Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Suzie is turning out to be a very clever little thing - as if you couldn't tell by looking at those photos!

At night we are putting her into Custard's crate which has a bed, food, water and milk bowls and a pad for her to pee and poop on.

She likes this and sleeps very well in there.

However, on the first morning we went down stairs to find that she had escaped from the crate.  The bars at the bottom are wider than the rest of them are, and she had squeezed through one of the gaps on the front.

After suitable modification (a strip of metal and some zip-locks) we felt that things were secure.

Last night, we heard Custard making a strange worried sound.

Mrs RC went to investigate.

Suzie had squeezed through the bars on the side of the cage, getting into the area where Custard has his bed!

I was oblivious to this, but Mrs RC added another strip of metal held in place with more zip-locks before coming back to bed.

This morning, as I was getting ready for work I saw Suzie embarking on the next part of her plan.  She was chewing at the zip-locks!

Custard never had this sort of cunning.  He never escaped from his cage.  In fact, most of the time we didn't even have to lock the door we just pushed it shut, making him think he was locked in!

I think Agg79 is right - she will be teaching Custard all sorts of new things!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Meet Suzie-Pickle!

Yes, we finally found a puppy!  We had more or less given up when my younger brother said he had passed a stables only a few miles away where they were advertising puppies. We all piled over there to have a look and instantly fell in love with this one. 

She is supposed to be a Yorkshire Terrier, but at the moment she looks more like a tiny 2.5 pound Rottweiller!  She isn't afraid of anything, loves Custard (even though his head is bitter than she is), takes over his bed if given half a chance and loves attacking the cuddly rabbit that you can see in the top photo..  She also loves cuddles, which is good because we all want to give her lots of fuss and hugs.

It is funny, but we all feel that this is the puppy that we were supposed to have, she fits in perfectly.

Of course, this is going to make the Christmas tree really fun this year!  Back to the days of toddler-proofing!

Friday, 26 November 2010

That Friday Feeling!

Plenty to do today - doing a nice big map of possible flood areas for a start!  Going to be fun to see the results!

Also need to do a bit of reading for a seminar this afternoon - mind-numbingly dull, but I guess it has to be done - it all counts towards the degree so who am I to complain?

In between this it is Graduation Day for the students who finished in the summer, so I will spend my lunch break hunting them down with a camera so I can do my usual poster showing the "before" and "after" pictures of those who have been through our department.  It will also be the last time I get to see most of them (although I am "friends" with a few of them on FB).

OK, computer still thinking about the latest stage of my map, so I can write some more.

I am 17 again.

OK, I'm not (thank God), but yesterday I got roped into doing one of those consumer surveys.  I spent a couple of minutes saying how rubbish the new Kit Kat wrapper was and they gave me a token for enough to buy a CD.  Got one that I had on Vinyl back in the day - one that has got songs on that we played in one of my bands.  I still see 2 of that band from that band from time to time (singer and guitarist, I was on bass), but I haven't seen the drummer for a while.  Last time I saw him he said he had worn out his shoulders drumming.  Sad, he was a great drummer - what he lacked in finesse he really really made up for in energy and aggression.  Hm, guess that's why his shoulders are knackered now!

Right,the PC is still thinking about stuff, so I will say bye for now and get some of that reading done!

See?  Studious and multi-tasking!  Am I perfect or what?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Losing faith

I am beginning to wonder if we are meant to get another dog.

We were supposed to be getting a Spaniel yesterday - the guy would bring it to us.


He did not phone us.

We phoned and texted him several times but got no reply.


Why do people do this?

OK, just found out why people do this - I was paying 50p a minute to talk to this guy!  Now I am saying some really bad words - far worse than I said when my chain broke.

Giving up the dog hunt - too much of a minefield!  If one turns up on my doorstep I will take it, other than that...

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Today could be the day!

I was cycling home last night, changing gear to tackle the big hill that I have to go over to get out of Canterbury when "CLICK", my chain broke.

My rucksack bulging with shopping for my dad, I got off, looked at the damage and said some bad words.

Yes, I know you are shocked, but I can't deny it.  I said things like "Oh golly gosh, that is dashed annoying!" and "Oh phooey!" and "Fudge!"

What, you don't believe me?  You think I said other words?  Hm, you could be right.  Feel free to try guessing what I said in the comments section, if you must!  I don't mind having my blog cluttered up with profanity!

