Thursday, April 30, 2009


At the reunion party on the weekend in Kenilworth we met at a well appointed Country House set in nice gardens. The kids were all in high spirits and the garden was taking a little wear and tear. At one point Lewis came running over to me

"Quick Dad!'d better come Gregory have pulled the Sword out of the Stone..."

I had visions of expensive damage, and ran over to see what had happened, and found Greg failing a huge sword around like a mad warrior. And yes he'd managed o extract this 40lb steel sword from the rock!

I had a phone call from my Mum this evening who'd been to the opening of a new restaurant and guest house in Laugharne called Seaview. The chef is no other than Redvers DuMayne who used to rule the roost at the Ivy Bush Royal Hotel - happy memories of growing up, wild abandon and cutting my commercial teeth on an unsuspecting public!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A barrel load of monkeys

My brother Chris swinging Miranda and her cousin Lola around. And do they look like they're having fun?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

90 not out

Today we've been up to Kenilworth for a clan gathering. My Auntie Muriel is 90 years old and has been enjoying every minute of the day. In truth she's my mum's aunt, but because their kids were the same age as my Mum and Dad's, we've tended to related to them as my auntie Mu and uncle Den...

It's been a day of catching up on family history, whilst the kids all run amok...

It's when you see people looking at the boards of photos recounting old times that you really realise the unique power of photography. Nothing else takes you back, quite like a well framed image.

Thanks go to Alison Cross for organising the event, what a nice way to spend a day...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We did it!

Today was the day we had planned to do Lewis' sponsored bike ride - a mixture of 50 miles off road and sleepy roads across the New Forest. The forecast wasn't too good and despite strong headwinds we managed to do the full distance. The riders were Lewis, Ian and yours truly.

Our route included Dibden Purlieu, Beaulieu and along the Beaulieu River to Bucklers Hard, and along the coastline via Sowley to Tanners Lane near Lymington. Then we headed north through Norley Wood to Boldre, and up through Royden Woods to Brockenhurst.

Pasties and cakes were procured and we headed up through Aldridge Hill towards Rhinefield. Carryinging on up the Ornamental drive we went through Knightwood and Church Moor until; we came to Mark Ash Woods. We made our way back towards Lyndhurst via Millyford Bridge. In Lyndhurst we stopped for Lewis to pose outside Meridien Modena with the Ferraris and Maseratis.

By now we were on the home run, although the legs were begining to ache. Taxis were talked about, but fortunately no one fell at the last fence!!

We got home at about 2pm, having set off and about 9AM, not a bad effort. So c'mon guys get your purses out....there's still time to sponsor Lewis!

Went to see a great gig tonight at the Turner Simms in the University....

HIROMI on piano and keyboards
JOHN SHANNON on guitar
TONY GREY on bass

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day dreamer

I was reading a story that Lewis had written about some boys who had had a great time riding their mountain bikes in the forest, zooming around in their fast cars, before heading down to the marina to sail off to the Isle of Wight for the weekend. I might be tempted to scan it to pdf so that you can read the story for yourselves, but not tonight.

And of course, all apart from the fast cars bit, it's all true!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

He's coming!

This one's from the weekend when we stopped for a beer, and Miranda and the boys managed to get distracted by the adventure playground. When they are running around it's difficult to get anything other than blurred pictures, but this one taken during the game of 'it' has a bit of charm....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Denny Wood

Lewis has been writing a story about some boys who go racing through the forest on their mountain bikes. I was surprised to see how much accurate route information he'd included, even though it all off road, and not a regular ride that we do.

This photo was taken in one of my favourite bits of the forest at Denny Wood, Greg displaying his characteristic badger stripe.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Night Night Domino...

Lewis had just got in from putting the animals away at Barry and Janis' tonight when I arrived home tonight. He also helped with milking the goat, but the goat wasn't very helpful by all accounts, nearly kicking the bucket over....

A little independence, a little realisation that not all goes to plan!

Monday, April 20, 2009


I had a little pootle around the block with Miranda tonight after getting in from London. She's able to peddle uphill now without too much difficulty, and keeps her feet on the peddles downhill, so she's showing interest in controlling the bike with her legs now. She's also still mad keen on getting into the forest. On the weekend when we cudled up in bed at sundown she asked me if I would put her blue bike (two wheels in her mind, four wheels in reality) on the roof of the car (ie like the big boys heading for Denny Wood)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ocknell Plain

Another sunny Sunday, so we packed a picnic and headed for Bolderwood. We set off from the Canadian Cross past Mogshade Hill and across Ocknell Plain to Cadman's Pool where we watched the Canada Geese, and Morhens and Mallards which all nest there. The Canada Geese were still trying to hatch their eggs, but we watched the eggs being turned by the broody goose. We then headed west along the stream at Holly Hatch inclosure down as far as theHigh Corner Inn which provided a nice pint of beer in the sunshine (Brewed less than a mile away at the Red Shoot Inn)

The return leg was a bit of a drag as Miranda was getting tired by this point, but Milkham Inclosure and Bratley Plain were lovely to walk through, with the gorse smelling beautifully.

