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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Number One

The third in a series of family portraits by our master draughtsman Gregory, as i devour my breakfast. With his ability to strip his subject down to their essential qualities, he seems destined to have a lucrative career as a cartoonist.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Before and after

We are a family of pie eaters, and by inclination, pie makers. This is from the weekend, and as you can see, is a celebration of all things good in life - cars and guitars!!

Lewis will have had a hand in this then...

Must put in a good word for a car I have been driving today (on loan from Heritage VW garage) which has returned an average of 62 miles per gallon including motorway driving up to London at fair speed, and endless traffic in and around the city. I can heartily recommend the new Bluemotion VW Jetta..., and if you want to know where I've been check out the Zara here

Monday, October 27, 2008

Young Dog

Greg wearing a very snappy tee-shirt, which you probably won't notice is back-to-front! I'm surprised he didn't draw it up-side-down as well...

I think he looks more like Mr Magnolia here - very dapper don't you think!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Little People

The kitchen was a hive of activity this morning, and the theme was portraits and self portraits. So for the next few days you're going to see Greg's fantastic pictures, starting today with his portrait of Miranda.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Autumn colours

It's been a very gray day here today, with a cold wind. It's also been very quiet, with hardly anyone about in the forest when we riding this morning. The autumn colours are lovely and I wished I'd had my camera with me. Today we had lunch at St Nicholas' Church in Brockenhurst, before riding through Rydon Woods passing Boldre Church before crossing Beaulieu Heath.

At St Nicholas' Lewis was most impressed to find the graves of about a hundred New Zealanders who gave their lives during the First World War. Brockenhurst it seems was the location of a New Zealand General Hospital serving convalescent troops from at the time.

It makes you stop and think when you see quite so many grave stones in the middle of a sleepy graveyard, on a winter's day....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flashback - The Tin Trail!

I had a call from Gran earlier enthusing about a programme on the TV by Julia Bradbury tracing the history of an old railway line in Cornwall. Turns out that it's exactly the trail that we followed on our summer holiday from Devoran to Portreath (except we did it both ways!)

Anyhow I've just watched the programme on iPlayer and it's a great presentation of the history of the area, which I'm sure the kids will want to watch...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Peg Dolly

Tonight we're going to bang the drum for Miranda, who's trying very hard to make sure she finishes the day wearing the same pair of pants, as when she started the day! The incentive is a family of peg dolls that Mummy made, which make an occasional appearance but then withdraw to safety, .... before making a re-appearance!

We want to see the whole family Mipp...!

Whilstr we're on the theme of giant steps, check out a great portrait I stumbled across tonight by Sean Salyards.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halt, who goes there!

Miranda brings a stick to add to the defences of this forest cabin, as Greg does some dusting on the inside! They could play all day in make believe land, and it can be great fun watching them, or having a nap in the sunshine while they chatter away.

Tonight Miranda wanted a little story when she awoke from her slumbers, so we had the one about a little girl who lived under the root of a big fir tree, with her naughty brothers - and it reminded me of this photo from the weekend before last!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hit the trail

As Gregory had a birthday party this afternoon, we decided to squeeze in a bike ride first. And as we've heard a lot about the Castleman's trail we thought we'd see how far we could get before we ran out of time...!

The track was great leading out of Ringwood, and very clearly signposted (which was handy as my maps of the area were not comprehensive) and we had a variety of excursions into the woods and countryside along the way. Our trail came to an end somewhere near Wimborne where the signs stopped abruptly, and a very busy road looked like the only option. Anyhow it was time to return, so we had to call it a day. Next time we will have the proper map, and a whole day to conquer this trail which leads down to the sea at Hamworthy.

Highlight of the day for Lewis and Greg was a killer skateboard and BMX park that we found along the way, but for me I think it was cycling over the top of the A31 and seeing all the stationary traffic stuck in their jamjars - bring on the age of enlightenment!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Glazed expression

There was a very cold nip in the air this morning as we set off across the forest for a bike ride - it was sunny but there was a strong hint of winter. Lewis pushed hard most of the morning, especially so when he spotted a tractor steaming along behind us .... "Come on Dad we don't want to be overtaken by a tractor!"

