WMC's diary pages, 2004.

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

August 2004

Sun 1st

Last day of FF! Up a little earlier: its grey to start but will burn off. DE are to Houghton Mill at 12 and we leave for FF then - driving again I fear: searching for batteries for our bike lights fails: we are not prepared for the Dark.

We are, however, feeling some guilt about leaving DE. And they are clearly suffering from lack of us. Or at least D is annoyed with us. Which didn't happen when they went to Mfd/J: its the here/not-here effect that causes trouble.

Peter Buckley Hill. Comedy about stoats, and puffins. Start off with a coffee in the... cafe. I check wiki (no mail: no putty). Thence... Peter Buckley Hill (comedy: good); Polly Paulusma (crowded in club; what I could hear from beyond the wire was good); Jim Moray 4 - so-so: very much the same as yesterday: best is Spring of Time; squeeze to front for Ralph McTell but (as mostly expected) he isn't worth it: except for last-but-one and the last, SoL (having scrummed to front its too hard to get out, though I would have if I could, which would have been a shame because I would have missed the last 2; nonetheless I do manage to sit down); misc in club; risk JM again but solo: OK, much the same material and a curious lack of change in style: brave attempt to play SoT solo. See that WWB is on last! Superb! thats my evening sorted out. Briefly venture out to say hello to C+A (and meet A+S too) and catch incidental Beth Orton (M's verdict later: not up to her material). Then back into club; catch last of the-burly-geordie-seen-around-amc-and-cb1 (wish I'd seen more, he is good) then a various OK club acts then Johhny Dickinson (excellent slide guitar) but we're allreally waiting for WWB. Last year we chanced upon him and the session was half full. This year word has spread and its crowded. Same band (Mary X and John Devine) same style and much the same material but its superb! As a live act his voice, playing, dry humour, madcap-ness works very well. He (they) get a standing ovation and an encore - unheard of at the FF. Scrum to buy records and T's: I get one, though I'm doubtful if it can work on CD. I videoed much of his act. Somewhat frustrating: next year perhaps I should try to get a press pass? Or just permission from the club tent? [Mail HKR: perhaps he knows]

Big full moon to watch us home. Finish 11 and wander a while before M turns up: her session ended a bit later. Home: bed 12.

Mon 2nd

Talk with D: he enjoyed the mill yesterday. They have brought some flour and will make bread.

Back to work. Cut off my tag... :-(

Its still quite hot/muggy. But not absurdly so. Email from Jenny who is clearly sick of the phone mast. Chase CCC ITC but can't find them; leave emails; T phones them and learns all 18 (!) applications are suspended. Good.

Quiet. Most people are off. Y: I turn the a/c on and it becomes tolerable. pm: chasing sea ice.

Mean to come home earlier but get tied up and succeed in getting back at 7: talk to N re tues pm and walk fp 2 to check its OK (yes). Check rec p/g and Mfd/J did BW yesterday.

Home and sit out and drink beer... D and E both happy and dinner is nearly ready. D decides to read some TtTE to me and I am happy with that. Over dinner we have to chase him away from the pooter constantly.

E to bed (who will put you to bed? E: mummy) OK; now (9; 10 - three Just So stories to try to assuage her guilt) M is still on D (who will put you to bed? D: mummy). I prune the vine a lot and get more than a wheel barrows worth: but this is only a small fragment of what needs to be done. How we could eat if all that growth were productive!

I write up FF.

Tues 2nd

Work: hot and muggy. Coffee in courtyard. Amna is back from Jordan.

Rains hard but still muggy.

Home 1:30, so that Mfd/J can get away in time. 2 presents await me: a new palm, and the 1972 NSF report, the former well wrapped in a cornfalkes packet - thats fine - the latter vastly overwrapped in a US mail sack; then a big cardboard box; then a smaller one; the the book in a jiffy bag. Alll this and the book for about $20.

