Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Tuesday 2nd December 2008

However, in August 1512, the Medici with the help of Pope Julius II used Spanish troops to defeat the Florentine forces at Prato
I like to think that I rarely use this blog thing to brag about what A****** and/or R****** are currently up to and what they can do; it's not really me and I think it would just be tiresome and dreary to have to read such stuff. I guess some people may be interested in how they're developing so I do try to write the little bit here and there but . . . what am I getting at here? Well, I'm hoping this next bit doesn't sound too much like me boasting about A******; that is not the intention. This afternoon, back for my lunch, I was startled to discover that A****** can write his own name, which got me thinking, "Christ, what else can he do that we don't know about and how long has he been able to write his own name? What else can he write?" See, neither M****** or I are all that pushy (we hope) with A****** and R******, but perhaps we're a bit too laid back. Mind you, perhaps most children can write their own name when they're two years old . . . we neither know nor care (well, not much anyway). Of course, the real important question is "But which hand was he using?" and the answer is both; he seemed pretty much equally at ease with either . . . so still no clear indication as to whether he'll take after his father or not, writing with the 'wrong' hand.

Wednesday 3rd December 2008

The saga continues . . .
I may have mentioned this before but regarding the wood-burner saga . . . our chimney has the wrong kind of cowl (it has a gas one, which would be no good . . . it would get all clogged up with soot) so we need this replacing. We've found a guy to do the work but, of course, there's a problem - the weather. I mean, you wouldn't want to go climbing up on a roof in weather like this now, would yer? Or would you? Maybe you would but you would rather not, given the choice. I just don't know but that's what this guy's saying. I'm not too sure if the problem is the cold, the rain, the frost or all of those. Either way, today's a beautifully clear and dry day but the sun hasn't quite burned the frost of the roofs yet. Hmmmmmm. Once the cowl's done, we can get the register plate and flue done. Meanwhile . . . where on earth am I suppose to put all these logs that I've started collecting? According the instructions that came with the wood-burner, these logs need to be exposed to the wind and yet sheltered from the rain. How on earth does that work? I think I'll need to construct 'something' in the garden . . . but what?

Friday 12th December 2008

Clouds, Blue Stars (Doppler effect?!), Jesus, etc.
A few pictures from A******'s nativity . . . A****** seemed a bit more 'with the programme' this year, happily singing away and applauding at the end of each song. A****** was a cloud.

Saturday 13th December 2008

It burns! It burns!
img_9101.jpgimg_9102.jpgimg_9104.jpg At last, as I write this, there is wood burning safely within a wood-burning stove not one metre away from me (there or therabouts). Some dude came round this afternoon, fixed a register plate, a flue pipe and, with a little help from myself, we maneuvered the stove into position. The register plate may not quite fulfill building regulations but who's checking? The stove's drawing air from the room and clearance from stove to walls satisfies the manufacturer's recommendations, so I'm happy. Erm . . . what else? I was gonna say something else but I keep changing my mind; this could get confusing as there's no record of changes made. Ah well . . .

Sunday 14th December 2008

How not to cut wood up
So, I woke up today with scratches all over my hands, an ominously sore left knee and drops of blood all over my shirt. Hmmmmmm. Me thinks cutting up wood is best done when sober, perhaps in the garden and at no point should knees be used to crack a length of wood in half. But yeah . . . it's all good, although we seem to be getting through wood rather fast.

Monday 15th December 2008

img_9107.jpgimg_9109.jpg Odd. I seemed to be only left with these two pictures.

Wednesday 17th December 2008

Only seeing what I want to see
I feel obliged to write something here but don't really have much to say. Was it the other night when A****** woke up (at a fairly reasonable hour, it has to be said), singing, "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, HEY!" repeated ad nauseum (sp.?) OR until mummy or daddy asked of him, "What in god's name are you on about?!", whichever came first. I think it was M******. R****** hasn't quite got his head around crawling yet and still reminds me of my attempts, when about 12 years old, of trying to do the butterfly 'stroke' (?!) when swimming (in the sense that the aim, surely, is to move forwards). But hey, that boy sure can vomit AND smile, which is way more than A****** could do at that age. And eat, I should add. A******, at 6 months, was doing very little vomitting, eating or smiling . . . hmmmmmm . . . they're all different, ain't they? I guess I did have a bit to say then.

