Saturday, March 31, 2012

First man out

Lewi had some serious competition out today for the racing at Calshot. Fourteen boats out for quite a blustery evening sail. He was the first boat on the water and tonight was a Persuit race, so he was first off the line with them all chasing him.  In a Pursuit race the slowest boats start first and then the faster boats set off in pursuit with the time delay between classes of boats being determined from their handicaps. If boats of different classes are sailed by crews of equal ability then they should all cross the finishing line together.

Lewis finished eighth out of fourteen, which was good in my view as the windy conditions suited the more experienced boats with bigger sails.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Life often seems better when viewed through the bottom of a wineglass. It's not so bad when it's seen through the top of the glass either sometimes. Darstardly useful tools these iPhones, always there when you need them, great for fly-on-the-wall capture....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Russn Dolly

Time for another one of Popsie's lovely drawings, this time her Russian Dolly. She has a great sense of where to take a line and knows often when to stop.

She was feeling a bit under the weather tonight, with a bit of a cough pointing up the bad omens. I hope she does not pass this one along, as we've had too many germs this season for my liking.

Have spent the evening processing some photos I took last night on the beach at Keyhaven under the light of the moon - very theraputic!

Lewi came home from school exhausted after a rugby match after school - he had in his bag a school report showing steady progress. He even remembered to fix the puncture on his bike before it was bedtime, he's a good lad!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On the trail with Dom

It's always a challenge getting a picture of Miranda when she's riding Domino, because I really need to hold the halter as he may decide to trot off... So I divert his attention with some juicy grass, but that means I have to get down in the ditch to get a decent angle on him and Miranda... We met an older girl from her school today when we were out, and Mip had the pleasure of being able to show off endlessly to her about how much she knew and was privvy to. Quite a nice afternoon in all.

It's been another fab day too on the weather front, the prickly sensation of slight sunburn on the flesh after yesterday and today.

I watched my long tailed tit again today when I was out on my bike ride, he's still busy building that nest. I have been reading Sky Hawk tonight, a book that Greg recommended to me a few days ago, so I thought I should find out what he was digesting - highly recommendable

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tie a Yellow Ribbon

Whenever we walk past this lovely oak in Denny Wood we often comment on the time we took a photo with the boys inside the trunk. It seems so much more dilapidated than before yet when we got around to doing an update, it's surprising how much has changed - Gregory mainly!

Lewis was unable to get inside any more, but we managed to get Mipp in instead.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lepe Revisited

Friday night and it's light enough to visit the beach after work, so I took them for a run around. The boys played football whilst Miranda and I strolled on the shore and built sandcastles. She's quite happy working under her own initiative these days, but calls when you are about 200 yards away, just to let you know she really wants you to come back (and do it all for her)

Later we played in the park and she was very eager to impress two little girls - she is an unbelievable show off.

I'm listening to Giovanni Guidi's album on CAM Jazz (2011) called "We don't live here any more" with Gianluca Petrella, who came to play for me many years ago at the Basingstoke Anvil. He's one of my faves at the mo, and I can also recommend Tommaso Cappellato's "Open" with Guidi on piano and Michael Blake on Sax

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Anyone else see the similarity with cousin Francis in this photograph of Lewis? Taken a week or so ago after a rugger match I chose a different image to post, but I thought it also captures a moment in time quite nicely.

It's been a truly glorious day here today, warm and sunny. Even managed to get a bike ride in through the forest and was lucky enough to observe a long-tailed tit building it's nest in a thick bush of brambles. I'd just been standing at a fave spot listening to the incredible tranquility in the forest, when I became aware of it's birdsong. Once I noticed where the sound was coming from I stood stil,l and watched it come and go about five or six times. Now I know where the nest is I'll be able to track them when I pass it hopefully. Such beautiful little birds.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Almost off

One from the first weekend of dinghy racing at Calshot, as they approach the starters orders.... Ready steady ....Go!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hunny monster

Miranda had some find of plasticy rubbish toy in her pocket, and she'd been using it to view me through - one end had a star shape the other a diamond. She was pretending to make a video, and asking me questions about which I thought looked better. I said I thought the red filter which divided the two sides looked more interesting, and she replied that you couldn't make videos with that!

