Bad news comes in threes

Going to try and use my blog again – i never really got going when i launched it 18 months ago

In the last 2 days i have discovered

Makes you feel very lucky to be fit and healthy again

WordPress.com

Setting up a blog on WordPress.com could hardly be easier – well i suppose it could be and i am sure there are other systems available now that are, but one of the advantages of wordpress is that it used by so many people.

That means, as open source, you can expect it to continue to be developed, – there is plenty of money to be made designing, maintaining, and support sites to keep the community thriving.

That said, there clearly are some limitations on using the free hosting available at wordpress.com – i knew there would be but perhaps didn’t quite expect to come up against them quite so quickly.

So, from their FAQ – it seems wordpress.com completely blocks all javascript code. Not perhaps obviously an issue with a simple blog like this one. But in my recent post about raising funds for Dorje’s projects in Nepal – publicity is everything.

The Crowdrise crowdfunding system he has chosen to use provides nice simple widgets for fundraisers to install on their blogs/websites – but yes, you guessed it – they require javascript.

widget

Solution: migrate blog to an alternative webhost – one that will cost, but perhaps worth it in the long run – particularly as i like to experiment with all the bells and whistles available.

But then i’ll have to register and choose a new domain … what will it be i wonder.

Any suggestions?

 

Fundraising for Nepal

I guess some days it might be hard to come up with a suitable topic for the daily post – but today’s arrived early from Dorje in Nepal. Following a hectic global campaign, Dorje was released form jail in Qatar back in the Spring – where had been teaching, He is now back home and has committed himself to working to improve the lives of the children in his home country – rather than pursue the relatively easy life as a teacher on the International School circuit.

dorje

I did come across an nice photo earlier of Dorje downing a pint of beer which perhaps would have been more appropriate for an informal blog like mine – rumour has it he has acquired a taste for the local brew in Kathmandu.

You can read all about the charity Dorje is involved with in Nepal at Committed’s website.

Any amount donated, however small, will be put to good use and gratefully received. Thank you

My memory might be failing me, but I seem to remember the first time I came across Dorje was when I started work at the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Aug. 2000. Dorje had worked there – and still had an email account on their system. All enthusiastic to clean out legacy out-of-date accounts I quickly deleted his account; oohps.

I’m pleased to say Dorje forgave me, and two years later I had the opportunity to share a house with him when we both worked at UWC-USA in New Mexico, USA.

We did a comedy double act together when the staff attempted to entertain the students – taking the mic out of student skit entitled “I am a woman” – ours was entitled “I am a teacher”; highlighting the contrast between our backgrounds. Dorje, as ever, out foxed me and appeared on stage, unbeknown to me, in a dress – whilst I was wearing my Cambridge gown. (Well, not actually my gown – i borrowed one for the occasion)

Dorje always planned to return home at some point and I am delighted to be try to fundraise for his projects. If you’d like to donate, even only a small amount, please visit

http://www.crowdrise.com/teach-a-man-to-fish/fundraiser/davidatiyah

 

Waiting for the post

In the days before email became the default means of communication – especially with respect to international traffic – waiting for the post on a daily basis was definitely less stressful. The postman came once a day, within a time window one was aware of, and if the awaited envelope didn’t drop on the mat then you knew you could relax for 24 hours.

Now, in the age of 24/7 comms, that is no longer the case. Today I’m waiting for an email that hopefully will bring me good news. But it could come through at any time, time-zones permitting.

Yes it is infinitely more efficient, cheaper, and preferable. But learning to control the technology rather than letting the technology control you seems to be an important part of modern day living.

By chance, I picked up a book from an Oxfam Shop in London the other week – i chose to walk across London between two mainline stations; Always a good way of reminding myself why I must never live and work in the London area!

Here’s a review of the book – The Distraction Addiction by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.

Distraction Addiction

 

Whilst i haven’t finished reading the book, i did like the analogy between different types of technology.  I have worn glasses permanently, except when either swimming or in bed since i was 8 or 9. I perceive them as an extension of myself, and am hardly conscious of them almost all the time.

