Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Saturday 3rd May 2008

Gladys, this one's for you
Today marked the official beginning of M****'s maternity leave. Child number 2 is due in about, erm . . . three / four weeks. I took A****** early to Williamson's Park, where the playground was mercifully free of screaming children (well, for a while). There was just Dr. Craven and his family and a father whose son seemed to be called Key. After that, I managed to entice A****** away with the promise of ice cream (white chocolate Magnum, mmmmmmmmmm). We then went home, did loads of hoovering and stuff, hung some washing up to dry, played football . . . blah, blah, blah. And my new paper-weight (is that one word?) was set and seemingly successful. This is a long time ambition of mine - to embed within some kind of fairly clear resin, a coin . . . or anything, maybe just some metal . . . whatever.
Nearly forgot to mention: last night, I had trouble sleeping on account of a strange glow in my bedroom that seemed to originate from the top of my wardrobe. I put this down to some kind of glow-in-the-dark thing, but that didn't really explain why it had only appeared recently. Tonight, there was no sign; no mysterious glow. So I'm a bit confused, as there was no obvious source of light (that is, no light in the hallway or elsewhere) . . . I'm only guessing it was due to the odd LED here and there (mobile phones and other miscellaneous electrical devices) and the subtle arrangement of mirrors (which does change from day to day). Hmmmm.

Sunday 4th May 2008

Haslam Park
img_6317.jpgimg_6311.jpgimg_6309.jpgimg_6304.jpg Today we braved Preston. I hate Preston. Preston hates me. But M**** wanted to go there (to visit Mothercare or something) so I put aside my own feelings on the matter. As is typical of any day in Preston, it was grey. Not really raining, not really sunny, just grey. We easily found the Mothercare (somewhere in the Riverside / Docklands area), got our stuff and then left. I thought that was it, but M**** had spotted this interesting little park (Haslam Park; see pictures) on the way in, so we checked it out on the way back. The park contained many people with vicious looking dogs and most of the bins contained empty cans of Special Brew or otherwise cheap lager. The park had an oppresive atmosphere, but that could have just been Preston - I'm not sure. Nonetheless, it was kind of pretty, especially the tree-lined avenue beyond the main entrance (and what's with the weird, twisted tree?). We wandered around, visited a pond, threw some mouldy bread at the disinterested ducks (odd that), visited the swings and then left (phew).

Monday 5th May 2008

Ravenglass / Eskdale
Today we (the three of us, with Pop / Mark) went to Ravenglass. After a horrendous car journey (A****** and I, sat in the back, feeling sick and far too hot) involving many tortuous bends, we reached Ravenglass a little after one o'clock. We had our picnic, caught a train to Dalegarth for Boot (where the service terminates), had an ice cream and a little wander around there before getting the train back. On the way back, we had dinner at the Swan at Newby Bridge.

Sunday 11th May 2008

Storm chasing
img_6434.jpgimg_6437.jpgimg_6441.jpgimg_6444.jpg We didn't do too much today on account of the oppressive heat. I gave my dad a lift to Preston in the morning (off on holiday with his brother) and, later on, went to town to try to purchase various hot weather things (parasol, parasol base, paddling pool) only to find everyone else had already thought of this and two of the items I wanted were out of stock.
img_6453.jpgimg_6451.jpg In the late afternoon, with an impressive looking storm looming to the east, we headed, erm . . . east. Fortunately, we were in our car as the heavens opened (even chucking the odd bit of hail at us) and A****** slept through it all. These pictures were taken after that, having found somewhere to park (I think we're somewere around Tarnbrook).

Friday 16th May 2008

The so-called Climate "Crisis"
I'm currently reading this:, which is a response to all the lies, gibberish and unnecessary scare-mongering that Al Gore's been coming out with. The idea of Global Warming (or, at least, of the Al Gore version thereof) always did rest uneasily on my shoulders (is that the correct expression?). The world seems to be full of charlatans (I love that word) at the moment (often helped by fantastic marketing and PR) and I suspect Al Gore may be one of them.

