WMC's diary pages, 2003.

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

April 2003

Pics of the month:

The acropolis, reflected. Spot the me. D N on steps Secret E M sits on the doorstep and is quiet Miranda is an angel...

Tues 1st

Work: get egs talk into shape & give after H's at 4. Good. Just poster to go.

Wed 2nd

Sun, wind, cold. M works at home today: sat at pooter in d'gown as I take DE to school & bring E back. Pot up tray leeks/onions, tray marigolds, sunflowers, f beans.

Town: pool: meet Russell: don't recog at first: with Sam, 3. Arj: food, & bics for E. Cutlacks for onion sets, E sleeps. Cb1.

Thurs 3rd

[written sat]. Hmm, so what did I do? Work, poster. Not finished. Yoga 'fatigue' class which seems appropriate. Home. Sit till 4, inside, then gird loins and other regions and head off to allot. Put in 1 bag red onion sets at back; a potato row mid. Good. Back in time to pick up D from home club and E from M'a at 6.

Fri 4th

Work, and finish off the poster OK (gimp reads EH's pdfs OK), and tune poster, and put all onto CD, and print out poster (twice, by mistake) and happily have time to be home by 2:30 for lunch. Wheew.

3:30: to school for E, D will go with Adam, so I go back with Andy and B and forget that I'm supposed to pick up N's scooter for D (N swears by it for teaching balance for a bike).

Home. Quiet with E, outside. M back 4:30 odd.

6: to A's to pick up D, who has had a good time. Sun still, wind less. D asks to stop at rec, so we do, & invite N out; Joel & P come too. Its lovely, and so is the light: of course I've forgotten my camera. The children hang photogenically off the climbing tower and I can do nothing except admire them. N snuggles up to N when she gets a bit tired and has the most winsome smile; again what can I do?

D says 'yikes!'. Quite often, in fact. Its very 'beano'.

Soir: misc; Go.

D, Ella and Georgia in a tug-of-war. E helps. Sat 5th

Lie in. Glorious sun: so warm I open the window. Though when I cycle into town its a touch chill.

Demoing, again. This time in town, called by cambridge gp. Since I heard by email, from sl who is now in ungarn, & since I saw no sign in cb1 on wed, I approach with trepidation. But numbers are passable - 30/50 ish - as we march down mill rd, in the road, in the bright sun, with banners billowing in the breeze. There is an s.a. banner too, & a drummer (allegiance unknown), & a mini-megaphone, & brief speaches on the grass by the s/pool.

After (12; a brief demo), cb1 to unwind.

Home (via bradburys for D's book bag, & news of swimming), where GE are round. Confusion: we're off swimming but where are my/E's costumes? Eventually realise they were prob not unpacked after wed & are prob lost. I am unreasonably grumpy about this but M endures it well.

M to town. E to bed; D off with ge to, I think g says 'watch a dvd'. I sit in sun for lunch & coffee. After ann hour the sun goes in and so do I. Since I've been so bad-tempered about not finding my swim suit (the main reason for that being the vast amount of junk spread around the house I had to root through, and sadly there is no-one to blame for that but me, I'm very close to instituting an unilateral tidy-house policy) in penance I clean up the work top, sorting out all my GP stuff and then all the rest and wipe down the entire surface, hurrrah. Feel better after that though it is but a start...

E sleeps on until I wake her at 5:30: a long sleep. She acts slightly strangely when she wakes & I take her down, rolling around and lying on her back, as though troubled in the tummy, but happy. Odd.

Meanwhile, D is still out with GE, on bike and playing around in the dead-end to our R which is considered safer. They have spent most of the day together with little supervision. They are probably safe there; traffic is sparse and cautious, and G is good at listening out for approaching noise. Ella has a tape measure; looped around G's waist she becomes a patient horse pulling D & Ella; then a tug of war.

D returns from them at about 6:30 and goes to play in the sandpit until called in for dinner, which E and I are having (haggis for me; not much for E).

M back 7:15 with new swimsuits for me and E, and other stuff that may possibly be connected with my b'day who knows...

Sun 6th

Grey. Up 8, after D insinuates into bed. Misc day; I'm mostly getting ready, having done no packing yet. No euros! I suddenly realise. Get from airport. M to town to pick up photos for Mickey (who is ill, or will have an inj, & can't receivh us on the 18th. *Don't* pack portege: I'd only fiddle with my talk. Do (just) remember talk, & (in a gesture of hope) running shoes unused since H's last triathlon.