Say goodbye (and many thanks) to MfdJ and have a bit of lunch. Get phoned by Jim A from CCC ITC and talk about Masts. Write him an email to wrap up what I've learnt and check I'm correct. Jesse and Ezra come round and play for a bit (Ez gets stung by a bee when they go investigate the hives: perhaps they will be a bit more cautious in future). But we have to go see N so kick them out and drive (yes yes I know) to N's. N is off to De tomorrow so this is our last chance. And they run and have fun outside, with E a tiny bit clingy to me but also playing with P. Wetness in the pool and getting naked, hmpf. Sadly I have no camera. Talk N re builders, childrens b'days, her work plans, masts, etc etc. Read NSF rep (or skim it) and find the unsourced quote on wiki:global cooling. As I suspected, it was out-of-context. Read Nelsons captain-underpants-and-the-boogey-man which is funny and contains hidden-from-the-kids jokes (Miss Anthrope).

M drops in on cycle back, having seen car. I stay a bit longer (where *are* E's shoes) and then home. I garden (wild rose on Mrs B's side).

Soir: while M beds DE I set up new palm... somewhat to my surprise there are no probs with it taking over from the clie... at least not at first. I prudently take a copy of the palm directory on the desktop and sync to that (which is out of date since the cradle sync died). OK. Then sync via IR to M's portege but something goes wrong, *and* I o'write my prudent backup, so I lose last week and my FF in july. Oops. I'll recreate them.

Anyway, I should now be back to syncing via cradle to desktop which should be more convenient.

Looking back, I see I bought the clie in march 2002, so it has lasted somewhat over 2 years, which is OK. The original palm V lasted from nov 1999 to mar 2002 (with one refurb within warranty) so that was a bit more than 2 years too.

Wed 4th

Hot again. I get DE today. Neither seems much inclined to move. I try to have a go at shower - get cover off only to discover its a sealed unit inside. Plumbers quote arrives: £663 + vat for shower+rad. Good grief.

Stick cork in shower to stop leak.

Drive p+r to town. Remember our lib books, or some of them. Hot. D melts. To pool in shade of trees. D jumps like a frog, goes u/water & swims a bit.

Elmers fr. Daisy-baby.

Thurs 5th

D on the roof of Zinfandel during our driving lesson from Sarah Today is the day that D and I are going for our narrow boat (NOT barge) lesson from Sarah.

E to M'a to have her toes painted by Jodi. D and I misc at home until suddenly realise time is getting on.

Set off with D on bike about 15 mins late. Takes 1/2h via town and arrive 11:15. A is working but sees us off. S is taking us up the river to get some more diesel and teach us how to boat. I don't expect it to be too hard. After slight confusion (I am practising being in charge so have to tell her to do the things she suggests) and a slight delay to brush off cobwebs (literal) we're off.

Sedately up river - slow past moorings etc. Its v hot - I have hat on and so does D and S. I steer and avoid hitting things. Time becomes unclear. There are 2 locks - Baits Bite and the one above Waterbeach (Bottisham?). We stop for lunch at The Bridge just before W, which is nice (in that way of being terribly clean, beams, nice young staff in matching waistcoats, a good menu etc etc) so popular at 1pm (we decided to stop despite sandwiches 'cos we thought we had enough time; and we though with just s we would get hungry). Wasps and hoverflies. Still v hot.

Head off again after perhaps 1h+ - a bit too long really. S has packed numerous soft drink cans in fridge so D is in heaven. He stays inside mostly (heat?) and does his mult tables, draws a piccy of a tree, and reads from his Big Book. And enjoys himself.

Except past moorings we speed up. I generally fail to remember to slow down and S has to remind me. Steersman must be there are all times - no poss to get anything you've forgotten. Speed limit is 7pm but Z will only really do 6+ ish if pushed. Prop cavitates if pushed too hard. Noisy (mostly water noise) at faster speeds.

Numerous herons - more than 5. I point out first to S and she says "oh yes I've almost given up noticing" but they are still fresh to me.

Past W lock the ground flattens - only a few waymarks. We have to turn round at 4... and 4:15 we really must. We're about 10 mins (or so) short of the diesel place but S is time-bound. So we (I) spin her, aided by the bow thrusters which make it much easier for the novice. V distant views of Ely cathedral just before (and after...) turn.

Back. Its better than I thought it might be: slow, slow changing scenery, but things are constantly of interest. D coes out and sits on roof (he comes out to watch all the locks). Share W lock on way down with tiny cruiser - they let us in first so we are less likely to crush them.

It begins to haze over and cool a little. Good.

