Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday at ISTE 2012

Following the great start on Saturday with the SocialEdCon 2012, where new contacts were made and long friendships renewed, I was looking forward to getting to the conference proper today.
The opening keynote began at 1.30 however, I was planning to spend the afternoon with the Global Collaboration Symposium with Lucy Gray which began at 2.00. I decided to drop in on the keynote, I was completely surprised that in a room of 6000 people I sat next to Dorothy Burt's husband Russell, we had first met four years ago at ISTE in San Antonio.
The keynote was a great rallying call, however I did slip away to Room 5 where a inspirational teachers were sharing their experiences in building a global network of collaborative projects.
The high point for me was hearing from teachers who have been able to integrate global projects into their curriculum planning, ensuring that the pedagogy is sound and that the projects are sustainable.
Ahead of the main keynote in which Sir Ken Robinson is a panelist, I managed to take a break in the luxuriously appointed Bloggers Lounge......I do still feel at home among my peeps :-)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

SocialEdCon 2012

SocialEdCon at ISTE 2012, is proving that there are a myriad of apps out there for teachers to use for themselves and also with their pupils. Using the Twitter hashtag #socialedcon you can check out the main trends.
All of the folks began with 1 minute speed sessions reduced to 30 seconds as the hour mark approached. The sound of the bell focused the minds of presenters!

ISTE 2012 San Diego

After a few week's absence Ddraig Goch returns direct from the Pacific shoreline in San Diego ahead of the annual ISTE Conference. It will be interesting to see how the 'Ed-Tech' world has progressed since my last visit back in 2008, and also to catch up with friends - virtual and otherwise.
The event kicks off tomorrow with the Edublogger Con (unconference) always stimulating and interesting. The main event kicks off on Sunday through to Wednesday.
There will be more posts and tweets to look forward to live from the conference.
I am also hoping to meet up with some IB teachers, and would be grateful if they could be steered in my direction.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Missing the homeland! One has to develop an inner resiliance when living as an Expat. There are many methods that one can employ in order to stave off those times when the mind drifts into dangerously wishing that you were home.... my resolve has been slipping lately. I have certainly found the lack of anyone to have a conversation with a challenge recently ........I have attempted to avoid talking to myself ( often unsuccessfully!).
Those who have never had a family would I guess find this odd. However when you have lived in a home with a medium sized family, and now an extended family the sudden removal of this can be a relief in the short term. In the long term, the long silences even when filled by reading ( 4 books this year to date) can grate after a while! An upside if it can be said to be so is an addiction to 'The Big Bang Theory' and .....hoovering and there any hope?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Today all European clocks moved to 'Summertime' as we lost an hour, but gained a season, for once the weather seems to have been listening.....
as  you can see from my images from 'The Beach' this afternoon...
....... we may get a Summer after all (Ooops! I hope that I haven't just jinxed our Summer!)


I had to venture into the city to pick up what I will from this time forward call my 'Scaryfocals' from!
I spotted these chairs in The Bijenkorf
 The Phillipe Stark Ghost Chair (242Euro)
...and the Verner Panton Chair
.......I love De Bijenkorf!


... The seaside ( or is it The Ocean)?
The lobby of The Hilton Metropole
..and of course the view outside...
of Brighton seafront and piers...
Following the short visit the IB team headed back home with Easyjet from Gatwick!


I selected this image for today as having a card up with my name on it, as we had arranged for our arrival at London Gatwick airport this afternoon is very very rare for me.
On arrival we were whisked off to Brighton ahead of our 'kick off' meeting on Friday morning..... the plan to catch the 2.05 flight back to Schiphol tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I was shocked to read this news today having visited Gouda's excellent museum in February......

Thieves target Gouda's museum Wednesday 21 March 2012

Thieves broke into Gouda's main museum and art gallery on Tuesday night by using explosives to blast open the front doors, news agency ANP reports.

It is not yet clear if the thieves actually stole anything, but two men were spotted leaving the scene by motorbike carrying large bags, ANP said.

