Come along for the ride!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"When I count my blessings - I count her twice"

"ZZZZzzzz ..."



"Whassat, what the ... what happened, did I nod off?"

Sorry 'bout that, it's been a très busy week and I'm not entirely sure where to start. I tell you what, I''ll let my ever present camera help me out.

Things that have happened this week are as follows;

We had a BBQ (ahem, I cooked the food to perfection)

Knowing that their mother is highly allergic to egg, it is difficult to get the children to try them. They know they don't like boiled eggs, they know they don't like fried eggs so I thought I would ask them if they would to try scrambled eggs.

They did and they enjoyed them!

I made damson jam courtesy of fruit collected from my parent's beautiful garden (although we came away with enough fruit for 20 jars of jam, life is too short; I made 5 in total (1 is out of shot)). It tasted great; sweet but with a hint of 'tartness'.

Lord Parker's book arrived courtesy of Amazon (finally).

We picked tomatoes from our rather splendid hanging baskets (they tasted great but the skin was a tad tough).

I bought some tequila to "try". (It was bloody great).


What was the other thing?

Oh dammit, what was that other thing that happpened?

Come on brain, work, work ......

Oh yeah, that was it, M's birthday, I knew there was something!! Not just any old birthday but her 40th birthday - note how I was happy to dive straight in with her age as oppoed to the faffing I introduced around mine earlier in the year - (that reminds me, the search function isn't working on my blog right now, you'll have to manually navigate yourself there if you can be bothered - 8th March).

We went to Whitstable which is situated on the Kent coast.

I had planned to have oysters (and lots of 'em) but my battered haddock, chips, mushy peas and tartar sauce 'done me in' and I could face no more food at all (I sit here writing at 10.30pm and am not in the slightest bit hungry).

It was a different day out from the norm' though and highly enjoyable. The children bought their Mum a beautiful bracelet and I bought her something else (*)

The children also made their own cards which were, quite simply, fan-flippin'-tastic. Well done them.

Happy birthday to my beautiful wife M'.

We love you very, very much!

(* = haven't actually bought it yet!!!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"A one two three four five six seven eight n-i-i-i-i-ine te-n-n-n"


Count 'em.

Eleven long days in the wilderness. It's the longest amount of time I have allowed to pass between posts (if you ignore the short, scared one I added on Monday asking you to keep your fingers crossed for me).

"What has happened?" I hear you cry. "Do you not care enough about us anymore to keep us informed with the day to day tripe we occasionally stop by to read upon these green tinged pages?"

Well as a matter of fact dahlings, yes I do care and I have a damn good reason for my prolonged absence.


Not the swine flu variety but a full blown, niggling, awkward son of a beech hidey little bleeder of a computer virus and dammit if I just couldn't shift it!

I pride myself with the fact that generally I am savvy enough to keep my PC functioning fairly well (stay with me here, I'm not geeking out on you) and, thanks to anti-virus and spyware software, that's how things tend to be.

But even I, Dad himself, had to admit defeat and call in the Big Guns, or in this case, some local geezer who had dropped his card through the letterbox recently.

Anyway, I'm all better now, thank you for asking and I think I will just jump right back in like I'd never been away.

With the type of short term memory I possess however, (a stinkingly bad one), I tend to post here quite often (recent events aside) for a very good reason. Something happens during the day or someone makes a funny comment and I carry it around in my head until late evening when I am free to sit down and share it with you.

A very helpful aid of mine is the easily accessible voice recorder in my mobile 'phone which I tend to use as a memo recorder; a few words to trigger my memory later in the day or week and there you go, I have another post to waffle on about.

You'd think then, that after all this time I would have loads to tell you but alas this is not the case. In the same week that I opt out of using my PC until Mr IT got it sorted for me, my 'phone also goes down the pan after making some very strange noises that would be more familiar if R2D2 were standing next to you.

(can you see where I'm going with this???)

Let us summarise.

This past week, I have had NO memo recorder.

This past ten years I have had NO short term memory.

Therefore, I have NO specific tales to tell.

Oh sure, the children have made me roar with laughter over the past week and yes, there have been umpteen situations that have warranted a mention here but they were obviously not meant to be.

"Hah ha ha ha, that's hilarious, I must make a note of that so I can blog about it", I have said on more than one occasion, but short of sticking fingers in both ears to stop the damn thoughts dribbling out of my grey matter and down my ear lobes, there hasn't been a great deal I could do to stop them being washed down the drain.

One little story that is both lovely and funny though is this. One sunny day late last week, Joseph and Annabel were playing in our little garden while I was tidying up/putting a wash on/preparing some food etc. They had ensconsed themselves in separate corners of the lawn and while Annabel was playing with actual toys of hers on the grass, I was more intrigued with what Joseph was doing.

I stood a few feet away from him and watched until he was aware of me crouching there.

He was hunched over and kneeling but drew himself upright, smiling at what he was about to tell me.

"What's this?" I asked, smiling back at him.

"It's to help insects", he beamed.

"Really? How does that work then?" I asked, genuinely intrigued.

"Well, if any insects fall into the green bowl of water, then they can climb out onto the stick, walk along the stick into the sun where they can dry out and then climb down the stones and go home".

