Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Online swinger

I've been reading about Lee Miller this evening and she reminded me a lot of Miranda, as she holds her own with the boys. She's always had a natural self confidence, and never more so than when she's riding her bike or swinging on the Tarzan rope. Mind you Gran also enjoys swinging on a Tarzan Rope too so perhaps it's just in the genes...

This is one of our regular haunts, on the edge of Rans Wood in the forest.

Earthwatch links for GREG from NASA as he's studying space at the moment

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sitting in front of the fire this evening whilst Miranda read me a story. Greg had gone to Cubs, and for once we were ahead of the game with plenty of time to linger with a book or two. The first story was from Pooh Bear - In which Piglet is entirely surrounded by Water, followed by Mipp reading me Jack and the Beanstalk.

Lewis asked me for some help with his homework tonight editing a piece of video to promote the Army. They certainly get more interesting homework that I was given at school. Come to think of, in my day we had to go to college for four years to be able to shoot, edit and produce a video...!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Newtown Harbour

Had a pleasant picnic in harbour at Newtown today, followed by a walk down to Shalfleet. Lots of Brent Geese gathering in the water and fields around us. We visited the church in Shalfleet, and it's absolutely beautiful inside. Almost no wind, as you can see from the mill pond finish to the water as we headed back to the Beaulieu River.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rosy glow

When I asked Greg to do his guitar practice last night he brought me a piece of paper, and quietly looked up at me until I reacted. He's had his first assessment from the Hampshire Music Service, and lets just say it was good.

So we now have two promising guitarists in the house, and what a joy it can be to listen to them playing. Greg seems to have lots of natural talent, and is eager to show off his talent.

It's been a nice clear morning here, although my bike ride across the forest was bitterly cold. Lewis by contrast has been out on Southampton Water on a J Class boat from Hamble, and after 3 hours on the water said wasn't very cold at all!

btw Well done Greg... the new gold standard!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's the plan Stan?

Took this on Monday when Greg and Miranda were home with an inset day. I'd set Greg the challenge of doing some planning for a story that he'd been asked to write in school, and he'd begun to sketch out the story line, the characters and the development.

I thought it best to give him a reasonable incentive to achieving some Sketch Up time on the computer without Lewis in the house!

Better check whether he's finished his story yet....

I'm listening to Chad McCullough Dark Woods, Dark Waters on Origin Records

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

X Ray Specs

Lewis is getting on well with his science work at school. He's had another progress test and tells me he's well ahead of the curve - and naturally I believe every word he says! These are his new reading glasses!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Robert John Thomas

I have my brother Chris to thank for finding and scanning this image of my grandfather. I guess I'll add some more info to this photograph as and when others get a chance to comment on it's provenance.

It shows Grampy a happy man, dressed in his finest. It wasn't often you saw him in public without a tie on, but I suspect that sitting on a deck chair by the beach probably was the right time for him. Who knows that grin may have been inspired by the thought of being slightly anarchic...?

He would have been 109 the day before yesterday...

The recording below was made the last time I saw him in c1995.

If any family members would like to send me a memory of Grampy I will add it to this post.

  Grampy talking about TV and electric razors by jonathanseymourbrown

Monday, January 23, 2012

Red Indian

Miranda and Greg had an inset day today, so as Caroline was out at work, they did some drawing for me! Miranda is very into Red Indians at the moment and this is one of the pictures she drew, complete with headress and leopard skin dress. I have another equally beautiful drawing of a small Hopi girl for another day...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Something's Got a Hold on Me

Just so that Lewis and Greg understand where it really comes from...

Etta James RIP

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Row, row, row your boat...

It was only this evening that Miranda and Caroline were singing the above ditty to their hearts content. So whilst we are on a historical strand, just wanted to post this image of us "en famille" from the early seventies (at a guess). We all look like we are having a whale of a time, even though the boat wasn't actually going anywhere - we used to know how to make our fun then.

I don't have the actual transparency to inspect, although it was probably shot on Kodak and so it's poignant to reflect that the enormous corporation which in the seventies employed hundreds of thousands of people in the manufacture of film and associated products has today filed for bankruptcy protection.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Memory Lane

Not had the opportunity to check with the residents at the old folks home but I think this is Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire circa 1974. We had a holiday there with our cousins, and this sort of fits in with my memories of the place. I think I was about Lewis' age and can remember playing on the beach and visiting the fishing boats... Maybe one day we'll go back there, but it's probably all changed!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Captain Cat

It goes quiet sometimes and you don't normally notice that she's gone. Some time later she re-appears often wearing a costume and a handful of props; a hook, an eyepatch and a treasure map...... "Mummy can you put my makeup on!"

The silence by now replaced by wailing like a banshee, running around the house "Eeehaarr me hartying to her heart's content.

This was last night before she burned out.

