WMC's diary pages, 2005.

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2005/06/01. Wednesday. All afloat. Grey, rain later.

Wake at some undefined time with sun; when E wakes later its about 7:30 and become grey so we stay inside. Cars from the a1123 rumble outside: somewhat noisy but not too bad. D stays in bed with HP, E bumbles about being bright cheerful and chatty and I am up xferring photos, entertaining E and writing this.

8:30: M up, and starting breakfast: she has ambitions to scones. Which are fulfilled later in some pan-bread.

Start off something like 9:30 - we aren't in a hurry at all. Pass the Fish and Duck, views of Ely Cathedral become more frequent. It is really rather pleasant to approach a city where the biggest thing and the only thing viz from a distance *is* still the cathedral. A bit closer the railway station and other stuff comes into view, but the acres of housing estates are mercifully hidden from this view.

Even better, from river to cathedral can be done nearly view parks and cathedral grounds, bar one road to cross, so its rather lovely. And by the river there is a childs playarea that we are obliged to stop in of course. We explore the cathedral fairly thoroughly, though it looks like there is quite a lot of grounds with any number of mediaeval buildings still there. Inside the contrast with Wien is rather stark, as worshippers are thin on the ground but tour groups are not. About the only affecting thing is the chapel devoted to those fallen in wwI and II, which doesn't have enough room on its walls for the names so has fold-out doors to hold extra panels. But, of course, nonetheless the cathedral stone is interesting. I go round with D, M with E. Musc of the stonework is fine and lacy, but somewhat worn - odd since its inside. Or is this just time? Cath cafe for light lunch (its still run by little old ladies and hasn't yet succumbed to corporate catering). Upstairs to the stained glass museum, which has some stuff though not that much, mostly modern. Stained glass, or rather modern SG, is a bit of a puzzle to me, since its mostly just painting on glass, and often not teribly good painting at that. In The Old Days of course you actually made the picture up from different coloured bits of glass and you only had a few colours and it was hard to cut and hard to get the colours and stuff so it was a challenge.

Leave Ely about 2; then turns to rain :-( and stays grey for the rest of the day, though the rain comes and goes. We head up river then take the River Lark turn off (rather precipitately, as we were whizzing along with me inside and M noticed at the last minute and we swerved off). Also a bit windy for all of this so rather hard to keep station. Get to Prickwillow OK, and moor up well before, and head for the museum of drainage which has pumping engines which D is looking forward to. But! It is shut wed and thurs :-( (otherwise 11-4:30 daily). Disappointment. For the kids, this is assuaged by more Pink Panther DVD (later, E declares that she wants to be known as the PP, because she likes pink...).

After a while, with some shilly-shallying by me, decide to turn here and head for Littleport rather than continue up to Isleham lock. Partly cos there is a pub at Lp, partly because it isn't totally clear we can turn at Ih. And because it will be quicker to get back from Lp. And some of the river from Pw to to Ih looks a bit dull. In fact the river up from Ely is in general rather less interesting than the Old West River we did last time. So we turn on a rope, easily, the wind and current in our favour, and head down, me in the rain with an umbrella, M inside cooking, DE inside of course. Its rather... bleak? isolated? empty? around here, but that has its beauty too, a captain at the helm of a ship in uncharted waters. Ha. Rejoin Great Ouse and head up toward Lp, only other traffic a CU eight and accompanying coach, presumably having a long pull back down to Ely.

To Lp OK. Finish eating, do washing up, water spits, odd, funny noise from the front, eventually realise we're out of water. Oops. Should have filled at Ely. About to phone nearby marina to see if still open when realise that opposite is a poss water tap. Take D to look: yes its a water station. So swap to other side and fill up, slowly, as if you try to fast the hose comes off!

After that to pub for a quick drink. In theory no kids after 8:30 but they are OK.

9:45: just finished the childrens stories and bed...

2005/06/02. Thursday. Grey but dry.

Wake a bit later, but off somewhat earlier - about 8:30 - to get started back. Notice that the poo tank is nearly full, oops, so we'd better be continent or find a pump-out station.

Back to Ely about 9:45 and tie up near where we were before, having passed what looks like a pump-station higher up but after a failed half-turn (its windy and the river lined both sides with boats) we settle for a tie-up and look later. DE run off to the playground, while we finish tying up. The strong wind and my assumption that I now know what I'm doing has mean several dodgy approaches, as I take perhaps a bit less care than I should and we end up running from fore to aft pulling one rope then another. It would be a lot easier with less wind though.

