt grandchild to Ken

Look good kids!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Father's Day

Well, a fairly quiet weekend really.

We went to Caspian on Friday for our weekly Pizza fix. Saturday, not much happening

On Sunday went for a walk to Ashness Bridge and Suprise View - in the rain. Picnic's are always fun in the rain don't you think?

Much of the weekend though has been about Britain's got Talent. Got to say, I really love Ant and Dec ;-)

Fathers day brought some slippers, socks, a bottle of beer and a box of maltersers. All required for a change! Best of all though was a home made card of Hayden, and just look at what he did with the picture. Hey, I AM Francis Rossi! - That's me that is

Well off for that Beer now, and the final of Talent - I reckon Connie will win

Thursday, 14 June 2007

The morning after the night before.....

saw lots of sore heads and rumbling tums.

The girls departed the coach at Val's house and were invited in for a night cap...

...or two

Apparently this is called team building <>

OFSTED inspection at Beckstone seems to be going well, and our own Star (Clive) entertained an inspector for part of the afternoon with 'painting' on the computer. I was worried they may have wanted to see me, but fortunately they did not. Instead I had my own 'inspector'. Jen observed me doing some numeracy in ICT as part of her Adult Numeracy report. I hope it was okay Jen , did I make any mistakes?

When I got home there was a strange man in the kitchen looking very sheepish. Apparently just doing final measurements for a new kitchen. I think he thought I may not have known about it. Fiona pretended to start cooking the tea, until he had left and then she told me to take over ;-))

This site looks good for ECDL resources and practice tests, and all free


Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Learndirect Awards

A great day out with friends at the Bolton Wanderers Reebok stadium. We travelled via coach, making a tasty stop at Tebay Services for a hearty (if early) lunch. Valerie managed, just about, to prevent her pickled onions going walkabout over the table.

The journey continued with much discussion about Gordon Ramsay, Favourite films, great recipes, Desperate housewives and very little about work

We arrived over an hour early, and so took the opportunity to visit the local shops. I declined the offer to join the ladies in NEXT, so I wandered the book, entertainment and electrical stores.

Val bought a tasty little handbag for her sisters birthday

On to the awards and we were all eager with anticipation of coming away with at least one. After all we had nominations against four of the seven categories.

Firstly the centre award for innovation - we were pipped at the post

Next on to the Learning for Employment award. Helen Banton was nominated, but unfortunately pipped at the post also

The Progression award was next with Ron (AKA Richard Hewer) once again being a runner up.

All our hopes were on David Hine for the Outstanding Learner Award. We were so confident. But unfortunately it was not to be. Another runner up

Whilst that looks like failure, we do not class it as that. The achievement was getting their in the first place, so well done to all involved.

We were then treated to a (poor) buffet and some entertainment. Jugglers and magicians wandered around. We all tried our hands at juggling, some were even successful (well done Julie).

The magician was phenomenal. Card tricks - very good. But the trick with the ring. Val gave her ring to the man, who held it in his fist. He then withdrew a key wallet, only to show the ring had disappeared from his hand an re-appeared in the wallet - attached to a key ring holder. Fantastic

And don't even ask about Julie and the limes! (Excuse me can I have a fell of your two limes?)

The coach trip home was time for reflection and celebration. Thanks to Joanne and Julie (Anyone else?) we had plenty of wine and nibbles. The coach seats also managed to get a drink thanks to the hopeless attempts at pouring in a mobile vehicle . Sorry, thanks to the very erratic driving!

Thanks everyone for great company all day

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Laura's revision

Laura is doing quite well with her exams (at least that is what she says)

She is most of the way through now, and has spent today working hard with her boyfriend (sorry friend who happens to be a boy) revising Chemistry

Yeh - right!

I was that age once you know ;-)

The neighbours were not happy when she was trying her new trampoline out this morning - at 6.15 am!!!!


Oh Dear

It just cost a packet. never mind I suppose it keeps us all safe in our travels. I love the car - well actually it's a 4*4 - but a little one for a little man (HOnda CRV) very relaible would recommend them to anyone

Had two of these, but perhaps it is time for a change - a motorbike perhaps ;-)))


Hi all

this is my first blog and my first entry.

Wow, an online diary for me, and allows others to see it also.

All my thoughts are currently on ITQ - a new qualification we are engaging with. Looks good and simple, and the best bit is the excellent online e-portfolio.

Outside of work, enjoying playing my guitar (Bass) and we have just bought a trampoline - how high can this old tub get? Not very