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Jan 18: Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champions 2018/19

Recent posts

Jan 17: "That's so unfair..."

There have been plenty of stories over the last few years on the impact of austerityand the credit crunch on people. For many people, each day brings fresh struggles to feed children, get them to school in appropriate clothing or remain in the same home.
In December I read an excellent piece by Philip Alston. This is a very useful interactive article/feature on a US website exploring the impacts of inequality. This diagram shows the scale of the problem.

Some cities give their homeless a one-way bus ticket out of town.

Over Christmas I read the book 'Nomadland' by Jessica Bruder.
This explores the lives of those who travel the country working for Amazon part time... I've blogged about it over on LivingGeography here...

Jan 16: Taking a walk on the wild side

If you live in an urban area, you will have come across areas which are not designed for you to enter, but which you might move into from time to time for convenience. These areas include central reservations, which might have pebbles embedded in cement, for example.
These are subject to what is called defensive design.

There are names for some of these spaces.
Andrew Bonnett in his book "Off the Map" refers to several types of defensive space.
This is also sometimes called 'Hostile Urbanism'.

Bonnett mentions a list produced by Steven Flusty in a book called 'Building Paranoia':

Stealthy space: space that cannot be foundSlippery space: space that cannot be reached, due to contorted, protracted or missing pathsCrusty space: space that cannot be accessed, due to obstructions such as walls, gates and checkpointsPrickly space: space that cannot be comfortably occupiedJittery space: space that cannot be utilized unobserved
One controversial use of this, which I featu…

Jan 15: Footprints in the snow

I was taken by this article in the Guardian's Country Diary section over the Christmas period. It describes the way that a snowfall reveals the tracks of animals and birds that have walked on it when we weren't looking, perhaps while we were sleeping.
Snow is forecast for some parts of the UK, and we have already had some in the area where I live and work. There is a chance of some more later in the week, but we shall see.
Being the first person to walk on snow is a lovely experience, and the squeak of walking on fresh fallen snow is a lovely sound.

Image: Alan Parkinson, Salzburg, 2011

We may get the chance to see these hidden paths revealed over the remaining months of winter...
“the hieroglyphics left by the feet of nature’s wild things”

Jan 14: Sweet tweets...

For many, using Twitter (or other social media sites...) is a quotidian experience. It helps them to keep informed about the world, and to make local and global connections.

I started using Twitter around 10 years ago, and have found it the most useful way to connect with thousands of other educators, source resources and ideas, and keep up to date with global events.
My account is @GeoBlogs - if you visit you won't be able to see my tweets unless you follow me. My account is protected.
This does however mean that because I have personally approved all the 4300+ people that follow me, I know that they are real people or organisations, and it is therefore a true follower figure, unlike most other accounts which are open and can therefore be followed by bots and have inflated reach.
It also means that people have wanted to follow me, and they tend to stay following once they have started.
For the last 4 or 5 years I've featured on the UKEdChat list of Twitter accounts worth follo…

Jan 13: Which cup?

Buying a coffee from either a chain or independent coffee shop is, for many, a quotidian act, and something they very much look forward to... Some people are keen on one particular chain or cafe. I don't have any particular preference, although it's worth saying that I have worked twice with Costa Coffee to create their education resources on the Costa for Schools site. If you haven't taken a look, check them out - 6 enquiry based lessons all fully resourced and very well written...

The cafe I go to the most is the Funky Mackerel in Sheringham in North Norfolk. A great view out to see and it's famous for the flapjacks.

There has been quite a lot of movement recently on campaigns to encourage people to use less disposable coffee cups. One way is to use a reusable mug.
A report was published at the end of last week, which quantified the scale of wastage. The coating inside the coffee cups which stops them from going soggy when hot coffee is poured in apparently means they …

Jan 12: Photo Competitions - taking pictures part 2

We all have the chance to take images every day, and with a bit of thought, imagination and skill, these can be elevated above the ordinary.
Many years ago, I started an 'A' level Photography course, and also did an evening photography course with a colleague where I learned about the work of Ansel Adams, and other masters of the lens and darkroom.
I also spent quite a long time when at school in the darkroom exploring how to develop photographs, and have since read quite a few books on how to get decent digital images, as well as following many great photographers on Blipfoto, and enjoying the work of talented colleagues such as Bryan Ledgard.

Keep an eye out for photography competitions. Local to me, the Time and Tide museum is holding a competition for images on East Anglian life called 'Only in the East'. Going to keep an eye on suitable images to enter that one...

Jan 11: Turn that heating down...

Something that most of us do each day, particularly during these winter months, is to turn on the central heating, or light the wood-burner, or do something else to keep our home warm - including putting on a jumper I hope in the first instance rather than reaching for the thermostat.

