WMC's diary pages, 2004.

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

June 2004

Tues 1st

O'night light rain but not enough to make me put head into tent.

All fairly late up & stay in because its spitting. B'fast (B doesn't like weetabix) then I talk to Mr Camp & we can stay another night - I suspect becausc kids have proved ok.

Leave tent & to Brancaster as experiment. Sun somewhat as we go. Park £3 (to golf club). Vast beach, kids happy, but *I* say its yet another not-as-good-as-old-h. Windy. Wreck (of Vina?) is alluringly distant but dangerous to get to, tis said. Sandcastles & they seem to have found friends to play with.

Bury them: 3-headed sand monster / dogs in prison.

Now about 50 people on beach - most near entrance, some lost in immensity. Weather greying.


Leave 1:30.

OH: £3 now to park. Rain still holding off. D fined one ice cream for stupidity but all else ok. Kids do their best to wind each other up & sometimes succeed but mostly play happily. We're writing postcards. B asks me how to spell 'sorry' & 'drowned' so I can guess how sensible he is. N is a total contrast & writes neatly. D is stuck for words - he lives so much in the present. He writes he has been eaten by a croc.

Beach again, the sea. Tide coming in. N & B play in the advancing waves & get wet but happy. Its much less windy here/now.

4:30 to cafe for squash/coffee & toasties, & rain starts. Still raining 5 when they shut. Retreat to car. Rain harder. In a lull I rescue beach stuff left under hut. 6: rain thins. Should hc just go home? NO! They all say. Ok, then lets all go for t walk, holme-wards. Grumbles. But they are happy once we're out. N a bit tired. Go as far as tilted ww2 blockhouse. N revives. Rain again. I have to call them back - they are feckless.

Car (try to keep sand out), heaters on. Rain. Campsite past 7. Tent still up & dry inside! Ok, so we'll stay. Misc food, inc ovaltine & soup to test stove. Infants subdued: tired but happy. And me? Similar. I've been worried about everyone getting wet, sandy, cold & miserable. But it hasn't happened. & at worst home is 1 1/2 h away in a warm dry car.

9: manage to phone all 3 homes while they play uno. Bed. Rain intensifies.

Wed 2nd

Rain stops o'night. Morning, some sun!

Up, what feels late, at 7:30. They are in s'bags playing uno. D sits out; N sad at losing. B'fast. I play a round: this time D wins & B loses & all appear happy.

N has brought her teddy; D has Mr Weasel (weazy, he calls him). B hasn't.

Down to the beach: 9:45. First in c-park. Our white beach hut. No one else sits on their balconies. Beach: dam at D's req. NB don't at first understand why. Raf fly-boys disturb the peace. We should have brought a kite. N poss flagging a bit.

11: cafe & cake & squash/coffee. Blazing sun but windy: quite chill down on beach. NB say they want to swim. Seems implausible in the chill wind but lets try... collect a towel etc & down onto beach. Wind indeed defeats their resolve but not D's channel digging. I walk alone down to the the sea against the wind. Across the Wash. Wind boarders, both surf & skate. Little tubes out of sand at low tide line.

12:45: I declare it time to leave. Surprisingly little resistance - they are tired. Pack etc: 1: off home :-(. Still sunny. Car park now crowded.

2: Emilys wood again, but a different bit. There is good walking round here.

Drop off N (pause for DB to bounce on her trampoline while N & I discuss her bees & her daughters behaviour (excellent bar being too easily offended). Then B, then home: 4. ME arrive soon. Whew.

Turn-around aim is 8. Dump down piccies & backup & copy for N & B. Then relax with coffee. D is on pooter & keen for me to bg.

In the end we leave after somewhat rushed pack (as ever) at 8:30 (after dropping forgotten stuff with N & B. Good clouds. Full moon later. To MfdJ about 10:30 & bed zonked kids. Bread & cheese & chat - they have been Appulia (heel of Italy. Apuleia?). Wales!

Thurs 3rd

Up 8 aiming to leave 9. DE already up I hear. D has failed to find the pres J has left outside his door in his haste to be near pooter. Check inst of maisie/spot/stoat rally & mysteries of w95 compat mode to Mfd. B'fast, sort car kids/us &... off. D gives us big hugs but is fine; E runs away & its perhaps a game to her. Will it work out? Probably. Anyway we'll see. Off 9:20. Where to? N Wales seems best - its traditional.

