WMC's diary pages, 2003.

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

May 2003

Thur 1st

First of may, hurrah, somewhat deadened by residue of last nights drink. Work / yoga / work a little more.

Back via allot, to see if its too wet. No. All (inc weeds) growing well, inc 6 proud yellow tulips. Home: M is there resting her cold. Lunch, paper, go journal.

To allot 5, back home 7. Lots of digging at back: ground underneath surprisingly dry. Put in 2 rows leeks.

Dinner, then D plays meccano. DE to bed, then bath with postgate.

At the count: 9.20. All are the from district, ld's Livia with agent, & most of pc.

Madingley: 36c-11g-19l=66. 17% Coton: 216c-57g-77l=350. 16% Dry Drayton: 90c-21g-54l=165. 13% Postal: 17c-2g-5l=24. 8% Total: 91g-359c-150l=600. 15% (some figs approx).

The order is established by Madingley & doesn't vary :-(. Meanwhile the pc count goes slowly but isnt looking to good for the new order :-(. Penny drops by in evening dress. Ross & Andy are off down pub & if they aren't back soon they'll miss the result. Now all awaits the careful counting of one man; the district count is done & the c & l are gone; & its quiet. AR *have* returned.

Nikola: 148e Brown: 179e Burbage: 127 Ross: 170e William: 163e Darling: 202e Diplock: 155e Kinsey: 190e Lewis: 151e Lloyd: 145 Andy: 132 Smart: 185e Smith: 103 Spencer: 104.

[What follows written monday 5th. Which is a bank holiday spent at home, so it feels like a sunday night... Anyway, its been busy, hence my lack of writing till now]

Anyway, after the count, the pub: Ross, Andy and I, with Nikola dragged along protesting and drinking red wine. So we commiserate with Andy and congratulate ourselves and try to analyse the task ahead. The task? Delivering our promises of course...

Fri 2nd

Work: my disturbed-swapbounds run is wrong, points out MC, because of a miscoding. And when I correct it, it just crashes. Wah. Because the ice code uses it to swap logicals :-( Even fixing that isn't enough...

Sat 3rd

Blow some of my free time on lie-in till 9:30, oh gross waste of an early morning. Hey ho.

As pre-arranged with Tom and Andy, take D and B to Waterbeach sailing club open day. Not quite sure how it would work out, but as it turns out, its spendid. We turn up, find Tom (down the river sailing, we walk down to find him, passing interesting objects along the way). They get kitted out in life jackets, and Tom and Alan Winter take on each in Mirrors while I walk along the path, filming. Or rather run, since the wind is strong and clear for sailing straight down. At the bottom weir/lock, Tom returns with B, but D and Alan disappear... ah, gone to see the lock. Alan explains it to D, he tells me, but finds that D already knows all about such things... except its a guillotine lock at the top end. No one knows why - tradition. Sail back, slowed by tacking, thank goodness.

Tea time for all: a spread in the clubhouse.

Then a go in a "cruiser" - ie a thing with a fore and aft sail, but a half-cabin (with tiny cooker, and bunk-seats). This is harder to tack (and the owner less confident) so we motor back; I get to hold tiller for much of it.

D and B really want to go in a "proper" motor boat, or one with a real cabin: but none are on offer. So we have another go at a cruiser, and this time we tack back, with me crewing: which is to say, pulling the foresail across, sometimes at the right time (not too early). Fun. And tiring, on a narrow river. D and B enjoy it a the boat heels over, putting their hands in the water.

And in fact they show no fear at any time and need no reassuring: splendid.

Look at the "observation tower" where the races are started/counted: play with the horns and bells (all with Toms permission; Mary, Tim and Lucia have come down).

After that, a brief lunch, then watch an optimist race (confusing), then its time to get home: past 3. Ahem, I'm a little late. D is allowed to go to play with B - and ends up staying till 6+.h

E is abed, and nowadays she often sleeps 3+ hours if undisturbed. M goes into town, so I read mail, rest, etc. And finally wake her up sometime after 6 (Rick comes round to talk 5:30; he is applying for a job at SPRI).

Soir: I forget...

Sun 4th

A busy day. Up with DE, all quite pleasantly, its a lovely day, just the day for swarms... also a day for a car boot sale, behind the plough. Take DE at 9:15, E on my bike and D on the tag-a-long. Sweep up N in our wake; she and D wander the sale (mostly in my wake) with E uncertain and having to be restrained. I find 2 good (probably) sci-fi: Alison Sinclair legacies and AR Revelation Space which its probably about time I read. D finds some lego, a horse-and-carriage-set which by some miracle the people have preserved, complete with instructions, in a tin. That costs him 2.50, 1 his (the last of Alice's 6) plus a gift from me. N has already been bought rollerskates and Nelson a spirograph, lucky him, the joys of arriving early.

