WMC's diary pages, 2002.

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See-also: http://www.wmc.care4free.net/diary/.

August 2002

Thurs 1st

D sings me a song & repeats it for video: about Asterix killing the wicked witch, sung by Obelix. But its only for men: he wont sing it for M. He insists he made it all up.

Pm is a virtual wed so I look after DE. Charlie & ... Allan come over & this works.

J late due to traffic. M & I cycle off 8:20 which gets us there 8:55, q for armbands 5-10 mins.

Get to BB: good. Shout out New England. Meet A & talk until 11.

Fri 2nd

M swaps me in about 7:30 & goes gratefully back to bed. Sunny, not too hot: a promising day. Sounds upstairs of D waking J.

Work after 9. Yabew misbehaving & v pointless. Hmm. Smoko: H foams at the mouth over bb's accent. Sadly for H everyone assumes he can take all the... abuse? Contradiction?

Home 1:30. Lunch in progress.

Mow lawn. E sleeps. D & J fish.

3:30 - ff (alone: M prefers sleep; walk in just after Russ+J; wave to H). EC & MG: ok. VdC: excellent. But I was up the front: its far better there: spectacle. And watching the camera work. Loos: mens fast-moving q: what must be the volume of urine/sec?

Waiting for Ezio, reputed to be one of the highlights (says S; she is somewhere further back). But after VdC, a disappointment: just not very interesting. Leave after 3 songs, to get home hot just after my due time, 6:30.

Sat 3rd

Lie-in till past 10: luxury! M sleeps on (she was up from 6-9 with E, who has been waking early recently: sadly for M she needs a feed-on-waking, which I cant do).

Drive off 12:30 with DE, leaving MJ to rest/cambridge. Get bus from c'park but it would have been quicker to walk.

Lunch: crepes. Park ourselves on carrymat outside stage 1 with view. Rain begins: retreat under umbrellas. I go off (well, we alternate) & when I return D is at his ease painting on my palm.

Nick Sheperd (vid snatch in club tent; end of song about nose).

Home. Snatch quick dins; burn naan. Leave DE for MJ to bed & cycle off in liesurely way.

Soir: arrive just in time for chumbawamba - superb (miss Blue Murder :-(. Meet Andrea (the magic of mobiles). Food. Club: Amy Wadge. R2 stage to meet A+S. Altan. VdC.

Mud. Wall of glasses. Rain. To hear JS & t Mescaleros on main stage. Superb: not just music (clash/new) but spectacle, crowd, situation: even rain in moderation. Fin 11:30 with 'daddy was a bank robber'.

Cycle home is becoming rather long!

Sun 4th

M up at 5 (!) with E who is restive but nice J soon takes over. I go down 7 when it gets noisy but get to go back to bed. Till past ten! Ahh.

Drive to ff & bus from c'park. Luxury. To r2 stage in prep kids concert. M & I discuss what makes a good show. Altan fail; Castor are an exemplar of success; JS&M too (M says: it helps if you can just stop with no warning & the crowd shouts them).

D is showing signs of shyness? Prefers to sit with me rather than explore tent. Y'days mud has been tamed in the worst places by more bark, & the sun shines (intermittently). Find Can. Meet Kate & ?Graham? Show starts: its loud! D stays at back with us. Surprise guest: EC. Quietens down & becomes more obviously kid-friendly.

To kids area. Big parachute in centre kids flap edges, cats inside & mice under. M goes off to browse. Game: kids sit in circle: one chosen; goes round outside; pats heads saying 'duck' until picks one & says 'gocse'; then outer & patted run round & first back gets place.

M returns. I hear a little Malinky & Jim (young thin intense) Moran. Buy foe T (gm-org). Back. Discover creche-tent just around corner! 4: huge rainstorm impends & its time: bus back. D fascinated by portaloos (when home he brings down his potty & declares it his portable toilet cubicle). Now intense hail.

