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Testament of Youth

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Fig. 1. Kit Harington stars in Testament of Youth

It's a good time to read Vera Britain's autobiographical story set during the First World War - based on the movie trailer we're in for a treat next year when this comes out. There's no escaping the hundredth anniversary of WW1 so go with the flow I say.

'Study a period in history until you can hear its people speak' said the historian E H Carr - correct me if I paraphrase, I've struggled to find the page in his 'What is history'. These days you study in a period until you can hear its people speak and write a screenplay (or radio). 

 

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The naughtiness of Sam Pepys

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014, 11:52

Fig.1. Sam Pepys - the 17th century 'Alfie'

The devious and duplicity of Samuel Pepys has him with two different ladies this week, both times trying to dodge his wife and keep his man servant Will otherwise occupied while he ... I forget the phrase, but it sounds more like eating a second portion of cake. Having followed this since 2011 I have to wonder if there will ever be a CD or Podcast. Catch this final series in the next 7 days.

Wonderfully evocative, better than any TV miniseries from Netflix, Blinkbox or Amazon Prime. Just as visual. Not so violent. Far more rauncy.

Samuel Pepys

 

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That's Nothing Compared to Passchendaele

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014, 17:35

 Fig.1. British Soldiers struggling in the mud - The First Gulf War (early 1991)

1) The cool, calm and quiet of the early morning - my work space.

2) The dog rolling over on her bed and wagging her tail for a bit of TLC

3) A pot of coffee

Set to go. iPad open on a Kindle eBook on the First Gulf War; Mac Mini in Google Docs. Working on something my grandfather said in 1991 when watching a documentary on a DLI private in Saudi Arabia waiting to enter Kuwait during the First Gulf War : 'That's Nothing Compared to Passchendaele', he said regarding the regional news programme from BBC's Looks North. Was it nothing like the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres July - November 1917) or more similar than different? Scale and technology were different, operation and tactics different due to the technology and lessons of previous conflicts, mud for sand ... but a soldier when hit by shrapnel or loses a mate feels the same pain. And there was mud too (see above). There mistakes and the wrong kit. 

The remark was pointed at the individual soldier's lot. BBC Look North were doing a profile of a 'day in the life of a private soldier of the Durham Light Infantry'. It was when looking at the man's rations and gear that my grandfather, by then in his 94th year, said this. It's had me thinking ever since, not least since the plethora of 'soldiering' we are getting and will get during the Centenary Commemorations of the First World War. 

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Fancy windsurfing today? Check Windguru.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014, 17:32

Fig. 1. Windguru

I'm always amazed at how much information can be put onto a screen; here, Windguru gives you in a glance the weather and especially the wind forecast in relation to windsurfing and kite boarding - strong winds are vital. It is just an aid to forecasting, though I have found it remarkably accurate, that wind strengths and directions do in reality shift pretty much according to the forecast. This greatly assists with planning a sailing trip - too strong or too weak and I keep away.

 

 

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1914 Evening

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014, 17:30

 Fig.1 Screengrab from a news report style presentation on why Britain went to war 100 years ago / at midnight tonight.

I stumbled upon all of this quite by chance. Who'd imagine the BBC Parliamentary Channel would produce an evening of documentaries, talks and lectures. Former foreign secretaries reflect on the important role Edward Grey in 1914 took to keep Britain out of a continental conflict. I hope it's all on the iPlayer as every word is worth sharing. 

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Just a distraction?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 3 Aug 2014, 08:00

Fig.1. Tom Dailey winning Commonwealth Gold

Tom Dailey talks about his bid for a medal the the Rio Olympics, about distractions like school and TV work, and also his desire to do a course, such as Spanish. 

"Because I'm not doing any school any more and I haven't got any TV shows, possibly I want to start a course in Spanish, sociology, politics, something like that, just to keep my mind away from it.

"If your mind is constantly on diving, it will melt. It's always good to have a distraction from it."

It sounds like he should be introduced to the Open University; there were a few Olympic competitors on courses a few years ago. What could be more flexible?

Is it a distraction? Is studying complementary to the day job or daily life?

Any other competitive athletes out there?

I'm still with the OU for a couple of reasons:

  • 1) I love learning and the OU method and platform
  • 2) Anything to keep me away from the TV is a good thing
  • 3) In the case of French I've always wanted to, and at one stage needed to crack written French.