The smartphone will surely be seen as the same – a natural extension of myself, and whilst it servers a different purpose from my glasses, – or even my shoes – it is quickly becoming one I wouldn’t be keen to do without. I might choose to switch if off for long periods of the day to avoid excessive distractions from who, or whatever i am trying to concentrate on.

And equally, like my glasses, should it break, be lost or stolen, i guess i’ll need to find a replacement quickly. As it happens, the cost is about the same – my glasses are bifocals, and hence quite expensive. Equally, the prescription is continually changing requiring shelling out quite a hefty sum ever couple of years for a new pair.

At least with the smartphone I might be able to choose to stick with the current technology for a few years … but who knows …

Editor’s Note: i see my ramblings have migrated from the original topic elsewhere.

Teacher’s perks

Over the years i have had a number of teaching and IT related jobs in schools around the world; I never seemed to settle and stay in place for too long – perhaps that would be a good topic for a blog entry one day – but not today.

All jobs have their ups and downs, and during my time at Aiglon College in Switzerland, one of the perks fitted this description literally. By the summer of 1995 when i arrived in Chesieres-Villars i had been running up and down the Lake District fells for 6+ years, culminating in a successful Bob Graham Round in June 1993 in a respectable time of 22:25.

You can imagine my surprise when no too long into the first term a notice went up on the staff noticeboard asking for any volunteers to train up a team of students to compete in the Scottish Three Peaks Race in May. Staring from Oban, finishing in Troon, it involves climbing peaks on the Islands of Mull, Jura and Arran.

There is Youth Team category – with shorter running legs, but none the less still quite a challenge for teenagers. Fortunately, (for yours truly) the rules insist that an adult accompany the “youths” on the running legs – probably the only time i have ever been paid to run. Not sure that makes me a professional though.

We entered a team the following year in 1997 too – and my main memories of these two races are the disasters that so nearly happened,

  • don’t try and get into a dinghy until your mother ship is stationary
  • check, double check, and check again you haven’t everything before leaving the ship for each running leg.
  • if you gamble with the wind and tide, and lose, you can spend a lot of time waiting for the tide to turn
  • sailors survive on short spells of fitfull sleep

I’m sure all the students who took part in these races were left with lasting memories – were they of educational value? Well, if they were, then the value surely lies in the understanding that teamwork, planning and training pays off.

Post-race team photo - Troon, May '97

Post-race team photo

And i remember well how Caroline put the adult German runner in his place after he proudly announced in Troon to the officials that he was the first German to finish!

First time, last time

Everything we ever do, we do for a first time and a last time.

You may remember the first, and/or the last – although ever the optimist i like to think most doors are still open …

Today we took Lily out for her first outing since she broke her hip way back at the beginning of August, to the National Museum of Scotland

I learnt

  • all taxis in Edinburgh are now fitted with ramps – but not all drivers are passed to use them
  • how to answer a call on my new phone
  • museums are great places for the elderly to learn to drive wheelchairs
  • the Mary Queen of Scots exhibition closed a week ago 🙁

First Post

For a while now i have had it in mind to start up my own blog. Given that i don’t spend a lot of time reading others’ blogs i don’t have a very high expectation it will ever reach a large audience.

Indeed my main reasons are purely personal – partly therapeutic, partly to record my thoughts and even the major events in my life.

The Glenderby name, and indeed the photo, come from my parents Norwegian Log Cabin, named Beinno (of which more another day) which is one of 19 similar houses near Kirkmichael, in highland Perthshire. Build in 1975 on an open moorland hillside it is now hidden away within its own mini-forest which my father and I planted – and which keeps us in firewood. Pine wood doesn’t burn very well – but if it is free, that’s not a great issue!

Mum with her grandchildren looking over her shoulderThat said, today i am sitting in sunny Edinburgh keeping an eye on my dear mum, Lily, who has only recently come out of hospital after a 3-month stay. And she wants a cup of tea so that seems a good excuse to wrap up today’s post.

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