Sunday, May 31, 2009

You give me the Needles...

The day started well with a lay-in until about 9AM - now that in itself takes some beating! However we've had a top day out in the forest on our bikes, it's been like the middle of summer today. We rode out along the trail from Brockenhurst with our bags all packed for a picnic, and the plan was to make a connection with the Castleman Trail which leads from Ringwood to Poole. Although several chunks of the old railway line have now been lost we had great fun findinding alternate tracks and remains of the old railway line. It's a really pretty route, especially the water meadows around Ringwood, which I'm sure we'll do again.

By the end of the day we were exhausted but all in good spirits, so we had chippies on the beach at Keyhaven overlooking the Needles. And this is the final portion of the day as we pelted stones into the sea....

I'm listening to Lizz Wright 'Speak your Heart'

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Birthday Boy

We've had a visit today from Caroline's Mum and Dad, who is celebrating his 78th birthday tomorrow. So we've had a fairly leisurely lunch in the sunshine.

Tonight we've had a barbeque in the garden. It's quite surprising how dirty and tired the kids were after playing in the sandpit and chasing around the garden all day.

We'll be having an early night...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Twice in a Week!

Yesterday it was the Southampton Echo, today it's the New Forest Post....

Lewis has been rather chuffed with the media interest in his bike ride, and now we've had calls from various neighbours saying that they've seen him in the paper, he's well and truly got the taste of celebrity!

We've not had a blog posting for a few days as BT have been incapable of digging a hole and reconnecting a few wires, so the whole street has been without landline and internet services. - six days trying though I suppose is a fair effort?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

See More

There's not nearly enough pictures of me on this blog. You'd think someone would want to take the odd picture of me, and show it off to the world?

I've found some great old photos from the National Library of Wales collection, now shared via

I'm listening to the new Andy Shepherd album Movements in Colour with John Parricelli on guitar, Elvind Aarset on guitar and electronics, Arild Andersen on bass, and Kuljit Bhamra on tabla. Nice unusual textures on this CD.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hawk eyed

Look out Grandad, Lewis will be applying for the Wildlife Illustration Course any day soon!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Taxi for Tootles

Just enough time for a brief play with the kids tonight before popping them in the bath - how does one manage to fit in a bike ride and a football match, and more besides?

Bathtime was accompanied by a singsong as Lewis played "The Saints go Marching in..." and Greg and Miranda chirruped away.

Tonight I'm listening to "Cannonball and Coltrane" on Verve

Sunday, May 17, 2009


The boys fancied having a painting and drawing session this morning and this is Greg's rendition of the Cuckoo.
The cuckoo she's a pretty bird
She sings as she flies
She brings us glad tidings
And tells us no lies

She sucks all sweet flowers
To make her voice clear
She never sings cuckoo
Till summer is near

She flies the hills over
She flies the world about
She flies back to the mountain
She mourns for her love

The cuckoo she's a pretty bird
She sings as she flies
She brings us glad tidings
And tells us no lies
We have a particularly beautiful version of this song of one of our Smithsonian compilations by Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley. Check it out if you get a chance.

If you want some music to explore try some of these rare recordings

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A nice sunny morning chasing Lewis around the forest trails, which turned rather wet before our return. We've had a very strong headwind today also which Lewis found quite hard going. I can still remember my early years chasing up and down the Towy valley against the wind, it really knocks the stuffing out of you.

Walked the new trail at Lepe this afternoon, and had the place to ourselves. Lewis found a basking grass snake and also spotted a Green Woodpecker.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Come here...

She used to wail like a banshee if I didn't hold her hand when we walked through the field with the goats. Now she's happy to pull them along by their collar, whether they want to come or not.

It's bizzare really as they are now quite large, and they nibble you (or your clothing) almost constantly.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shining example

I had a call earlier from Lewis who was clearly bowled over with excitement. "Dad you'll never guess what..... I've raised £250 from my sponsored bike ride"

He's been very lucky to have so many people who have helped him make a success of his effort, and I think he's learned a lot along the way too. So a very big thank you to everyone who backed my number one champion rider...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


When I was much younger I used to love climbing trees, and I still have many fond memories of playing in Mr Perkins' Woods by my parents house in Alltycnap. There has been a bit of a gap but now I find myself doing it again where I am able, and it's not as easy as I might like to think.