The museum is currently hosting an exhibition of 16th century drawings for the windows of the city's St Jan's church.

The museum hit the headlines earlier this year when it auctioned a work by Marlene Dumas for €950,000 to head off bankruptcy.


I wait as do others to hear what if anything has been stolen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


The BBC's Hairy Bikers arrived in Holland ( plus Belgium and Luxembourg) today on the second leg of their Bakeation . The boys didn't have the most auspicious start having arrived in Holland's version of Blackpool complete with 'kiss me quick' hats!
Things took a better turn when Cy and Dave arrived in Scheveningen, stopping off at The Kurhaus Hotel on their way to an award winning local baker Driessen Bakery where amongst the speciality bread, our intrepid bakers made Apple Tart.
The bakery can be found at Gentsestraat 50   2587 HV  's-Gravenhage - Scheveningen  Tel:             070-3661947       
... it is certainly going to be one of the yet to be discovered gems that I plan to visit over the weekend. Their next call was at the eccentric Bakery Sonnemans  in Burgh Haamstede.
Having captured the eccentricity on the Dutch quite well the intrepid bikers headed across the border to Belgium.....if you are in the UK or have a VPN you can see this episode on the BBC iPlayer now [link].

Monday, March 19, 2012


The arrival of a fine crisp spring day can do wonders for the soul, and today was no exception. The brisk cycle run to work was still chilly enough to bring a tear to the eye, and chilly hands ( note to self - gloves still required in March!).
At 6pm on the way home the bright sunshine could not disguise the fact that at this time of year when you are out of the sun directly is still Spring. We have more sunshine to come this week, hopefully this may enable some warmth to build up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity at my stage in life to work and live abroad. My surroundings are comfortable and the work that I do often doesn't feel like work as it is something that I feel such an affinity with.
However these positive times are balanced by too many occasions when I feel that I am so remote from my close family that it hurts! The feeling of detachment for me comes on slowly, and grows to a dark cloud... I usually try to ensure that I remain active as this usually helps to dissipate the melancholia. However this weekend has been relatively sedentary and Skype calls home where I certainly feel that I would be of some use have merely helped to deepen the feelings. I am sure that once the working week begins that I will be able to shake myself out of the malaise and indulge in some meaningful activity. I'm sure that this feeling is not unusual for expats, or those separated in any way from their family.... you can't hug via Skype and 'poking' on Facebook is not quite the same!
Please accept my apologies for the nature of this post, a blog after all is an online diary and life is not 'sweetness and light' all of the time.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Great day for Wales at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
My last view of the stadium from the train leaving Cardiff Central for Cardiff International Airport following my recent trip home.

Today the stadium was the beating heart of the nation (small nation of 3 million people), as Wales faced the pre-tournament favourites France in their last game of the Six Nations tournament. Wales came to the game having an unbeaten record, while France had one defeat and could not win the tournament.... Wales were playing for the Grand  Slam. France have notoriously spoiled Welsh celebrations in the past both at home and in Paris..... could this happen again?

In a nervy game Wales who scored the only try of the match ran out 16-9 winners and topped the table.
 A great result which set Welsh hearts on fire...even those of us overseas watching online or in pubs around the globe.
Well done to the team of 2012 (both the on pitch and backroom team), special thanks to honorary Welshman Warren Gatland, who follows a long line of New Zealand Welshmen :-)


What I particularly enjoy about living in a city renowned for its fine dining experiences are the impromptu eating experiences which come along. Friday was going to be a fairly normal work day followed by a cycle ride home and an early dinner at home before the preparations for the weekend. ( Wales v France on Saturday for the 6 Nations Grand Slam)....
A work colleague and well known gourmand Fiona Clark suggested to fellow foodies that perhaps supper at local Restaurant M would be a nice way to end the week.
Having been to M previously I know that they serve a mean Sea Bass ( Zeebaarsfilet met truffelaardappelen en saffraan), and having checked my sparse diary I found myself free :-)
.... it was therefore with pleasant company of  Fiona, Steve O'Regan ( no online profile Steve!) and Kassandra Boyd to look forward to that I cycled across the city to the Food Quarter of..... arriving in time for a small pre supper drink ahead of the meal. - M's MenuKart is a particular delight......
.... my choice, the stuffed tomatoes to start, followed of course by the Sea dessert, however the table did have 2 servings of Eton Mess and 4 spoons :-) there were 2 excellent wines with the first courses,  topped of with a very light  and fruity sherry with the dessert course. 

