Saturday, 27 December 2014

On University Campus

College and University campuses are much more aesthetically pleasing years after one has graduated.

(The lovely UCC Campus in Cork, Ireland)

Thursday, 25 December 2014

On Communist Christmas

Although many parts of Eastern Europe had suffered under censorship during the communist era, fairytales were one of the few genres that flourished. (And still does to this day)

Monday, 22 December 2014

On Insecurity

Some people are so insecure about their appearance that they prefer having photos of them taken from behind.

(A beautiful friend with some major insecurities)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

On Kissing the Blarney Stone

There are people who travel hundreds/thousands of kilometres to see Blarney Castle yet refuse to kiss the Stone on the grounds of hygiene.

(A sign just beneath the Blarney Stone in Ireland)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

On Children's Art

Children's art can be quite powerful and effective especially when contributing to a political message.

(Children's art in St. Finbarr's Cathedral in Cork, Ireland)

Sunday, 7 December 2014

On Birds

"Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure."

-Stephen King

(A flock of crows gathering on a tree near Blarney Castle, Ireland)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

On Unusual Prizes

There are amusements parks around the world that use bottles of alcohol as actual prizes.

(A temporary amusement park in Barking, Essex)

Sunday, 23 November 2014

On Enjambment

It is the running over of a sentence from one verse to another so that closely related words or phrases fall in different lines.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt down, saw sunset glow,
Love and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

(Home of William Wordsworth in the Lake District)

Monday, 10 November 2014

On Remembrance Day

The poppy became a symbol of the First World War after Moina Michaels was inspired by John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields" to sell poppies she created out of red silk.

(Soldiers in Ottawa at the start of Winterman marathon)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

On Apostrophes

Just because a sign looks official and exists in the country that created the English language, it doesn't mean it can't have multiple errors.

A sign outside a temporary amusement
park in Barking, Essex, England.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

On Protests

They have a way of being linked with the anniversaries of previous tragedies/historical events.

(Posters from a large demonstration in London, UK)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

On Jian Ghomeshi

It's a strange and sad journey when one begins to question a person who has been a hero of sorts for many years.

 Ghomeshi speaking thoughtfully about the Ottawa
attacks a few days before being fired from the
CBC amid allegations of sexual violence.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

On Teaching English

There are various aspects to the exceptional language that require constant attention in order to achieve success.

  • Grammar
  • Spelling 
  • Punctuation
  • Structure
  • Handwriting
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Group discussions

(My teaching planner with never enough pages.)

Saturday, 4 October 2014

On Language Arts

Incorporating art into language or vice versa is a great way to differentiate otherwise dry lessons.

(A juxtaposition of hands in an art/English lesson)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

On Gas Prices

Although drivers complain about gas in North America, prices are significantly higher in Europe and other parts of the world.

(An Esso petrol station in Bristol, UK)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

On Peace

There are people who choose not to believe in any sort of lasting peace, but that doesn't mean others shouldn't try to alter that point of view.

(Tombs inside the British Museum in London, UK)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

On Mosques

Used as a place of worship, information, and education for Muslims, their designs, domes, and minarets may vary depending on the location.

(A classic Ottoman mosque in Adana, Turkey)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

On Parodies

Some artists are quite skilled at turning popular misogynistic songs into relevant educational ones.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

On Seas

"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came."

-John F. Kennedy, 1962.

(An abandoned boat off the coast of Karatas, Eastern Turkey)

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

On Cats

They find the oddest and most uncomfortable places to not only sit/sleep but do so for hours on end.

(My cousin's cat relaxing in my uneven suitcase)

Monday, 1 September 2014

On Solar Energy

There are many unexpected cities that rely almost exclusively on solar energy for all households.

(A solar panel over a house in Karatas, Turkey)

Sunday, 31 August 2014

On Pills

Some people are dependent on daily cocktails of vitamins and minerals for no particular reason.

(A friend showing me her weekly pill intake)

Friday, 29 August 2014

On Cheap Airlines

There is a major difference between low-cost airlines and those on the brink of bankruptcy.

(A UIA flight from Istanbul to Kiev last month)

Monday, 25 August 2014

On Sunrises

A new appreciation for sunrises/sunsets is gained the higher you are in the sky.

(A beautiful sunrise from a London-Istanbul flight)

Friday, 22 August 2014


Although it may seem like a waste of clean water, the ice-bucket challenge has managed to quickly raise funds and awareness for ALS.

Monday, 18 August 2014

On Suspension Bridges

They are one of the earliest types of bridges created and are increasingly used in the background of wedding photographs.

(The Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, UK)

Monday, 11 August 2014

On Jobs

It is far more satisfying to secure a job independently than to rely on a friend or relative's assistance.

