Monday, 25 April 2011

Gloucester Holiday – Monday 25 April – Day Three – Gloucester and the Forest of Dean

Today was Easter Monday and therefore a bank holiday in the UK. As a result we weren’t sure what would be open. Given that the area (the Cotswolds) is a popular holiday spot and that the season was underway and, in addition, the weather was gorgeous then most likely most things would be. We decided we would visit Gloucester City (it has a cathedral) and see the new quays development where the National Inland Waterways Museum is located (we never did visit the actual museum) and then explore the town. We parked in the shopping mall car park as this is immediately adjacent to the quays. From the moment we exited the car our ears were assaulted by the sound of church bells. Being Easter the cathedral bells were being rung continuously throughout the day and the only place they weren’t deafening was in the actual cathedral itself.

I’ve no idea what they looked like before they were redeveloped but now the quays were pretty spectacular. All the old large warehouses had been renovated and given over to the museum, sundry businesses and up-market flats. Certainly the marina itself was delightful and a very pleasant place to pass some quiet time (when the flipping bells weren’t pealing anyway).

Gloucester Holiday

We made our way passed the marina and briefly stopped at the Gloucestershire Regiment Museum where Nat and Hannah proceeded to climb all over a vintage armoured car. I thought Deb was in the museum shop but it turned out she’d continued on without us and so we hurried to catch her up. Eventually we met up and walked on toward the cathedral. On the way we stopped off at the Beatrix Potter shop where the kids entered a free ballon contest and each received a free goody bag…which was nice.


The Cathedral was immediately through an archway located next to the shop and very soon we were inside this ancient edifice and away from the noise of the incessantly ringing cacophony outside.

Gloucester Holiday

Gloucester Holiday

Whether one is religious or not (we aren’t, quite the opposite) you can’t fail to be impressed by the sheer grandeur of these medieval constructs built to any the glory of God. They are simply breathtaking and to think they were built by men equipped with only the simplest tools adds to their grandeur.

Gloucester Holiday

Gloucester Holiday

Despite our lack of religious convictions the kids both lit a candle in memory of Katie, their sister, who was still born on 23 September 1999.

Gloucester Holiday

Gloucester Cathedral will be appear very familiar to millions across the World as many of the scenes from the various Harry Potter films, which were set in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, were filmed here. As soon as one is made aware of this one begins to recognise things that had already seemed oddly familiar. For example the corridor pictured below.

Gloucester Holiday

By now we were all a little peckish so we visited the cafĂ© where Nat had one of their special pies (?????) Han had a local ice-cream and Deb and I a drink. This of course didn’t stop us visiting Nandos shortly after for a proper meal.

Eventually we left the cathedral and proceeded to explore Gloucester itself. The majority of shops appeared to be open and I was able to get some great photos of some of the older buildings. We tried to find a GamesWorkshop for Nat who was desperate to buy a Warhammer book but were unable to locate the shop that the tourist info bureau had directed us toward. I nearly bought a Pulse Mini Android mobile (£30!!!) when I passed a T-Mobile shop and noticed they had some on sale (they’ve vanished from their website). Eventually we made our way back to the Quay and from there made our way to a local Nando’s for lunch. None of us had ever been in one before, they specialise in spicy chicken dishes, and it was very pleasant and the staff were particularly helpful. Deb, unfortunately, the wimp, found even the mild dishes too spicy so no doubt we’ll not visit one again. After this we toured the mall before returning to the car and heading off for a brief visit to the Forest of Dean.

The FoD is beautiful and we stopped very briefly at the visitor centre but decided not to pay to visit the museum as this was expensive and it was getting late. We did stop to admire the wood carvings and outsized pieces of furniture that were being made in an open air workshop located next to the car park.

After this we enjoyed a leisurely drive back to Stouts Hill and spent the rest of the day there.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Gloucester Holiday - Sunday 24 April - Day Two

(M): Nothing much from me – suffering the effects of over indulging in too many nightcaps…OK I put my hands up to it. Spend most of day asleep.

Nat, Hannah & Deb find small adventure area

(D): M his usual holiday arsey self today – talking to no one. I am sooooo angry with him so I took it out on the kids and leave them to fend for themselves for an hour till I cool down. I walked around the grounds – down to the lake and spoke to the owner of the little house it the grounds – her vegetable patch was far more advanced than ours – which at that time had a few pots and onions.

