Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

OK so it's a tad premature, but this is before we despatched Miranda to bed, but not before we had a ribald singsong session!! Favourite tune of the night was "My bicycle has a bell" , although "Waltzing Miranda" and "What shall we do with the Drunken Sailor" not far behind.

Shortly we're going to have dinner with the boys and games thereafter, and when we keel over, that will be that!

Happy New Year everyone.....have fun!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

She's coming....!

This one from yesterday just as the sun was dropping out of the sky, and we sauntered along Studland beach. There are few games that give as much regular fun as hiding in the bushes waiting for Mippy to arrive.

Today has been very cold again, with a thick frost over the ground when we went out for our bike ride first thing. Lewis came back looking like a Mud Monster as he fell off at a particularly mucky bit at Calshot!

Tonight we've had a great music session with several old tunes being practiced for our music night tomorrow, along with a few new ones.... Waltzing Miranda making an appearance, and showing good sighs of lasting the pace!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

All aboard!

It's been a cracking winter's day today, and we took a jaunt down to Studland and Swanage for some fun. This was at the Steam Railway in Swanage after we'd had chippies on the waterfront, and had a nice walk over the headland to the Lifeboat station.

The beach at Studland was lush and the lighting was great. The views over Old Harry's Rocks, and over to the Isle of Wight glowing as the cliffs were bathed in yellow sunshine.

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Lucky Number...

We were doing some numbers at lunchtime, and Greg is looking rather pleased with himself having managed to add four numbers accurately several times. No fluke, he's getting this number business wrapped! This despite Mirada trying to pinch his numbers for use in her construction.

We've also taken Domino for a walk this afternoon whilst Lewis was making Lego models.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Greg has been itching to make his Meccano digger, and this morning managed to get a buying signal out of me whilst I was still half asleep. So first thing on the agenda after breakfast he assembled it, and all I can say is ".....they don't make it like they used to!" although Greg wasn't disappointed.

To get some fresh air we took a picnic down to Milford on Sea, and had a very blustery walk down to Keyhaven spit. The sea was very rough, and the waves huge, so we had a game of Chase me Charlie with the incoming breakers. Miraculously no one got wet, which was surprising as yesterday Greg and Miranda came back soaking wet.... in fact yesterday's picture was very nearly him emptying his welly of water with Mummy folded over double.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Whacky Racers

The kids having a race in the kitchen with their 'hot air' powered vehicles. Lewis' is a hovercraft and Greg's a Formula one car both turbo charging their way across the floor! Lewis was rather 'deflated' to discover his needed a bit of a helping hand, whereas Gregory's zoomed rapidly across the line.

Weather today has been great, and we've been to the beach. I think everyone had the same idea as Lepe was heaving - well as heaving as Lepe gets, that is!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


At 5.30am it felt as though our eyeballs were being sandpapered, ...but by 8.30pm our house is now pleasantly silent again. It's been a mainly wet and miserable day here in Hampshire, depriving us of a blow on the beach, but we have survived another Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve...!

This morning Greg has done a lovely drawing of Father Christmas and his sleigh as it makes it way to our house! Greg has drawn three chimney pots on top of the house, one each for Miranda, Lewis and himself!!

"Merry Christmas everyone" love from Gregory XXX

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's electrifying!

Thanks to Miranda the house was awake bright and early, so we decided we'd steal a march and go up to London and spend a day at the Science Museum. It was blissfully quiet there, which always makes it so much more fun, not to mention educationally useful!

We also had a walk around the centre of town seeing the Christmas lights, before popping into a little Italian restaurant in Covent Garden. The decorations this year were fairly good I thought, with Carnaby Street's paper chains, Regent Street's coloured baubles, and the gothic theme at the Market Place in Covent Garden standing out most I think.

Highlight of the evening though (for Lewis) was being photographed next to a Bugatti Veyron in Berkeley Square, which I may come under some pressure to load another day! Almost unbelievably as we were taking the photo another one roared past us (which at £930,000 a pop would give you some exclusivity!) and guess what the number plate was JB 2

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tonka boys

Not sure if I've posted this one before but it's one of my favourites from 2007, that I chose for my Christmas card shortlist. It's one of those golden moments that describe the boys well. Rugged, plucky and engaging.....

Friday, December 21, 2007

Raiders of the Lost Folder

As the year draws to a close I've started looking through my archive for images that need to be pulled out and kept for posterity. The big problem with digital photography is that it's so easy to single out one or two frames, and drop the whole pile of 'also rans' into the dustbin of time.