 

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Web Literacy Map

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 10:51

Fig. 1. Mozilla Webmaker Digital Literacy Map

Learning online for a degree means that over a number of modules, sooner rather than later, you are likely to master a number of these digital literacy skills; the more the better. 

Navigation, search and credibility and vital for any student. Can you find your way around the web and the OU library, the student forum and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Can you search elsewhere for credible results - remembering to tag and cite these. 

You may never need to code, but other 'building' skills are important; the basics of this blogging platform for a start, remixing and re-blogging and accessibility issues. 

Connecting might be the most important skill and habit to acquire: sharing, collaboration and community participation are what make the OU learning experience so special. 'Connectivity' is considered to be the learning theory of the 21st century; that by taking part, connecting and commenting you and others benefit from insights gained, mistakes corrected, problems solved, issues understood, theories tested ... 

While 'openness' is a state of mind that takes a bit of getting used to; some make feel it is 'exposure' or compromising their privacy. Others simply prefer to get on with a task alone, and therefore with less disturbance. You can see that I am an exponent of openness and connectivity. 

 

 

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New blog post

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Fig.1 So much for trying to grow broccoli

I thought picking them off would do. Now I've used a chemical spray sad So much for trying get nature to manage my veg patch. There is no cost saving whatsoever; the plot is too small. There are fresh veggies which so far appear in gluts. I can only assume that each year I'll learn and understand a bit more, and every year have to deal with quite different seasonal weather conditions. 

What is this? Cabbage white? What's the answer?

 

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Did everyone speak fluent english a hundred years ago with a foreign accent?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 10:53

Fig.1. Images from my Google Pics gallery

We are collectively being tipped into a centenary marking of the First World War where all 'foreigners' speak english with an accent; we have German, Russian, French ... we have Serbian and Austro-Hungarian 'english'. We even have Americans voiced by English actors speaking ... english with an American accent. So how do we spot the lads from Newfoundland? Not then part of Canada, but a sovereign state? And from the Indian subcontinent the difference in accents and language from a multitude of sources?

It's all compromise and accommodation

It's very much the BBC perspective: which as the ONLY public service broadcaster the world has tries so hard to represent everyone. I have my say here - Jonathan Vernon on Hastings 1918

WBC anyone?

The World or Globe or Earth or ... whatever 'Broadcasting Company'?

For all or any failings the effort, transparently at least, to strive for 'truth' based on evidence of what is going on.

The Open University has been, was and should take the lead. I wonder, with concern that the legacy of Michael Bean has been to trim back too hard and so diminish us to a voice from the corner of the empire.

I hope the next Vice Chancellor will be a global figure. Bill Clinton comes to mind. 

'Read in a subject until you can hear the people speak'.

E H Carr.

It has taken a forty years but I feel I have the voice of the soldier of the First World War - and the officer, and the girlfriends and mothers at home.

 

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Peace in pieces

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 10:58

Fig. 1. Poster commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima for Japan, 1985. Ivan Chermayeff, de la warr pavilion, Bexhill.

Trip FIVE to this exhibition, this time with my brother-in-law, is imminent. What I adore about exhibitions here is that they are 'bitesize' and smart; they are a perfect 'mind burst'. They are the ideal repeat show too as with each visit you see more, and see differently ... and are influenced of course by the person you are with.

The right image says what each viewer sees in it.

This idea naturally translates into any and every conflict we see today: MH17, fractured and not yet stuck together, the Middle East utterly smashed into dust - I have this visual in my head of Hanukkah Lamp, the smoke from which forms a fractured map of Israel and Palestine. 

From E-Learning IV

From a learning point of view to start with a poster such as this is to follow Robert Gagne theory of learning design; also the natural skill of storytellers and good communications: get their attention.

 

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Learning from mistakes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 11:04

Fig.1. It felt like this even if it didn't look like this.