Opposite us are Kings school and CU boathouses.

"The maltings" tea shop, which does a breakfast (continental for us) and toast but has to be prompted for the orange juice. V quiet this time of day. Pause to look round Ely riverfront - pleasant. Fairly unspoilt. I go up to look at the pump-out station: it is one. OK. Turn boat, up we go, read instructions, plug selves in, nothing happens. The station says the pump hose has a missing handle... well, there is a notice saying "broken", crossed out, and with "missing handle" written in. It takes us a while to realise that the handle is supposed to turn at the top, and when we do this where its broken off the poo is rapidly sucked out. Then we flush, suck, flush, suck. Fin. Not very messy.

Phone A+C: they will be off 2: we still don't know if we will get to Thetford today or tomorrow.

Stop at Fish and Duck for some lunch - drinks and chips! End up skipping the fuel top-up: we have more than 1/2 tank, the wind is still strong and we're not going down that channel.

A phones: when are we back? He has to go to work sometime. Well we won't be back till past 4... so maybe he doesn't need to be in?

2:30 Pass Tip Tree marina. M steering, I'm watching the bread sticks M made cooking in the microwave/oven, DE are back to PP. Still grey, occaisional sun, my face is feeling a bit weathered.

Get back around 5; hello Andy. Unpack etc; M takes car home and I cycle back home around 6. I then sit down to sift mail/wiki while M does some packing, then I come to help. Finally we finish packing 7:20 and off, picking up Adam, and some Calvados from Helen, then off. M is staying at home to work and be useful...

Fairish trip, I go A14 to BsE then up, and the up bit is slow, and we end up short of diesel, and then get lost when within a mile of the place (the local map is deceptive), and arrive at 9. I thought this might be late but no: everyone is still up.

We end up drinking (and indeed singing: Lea has a guitar) till midnight. DBA are sleeping together in a bubbletent of A+C's, E will sleep with G (and S) in a compartment of AC's huge tent (all the others have huge tents...).

2005/06/03. Friday. Hot sun then thunderstorms and downpour.

Woken at an unearthly hour - about 5:30 - by the 3 boys talking to each other in voices that would cross the campsite. And then arguing... forced to get up and hush them, which tones them down somewhat. Up before 8 anyway. Everyone else is rather slower up.

After kids breakfast it turns out to be std practice to cook sos, bacon etc on their gas stoves (the largish sort) for everyones (well except me of course) second breakfast, and this tends to occupy 10-12 ish.

Put up pergola for sunshade. Fortunately I've done one before.

It is boiling hot so head off for the pool, which is a small paddling pool and a little pool smaller than the schools. But: it is also rather cold, so after a brief jump in and swim across and back D shivers on the edge. E of course (being younger) is keener and stays in.

Lunch. Back to pool. Its still cold... Clare mentions the river. I find a map in the info hut and photo it. So we can walk there, its about 1km. D and I recce the path through the woods to the field to check we know how to start.

In the end, Clare, I, D and S are going - clearly this isn't the sort of group where walking it std. We set off about 4:30, after much wurble of course about exactly who. Fairly soon it becomes clear that S is not going to walk far, and ab out 1/2 way C gives up on him and heads home. D and I continue. Its a nice walk, and the countryside is lovely: through the shelter belt of trees (about 50 m), over a stile into a meadow / rough pasture, with trees around the distant edges, buttercups nearby, gentle undulations and a depression filled with water, trees and canada goslings. From the stile bear right of forwards to a fence; the path goes over then R through a path between two fences but this is nettly: better to keep to the field going R, which joins up with the path by hopping over a gate. Continuing in the same direction, skirting a farmyard only distantly seen, up to a low crest (rabbits running into the gorse) then down into trees and a mown patch of grass which turns out to be the far end of someones garden, through some more trees and you are at the river. The nearest bit of river disappoints: its a bit sluggish and, although fronted by a nice patch of meadow that looks (daisy covered) like a dappled river itself when seen through the trees, there is no way down to the water - nettly banks. But continue over a stile, along a road/track for a little bit, and we come to a little brick bridge over the river and here it flows faster and cleaner, and D can get down to the water. So we play for a bit. Further down is a weir thingy, or a water control feature, it has env agency written on it. And further down is a little muddy beach for D. Now its about time to turn back, and anyway the weather looks like turning and though still hot their are rumbles of thunder and D is a bit scared. Walking back, briskly, it takes us less than 20 mins.

