Category Archives: Family

#C2C – the battle of man v bike.

… or rather, man and bike. I have no intention of going to war my trusty steed – it has to support my rotund buttocks for 140 miles.

So, the story. My good friend (and team leader) Nigel cycled the width of the country last year and had been encouraging (pestering) us to join him the following year. I was up for it, to be honest. I love a challenge – I have been known to make some rather bold and ridiculous ones during the last couple of decades: walking Lands End to John O’Groats, climbing to Base Camp and a personal favourite: Rowing to France in a two-man boat. This, however, I could do.

We leave in 8 weeks!

I’ll be honest (again) I have been monumentally busy at work (a different blog post or two) and being a #distressedad is never conducive to bizarre, macho challenges, so when the date was agreed, I thought I had ages to prep.

We leave in 8 weeks!

I mean, I’ve ridden before, you know to the park and back with the boys. Sometimes even with a bag of papers on my back but this was different. It seemed…bigger.

We are to ride the 140 miles or so over three days: day 1 – 60, day 2 – 40 (mostly uphill) and day 3 – 40. I am looking forward to it very much, the idea of pushing myself physically is not something I’ve done for a while and I am relishing the chance to train and to spend time with Team Wheezy Riders.

We are: Rhys Morris, Matt Waldram, Andy Barker, Paul Doyle, Steve Baxter and Team Leader: Nigel Woodings.

There is another reason for cycling: I believe that if I am doing this, then someone should benefit from it. I have worked with Derby Kids’ Camp for a number of years and think the work they do is brilliant. Take a look at their website for more information. You can sponsor me in a number of ways, probably the easiest is via a text.

Text WBEN75 and your amount to 70070 – just a couple of pounds is all it takes to make a difference. Site HERE


1 Comment

Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Family, Thoughts & Musings


Tags: , , , ,

Halloween Horrors 1: The Caller

Made several years ago by Andrew Barker and his intrepid band of loyal shadows and creators, The Caller follows Billy Mace in a short and terrifying tale. Who has called him? Why have they called him? Where will he end up?

Marcus Green stars as Billy Mace… he has never been seen since.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Family, Social, Thoughts & Musings


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

What to do when you’re too busy…

My wife (DW) sent this blog to me a few months ago and ever since I read it, I was determined to write my own. As it happens, I’ve just been too busy to do so!

August: Every teacher’s favourite month of the year. If I couldn’t find time to do it then, I’d never do it. So, here we go…

Pastor Steve Wiens started his post like this, and it gives mine some point of reference:

Mary told me this week that I tend to have a “dramatic sense of time.” Apparently, when I’m stressed, I act as though things have been going on for far longer than they actually have. So I probably have only been way too busy for approximately 48 hours. Whatever.

So I sat down and went back through my calendar over the last thirty days or so, looking for anything awesome that I did which might counteract my grouchiness.

Here is my top 10 list (in no particular order):

1: DW went off on an all-day hen do. She had had it booked for ages, I was nervous about it as I needed to ‘dad’ up and be in charge of all 3 of our children all day! It was the first Saturday after I’d broken up from the summer; I knew I was going to be tired and all I really wanted was a rest. With Sarah being away all day, I knew I had to put anything I wanted to do on hold (including any form of screen time). It was fantastic! No worrying about work or emails, no stressing about anything other than what game we were playing next. A lovely day. Hero Dad.

2: The Storm is the Story. Our year 6 (eleven year olds) performed a Shakespeare For Kids (S4K) version of The Tempest – one of the Bard’s harder plays – and they were tremendous. So many people wouldn’t and couldn’t imagine children of that age tackling Shakespeare, yet they did. They sang, danced and acted with a professionalism and enthusiasm that many adults couldn’t achieve. Fabulous, and yes, a particular scene got to this tough old daddy everytime.

3: I finished work. In two ways: firstly, we broke up for the summer which is a blessed relief enough but I ended my time at SJS – I have a new deputy head post, starting this September. The staff asked me what I wanted to do: buffet was my answer. Buffet in our science garden with my friends. That’s what I got and it was lovely. Good food, fun games and a very generous selection of presents.

4: The British & Irish Lions won in Australia. I know this is nothing I’ve done but it was a reason for joy anyway. I love sport and after last summer’s mammoth successes, I was hungry for more. Rugby is the sport in which my passion soars the highest. I scream. I shout. I get grumpy/ecstatic. The boys won down under; it was a great end to the tour and a fantastic start to the weekend.

5: The Lions weekend was when two of our good friends came down: Graham & Laura – old university pals that we don’t see as much of as we’d like. We relaxed in the sun, played daft games and ate BBQ food. It was another opportunity to forget about the busyness of work and focus on what was important.

