A short break in Great Bardfield and Djanogly City Academy

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October 29th 2007
Published: October 29th 2007
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Our first dinner together!Our first dinner together!Our first dinner together!

Note the mushy peas!
Saturday & Sunday, October 27th & 28th

We were thinking of exploring the surrounding districts but admitted to each other that we were 'washed out' and as it was raining lightly used the excuse to 'vege out' for the two days.

Rags found an interesting deal whilst reading the travel section of the newspaper and before we knew it we were booked to fly to the Canary Islands departing on November 25th, returning on the 2nd December. We are going to a place called Lanzarote. This gives us 2 days to catch our breath before flying to Prague on 5th December. Tough life, but some-one has to do it!

Responding to Family History emails, inputting family data, reading, and a couple of short walks around the village were the main activities until Sunday mid-afternoon when the serenity was shattered by the arrival of Larni and her travelling companion, Lynne.
This was a welcome break from each other's company and the conversation flew thick and fast all afternoon, continuing over a roast meal we had prepared washed down by a couple of bottles of red, until bedtime.

An enjoyable finish to the weekend.

Monday, October 29th
Djanogly City Academy, NottingahamDjanogly City Academy, NottingahamDjanogly City Academy, Nottingaham

Pretty impressive building!

There was some confusion this morning as the two visitors wanted to get up at 6.30am, we woke up at 5.30 and weren't certain what the correct time was as we hadn't changed the clock to adjust for the finish of day-light saving. We're going to miss it as now the sun is very low in the sky by 4.30pm As Western Australia goes onto daylight saving at the same time, the difference will now be 9 hours.

Larni & Lynne were going to some schools in the Nottingham area to see how they use technology. Judy has a keener interest than Rags in this so she went with them.

Rags spent the day fiddling around, going for a walk and collecting some chestnuts, and preparing a curry for tonight's meal. He looked up different methods of preparing the chestnuts on the Net and tried a few microwaved. They tasted somewhere between potatoes and starch - maybe another method would be more successful.

The girls arrived back at about 6pm. Larni, needing a double scotch after driving in the dark on the narrow winding roads for the last hour or so. The excitement about the school visited spewed forth as the girls told about the wonderful school they had visited. Djanolgly is a city academy school. Sanjexh Sharma enthralled us with his stories of their state and independent school in a low socio economic area where they are effectively integrating ICT. They are using Toshiba tablets (yes, Sue) which are wirelessly connected to the data projectors in each class. As the district, including parents,were connected to the school, parents could daily check absenteeism, children's behaviour - both positive and negative through the Net each day. Students all have access to a noteook either shared or individually at home and at school and teachers, whose contract requires they work until 4.30 each day, seem to have made the shift in pedagogy to make effective use of these.

After this we made a flying visit to the NCSL (National Centre for School Leadership) an innovative project in the grounds of Nottingham Universtity, where they provide quality professional development for school leaders. This was very impressive and we wish the educational sysems in Australia valued leaders enough to provide facilities such as these!

Back at Bardfield we were welcomed by Rags who'd made a chicken curry to warm us up.

Tuesday October 30th

Today, Judy joined Larni & Lynne for a 2 day trip in the Southampton area to visit more schools. Rags was quite happy for her to go as she was so excited by yesterday's visit and Larni was keen as she wanted Judy's navigational skills.

After they had gone Rags took Jim's comment re watching his weight to heart, and as it was a beautiful, blue-skied day he took off on a bike to the Post Office about 400m up the road. On concluding the business there he then decided to continue riding, Braintree about 15kms away being the target. This was great until he reached a roundabout, didn't read the signs properly, and found himself on a motorway with vehicles passing him at a great rate of knots. As he was in the emergency lane he decided to continue for the 4-5 kms to Braintree.

After walking through the town, sitting in the main square for about 30 mins whilst he had a coffee and watching the world go by, he set off on his return journey on the correct minor road.

Not too far from home, just outside of Great Saling, he saw a deer in the field he was passing. Unfortunately , it heard him and by the time he had his camera out it had disappeared into the forest. Even so, it really added to the experience of riding in the English countryside.

He had travelled over 30km when he returned, and he really misses the soft seat and suspension of his bike back home!

Wednesday October 31st

Rags was a little sore this morning so he went for a short ride of about 10kms to the nearby village of Finchingfield. Moe, the housekeeper, told of of the back way to go there so that he would be out of any traffic for half the way at least. It made for a very enjoyable, relaxing ride which soon removed all signs of stiffness.

The ladies didn't get home until after 7.00, Larni, tired after the day's driving, was very glad to be here.
Dinner was on the visitors and we had an enjoyable evening at The Vine. Tomorrow night they are having a Pudding Night - a main course followed by 3 desserts. We booked a table of course!

Thursday November 1st

Today Rags & Judy, being the ones who 'know' the area, became the tour guides for the day. We drove through Thaxted to Saffron-Walden, where after leaving the car in the long-term carpark, we walked through what seemed like all of the town. Rags was extremely patient, waiting outside of nearly every shop in town whilst the ladies explored inside. Shop visits were interspersed with looks and photos of the many interesting buildings there.

Larni then found a Clarks store and dragged the ladies in as she wanted to buy a pair of boots. Rags again waited outside until Judy dragged him in to look at some boots she liked. Before he knew it both he and Judy had new footwear, he finding a very comfortable pair of leather sport shoes!

Lunch was at ASK, a restuarant recommended by Nessie & Peter, and closed the day we tried to go with them. A great find, with all of us enjoying our pasta dishes and the excellent service at our window table.

Well sated, we drove back to Bardfield via Finchingfield, where lots of photos were taken (Finchingfield is reputed to be the most photographed village in Britain, replete with village green and cottages)

Packing of bags, swapping photos, and happy discussion brought the early (5pm) daylight to an end.

Pre-dinner drinks at The Bell pub preceeded our Pudding dinner at The Vine. Larni took lots of photos which she didn't give to Judy but you can see them here . This was a fun evening with the staff adding to the light-hearted atmosphere around us. The food was excellent, drink was served by an interesting barmaid (reminding Lynne & Rags of Faulty Towers) and we left concluding an enjoyable day.

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


Beautiful FinchingfieldBeautiful Finchingfield
Beautiful Finchingfield

Known as the setting of the TV series "Lovejoy".

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