Valid for two hours from purchase


I forgot to bring a set of felt tips but I could get some on route.


Atlanta airport didn’t have any.


Next stop San Francisco International Airport and Santa Clara and a beer and a meal in the hotel.


The journey started a few months before.

At the height of the British Summer it was raining. Well on 2oth August in Broadhaven, it was.

Broadhaven is in south west Wales and is beautiful part of The United Kingdom. We were there on holiday and had been on the hot, sunny beach….but that was Monday and we were back on Thursday and it was grey and raining.


Monday lunch was at The Ocean Bar and Cafe and apart from the very nice food it also had very good free WiFi and WiFi was definitely needed for the first proper, really real proof that the Intel Education Visionaries project kick off event in Santa Clara, California was really and truly taking place and this webinar was happening on Thursday afternoon.

So on Thursday afternoon with Gill, Stephen and Lois out of the rain in the bar at the Ocean Cafe,I had a window view with my laptop hooked up to the WiFi and was ready to start. The conversation went by and one concrete development amongst everything was that travel details were discussed.

On Friday 10th October I was working in Y3 and after PE we spent about 20 minutes trying to work out which (un-named) school jumpers belonged to which missing jumper children. The following morning I flew out of Manchester Airport at 10.30  and eventually arrived in Santa Clara at about 8pm on Saturday night. Unloaded important stuff in my suitcase and headed to the bar for a beer and some food. The USA and Mexico were being playing in the CONCACAF tournament on TV and the lady behind the bar was very pleased with the mexican winning goal.

The plan was to have a quick meal, a beer then off to bed (it was Sunday morning UK time and I hadn’t slept really since Friday night) but Intel people arrived and other Intel people got beer and food so the quick meal and beer plan then sleep plan, disappeared.

During the course of the night/morning, depending upon where in the world  I mentioned that I needed to find a shop the next day to buy a packet of felt tips and Ollie Bray (someone I’d known on Twitter for a million years but whom I’d never met had to find a shop to get some stuff that he hadn’t brought with him so we agreed to meet up at noon the following day.

Sunday morning, I went for a run.

Screenshot 2015-12-31 at 17.19.57

And stopped a few times to take some pictures.

A Run in Santa Clara
A beautiful, sunny morning. Then for the felt tips. We met up in the hotel reception and asked for where some felt tips could be bought. After a bit of discussion the best bet, we were told was the best bet was The Great Mall which involved a trip on the Light Railway…..and the purchase of two tickets……the return trip had to be taken within two hours…..not much of a problem there!

A very helpful mum and her son pointed us to the right station and with a short time we were there

great mall1            gm3

Now you would have thought that The Great Mall would have a shop that sold a packet of felt tips but it didn’t, and you would have thought that you could have got some help to find a shop that sold felt tips but…….and you would have thought that could get a taxi that would take you to the nearest Walmart, which wasn’t a million miles away, thanks to the internet activity enabler on Ollie’s phone, but did involve a trip on the light railway and what seemed like a long(ish) walk (and it was about 90 degrees in the mid afternoon) but….

So back on and off the train and almost like the search for an oasis  we found the Walmart we were looking for.


There were felt tips! Ollie found the things he needed. We tried to get a taxi back to the hotel but ……. so we started the journey back to the light railway (the two hours return ticket had long passed!)

Screenshot 2016-01-02 at 17.15.26

Marvin came to the rescue and at the end of the journey a cold, beer was waiting!IMG_1833

The reason for the journey, and the reason for the felt tips was that on the following day the first Meet and Mingle session was taking place and my presentation was all about technology, teaching and learning and Sparkly Letters. At the start of the day I was thinking I could just use hotel pens but I’m glad I didn’t because the felt tip pens (and the other glitter and other sparkly stuff I had brought over) made a difference and I got to, while crossing the epic plains of Santa Clara got to know Ollie Bray and some of the fab work he does, a whole lot better.

Well Sunday evening was the welcome reception. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday flew by with an amazing sequence of events and people. I’m still not sure how a teacher from a small primary school in Maghull managed to be at Intel HQ in California but I’m very glad it happened. I landed back in cold, grey manchester on Friday morning and went to pick Charlie up from Nursery. A huge amount of fabulous experience had taken place in that short time. I have mostly stopped boring people about my adventures and except shortly before Christmas I was shopping in Asda (the UK version of Walmart) and a heavily tattooed man wearing a Star Wars t-shirt who was with his partner and their two kids was at the checkout. I asked if he had seen the “Force Awaken” film and he said, “Yes, three times!” Well ……..I had to tell him about the day myself, and the rest of Intel Visionaries, spent a day at Skywalker Ranch which wasn’t like the day Sheldon and Leonard from The Big Bang Theory tried to visit the same ranch!

My friend Monica Anderson from Sweden runs a media course called, “A picture paints a thousand words”. Here are my billion words about the brilliant new stuff and experiences that I know about. The pictures tell the real story.
Here’s to the future.

Intel Visonaries

By the way, Home and Bargain down the road from ours sell loads of felt tips.


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1 Response to Valid for two hours from purchase

  1. Glen Westbroek says:

    The details you provide make me feel like I was almost at your side enjoying this experience. It sounds like everyone who participated must have had a great time.

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