And so back, past a cloud of sculls. A+S have to rush off to town so we say our thanks and cycle home. D says to M: its was excellent fun. So I'm pleased too.

Quick cold bath (no shower!).

Fri 6th

Clic meeting. Yet again too many talks. Cold in a/c in conf room. Only method of adjust seems to be to turn off-on.

Clic.npolar.no. JR minus 1% glac cm3. Aqua satellite products: nsidc. JG - rate of run of cm3? Dickinson - gliders. Erikson, charlie. soc sea ice / occam Meeting purposes? Blowing snow

Repeat after me: I WILL NOT GO TO ANOTHER MEETING IN WHICH PEOPLE TALK ABOUT ADMIN FOR PROGRAMMES. Or if I do, I'll leave for that bit. The morning was a waste. Pm was OK.

Soir: see BS misc f/p. Pick up new post.

Sat 7th

Hot. Leave early (for a saturday) at 9:30 but its already warm.

Town. Plumbing. To cambridge discount plumbing at Phils advice bearing photo of unit. Sweat drips off my face. But! what they really want to know is how far apart the pipe centers are. I measured to the edges. They don't believe my measurements: all now are 6". Mine is probably 5".

To cb1 afterwards.

D goes to see if B is in (no) & finds a sad thing: a dead hedgehog at bw.

Tidy l'room.

Re-measure shower. Yes its 5". Phone CDP: they will order one on monday I can hope.

To bw to give M some peace but end up at J&E's. We went along to invite J becuase he was reading outside (Narnia). But then they invited DE in to try the new sprinkler. Which cooled them off a bit - too cold perhaps. Then misc play till dinner time while I talked with Bram.

I'm tappety-ing away when D comes down: he can't sleep w/out Mr Weasel. Find him. This is cute, because Mr W is no longer so central to D's life anymore. E still doesn't have a true favourite - huggy perhaps, sometimes baby.

My apiary: 4 hives Sun 8th

Hot but breeze. E wants M to go d'stairs with her. But its my lie-in says M: daddy will go. I don't like him says E (rpt). I get up. M reads hp&tootp.

~1 D goes off to see if B is in & since he doesn't come back I guess he is. Phone Andy. Yes. Do they want to go to Newnham trains? No, they are happy there. OK.

Cut front 'lawn', & back (move table with M's help), & other extensive garden things I have neglected for too long.

3:30-4:30: do bees. M takes E to bw.

John Reynolds leaflet: mast again: totally wrong info: can only make thigs worse.

Fin garden 6. Little bath. D back: he played nintendo, and picked beans on the allotment.

M has a puncture. She has funny gunk in her tyre but it doesn't help.

Paint 2nd coat yellow on post.

Dinner: M has cooked pasta/aub. D whinges.

7: bonfire at D's req of stuff acc over last week or so. I half wanted one so accepted too readily. But its too early in the day. I suffer intense middle-class-guilt/anxiety at the thought tha I may be offending our neighbours. And we take our washing in (I've persuaded M - or at least myself) that bigger things should be hung out in hot waether not just stuffed in the dryer).

Soir: GW gets protected; talk not good so far. Mail "natural world" to complain about Bellamy Column with GHG mistakes in.

11: to bed. M has 25 pages left...

Mon 9th

O'night pitter-patter rain on vine rustle. What have we left out?

Only serious is Bernacci. Oops.

Lazy am. M to work, E to M'a, D on cbeebies, I have a leisurely coffee & wiki a while (no ch at gw) then HP. D is watching some simple stuff & I think why isn't he stretching himself... but then I'm not. Have another coffee.

Some tidying.

2: townwards for new inner for M (26x1.5). School to put in new post (firm-ish; it might hold) - sweaty: only 25C but humid. Cycle on. D gets us to blackberry over m11.

Bike shop new inner M. Fitzbillies. Coffee & iced tea, & chelsea buns: D can't finish his so I have to.

W/stones. QM: Penrose p529 f22.1 (u/r). D chooses 'mr wrong' over s&a picts&martyrs.

Back ~6, remembering spade, as gentle rain re-starts.

Soir: wiki/hp.

L'room with only side-light & door open to rain.