3: off: tear DE away from playdo. In time; I check in; we watch planes a bit & have a snack, though there is no good viewing area. Time to go: goodbye's, D genuinely affected/ing. A thorough security check; little train; await; abord rearish window, MJ next to me. Ok flight reading Viz & Ghandi's religious thought.

8 pm (or rather, 9) awaiting bus into town, after getting a bit confused outside airport. My first expt at hand luggage only has gone well. Though I see MJ is going to get the same bus...

Which is crowded. Pass 5 prostitutes along the way & get sick of bus (arrival via train far more romantic than concrete underpass of airports backside) so get off as it leaves front. Walk strand in darkness for 500m: more like it: nightfishers; groups; etc. Around pt to port, head into town. Just as I'm wondering why on earth I expected to find a hotel in a town last visited 2-4y ago, with no map, at 10.30, a bus map then sign orientate me & I'm there: Apogia. Boring modern but comfy & convenient (I'd intended Ambassador but summat went wrong).

Tv: war: uk in basra; us troops house-to-house (language probs); burnt-out us tank + locals.

Mon 7th

Up 9 local, 2 mins to Acropolis; buy banana on the way. Register scrum; in via security scan; peruse prog & head for solar.

Internet? There is a laptop area (curses) but on the + side I would not have brought my cables or wireless card.

Time spent in talks & moving between: its a big meeting. In fact its a f*ck*ng huge meet.

Lunch: alone in pizzeria at port: good.

Pm: talks. 2kyr acw! 5: find (reached via temp walkway over road) poster area (in tent in carpark at back, where there was a fun-fair last time) & internet access. Spend 1h+ walking past posters & stopping at 2-3.

Back to epica session to find Eric/Piers for dinner; arrange 8.30. Hotel: 7.30: Time for quick run! Only have 30 mins. To port, around pt, & to Opera plage. Surprisingly good, given gap since last. Thighs sieze up somewhat when I get back. Quick shower & watch-the-war & off to about where I've just run to.

Meet various folk, & after long wander we end up at 'lone star' texan: good. Talk exclusively with E & P. Fin 11!

Tues 8th

In for just-after-8.30 (despite having to go back for pass) but huge security q (but is prob joke sec) & route to room means I miss half of first talk.

3:30: coffee & tart: spotted: cgr.

Y'day was grey: today is !sun! & pause to sit in it for a while (from wed: solar power is 10e27 W, 4M ton/sec).

Night folk on the beach View back along the beach at night Sit by my poster: some interest (3-4 folk I talked to). Talk jg. Wine. 6:30: to see Andrew Orr's talk. GV Instruments are giving out free beer!

& so search out a dinner companion. I can 'only' find Eric & we arrange to meet. Hotel; shower; walk along front, pausing to phone home. Dinner; good. Walk back; look down on beach sleepers playing ?chess?

Wed 9th

In for 8.30, despite even bigger security queues. B'fast: banana. My timetabling makes today a thin day, so I hope to wander town pm.

Nearly fall asleep in nao: it *was* dull but maybe last nights wine played a part. DecMil proves slightly better. Posters: ocean sci & polar. Now in email q: only 11 ahead of me. Outside: rain.

Sandwich. Back to hotel. Watch news; gird up loins & go off for run through rain. Get as far as Voiliers plage, in light rain, slowly.

Saddam being toppled. yes, I saw it all on tv... Back: bath with Ghandi. More tv: fascinating: cheering crowds in Bagdad with rope around next of s.h. trying to pull it down; fail; u.s. 'armoured recovery vehicle' comes up & does it properly but slowly. At first it hangs, half fallen, then they pull more & it crashes down & locals jump up & down on it (looks like tb will get the short war he needed). Exciting: I take pics of tv. Flags pantomime: the marines put a u.s. flag on it; ooh thats insensitive say the pundits; 1 min later it comes down; later replaced with a iraq one which is sensitively removed before toppling.

To conf for Ganopolski at 5: sitting room only.

Arrange to meet JG for din; end up in giant crocodile inc bamber to Lebanese; but we don't all fit in; so jg, rcah, rob a, zweck (Oz working in Bremmerhaven) & I end up in Chez Annie, brasserie in the french manner, where I have the trad moz salad & omlette au fromage.

