Monday, January 31, 2011


"So what did you learn about in school today then Miranda?" I asked her after she'd had her supper. It's often a struggle to get her to open up about school, but she surprised me with "We've been learning about dinosaurs and what they were eating..." and before we knoew it we were talking about crocodiles and all sorts.

So at bedtime we had a Ladybird reading book which featured two kids playing with a crocodile in a puddle, and that hit the spot too - sometimes you just have to ride the wave.

You wouldn't think that Miranda was sitting on the nose of a dinosaur - but she is -  a real fire breathing monster...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lego of my arm

By marked contrast to yesterday, it was a perfect spring like morning in the forest today. Everything was covered in a thick frost when we set off for our bike ride at 9am although the sun was casting a golden glow over everything.

I think this winter has been the dreariest I can remember in a while, but this morning made up for it - and the forest looked spectacular.

When we got back at 1pm the car still had frost all over it, so temperatures hadn't risen much, but Greg had been busy with the Lego...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Save my Home

Lewis has been out on the streets of Hythe with Domino the Donkey along with supporters of the campaign to stop New Forest District Council from building houses on Barry's Field.

Since we moved to Hythe, the smallholding has been at the heart of our community; the kids have learned about animals at first hand and we've had endless fun there over the years. All the kids have ridden the donkeys, and they have also walked the goats, as well as helped with the feeding and putting to bed of the 35 or so animals in the field.

So today it was out in force to gather signatures to tell NFDC they can keep their hands off... So far the supporters who are signed up amount to over a thousand, hardly a ragged handful.

There's a consultation meeting in Hythe on 23rd Feb at the Community Centre -
Come and have your say at the Public Consultation to be held on Wednesday 23rd February 2011 between 3:00pm and 9:00pm at Hythe & Dibden Community Centre, Brinton Lane, Hythe.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rudolph Valentino

Well Miranda's getting better all the time, and I'm looking forward to the day when she's able to make me look at good at Rudolph in the picture behind me! For my part I'll keep Natasha Rambova in mind when I'm photographing her...

You can see the photograph by James Abbe in 1925, and printed from the original glass plate here although they don't credit him for his artistry!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just because it's there

This one from the weekend at Stubbs Wood when Lewis was in slightly more energetic shape than he is at the moment. He's been very under the weather for the past two days, even having the day off school yesterday - and that for Lewis is very unusual.

He doesn't have a temperature at all, and is complaining of stomach ache, but mainly from about the late afternoon onwards. He's even been coming in to see us in the middle of the night to tell us how much he's suffering. He has a fairly reasonable appetite, so we are confused?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Big gong

You'd be forgiven for thinking that she'd won an Olympic medal, but Miranda was very pleased with her gold medal in the ProKick competition at school. Even Gregory was unable to get the top spot in his class, although not a hint of jealousy as he bigged up her achievement! Apparently you have to kick the ball as hard as you can into the net and the highest speed was then recorded in each class at Waterside Primary...!

Lucky Gilchrist

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hide and squeak

I was taking some photos of Miranda this morning when Greg popped in - so I had to get a few of him too! In truth he always used to be the most fun when posing, but he doesn't really make too much effort these days!

The boys played football this morning at the park, so Miranda and I went for a bike ride into the village. When we got back to the park it was nice to watch them from a distance playing with some other kids. Lewis was in goal, all the others trying to blast the ball past him!

This afternoon we've been for a walk from Rans Wood, Lewis tried to stalk us, hiding out along the way and trying to take us by surprise. Greg had great fun, and so did Lewis. Great boyish activity...

Interesting obit of Tony Boxall in the Guardian today

Friday, January 21, 2011

Self portrait

Miranda had a huge pile of furry creatures with her going to bed tonight. Raggy is still a firm favourite but there's competition from a variety of others too.

In this picture he seems to be wearing trousers, and is getting more three dimentional.

I was feeling quite tired when I popped her into bed so I just gave her a cuddle and lay there for a bit. "Come on Dad" she said "I want a shnurkle", which means a wind me up til I pop, sort of cuddle!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Just flicking through an old box of polaroids...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Henry IV

Time for another one of Greg's lovely illustrations I think! I'm also hoping that by paying a bit more attention to matters historical, I start to absorb some of the gaps in my education. A bit late you may say, but better late than never.

