Was it worth the wait?

What a day...

What a day…

Good things come to those that wait…

Plastic bags in between double layers of socks, thermos flasks filled and rations packed away, we are all ready for a full day of family sledging for the first time. There can’t be many better days than this…

The snowman is still there!

The snowman is still there!

I think Jonah’s reflection on the day sums it up:

Snow, snow, snow

I just can’t believe it’s snowed when I’ve been in England for just six weeks! I LOVE SNOW! (well nearly everything about snow) I made two snowmen with my dad. The big one is Sniggles and the child is Snuggles. I said “The snowmen are at a pub drinking beer.” because Sniggles was holding a can of Guinness beer. 

Advice from two older generations of sledgers - who to listen to?

Advice from two older generations of sledgers – who to listen to?

I'm just going to go for it!


It was also fun going sledging at the countryside in a field. I had the speed record and the longest distance record.

Why is the sand white mummy?

Why is the sand white mummy?

Don’t worry, I made loads of snow angels and I think the first one I made was the best. We didn’t do many snowball fights.


There’s nothing but my iPad and Yellow Ted that will stop me from playing with snow.

You can follow Jonah’s blog here.

We were so lucky to experience snow during our visit to Derbyshire two days after Christmas.  It didn’t snow at all in the north west where we are living now and apparently, as I have fed back to colleagues back at work our Christmas highlights, it very rarely does along the Fylde coast – once in the last four years.  I have also realised that there are no slopes or hills for us to access by foot if by some miracle it did snow. Although I am considering an alpine dash up the M6 to the Lake District for some extreme sledging if the conditions and timings are right!  Realistically, it could be some time before we have a day like this again but I think that is what makes them extra special and a must for taking full advantage of.


Sukothai – brings out the artist in you

One of many impressive Buddhas in Sukothai

One of many impressive Buddhas in Sukothai

We have just spent two wonderful days in Sukothai, the ancient capital city of what is now Thailand over 700 years ago.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated towards the north of Thailand, about 3 hours south of Chiang Mai and is a beautifully well kept historical park.  It has taken me 15 years to finally get to Sukothai but it was well worth the wait, the long drive and the bucket of ice cold water.  A late convert to and now sponge of history (once arguing that geography was far more important than history) I found myself in my element walking among the temple ruins and imagining what life was like in this royal capital many centuries ago and what has happened over time for it to be in the varied states we now find it.  My oldest son asked me why the capital city was built here and not originally in Bangkok – a good question and a perfect way to bring geography and history together, as they should be.  We walked around together looking at the physical landscape and setting that we were in and discussed what made this particular place an effective site and situation for such an important city many years ago.



Photos are a great way of capturing what you see when visiting places like Sukothai.  Everyone has a different perspective and interprets the ancient designs and structures in different ways and a digital camera is perfect for capturing your own favourite observations and intricacies.  I also like watching other people and seeing what they are photographing and working out how they are interpreting the complex patterns and capturing their experience the best way they can on camera.  It is even better when a random monk appears and everyone tries to capture that perfect monk shot walking through the temple grounds as if nobody else is anywhere to be seen!  I bet you have all tried it…

Expressing the artist in you

Expressing the artist in you

Then there are those of us that are more traditional (or young and bold) and want to capture their experience and perspectives on paper.  I remember when I used to like to draw and use colour to bring out pictures that I had created.  When I made the time to sit still in one place and really take in the landscape and environment that I was observing.  It is so much easier to snap away with the digital device though and do it the saturation way – one of them will surely be good!  But am I cheating myself out of what is really important?  Should I be challenging myself to embrace this unique cultural and historical context and dig deeper into my hidden and forgotten abilities and develop an even more personal relationship with the moment and make a connection?  It is only now writing this blog and looking back at the photos, especially of Jonah sketching, that I wish that I had sat down and taken more time – a couple of sketches or even a poem – I know I have it in me (I could have posted them – target to oneself: I will next time!).

I want my children to embrace the artist in them as often as possible as they experience life, to draw on their feelings and emotions to produce work that has passion and is important and meaningful to them and will help them to remember and capture the importance of that particular moment.

Or you can always drive a tuk tuk!!

The only way to get around the temples

The only way to get around the temples

Amazing Achievements…


Helen Keller, Samuel Morse and Christopher Columbus

Jonah, who is seven years old, came home from school one day last term and told us that he had to choose a person that had done something amazing in the world as part of his Amazing Achievements project.  He then had to research this person and put together a presentation for his classmates, their parents and visitors to the school in a few weeks time.  Bringing this task to the dinner table was interesting because as parents it is important to show an interest and to fully support your child in their school work but not to impose your own thoughts and ideas on the learning process.  It was vital that Jonah ‘owned’ the process and had the passion and enthusiasm to research and present on someone that he really aspired to.

Who would you choose for your amazing achievements project?  Who is your hero?




Of course my emotions and initial instincts tempted me to suggest the likes of: Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and Aung San Suu Kyi… but I resisted and we took the approach of brainstorming his interests and things he likes to read and find out more about before making a decision.  His list went something like this:

Inventing things, science, poetry, animals, helping people…

After taking these ideas on board I did publicly suggest my ideas around the table, ‘wouldn’t it be great to do Charles Darwin, Dr. Jane Goodall or even better Wilfred Owen – it is the 100th anniversary of WW1 – what a great connection.’  After explaining who these remarkable people were and why I thought they had contributed amazing achievements I was not getting much enthusiasm from Jonah.  Jonah’s mother then suggested that he actually think more locally and choose somebody related to Thailand and possibly someone that may even still be alive and could be involved in the research process (a great idea).  So we then considered:

Khun Lek (Elelphant Nature Park), Nancy Gibson (Love Wildlife Thailand) and Khun Mechai Viravaidya (The Bamboo School)*

*Posts to follow soon on each of these inspiring people and speakers

Jonah started to show more interest and liked the idea of being able to actually meet the person he was researching and presenting on and having primary information – possibly even involve them in his presentation as well!  By the end of (an extended) dinner time we had discussed a wide range of ideas and possibilities and left him with the weekend to make his final decision and to come up with someone who he wanted to do his project on.

With a little help from the iPad, Jonah finally came up with Samuel Morse as his amazing achievements person.  He was intrigued by Morse code and how it works, why it is used and how and why and when it was invented.  It had really caught his imagination and the more he read and the more he inquired the more he realised that Samuel Morse met most of his interests and passions.  I must admit at first I was not that impressed with his choice of person but soon realised as Jonah used his research (including an e-mail to and a reply from the Samuel Morse museum in the UK) that this was somebody that achieved a lot more than invent the Morse code, that there was a personal tragedy that motivated and ultimately urged him to help others and improve the world that he was living in at that time. I enjoyed learning through Jonah and being part of his amazing achievements project and was an immensely proud father when I got the chance to see his presentation.

This type of learning draws on personal emotions and encourages intrinsic drive and outcomes – ultimately creating amazing achievements for the young people that have been involved and supported through the process.

Click here to see Jonah’s blog about his amazing achievements project.

Click here to see a video of Jonah’s presentation.