Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Saturday 6th June 2009

R******'s birthday weekend

Sunday 7th June 2009

erm . . . Bolton-le-Sands or somewhere . . . I don't know

Monday 8th June 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, R******-boy!
img_1483.jpgPerhaps R****** is thinking, "What on earth?! That's a butterfly cake with a lit candle on top. Erm . . . help. What happens now? Am I meant to eat it? Hello?!" I think A****** helped him blow this particular candle out. R****** hasn't quite got his head around blowing candles out.
img_1463.jpgimg_1467.jpgimg_1471.jpgimg_1475.jpgimg_1476.jpgimg_1482.jpg So yeah . . . the bulk of R******'s birthday celebrations were during the weekend, as previous entries probably make clear. Today was his birthday official.

Sunday 14th June 2009

The people of Andalus did not observe them, thinking that the vessels crossing and recrossing were similar to the trading vessels which for their benefit plied backwards and forwards
img_1486.jpgIt feels like a while since I've actually put finger to keyboard and made some words up . . . as oppose to just dumping a load of pictures and kind of going, "There you go, sort it out yourselves." Erm, so yeah . . . what's been happening? We went on holiday, we came back, we went to a wedding, we came back . . . we did some DIY, with one eye (or maybe more) ever on R******. For this child is trouble, we've come to realise. But then you think, "Was A****** like this or have we just forgotten?" Would A****** have eaten a slug, a fly, some coal, a bouncy ball, a bit of plastic . . . erm . . . pretty much anything that would fit into his mouth? Would he? Did I? I can't remember that happening with A****** but maybe it did and we forget. img_1488.jpgimg_1489.jpgimg_1490.jpgimg_1494.jpgimg_1495.jpg So yeah . . . the picture up there is the latest creation of A******. We recently attended some kind of 'thing' at A******'s chosen school and were given this, erm, document . . . part of which asked if our child could do this and that . . . we looked through the list and realised, "Can he use a handkerchief?" Another question asked, "What number can [A******] count to?" and, not wishing to brag or anything, but . . . well, I've no idea what number he should be able to count to by the time he gets to school, img_1505.jpgimg_1502.jpgimg_1501.jpgimg_1499.jpgimg_1496.jpg so we've been teaching him how to get to a hundred but not really knowing whether he was actually paying attention or not . . . but then, he seems to love counting things (almost obsessionally sometimes) so why not encourage him, eh? But what I'm getting at is that, well, assume nothing. Is it enough to be able to count to 10, to 50, to 100, to 1000? What's enough? Who knows?
This entry has turned into a bit of a mess. Those pictures above are actually from a walk we went on later today (i.e. this entry has the erroneous time of 00:49), when we went to, erm . . . somewhere around the Yealands (Leven's Hall and all that). Let's just move on . . .

Two-minute film review
Christ, nearly forgot to mention . . . a few films I've watched recently and a quick review thereof. Wall-E. Excellent. Finding it hard to fault that film . . . so I won't. Outpost. Awful. A bit like 'The Cube' but without any survivors. Oooops. Have I just spoilt the ending? Never mind. Not really worth watching anyway. And I'm sure there was another film . . . ah yes, I remember now . . . 'The Kite Runner'. Really, really bad. I read the book and then, perhaps foolishly, thought, "Ah yes. That was good. I think I will watch the film now." What a mistake. As a general rule: the film of the book will never live up to your expectations (possible exceptions being Lord of the Rings). So yeah . . . there's that bit where Amir meets up with Assef to collect Sohrab and, you read the book, and you've kind of been drawn along and you kind of feel the fear, really feel the fear that poor old Amir must be feeling just so that he can 'make things good again'. You watch the film and you're thinking, "Can anyone working on this film actually be bothered?" I mean, where was the brass knuckle-duster, for example? In the book, that fight scene nearly killed Amir. In the film . . . just a few bruises. So yeah . . . damn fine book though.

Sunday 21st June 2009

img_1516.jpgimg_1512.jpgimg_1511.jpgimg_1510.jpg This looks like a walk along Morecambe promenade, at the Battery end of things, heading towards Heysham.