We then played a round of mini golf – Nat won – well he may have done because there was a lot of cheating going on all sides.

We then played croquet which is rather difficult when you have no idea of the rules except that the ball goes through the hoops.

Hannah was brilliant at this whereas Nat and I were pants so it ended up with us just trying to stop the other getting their ball anywhere near the hoop, Hannah won by a mile, Nat came second and I hung up my mallet in shame.
Nat shared the bed with me and Hannah, she was in the middle, while M had the sofa bed to himself.

(M): Did not, this night, indulge in the dubious pleeasures of the honour bar so was fine in the morning ready for our day out in Glocester city.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Gloucester Holiday Saturday 23 April - Day One

Today was the day we were due to depart for our week away in glorious Gloucestershire; after Monty had been dropped off at the kennels Deb returned we piled into the car and were on our way. Our first stop was in Redditch where we had lunch with Alf and Doreen, Deb’s parents, before we continued on. This is the first place where accounts of our trip differ. So far as I (M) recall we left shortly afterward and continued on our journey. According to (D) I fell asleep on the sofa, although for how long she doesn’t say, and no doubt disturbed everyone with my incessant snoring. As I wouldn’t remember being asleep I can’t disprove this assertion however if I did it couldn’t have been for long because we weren’t late, despite Sat-Nav mishaps ([due to repeated loss of GPS lock on while going through villages?] takes us wrong way – 1st of many such occasions… (D)), and reached Dursley and Stouts Hill the Time-Share where we were staying.

Gloucester Holiday
Stouts Hill, previously a private (Public) school (and one of his many former Alma-Martas from which Stephen Fry was expelled) was, as can be seen from the above photograph, rather impressive from the outside and lived up to expectations inside. We were shown to our room, located at the top of the stairs, by one of the receptionists who took us there via a brief guided tour of the downstairs facilities. There was a very impressive dinning room

were one could attend an evening dinner on Wednesdays

plus a combined Honour Bar (a first) and Library.

The staff locked up and left at 6:00 pm so guests were left to their own devices after that hence the honour bar.
Our room was large and spacious and over looked the grounds. There was a separate bathroom and kitchen plus a bedroom and large lounge. The sofa in the lounge converted into a large double bed and provided additional sleeping facilities.

We needed provisions so decamped and headed for Dursley the small town nearby. Luckily there was a decent sized Sainsbury’s here and we stocked up with the necessary comestibles. Sainsbury’s, if we are being truthful, was all we really saw of Dursley apart from a very brief walk around one evening later in the week.

Once we were back at Stouts Hill we went for a walk to explore the facilities. There was a small swimming pool, for which we were given a key, available to use 24/7. To one side of the pool there was a similarly sized games room, equipped with air hockey and a pool table, and to the other there was a badminton court. The pool was the only facility we really made use of during the week.

After we ate and settled down to watch until eventually Deb and Hannah went to bed. Nat and I were due to share the sofa but he eventually ended up sleeping on the floor next to the radiator. This was because after their bedded down I stayed up reading and went down stairs and outside for a smoke on a number of occasions. Unfortunately I also used these trips as opportunities to make use of the Honour Bar (yes I did pay) and learned again why it is I don’t normally drink spirits. When eventually I did go to bed I tossed and turned and apparently (here D takes over…Nat sleeps on floor as he is unable to share with M who sleeps diagonally – no not Diagon Alley but diagonally, N horrified when M tried to give him a hug in the middle of the night hence he slept on the floor)
At least I didn’t snore.

Stouts Hill is a stone castellated country house in a gentle green valley surrounded by the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. It stands in a 27 acre estate looking across to the village of Uley. It was completed by 1755, and has been described as a rococo gothic extravaganza. It ceased to be a family residence in 1934 when it became a preparatory school for boys. Famous former pupils are Mark Phillips, who married Princess Anne, and Stephen Fry, the actor and writer. When the school closed in 1979, the estate was acquired by Cascade International Properties of Calgary, Canada, and after sympathetic conversion and restoration re-opened as a holiday resort with nine apartments in 1982. After building five mews cottages in the 1990s, Cascade withdrew, and Stouts Hill became a co-operative, entirely owned and managed by those who have bought weeks at the resort. This gives owners a controlling interest that is extremely rare in holiday resorts.

sitting in the sun

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Norfolk Rugby Tour - Day Two

We woke with the larks, sort of, and after packing our gear I headed downstairs for breakfast. As I recall Nat was already there stuffing his face with a full English breakfast and I had the same. Very pleasant and I went back for seconds and refills of grapefruit.

