Monday, 5 November 2018

Marriage Congratulations Message

Today you’re getting married to this beautiful girl, my son. I’m realizing, it’s all done: this big, beautiful job of fathering you is complete.  
Today is the day to rejoice in knowing your prayers – and ours – were answered. And her name is... Nastasya.  
Congratulations, you did it! Tony!

(Photos are attached. Click to enlarge.)


Wednesday, 24 October 2018

My hedgehog poetry collection

Hope you enjoy it!

1. Beneath the garden wood pile I hear sounds of excavation
As a hedgehog starts preparing for his autumn hibernation.

2. The Hedgehog went for a walk one day.
Off out all on his own, What can I say.
He crossed the road but he forgot to look left and right.
He didn’t see the car, In his sight.

3. I could tell it was a Hedgehog
simply by it's silhouette,
and if it didn't move real soon
would get squashed flat, I'll bet.

4. Oh lovely, little hedgehog, playing in the grass,
I love your prickly, stylish coat, it brings you so much sass.

5. The little flower pot wept and cried
Thrown on the compost heap on his side
A little hedgehog scurrying by,
Said “little flowerpot do not cry.”

I had an adult and baby one last year. I saw them quite a lot in our garden, though the dog did his best to bark them into a ball. The neighbour had a little food bowl outside his patio door for them. Then one night coming home, I noticed the adult squashed in the road, and not seen one since.
   Also, I had one in my back garden a few weeks ago, and its back again tonight. My back garden is fenced off, and mostly concrete, I have given it some cat food. The dog found it, not me, she didn’t bark this time.

Monday, 25 June 2018

On the name of Shakespeare

(Notes for Year 10) 
Education cannot produce a Shakespeare, it cannot create genius, but it can give genius that chance in early elementary training without which even the most adaptive minds lose their direction.
--Charles G. Harper

      The name of Shakespeare was not in olden times a respectable one. It signified originally one who wielded a spear; nor a chivalric and romantic knight warring with the infidel in Palestine, or jousting to uphold the claims to beauty of his chosen lady, but a common soldier, a rough man-at-war.
     (Spoiler 1) The first Shakespeare of whom we have any notice in Stratford-upon-Avon was a John of that name. He was hanged punished for robbery, and perhaps he was one of those very many unfortunate persons who have been in all ages wrongly convicted.   
     (Spoiler 2) One Shakespeare before the dramatist’s time had reached some kind of local eminence. This was Isabel Shakespeare, who became Prioress of the Priory of Baddesley Clinton.
     (Spoiler 3) Warwickshire was, in fact very rich in Shakespeares. They grew in every hedgerow, and very many of them owned the Christian name of William, but they spelled their patronymic in an amazing number of ways as a matter of taste and fancy. We will forbear the most of these. “Shaxpeare” and “Shagspeare” are the commonest forms.
      Sure and certain foothold upon genealogical fact is only reached with William Shakepspeare’s father, who established himself at Stratford-upon-Avon about 1551. John Shakespeare was a rising tradesman and became a member of the town council.  

Friday, 22 June 2018

What a disgrace!

It is estimated around 40 per cent of male and 20 per cent of female public sector workers including teachers and health care workers may not live long enough to claim their pensions under the new rules, as prime minister announced the Russian state pension age would be hiked from 60 to 65 for men and 55 to 63 for women.   
     Putin is by no means a good guy when he is spreading the lies around the globe that people in Russia live longer. The Russian Main Stream Media should be ashamed of itself blithely printing all this pure propaganda and ignoring the suffering of the old people in Russia. And how can school children believe MPs while this atrocity carries on is beyond belief. 
      Expected to be officially adopted by next year, the new policy would mean the country’s retirement age for men would be only a year lower than the World Health Organisation’s estimated life expectancy for a Russian man of 66.
     World Bank echoes this sentence. It estimates also Russian male life expectancy at 66, while the CIA’s World Factbook had it at even 65. Women can expect to live to about 77. The Russian Confederation of Labour said official statistics showed the average life expectancy of men was less than 65 in more than 60 regions of Russia. 
     This proves that the intention to raise the retirement age is not based on available official statistics. What a disgrace Russia has become! Putin's poodles, dutifully trotting out Kremlin propaganda. It doesn't make one proud to be a Russia petitioner any more. 
      What it indicates to me is that we truly are in the slave system. We are basically saving for the government because you’ll probably be dead and gone before actually you can claim your pension. 
      To make matters even worse, 100 rubles today will not buy the same what 100 rubles bought a year ago. That’s pretty obvious for everyone. My own advice to people would be to diversify your assets as much as possible. I would say always try and leave cash somewhere if you have a good hiding place in your house or invest in gold and silver, tangible assets. I can see a time where bank accounts may be frozen by the government. Again this just shows me that we are definitely living in the slave system.    
     Sad story!


