Last day of summer

19C, cloudy, CR:29 miles

Our local free newspaper is a lot of fun. It’s full of schools boasting of their record breaking GCSE results. It’s their best year ever, they exclaim. But wait, it’s always the best year ever, the results have gone up each year for the last 24 years. So, of course it’s their best year. It would be weird if the results stayed level for a year. How many years does it take before they notice the pattern.
Are they all too sensitive to risk upsetting the teenagers by telling them it’s all getting easier?

It’s the last day of summer but looks as if autumn is already here. The remaining green plants are starting to turn already. The long dry spring is said to be the cause of an early autumn.

14st. 8lbs

15°C Rain

That week of rain cost me half a stone in weight. Good result then, it was a bit late coming off this year. Cycling feels better for it. It was only four days of long walks in practice a minimum of six hours for most of them, not desperately strenuous, simply long. the first one turned into a quagmire, a boggy Moelwynnion ridge which became increasingly windy and wet. the Rhinogs are better for that sort of walk probably. As the days wore on, the air dried, and some of my kit did too. It ended beautifully, though rather smelly in the car. I was sad to come home, but more rain did approach.

That was the good bit, now it’s only one week ’till the new term. So much to do still!

Sunflower by the pond

Self seeded, perhaps from birdfood, who knows?


Playing "house"

20C, sun then a shower.

What a domestic day-

  1. Valet the car, (it took hours)
  2. Fill the compost
  3. Replace missing roof tiles (fiddly since one tile in the middle is nailed).
  4. Wash the roof windows (have they ever been done?)
  5. Vacuum
  6. Laundry, 3 loads

I deserve a medal.

After a long weekend of camping/hiking I’m full of energy. Though I was doubtful of my own fitness, I didn’t get sore feet or feel worn out in any way. That’s after four 6 hour walks; if anything, I got more energetic towards the end. A good result, credit to burning off some nagging restlessness.

We’re going to have known nothing like it.

8°C, rain to come.

In a few hours the kids will get their A-Level results, the news will fill with arguments about grade inflation, the kids will pose for photos where they jump up holding their certificates aloft. Head-teachers will praise hard working staff, “young people” and support staff. The format is well established, the exam results have increased every year for 28 years. So what do you say to kids who are ‘put out’ by talk of exams getting easier? You could do what many do- lie by saying the results only reflect better teaching & hard work. I suggest they view the results in the context of 2011 standards. Students could say “I have a grade B (2011) but you got a grade B (2001) old boy”. It’s like a vintage, and after all, the structure of courses changes every two years or so. You can’t compare like with like with this pretty constant change. The media will try to anyway.

Shall I repost this next week when the GCSE results are released to kids?

Latest: the results have stayed the same for the first time in 28 years, within 0.5% anyway.

mid-break jangles

19°C, light cloud. CR:26 miles

Mid summer holiday causes a strange feeling. It really does take three weeks to recover fully so that now I have to carefully harness the physical energy that’s liberated. Perhaps soon a trip to the Scottish highlands. With time running out, I have to worry that I’m using this time wisely. The decorating is underway, I like the colours I have chosen and the first layers are showing the effect. I want to use the multi-surface reflections which give richer colours in areas like corners and alcoves. The trick is to use several colours that are very similar. The bounced light takes on the surface colour before illuminating adjacent walls. It works a treat!

French bites

19°C, light clouds. CR:35 miles

French bites are not like French Kisses- the bites are French but by Mosquitoes. The itch is persistent. So where have I been? Corsica, a mountainous island in the med- the most mountainous island of them all in fact. The landscape was rather like semi-desert, dry hot & dusty land, a dense soil of barren dust. Each step taken scatters lizards amongst plants that are so dry they almost rattle. that’s nothing though, the scent of the macchi was the most magical sensation from the place. It was like a mixture of fennel, artimesia,  annise, pine and the smell we get here in the England- oil-seed rape. A nice souvineer would be some plants that I can get for the garden. Oh and an olive tree– they’re not vulnerable to frosts.


21C, Rain

Painting the attic room. First put a coat of white matt to act as an undercoat & hide the rather unpleasant colour beneath. It’s been a while since I have done any of decorating and I have become rusty. Worse, some of my tools are old & shagged out. Still, Radio 4 was there to carry me along. Notably Afternoon Reading by Dermot Bolger. Followed by the excellent Russia- the Wild East.

Crows in Leomondsley

50% fail

24C, hot & humid.

Education panic: BBC 30% of 10 year olds fail to reach the “expected” level in maths & literacy. Erm, this is where I need to call on the services of a statics expert. Remember in the Labour Govt Ed Balls wanted most kids to achieve “above average (mean)” results? So with results scattered on a Normal Distribution curve, shouldn’t there be about 30%percentage reaching only the arbitrary “expected” level anyway? If you’re comfortable handling standard deviations, then perhaps you could post me an informative link. My competence with bell-curves falls below the required standard I have to say!

What I suspect here is that we are dealing with politicians’ stats rather than competently functioning data handling. (It’s not just me that feels uneasy)

I recall as a kid leaving primary school my own reading age test result was considerably below my chronological age. I’m sure I now have a reading age considerably above 46 years. So the problem was only really a problem for the school, not for me. On the other hand, statistics abuse is a real problem in journalism and politics in the last few decades.