Another crisis, but quickly resolved
img_6459.jpgimg_6467.jpgimg_6470.jpgimg_6473.jpgimg_6475.jpg The crisis in the title: this refers to the fact that last night, the spiciest thing in the house was (gulp) mild chilli powder. We had a little bit of 'hot chilli powder' left, but that quickly got absorbed into the chilli-con-carne. The chilli-con-carne still wasn't all that spicey, but the mild chilli powder was as good as useless. Thus, we were in the very unusual situation of living in a house with no decent chilli powder/sauce. Definitely far more pressing than any kind of imagined global warming crisis.
img_6490.jpgimg_6485.jpgimg_6484.jpgimg_6479.jpgimg_6477.jpg Anyway, the resolution came in two stages. That night, I quickly ordered (from somewhere called a couple of bottles of some suitably spicy sauces (read: inedible in all but the tiniest quantities) and, the following day, bought a little packet of powdered habanero. You see, I had today off work (having gained enough hours via the magic of 'flexi time') and so the three of us met Rob, Rosie and Freddie over at the Mason's Arms (Strawberry Bank). We then went over to Cartmel, which is where I bought the habanero powder stuff from. So what on earth is that weird metal tower thing in the background? My mobile phone had absolutely no signal when in sight of that tower, so M**** speculated it may have something to do with the Cartmel Races. Answers on a postcard, anyone?

Monday 19th May 2008

Don? Is that you?
How odd. At some point during the afternoon I suddenly remembered: I dreamt that I dreamt last night. Does that count as a lucid dream? I was sat around a table, with a few friends, and there was the elusive Don, sat opposite me. Suddenly, it dawned on me, "I can't be sat at a table here with you, Don. This doesn't make any sense. This must be a dream. I'm dreaming." So I knew I was dreaming and yet the dream carried on, persisting. That was it.

Thursday 22nd May 2008

Episode 14: a barbeque over at Clifton's place
No, M**** has not given birth yet. It ain't due for another week and a bit. And, no, we haven't decided upon any names yet. If you're reading this and want the gender of number two to be kept a surprise until the birth, then don't read the comments.

Sunday 25th May 2008

A run-in with the Jesuits, or how I learned to stop worrying and take my own goddamn core samples
img_6498.jpgimg_6497.jpgimg_6492.jpg Today we did go for a walk to, erm, Warton Crag. This would have been after lunch, I guess. Oh - the pictures have times on them. Yes. 14:15. Of course. Anyway . . . with M**** the shape that she's in, we can't do much walking, of course, but A****** goes a bit stir-crazy if cooped up for too long, y'understand. Why's there a picture of a map here? We were looking for some 'Rocking Stones', but didn't have quite enough time or inclination. Maybe next time.
img_6499.jpgimg_6502.jpgimg_6504.jpgimg_6506.jpgimg_6507.jpgimg_6512.jpg Er . . . and these seem to be pictures of a horse (which freaked A****** out a bit - "don't like it, horse"), some interesting-looking clouds and a meadow. After Warton, we headed off to Arnside, hoping to get some pink ice cream, but it was absolutely heaving, and nowhere to park, so . . . we found some swings, let A****** have a quick play on them, and then went to the Wolfhouse Gallery for cake and coffee. Did a bit more weeding in the front garden upon my return (whilst A****** remained asleep in the car and M**** made dinner).

Wednesday 28th May 2008

I think it's just a common house spider
img_6525.jpg Just before dinner, A****** was running around, daddy vaguely playing along. At some point, A****** stopped in his tracks (in the hallway) and was pointing at something on the carpet, saying, "Daddy, what's that. I think it's a spider." I couldn't see a thing (well, I could see many things, but not the thing A****** was referring to) and it was only when I got much closer that I saw what seemed to be a crippled, but nonetheless large, spider. The spider was almost camoflaged into the carpet. The spider initially looked kind of exotic and we were wondering if it was of foreign origin. But I think the thing is that Archie usually eats these, so that we never really see them.