Tuesday, 29 May 2018

A Defence of Grammars

"Against the conventional wisdom, we find little evidence that gaining entry into a grammar school has a positive impact“, the Telegraph, 23 May 2018.
      This leads us to an important conclusion: gaining entry into a grammar school in the UK may actually not be as important as many assume. But one thing this article has managed to avoid saying in its negative assessment of Grammar Schools is the utter failure of the system brought in to replace them, the "Comprehensive System". The comprehensive system has failed and it is, quite frankly, a national disgrace.
     It seems to me that if children are failing it is because the Government have experimented by introducing other kinds of education ie Academies; Comprehensives; Secondary Modern; Religion based schools and not concentrated enough on bringing the quality of education in these State schools up to the same level. It is the State schools that are failing children, because of degraded methods of teaching, not all, but most of them, not the Grammar or High schools.
     At the bottom this is not the fault of comprehensive schools or the comprehensive system itself. It is a direct consequence of academic capitalism and marketisation, which has brought about the replacing of developing deep learning through teaching all pupils in a cognitively challenging way by behaviourist cramming.
     There are few experienced teachers that deny this.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Dealing with Swearing and Bad Language in Class

Swearing and inappropriate language in schools, even in primary classes, is on the rise. 
     As a child, I don't remember hearing a swear word until I entered school. When I was in the Army COs swore like 'bloody troopers', and their wives had very obvious substitutes for swearing. But this time the decadence would be of a more explicitly sexual variety!
       Smolensk these days and the lives of the children I teach are full of foul language. It's in the halls, classrooms, you name it. It's part of their normal vocabulary. I was discussing with colleagues the possible reasons for this. When television shows programmes containing words we would not accept in our classrooms, how can we argue? 
      Essentially, the purpose of school is to teach children how to be functioning human beings at least, both in the workplace and in their personal lives. Therefore not allowing children to swear in class is essential practice. 
      It did not take long for pupils to realize that part of the mutual respect between themselves and me is the lack of swearing. If profanity is blatant and direct, I ask for an apology. Nine times out of ten, the student has already caught himself and has self-corrected and apologized. 
     I hope and dream of times where children use appropriate language but am I fighting a losing battle? 
     As the old social groupings of nuclear families, extended families and church communities are replaced by imagined Internet communities and the state, which is Puttin' money before people, we have a generation that includes many who are isolated and lonely, drifting without any moral anchor or structure to their lives, faced with an endemic on swearing.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018


The days of chivalry and respect seem to be long gone these days. Over the past 15 years or so many people who live in Smolensk have become more rude and disrespectful. I believe there are many contributing factors that have led to this rudeness. Selfishness and greed for money have led to many other byproducts such as disrespect to people and the lack of accountability to anyone. Kids treat their parents and teachers with disrespect and also treat each other badly. 

I am a school teacher and have been for about 4 years now. For just the time I have taught at school I have seen a complete turnaround from when I came. The disrespect and attitude that some of people have is crazy.

We don’t question the conventional wisdom that childhood is in crisis; we want to say that poverty and terribly low moral standards that engulfed substantial majority of families and darkened their lives have become a new issue for the state system of education. It is not simply about raising the price of education; many more fundamental problems arise – schools know much more about the state of Russia Olympic Team than they do about the state of their children. It shows that there is a lot of hypocrisy and double standard practices within the national education system.

Even further, this seems to be the age of tolerance and acceptance because we are all forced to accept someone's wrong-doings. Society is in fear about being accountable and being able to tell someone else that they are doing something wrong. The Moscow Patriarchate headed by ecumenical patriarch Cyrill has allowed this to creep in the very fabric of Russian way of life, where we get the ‘feel good’ gospel and sin is overlooked and become accepted by every civilian institution.

There are many things to blame on this but it all comes back to selfishness. All good manners can be summed up in one sentence: Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. In other words, treat others as you want to be treated.