Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sting and Number One Son

Lifted out the bit of Sting that I recorded last week.


I think you can hear that it is him. Decided to cut it short when the bouncers started to come out of the tent...


video

Another big day today - Number One Son is 17 years old!  17 years ago, I was sitting here (well over there to be honest, I have moved the room around since then) and the call came.  Mrs RC was sure that this was it.  She had been fine in the morning and we still had 2 weeks to go, but Number One Son had other ideas...

One of the students gave me a lift home where we called an ambulence to get to the hospital.

This was not to be the easiest birth.  The chord was around his neck so he kept disengaging to avoid strangling himself - a clever little sod even then!  In the end they decided to force the issue - one midwife stood over Mrs RC with her hands where the baby's bottom was and pushed down hard while another one waited to catch him and cut the chord when he came out.  The plan worked fine, although it was very nasty to watch and even nastier for Mrs RC who had no effective painkillers when it was done!

So now he is all grown up, as tall as I am and looking forward to the future.  He is a great kid - guy?  No, kid, he will always be my kid.  As I was saying, he is a great kid with a good head on his shoulders and lots of his own opinions.  We are very proud of him.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

In search of a battlefield

On Thursday I headed off to find the battlefield at Barnet.

The train ride was uneventful, even a little dull, to be honest, and I arrived late morning.

 There has been debate about exactly where the battle was fought.  In the 1990s, it was thought to have been here, on a golf course. 


Somehow, though, I can't see the fate of the throne being decided on a golf course, even though many business deals will have been sealed here  ;-)

This is the new favoured location and I think it is a very logical site for a battle. Here I am standing on no-man's land, facing towards the Royal army's initial position, down in the valley:



This photo shows the main area where the fighting took place.  The woods are where the centre of the rebel forces were positioned - I had my back to these trees when I took the previous photo. The trees would not have been so dense in 1471 but the higher ground would have made this an excellent place to defend.


After a couple of hours wandering around the fields, including a stop for a picnic, I went in search of beer.  At first I had trouble finding one, but asked a guy who was out walking his dog.

He looked at me and told me where to find a pub that was "in keeping".

"So I won't get thrown out because of my hair?"

"Far from it" was the reply.

I found it.  The beer was great:



I also found out what he meant by "in-keeping".

This poster was in the pub window:



I had to laugh!

On the way back through London I decided to walk between the train stations instead of taking the underground train.  It was a fabulous day and I wanted to walk across a few parks and go past Buckingham Palace.

As I crossed Green Park there was a large marquee tent set up, and there was music - live music - coming from it.  Someone was singing "Every Breath You Take" by The Police.  The singer was pretty good.  In fact he was very good!  Sounded a lot like Sting.  Oh shit, it WAS Sting!  No mistaking it now! This was confirmed by talking to a cluster of people standing outside, hoping for another glimpse of their hero, and maybe and autograph.  I listened for a couple more minutes and then continued on my way...

When I got to the train station that I was headed for it was even more clear that I had made a good call - the underground station was being evacuated - sirens going, Police directing everyone clear.  Not sure what happened but it did not make the news so I guess it wasn't anything major.

So there you have it.  A great day, and I am hoping that my trip will make my day with my friend in May go smoothly too.

OK, I know you are thinking "Hey, it's Saturday!  RC never posts on a Saturday!"

I know.  Don't expect me to make a habit of it, OK?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

My brain...

Is ready for a long weekend...

It is starting to relax after a busy term and a couple of tough but interesting assignments.

On Thursday I am visiting Barnet, just to the north of London, site of a major battle during the Wars of the Roses.  It was a real mess of a battle, which started off on a foggy morning with neither side knowing exactly where the enemy was and at one point the rebels fought each other in confusion!  Looking forward to the visit...

Friday Mrs RC and I get a day to ourselves.  Won't go making any plans as they are bound to go wrong if we do, but just looking forward to a fun day together.

Will see if I can make a few short posts over the weekend, just so you don't think I have given up blogging or something...

More soon!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Weekend!

Well that was a busy one!

Seemed to spend most of Saturday doing stuff for my dad, but that was OK really.  He has been a bit low recently but seems to be a lot better now.  Somehow, in addition to doing him pizzas at the weekend we are now doing him his main meal each day.  Should do him good, as I don't think he has been cooking a proper meal for himself recently.  By Sunday he was full of beans, even moving some heavy furniture around that he would never have considered touching a few days before.

Sunday was more relaxed and I got a bit of guitar time and also managed to sort though my boxes of unpainted toy soldiers and find enough to make 2 new armies for my Northern Crusade game - Teutonic Knights against Lithuanians in the snow!  Should be great...