Somehow you think that one day you get around to sorting them out, but as I produce about 15,000+ new photos every year
.....we'll see!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The new rhythm section

That pained look on Lewis' face describes the harmonic distortion of Greg on tambourine, Miranda clapping, me on African Drum with the other hand holding a camera .... as we destroy his fine delivery of "Drunken Sailor"

The Christmas concert beckons!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Today at lunchtime Mippy and I went for a walk up the road, as it was lovely and sunny. It was also very cold.... These are the two ponies in the field by our house, and they were very excited to see us! They gallop over, and if it were not for the secondary fence on the inside you'd think they were going to flatten you!

Miranda of course totally unphased, as she climbs up the bars of the gate to get closer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Badly drawn man

Miranda studiously observing the drawing instructions in Gregory's book, to see if she could muster a "horsey" picture.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wishing you a Mippy Christmas!

Festive Greetings and best wishes for the year ahead from Jon, Caroline, Lewis Gregory and Miranda.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

No Miranda, we can't eat it yet!

Yesterday's picture really, but better late than never... Christmas decorations it seems are a metaphor for life. So small and fragile, so shiny and bright. One knock and they tumble to the ground, but hopefully not to fracture into a thousand pieces!

Our music lesson continued this morning with a particularly raucous version of "Sailor". Lewis has little patience for the musically ill educated, and despite my man to man chat a bit late in the day about the need to provide leadership he wasn't giving ground. Later in the day I was fading too, and maybe I see his point...

By contrast I've just been listening to 'Straight no Chaser' played by Chico Freeman - what a superb tune that is, delivered so masterly.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Deck the hall with Holly

Highlight of the day for the boys was going to get the Christmas tree, and decorating it, and tomorrow I may get around to taking a photo of it! Hopefully tomorrow will be less grey and cold and then we can go and collect so me Holly from the forest.

These are Gregory's snowmen that have been waiting for a slot to appear!

Friday, December 14, 2007

What'll we do with a drunken sailor

It's great when Lewis gets given a tune to learn, and its' one you actually know! So we've all been joining in the words to "Sailor" tonight and doing our best not to stay sober....

Favourite lines to the refrain were ... Shave his belly with a rusty razor ... and ... Put him in the scuppers with a hose pipe on him!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sing along a Max

"You'll never guess what Dad, but I've been put in the top group for Music..." Lewis told me excitedly this evening when I got in from London. It was the best sort of birthday present you could ask for, and today I've had quite a few! It's nice to be looked after I reckon...

This morning started with all five of us in bed, whilst I opened my cards and assorted presents from the clan, and shortly I'm going to return!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A barrel of Monkeys

I was looking at some images of Lewis as a little boy recently, and it reminded me that I used to do loads of self portrait type pictures when I had my first Nikon digital camera (it was a 990) - the big difference is now I have a lumpy DSLR it's much harder to hold the camera in one hand and point it back at yourself. Not to mention the challenge of three wriggling monkeys rather than one.

Anyhow this is a scene from between teatime and bathtime today in our mad house. Oh, and did I mention that during dinner tonight (a very tasty pea and leek risotto accompanied by a delicious Manzanilla) I was serenaded by Lewis, with a selection of Spanish guitar and "Happy Birthday to You". Life definitely gets better as you get older!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Still under the weather!

Mipp still not back on form, having been smitten by the 'cold bug' which is playing havoc with her eating and staying power! She managed a healthy breakfast this morning, and had a big round of applause after asking to go on the potty and delivering a result. But by bedtime (which was when I saw her next she was very ratty and needed a cuddle ...and bed)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I can do that Dad!

I'd noticed that Lewis' drawing was a bit pedestrian, so had encouraged him to revisit the "How to draw.." series books, hoping he'd entertain himself for a few minutes.....

Greg naturally has taken the hint and got on with it, and has done some great drawings - including one of cowboys that I was totally unable to identify. Where did this one come from then Greg? "The picture on my playing cards, Dad!"

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I'm lookin at the man in the Mirror

I fully intended taking some photos today, but as I was out all day yesterday both my batteries were dead flat when I came to pick up the camera! It's been raining here all day, unlike the cracking weather we had on the Isle of Wight yesterday and we've been indoors making things and playing games.

Mippy is a bit under the weather, and is quite hard work, but when she's laughing she's fine!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hello Dolly!

As it's been cold and wet at lunchtime we've been playing indoors today. How I yearn for those bike rides into the village with the warm sun on my back, and the breeze in my hair....

Playing dollies is not quite so much fun if I am honest, although it does make me laugh sometimes watching her routines. She jabbers away constantly, and although some of it makes sense - most of the conversation is indistinct.

