Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of a good year

Although we'd hatched a plot to go sailing with Terry on the Beaulieu River this afternoon, the rain was stating to set in and the wind was almost non existent. So much to Lewis' disappointment (and Caroline's delight) Terry suggested a cruise over to the Isle of Wight to have our lunch instead. Of course the wind picked up and the sun came out, and we had a jolly nice lunch at Shalfleet Quay in Newtown Harbour. First time I have ever seen the place empty of yachts. Lewis and Greg did all the helming, every last bit even the creek to Shalfleet with the depth gauge reading 1M!

Happy New Year y'all!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Talking heads

Rather grey here this morning so we entertained ourselves indoors with a few books and some general larking around. Lewis and Greg were engrossed in some Sketch Up project, and Mum was still in bed...

By midday Ian was here with his new Gopro camera, and the boys had hatched a plan to go riding in the woods, and maybe create a video of the action. Had some great fun working out some sequences and the rushes look quite good, now all I have to do is start pulling some clips together in Premiere to reduce the 30 mins of footage down to 3 minutes, and add a soundtrack!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cinderella on Ice

Miranda and I spent a few hours this afternoon making a stage set for Cinderella on Ice. It all started when I found her on the floor near the back door with a tube of Pritt stick and a scissors and a pile of recycling material.

"What are you up to now?" is the popular refrain.

I like this picture over the finished item as it carries a bit more of her naive illustrative charm, dig those pink ice skating boots...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

You spin me round

Having been housebound most of the day yesterday, we thought we'd blow the cobwebs away witha  walk from Milford on Sea along the coast path to Barton. The sea was pretty rough and the wind was fairly strong but not too cold. No lunch was thought necessary, but we did have a cream tea before our return leg at the excellent cafe in Barton called the Beachcomber's.

Decided to spend the last of the day at Christchurch where the awful realisation that we'd forgotten to send Christabel a birthday card on her 21st (of all birthdays) so we quickly impromptued a photo shoot on the magic roundabout, to send her a message with the iPhone, to remind her to make sure every day has some fun packed in...

Happy Birthday Christabel. Seems a long time ago since we came to visit you for the first time in Andover all those years ago.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rarer than hen's teeth

Another of Miranda's delightful drawings which needs no introduction. It's lovely to watch her look at a book of illustrations, and then jump headlong into a drawing of her own. I did ask her to colour it in, as they always stand out much better, but she's added the description under her own initiative. This is one of four or five done this morning whilst waiting for David, Barbara and Jonathan to arrive with us for lunch, which they did bearing a very nice bottle of 1961 Armagnac from Nismes Delclou, as a birthday gift. To think that this has sat in a barrel maturing for all those years whilst I have been getting ready for it....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Shakedown

Lewis is the boat on the left hand side and they approach the shore in fine formation. He said he thought it was the best day of the year for him, and you couldn't disagree. They all had fun and with quite strong winds were able to zoom around on the water. We still had difficulty pulling him in after three quite cold hours on the water.

And just when he thought that his sailing was over for the next few months Terry asked himn if he'd like to help with some Flying Fifteen sailing in January....

Sunday, December 25, 2011


And since it's Christmas we'd better have one of those Christmas present unwrapping moments. Our neighbour John is gifted in the engineering department, and often helps us with some rather complex challenges. Somehow Caroline managed to persuade him to favour Gregory with a fastasy castle to play knights with, and this is the moment the paper came off! How's that for a Christmas present...?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

St Nich

Mince pies had been baked, the sack of potatoes collected from the farm in Longdown, Christmas tree made, decorations and cards up, ginger bread house made.... so we had a few hours on our hands this afternoon and we went to Romsey. Visited the Abbey, and made to feel very welcome by the wardens who told us that this statue of St Nicholas (patron saint of children and pawn brokers) was made from a piece of driftwood found in Hythe!

Must just go and pop our bottle of Barbadillo Manzanilla in the fridge for our 11AM quaff on the beach tomorrow. Merry Christmas peeps....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Va va room

Greg reading my Rallying Yearbook from about 1979 or 1980. It's interesting seeing him getting interested in cars now Lewis has moved on to other things, but when there's a personal dimension and it takes me straight back to when I was a child it's quite fun to reflect on. Reading this book myself last night it only just dawned on me that the Vauxhall Chevette must have taken it's name from General Motors association with Chevrolet back in the day. Those in the know will be aware that I photographed rally cars quite keenly as a teenager, and sold photographs to anyone that would buy them, leading me towards a life in photography. Not that I've taken photos of cars since....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One step beyond

One tries not to make genderist remarks on this blog, but it is nice at least to see one of the progeny getting stuck into a bit of tidying up after the 'fun bits'.

So far she's been getting quite excited about the prospect of getting her step out and rising to the challenge. Anyhow she deserves a medal.

The mince pies have been destroyed at an unprecedented rate this year, we had reports lunchtime that onto two jars of CJ's special mincemeat were left and we're still days to go to Christmas...

Had a nice surprise though earlier, Caroline won the prize draw at Waitrose; a month's free groceries no less! Now that's what I call payback on investment.

Monday, December 19, 2011


This was Lewis' illustration on the birthday card he gave me. I don't recognise him on the boat, so I guess it must be me and some othere fuddy duddy as it's a Wayfarer. Him and Greg are forever drawing boats these days, and the boats get racier and racier. I'm glad naturally that they don't obsess after Ferraris and Lamborghinis any longer, although it's possible that racing could prove to be an even more expensive pastime!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When the going gets tough...

