Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Keep up

We've been away for a few days, up north with Juliet and Nich and the girls. It's been a relaxing few days in the biting cold, but we're back having had some time touring the Derbyshire Dales along the way.

Today I had a walk on my own in the Forest, to satisfy my need to cover a few miles, without having to coax Mippy along. So I thought I'd better post this one to remind me of well she does under normal circumstances.

It's been cold here in the Forest too, today it was -2C on the way (and way back) from my walk. I took the opportunity to revisit some of my old haunts that take a bit of effort, and after 5 hours walking I feel quite refreshed!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Returns

Tomorrow we'll be celebrating Christabel's 18th birthday, so this one's going up for the record. All in all, I don't think much has changed.

Except we can't afford to drink vintage Veuve Cliquot, and the Valentine cards aren't quite so exuberant...

Festive Greetings...

.... from the Welsh Brown Clan. So good I had to share it!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's sunnier down South!

Perhaps the best Christmas on record, and maybe something to do with an almost leisurely start to the day! I think it was past eight when we (CJ and I) were roused from our slumbers.

After the stocking induced playfest was complete we headed for the beach at Lepe as the weather has been fab here today - glorious sunshine and just look at the sky. Miranda even seems to have bare feet in this picture.

We have big smiles here as we'd just finished drinking a bottle of Barbadillo Manzanilla, which we first discovered on the beach at Sanlucar de Barremeda about fifteen years ago. Hic!

The rest of the whole day has been an eating event, rounded off with some Christmas carols to Lewis' musical accompaniment.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Gingerbread men

And naturally, today we have the photo of the house that Fordy built. And despite having been prodded and poked and moved around the kitchen it still stands proud.

And so the moral of the story it would appear, is make sure you have enough cement in between the bricks!

We managed to get Miranda to bed early tonight, and had dinner with the boys. Now all is quiet, the mince pies and sherry (and reindeer dust) are all waiting, so lets wait and see!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Noshing begins in earnest

Having been tempted out for a bike ride first thing this morning by Fordy, we had built up something of an appetite for lunch by the time we returned. Luckily Caroline had been busy making soup and scones, and a host of gingerbread cakes, so we were not disappointed.

A bit later Ian and Lewis erected the Gingerbread house, gluing it together with icing sugar, and by tomorrow it should be ready for a record shot with the craftsmen!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


We've had a day out at Bournemouth today to see the lights and sights. It gave Lewis a chance to identify some Victorian architecture as we strolled around, and of course the Russell Coates Museum where we usually call in, was packed with relevant detail.

The light over the sea was fab, but picture of the day has to be Mippy a she drives Noddy around the Amusement Arcade...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Laid back...

I love the sultry look of this image, taken on the Beaulieu River this afternoon. The light was fading fast and it was gloriously quiet, except for a dozen or so Curlew chattering away along the marshy bank. At one point we were overflown by a group of about 35 - what a beautiful sight they make.

It was pitch black by the time we got back to the village, but Topsy was chattering away herself all the way!

This morning we had a nice bike ride, I think we'll be doing a bit more riding this holiday...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Palace House

Oh we do keep the finest of company...!

This is Lewis' invitation to the Palace House at Beaulieu from last week, where the Montagus receive children from local schools as part of an experience of a Victorian Christmas. They all needed suitable attire, and a lunch of cheese sandwiches wrapped in a handkerchief (...no cans!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Now I am 8

This is the card Gregory made for me, which I am loading to remind me of the tasty cake - now sadly all gone!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Creating a scene

Lewis made me this charming scene for a birthday present, "...to remind me of all the great things we do together!"

So tonight I'm staring into an old shoe box thinking about some of the trips we've made so far.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Skipping along...

Miranda's been under the weather with a cold and today when we were walking in Denny Wood she was making slow progress. Lewis sprung into action and jollied her off down the track ahead of me, bouncing as they went. Bliss it was!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Older, wiser?

Having drunk some beers in the Lord Nelson last night where there was a good band performing, I was not too keen to get out of bed very early this morning. Which was unfortunate as the kids were keen to sing to me and shower me with presents and cuddles!

So we've had a nice lazy day eating and slouching mainly, as the weather has not been great. We did manage to fit in a walk at Calshot, which was eerily out of water as there was a particularly low tide.