Frou Frou is now 99% house trained!  YAY!  Only took 3 months!  Custard was done in 2 weeks!  She is such a stuborn little thing.  Must get some more photos of her to post.

Now I am on a short week, being off on Thursday and Friday - woo hoo!  Can't wait, I need a change of pace!

OK, back to work!

More soon!


PS.

2am saw me charging down the garden wearing only my PJ bottoms with a metal pole in my hand.... 

A cat keeps trying to get our rabbits...

In fact it also tries to stalk Frou Frou...

Didn't catch it, but it stayed away for the rest of the night...

Thinking about it, I think most things would have stayed away after seeing me!

Friday, 18 March 2011

That Friday Feeling!

Yes, it is Friday again!

It is raining outside, but they have promised a sunny weekend - let's hope so!

We have started thinking about the summer camping trips now.  Looking at a new tent so the kids can be in one tent and me, Mrs RC and the dogs can be in the other.  Wonder what Frou Frou will make of it all?  She loves chasing small birds, but she hasn't met a chicken yet.  Might need to keep her on a short leash...

Also looking at getting a new barbeque.  My old one has died.  It was only a cheap one and did sterling service, but the new one will be a bit bigger and with adjustable racks etc.  Been a while since I did a barbeque, so we are hoping to get this in time for Easter.  I can smell the steaks now...

Handed my assignment in yesterday - it is an absolute master piece, even if I say so myself.  I will be very upset if I don't get at least 75% for it  :-)

Well, work is calling again.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

SkyNews...

I turned on the TV this morning and switched to SkyNews to see what was happening in the world...

What did I see?  What was the big news story?

I bet you can't guess!

Was it about Japan?  Was it about the fight to stop nuclear powerplants going into melt down?  The search for suvivors in the wreckage of flooded towns?

No.

Was it about Libya, where Gaddafi is about to massacre the last rebels while the western world debates whether to impose a "no-fly-zone" and mutters "no, no, you mustn't do that"?

No.

Was it about Bahrain where foreign soldiers are using outrageous force to dispurse protestors. 

No, of course not, this is being almost totally ignored.

Was it about more things that the government is going to do to our country in the effort to save money that will cause irreversable damage to much that has been achieved over the last 60 years?

No, not that either!

The main story was...

wait for it...

The main story was...

that SkyNews has launched a website dedicated to iPad users!

Yes, they were using the top news slot to advertise themselves, when the world is turning to crapola around us.

Jeez.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The House at Poop Corner

Last week, going into the weekend, our dogs had "bad bellies".

We are talking farts that would be classed as WMDs by the UN.

We are talking walkies at 3am so that the poor little things can spray "Poop Corner" with "chicken korma".



The whole house stank for days.

By Friday evening Mrs RC was at the end of her tether and booked both of our babies into the vets for a checkup.

Guess what?

They got better more or less over night.

It was like those times as young parents that we called out the doctor because a baby was ill, listless, had a raging temperature and rash, but by the time the doctor arrived they were back to normal and playing in the middle of a pile of toys.

Once an over-anxious parent, always an over-anxious parent I guess, even if it is now dogs that we are obsessing about.

Luckily it rained a fair bit so "Poop Corner" is now looking and smelling a lot better - no matter how hard you try, you just can't clear that sort of thing up, can you?

Don't ask for photos, there aren't any, OK?

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Feeling fat...

Just had lunch at a Thai/Indian/Chinese "all you can eat" buffet.

Yep, I went to the limit, because the food was really good...

Should have stayed away from the ice cream at the end, though...



Planning to have a couple of days off as soon as everyone else heads off to Malta. 

First Mrs RC and I are going to have another try at having a day for ourselves - hopefully not one that we will end up sitting in a hospital or something equally dull.

Second, I am finally going to get my day out in Barnet to prepare for Geekfest 11!  This is the day that I meet up with my Canadian wargamer friend on the battlefield of Barnet and play a game of toy soldiers based on that battle, like we did last year at Hastings.  Wonderfully geeky, I know.  I need to do some good preparation for this one, though, because the battlefield is not marked out and preserved like Hastings is - in fact there are even 2 possible sites for the battle, very close to each other, but one is much more likely to be the real one than the other (thank you Archaeology!) so I will focus on this one.  I need to work out a good route to walk, somewhere to play and, finally, somewhere to have dinner!

OK, time to get moving again!  Assuming I can persuade my stomach to move...

More soon!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Slacking...

