WMC's diary pages, 2003.

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

August 2003

Fri 1st

O'night: rain. Bad for the washing I didn't bother bring in.

Work (uls). Back 2: where are they? At 'planet zoom' Ely bar M so quiet lunch.

3: of to ff as mjde return, happy. Misc. 5: to cb1 (forget M's bike key): a go night but I relax with bok. Back at 7. Meet M (& H) in club tent. Pint.

8:05: to s1 to await la bottine souriant.

Bed: about 1.

Spiers and Boden Sat 2nd

Despite best resolutions, not up till 9.30. Sun. Quick spot o'bees.

In with DE: leave 1 (intent: 12) there 2 ish: with this & that its quicker by bike. Meet andrea + n: clive is off buying a rep for a d-e-a-d f-i-s-h. ? They have started keeping goldfish but have a poor record...

D throws water - everyone was, it was hot! I get first free slot & hear Spiers & Boden, who turn out to be excellent. English folk & hard-to-describe humour. Then: take DE to playground (no contest between that & music for D). Lots of water play: E slides at such speed on slicked slide she shoots off end. Wash her in pool & fall over... oops. Hot sun & water is welcome: 32 oC says our car in the endless car park.

Back till kids bed. Then cycle in.

Club tent: Kilbride bros. So-so. 9:40: awaiting the waifs, who were good... y'day? And are today! The club tent is packed. Then Robert Randolph & the family band: a while to get going then good. But, curiously, space.

Home 12: J up: we help her finish jungle puzzle.

Sun 3rd.

Another blazing hot day, another 9.30 start. MJ to take DE to a water mill: D is v interested in how-things-work & 'scientific expts': he puts his bottle-with-tap under water in the butt & observes that water comes *in*. Then he is keen to have a go on his bike & does well: manages to start himself off & go for 3 (of my) paces. & he keeps trying.

Off 1: club tent: misc (good); spiers&boden again; food: refried beans. Twice! Main stage for baobab (meet Andrea) but they disappoint (just not my thing), as do McCusker & Cunningham (meet up with A+S). It becomes clear that fame, buzz or profile is no guide to my liking. R2 for Hammond, with M on her rec: good. Hello Howard & Anne. We're missing fairport conv; hey ho. We've to-&-fro'd today: good to sit still. & I *know* I like the waifs. And I do again.

Back to main stage far back for the legendary Steve Earle, and as I expected he isn't so great... getting late now. Head off to club tent intending to leave if nothing appeals; hear 2 misc then "Wild Willy Barrett" is billed... stagehands bring in a ?small piano? no, a harmonium... and other stuff... then on comes a chap with long stringy hair and a leather hat; a neat-looking grey-haired lady who sits straight-backed to her cello and looks quite out of place; and another man with a bagpipe-variant. Odd-looking... banter on "wild, but I'm getting old and my leg is going, so now I'm just irritable" or so... then they throw themselves into "old joe coral" or somesuch... Wow! pace, energy, humour, playing... perhaps I'm easily impressed (I can't do assessment of musical quality but I know what I like). Anyway, as the last act in the club tent on the last night it was superb and the audience went wild. The lady and the other man, by contrast, remain totally composed.

Wild Willy Barrett and Band

So, we cycle home quietly in the warm dark. All in bed; we crawl to sleep around midnight. A funny old festival: a mixture of brilliance which makes the rest all worthwhile (my top 3 would be Boden and Spiers; the Waifs; and Wild Willy Barrett), and music-to-read-a-book-to.

Mon 4th

Work today. MJD prepare for the off; M does off; I take E to M'a as others drive off and we all say our farewells; D gives me and E a hug.

Hot at work...

Home a trifle early. Set to extracting... but much has frozen: rape I suppose. Fin 9:30... then rest.

Tues 5th

Work. Home 2. Extract! Another super, selected as non-rape. Extr full so fill one bucket (13kg; 11+ new). Then fetch E (diversion to school) sleeping, & she stays asleep till 5.30. So I rest too.

Soir: borrow another 2 big buckets from N. Strain off extractor: 9kg.


Wed 6th

Hot again, though cooler under the shade of the vine. B'fast on the patio. M to work. We bumble gently, put some washing out. & so on. 11: cycle to town, arj, cb1, quiet: too hot. Then r/s to buy a s/steel roasting tray for wax extr. Even hotter back (thermo says 35): 2: E sleeps, I shower & rest. Put out cappings in tray & sheet of glass over: will this do?: thermo reaches 70+ but its in sun of course: doesn't seem to do. More insulation?

M back 4, looking heated, in search of a cool drink. On cd all day: waifs/spiers&boden.

E wakes 4.30.

Shed plans: explore variety.

M puts pretty red dress on E. She screams & shouts & finds her trous. But the dress stays on.

6: quick shuffle of supers.

Soir: photo super & annotate it for web how-to-build.

Night: hot! So much that its hard to sleep until it slowly cools.

D in Royal Academy fountains. Thurs 7th

E to M'a (wearing y'days dress with no complaints); me to london to pick up D from J at Royal Academy. Ma is there; sit with her in the hot hot sun playing with the fountains & trying to read J's mess on her mobile. Get a nokia I say. D & J turn up after 15 mins: I hide behind Sir J Reynolds to throw water on D but he has seen me. Cafe, & D plays more in fountains & gets wet but doesn't care.

1: to... yes, you guessed: sci mus. Quick go down steam-models gallery then look at printing press, then we're down to the basement (garden) where D is building a car.

Then! The great grain elevator. As ever, the prob is getting to the desired handle. Just for once, I intervene, when D has waited long enough.

Leave early (3:35) slightly delayed by soup; walk quicker than D would like down the long passage and catch train with 5 mins free; next time leave earlier and make sure I know the correct time!