Greg's been off school today, he's got a bad cough and his voice has more or less gone; tonight his temperature is up and he's not looking his finest. Spent most of the day in bed listening to Harry Potter stories read by Stephen Fry.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ning Nang Nong

On the Ning Nang Nong were the cows go Bong, and the Monkys all say Boo.... So it's the Ning Nang Nong, the caterpilus go Bing

Bearing in mind she wrote this without guidance and it was something they had watched in school, she's not done a bad job of transcribing the poem...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Piggy Wiggie

We took Domino the Donkey out for a walk this afternoon, he was in fine fettle allowing us to take hima good distance up into the woods above the house and around the estate where Miranda knows lots of people. Needless to say she enjoyed the experience. When we got back it was more or less time to put all the animals to bed so we helped round up the menagerie, feed them and put them top bed. I almost managed to get a shot of her hugging Maggie and Mikey, one arm around each; but it was too much excitement to be a success! Domino looking sheepishly on...

Lewis spent then day today in London with Terry and Kyle at the Boat Show - apparently he's been telling them (the yacht and dinghy salesmen) that we're in the market for a boat..! So we have enough brochures to start the research.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freda Flintstone

Over Christmas we went for a walk along the coast from Barton on Sea, and Miranda carried this quill and stone home. I suspect we may have told her a story about what it was like when we were children and kids had to write with old technology! To give her credit where it's due she's taken the lead and shown us that she too is capable of communication with said equipment.

Greg very pleased to tell us at dinner time that he'd been assessed on a piece of guitar work in school and was awarded 19/20. Nice work Greg, keep it up!

Tonight I'm listening to "He Said and then She Said" by Tommaso Cappellato (on drums) with Michael Blake (on sax), Giovanni Guidi (on piano) and Joe Reimer (on bass) from the album Open

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


A drawing of one of Miranda's toys at school if I recall correctly, can't tell you much more than he's fun!

The video below is also for Mipp as she came home from school with a nice poem she'd transcribed by Spike Milligan...

Monday, January 09, 2012


"You take one of me and I'll take one of you" she said, but she meant give me your camera, and you have a play with this old toy you've been fobbing me off with! Has to be said it takes quite good pictures doesn't it...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Boys and Toys

Has been a spectacularly beautiful day here today, after the stormy weather during the week. Some huge oak trees down in the forest sadly, but the winds have been very strong. Lewis has been sailing again for most of the day with Terry, as they are keen to get as much practice in with the Flying Fifteen.

The rest of us have had a walk in the forest and this is afterwards when we met up on Beaulieu Heath (on the last remains of the wartime airstrip) with the flying club... Do you get the impression that Miranda might be keen to have a go?

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Flying Fifteen

Lewis was up at half past seven, had his breakfast and made his sandwiches, and was cycling down to Beaulieu to sail with Terry and Kyle. I often think that January and February are the best months to be out, as we often get nice fresh sunny mornings in the winter. Luckily by the time I got out on my bike and headed in the same direction I was there just in time to help launch the boat in the water!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Oran Juice Joe's

It's been quite harmonious in the kitchen at breakfast time the last few days. Cereal been eaten, spellings been practiced, guitar been played, orange juice nearly drunk....

We've even been singing "Sometimes I get a good feelin...." from the bathroom in chorus!

I even made a pop video whilst I was bathing the kids, yes and I edited it too and we watched the darn thing whilst they towelled themselves dry.

Does it get anybetter than than?

Video Star on iPhone is possibly the most fun you can have with your clothes on, some might even say with your clothes off too...!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

It's in the genes

When I see a snap like this from the late sixties/ early seventies it really opens a window on personal history. I can clearly remember these friends of my parents visually, although not much about them unfortunately! My Mum looks more like a younger sister here (in my memory) what a top photo. Chris, who scanned this transparency recently after finding it at the old folks home, looking more like Otto in this photo.

Just realised that Juliet is holding a Weston Light Meter in her hand, and Practika TL on her arm.... phew!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Wildlife Illustration

This photograph is a diary note for my Dad who started the first specialist wildlife illustration course in the UK back in the late seventies at Dyfed College of Art. I think this particular gallery is a new addition to the NHM but it specialises in wildlife illustration from across the last few hundred years, and is a real treat to see. It was especially quiet when we were there and the kids were able to draw on the floor in peace and quiet.

It looks at the work of contemporary artists and various printmaking processes such as woodcut and etching etc, and also encourages youngsters to join in the fun....

Monday, January 02, 2012

Waterborne Creatures

Every time we have visited the Natural History Museum we have gone to see the Blue Whale and other mammals in this fantastic hall. It never fails to impress. The displays are rather antequated now, relative to some of the other parts of the museum, and you wonder what they could do to make it more impressive. Parts of the dinosaur gallery now have animatronic models that are very lifelike, but I'm not sure they add a great deal to the experience.

I asked Lewis how keen he'd be to jump into the water to film these creatures (and the blue whale) if it was his job was with the Frozen Planet team, and you could see him stop and think about the danger...

Sunday, January 01, 2012

It's behind you!

Thought it was a good use of a day to visit the Natural History Museum in London. We've tried New year's Day before as it's fairly quiet getting into town.

There's so many different things to marvel at at the NHM, and as we've watched some of the Frozen Planet series over Christrmas it was great to see creatures like the Musk Oxen, penguins (thoughtfully juxtaposed with dinosaur forebears) and of course Miranda in their natural environments.

Saw the day out in Covent Garden having taken in the sights of the West End.