The bouncy castle promised isn't up yet - I rashly promise them we can come back later, but this is unfullfilled. Its now 10:15 so to N's to drop off N, and talk. Walking down the garden to observe something about N's bees (she hasn't said what) I say "oh, you wanted me to see them swarm" and she says "oh". So we watch one hive swarm and settle nearby (not such a large swarm); and while they are settling the other hive swarms. And they appear to join: odd. Well, no nearly 11 so time to take DN to "sunday club" (which I guess sounds better than "S school"). I still encourage, mildly, D to go to this; more as a gesture of support for a group activity within the village than owt else. Home with E. Now what?

Apart from the ever-needy allotment, today is the second day of work on the PTA pool behind the school which I'd like to help at. And... looking down the garden, yes, right on cue my bees *have* swarmed. Showing great public-spiritedness, I go to the work on the pool, confident (foolishly, as it turns out) that they'll be there when I get back. M gets E; N has agreed to pick up D. So: armed with spade, and unsure, I go to the pool, and am assigned to help digging out the foundations for the new chemicals shed. We 3 (me, Danny and X, who had already started) dig in our naive way and get down to about where instructed; but then discover we have to reach the subsoil and this is much harder. Stop at 1.

Home: suit up. Bees *have* moved. Rats. Now across little-field, still 4 feet off ground. They move again, 4 feet to the side. Then again: to 30 feet up, in thin tree swaying in the wind over the stream. *Argh*. UNless they move lower, I'm stuffed. And tired.

So: a little luch, then with M's OK to the sunday apiary meeting at Wandlebury. The wlk from carpark to apiary is lovel, dow a green tree-shaded lane. Only a few folk there; meet is lead by Grahame (I think; big bloke with dark beard). I learn some stuff about swarm control but more, I learn how an experienced keeper handles bees with confidence.

Back. Pick up D (this day being a saga for D: he and N visited Honor mid-pm; now all are back chez N, H fetchingly in pale purple) much to his disgust: *why* does mummy want him home, it had better be important (she loves him and would like to see him for part of the day is the truth, but hard to explain).

Dinner. DE bed.

pm: quiet.

Mon 5th

Mothers birthday: happy birthday to her... in Cornwall she is.

Another busy day (after the lie-in), spent at home. Its seems a little odd to do that for a bank hol: old climbing habits dying slowly.

Allot 11-1.

E sleeps. Read more "seeing things", rouse self: fix arch into second half of garden. Read PC docs, and drop some off to Ross that he needs.

D and E/G to and fro most of day.

Gardening a little 7:30-8:30.

Soir: bath with Revelation Space which proves (at least in the beginning) to be unexpectedly good. And of course, write lots of words. Here they are...

Tues 6th

M'a sick. Work till 12 then E till 2 then she sleeps till 5. & since D is off with B...

Some gardening. Clear pond a bit.

This has been a tulip spring.

Wed 7th

D has been good (quiet, listened, held up his hand) so gets to sit in the rocking chair. He chooses N to take the reg with him to the sec. & E sits in the chair. This is all right.

To farm - rather, smallholding (at qu's at end: D: I expected it to be bigger).

12: home. Lunch. E bumbles. Still hot sun. E sleeps 1, I sit by pond (newts) & read Rev Sp - excellent potboiler with - as I said to M last night - the irritatingly common habit of all comp sys trivially subvertible.

3: quick look at bees, to see how full they are: quite.

MD back: D wants to sleep out & weather is propitious. Find him tent.

4-6: allot. Quite good shape now. Whew.

Put poles into tent correctly :-)

7: first pc meet. Fin 9.30. Apart from choosing chair & vice, a fine pretence of harmony. 8 public present! My pledge/desire realised.

Home: M emailing. I get my chance at 11 & fin 12 oh dear.

Sleep in tent with D.

Thurs 8th

I get E today: M'a still off & M has 'v imp' training day. I of course have nothing of importance on...

After D to school, rouse out swim stuff & sandpaper. To bw & sand upright: 15 mins work.

To bas for smoko. Late, so to vacs meet for 1/2h, E good (ie, quiet).

Town p+r: swim, arj, cb1: no sleep from E but quiet. Sleeps after. Heffers art for green spray paint (bw) then w/s while E sleeps on: 4.20.