To bed somewhat earlier for once.

Thurs 10th

In a talk with a mumbling speaker... argh.

Wake late, rain, get in for 9.15 talk in ice cores session via stopping to buy banana/orange for b'fast.

The sad fate of old posters... Mark W has just arrived (& he has lost his mobile in taxi so texts ann from mine): talk wireless & beowulf over coffee. Demo login-to-bas on clie to MW (it works so much better if you remember both 0's & that the clie ir port isn't central.

Lunch: sandwich, since its now too late to go out. Load talk onto pc. Sun! Go bask on terrace.


7:00: 17th in line in email q.

7:30: realise I'm late & sprint to thumb for dinner date... Jg, Mw, Oleg, R Essery: at resto 'congress' just by acropolis. A jolly meal & we all have 3 large biers...

Maker of crosses from palm leaves After the conf is over: two (unknown) watch the waves Fri 11th

Am: sun: up early for once - didn't sleep till late. Photo of view from my room - a concrete wall with dead ivy - oh for the hotel suisse. Time for b'fast & check-out by skipping 1st gt-&-good talk. On walk in realise: no p'card! Oops. Sit in sun & read mail by palm/mobile. Must find a fr isp.

Internet q again (mobile is only good for quick scan) #13. Just heard Mark W talk on qump - v good. Promise self walk around Nice at about lunchtime. Posters: meet Mai. Buy egs T for me.

Appollon for co2 seq.

Lunch (which turns into misnomer): town. Sun: this is the Nice I remember: photo numerous ruelles. Buy palm-cross for Ma (as in palmier, not clie) from vendor in sq who sits there ?weaving? them. Sea shore: photo palm for D & atmospheric end-of-conf shot of man with laptop case against sea. Sit & watch it awhile myself. Back via atelier des jouets (from last time) & get 'theo in seilbahn' for D after considerable thought: I hope he likes it. E? M?

Back. V interesting borehole session (Mann etc). Nearly done. 4: get cafe & s'wich (lunch!) & talk to RE. About to go out but: b*gg*r: its raining :-(.

The acropolis, reflected. Spot the me. Wot a big one Sit. Quiet. V end-of-conf. Sigh: dispose of pass, head out into rain, walk through port, round point, to beach, into sea up to ankles to say goodbye.

Solve what-to-do-with-spare-time problem by waiting for bus 6:10-7 in place massena. Heavy rain/thunder continues, but fortunately parasol of a boutique shelters us. Stop *says* airport, but... after 30 mins ask another chap who looks conference-y, he says yes... hmm, still no bus :-(. At 7, boutique shuts & shades start to retract: its looking wet :-(( Start back to gare routiere &... Bus comes. Whew. One steamy trip through rush hour later, arrive 7.30. Check in (alongside uasd folk; chap purses lips at my 6+kg sac but ok's it); cafe+tart; phone M; buy 'la joueuse de go'; through sec; hang around; through p'port; sit; talk rcah; q; board delayed 20min (can't phone M: she is engaged); now on. Bumpy flight & landing, good view of London. Having promised rcah a lift wait with him for his hold bag; when this is delayed abandon him, since M has E. Exit, there they are, E looking untimely awake (its well past 11). Hello; kiss; car; to M11 S :-( which wastes 20 min... home; snack; bed.

Sat 12th

My b'day! Sun. Lie in bed. M off 8.30 to get D from sleepover, returns with N. I get sung H B'day & b'fast in bed. Pres: dress gown & ginger & mzpan. D and N have both done me cards. N's shows me beekeeping, with a veil on and smoking a hive of bees. D's shows me gardening, about to pull up a weed that a family of moles is using as its pantry. All the moles have long noses, as the mole in "the little mole who knew it was none of his business" did. The mummy mole is sitting down reading a book and the daddy is in the kitchen. Up 10.40 (but its 9. in fr). Tired.

12: its sunny and not windy and just about warm, so decide to do bees: see separate. Goes OK.

1.30: to s'pool leaving M and E to sleep, separately. D and N splash most cutely and happily together, except when they wind each other up, you could swear deliberately, but its not. No-one lese we know there: unusual. Stop by the playground near witht he spiral slide and big sandpit; I dig D and N traps which they happily fall into. N sad cos D won't play on the double springer with her... back to N's at 5. D and N to rec; P has just woken so N and I stop and talk; then DN come back and we go into the back garden; N did her bees today, I go look but they are now quiet. DNP into the very high tree house.