About 6:30 the promised thunderstorms arrive and it pours with rain. Most retreat into tents apart from a few hardy adult who stay under the pergola, but after 1/2 hour of unrelenting downpour it becomes clear that the pergola really is only showerproof not rainproof. In retrospect, we should have retreated to the covered area near the pub *before* the rain, since it opens at 7. After a while, lea proposes driving the kids up, and thats what he does, so they stay dry and I and ?Andy? walk up under my umbrellas - always take an umbrella camping, I appear to be the only one to have appreciated this vital fact.

Contrary to expectations, the pub is *not* heaving - so many people have giant tents and/or caravans that they don't need the pub. So we get tables and served quite soon and my curry is quite decent indeed.

Around 8:30 the rain eases then stops and the kids go to bed and sleep rapidly. Adults stay up drinking and talking, but not too late.

2005/06/04. Saturday. Mixed.

2005/06/05. Sunday. Mixed.

Rounds. Rain. Leave about 1, back a bout 2 (via A+S to return env ag key).

M takes over (only fair, she has had her rest) and I relax/collapse. She has done a lot of house tidying!

Bed: late: 12.

2005/06/06. Monday. Sun, cool.

For me, a work day as usual (except: some of morning: do GP expenses stuff. Dull) but disk fails pm. Oops. For DE, home with M till 11-4 when they go to Oliver and Natashas.

Back 6 ish, all happy. Sit outside from stoop in sun for a bit.

2005/06/07. Tuesday. Sun.

E to M'a (where was E yesterday she says? Did M not phone I say? No. Oops), D to school, first day of last half term of this year... N is back and proudly shows me her german homework sheet - she went to school there for one day - and in her notebook a careully written list of sims and diffs between there and here (start 8; am only; pegs in classroom; hard floor; etc).

Work; disk still down and will be for some time. Accent meeting takes up after-coffee time.

Lunch with TLC/PSA, and then Ash. Talk about uni/college, then work.

Home 2. Lunch, again... Sit in sun. Pick up E, then to school. DB are waiting (to go to tennis) but: B has no bike. Argh! But he is game: he will run, he says. I'm dubious but off we go. Fortunately, meet Nikola along the way and agree B can borrow N's old bike, so get there OK, via the diverted way of course. When we get there I wonder if its the wrong day: quiet. When they start, only about 12 kids (was uncountable: maybe 50, before). I guess thats what happens when you have to pay...

Stop at Cavendish lake, then the rec, on the way back, till 6. B has to run from there of course but does. Home. M back, and cooks. I sit out in sun by front door: its nice there.

Soir: extensive onlining as usual; M does p/school accounts.

2005/06/08. Wednesday.

Std.wed. To smoko (stopping along the way at the rectory to check on a reputed swarm of bees: yes, its there: tell them I'll come back later); to germ; swim; arj/cb1; lib; school. Drop E with M; home; get bee-kit together. Offer D the option of coming (no) and head off. Turns out quite easy: put them into a green-kitchen-bin which I get from Dot; leave it for the stragglers to settle and go back home. I met Dorthe just before doing this so she and Nikolas watched, interested. Return at 7:30 to take it away (picking up N to watch) and give them to N in the box.

Soir: to pub with A and later S. S has been to an electoral-reform meeting (with the deposed AC). 3 pints and good talk.

2005/06/09. Thursday. Warm.

Wake up a bit woozy. Work: a bit thin, but then the disk is down anyway.

Into town at lunch, to Heffers, finish SS (disappointing), do 2 sudoku. Then various shopping: new vid tapes; new trousers (my shorts were a disgrace); new sandals (the velcro going on the old ones, which were otherwise fine).

Allot: stop and pluck a few weeds, and the first broad beans, and some more chard which is still going well. Hot.

Home: 4:30. Sit outside with food and drink and Helliconia Spring. Daniel Cousins (Mr Rectory) comes by with some eggs (they keep chickens) and a bottle of wine as a thank-you for sorting out the bees for him. How kind. No-one has done that before.