Stop off on way back to talk to N (waylaid by N on her bike: mummy wants to talk to you she says, as she rides along the footpath) and we discuss Extractors.

Soir: out at 7 for GP meeting at Penny's. I get Press, hurrah.

Home 10; J has arrived.

Fri 9th

Find postcards; take them to work. Also Ian McEwan for Ma. J and I walk up to school with DE; she will look after E today while M'a is still sick.

So I get to work all day (for a drink of rum...) which makes up for thurs. Good.

J leaves 7:30.

Sat 10th

My lie in, then M takes DE to w/rose, and after a sit I go up to school to add my inexpert help to the rebuild of the pool #2: today I help to dig out a path under where the decking will be for the pool cover to roll into. Unexpectedly, lunch is served 1-1:30 so I stay and talk. And also do half hour after, which suffices to get the slabs down. Good. Home just as MED return.

pm: M to town, we in garden and misc. E sleeps, hurrah (am I allowed to say that...?). Also D and I make a good start at house tidying by doing the living room fairly thoroughly.

Sun 11th.

Up at the civilised hour of 8 with DE, though D has been up for some time, eating cocopops it emerges.

Its a sunny day, but with occaisional cloud chill, so we stay inside mostly. M sleeps upstairs till 11 (bar one brief disturbance by me the E) and indeed is quite tired quite often nowadays. I am not as sympathetic as I should be.

While M takes E to tescos for misc, I "do" bees (see memo) and D watches from a very safe distance.

MJ arrive 3:30 for more (very welcome) childminding on mon and tues. Well, and now as well.

4: to allot: brief session planting onions and 2 spare sunflowers.

5: to school to walk the fp with Beryl, and we do, noting a hole in the ground (to be filled) and overhanging branches (me to ask school to see if their groundspeople can remove). B knows all about the recent history of the path and the people whose land it crosses. Return via her to collect bag of compost; put 1/2 on garden and refill with soil and dump in hole, together with more misc soil found at bend of path by pool. Another job well (or at least quickly) done.

Dinner for all (kindly provided by M+J). ED bath; E to bed; where should D go? Tent or inside? He thoughtfully remembers that if he tents, I have to too (MJ *dont* volunteer, oddly enough), and so mummy won't sleep well. So he stays indoors, and is later found in our bed.

Soir: read PC circ file. Item of interest on swings (rospa slag off unnamned "equipement manuf" for wrong advice). M still tired/sad.

Mon 12th


Soir: dinner with M+J too.

Tues 13th

Work all day (since might lose thurs, this balances; as it turns out, I didn't).

M+J off, with our gratitude.

Soir: to trustees at 7. Old guard retain the chair & vice.

Home. M is happier.

Wed 14th

DE to school: D will do cooking-an-egg today (but MJ have already taught him to scramble). E & I visit footpath hole (has it settled after rain? No) & sec re o'hanging branches (note for head). To bw for E to play & me to test my green spray on horse: oops, colour match is too poor.

Walk p+r (showers); pool; arj; cb1. E is tired & sleeps quickly.


Home through rain (shelter at N's).

Soir: sort through photos for poss coton site.

Thurs 15th

2: meet M Kings st & to Yippee: good.

After: m+s shorts. Cb1 relax. Pool: return padlock.

Allot: short weeding spell.

-6: pick up happy D & then E from M'a. Stop to have 'fun on the green' at D's insistence. 'fun that is funny?' I ask. No: just fun. He drags E from her pushchair & this is ok. She removes her coat, goes to D, pushes him, & says 'aniel off oat', which is good going for her.

Soir: M to Coton womens book club till late (the Stone Diaries).

Fri 16th

Hmm. I forgot to write this on the day and now I've forgotten. D went to N's till D when I picked him up in pouring rain hence in car.

Sat 17th

Lie in past 9. Without question this is fun but does soak up a lot of my free day.

Med to w/rose. I to pool 11-1.30: nailing beams down. I am slightly underemployed as there is quite a bit of exactly-how-shall-we-do-this sorting out to be done between Architect and Chartered builder and the more skilled. Still I helpand stop for a bite of dinner too: more pizza.

Tidy up fo P+S. Decide to sweep table clear in kitchen and move it out to clean behind. Which is when I discover discoloured paint under radiator. Oh dear... water under carpet... but perhaps not very much. Either its the kids spilling stuff from the sink, or its the cold water cut-off tap being naughty. Monitor.