Home past 6 where all is well.

I bed D then sleep on M for a while. Email, sync palm, put out clothes, bed...

Dinner, even Marion Toblet is the wrong way up Sun 13th

Up, groaning, with DE. When M rises at 10 I go back to sleep. Until its time to go off to Ma's. Arrive 1.15. Sun, wind, rlt there. DL play happily rockets; TE on sides. The winder falls off my watch. Lunch. After, I sit out in sun at back in new d'gown with coffee; watch kids & occaisionally throw ball to T. Marion C arrives.

Yellow flowers are Celandines.

Buffalo farm. More fun than it looked. Straw mountain.

Back: tea outside. Cake! Green.

Leave D till tues. Off 6.45, back 8. Bath. Tired.

Mon 14th

Tues 15th 3: off to collect D. Meet Ma at Marston Moretaine forest centre. Its 1/2 way between us, first time for either. I let E loose & she runs up to D & Ma while I hide.

Visitor centre: misc stuff. Timeline earths 4.6By. Blue b'gnd: mag glassshows dots: says: blue dot = 1000 y. V effective as thats-a-long-time.

Back: drop D at N for sleep over: Adam & B there. V sweet: they are waiting by the gate & jump up & wave & say: hurrah! D is here. I help with barbecue & meal. Leave just before 7, back just after M.

Wed 16th

E a.m. 12 walk to N to pick up D from his sleepover.

4: M back, to Soir: M out to Grapes. I write pc draft 'attack dog' leaflet that I won't use.

Under the beachhouse, we were having fun, ... Thurs 17th

Another late up, but M seems in no great hurry to be off. Sun.

D plays Winnie tW, E burbles. So: off to the beach then? Invite N, & B (but he's off swimming). Ask D if we should take E, but he says no, which I'd hoped for, so feeling somewhat guilty take her to M'a.

Pick up N & off 10.30. Arrive 12.15: slow traffic. But D & N good. Its windy, the curse of the Norfolk coast, & indeed as we set off I wondered if it might not be too w.

Find place amongst the dune. Cam up & start to dig. Almost at once N is sad: a scrape on her arm hurts with sand. Happily I have f.a. kit. But still she is sad awhile. Dig, bury, expl: E happy again.

Cafe: ice creams for D & N. I get a cup of tea & we share a piece of cake.

3: to the sea! But D has bashs his foot - blood - big plaster, & sandals on. A woman approaches to say I have a price tag on my neck (from the hat) & (astonishment) to say I'm a wonderful carer for the kids.

Seawards! Wind kicks in past shelter of dunes: my hat blows off & rolls away, to amusement. Dig in 'stream' a bit, then D decides water & his cut don't mix & retreats. Onwards the 2! But when N discovers how far it is to the sea - tide is out - we retreat too. Hey ho.

D N on steps Snack in the car. Symm. Back to dunes & beach huts - most shut - but a good env to explore & play in. DN & a girl in pink (perhaps 6 (no, 7, & Bethany)) go off to expl, D leads. I stalk them like big game, but with camera.

Now hide-&-seek with Miss pink & 2 others, older. They all know they have to protect N. All back under the hut.

Off: N: 'D, do you know what was best? Exploring!' D: 'playing with our beach friends'.

Hilgay: Olde Time Tea Rooms, at 5:23. Who are open 2-5 for a'noon tea. But they kindly give us sandwiches & drinks. D & N want to go inside :-( though its lovely out.

Fri 18th

Lie in 10.30 in glorious sun. Hot day again, but windy.

1.30-3.30: allot: front patch now largely done. 1/2 cider in pub; home; pack; swift trip to F.

D v excited by new bunk bed.

Soir: quiet. After E won't stay in bed, put her back in cot

Sat 19th

Lie in till 10. Hmm. Leaping up with lark not common feature.

To town cafe lunch, just inside Allders. Buy cinema tickets (jungle book 2) for D & me. M, F & E go there way. D & I wander toy dept for B's present: orient expt lego.

