Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jumping Man

Miranda wanted me to come into school with her today to see her Toy Assembly; they've been learning about toys in the modern age and traditional toys, learning songs and they wanted to put on a show for us....

She showed me some things she's been making in school. Did I say she was very excited?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Keep Calm and stay upright

Lewis has an 'activities week' at school and yesterday he came home having made this phone holder for me.

Activities of a different nature tonight though as it was an evening sailing session. The weather has been gorgeous the last week or so, so I packed a shorty wetsuit and no spraytop think we were in for another suntan topping session. The wind looked fresh at about 15 knots when we arrived, but it soon built up and on the water we watched the storm clouds move in.

Fortunately the water is quite warm this time of year, but we were drenched repeatedly by the spray - what you might call an immersive experience. It was as much as we could do to keep the boat up, and in the event we were the only boat not to capsize.

Totally exhilarating...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Topsy Turvy

It was hot at the park this evening and the boys didn't have the energy to run around, so we had a game of crazy golf instead. The idea being to throw the ball into the swing basket from a set distance in the minimum number of throws. I predicted 5 throws, but did it in 3, Lewis took 5, Gregory took 4, and Miranda who normally is ball skills challenged did it in two throws...!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Greg had his first sail in the Feva today, although unfortunately the wind was almost too slight to have proper fun. It was more like sunbathing weather, so they did some capsizing routine and the like. Don't be taken in by the black clouds, I didn't take this (or any other) photo today...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thomas the Tank No1

It was rather hot yesterday, and having just got back from a meeting in Peterborough Miranda was very keen on me camping with her inside her tent. She looks a bit sweaty, and despite my protestations that I just wanted a snooze we had a bit of fun instead!

Today has also been hot, although we've spent the day at Calshot sailing and skinny dipping. The wind was fairly strong 21 knots gusting at 30+ meant it was too strong for Greg unfortunately, but CJ crewed for Lewis in the first race and I did the second race. A very atmospheric sail with an onshore wind with no capsizes.... (although nearly everyone else went over!!)

Friday, May 25, 2012

The boys tonight playing guitar after dinner on the pergola. Lewis had been practicing his blues tune when I asked Greg to join him with some chords, and it went fairly smoothly... Took some nice photos of Miranda playing in her tent this evening too but she gets far too much attention anyhow.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Had a totally satisfying blast across the forest this evening after work - ninety minutes of adrenaline rush on a warm and sunny evening; and back just in time for story time with Miranda. Which is why I was probably so relaxed I let her take a photo of me instead of reading...! She shot this in Instagram and processed it herself too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Greg's chick

Partly for completeness, and partly because it's a lovely little picture I include Greg's little chick pic...

No 3 of a three part set.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chirpy chirpy...

About thirty minutes after the last picture, she had noticed Greg's picture and had started to make the chick and her mother more representational. You can see how she's tried to get the wing to look "wing shaped", and with the second attempt it's much better. Although in a way I prefer the earlier pictures, but you can't hold back the dam.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cheep Cheep!

Miranda doing a little sketch of Barry's one day old chicks, just after she got back from seeing them on yesterday. She's a spontaneous drawer, and always has a great sense of what she's going to draw. She never needs to ask for help or inspiration, it's always there ready to burst out. She's also like a sponge, so when she saw Greg's picture she changed her style considerably, and she's now drawing them in a Gregory stylee today - maybe another picture tomorrow.

I have been out taking photos in the balmy evening light at Barton on Sea - chips on the beach at sundown, you can't beat it...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Underwood Road, Cadoxton.

Miranda has been talking about and doing research on old toys at school, so it seems right that I post this image taken in Grampy's (Robert John Thomas) garden in Underwood Road, Neath. I'm guessing that I must be three or four, so the date will be 1st March 1964 or 1965....

How do I know the date - take a look at Juliet in the background, she's wearing traditional Welsh costume including the top hat, which is associated with St David's Day.

Whenever I think of Grampy's house I think of those roses in the garden, and the clothes line hoisted high.

Hot Stuff

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mipp has been sticking some of her pictures in a scrapbook, and she's been going around proudly showing her work to anyone prepared to look. This one made me hoot, as it's her on the old avocado lavatory. It often amazes me the detail she can recall within an image or an event, stuff that I have long lost a connection with.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

April Leaderboard

Lewis was rather excited when he logged on to the Calshot Sailing Club website earlier, as he finished top of the Junior leaderboard in April. He's also currently joint highest point scorer in May so far too! This is the first season he's been listed as competitor and he's up against some good sailors...

He's been home from school today with gastroenteritis, and he's been looking and sounding quite peeky. Not his usual self, ...not until he saw the above anyhow!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Flerty Gerty

Bedtime story done, and there's just time for a cuddle with snorty before lights out! Managed to get a quick photo taken as well so I'm posting it to show Miranda that I am  a man of many talents!