Drive home: huge rain. Floods.

Lolly for D: £1. Foe: £6.

Back: E is pleased to see me (MD are still in car listen to end tom thumb) waving hands with enthus. She has stood for 1-2 weeks, & I have seen her take one step. She has 3.1 teeth, & signs of L-handedness.

Mfd tells us how D has been writing on the blackboard, & understanding word structure. E, however, is to be musical.

Si phones: he has been sacked (& so has de Gaulle): still he is in a brutal mkt.

MJ off with thanks. I leave too with a pass. Cycle in, swapping fleece for w'proof. R2: Holmes Bros (meet Phil): good; loud; blues. S1 for John Prine but not impressed, so leave for misc in Club. More rain! Sit for a while. See H on other side. Which is such a triv comment that I must write about the music: fair: varied: worth a listen, certainly: not up to pro stds?

Mud squelches underfoot.

Get Hot Spicy Cider, a la S. Indigo Girls. Fair. Clearly better than club tent (in some sense) but no more listenable. Kate Rusby: again: good; happy to listen; lacking magic of... say VdC. Darkness falling. To my astonishment they do 'the drowned lovers', quite different to our version: not so good? (record it) but affecting.

Mon 5th

DE bath together. E finds shower in face funny but D hates it. E to bed while D baths on. Starting tonight M doesn't feed E at night so I give her bottle: she doesn't want much. Leave her (sad) & bed D (more Ast&Ob). Then, sweetly, D wants me to sit with him while he falls asleep: he says: 'I dont mind if you read a book'. So I start A Dolls House.

Tues 6th

E wakes early but M re-settles her - time to teach her not to wake at 5. & after some crying it works. So I get up with DE 8 ish, hoping for a relaxing day. M off to work; D plays Oz; E burbles; I read paper & drink... coffee.

10ish: D wants to play Ast; I persuade him its time to go see Billy; & it is. He runs ahead & shouts 'knock knock' & has disappeared inside when I arrive. Intro E to quiet Gemma; home.

11:30: with E down garden; sit on bench. Peace.

Give E lunch & put her to sleep. Rest a bit then play with ieee1394 card. It still b*gg*rs the auto-power, but it *works*! Hurrah: record some ff. Get to watch it properly. But its *big*: 1G for 5mins avi. 40M for just-audio. Or 30M as mpeg-1.

Pm: leave late. Cb1/arj. Coop for hol cash - on time for once! Mackays for piggy-bike bolt-nut: 24p for 2 & washers!

Wed 7th

Flying ants are in the air & crawling out of the ground. The first warm dry day for a while.

Jck & LR to visit: bring D back from M'a 3; they come soon after. Start outside but: Rain! It seems to have been wet for weeks. To BW where we have fun (D & L chasing) & find D's atml sun (ha!) hat; until rain resumes.

Soir: M to pub. Me home: playing w95 on new machine: no go: ios. Bath

Thurs 8th

M leaves somewhat post-8 & I take DE to M'a, forgetting that she is dentisting early. Cpn mobile to the rescue: wait at bus shelter: D finds this satisfying.

Work: seaice. Yoga. Cb1. Arj. Home.

A break in the weather! Do bees.

Soir: finally manage to trash disk 2 (it took a long time; partition magic did it in the end).

Fri 9th

Up with DE :-(. Hoover. Work.

Home. E sleeps 2-4. Play brio with D.

To rec with De at 5, in a brief break in the rain: a little sun, even. Oops, not for long. Still, E enjoys the wirlybird, & being out. Adventure into the farmers cornfield - D remembers sitting on the gate watching it cut (when it was beans; he rem) last y. This year its getting rather wet - poss rotting.

Sat 10th

Lie-in. B'fast liesurely. D plays Maisie-house: M must make panda seek Maisie. E takes a few tottering steps.

Grey but warm. Town: get glasses straightened (thanks, E). Cb1: oh no its 12:30: time to go. Arj.