Tues 10th

O'night rain more & when we wake. E m'a again, M work, D pooter, I wiki/coffee. Rain slowly eases off.

N&N drop by with pc folder & blackberries.

To Barton to Burwash. Cycle to firing range path then walk & talk. D curious about the range & butts. Then butterflys. Then sight of radio telescope brings on long discussion (hopefully not too confusing) of light, rainbows, radiowaves, interstellar gas clouds... To Barton wrong end - we can take a better path back - but D happy to see new things & talk about how you get to see more on foot.

E 3:30.

5: make black & apple crumb. Works well, v good. Accidentally melted butter in m'wave & this works. Some apples 1/2 cooked by bonfire.

7-10: pc.

Wed 11th

Bright day: intend beach. But end up at home: good.

Buy off D with comp time for new game. Help on harder bits. Its good.

Major hack vine.

2: B comes over. Somewhat later Dakota follows (Dk is Corys elder brother) & is similarly well behaved but wandering.

6: end up with B & G for dinner.

Thurs 12th

D wakes us up at 9! Oops.

Dk over.

D learns to start off for first time on bike, shakily but repeatably. But he is v unkeen to practise.

5:30: to pub with D, meet ACbgs by appt: tis fish & chip night. Weather has finally cleared.

7:30: back to start bees. Fin minuit... D loses at tooth: comes down ~9 to ask for it to go under pillow. 11: he is in bed with M.

Change-of-address-note from Xan and Edward: now on Haylings island. Sounds nice.

To work! And about time too. JK is back, had half a good hol before Rosie had a sad accident with a platewarmer. Ouch. Higem has seaice probs I learn as I leave for town (and cdhp still haven't got the shower valve and indeed seem rather unsure whether they have ordered it)...

Cb1. Rest. Read EPICA paper: interesting. I shall put it onto wiki. Arj for butter (we ran out!) etc. Now light rain: better than excess sun.

5: on a whim stop at CUP bookshop to see whats what. Find a new edition of Platos Republic which appears to be a disgrace: no mention of totalitarianism. Upstairs see Lomborg in paperback and glance through the GW section to see if its as rememebered: yes it is: half-truths and quibbling. But, he appears to source the "famous fig" from 1990 as originating in Jšger & Barry '90. Must look up...

Home in continuing light rain, stopping to say hi to C+A+friends on the rec and inspect rec and bw to be good.

Dk *and* Cory are around, M a bit frazzled. Dk is playing alpha team - he has apparently started his own version. Cory is outside washing the patio when I come in... fine by me since its raining but why? D rushes past carrying a beaker of water to go help... an enthusiasm it seems. I remind him he can use water butt for that, and take the window-washer from E, who surprises me by not crying.

Dk/C leave just before 6 of course and it quietens a bit.

M reads E story but she allows me to put her to bed and we have a nice cuddle.

Soir: spend about 1+h finding EPICA data on web and drawing graph for wiki: think about it: imagine trying something similar 5 years ago. It would be astonishing, were it not so routine. You want to know the d-o-18 of ice 3km under antarctica... just go search for it and its there!

Late: strain honey. This summer honey is nice and liquid and the misc scrapings etc filter OK. Realise that I can *wash* the residue in *cold* water to easily get just wax and waste little honey and make little mess. Hurrah!

Find D in our bed again...

Sat 14th

Sun.

11: ME back w/rose & I to Berrycroft for jars mostly: expensive.

1: M to town.

Make D's choc-bugs-&-jelly (from Tim's shop) with DEDkC but it involves quite a bit of boiling water. Leave to set.

4: Dk&D on pooter: E & C play on swing.

5:45: to rec. Dk+C run off to get perm to come too. And off we go, Dk with football and E on her trike pushed by M. I go to allot and spend 1h digging at the front in an attempt to restore order - it has rather run away fro mme again. Next year... sigh. Fin just as others are off to pub so join them.

Finish draining honey extractor with D's help. Simon turns up at 9 (with J and kids) rather conveniently so he gets it.

Sun 15th

Rather slow morning packing to go off to the beach coast for a few days but of course we don't need to pack much so don't take it too seriously...