Not far off a ten mile walk I should think - not bad for a three year old. (Nine and a half, just measured it!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Diggers and Dumpers

The boys have been in heaven over the Easter break as we've had contractors replacing the gas mains in our road. Today the work was nearing the end, with the backfilling of the holes with flintstones...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Joe Cool

The master of the confident stare into the lens, he never fails to hit the spot....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A long tale

Topsy (or Chopsy as she is more often referred to) is very fond these days of telling a story. She picks up the book and announces that it's her turn, before selectively picking out the odd line from memory. Naturally I like to catch her out by changing the storylines from time to time, and now she has now begun to improvise as well.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I met one of neighbour earlier who used to be a governor at Lewis' school. She was walking her new greyhound.

"New dog Dot .... she'll keep you well exercised...!"

Turns out that an arrangement has already been made between her and Lewis that he's going to walk the dog for her occasionally. Ideal.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Piglet han Pooh...

This picture reminds me on one I took of the boys some years ago. I love these candid moments as they yabber away whilst we're out walking. Often you just see a flash of the social engagement, but it's impossible to recapture the mood in a picture - other times it works....

Today the boys have been watching the men replacing the gas main in our road, Lewis sketching from life! We've also been bike riding, and Miranda rode all the way into the village and back. She's getting quite quick too.

I asked her at bedtime what made her laugh - "Spiderman pointed his finger at me like it was a gun" - ....oh really Miranda?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ibsley Common

A slightly overcast day today, and we've been for a walk from Rockford along the Avon Valley Path up and over Ibsley Common. This is one of my favourite parts of the forest, with lovely rolling hills and big open views. It is also barely visited, which makes me very happy. We looped back via Dorridge Hill and ate our home made hot cross buns at Chibden Bottom.

We watched the sun come down over Keyhaven, accompanied by chippies on the beach. What more?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crazy for Daisy

Today after our bike ride we all went down to visit Daisy and her offspring (the name I have forgotten already) This was my favourite photo just before Daisy started nibbling away at Lewis' hair.

Our ride this morning was good fun, Lewis managing 35 miles without much of a challenge and willing me to keep up with him. Sadly it was past lunchtime and I had promised to be back so we called it a day at that.

This afternoon we went to the playground and Miranda took her Dolly. It had been raining and so when she pushed Dolly down the slide, Dolly carreered to the bottom in record time. Greg and I stood there splitting our sides and Miranda came down after her. I assumed that she would hardly move but quite the opposite, she rocketted down with the lubricant (water and mud from her shoes) and hit the plastic egg crate ground cover at some speed and hit her bottom spectacularly. Somehow her trousers had come down and the grazes on her btm must have been realy painful! She howled as we tried to stop laughing... Poor Mippy...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday...

Today we've had a nice walk from the lakes at Poulner up into Great Linford Inclosure. It took us along some quiet lanes, and eventually onto some trails that I used to ride on my moutain bike.

Later on this afternoon we dropped down into Mudeford and played on the beach, and after the sun come out it was fab.

We had a stroll around Christchurch seeing the priory and the Norman Castle, before decanting into Prezzo for supper. Now it's bedtime for us all.

There was a message on the answerphone from Barry and Janis to say that Daisy had produced a pair of little kids - a boy and a girl.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

It's grim up North

I've had a long day in the saddle, having been in Leeds for a meeting today. The weather has been grey and miserable, but when I got back having avoided the worst of the Bank Holiday traffic, Miranda was keen to show me the progress she'd made on her bike. She's still slightly lopp sided on the stabilisers but she's pushing those pedals around like billy ho..

The trike it seems is history and Mipp has set her sights on that mythical bike ride in the Forest. . - B R I N G I T O N !

This evening at story time she turned to me, and for the first time revealed a new manipulative streak, she announced " Daddy you're my favourite!" and then winked.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Porsche 911 Turbo

Lewis was busy reading a magazine this morning as I left, so I said to him that he should do me a drawing for the blog - so here it is. He's been reading his Porsche magazine I suspect as he had a ride in a soft top Boxster on the weekend down to the marina, and when he arrived there was an old James Dean style vintage Porsche on the Quayside. I keep telling him that they are more common than Volkswagens these days, but one day he'll get the idea!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Back and Forth

Looking remarkably grown up here, as he makes the transition from little boy to young man. You sometimes notice that he's not having fun unconditionally, that he's got his eye on something else going on, as if he could be distracted....

Monday, April 06, 2009

Below deck

After Ian and I got back from our sailing trip yesterday, the clan wanted to explore the boat - ever optimistic that they would get their turn to ride the oceans. This is Captain Pugwash and his galley slaves looking out from their bunk

Sunday, April 05, 2009


This morning at about 7.30AM and unusually I'm birdwatching on the Beaulieu River. The day started with the squawking of Curlews and Woodcocks, the shrieking of Oyster Catchers and the rat-a-tat tat of Great er Spotted Woodpeckers . The sun rose gently and I enjoyed a Nescafe moment. (I can see clearly now the rain has gone...) The reason for the tranquility...? A sailing trip down the Solent to Newtown on the Isle of Wight yesterday, and an overnight stop near Bucklers Hard, before a slog against the tide up Southampton Water. Glorious sunshine all day, and a cooling breeze has mad it feel like a long weekend!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Space is the place

Lewis had made himself a paper spacecraft, so here he is at about supper time. Greg was very pleased with himself too at bedtime, as his team had won 5-0 in the football.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Blowin' in the Wind

Miranda loves trying to blow bubbles, but she prefers it when Greg does the blowing and she can concentrate on chasing them around. But they always seem to go off in the opposite direction.

Just like life then, the answer my friend is....