He said this while pointing at the different stages of the bugs' journey from impacting on the water to regaining their freedom. He looked so delighted with himself that I had to give him a hug. To be honest, I had to hug him anyway because I had burst out laughing before he had quite finished explaining his rescue plan.

I tried to explain to Joseph that if he hadn't put the bowl of water there in the first place, he wouldn't need to save any creatures unfortunate enough to land in it!

All I could think of was the terrific scene in Spinal Tap where Nigel Tufnel is explaining how his amp goes up to eleven, not ten, like most amps. (read the excellent conversation

"But if they do fall in", he insisted and clearly still pleased with himself at his thoughfulness, "they can use my escape route".

"Ok Poops, you win. Let's find some bugs and chuck 'em in!"

(It's good to be back!!)

Small print: no insects were harmed during the making of this post.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh lummee!

Normal service will resume shortly.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The difference a decade (or two) makes

It doesn't seem all that long ago (no, really), that if I found myself in a Doctor's waiting room or a hospital outpatients department, I would be reading the free literature appropriate to my age and lifestyle.

"Are you practising safe sex?"

"Attracting the opposite sex"

"Coping with being a teenager"

"Drinking in your 20's?"

... etc, etc and so on and so forth, blah blah blah.

Today I had an appointment at the hospital for my ever troublesome ankle (it's been over a year, dammit!!!) and, as you do, I picked up the literature appropriate for my age and lifestyle.


"Living with rheumatoid arthritis"

"So you're going to have a steroid injection?"


Ex-squeeze me?

What happened there? Is this really how it goes; a seemingly gradual (but not nearly as gradual as I'd like) slide into middle age?

I think I'm gonna buy me a skateboard!!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Lazy, good for nothing twerp!

Yep, that's me! I re-read what I'd written yesterday.

Is that the best I could do?

Is that all I got?

Dang, is there no bottom to the depths of laziness I will happpily plumb to in order to not sit and inform you, oh faithful reader, of the general goings on in my pitiful life??? I could blame it on the 6 hour drive home but that wouldn't work.

Would it?

I hang my head in shame .....

Ok, now for a proper post.

Devon is "rocking" (apart from the food - that bit was accurate!). The weather was fan-dabby-dozy, the beaches were enormous and sandy, the waves were "out there dude" and our chalet was just about right.

Ok, there were a lot of young guys 'n' gals who had clearly spent an inordinate amount of time perfecting their beach bum look (I don't care how naff I sound, wearing O'Neill clothing from your hat, down through your wetsuit to your flip flops does not look as cool as you think it does!! Oh no it doesn't!!).

I haven't seen such amazing waves since Chiclana beach in Spain a lon-n-ng time ago. I forgot how much fun it was to be thrown towards the beach by a powerful wave and then, before you've managed to surface long enough for a proper breath, be dragged back out and down whether you like it or not.

We visited Arlington Court, courtesy of the National Trust and the children got to dress up in Victorian costumes, play Victorian games and try writing using old quills and nibs (see Annabel in previous post pics).

The more we holiday in the UK, the more I realise not only how steeped in history it is but also how incredibly beautiful it is. Being a Londoner, it is easy to forget about huge, patchwork countryside, sprawling for mile after mile after mile.

I am not a fan of modern architecture by any stretch of the imagination but I fell in love with Baggy House which is situated on the coastal path heading out to Baggy Point (surprisingly enough). It looks like a modern extension on the front of an old cottage/farmhouse and it is BEE-YOO-TI-FUL! There ain't a lot on Google Images so you may have to click on my picture of it (last post), although I admit to taking loads of shots of it. Joseph and I went up to the main gate for a closer look just as the owner decided to walk down the driveway.


She was very understanding I must say; we had all but climbed over her gate in a bid to get "the" shot of her house.

We drank some wine (did I say "we", I meant "me"; M no drinky), I drank some local ale (Exmoor brewery, the Beast at 6.6% - goodnight sweetheart) and we watched a lot of films. With the children we watched Madagascar 2 (very funny), Ice Age 1 & 2 (not bad) and High School Musical (clench cheeks now).

M and I also watched two superb films which arrived with the post-woman (post-person?), barely 10 minutes before we set off from home on the Saturday previous (sweeet!). These were Etz Limon (Lemontree), a terrific film highlighting the politics and hopelessness of the Palestinian/Israeli problem (here he goes again - what can I say, it's an interest of mine) and Waltz with Bashir, an animated film which was Oscar nominated, BAFTA nominated and winner of a Golden Globe.

Watch them both - they are riveting.

There; that's more like it!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Surf dudes!

It always surprises me slightly that after a week of being away from home, away from the city, away from work, away from computers, I seem to struggle to get 'back in the zone' for posting my daily/weekly drivel here. I mean, I look forward to writing again, I love the fact that I can waffle on for hours at a time but sit me down in front of a keyboard and a monitor after a very short break and ...... nothing.

Thank gawd I take plenty of pictures!

Ooh, I must point out however that we were once again very disappointed at the distinct lack of decent seafood restaurants. It's the English coast for goodness sake; don't make me send Gordon down to start effing and blinding at someone!!!

As always, click to enlarge.