Thursday, September 30, 2010

Going places

Gran doing her best to keep up with the clan during her recent visit. Lewis had carried that log for at least 4 miles, determined to rise to the challenge; Greg and Miranda both looking like they have boundless energy trying to set the pace. But in the game of life just getting across the finish line with a smile on yer face seems like a great achievement!

Happy Birthday Gran!

I'm listening to Butterfly by Herbie Hancock from Thrust. Quite the most beautiful of pieces of music

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Plain Sailing

One of Miranda's paintings from earlier in the week depicting me sailing on the Solent! She's been doing some great pictures, and her reading and writing's coming along nicely too.

It's not all good news however as we learned yesterday that she'd been in an altercation with another girl in school, and apologies had been necessary...

She can be a right handful on occasion

I'm listening to Courtney Pine  'Underground' - he's got so much energy and he's a brilliant performer

Monday, September 27, 2010


Had a quick visit to the Park with Miranda today where she met one of her school friends. It was quite a surreal experience really, from the moment he walked across towards her, saying "Hello Miranda I'm a Pumpkin!" to watching her chase him around getting giddier and giddier, as she called him all manner of names. They both seemed to be enjoying themselves, so it seemed the right thing to do to just leave them to it.

It was also amazing watching them enacting the the "Billy Goats Gruff" story on the play equipment. They covered a fair bit of the story, laughing out loud as they shouted out their lines. Miranda was the Billy Goat...

Saturday, September 25, 2010


As we were riding through Denny Wood earlier I saw two small kids hiding inside the old oak tree where I photographed the boys a good few years ago. We certainly didn't have Miranda at the time, so I guess it's before the blog started.

It got me thinking about how much fun we've had climbing trees, and how well we've got to know certain trees. Living here is such a privilege as almost nothing in the forest is treated as private property.

Amongst the many trees the boys (and Miranda too) love to climb is this one in Tantany Wood.

Friday, September 24, 2010


When he gets in from school he pops in to see me in my workroom; then goes about getting his tasks done whilst he's alone. I popped out into the kitchen for a cup of tea and he'd done his homework and was just tidying up his model making stuff. "I think I'm just going out for a bit of football down the park..." he said to me, in his quietly confident way.

I took Miranda down to the park myself earlier it was cold and windy and quite wintry, just the sort of thing to make us light the fire in the living room for the first time tonight...

There's a fascinating multimedia presentation about Mexico and the effect of the drugs industry on the LA Times website.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Love is ...Momentary Lunacy

I think I'll have to offer a prize to the person who works out what's going on here. Taken last night, it's a good example of Miranda in plucky mood.

We'd been having fun whilst the boys booted the pigs bladder around, on the beach and along the shore. She stopped got down on her knees and started giggling her instructions at me. Of course it involved me going over the sea wall and risking life and limb as I poked my head back up the seawater drain, on a nasty slope, uphill, down on my knees, trying to focus - whilst Miranda steadfastly avoided being in the frame....

When I was down in Broadstairs recently for work I noticed a load of wind turbines out at sea, so was fascinated to read today that they have just become the worlds biggest offshore windfarm

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Body Langauge

Not even a teenager yet, and this says it all. Greg however was very keen to co-operate.

Built some sandcastles with Miranda on the beach whilst they played, which she enjoyed very much. Even took some larking around pictures with me too, which I nearly posted instead of this one!

Ah well another time...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The footy team

Technically a day early, but who's counting! Lewis decided to have his football, pizza and cake with a few friends (James and Charlie, not to mention the other footballers Greg, Miranda and Dad) this afternoon.

After about an hour and a half of running around (less energetically than some) I can honestly say I'm quite tired.

Lewis wasn;t too keen on doing his Maths homework after all that fun, but hey, it's growing up time...Just time for a cup of tea and a slice of cake....!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm coming too

Lewis was just getting me organised for his day ahead, by reminding me that he's having a few friends around tomorrow for football and pizzas etc; I'll need to be ready to get my shorts on at about teatime...

Naturally I thought it wise to remind him that Gregory was to be invited rather than tolerated, ...and a little voice pipped up from behind him "I'm coming too Dad"

My eyes met Lewis', and we both smirked at each other. She gets away with blue murder.

Did you know there are 6500 NHS employees earning more than the Prime Minister? With the top earning GP on £475,000, surely this cannot be acceptable, can it?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Has anyone seen my Blackberry

We had a great play on the beach this afternoon at Lepe with all the Tonka toys and spades - it's been a while since we turned the beach into a huge construction site! We used to do it all the time, but I guess that must have been when we only had two small boys and all they wanted to do was dig!