Soir: reminded by M+J that hols are approaching and they are booking proms, I search again and this time option cottage. Only for one week, right at the end of hols (*must* check with school that the dates are clear). Does leave open the poss of another hol towards the beginning. Sigh: I dream of Lescun and sitting on the balcony in the early sun watching the distant ridges emerge and shift in the changing light.

Sun 18th

Up with DE. Some tidying. Move sofa around till its back to the wall again for space.

PSHD at 12. Meanwhile my bees (leaning) have swarmed to shed roof (see: bees). What excellent timing on their part: probably because its been manky weather most of the past week and they are taking their chance while they can.

Play outside; lunch; then Duxford. Slightly tricky with E and David; I tend to wander off in a not-quite-as-helpful-as-I-should-be way. Phil says he must come back sometime for himself... and we discuss airfix together.

Home (PSHD leave straight from Duxford). Bees still hanging so stuff them into spare hive: easy. Phone Simon.

S & Alan come 7.30 to collect bees. All goes well.

Soir: quiet.

Mon 19th

Work/yoga/work. J rather wobbly, I hope she's alright. Day continues run of showery/rainy days, a wet May after a dry April. Still the dry worked wonders keeping the slugs down.

On way home move my next 10 bags of deposited compost onto my allotment, then rush home before rain.

DE to bed (D requests invented story so gets Little Fred the Little Lion, Mr Weasel, Giraffe, Horse and purple-spotted dinosaur get up and play on Fred the Lion).

M to yoga.

Tues 20th

Work: data proj for thurs. Home: lunch in peace.

3.30: pick up E &... turns out D to Olivers. & M'a says E needs more sleep. So E to bed & I play with own local map.

Pick up DB at 6 (all well except they hide) & home. M back late (7) as I rush off to city gp till past 10...

Wed 21st

M cycles in so I get car. D to school, E & I play at bw on way back, passed by Claire cycling off to work.

Drive p+r; swim, arj, cb1. Allan drops in while E sleeps: his students are bouncing the railway cycle bridge. RS for cereal jar; back.

Stop at school since its 3.30, meet M & swap with her.

Home: micro-swarm in kitchen: a few clumps of tired-looking bees. Odd. But then M hears noises: we have a swarm in the kitchen air-vent. Hmm. What to do? For want of better, put honey-smeared box up ladder above vent. & block up inner side...

Phone message: possible swarm. Phone back: only 4 bees.

Allot, till driven off by rain.

Soir: K + friend to babysit, we cycle through rain to beer fest. Good (once we get seats). End on a+s's boat.

Thurs 22nd

M dragged up v early by D & E. I leave 8.30 to get 9.15 to cpom.

Bees still in vent. Mail list.

Soir: tired (& M).

Fri 23rd

Priv day, & I am sorely in need of it.


7: sellotape cardboard with bee-escape in it over vent in attempt to remove them.

M beds de; E sleeps with D as expt but it fails: she wanders, crying. Put her back in cot.

Sat 24th

Lie in as ever. D wakes up M & points to the note he had written on a post-it & stuck to our door: 'slep in my room tnit' which is wildly sweet of him. &, we think, his first ever spontaneous writing. D into our bed. Pulls out his wonky tooth (#2) & is pleased to do so (later: M notes that it may be broken?).

11.30: sun. Coffee & paper while med to w/rose. Has the weather changed at last back to sun?

Med back with much shopping; D tells me how much he has bought.

1.30: D off with B & Andy to swim. E to sleep.

Measure up for bunk bed: 224w 249h 76d. Take E to b+q & see what they have: planed 2x4's 2.4m is about the best. I design in my head & decide I need 4: seek out the few unwarped.

Now 6: pick up D. But! He's just hurt himself & been promised t+j in return & so is super-sad that its time to go. A lets him stay. Home as M back from town (inc visit to kitchen shop). Unload wood.

D back 7 & angry that we don't start asap.

8: take bees left outside & dump in hastily-assembled hive.

Sun 25th

M wakes at 5 & goes to share D's bed. When he awakes he treats this as natural.

Then she goes back to bed while I get up with DE.

11.20: all out Dry Drayton kitchens.

Start work: decide on height; cut back bar to length. D happy.

3.30: to allot. Leave D chez N & borrow their lawnmower, saving me pushing mine down. Works, but is under-powered for long grass.

Fin 5. To N's for D. N is examining & clearer-boarding her red hive. M arrives with E (she was sad that she had woken up & wanted D & me).

Play on rec while I 'examine' for pc.

Plough, 6. Pint o' Adnams for me. D leads us to snooker room. D: 'miranda looks like a pirate'. Me: why? D: 'because it looked like she was carrying a gun'.