We brought our case and Nat’s rugby kit downstairs and deposited it in the hall before transferring everything to the coach. After a quick check of the rooms to make sure we’d left nothing behind we bid farewell the YH and boarded the coach.

The boys were scheduled to take part in an under thirteen’s tournament in the Norfolk town of Diss (yes the possibilities for punning were immediately apparent and indulged in to their fullest extent during the journey) which was quite a distance so we prepared for a longish journey.

An hour or so later we arrived in Diss, at which point the punning became universal, and eventually, by following the crowds, located the rugby club. It appeared that this tournament was a regular annual event and there a lot of people already there when we arrived. 17042011926
We located the changing rooms and officials and the lads got changed.

They were scheduled to play five matches in group one. One of the members of this group was the Fakenham team we’d played the previous day and this caused a little concern. Well, what a revelation, without the usual warm up and team chat the boys took to the field and won their first match against ……. (these were fast matches of 7 minutes per half and so arranged that each team had a reasonable break between matches) one score to zero. 1704201193617042011932

Of the five matches the lads acquitted themselves honourably and won three of them. Not surprisingly we lost to Fakenham who were, not surprisingly; once again fielding their superstar and we also lost our last match against…..

Nat played really well, running (gasp) his little heart out, making crunching tackles and twice narrowly missed scoring….bless his little cotton socks! 17042011939

Well to say the Dad’s were animated when the boys were playing would be a huge understatement. After their first victory we were all filled with elation and cheered them on with all our hearts. Beers were bought and consumed and Paddy began to show the effects of a slight “over-indulgence” to put it diplomatically. 17042011942

As usual, between matches Nat, jacob and Zak were inseparable 17042011945
The staff, in the club house, were very friendly 17042011958
as was everyone else and, in addition, we had the opportunity to renewed acquaintances with some of the Fakenham folk we’d met the day before, including the previously mentioned Scottish gentleman who was very complementary about the way our guys were playing.

Eventually, we’d played our last match and before boarding the coach for the trip home photographs were taken outside 17042011967
and then there were a number of presentations in the club house bar room. Each of the lads received a certificate commemorating the trip and various persons were thanked for their efforts in organising the trip in the first place.

After this we made our way back to the coach and prepared to leave.

On the way back we stopped at a service station where the boys were treated to a McDonalds before we continued on. 17042011985
During the journey Zak and Jacob, who were seated behind their Dads, started gently trying to putt things on their head’s without them noticing 170420111001
and this was pretty funny watch; meanwhile Paddy tried to sleep. We arrived back at The Vipers at about 7:30 where Deb and Hannah were waiting for us and after saying our goodbyes headed home for some well deserved rest.


Saturday, 16 April 2011

Vipers Under 13's Rugby Tour of Norfolk - Day One

Well we’re off to tour Norfolk because this weekend it’s The Viper’s Under Thirteen Tour of Norfolk starting with a match against Fakenham under 13’s and culminating the following day in Diss where the lads are taking part in an all day tournament. This is what happened on day One.

We set off from home at about 7:30 and were at the club well before 8:00. Apart from an enormous amount of spare and superfluous (when will women learn that blokes don’t change their undies everyday…especially when they’re away) clothing Nat and I were both wearing our silly hats.
It’s a tradition on tours to wear some form of outlandish clothing (back in 2008, when we when to Derbyshire, we all had to wear a pair of underpants over out trousers and this proved to be a real pain) and this time round we were all expected to wear some kind of outlandish head gear. Initially I’d planned on getting a pink Stetson but ended up with a ski had pinned over my straw hat; a good decision as it turned out as there were any number of the dads wearing said pink Stetson. 16042011813
Some people were already there when we arrived and shortly after all were there and ready to board the coach.
Somehow, Nat managed to wangle a double seat all to himself; I’d sat in front of him thinking there were enough spare seats to allow me a double seat when Simon, one of the larger dads, plonked himself down alongside me. Nat’s best mates Jacob and Zak were sat across the isle from him and their dads Bruce and Chris were in front of them. We waved goodbye to Deb and Hannah and then we were off. 16042011816