I must say that there is nothing better than good company and good food to put joy into your heart - and of course to set up the weekend ahead. ( trying to avoid completing my Dutch Tax return until Monday!)

Come on Wales!!!!! - a win for the country and for the memory of Mervyn Davies - a great man.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


The very sad news about the 28  people ( 22 children) killed on their way back home to Belgium from a Swiss Skiing holiday was brought closer to home here in South Holland. The reason is that the northern part of Belgium is Dutch speaking also children on the bus were from The Netherlands as the school is on the border.
The result unfortunately as you can read above there were 7 (zeven) Dutch children killed in the tragic accident. The death of children is always extremely sad and all the more so in this case where there seems very little reason for the incident to have happened.... a safe road, early in the journey, I guess eventually the story will emerge. In the meantime I  would like to express my condolences to all involved.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


From the moment the instruction to 'Put on your 3D glasses' comes on screen to the roll of the credits some 2 hours later Martin Scorsese takes the viewer on a tour de force of 3D magic in this homage to the early days of film - in particular the films of Georges Méliès whose life we follow. The film links the real life of the pioneer filmaker and his later life with the fictional story.... there were some occasions when I felt that anyone who suffers slightly from vertigo may  have found the action made them feel a little nauseous.
High points for me were the more subtle use of 3D and the way that Scorsese left dust in the atmosphere in shots adding depth, subtle also were the performances of the station regulars. I found the Sacha Baron Cohen portrayal of the station inspector grated on occasions.... however I did like his attempted smiles ( well he had mastered 3 smiles!). There was perhaps a long stretch of the imagination to believe that the children would have been running around freely having their 'adventure'.
Hugo in 3D did make me laugh out loud on at least 4 occasions and also brought a tear to the eye.
My belief is still that The Help retains top spot for me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Samsung has started the process of updating its Galaxy S2 smartphones with the latest version of Android. Korean S2 owners as well as those in Poland, Hungary and Sweden will start to get the update from 13 March. The update will gradually be rolled out to other markets and is expected to hit the UK on 19 March. Changes in Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, include refinements to the touchscreen and letting owners unlock a phone with their face. Android-based smartphones are by far the most popular category. Gartner estimates that more than 52% of smartphones are Android based. By comparison Apple has a 15% share of the market. BBC NEWS TECHNOLOGY 13-03-2012

Monday, March 12, 2012


I have just booked an Easyjet flight  for my daughter Laura to come over to The Netherlands for the ever so mad Queen's Day... the day when the Dutch lose all sense of reason and decorum!
...Easyjet of course also fly orange...and for the very good price of £63 return from Liverpool to Amsterdam!
In The Hague there will of course be much celebration on Queen's Day Eve - street markets, and a free night of music and bands....on the day itself, well ...
just about anything in orange goes!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Goudenregenplein 1959
Goudenregenplein 2012
The weather was beautifully warm and sunny today and encouraged me out to take the photograph that shows the 'then' (1959) and 'now' (2012) of the plein around the corner from my apartment. Also below is my local transport - the Number 12 tram heading for Den Haag Holland Spoor Station.
No 12 tram in Goudenregenstraat 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Wales keep their 'Grand Slam' hopes alive with this win in Cardiff.

Italy played admirably by stifling the play for long periods of the game, it was only two late tries from Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert that finally allowed Wales to break free and finish with a healthy looking score 24-3

This sets Wales up nicely to putting right the injustice of the World Cup semi-final last year when they meet France in Cardiff next weekend......England could do Wales a favour by inflicting a defeat on the french in Paris tomorrow.....Come on England!!!!!