D on roof of Zinfandel Train back; cycle home (hot!); shower; gather stuff; collect E; to A+S at 6:30 (nomially 1/2 hour late but things aren't ready so its OK) and off we go a-boating, and it is good. Perfect evening; no wind, clear sky, red sun sinking as we chug (except the engine doesn't really chug, its quieter than most boats) out of town, disturbed occaisionally by incompetent sculls needing to be warned off. But past the lock (D heaven, except A+S are a touch paranoid about safety) there are no more boats. One odd thing (as S points out) is that there are few mooring places; but we get to our appointed place to eat, and have to moor 2 deep to a German family in "fox cub". Eat, and back. D likes to sit on the roof and this is allowed. It gets dark and we light up. A splendid evening.

Fri 8th

Work till 3 (for a drink of rum, daylight come and we wanna go home...). Town: arj, germ for J's toy, cb1 for a rest. Some rotter has bought the book I was reading (Gardens of the Moon, I think, by someone Erik. Hmpf). Then to Ridgeons then B+Q for prices of transparent plastic doublewall stuff: oddly Ridgeons only sell it in 1x2,3m and B+Q in 0.7x2,3m. And oddly, the 3m sheet in B+Q is cheaper than the 2m. Someone has fouled up...

Return to cb1 and play first serious go for quite some time: lose to Berndt. Home in time for infants bed. Drain off last of honey from extractor with D and wash out in the bath. D sad that I did the extracting while he was away: explain necessity and that I will do more later in year.

Soir: M has fallen asleep after putting E to bed. I do some wax, and some i/net.

Sat 9th

Another day of mist followed by sun. Allot with strimmer a bit before 10. Hack back quite a bit of grass and edge some beds and get covered in clippings. Then the string runs out. Oops. Weed the front bed; pots; onions; poppys! Broad beans are over, sadly. I should get into continuous sowing. Add in some runners from A+C's allot for stall; buy in return greengages, rasp and blackb. Maybe I'll try a runner trellis next year. A+C's did wonderfully.

Back, now hot. Slight disagreement with M over whether she owes me hours for the mon/tues/(wed) I did (and the friday she didn't...). Anyway, still unresolved. Sit around with coffee after shower and pick up blackb's off the carpet :-( Tidy somewhat (both) and sweep patio. Then get ready to...

Josephs christening. Get there decently in time this time, with our pot of fresh-poured honey and a little wooden toy I bought in the German Toy Shop yesterday. Stetchworth church is as before, old, pleasant, in need of whitewash and perhaps more; and the vicar still doesn't want piccies during the service. Incedibly, he starts strumming his guitar for the first hymn, "Lord of the Dance". Ann does much of the baptism, which all goes OK except she forgets to send us back to our places. D and E (and indeed the many children there) behave.

Andrew and Georgina, who wouldn't pose The blue-eyed boy Then back to J+A's new place, where two awnings and a bouncy castle have been crowded into their back garden which has - ta-da - a shed in it that is really a room. So: lots of noise, heat, and people; unfriendly folk (like me, Ma, M, ...) find a quiet and shady spot and drink quietly in it. Barbeque, lots of drink cooling in buckets. D won't bouncy - its too hot he says and indeed he looks it - but plays with the large 4-in-a-row-set (but not 4-in-a-r) and the big jenga blocks. Which leasds to: D (to small child who had been building something, who he has just stolen jenga block from): 'tough! Nothing lasts forever! Neither will you'. Child: 'I will!'. The blocks, BTW, are: 3'x2' (par) x about 11'.

And all proceeds happily, with DE both playing to their fullest, E climbing the 4-i-a-r set to put disks in. But, finally we must go, at about 8, saying goodbye to pat, and J+A of course, and very large baby Joseph, and Andrew, Jill, Stephen and Georgina (who didn't want to be photographed).

Home 8:40 (I in Ma's car with D to "guide" her). M beds E. Tidy a bit; no-one is hungry but I force Ma to eat some of my #3 cucumber; Ma beds D and we change her sheets.

Soir: M does her email (M: I have 78 new mails! Me: you're very brave. M: oh shut up. Me: if you didn't want me to reply, why tell me?). I process a bit more uncappings/rape mess, and read; as does Ma. Then unwisely venture onto wiki and am outraged by Wilco's errors; thi stakes me past midnight...

Sun 10th

Up at 8 when I hear the patio door opening: I can't let them wander the garden alone. Sunlight is pouring in (the vine is a very effective sunshield at midday but not at 8) but its cool inside. B'fast, though D isn't keen to eat: all he wants to do is wake Ma. Wait till 8:30 I say and he does, then rushes up with E. I discover cucumber on the vine in the flower bed by the cut-down leylandii: I have decided I like growing cucumbers.

Its such a hot day that its hard to bear to go out: Ma and D go to collect more corn (we have ground what D collected with M+J, using the coffee grinder (disassembled and washed) when the pestle was clearly not good enough) returning in the heat of the noonday sun. Lunch outside in the shade, though its hotter than in, and M has cooked us something hot! Still it is cooking so good, though I don't eat the fish. Then thresh the new corn fighting off help from E, who spends most of the day (possibly all day) naked. And sits on her potty successfully, hurrah for E.

Coffee after lunch and Ma decides not to take D to the ride-on trains as its too hot for her: since D is inside melting on the sofa this seems sensible, more sensible than I would have been.

At 3, I've got my plans together and finalised, and beams counted off, and girded up my loins, and am off to B+Q to buy bits to make new shed. Why not Ridgeons? Well of course they aren't open today, thats the main thing. Also... it is a bit easier to buy what B+Q have: of course they don't have as much or such quality as R. And (oh yes I remember) they have 0.7m plastic and R had 1m. Anyway, when there find that I need to guesstimate what I need: making up quantities from a plan is a skill I don't properly possess. Buy: 4*plastic doublewall panels corotherm 0.7x2m: 105.92; screws 2" and 1 1/2" *100: 7.56; wood 2x4 par *8 41.28; 3* 4* 18x96 27.42; 3* 4* 18x70 25.59; 8* 18x44 6.68: total 224.25. Which is not much for the basic frame and half the roof of a shed of these magesterial dimensions. At the checkout, chap says "its blowing a gale out there" and I assume he is joking. But no: when I went in it was hot and still; now its gusting hard: thunderstorms in the distance. Welcome, but perhaps ill timed.

