Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Summer time...

The last few days have been really hot, and as I have taken the next couple of days off I am hoping it will continue.  [queue thunder storms]

The remaining baby rabbits continue to grow and thrive.  In their defence we are giving the dogs free reign to keep cats out of the garden.  Not that they will catch them or actually do anything to them if they do get close enough, but they are a good deterent.  I know that my last post sounded like I was declaring war on the cats, but I would not actually do anything to then other than maybe try to give them a fright by spraying them with water or throwing a ball at them badly - couldn't hit them if I tried...

This summer marks is a strange landmark for us - next summer will see our two eldest getting ready to move on to new things - Number One Son will be heading to Uni (probably at the other end of the country) and our daughter will be moving to college (still living at home but travelling each day).  Amazing how they grow up isn't it?  This is starting to become new territory for us - things we didn't get to with our first daughter, which is also a strange feeling.  The younger ones are overtaking where she got to.  A strange feeling.

Anyway, back to now!  Had a great barbeque on Sunday - cooked fish for the first time, and it was great.  Definitely going to do some more next time - so fresh, light and healthy.  Perfect for a hot summers day.

Have a great day!  Back on Friday!  See you then!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Sigh...

The weekend was generally great - a good shopping trip on Saturday, a great day in the sun on Sunday, including a barbeque, but this was all brought down by the discovery that one of the local murdering b$£%&^d cats had somehow managed to kill Runt (just renamed Button).

We are not sure how it happened, as we could not find any way in or out of the run, but somehow the cat got him and took him home as a prize for its owner.

That cat had better stay well clear of me for a very long time...

Friday, 24 June 2011

Too cute...

The rabbits continue to thrive.

Panda, Bubbles (mom) and Auntie Buttercup.


Runt - or Half-pint as I am trying to get him renamed.


Bubbles (mom) and 3 of her 4 babies.


Panda showing that he isn't scared of Frou Frou.

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The weekend approaches - hoping for a fairly relaxed one, but Saturday is looking quite busy - going clothes shopping with Mrs RC and 2 of the kids.  Must remember to get some new jeans, cycling is taking its toll on my old ones.  They always go in the same place - must be the friction on the saddle!

Have a great weekend!



Thursday, 23 June 2011

Life is Good!


Yes, life is good right now!

The kids are all going great guns - my younger son is on a trip to London today, my daughter is getting ready for her Geography trip to Wales (yes Wales has lots of Geography!) and Number One Son is spending his spare time teaching himself various bits of computer programming!

The rabbits continue to do well (Mrs RC is watching them like a hawk, making sure nothing happens to them) - we now have tentative names:  Houdini (the one who left the nest first and also the one who finds ways out of the run...), Panda because he/she has black eyes and ears but no other face markings, Lindt because he/she has brown markings and Lindt make chocolate rabbits at Easter) and Runt because he is smaller than the rest.  Trying to think of a nicer name for Runt...

I might be getting a new guitar soon - I have checked out the local guitar shops and found one that I really like - a beautiful white one.  More on this if/when I get it!

I also  made my first map using my dissertation data!


This map uses data for 9 years comparing the number of new/expanding companies with the number of closing/contracting companies, ending just before everything went bad.  The map has 6 categories of location.

White - not a big enough population to be included.
Yellow - "Average".
Pink - well below average change - stable/stagnating.
Red - declining.
Light green - dynamic - lots of change.
Dark green - boom - lots of growth, little decline.

Please let me know if anything looks wrong to you - I might need to check my data AGAIN!  But it seems to match what I have been lead to expect.

One slight disappointment was that I did not win the £89 million on the lottery.  I won a mere £2.70 which I spent on a couple of bottles of Coke.  Ah well, it is only money!

Right!  Back to it!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Rabbit Movie

As promised...

video


The weekend was busy and went quite well - except for the weather which failed to comply with any of our plans.

Friday was rained off, so we had a lazy day at home - we read, chatted, I painted toy soldiers and made pizza.  Although not the day we had planned it was much nicer than letting it pass as just another Friday.

Saturday I was taking part in the Uni Open Day, delivering my presentation twice - second time at double speed which was a daunting prospect but actually seemed to work well in the end.  One of the parents even got talking to me after and asked about how HE could learn to do maps on the computer!

Sunday the barbeque was rained off so we did it indoors on the griddle - still very good.  I also roasted a chicken which I basted in a mix of soy sauce, chili and paprika.  Ooooh Yeah!  That was good.