Sun 11th

To town, PP for picnic lunch. I cycle in; others drive. Then to w/s: M wants to buy a cv book; D to read in kids sect; E plays happily. I get a turn to wander, but aimlessly: find nothing to inspire.

Separate: I take D to G'chester trains. Meet C+H+A coming out; meet H+Adam+P inside. D has fun (so do I). He has conditions for a train he'll ríde alone: must have only 2 carriages.

Mon 12th

Work. Home. Soir: install OpenOffice: appears to work. Late: get julys memos in order & publish june/july.

Tues 13th

M up early as is now the pattern. I rise 8; she leaves soon after. All goes quietly. DE to M'a (for the week is turned around); me to town. A delightful sunny am, with promise of a hot day. Arj. Cb1 is shut. Co-op to pick up holiday cash. Germ cafe for a rest. Now its 11. The day stretches ahead of me, apparently endless.

Stop at allot: do 1/2 h tidy, pluck some onions. Bbeans fading.

Home. Review vdb. Sit out with coffee for lunch. Fickle weather: grey. Then back to sun. M returns 3ish, to cv-ise. Do bees: put super onto blue-top. Make up 10 frames, mostly from reclaimed old frames (& new wax, of course). Probably quicker, & satisfying too.

Then various gardening: clip budlia, hawthorn. Weed veg beds.

Late: bonfire (so as not to leave waste for wasps).

Wed 14th

DE with M'a all day. Work till 5 (come home for lunch - hot - sit out with coffee).

Thurs 15th

Due to M's reorganisation of the week, I get DE all today. What to do? Well I decided that it would have to be a day out... cowardly, I decided that an entire day just around would be too much. I think I was wrong in that. But anyway...

After a truncated lie-in, I get an easy start since D is playing Adiboo and E is happy. M off; I sit around and b'fast reading the paper. The day is greyish, but it looks thin, so I'm fairly sure we'll be heading beach-wards (yes, this excess verbiage does mean I'm writing this on the portege not the palm). In the hammock; E ramps around the garden. It would be much easier if I would tidy up the various bits of junk she tries to put her hands into.

Sun breaks out; beach is decided; but nonetheless it takes a long time to pack (well you try it while trying to keep track of E and make D put his clothes on and...) and we leave about 11:30. Moderately traffic-y, D is getting somewhat restive (E sleeps) so we try to stop at Hilgay but! Its only open 10-12 and 2-5. Argh. Perhaps we'll get up earlier next time. Anyway, when we're nearly there see sign for Snettisham beach and think: why not have a look, we never have? so do. 1:45. Park (£1.30), somewhat unpromising: orange-sand-gravel with a huge bank ahead of us. Cream-up D and E. Over the bank (the sound of the mobile tea-and-ice-cream van's generator receeding) we come to a shingle beach with the water at high tide, probably, since there is a broad shallow bit underwater (people wade out in 2-3 feet of water for 50-100 yards). Well, we'll give it a go, D and I decide, and maybe E won't get as sandy on pebbles as sand, though she does try to eat them with relish. Settle, put up portatent, and have picnic inside.

D wants to dig but its very hard on the pebbles/sand. Go to the sea, and I wade out a bit with E, but it feels like mud underfoot underwater, though you can't see 'cos the water is brown, so it probably is mud. Humpf. Play a bit, but when a little rain threatens I ask D if we shouldn't move to the Old beach, and he agrees, and so we do; leave 2:45 and to Old H at 3. park (£2). Its near full.

Back to hot and sunny. First to the cafe, for tea (me); orange and blue slush (D); milk (E); and cakes. And a lolly for D. £4.20 in all. Then onto the beach, but as ever D wants first to go to the dunes and "do some work" digging out the beach hut that it succuming to the sand. So we do, me doing most of the actual work, but it is fun to find the steps, etc. All the while E wanders around, apparently happy.