(A man imitating the Humanoid in Manchester, UK)

Saturday, 9 August 2014

On Life

"Life is beautiful, as long as it consumes you. When it is rushing through you, destroying you, life is gorgeous, glorious. It's when you burn a slow fire and save fuel, that life's not worth having.

-D.H. Lawrence

(A serene field just outside Bristol, UK last month)

Friday, 8 August 2014

On Food Preparation

Whenever possible, bringing food and drinks to tourist attractions generally saves one a substantial amount of money.

(A deliciously expensive meal at Highclere Castle)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

On Deaf Culture

Aside from sign language, the deaf community has its own set of social values, history, and art/literary traditions.

Monday, 4 August 2014

On Choirs

They are a great way to improve the fluency and confidence of E.A.L. students in secondary schools.

(A choir performance at a school in East London)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

On Heat Waves

Without a pool or body of water nearby there is nothing pleasant about temperatures over +32C/90F.

(Dogs bathing in a pond on a hot day in Bristol)

Friday, 1 August 2014

On Looking Up

Some cities have created simple ways of making residents/visitors get their eyes off phones and other mobile devices.

(Insightful sign on the pavements of Bristol, UK)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

On Faggots (food)

Although mostly used as a derogative term, they are also a traditional British dish made from pork heart, liver, and belly.

(An innocent sign outside a restaurant in Bristol, UK)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

On the Death of Love

"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings."

-Anais Nin

(Classic Banksy artwork on a building in the streets of Bristol)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

On Highclere Castle

Even aristocracy who dwell in lavish castle homes need to find ways to pay their exorbitant taxes.

(Highclere Castle, aka Downton Abbey, open to the public)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

On Music Videos

There is nothing that teachers (and students) appreciate more than catchy educational music videos.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

On Tents

They can be difficult to set up but are great as practical experience for young people.

(A student setting up a tent in Epping Forest, UK)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

On Field Trips

Taking students on field trips involving public transportation requires more supervision than any other teaching related activity.

(A group of students on the tube in London, UK)

Monday, 14 July 2014

On Cloud Gazing

Every once in awhile it's important to take ones eyes off phones and tablets in order to appreciate what's above.

(Clouds over Epping Forest outside London, UK)

Friday, 11 July 2014

On Proofreading

If you are going to place a sign somewhere that it may be viewed by thousands of students preparing for leadership roles, make sure it is proofread first.

(A sign near Epping Forest outside London, UK)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

On Non-Qualified Teachers

Individuals without teaching degrees often care and engage students more than qualified teachers.

(Fahim Alam speaking to my Year 9 class last month)

Monday, 7 July 2014

On Trying

"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery- isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And you'll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is."

-Charles Bukowski

(Student-made fire on a Year 7 camping trip near Epping Forest)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

On Dietary Supplements

Being unregulated means that supplement companies can essentially get away with fabricating ingredients and results, while denying side effects. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

On Creative Arts

Despite dwindling funds in the arts, imagination and creativity (among young students) never cease to surpass expectations.

(Fourth Plinth award-winning piece from Newham)

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

On Gender Stereotypes

Many socially and economically prosperous countries still feel the need to perpetuate gender stereotypes through human consumption.

(Gender-oriented Kinder eggs in London, England)

Monday, 30 June 2014

On Fried Chicken

There are places in London with so many fried "chicken and chip" shops that sadly this type of food is becoming a staple in many people's diets.

(A fried chicken joint in Stratford, East London)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

On the World Cup

Nothing brings enemies together as much as a good football match.

(National Football Museum in Manchester, England)

Monday, 23 June 2014

On Littering

Some cities clearly invest more money and effort on keeping their streets litter-free.

(Anti-litter signs on the streets of Manchester, UK)

Saturday, 21 June 2014

On Depression

"If you know someone who's depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn't a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they're going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It's hard to be a friend to someone who's depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do."
-Stephen Fry

(Conceptual sitting area in Hyde Park, London last summer)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

On Being Yourself

Being teased or bullied for something that is out of one's control drives so many young people to drugs and depression.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

On Hybrid Vehicles

In some cities not only have private hybrid cars made their way onto main roads but public hybrid electric busses have too.

(A hybrid bus in Manchester, England last month)

Saturday, 14 June 2014

On Haggis

It is a traditional Scottish dish containing sheep's giblets mixed with minced onions, oatmeal, fat, and spices.

(A serving of Haggis at a Lake District restaurant)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

On Sheep-Free Zones

There are places in the countryside with such an overpopulation of sheep that hotels and homes need to create special barriers to deter them.

(A sheep-free zone sign in Elterwater, Lake District)