All entries for Tuesday 29 August 2006

August 29, 2006

Cycling along Oxford's Little Camargue

At 6.30am on Sunday the sky was clear and Lawrence was "singing" in bed. A snap decision taken upon this evidence propelled us up the country route to the west of Oxford. We parked at the Trout Inn (much improved in recent times) and cycled along the Thames into Oxford.

The river was busy with boats, including kayaks, noddy boats and proper barges…

Thames Barge

We like bridges…

Thames Bridge


Thames Bridge 2

Once we reached the Botley Road, we headed into town for coffee at Borders (more child friendly than Blackwells). Lawrence rearranged the philosophy section, before seeking less childish pursuits…


The "wild" horses, cattle and flocks of greylag geese add interest to the wide open meadow and gently rippled river, reminiscent of somewhere in the South of France…

Port Meadow

Lawrence being irrepressibly keen to make his way into the river, I suggested to Emma that he learn a lesson in freestyle diving…

Throw him in!

Cycling in Devon

Emma, Lawrence and I recently spent a week in the small Devon town of Instow. It is a peaceful place on the shores of an estuary, with a yacht club and a stretch of the Tarka Trail long distance cycle route. We hired bikes at Fremington Quay (good cafe, poor bikes) and cycled to Bideford to see his grandparents.

Along the shore of the Estuary, next to the nature reserve:

Tarka Trail 1

Passing under the Torrington Bridge:

Tarka Trail 2

Random opinions about blogs and bloggers

As part of the symposium on blogs in teaching and learning I sent out one of our assistants, Steve Ranford, with a video camera and the instruction to "compile the opinions of a random selection of people on the subject of blogs and blogging. This video is the result.

We did try to get a mix of bloggers and non–bloggers, however, there seemed to be few bloggers around (perhaps they were all locked away in dark rooms desperately trying to write something worthwhile).

Note that it was compiled from victims found in University House during the summer vacation. The undergraduate population, at whom the blogs publicity campaign had been targeted, was scarce.

My observation is this: all of the people interviewed defined 'blog' on the basis of the content that they have seen (or heard about) in other people's blogs. None of them considered it as a technology with a wide range of possible uses. The range of blog use (the audiences and messages associated with those uses) that they will have seen is quite narrow, and hence less likely to fit into their own lives.

It reminds me of Aardman's Creature Comforts. Perhaps we could substitute animals for some of the familiar faces that appear. Any suggestions?