Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Children,s books

Lists! I love them and when they are lists compiled by experts listing the top 10 of whatever their chosen field is I love them even more. Largely, so I can be outraged by them and feel myself to be morally and intelectually superior. This week all the children's laureate's listed what they considered to be the top five children's books. I can see that JK Rowling and Philip Pullman haven't been round long enough to see how they age. I am very surprised that Roald Dahl isn't included and I would seriously question whether Oliver Twist is suitable for children at all! However on the whole these books reflect the authors' favourite books from their childhoods. So after some thought I have decided to list my favourite books from my childhood( I think - I might change my mind)
The land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley
Jennie by Paul Galico
Black Beauty Anna Sewell
The horse and his boy by C.S Lewis
The House at Pooh corner A.A. Milne

So what are other people's favourites?

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Hello. We have just returned from an excellent weekend in Southampton visiting Kieran and Alice. The weather was good and the company excellent.
We went for a walk around Southampton Common and Southampton Old Cemetry. This is huge and has been left to grow quite wild in parts. I think deliberately to encourage wild life. It is very atmospheric and would make a fantastic location for film or TV. Some of the grave have trees growing up from them.

While we were walking round it we saw the grave of somebody who had been struck by lightening. Kieran instructed us on what to do if you were caught in an electric storm. He then instructed us on how to survive a Zombie attack. I'm hoping that I never have to put either of these instructions to the test
In the hotel room a little later, Trev made a cup of tea and we decided to eat some complimentary biscuits. Trev read out what the choice was - Chocolate chip, shortbread or Tennessee Ginger biscuit. Well, I had never heard of the latter and opted for them at the same time thinking that it seemed unlikely that ginger was cultivated in tennessee. As we ate them I said "Arent't these supposed to be ginger?" "I thought so," said Trev."What does it say on the packet." I looked again and they were in fact Viennese Finger biscuits. Ah well they were nice.
Last night we had a lovely meal at a restaurant called Dock of the Bay. Here is a picture of Kieran and Alice sitting in the dock of the bay. Ho Ho Ho
(Seriously, I'm sure nobody has thought of that before.)
An excellent weekend with a lot of lovely food, entertaining board games and brilliant company

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Well, OK maybe that's overstating it a bit but it is annoying. The hotel in the village where Kieran's wedding is taking place is hosting another wedding that day. Anyway, Alice's aunt and her family had booked three rooms there last year before the hotel had booked the wedding. But now the hotel has booted Alice's family out! How rude! So much for verbal agreements, eh?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cat or Dog?

This morning, great joy, I worked from home. This allowed me the pleasure of walking to the local shop to buy a paper with my lovely wife. On the way we saw a man, with a black cat following him. As we passed, it sort of paused and gave us a look. We tittered, "it looks like that man is taking it for a walk - arf arf". Then we heard the man say "come on Boris"! So he was. So was that a man who wanted a dog, could only get a cat, but had trained it like a dog? Or was the look the cat gave us saying "he might think he's taking me for a walk, but I just decided to humour him again"?

If only it could talk......................

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Former glory

Two of my best chums are teachers and during the holidays I book a day's holiday and we have a little tripette. Usually it is somewhere that will provide a nice lunch and have some historic buildings which we can saunter around and then somewhere else we can have a nice tea. I have just returend from Wisbech which is in north Cambridge deep in the fens. Ann and I had both seen the film Dean Spanley which was largely filmed there and decided it would be an interesting place for a day out.

It certainly is a handsome town with a wealth of Georgian housing as you can see from the pictures. But, my, it is in need of some tlc. It was obviously very wealthy in the 18th and 19th centuries when the port was thriving and it had two railway stations and a tramway. Indeed the Rev Audrey was inspired to write the Thomas the Tank engine books from the town. But now the railway and tramway are gone and the port is hardly vital. It has a marina but it doesn't seem to be bringing in much cash. It's full of pound shops and charity shops and virtually no chain stores or restaraunt. The roads to it are rubbish and it's not near any major conurbation. Many of the buildings are looking a bit sorry for themselves and I don't know how a town like that can recover. Mind you I should have known what to expect as a colleague called it Wisbekistan and a friend describe it as an armit.

That said we had a very nice day out. Peckover house and Octavia Hill's birthplace are very interesting and it is worth a visit in the unlikely event that you are ever in that partof the fens

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Adam's birthday


Here are some photos and a video(if it ever finishes loading) of Adam's birthday lunch, which - despite the weather forecast - was a beautiful day (which is why we were eating in the garden)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wedding date

Kate has said I can blog this, so we have a date booked for Kate and Carl's wedding.

It is going to be on 21 November at Court Colman Hotel which is north of Bridgend. I'm not sure when the invitations will be going out, that will be when they have finalised the guest list, which is currently too long - they always are at the beginning probably, but there are always also limitations on space and (even more crucially) budget. There is an award winning Indian restaurant attached to the house so they are going to have an Indian buffet for the dinner which is both different and also something which has Carl who is a real foodie and loves Indian food really excited.

Two weddings in one year! How exciting.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Little people

At the moment I am in love with this art Bascially, the artists puts these tiny installations all over London and photographs them then leaves them to their fate.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Fevered imagination

At the moment I have a cough. It's not so bad really but it is keeping me awake at night and it is in the middle of the night that any sense of proportion departs. The other night I must have had a temperature because one minute I was freezing and then the next I was boiling. At the same time any chance of dozing off was remote because I kept coughing. So in the small hours of the morning my imagination got the better of me and I decided that I must have malaria. A laboratory on the same floor as the library is working on malarial mosquitos and I decided that one of them must have escaped the biocontainment and bitten me. There could be no other explanation. Eventually, with the help of olbas oil I went to sleep and in the morning I realised what a silly moo I had been. Strange how different things can seem in the middle of the night

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Extreme sheep herding

One of Erin's friends just showed me this on You Tube. I suspect there is much cleverness involved but I still love it.
Oh yes and a fascinator is a bunch of feathers stuck on an Alice Band

Personal shopping

I was flummoxed by the idea of finding an outfit for Kieran's wedding. I know what to wear at work or home or an evening out but really posh is a foreign country to me. Then I heard from Helen about John Lewis's personal shopping service -which is free! I decided to give it a go bringing Erin along to keep me in touch with reality. It was really excellent. Jan, our fashion advisor, took us to this fairly large room with armchairs and a changing area. She took down my detail and asked me what colours I liked and what was the occasion (as well as imparting a good deal about her own home life). Then we followed her around the fashion floor as she picked up things that I wouldn't even have tried on. We had two hours of her time and I settled on a nice dress and jacket. I knew it was going to go well when very early on I found the perfect shoes. However I am glad that I brought Erin as she dissuaded me from a dress that Jan liked a lot more than I did and I think I would have been too weak to say no on my own. Also when I tried on a fascinator Erin's tittering reminded me of the fact that Andy's reaction would have been tittering times 10! Though to be honest I don't think I would have gone down the fascinator route it did look a bit silly. All three of us agreed that the hat was a bad idea.
All in all an excellent service. I would recommend it although, of course, I went way over budget which is probably the idea!