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!