Takes longer than expected. I had thought that Ox was 'almost in wales' but I don't know why - clearly not from looking at maps. 4:40 later - 2 - we're unpacking at Milestone buttress which, unaccountably, we haven't done before. I seem to have forgotten M's shoes: boots for her. Well that won't help. Head upwards, aiming for Direct route. My pack feels like air, or perhaps positively buoyant. I am enthused!# Its cloudy & tentative rain starts. So what?

Pitch 1 ok though once again a v diff proves a bit tricky for me... hmm... its the slippery-when-wetness of a well polished route. It really rains as M follows; so with us both at the top of p1 we are obliged to abandon the route :-( Howard would have gone on; but I'm not him & M is not me. We traverse off to the right (looking in) fairly easily. Hmm... so... try for a tea by Idwal but its a kiosk only. So back to Capel Curig and the Pinnacle cafe looks good, and is warm and dry. Drinks etc. Buy OS map which we unaccountably don't have (or have left at home). Thence... well. Its 5:30 and raining. We'll find a hotel: M's idea and I'm happy too.

First is Cobden's hotel, where M finds us a room. It appears to be staffed entirely by young australians. However they are friendly enough. Apart from its setting its nothing special. They appear to be trying to go a bit upmarket (currently 2 stars; £30/night) but mainly in the food vein (our radiator needs bleeding). Also decent beer. Shower etc; down to bar for pre-dinner drink and then dinner. Quite acceptable but perhaps on the sweet side.

After dinner 1h walk (over river on ped bridge; wood; past plas-y-brenin; up road to junction; gently up hill past former ch; to plateau; confusing corner; down hill throŁgh wood to road by hotel as it gets dark. Beautiful. D would love the little streams & paths).

Fri 4th

Up 8+ & out 9+ & to crag before 10. Follow 2 people up path (oh no! we're going to have to queue!) but happily they are for ivy thing the Diff round the corner so no q. Do alt to 1st 1/2 1st pitch & talk to chap who knew ire on belay. Pitch 2 good & clean & weather ok. Drizzle for wet awkward chimney p3 & M struggles a lot. Descent following good old chaps ('when I was here 30y ago...') to L (facing out) roped together easily. Car: 2. OK, now its time for lunch.

Down to Bethesda as test: but it proves uninspiring. Its still a working town. Caffi Ogwen has old welsh ladies nattering but they don't mind us.

What now? M is tired and doesn't feel like another route; & cloud hides top of Tryfan etc so a high walk would be a bit silly.


Back to CC. Walk up where we went yesterday eve; heading towards lake X. We are slow (mostly M, though I'm not fast) over the plateau-ish ground gently rising. Rest. Decide that M will sit here for 1h (reading Madame Bovary for next wednesdays book club) while I bound on ahead. And I do! Reach col and look down over lake. Hmm... its a long way down and along. Alternative: go round (W) up steep heather clad scramble to top of Y. Spendid views! Even though its only 5xx. Then down along ridge-ish to Llyn Z, a black peat lake. Quickly back down to M, only 5 mins past my time of 6:45. Amble gently down and end up walking through a campsite. Err, so why not stop here? I go get car. Its £3/person/night with showers 50p/5mins. OK.

And so we camp. Since we are here, we can cook then walk to the pub. So we do cook (couscous and curry sauce). But then its 9+ and we think... well... really there is no great need to go to the pub. So we don't. Some little black midges are a bit troublesome but not too much. I rest on M.

Sat 5th

Blod buttress. Try x, me in walking boots to show sympathy. A struggle up 1st pitch - greasy & steep. And a narrow stanch. As I half expect, M can't/won't follow so... err. Party of 6+ appears on our lonely crag but they don't seem keen to do owt. So I must ab off, which I manage well (complication: harness). Rope just about pulls through.

Down 2:45. Cloud lifting v slightly to maybe 900+ - top of Tryfan just vis.

Mon 7th

...appears to be blank. Maybe I was busy?

