Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Wednesday 1st July 2009

The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle — and coldest part — of the Little Ice Age
img_1569.jpg A****** wanted me to take a picture of him pulling this face. I obliged. Now there's something unusual on the piano stool - a relatively recently (like, erm, a few years ago, I dunno) purchased wireless router (with no moving parts, obviously) that simply stopped working. We don't tend to have wireless networking active in the house, so this is superfluous anyway, so it doesn't really matter. Yep.

Saturday 4th July 2009

Cartmel and somewhere else?!
M******, you can help out here: where were we before Cartmel? Could we have been at Fell Foot park? I can't quite remember and it was only a week ago (I'm writing this on 11th July). Anyway, we went 'somewhere' northwards and, on the way back, we were like, "Well, it's only 15:00 (or whatever) so we don't need to go straight back home," so we decided to pop in on Cartmel, so that A****** and R****** could have a little run around in the park. After three years of visiting children's playgrounds in the surrounding locality, you tend to get a feel for the good ones and the not so good ones. This one at Cartmel is one of my favourites: there's a sense of peace to be found here . . . that and the knowledge that there's no need to keep a constant eye on your children . . . A boy of about A******'s age stormed in to this place, smashing the gate against the wall with a loud thwack and I was thinking, "Oh dear, here comes trouble," but I was completely off the mark . . . A****** and this boy happily played together whilst R****** stumbled around in his drunken-like gait.

Sunday 5th July 2009

img_1618.jpgimg_1621.jpgimg_1623.jpgimg_1624.jpgimg_1625.jpgimg_1626.jpg This is a walk somewhere around Clougha. The first part of this walk was a little bit tricky on account of all the horse-flies (do we call them that?) - one of which bit my left wrist - and overgrown ferns, nettles, and such-like, obscuring what is already a fairly obscure path. But yeah . . . it's a path that follows a stream, so it's hard to go wrong. But yeah . . . it was all fine.

Saturday 11th July 2009

Vivienne Westwood
It probably annoys M****** greatly but I still cannot help myself getting riled up whenever I hear someone famous abusing their position of power/influence in order to propagate lies/rubbish/misconceptions about global warming. Last night on 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross', this is exactly what Vivienne did, as if her 5 minute rant about global warming was some kind of rare, golden opportunity to reach millions with her rallying call for us to galvanise and 'do something'. You know, even if humans were removed from the face of the earth, along with all of their CO2 producing devices, that would only reduce the CO2 entering the atmosphere by about 1%. I could go on but it would be a waste of my time and energy. Somebody, somewhere, somehow has pulled a lot of wool over a lot of people's eyes and that ain't easily gonna be lifted . . . here's a start, though ('The Great Global Warming Swindle'). I only hope if they ever try to further brain-wash our children with 'An Inconvenient Truth', this is swiftly followed with 'The Great Global Warming Swindle', for balance.

Sunday 12th July 2009

Today we did pop over to Grasmere for a little walk. It was a kind of circular walk and one we've been on before. The weather was a bit on and off but, at it's worst, there was no worse than a bit of drizzle that never lasted for too long. Perhaps because of the weather, the tourists largely stayed away, which was good. I guess mid-July, anywhere in the Lakes, can get a bit crowded . . . but it was all oddly quiet.

Monday 13th July 2009

Getting a bit lost . . .
Well, apparently these pictures were taken today at about quarter to nine in the morning. I can't really remember what happened.

