Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Thursday 1st January 2009

Entry created retrospectively
I'm writing this on 12th January, gradually getting on top of all those pictures taken over the Christmas period. Today we did go for a wander around Hest Bank. It must have been a cold day - puddles of sea water were frozen. That last picture in the sequence shows what is apparently a fake plastic tree (i.e. mobile phone transmitter). Can you tell which one it is?

Friday 2nd January 2009

Somewhere in the Lake District
This was one of those rare days - a day without R****** and A******. The boys were being looked after by Helen and Stu so M****** and I headed out to somewhere around Grasmere. Well, the walk took us to Grasmere, where we had lunch and then we headed back a slightly different way. That cave we were in, yeah . . . well, we only later found out that it was closed to the general public, not that we were aware as a load of walkers were obscuring the sign. Hence, many disapproving looks from people standing around nearby, which may be slightly visible in one of those pictures.

Monday 5th January 2009

Erm . . . Doris? Is that you?
I would say I've been too busy to bother writing anything here of late and that would partially be true (a partial truth?!) but really it's a combination of spending time sorting through pictures taken over the festive period (this takes time, not least because my image editing software keeps stripping out meta-data from my pictures), spending time doing other more important things (e.g. tiling the kitchen), making a conscious effort to stay off the computer during the holiday and also just plain laziness. But, hey, this thing's primarily a repository for photographs, so yeah . . . er . . . something, something. I'm sure it's someone's birthday today, maybe someone I once knew or still do know . . . can't quite remember. The date somehow feels significant though. Hmmmm. Never mind. Yes, I have been tiling the kitchen; did a bit more of that yesterday. This is the kind of activity that has to be confined to weekends, as the tile cutting machine can get noisy (i.e. when cutting through tiles) and I wouldn't want to annoy the neighbours. Oh, blimey, this is my first post of 2009. I wonder if that means anything? Probably not. I think we were talking about resolutions on New Years Eve and it's probably just as well that I wasn't asked about any I would be making as . . . well, I just don't get it. Surely the only time to make a difference, to change yourself or your environment, is today. Why wait for some arbitrary calendar to roll round to another year? Is craziness as far as I'm concerned. Which was going to lead on to a rant about the year 2012 but I seem to have lost the will . . . Bunch of weirdos and charlatans out there.

Saturday 10th January 2009

[insert clever simile/metaphor regarding mice and their droppings around about here]
So, the previous night, I got back from Durham (well, that's another story) and, blah, blah, blah, had a beer and then it was bed-time. No, actually, it was bed-time long before that but some manner of distraction had occurred. I forget what. Probably R****** crying incessantly (he's got a bit of a cold), having not eaten much at dinner time (and, hence, probably hungry, thirsty or something). So, yeah . . . it was a bit late and then M****** was like, "Archie's got a mouse in there; I can hear it." So I went downstairs where Archie was in the lounge, far too interested in a particularly corner, underneath a load of shelves to the right of the chimney breast. Sure enough, I could see a tiny little mouse hiding in the corner there. I put and locked Archie out of the house and, with all obstacles removed, got the mouse-thing captured under a wine glass. I guess when alive, and confined, a single mouse can be kind of cute but perhaps not so much at half past midnight. So yeah . . . I let the thing free a bit up the road, near some kind of gas/electricity sub-station (it's probably the former, being owned/maintained by Transco). And, erm . . . yeah . . . so . . . some time today was spent wondering about what this all means. Did Archie bring the mouse in alive? Did the mouse get into the house under its own steam and was hence found by Archie? How long had it been there? Are there more of them? Should we be worried? Et cetera, et cetera. I'm not too worried, as I've noticed Archie often brings in animals (so far only birds and mice) into the house, sometimes dead, sometimes alive. In this case, the mouse he brought in was almost intact (just a broken tail). So, er . . . yeah. It's all fine. We've been on the trail of mouse droppings today and other signs of mice activity but have found very little. Did you know that mouse urine glows under UV light?

Tuesday 13th January 2009

The fools
I've altered the comments section of my web-site, ever so slightly. From now on, when a comment is left, I have to approve it before it can be published. This is because I'm sick to death of those freaks out there who actually leave comments on my web-site that are nothing more than an advert for dodgy, nefarious web-sites. As the process of posting comments would be extremely difficult (and surely more hassle than it's worth) to automate, people must actually be manually posting these comments. You gotta wonder what kind of lives these people have, surely. Anyway, those days are over, at least here anyway.

Friday 16th January 2009

Just read this on the BBC web-site. I think it's the line "I think it was the starkness of this advert which implied there was no God," that amused me most about this article. The starkness! THE SHEER STARKNESS! I wonder if Ron the bus driver realises the starkness could equally refer to the advert, the idea of a god-less universe or, indeed, both? I'm kind of hoping Ron is lying awake at night, thinking, "No, it can't be true . . . there must be a god . . . that's just to stark to think about . . . I can't accept that." Ron, here's some advice: stop worrying, enjoy your life and get on that bus and drive. You gotta love Richard Dawkins.