The transit of Venus, taken simply by putting eclipse-viewers across my nikon 5700 and cropping the image Tues 8th

D off to Hunstanton for school beach trip.

Jonathon Shanklin demonstrates the projectin of the transit to Mike P Hot at work. But Venus transit excitement grips us. Jds has set up tele proj-onto-card & eclipse specs in courtyard. At first its disappointingly small but then I get my eyes in.

Hot! 31 sez my thermo in the pm (& news conf). Sit out (though its cooler in) with cordial, paper & economist.

Get E 3:30. Mr Bod brings garden furniture then sch 4:30 to await coaches & D: E somewhat anxious. He bounces back & invites Sam home. Ok. & they are good: I don't see them: they play in D's room.

Bgii: to L3 (the maze) of Watchers keep; die a few times with D. Late: wiki trubble with Lumidek.

Wed 9th

Back to our usual round: D sch; home; pack swim stuff; smoko (dropping D's swim stuff off); swim (E pours water on my head & rubs it: its conditioner); arj; cb1.

Now stopped off at N's & expt with taking P out onto rec. She and E can now play together, somewhat. E is fairly happy to be bossing people about!

Thurs 10th

D to sch, early! Vote for me & MW. Work: pick out some pretty pics for tomorrow. Sell honey 4lb/£10 to Beth Lynch (who mistakes us for spri).

To chem for Thompson who has now moderated his message. Interesting. Meet LK. To rs to buy pres for a+c, quick cb1 & back for 2. But! Its at 2:15. Anyway I get to talk to Howard who is post-op on 2 crutches, somewhat mobile, and happy to talk about his op. LK's talk frost flowers is slightly outside my area, especially as FF -> ice conc apparently *isn't* possible. A few days later, talking at BAS: ff are interesting, but are they really worth much work? Stop for tea afterwards, then home.

Fri 11th

Today is go-to-Norwich day, for my talk at UEA, but co-incidentally the day-after-elections. So... I am heading for the Sainsbury centre for lunch with Dave Stevens et al. Slight worry: have I got the right day? This not allayed when I can't phone him... ah well, I'm on the train now (planned 10:38 but decide 10:04 will do as well since I have nothing much to do this a.m; stop at Germ for a breakfast cafe).

10:04 -> 11:19 10:38 -> 11:50 11:04 -> 12:29

So: to Ely is very quick, slightly slower through Brandon etc; to Norwich station, now what? Taxi to UEA. OK. I'm... here. Yes. Phone DS and (relief) get through. Nice lunch in big glass-and-steel thingy, IRE is there newly. Give seminar: last 2 egs's together: goes well, slightly over my self-allotted 3/4 hour but people are attentive. Excellent. Coffee afterwards and chat abit more, and about bas/afi etc. IRE shows me his office and the campus a bit (he has to lock his office when not in :-(). Catch the bus back and get the...

14:21 -> 15:34 14:50 15:26 15:51 16:24 -> 17:37

16:24. Home, a bit tired, travel always is.

Sat 12th

I wonder what happened this day?

Sun 13th

"Secret" visit by DATEW and PSHD, who appear quite promptly at 12, thankfully putting to an end a bout of house-tidying by us. I've weeded and swept the patio, on M's theory that we will be mostly outside. And we are - its a great day. Talk, watch the kids, and get given two silly presents: a UFO (PS) and powerball (DA; or perhaps just D since A is somewhat mocking). The UFO is a remote-control flying thing, which is fun, especially for D etc. The powerball takes a bit more mastering: a gyroscope in principal I think, you have to spin it up as a hand-execiser and I-can-get-a-higher-rate-than-you game: v popular in Morgan Stanley sez D. Well. By 3 we have had dinner and are readdy for Newnham trains, taking N with us. And this as ever is good. We experiment with bringing our own chairs: perhaps unnecessary. Others have to leave a bit after 4; we stay till 5 ish.

Mon 14th

W / Y / W.

Soir: gov meeting: the prob of lea/pan mostly. Whew! Then, late, email/google it. Meanwhile M does her mail.

Tues 15th

D sch. Pe shoes? Um. Search out possibly-acceptable pair in spares cupboard & tell B to tell D.