Get D then E (who has "little friends: ie lice: oh dear, we thought it was only D. We may have to go chemical). E has been face-painted as a butterfly and she is v proud of this; by Kirsty, who is practising for a fete. Have to be careful at E's bathtime not to wash it off, since she wants to show it at pre-school tomorrow.

Tidy a bit (never enough) and about to start cooking when M turns up so leave it to her and give E another comb-through (easy since M'a brushed her hair well) and get a few more. Also do D.

Lovely sunny calm evening.

Soir: misc computing.

2005/06/10. Friday.

Work, home 2, lunch.

3:30: get E; to sch: D is to multi-s. OK. He will then go on to B's to watch taped Dr Who and tea. E and I go home, E somewhat wistfully hopes for someone to come home with her, but we are OK: she plays on the pooter and I read to her a bit and comb her flowing locks. M home in fair time, but goes up to sleep, poor thing.

Later: M packs, and she and E head off at 7:30 to get D (D and B have been taken by Andy to the tennis club disco) and go off to F's for the weekend - its ages since we've been. But what do I mean we, white man? In exchange for last weekend (and the sudden moving forward of this one) I get to stay home and do useful things.

Like the washing up. And some cleaning, tomorrow...

2005/06/11. Saturday. Sun/cool.

A day all alone... the luxury. Which includes waking up to the sound of birdsong and lying in till 9. B'fast, slowly.

Print out some honey labels and apply to 2 jars. Take them to produce stall; then set to weeding the allot. Starting from the back I get the back patch well under control - it wasn't as bad as it looked - and work down from there, getting about 1/3 of the way. Quick 1/2 in the pub (and fail on a Samurai sudoku, but I didn't have long). Home, lunch, extended coffee by the fire.

Beryl phones re path #9: hmmm, OK, I've ben avoiding this, and today is a good day for it. So take spade and (at her suggestion) some cement, and go find the miscreant posts. Reset them (the one on the corner gets most of the cement and will be wobbly till the next rain). Then, succumbing, go into town, briefly. In token of "brief" have an espresso only in Heffers and read a bit of "rumfuddle", which is odd as far as I get.

Home. Set to planting out poppies (HKR) climbing beans (Ma, now sadly stringy, maybe its not too late) and another dahlia.

Inside. M phones just before 8, I say goodnight to kids, all is well except E couldn't have her hair cut due to lice (oh the shame!). Bath with Helliconia.

Soir: put up May. Wiki quiet.

2005/06/12. Sunday.

Last bit of quiet... predictably I get a bit less done than I might. Downstairs is tidy but not as it might be. Coffee in sun.

pm: go down FP6 to check on the wayposts I put in a week or so back. They are (sigh) down again. I think next time I'll just put the signs on the fence, since I rather suspect cows of rubbing the posts down. On the way there, where the track goes over the brook, encounter a car.. whats it doing there... closer: ah... tis a courting couple en deshabille. Sadly I only see the male half...

MED back around 5. Hello etc.

2005/06/13. Monday.

Work. Give blood (my first, it turns out, for nearly 3 years) at 10, takes till past 11. No yoga, so decide (for my recovery) to go to town and read some of "the algebraist": no algebra yet.

Work misc, home 6:30 ish.

Bed late, naughty: a bit past 12.

2005/06/14. Tuesday.

Plasterers turn up this morning so DE watch for a bit. They have new and exciting kit not seen before.

E to M'a; D sch: today he is off on a trip to the sealife centre near Hunstanton and so has a packed lunch and some excitement. Work; home for 2; all is OK with the plastering folk.

Pick up E; to sch; where is D? the coach is late. Hey ho, sit in sun. We're going to be late for tennis. Coach turns up just before 4 and I hustle them off, but they are not very fast at all, so after a few exhortations I realise that its pointless and just let them get on at their pace. So we arrive about 4:15 and in they go. E had been saying "I don't want to go to tennis, its boring just watching" but when we get there and I offer her a game she... just wants to watch D and B. So we do. Things are perhaps a bit more serious now... the warm-up is various stepping around cones and stuff, and there is resistance (boredom) from some of the kids. But the coach persists. All the kids are pretty poor at listening to what they are told (so whats new? I mention this to DB afterwards and they react with amazement). After, play around a bit.

Stop at rec on way back for a while - I check up on the kit as ever. DB would rather be at N's but no.