I watch D watching film (babel-17). D likes it, comes out saying 'i wish i could do jungle tricks & live in j'. Me 'but shere k might eat you'. D 'i remember s k is afraid of fire so i would get a stick & set it alight' (we'll skip the bit about cutting off s k's tail with pliers'. After: back to cafe for choc cake D desires. Film: not up to first, I say; no ideas.

Back. Si+B there. Talk. Dinner. Bathe DE; B reads D postman pats sore tooth. Soir: talk. mail (portege battery getting weak). Read: lyonesse. SB off 9 ish. M still on asprins: tooth, & nose.

D: never more alive than when watching TV Sun 20th

Early, in bed, I hear: D: 'miranda, wake up & make a noise so mummy has to get up'. Oh great: its *my* day to get up...

Photo caption: D, never more alive than when watching tv.

Leave 2.30. Home 4.30. Allot 5-7: dig over patch carpeted all winter: worked, apart from white roots. Pots & b beans.

Secret E Mon 21st

Up with E (volunteer, since M still unwell). Sleep an hour once M up. D back from B 10.

1: bees. Make up 4 (then 2 more) s frames with D). Get stung on chin & hence adopt 'scarf strategy'. Bees in rust annoyed as I remove their nice brace comb & put in frames.

5-6:30 (would be 7 but I forgot time-measurer): allot. Back: temp plant 'raspberry' & jasminoid. Plant 2 dahlias & 6 climbing fr beans. & all the while E follows me.

Soir: pack away spade etc: all is (somewhat) tidy. The bluebells are coming out; the sloe blossom falls; the tadpoles have hatched & have sunk out of sight; the pear flowers; hazelnut leaves emerge; peony buds show a hint of red. In short, spring is in full bud & all is cheerful.

8-9: rest. Read.

9-11+: pack. Not too bad (the food!). D watches from his doorway & is allowed to help a bit.

M sits on the doorstep and is quiet Miranda is an angel... Tues 22nd

Up 4.30: reject M's req for snooze button. Off 5. Frost on windscreen but 0+ elsewhere. Birdsong. Roads quiet. D sleeps; E does eventually. 6:45: services by Reading. M takes over; DE wake. 7:15: to a34 junction. M5 at Bristol; 9: Tiverton & barely-remembered to Mad Hatters cafe where we have eggs-on-toast just like last time & regale D with when-we-were-here-last. Mist fading to sun. To bridge over river: kids unreel string from a floating bobbin. Coggans Well still w's up in the high st. Museum (mid-devon misc; train): quite good; only have 1/2 h.

On, to Westward Ho! (ugh) then out to beach at 'the warren'. E sleeps: M nobly volunteers to stay in car with her, I accompany D over 'pebble' bank where he plays while I sleep in sun, then down to beach. We dig channels, sea retreats leaving broad sand; sand yacht-parafoilers play.

3: into Apledore. Park by sea. Find (one lane back) the 'schooner' cafe/deli. E is loud. Phoned by MJ.

5-ish. Shop. Pick up keys. Buy map & loaf at p.o. To Coombe (via unearthly 'tracking station'; view down to beach at turn of road); across ford; here. M, D & I pile out (E sleeps). Its lovely; idyllic. Especially in such weather. The mill stream burbles & D is enthralled; there are multiple bridges, an old orchard, meadow, a rope swing across the river. Etc etc: nothing disappoints. Inside is nice too. Talk to ?Victor & Betty? in nearby cottage.

6.15: M & I walk down to beach, leaving E, & D by his req. Have to go along minor road. Beach: rocky, with sand at half tide. & a stream. Good.

Dinner: eggs, fruit, e eggs. DE bath to bed; we 4 chat till 10? then separate. M bath; I look at sw climbs & map; l sharpnose is beyond us, I fear.

Move beds together.

Wed 23rd

Since my watch is broken I don't know the time unless I check my palm & that doesn't seem too important.

Sun. Chill. Some wind. Sit out with coffee & mango while DE play on bridge then stream.

V pleasant to be where sounds are natural: mostly the stream; the wind; birds; distant voices as MJ chase after DE. At home it sometimes seems like that, then I realise I've discounted the ever-present m11.

Lunch outside on sunny little terrace by stream.

3: MJ to kilkhampton for milk etc; E sleeps; D plays on mill sluice watched by M; I decide to walk to Morwenstow.