Somewhat late, and with a darkish cloud threatening, I force a visit to the sea, leaving D's bag in the hut porch. We have a good time trying to dam a "rivier", while E splashes around naked bar her hat and happy. Then we follow the river down to th sea, admire it for a while, let E splash, then are just turning back when big raindrops start, so we hurry back, faster as the rain gets harder. Back to the beachhut and it becomes a downpour, while we stay snug on the porch, and E is happy. Just for once, some of the other huts seem to be being used. D peeks inside one.

Rain eases off, we get back to the car, try to de-sand E in the toilet washbasin (the place would be much better with a shower, even cold), and get us all in the car happily and only somewhat sandy, D reclining at his ease naked on top of the seats. 6:15. Time to go home, and so we do, uneventfully, listening to Grimms Fairy Tales on CD. E sleeps.

Home. M has prepared eggs, fruit and broccoli. D and E get showered, then after dinner I bathe to soak my battered limbs and mind. Now this; then bed.

Fri 16th

M grants me lie-in in recog of y'day. Work. Home: Billy is here. He ends up staying all day, till after supper, which suits A+C who are packing & chasing washing machines. So he & D entertain each other most of the time, requiring help with the bucket & string to pick up the stuff B threw out of D's window.

7: put up old green tunnel tent: D will sleep out, with me. He is v keen on this & not put off by rainshower as we put up tent.

Soir: repair xp (system32/config/security, etc. Timing suggests D broke it, but how?). Arg. Fail to network - again - can the onboard be broken?

Sat 17th

D sleeps soundly but my bones are getting old: 'when we were young we could sleep on stones'. But its good to be out again, & great that D enjoys it - he wants to do it again, alone, tonight.

Allot to pick stuff for stall: onions, a few bbeans still good, garlics. But weeds! Oh dear! Needs a lot of work. Tonight?

V hot. Town: eyelink fur small adjust to glasses, then cb1 while Med to w/rose.

7:30: to allot to mow, since next door has been ploughed this is a chance to look tidy. Plough through vast grass. Rip up trumpet vine & discover onions. Dig a few pots. At the end, a troupe of d'flies circle for flies.

1am: restored.

Sun 18th

Awake alone to the sound of voices, & go back to sleep. Finally up around 9:30.

Day: developes into quiet sunday at home. Quite hot. Clean out passageway (to make it safe for E) & 'coal hole' & make downstairs toilet usable.

Soir: xfer. Named off. Get 1G off piccies from portege to new in about 1h (600k/sec). Bonfire. Attempt at gp leaflet. Bed - alone again: M sleeps in tent with D, at his req.

Mon 19th

A somewhat slow start, but get to Ma's a little after 12, slowed by E discovering how to squiggle out of her car seat - argh!

Ma offers me coffee and a chance to sit; E screams in her face but then calms down. D is immeadiately at home, of course. Soon enough we head off to Whipsnade. Its somewhat cloudy here, could turn hot of rain, where at home it was blazing.

To Whipsnade 1-ish; park; pay entrance; there we are. What to see? Go look at the Chimpanzees, who are a touch disappointing, since they are somewhat hard to see in the middle of their enclosure, and when seen are mostly lying down in the noonday heat.

And perhaps here is the place to put some words about Zoos in general. Which I have often disapproved of in the past. Justified by introducing children to animals and nature? Quite possibly. But the animals should be chosen carefully. It was, somewhat, the more unexpected animals that were most interesting, and the "obvious" ones that weren't. The penguins were really good, esp at feeding time - and one could imagine they don't mind being cooped up? The cheetah was a dead loss, since it was flopped in a corner of its cage. Ditto the wolves, which were hard to see in the center of a large enclosure (and you wouldn't want them in a small one) and (as D said, unprompted) didn't look at all big or scary, just like small (in the distance) dogs. So whats the point of cooping them up, for that? The rhinos were good, they looked big and muddy and impressive, and since they are grazing animals its OK? And of course in the wild they are endangered. Anyway, enough of that.