I capsized four times this afternoon. The first I got over the side of the dinghy and righted without getting my feet wet; it is six or seven years since I did this crewing a Fireball. Even in a wetsuit the English Channel is cold enough early in the season. The second time I floundered into the drink and the mast ended up embedded in the mud - I had to be rescued. Ominously I'd been out all of six minutes. Was I up to helming a Laser in a Force 6 with a full sail? It took another 90 minutes before the next dunking; I was tired, cramp in one calf, both thighs shaking. By now I'd just about figured out how to wrestle with the gusting wind. I was also trying to get my hands swapped over effectively on ever tack and to keep my feet from being tied up in the mainsheet. Another hour before the fourth capsize: a propper dunking in which I fell overboard rather than the boat capsizing - I was grinning for ear to ear: still am. Like Tantric Sex? Hours of holding off the inevitable then wosh-bang-wallop. It's the most fun I've had in ages. This sudden burst of enthusiasm for sport delivers on many fronts: exercise, fresh air, thrills, a mental and physical challenge ... a modicum of risk and much more to do and learn before I take to the sea. In 10 days, potentially, I have my first club race. In the sea. With waves and tides and other boats. Unlike the brain, my muscles now need a day at least to recover - I feel like I've been on the rack.

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Preach to the converted

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 11:27

 Fig. 1 My big sister and me

'Preach to the converted' is the mantra of advertising; increasingly it should the mantra of e-learning. Give potential students what they want in a way that they are already open to. Don't force feed platforms and tools that are foreign to them, nor pander to the book, pen and notebook when by its very nature if you are learning online you are in front of a computer screen. Blended learning is how it is. Increasingly there is no 'e' - it is simply learning in the 21st century.

'Preach to the converted' ties into the need to know who your students are - in all their diversity. There's a bunch of personas used by the Open University to help with this. We're a handful of shifting types across a spectrum of some 12 personas. This helps educators design for hidden, massive audiences.

Fig.2. The Santorini Museum

Big Sis and me both wanted a book from the Santorini Museum.  

We'd done the Akrotiri excavation and did the museum in our separate ways (family event on the island with people arriving at different times and staying in different place. When we met up we agreed immediately at the frustration at no having a shop at either location. You whet your appetite on a subject are ripe for a bit more. I even started looking for a two week course on Archaeology in Future Learn. No book. Not much of a website. Ample content with each artefact. 

Visitors to museums are converts; not just easy to sell postcards and tea-towels too, but ready to learn and suckers not just for 'the book', but just as prepared to come to the talk, even, these days, to sign up to a taster course.

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Positivity Challenge

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 11:35

Fig.1. United Kingdom and Ireland

Prompted by nieces and my sister I have now joined the Facebook 'Positivity' challenge.

You post three positive things a day for five days then nominate three others to do the same. I have written 15 'Positivities' already and will adjust and prioritise each day. My wife, Great Britain and learning something everyday (with a plug for the Open University) got a mention today. When I was eleven or twelve I pencilled in all the counties of England, Scotland and Wales where I had visited - parents divorced and living in Cumbria and Northumberland got that one started, with cousins in County Durham and North Yorkshire, and then trips to Scotland and Lincolnshire, London and Oxfordshire. The rule was I had to spend a night in the county. Before I'd taken a look at the above map (and not taking into consideration boundary changes) I guessed that bar a few counties I had stayed in all: largely as work producing training and information videos has had me on overnights all over the shop (nuclear power industry, manufactures, retailers, Post Office, pharmaceuticals ...), and Northern Ireland courtesy of a girlfriend of 18 months. Looking again I think I could add that I've never stayed in Essex, nor many of the Welsh Counties (or valleys), a couple still in Northern Ireland and probably a couple in North Eastern Scotland even if I have driven through. I started the same kind of thing on the 98 departements of France and guess that I've 'done' a good fifty, once again, thanks as much to TV work repeatedly travelling to far flung, non-touristy destinations for a TV news agency I worked for. I miss travelling. 

A few years ago I took up the challenge of posting a photo a day in Blipfoto; I took this one step further and determined, with the need for some criteria for editing a day's pictures, to posting something 'to feel good about' - this task is similar, though potentially more abstract if the idea, rather than the image comes first. 

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Why did Britain go to war in 1914?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 27 Jul 2014, 08:58

Fig. 1. The British Empire - this from 1937, but as apt for the First World War as it is for the Commonwealth Games.

"A handful of belligerent political leaders, primarily in Berlin, but also in Vienna, exploited the murder of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand to pursue their long-held belief in Germany’s need for a world policy ‘Welpolitik’, even the right to world power ‘Weltmachtstellung’ . Their machinations, deviousness , obfuscations and at times ineptitude and delusions , led Britain’s leaders, reluctantly, in August 1914, once all efforts at mediation had failed, and enough of Britain’s divided cabinet could unite after Germany’s invasion of Belgium, to go to war when Germany failed to respond to Britain’s 4 August 1914 ultimatum".