Set off, over ford... err. Back again, & up road, soon branching fp up hollygrove wood spangled with wild garlic. Then climb out (look back & see how valley has twisted) onto blowy tops to Woodford; photo: sheep & sat dishes. Line of fp seems to have vanished leaving road; force my way. Past Eastaway 'manor' then Stanbury; wooded Tonacombe which looks more like a former manor, with whites of garlic & rook droppings. Down to tip of nt lands of Tidna Shute; paths don't match map but again force way; Morwenstow: find them in the churchyard. 3.20 to 4.45.

Its much as it was. Drier, though: fewer flowers by the stream. M somewhat hassled by infants.

To tea rooms; cream tea which D pronounces 'yummy'. E ramps & shouts :-( & has to be removed.

Looking down on Rane beach rocks 6.10: Mfd & I set out on coastal path home. Burning ground to N by sea. Blowy. Fine views of calm sea & sunlight reflected. At Hawkers hut we pick up a dog. Mfd lags up climbs to Higher sharpnose, above Rane beach & Harscott cliff. Photos: down to Rane beach: rocks, sea, sun refl. Down to duckpool: step smartly up road: home 7:45 just in time to help: v tired D needs to brush teeth & bed.

J has cooked good lentil soup. Slow dinner: all tired; early bed.

[in night: E wakes up screaming & won't settle without stair light. Poor little thing; but annoying]

Thurs 24th

Rain. E wakes us 8; I get up. B'fast, then D wants to play draughts with J; I take them round & return to quiet coffee.

To the beach, DMI; & MJE go expl the mill leat. A last shower of rain as we go down the road, to test our faith, then mostly sun, esp in M's suntrap under the do-not-sit-under cliffs. D plays in the stream & pool (the valley stream ends in a pool against a porous stone/pebble bank), & throws stones in. When I throw an esp big one, brief rainbow. Tide is high; sand hidden. D & M play 'mr weasel & the owl go hunting'.

E with firewood Back for late lunch (at King W's bridge, stop & watch tractor fill water trailer).

M takes DE off to Kilkhampton to shop.

MJ have been tracing Mill leats; I join in. Eventually D & I; then M & E, wander up valley to see where the dry leat goes; but the junction with the river is off the path. Also, gather firewood.

Back. Fire, & nursery tea.

Fri 25th

My lie in. MJ off today. Gentle rain.

11: one of those confusions. We are chez us, awaiting housekeeper to accept MJ's key, unsure whether to leave key & house open or return it to Shop. Meanwhile, D plays filling bath, then! He falls in :-(. Laughter all round except D, whose dignity is compromised 'why are you all laughing at me?' he says, most miffed. Then he falls off the back of the sofa: 'I'm going to laugh at you when you do something that makes you sad!'.

To tea rooms, Mwstw, for lunch: they also do soup, pastries, fish/chips.

Huntingdon Dalrymple Waller, of the river survey, Calcutta, slipped his cable, aug 23rd 1928.

Simnal cake, & a large slice, for pud. E gets some marzipan; D & Mfd i'cream. MJ off, we back: sky clears, sun, & E sleeps! Tired D reads with M. I sit outside. Take D down to beach, M staying. Fairly late - 5ish - when we get there, just as the tide clears the first patches of sand. D & I (mostly I; D directs) dig channels & dams. M arrives with E on shoulders but E not happy - why not? - & M takes her away. D & I stay; its lovely; sand just an excuse to be there; back at 7.

Sun behind hill at 7.40 as I put v tired D to bed.

Soir: quiet. Bread & cheesc & our books.

Bed: M is suffering a snuffly nose (endless tissues), possibly linked to sinusitis, & the residue of her tooth, & a cough.

Sat 26th

Up at what seems a sensible hour, though watchless & I feel no need to ask my palm. Quiet am: grey/rain. M drives uphill to shop (in both senses) to phone MJ & confirm we'll stop by on mon. D fairly quiet, E ramps as ever. Take her outside; retrieve a foxed rubbish bag from meadow.

Fetch firewood with D, with second idea of going up meadow leat-wise: but D gets cold (or wet) feet.


To Sandymouth bay: oniy 1 mile away along cliffs but somewhat more by car, esp as I set off the wrong way. Leave in rain, arrive in sun - its often better at the coast. Nt: toll 2: someday we must join... E sleeps in car with asprin-M; D & I down to beach: 2.30: high tide in 1h. Waves rush in covered in what D calls yoghurt, & he squeaks with delight when they cover my toes.