Wednesday already and this is only my second post this week!

Jeez!

But in my defence, work has been hectic, home non-stop and my assignment is taking shape nicely.

So I hope I will be forgiven for skipping yesterday's post?


As well as making time to post, I need to make time to sit down with a guitar.  I have a song rattling around in my head - I think it is my own...  I have tried to look up the lyrics online but can't find anything, so now I just have to hope the tune is mine!  I remember the time I thought I had written a great song that turned out to be the same as one I had heard at a friend's house...  Anyway, the new song sounds sort of early Van Halen, and in my head I am singing it with Dave Lee Roth's voice!  Heh, wouldn't that be a trick?

Anyway, work is calling - I am getting packs of stuff ready for the fieldtrip to Malta.  I am not going this year, sadly, as I really like the place, for all its faults.  I love the sense of community that you get in the older parts.  One image that will stay with me is of a small street in Valletta (the capital city).  The street has a few small shops, but is mainly 4-5 storey apartment buildings.  An very old woman is leaning out of a top floor window.  She has a bucket on a long rope, and a guy from one of the shops is loading food into it.  When it is full she hauls the bucket up.  From later reading I found that this is a practice that goes back to the 18th century at least!  I love little things like this.

More soon!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Weekend...

Had a great weekend!

Friday night was pizzas (as usual) washed down with a bottle of red wine.  MMMmmmmmmm....

Saturday morning was the big food shop - first one since before Christmas!  We have been more or less buying day to day to avoid spending loads on stuff we don't need, but we were down to more or less nothing by the end of last week so decided to face the battle of Saturday shopping.

And what a battle it was!  The place was jammed with people all trying to get done as fast as possible - I even got rammed by an old woman, to which my replay was a courteous smile and a "Oops, sorry!  After you!"  to which I only got a glare...  Did she think I was being sarcastic or something?

One thing was got was a copy of "The Expendables", going very cheap.  I have a thing about bad movies, and good grief this was a BAD MOVIE!  Why do these actors attempt to show emotion?  They just can't do it!  For God's sake, just blow things up!  Get on with it!  The plot stinks so don't dwell on it, just shoot some more people!

Sunday I got to lay in until 11 o'clock, which was great - felt sooo refreshed and rested!  Had breakfast/lunch (brunchfast?) and then spent a couple of hours on my latest assignment.  Then I realised I had to cook dinner, so I got the pork and potatoes going and read while these cooked.

In the evening, after a great dinner and a dog walk I dug out some toy soldiers and tested out some ideas that have been rattling around in my head.  It was a fun way to end the day.

Now a new week has started - busy still, but hopefully not as nuts as last week was.  Have a great week!  More soon...

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Sponsored Silence!

Today is my Sponsored Silence!  I have a bit of sponsorship at the moment but hope to drum up some more as the day goes on.  One of my plans is to charge when forced to speak.  It is a major deadline today so there are bound to be a lot of students needing help...

The winter seems to have been very long.  Just as the weather seemed to turn warm it has snapped back to a nasty, damp cold. 

I want spring! 

I want SUMMER! 

I want to go camping! 

I want to cycle in shorts and t-shirt!

I want to spend lunchbreaks sitting in the grounds of the Cathedral and play my guitar!



I want to talk to people.  This is hard!  I have only been doing it for 13 minutes too!

Just realised why this is so hard - I can't even talk to myself!


*****

Getting into the swing of it now.  The students are being very supportive!

*****

My day of silence draws to a close - I am exhausted!  Who would have thought that not doing something could be so tiring!  Managed to raise over £50, which I am very pleased with considering I did not chase anyone for sponsorship, it was all volunteered.

Already thinking about doing something like this again...

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Wednesday already!

The week is flying past...

Monday was spent getting to the hospital and back on a cold, damp day.  Visits to hospitals are never fun these days, bringing back so many memories of when our daughter was ill.  Once it was over we walked back into town rather than hang around even longer waiting for the bus.

For dinner I cooked Chinese - pork steaks, noodles, crackers and a wonderful mix of vegetables.  Been a while since I did that - it used to be a speciality of mine - and it was great.

When it was too late to put it right we realised that we had no croissants for breakfast.  These are a tradition for Mrs RC's birthday, so in an effort to keep it going I found a recipe and made some.  They are a cross between puff pastry and bread dough, and I it took a couple of hours to get them done (although a lot of that was with the dough/pastry in the fridge in between the repeated folding and rolling).  They turned out great, and I am now under pressure to do more and to experiment with variations, especially with chocolate...

Still rockin' in the kitchen!  :-)