Sunday, October 31, 2010

Autumn breezin'

Our walk this morning looked like it might be a wash out - the rain was getting steadily heavier as we approached Wilverley Plain. We had packed a picnic but thought it unwise to carry it with us; the black clouds, wind and rain telling us we for in for a soaking!

No sooner than we set off the rain stopped and we had a great morning's walk around the enclosure, the colours were fantastic.

This double exposure was my favourite people pic of the morning, and I prefer it in good old black and white too - you might get a colour pic later in the week!

 Award Winning Projects

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A long road to travel

Although tomorrow is technically the anniversary, Saturday night is the way to go. It all started earlier in the day with pumpkins being carved and the flesh extracted before lunchtime - the soup was delicious, even by our standards.
Later on supper was an adaptation of an Italian dim sum kind of jobbie, which were baked in the oven and known as a squash Pierogi with homemade Mango Chutney and an apple and fennel salad. Everyone agreed they were fab! We ate three trays of 16 of these mini pasties...

Did I mention that we've very nearly managed to complete twenty three years at this game.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Little Tikes!

Thought I'd better find a picture that wasn't just Miranda, in case I'm accused of favouritism. Truth is she's more co-operative than the others when I have time to hold the camera in my hands.

It's always more tricky in the winter having contemporary pictures of the kids as it's dark by the time I get out of my workroom, and I hate using flash!

This one is raided from a few weeks ago, and they were caught in the act taunting Grandad as he slept after lunch in the forest. If you look closely you'll see the stick they have balanced on his chin!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Funghi Foray

Caroline took the kids on a funghi identification walk today at the reptillery near Lyndhurst, so tonight Lewis have pan fried mushrooms on his pasta for tea!

Apparently most of the other nature walkers were aged or elderly, and all very impressed with the enthusiasm of our bunch, Miranda especially... Well done guys!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's my turn now

This was Miranda's photo of me from the weekend, ... not bad considering that it's a manual focus lens and I was thrashing about with a glove puppet!

When I showed her the picture she said "You're so silly Dad"

Yes Miranda, but it's you I get it from...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

T'will soon be Christmas

It's half term here at the moment and the weather being foul, Caroline has been indoors with the kids making stuff for Christmas. The Cake is in the oven, the mincemeat has been prepared and is awaiting the jarring process, and the Ginger Wine has been bottled...

Earlier in the day I caught Lewis reading Paul Heiney's "Home Farm" which I have to say for 1998 was something of a fish out of water - but it certainly hits the spot for anyone needing simple explanations on how to get closer to nature, and life from the fruits of the land.

and check this out

Monday, October 25, 2010


Another one of Miranda's creations that is so of the moment with a nice use of colouring pencils and that "...look at me I can spell now" sort of self confidence. Done entirely under her own initiative.

We were reading "Jenifer Jones won't leave me alone" at bedtime and one of the pages has squiggles instead of real writing. So I'm trying to get Miranda to read some of the words and we get to the squiggles and I point to them and she says

"You're tricking me Dad, that's not words!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Take a picture with Raggy

Weather was fab this morning, so we had a walk from Shatterford to Denny Wood with Toots. Took some photos of Miranda at lunchtime, and she in turn took some of me - both of us animating Raggy Rabbit.

Most of Miranda's were a bit lacking in sharpness, or where they were sharp they were lacking my chin or head altogether. But she's learning!

My photos were similar now I come to think of it, although I do like this one!

Friday, October 22, 2010


We're having a visit tomorrow from my older sister Juliet, and don't I just look pleased about it!

Taken on the beach at Aberporth - maybe if we get a chance we'll try to reshoot this at Lepe, although we won't find a spot as sandy as this, for sure.

Damn if this isn't at least 46 years old...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Get Ready

I'm posting this one for the kids as a reminder to get their designs ready for the annual pumpkin carving competition!

This is one of the outakes from last year reprocessed in a more graphic style...

I can feel a shiver going down my spine already!

A FYNE link

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Down in a Tube Station

Our book at bedtime was "We're going on a Bearhunt"   by Michael Rosen which Miranda read, with barely a pause. It was all too much fun, so I didn't stop to ask any questions, but when we got to the end I thought I'd better check whether she'd read the book before.

"Oh yes Miss Cullen reads it to us all the time in school!"