Home; start cooking. When M arrives I head off, as I have some report of bees to deal with. I'm pretty sure its going to be bumbles, and it is. Sigh. The kind people there (and at the council, who phoned me) don't want to kill them, so I play along and instead of just stamping on them I take them into a box and dump them at the end of our garden, where they will probably die anyway. While we're down the garden, we see that D's peas are coming along nicely.

Soir: M beds E, I play a bit of civ, D watches some of that and reads Hairy Pooter. Then monitor the RC:betting, etc.

Dose self with out-of-date anti-nit stuff.

2005/06/15. Wednesday. Rain.

Some early rain; its raining a bit when I take DE up to school. But I didn't really need to take E cos M is still at home, though she is preparing for an interview. She goes off about 10, then E and I head off to smoko in the rain. Its turns into a long smoko, cos E makes a "den" under the table, but this is as well as rain stops.

Germ; swim; arj; cb1. Suddenly look at watch: 3:10: oops: rush off home, since DE are due to host Matthew and Emma (as-in Heather). Zoom zoom, etc, arrive about 10-15 mins late, there is M, OK but no-one else. No sign of Heatherites, odd, have they heard about our nits? Hey ho, home we go.

Online, then go get honey extractor (clean it there using hosepipe), bring home and finish clean and wipe. Get super off hive OK (and set another to clearer-board) and leave in kids room and prepare. Meanwhile M cooks (cabbage and sos).

DE bath then down and "help" extract, I chase D off when he threatens to scratch his hair into the honey, but let him back later. One full super turns into just-at-the-top-of-the-taphole. Leave this to settle. Most of it was capped: putting cappings into oven to melt.

Put empty super back on.

Soir: online monitoring RC:bet; stoat:E Ant quickly; wiki mostly Tesla stuff. M makes her first edit (anonymously).

2005/06/16. Thurs.

Work, then to town, read more Algebraist, which I'm quite liking.

Home about 5 I think.

Soir: I forget: online: I'm writing this Sat (or sun, since its past midnight).

2005/06/17. Fri. Very hot.

To work, wearing coat. Come back, and its far far too hot to wear a coat.

Back 2, time to relax. Pick up E from M'a then to school. D is to multi-S, E and I get a cake from cake stall, and D wants one, so I end up owing the pre-school treasurer (ie, M) 1. E home, and comb her hair, in prep for... take her to sch at 4:30 to be taken by Paula (along with D, and of course she has A, O and V too... poor P, and its such a hot day!). So... free again.

Take off the super I had boarded, this is again painless and quick. Leave it in the kids room.

Collect DE 6:30 plus a bit. AC had invited us to the pub, so we go, and it turns out to be quite a gathering and quite a regular one too. Kids can run off and all play together, adults can drink too much. So I do. Home 8:30. D really liked it: can we do it next weeek please? he sez.

Bed late.

2005/06/18. Sat. Sun, again hot, not quite so much.

Up past 9, oh the luxury of a lie in.

M takes DE to w/rose early. I get a quiet coffee, a brief tidy, a trip to the allot (leave 2* honey at stall, and pick broad beans and chard, and plant a cucumber I bought). See kids playing the football-lessons: meet B (and Andy) after - maybe D should join in? Ask him: he is almost keen.

Spin the super I took off yesterday: easy. DE help, they are still interested.

2: take kids off to Parkside, they really really wanted M to come to and said so but she had too many other things to do, including relaxing. But it works fine: now we know to park underground we find a space. Swim well for more than 1h, E has really found her water-baby state again and is becoming adventurous. D flumes twice, in company with a kid he met. After, cb1. Pharmacy is shut: oh dear: no derbac. No matter. Driving home past lammas: why not stop? do. Have an ice cream, then I sit while they play inc going in the paddling pool. Home past 7. M needs her hair doing with the remainder of our old derbac, but I have to leave that to M as I'm...

8: to JB to talk re pre school. JB has invited S too, and we have a long long talk, but useful.

Bed: past 12: silly.

2006/07/19. Sunday. Hot and sunny.

Today is fathers day so I get another lie in, which is nice, as I'm feeling very tired. This is either too many late nights or perhaps I'm ill. Anyway, MED bting me b'fast in bed in the cute small cups they bought for my birthday. DE have done me a sweet card, and D has written "Daddy I like your bonfires" and E has done an M and a D.

BTW, I'm writing this outside past 10 by the light of the screen, and discovering that I really can touch type, just about.