Age (or a lack of agility) and a reduced appetite for taking risks have taken a toll on me.

Lewis by contrast can hardly wait to shin his way up any number of trees in an afternoon, willing me to chase up after him!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

If you go down to the woods today

We've had a jolly nice bike ride in the forest today; the weather has been fab and a nice breeze to keep it all pleasant on the bike. Miranda had it in her mind that she was riding her bike so we had to persuade her otherwise.

We had lunch at the Royal Oak in Fritham, a fine country pub with oustanding beer and local food, done simply.

We are all looking a bit sunkissed tonight, especially after the barbeque in the garden at sundown!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

In for a penny...

Miranda now much better at going to the lavatory, both independently and when prompted. It's even fun sometimes when you've managed to get her to go to the loo! Dwell time is improving too, and anyday soon the process will be complete/

(Small typographical joke above)

I am Listening to Bobo Stenson - Live in Berlin Jazzfest rec 2008

Long Live Jazz on vinyl

Friday, May 08, 2009

Close up and Personal

I smudged him a bit, to give it a slightly oldie worldy look, but he still looks as fresh as ever.

Hurray,'s the weekend!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

On Balance

Mippy was very keen to tell me all about her bike riding at cuddle time tonight. She thinks she'll be able to ride it in the forest on the weekend...

Umm yes Miranda, we'll have to get you riding without stabilizers first!

I can still remembr Greg's first ride in the forest on the same bike. We set off from Denny Wood and as Lewis was racing ahead up in front we didn't think to stop Greg on the first bit of downhill gradient. It wasn't steep but the loose gravel meant that he lost control easily and crashed dramatically. He howled and the keeper came out from his cottage and administered first aid. Oh the joys of learning to ride with a group of mixed ability, never a dull moment.

I'm listening to Uri Caine and Paolo Fresu - "Think" 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Michelin Man

On Sunday at Calshot Lewi came striding across the beach carrying two tyres. It had followed on from a conversation on Saturday when I'd challenged him to pick up a tyre that was lying in the mud, which in turn had led to a comment that I needed to get two new tyrs fo the car....

You can imagine how excited he was to tell me that he'd found me two new tyres! How could I refuse?

I'm listening to Nils Petter Molvaer - "Hamada" Sula Records 2009

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


This is one thing that I've never had any difficulty getting Miranda to do. (Don't get me started on the other list though...)

When we are anywhere near a rope swing or death slide she has to be on it, and she has to be on it first. You can throw her on and hurl her towards the abyss, and yet she hangs on compelling you to keep pushing her harder...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Camera Obscura

I think all of the kids have enjoyed playing hiding in the shed, at one stage or another. I wasn't sure how Miranda would take it when I sneaked up and locked her in the shed though, she has a tendency to screech for the least injustice...

She loved it though, hooting wildly and asking for more, who am I to disappoint. No sooner I was in the shed than she locked me in and of course the fun began.

There was tiny knot hole in the door and before I knew it our garden shed had become a giant camera obscura. Lewis was fascinated by the image of Greg and Miranda projected onto a piece of paper, and I'll be honest it was fantastic fun. To see the stop motion characters upside down was just like watching a Laurel and Hardy movie....

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Take it to the top

Whoever said girls shouldn't climb trees? Miranda making sure that she gives Lewis a run for his money!

She's had a busy day, riding Domino earlier this morning, then riding her bike and finally chasing Lewis around in Stubbs Wood.

Meanwhile Greg has been playing football in the Hythe and Dibden Tournament, something he's been looking forward to all week.

Tonight it's my 1000th posting on the mippy blog....

Friday, May 01, 2009

Long Lost Friend

One of the joys of owning lots of film cameras was that occasionally you'd process a film and become reunited with a long lost image.

Well last weekend I used Chris' underwater camera again as it was looking like heavy showers when we did Lewis' sponsored bike ride. And so I came to revisit this frame taken last autumn at Calshot when I was out with Miranda and Lewis in the kayaks. Hopefully this weekend we'll be out paddling again....