Thursday, December 31, 2009


Link for the boys from Gran. Lewis and Greg are listening to Warhorse as an audio CD at the mo

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Grey daze

We've been in Chichester today at the Museum having a rumble around in their archive, and there was quite a bit of Roman stuff to explore. We made some mosaic patterns and laid a few roofs with tiles, just the sort of thing the Roman did to us.

We also had a look around the Cathedral as we've not been there before and it full of interesting stuff; incl a nice stained glass window by Chagall, some more Roman mosaics (only discovered when excavating the foundations in 1966) and this rather delightful nativity scene (which Miranda really did like looking at, but you try getting her and the boys to pay attention collectively)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

That's the great thing about Christmas - it's grey and wet outside and there's time to play all those games needing more than fifteen minutes to complete. This one's an old favourite called GWR with rules so complicated that you wished you played it more often. It's a great game needing no dice and no money and intimate knowledge of the railway system pre1960.

I was feeling so confused after the first thirty minutes that I wondered if we'd see the end of the game, but despite Lewis' grasp of how he was going to win by exploiting Gregory's keenest interest in conspiring against me - heh heh, I came out on top. Greg second and Lewis last place in the points table.

We've also played battleships today several times, as well as a few others I can't even remember the name of.

Extra photo of Mippy too as a bonus. I have to spend them before year end (so to speak)

Almost forgot to mention Lewis' contribution to dinner tonight was a rather tasty starter. Cous Cous balls with pine nuts and lemon, shallow fried with a piquant dressing and salad (I can't ask him exactly what as he's now gone to bed!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rock 'n roll

Miranda dropped a log on her toe this evening, and unsurprisingly it's been quite badly bruised. She's been howling uncontrollably but is well past the worst. It makes you realise how fragile they are when you have a little mishap like this....(read The Sun if you'd like to see the inspiration for this benign observation)
Of course falling off a bicycle is also potentially dangerous too, but you do wonder what people are thinking about putting kids on motorbikes at the age of five?

We've been out in the forest again today - Greg, Lewis and I taking an atmospheric journey through the frost covered landscape on our bikes. Greg was exstatic most of the time being treated like a big boy. I thought he'd be cold, but just forged ahead all day. Lewis of course had to make sure he was miles ahead to show him who's boss!

Two photos today as I have a surfeit of images waiting to go up - well it's Christmas!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Round and about

We've had a nice long walk today, starting out from Shatterford and out to Denny Wood and Matley Wood, coming back via Black Down to the pub at Beaulieu Road Station for lunch.

En route I took the above picture as an update of an image I have of the boys climbing the same tree, in January 2006. For some reason it never made the blog at the time as we had a small distraction....

The weather today has been fab with strong sunshine and moody skies, and not too many people walking - obviously the rigours of a Boxing Day walk finished them all off...

Interesting anecdote to record, of a completely random nature; we were just crossing Denny Wood with the sound of birds twittering away, when there was the enormous sound just like a car or aeroplane crash from where we'd just come. We had just walked past the huge beech trees that stretch about 150ft or more into the sky that tend to look a bit rough in winter, and I'm guessing that one of the came down. We were all a bit shocked to go back and find out what caused the noise, but it makes you stop and think! Still, I think I'd rather go that way than under a bus.

Lewis is playing 'The Sound of Silence' and 'Every Breath you take' tonight

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day thrash

Today we've been over to the New Forest Point to Point races, something Lewis has been especially looking forward to. Every year it's held in a different location which is always kept secret until the day before. It's one of the big events in Commoning life in the forest and loads of people turn out for the event. We had great fun, although with hindsight a bottle of sherry would have been a nice complement.

After getting home Lewis wanted to make some bridles for his horses, so he's had a busy afternoon!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Continuing our tradition of a glass of Manzanilla Pasada on the beach at Christmas, but with an unusual twist. We were sitting by the WW2 Dolophins at Lepe when we thought it would be fun to have a group photo from the top of the anchor points. Sadly after a few glasses of Barbadillo, and the limits of the timer setting on the camera, it proved to be a bit of a challenge climbing this with four people already on top...

Never take no for an answer.

