Monday, February 28, 2011

Down on the Farm

I dropped in on Lewis the other day, at his small holding in the New Forest. It's a sweet little place with run down farm buildings and an assortment of raggedy animals. Never happier than when hitching the horsebox up to his old Land Rover Defender, before heading down to the Pony Sales at Beaulieu Road Station....

(Let's not mention the Maserati shall we)

This link is for Lewis - Jessie J

Sunday, February 27, 2011


This one goes with yesterday's picture, and captures some of the fun we have from time to time. For those in the know, it's Ella McStumping and Miranda was reading it upside down whilst pretending to pose for me.

The day started this morning with a nice cup of tea in bed delivered by Lewis and the announcement that he had planned a walk for us to do. Considering we'd had a late night, it wasn't exactly what we wanted as a first thought of the day.

Anyhow the idea floated eventually, it was after all a very nice day in prospect. We walked from the spit in Keyhaven via Lymore across Pennington Marshes and back via the lagoons. The first hour and a half were fab, but rain set in and turned to a deluge. The last fifteen minutes it escalated, and very heavy rain with hail stones almost beat  us to a pulp. Poor Mipp had had enough by this point!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Dad

I took a picture of Daddy in the afternoon, he was reading a book of poems. My favourite one was Cousin Reggie - it's the one about the boy who liked surfing down escalators in department stores. My Dad's going to laugh any minute now!

My Cousin Reggie - Roger McGough

My cousin Reggie
Who adores the sea
Lives in the Midlands

He surfs down escalators
And swims in the gutter
I think our Reggies
A bit of a nutter

My Dad has been going around all afternoon saying   "....did you know Ella McStumping has given up jumping...."

Ella McStumping
Was fond of jumping
From tables and chairs,
Bookshelves and stairs
She would jump to the floor
Then climb back for more.
At the age of three
She climbed a high tree
And with one mighty cry
She leapt for the sky.
Doctor McSpetter
Says she'll get better
and the hospital say
She can come home next May
And Ella McStumping
Has given up jumping.

Ella McStumping by  Michael Dugan

Blog post and photograph today by Miranda.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Blue eyed Boy

 One of those lovely pictures that never got onto the blog by Greg, from a while ago. He looks a bit like Mr Magnolia although I have no idea how many boots he has got.

I'm listening to Chico Freeman - Tales of Ellington. I always said records were a good investment!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Not quite the lead story, but top of page two, and in the Southampton Echo in a mood reminiscent of the Jarrow March - this is the kids leading Domino into the Village to hand in the petition to the Council not to build houses on Barry's Field.

Hopefully when we kick this one into the long grass it'll give them the belief that some things are worth fighting for...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Life inside

Reading an Eric Carle book earlier with Miranda about the voracious appetite of a caterpillar who ate his way through a huge pile of food as a preamble to metamorphosis.

"That's strange" I observed to Miranda " fancy being inside a cocoon and turning into a butterfly..."

"We've been inside a cocoon" was the instantaneous response... We have indeed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Miranda Allfours

For bedtime story the other night Miranda chose Winnie Allfours, an old favourite that she's had read to her many times. I wanted to push her a bit to see how she'd cope and was surprised just how many unusual words she was able to cope with.

So tonight as Lewis was giving Greg a guitar lesson, I thought I'd distract Miranda with a brief Photoshop lesson!! She thought it was all very amusing...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tour de Hythe

My bike was in desperate need of a service, so I got stuck in this morning... and when you've got into the rhythm well you just have to keep on going. I had already repaired a puncture on Mirarda's bike when it dawned on me that we really needed to get her onto the next sized bike (which fortunately we already had in the shed) although it needed some work to make it road worthy.

She spotted me through the window and kept shouting her praise for me, which makes a nice change. So this afternoon we've taken the new bike for a ride. She's now blazingly fast, which is a bit of a worry, but she's also fairly adept with the use of the brakes too. All good fun.

This evening I have been transfixed by watching the twitter trending stream for #gaddafi as the dictatorship appears to unravel. Haven't bothered to listen to the news, but the BBC news site is miles behind. Will be interesting to see what's actually broadcast tomorrow. Certainly riveting to surf the speculation, and I'm sure it's close the the fact...

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Another one of Miranda's drawings of Dolly. I have a stack of others that need scanning, but not tonight! Didn't think I'd be haviing a bike ride this morning as it was raining when I got up, and I've been feeling a bit under the weather for the last week. So we played Lego for a while, building a house for Miranda to play with. The sun didn't come out but at least it stopped raining - and Lewis and I had a fairly enjoyable and very muddy bike ride!

Mipp and I had a pootle into the village to get some new chain ring bolts for my bike this afternoon, and we played happily in the sunshine on our own at the Marina. Normally Greg likes to play hide and seek with her but today he wanted to stay at home and read a book.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chase me Charlie

Lewis and Miranda often pretend to be riding their horses around, and I sem to recall that's what Miranda told me was going on here.

The trouble with painting is there's a lag between painting, drying, scanning and, quite frankly on a Friday night after a few glasses of wine I can't remember much about anything that happened in the week.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

See Scouts

As it's Thursday and Lewis has just got home from Sea Scouts I thought it was time to use this picture of him and Greg with Baden Powell on the waterfront at Poole, looking out to Brownsea Island.

Greg and Miranda have both been to the school Disco tonight, and came home in an excitable state of mind... "They played Lady Gaga" said Miranda.

I suppose it's unlikely they are still playing Boney M and Abba is it? Don't answer that one!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Miranda's reading tonight so fluent that I thought she must have memorised it. I tried catching her out by turning the pages out of sequence, and she didn't bat an eyelid.