Home 4:30 unload car to light then heavier rain which soon stops. Ma and D off soon after: bye bye D have fun and be good. Quieter now. I look at planks, place them together and start trying to work out my geometry... slow at first. But by 8:30 I have built the first end frame, it looks symmetrical, neat, and pleasing. I stand it up and photo M on tip-toes touching the apex just: 7 1/2' by my tape. Tidy and put away. Water plants.

Soir: M reads on sofa; I wiki then shower. News: hottest day ever in UK! 38.x oC, 101 F. I forget where. Full moon.

Mon 11th

Work / yoga (the heat! Sweat. But shower after) / work. Jt has door to aries open so he benefits from a/c. Soir: shed (1/2 frames 3 & 4); M finds virus! But downloads patch and sets up firewall and we run avg virus checker and all seems well. Perhaps it was more a probing attack from outside...

Tues 12th

O'cast a.m. so welcome cool but soon clears to hot.

Back 2: lunch, then see about jointing frames in middle. Expt.

E 3:30, home.

E breaks beer fest 2001 glass: argh. I am annoyed with her but must learn to not let her near.

M back 6. Dinner; then I'm off to PC 7-9:30.

Soir: wiki, till perhaps 11. But its calming down: Wilco *is* sane, just a little over-enthusiastic in his skepticism at first.

Its Miranda... Wed 13th

Cooler today, though only by recent stds. To lammas land 10.30 so E can splash in the pool & she does; sit on the shady side. 11.45 to arj then cb1. E insists on one chair & won't slouch on the sofa, though at one point she falls off chair due to sleep. About 1 I take her away (via R/s to buy s/stell fine strainer for honey though I was looking for a big bucket) and she sleeps on the way back (stop at play group to watch Tracy's husband putting in some new steps and lockers; photo the 2 sheds on the pool). Put her to bed and read mail and sit down to coffee and lunch; am still at this when M returns a little after 3:30.

Old shed(s), from stream side. Goodbye... What was left, from house side. 4: shed! Yes, I can resist its pull no longer. So... forge link piece for second "arch", then down garden: time to demolish the old ones. Firstly photo it from a few angles for old times sake and to prove that the new one is no bigger if needed. It proves fairly easy to pull down: most of the wood comes out by hand or by kicks; use the crow a little. Take out various stuff (close to being junk but not quite...) and stack it neatly, trusting to no change in the weather (errr... well its been somewhat cloudier today but I hope...). Break for dinner 6-7 which M kindly cooks; then back. Finish demolition, removing all roofs and leaving only a bit newar the bee hives. Hmm... barring a few problems when I get over-enthusiastic pulling out ivy and disturb said bees, all is well. Roughly level ground and decide I can get away with a "test assembly" and worry about the tedious task of properly clearing the ground some other time. Now its 9 and getting dark.

After peering at things in the gloaming I go back for the bike light to hold in my teeth (drool): M is at her mails. Set up back frame, helped by the big sloe for support. OK. Put in cross-piece (1/2 2.7m x 70) so now its all triangles and stable. Put up 1/2 other frame using workbench to support; add in linking beam; add other 1/2 of front and cross-piece; and second link beam on other side: ha ha! Its up, more or less, in outline.

No back-to-front stability but thats OK because the sloe is holding it. So I can stop now (10:30) and do. I've lost 2 drill bits (5 and 3.5, the latter twice, the second time unfindable: bring on the dawn).

Inside, shower: M is still at her work but nearly done. Tea.

E and Baby having dinner together Thurs 14th

Another sunny-but-pleasant day, the intense heat is fading but the fine rainless days remain.

M to work; I keep E while I rebuild 4 bee frames that had rape cut out of them, then take her to M'a before the more delicate task of pouring off some honey into a 1 1/2 kg jar for a present for Lara (and Rob too as I believe I haven't got him anything yet).

Time to go: just before, check down garden that shed frame still stands (yes) and refind the 5mm drill, good.

Off to Ma's. 11:40: arrive. D on sofa watching BtB so I teach ma how to use her computer (simple things you woudn't think of: how to drag a scroll bar) and read/send mail. Lunch. all D's things have been carefully pre-packed so we're ready to go, with a few extras (the giant expanding-in-water caterpillar; cakes he has baked with Ma). D delights in showing me the new electrical garage opener Ma has had installed. Speaks of something in the garage, that was Peter's, 'that was long-haired grandad's'. Would have amused him I think.

To JJ before 2; talk a bit, then D and I go and look at bees. D pokes in the bonfire that still smoulders away while I do the bees: they are happy (see notes); cut off a little xs comb and put in the 4 new frames. More talk (J's arthritis) then off. Coton 4ish; stop at Orchard for me to investigate flagstones (they have none) but we have some drink/food. (3 0.4m2 40/50mm gravel (10mm) / Decking 2.5m(ish) x 100 mm 5. / Decking sq 1m2 30).

Home. Misc: D keen to show me his new things (toothbrushes, etc!). I get E 6; come back and pick up Danielle (from last year...?) and Alex (new; 5) who are visiting Geoff Diplock, and Cyann (?) who is Dot's grandchild; they are playing out and want to come round; GD gives permission (or so they assure me...) and they do. D is a little overwhelmed (they are perhaps 8-10?) but all goes well. Mill D's corn that he and Ma have de-chaffed (real word?), this is a hit will all. When I try connecting the drill to the spindle tihs is allowed briefly but D says its cheating: the point is to have fun milling it. A fine appreciation.