Anyway, so all I could do is push my steed back to work, lock it up and catch the bus home.  Worse still, I had to get up extra early to catch the bus in to work this morning!  The nice part of this was that I caught the same bus as Number One Son and we had a good chat about stuff as we travelled.

And now I am hungry, because I never eat breakfast if I catch the bus - I tend to see it again if I do  :-(

Hoping to get a new chain fitted some time today....

But as the title says - today could be the day!  The day that we get another dog!

We have found someone nearby who has a young Cocker Spaniel that they need to rehome because their toddler is allergic to him.  Mrs RC is meeting up with them and will let me know how things turn out.  If we get him we are thinking of calling him Henry.

More news when I get it!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

What was that all about???

Had a strange dream last night.

B&Q, the DIY chain store, had started selling wine.

The wine (which only came in one flavour - Merlot) came in cartons, like cheap fruit juice - the sort where you snip off a corner of the carton and then have to use it really quickly because you can't reseal it.

The wine was endorsed by a TV celebrity - Dermot O'Leary, who hosts the X-Factor talent show.

The wine was called, wait for it, "Dermot's Merlot" (make sure you sound the "t" in Merlot!). 

And it was disgusting.  My comment was that it made sense for a DIY store to sell it as it would make good brush cleaner.  But regardless of the taste, it was incredibly popular.  Cheap, strong, endorsed by a friend of Simon Cowell's and with great marketing behind it I guess it had to be!

Any ideas what that was all about?

Am I working too hard?

Do I just need a drink?

Should I run with it and see if this is my route to fortune?  Remember, you saw it here first!  :-)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Gotta love this!

My boss is really hooked on Polish folk music.  This is the sort of thing he bombards me with:

Today could be a great day.  Waiting to hear more about a possible puppy - an English Bulldog!  Will post more as and when things happen.

Great disappointment [sigh].  Although the bulldog breeder was advertising as though he was very local to us, he is in fact in Scotland.  I will not buy a dog from someone so far away - especially from someone who places misleading ads!

The hunt continues...

Friday, 19 November 2010

I just got mugged!

This is the prime suspect:

I was walking around the University, minding my own business, when I saw a Cake Sale, raising money for Children in Need.  (Pudsy Bear is their mascot).

The cakes looked great and I knew one of the people doing the selling.  But I had no cash on me!

So, off to find the nearest cash machine, which is in the Student's Union Bar.
And what was waiting for me in the bar?  Another Cake Sale!

So I bought cakes at both sales - and jolly good they were too, especially as I had the bonus of knowing that I was helping a good cause as I ate.

But then I realised that my 2 youngest had both got non-uniform days at school - on the condition that you made a donation to Children in Need!

And it is only lunchtime!  How many more opportunities will this bear have to seperate me from my cash?

Thursday, 18 November 2010


Not really sure what to write about today...

The hunt for the dog continues - thinking about a whippet or greyhound now.  These are two of my favourite breeds - I love the paradox with them that they are capable of incredible speeds but are generally very lazy and laid back.  And the way they look at you just melts you heart...

(Look at those eyes!  Note that this pic is off the web and not one of my dogs.)

Many years ago I had a whippet and a greyhound - both rescued and both called Lady!  They became Big Lady and Little Lady.  Big Lady ran across a main road one day and was killed.  Broke my heart.  Little Lady moved to Scotland with my mom and lived until she was 17 years old.  She hated people bending down to talk to her and had a habit of biting noses when they did!  She even did this to my grandfather, breaking the skin on either side of his not inconsiderable nose!

Right, things are nice and quiet - time to break ground on my assignment!  I have done enough reading to make a start!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Another walk in the woods...

It was a cold morning - the heavy frost slowly melted away as we wandered through the woods.

Holly!  How festive can you get?

I think that these flowers hung on a bit too long...

It was a great morning - must get Custard on the bus and bring him out to explore - and meet all the other dogs that we met on the way too!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Another week...

Well the weekend passed...

Weather was horrible - seemed to get soaked everytime I went outside!

Mrs RC and my daughter continued the search for a dog,spending hours surfing the web looking for something within a reasonable distance.  No luck, we were too late for everything I rang about.

One good side effect of this is that Mrs RC is becoming very nifty on the computer.  Until recently she has not shown much interest in them, but is now very competent.  OK, the odd pop-up that gets through does bother her, but she will soon get used to that.  And she is even showing a glimmer of interest in Facebook!

Christmas is rolling at us at high speed and we are totally unprepared.  It is going to be a rush job this year, I can tell.  No one seems to have any idea what they want, we just don't have any momentum yet. 