We've had a visit today from Caroline's Mum and Dad, so the kids have been acting up all day, but now the house is quiet again and we're ready for bed. Zzzzz....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Christmas Tale

This one captures some of the magical quality that Christmas seems to evoke. That looking through the window at another world, being captivated by activity on the other side. And although this is a shop window, it's not yer average crappy toy shop, determined to sell you stuff you don't need....

It is 'Chimp and Zee' on Lyme Regis High Street. An amazing book shop with the ability to fire the imagination of anyone!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Calshot Castle

Whenever we go anywhere now it soon turns into a history lesson, and usually it's for my benefit as well as the kids. Of course I knew all the important stuff like which King was responsible for it's construction in the sixteenth century, blah blah....but I soon discovered where they used to pour the boiling tar down on unwelcome visitors, and where all the stone and timber to build the castle came from.

"And see there Dad, that's where the cannonballs smashed into it!"

"Cor Greg, that's really interesting!"

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Hello Ducky

One of the things I've always intended doing is making a book of images about having fun, so this image is a reminder that I still need to complete the project.

I was listening to the various news articles today about Oliver Postgate and the characters he created, in Bagpuss and Noggin the Nog, and it reminded me of the need to make up nonsense for Miranda, so there's two things I need to do....

Then, one day, the king rose from his seat as if to go down to his castle. The people watching him saw him shake and stagger and fall to the ground. The king was dead. Great was the sadness and loud the wailing. The flags on the houses were pulled to half mast and the great bell rang.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


On certain Sundays in winter the morning light on the bathroom window is enough to let us know that we have great day in store. So without further ado, we scoffed a hearty breakfast and set out for Studland. There was a thick covering of frost and ice in places too, but the day could not have been more promising.

We walked from Jerry's Point near the Ferry across the dunes and along the shore to the charming cafe on the beach at South Beach. Having come this far we then pushed on down all the way to Old Harry's Rocks! As the sun got lower in the sky we did wonder if we'd be fumbling around in the dunes in the dark, but not so, we timed it just right!

We went into Swanage to see the Christmas lights, and had supper at our favourite Chip Shop.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The day started with a great bike ride along the coast line, as the weather was fantastic. Glorious sunshine making a nice contrast too the last three weekends. The birds are now flocking onto our shores, so it was a joy to watch them foraging. The tide was just dropping out and the muddy landscape glistening. Underfoot it's been very wet everywhere we've been today.

This afternoon I had a walk with the kids at Rans Wood, and the sun was still shining, although it was very cold. Mippy held my hand most of the way around which indicates she had chilly paws!

This photo of Greg catches my eye from an otherwise uninteresting set of pictures today. Must try harder!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Rural bliss!

I've just been having a trawl through some recent folders of images, and it's amazing how many pictures just get forgotten about. This one from a few weeks ago, that I can vaguely recollect taking but probably would never have seen the light of day.

It quite a nice photo, very evocative of autumn, and Pooh Bear, ...and stuff!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Loosely connected

The kids were all in bed by the time I got home tonight, so this is just one that catches my eye, as I've just been reading about Alfred Russel Wallace in National Geographic.

When the story's told, make sure your name is up there in lights!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


If ever there was a day that was less like Sun Day than today, I don't know when. Flat and grey, with the lights on indoors and damp and miserable outdoors.

Not that it stopped us from going out, but it was rather chilly. The Oystercatchers were very subdued, and Gregory had to make do with chasing a few gulls to keep warm.

We watched the track riders at Calshot, and for a change there were many youngsters racing, some much smaller than Greg. So he started to get all excited about the prospect of giving them a race...

When we got back we had to chop some firelighters or we would have had no fire tonight!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We had quite an early visit from Topsy this morning, which is preferable to her going to wake the boys up; and all the fun that entails.... She soon got bored with our soothing tones and when the sound of Greg's padding across the landing registered she squeeled and Greg was her soon her partner in crime.

One of the high notes was hearing her singing Mama mia, here I go again, My my, how can I resist you?
Mama mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I've missed you ....

I wish I could recall the exact words she sang and the vernacular, it was amusing!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Musical Miranda

Occasionally first thing in the morning we hear a little voice singing away quietly. Usually the door will be ajar and the light creeping in will have been enough to stir her to action, and so long as no one else is up and about she'll stay there "warming up"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Ladybirds are beetles, there is 44 different types. Gardeners like ladybirds because thay eyt afids. Ladybirds lay eggs, then it terns into larvae and after that it turns into a betl.