It's been a fabulous day, hardly a cloud in the sky. Lunch has just been eaten and we're going to have some guitar and cheese and biscuits by the fire next...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Greed gets the better of us all

Today we've been locked in a marathon game of Monopoly which Norman Carol and Dawn gave us for Christmas. It's the Southampton version, so slightly more fun for the kids. Caroline had the wisdom th start the game after breakfast and five hours later we were still trying to challenge Lewis' supremacy. Other than a few acts of momentary generosity, he carried on until he not only had hotels built and earning rent, but he took everyone's property piece by piece. Not a bad us of the day as it's been raining and sleeting most of the day, but I don't think we'll repeat the experience too soon!

Tonight we had dinner together and the kids are now all in bed. Miranda quite poorly still with a raging temperature.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Swirly Wirly

I have Miranda on my lap and she's dictating text, so this festive Gregory photo is called Swirly Wirly.

Miranda has been cycling today down to the village, and along the waterfront. It's been very icy underfoot, but fortunately no mishaps.

Managed to get the living room and study decoration completed, so we'll be in Christmas mode shortly...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Noddy's sixpences

Had a cracking walk around Wilverley Plain today whilst CJ got on with the painting at home. Decorating always sounds good in anticipation, but the finishing is all!

The sunshine was fabulous but the windchill really made its effect. One of those exceptional days when every where you looked was magical. Unusually though, despite the sunshine the ground did not thaw all day....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Up Close and Personal

Greg's face is changing shape, it's slightly less rounded and his chin poking forward more. We think this might have something to do with his second set of teeth coming through, but it's definitely something to do with growing up, or did I say groaning up...

Today I lookied out of my workroom window and there were two long tailed tits merrily dancing around the bushes. We used to have them in our garden a lot, but the last year there have been none regularly. Hopefully in the spring they will be bringing their little ones along too. I'm optimistic.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We been making Mince Pies Daddy

Lewis did his gymnastics routine with his partner Sophie at School Assembly this morning - Caroline was very impressed with their performance. He got quite into gymnastics after playing with the Riley girls, and has been doing it as an after school club.

The kids have been busy in the kitchen making mince pies as gifts for the teaching staff at school. Naturally I've been testing them!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Heart You

When we were on the beach on Sunday Miranda ran up to me with a stone in her hand. "It's for you Dad!" she said, ....a beautifully polished chunk on stone.

I would have carried it back but was busy taking photos at the time, and not wishing to weigh my pockets down - so the photo will survive as the record.

Monday, December 14, 2009


A most charming painting of a Merlin by Lewis. I wonder if Grandan has any tips for the aspiring bird illustrator?

Miranda was very chatty at bedtime and I thought I was never going to get downstairs. She was telling me all about her party at school today and the Christmas production, and the songs that she sung, ...and.... Greg was much the same.

The following link for Lewis' inspiration - Mrs Robinson

Sunday, December 13, 2009

48 not out

Had a nice day today at Hengistbury Head walking on the beach. The sun's been shining, but boy was it cold. Looks like snow to me.

As the sun went down over Old Harry's Rocks we managed to get a group portrait done, so I thought I'd post it as it doesn't happen too often.

Just got the twinkies to bed and Lewis is crooning away in the background. Dinner and a bottle of wine next.

Music recommendation for the day - Beat it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

For mash get Mippy

Scene in the kitchen about teatime - Miranda mashing the hell out of these poor New Forest potatoes. It was quite a big saucepan full, and she was not going to be beaten - quite a sight to see.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Everything but the boy

It's that time of year when I start trawling through my many folders of images and start pulling out some great shots that missed being used, and once I've processed them I have a whole new set of images!

Tonight Lewis was on form, a number of very nice tunes with Caroline singing along merrily too. We'll have her in tune before long...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Light Painter

Chatting to my brother Christian earlier about larking around with a camera in the dark - he'd seen the photo I posted on Flickr. So here's another moment of inspired image making, when I really should have been in the pub drinking beer.....

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

John Travolta

The boys have been to an end of term Disco tonight, and they came home sweaty and slightly disheveled in their short sleeved shirts.

"Been dancing then boys...?"

"Yeah we had great fun Dad, the girls dragged us up to dance..."

Say no more then...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Push with much force

" mama said
baby don't ride that crazy horse
and my mama said
you must push with much force
and my mama said
go get all that your after
and my mama said
that love's all that matters!"

