Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

Our family father Christmas manufacturing last minute gifts for our 2010 Christmas - another bloody cheeseboard! Only joking Graeme

It is the night before Christmas and it's a beautiful still hot night

After some last minute shopping I spent the day out at my good friends Sarah and Wayne's drinking wine, eating, and enjoying conversation - now sun burnt and tired! Fished up having coffee at the beach and a restful meal with some old friends.

Tomorrow I am having family around for drinks in the morning before going off to eat more food and drink more wine with one branch of our extended family. The weather promises to be superb - the only downer is news of more earthquakes in Christchurch. It doesn't seem fair !

2012 is a 'tipping point' for me - to use an in phrase.

The last few years I have had my house painted and it is now fit for the 21stC. At the same time I have developed my hectare of swamp and bush into a garden of sorts by building bridges and walkways so that it is all now assessable. It is more a nature trail than a garden but my piece of bush ( thanks to owners of the land in the 1930s) has almost every native tree you an think of - including a half dozen 80 year old kauris. While in England I visited Charles Darwin's house ( I am a great fan of Charles Darwin) and he had a walk he used to stroll around thinking up his ideas - I have made a similar walk but not so many ideas!

So the garden has become a new obsession for me.

Towards the end of the year my brother  ( Father Christmas above) and I had a small art exhibition in our home town of Waverley in the local library - a fitting place since our mother was a mainstay of the library in her time. I have to admit my contributions were painted in the 1960s but it has motivated me to take up painting again - in the new year!

After a highly successful birthday party last January I gave a keynote presentation at an Inspired Impact Conference in Palmerston North to over 1400 people. They didn't really come to hear me - the main attraction was creativity guru Sir Ken Robinson. Actually he didn't show because of illnesses but gave his presentation via a satellite link - even took questions from the floor. Brilliant but wasted on our current government and Ministry who seem hell bent on destroying all that is good in primary education.

I saw my keynote as my final performance in education; with the current directions of the government it is no longer a place to be talking about personalising learning or creativity. So that one past obsession out of the way. I even got a big bin a chucked out two cubic metres of educational notes - a mental clean out of sorts. I kept some good bits of course - just in case. And now I have a lot tidier house - for me!

Perhaps the highlight of my year  was visiting old friends in England  ( they had come out to New Zealand for 'our' party - I  have a twin brother.The party was his idea and I am pleased he bullied me into having one. I taught with my English friends in 1969 and 'we' have kept in touch. We all went out for a pub meal with our old headteacher who is now 94!

I have other very important things on my mind but they haven't been sorted yet.

I intend to keep reading and blogging but I am going to wind up the website I started with my friend Wayne a long time ago. I am planning to capture some of the material and use it as blogs so not all will be lost. And , if asked, I will continue to contribute to the Education Today magazine edited by Doug Hislop. Looking back our best fun articles were: New Zealand's 'top schools' ( schools from the far north geographically in New Zealand!) and the articles written after our educational odyssey around  the East Coast.

So Merry Christmas to everyone.

I hope some of my blogs have been of use to you and I hope there are younger people around to take up the fight for creative education while I get on and explore new territory.

Watch this space!

Design by Free Wordpress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Templates