....still publishing pages from Greg's school/home work from about six months ago.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Leaves nearly gone...

The winds are getting stronger, and the leaves are falling off the trees. Soon we'll be left with the bleakness of winter... Not that it will have any bearing on our outdoor activities; the ball will still be thrown for Rover, rabbits will be chased, and trees will still be climbed...

On the weekend we stopped off at the activity Centre in Calshot and unusually there was a snowboarding class taking place. The group of teenage boys taking part were quite good, and naturally they were showing off. It was like watching Lou and Greg doing their imaginary skateboarding, hopping and bouncing off every kerb!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Flowertots

This is Lewis' lovely birthday card for 'you know who' which I found on the mantlepiece, and thought should be preserved. Miranda has been wearing her new jimjams all week, I'm surprised I haven't taken a photo of them yet!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

There was a number of times today when I had the perfect opportunity to get the ultimate shot of three kids in a serene landscape. The lighting at Calshot was superb, the tide was out and it was just crying out for a portrait. Miranda though does not do tricks.

If ever a photo opportunity was not going to work then it would be with Scaredy Cat - only the boys are ever obliging!

Such is life.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's been bone janglingly cold here today, threatening to snow all day. We watched a few guys going off in the sea kayaks this morning, and although we were in our Lycra shorts at the time, I didn't envy them crossing the water from Lepe towards the Isle of Wight.

We took Domino (the Donkey) out this afternoon and after having to half pull him around the track with Miranda on his back, we discovered that he'd had his feet clipped by the Farrier this week - I suddenly understood what cold achy feet were!

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's the weekend!

"Yippee! It's the weekend Dad" said Greg as I cuddled him down at bedtime. That means it'll soon be time for climbing trees and stuff.....

This one taken last weekend amongst the gnarly Beech trees over between Denny Wood and Parkhill. Greg tried giving this one a good climbing but failed to mount it, despite loads of potential cling ons - maybe Wellies weren't such a good idea!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Now I am Three

This one harks back a few years ago, to when I photographed Lewis holding Miranda on the beach at Calshot, with the setting sun creating a halo in her fuzzy hair. How time flies....

This one's another of my considered portraits, which I like as a contrast to my candid shots of the kids.

Great news tonight to hear that the Worrybomb has made it safely into the world, and that Mum and Dad are looking as pleased as punch!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Something Fishy?

Tomorrow it's Mippy's 3rd birthday, and so the clan have been locked in secretive activity, making her birthday cards and cake...

Trucks, trains, Bob the Builder ..... no it'll be a Mermaid!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Who, me?

Lunchtime today I had a nice game of animal dominoes with Miranda, and she was on form, playing by the rules almost all the way to the end,...almost! She normally drifts off half way through, but today she really seemed to understand what she was doing, and whooped as she put the right piece down!

Last night we had another nice surprise, Gran worked out how to leave a message on the blog. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks... well done Gran!

The portrait of Mipp is an ongoing series of more arranged portraits - One of those butter wouldn't melt moments, which I have slightly rendered for visual effect.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Denny Wood

Occasionally I forget how lucky we are to live here, but after a walk across the forest like today, with all the autumn colours glowing, and it soon comes flooding back. It's great to play hide and seek, climb trees, watch birds and ponies and deer, and over about three hours manage to walk about five or six miles. Most of the way we hardy see any people, but boy do we have fun!

Miranda and Greg just gone to bed worn out, Lewis is strumming away in the backround as I write my post, singing his heart out .........I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes. Well love is all around me, and so the feeling grows. It's written on the wind, it's everywhere I go, So if you really love me, come on and let it show....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

100 per cent...

Greg's been making very good progress with his spellings of late, and this morning he hit the jackpot! He's been having a bit of bother with shirt for a few days, but once he got the hang of it...

It's been a fab autumnal day in the forest today - Lewis and I rode over to Balmer Lawn and up through the woods to Lyndhurst. We barely saw a soul today, although the colours were fab.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My that's a big Chopper!