Visit ends when M declares dinner. After, I mail/tin/wiki (all getting a bit much, hope things will calm down more, removing Wilco "bias" is a chore but in the end constructive) then go and ponder the shed some more. Add, placing only, roof beam(s). Consider rafters, there is more to them than you might think, at least in a frame design. But don't stay out late.

Read "the great arc" Janets book/brochure about the triangulation of india from the exhibition I didn't see. Interesting, but omits all math. The triangulation map is superb!

Then bed.

Fri 15th

Work: potentially all day but I'm not in the mood. Yes I know thats not exactly impressive. Anyway... at 3, into town: arj / cb1: read Jt and my paper on hadcm3 - passable with the additions that I wasn't in the mood to work on... Reading: the Sirian Expts. Wierd, fascinating, even 2nd time. Home via town: get Golden Witchbreed *and* ancient Light: the long-awaited (by me at least) sequel. And 5th head of cerebus (GW).

Late: go out to close up hive (find another way of stuffing it up, using micro-hole mesh, but cunningly leave gaps at sides for understandably angry bees to stream out; also, holding bike light in teeth gets drool all over it...)

Finally ready to take hive to car all strapped up with M's help (its heavy) about 11:30. Argh. Then fill and label 4 jars of honey to take to S tomorrow - he may sell them through his box scheme, would be good.

Mural on the side of pre-school done by D's class. Sat 16th

Up, 8! B'fast. Then off to Simon with the bees (S's last (2!) lots died in mysterious circs (spraying?) so give him one of mine - leaning - which is fine as I really have too many - 4, in you include JJ's). Arrive: talk to J: where is he? Wander his veg beds then fields, very pleasing: paths cut through grasss: D would love it. Anyway: offload hive, pull out block, unwisely don't give them time to settle, have a quick go through: all fine. In return I take back one new super with self-sapcing frames.

Back 10.30: get runners & pepper from stall. Park at school: go up & look at coton court. Fp ploughed. Plans to Ross. Home: Adam here. D'lle & A'x arrive too. Get p'pool out.

I sit with coffee inside. M beds E 2 & off to town.

M back 7. D & I go off to shed: rafters.

Pack of hunting dragonflies.

Late: plug in the firewire card and pull Wild Willy Barrett off the video while M emails.

Sun 17th

Up early with E and D, the start of a busy day: 7:15. Not because they want me up but because who knows where they are...

B'fast, I tidy somewhat. M up past 10, by which time early rainy-looking cloud has become sun. Paddling pool out, but not used too much after the initial filling phase. More by E than D.

< img src=DSCN7125-d-rubbish-robot_150x200.JPG width=150 height=200 alt="D's rubbish robot (its a robot for putting rubbish in, not a poor-quality robot..." align=left> Show D chisel-sharpening. D, with M, constructs robot rubbish-man from craft box.

Heading down garden to work on shed when M (and D)'s tidying phase hits stuff that should be on the shelf-that-isn't-there under the stairs so turn round and that becomes the days (successful) project. M had planned (or rather, intended) some kind of outing to C for the day, but with E's lunchtime sleep that doesn't come off. Prob just as well given all we do. There is a lot to be said for staying at home, with infants). So apart from eating, and just a little rest with coffee and "ancient light", I spend much of the time between perhaps 11 and 6 doing this, though that includes a visit to B+Q with D to buy plywood for the shelf, screws, and stuff. And an orange B+Q bucket! (discover paving slabs suitable for shed base: 400x400x28 smooth 0.98 each. Costs for shed: 18x32x8: 6.22; screws 6x1.25'x200: 2.78).

Then: mow back lawns quickly (ooh they are in a state, fortunately it hasn't rained for so long that they don't grow much). D catches a frog in the pond to be his "pet" for a few days. Tidy up outside, sweep patio. There: its past 8 and the sun is setting: earlier and earlier.

Inside: mail, wiki, tin, pics uploaded (a first pass for 2003/06 to new site; I'm getting behind). And write much of this. Now its just past 10 and M is cooking dinner. M+J will come tomorrow: probs with F in the heat, but not too serious, we all hope.

Mon 18th

So: I get to go to Hadley after all, in a leisured way too: Mfd expected 11 ish, M with DE to w/s at 9:45 & I leave to: catch 11:15 after cb1.

Tube: muslim(?) woman in black headscarf: but with ck logo on it.

Bar Torino after tigger: flailing a bit methinks, & perhaps failing to address the atmos. Talk to ak on train to R, & then get on wrong way! Argh! Swap at Didcot, now stopped at Hayes for no obvious reason.

So: back home 8:30 due to train mixup, tired hungry and thirsty. So I eat drink and sit down.

Tues 19th

Work, back 2:30. Lunch; talk Mfd (E sleeps, D is at Billys). Shed.

6:30: pc/rec: a series of stupid decisions & me the only sane voice, & poor advice from calc. Sigh. Only virtue: finished by 7:30.

Back: shed till 9-. Get 3 rafters up (&, more, designed).

Wed 20th

Work: hard: sorting out my RMS talk which IR will give, which is to say updating EGS and ensuring that 64/32 match.

Home 3. Mfd, who has phoned, says F is perhaps somewhat better but not a lot: time will tell.

pm: relax, then some more shed: get one plastic sheet slid correctly up into rafters. Remove, and Danish oil most of the structure. E discover D.O. is sticky. Meanwhile D has been at Olivers (with B).

7:30: to Bengal, Fitzroy st. For met curry club, well attended (13). Sarah: 'I ordered a stuffed paratha, this is plain' Waiter: 'ok, i bring another' S: 'no, its ok, i can't eat two' W: 'ok, I bring 2'. S: 'no no...'. 18/person. OK but nothing special.

Then off to Castle for late drinks with A+S. Sit outside a while then it becomes chilly.

Thurs 21st

M leaves with Mfd to station at 8:15 so I have an unusually early rsing, by about 15 mins. But my head...