Just settling down to work when palm beeps & tells me niees seminar. Should I bother? But... I do. & its worth it, though I leave after lunch. Shame ukmo is so backward. Germ for cafe; home...

Allot, briefly. Water sweetcorn. Home...

Via school. D's class outside playing tennis. Except D :-(. He didn't find his shoes. Find them but he mopes & minges & is shy: doesn't want to join in 1/2 way through. Humpf. Not too impressed with whoever won't let him play in sandals.

Home, finally. Water pl. Sit out with cold drink & book. Clouds over & wind.

School for DE.

Soir: spin off a load of frames (5; though some heavily old-raped). A long job: bed at 1:30 after virtuously tidying up. Whew! Fortunately tomorrow is weds.

Wed 16th

M's shopping list for me:

hazelnuts apple j tortilla crisps pudding? Bread

Take E into town, skipping smoko again, because... well perhaps we've been a bit too often. We might go next week. Swim as ever, E chases after and hoards the balls, and again rubs "conditioner" into my hair. Ajr, for our list and lunch, E rushes in to get the biscuits she wants. Cb1, then library to try to regularise our books. Their computer is down which confuses, but eventually it seems that we have returned the only 2 books we have out, and the penalty notice re "spot" has crossed in the mail.

Stop at N's on the way back 'cos she invited us and E v keen to go in and play with P. N has trashed a CF card (why is it so difficult for people to use these things?) so I offer to try to rescue it for her.

School 3:30 for no especially good reason except to see D. M arrives, home all together.

Put good supers back on 2 hives and prepare rust.

A (and N+K); and A+S over 6:30 for meal/drinks outside: a lovely evening for it. Show off our shiny new dead rainforest. C tied up at conf.

Thurs 17th

What is this phone number: 0781 7112693?

A bee call (one of several; but the only one I have to do anything with): 263393 77 b way, Comberton. They are in a porch, which has to be partially ripped up by me to get at them: fortunately they want to rebuild it anyway. Apart from that its easy, because the swam just drops into my box. Mop up a few stragglers in a shoe box and leave without taking the few remaining: hope those will just die off. Told there are beekeepers new the college; so there are; but one (woman) says her hives are elsewhere. Other is newbie but his cast looks OK - its asleep in the hive - so don't trouble him with another swarm.

Stop off at H's, since I'm here. Would *he* like a swarm? Sadly no. He proudly shows me he can walk unaided, at least briefly, though still a week or so away from shedding crutches totally. Also his new conservatory/passage/thingy. Very nice.

Home. Would *N* like the swarm? Maybe. Leave her to think.

Fri 18th

Misc at work. Home in time for lunch outside. Remember swimming stuff and to school: DENA are going to swim in the schools pool, first time I've taken them. And so we do. Its not as sunny as it might be: off and on. We have to wait for the second batch. I lose E for quite a while, Mrs Leeper appears with her, apparently she has been tidying her classrom! DNA are straight in; E and I are slower and E is a bit... shocked by the water? panicky? not unhappy though. So we hold together while 15 children shout and shriek around us.

Home. Misc: children don't need much supervision. I melt down some honey/wax on the stove in an effort to prepare for the next batch. Paul collects them at 6:30 amidst the usual trouble rounding them up and pushing them out.

Sat 19th

Sun. Peace. B'fast outside. Med w'rose: E: 'if I'm a good girl can I buy a magazine'.

10: wildlife res walk. BP & Vince are our hosts, well mostly BP (I met Vince at Alison and Nicks, as he reminds me). Round-leaved fluellen. Ridge-&-furrow enclosed 1803. Lapwings - stony ground, autumn planting prob. Poss new large pond (& sound bund) but dep on env ag funding. Trying to get farming more wildlife-friendly - currently tenant farmer, no control (eg path cut, several interesting herbs gone). Stewardship scheme (eg no spray within 6m bdry). Knock down barn (check bats & swallows 1st), build eco vis cen. Ranger will live on site there (help stop probs with, eg, m'bikes & 4x4. High pt. Viewt. Perm set-aside, but sprayed to desert by farmer. Will become meadow. Slender tare. Kestrel chicks via Vince's telescope in the tower of the sewage works - fascinating.