The driver took an odd route to get to the Peterborough road but it meant I got to see a few small Leicestershire villages I’d never seen before. Eventually we were on the main road and arrived at Fakenham at approximately 10:45. 16042011829
We decanted to the club house where we ate some of our sandwiches and the Dad’s got a free beer courtesy of the trip beer fund. 16042011820
The Fakenham people were great and the lovely Scottish chap who met us (more of him later perhaps) bemoaned the fact that the bar wasn’t open and was full of apologises for the dreadful over sight! The lads finished they’re munchies then got changed before going onto the field to warm up.

The match was only a short one as the main team had a game at home that afternoon and we had to have been and gone before this. The teams would have been fairly evenly matched if it wasn’t for the fact that their team had a superstar. 16042011840
One of those natural athletes that are good at every sport and once the ball was in his hands a score was virtually inevitable. To add insult to injury he then proceeded to convert every try he scored. He successfully kicked from angles that would have challenged a professional player. It seems, the Scottish chap informed me, and he’s also very good at cricket and football too and is due to try out for one of the top Norfolk cricket clubs shortly. To make matters even worse when he got changed into his ordinary clothes he wore thick black glasses and looked more like a spekky nerd than a sportsman. Anyway, thanks to him we well and truly got our arses handed to us.

After the match the club laid on a meal for the lads (chilli and rice and enough for the dads too), opened the bar and started nominating the best players of the morning. Naturally, superstar won for their side and Sam won for ours. 16042011848
After all that the boys were each given an Easter egg too and told to get ready to play softball.

We adjourned to the school located next door and were introduced to the joys of softball. The school had an actual diamond laid out and this was surrounded by safe fencing. 16042011877
It would seem that softball was a major activity at this school and once more the Fakenham lads showed us just how good at it they are. Once again the superstar was a superstar and did all their pitching. Anyway, softball turned out to be 3 hours of great fun and we all had a great time. Finally it was time to leave and we boarded the bus and headed off to the bowling ally in Sherringham where the youth hostel we would be staying at was located... When we pulled into the car park all the local “cool” girls were outside smoking and they looked quite shocked when the saw our outlandish head gear.

The bowling ally was tiny having only five lanes but we spent and enjoyable hour there. 16042011889
Nat and I teamed up with Jacob, Bruce, Zak and Chris. The boys were terrible and I thought their balls were going to go through the floor when they threw them into the air (I’ve just realised the double meaning inherent in that sentence). To make matters worse Nat went and actually used the frame/rack that is reserved for babies and the elderly to bowl one of his balls. 16042011893
Does that boy not know the meaning of shame?
Anyway Chris won I was second Bruce was third and a veil will now be drawn over the remaining positions.

Finally, it was time to head for the youth hostel where we would be spending the night. 16042011896
Like all modern hostels this was well appointed but after the coach driver pulled into the car park I was convince we were going to be marooned there because I couldn’t envisage just how he was going to turn the coach round in order to leave in the morning. Somehow he managed as it was pointing the right way next morning but quite how he managed this will always remain a mystery.

We were allocated our rooms, the boys were sharing with each other and the dads were sharing. Nat was in a room with five others and their room was apparently, according to the graffiti on the bed, haunted by a three eyed woman who was going to visit them, apparently, in the early hours. I was sharing the room next door to them with another of the dads Matt.

Once everyone was settled in we all met downstairs and headed off into town to pick up the fish and chips that had been ordered for us earlier that day. Well I can’t say that the portions were huge but both the fish and the chips were very pleasant and a credit to “Dave’s Fish and Chips”. 16042011901
After we’d finished we walked down to the front with the intention of playing a game of football on the beach. Oh Dear, What a Pity, Never mind… the Tide was in 16042011907
so we all went to the pub instead.
The Two Lifeboats was a higgledy-piggledy kind of place and the loo was strangely close to the kitchen but that said it was a rather nice “little” and obviously a favourite with the locals as everyone there seemed to know everyone else. 16042011908
I got the distinct impression that many of the customers had been using it for years. When Connor somehow managed to get a rock dropped on his head they were kind enough to provide us with ice to put on the bump. We stayed for a couple of hours by which time the lads had returned to the hostel and I walked back there with Bruce and Chris.