Morning with DE. Read PD to D. Then, while upstairs washing hands, notice (again) that flow from basin is slow. U-bend? So... decide to clear it out. D and E can watch and D at least is interested. SO need to move pedestal, leaving basin supported by screws and tiles. Say: D: *dont* put your weight on the basin. Clean U-bend out (it had 3 big nails in it...). Say: D: *dont* put your... oops. Basin leans out by 10 degrees and a line of tiles cracks / peels off. Argh. D instantly ashamed, I'm annoyed (not least with myself, since I should not have let him be touching it). Hmpf.

Later: off with DE to allot and then put, and D points out stuff that E had thrown out of window while they were on the bed earlier (after basin episode). Tissue paper, used condoms, unused condoms, hey ho... and... argh! Our lovely wooden box, now in more pieces than it should be. ARGHHHH since its irreplacable. WHY MUST E THROW THINGS OUT? Well she isn't going to be allowed back up there in a hurry.

Anyway. Walk off to allot, D bouncy until 2/3 of the way then tired. I have to check the state of the plots according to Dots list; difficult because none have markers. D and E tolerate this just. Then to pub, order drinks and nibbles but! Argh! No money. On the off chance I ask for credit and, good grief, am allowed it. Well well. D wants to watch the billiards but no time. Walk back, bed E, v quick lunch, then Andy comes to pick up D to take him swimming at school pool. Its not so warm now... (when Andy brings him back he admits the water was "freezing" and they didn't stay in long). Meanwhile I relax, with the disppointing "ancient light"... will I even finish it?

D back 4:15; E sleeps on till 5:30. I cook (pasta for infants which they grudgingly eat some of). M back 6:30 at we have pots, onion, sos, aubergine (the latter 2 not mine). Good.

Phone L to say happy b'day: D talks.

7: off to allot for an hour. Weed front patch and dig potatoes quite successfully. A pleasant interlude.

8: back: M is reading Peter Duck to D on a pile of cushions from the sofa on the floor. D promises to put them back before going to bed but predictably enough doesn't. Sigh.

Wiki till 9:30 sorting out the satellite temperature record to some extent, while M bathes. Phone Croyden, but then remember that M+J have taken her home; phone Marcham but no one answers. M says: they were late starting.

Big ruts! But they filled them in when I complained. On the Coton M11 footbridge, coming down on the BAS side Fri 22nd.

M's day in charge. Work till 2.30 finalising aice note. Watch: has just come back but needs engraving. Arj/cb1.

Day hotter than seemed.

MED leave to M+J to see F at 7-ish. I do little of use for much of the evening.

Sat 23rd

Up 8.30: this counts as early sat. Green vine-light. Birds flutter outside stealing our grapes. Not that we could reach them up there where they are fluttering (though I *did* pick some from outside our window while lying in bed...) but the others they knock down squich on the terrace, so I've started sweeping it each day.

And do today. Coffee, toast, oj. Paper arrives. Slow. Quiet. I formulate W's theory of tidy: that everyone is untidy. Then they have children. Untidyness continues, but tidying up increases, just to avoid collapse. Then children become older then leave; tidying continues at same rate but now achieves tidyness. So children think their parents are tidy.

Ma phones: she is off on hols with RNLT, and would like to know how to get to us afterwards. Tell her; and note that M+J are unlikely to come due to F :-(.

Town: for jigsaw. Look in Borders for "what jigswa" mag but no; read about boatbuilders in Goa surviving on almost no tools. Then Cb1 too long, end up with 2 coffees over the sirian expts which becomes good (the Nasar episode)... Mackays; take advice; end up with Makita pro (or perhaps semi-) jigsaw, 80, complete with collection of freebies, in a badly made case. But I think I can rely on the saw being better made. And, 50m of wire to reach bottom of garden. Why didn't I measure it?

So: cycle home. Now its 2:30. Put plugs onto the cable; unreel it down the garden (through window) and it just reaches; hurrah; I nearly went for 30 m. Right: try out jigsaw. Seems OK. Probably I should practice on a pile of test bits but of course, no. Discover: it works; its fun; its quite friendly; it won't cut perfectly straight through thick (2" par) pine.

Do 1:15 on :45 off for 3 sessions which takes me to 9 and darkness. Then its time to do the re-tiling of the bathroom sink, which I do, only breaking one tile.

Sun 24th

Start off doing the grouting then sealant (which I don't stuff up too badly).

B'fast; tidy. There is much to do, starting with upstairs. While MED away, the piles of mess haven't grown and have slowly shrunk *and things I've put down have stayed there*. I'd forgotten how useful this last is.

They are back just pre-1. D (at my prompting) describes great-grandma was a bit tired but no more. And M seems to think she is somewhat recovered. D has brough back a caterpillar in a jar but not a chemistry set: that must still be at M+J's.

Lunch. Then E (who is getting screechy) goes up to sleep (it didn't take her long to wind me up on getting back, though she *is* cute). D and I go play with the shed & I let him have the plastic spirit level that came with the jigsaw: its better than his BtB kit one, which had plastic beads instead. Get second diagonal in; spend a long time fussing over the squareness and end up putting in temporary "length" tie-beams. Decide on roof capping and start making it: to 70x18's cut with saw at 1:2 on the edge. But: its hard (err, for me at least: probably the goans could do it) to do; end up planing them flat and regretting overenthusiasm with nails etc in fixing; end up with pegs.

So: in the interims of that, D and I collect grapes and squish them in the blender and sieve and make 2 glasses of grape juice. Very fruity. But he doesn't drink much of it: *too* fruity.

D and E in the chair-hammock (which replaces the hammock, which is badly worn): I video them happy; they jump out, and dance, and D moons at me! So does E, though she doesn't quite understand, and only bends over.

I bed E after bathe; M does D (*not* winter holiday yet).

M tired (to bed 2 yesterday she says: book); I wiki (oh lord; read the page logs; Wilco again...).

