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!