I'm listening to Lenny Kravitz - My Mama said

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Les Trois

Greg read the Three Musketeers for his bedtime story tonight; I could hear him shouting out various lines as I was reading Miranda's story (Dog on a Broomstick) in another room at the time.

I jumped into his bed for the last few chapters, and he was still going in full flow. We got to the end and he turned to me and said "I really love reading the Three Musketeers, Dad!"

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Greg did me a nice drawing of the Colloseum tonight as dinner was being prepared, but unfortunately I'm exhausted as I've been labouring all day on our living room floor - so the scan will have to wait until another day...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Fingers in the cookie jar

It's funny I can still remember sitting on the step of the kitchen at Pen Waun school, all those years ago. We used to be allowed to scrape the remainders from the cooking vessels, and the taste of rice pudding and the sound the spoon against those large aluminium pans, I can still vividly recall.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The evil eye

Some people choose pit bull terriers for company, but we'd rather roll around the floor with Greg. He chases you around, licks and wags his tail - and doesn't bite.

I'm listening  to Yasmin Levy - Sentir

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

She's been a bit volatile today for some reason, and didn't even want to give me a cuddle at bedtime. But that didn't stop me from having to go and find her teddy bear instead.... Know your place Daddy!

By contrast Greg couldn't stop telling me all about his visit to Fishbourne to see the Roman Palace with all its amazing mosaics, and ...."Dinner's ready!...." .....even as I was walking downstairs "..Night, night Greg..." ......I could still hear him rabbiting away!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lewi's Kitchen

You can't dampen his enthusiasm. Tonight Lewis wanted to make a baked pasta dish with mozzarella and a tomato and aubergine sauce. He followed this with an orange cheesecake with ginger base, both equally delicious. He had a little supervision from CJ, but nearly all his own work - it's not bad for a ten year old...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkish Delight

Lewis and Mummy have been planning a Turkish dinner for some days, and by George was it tasty. The best, according to Gregory, that he'd had in his whole life....

Roatsed peppers, feta chesse and spinach triangles, falafel, courgette and feta fritters, grilled aubergine baked with tomato, tabouleh, houmus and olives, of and pitta and tzatziki and salad. And all home made too.

Lewis was especially pleased with his houmus (complete with spices and a drizzle of olive oil)

We also have a selection of Turkish sweets for pud, which came from the vendor on Southampton market, and Turkish coffee (without the sugar)

Friday, November 27, 2009


I was just going to bed when I saw this message on the wall - it could only have been Lewis when he was taking a bath...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reading quietly

The more studious side of Gregory. Although he likes to act the clown, Greg is also very good at applying himself to a task, especially if it involves reading and facts. He can digest facts and serve them back up completely and accurately, and more often than not in the right context too.

It's just that we have to keep him focussed, or he's away with the fairies!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Grabbed this candid shot of Greg and two of this friends in school sword fighting... Of course you are not allowed to take photographs of children at school any longer - but bo*$@cks to all that - Taikiko is one of his best friends!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

First Recording session....

I made the above movie earlier as I was trying to find a way of loading sound to the blog, unfortunately it was a bit time consuming to do. I think I have now cracked the best way to do this as the sound quality on the movie is poor after the MPEG compression. I'm still experimenting with how to host the music but below is an MP3 of Richard Cory which you really should listen to, just follow the link and press the start triangle... He's playing, singing and playing tambourine of this one!

Richard Cory performed by Lewis Brown (orig by Simon and Garfunkle)

Also below is an MP3 of Homeward bound recorded and edited in the evening using Audacity and exported to MP3 using LAME on my Portastudio (Apple MacBook Core2 Intel Duo) using the mac's internal mic and direct to two tracks....

Homeward Bound by Lewis Brown (orig by Simon and Garfunkle)

It would be good if you let me know which of these work best to audition.  Lewis was very excited when I told him that the youtube movie had had 16 views by 8pm today!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Shining star

The music was so good tonight I wanted to give him a standing ovation, but I was eating my dinner and Lewi was in the Living Room - so the moment passed. Never the less he knows he's getting it right, you can just tell that he's enjoying himself, and the crowd is behind him.

We're taking bookings, if anyone needs a stand up act...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Entertainment

A regular Saturday night feature in the Brown clan household is our concert when Lewis entertains us. Scarborough Fair tonight also featured Caroline on canto.

It's been a very murky day here, on the whole, windy and wet.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Birthday Girl

Wet rather than snowy tonight, and four years on she's changed a fair bit too....