So after misc packing and stuff we manage to leave 11 for Ma's for Robs b'day. Its hot in the car till the a/c gets going and we have the traditional battle with DE to stop them opening the windows. LoTR on cd.

Arrive 12:15, hellos, Nina is outside in the shade, Ma is cooking, kids are in various places, so I join N. Tired still. People accret (sp?) and Rob opens his presents from us: the Great Pyramid (of Cheops?) - a Plan Toys thing I nearly bought for D a while back which is cute and perhaps an exec toy or maybe useless - who knows. Also a sucker gun.

Lunch inside (where its cool!) the the traditional by Ma collection of veg and stuffing and of course excellent. Almost without realising it, the kids are now old enough for us to expect them to sit up to table sensibly.

After, I pretend to Sudoku for a bit then fall asleep on the sofa for an hour or more.

To Northchurch common, scene of childhood parties and my 40th. Still hot, but there is shade, its v green, foxgloves in the shadows. Some cricket, then bread crumb trail - D insists on laying it with me, and we do, just running out of bread at the end. The others follow, walking not running, cos its too hot, and are slowed down by my "false trail" where I got lost for a bit. After, little picnic, more cricket, home.

Choccy cake and watch vid of early films transferred - hols in Swanage etc.

We all leave later than intended, RNLT first. D read HP4, Ma and I sit outside and discuss her possible house move "while she still can". And why not? Well, where would you live if you had free choice?

Leave 7:30, back before 9, E to bed, D sits in driveway on E's wooden chair reading... you guessed it. D to bed, M practices (after her last competition she has been resting mostly, now re-starting).

Bed 10:30: sensible W.

2005/06/20. Monday. Hot hot hot.

Yes, it was hot.

Work, MP1 forms for the new person. Argh. It is hot.

Fix D's bike: no puncture, jsut deflated. E insists I fix hers too.

8:30: to HM to talk about home club's future with her and JE. Beer was involved. Till 10:30. Back: M is piano-ing: good.

2005/06/21. Tuesday. Solstice! Hot.

Another hot day, though only hot, not hot-hot-hot. And in the morning, tolerably cool. D's bike turns out to be deflated again so it really *did* have a puncture... so he walks to school, I take E to M'a.

Work: get MP1 form to MP OK.

Home 2. Phone CCC edu person re home club: news is poor. But she will send me stuff and gives me ofsted number. Rest on front doorstep - its cooler out in the shade than in (it wasn't on sun/mon). Fix D's puncture.

Now its... 3:30... oops. Cycle off to get E, carrying D's bike. M'a has bought us some Derbac, thanks. Sch; pick up DB; to tennis, and not rushed this time, arrive just on time. Also the lesson is better this time: run by more "fun" people and they have fun and get into the tennis earlier. Perhaps last one was unfun cos they needed to do their certification.

After, stop by lake, then back at rec, but N won't come out (she had specifically asked us to stop on the way back when we met her at school) so DB go in and play in the brick house NNP built, while E watches "the incredibles" with NP inside (and objects when I have to remove her).

Back 6; some food and tidy so we're ready for Ian at 6:30. M just gets back in time and we go over the plans for phase 2 - the kitchen - and agree the price. Ie, agree BtB's price is OK. Its the same as for his rough quote, so thats fair enough. Quibbling: door or window? Some other misc. Meanwhile E is around being cute measuring things with Ians tape measure. How long is that, E? Its this long, says E, pointing to the tape laid against the object! Meanwhile D is outside reading HPIV in the front garden.

M off 8 to p/school ctte. I finish putting Derbac'd E to bed; do D.

Sit out on front doorstep webbing.

Honey: jar up 16 lbs from bucket, leaving perhaps 8 in it. Then set extractor to emptying into bucket. Its beginning to show signs of granulation, and I'm getting down to the waxy bits, so its slow. I'm typing this sitting on E's chair in the kitchen which I need to to stop the extractor falling over from its tipped-over position.

2005/06/22. Wednesday. Cool then hot.

To Hadley meeting in Reading. Trip down fine: cool. Meeting good. Trip back v hot, esp underground. Poor jck comes back to station to find his bike stolen!

Soir: Jofie babysits and M and I out to pub for anniv (only a day late) with A+S and even Clive.

2005/06/23. Thurday. Hot.

Work, then town. Heffers till 3, then arj (bread and washing powder) then cb1.

Pick some beans from allot on way home.