Friday, March 09, 2012


I downloaded the brilliant Cartoon Camera App from the new Google Play Store (Android Market) this evening. The 'App' operates well and gives good early results. I look forward to trying it out in daylight.....

Thursday, March 08, 2012


This evening I found myself enjoying a 3 course meal with wine in the exquisite  Hotel Des Indies on Lange Voorhout in the city. The surroundings are very much like one would expect a London Gentleman's Club to feel. The Hotel has an interesting history and was the place where Anna Pavlova died, it has had a string of high profile guests down the years.
The meal was an offer by the Dutch Dining Week where restaurants around the country offer 3 course meals for 27.50 Euro (drinks extra). I hadn't planned to attend however a few of the 10 people who had reserved places were unable to attend, and my diary for the evening was free!! I do also enjoy the fine dining in the city :-)
The meal was enjoyable and the company charming - so good of the ladies ( yup 9) to allow a token male to attend. It was certainly different from my hurried MacDonalds prior to watching The Help the evening before! Variety is the spice of life.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Film Night at the most stylish cinema in The Hague - Pathe Buitenhof
This evening I went to see another of the Oscar nominated films,  The Help
It was a film I must admit I was looking forward to, and it did not disappoint, I laughed and cried throughout, as did many of those around me in the cinema........ I appear to have gone on ladies night, the only other gentlemen in the house were with partners.... In fact I was a little late arriving and had apparently booked a seat ( the only seat left) in the middle of 'the ladies'!!! They were very kind to me and allowed me to join in the experience.
Both the look and feel of this film are right on the money, it exudes 'The South' in the 1960's I am of the opinion that this film should have taken more Oscars - brilliant! Go and see this if you can.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


It is interesting looking at the image above as the area that the tram is crossing is now a pedestrian  'plein' or square and the pagoda shaped building  in the background is now a flower shop. The colour image below from 1959 shows the tram in much the same position as above heading towards the stop on the plein.

 The number 12 tram still runs on Goudenregenstraat ( left to right in the foreground) stopping still at the tramallte in shot. The tram above is the number 3 which now runs along Lan van Meerdervort ( off the bottom of the map below from 1940 and running parallel with Sportlaan.

Here the 3 or 3A can be seen in 1955 in Goudenregenstraat
I will be taking some modern day images from a similar viewpoint over the weekend and will post the then and now at some point in the near future.

Monday, March 05, 2012


The Harrington Family ( 1750 to present day)

While I was still at home in Wales, I looked again at the research that has been carried out on my paternal family 'The Harrington's .... of Flamborough, near Bridlington in East Yorkshire.
The earliest member of the family traced was one Thomas Harrington who was born around 1750 - my sister and I are the 7th generation, while Abi and Jaycob are the 9th!

There appear to have been at least two separate families of Harrington's in the area at the time. One family, sadly not ours if research is correct, was that of James Harrington born around 1825 who at the age of 42 in 1867 was involved in and rewarded for a heroic act in saving seamen who were victims a a shipwreck. James must have been a cousin or close relative of Allison Harrington born 1826 (son of John b 1778, grandson of Thomas b 1750)... there was a family story from my grandmother of a distant relative being involved in a rescue - James looks to have been this person if not a direct relative.
The report below from the time outlines the story:

During the night of January 1st 1867, the ‘Charlotte’ of Sunderland, timber laden, from Gottenburg, suffered near Robin Lythe’s Hole.  It was a moonless night, the lights on the head obscured by the snowstorm and the booming of the gun lost in the roar of the elements.
In the morning a large quantity of wood was seen floating in the North Sea gap, and on search being made five men were found at the foot of the cliff.  One of them quite dead, another (the captain) fearfully wounded by the rocks and the others in an exhausted condition. They were rescued from their perilous position by James Harrington who kept the North Star Inn, and, at the imminent risk of his own life, brought them all into the cave.
The sea at the time was rising fast, the wind dead on shore the only access to the poor men was across the planks and mast of the wreck, which lay tossing at the mouth of the cave.  Four times did Harrington traverse this perilous path, each time bringing one of the men. His last venture was for the wounded captain, and the sea hurled Harrington and his almost lifeless burden far up into the cave and they narrowly escaped being dashed to pieces.  The captain died the next day.
Three days later another of the crew was found in a crevice of the rock known as  ‘Well Hole’.  The man had apparently taken refuge from the sea by climbing up the cliff and had died from exposure.  The body of the mate of the vessel was picked up on the rocks on the Wednesday following.
Harrington was rewarded for his brave conduct by the King of Sweden and also by the English government with a Silver Medal and £2.