When we got back I liberated the Stella’s I’d brought and distributed them amongst those watching match of the day in the TV room. All the lads were upstairs by now and running round making enough noise to wake the dead and very possibly the 3 Eyed Lady!!!

One of the dad’s Chris, not Zak’s dad Chris, fell asleep and ended up with a box on his head. With the beers drunk eventually everyone made their way to bed. I’m not sure if Matt was already there when I went up but I put in my headphones and went, virtually immediately, to sleep. It had been a long and enjoyable day.


Norfolk Rugby Tour - Day One - Videos



The Easter Holidays Rugby Tour

On Saturday I got up did my paper round and then went to the Vipers to go on a rugby tour. When I got there I got on the coach and sat down next to Jacob and Zak we ate sweets talked and listened to mp3 players on the way there. Once we got to Fakenem we played a Rugby game against them which, sadly, we lost. we lost sadly but Afterwards we had chilly chili got Easter eggs and played Soft ball Yay Yah go soft ball. When we got to the youth hostel we took our bags inside I was in a room with Sam, Ben and Hary Sam saw that on the bottom of one of the top bunks it said "The three eyed lady comes at 3 am which naturally (as we are all hard rugby players) caused panic (that's funny writing...Nat). Later we went to play football on the beach we got fish and chips on the way the but when we got to the beach the tied tide was in!!! So we could not play football (which, if I am quite honest, dose does not bother me one little bit). When we got back to the youth hostel and went to bed people just ran up and down the coridoors corridors instead of going to sleep. The N next day after Breakfast we went to a nearby village called Diss and played in a local tournament where we won 3 out of 5 games and came third which is not bad at all. I almost scored a try but got stopped at the last minute I also side steeped someone. By the time we got back after stopping at McDonald's it was 8 o'clock and Paddy was pissed.

Off on a rugby your to Norfolk. Upside Down Video!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Thursday 14 April 2011

Today I did not do PE because of a problem with my knee which was a shame as we where doing the Javelin but I prefer the Hammer (which for safety reasons we don't do). After PE I had a special 121 or one to one session with the old head of English instead of normal English which was pretty good I think I did quite well for me. Later on when I got home I went on my computer and wrote this.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

@SarahPALIN invents yet another new word 4 War

I'm watching the BBC Comedy News Quiz - Have I Got News For You and they have just shown a clip of Sarah Palin on Fox News inventing a new word for conflict. I think it's only fair to rewind the TV and share the stupid. Enjoy...unless you are skirmish! 

Monday, 11 April 2011

Monay Draft

Nurse, exercise bike, scouts AGM and Quiz, Nat volunteer to help, 80 meters 14 secs can Nat run, Brandon's party, Nat can't go but Hannah is, silly rugby hats

Sunday, 10 April 2011

sunday draft - Rugby, Leic Sth, Fouls, Scouts St Geaorges day parade, iPad2

sunday draft - Rugby, Leic Sth, Fouls, Scouts St Geaorges day parade, iPad2

Vipers v South Leicester and Scouts St George's Day Parade

Today I played rugby for the Vippers and sadly we lost to South Leicester but that is was to be expected because they only  player play teams weaker than themselves which of ccause course feeds there their massive egos and makes everyone (else) think of them as massive TWATS. Later on I went to (the Scouts) s Saint Georges day poride parade. with Scouts and After the church service I hale (held) carried the flag because I am special.

Scouts St Georges Day Parade

While it's a part of Sunday's post I'm putting the St Georges Day Parade Videos in a separate post because there are 12 of them (not 13 as number 11 turned out to be a duplicate so isn't included).

Vipers v Leic Sth

Vipers V Leicester Last game of the Season

Insert text

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Still Sick and Hannah's Millfield Concert

I’m still sick and off work. Tonight Hannah was performing in a concert at Millfield which I was also unable to attend (we used to be up there twice a term when Nat was there or at least that how I remember it but Hannah has either not done as much or I've missed a lot of it) but which Deb tried to film but didn't really position herself very well. You can't really see Hannah which is a shame but these clips are all we have so they'll have to do!
I've included a trial edited film plus the four originals:

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Ill, Hannah’s a Scout, Shooting, Self-Confidence, Cricket Bat Therapy

Regarding myself I refer you, gentle reader to my previous post Re: Clog Dancers, Sweating and Shivers…I remained, throughout the day, on the Sofa wrapped in a quilt.