Saturday 27th June 2009

img_1520.jpgWell, A****** needed (?!) a 'superheroes' outfit for this 'graduation ceremony' (the picture to the left there was taken later on, once home) taking place at his nursery the following day. To cut a long story short, and perhaps we're slightly disorganised here, but we had to go all the way to Preston to find one. Great. M****** drove. So, we got this Power Rangers outfit, looked at some hideous sofas at DFS and then were at a bit of a loss. To go home, having come this far, or to head into Preston or somewhere else nearby? In the end, we opted for the latter and chose Blackpool. I can't remember the last time I had been to Blackpool although I'm sure my parents must have taken me there once. I started saying to M******, "I haven't been to Blackpool . . . " and was then going to say, "since . . . " but maybe this was my first time. I had read about Blackpool, so I should have known what to expect but it was still a bit of shock. We drove pretty much into the heart of Blackpool itself, parking at something like Chapel Street car park. On the way in to Blackpool, driving along Central Drive, I remember thinking, "Oh dear, we must have approached Blackpool from the poor, dilapidated, scummy side." In retrospect, I don't think there is any other side . . . but then we didn't see a huge amount of Blackpool, so I'm prepared to be proven wrong. So that was one of the first things that struck me . . . the shabbiness of it all. The next thing that struck me was the quantity and sheer ugliness of those wretched 'mobile phone masts'. I'm talking about those ones that are dozens of feet high, festooned with various domes and panels and usually found atop the odd hillside here and there. But not in Blackpool. One of these was about half a mile from the Tower. It's one of those things, once you start looking out for them, you spot 'em everywhere. Wretched things. So yeah . . . we had lunch at Bella Italia and then wandered around for a bit, walking to the end of Central Pier (at the end of the pier, I was reminded of that familiar feeling you get in Morecambe: look to the sea and the view isn't that bad) and then, erm . . . well, I think that was about it. That was about all I could take. On the way back M****** asked if I would recommend Blackpool to people and, well . . . I guess if you know what to expect, then why the hell not? I guess Blackpool is an unpretentious, modern, lively, seaside resort with everything that entails. Perhaps the groups of men/women celebrating someone's stag/hen do just add to the colour. I just found the place thoroughly bereft and soul destroying but each to their own, I guess. M****** also asked if I would return to Blackpool . . . well, yeah, 'cos we didn't see a huge amount of the place, probably just the worst part.

Sunday 28th June 2009

So, the first picture, those are my chilli plants. These ones are jalapenos. They seem to be growing pretty well at the moment but it was touch and go at first and half of the seedlings died in the first few weeks. I'll be taking pictures of them every so often to keep a record of their growth. The other pictures . . . this is A******'s so-called 'graduation ceremony'. His days at nursery are numbered and soon him, and many others, will be moving on to primary school. Hence, this was a bit of a celebration, goodbye, kind of thing. I dunno. But, christ, was it hot in there. The place was actually hotter inside than outside. Plus, you got loads and loads of people, children running around, wearing padded (often) fancy dress costumes and then, later on, how about a round of musical bumps? Hmmmm.

Monday 29th June 2009

R****** update
For those people wondering, "Well, how's R****** getting on then?" but also for my own records, here's a quick R****** update. I'm not entirely sure at what point you class a baby as able to walk. I think Rosie was told by someone at a shoe shop that this is usually when they can take 5 or more steps unaided. In which case, R****** must have started about a week or two ago. In the build-up to this event, he had been playing around on his walker/zimmer-frame thing and doing that thing where he'll walk around, given something to support him, be it a hand, furniture or whatever. So that's good. The amount of steps he can take unaided gets more and more, day by day. And when he's taken enough steps, he usually returns to the crawling/squatting position. I'm sure in hardly any time at all he'll be walking and running around, chasing after A******. Of course, all this means much excitement for R****** but we now have to make sure there's no objects within his increased reach that could pose a danger. All of this has happened slightly sooner than it did for A****** but then A****** never had a big brother to look up to (and various other factors, not least A****** insisting on dragging R****** around to try to get him to walk).

Tuesday 30th June 2009

Spreading the love, spreading the pollen
img_1567.jpg Here's how the chilli plants are doing. Can't be bothered to check when the last picture was taken. No flowers and certainly no fruiting happening. Remember folks: these things are self-pollinating but may need a helping hand in the absence of any bees to mix around the pollen between flowers. This is making me think of the plant equivalent of a turkey baster but I'm thinking the analogy isn't quite right. Why am even thinking about this? Move along, move along.