E squirms towards the quirm M and D row their boat Mon 25th

Today is a bank holiday: we shall stay close to home and do something familial. A bit of a change from the days of heading off somewhere for the bank hol weekend to go climbing. Hey ho: hopefully we will go again one day. Next year perhaps (givin up on this year?). Anyway: the place is Houghton Mill, D's choice. Its fairly close: 1/2 hour or so, near St Ives, which is also worth a look (say M+J). We park; nearly get E run over; picnic by the millpond while waiting for it to open. All fairly pleasant. Suddenly the mill race starts going and the wheel starts turning, slowly, reluctantly (we later find out that water is low and barely adequate to turn it). Go in when it opens at 2. Look around floors 1-3 (4,5 are shut away). Lots of cogs, flour, quoin, etc. D lasts 1:30, which is probably fair going, since he saw it not too long ago. Then tea; good. After that a row boat down the river and around an island (on which we landed but didn't manage to cross, to D's sadness); I row most; M does some, and then she and D have an oar each for a bit. 7/hour: well worth it. Finish up by watching some boats go through the lock, then wandering round the nearby campsite: mostly caravan club but a few tents.

Tues 26th

Back to routine: M to work, E to M'a, D & I to... have some time together. We start cutting out more of the Thonier-Dundee, which has seen no progress for a while, and realise we're out of paper glue: town is called for.

To bas with D (stop via BW to say hello to E et al who are playing there). Coffee (D shy again; I indulge him in a bottle of lilt; this has become so routine that he expects it whereever we go out: should this be stopped?), yard (bulldozer, skidoos, etc; D tries to figure out what is what and how it does whatever), as a reward for which I get to mail. On way out, trapped by the video. I explain things as they come up: the ice cores; cutting them up; analysing; albatrosses; generic pretty shots.

Town. Germ cafe is shut: D opts for food from arj at cb1; and so we do, going underground for a table. Then Gap for some clothes with him, that end up meeting M's standards: a jumper with zip-up neck (blue) and trousers (plain, light green). Heffers to look for thunderbirds cut-away book; fail to find it in Borders; D thinks, looks it over, I tell him the machines aren't real: he decides to go for Mr Stong instead, quite calmly, I'm not sure perfectly why: he had been very keen on the t'birds, perhaps it grew in his memory. Glue from WHS.

Back 3:30 to pick up E: they are building a shed too. But prefab. E happy. Home: D in hammock-chair reading Mr Strong; E burbles; I read "Slan", the "great classic" (?) picked up from Oxfam. Well, its easy on the mind. Peace.

M back 6:30 ish. Dinner. Me off to PC/Rec at 7.

At which Chris Taylor gives almost exactly the same advice as I gave last week. Sadly only by voice, but even so they can't dismiss him as easily as I was outvoted. So that gives them something to think on, and I undiplomatically chortle when Dot says "and he said that it doesn't say anything about replanting, anyway...". Perhaps I should have been a lawyer.

Soir: mild wiki; pics from june linked at new site; submit JPO note: AMS interface works from home. It must be works' old netscape.

Wed 27th

Quiet am. D plays 'miranda stuff-cot', we have 11-ses (toast) & to bw at 12, as the sun comes out. Lydia (10 ish) & Brooke (3 ish) arrive. I get to lie in the sun on the bench for a bit.

1: back for lunch (D and I) and sleep (E). Then (D keen) onto the roof of the sheds to clear out the grape vine somewhat: cut back and remove wrinkly grapes: perhaps this will stop the starlings waking us at dawn. Find enough good grapes to crush (or rather food-process): make grape juice for Andy and Billy who come to collect D: D brings his folding chair to the front of the drive to await them and I join him. Its strong stuff: too strong for B. Anyway, off they go: I am alone guarding E at 2:30. Coffee and finish "slan".

M back somewhat before 3:30. I go off to berrycroft (at her suggestion) to get apistan and 3 honey buckets (29 total; 19 for 10 apistan): I owe N 2 (or 2 and a medium one?). Return: set to: see bee notes. Get 6 frames to extract and bring to house.

D back 6:30; so we can extract: in fact I got frames out laregly because I'd promised him we would: he may have forgotten. He helps spread newspaper on floor and turn the handle. from 6 frames we get 3" of honey: which is to say [measures] somewhat above 5.5 kg, the limit of the kitchen scales. Perhaps 6, and a little more from mess with the uncappings, which are melting away in the oven now.

Thurs 28th

Work till 2: tidying. Send off letter-to-weather.

Home a touch late: M & D home.

Oil ridgepole of shed: rumours of rain. G&E come round, briefly, while I'm finding stuff: then we cycle to town in search of: new tax disc; vid tapes; cycle h for D. Lunch: Cazimir who find D a jarlsberg baguette.

Waiting in Ben H in search of a new helmet for D. BH are proving impressively slow of service... but in the end D has a new deep blue h. 25.

Soir: pack till 12.15.

Fri 29th

Up 4.30 off 5:09 m25 6:09. Jam :30 on m4; rain. Wee at Reading services 7.15. Clevedon 9+. While M changes E & D puts on clothes I walk on beach down ramp from beachfront - pebbles; tide just going down from full. 2 old ladies swimming - hardy folk. Cafe will open soon (9.30) so all to beach. Old folks swimming club under arches?

B'fast. Phone Rob & arrange meet. Beach again, then the splendid pier: hot choc & scone. Windy, some sun. Leave 11: mill 12.

Leave mill 3+; there 5- (via some lanes with hedges towering 20' above us & v def 1 car wide only just wide enough for 1. This when by mistake we ventured onto unsignposted road). E asleep. Quick unload, then down to beach (have to *persuade* D, who is busy with a construction toy). Drive down: about 1km & 100m, its late so find free space. Beach: splendid. A stream for D to dam, & an incoming tide for me. D's stream has the traditional lower & upper dams & D joins the lower. I go round corner on rocks - its nearly high - to see up estuary. Rock is firm, sharp, worn & holey.