1: off. Takes 1 3/4h to Thorpeness. Beach disappoints: shingle with thin sand. Windy. Long. Walk up till I can see Sizewell loom vague in the haze. Beach cont unch as far as can see. T'ness is crawling cars/people: we won't be back, at least in summer. For a long lonely winter walk it might be good. Tea shop near car park till 5.

Quick drive to Southwold which seems nicer. Large campsite but qood. Recep shut so pick our spot.

Little walk to harbour then take inland path along reeds to town. V pleasant (walk & town). Find 'Lord Nelson' (adnams of course) for food & drink, both ok.

Walk back along dunes. E holds pigtails because she thinks they will blow away.

8:30: E is snuggling down in her s'bag (she gets the red russian) & D is reading Rupert by the last light. Still windy & a bit chill. Quiet campsite noises all around. 9: D off to toilet block for last wee. M is showering. I read R to DE till the light fades.

So far we have forgotten: cooker innards; tea bags; candles.

Mon 16th

O'night rain forces me into bivvy bag (with head inside tent flap). Sadness from E ~6 but she sleeps.

Up 8, D first. Breaking o'cast. M salutes sun. I do too, but J's vn. Breakfast.

Leave ~10, M pays £12.70 (it is well run & showers free). Drive 100yds to beach park. & so to beach. Its hot, in a fierce & displeasing way. & I have forgotten my true hat & only have the straw one that doesn't fit & blows off in the wind. But DE play happily. The sand here is sand - good - with a wide buffer of salt grass & grass - good - but not really sand dunes. No stream. Long (bleak?) beach.

We are not well beach-prepared. End up walking into town for lunch & as D notes, 'walking in circles' which reduces the charm of the place. S/w seems remarkably shop-free, a sure sign we are in the wrong place. & so we are: return to 'east green' & buy lunch from little shop: satsumas, plums, fruit loaf, water. & eat on circular seat just in front of Adnams brewery which exudes a distinctly hoppy smell.

On the seat someone has left... a free map. That helps. Predictably, shop st = main st = only rd we haven't been down. Which we walk down past cafes & think, oh well, may as well. It does improve our feeling.

Walk back marsh path to ferry & go across (50p apiece) to Walberswick. Boat points upriver due to tide. More interesting on this side: more pier. Cross back 5.

Try big site (next to wildlife park) on o'skirts of * but its full :-(. Next is Chestnut farm camping. Quiet but for v distant a12. Shower is coin-op but functional. Camp is field surrounded by trees, farm house (pretty) just behind in walled (I think, under veg) garden. £8.

7: to Livingstones which is as expected: plastic & reliably tedious food. By 8 E is zonked but D insists on pudding: cheesecake. This turns out to be because he wants to try something new. & he eats it.

[D diary for today (dictated at supper): woke up, had our b'fast, packed e'thing into car inc tent, drove out of campsite to beach & went to look for somewhere to have lunch which took about 1/2 h, nice lunch...]

Downpour... err, have we (actually M while I showered) put the tent up as well as we might? Of course not! But its ok. Rupert, ctd, by M.

More rain.

Tues 17th

Lie o'night with head inside tent. I had forgotten a bivvy is tricky in downpour: even to get s'bag in I need to wait for break.

7: awake to sun. Lie abed. Occaisionally D, E or M wake & re-sleep.

B'fast misc. Bread & homous, last of s'berries. W'bix for D (some with flora, some milk) once we have coaxed him out of tent & rupert.

To Lowestoft to see harbour. But its a busy town. Park multi-story & walk. At last find map shop (ottakars) But 'true' harbour is behind fences. Swing bridge. Find pier (DE have go on btb & scoop 'ride') & cunningly hidden u'ground loos. D to beach while ME stay with btb. A drop of rain... two. Time for coffee? Yes, just in time before rush & downpour & get last table in pavillion tea rooms (good). Thence to bouncy-fun indoor thing which is fun (I venture in too).

Thence out onto mole with view S along beach & N to port. 1: back to car.

Past Gt Yarmouth (torrential downpour, road covered) to Horsey windpump just before 2. Which is fun, even in more rain. Little cafe kiosk & shop. Path/staithe to Horsey broad. Thence towards beach (poor track) through H gap (in dunes/defences 20' high) to beach. Good: sand, empty, hugely long. Play. M spots small seal on. Other woman says phone x. So M goes to do so. NT warden turns up & says its ok. Others spectate & wander off. Another seal out to sea... but a diff spec? 2 women come & bag the seal... NT man still talks to his phone. Here it is sunny.

