Wednesday, February 28

Tomorrow England and Ireland, Next Month The World!!

Oh, the decline of Empire!

Tomorrow is World Book Day. In England. And Ireland.....


That's It...

Pink Bits on the map, where are they now?

Apparently The Rest of The World celebrate WBD on April 23rd. This has been deliberately chosen as it is (probably) Shakespeare's Birthday.

It takes little imagination to see why Ireland would not wish to have a major celebration on the birthday of England's greatest writer. A day which also happens to be the feast of St. George, patron saint of England.

But why don't the English celebrate it then?

I feel a campaign coming on....

Monday, February 26

Spring is Springing

In our part of London last week was half-term, a chance for students and staff alike to gather their wits and strength for the exam season to come. I spent many (too many?) years as a student, and it is only recently that the thought of June has ceased to give my stomach a sick lurch. (Now working in the education world I can enjoy watching the discomfiture of others without the sleepless nights that always accompanied my exam build-up).

Last week passed too quickly, and today's back-to-work feeling is only just wearing off. It isn't that I dislike my work; just that being away from it for a week reminded me that I rather like not working. This is different from being unemployed. (Being unemployed is miserable. I should know. I had an enforced career change that left me jobless for a year and a half.) Not working means being able to play with the visiting cats rather than pushing them out through the door in the morning. It means being able to make bread for the next day's sandwiches, to be consumed with a flask of tea at Kew Gardens in the spring sunshine. It means having the time to print and frame some of the digital photographs you have taken.

Mind you, it also means tidying the bedroom and cleaning the oven out, but you cant win 'em all.

Tonight, after a week not a work, I really noticed that I was arriving home in daylight. Spring is definitely here now.

Sunday, February 18

A Happy New Year To All Our Readers (Part Two)

Last night found the Phantom, Mrs P and nine carefully selected friends enjoying the lights of London's very own Chinatown...

Mind you, as it was Chinese New Year we were far from alone. Gerard Street was shoulder-to-shoulder, jam packed. People were queueing in the streets to get a table in the restaurants. Luckily we had booked ahead, about three weeks before. We hadn't actually realised when we booked that it would be New Year... Why had we gathered?

To celebrate a very important Birthday!

I won't say how old my wife is, but it rhymes with Shifty, Nifty and Thrifty. (Two out of those three adjectives could even be applied to her.)

Our gathering had all the makings of a joke - amongst others we had a nun, a lawyer, an accountant and an insurance salesman. Good job nobody had to change a lightbulb....

To everyone who made last night such a special and enjoyable occasion, Thank You.

And Cheers!!

Tuesday, February 13

Today's Sandwich Selection for Sixth Formers

The Phantom will let you know if he starts leaping into phone boxes and wearing his pants on the outside!!

Monday, February 12

Talking Turkey

Last Friday, as the Bernard Mathews turkey scare gobbled up even more headlines, our college caterers excelled themselves with the half-price dish of the day, turkey burgers.

To say that the first appearance of turkey on the menu this year was ill-timed is an understatement. Today however, our caterers excelled themselves. Our students were proudly offered pre-packed turkey salad sandwiches, each one bearing a sticker - "Turkey - A Superfood,".


Thank You New Blogger. I know my laptop needs upgrading, Windows '98 SE is not supported anymore etc etc. But old Blogger worked perfectly with it, no problems. With the new Google-powered blogger I have to log in to GoogleGroups and then sneak in sideways. Logging in through the front door seems impossible. Well, I spent about three hours trying to do it over the weekend - three hours I would have much preferred to have spent bloody blogging.

Thursday, February 8

Forcibly Moved!

Against my will I have been forcibly "Migrated" to the Blairite New Blogger. I have read an awful lot of things about it, none good. I offer my apologies now for any unsightly changes to the appearance of this blog, and any gaps in posting. Blogger managed to lock me out totally yesterday. I am still not sure if I can post from my laptop! Time will tell...

Tuesday, February 6

Bon Voyage

Further to my preceding post. Yesterday I released my first book “into the wild”. I had given it all the advantages I could. It was lunchtime, and I chose a park which has a pretty high through-traffic. I protected the book in a waterproof see-through zip-lock bag, and a big yellow Post-It proclaimed “I’m Not Lost, I’m Free!” on the cover. I even included a bookmark which explains more about the bookcrossing idea.

I had sat down on a bench in the middle of the park. I took the book from my bag and placed it on the bench next to me. Mental images of John le Carre novels washed over me. Even though my heart was racing I tried to look nonchalant. I guess I rather ruined the cool approach by reaching into my bag for my camera and taking a last photo before I walked off!

I moved into cover about a hundred yards away and ate my lunch, deliberately not looking over to the bench and its package.

About ten minutes later, lunch eaten but not remembered or really even noticed, I couldn’t resist walking back for a look.

My book had gone. Flown into the wild.

Only about a fifth of books released ever get “journaled” on the website, but at least mine had rapidly found a new owner. News could arrive at any time, an email to say the book has a new entry on the website.

I wish the new owner happy reading.

The Guardian recently had an article concerning bookcrossing. As always, the Phantom is just ahead of the crest of the wave!!

Thursday, February 1

Making the World...

One of the first posts on this blog was about World Book Day. It will be coming round again in only a few weeks.

I would like to mention two book related sites that I have been spending some time on recently.

The first is Put simply, it is a site that will catalogue your books for you. All you need to do is just type in the ISBNs. Pretty soon you will have a searchable catalogue database, all held on the web and accessible from wherever you have a connection. Librarything allows you to label books with your own tags and search among other user's collections.

The second site is

Bookcrossing is all about "making the world a library". You find a book you like, register it (for free), and let it go, releasing it on a park bench or in a waiting-room. The next person who finds the book and likes it enough to take it away is invited to go online and look the book up. Just by going to the site and typing in a short number (written inside the book) they can see where the book has been, and what other people ("Journalers") thought of it. The idea is to make a new Journal entry, and then, after reading the book, leave it somewhere for someone else to find.

Such a simple idea, but it is already building a real community of booklovers.

I will be putting sidebar links up very soon.