Lewis was a bit miffed that someone had let the tyre down on his bike at school today. He seemed really hurt that someone would do something annoying and causing such inconvenience.

A bit like reading about the fabulous Andy Scott statue that some caveman managed to fell a few days ago - it saddens you when you realise that some people get pleasure from destroying things - but that's just how they define their existence I guess.

I'm listening to Tom Harrell's Prana Dance

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gregory by Miranda

One of Mipp's line drawings of Gregory looking a bit like a rag doll. We've just had a story about the Jam Pandas, a barkingly mad book about a family of Pandas distracted by their obsession with eating fruit. Miranda thought it was hilarious! Although she wasn't too keen on reading tonight for a change, must be a bit tired.

Lewis came home from school with an Ordnance Survey map of the area that he'd been given - it's newer than my version (so I'm going to swop it and see if he notices!!) and he's been navigating his way around various places tonight. The OS are just about ready to move into their new building in Southampton, and it looks very swank indeed... Lewis loves Geography, and you never know one day he might even want to work here - good to know that someone is still buying maps

Pictures here

Monday, February 14, 2011

Numerical progression

I always intend to take more photos of the bits of life that you don't normally see. There's things that take ages to establish, yet one day they can just do - and then you think nothing of it

Walking past this each morning you are apt to forget that Miranda's numeracy is relatively newfound. 'One to ten' she managed ages ago, but didn't make great strides from there, and has struggles with thirteen and fourteen. She's made great progress on reading, but numbers took a break. Now she's fired up again, and is adding mentally, so we've even had a few times table sessions!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Yesterday down at the Marina - and what a contrast to today. It has rained all day and there's standing water everywhere. The roads were flooded coming back from the Art Gallery in Southampton.

I was keen to get back to see the St Ives collection on show from the David Brown bequest. There's 15 Roger Hilton pieces up at the moment, as well as some Patrick Heron, Terry Frost, Ben Nicholson, William Scott and one of my old faves a Wilhelmina Barns-Graham still life. I was rewarded with a free concert by Doug Gould as the perfect backdrop ,to an afternoon looking at art. He played all sorts of music including a very complex Scriabin piece in 9/5 time, and an improvisation based on Jarrett's improvisation of "I love you Porgy"

Jarrett plays Porgy

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Holding all the Aces

It's not easy being banker, and trying not to be beaten by Gregory whilst also managing to take a few photos for the blog.

He's starting to understand that bluffing works too, and taking advantage of the opposition when their defences are weak is also fair game. I was surprised to discover this when I played him in draughts the other day, and he beat me. I wasn't quite such a pushover the next game!

It's been a fantastic day here today, had a great bike ride with Lewis through Frame Wood and over to Brockenhurst, coming back through Roydon Wood. Lewis was exhausted again by the time we got back even though it was his idea to take this route

Also had a nice pootle with Miranda and Greg after lunch down to the Marina, they played happily in the sunshine whilst I watched the boats go by...

I'm listening to Lars Danielsson Pasodoble

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just a rumour that was spread about town

Lewis got in from school, and other than being a little damp from the rain, looked exhausted. Sometimes you sense he's finding the transition to secondary school just a bit of a challenge!

He's just got in from Sea Scouts at 9pm, and after enthusing about this evening's boating activities, suddenly looked drained and said "I think I'm going straight to bed..."

You can check out the creations of my crafty sisters here

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Take note

Greg and Miranda both been involved in the "Sing Up" activities in school, and today there was a special assembly to parents in the run up to National Sing Up Day. Mipp has been very excited for some time, and launched herself out of bed to give me the good news this morning - so I just had to go and see the performance. They have also been decorating a T Shirt to wear when they are judged (as a school or individually)

I think the school achieved a Silver last year and is going for Gold this year...

Monday, February 07, 2011

Pull it!

Another of those pictures that probably means more to me than anyone else. A walk in the woods, and we're never too far from shooting bows and arrows at the enemy. Miranda as usual holds all the aces, and Greg is belting out the instructions.

Me, I'm trying to keep them moving forward in a line...

I'm listening to Message in a Bottle by the Police

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Lewis was up before us this morning, and brought us a cup of tea in bed. "I need to get a move on" he said " I've got boat maintenance to do at Sea Scouts"

It's great to see him focused on objectives like this, knowing that his sailing is conditional upon keeping his end of the bargain.

After we'd been out for a walk this afternoon, Caroline sighed at the prospect of baking a cake when all she wanted to do was sit down. He piped up again "Can I do it Mum?" So tomorrow we'll all have a slice of Victoria sponge...

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Rural idyll

Beneath his bed Lewis has a model farm - what started out as a few Britains cows and a tractor, has become his fantasy New Forest small holding complete with sic Range Rover. I captured this scene, complete with his Modelmakers Handbook in our kitchen, as his new farmhouse takes shape. He's been working on the hedges this morning, barely a day goes by without some minor modification!

On a loosely connected matter I note that our local MP Julian Lewis voted against the ludicrous proposal to sell off our forests - good to see some backbone in the face of ill considered plans.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Insult and Injury

I've had broadband issues for a few days so not been posting anything, so I thought I'd cheer myself up with a smiley picture! You tend to forget how much you rely on services like the internet, but when they stop working it's really disruptive.

I generally recommend BT, as the quality of the actual product is usually very good and consistent, but my abitity to tolerate their abismal customer service has been tested to the limit, and beyond.

If anyone can recommend a company with decent customer service and fast internet I'd be grateful...

Genius photo in the Gridiron today