Bone janglingly cold on the water today but that didn't put the keen teenagers off at Calshot Sailing Club. Lewis is already on the water, Kyle getting ready to jostle for the best position on the start line! This was the last race of the season although they plan to do an event on Boxing Day too. They raced until the sun went down, and with winds of about 17 knots it was pretty damn cold for those of us on the shore waiting to pull the safety boat in! Makes all the difference sailing in these conditions knowing that you'll get a nice hot shower afterwards.

I've not managed to post for a few days due to nights out for various Christmas festivities, and nights in, in front of a roaring log fire - I must be more disciplined.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Choose your weapon

The kids were drawing on Sunday morning whilst Lewis and Caroline were out sailing. I asked Greg what he wanted to draw and he said "YOU!"

So I sat for him, and gave him a few tips on how to observe and draw, and so on... I reckon he's going to give Lucien Freud a run for his money in years to come. Not the most complementary of portraits, but you can't dispute who it is. Nice one Greg...

I'm listening to Hiromi Uehara and Sonicbloom's version of My Favourite Things on Beyond Standard. Ever seen her play?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Entertainer

Ian drawing a Gingerbread house for the kids, Miranda helping with the colouring and Greg mainly being entertained. The story begins some years ago when Caroline baked the structure of a Gingerbread house, although Ian came around and finished building it, so they will forever think that he made. Come Christmastime of course and he is harangued to begin another one, and the story takes on new life...

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Once he was the only creature/thing that she would have to take to bed with her, but nowadays there are a few other competitors. So it's been interesting today watching Raggy come back into focus. She's been reading him stories on the settee, and tonight at lights out he was the only one - I guess he must have been nice to her or something.

It was very frosty first thing this morning, but absolutely lovely out in the forest on my bike. It really saps my energy though when it's that cold and after three hours of pushing it, I'm begining to feelmy age...

Lewis has been sailing this morning at Calshot, and is keen to go out again tomorrow. He's just got a new RYA Sailing Book which he's been studying. A lot of the photos are taken at Calshot and Weymouth.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Teenage moment

When we look back with rose tinted spectacles at the things we got right, we will also need to remind ourselves with images like this, that it wasn't all easy.

Finding the energy to the address issues, and keeping everyone on message is one of the biggest challenges we have to deal with. Lewis often rightly feels that as the eldest, we are harder on him than the others, but his assertiveness often leads him into conflict with the management....

I'm listening to Isao Suzuki Quartet playing Aque Marine on Three Blind Mice Label

I noticed earlier that Wales will soon have a complete Coastal Path - what a good reason to visit Wales

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Did you dress for dinner (lunch)

Complaints have been made recently that Caroline doesn't get featured on the blog often enough. Well this is from lunchtime today, and it might give you a hint as to why....

Another good reason for posting this is the rather artful self portrait that I managed to squeeze into the frame. If anyone would like me to send them a reindeer stalker's hat pls do let me know, and I'll make the arrangements. Say no more.

And finally a teaser - what do I share in common with Ken (of Barbie and Ken fame), President Obama, the Jaguar E Type and the Berlin Wall. Answers on a postcard please....

I'm listening to Sun Ra - Disco 3000 Space is the Place from 1978 - it's phreaking fantastic...!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A hole lotta fun

Lewis has been working on Sound and Light as his theme in Science lessons at school, and he has been enjoying his homework. Having done a research piece about the Pinhole Camera a week or so ago, we thought it would be fun to make one as he's very fond of craft activities. We have a drafting film focus screen and he's using his school blazer as a blackout, Greg graciously modelling in the bright light, as I'd made the smallest of holes to try and keep the image sharp! We didn't try to expose a paper neg, but may do so yet...

Have just watched the Frozen Planet on iPlayer. Can't say more than watch it whilst it's still available

Monday, December 05, 2011


Miranda has a hacking cough that she's obviously brought home from school, and is now trying to distribute to the rest of us. She's a tough cookie though and it's not holding her down - (although she's quite good at playing the part...)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Lunch with Monty

About this time of year the year 5's at Waterside School are invited to Beaulieu to have a taste of Victorian Christmas with the Montagu's. Lewis went some years ago and today it was Greg's turn to try out the silver. They have to dress in part, having done their research and take an authentic meal which they eat there.

Only just read this evening about the passing of Paul Motian - one of my all time fave jazz players. I can still remember buying Psalm on ECM from a record shop in The Quadrant Centre in Swansea circa 1982 just before I left for Art College. My punk/new wave days were over by then and I was looking for something more challenging; and although I'd always had a jazz influence from my parents, took off with modern jazz. He has produced so many great records, and I've seen him live many times in different bands (with Geri Allen and Charlie Haden in Southampton, and with the Electric Bebop Band in Brecon both stand out for me); the lightness of his touch and walls of sounds he was able to spin will always fascinate me.

Check out a few of my fave albums if you get a chance.

'Le Voyage' and 'Dance' both on ECM
'On Broadway Vol 1'
'I have the Room above Her'
'Lost in a Dream' with Chris Potter and Jason Moran from just last year.

and of course the classic Bill Evans Trio recordings with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian, 'Waltz for Debbie'.