We did a fair old distance taking in several circuits of our BMX track through the woods at Hardley and across towards Dibden Enclosure, before spending a while on the downhill yumps at Kings Hat, perfecting our jumping technique. Lewis wanted to stay there all day he enjoyed himself so much. Afterwards we hit the trail going through Pig Bush and Rowbarrow through Denny Wood Enclosure to Brockenhust. We then went North to Bank and came back through Pondhead to Denny Wood. It was past lunchtime by the time we got home!

This afternoon we've been down to the Marina where the kids played hide and seek in the bushes by the 'lighthouse'

Friday, October 17, 2008

Do the jangle

I'm not sure who invented the triangle, or why it ever caught on, but for some reason it creates enormous pleasure for those who wield the mallet. Noisy it is, and musical it ain't, but as you can see here, fun is nearly always had.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hairy McLarey

Miranda looking cute in her winter coat - this one's been sitting in my outbox looking for a suitable opportunity to post; so today, as she's been a good girl, it's going to be published!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Old Photos

I was talking to Lewis about old photographs and the origins of photographic images last week, so tonight I'm loading a beautiful daguerotype of Asher Brown Durand, an American landscape painter. This image which was created within a few years of the 'beginings' of photography (1846) holds a beguiling amount of detail, and makes an extraordinary portrait of the man.

The daguerotype's only downside was it's uniqueness, and the lack of a negative (and therfore reproducibility) was the cause of it's demise.

Check out some other great images here

Also check out Lewis' post on his blog to read all about his cross country race performance

Shady characters

I grabbed this one as we were heading back towards Moon Hill. It looks arranged, but we were walking and I fired off three frames. "I know what you're doing" said Greg .... "You're taking a photo of our shadows!"

This one might become one of my favourites....

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Turn...

It's only a matter of time before Miranda joins the end of this particular queue. With most things that the boys do, she thinks she is capable of pulling off. She does have a go on a few rope swings, but this one carries a bit of a drop and it's into water so she sits on the bank patiently!

Greg, naturally, is totally fearless....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Monkey Man

Something of a pea souper this morning as we set off for a walk with the donkey. However it soon cleared and we were left sweltering in our fleeces by the time we came back along Shore Road.

This afternoon we've had a nice walk around Stubbs Wood and Rowbarrow, and back through Frame Wood and Moon Hill. I say walk, but we spent most of the time swinging like Tarzan or climbing trees - it was just the most perfect of autumnal afternoons.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beaulieuful Day

Lewis and I had our bike ride this morning out over the forest, but as it was blissfully quiet and sunny we headed off down the Beaulieu River. The tide was up and the water as smooth as a mill pond, so there was bird life all around us. I could have stayed there all day, and probably would have if we'd brought the kayaks with us!

After heading down through St Leonards and Sowley we stopped for a while where Tanners Lane meets the Solent. The light was fantastic, and the sea equally tempting!

This afternoon we've been back out on the bikes again, racing around the woods and swwinging on the Tarzan rope - which would have been the photo, if only I'd had my camera....

Tonight I'm listening to Seasick Steve - check him out! Y' all! And quite by chance I've also watched a great little programme called A Village called Caio - click on the link to be transported back to the sixties when I lived at a place called Blaen Bowy (Bowy Villa) not too far from here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Take aim!

The boys have been very keen to impress upon me what they've been up to in school of late - it's nice when they volunteer the information, rather than having to go look for the detail!

Greg seems especially keen to impress me with him numerical and literary prowess, and Lewis this evening proud of his achievement of being in representing the school in the forthcoming the Cross Country event at Gang Warily.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

This one's for the Bumble Bee...

Bumbl bees live in maws howls and craks in rox. Thay live in colnies of 20 to 150 bees. Thay bild a nest awt of polin and resin and wax and the queen lays eggs...