Hannah went to her first Scouts meeting, as a fully fledged Scout rather than as a visiting Cub, and got to experience the joys of shooting holes in a paper target with an air rifle. As usual she said she was rubbish at this even though she hit all the targets. Why does she always underestimate herself? Is this why she won’t watch “learning” programmes with me and Nat. Is she afraid she won’t understand? Silly girls she’s got a good brain, her school reports and teachers all confirm this, and we’ve just got to convince her to believe in herself. I’m going to have to stop being so heavy handed about it and try to more gently cajole her into watching with us! Note to self…Stop Hitting her with that Cricket Bat, a Baseball Bat should be more than enough!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Man Flu (it's REAL), and Enthusiastic Clog Dancers

Fuck It I’ve Got A Sinking Cold, I’m Either Drenched in Swear or Shivering Furiously And  Just To Add Icing To The Cake And Insult To Injury (or in this case injury to injury) My Head Feels As If There’s A Team Of Overly Enthusiastic Clog Dancers Inside It Going Through A Particularly Energetic Final Rehearsal For An Incredibly Important Up Coming Performance! Enough Said…Time To Sleep!

Draft to update

Friday - Quiz

Saturday Me and Deb go out no kids

Sunday Rugby we win

Monday Nothing

Monday, 4 April 2011

Hannah's Last Cubs, Moving On To Scouts, Neptunium Macro Bugs, Huge Hughs,

Started feeling a little “odd” on Monday but little anticipated I was about to get my forth or is it fifth cold in six months. As such I did little today other than potter about on the PC and catch-up on recorded TV. T’was a momentous day today for one member of our family; actually no it was momentous for all of the family, although I missed it. Today was Hannah’s last day as a Cub as of this coming Wednesday she’s a Scout and a whole period of our lives has closed. Nat became a Beaver when he was five (or was it four?) as did Hannah and so between them they’ve been attending Beavers and then Cubs on a Monday at the Barn for the last eight or even nine years. Arkala’s been in our lives all that time and now we’ll probably hardly ever see her except at the occasional joint event such as the upcoming St. Georges day parade on Sunday 10 April. Scouts meet at the Barn too but on a Wednesday so we won’t even see her in passing. Deb managed to get a few photos which I’ll upload and include here but by this time I was asleep on the sofa as the nasty bugs went about their evil business.

I can’t recall anything else other than the earthquake and the infestation of Neptunium Macro Bugs. Normally I’d give these items more space, especially as the bugs ate three people I’ve actually nodded to in passing, but to be honest the Cubs event really relegates them to the sidelines so I’ll make no more mention of them here…well apart to remark on the remarkable size of the boy bugs sexual organs which were Hugh. I’ve no idea why all their dicks were call Hugh but there you go something science can’t explain and proof of the existence of the God of the Saps Gaps.

So In Summary:
Hannah’s a Scout
Neptunium Macro Bugs have Huge Dicks called Hugh.

Monday 4 April 2011

Nothing happened at school today at all not one thing infact the only thing that happend was that I found out that it is enrichment day tomorrow so no normal leasons for the whole day. Afer school Brandon came round and we played on the Xbox and on Minecaft I built a pent house thingy with a kitchen, giant TV, a master bed room, a guest room, a bathroom, a study, 2 balconies and a library. and all this was built into a mountain which makes it even better:)

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mothers Day, Vipers v Derby, Rotovating, Murdoch Mysteries