Maybe I need to watch a certain movie...

Friday, 12 November 2010

Friday - all too soon!

The week speeds to the weekend yet again!

My assignment is now complete and I think it is pretty good - I might have strained the word limit a bit but can't find a way to shorten it without ruining it!  Ah well.

Starting reading for me NEXT assignment now!  This one is about divisions within the UK - language, culture, history (think Mel Gibson shouting "FREEDOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!").  Should be fun...

We now have a few routes we are exploring for dogs - rescued Staffordshire Bull Terriers, another rescue centre and also the chance of a puppy Springer Spaniel!  Springers are great, if a little energetic so might not be the ideal companion for a plodder like Custard, but we will see how it goes.

Right back to it!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Just a quickie...

Appalling weather today - high winds, rain, cold.  NOT my favourite cycling weather.

The dog/puppy hunt goes on...

Had a great wargame last night.  I was Julius Caesar and totally failed to conquer Gaul.  He clearly had better dice than me!

My assignment is pretty much nailed - just a short conclusion to add an I am done.

See?  Studious!  That's ME that is!

Giving a talk to 3rd year students this afternoon, helping then with dissertations.  Always a fun talk...

More soon!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Must focus...

Working on assignment...

Mrs RC working on getting a new dog, which currently look like being a 1 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier that is looking for a new home...

Playing toy soldiers tonight and hoping that finishing the assignment will stop me feeling guilty about an evening of childish fun...

More later...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Can't stop watching...

The Middle.

The first time I watched it I was in pain, and doubted I could watch again.

You see the girl who plays the daughter:

in fact the whole character that she plays, is Sophie - the daughter that we lost.

After watching that first episode, I was almost relieved when it ended, even though I never thought to turn over - I felt compelled to watch, to marvel that my daughter was apparently reincarnated like this.  Everything was there - the braces, the hair, the joy, the amazing temper, the dress sense, the teenage crushes.  So I watched to the end and then swore I would avoid it in the future.  I half wondered if she really was like our daughter or if I was just imagining it, even sort of wishing it?

Then, a week or so later, I found my wife watching it, transfixed.  I knew what she was thinking and we watched together.

After this, all of our kids and my mom have independently said that this girl reminds them of Sophie.  It wasn't just me being a bit mad.

Now I watch it quite a lot, without the pain but sometimes with a touch of sadness.  I miss her quirkiness - I even miss the tantrums!  None of our other kids ever came close for that and gave up long ago, unable to compete.

So we are all agreed on this.  If you ever wonder what my daughter was like -just watch an episode of The Middle and you will know.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Our family might be about to grow...

No, not a baby - let's get that straight right now!

Not that it wouldn't be fun, of course...

But, no. Let's start again.

Saturday morning I had a rude awakening - the phone was ringing.  It as Mrs RC.  She had taken Custard, Spot and Bryn for a walk and on returning found some of my dad's neighbours with an old, apparently lost, Golden Retriever.

He was well fed (if hungry at this time), not frightened (so not used be being hit) and enjoyed a game of tug of war, but he had been given a rather rough home-done haircut and fresh hair growth suggested a recent skin problem.

All were worried about him but would not take him into their houses - what if his skin problem is catching?

Ah well, Mrs RC and I are willing to take him in for a while.

Custard liked him, which was good, so we took him home, gave him some treats, a bath, a brush etc, and soon he looked like a new dog - although his hair cut still looked a bit strange.

While he settled on a temporary bed and chewed one of Custard's chews, I contacted the local vet.  No missing Retievers reported, but they would be happy to scan him to see if he had a micro chip.

Off we went (the local vet is around 2 miles away).  He enjoyed the walk.  We saw lots of dog owners but none recognised him. 

The vet scanned him - yes there was a micro chip but after 4-5 phone calls it was clear that the chip was old and the data hand not been updated recently, so we would have to wait until Monday before anyone could access the data archive.  No problem, we would look after Henry (as we had named him) until then.  If it was not possible to find his owners we said we would keep him.

Half way home my phone rang.  Someone had just called to report a missing Retriever.

Turned out he came from the house right next to my dad - they have only just moved in, which is why no one recognised the dog!  He was very happy to get home again and the owners seemed like nice people, so everyone lived happily ever after.

But do you see where this is going?

For some time now I have been resisting pressure to get another dog, but now my defence has been smashed beyond salvation! My wife and daughter spent most of Sunday using our new internet connection to search for dogs that need to be rescued.  My daughter said that this is what she wants for Christmas.