Sunday was Fathers Day, of course, and I got a nice bunch of presents including a Thin Lizzy t-shirt - love it.  I put it on and played a few old Lizzy songs on my guitar to celebrate.

Sunday was also the day that the rabbits got moving too, as shown above.  Great to see them all looking so healthy and ready to take on the world!  Now we are waiting for the chance to get them sexed and arrange precautions to prevent a further population explosion!

Have a great day - I am doing the lottery tonight - the jackpot is £89 million...  Wish me luck!

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Rabbits are growing - 3 weeks old today!

After a few days of little activity, yesterday (Fathers' Day) saw major activity with all 4 babies venturing out.  Here are a few photos I got - will try to post some video tomorrow.



Thursday, 16 June 2011

Weekend - ish...

 Having a split weekend this week.

The Uni has a Open Day on Saturday (all hands on deck) so I am having tomorrow off instead.  Worked out quite nicely, actually, as tomorrow is the 6th anniversary of my daughter's death - Mrs RC and I are hoping for some reasonable weather so we can go for a cycle ride to where we used to live when our daughter was young.  Neither of us have been back since we left so it will be a strange experience, but hopefully a good one.


The battle with our 6 year old debt is about to come to an end - wow, it will feel really good to finally nail that one. 


Might be getting a new guitar soon too.  I have started looking around and found a really nice white one.  A few more shops to check out though so not committing myself just yet. 


The rabbits are still refusing to leave the nest - if they appear over the weekend I will post photos.  I have a feeling that it will be real mayhem when they do finally make the move.


Have a great weekend!  See you next week.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

General Ramblings...

The baby rabbits seem to be doing well, now remaining snuggled in their nest for the last few days.  We now think that there are at least 4, possibly more!  Hope they come out soon, we can't wait to see them all.


I am enjoying the books that I won at the wargames tournament.  I chose 5 books on subjects that it is quite hard to find info on, mainly what happened to Alexander the Great's empire after he died and the different kingdoms that formed from it.  I guess the most famous of these is Egypt ruled by the Ptolomies - the last Ptolemy was Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra...


Plans for the Big Trip are continuing to take shape - looks like I might have the two boys with me now, and we are aiming to get to the Minnesota State Fair on our way through.  Mrs RC is expecting us all to return weighing 100 pounds more than when we left...


OK, must get on with things - need to prepare for the University Open Day on Saturday!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Another strange dream...

We were thrown into the small brick building, landing hard on the packed dry sand floor.

"Here", he said throwing a shovel onto the floor.  "If you want water you can dig for it!"

The door slammed shut.

Alex looked at me.

"Well that is a great way to treat guests!"

"Hm, shall we get digging?  It's hot and I am thirsty."

*****

The hole must have been 5 feet deep by now.  No water.  Digging was just making the heat and thirst worse.

"Only one good use for this shovel, in my opinion."  Alex took it from me, found one of the many stones that we had unearthed in our digging and started to rub the edge of the shovel with it.

*****

The door opened.

I turned and looked up from the bottom of the hole.

"Is there really water down here?"

The guard laughed and stepped into the room.

The razor-sharp edge of the shovel glinted in the dim light, just before it sank into the top of the guard's head.

*****

That was the last of them.  Alex stood over the body, shaking blood and brains from the shovel blade, apparently unaware that it was cleaner than he was.

I clipped another magazine into my AK47.

"You could have had a gun, you know.  Or a rocket launcher."  There was plenty of hardware around the place.

Alex took a firm grip on his shovel and grinned devilishly.

"Nah, this is great!  It's quiet and doesn't run out of ammo!"

"Well if you are sure," I said, slinging an RPG over my shoulder.  "Time we got back - I could murder a beer."

Monday, 13 June 2011

Weekend Round-up...

The weekend started off great, although the weather was a bit nasty.  We all went out for dinner on Saturday afternoon to celebrate our 26th anniversary.  We went to a place that our daughter had been to with friends a couple of times, and it was all she had said it would be.  The food was great, service fast and friendly and the prices didn't stick in your throat either.  A winner with all of us and we are looking for an excuse to go back again soon.

Sunday saw me and Number One Son head off to the wargames tournament.  The players were split into 2 leagues.  Each then played 3 league battles to determine the ranking.  Finally, players were paired off with the matching rank in the other league to play off for 1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th places, etc.