I was joshing with Greg last night at bedtime, after he made some remark about older people knowing so much more than him. I told him that I knew everything that there was to learn, and then sensing that I was bragging, he said "Well who was the first Roman Emperor then?"

"Begins with an A; it Augustus?" He was delighted with my reply and said "Yes Dad, you got it right!!"

I had to own up that the only reason I knew was that he'd mentioned this a few weeks ago as a fact when we were looking at the statue head at the British Museum. You live and (hopefully) you learn.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Taken in December just before we went for lunch when my Mum was visiting. The idea of the picture was a portrait of me and my mother - the lighting wasn't fantastic; foggy and very miserable. So Caroline took a bunch of pictures, which I quickly checked on the viewer, and every single one was blurred, not just foggy blurred but pea souper blurred.

So I took the helm, and you can just imagine what she was saying...

I'm listening to Tomasz Stanko's Korozje from 1983

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Surrey with a Fringe on Top

Taken a few days ago, but probably I chose a different picture at the time. Interesting enough for the writing that Miranda's done, but the real reason is that you won't see too many more pictures of her with the Olde English Sheepdog look..

Miranda has taken to it with a pair of scissors, and now has a fringe! CJ is less than pleased, as you can probably imagine....

A little Ladybird

One day she fly to the moon. Ladybird played on the moon. She went to dig with her friends.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Between a rock and a hard place...

It's been rather gray again today, even threatening to rain during our walk in the forest this afternoon. Didn't stop us trying to climb trees, and generally lark around. This one I like as it captures (for me anyhow) Greg struggling to climb one side of the tree, and me on the other side trying to climb high enough to see him. The tree was wet and we were both falling so I had to prefocus and hope for the best.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Boom Boom Cluster

One of Miranda's photos from yesterday; to be fair it was dark in my work room and the lens is a manual focus jobbie, but it's probably better than a camera phone picture.

Anyone who knows me will be aware of my appreciation of Southampton Art Gallery - it's a fantastic gallery with a superb collection. I went this afternoon with Greg, and although I'd noted on many occasions a caption refering to the David and Liza Brown Bequest, was fascinated to discover the reason it has so many excellent modern art pieces. David Brown was a local guy who trained as a vet, but got passionate about art as a collector and after training as a curator, supported Southampton Art Gallery in many ways. Later he left in his will about 400 pieces to the gallery, including many of the Roger Hilton's that I personally love. He was also responsible for all the Hamish Fulton and Richard Long pieces that I also adore, and marked Southampton out as a place to visit.

And now I live here.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Just dreaming about my bike ride tomorrow morning as I head off to bed! I hope the weather is a bit better than today, which has been grey and wet in the main...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

4s Cheese

We've been reading from the Septimouse stories most of this week, which Miranda enjoys. She prefers her ad libbed version of the story to the verbatim, and I have to be honest, sometimes it's much more fun to listen to her make it up, rather than take her through the words one by one.

Lewis is playing 'Empire State of Mind' tonight on his guitar with no music to hand. As he starts to listen to more music on his own he's developing a taste for what he likes... and it just so happens I like it too!

There's a great article on the BBC site today about the decline of the record shop by Graham Jones who has revisted many of the shops he knew and recorded them within a book. A few times recently I have done something similar,  although just standing drop jawed outside 'Ray's' and 'Dobells' in Covent Garden who no longer sell Jazz records, but Pizza or somesuch product. By contrast however we were in Boscombe recently, and there delight of delights, I found Snu-peas still trading.

How I used to love trawling through the racks of vinyl (before I had kids)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Virtuous Circle

Lewi has a few objectives in his music at the moment; one is to read more music, as he has a tendency to scan it then play by memory... and his second objective is to follow the timing notation better. Both of which are slightly anathema to him. He much prefers improvisation!

Anyhow this evening his new piece from his Hampshire Music Service teacher was El Condor Pasa, which he studiously looked at, then played in the most hauntingly beautiful way, 'straight from the box'

I asked him if he was familiar with the tune, and he was unaware that he'd just played one of the Simon and Garfunkle tunes we often listen to (stripped of the lyrics)...

Monday, January 10, 2011


Seeing the shirt in yesterday's picture reminded me of one of Gregory's drawings of Lewis. It's filled with admiration for his big brother. And this is what he was singing last night...