Home. M has brought us broad beans from the village stall - super. Mine will be ready in a week I guess. Lunch outside. Cory comes to visit; M goes to town for her weekly peace. D is computing, C and E play cooking in the rather messy l'room: its been busy recently and tidying has taken second place. Sigh. So I set to in the kitchen, and after a while throw D off the computer. Weather: rain off and on but nothing heavy, sadly. C off at 5.

N would like the swarm: collects in the evening.

bg with D: we kill Irenicus (we? me) and seque into TOB. Father-son bonding, though M somewhat disapproves. What does E think?

8: off to Comberton again to clear away the remaining bees which haven't dispersed. This is easy but shame about having to make the trip. Ho hum, PR.

Soir: liquefy some tubs of solid from last year in prep for chap who wants 30 lb for mead making!

Sun 20th

Up 8-ish: no fathers day lie-in (but then I despise fd & didn't realise it was today till later when M said).

D (&, speculatively, E, at her req) to sun club 10; E rej (reception+) so take her home via bw.

M to evil tesco to buy D new bike. Hmm. 'only bike shop on a sunday' she says. Trouble threading R pedal. D has a go & balances briefly whilst going oh-oh-oh.

M has bought new table cloth so D & I hack at interior of apple & make roof for treehouse.

Richard arrives to collect honey: 30lb!

Mon 21st

Longest day. & our anniversary.

W / Y / W. Rains during day - odd, we get used to leaving stuff out over summer.

Meet DB (after some confusion) at school to talk over football. Maybe.

Home: D piano & homework. Bed E, tired & naughty but happy. Bg with D: get Gromnir.

Bed: late (11:45) again... a bit of pp; gov stuff; wiki.

Tues 22nd

Sun. But M has read f'cast so forces r'coat on D.

W. Scan more of Dots photos for PP.

Allot: weed. Pick some b'beans, rasp. Talk T re gov stuff.

Take 'now' vs 'then' pics.

Talk img re plans: Dots side window.

Pick up DE. Talk Jm/Mg re football. DE happily playing in dust.

Home. E: 'it runned! Oh good grief!' (trying to get blinky bill working). Cory comes round.

Pc: 7. Now 9: long discussions of pavillion: Ross now proposing restoration (good). Tedious roads discussion. More stuff... past 10 now. My app refused, on basis of front. Rain outside...

Wed 23rd

Wind & Rain!

Pre-school. Sallys fair trade. Pool. Arj. Cb1. School.

Tired: upstairs with coffee & bok.

D: is daddy going out tonight?! Its not that often :-(.

Thurs 24th

Talk Asr re Pan's.

I have my watch back, properly this time, no cost. This mostly restores Gautrey's in my opinion.

Swim: 27, 29, 27, 29.5. Only 4x4 but 2 27's. Arj for lunch/cb1.

Fri 26th


Another idyllic afternoon... weather back to sun. Check over bees - ok. School.

Sat 26th

Today is hog roast, & I am helping at pp stall. Setup 10:30: take disp boards from school on roof of car. Pavillion set up & all in order so I leave again.

Decids to all walk down. By f'path: I insist against D's will. D explores ditch by side of church. E: D, make sure you don't die.

And so we exp fete. Misc rain but not serious. Occaisionally I help at pp but I'm not really needed. DE like the (real) fire engine & the chip pan fire: whoosh. We make many attempts at coconut shy but buy one at end. [Which has still (tuesday) not been opened...]

Sun 27th

Sun! Despite some noises off, stay in bed till 9. Tidy rice crispies etc (oh how I loathe hoovering rc's) then b'fast outside. D is playing lego animal bingo.

ME w/rose. D & I bg: in the desert.

Re-wax 4 frames taking care to ball up old stuff.

ME back. Lunch outside.