Thursday 16th July 2009

Forget about global warming, how are the chilli peppers doing?
img_1701.jpg You know, just for the record, I ought to state that I'm not a 'climate change denier', although I'm not entirely sure what that means anyway. I suppose literally a 'climate change denier' would be someone who denies there is any kind of long term change to the global climate. Denying such a thing would be craziness, in my opinion. Hell, the 20th century alone saw a 0.6°C rise in temperatures. Most of this rise occurred prior to 1950 and then dropped up until around about the late 1970's. Apparently it's been getting gradually warmer since then. It seems to me that humans like to think that we're the dominant species on this planet and, therefore, that we pretty much have control over the planet and its resources. Anthropocentrism, I believe it's called. What I believe is that the planet is gonna get hotter, get colder, get hotter, get colder, etc. . . . blah, blah, blah, regardless of what we do or don't do. Oh yes, the chilli peppers. The picture above is of the three jalapeño plants. The nearest plant had a recent brush with the wretched aphids but I've since, er . . . corrected them. The middle plant is the test plant, whilst the other two are the 'controls'. Middle plant has not suffered the aphids yet. But all of them seem to be doing very well. Middle plant slightly taller than the others. No flowering as yet and, therefore, no fruit of course. All of these plants were re-potted on Wednesday night and have all been treated in exactly the same manner . . . same light, same amount of water, same everything.

Friday 17th July 2009

A******'s birthday
img_1702.jpgimg_1706.jpgimg_1707.jpgimg_1711.jpgimg_1719.jpgimg_1720.jpg Today was A******'s birthday. The day can be split up into a few separate chunks. During the morning, there were many presents to unwrap. The main present was this 'Tower of Doom' thing, which was a joint gift from various aunties and uncles. Sorry about the picture of a very happy but very snotty R******; he's had a bit of cold recently.
img_1727.jpgimg_1725.jpgimg_1724.jpg Then, in the afternoon, we all piled into the car and headed for Old Holly Farm. We spent the first fifteen/twenty minutes kind of hanging around (as we had arrived a little bit early), waiting for people to arrive. We had invited some people from A******'s nursery and various other friends and cousins. I think A****** would have liked to invite more but our budget didn't stretch that far. Anyway, everyone turned up except for one, who we weren't really expecting to turn up anyway, given their circumstances (it's a bit complex). The first thing to attend to was lunch.
img_1729.jpgimg_1730.jpgimg_1731.jpgimg_1732.jpg . . . and then A****** and some of his friends had a bit of a crazy run around, before being let loose into the main play area, of which I have no pictures. I think both M****** and I were too busy watching R****** and other small children, or else socialising with the parents. Also on the itinerary was this 'meet the animals' thing but we never bothered with that, on account of the rain, really. Well, that and it didn't really sound all that exciting.
img_1734.jpgimg_1735.jpgimg_1737.jpgimg_1741.jpg A****** throttling R******.
img_1743.jpgimg_1745.jpgimg_1749.jpgimg_1750.jpgimg_1751.jpg And then to the left are various other pictures . . . attempts to get decent pictures of the four of us, that kinda thing.

Sunday 19th July 2009

Fell Foot Park

Monday 20th July 2009

Erm . . . I wasn't here
I can't remember where this was but then I was at work at the time, so it's not that surprising. Although I guess in the evening, M****** would have been like, "Hey, guess where we went today?" and I would have been like, "Erm . . . I dunno. Where?" and M****** would have said something like, "Leven's. We went to Leven's park" Oh. Was it Leven's park? That sounds about right actually. Okey dokey. Next.

Wednesday 22nd July 2009

Goodbye Facebook
I managed to find the 'delete my account' option on Facebook. I finally realised that Facebook was really serving no purpose for me. If someone wants to find me, to get in touch, then it's pretty straightforward - you don't need Facebook for that. But then, if I've lost touch with someone and not really spoken to them since I was 11 years old, I'm kind of thinking, "Well, can we maintain some semblance of friendship or has that relationship run its course?" How about we let go a little bit and embrace face-to-face relationships with people in our immediate vicinity? I should add (but won't) that I got sick to the back teeth (is that the right expression?!) of the constant purile bragging that is endemic on Facebook. Is it some weird, basic human nature that we have to insist on telling people how many books we've read, how many films we've seen, how many countries we've visited, how many 'friends' we have, how fantastic we are, how many children we've reared . . . how many 'trophies' we've acquired?! What is all that about? I'm sure I learnt in my teens that people don't actually care about that stuff.

