Monday, 29 September 2014

Will my backside ever recover?

So we took Number One Son back to Uni yesterday, for the start of his 3rd year.  This puts him half way through this programme, as in addition to giving him his Bachelor's degree at the end of this year, he then has a 4th year which gives him his Masters!  After that he intends to go for his Doctorate...

Anyway, back to the present.

We headed off at 7am (later than usual) and had a great run straight up to Lancaster.  A few road works dropped the speed limit to 50 for a while, but we just cruised through, chatting to my younger brother (the driver) all the way.  My brother is never short of chat - a body building ex-bouncer who now drives taxis as one of several jobs, he is full of hilarious stories - such as the couple who are both cheating on each other, swearing him to secrecy with large tips when he takes them to their various dates...

So we arrived to the usual crowd of greeters, found his new dorm (he is intent on living on campus for his entire time, not wanting to risk the problems that shared houses can bring) and unloaded.  We then went into town for a nice pub lunch (I had chicken and ribs) before saying our goodbyes and heading back south.

Then we hit the traffic.  At times we were stopped dead.  It took 3 hours to cover the first 100 miles.

Just as I was going to suggest hitting the services for a rest to give the traffic time to clear, everything got moving again.

For a while.

Then it stopped dead again.

We continued to chat, digging further and further as time passed ending up with some really interesting stuff that would probably never have been shared otherwise.  It was good!

So we stop-started our way down the country, dreading what would happen when we reached the notorious M25, the motorway that runs around the outside of London.  I think this is what Americans call a Beltway?  It is normally horrible.  We stopped just short of it for a break (our legs and butts were really suffering by now), and continued on our way.

But, for some reason, the traffic just seemed to vanish when we got to the M25 - I guess everyone was going INTO London instead of around it!  The last hour was plain sailing, and we arrived 8 hours after leaving the Uni.  I waddled into the house, said hello to Number One Son who was talking to Mrs RC on Skype from his drom room, and plunged into a hot bath.

My butt and legs still feel odd...

Monday, 22 September 2014

Update

Sorry to say, we lost Sonic.

Things were looking very hopeful, he was getting stronger, more interested in eating.  But then something horrible happened.  Something in one of his ears burst, releasing a mass of maggots/worms.

Mrs RC cleared them all out and treated the wound, but he was not the same after that, became lethargic and died that evening.

We are all very sad, we got very attached to Sonic while he was with us.



We are now into our last week before Number One Son goes back to Uni.  Yes, I know it is very late compared with the USA and Canada.  He has been home for months and it has been great having him around.  Going to miss him really bad this time, I know.  Going to miss his humour and his views on society and politics.  He has this way of looking at a situation (usually something that I just look at and think "Yeah, that's how things work") and saying "How did that come about?  It is just wrong and should be changed!"  He should have been around when protesting actually achieved things, and would probably have changed the world!



Having missed the last wargames tournament because I was ill, I am now liked up to play in a 1 day event at the beginning of November.  Looking at the armies I could take, I am angling towards Crusaders - a mass of God-fearing knights backed up by a rabble of fanatical peasants.  Might even include a Holy Relic to make them fight even harder.  All I will need to do is point them in the right direction before losing control of them...  Should be a blast!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Still Here!

Yes, I know I have been rubbish - busy busy busy, getting ready for the Freshers to arrive (next week).

 Anyway, a couple of pics for you.

Seems that the Chapel team at my Uni has been replaced with life sized Lego people.


Wonder if they will end the services with Everything is Awesome!  Tempted to go just to find out!

We also have a new friend.  Meet Sonic.


He is a tiny hedgehog and we are trying to persuade him to eat.  We tried to get a Hedgehog rescue place to take him but they are only interested in injured ones.  Sonic is just incredibly young and will not survive a winter in the wild, so we will see what we can do for him.  

Wish us (and Sonic) luck!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Chateau Rock Chef, 2014

For my birthday, my daughter bought me a small wine making kit.

I loved it.

I used to dabble in home made wine many years ago, and have thought about getting back into it on and off over the years.

So, anyway, I got it all going, and the initial fermentation has finished, and I have now been letting the sediment clear.  It is looking very nice for a kit wine.  I will be bottling it up tonight, to be set aside for a few months before tasting.  Christmas at a push, I guess!