In bath to cool off, chatting to Mfd re J+H's wedding, when I casually ask the time and have to leap out and rush off to pick up D then E.

D knocks water onto my r100 keyboard and I rant at him until he cries. Hmm. Then I apologise for being over nasty.

Bed early, refreshed. But... I'm not used to this and find it hard to sleep when not exhausted!

2005/06/24. Friday. Hot then thunderstorms.

Check #3 (8.7k) to Gavin by hand.

At last, the long-promised thunderstorms arrive to clear the air and water the allotment and garden and cool us all dow. Whew!

DE sch then work, very bitty. Ask helpdesk about r100 who say: no chance. Get a new keyboard. Others say maybe, Phil says airing cupboard. Take keyboard out - looks OK - use HKRs hot air gun (cautiously). Helps a bit - the bit about PXE boot goes away. AJ is off to Jordan for her summer hols so clear up higem stuff. Home in gap in welcome rain (stop to check BW and talk to Mr Digger who says: tuesday, probably). Rest. Back hurts. Lunch.

Pick up E then sch to leave with N, but who is faffing around a bit, so don't finish till 4 (pause to chat to James E, and in general the swimming crowd. Must take DE swimming sometime).

Talk to Jenny re homeclub, briefly.

Home. Rest/relax.

Setup off past 6 to pick up DE and take them to pub, crossing with M on her way in. All seems fine chez N and end up taking N too. Kids run around while I chat mostly to Andy. Its rained, so we sit in the summer house. There is a curry later but I feel inclined to stay home, and Andy is unsure too (but will go). Plot sat/sun stuff.

Home. M is somewhat unwell - gets E ready for bed but I take her; then M goes up for a rest too. D is 1/2 way through HP4. I spend evening mostly on NGRIP core pic, fighting the nature site for supplementary info.

Put r100 into airing cupboard.

Bed after 12, but not much.

2005/06/25. Saturday. Threats of rain, but no rain.

Get up just in time to take D to football practice (his first) on rec. He loves it. Good. Leave at :30 to go back home, get E and car and stuff. Pick up DB and to Parkside to swim. Swim, good. DB both go down green flume for first time. After, arj/cb1 and B gets to taste the delights. All goes quite well, and I even forgive (but obviously don't forget) D kicking me in the throat in the pool. Back past 2. Drop DB at the rec so they can go to the fete, with GBP 2 between them. Then meet C+A etc, and leave E with them. Drive back home. M is still somewhat unwell and will stay at home, so I cycle over.

Fete: good. Find DE, D has spent most of his money, E doesn't ask why she doesn't get some. D agrees to be in the sponge-throwing-stocks in exchange for 20 p. Later again, while E throws at him. Fun! D wondered what emergency vehicle there would be this time: last time it was a fire engine so, he reasons, perhaps an ambulance this time, But no. However there is a formula 1 car. And a very good little roundabout, quite plain, with chairs that swing out. And misc other stuff as usual inc car boot sale. Meet Gordon Ramsay, and wife Susan, who is doing a bee stall: they are the new Coton beekeepers. Get some little cardboard box-units from Trisha. After, drift off to the play area; talk to PB while E plays with Viv, then Jodie; then to skateboard ramp and play improvised piggy-in-the-middle started by Andy, with people on each end who throw a ball over the people below. Fun. Finishes about 6+; home.

2005/06/26. Sunday. Pleasant.

E wakes us up, comes into bed, goes downstairs. I get up at 9. D is quietly on the sofa, reading HP4. Oblige him to eat too. Cory comes round, and I shoo them both outside, repeatedly.

10:30: gather up tools and DE (and C too) and head off to C+A to fix their flatpacks and watch Dr Who. Err, I mean, let the kids watch. C+A are at work on the packs and have anyway watched it last night, so I sit down. E curls up on my lap and is scared. Its... OK. Quite good, good effects, rather obvious gaps in the story though, but well done. Not as good as earlier ones of this series I saw. But I found myself flipping though a best-of-Viz that was around.

After that, abandon kids to whatever and go rescue C+A from their bed, which is nearly OK but just needed one hole redrilled - a cunning trick. After that, set to on the flat-pack desk. Its surprisingly decent wood. My approach is different from theirs: I know I'm going to get it out OK, I can fix any problems that arise. Theirs is: fear, and the certainty of being defeated. And... it does work OK. By lunchtime I have one drawer left to do, which goes soon after. Then help Clare do the shelves on top. Then fix (extra bonus) the catch on one of their bits of double glazing which fell off. Then Val and Dave turn up.

