New Brighton memories

It feels though as I’ve reached a little milestone writing my 7th ‘learning adventure’ blog. It sounds positive, an achievement, encouraging. I’m reminded of the trick question in English Literature about the nursery rhyme:

As I was going to St Ives, I met a man with seven wives, Each wife had seven sacks, Each sack had seven cats, Every cat had seven kits, Kits, cats, sacks and wives, How many were going to St Ives?

Of course, the author was the only one going to St Ives, the 2800 kits, cats, sacks and wives must be coming from St Ives. Or so it goes.

Oh, and the number 7 has topped a poll as the world’s most favourite number

Given the grey drizzly start to the Manchester day yesterday, it’s hard to believe how sunny, warm and beautiful  New Brighton was. It was one of those times when I knew I needed to walk along a beach, listening to and smelling the sea. Perhaps it’s a nostalgic thing as we always had summer holidays by the sea and I need to re-charge some kind of nostalgia or seaside related batteries. I don’t know, but I do know that when that feeling arrives I need to nurture it and act upon it. It was either Southport, Crosby or New Brighton and I’m so glad NB won the toss as there were lovely moments of real childhood memories. New memories too.

Turn left at Morrisons walking toward the mouth of the Mersey, away from all the noise and bustle of the ubiquitous eateries and coffee palaces and, you might just see the Welsh coast and mountains. This side has a very  traditional feel with large grassy areas for kite-flying, sandy shores  and a boating lake.  My childhood! A remote-controlled destroyer was zipping around the boating lake creating waves and tension as it did 360 degree turns. Strange that it appeared to have 2 controllers.  And then, a dark mysterious grey conning tower emerge from the murky 1.5 metre deep. A 4 foot long submarine which threw me back into my 60’s childhood watching the TV series, ‘The Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.‘ I just loved this side of New Brighton.

Stroll in the other direction towards its source rivers Etherow, Goyt and Tame and you’re walking towards the Seacombe Mersey Ferry terminal, a really interesting building, and a port used by the Sir Peter Blake paint designed Dazzle ferry. It’s a fascinating story of how art was used to create confusion to help protect ships from Germany’s U-boats during the war. Have a look here for more information.

Yesterday’s pirates arrived by taxi with cool boxes of beer.


Destination the Black Pearl


Vale Park was bright with deckchairs and foot tapping music by  The Formby Band


I have become aware that by taking my camera with me I’m noticing more. I notice people, what they are doing and I’m learning to look for light. I’m now wondering how relevant ‘noticing’ may be in learning. Does noticing take different forms? Some of which lead to attention, perception, understanding and learning, whilst others don’t. After just a little Google search (well it is quite late in the evening), I find that there’s published thinking about noticing in language learning and farming.

This thinking takes me to Tom Boydell’s little gem of a book on ‘Experiential Learning’ where he discusses the role of our perceptual consciousness. This is where we receive sensory inputs from our environment and translate them into perceptions. Perceptions that are divided into 3 parts: cognitions, affects and conations. Perceptions are ‘whisked’ up with similarly complex memory traces from my ‘apperceptive mass’ and result in changed perceptions. As teachers perhaps our role is to help students notice. I wonder how we do that. I also find myself wondering  if the things we teachers  do sometimes prevent students noticing? Perhaps trying to control too much and limit the student’s exposure to complex issues. We often control our questions by seeking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers and therefore seeking recall rather than ‘whisked up’ new perceptions. I think I’ll be returning to Tom Boydell in the future as it seems to link with many things at the moment. Perhaps rhizomatic learning facilitates learning through almost ‘freeform’ noticing. Here’s a little peek into the rhizomatic community of learning.


I noticed Davina sitting on a bench with her husband of 63 years. Some 64 years ago David, a former ferryman represented Mersey ferries at an event in Glasgow. Davina says they met at a dance hall and then started ‘walking out.                        The rest is history.


        What did you notice today?


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