Greg has been away for a few days himself at Scout camp and was very tired, so no difficulty dispatching them tonight.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Osborne Bay

After a few days sailing around the Solent with my chum Fordy I was able to be creative, having just eaten a nice lunch at Osborne Bay. We set out on Thursday evening and it was fairly choppy to say the least. There was very poor visibility, strong tides and did I mention the wind! Nevertheless we sailed all the way up to the Folly near Newport, and had a very good nights sleep (after the beer!)

Friday was spent en route to Itchenor, sailing around Hayling Island and Chichester area. Coming back up Southampton Water on Saturday evening there was hardly a boat on the water - amazing really considering it was a fabulous day.  All in all an excellent session, where we didn't have to use the engine at all.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Plain sailing

Engrossed in his model Wayfarer, as he adjusts the rigging cresting another imaginary wave... In reality his boat sits on a wooden trailer made by Grandan, and together they scoot around the living room floor! Soon it will be warm enough to take the boat down to the pond and he'll be running around in the water with his landlines as he trims the sails...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Where the wild things are...

We've had a fair bit of pleasure down the years reading this book which David and Barb gave Lewis when he was a little boy - and we read it again tonight having heard that Maurice Sendak had passed away...

And he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
to where the wild things are....

Listen if you can to a recent interview on npr

I had intended taking a picture of Miranda with her Titanic model that she made on the weekend as I'd seen a superb blog post on the Iconic Photos website earlier about a certain Father Browne... maybe we'll getthe photo another day.

"In James Cameron’s Titanic, there was a scene, as the protagonist played by Leonardo DiCaprio sneaks onto the first class deck, of a child and his father playing with a spinning top on the promenade. That innocent scene of domestic bliss Cameron copied directly from a famous photograph actually taken abroad the Titanic by one Jesuit novitiate named Francis Browne.
Browne, later better known as Father Browne, sailed with the ship for the first leg of its journey, from Southampton, England, to Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland. Although a wealthy family he befriended while on the Titanic asked him to continue the journey all the way to New York, his superior at Queenstown sent him a laconic, but providential, telegram requesting him to disembark.
Therefore, Browne became one of only eight people who disembarked from Titanic; back to his post, Browne carried back around 1,000 photographs taken between April 10th and April 12th 1912 on and around the ship. They were the only photographs taken of ‘Titanic’."

Elsewhere I also turned up a really interesting article about a boat built locally on the Designboom site, so two recommendations today!! Check out The Boat Project

Monday, May 07, 2012

Grooming time

Once upon a time I had difficulty remembering what I'd done a year ago, nowadays it's what I did on the weekend that I struggle with. But it's because of the Bank Holiday weekend I suddenly realise, that I am out of kilter.

On Sunday after doing our sail training at Calshot, Miranda and I took Domino for a walk and then she gave him a brush down. The sun shining at this point, although it's been cold, wet and windy in the main this weekend.

"Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made." Franz Kafka

Friday, May 04, 2012

Made Up

Just before they headed off to school this morning for Star Wars day, Greg and Miranda popped in to say Cheerio.... and just enough time to grab a photo. They were still painted when they got home, although quite a few scratch marks as it was itchy under all that paint!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Box of Frogs

Posting this as a reminder of Miranda's madness this evening. We had a call about seven from a neighbour that the baby Tawny Owl had fledged and was sitting on a low branch of the tree, eyes closed trying to ignore them oggling at it - did we want to come and see it? Miranda has been talking non-stop about it for the last few days, so we went.

Upon our return she proceeded to bed with her stuffed mousey for bedtime story. We naturally chose an owl book which described the life and dietary habits of a Barn Owl, and having got to the bits when she detected a mouse being eaten, took to covering the mouse's ears! This escalated to my having to change the words to "chocolate cake" just in case he could hear.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Miranda has been making bunting for the jubilee party. Not sure if this connects with the Yoda outfit but that's what she was wearing when she collared me to show me her wares.

She's definitely been eating too much spinach.

Musical recommendation of the day is from Martin Parker - Ultimate Spinach's Behold and See from 1968. A rare groove to set you rummaging in the record boxes....

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Lewi came bounding home from school with the great idea of going sailing, as it was the first of the evening weekday series races, and a beautiful day to boot. He just can't get enough at the moment, having been out twice on the weekend, and is going out with school tomorrow evening as well.

It was a fantastic evening on the water, breezy at times, but the sort of conditions a spinnaker would have remedied in places. We came fourth out of six boats and would have done better he assures me if we'd had the proper kit! Personally I was happy to lie back in the boat and take in the scenery...

There's some great podcasts at the Jazz Library website at Radio 3