3: My plan to take just D to Nicole's picknick on J green foiled by M who is too tired to be alone with E. So we drive in, leaving M to peace. There is a funfair on midsummer common so its crowded, but park. DE drawn to playground for a bit. Meet Alex Selby and Natasha Regan and others with an infant in tow (that is misleading). But we can't find Nicole, though the volleyball players know she is somewhere... Ice cream by river to fill in the time. Its hot! D insists we sit in the shade. We find them, or N spots me. I join them while D hangs back and E is in between. D plays with his stomp rocket, and climbs inside a nearby tree. Then: after about 3/4 hour, the lowering sky to the W moves in and it starts to pour with rain. Shelter under D's tree. Rain continues. It was so hot I brought no raingear, so use the towels I had in case of swimming to make cloaks. Home!

D desperate bg but M insists tidy etc first. She has slept through rain so outside stuff (economist etc...) rather wet.

M'a phones: her back. Oops. Looks like I get a day off tomorrow because M is far too busy to take a break (odd: M rushes to go to her work, which she doesn't much like; I stay away from mine, which I do like).

Bed no read sane 11 for once.

Mon 28th

M up early. Hot sun. Take boards back to school then b'fast.

DE school, making notes for 'gov visit' idea. To bw with C, Gemma & S & someone else. Sun! I am prostrate on the bench. Or am I just lazy?

Back home E wants to bumble around. I have grand plans to visit lammas land but E is happy. By 12 we've got to the rec and its not so hot any more: in fact there is a chill wind and clouds: how our weather does vary. E and Patrick play: and they both climb all over me. Hmpf.

After this, to town: cb1 for lunch, then Amnesty to pick up FF tickets from Vix. But! She isn't there. But she has left the tickets anyway, and I get to take them with no collateral. Odd but convenient. I need to leave a cheque.

Home. M back a little late 5:15 with D.

Soir: M yoga. I wiki/misc.

Tues 29th

M'a off again :-(. M agrees I get to do some work so leave early, letting her take D to school, and get in well before 9. How odd. A vast expanse of time stretches before me before smoko... now... how shall I waste it? Eric has left me a paper to read and that helps (everyone is doing glaciation in gcms now it seems, but badly) and then rebooting the cluster and setting up 2 new runs is about right. HKR is back, though he can't cycle yet. And I've emailed Mike T for... argh I've forgotten her name again... Hillary B, thats it... about the Morris men.

Back just after 12. All is well. I take over and M is off. Sit outside and have some luch while E plays. Add a hair clip at her req.

School for D and Catherine making her first visit to us. She is very quiet and well behaved. D said (days ago) that she was the nicest person he knew, and her mum was the nicest mum (excluding M, presumably). And it seems to be true. They start off playing chess (with the beauteous marble set, because its the only one we have: must buy a wooden one sometime). D wins, and C proves her niceness by not being sad, as D would be. Meanwhile (after taking a piccy of them playing) I'm sitting quietly agian, so when they disappear off I let them.

I cook dinner (cheese on toast at their req; D is off couscous) in good time (C goes to bed early so must be collected 6:15 ish) and we all eat it, even E somewhat. And in some curious inversion, although D takes big bites and C small, C is the only one to actually finish her dinner...

Then outside to play at E's little table, when C is collected, and becomes nearly normal by gently resisting being taken away, but only a bit. M is back by this time: on time: gasp!

D must be tired. Obliged by me to do his piano before bg (for shouting at M) he collapses into tears. After a bit I say misch: 'remember, D, if ever you are feeling sad, just whistle a happy tune'. D (even more sad): 'BUT I CAN'T WHISTLE'. Meanwhile E plays random notes & sings 'crocodile, if you smile'.

D and I kill the dragon (agabizail or somesuch) and we are *nearly* at the end, though not quite. Whirlwind attacks at the thing. Though I'm not sure we are using our planetar and devas properly.

D bed. I garden a little and teach Dot how to copy thinngs off floppies :-)

D leaps off the new school sculpture Wed 30th

D sch; bw with E; home briefly then to town with E via smoko. Slightly compressed timescale since Ma is coming over 2:30. Swim/arj/cb1. Leave 2*honey with Holly (Rob's req) for cb1, then hurry home & arrive just after Ma, who is picking raspberries.

So a relaxing pm. All go to pick up D who is delighted to see her in a most demonstrative way.

I end up building rain-roof-collector for allot, which I then number & take to bits. This takes hours.

M shows Ma how to read mail. I try to help but I'm not helpful so I leave...

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