Oh! and whilst I think about it, there's a piece on the Guardian website today that Gregory needs to read all about the popularity of the Cello in contemporary music - it even name checks Erik Friedlander... whatever next!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


There is a large pile of drawings building up on the chair next to Miranda's place at the kitchen table.

This picture of horsey wearing a brightly coloured headdress is marvelous...

Tonight at bedtime she has just read for me "Beans on Toast", a book that Gran gave Gregory originally. Then she read "Where is Spot?"

The rain is beating down on the window cill, and Lewis is thrashing out a segway of a Dido number "Don't think of me..." and the Manic Street Preachers's "If you tolerate this your Children will be next"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Synchronised Burkes

There's a photo on Ottolola tonight of my brother-in-law Tony, arriving at the top of Alltycnap Hill not far from my parents' house. He was never a particularly keen cyclist, but he was particularly keen on impressing the Brown family some twenty five or thirty years ago - hence he was spinning the pedals!

Older and definitely wiser, he's now a keen cyclist, and has ridden all the way from Shropshire to the Brown Snr residence...!

I was amazed to see Christian in this photo looking the spit and image of Lewis - I had to do a double take really, he looks that similar.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Found this quite amazing tree today near Roundhill when we were out walking. The tree itself was quite large, but unusually near the ground two huge boughs stretched out about 30 to 40 feet, which is how these two were able to look so casual despite being a good few feet off the ground. There's nothing quite like finding a good tree to climb on a sunny Sunday afternoon!

Had a nice bike ride with Miranda earlier in the day down to the Marina and then to the park. She commandeered a little girl aged 3 who stuck by her side, as her Dad got more and more worried that he'd lost her to the devil!

Greg stayed at home as he's been quite poorly with a temperature and bad cough which sounds like Croop..

Saturday, October 16, 2010

All fall down

Another beautiful day here today, although bloody cold. Had a fab bike ride first thing with Lewis across the forest and then back down through Roydon Manor and Norley Woods to the sea at Tanners Lane. By this time we were getting late and had to hot foot it back home in time for home made soup and bread. Caroline had beebmn doing painting with Greg and Miranda using natural oignments from the garden - so maybe tomorrow you'll see one of them...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Skippy Mippy

I had two versions of this picture, one as she skips up, and the other on the return journey. They are both marvelously carefree images that only I really relate to. She was fascinated to know where the steps went, and having run to the top, gave it a strange look, shrugged her shoulders and came back down just as excitedly!

It's now getting so dark by about five that it hardly merits a trip down to the beach after work. We just had bathtime and a book in bed whilst Mum got the dinner ready

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lewis by Miranda

I was going to load a list of instructions that Miranda had written out "....for looking after the horses" that I found yesterday. The words were just lines of squiggles on the page - all very amusing

Seems her and Lewis live in the clouds and they both indulge in fantasies about tending and riding their horses. Miranda fell off her bike yesterday and grazed her knees - enquiring how she managed to fall off (and you'll need to bear in mind that she can do wheelies and stunt off kerbs just like the boys) - and she told us she'd been riding side saddle!!

Miranda is doing lots of illustrations of Lewis just lately - this one has his name written above, and the M you'll notice is upside down. Fascinating at the mo to see the reading and writing coming through...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Can ....see

Miranda has been making very good progress with reading and today she brought home her first Biff and Chip book from school. This is the third time we are beginning this ritual, and it seems like fun this time round. If I'm honest I didn't really like them much before, but they are fun to read. The boys especially like them too, and have been keen to help Mipp. Win, win!

After this we had Spot and the Birthday Cake, so two for the price of one! So where is Dad then?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fairground Attraction

Miranda in totally bonkers frame of mind at bedtime, and hardly a thing I did could calm her down. So you just have to go with the flow a bit, and make the most of it - they won't always be such fun (I keep telling myself)!

She has been celebrating Fijian Independence Day in school today, maybe wearing brightly coloured clothes instead of her uniform has had it's effect?

We've been leaving Miranda take herself to the loo in the night now (rather than wake her, and take her at 11.30PM) and she seems to have taken it in her stride. She keeps telling me she's a big girl, but I'm having none of it!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mrs Mop

"If you put this on the blog, I'll xxxx you" she said - and that's too much of a challenge to miss out on!