Got a text from Mrs RC this morning:  "I think I have found some puppies."

Plural.  Did you see that?

We might have a very interesting Christmas by the look of things...

Friday, 5 November 2010

Friday rolls around again!

Not much time to talk, off to lectures in a few minutes.

Have made a bit of a dent in my assignment - the rest is all in my head, just need to get it out onto the page!

We finally have full wireless broadband at home!  YAY!  Set up was a bit tricky at first - but then I found the buttons on the laptops that switched their wireless on and everything was OK.

Just need to get thingies to connect the desktops up now.

Tonight is Guy Fawkes night - our big night for fireworks - and it is raining steadily.  Oh well, I guess that is what you get for picking a daft time of year for something like this!

More next week - or maybe even over the weekend if I get to use a computer!


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Hump Day!!!!

So, what of RC and his little world today, I hear you wonder!

Well first off, to add to my last post about prisons:  at lunchtime I was handed a free newspaper in the street.  Called "Solidarity", it is written by the local Anarchists - yes, we now have Anarchists in Canterbury!  One of the articles describes how they think criminals should be dealt with.

They shouldn't.

It is not their fault that they are scumbags.

It is Society's fault.

Society should look after them, be nice to them, and they will stop being scumbags.

Poor Anarchists - such innocence, so naive...


I am hoping that this afternoon will be nice and quiet (Wednesday afternoons usually are), so I can focus on tackling the assignment that I have been reading for.  As soon as I have finished this one I have another one to start on...


Think I have met the most obnoxious store manager ever.

A new late opening food shop has opened in my town and I visited one evening, partly out of curiosity.  Grabbed a few things and headed to the checkout.  The girl there looked at me and asked if I could use the self service checkout.

"No.  They are against the Geneva Convention.  They are an abomination."


Girl unlocked her till and started scanning my stuff.

Manager wandered over.

"If you had been 5 minutes later you would have had no choice about using the self service checkout."

"Yes I would.  I would have chosen to put down my basket and walk out."

"Ah, people don't like them, but they will, just like they got used to cash machines."

"But cash machines don't accuse you of stealing."

"That's only because people use them wrong.  Just think what a cash machine would do if you put your driving license in it."

"You would have to be a moron to do that."

"Could say the same thing about the checkouts."

He just called me a moron?

(Or maybe he actually did this and thinks I am calling HIM a moron?)

"Well that is why I want to be served by a real person who knows what to do, and why I refuse to use those things, even if it means cycling another 5 miles to the next shop that is still open."

The guy moved off.

I looked at the girl and pulled a face.

She smiled sheepishly and nodded.

As I left I wondered how long that girl could put up with working under a guy like that - and what level of desperation it would take for me to return to that shop!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Well the European Court of Human Rights has made another landmark decision:

People who are in prison should still be allowed to vote.

I find this amazing - given that they tend to be doing time because they have ignored the rights of others not to be robbed, attacked, murdered, raped, etc, being told that they should retain their right to vote sticks in the throat a bit.

Never mind!  The world changes, and I suspect that politics might change a little in the light of this new development!  Political parties might feel the need to court the prison vote, or maybe totally new parties will be formed, especially given the likely shift to Proportional Representation in future elections!  How about having a Porridge Party?

So, here are a few ideas that might capture the Prison Vote in the next election.  Please feel free to add more in the comments...

  1. Flextime.  All prisoners will be allowed to serve their time as and when they want to, probably during the winter but going home for Christmas and weekends.
  2. Specialist prisons, allowing networking with others who have similar specialities.
  3. Visiting speakers.  Anyone who has specialist skills will know that being out of the loop for a year or so can make these skills redundant.  It is essential that the criminal population is allowed to keep track of the latest changes in burglar alarm technology, for example, to reduce the chances of a return to prison.
  4. Prisoner Exchange Programmes.  Broadening horizons by allowing prisoners to serve time overseas in prisons of their choosing.
  5. Alteration of criminal law, compelling courts to accept claims that "It wasn't me Guv, I was at my mum's all day" as gospel truth, unchallengeable by the prosecution.
  6. The eventual abolition of the entire justice system - just think of the money that will save!
That should win a few votes for the Porridge Party, don't you think?

PS I won't even THINK about the idea that British and French armed forces are going to be working together in the future!  Let's see, a British aircraft carrier with French planes on it (a serious suggestion, BTW!).

"Hello, old chap.  We need to bomb a terrorist stronghold."

"Non.  We do not agree that this is legal war and will not take part."