This is the introduction to a 4000 word piece (see attached).

Tutor comments, further re-reading of Christopher Clarke's 'The Sleepwalkers: How Europe went to war in 1914' since and the cornucopia of BBC output, especially the 'First World War Day by Day' by the precise and authoritative Margaret Macmillan over the last three months would lead me to make a significant, though in word count, minor tweak: both Russia and France are culpable. The British Empire, with a world dominating navy on the one hand and a colonial police force of an army on the other, had no desire to enter a war in continental Europe except to honour Belgium neutrality and limit, prevent or curtail German hegemony.

Such adjustments would have tipped the final grade by at least the one point required for a distinction: I'm too belligerent for such things sad 

I had hoped or felt that behaviour of a few in Germany was so reprehensible that it cancelled out what leaders and politicians were up to in Russia and France, nor do I like the title 'Sleepwalkers' as the people who too Europe to war were far, far from sleepwalking - they were risk-taking, power-seeking, agitators. 

Enjoy. Do share you thoughts as we enter the very moments, day by day, that 100 years ago, took Britain and Europe and the World into a war that STILL has consequences today: Syria, Palestine, Middle East, Ukraine ... even little things like Newfoundland giving up independence to join Canada. 

My external look at this period is called 'That's Nothing Compared to Passchendaele' - the phrase my late grandfather used in 1991 when I was watching the TV news on the First Gulf War with him; well into his nineties and a First World War machine gunner and RFC pilot he had strong views on the matter: I took notes. I'm currently working on a comparative history of Passchendaele and the Gulf War.

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Don't make it easy

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 11:58

Fig. 1 Some ideas from the Ivan Chermayeff 'Cut and Paste' exhibition at the De La Warr, Bexhill

As photography isn't allowed instead of moving from the gallery with my iPhone or camera clicking at everything and anything that caught my eye I was obliged to get out a sketch pad. Just as Ivan Chermayeff says in a exhibition video 'most people don't know how to see'. 

We risk making everything too easy with e-learning: photos, screengrabs, instant research, transcripts of video, video as audio only or highlights or summaries thanks to others.

The above ideas were for:

a) A School of Visual Arts talk he was giving with a colleague

b) Arthritis - with letters torn from a type font catalogue and jumbled around

c) Mother and Child in modern art - a signal Margritte or Matisse like cut out.

What I would have missed entirely, and I do it no justice here, is a collage of tickets and seating allocation to the inauguration of John F Kennedy on the 20th January 1961. (Before my time, I'd been conceived a few weeks before at a New Year's Eve party. Not even I can remember that far back).

 

Fig.2 Sketch of an Ivan Chermayeff collage/poster using bits and pieces from attendance at the inaugurations of US President J F Kennedy

 

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Pen and ink drawing class

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 11:44

 

Fig.1 Chair and shade

It was like being back at school: though the ratio of 15 women to 3 men felt like I'd gatecrashed the girl school's class down the road; I was educated in all male schools from 4 to 19. Of the 15 two were under 20, two were under 30 and the others above 60 and 70. No difference. Just like school. I recognised this swimming with Masters that given any opportunity to be the child that we were we are.

My relationship with art is an odd one: a mother who taught art, had an MA from Durham University in Fine Art, but who discounted at as a career for any of her children. I took it as far as A'levels (under her tutelage).

In 90 minutes we has some history, so thoughts on kit, then we got on with it. I found a secluded spot in the central courtyard (Jerwood Gallery, Hastings). And picked first on the climbing plants on a wall, and then the chair I'd taken out of the class. My challenge was to look at different ways of adding shade. Eventually I found that changing from pen to cotton balls and ink would differentiate between the object and the shadow. This'll take further work.

Other learning opportunities over the last few days have included:

Power Boat II (Refresher)

It is eight or more years since I did the course and seven years since I've been in a power boat. A bit of it came back. And new stuff was added. I need this so that I can operate a 'rib' during 'racing week' at the local sailing club: laying the course, keeping an eye on the fleet to rescue and assist. The sea can be choppy, the winds strong. Dinghies go over and their mast can pin them to the shallow sand and grit of Seaford Bay.