So I had to prove her wrong - she thought this picture was just brilliant, which it is of course...

I'm listening to Jason Moran - Black Stars 

Guitar riff for Lewis - if you can master this I will take up singing myself
"She does it right" 

Monday, March 19, 2012

As much chocolate as you can eat for the rest of your life

Miranda chose Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for one of her school books last week, and as it's a slightly more grown up book that she is used to reading, has taken a while to progress. Tonight as Greg was out at Cubs, Lewis had the pleasure of reading to Mipp, and as you can see they were having a game old time...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Trip to the Playground

The tables have been turned, and a trip to the park on Sunday afternoon now means that Miranda has to push me on the swing whilst I berate her to push harder. I can get used to this... It's been lovely and sunny here today in between the showers, but ever so cold.

We had a walk from Denny Wood this morning, and I noticed the temperature sitting at 11deg C on our way back at 2pm

Saturday, March 17, 2012

At the ready

You try producing art when you are on your knees in the forest and some kids start poking you with long bits of grass... So I turned my firepower on them instead!

Friday, March 16, 2012


Found this photo from the recent weekend up north with the clan and thought it needed to go online. It's easy to blink and miss the transition between childhood and being grown up, but this captures some of it. One minute they are taxing your ability to keep an eye on them, the next they are entertaining the little ones.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Going in to Battle

Lewis was off to school at 7AM this morning, as he was playing in a Hampshire rugby tournament at Aldershot and Fleet RFU. He brought me a cup of tea in bed before he headed off, and gave me a big nervous smile. He's just got home and thrilled to tell me that Noadswood school won the tournament which included schools from all over the county, and this is what the legs of a champion look like!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eye Spy

One from a few weeks ago when we visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park; a bit like unspent allowances ahead of the new tax year, use it or loose it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


We have a new chef at Smokey Joe's Cafe. Greg has been busy preparing a dinner for us all (except for Miranda, who's been despatched to bed) so that he might earn another badge for his Cubs activity. Here he is preparing some vegetables with a peeler, and I think we are in for a curry with aubergine, butterbean and potato. He's also made a daahl and raita, and there's a nice smell percolating through to my workroom. Lewis is playing his guitar and all is rosy in the garden...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunny Days Starry Nights

The first two days of the sailing season have gone well but we are all exhausted from the fresh air and exertion. Lewis and Caroline were sailing at the Club today, whilst Mirandfa Greg and kayaked across the lagoon at Calshot. This is as we arrived at Shell Island, having just made about 30 Brent Geese, two Oystercatchers and three Shellduck homeless. It's great fun creeping up on the birds, watching them suspiciously eyeing you as you get closer - Miranda usually can't resist saying something which gives them good reason to evacuate...

Yesterday we had a similar day, although Lewis raced in a Topper, earning his first points for the Junior leaderboard. He's raring to go....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Football Fever

Photograph of Greg and team mates from the Cubs football tournament at Southampton FC training grounds in Marchwood earlier... Miranda and Caroline were cheering him on from the sidelines, I think they might have caught football fever....

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Book worm

Intended posting this picture several days ago for Gran, as she recently gave Greg a set of about a dozen Alex Rider books, which he can be seen devouring here. I must take a photo of the pike of books by the side of his bed one day to catpture his enthusiasm for reading, you can tell just by the shape of the pile and the book marks that it's a sculpture that changes daily.

Tonight as I was reading with Miranda (Charlie and Chocolate Factory) Greg wandered over and asked "Dad Can I read 'The Illiad' ?" Sitting on the top shelf in the study our Homer had been getting a little dusty, and I didn't expect the question let alone him persevere with reading it. An hour later he's read the first 700+ lines of prose and he's telling me the story so far, the battles as always most powerfully renditioned....

