18 June 2007


Friday afternoon, I rushed home, grabbed some stuff and a clean shirt and headed off for the Marriott Hotel in Sheffield's leafy Nether Edge. It is about ten minutes walk from our house. When our Ian was a waiter at The Marriott, I would often taxi him there and back but I never though for one moment I would ever sleep there. After all bed and breakfast is £120 a night and as you may have gathered already, I am so tight-fisted there are padlocks on my wallet!

But I wasn't paying. This was a "teambuilding" or hyphenated team-building exercise paid for by my school. I am being promoted to the Leadership scale ( senior management) even though I never asked for this and still harbour some suspicion about it all.

Everyone had to take an object that would say something about who they are. This was an ice-breaking session. My object was a chunk of Flamborough Head - a fist-sized rock in which flint and chalk merge. I said it represented my Yorkshire heritage and it also stands for fundamental Yorkshire values such as decency, honesty, kindness and respect. I spoke of how in my East Yorkshire childhood, the rolling wolds were always there in the distance, culminating in the chalky promontory at Flamborough which looks out to sea and the world beyond. Rather poetic I thought. The rest of my "team" applauded me.

Painting of Flamborough Head

Later in small groups - rather bizarrely - we had to use tin foil to create a metaphorical model of our school. My group made "The Balloon of Hope" - a hot air balloon chained to the earth with a figure holding a telescope and looking out from the basket. Later, I drank beer until two in the morning and woke up at seven on Saturday to eat a big fried breakfast followed by a fruit salad dessert. I was building myself!

Following our OFSTED inspection with all the associated stress the past week brought, the last thing I needed was a weekend of team building but I got through it and you know, at times I quite enjoyed it all - standing back from my usual workplace and reflecting on how we operate and the way ahead.


  1. When I finally make it across the pond, and find my way towards your neck of the woods (or wolds), I feel I'll recognize most things, as you've described your world so eloquently. Even your simple text becomes prose and your poetry is true art. I can't wait to see the "Fields" of England.

  2. ok, Flamborough Head, l can just see it.

  3. I like someone who is proud of where they come from.

  4. Ask headmistress if she has a copy of our Orfstedd report.....pretty gruesome.....spent most of my childhood on the yorks coast and dont know Flamborough.....will make a point of going.........

  5. damn your chalky rock.... millstone grit is what we demand...


  6. Senior management eh? Oh dear...;)
    Hope your OFSTED went well.

  7. Blogspot seems to be working for me again.
    What's OFSTED

  8. I wanna see your hands, now.

  9. FRIDAY - England is like any place. How you see it very much depends on the onlooker's outlook. Maybe I am biased but I love my country and rather despise those who flee to foreign hideaways bewailing their homeland. The pillocks!
    MUDDY BOOTS Are you losing your eyesight?
    M&Ms - Let's join some nationalist organisation and march behind the union flag! Better still the flag of St George!
    GROUSE Were you drinking "Grouse" as you wrote this comment?
    ARCTIC FOX - Millstone round my neck? no way! The true rock of Yorkshire comes from the wolds. You are almost in Lancashire mate!
    JENNYTA - Jealousy is a base emotion.
    DIRK - ARM THE INSANE - OFSTED is a government school inspection quango - it's like arming the insane!
    FRIDAY - To see my fingers visit the butcher's section of your local supermarket. Buy a pack of pork sausages - open it and look! Not much use for fine needlework and I am always hitting two keys on these small handed keyboards!

  10. Anonymous1:24 am

    I've been to Flamborough Head many times. I love looking down the hill and seeing the waves rolling in. I like exploring the caves and scrambling over the rocks when the tide is far enough out.

    This post brought back many childhood memories for me. Thanks for that :o)

  11. DEFINIELY not jealous, YP. Been there, done that, got the scars to prove it. ;)

  12. On our last 'teambuilding' day we had to use Lego bricks to build a model to represent the concept of 'health economics'. Surreal, but fun, and we did it.

  13. Good for you YP!
    Remember that the way to manage management is to make them believe what you suggest was their idea...


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