6: DW and I celebrated our 8th anniversary. We didn’t go out as we had only just returned from our holiday (no. 9) but we relaxed together. Ate food, chatted and cuddled. How she has managed to survive 8 years of my grumpiness, I’ll never know…

7: Retirement. Not mine, (although if I could…) a good friend, who I regularly meet for termly curries retired from his teaching post after several decades. It was great to meet old friends and colleagues.

8: The Derby boys. My good friends of many years, it is a rarity indeed for us all to meet and we just got together, had a drink and a chat. We passed the time like grumpy old men in a grotty bar – it was a real stress reliever.

9: Whitby. DW brilliantly found us a last-minute deal on a caravan on the north-east coast. The five of us packed tightly into our car and headed up the A1. We ate, we chilled, we made sandcastles, we jumped waves, we laughed and we enjoyed being a family. Our week in Whitby was the first time I’ve properly relaxed in months. I could feel the weeks and weeks of stress and worry ebb away. Our first holiday as a family of five and one that I will always remember.

10: Ice cream. I love ice cream, and one of my fondest memories of our week in Whitby was sitting on the top of one of the cliffs looking out over the sea, the famous whalebones were metres away and the sun was shining. We all sat there, peacefully, gazing out over the water, spotting boats and eating ice creams. I felt totally at peace and very blessed.

So, here are my 10 things. In a month that was one of the busiest of the year, I still found time to do all of these things (and more). Think you’re busy? Think you don’t do anything fun or worthwhile? Do what I did and make your list.

Pastor Steve’s full post is HERE.


Posted by on August 11, 2013 in Family, Thoughts & Musings


The art of busyness

I didn’t actually know that busyness was a real word – in fact, I’m still not overly convinced. I have little time to blog anymore (see my POST here), I have little time to do anything anymore. I am a working, church-going, human-climbing frame with too many fat fingers in too many fat pies.

I love being involved in different things, the more time-consuming projects I see being tweeted about or in the education circular on the staff room table, the more I want in. Ironically, the more chores that need completing at home, the less I want in. This is much to DW’s dismay.

It’s not strictly true that I get nothing done, I am just a person who is interested in many things. Always have been. I want to do it all and can’t. It’s quite simple – I am a husband and father (of three) and have a stressful and very busy job. I am hugely fortunate/blessed however, as I love my job (my family too, of course!) there are times when it is exhausting: physically and mentally, occasionally emotionally but I love it. See HERE. But, I get things done. DW is very patient with me and gives me the time I need and want to achieve my mammoth lists – she’s a good ‘un.

Amongst the trials and tribulations of being a distressed dad: bathtimes, sleeptimes and occasional days out, I am an assistant head at a school which is now in Special Measures – it’s no secret, the Ofsted report is out. Despite all this, I am still, perhaps foolishly taking on another monster project to end the year with. Last summer, we performed Shakespeare 4 Kidz version of Macbeth. It almost killed me. I was seeing daggers in my sleep, smoke machines at every turn and constantly had make-up or scripts littering my beloved tidy desk for several weeks. So, upon the sage advice from DW I thought about directing something smaller this summer. Something easier.

I thought again.

We are performing The Tempest, also by Shakespeare 4 Kidz.

It is going to be a stormy and hectic ride; alongside Y6/7 transition, reports, me leaving (I have a new job), countless data profiles to prepare for SLT, staff and governors and HMI popping in. All in 35 days!

I am extremely excited about it. True.

The sensible thing would be to take a relaxing week off, calm and chilled before the storm. So I decided to mark SATs reading papers too.

I don’t know is the answer to your questions. I just don’t know. Soz.

Tim Chester’s helpful book on ‘busyness‘ and how we should approach it.


1 Comment

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Family, Thoughts & Musings


Tags: , , , , ,

New Year: New Projects

A little late in coming but I’ve been busy with projects – some new, some recycled.

Coming soon:

The mini-enterprise project. Working with year sixes on aspects of running a mini-business. They have to work in teams, partners and individually to work through a series of tasks (like the Apprentice but without the firing). This has worked really well in all the years I’ve ran it and gives the children a chance to showcase skills they might not always get to use in the classroom. We always finish with an interview, where each one of them has to have an individual chat with two professionals: sometimes local business people, sometimes teachers loaned from other school, sometimes governors. This is a brilliant ending to the project and gives them an opportunity to grow in confidence, perfect before our summer performance. I also take them to Frankie & Benny’s as their treat.