Miranda disaapeared at one point and it wasn't until she reappeared that Greg said "...and where have you been Miranda?" that we all turned our heads in unison. Yes, off eating Blackberries again...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Gone sailing

Just had a few days sailing on the Solent in glorious sunshine, we managed to get the timing just right! There was almost no one out on the water on Friday morning at eight, but by the time we got to Hillhead there were dozens of boats out racing. We had good wind down as far as Keyhaven, but it then dropped and we decided to head for Yarmouth for lunch.

We pulled in to Newtown for the evening where we were able to have supper in the pub at Shalfleet. A great start to the day this morning, but not too much wind on the way back. There were a few kayaks on the water, which made me think that it would be great to cross from Stone Quay over to Newtown one morning - now how's that for ambition.

Highlight of the trip was seeing a group of at least five hundred Canada Gees near the boat last night, all honking and waddling around on the foreshore! Another highlight was listening to, and watching the Arctic Terns circling the boat first thing in the morning, diving into the water (have a look at the BBC news article here)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Boys and their toys

Flashback to the recent visit by Gran and Grandan, when Lewis managed to get some assistance with planning a scratch build model Scania truck. Plans were drawn up, materials lists prepared and all the potential difficulties analysed. The cardboard was cut out and the first assembly was made before Grandan left, but I'm uploading a little update so that progress can be assessed.

It's quite tricky getting a photo inside the cab, but hopefully you can see the dashboard and associated clutter evolving (I love the Road Atlas, pack of 200 Marlboros and Daily Mirror), the driver's seats, bed and bedding, of the windows is even glazed and has a few stickers on it. Even the drivers flag above the bed!!

Zoom in to have a closer look...

Lewis has just got home from Sea Scouts and tells me that he's been rowing a boat and sailing a Topper on his own. So that's another first!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The weather has turned rather wintry here over the last week or so; the leaves on the trees darkening and falling off, wind and rain. We've even been thinking of lighting the fire of an evening. You wouldn't think that we've only just come off the beach in sunny Cornwall, would you?

This was Portheras Cove, a marvelous secluded spot where the beach is pounded by wave after wave of rich foam...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

By my fingertips

At bedtime tonight we had the story about Paddington peeping through the knothole in the fence at his neighbour Mr Curry's garden. After being caught in the act he's given the task of trying out the badly installed and decrepit hammock in Mr Curry's garden, but of course cannot get in or out without tying himself in knots... Greg would have no such problems!

We do have quite a hoot reading sometimes, and even Lewis tends to joins us to listen when he knows it's a Paddington story!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Look forward in anger

Lewis made his own way to school today by bike. He had an after school football session at the end of the day, and unfortunately it was raining quite steadily by this time. When he got home he was radiant... "Guess what? I'm in the team, and I'm goalie!"


Miranda also had her first day at school proper today, and very excited she was too. Need a photo of her in uniform really.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I had just sat down with a Gin and Tonic after a rather tiring day when Caroline walked into the kitchen with a big bunch of earthy carrots, destined for the saucepan. "Take a picture of these for he blog!" she said, but I had other plans...

Fortunately I knew that I had another picture waiting that would almost do the trick, only difference is that Miranda has washed these and they are not as big as the ones we are eating tonight.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Raiding the holiday snaps for a picture tonight - this is the Nine Maidens near Busullow, West Cornwall - an area packed with antiquities. We had a great walk around various stone and earth works here including Mea-an-tol and Lanyon's Quoit. What I didn't realise until I just looked at the map is that the area is home to the Ding Dong Mine (name of our old Pusscat) and also a house called Little Boswens (Christian will know the significance of this!)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Medium Brown

Greg being rather ingratiating at present, mainly I think because Lewis has been getting a fair amount of attention because of all the new things he's been tackling. Still it's nice when he takes time to layer on with a trowel all the worthy actions he's been involved in, and challenging class work he's taken in his stride...

I was even drawn into bed with him this morning for a big cuddle, which is slightly unusual. I wonder if next week or the week after he'll still be so plucky and devious!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Take aim

I found this picture yesterday, and thought it was too good not to use! Taken at the medieval day we attended awhile ago in Templecombe it overlayers some very interesting looking people, one of them being Lewis.

Poor old Lewis was getting himself a bit worked up this evening as he has so many activities lined up tomorrow, he wasn't sure he could cope. Other than school lessons, he has an additional music lesson with the Hampshire Music Service, an after school football Club, where they are competing for places in the team (so quite important in his mind!) followed by Book Club at the Library .... and then the first evening with the Sea Scouts. If he doesn't sleep after all that I shall be worried myself!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

School, but not as he knew it...