After 2h of this, & watching waves, its time to see how ME are doing (plus its gone grey): walk up 5 mins as E awakes. Tea time: & the tearoom is nearby, also nt, & good. I have homemade coff&walnut, M & D have muffin, E what she can reach, & D indulged with a can of fanta.

Geology. And D. D in a cut-off stream After: sun again. ME towards Bude where a Safeways is found on the outskirts to supply tonights dinner (orange soup for D) & more asprins for M. But D&I go back down, with a new plastic digger on which D has spent 5 of Auntie Alice's 6. Distracted onto grassy sward then wildly meandering stream which we follow till it becomes the waterfall. D discovers a frog nest. Beach: tide has retreated somewhat, sand now visible. Look around. Impressive cliffs, one to hand would offer 60' of S-ish; further off a stack & pinnacle look interesting.

It is so easy to forget, on a rainy morn, how little is required to make the day beautiful, expansive, inspiring; especially on a windy beach with the sun glinting off seawashed rock.

Forgo walk back along cliffs in favour of helping with kids baths & stuff. D tired: eats by fire (I slip out towards stowe wood for more; would be nice to get to 'settlement' tomorrow). Embed infants then go for more wood (mwstw way) in windy twilight.

Mysterious rubbish layer - geology of the recent past... Sun 27th

To beach, DE & I: M feeling poorly. But at the last minute she comes too, & we walk together. Just as well she did, cos managing E as well as D would be tricky. Stream - wet boots - sandcastle - ME off - D tired/cold - carry - debris layer.

Home. D tired. M hassled: bed E.

M & I alternate reading 'the far-distant oxus' to D (who doesn't usually sit still for books-sans-pics: too tired to move? Or just fasc by story? Certainly baffled by clock episode). Quote: 'the tree's nearly finished, said bridget, but of course there's a lot more we could do' - the essence of childrens literature.

Mid a/noon: Walk in the woods - Stowe side - ostensibly for firewood. I only have 3/4 h... Has been thinned in places by forestry commission, but lovely old banks/roads full of leaves.

More reading. Wake E; video tour of house; photo panorama of orchard. Dinner. D still rather tired: more slumping on us in chair listening to tf-do.

10. Pause in packing. Write our brief comment in the book. Prev entry: 'Scott May's stunt show is so bad as to be almost good' - was that the one Denbo saw?

Notes: manage food better next time. & we didn't have nearly enough trousers for D. & there is no washing machine.

1/4 to 12. Packing done (it took a long time because we had to clean too, & find baby russian doll). Rain.

[3 notes on E: she is v finickity about her hands, whinging about the smallest speck of dirt. Which would be fine except she keeps plunging her hands into misc gunk. On a better note, she is quite an outdoor child. Further, while she only speaks a few words, & those distorted, she seems to understand quite a lot - I talk to her as though she did.]

Mon 28th

Up 5.30: rain, off 6: bye bye cottage, valley. V slow m5/m4 junction 8.30. MJ at 10-to-10. Bfast, mail, rest, play, lunch, rest. Off 3.30. Grey. Back 6+, inc 20 mins tesco.

Tues 29th

Work. Busy: talk Bob B & Ann, then prepare for T team, instead of going.

Back 3:30 :-( but I can count that against monday. Pick up DE (D sad: thought he missed school y'day: reassure him, as does Mrs L). Hectic: Andy takes kids, I go off to leaflet for pc. Accosted by Janet: have I seen E? Hastily to bw, where David Baldwin holds the said panda: it turns out she had escaped in the chaos caused by her o'turning a can of paint. Settle her; & on, interrupted by rain shower & temporary lack of leaflets. At last all is done.

Wed 30th

D to school, E walks most of way. Sun. Home, E bumbles outside happily. I open some of our mail stack, none of any importance. We spent 10k last month, but much of that was M's tax. Town, pool, swim. E can now climb wall into upper pool by self.

Arj, cb1: E resolutely, & this time successfully, resists sleep, even when I push her through town. Still, her temper remains good. Now we await bus, whose driver is a grump. Home.

Do 'easy' places for gp leaflets.

Soir: A few leaflets then pub: A, C & later S.

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