Well, who’s a Naughty Boy? Nat’s a naughty boy that’s who. It was Mothers Day today and Nat had said that he’d be buying his Mum a card and a present whilst he was in town on Saturday. I forgot to mention yesterday that after we’d collected Hannah from ballet and gotten home she immediately started pestering me to take her to ASDA so that she could buy Deb a Mother’s Day present. This we did and after we’d ridden there on our bikes, parked up and walked in still wearing our helmets that’s what she did. Luckily I realised we were still wearing out helmets just after we’d entered so I took hers and headed back to the bikes to lock them on. When I rejoined her in the jewellery isle she’d already picked out a rather pretty turquoise necklace for Deb and a gift box to put it in. Come Sunday morning Han, as usual, could hardly contain herself and desperate for Deb to open hers cards (these Han had made herself) and her present. Nat then handed over his card sans present; Deb didn’t say a word but you could see from her face that she was quite upset that he hadn’t gotten her anything at all. She wasn’t concerned about the valve of any present just that he thought enough about her to go to the effort of buying something. It was obvious that the penny wasn’t dropping and I resolved to have a word with nat at the first opportunity.
Anyway, there was no time to do anything right then as there was a rugby match to get to; Vipers were playing at home against a team from Derby. What a great match this turned out to be as the teams were fairly evenly matched although Derby were short handed so we gave them three of our guys. That in itself was a change from previous seasons when we were always the ones with too few players who had to borrow from our opponents. Derby got a couple of early scores but soon the tide began to reverse and gradually Vipers started to establish dominance. Nat had a walkover in the scrum against their hooker who was obviously inexperienced so he won virtually every ball including those against the head (where the other team puts the ball into the scrum). For once instead of getting walked all over during the first half and then staging an often too late come back in the second Vipers played at their best from the start and the difference was certainly noticeable. After they WINNERS had been lauded by their trainers we finally left and headed for our allotment where “The Ploughman” was due to be rotovating it and who was expecting us to be there to pay him his £20. When we arrived Deb realised she’s left the gatre keys at home and so we were concerned that if we went in to look for him we might find ourselves locked in. Luckily this was Sunday and whilst it wasn’t by any means a hive of activity there were more than enough people on site that the gates were being kept open. At first we couldn’t find him but it was apparent that he’d done the job and our plot for the first time in three years actually looked pretty decent (just need to get what we’re not going to use covered over next week before the weeds and suchlike have a chance to grab a hold again). Eventually he put in an appearance and we paid him and thanked him profusely for his fine work; always be nice to the guy with the mechanised sit on plough and rotovator is a good rule of thumb. I wish I’d taken his photo because to say he was a little dishevelled would be a masterful understatement. He was obviously a “son of the soil” and he and soap had little more than a casual nodding acquaintance. Anyway this is what our allotment now looks like:

When we got home I had a word with Nat about his Mom’s disappointment and so she drove him to ASDA where thoughtfully bought her a pair of earrings that matched the necklace Han had bought her. It’s a little unfortunate that Deb’s letting her pieced ears heal but she told him she’s intended to get them re-pieced anyway so no harm done. We had cakes after dinner in honour of MD but I can’t recall whether I actually had one. Deb was allowed to choose our TV viewing again a MD treat so we sat and watch about 4 episodes of Murdoch Mysteries back to back. I’m just glad I’ve come to like this series. That’s about it for Sunday.

The Allotment Rotovated

To Be Updated at work tonight


Saturday, 2 April 2011

Lazing on a Saturday Afternoon.

Having gone out with Deb, the previous evening, without the kids I was anticipating it would be at least two years before this happened again when low and behold it happened again the very next day!!! If that’s not proof of the existence of either Satan or a malevolent God then I don’t know what is; just how much evidence you Skeptics require…Well How Much Do You Need Unbelievers?
Nat buggered off to town with his mates to spend the day at the GamesWorkShop WarHammering while Deb drove Hannah to her three hour Drama, Dance and Singing class. I stayed at home watched the short version of Click (BBC News Channel’s Technology programme which I highly recommend along with it’s Radio sister programme Click [formally Digital Planet] which is broadcast on the BBC World Service and is also available as a BBC podcast…that’s enough advertising for the BBC for now.). Anyway Deb had gone and done a little shopping before returning and asking if I wanted to go with her to pick up Hannah from Brockington (yes she was attending her big brothers school) We fetched Han and drove her immediately to her ballet class, another two hours it’s no wonder she’s knackered on a Saturday night. After we dropped her off and left her with Miss Deidre instead of heading home we decided to do a little shopping at the Fosse (a large out of town shopping precinct on the outskirts of Leicester). “What on earth is the World coming to” I thought, “I spent time with her yesterday surely I can’t be expected to spend more”. No, I’m only joking; it was weird, as we did stupid simple little things like, look in envy at the expensive food on display in Marks and Spencer’s legendry food hall went for a coffee at Costa’s and perused the books in WH Smith’s...saw new Tom Clancey (reviews not good which is a shame) and Fredrick Forsythe novels and, finally, both volumes two and three of Peter F Hamiltons' Void trilogy are out in paperback, I can't beleive it's been three years since I read the first volume butr I know exactly when I did read it, Summer 2008 in Spain. I suddenly realised just how long it had been since we’d done this and how often we did before the kids arrived.
Anyway, it was nice (yes, it’s a nondescript word but appropriate to this occasion where there was nothing specific to specially highlight just a “nice” overall ambiance) and relaxing and very pleasant. I’m already missing the kids as they grow and become more and more independent but sometimes it’s nice just to get a break FROM THEM.