Greg and I were chatting last night about the terrible effects of a virus that is devastating Bee colonies - apparently if they disappear we will follow them within 4 years. Now there's a doomsday thought for a dreary Wednesday night, as we watch the world fall apart!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Scrubbing Miranda!

I found this picture delving through my recent folders of images, as I was doing some cataloging. So as Miranda's been a bit remiss in the personal hygene department today, I am posting it for Mummy. You might get a clue from the sleeveless shirt and suntan that it was taken during our summer holiday.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The winner takes it all

Lewis' latest music homework is to practice playing some Abba tunes, so I am shamelessly adding Youtube links for The Winner takes it all and Mamma Mia for anyone who wants to relive the visual feast. Lewis, of course will focus mainly on the inane techno pop, I'm sure!

Me, I prefer Dancing Queen... and in case you're wondering I prefer the blonde one!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Owl and the Pussycat

It was rather damp this morning so we stayed in until lunchtime. Much like Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood, we watched out of he window as the water levels got higher and higher, before deciding after lunchtime that it was time to go and explore.

We went to Beaulieu Road Station and walked towards Denny Wood. It was a top afternoon, especially as we saw a lovely family of oldspot pigs foraging - if only I'd taken my camera... The colours were fantastic, and barely a soul out walking - but boy was it wet!

The boys have been making Lego, so keep your eyes open for some work in progress on the blog this week....

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Clippedy clop

There was beautiful sunshine this morning when got up, so as Mummy was feeling poorly we decided to get out and walk Domino the donkey. There was an icy wind it has to be said, but by the time we'd walked for ten minutes it turned to heavy rain. This morning Lewis walked Daisy the goat on a lead, whilst I took Mipp Mop on Domino.

We don't half get some funny looks and comments from people as we walk along! Even more surreal this morning the army cadets were doing manoeuvers in the woods, so we kept bumping into packs of young lads (and ladesses) in camo stalking around with wooden sub-machine guns. Secretly I pretended to be a member of the Taliban with my mule, but no-one twigged!

When we got back Lewis and I made soup and cheese scones, and for supper we made lasagne and jacket potatoes, followed by Apple turnovers which Mummy managed to strain herself out of bed for....

Friday, October 03, 2008

Mission Impossible

When I got in tonight the chessboard was ready in front of the fire, and Lewis was ready to do battle - I was somewhat less so! However it's nice to be spurred into action, even if sometimes all I fancy is a glass of wine and a sit down....

Supper was accompanied by a series of tunes, all of which now have a slight influence from Sungha Jung, as Lewis is impressed by his slightly showy guitar playing style. It's great to see him developing his own sense of determintion, even if it's not always the direction you want him to concentrate on.

The Chess was good, but we need to do it more to develop his killer instinct.... then he can practice on Mum!

Today the weather has been very chilly, but still fairly sunny, I have just looked at the weather for the weekend (which is unusual for me) and it's saying we should get 70mm of rainfall in the west of Hampshire over the weekend. I guess it's going to be wet then....!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Chase me Charlie

The kids always enjoy stopping at the lookout at Hythe Marina, it's got all the ingredients of great entertainment, and it host one of the best views over Southampton water and the Cruise Liners. And yet in all the times we've been there we have never shared the space with anyone else...!

Miranda chasing Greg down the conical path, with Lewis I suspect not far behind, driving them to a frenzy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jonny at Luttrell's Tower

On the basis that you can't have too many pictures of yourself having fun, I'm posting this one taken on the Solent with Luttrell's Tower in the background. It's a beautiful structure associated with Marconi's first wireless experiments at communicating with his boat Elettra, moored somewhere near where I am situated!

This photo taken courtesy of my good friend Chris, who has loaned me his underwater camera (despite my reputation for testing them to destruction), and who has a great collection of Folly photographs, including the above structure....

If you get a chance check out his excellent account of his trip to Greenland