E wants to drive us back.

Nelson head for dinner. A real pub & much better than last night. Decent food. Woodefordes beer. E draws a piccy: '& you write my connolley name there'.

Drive home 1:40 on good roads.

Wed 18th

M to work I get lazy day with kids. D cycle practice: all round green. E draws a snail several times. Run wash & dry twice.

M somewhat late 'oh are we off tonight?'.

6: to a+s. Get misc lesson/familiarisation (during rainstorm) then off 7 in lovely evening. Essentially 1-handed as M handles E & D watches & helps a bit. BB Lock ok. Then push a bit to get to Clayhithe before lovely light fades. Have nav lights (but not main) on.

Tie at public moorings - one other boat there. Make tea & heat curry - inconvenience of needing motor on. O'wise all fine, De's bunks have been put up while I've been steering & M stories them. E has sweetly wrapped up huggy & little lamb.

Thurs 19th

Sleep well. Grey then sun. I get up first, wipe o'night rain of deck chair & sit with g'fruit j. Walk up to bridge & Clayhithe side - not much to see - back o' river past The Bridge pub w'beach wards as far as sailing club.

Off just past 8: lovely: no packing, just slip moorings & quietly off.

Bott lock: trouble getting v's to ack shut.

M takes a turn while I loo & keeps steering. Past Upware.

To Popes corner (distant view Ely cath) just before 11. Windy! Tricky tie-up. Pub not open yet... wait. Find diesel pump... awkward. Look round a bit, over bridge.

Old west river. Narrow & windy. Tricky. Several close passes as boats come other way: often a clump of reeds indicates a narrows & we play who-will-slow-down.

Moored for a walk 3: goba mooring past Aldreth bridge. One turn, M can't understand why till not responding: turns out E has fiddled a switch & engine power is off (but not bow thruster, oddly). Restart, & tick her off. E is a bit cooped up & mad/ramping sometimes. D is good by himself, helpful with me, but sometimes with E sorely tries M. But its mostly E.

Heron: on stretch before H lock: starts up, flies on a little way, we catch up; rpt. Photo (dodgy when steering).

Hermitage lock: tie up, find friendly keeper (he gives DE lollies on exit) & in. Exciting: first deep lock & road goes over it! Just out to Earith is lovely section. This bit is apparently tidal & clearly flooded - in summer!

Earith 5: anchor at Crown: perfect touch in wind, only spoilt by over-helpful cruiser folk worried about their hulls. Crown doesn't serve food till 6:30. So I go off to PO (to R) for bread/milk (succeed) then drinks/twiglets for meDE while M has a rest aboard. Excitement as another cruiser comes alongside to xfer folk to shore. E, in life jacket, bumbles safely while D is in pub watching fruit machine. Lovely light now. Meadows opposite Crown are flooded to willows as is bottom of C garden.

Brownshill staunch/sluice is v silly: sluices are open, so levels both sides same: but feeble-minded gate logic insists on usual lock operation *&* a lock-filling delay! Argh! Despite high wind get in sans scrape: perhaps I'm improving. Out into broad stretch: past goba mooring not in our book... turn & tie up before 7. Will be quieter than Pike & Eel & it is gorgeous here with a huge view forwards, & the sluice/staunch behind us.

View west (?) towards the moon from the GOBA mooring

Hammer in 3 stakes & put down gangplank.

M cooks: rice; tom soup as sauce; chana mas leftover. Artichokes in o oil: yum. *Force* D to try one & he agrees, laughs & asks for another.

9: Sit out: Distant church bells; closer tractor. Fingernail moon.

Fri 20th

Up 7:15: squeak from conveyor prob woke me. Walk. Back over sluices then upstream along bank a few " above river to r & floods to l. Back for b'fast.

E: look at that puddle, daddy. Me: thats the river, E. Floods on banks a bit lower this morn. Visit conveyor with DE.

9:15: off. Still windy. Levees are lower here: can see over.