Friday 19th December 2008

There may be some blood
Dentists, eh? Don't yer jus' love 'em? This morning, A****** was still going on about his ear hurting (the same one . . . erm . . . right?!) so as he had been saying this for four or five days, we took him to the doctor. The doctor saw a bit of inflammation related to a recent spell of tonsillitis but that can easily be treated with ibuprofen or similar. So that done, I went back to work and was picked up at 10:40 for our family outing to the dentist. As usual the dentist was a foreigner (or, to be more precise, had a foreign accent), as usual I had never seen this dentist before and, as usual, their patient manner was completely different to the last dentist. It always seems to be a bit random, visits to the dentist. I explained the gum recession that started and largely abated many, many moons ago. "But have you got sensitive teeth?" she asked, "No, they're fine," I said, which may been the wrong answer. The dentist then got to work ensuring that whether I had sensitive teeth or not, she would draw blood and inflict a respectable amount of pain and discomfort, focusing on the area around the four, lower front teeth. A******'s teeth were barely checked . . . just a quick check inside his mouth and he got a Spiderman sticker. I didn't even get a mouthwash at the end of it all. Grrrrrr. See you again in six months for more of the same, although of course it'll be a different dentist by then.

Sunday 21st December 2008

A tetraview is an attempt to graph a complex function of a complex variable, by a method invented by Davide P. Cervone
Today we did go over to A******'s great-grandparents in Ambleside. Oh look, I've got a bit of a beard there. That's since gone. I can never work out whether I like it or not - the beard.

Wednesday 24th December 2008

The Hermits of St. Augustine spread rapidly, partly because they did not radiate from a single parent monastery
I started writing something and then thought, "God, this is dull." Probably fine for my own personal diary, if I had I one, but I don't and this isn't. Hmmmmm, yes. Finally getting to grips with the wood-burner. The trick is to clean it out regularly, get rid of all the ash, as otherwise it gets all clogged up. I've also found numerous sources of free wood but I would be a fool to reveal those, not that many people who read this are also Lancaster-based and looking for sources of free wood, but hey . . . I think, basically, any business that receives delivery on wooden pallets is a good start or, indeed, anyone who owns a patch of land containing trees. Once it's going properly, this thing (the wood-burner) generates a huge amount of heat, which gradually spreads around the house. Of course, this week and the one before have typically been rather mild, thereby reducing our need for extra heat.

Thursday 25th December 2008

img_9142.jpgimg_9150.jpgimg_9151.jpgimg_9157.jpgimg_9160.jpg I had my camera about me throughout most of today but somehow forgot or couldn't be bothered to take pictures. M****** took these pictures of A****** and R****** sometime during the morning. Note the matching jumpers.

Friday 26th December 2008

There are red ones, there are blue ones . . .
Various pictures from Boxing Day. We were at Helen and Stu's house for more Christmassy things. Later on, we took A****** and one of his new toys to the sea front at Morecambe. The light and visibility was fantastic today as I'm vaguely hoping some of these pictures convey.

Saturday 27th December 2008

Slight problem with the traffic
So yes . . . a journey to Stratford-upon-Avon (to see Pop and Cathie) that should have taken about three hours took something like five or six, I cannot remember which. Basically, I think a LOT of people had decided to head back down south at around the same time we had chosen also to travel. There was a lot of traffic on the road and, therefore, much congestion. But, hey, once there, we could forget about the journey and concentrate on Christmassy things. It was all fine. Oh, and that's me (last picture) sampling a damn fine present from Pop and Cathie - a selection of gorgeous hot sauces. Mmmmmmmm.

Sunday 28th December 2008

Working for the church while your family dies
img_9262.jpgimg_9263.jpgimg_9269.jpgimg_9272.jpgimg_9274.jpg Here be a few pictures from our second day at Stratford. We had decided to set off for home during the hours of darkness, in the hope of avoiding much of the traffic . . . and it paid off . . . pretty much a straight run all the way home and barely any traffic on the M6 toll road. A****** was loving it on that, erm, tyre swing thingy. In fact the whole of that playground was pretty amazing and it was difficult to keep track of A******, as he kept running excitedly from one ride to another. I remember waiting at the bottom of this slide for a while . . . I turned around and there was A****** with Liz on the swings.

Tuesday 30th December 2008

Today we did go to the Queen's Head in Troutbeck for lunch (both A****** and R****** were exceptionally well behaved, making for that rare thing: a relatively stress free pub lunch; A****** was sometimes shouting a bit, which was a bit unfortunate for such a small, cosy, busy pub, but that didn't bother me). After lunch, we went for a linear walk (as in we only got so far (time against us and all that) and then turned back), fortunately remembering the A****** carrier as well as the usual R****** harness. After A****** fell over on the rocky path, he really didn't feel much like walking but the extra weight on my back felt like some much needed exercise.

Wednesday 31st December 2008

Indian Poker
img_9296.jpgimg_9302.jpg I think it was Mouse who suggested a round of Indian Poker and, during this round, we heard R****** crying so he was brought down. R****** was like staring at our foreheads, wondering what on earth was going on (perhaps), hence the Post-It note on R******'s forehead - he relaxed after that. I don't think the game quite resolved itself . . . I think we all kind of lost interest. Hmmmmm, odd that.