We've been for a walk today around the salt pans between Keyhaven and Lymington, and although I did take my camera didn't take any photos. Sometimes it's just nice to watch the birds taking off and landing all around. You don't really need binoculars, as everything is at close quarters, and the views over to the Isle of Wight, and down to Hurst Castle and the Needles are fantastic. Maybe I should have taken a snap, then you'd see how lovely it was!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Last of the Summer Wine

Although it was grey and overcast to begin with today has been one of those lovely warm autumn days. Sunny and still. Lovely and quiet.

Managed to get in some odd jobs around the house and a few bike rides with the kids, even managed to see the new Queen Elizabeth in Southampton from our side of the water. Looks even more ugly than the Queen Mary, if you can believe it? It's like a despecc'ed Skoda only bigger, mashed up with a Container Ship; no I take that back, it's an insult to Skoda - more like a Chrysler MPV from about 3 years ago before the credit crunch... Still I'm sure it will appeal to a few nids.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Remembrance of things past?

One of Miranda's paintings from earlier in the week - she did tell me who the subject was, but maybe I wasn't paying attention? Maybe it matters not.

When I try to understand art, I always come back this semi representational experience that we have as children, excited about the world we live in, determined to make sense of it all through a series of chunky brushstrokes.

You spend so long thinking about what you want to say, and yet the simplest of marks can continue to say so much, once it's committed to paper...

Have a look at Justin Quinnell's latest project Sunrise

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Reading time

Tonight Miranda read for me at bedtime. The book was Spot goes on Holiday, and she made a pretty good job of reading most of the words. To be fair the words are nice and easy, and the pictures guide you along, but she really has got the appetite for making the effort.

She was awarded her first 'leaf' in school today, so she's managing to keep up with those boys! Five leaves make one apple, three apples make a head teachers award....

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tootles the Taxi

Miranda loves reading Ladybird books, and is especially fond of the old ones. One particular book that gets regular reading dates back to my sister Juliet's college days when her friends bought her "Tootles the Taxi" for her services to transportation.

Nowadays Miranda's favourite game with a bicycle is involves picking up imaginary fares up and down our road...

This is Christabel's old bike it should be noted, and it's unlikely to last too much longer before Tootles outgrows it!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Two by Two

I was processing a few files last night and the above picture reminded me of this one, which as it turns out is nearly five and a half years apart. I guess I may also have been thinking about the Ed and David roadshow, as the subject has been analysed endlessly this last week.

You never really see one as being in the shadow of the other, but inevitably this must be how it feels?

There was an incident only a few days ago when the boys were playing table football, Lewis pushing the rules just a little further than was plausable. I could hear the complaints and suggested from a distance, that Greg should leave him play on his own, and he'd soon get the message. Greg made his point but as soon as my back was turned returned and jumped both feet on top of Lewis... A tearful older brother then had his turn to complain about the unfairness of it all, and was I sympathetic?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Put your money where your mouth is

Last night at dinnertime Lewis announced that he wanted to cook dinner this evening all by himself - it always raises an eyebrow, but who could deny such enthusiasm?

So Mum took him shopping at lunchtime, and this afternoon he prepared and executed Sunday dinner. Only the very slightest modifications were made, and delicious it was too.

Lewis should be congratulated on his choice of New Forest potatoes, and Hampshire watercress all contributing to a low cost low food miles dinner. The pie was very tasty and outstanding in appearance.

Pudding was equally delicious - a chocolate and orange sponge with cinnamon custard. All home made by his nibs. Well done Tiger!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Log on

The phone rang at 9.30am "Can we deliver your logs in about twenty minutes time?"

"Err, Yes"

It has to be said that one of the real joys of the kids getting older is that they get stuck in with some of the chores from time to time. And no better time than when playing imaginary lorry maneuvers!

So whilst the old man had his locks shortened, Lewis and Miranda ported the two tonnes of timber into the logstore.

This is half way through, having a short break and a cup of tea.

Friday, October 01, 2010

In pieces

Greg's been having cello lessons in school the last few weeks, and we can't stop him talking about it. I've been playing him Erik Friedlander and Rufus Cappadocia and the like to inspire him, even a bit of Elgar along the way too.

Anyone got an old cello kicking about, in need of a good work out?