Above can be seen the North Star in close to the treacherous coastline, and below is the North Star in today, looking towards the sea.

Sadly the brave 'gentleman' James Harrington who was at one point the owner of The Brittania Inn Bridlington came to a sad end in 1876.....

An accident which has terminated fatally, occurred to James Harrington , cab driver in the employ of Mrs Harrison , Brittania Hotel, on Thursday when driving Mr Robert Wilson and Mr J Parker to their home at Bessingby.
The particulars of the case will be seen in the following report of the inquest which was held before J.M. Jennings Esq, the coroner at the Bull and Sun Inn ,Bridlington, on Monday evening , and adjourned until the following Wednesday, when the first witness was Mr Robert  Wilson , who stated that Harrington drove himself and  Mr Parker from the Quay to the Black Lion, Bridlington and thence home on Thursday night. They got out of the carriage between their two residences, it being very dark at the time, they wished Harrington good night, and after getting a short distance heard the horse going at a furious rate, they then heard a groan and went back to see what was the matter, and found Harrington lying in the road. He (witness) helped to raise him and Mr Parker ran to look after the horse and carriage, which he soon returned with. They then put Harrington inside and drove back to the Quay. Harrington only said "Oh my side"- On reaching the Brittania they there found out where Harrington lived and drove him home. Had heard the horse had sometimes run away, but it went very quietly that night.

James Parker gave similar evidence, stating that he ran after the horse, which he would have expected would have taken the road for the Lodge instead of which it had gone straight on until it had come to a gate where it was standing when he reached it. The road was a very bad one being 8 or 10 inches deep in mud. He found the reins over the splash board an thought that Harrington had not had hold of them.
Hannah Harrington wife of deceased, stated that he had told her that he always got hold of the reins before getting up; that he had done so on this occasion, but by the horse suddenly turning round he was thrown down on his side and the wheel went over him. - Deceased had died shortly after getting out of bed , which the doctor had enjoined him not to do.

The medical evidence given by Dr .Brett went to show that  deceased ribs were much broken , but what internal injuries there were besides he could not ascertain. His body was much swollen, he therefore bandaged him up, which gave deceased considerable ease, and laid him on his back with strong injunctions that he was not to raise himself appeared that the medicine caused him to get out of bed, and he believed that in doing so something pressed upon  the heart and occasioned his death. He (Dr .Brett) had not been apprehensive of danger , and when he saw him last he appeared to be going on favorably.

The Coroner said the evidence appeared very plainly to indicate the cause of death. There  appeared to him no reason to believe it to have been otherwise than accidental, but that was a question for the jury to decide. the evidence was as complete as it was possible to be, and they must form their verdict accordingly jury at once returned a verdict of " Accidental death".

James is buried in St Oswald's Churchyard, Flamborough.
Grave stone reads..
In affectionate Remembrance of James Harrington the beloved husband of Hannah Harrington who died January 30th 1876 aged 51 years.
 "be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the son of man cometh"

( Dr Brett was also an interesting character as was the Black Lion at the time as can be seen in Mike Covell's blog:

Eventually I passed St John’s Avenue, where Dr Brett once resided with his family, the street still has a lot of Victorian properties and is tree lined and quite luxurious. Next up I crossed Brett Street, named after Dr Brett, which is a more modern street, lined by neat town houses either side.
What I did notice whilst walking up to the High Street, was the large number of religious buildings. Between Bridlington Quay and High Street I counted 8 churches, 6 of these within 5 minutes of The Black Lion Hotel!
High Street