10: Holywell. Moor on elbow by pub. Off for a look round: memories for me of H's triathlons, views blurred by exhaustion & sweat. More leisurely it is still chocolate-boxy, but a bit less so. Find the holy well by the ch. Book sez its a spring. D (who has had to be dragged this far) is instantly in his element damming & un- the little outflow stream. E & I go to view ch while M lies on bench looking like o'night indigent.

[Footnote from M: my extra day at work was to find out our future, which is the end of ISOS, at least as a Cambridge owned thing, and the loss of two thirds of the team. PW has got us very good terms, bless him, but itís still a very big shock. Iím on the staying list for now; daunting though. This is by way of explaining that my mood was a little less elastic than usual.]

1 ish St Ives. Just below old br *v* cute but no water? So through br & take R channel to moorings & water (fill takes ~20 mins). Then, map shows channel cont to make island. Cont, slow. Hmm. Narrows. Can't turn. Fallen tree/branch... power over. Committed now. V narrow. Branches sweep us. Oh err. M cons/shouts from bow. Just when looking like total disaster M says its deepening, main channel opens & we're clear. Whew.

~3 to Houghton lock. All this section around St Ives & Hemingford v choc box & good. ME go visit mill; I do lock (with D) which for once is with us; & in fact cruiser does the gates. Phone S: Hunt'don at *5* not 4: oh good: we've been a bit slow today. But ME come back: mill is shut thurs/fri. But she has i'cream (childs fight). Sit on stage past lock to eat. Pred rain arrives (huge dark dramatic fr) in torrents. Inside for nice coffee/rest.

Rain eases so I potter up last section with others inside with occaisional rain countered by umbrella. Time to relive the over-bold side channel expedition.

To H just before 5 & find publ moorings just after marina & rowing with old bridge ahead & new bridge towering over. St I much cuter.

Phone A+S: they are (of course: why did none of us realise this would happen?) stuck in the rush hour traffic somewhere. Meanwhile the rain hammers down. To such an extent that they become stuck in floods instead and S (a cautious soul) waits for them to go down a bit. So they don't arrive till 6, which is fine since we then have a bit more time to tidy up. Eventually (since they don't know H) I end up on a traffic island in the ring road under my umbrella talking on the mobile to A directing them round and looking for our car: "aha! I can see you (waves umbrella)... go that way... yes..." and we meet up. They aren't in a hurry either as the rockinbeerfest would not be much fun in this weather and indeed the navigability of the river is in question.

So we swap over and swap tales of floods and side channels.

E falls asleep on way back and both to bed.

Sat 21st

I go to town fairly early, hoping to get shower component from plumbers but, aha, they are bozos, or at least the one I'm dealing with is. Sigh. One last try. Cb1/arj, and back in time for the village stall: buy some pickled onions.

Back home, I insist that D must write a p'card to L since she wrote one v nicely to D. This could go either way, but as feared he balks and we spend an hour of mutual pain doing something that he could have happily finished in 5 minutes... "I can't think what to write" followed by endless rubbing out of trivial mistakes. Hey ho, it is done.

4: to MfdJ. Exceptional sundog along the way, bright as a rainbow.

F has bought E 2 new dresses which she happily tries on; D a book of aesops fables. At first he complains to F that E has more presents, but she has also bought him a shirt (which he proudly wears on sunday), and points out that the book was v expensive...

Sun 22nd

Early awakening by E but stay in bed as she plays. D calls her off. I laze till nearly 11, M a bit later.

Mfd has a new hp 'portable' for £800 from Comet.

Jo+H+Noah ~1. Lunch, garden all v pleasant. N now 15m, dark eyes, a few steps, a few noises.

Playground.

Leave 6, on a34 remember I have left coat+wallet. Re-leave :30. Stop 10 mins before home at that Chin resto we never stop at (Yin Wa house I think), since we are child free. I turns out to be somewhat more upmarket than we expected but thats OK.

Mon 23rd

M leaves on time but I am (with new found freedom) late. Get the new (opteron) cluster working, hurrah. And settle down to hack my neglected email. No Y - J on hols till sept. Leave a bit early - 6 - promising more tomorrow.

M back only a little after me - see, no children makes you work shorter hours, ha ha.

A bit of tidying but more misc/wiki. M plays the piano, nice once she gets past her exercises.