How to train a pigeon

In her wisdom my daughter has rescued a pigeon with a broken wing. The RSPB and animal sanctuaries aren't interest. 'Ralph' is now accommodated in a garden shed; shits everywhere but is eating from my daughter's hand. Muggins will be looking after it shortly of course. The volume of pebble-dash shit is impressive as every shit is onto a fresh patch of shed floor - it will be one shit deep, like a carpet by the weekend.

Graphic Design

The exhibition on the designer Ivan Chermeoff at the De La Warr is so good I've been back three times. There is no book on this exhibition, though many of his books are nailed to a table to admire (the page it has been opened at), with a few books you can browse. There is an insightful video too - an interview with the designer talking about how he got into fine art and graphic design from an inspiration father. One of the things he talks about is 'learning to see'. Had photography not been banned I would not have got out a pad of paper and looked more closely at his collages. Had I not taken such a close look I wouldn't have seen, with magical surprise, that one was made from ephemera collected at the inauguration of JFKennedy as US President on January 20 1961. 

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"They ran over to say 'hello'"

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 11:59

Fig.1 Dolphins 'running over to say hi'

My daughter laughed at how I described this but when you haven't got the words and can only think of one other context this is how I described a couple of dolphins coming over to the boat; it was just like a couple of friendly dogs at the park coming over to take a look and have a sniff around. In this case the dolphins stayed with us for nearly half an hour. At other times they were clearly on their way somewhere, swimming with a purpose in a pod or simply came to take a look then swam on.

Fig.2 Off the bow of 'Ximera' - Spanish Coast

A welcome first. As was covering 600 nautical miles in four days. Job done. I recall agreeing to sailing the Atlantic next year so have already started to look at revisiting and improving my skills at sea. Having not been on a boat for at least seven years I was for the first time ever in my life horrendously seasick for the first few hours of this trip. Worse than a hangover? I had a bucket at my side - that bad. I just wished a hand would could out of the sky and lift me back onto dry land.

Armed with a Kindle during the lengthy periods when not much was happening, and during my four hour watch at the helm overnight I read two text books: another on the First World War, this time the 100 days in 1918 that led to the end of war and as the contrast fascinates me, a detailed account of the First Gulf War. 22 years ago my ancient grandfather was watching the events unfold on TV and said to me 'That's Nothing Like Passchendaele'. What's interesting is to do this comparison.

One hundred years on it is worth comparing the causes of the First World War and to dread that events in Eastern Ukraine as indicators of the wrong response to the fragmentation of old empires: one hundred years ago the Ottoman Empire's demise resulted in fractures at its edge - the Balkans and Middle East. Germany, eager to bolster another weakening empire, its ally the Austro-Hungarian Empire, took steps to demonstrate or test its power and influence to destruction. To what degree is Putin testing the strength or weakness of the Russian Federation by the decisions taken first in Syria to support Assad and then in Ukraine to support the pro-Russian separatists?

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Which library?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 21 Jul 2014, 08:49

 

Fig.1. Hastings Library

With too much going on around the house I've decided to dodge all distractions and the sun and head for the library. I am spoilt for choice:

Lewes Library

University of Sussex

'The Keep'

Instead I'm heading off to Hastings as I've heard they have the only book that covers something on the Royal Flying Corps who were based along the south coast in various capacities during the First World War. The shocking read on Shoreham airfield is that by all account one in four of the pilots crashed in training with few of them surviving - just too windy for the flimsy craft.

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mh17

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 20 Jul 2014, 18:49

ww1 100 years ago and we think that Putin's behaviour is to be accommodated? HE is responsible for too much hideous behaviour: Syria yesterday, Ukraine today, Chetchnya the day before. I am starting a campaign to stop the World Cup in Russia in 2018. Our family heritage goes back to this region and stories of repeated oppression. What has changed in 100 years? Nothing. The Western Front now lies on a line between Poland, Ukraine and Istanbul. The danger is how WE mamage the further collapse of 'Russia'. How on earth is he back in power?? How can the Russian constitution allow this? He had his turn.The whole idea of democracry is that you give someone a go then vote them out to give someone else a shot. How and who buggered around with the Russian constitution so much that Putin keeps coming back? Are not then Russian people disgusted by him? Surely he should be hostory by now??

 

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Touch Typing Basics

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 19 Jul 2014, 08:09

Fig. 1. Touch Typing Basics

Thank you Ourania Kuomi for pointing me towards this; I have a few foibles to fix with my touch typing. I also need a larger keyboard.

She's writing a comprehensive blog on her MBA experiences too. Worth a read. 