So we walked towards the penguins (past the brown bears, which we saw from above, somewhat interesting, but they were "just" scavenging for food), stopped for a picnic at the edge of the hill overlooking the Vale, then to penguins for feeding time at 2:30, which was fun, much tossing of fish (fnarr). They have Kings, Rock Hoppers (which do) and Humbolts. After that, as we walked away, 2 elephants walked (or were walked) by, which was a shock; the second held onto the tail of the first with his trunk (just like in the cartoons), and had a ?hobble-chain? between his left-front and right-rear legs. We followed in their direction and came to the rhinos (good; impressive) then the Lookout cafe. And as we sat down, overlooking the Vale again in a different place, I realised that if I stood up I could see, over the brow of the hill, the two elephants browsing the grass, with their trainers sitting in the grass. Surprise. Go closer to look/photo. Why are the elephants brown not grey? Why do they have fur on top?

As we go around, there are peacoks all over, and occaisionally a wallaby bounces past...

Ma tells me that Miss Joans Ride is named after a Proctor.

Thence, via giraffes (tall!; with special high bins to eat from) to Sealions feeding/show at 4; this is done with practised patter but is very good, with 3 sealions (californian) rewarded with chunks of fish for jumping through hoops, swimming about, balancing balls and generally (apparently) enjoying themselves. E sleeps, her toes poking out of her worn babygro. Why are they called sealions, says D. They put on a good show. But 1/2 way through D gets bored/eager and wants to go on to the kiddies play area, which can be seen in the distance, but we wait for the end of the show. Play area is good too... big tower with twisty chutes. Big sandpit (no diggers in it, though). Etc. Nearby the steam railway (engine #4 "superior"; brasso in engine corner), but no time...

Back to car via the Wolves and Cheetah, both disappointing (see above). To J+J at 5:50, hoping we're not interrupting their meal. But we're not; good. J's arthritis is bad again, since she doesn't rise as we come in, as she always has before; she does as we go, though. Sadly E screams at ther too, until I take her back and soothe her. D wants to run round the garden and play hide and seek (its an excellent garden for H+S). And so Ma and I interchange to allow all this. We stay about 3/4 h and talk of this and that; gardens and vegtables and bees.

To Ma's via Wing chippy; big portions. Leave 8; home 9:30.

Tues 20th - see tosh.

Up rather late (8:30) by M's grace and my laziness. M off to work; I have a rather grim morning, or at least a tiring one. It starts well: as I come downstairs D is doing a puppet show over the kitchen stairgate, which is draped with his green towel to make a stage. D stands behind, half hidden, holding Mr Weasel (who is connected by string to Little Fred so that he can be pulled up when needed) and Owl or Clanger. And they have adventures, which we must suggest. I suggest Clanger needs his spaceship fixed, and this involves a lot of Mr Weasel flying about, then Clanger gets stuffed inside Little Fred. And so on: all terribly sweet, I didn't dare video it for fear of destroying it.

But them, its a grey day: the grass is damp from dew so I don't really want to let E outside. But she's not in the best of moods, and neither am I, somewhat tired, and D wants me to do things, and... anyway. We go out to Bennys for a bit at 12, and D has a run (in fact he cycles there) and gets to watch some building. They have fixed some of the faults I identified - mostly the turnstile is now solid. I let E ramp around - its that or hold her all the time, which would be sad - and she enjoys the turnstile, but gets wet in the grass, so its a change for her when she gets home. Poor E! her toes stick out of her babygro's - M says its time she switched to things-that-don't-have-toes.

M is back a little early - who'd have predicted it, still very welcome - and seeing my distress is kind. This should be my pm off but go into work due to missing mon and thurs. And discover the terrors of yabey/64.