Dolly is sitting in his/her chair obediently waiting for her dinner - I don't know who he/she gets that from?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

We free Kings

I got back from work today to find Gregory reading to Lewis on the settee, and the kitchen half full of homemade Christmas decorations. Aren't they lovely...

By the time I got my camera out Greg had gone to bed, but hopefully tomorrow I will manage to get a picture of him with his snowmen!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bag Lady

I took a whole load of photos at lunchtime but there wasn't really one that caught the decisive moment as Mippy wandered around her kitchen/utility room (our study)

First of all she was dusting her ornaments on the book case, then she did a spot of ironing, then she arranged her baby in the cot, and finally she had a play with the stove... and this was one of two frames that has any real life to it! I'd been teasing her to respond to me by looking towards the camera, but she's adept at ignoring my subtle prompts to look up from her task. On this occasion she erupted into laughter and her face and the combination of our mirror just makes it for me.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Drawing inspiration

I'm feeling a bit knackered at the moment, and I'm finding it difficult to find inspiration. Although not a bad day in retrospect, which came to a conclusion with Lewis writing up a story for his homework, packed with interesting narrative. He's been working on this during the week in his literacy classes.

When you least expect to find a reward, the greater your chances!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lego City abstract

The boys often disappear now to play Lego on their own - a sign of growing independence that I wish they'd more often do at the crack of dawn. Out little kraken stirred at 5.50 this morning which is probably why we're a bit strained by bedtime.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Mippy Moo at half past two

Sitting down with Lewis a few weeks ago we listened to Bobby McFerrin's "Simple Pleasures are the Best" album - he thought it was great that so much music could come from a few people with no musical instrument to speak of.

This is one of my own simple pleasures - lunchtime with Mippy when she's smiling down the lens barrel!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

As easy as falling off a log

Contrary to perceived wisdom you can make portraits with a wide angle lens, and from above a child's perspective. Greg is looking fairly cool and composed here, as we play on 'the dragon' in Denny Wood. I found this picture in my out-takes as I was tidying up some images on my computer last night.

I seem to remember it was me that fell off the log first!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Grown up Fun

Taken on Monday night with my "Umm Chums" - the photography cohort. Sometimes it's great fun to just get away from the screaming rabble, and fool around at something frivolous, just for the sake of it! I can vaguely remember doing stuff like this at art school...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Never happier than when drawing pictures of cars (or trucks or lorries...) Lewis has got carried away here with his winter scene. A Nissan pick-up with trailer full of logs, ready to be stacked into our log store!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Slaving over a hot stove

Tonight's blog posting is goin up early as I'm going out tonight. This was Miranda's choice of photo - she's sitting on my lap shouting "...dinner, ....dinner!"

mippy (you'll never guess who wrote this!)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

La claire de la lune

Walking the donkey this morning we had to follow a narrow line along Shore Road to avoid the Spring tide, lapping at our heels. This is a bit later in the day, but clearly Greg and Lewis were as mad as hatters, throwing themselves in the heather when we were out at Denny Wood. Miranda was doing her best to join in the fun but was a little out of their league.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back on form

Well the bump on his head doesn't seem to have left any lasting damage. However we did some drawing this afternoon and it seems to have improved his draughtsman skills no end! We were planning on doing some painting too but the time ran out.

Tonight we all played dominos on the floor in front of the fire, so were all feeling nicely toasted now!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sometimes it hurts

This afternoon sitting on the settee with Greg was a reminder of the role we play in life. I was nursing his head, as he'd had a nasty accident in school, and his head was blooming. His head on my lap and the uncertainty of any lasting damage.

A few weeks ago a work colleague suffered a similar bump to the head and was less fortunate. We hang by a thin chord.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Touch of Americana

Our cousins across the pond have no shame when it comes to sending cheesy Christmas portraits to their friends and relations. This is our practice session this evening, which I have to be honest was quite fun

This is what happens when you spend your day producing equally meaningful corporate tosh for the festive season....

Tonight we listened to some great music on the internet by an old friend of mine - "He's going to be famous one day...." says Lewis!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Now I am Two.

I've been away for a few days so nothing new to post other than Mippy has learned how to read! Well OK, more like read out loud in 'almost words' a vague story line....

She sees Greg struggling his way through sentences with a book on his lap, and then tries to emulate his performance! We are now getting lots of individual words, and even small sentences, sometimes surprisingly accurately formed. "Happy Birthday to you" being one of them....

I should have mentioned earlier that this year for the first time when we sang HBTY to Mippy on the w/e, it was with Lewis' musical accompaniment - what a pleasure that was!