Lewis has had quite an eventful day, you could see his head was popping with all the different things that he was having to remember and do. We got ourselves ready to go this morning, bikes, uniform, bags, lunches, padlock for bike etc etc, and were just heading off up the drive when he remembered he wasn't wearing his helmet! First return trip....

Fortunately the weather was good (the forecast had been terrible) and it was a pleasant bike ride, and save nearly being flattened by two women driving 4x4's (not the same one, different ones) really quite enjoyed seeing Lewis off on his journey of discovery. Fortunately one of his friends turned up just as he was going in, and they went off happy as Larry.

This evening though after lots more organisation type activities, he managed to trip over something at home and really badly gashed his knee; blood everywhere and one not very happy chappie.

Hope he's repaired by the morning.

Monday, September 06, 2010

What's occuring?

A big day all round tomorrow; although in particular Miranda moves into Primary School (and starts wearing a uniform) and Lewis moves to Secondary School (also with a new uniform)

Greg was telling me at bedtime about all the things he's committed to working at this term, so I think they are all going to be busy!

We've just had a call from the Sea Scouts saying that after a few years waiting Lewis has got a place to start this Thursday - so he's going to be exhausted by the end of the week! Being right by the seaside it seems really sensible way of growing his self confidence with kayaking and sailing.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A whiter shade of Brown

The Grockels have returned to deepest darkest Wales today, this one from yesterday as we crossed from Shatterford towards Matley Plain harmoniously.

Lewis and I have been out on our bikes this afternoon; not too many tourists around any more - almost back to normal. Highlight of his afternoon was the Polo match at New Park, Brockenhurst. It was quite surreal watching this as there were no spectators just the two of us!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We've been for a walk in the forest with the Hill Billies, one of whom was asleep (due to the exertion) when we took this. We walked from Shatterford to Matley Heath,  across to Holmhill and then via Denny Wood (where we took this) back to base.

One of the highlights of our walk was this beautiful little adder who was big enough to stand up to us as we crossed Shatterford Plain.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Doo Lally

The kids have been rather hyper this afternoon as Gran and Grandan have arrived for a few days. Miranda has been behaving as though she's been re-gassed with helium, acting giddily, and talking all sorts of nonsense in a high pitched squarking voice.

I'm listening to Monk's Dream - Thelonious Monk Quartet on CBS which I note was recorded in 1961 - what a damn fine year that was...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

In the briney

The rest of the clan have been swimming in the saltwater swimming pool at Lymington today, making the most of the last few days of summer holidays. All back to school next week!

Actually took this picture in Cornwall, but processed a few other nice snaps last night, and thought it best to make use of it now. I like the interplay between Lewis and Miranda captured here, it reminds me of the chemistry they sometimes have when playing together.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Lewis decided that as Caroline had missed out on a Birthday treat (other than dinner in a nice pub, overlooking a fab beach with the ones she loves...) he was going to bake her a nice cake today. So we simply have to post the picture of her blowing out the candle. Every aspect of this made by him, no involvement whatsoever from any of us.

Our dinner tonight was made by Caroline though, and it all came from the garden apart from the potatoes. And even the beer was home made too!

Skinny dippers

Just back from our trip to Cornwall, so a few photos to help us to remember what we did (before a return to the grind erodes the already fragile memory). We managed to get the timing just right, arriving after 48 hours of 'stair rods' and a more or less empty campsite. The kids were quite disappointed that there was no sign of the Riley's tent, but this turned to excitement when they discovered that they had traded their tent for a caravan!

It seemed that it would be difficult to top the fun the kids were having, but we've managed to maintain the momentum and have packed in loads before having to return.

Greg's birthday was spent on the beach at Gwythian, surf duding and getting sunburned. Our supper on the beach was one of my highlights I think, even though I didn't take any photos that day!

We had a fab day trekking around some of the antiquities near Zennor ( Caroline's birthday was later), followed by an afternoon dip near Pendeen where the kids joined forces with another family to dam the stream rerouting it to the sea. The boys fav activity for sure...

Our last day we spent at Portscatho on the beach, followed by a walk down the coast and dinner at the local pub. We hit the road at eight and got home at midnight.... proving you can pack in a lot to a long weekend!

Two links today, both worth a look;

We got quite exercised about a certain subject when we were away in Cornwall - take a look at how Hastings Borough Council are tackling the subject fairly strongly....

Invest in piece of jazz history - Frank Wolff's (Blue Note) photos for sale here