Friday, February 29, 2008


This morning started with Mippy announcing she was ready to visit the bathroom. She's getting very good at co-ordinating herself, although her expression is not always clear enough to get the message across!

She's so pleased with herself, and loves having a big cuddle when she's performed. She's not the only one....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spaghetti Junction

Mippy's not quite got the hang of playing cars on the mat - the subtleties of driving around roundabouts in the right direction and not over hedges are proving to be something of a hazard.

It doesn't seem that long ago that Lewis was finding fault with Greg's driving, but now they both have something to grumble about!

Of all the toys in their collection, I think this tacky mat has probably had the most "hours of fun"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

People's Wagon

Lewis has been preoccupied by VW vans since I brought him home a brochure from the garage last week. I found this still life sitting on his desk in the study.

We've had a variety of other work vehicles too, and a concept van based on the Crafter. I'm going to get him a job, and recoup on my investment!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Lewis' bedtime usually coincides with our dinner time, and the routine often involves his visit to the dining table to say goodnight, whilst simultaneously eyeing our supper for rich pickings. "Oh that looks nice" or "What does that taste like?" or "You're the best Dad in the whole world" usually translating as YES PLEASE....

He devours food, and has huge range of favoured foodstuffs. If he's pushing it around his plate you know he really doesn't like it, or he's unwell! Since I've not posted an eating shot recently, I thought I'd share the lasagne demolition record with you all....

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Start the day in the usual way!

Miranda now very pleased with herself when she's able to get to the lavatory for a poo, before it becomes urgent. This morning was perfectly timed and the sunshine creeping in through the bathroom window, makes all the difference in this record shot of a time that will soon disappear....

Lewis is serenading me as I type up the blog, he's improvising a tune that I recognise from from my Smithsonian Collection of traditional American music. I reckon it's Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotten, but it's magic how he picks up a tune, and plays around with it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gregory's Quad Bike

We've had a busy day today, ripping up the flooring in the study and taking a load of builders waste to the tip. Lewis and I got there just as the place was closing so our timing was impeccable!

When we got back Greg was very pleased to show us his Quad bike that he'd made all on his own from his kit. It was his design too!

Lewis and I also had a nice bike ride this morning down to Lepe.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Plenty more fish in the sea?

As we burn through the world's resources at an alarming rate it makes you wonder what will be left for our kids (or grandchildren) to marvel at? When we are young we have an amazing appetite to explore, but as we get older it diminishes to the point where we fear to tread on the beetle bugs crossing the road.

Not sure if this thought was inspired by the sight of a family of badgers slain on the road, seen earlier in the day, but Mippy's face peering through the Diver's mask made me think about the fragility of life.....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Half past Two....

Another milestone in the long road towards adulthood, as Miranda this morning managed to get to the lavatory before doing a poo! We've been making good progress with number 1's for quite a while but it's been frustrating moving foward.

I've been saving this photo for a little while, and today is the perfect space for it. I love this image, maybe it's just because it's my view on life!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Car crazy

Lewis procured a new book on "How to draw Cars" this week so it's fueled his interest in drawing gas guzzlers again! This was yesterday's drawing which was described as Dodge Vipper, but by today it's been coloured in and the name updated, plus you'll notice the Grandan like signature!.

He's also drawn a Lamborghini Countach tonight, but I doubt that I'll post two cars in a row.....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Master of Disguise

This one observed at Arne, whilst watching the birdlife on the shore. Miranda spent the whole day walking around, complete with elephant binoculars - I can remember Lewis walking around with them too - seems like only yesterday....

Sunday, February 17, 2008


We've been having extraordinary spring weather here of late, and so we set off for Arne Nature Reserve to do a bit of bird spotting today. Lewis took his binoculars and compass, and RSPB membership (both of which came in handy) and we packed a picnic to keep our energy levels high. There was an chilly headwind for most of the day but the sunshine and light generally fantastic.

There were loads of birds to see, including six Spoonbill, although I have to say I'd be unable to confirm this, as a consequence of having three very excitable winkies to contend with! There were dozens of fallow deer in their winter coats, many with beautiful antlers, some up up close in the woodland, and others a berautiful sight as they grazed on the salt marshes.

In the afternoon there was a nestbox building session organised by the wardens at the reseve, and this is Greg as he almost completes the construction project.

We had supper in Swanage at the chip shop, and rounded off the day with a walk down to Peverill Point to see the sunset over the bay - a top day out....

Saturday, February 16, 2008


The fine weather continues, although today it's been bitterly cold. There was a strong headwind this morning that sapped my energy on my bike ride out along the coastline down to Calshot and Lepe, and back up the Beaulieu River.