The boys have been on a Lego building spree of late, and most days a new creation, or a new modification appears. I don't think Greg was entirely responsible for this helicopter, but he certainly looks very pleased with it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You might need to open up the attached image to get a flavour of the detail, but it's a nice reminder of the energy that comes from warm autumnal days, before the cold hard winter sets in. I've been reading Lewis' next James Herriot book It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet which has some amazing descriptions of battle weary stocksmen who manage to survive against all the odds. It's a very spiritually uplifting book.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


There was a whole lot of hooting and hollering on Southampton water tonight, as the QE2 left her hometown for the last time. The QE2 is really the last great iconic cruise liner that looks like a cruise liner, and we'll miss her old fashioned charm.

The fireworks at Mayflower Park were spectacular, and the huge flotilla of boats of every size jostling in the darkness, as she headed out to the Solent were quite a spectacle. I can't see us getting so excited about any of the modern 'container ship' replacements now in service.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pick of the pops

Miranda captured through the sawn in half Mini at the Science Museum. The picture would have been perfect as she was peering in through the window at the car interior, as we were doing the nostalgia trip about our childhood trips in DTH455D... And just as I caught her in focus she started picking her nose, and then she looked at me!

I wasn't expecting to like the picture, but somehow it has a quality of it's own. Just another one of those candid moments....

And whilst we're on a black and white theme, I should flag up a great programme identified for me by my mother about Albert Khan, a wealthy banker from the early twentieth century who had a huge passion for colour photography and the civilisation of the world. Disrupted by the onset of the first World War he persuaded the French Military authorities to allow him to become responsible for producing a colour photo archive, and the images have become an almost unique record. The images are stored within the Museu Albert Khan in Paris and the programme can be seen via the iPlayer for a week or so here. If you need to reflect on the huge toll on human lives caused by the Great War, you shoud start with this programme...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Just like old friends

We've had a nice day out with old friends Duncan and Vanessa, and their girls Freya and Carys, at the Science Museum. The candid 'tete a tete' captures a careless moment as Greg chats away with Freya at the cafe, after we'd nearly worn ourselves out. Thanks for a nice time, guys!

Unfortunately the rain put paid to our attempts to have stroll along the South Bank, so instead we managed to fit in supper at Blubeckers on the way back home. Even Lewis fell asleep in the car!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Looks familiar...!

As she swaggers around the house with a message for someone, she often has the mischievous look of a little monkey. She delivers the message, and then quick as a flash, she's gone again.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The sun goes down

This one taken on Sunday at Lepe, as the sun came down on the weekend. Not sure why Miranda looks so much like a pixxie, but she does!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes we can...

After listening to Barack Obama's emotional oration on the day he convinced his fellow Americans of the integrity of his vision for the future, ...we have the considerable satisfaction of a third consecutive day of progress towards continence ...!

Teamwork and perseverance, as the great man says, is the key. And together we can reach our destination.

Yes we can!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Mippy on the throne

The look of quiet contentment as Mippy progresses towards a whole day with clean pants. Looking at this frame (which I was very lucky to capture) I could see the lavatory seat halo which nearly made the picture complete, and it reminded me of my old mate Dai Doc from Carmarthen. He had been caught relieving himself at the bus station, after a night on the beer. Was he not aware that there was a public lavatory only 100 yards from the scene of the crime?

"Ay nnnow, bhutt I Kcann't reech from year mun..."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Lewis by Gregory

This one's the last in the series, all completed within about the space of an hour. This one was the first to be completed whilst Lewis was eating his breakfast. Every time I look at the pictures I am amazed by how much character and detail he's managed to squeeze in.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Onwards, Upwards!

I think this has to be my picture of the day. We were at Lepe, and Greg was climbing the equipment like a ferret shooting up a trouser leg.

Momentarily I caught his gaze and shot a frame, but as the light was dropping and I was using a manual focus lens my confidence in a usable image was not great..

And so I have been rewarded with a picture that captures the essential plucky charm that is Gregory!

We watched another episode in the 'Railway Walks' series tonight about Weymouth and Portland on the iPlayer. So very shortly we'll be taking a trip to explore the Rodwell Trail to see what we can learn about Portland stone quarrying history. Amazing to think we go kayaking here quite regularly, and didn't know about the disused railway track.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

When I got home tonight there was a lovely welcome through the window. The clan had been busy making a lantern.

Halloween is the time we add another notch on the belt, and this year we come of age, as they say! Twenty one years.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Drawing inspiration

Lewis giving Miranda a helping hand with her wax crayons as she attempts a rendition of a Fifi portrait.