"My tea's gone cold, I'm wondering why
I got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window
and I can't see at all
And even if I could it'd all be grey,
but your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it's not so bad,
it's not so bad

I drank too much last night, got bills to pay,
my head just feels in pain
I missed the bus and there'll be hell today,
I'm late for work again
And even if I'm there, they'll all imply
that I might not last the day
And then you call me and it's not so bad,
it's not so bad and

I want to thank you
for giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you
is having the best day of my life

Push the door, I'm home at last
and I'm soaking through and through
Then you hand me a towel
and all I see is you
And even if my house falls down,
I wouldn't have a clue
Because you're near me and

I want to thank you
for giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you
is having the best day of my life" 

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Y Ddraig Goch

Two good practice sessions today by Lewis, I really ought to try an record him a bit more often. Only trouble is by the time I've got the laptop out he's aware of the intrusion.

This morning I came down stairs to let him know I thought it was going well, and got into a real life pop video it was so much fun. He gave me one of those looks....

He has a bit of the Joe Cocker to his voice and intonation at the mo, very charismatic.

We had a beautiful walk from Beaulieu Heath via Dilton and over to Ivy Wood. The sun was low in the sky, and everything looked magical, ponies, cows with calves, and the birds singing madly in the trees. We came back through New Copse and Round Hill, the vibe was so good I even did a few pics of the sunset (shock horror)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Another of Lewis' lovely cards capturing a small slice of his imaginary farming life. There was at least a dozen in this series and I managed to scan a few of them before they went out in the post.

At dinner time tonight he announced " I've had the almost perfect afternoon. Playing Farm and listening to Radio 1!"

So what would have made it perfect "Oh, a nice big Dorset Apple Cake to myself...."

Friday, January 07, 2011

Tall tales

Story time and they are locked in with another tale at bedtime. Greg has been reading another one of his Michael Morpurgo books, and I've also read one of the boxed set that Gran gave him for Christmas - what a great writer he is. I read the 'Wreck of the Zanzibar' which painted a similarly bleak view of Island life (Bryher on the Scilies) to Adam Nicolson's 'Sea Room' which I read last year (about the desertion of the Shiant Isles in the Hebrides), although I'm in awe of the way Morpurgo makes it so accessible, and yet so vivid.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Well 'ard

One of those pictures that I like mainly for personal reasons, the memory being better than the image per se.

I sneaked in for a candid shot of them looking at Augustus' Head at the British Museum, and when Greg caught me he gave me one of his intense stares! The look mirrors Augustus' fearsome expression, although you can't really see it

Check out the BBC article below...
the link take you to the iPlayer version

Object No 035 in the History of the World in a 100 Objects - Head of Augustus 21 May 2010

Fri, 21 May 10
15 mins
Head of Augustus, the first Roman emperor. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at one of the world’s most famous rulers, whose powerful, God-like status is brilliantly enshrined in a 2000-year-old bronze head with striking eyes. He explores how Augustus dramatically enlarged the Roman Empire, establishing his image as one of its most familiar objects. The historian Susan Walker and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, help explain the power and methodology of Augustus.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Competition

Miranda was giddy with excitement when she came home from school today with her Head Teachers Award. She really has been trying very hard over the last term, which we should remember is only her first term at Primary School. Even this morning she insisted on writing down her words, which really she's only just supposed to read out loud...

We had fun at bedtime reading a few books together, I don't know why but it's always more enjoyable doing it one to one, rather than with two or three.

A great set of tunes from Lewis tonight, makes all the difference.

Been reminiscing with my old school pal Andrew Scourfield tonight about old times, so seems particularly sad to learn of the passing of Gerry Rafferty who defined a portion of my musical history in the seventies.

Monday, January 03, 2011

I phone, you phone, we all phone.

Well we're back from our travels to visit the Guthrie clan in Holmes Chapel, and Miranda is missing being looked after morning noon and night by her cousins Christabel and Elsbeth. I don't think they stopped playing games with Miranda, or cuddling her, or feeding her or keeping her entertained, whilst the boys indulged  in boyish activities like watching Man U on the telly with Uncle Nich...

Mip took about 15 seconds how to work out how to use Elsbeth's new iPhone, and thereafter it was a gonner!

Tomorrow it's back to school for the kids, hooray! The early start might be a bit of a challenge....

I'm listening to Jezebel by Anna Calvi

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year Scenes!

Elbeth and I have been making a movie on her iPhone, so faced with the challenge of shooting and editing it, and loading it to the blog by 6pm - here it is! We did shoot several more scenes but they came out up side down.... doh!

Happy New Year!