Summer performance. End-of-year shows/productions/performances are an integral part of any year six and a sort of reward after the hard work and slog through the cold start of the year in preparation for SATs. In previous years, we have put on Shakespeare 4 Kidz versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth (scroll down to see all posts on the link)- challenging indeed. When I tell people we are doing Shakespeare, they look at us in amazement and raise their eyebrows in disbelief/respect/prospect of exhaustion? This summer I am toying with either The Tempest or Romeo & Juliet – we will see.

Grammar Test. The lovingly-named #spagtest is coming this May and, after seeing the sample tests, have had a mild panic. It was going to be hard work ensuring our sixes achieved the levels they needed in maths and writing and now they have to sit this beastly, boring test too. I know they should know what’s in there, that’s no excuse, but it just seems so intense. I will be posting some of the resources I make on here, soon.

Chrome Books. So, after seeing a tweet stating that they were getting a load of Chrome Books on trial, I jumped on that digital bandwagon and our shipment are expected soon. I will be posting about what we get up to when they arrive. Am pretty excited, just hope our WiFi can cope with it.

Investors In Pupils. Our PSHE lead and learning mentor are working towards the IIP standard and as part of it, we are doing several different things, such as: children writing their own non-curriculum targets (I can tie my shoelaces, I will tidy my room once a week, I will bake my teacher a delicious cake etc); sharing what the school budget is for and how it works and giving them a class budget; instead of class rules, we have rights & responsibilities – works well; I also introduced jobs, nothing new, but if the children want to do a school-based job: tidying book shelves, toy monitor, audio-visual team, hall monitors, they have to apply for it. Application Form. We are just starting out on this but know that no school in Derby has the standard yet. Exciting.

ICT revamp. My biggest job this year has to be the complete overhaul of the ICT curriculum. I have burnt the QCA folder and scattered the ashes so am in mid-completion of the long term plan for ICT across KS2. I want it to incorporate the new skills that children have and make it relevant and engaging. I have used @ianaddison’s to help with this.

E-safety. Alongside the new ICT curriculum, I wanted to make children and parents aware of how important e-safety is. I am running a couple of events this year and am hoping that it is something that will have a real impact on all.

#batttuk. I am working alongside my not-so-twin-like wingman @mrlockyer on a project called battt – basically, we are aiming to get more teachers involved in twitter (bring a teacher to twitter), we know how useful twitter is and want other teachers to reap the benefits of the digital staffroom. We are presenting at the teachmeet following Bett 2013.

There is a load of other stuff, but this will do… for now.



Leave a comment

Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Family, Thoughts & Musings


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back with a B@ng!

Ok, Distressed Dad has been clearly too busy recently to do anything. The ironing is mounting up; my children need occupying;  DW is constantly wanting my attention* and there are a thousand and one chores to be done.

Now, finally, I have a window of peace to attempt to blog again… I can practically feel your excitement from here, dear bloggers.

*They are, of course, more than entitled to my time and deserve it wholeheartedly.

1 Comment

Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Family


Tags: , ,

The Bathtime Blog

I am the bathtime expert, I am, there’s no beating about the bush; there’s no room or need for modesty – when it comes to baths, I’m your man.

Ok, enough of the flannel (excuse the pun) that’s how it was supposed to go. In the October of 2007, our precious daughter was born: Bethany Grace (B). Sarah (DW) was going to take extended maternity and, therefore be a stay-at-home mum; chief executive of Waldram Towers and all round expert in our child. That she was, and still is. We thought seriously about something that could be mine, something that I could be the expert in. My mammaries aren’t designed for lactation, I had to work and my understanding of babies and small things is (or was) minimal to say the least. So, I became the bathtime expert. I would bath B, do the night-time routine and put her to bed.

I loved it. After a tough day (or an easy one in the sandpit if you believe Andrew Barker, Nigel Woodings and Matt Waldram tell you), it was encouraging and delightful to bathe my girl, wrap her up in lavender-soaked towels and have a special cuddle. Precious, precious times that I will remember forever.

Let’s spin on 4 years!

Distressed dad still loves bath time, especially on the rare occasions he dips in with them, but, alas, gone are the Mozart-playing, lavender-smelling days. Distressed dad now deals with ‘too many bubbles’, ‘not enough bubbles’, a two-year old boy who loves to run around naked and, as he did tonight, urinate on Distressed Dad’s legs. Bath times now are chaotic, frantic, exhausting but still fun. They are definitely still fun. Am I the bath time expert? No. But for B&S, I guess I am.

Pass the bubbles…

Distressed Dad

Bath Time

Bubble Cones

1 Comment

Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Family, Thoughts & Musings


Tags: , , ,