Tues 24th

Work. A horrible day weatherwise: hot and sticky and yeurk. Or maybe I'm just feeling ill. My eyes feel gritty. Yeurch.

Anyway: long luch break (meet M for lunch at Yippee (good) then RS for running shoes (hurrah! find some hi-tecs!) the cb1 for a rest. Back to work in time for a'noon smoko and work till 6.

Todays ballooning was cancelled: weather.

Soir: M declares that we shall go out! Then can't find a decent film and then gets sucked into the computer so we stay in and she plays piano while I try to hack PP env/dev questionnaire.

Wiki:lescun.

Wed 25th

A day off! M goes to work early (8:30) and I... I chose to sit in the sun and drink coffee, and that has made all the difference. Reading HPatPoA for about the third time. But! Don't laze too long. I have many things to do today: tidy; bees; allot; etc.

It starts to rain: bees and allot looks dodgy.

11: run in new shoes! To woods & back. My legs ache.

Do a lot of tidying though, to little obvious effect. Finally try what I've been thinking of for ages: photo misc bits of paper and keep them - effectively scanned - on the computer. That gets rid of a lot of hard-to-place things.

3: do the bees after all... rain has kept off for a few hours. Put in apistan strips and only get stung once (ow!) when a bee discovers the gaping hole in my left glove. But in general bees pretty docile for fiddling with their brood chambers.

M phones: she has not left work for town as she said she would (surprised? no) and so we'll meet up at the Castle. Have fun wikiing today in intervals.

Castle early (7:45) but others (MAS) there ahead of me (shock).

Thurs 26th

My stung finger is painful & swollen - hard to bend.

Work am then town.

Lego roadshow on PP.

Cb1 for nice quiet sit. Rob has created a go library. How much I have forgotten :-(.

Home: misc tidy, garden, shed. M back late (8:30) & I cook.

Cancel Mr Box next 2 weeks: garden is doing well esp pears & grapes.

Fri 27th

Work till 1:30 then home. Lunch. Allot for 1h: dig pots at front, carrots & spinach. To rec to start cut-off of protruding bolts on seats: awkward to reach: hacksaw blade snaps after 3.

Back, bath, cook. M back 7.

To folk club! Catch end of H's guitar. Dave's mobile goes off mid-song. After break, Ann as duo. Cows to market: where is *todays* folk? Ann & Dave do 'the boxer' & the audience have to verses 3&4.

Sat 28th

To MfdJ. At last min M remembers to set up egg a/c.

Abingdon. D anger i'cream.

Run.

D riding his bike! There were times we thought we would never see this. Here he is off to the Marcham playground Sun 29th

Up 9. Quiet am.

Pm to (multiple) Millets for maize maze - a dinosaur this year. D & I are alone & I lose him: when we finally meet up he is v offended. Find all but one clue: roar/raptor. Play big chess: beat D: leads to usual tedious tantrum.

D badly behaved (ie won't eat) at dinner leads to M feeding D blindfold various combs to see if he can guess. Fish & apple considered yukky so M has to eat some too.

Leave late.

Mon 30th

D wakes us up: mozilla won't work. Looks like our i/p is down... all day. He spends a lot of time on alpha team.

I have a tidy-the-workroom day.

Take kids to rec (D cycles all the way) to play & so I can hack at bolts on seat: do one more & blade (now in handle-holder) shatters. Hmpf.

Rain: shelter pav then pub: Dr Mario. I get to play & DE watch. M comes later in car.

Bread started earlier now ready for tea.

Tues 31st

Work till a'noon smoko so I can hear JDS's talk on wildlife-of-site. Ok.

Allot: pick b'currants + prune (front). Meet Andy & give him some carrots & he drags me to pub for half. -rw-r--r-- 1 wmconnolley psacln 18657 Sep 1 21:14 DSCN1590-d-on-bike_crop_150x250.jpg -rw-r--r-- 1 wmconnolley psacln 97066 Sep 1 21:14 DSCN1590-d-on-bike_crop_600x1000.jpg -rw-r--r-- 1 wmconnolley psacln 364 Aug 18 12:25 i.html -rw-r--r-- 1 wmconnolley psacln 36326 Sep 1 21:22 index.html


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