 

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New blog post

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Have you got yours?

One read through and before I know it I have my beady eye on a couple more Future Learn courses (done two, on two now) while my wife is looking for an OU science module and my duaghter fancies crewtive writing.

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'This is US Warship please turn to Channel 72 for an important announcement'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 18 Jul 2014, 07:34

Fig.1 Channel 16 - The emergency channel

On the helm overnight I kept an ear out for SOS and other messages on Channel 16. What I got was the most bizarre set of calls and messages:

The US Navy acting on behalf of the United Nations ... the message went on to ask skippers to look out for anything suspicious and to report it. This is 8-12 miles out to sea along the Spanish, Mediterranean coast. 

On my watch I had:

  • a small yacht, all sails up - no lights at all. They shown a torch into their sail as they came close.
  • a cattermarran; no lights on. Lights on as we approached, then all navigation lights on after we passed and motored off into the darkness.
  • a rib, in the dark, someone holding a torch.
  • one legit, correctly lit small yacht
  • various tankers in the distance, the largest a staggering 313m long and 40m wide.

Calls to prayer

Disco Music

General chatter

"Mayday, Mayday" - not in the immediate vicinity but the person couldn't give their chart position

My fertile imagination thought a war had broken out and I could hear shells exploding in Algeria. 

 

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600 Nautical miles in four days (one stop-over)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014, 10:25

Fig. 1. Many firsts

First time to log and chart any off-shore trip

First time to have the helm on a four hour night-time shift: just me, the full moon, the occasional visit by dolphins and 'ghost' ships that appeared, off radar, without any night-time navigation lights on.

First time to speak Spanish and be understood - even it was only asking for a one-way ticket at the bus station.

First time plotting a course and keeping the log.

First time sleeping overnight in an airport - the flight out went too early for the trains and taking a taxi negated getting a cheap flight.

First time to see the straights of Gibraltar - staggered by the narrow gap between Europe and Africa.

First time to be seasick: hideous, only lasted a few hours thankfully.

The list goes on of firsts.

Never more than four hours sleep in a row since last Friday.

I read a book cover to cover on the flight out (including departure lounge) 'Close to the Wind' by Jon Waters, someone else who did a university course in creative writing and is now being published. It's taken five years.

First time to use GPS system on a boat that not only plots your exact position, but identifies other boats in the same detail: size, speed across water, destination, bearing and so on. 

Shattered.

 

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Touch nothing!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014, 10:26

Fig.1. A man up a very high mast with an electric screwdriver

Some instructions are very clear. You follow instructions with great care when you've got someone at the end of a rope and harness 25ft up a mast. Safety and hoist, but it can go wrong.

I keep reminding the skipper that it is nearly 20 years since I crewed so my knowledge of ropes is ropey. A little learning is worse than useless; it's dangerous. I need to remember and relearn what is what fast. A few new knots too. No doubt there is a refresher course online. An App for the idiot yachtsmen? Actually, some things, many things require you to be an apprentice, to shadow those who know what they are doing. It matters and helps that they are great, natural educators. When this guy came down he had the softest, clearest approach to pointing out a few things to me. We spoke for an hour on the history of Gibraltar, the regional weather and its nature ... and the smuggling of tobacco and drugs into the port. All over coffee and a lunch I pulled together for us.

This is an office. For a week it's my study too - free wifi from a cafe on the quay. Completing week two of a Future Learn MOOC on 'Starting your own business' and staring week one of a Future Learn on 'Writing a research proposal'. You text home. You Skype a call. And pictures tell their story as you post your route online. 

It's taken a while coming, but surely the technology truly is giving those who can work anywhere to do so? I so love England but I am so fed up with the weather - with chronic asthma and chronic rhinitis I have good reason to come and live on a windy rock. Gibraltar? So odd. Walked over there and stepped into 1970s Whitley Bay meets Newhaven by the Med, meets??? 

About to set off for five days, non-stop. Well, one stop as a German crew member is rather keen to see some sporting event.

The next first will be to helm my shift in the middle of the night. Misplaced trust is not a good way to learn, on the other hand taking responsibility for a thing is a reward in itself. 

 

Touch nothing!

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Design Museum

Please remember to water the tomatoes

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Will this work? I've sent this hint to the family in the hope that I won't come home to a patch of shrivilled plants.

 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 10 Jul 2014, 17:50)
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