Home 6:30. Dinner, then off to GP chez H, which is good. Drive (oh dear) due to ill discipline and run-downness.

Back: having found it on the web, install the drivers for the wireless card under XP, which (a) work and (b) stop the card crashing XP, which is nice, and means it can be left permanently installed. Which was the original intention. Re-re-fix the system32/config/SECURITY problem.

Late: fail to ir-sync: wots up?

Wed 21st

An altogether happier day.

Work (since I don't have D's seat on, put bike in visitors racks), still chasing evp: yabna/b/c/d.

Home. Lunch. E to bed 2. Fend off D while I eat, then playdo with him, till he decides to seek mythical modelling clay. But then, lying on bed, see Karen in her garden: why not play with E&G? And he does. They alternate there & here, mostly there, & seem to be happy together. About 5 I make them sandwiches to take to treehouse & they run back panicked by wasp & go to EG's.

Meanwhile I emulate the actions of the K, & mow the back lawn. Then tidy 'herb' patch, over grown with rue, & plant out a few pot bound plants (white comfrey to herb bed; asparagus to near veg bed where bbeans were) near the bike shed. A quick sweep: presto! Safe for E. & later when she awakes I reap my reward: she can ramp & I dont have to go stop her. Also tidy inside: my that looks good. Maybe I should do some more?

M home 6. I read mail & phone Andy to confirm pub - last before hols. Dinner: M has persuaded Mr W/rose to make us a quiche but D is having none of it: M does him (& E) scrambled eggs.

While M sleeps DE I go tidy garden a little, beyond pond, in a relaxed way.

Cycle off, with D waving goodbye from his window.

Thurs 22nd

Decide to cycle to station: furthest I've been with 3. Ok, bit of effort.

10:45 to kc. 12:06 (no! We've had to swap: :17) to ec. All well so far. Fed E on train but forgot D food. Tram to F's: arrive before 1 but she is worried that we are late. Welcome & food as ever, she is slowing, but slowly.

Give D a run-around at his req: run & hide-&-seek: shrieks.

Leave 5:15. Underground is hot (but kind folk give us seats); kc->c is crowded but we get seats.

M picks us up at 8, put bike on new frame: first wrinkle: no cross-bar. But fit it. Home. Bed infants, have dinner, rest. Try to work out new carrier: fail & get M's help. Decide to go for just one bike, the old black one. News, then start packing 10; I stop 11:30, M comes to bed 1: not too painful. Really, there is little to pack for this sort of hol.

Fri 23rd

Up 'early' - 7:30 - to finish packing, plant D's sensitive plant & load car. M is to do misc during the morning, eg pick our excellent plum, pear & apple crop.

Work: tidy. Jck says Kate has started knitting an ermine!

Decide to panic & leave early - as it turns out - 12:30 - but apart from one bit all is smooth, & it only takes 3:30, 164 miles to ferry port q. E sleeps all way, D sleeps after 1h, so its a quiet drive.

As we're here early I phone John, who is at work but happy to leave, & who says Marion is at home. So: meet outside dockyard & tour. We're a bit late - Victory is shutting - but gaze up at the outside & the masts x00 feet high, as the guide reels off as he passes. Warships with sun glinting off radomes in distance. D sits on cannon & says Bang! Bang! Bang! with glee. To Dry Dock cafe, beer & sandwiches (beef in D's case, which is chomped up).

Which all shuts at 6, so off to ferry port. Check in & sit in ranks. Looking around, I see I may have been too sqeamish about the bike rack. M changes E in car...

Onboard. A little confusion then find cabin, bijou. D excited by details. Shower, & E. Then go watch us leave port - dark now. Ranks of warships - more than you expect - & huge ferries.

Discover playroom: D dives into softplay bit, then colouring. M queues for a bite of food. D discovers the tunnel to the 'cinema' where he has undergone capture by Tom & Jerry.

Bed. Fiddle with lights.

For our summer holiday, see Quiberon

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