The kids were playing on the garden this afternoon in their T Shirts, seemingly oblivious to the chill... why is this? My bones are still aching from the experience.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Uphill struggle

Life is a matter of perspective, as this picture will testify. It's from the Science Museum which is one of the best free days out you can encounter. Just imagine a £100M treasure trove packed with hi-tech games and adventure, and you get the whole place to yourself, from time to time.

This one's from a bit earlier in the year, as I've been looking for some images from the archive that needed airing. Lewis as you'll notice is rolling the ball downhill, Mummy pushing it back up the hill!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Checkout Charlie

I suspect it's the referential till buttons that make me remember the olden days, or perhaps it's just because I'm just getting old.... But Mippy reminds me of the teenage shop assistants that used to work the tills at George E Mason, talking about what you had planned for the weekend, and whether you'd like some broken biscuits...!

Ah! the power of black and white photography to evoke nostalgia.... that's four pounds, three shillings and!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On the Sixth Day

And so it shall be decreed that if the boys pick up a stick and wave it around, then Miranda will pick up a bigger stick and woggle it around with just as much fervour.

It reminds me of the times when Lewis has found largw logs and even trees, that we egged him on to carry home for fire wood and he's doggedly decided to drag the thing miles to prove us wrong!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sunny Sunday

We are so lucky to live by the seaside, and on a day like today it makes you glad to be alive, even if all you see of the landscape is the glow of dawn over the water as you head on down the road....

Sunday morning by contrast we were plodding along with Greg on Domino's back, and the sun beating down. I don't often have my camera with me when we walk him, so I took my chance to get a few record shots of 'da boys!'

Monday, February 11, 2008


It's not every day you get an opportunity to get all three kids playing contentedly in one photo, but this is one from yesterday morning. They have enough cars to fill a multi-story car park, but they always want to play with the same car, so civil war normally breaks out!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Watch out Domino!

We have a new upstart at Barry's Animal Farm. Two pesky goats by the name of 'Pants' and 'Socks' (or more accurately Alice and Daisy) have come to keep Domino company and on his toes.

Lewis, Greg and I took Domino out for walk this morning as it was another beautiful day, but when just we we arrived back the rodents with long legs, decided that it was time to give Domino a trim! His mane was evidently very tasty, and Lewis thought it was hysterical.

Domino, who normally behaves just like a donkey, and is disdainful of young twerps, but was seen necking with the young upstart very shortly afterwards - it's a strange world... isn't it Eyore?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Year of the Rat

It's been a gorgeous day here in the New Forest, the sunshine was warm and spring like although the frost first thing was very chilly when I left for my bike ride.

As it was the Chinese New Year a few days ago we had some authentic dumplings for Dinner tonight. In similarly authentic fashion we used child labour to produce them!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Imaginary Band

Sometimes listening to Lewis playing away in the sitting room whilst we eat dinner, it would be possible to believe we had a CD playing. It's not that he's concert performance standard, but that he's got the ability to be very convincing, and often makes no mistakes - he also has a fair for improvising, and an amazing memory for notation.

So tonight's picture is a quick artwork for an imaginary album, which I hope to have to complete very soon!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Dancing Queen

A big beaming smile, and an admission.... I've been to a party Dad, with Kate! Greg was looking very contented when I got in tonight.

I can recall that self satisfaction, having made a connection with the opposite sex, although it seems a long time ago now. What would it be like to start all over?

'Dancing queen' in case you're curious is a reference to a brief romance at a disco, in a far away land - every time I hear the music, the same thoughts go through my head!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Looking over her shoulder

Lewis caught in a moment of intimacy with Mummy - it's nice when you have a camera to hand for these occasional opportunities!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Having a pee at half past three!

Still waiting for it to happen at half past two, but we're "all go" at half past three! Some days are better than others, but she's slowly growing in confidence in the continence department.

Today it's been exceptionally cold and wintery with us on the South Coast. The seas were very choppy and the wind icy cold. Greg and I had a blow at Lepe, and we could barely hear each other speak. We watched the birds who battled against the storm, but seemed totally iunbothered by it. By contrast a few people sat in their cars in the car park, shivering - tough bunch huh!

We played football at home later and Greg took a nasty fall, that I heard rather than saw, he was very upset. His poor knee has been badly bruised but his confidence has reappeared. He's a tough cookie!

Saturday, February 02, 2008


This morning started a little too early with Lewis asking us if we wanted a cup of tea...? You don't turn these offers down, although in truth ewe'd haver prefered to sleep on a bit.

By nightime he was reading a new book from the library, which he despatched in a single sitting, all 108 pages... (not the car book but a novel about a dog called Skipper)

Friday, February 01, 2008

The St Arvans Express

One of the problems with encouraging your children to read magazines like National Geographic is that from time to time they start behaving like the people portrayed in the editorial...

And whilst it's no big deal to let them know they have a fairly easy, comfy life here, try explaining that to the Guard on the 10.20 SWT service to London Waterloo, when he finds Greg on the roof of the carriage!