Category Archives: education


Finally managed to track down a reasonably priced copy…

I’m hoping to build a Corpus of MCC-related pupil texts through the BGE; I have one year, and if I can trace S1s that were reassigned midway (chronic staffing issues) I’m in a good position…




Drizzle. Drizzle. Drizzle.

Yet, I did attempt to beat my current No. 1 placing on Wee Curries Climb-A.  And I almost did, securing second place; my pedal clipping one of the drainage stones slightly unsettling me – the last thing I wanted today was any obstacle to getting home on time.

I stopped to take some snaps of an area shrouded in mist. It is still a beautiful part of the world even though it is currently trying to emerge from a very wet winter!

No other cyclists, just one or two walkers (fair play to them).

My Specialized rain jacket needs replaced: a wet right forearm was testament to this. My brakes annoyed me too. However, MP3s and fresh air were enough on what wasn’t the fastest ride ever.  Energy levels were sapped.

Still, it was a delight – and I was looking forward to it even more upon each ‘bite’ of my Costco hotdog earlier this morning.

I didn’t fancy Devol Road. I’ve had more than enough soakings on what is an excellent technical climb, especially on the reverse from Auchentiber Road.

Will this rain ever stop? Ah, well as long as the teabags and freshly drawn water are in full supply.

Back to some Masters work, a St Joseph novena later – and a surprising read: The Daughter Of Time

Too many gaps between rides – I must get out more!  And still loving Strava, both as an external motivator and personal training tool, in addition to providing an excellent network of fellow cyclists.

Lent Approaches


The New Eve.  A beautiful statue of one our dearest members of The Communion of Saints, snapped this morning at St Laurence’s, Greenock. No, we do not venerate such statues – false idols – but we acknowledge their powers of intercession. Only recently I learned of Our Lady’s symbolic symmetric function: in contrast to Eve whom Satan defeated, Christ’s Mother crushed the serpent in ‘Revelation’.


Saturday evenings are now very special: Saturday Evening Devotion to Our Lady. I’m also at Week 4 of my St Joseph Devotions, having recently submitted a commission for a special chaplet for this devotion.

Lent. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

I plan to have one modest meal per day; use the Way of the Cross in prayer at lunchtimes instead of lunch; and any funds will be directed at the St Vincent de Paul.

Bike? Higher Prelim Marking! (A puncture, too). I changed inner tubes today… And today was beautiful, but a lovely Italian lunch prevented even the thought of going on the bike.

I’m certainly welcoming the additional light in the evenings, but tonight I plan to spend some time recording annotations from several reviewed journals, and recording in Scrivener – but I would prefer having an app version.

Bless me Father for I have Sinned..

…it has been many, manyweeks since my last bike cleaning exercise.

Yes, guilt-ridden after a fellow Strava user (thanks, Bob) had noted the intention towards his own machine, I brought my own two-wheeled servant into the ‘cleaning area’, hitched up the hose and – after a lathering – applied the much-needed degreaser.

I then loving spent a full can of WD-40 and half a bottle of ‘Muc Off’ on her; the chain was also fed, quickly gobbling up the remnants of chain oil from the aforementioned malapropismised (?) company.

Not exactly interested in aesthetics – having her gleaming – I am hopeful that she has a Ready-Break-esque shield against this bitter weather. (Note to self: check & adjust brakes).

Wife is not impressed with my almost daily desire to cycle – and, admittedly, the marking pile must now seriously be attacked, never mind the Masters Lesson Planning completion and checking… (this job is not just about holidays).

I am hoping to head out tonight… But if I can scrape myself out of bed at 6am tomorrow morning, then that would be preferred: I’m not a morning person!

Simple (Technological) Pleasures


Upon my return from Tenerife I will have been away from the saddle for four weeks. FOUR weeks!

Shocking, I know.  But I have been busy tying up loose ends in 2012/13’s curriculum.

However, I have four weeks remaining. No, I’m not unaware that there are those of you who do not have such an annual holiday entitlement (I was one of them for over a decade, and we rely heavily in their intellectual and physical graft) but I’ll be busy during those days. 

Morning: Masters Dissertation planning.
Lunchtime: Housework.
Afternoons: Lesson Planning (mainly for National 4&5) and S1/2 CfE development work.
Evenings: bike and working on Clydemuirshiel’s plans for cycling routes.

So, two weeks in the sun. My legs resting… Wet, windy evenings a memory; water-filled singletracks in the distance.  The pins have earned their oily rubs and dips in the freezing pools. They deserve it – and will be called into action over the course of July and August. However, a different matter for the upper body: an excellent gym and a copious protein heavy diet is keeping them busy.

‘So Lonely’ has just started, and I think, with the away to the market and the boy busting himself with arts and crafts at the ‘Kids Club’, I shall hear it run to completion.

See, I love technology.   But what I really, REALLY love is maximising minimal tech.  So much from so little.

I am surrounded by other nationalities brandishing ‘For Hire’ iPads; I am sitting here, three year-old phone in hand (and similarly aged Kindle with the physical keyboard), a cheap-as-chips Sansa Clip 4gb mp3 player – my fourth as they are perfectly sized and extendable via Micro SDs.

So what?

Well, just like certain terrorist organisations (now I have added the NSA to the blog’s small but growing readership) I can use Gmail’s draft message capability to type notes – and surprisingly quickly.  I’ve been reading up on some academic papers that employ a data collection and analysis methodology similar to mine, and between the pool, sunbed and lying in the apartment I have been utilising this time productively. 

I can access Google Drive via one of the hotel’s huge (think 2002) desktops, and send papers to my Kindle; I can access my MSc directory in its entirety…

And – scooping up a wandering Wi-Fi signal – book camping for son and I later on in the month. Ah, text-based computing!

And why not? I’m going to be busy next term, and I am loathe to neglect my bike rides as I progress into the mountains of marking come Prelim time.

So, as the palm trees sway, the sun bites into redenned flesh I can play the ‘relaxing tourist’. 

But really, I’m working incognito.

Adios, amigos.

PS. Now I have to uninstall an app in order to use WordPress. (:-)