Last night by contrast I went to see Joshua Redman at the Anvil - what a top night out!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I found Lewis' birthday card for Miranda on the mantelpiece, so I thought it would make a nice posting for her birthday. He'd also drawn a small digger on the inside with the words "Dig for excitement" next to it!

The simple message inside said

Happy 2 Birthday Mippi

I love you

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Little Fishes

Bathtime fun just before we had "The Mousehole Cat" for bedtime story. Greg and Lewis always enjoy this book, and Miranda it seems intent on exploring the taste of Stargazy Pie..!

The weather here too has been very stormy today.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Raise a glass!

It's almost Miranda's second birthday, and we've had a visit from Caroline's Mum and Dad to celebrate. Too much going on to remember to use my camera unfortunately, (and it's been a very dark and dingy day anyhow) so we'll have Mippy doing the honours with her teaset, as the picture to set the scene!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Pain!

There was a loud thud and lots of screaming pain as Lewis came to terms with having fallen akwardly on his left hand this evening. There appeared to be no movement and we thought he'd broken his arm - the pain was extreme...

Fortunately there was no damage, and things susided with time and Mr Injured-Pride slowly gained his composure

A reminder to us all we are not immortal or indestructible.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The cost of loving!

This little visit to the supermarket was quite expensive as I had to buy everything in Mippy's shop, and I wasn't allowed to leave until I'd bought it a second time.

She's starting to enjoy roll play, hastened naturally, by Greg and Lewis example. I hope they don't ban carrier bags as it would make Miranda very unhappy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What's on...!

Apart from being asked "What's on the blog Dad?" the other question I seem to get asked every day is "Who's on your phone today!!"

Whilst I don't update my phone image every day I do try to keep a nice slideshow of representative slices of life on my mobile, and this one's Greg brushing his teeth...

This phone starts just before Mippy was born, and has an interesting storyline.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tea for two!

What with Greg trying to persuade me to have a glass of wine and a bowl or three of nibbles, now Miranda's latest favourite game is 'Teatime' ...and one cup is just never enough!

Monday, November 12, 2007

King of the Pixies on his throne!

Gregory at Denny Wood from the weekend, with rather dirty trousers. He'd been playing football earlier in the day, and has taken to doing dramatic saves in a goalie fashion. Quite a sight to behold I can assure you!

This was us catching the last few rays of light on a winter's afternoon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Labour of Love

Not the usual sort of photo for a posting on the Brown Clan blog, I'll grant you. But this is a very real aspect of family life....

Lewis had seen a 'limited edition' china model of a farmer with his Land Rover, costing £450 in a magazine and had decided he wanted to make his own. Great initiative... only we're clean out of storage space... our house which seemed so full of empty rooms all those years ago when we moved in.... is now FULL!

So the compromise was a recyclable model, and like all decent conceptual works of art, the photograph is all that remains of the creation...! This I am told is the first of a series - watch this space!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

sk8r dude!

It's my favourite time of year...

To begin with it's dark in the morning so the kids don't wake to early, and we can almost smile when we are forced to accept the day has begun. (The stair gate at the top of the stairs will go soon and that will be one less irritation to contend with)

My bike ride out over the forest was first class a cold headwind was burning my energy, but the autumn colours were fantastic.

After lunch - a delicious soup of yellow peas with homemade savoury scones, I took the boys out for a frolic in the forest whilst Mrs Mippy slept, and Mrs Mischief did some gardening...

Our walk was only slightly marred by those anarchist tossers in red and black jackets, exercising disregard for law and order in our fine countryside.... when are the Police going to get off their perch and do something about this?

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Incredible Hulk

I did tell Lewis that I wanted a photo of him tonight as I getting tired of my two other subjects! Well we got distracted, what with guitar practice and Paddington Bear stories and the like...

Greg must have read about five books tonight, before I had to say "OK enough already!" Caroline told me that he's been reassessed in school and he's gone up three or four 'bands' in his reading - well great to know they do things regularly!

Greg for his part is hugely chuffed, and it's done wonders for his self confidence. That didn't stop an ugly incident in the garden earlier when Lewis deprived him of 'big bother' company when his friend was round to play. All I heard was Greg screaming at him "I hate you ....etc etc"

At bedtime I asked what it was all about " Oh nothing..." he said, "Lewis wouldn't let me play in his game!"

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Greg popped into my workroom tonight with a piece of paper in his hand. "Look Dad I've done your menu for tonight..."

tmuto sald
letis and tmatos
blacbrey and apl piy

This all his initiative, we'd been role playing restaurants last night, and he was my waiter! No help with the menu or the writing - what a star.