7: leave beach for cafe but! They're 'full' this eve :-(. Slight disagreement but end up at Challaborough: close by the coast path but 4km by lane! 'unpretentious' pub (M's descr), err, it was ok once, & DE loved watching the toy-grabbing machine.

Home 9-ish. Kids to bed, brief collapse, then bed.

Sat 30th

As the great bb sang: 'its amazing how fast a little rain can clear the streets'. Or beach, in this case. First, lightning over Bantham, then a loud rumble of thunder. But it looks far away... light rain... hide under sunshade... becomes torrential: join the retreat. E in push chair quietly, me trying to hold umbrella & chair at one, D carrying bucket with beach stuff (I try to persuade him to leave it for now, but no...). Little cp at 12:40: no, M not there. Where to shelter? A long way up hill & M has keys & D wants beach cafe. Lower is just kiosk with wet people sheltering. Loos. Rain eases: to upper: one table just free! Whew! Sit, safe & drying, E on towel. & all goes well: cheese toasties & hot choc. In fact it all works out ok & commend D.

M arrives 2, with story re lock. Back: ma is there. Bath for E & D - short for E - while D soaks. Weather improves. 4: All go down coast-path side through farmyard & fields. Superb views: steeps hills/cliffs, river, sunny sand. Heron. I try to carry D across river: fail: maybe at v low tide? Play in sand but hurry a little: tide coming in. A few stairs lead up cliffs. I explain about sedimentary rocks to D, forming over millions of y: 'what, even older than gt-grandma?' sez D (is he joking).

To Burgh Is; pint; D & Ma climb to top & I join them puff pant. Views. Driven down by rain which stops.

MeMa walk back.

6:30: with D, awaiting departure of the 'sea tractor iii' having deliberately let ourselves get cut off. D talks with some other boys. We are entertained by long-lasting rainbow: its still there. Sometimes double. Rain off & on: we shelter outside pub.

Sea trac is fun. Only 1/2 way up the road do I remember spades, outside pub. Oops. Climb up with D who just makes it. Dinner awaits us.

Soir: quiet. F'cast after news-at-10: cloud/rain. Plan not-beach tomorrow.

So: impressions of house & environs. House is good. 'upside down' ie kitchen & l'room up (D loves this & says 'i'm going upstairs' to mean down...) for view. & there is a good view down to Burgh Is. Its a bit high up: 1km along road (no fp) or 1/2 on path & 100m up. Which is fine one way... Route down fp is great. But doesn't connect to beach at high tide. Bigbury is ok: little except new houses; cafe (good); beach kiosk & toilets; & inevitable large car park. Burgh Is is cute, & 'sea tractor' is fun. Pilchard inn does bar food till 3.

Sun 31st

Contrary to f'cast, its a lovely day. So, beach. D & I walk down early-ish, 9:30, & others drive later.

Encouraged by example of a teenager, I dare the sea: & once I'm in & have done 100 strokes, its fine. Before then its cold & I nearly run out again. Swim out to 3rd buoy. Beachy-type stuff: digging & dams. E gets naked.

12:30 odd. M takes ED back up for lunch by car: we haven't yet mastered the art of packing for a whole day at the beach. [m says - E was v cold] Ma & I walk back up eastuary & cliff path. I swim 'Bosphorous', ie the river, which is in full down-spate. Exciting. Climb up is stiff. Ma stops to admire the view.

Lunch. Then MD & I go down path again leaving Ma with sleeping E. Go upriver, low tide. Sand, & above rabbit-nibbled grass. River low but still quite deep. Big pool: look for crabs. I find one in river when it nibbles me. Get opposite Bantham: channels are deceptive, one more: man in boat says shallow higher: I wade across, just, but dodgy: we return.

& so back to path. 5. M returns home as agreed: D chooses to go on. & so we walk round to the main beach. Heron again. Stop to climb some rocks.

6: back round to main beach, to find our sandcastle somewhat reduced in height but the main pile still there. Tide slowly coming in. Strain out permit somewhat & leave :30. Find path to R that skips 1/2 road.

Dinner awaits us, with bath as 2nd course for DE. I'crm, then M trapped for ages by v long chap of winter hols. I'm reading QftF so can hardly complain when M & Ma want to watch 'bend it like beckham'. & enjoy it, & even analyse it.

Mon 1st

Again a clear-ish day: to Salcombe, managing to leave at 10.15, M & Ma having made a picnic. S has narrow lanes & only a short-stay car park (later: discover exists a long-, somewhere), we having spurned the p&r. So drive straight through, up winds then down, to N Sands. Which is road, car park behind, cafe (closed), & some buildings (poss tea rooms) at S end. & beach, only a little viz now at high tide. Pause to view, D climbs on boulders protecting the road. Then to S sands. 11. Car park: 4.75/day but no-one is around to collect our fee.

Look around, then get ferry to Salcombe: takes 15 mins. A motorised landing stage takes us out to the ferry, there being no jetty: or rather, takes the others as I video, & I wade after up to the crotch. D is v sad 'cos he thought I was being left behind.

& so to S: more fun than p+r. To 'the only pub with an estuary view' for lunch. All ok except for thin coffee.

Soir: Chomsky: null use of 'there' as in '...seems to be...' Look up in 'trad' grammar book.

Tues 2nd

Its another sunny day: look out of window down to Burgh Is. 'botheration' says D: he wants rain so he can watch 'James & the Giant Peach'.

11: to S Sands so M can kayak. Car park has only a few spaces left: its sunnier today. Only 15m of beach: but this is high tide? Yes. M *is* out kayaking, though they are special 'e-z' float type ones. She has no trouble kayaking out of sight.

She makes it to Castle; across channel; & back. All in 1h. Meanwhile we dig & E mostly watches from D's folding chair.