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Auntie Bett RIP

We gathered earlier near Lichfield for my "Auntie Bett's" funeral, and this was one of the photographs that had been put on the wall, to inspire memories. My Mum was lucky enough to have a large and very close family, and over the years the four sisters (my Mother mother Maud, Ila, Muriel and Betty) were the glue that kept us all together, exemplars of a value system that we all hold dear. Gatherings would be arranged from time to time, people pulled together and stories told, although sadly this time one voice was missing.

This photo shows Bett with her husband Norman, at ease on a beach somewhere in glorious colour. The way it should be. The service at Streetly Crematorium was really touching, Martin delivering a funny and empassioned overview of her life through the eyes of her immediate family.

After the gathering in Litchfield I took David Hughes (Ila's only son) back to his son's house, and was able to share stories about Norman, Betty, Ila and Charles's life as we drove down the Birmingham Road passing their old boozing haunts (now the Toby Carvery, Shenstone), and street (Smarts Avenue, Shenstone) where they had lived, and their children John, Martin, and Elizabeth born.

I shall sign off with Martin's words in summing up her life "Mum's contribution to the happiness and success of her family and friends was enormous and she will be greatly missed. God bless you Mum for all those lovely memories..."

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I'm a Barbie Girl

By rights it would be Lewis' turn to be on the blog tonight. He's not so easy to get a photograph of, especially as he didn't get in until late this evening. Another day, another rugby tournament. Today it was in Ringwood I think, against a tough team they were only able to draw with... Lewis scored three tries and made two conversions, so he was a very popular chap. Said he was looking forward to school tomorrow as they would be feting him. I think being Captain of the team has brought out a new side in him, he's always had confidence, but this seems to be giving him a lot more maturity of self confidence.

Miranda wanted to show you her Barbie picture - do you like it?

Monday, March 05, 2012

Growning up pains

We were doing some drawing on Sunday morning when Miranda told me her tooth was hurting... "Well there's two of them and they are very wobbly!" she said. It dawned on me when I saw they were her two lower front teeth that shortly she will not look the same again - so it was time for a photo session!

Now as it turned out I prefered this one with her teeth invisible but such is life. I guess I'll find another with baby teeth to mark the week she passes into grown-up life...

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Go wild in the Country

Yesterday when we were skipping through the forest Miranda spotted three deer ahead of us doing likewise. " I do miss my Brooky!" she said before they had disappeared. Brook, who she often cuddled at bedtime, had gone somewhere it transpired - and the mystery was solved when Lewis brought him back from the Sailing Club today...

We've been to the Art Gallery in Southampton today to see the Roland Penrose and British Surrealism exhibition "The Road is Wider than it is Long". It was a really interesting show a whole gallery devoted to Desmond Morris' chimpanzee experiment and the paintings they produced! Miranda and Greg were both fascinated by them, although I was particularly interested as I've just been reading a Lee Miller biography.

Also of current relevance Greg has been playing the James Bond Theme on the guitar, so knowing his fascination with all things computerised or obotic ....

Friday, March 02, 2012

Full Flow

Another snapshot of a moment from last weekend; nothing masterly about the composition bt I like the way it captures what happens when the clan get together. Mother in story telling mode, surrounded by family who will no doubt continue the tradition....

Being Friday we went to the park tonight, even though it was getting dark. Miranda and I played on the new equipment and Lewis and Greg pounded the ball around the field. Both boys have been playing rugby in school, but they still had appetite for more. Greg has been in a TAG rugby tournament which he loved, despite not winning the event.  Lewi very excited about being selected for a tournament next week to play against teams from across the South as far away as Cornwall.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

When I was younger, so much younger than today

Today is St David's Day, the patron saint of Wales. When we were young growing up as children most kids in the countryside took the opportunity to dress traditionally. For boys this meant wearing a leek or a daffodill, whilst the girls would go the whole hog in this costume. This is my sister Juliet, from when we lived out near Capel Iwan.