We sometimes have an idea of how much energy we are using. As a boy, we had a lot of coal fires, as my grandfather was a coal miner and received a generous coal allowance. A scuttle of coal was in some ways a measure of how fast fuel was being used: how long would it last before it was time to head out to the coal bunker again?
There are now schemes in place to try to encourage us to use less energy, or switch to sustainable fuels, or insulate our homes.
The Government is pushing out smart meters to homes, although I'm yet to be involved in that.
I live in a village which has no gas, so most central heating is oil fired.

GridWatch is an excellent website which I've used in teaching for some years …

Jan 10: QR Codes - wake up, time to scan...

Little black and white squares... They are becoming ubiquitous, and are found on lots of items, to enable them to be scanned and reveal the information they contain.
I noticed one on my new RGS-IBG Fellows card, and also used one earlier in the week to connect my smartphone to my WiFi enabled camera to transfer some images between the two devices.
They are on my contactless cards, and supermarket loyalty cards too.

They are becoming an everyday part of life, and can also unlock some interesting geographies...

I finally got round to using the Vocal Recall app over the last few weeks of the Michaelmas Term with my four Year 8 groups, who I have trialled other ideas with before. It went down very well, and was also enjoyed by colleagues who I passed some details on to. My MFL colleagues have also been using the app, and it has had a lot of interest from this group of teachers.

I am going to continue to use it, and will share some of the ways that I have used it on here of course...
At the mom…

Jan 9: What 3 Word Photo App

A quotidian activity for many is the taking of photographs. This was not always the case.

When I was a teenager, taking a picture would involve a lot of care to put the film cannister into the camera, and hope that the sprockets had engaged... wind on the film a little, close the back, take a few photos and hopefully see an automatic number window scroll upwards. Having taken the 12, 24 or 36 pictures that were available (and hopefully having remembered to keep your finger out of the way of the lens, take the lens cap off, get the exposure correct etc.) the next stage was to rewind the film into the cannister and then take it to Boots (other stores were available, plus postal envelopes from a number of companies) before waiting a week or so for your prints to come back, some of which may have had stickers on them outlining the faults with them...

There were some more 'instant' options, including Polaroid Instamatic cameras, which had special films which were developed within a…

Jan 8: Always take the weather with you

"Some are weatherwise, some are otherwise" - Benjamin Franklin

The weather is certainly amongst the most quotidian of experiences that we have. Everything from the clothes that we wear, our travel plans, the food we buy and our ability to participate in our hobbies can be influenced by the prevailing weather conditions, and what we expect the weather to do over the next few hours.

One of the other quotidian elements here is the watching of weather forecasters at work on the TV. I have an added element of interest here as I used to teach one of them. Lucy Verasamy, who presents the weather at the end of the ITV Early Evening news (and at other times), and also works on the ITV Racing team providing forecasts for horse racing events and course locations.

I visited Lucy when she was working at Sky News and I was working for the Geographical Association, and spent a fascinating day at the newsroom and doing a green screen presentation.

Keep an eye on the weather today, as always.…

Jan 7: Create some Stravart

There have been plenty of Strava art projects where someone has set a route running using the app (which is used to keep track of walks, runs or cycle trips), and then made a shape with their movements so that the route they take creates a recognisable design.
Search STRAVA ART on Google Earth images to see hundreds of examples.
Some of these are slightly immature and rude...
Here's a rabbit, for example.

#rabbitrun#Stravaart#stravart#run#fun#running — SimonG (@nicahat) May 28, 2016 Some larger scale projects have also involved planes for example making shapes in the sky while on test flights, when there are no passengers on board, but a certain mileage has to be covered to prove airworthiness.
Here's an example from Boeing, when testing a new Dreamliner plane.

When you have to test your new @RollsRoyce engine for 17 hours, you might as well have a bit of fun. — Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) August 3, 201…

Jan 6: Doing the dishes

Or 'washing the pots' as we called it when I was a lad in Yorkshire is a daily act for most of us - unless you have a dishwasher...
This means using washing-up liquid, and a popular brand is 'Fairy'
(Disclaimer: other brands are available)
Proctor and Gamble are launching a limited edition Fairy washing up liquid bottle in 'mid 2018', which will be available for two months.

This is made from 90% recycled ocean plastics. and 10% new plastic.
The infographic below explains how this will be made.

I shall be keeping my eye out for a bottle as a classroom artefact.

What other packaging is (or should be) recyclable?

There'll be more on this theme, including #PointlessPlastics and #lattelevy in future blogposts here on Quotidian Geographies

And here's a hot off the press Story Map on the international trade in Plastic Waste, with thanks to Jason Sawle for the tipoff...

Jan 5: The good bits between the TV programmes

For many people, watching TV is a quotidian act... Some channels carry advertising.
On average, we see 47 television ads a day.

I like Richard Ayoade's current ads for HSBC....
"We are part of something far far bigger"
It's worth unpicking this one for the links to globalisation that it mentions, and exploring what they might be in more detail...

What other ads contain a slice of geography?