Happy Birthday Mipp Mopp!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hello is that Gran?

One of Miranda's favourite games at the moment is playing phones, which means mobile phones. She scurries off to find one opf my old ones in my workroom, and as soon as she comes back she's jabbering away. I must make a mosaic of the images as it makes for very amusing viewing - you can more or less guage what she's actually saying just by the expressions.

We don't call her Chopsy Topsy for nothing.

I'm listening to Lewis playing Richard Cory - he's on form tonight!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Roman Assembly

Great fun this morning watching Greg (the Centurion, naturally) leading his legionairies onto the school stage for a Roman Assembly ..."Sinister, dexter, sinister, dexter,..."

He was very masterful!

'AD SIGNA’ = ‘To the Standards (ie flags)'= FALL IN ie prepare to march
'PROCEDITE' (Pro-keh-dee-tay) = QUICK MARCH (Sin.... dex etc)
'CONSISTITE’ (Kon-sis-tee-tay) = HALT

They are having a school trip to Fishbourne Palace near Chicester, which was only discovered accidentally in 1960 by excavations for a water main.

I also took a few pictures of impromptu sword fighting with his friends which I may post another day, watch this space...

I'm listening to Uri Caine - The Goldberg Variations

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Greg very excited about his Roman Assembly tomorrow. He has to order his centurions around by all accounts. He spent the whole of story time asking me if I could answer questions about Roman life and customs. When he realised he was making little progress, he decided to make it easy for me by asking me TRUE or FALSE questions...

Monday, November 16, 2009

My little Pony.

Lewis playing with his farm, probably not the best view of it or showing it's finest detail, but nevertheless an insight into his 'private life'.

He's made all sorts of things to make it realistic, hinges on door, buckles on horse bridles, hay bags made from woven string, all manner of tools.

Reminds me that I need to focus more on little details...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I take lots of pictures in this position. It's me sitting at the dining table with Mippy at my LHS, the light from behind me is nearly always good - and I have a captive audience. What is remarkable, given all the fixed factors, is that I never get two pictures that are the same.

So the next time someone rambles on about the infinite reproducibility of the photograph, tell them from me, that they are all unique...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Strum along a Max

It's been blowing a gale here for the last few days. Yesterday was very wet and windy, but today it's been a lot stronger. It didn't stop us from going for our bike ride this morning but as we got out of the trees and into the open heathland, it dawned on us that the going was rather more challenging than enjoyable. Lewis was blown off his bike (not the first time this has happened) and I wasn't altogether disappointed to make it a shorter than usual ride. On the way back although the rain was hammering down, Lewis had to agree it was one of the most fun rides we'd had - but this was mainly because we now had the wind behind us and it was like sailing downwind    f   a   s   t  .  .  .!

Miffi rang this evening as she'd heard that winds were over 100mph off the Isle of Wight, but pleased to report all still standing tall....

This evening we had our weekly concert, wghich is starting to take a regular shape. Lewis entertains us with some tunes, many with vocals to boot. Tonight the 'Sound of Silence' and 'Scarborough Fair' by Simon and Garfunkle', 'Astrakan Cafe' by Anhour Brahem, and 'Jolly Sailor' to name a few. He's got a great voice and is starting to enjoy the singing bit very much.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Insects (again)

So the school is having another 'inset' day, and we thought we'd have a day in Poole at the newly refurbished Museum. They done a fantastic job with the building and there was loads to see relating to the local area, including lots about pottery and the clay businesses in the area, Poole Pottery, (Jesse) Carter and Co and the Patent Architectural Pottery in Hamworthy. Also it displays the Poole logboat, a dugout log boat that was discovered 43 years ago in the mud off Brownsea Island, and restored using 6 tonnes of sugar! A good exhibition of paintings by Augustus John and Henry Lamb and other Bloomsbury artists

We finished the day off with a nice Turkish meal at a restaurant ion the High Street, tasty Meze with Baklava and Turkish coffee. The Christmas lights were better in Poole than in Bournemouth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Splosh it about

Miranda has been busy with the paints - peace and happiness to you all!

It looks from this as if she's used her mince pie and maybe a potato smiley face  from dinner, which would surprise me, but I don't think she did...

I'm listening to Lou Rawls - You'll never find, another love like mine.