Well all good things come to an end so we left the Fosse and went and collected Hannah before returning home. Nat arrived home around 6:00pm and shortly after this was joined by Zak and possibly Jacob so disappeared to his room to teabag their sundry X-box victims (if you don’t know what tea bagging entails believe me you’d prefer to keep it that way but if you’re desperate then the gory details may be found here you WERE Warned).
Well that was about it for Saturday, the lads eventually left, Nat, Deb and Hannah went to bed and I stayed down and watched a little TV. Did I mention the aliens?

Friday, 1 April 2011

The Brockington College Quiz Night

This evening Deb and I attended the first Brockington College Parents Annual Quiz Night (in fact it was only announced that it was to become an annual event at the end of the evening when said event had proved to be a great success) and great fun it was to! OK it was a little unfair that some teams had as many as eleven players and others as few as six but it wasn’t a deal breaker. Deb and I failed to secure a place on the Head’s Team’s (that was the 11 member team…no I’m not BITTER!!!) Table but found ourselves alone and loveless on the table next to them. It looked as if this was going to be a rerun of the quiz we attended when we were on holiday in Cornwall last October; Me Deb Nat and Hannah verse the others, some fielding eight or more players and we still came third (remember that it’ll be important later and I will be asking questions at the end1)

As luck would have it some parents who Deb knew, she knows everyone because she gets to meet them in the day whilst the night work beast that is me resides abed. Actually she knew these because Nat had been to their Son Jack’s birthday party at the Bowling Ally and she’s met them when she came to pick him up from the meal they went to afterward. Jack and Nat both play rugby for the school and being in the same year are in the same team.

With my usual lack of social grace I failed to learn their names or the names of their two companions who may or may not have also been parents of a child of Brockington. Well what a bit of luck this turned out to be because whilst I’m pretty good at quizzes (I shout at the screen during the Weakest Link ) both Deb and I have the same Achilles heel; we know sweet, sweet, sweet fuck all about sport. Well as it turned out all four of our team mates were veritable walking encyclopaedias of sporting knowledge. Added to which one of them (Jack’s Dad) was shit hot at pop music and actors too! Well, I may have been awaiting my chance to proudly answer Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle, but neither of us was going to look this gift horse in the mouth and not only because gift horses have notoriously bad breath!

Well, we were steaming before the quiz even started and soon had most of the pictures questions either answered or named. Similarly, with the odd ones out we were doing reasonably well too but now it was time to begin the really thing.

The quiz was broken up into the usual rounds and because we used pencils and handed the sheets back in at the end for future use I can’t recall exactly what each round was about HOWEVER one thing I’ll never forget was the video round which started with this Lego Video version of Eddie Izzards Star-Wars Cantina sketch. Laught, Jesus the tears were rolling down my checks by the end and I honestly thought I was about tom lose control of my bowls. Now I remember why I’ve go the full versions of five of his concerts on my mobile (cell for you Yanks). If you’ve never seen this video then take a break, for A MOMENT before you continue reading, and enjoy…
Now you understand why I thought I was going to piss myself and if you’ve not come across the great Izzard before remember it was me who introduced you to him

Anyway the quiz continued on and eventually came to a close at 10:45. The winners were a team of six who are, allegedly, a fanatical pub quiz team and very competitive in second place were The Head’s Fucking Eleven (cheating bastards) and in third place were…Us, yes yet again Deb and I placed third (I told you to take note earlier).

It t’was a great night and I’m looking forward to next year and the rematch, we agreed we’d team up together again, but this time I think we’ll establish some rules about team numbers before we start…not that I’m bitter!

Were home for 11:15 to find the kids had gone to bed and neither one had killed the other. Given this was the first time we’d left them alone at home in the evening that’s not a bad result.