Sunday, February 28, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Somewhat later than planned the Martins and McNabbs have managed to have a Christmas weekend (the parents anyway, none of the young could make it this time).

We had a great weekend.

There was much laughter, wine and playing on the Wii, which caused much of the laughter.

Brian was very good at being a flying chicken and leading a marching band, I was surprisingly good at frisbee golf and ten pin bowling (both of which I am rubbish at in real life). It was great fun.

We went to Cambridge and to the Fitzwilliam Museum which had an exhibition of Japanese netsuke which are fantastic, so incredibly detailed and so tiny.

Here is a Wikipedia article on them.

On the way home we stopped at Kate and Carl's new house. They are near Reading now, in a modern semi which is very pleasant, and right on the edge of the countryside. While sitting having lunch we saw a heron fly past, then a kite, and goldcrests outside. Looks like it will be a good place for birdwatching.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Further adventures of Erin

Here are a few more pictures lifted from Heather's photos. They are all of the North island of New Zealand. There are a few captions, but Heather hasn't captioned many so it is guess work on my part sometimes. They are still having a fabulous time as you can see.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Erin's adventures

Well, as you know Erin is on her travels and she is keeping in touch but we aren't seeing many pictures. So through a process of wheedling and guilt trips I have managed to become Heather's friend on Facebook, thus I can actually see pictures of Erin. It sounds like she is having an amazing time. I have put less scenery and more Erin - it is very beautiful but you can just look at National Geographic or watch Lord of the Rings if you want to see what New Zealand looks like. The pictures are mostly South Island NZ. Sydney and Tokyo are obvious. Nothing is labelled because I am too lazy to back reference to Heather's photos, and it is not in order either
I think that Helen and I are holidaying vicariously through our daughters at the moment!
Enjoy the photos.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

English and languages.

Sorry if you have been commenting and nothing has happened I thought they would email me but I have to keep checking. Anyway got another spammer so worth doing.
Anyway I am developing a theory as to why the English are so bad at other languages. OK it's largely because we are lazy and English is an international language. But my theory is that we get a bit embarrassed at pronunciation.
Most days I give and Indian colleague a lift home. We were talking about the Himalayas. Now I know from watching a documentary that they are pronounced Himaaaarleears in the Subcontinent unlike HimaLAYas in England. When talking to Mamta I pronounced them as she does but if I was talking to somebody English I would use the second pronunciation because I feel a bit pretentious.
For example, I would never say that I am going to see my niece in Parreeeee. I would say I was going to Paris.
I remember when Kieran came to chose which language he wanted to do at school, he could choose between French and German. He chose the latter. Partly, I think, because as a mathematician he could appreciate a language that had rules and stuck to them. But also it's a less embarrassing language to pronounce. The boys could all bark at each other like prison guards from the Great Escape (the language of Schiller and Beethoven probably wasn't on the agenda). Whereas French is hard to get right and can be a bit camp.
Anyway such are my thoughts

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Some of Kate and Carl's pics

Here is a link to some of Kate and Carl's pictures

It is only a fraction of them but it shows some of the animals they saw, and a little bit of the scenery.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Honeymoon Part 1 (Sort of)

....apologies for being completely rubbish and not posting about our (fabulous) honeymoon or the (pretty-good-if-I-do-say-so-myself) photos. With Carl being posted we are moving in a week's time so it's all a bit hectic here, and Carl has had to go away for training and he's taken the laptop with him that has all our photos on.

I am rubbish, there's no excuse but I promise, promise to get the pictures from Carl this weekend and post extensively and bore the pants off you all about the joys of South Africa.

Official thanks are now on their way to you all but whilst I'm here we both want to say a huge thank you for your generous donations to our travel fund. It really was the holiday of a life time :)

Pics and details to follow!

Monday, February 01, 2010


Well many members of this family have been to exotic and warm places recently but they are choosing not to share the experience with the rest of us. So here is a blog that will bring you down to earth with a bump.
I love garden birds, a love that probably came from Mum. I have always been delighted that a family of starlings have chosen to nest under the eaves of our roof every year. They are positioned over the loo so they don't wake us with those 4.30am feeds in mid June. They vacate the nest in the late summer but occasionally shelter in the loft when it is very cold. Trev did a brilliant recreation of "The Birds" when he went to put something in the loft one evening and startled the starling. (Although unlike the film there was no eye gouging or rubbish acting).
However, we are now beginning to wonder if the starlings are such an honour.
When Kieran moved to Southampton we redecorated his room including changing his carpet. So over the summer when he and Alice were staying and Alice mentioned that she thought she saw some beetles in the carpet, I was convinced that it was simply the carpet settling down. Why would creatures be in this brand new carpet. Erin has a 20 year old carpet in a fairly appalling state. Infact whenever you try to vacuum in there the hoover hangs back and starts crying!
However at Xmas Alice mentioned it again and I had to admit that she was right (and that probably she has made a mental note to definitely not take us in when we are in our dotage).
We attacked the black bugs with fly spray and that seemed to do the trick. However they have appeared again. A friend suggested that they could be carpet beetles. So I looked them up and apparently the likeliest source is sparrow or starling nests!
I think the existing structure will be demolished on Saturday in daylight but I don't think there is much we can do to stop the starling rebuilding it and if the nest is active it is against the law to remove it. I think if we remove it every autumn then hopefully it won't be full of so much ancient feathers and stuff. Hey ho Bill Oddie never mentioned this in Spring watch!