Drill back bar on to wall. Looks stable. Finish up tomorrow!

DE to bed, D with his tooth under pillow. Some concern that tooth may be broken.

8: more bees from air vent, but few: only 2-300, perhaps. Yesterdays stayed in the hive.

Mon 26th

Misc day at home. Main task D's bunk. Cut all to size & fit & screw: splendid. Disassemble & Danish oil in our room. Then paint the wall removing many scribbles (D: I was small then & didn't understand) & a nice octopus. Leave to dry.

Jane B phones: a swarm. Oh good. Take D & swiftly dump it in box. Return 1h later & remove: easy. Put in hive with queenless bees from airbrick.

Reassemble D's bed. Clean room. He & E get a late bed at 8.30 odd.

J arrives 10 ish, having been at Mickeys.

Tues 27th

Work late in, & till 2. Thence town: to MW (mitchums corner being torn up) & round the back. Find her shed & the (small) rack. Will need a bigger. Cb1 till 3; arj for bread+cheese; home.

Mfd has arrived.

To Berrycroft. On way back to Crematorium who have bees inside their brickwork: unremovable. They need waspspray :-(.

Go look at Mohans swarm.

7-8.30: rec & pc meetings. After: Mohans swarm. See 'bees'.

Wed 28th

Go look at Mohans swarm: its off. & later disappears. Just as well - eases my workload.

Work. Talk 1-2 B Dickson. Town: electoral for my pc exp. Cb1: challenged by Richard: lose :-(.

Home. Idyllic: out in garden. Mfd reads C & the C factory to D. E burbles. Its warm & sunny & the garden is green. I make up new roof & some frames.

Dinner: malaysian soup. E tired: she had no lunch sleep (DEMfdJ went to Lammas land/Bella Pasta).

Sort out bees in new (#4!) hive. Finish just in time to say bye to MfdJ.

Soir: misc.

Thurs 29th

M to work; E to M'a. D says he wants sci mus even though its sunny. Ok (though I've just told B beach). Off past 10. Station park near full as ever. 10.45. Read Charlie & the choc fac to D & B: Mfd had read it 1 1/2 times over tues/wed but D still keen. Agree to start again, for B.

Sci mus. Main hall; rockets; Making; Launchpad. To 'show' on 'stronger by design'. More L/pad. Odd with 2. B is not so interested, though its his 1st time. D is still enthralled. 2: lunch. Now they are off while I rest my weary bones.

Fin 4. Shop. B has a purse with 3.28 & ends up spending all but 3p on balloon-gum. D has only 2 from the tooth fairy & can't decide. Out, D sad. 1/3 way down tunnel D is so sad we turn back & he buys choc car 45p & is happy. Just as well: we would have missed the 4.45 (at least 40 mins mus to kc) & now get 5.15 where nice chaps give up seats. D still a bit sad - wants food trolley & rejects biscuits but hunger forces a green apple. B is still bouncy.

Somehow not one of our more successful visits. With 2, they treat it like a playground & rush past & get bored. With just D, I could stop & explain things. Hey ho. We did find the flight gallery.

Cam. Fights over who-to-whose-house but its too late. Settle for picking up ex from N.

Home 6.40. Hello ME. Right: extracting. Go nick frames from bees. Ready to start ex 7.40 so D gets to help with first set. Good.

Fin 1. Still need to clean ex but o/wise tidy. Got 11kg 'spun' & perhaps 5kg warm from cappings, malformed frames, etc. As ever, dealing with misc (wax/gunk) takes longest. New filter good though clogs on wax: should tilt ex when emptying to keep sfc (& wax) out.

Fri 30th

Wake up with dry mouth & gummy nose & gunky. To work anyway.

7: off to F's. M drives, I rest. 'the borrowers' on.

Soir: eat rest sleep. Hot: open windows full.

Sat 31st

In the night: get up to loo & find E curled asleep with her blanket on floor.

Sometime near dawn: look for eclipse but can't see sun; either clouds or I don't have a ne view.

Lie in late (I suspect - no watch). Shut curtains to keep out sun.

Mdef out to shop. I stay in, read Private Eye, & then sleep on sofa.

A'noon: take D out to green-at-top. Its cooler out. He rides his bike then skips around happily - a joy to watch. We play hide & seek. Me arrive as I'm hiding. D finds some new friends to play with. Later: another friend, who also has a bike. They go inside the green door, #143. His friend is called Karim, probably.

Soir. My cold makes me dopey. Record tape 7 to tape.

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