Next I reached High Street, and turned left into a time warp. It appears untouched, apart from the cars, and road, and there is a wonderful collection of 17th, 18th, and 19th, Century properties adorning both sides of the street. Many of these have been turned into little shops, cafes and galleries. I noticed an antique watch shop, and chuckled at the thought of finding a watch inscribed with Stephenson’s name!
Further along I noticed another antique shop, this one with several Victorian beer bottles in the window, but nine for the Black Lion!
I also noticed that several pubs and hotels lined the street, one of which, The Victoria, was a huge three story property, and in a prominent position in the street. Finally, as I rounded the bend in the road, I saw the Black Lion Hotel. The pub, still with it’s yellow paint stands on the brow of a hill, nestled among the other properties, and it could be driven by, if one didn’t know where it was.
The Black Lion Hotel

Heading through the double, double doors, I reached two doors, one leading left, and one leading right, I chose the left, and entered a cosy bar, with exposed wooden floorboards, a log fire, and exposed brick and timber adorning the walls. I introduced myself to the Bar Manager, and passed over my research, to which I was given a free drink, whilst the manager and several locals read through the piece.
One of the men told me about the inn, and what had gone on there in the past, tales of smuggling and illegal gambling, and even the possibility of people trafficking and slavery back in the mid 1800’s!
The cross roads opposite the Hotel also had a unique story. Cross Hill obtained the name as Witches where hung from here, some attached to crucifix’s, but wether this is folklore or actual fact remains to be seen.
The Hotel consists of three bars, all with wooden flooring, exposed brick and vintage green tiles behind the bar, and seemed to be stuck in the Victorian period, not that this was a bad thing, I actually found it to be a lovely, warm welcoming pub, although it was weird sat in the spot, drinking lemonade, knowing Stephenson was here all those years earlier!
As I left the hotel, I made my way back along the High Street and headed for the railway station. I was tired out, and ready for home, but excited at what I had found. The problem is, it still raises more questions.

Why was a member of the HM Customs staying at a hotel associated with smuggling?
Why was Robert D’Onston Stephenson staying at a hotel that was quite a distance from Bridlington Quay? Especially as there were hotels closer!
Why was the barrow belonging to the Black Lions Landlord at Flamborough, a location associated with not only fishing but smuggling?
Why not take the barrow to Bridlington Quay, which is much closer?
Why did Kelburne King get sent to Bridlington?
Who Sent Kelburne King to Bridlington?
Why wasn’t the local Doctors and Surgeons trusted?
Did the friend that Shot Robert D’Onston Stephenson have ulterior motives?
Finally, a suggestion put forth by a local had me quite interested, he explained,

The Black Lion was known as a smugglers haunt, is it possible your Hull Man, a man of the HM Customs was sent here to keep an eye on things? Is this why the barrow was at Flamborough, and is this why the HM Customs sent Kelburne King, instead of trusting the locals?”

Genealogy can be really interesting.
Another interesting family name is Allison Harrington's son Elvidge,  my great grandfather, who appears on the 1901 census as a widower having lost his wife Hannah a year earlier, he then had had 9 children ( 3 having died before 1884) my grandfather was born in 1897 and was 3 and a half when he lost his mother. Elvidge himself ( a railway engine driver originally from Butterwick, Yorks) died in 1901 as the result of a railway accident..... leaving the 6 children aged between 4 and 14 without parents.... I do not know how they managed at this time however the siblings were very close from this point on and my grandfather Robert Stanley Harrington and 2 of his sisters all of whom died in the 1970's lived eventually in St Austell in Cornwall, far from their original base in Stockport at the turn of the century. 
I am guessing that they were looked after by a family member on the death of both parents, however more research is necessary. I am aware that my grandfather fought in WW1 as he took his wife on a trip around the trenches in France by motorbike I believe in the early 1920's.

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