Well, now it 4: home. That was all good fun. Try to detach C and succeed for w while. Rest a bit: M's turn. Cut grass and generally tidy up in the back garden. Turn over the compost heap to a new location: bottom 1/2 is usable, rest goes back in. Cut back cardoons. M does kids dinner while I bath. E gets no bedtime story as penalty for drawing on the walls (again) and is miffed, but maybe she will learn. D is only one chapter from finishing HP4 when he has to go to bed.

Soir: wiki: arbcomm fin; hmpf.

M designs kitchen.

Try my r100: works, for a bit, OK, then keys start beeping again. Put back into the airing cupboard.

2005/06/27. Monday. Cool am, then hot.

Work as ever, as last week Janet is unwell so no yoga :-(. At about 5:30 I realise I'm too hot and tired to do anything useul, so go home, via:

the allotment, to plant the tomato and nasturtiums I bought at the fete, and to pick some braod beans, which are flourishing; Tracy, to deliver her honey supply; home club, to collect D.

Home: sit outside with Marcel in the green evening sun. Dinner.

Then get up and rescue some jacobs lillies from ?tomorrows? digger. There are lots and lots. Also some peonies, which interestingly have hollow spherical tubers. Plant some lillies out back and others in tubs. Hmm. Leave some at the front with a "take me" sign. There is another row to dig up. Tomorrow...

Little bath while M beds E slowly. Play with r100 again: after brief fear (stuck in hibernate cycle) the hair-dryer does the trick and it wakes up long enough for me to extract the .doc's I wrote for the sea ice job off to BAS. Then put it back in the airing cupboard. I think it will ultimately be OK.

Soir: wiki locked (1.5 upgrade) so misc. Phone around to try to arrange M's b'day bash on the 24th.

2005/06/28. Tuesday. Hot then thunder.

Odd day: M'a off, so I hang round with E till 10 when M back from piano; then I to work, back a bit early 1:30. M then off to work. Misc with E quite happily (M and E had been to orchard - E cycled all the way there and back - so e now wants to play on computer: OK). 3:30: sch, to pick up DB, and we're off to tennis, and its hot. Tennis OK (perhaps not as good as last week, but they aren't complaining) and E good, and I get to read the sch maths policy MG left me. Back via lake: we feed unwanted biscuits to the ducks and I try to persuade DEB not to chase them (with success only in D's case).

Stop at rec for play with NP and Rebecca who is around with N and who is as sweet as ever. Such a nice child.

Home; cook; M back late - 7 -some silly american to talk to.

Late: long-promised thunderstorms finally break with v impressive and lasting lightning. rain in torrents - poss the heaviest I've ever seen or heard here.

Bed: late :-(

2005/06/29. Wednesday. Muggy then thunder.

D sch, back with E, talk with builders, off for smoko. It feels cool, so (madly) I take my coat. By the time we come out its far too hot for coats, so leave it in my office. E happily "brushes" my hair. Town: Germ, then swim. E is now very confident in the water, transformed from a month or so back, happy to float with just a float and no armbands even if I'm not near. Also can propel herself in a desired direction.


At sch (booksale: D gets on on "the world of the future" now sadly dated, and one on bones). Then I talk to MG for 1h+ on mostly maths-gov stuff, but also web sites and home club.

Home: D has tried an expt with putting a straw into a bottle, then heating/cooling it and trying to get air to bubble in/out by expansion. But it didn't work. Tell him that maybe it wasn't airtight. After dinner, try agian, and make it work, and its quite good. But it has to be airtight.

Soir: MSU TMT from Rss. But... can't quite get it as good as I want, so don't put it up. Change of mind. Check global trends and zonal mean and decide its good enough for now.

Rain in envening; later thunder and more impressive lighning.

2005/06/30. Thursday.

I have toothache, mildly. Book appt for far future with denist, being optimistic, but...

Anyway: DE sch; work. Siobhan is around and so I talk to her, then to town. Rest in Heffers 2-3, then head home. Stop at school at 3:30 for no particular reason: D is to HC and E is with M'a. Home, rest. I'm really feeling a bit tired.

Soir. Decode the S+C 5.2 data and stoat it.

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