Posted in Updates on Friday 30th July 2004 at 11:53pm


Today started weirdly, with strange but funny transatlantic messages, and an intercontinental conversation which made me chuckle, and started my day much better than I'd hoped. Its a long time since I traded on my English accent to get by. Made me want to visit the New World again, something I've not thought of doing for a very long time indeed. Its also very good to hear that friends are doing OK, and how fantastic it must be to re-establish contact after years. Wish I could find a way to keep the messages too...

Work was strange. More data cleansing in preparation for next year. Confident we'll have a really solid base for the work to begin soon. Can only hope that other coordinating LEAs have spent the time and effort to get things as close to correct as we have. A new employee started too, who lives in my old home town. Reminisced about our old school and teachers, many of whom are still around it seems. Burnham it seems, remains much the same as when I left - a little more run down, a little more depressing. Its almost comforting. I passed through on the bus last week and noted some changes, but reassuringly I think all the reasons I left remain much the same.

Browsed bookshop at lunchtime, since it was pay day - couldn't find a thing. Have a dwindling backlog of reading matter. Perhaps I will address that this weekend...

 


Posted in Updates on Monday 26th July 2004 at 11:30pm


Plunged headlong into a new week, and another meeting. This one however, had real and tangible results. We can now start getting on with work and turning piles of paper into preferences for 2005 school places. Its always a mixed feeling, a new cycle starting whilst the flapping threads of the last one refuse to fly away. To complicate things, had a brief meeting today which, despite being entirely expected, put the 'cat among the pigeons' to some extent. Cast in to competition - a situation I'm not comfortable with. A decade of government service puts me at a disadvantage where being competitive is concerned. Time to evaluate options, decide if I should fill in application forms, and generally start another (different) whole cycle over again!

Seem to be at a bit of hiatus in real life just now. A few minor things on the horizon, but mainly just coasting. Finding solace in reading as ever. Feeling an urge to study some more, but realistically this would depend on the future job situation - overcommitting myself would be a bad idea.

Interesting to note that the new American Music Club record will be released in the UK exactly 9 years and 363 days since I last saw them at Bristol University. Still, it will be a good birthday present!

England also rather convincingly won a test match.

 


Updates

Posted in Updates on Saturday 10th July 2004 at 7:04pm


It seems that my employer is considering a change of image. So, perhaps soon we will see the back of the subdued dark green and burgundy which reportedly appear 'unapproachable' and 'complacent'. In their place, new vibrant hues reflecting dynamism and progress. Perhaps the council should really push the boat out and invest in an ever changing coruscation of colours reflecting the current mood and status of its services - a real-time 'key performance indicator' for the information-on-demand age?

This got me thinking again about the corporate insignia - what future does it have, and more pressingly - what really is it?

North Somerset Council

The emblem - commonly referred to as a Dragon by most employees has its origins in the arms of the County of Somerset. Granted in 1911, the blazon of the arms is 'Or, a Dragon Rampant Gules holding in the claws a Mace erect Azure'. So, it is indeed a 'Golden Dragon'- heraldic splendour hijacked by the chinese takeaway? A battered version of this emblem, the mace cruelly truncated, can still be seen on the Magistrates' Court building in Weston-super-Mare, close by the new, stylised North Somerset flag. Risking an Anti-social Behaviour Order, you could throw a stone from the Town Hall to the courthouse.

Somerset County CouncilAmrs of County of Somerset

Others, who have little better to do than consider such things, refer to the emblem as a Gryphon. These mythical mongrels are 'beasts like lions, with the wings and beak of an eagle' according to Pausanias. It is perhaps hard to make the case for the Gryphon (or Griffin) as the figure bears little resemblance to a lion in any respect, and clearly sports a lizard-like tongue placing it firmly outside the realm of birds.

Having ruled out the Gryphon, I note that locally, the Wyvern too is a common name for schools and businesses. This 'fabulous two-legged, winged creature, like a cockatrice, but having the head of a dragon, and without spurs' is usually depicted with a long, barbed tail which it bears in a knot. This casts some doubt on the heraldic description of Somerset County's arms - as the creature depicted is almost certainly a Wyvern, a dragon being a four-legged beast. However, Somerset's mace-wielding monster clearly wears spurs. If we accept that this odd heraldic hybrid is a wyvern, it would go some way to explaining the use of the word locally in Weston and elsewhere in the existing and former county areas.

To solve the mystery however, heraldry is our only hope. North Somerset's unusually rightward facing (and therefore 'forward looking') insignia has no legs whatsoever. In heraldry, a dragon without feet is a Serpent.

So, is the Serpent a fitting emblem for our council? It seems to preserve our historic links with Somerset, and beyond to ancient legend. It is said to be 'forward looking', which I think most of my colleagues at least, seem to be. However, its worth remembering that a serpent is also 'a subtle, treacherous, malicious person'. You know who you are!

Links:

Pimbley's Directory of Heraldry
Gryphon Pages
Celebrating Somerset - The Coat of Arms
Somerset County Council
North Somerset Council

Movebook Link
 


Posted in Updates on Thursday 8th July 2004 at 11:06pm


For what its worth, the appeal season at work is almost officially over. One or two stragglers which need to be sorted, but mostly its been a successful year for our team. Naturally, parents denied access to their chosen school would never agree, but I think that in almost every case a fair and just decision has been made. I'm struck again and again that I'd never want the job of panel member - difficult decisions, emotional parents and terrified presenting officers. Not inspiring stuff is it?

Tonight, the oddly evangelical Open Source bandwagon jumping movie Antitrust aired on British TV for the first time. The fact that it appeared on Channel 5 which has notoriously bad reception even via DST meant that I completely missed Miguel's cameo. Never mind. Strange film, not entirely bad, but a bit uncomfortable.

Strangely irritable and frustrated tonight, possibly due to the strange time of year, the complicated and confusing week I'm having, and veiled accusations of electronic tomfoolery. I remember what an oddly anticlimactic time it was last year. Lots of effort expended on a short burst of intensive activity. Fixing my sights on a possible further attempt on the Fishguard Class 37 at the weekend, and the upcoming conference.

 


Lost::MikeGTN

I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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