Time for a few ‘Maltesars…’

Malta: An island of legends between Sicily and North Africa

Malta is a beautiful island nestling below Sicily and far away from the bustle and pollution of major cities. Malta enjoys a Mediterranean climate with many hours of summer sunshine making it ideal for enjoying the coast. Snorkelling is one of the most popular activities here. One event in Malta’s history is the shipwreck of the apostle Paul. Running aground at ‘a bay with a sandy beach’ Paul found that ‘the islanders showed us unusual kindness’ – a characteristic that still defines the Maltese

and I am going here in August with Oak Hall (and Karen T!)… first time on a summer trip as a non-leader… looking forward to completely chilling out with a bit of sightseeing… plus some spiritual refreshment – wonder who’s leading/speaking?!

Voluntary Tour Leader, Oak Hall

I LOVED tour leading for Oak Hall. I had taken 3-4 holidays as a guest (always ski holidays, I’d never done a summer trip), and got in touch with the intention of doing a  ski season. Having visited “The Manor” for a week, I offered to stay another week, but then found myself zooming home for my passport, and the next day in Switzerland, cleaning Chalet Jungfrau (130 guests!). One of the most exhausting weeks of my life (part 2), but also exhilerating!


As my plans for my Round the World trip kept changing, I returned for some summer trips:



I am planning on taking a rest from Oak Hall for 2010 as I concentrate on finding work, combined with setting up my own business: Digital Fingerprint.

January 4th

Don’t worry, I’ll get bored of this soon, or start drowning in other work, but so far today I have written an AimHigher session, finished an exam paper, rang the tax office (one of those calls which has moved daily across Outlook), chased up an insurance claim, taken delivery of a (very powerful, especially when braking) hire car and sent my little car off to be repaired (my neighbour drove into it taking out the right wing), been to the gym &  Tesco, and started work on 3 lectures… oh and written some blogs about my trip to Switzerland:

Oak Hall: Team Training

I have just spent the past weekend at “The Manor” in Otford, Oak Hall’s UK base (and conference venue), at team training/preparation for the Winter Season, which kicks off in only 2 weeks… amazing how time flies!

Hotel Staubbach, LauterbrunnenFor this season, I am doing one week only – and that week is CHRISTMAS WEEK! I am going to be cooking at Hotel Staubbach in Lauterbrunnen, and have met most of the people I’m going to be working with at the training weekend. It’s going to be an interesting trip… usually have led, or maybe lead cook, but this time going to be assistant cook – but as John is one of the most efficient cooks I know, could be some time to enjoy the scenery… and I will get one days skiing – see if my legs remember how to ski… think it’s a bit like riding a bicycle after a long delay!

Awe-inspiring scenery in the heart of Switzerland

Resort Information:

  • Enjoy 4 interlinked areas
  • High level snowsports at 9,748 feet
  • Marked piste – 213 km
  • Lauberhorn World Cup downhill & slalom courses
  • Sightseeing to 13,642 ft at Jungfraujoch

If you’re on the trip, join us on Facebook.

If you’re interested in snowsports, extreme sports, adrenalin sports – come and join me on Adrenablog!

Oak Hall

OakhallOak Hall provides value-for-money low-cost holidays enabling people time away for rest and spiritual refreshment/reinvigoration, either at Otford Manor in Kent, or overseas. Many of those on Oak Hall expeditions (aimed at the 20s/30s market) are single. A number of ATOM (A Taste of Mission) trips work with projects that Oak Hall supports in Serbia, Thailand, Peru, South Africa, the Phillipines. Staff are largely voluntary workers who are enthused by this vision. I have worked for Oak Hall as a Tour Leader since 2007, having been on several of their holidays beforehand.

Loire Valley Tomorrow

Dear all

I hope that you have a great couple of weeks. I will be wearing my “Keep Calm and Carry On T-Shirt”, and “Keep Calm and Carry On Apron” whilst I cook for 82 people on a campsite in the Loire Valley with Oak Hall, and as I then bike-sit, and drive down to Provence on the wrong side of the road, before coming back to get back on track with my projects.

Looking forward to taking up my 0.4 post as a Lecturer in History at the University of Winchester on my return, along with a number of projects to finish! And I suspect I may have a blog entry or two to do.. I’ve set a number up on my other blog: ww2poster!

A Week Filled with Events

Palatine Conference
I made it to the afternoon of this conference. With the event sponsored by Palatine, who focus on dance and drama, I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going with this conference, but was interested to see that Mike Seignior, with whom I teach on the Design for Digital Media course was heading up a workshop… so I thought, yes, a great chance to see how practice and academia intersect. Interestingly many of the people there came from a practice background and have moved into academia, whereas I come from an academic background, and have started to build up creative practices alongside my academic studies, which then start to inform them! Also an interesting TAPP workshop (which fits with life-coaching interests… see photo), and the overview of what was coming with REF (formerly RAE, so many acronyms!).
Media Studies Mini Conference
It’s week 10, the week the First Years for Media Studies have been waiting for – a chance to present their work at a mini-conference. We’d set this up as a real conference, with poster boards, a schedule of presentations, and a coffee-break with proper refreshments! Thought it worked surprisingly well, as many of the students had seemed rather disengaged up til that point! Unlike many conferences, not too much danger of the students running over time…

The Big Sleep Out
(see other blog entry)

Team Training Oak Hall
Made it in time for the 11.30am session: a great chance to catch up with a few familiar faces, meet some new people, find out which trip I’m on (I’ll be cooking in the Loire Valley at the end of July), and a reminder of why we truly do this – not for the “free holidays” (that’s for sure, we work too hard for that!), but to serve others and give them a chance for rest, refreshment and re-engagement with God.
Andy Melrose Lecture: Jesus, Judas, Jim and John: storykeeping and the world’s shortest story.
Andy Melrose is one half of the partnership behind the Storykeepers, a 1970s series, which continues to be shown, and whose popularity continues to grow around the world. A great lecture, using a mix of modern technologies, and linking Jesus, Judas, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon in interesting ways (makes me not feel so unusual for being able to make such random connections!). Afterwards was a great chance to meet up with some old faces, talk to a few friendly faces to see if there is potential for more interesting work in any area, and random talks to people who may yet become future connections – noticeably a number of people from Cultural Studies, Creative Writing and Religious Studies in attendance.
Out There Networking Event
This is the pitch which teased us in:
In this talk, Dr Stephen Thomas will explore how recent developments in digital biology are set to have even more profound social impacts on everything from longevity to identity itself. These developments are different in kind to what has gone before, for they are about us, not just our surrounding technologies.

Did you know, for example, that you don’t own your own DNA? 

How come I have less DNA than an amoeba? What will it mean to be 500 years old? What is ‘personalized medicine’? Where will my digital identity begin and end? Is my brain me? Is morality pre-determined? Will there be room left for religion? Is science boring?
Certainly thought provoking, and clearly a number of different interests engaging with his discussions (which come from a pharmacology/genome research perspective), and was pleased to note another scientist who thinks that the world looks so complex that there must be something behind it, and rejects Dawkins arguments!
Conference to Come
Abstract selected for a conference in Wales.