Saturday 17th January 2009

Non-permanent 'firmware' changes
img_9465.jpgimg_9468.jpgimg_9469.jpgimg_9471.jpg Last night (I can't remember what was the impetous here, but does it matter?) I decided to do this weird, 'firmware' upgrade to my Canon Powershot A570IS. I think it's supported, not that it matters - it's non-permanent, non-destructive, apparently. So yeah . . . I did that and it was all good. However, today we took A****** to somewhere off the M6 (junction 15?) to meet Pop and Cathie. The meeting point was about half-way between our house and Stratford. On the way back, I pointed my camera directly at the sun and took a few pictures with the shutter speed set at something like 1/10000 seconds. Those seemingly b/w pictures of trees and stuff are the result. Pictures of the fire . . . similar kind of story. So yeah . . . we had lunch at this hotel thingy near junction 15 and then got A****** into Pop's car, said our goodbyes and that was that. A****** is staying at Pop and Cathie's for a couple of nights; back on Monday. Felt kind of weird tonight . . . dinner, bath and bed-time . . . it all seemed a lot more straightforward, a lot easier than normal. Hmmmmmm. img_9491.jpgimg_9489.jpg But yeah . . . I can play reversi on my camera and it's now got a calendar and I can set it to take a single picture every ten minutes (or whatever) until the battery runs out, if I so desire . . . that's got to be a good thing, surely. Oh, and for those interested in the progress (?! I'm suddenly not liking that word) of R******: his crawling skills have seemingly suddenly improved a lot, although he's kind of pulling himself forward with his hands/arms rather than doing the arm/leg coordination thing. Should give him strong arms, though, I guess. However, there's kind of a feeling of dread knowing that the better his crawling gets, the faster and easier he can get to various dangers; this week he 'escaped' from A******'s room and onto the hallway, which is surely not that far off getting to the top of the stairs (I'm the worrier in these situations; M******'s far more laid back). I've noticed that like Adam, for R****** the forbidden fruits are definitely the sweeter ones (this is a not entirely clear reference to R****** and his habit of crawling towards objects that are really NOT intended for R******: cups of coffee, pharmaceuticals, packets of baby-wipes, magazines (mmmm, tasty), drawing pins, knives (blunt dinner knives, of course) and other miscellanous sharp/dangerous objects . . . bright, colourful, soft toys for children of R******'s age just don't have the same appeal, naturally). Hmmmmm. Yes. I probably say this all the time, but is it normal and/or correct/advisory to begin parentheses by putting in the opening and closing parentheses and then typing within said parentheses?

Sunday 18th January 2009

R****** bouncing around in his bouncy chair thing

Friday 23rd January 2009

A******, R******, pictures . . . blah di blah
Oh, I can't remember now. R****** recently really got into crawling, a bit faster than we were expecting, which . . . haven't I already written about this? Hey, wait a sec. Oh, perhaps not (a quick search later). What was I on about? Oh yes, so R****** was eating cat food, basically. He had crawled to the kitchen and A****** tried to tell us about it and we were like, "Yeah, just wait a second, A******. Mummy and daddy are talking," and, erm . . . he was eating cat food, R****** was eating cat food. But I think this happened before these pictures were taken, so it obviously didn't do him that much harm (occasionally I have a dream about eating cat food - it always tastes awful). There was also a circle of table salt around Archie's bowls, so as to mess up the slugs . . . we weren't sure if R****** ate some of that too . . . probably not. It would be a bit difficult to intentionally eat grains of salt from the floor when there's a far more tempting bowl of cat food (wet and dry) nearby, I guess. Hello? So . . . erm . . . we have to have barriers around or just doors shut to prevent a similar incident recurring.

Saturday 24th January 2009

Day out in Sheffield
Today, after breakfast, we did head over to Sheffield. Zooooooooooom. Along the M6, then the M61 then the M60?! Manchester ring road?! Then, the M-sixty-something . . . M67? Then the A57, along Snake's Pass . . . which was a painfully slow experience due to the lack of dual carriageways and the prevalance of slow moving vehicles. We reached our destination (Rob and Rosie's house) not long after the wilderness gave way to civilisation and at around lunch time. Yay. After lunch (mmmm, pea and ham soup, and more ham, and Rob-made bread, and cheese . . . mmmmmmm, very good) we drove towards the centre of Sheffield but stopped near the Children's Hospital, which is itself close to the museum where most of these pictures were taken. The last two pictures are R****** and Freddie during dinner time, fairly obviously.

Sunday 25th January 2009

Somewhere in the Peak District

Wrong shutter speed
img_9562.jpgimg_9568.jpgimg_9570.jpg So, on Sunday morning we went for a walk to the nearby park. I'm still fiddling with the weird settings on my camera and so these are the only surviving pictures. The shutter speed was in the thousands of a second range. I took some pictures of A****** climbing around the climbing frame in the park, but his expression tended to be one of struggle/pain as he was climbing up something (or trying to climb up something) that was probably designed for a child several times his age.

Monday 26th January 2009

The infamous coal eating episode
img_9610.jpg I guess all children do it or would do it, given the chance - eat coal, that is. A****** never had the chance, as we didn't have coal in the house when he was at the coal-eating stage. But yeah . . . R****** tucked into some of E&S's finest smokeless fuel (well, perhaps not its finest, but definitely the cheapest). I don't think R****** suffered any ill affects. M****** took this picture.

Friday 30th January 2009

In early 1945 during World War II Landsberg was heavily damaged by fighting between the Wehrmacht and the Soviet Red Army
There was a programme on the television involving Jamie Oliver and pigs which kind of got us thinking, "Why don't you get cows raised in tiny little cages?" (not that one would necessarily want that, but the question was more to do with, "But what about the cows? What happens to them?") I conjectured that this might be to do with the fact that cows eat grass and pigs eat . . . well, pretty much anything, I believe. Thus, pig is much easier to feed within confined spaces. How would you keep a cow fed with fresh grass within a tiny little cage like that? I'm kind of guessing here. I think Jamie was trying to encourage us to buy only UK-reared pig-meat or something like that. The message got kind of got confused a bit as they had a sow giving birth to these gorgeously cute little piglets who, seemingly within a few dozen seconds, would wander over to a waiting teat, and just kind of 'knew' where to go, what to do, stuff like that, umbilical cord still attached (I guess it stops them wandering off too far), of course. So yeah . . . erm . . . I wonder what Wikipedia thinks, or am I searching for the wrong thing?