Friday 24th July 2009

The gods, what of them, were against us
I keep thinking, "Well, why can't I write stuff that would potential offend people? Do I actually care?", which got me thinking of this Steve Hughes sketch (from about 3:22 through to about 5:47). Because, of course, I was gonna begin this rant with, "If I was x, y and z to believe in a god then I would think that god or something was trying to stop us getting to Stratford-upon-Avon this afternoon." The variables x, y and z were fairly derogatory terms, typical of any atheist, I'm sure. But then I figured, and more importantly, that the story itself is far more relevant than any theological discourse into how these things occurred. I had many dreams last night, on account of the storms that broke over our house at about 05:19 last night. I dreamt of electrical fires in my parents' cellar, caused by me . . . I dreamt of corpses discovered in cars (a husband and wife, in their late 60's), that the police insisted had to remain at our house, pending investigation. They looked dead, but as it turned out, they weren't . . . they had just failed in a suicide attempt, having overdosed on 'something'. I remember the man, now recovered, driving down Windsor Avenue in his battered car, playing 'O Solo Mio' very loudly through his stereo. His wife took a bit longer to recover, but they were fine, in the end. And I told Dan at work today, "You know, I had a dream last night about electrical fires and here I am, about to plug in this computer that I just carried back from [another office] and in the process, it got rained on. I'm wondering if this is a good idea." I think I've digressed somewhere along the line . . . I took the afternoon off, having built up some hours as 'flexi-time'. Back at home, after lunch, during the time allocated for 'packing', I had to move the ladder from R******'s room to the landing, in order to fetch the travel cot from the loft. In doing so, I knocked over a tub of blue emulsion from the top of a chest of drawers, onto the carpet. At around this time, R****** managed to fall over and, in doing so, managed to take a bite out of his bottom lip . . . I don't know how else to describe it . . . he has sharp teeth and the fall must have pushed the mandible against the top teeth, with the unfortunate bottom lip caught inbetween. The bleeding only lasted for a minute or so but that set us right back. We spent the next two hours prevaricating about whether or not to take him to the doctors, to the hospital, to nowhere, to somewhere, to the car . . . blah, blah, blah. To cut a long story short, R****** was fine, really, so . . . several hours later than expected, we piled into the car (again) and headed south. After about 38 miles or so, the traffic got bad. We were reduced to 60mph, then 40 then 20 then 0 then 20 then 0 then 40 then 0 . . . nightmare. At about junction 27/28 (I can't remember which), we were like, "Screw this," and careered onto the hard shoulder, quarter of a mile from an exit road, and did the motorway equivalent of a u-turn. Of course, had not the paint been spilled, the lip not bitten, we would have hit the M6 at around the point of some hideous accident . . . so perhaps it was just as well. As it turned out, we just saw the tail end of all that.

Saturday 25th July 2009

img_1838.jpgimg_1844.jpgimg_1846.jpgimg_1848.jpgimg_1849.jpgimg_1853.jpg Yeah, so . . . instead, we set off sometime today, got to Pop and Cathie's (I know not when), dropped off A****** and R****** and then drove to Wallingford (near-ish Oxford). The traffic was okay. These are some pictures. We got back to Stratford at about 10-ish that night?! Maybe half past ten . . . whatever. I seem to remember R****** didn't sleep too well that night. Ah, what joy . . . The thing is, yeah, after A****** was born it seemed like there was a lot of going back and forth (between Leeds and Lancaster) and much staying at different houses, until we got our stuff sorted out at our present house in Lancaster. A****** got used to this lifestyle, as he had to . . . he probably accepted it as normal. R******, in contrast, has had a fairly settled existence in Lancaster and, I reckon, doesn't always take too easily to sleeping somewhere unfamiliar. Odd, isn't it?

Thursday 30th July 2009

Power Ranging
img_1854.jpgimg_1856.jpgimg_1857.jpgimg_1864.jpgimg_1860.jpg Here are a couple of pictures of A****** in his Power Rangers outfit, R****** in the foreground (like I need to state that). Shortly after those pictures were taken, we all piled into the car and drove to Sandside (I think we call it that) for dinner at that pub (where - guess what? - the other two pictures were taken), whose name escapes me. The Ship Inn, that sounds appropriate.