Lunch: a modest set of sandwiches today.

I too decide to have a go: sailing would be beyond me (? Or at least they would be dubious about lending to me) & anyway you go further by kayak. So I too do much the same round (having failed to persuade D to come; nb rules are that you have to stay line-of-sight of the boat house): land at castle (mortar has survived better than stones); cross channel & land on virgin sand (a nice feeling). Then back across - poss too close to sea as it gets quite excitingly wavey for a bit. Visit a beach & a cave - just space to turn round. Back, exactly on the hour.

More digging: a huge canal system to divert main stream into someone else's dam, in an effort to burst it.

To Overbeck house, just up some zig zags, at 4. Its nt/youth hostel. We join! (nt) my idea. Its an interesting place (starting with good tea room), for approx 1h (house collection: misc inc ships, animals, eggs, insects; 'secret room' with hunt-the-friendly-ghost for D) & unknown (gardens) since we are due home & do quick look outside: great for hide-&-seek. Views over estuary partially blocked by trees.

Home, 6.30, late. But no-one home: m+j's car is though (they only get a few days since F). E asleep; D tired.

M+J back 7 (had been out walking), Ma a little later. Dinner: cod-in-sauce, except eggs for me.

D's bedtime, Ma is selected. Brings in mind '(bed)Time considered as a helix of Arthur Ransome stories'.

Soir: more Chomsky. W f/cast is good. Mfd confirms 'there' is a known grammatical construct, poss 'auxillary'.

Since MfdJ here, orig plan in opp: E in cot with us & Ma in E's bunk.

Wed 3rd

O'cast, unexpected: I'm sure it will burn off. 11: others to Buckfastleigh (steam trains; otters), we will do Eastuary walk.

Note: High tide (plymouth) 16:13 (gmt, hence 17:13).

Bees loud on ivy as we go round shore, fail, & walk up from Cockleridge. Evil golf course. Green lanes near 'green well'.

1-20: stop for 'lunch' (orange & banana) just after Lincombe. Tide is high so have had to follow path up & down. Then gentle slope down through small oaks to road skirting/fording est.

To Aveton Gifford (why *gif*ford sez M; from a landowner, poss Giffard, sez pub & book; poss Auton from r Aune; confusion of written u/v) just in time for last food (2) at 'fishermans rest'. Cheese baguette.

On: over bridge/causeway (curiously less interesting close up than when driven over) & up slowly on path. Full sun now. Stiddicombe wood is pleasant (in fact this side is poss better than other) & we decide to follow path not forge our way by the waters edge. Bantham at 4:15: 'the sloop' shut at 2:30 & we've missed the 3-4 ferry. But thats ok: we'll wade.

Down to sand dunes/grass above sands: lovely: this is the correct approach to beach: memories of wales.

Wade river as test: just below crotch & fast: but 1h to low. Sit up on dry sand; M reads tyler & I decide to walk round this side of the beach. Which is a pleasant thing to do slowly shoeless under a clear sky.

Cross river with M about 6 easily; sit a while on jetty watching wading birds (inc heron again) & sunlight on water. Then up path (puff); home just after others, who have had a good day. E is conked out on sofa; D in bath.

Dinner for all. J reads to D.

Soir: I bath too.

Thurs 4th

Dawns sunny as f'cast. Our last full day but since hol is short no-one is really thinking like that. Ma & D go blackberrying & I sit in sun in porch so no hurry: beach past 12. Do usual beach-type things from high tide. D remains obsessed by stream/canal system & stays in wellies & jeans while all around are in s'suits: at the end of the day I *force* him to go wading in the sea: first this hol. Lunch: I stay on beach & read Chomsky & guard kit while others to Venus. I get misc apricots & bics in my bag. Hide under umbrella from sun.

MfdJM to Burgh Is to look round (err, & have a drink...). I swim in sea. Ma brings E down who is most distressed (by sea?).

Late: I walk round corner & up river a ways & drift down: a bit chill but fun: not deep.

Mfd, D & I walk back at low tide up hill: others have car'd earlier. D helps Ma with b'berry&apple crumble. He & E are tired. He chooses *me* to read him b'time story.

Fri 5th

Last day. Grey. Pack & off by 10.30. People in opp corner house ask about ours so we show them; in return D & Ma look at theirs: ours better (bigger & views).

To Killerton House (M's choice) via Totnes (M's map reading... though we did get turned round on some tiny roads). 1:45h. Good lunch. Rain stops.

'open door & walk through' puzzle to D. He understands, but reaction is to rephrase it to try to remove 'problem'.

I am trapped in 'wedding dress hell' but D is happy looking for the hidden teddies. Nt arbitrary rules irritate: no photo, no vid, no sitting on carpet. D & I look at gardens while M goes back to ch E. 2:30h total: too long, we have little time for elsewhere.

1:30h to services. 1:40h to anon parking: D & (mostly) E shouty as is perhaps to be expected from this long in car. 1:25h to home: 8:30...

... where Marion & John are installed in l'room, by prior arrangement, we having left the key with A+C. Hello, etc. They have brought dinner in exchange for bed (quiche and oven chips, which M gamely cooks, though the chips take awhile, and I munch on some lovely-looking super-mouldy cheese).

Sat 6th

Starts with an uneasy night then a pre-8 am vomit. Oh dear. Must have been that mouldy cheese I ate while waiting for dinner. Oh dear oh dear. The rest of the day I am semi-functional, not rising till 10 and skipping lunch (indeed all food bar a little yoghurt and one lettuce leaf and a small carrot) in favour of sleep by the fire. Still I do manage to talk to M+J somewhat, mostly about baby things strangely enough since Marion is in the process of having one, she has reached 6 months so far, and they have just finished their "last" holiday.

MJ off 3 ish. I mostly collapse and M kindly does most of the DE watching.

Bed early: 9: read till 10; then blessed sleep.

Main | Diary | Email: wmc@bas.ac.uk