In the future I will resuse the hardware in the kit to make more wine from the fruit, rather than the grape concentrate which was in the kit.  I will be revisiting some old favourites, such as spiced apple wine, and trying a few new ones too.  The great thing about this set up is that it only makes about 6 bottles at a time, so we won't be getting bogged down in our own private wine lake, we can just have a rolling, low level production.  If a batch is bad, no big loss!

Cheers!

Monday, 8 September 2014

A bad week...

A combination of calamitous crap piled up to make last week one that I will not remember with fondness...

It started off with me catching one of those nasty, painful coughs - the sort where you think that your lungs are tearing themselves loose when you cough.  I stayed in bed on Monday, but by Tuesday I thought I was on the mend.  The ride to work told me otherwise, and I went home at lunchtime.

I stayed at home on Wednesday and have been on the mend since then, but it has been a slow process.  If I have not totally shifted it soon I will go the see the doctor to see if I need some pills to finally kill it.

Running along side this was an issue with the band - the guy we had doing most of the singing was not really working out, so I took the role of Bad Guy and told him the bad news.  It was a shame, as he is a great guy and I did not want to upset him.  So I am not primary singer until we find someone who can REALLY sing (if that ever happens).

There has also been a running story in the British news that has dragged us back to bad times.  A family has a 5 year old boy with a brain tumour, and not being happy that they were getting the best treatment at their hospital took him to Spain while trying to arrange treatment in another European hospital.  The hospital knew of their plans all along, but at first professed ignorence and called the Police who issued an international arrest warrent for the parents, suggesting that they were religious nutters who wanted to take the boy away and pray for a cure while denying him the proper treatment.  It all became a total mess, with the hospital then making new statements which contradicted previous ones.  It was this which stirred up bad memories of when we were trying to get answers from the hospital regarding our daughter's death - repeated, contradictory statements which we were not allowed to argue with.  This was a terrible time that we have tried to put behind us, but I guess it will always be there...

With the approaching weekend and my chest still not totally better I had a hard choice to make.  I was supposed to be going to the London wargames tournament, using the Scottish army that I have been preparing on and off for over a year.  By Thursday I knew that I had to bail out - I would not be up to it and was not convinced that the other players would enjoy my sporadic coughing fits during the games.  So my Scots spent the weekend in their box, instead of causing mayhem on the battlefield.  Ah well, I will try to get a game with them soon - once this cough has gone.

So, enough self-pity - this week must be better, eh?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Me "singing"...

Well some of you asked for this...
 
This was recorded on my camera at a practice, so the sound quality is pretty rough.
 
video
 
 
There is nothing to see, the camera was just sitting on a chair...
 
I think this was during my second week standing in as a singer.  While trying not to listen to my dodgy vocals, you might be able to pick out how nice my 8 string bass guitar sounds....

Thursday, 28 August 2014

At the Beach

Mrs RC and I went for a walk on Sunday, our last chance to run away from things for a while.
 
We grabbed some fried chicken and had a picnic on the beach.  It was cloudy, giving bursts of hot summer sun from time to time.
 
While we sat, ate and chatted I noticed that the land on the other side of the estuary (where the River Thames joins the sea) was extremely visible.

 
I am convinced that there has been a subtle shift in the land, during my lifetime, that has affected this.  As a child I remember being able to see a faint hint of something on the horizon.  Later, a few bigger buildings could be seen, but now look at it!  OK you are probably dreadfully underwhelmed by this, but it is a big thing for me and this is my blog, so please show how impressed you are in the comments section!  :-)
 
No?
 
OK, I accept that wise decision.
 
Last night I took a long route home.  The weather was nice and I had to call on the guitarist in my band to collect copies of his recordings of the band and to get a new, shiny metal control panel for my slowly developing Flying V bass.
 
The route home took me through where we used to live, which was a strange experience - haven't been back there for about 9 years.  A lot has changed and a lot is still very familiar.  I felt oddly like a tourist, to be honest!
 
On the way back along the beach, I noticed that a lovely sunset was developing and had to stop several times to take pictures.  I have been experimenting with the exposure time on my camera and like the results


 


 
NOW tell me you are not impressed!