Players brought their own armies, with free choice from around 200 different armies.  My army was medieval French peasant rebellion - a real mix of peasants, mercenaries and lesser nobility - not something I thought of as a very tough army, but it was certainly going to be FUN.  And fun is what it is all about, IMO.

My first battle was against the Mongols - a tough battle which I lost 4-3.  Those Mongol cavalry are very hard to catch when they don't want to be caught!

My second battle was against Number One Son, who had beaten me the night before in a practice game.  He gave me a hard time in this battle, but I just managed to beat him 4-3.

My final league game was against a Chinese army.  This guy completely outplayed me and had the game in the bag - until I threw a bunch of peasants at his general - my lucky dice kicked in and they dragged him from his horse and killed him, winning me the game 2-1.

After lunch, we returned to find that I was in the final, fighting for 1st  place!  I was shocked!  How had my peasants managed to do so well?  My opponent was using a Medieval Polish army - very nasty!

The first real action in this game saw a unit of Polish knights break through my line, trampling peasants as they went.  I had only one move open to me - throw more peasants at them!  These, against all the odds, mobbed the knights, evening things up.  Then we had a bit of tentative pushing and shoving with little advantage, but I could see that my opponent was getting ready for the killer charge that I could do little to stop - except at this point my dice kicked in - crossbowmen shot down his general and then all along the line me men stated killing Poles.  I won this game 6-2, an embarassing margin, I must say.

So I won the tournament with my bunch of peasants!  I achieved my main aim of having fun with this army, but winning the main prize (£100 worth of books) was very nice, unexpected, icing on the cake.  All thanks to my dice, of course!

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The baby rabbits remained in their house all weekend - a good thing given the weather - but this morning one had ventured out.  In the pic above he/she is snuggling up to Auntie Buttercup.


We are currently calling this one Houdini, as it is the only one to have escaped from the nest so far.


Frou Frou is growing up too, as you can see.  The non-Yorkie part of her breeding is still a bit of a mystery, but we think she is part Jack Russel - she certainly has the attitude...

Well, I hope your weekend was as good as mine was!  I will be along to your blogs soon to find out...

Friday, 10 June 2011

What's in a name?

As you can see, I have adapted Agg79's name suggestion.  I rather like it as I think that in addition to the obvious rabbit reference it nicely captures the twists and turns that life throws at you.

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Talking of Life, this weekend sees another anniversary - 10 years married, 26 years together.  In celebration we are having a family meal out on Saturday, while on Sunday my wonderful wife is allowing me to go to a wargames show and tournament. 

Isn't she great?

I count myself as blessed to be with her - we have been through a lot together over the years, the best and the worst, and we just seem to come out stronger each time.

Blessed, indeed.

Have a great weekend!  Next week I will hopefully have an update on the rabbit babies and also a post about the tournament and wargames show.  See you then!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Rabbit, rabbit...

Well the babies seem to be doing OK.

I got a quick look at them this morning - white with black markings, like tiny versions of their mom, Bubbles, who is in the pic below.



We think there are 3 of them, but don't want to be too intrusive - rabbits are easily upset and can kill their babies if they get distressed about things, so we had a quick look while the others were eating breakfast.

I have had a few suggestions about what to do with these babies - we are reluctant to give them away as most people won't pamper them the way we think they should be.  The current plan is to get any boys snipped (for real this time) and add another house and run.  We have had, of course, the usual suggestions of rabbit stew or popping them on the barbeque, but this is, of course, not an option no matter how tasty it might be  :-)

They should be opening their eyes soon and getting mobile - plenty of photos when that happens.

Hm, this is in danger of becoming a rabbit blog!  Maybe it is time for another name change, but putting "Rabbit" and "Chef" in the same title just gives the wrong idea!  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Once Upon a Time...

...there were two rabbits.

One was a lady rabbit called Buttercup.  She wasn't interested in very much, except eating, and her waistline was good proof of this.

The other was called Bubbles, who told everyone that he had had "the snip".

Then, one day, another rabbit moved in next door.  She was called Blossom and for some time had very little to do with her neighbours.

But time passed and gradually the rabbits got to know each other better, and Blossom decided to pay her neighbours a visit for a sleep over.  After much clever pushing, pulling and bashing of the gate, Blossom was through and in with her friends.

All was good for some time and the rabbits ate, chatted and groomed each other.

But suddenly Blossom looked at Bubbles.

"Hey, you're not a boy!"

"I know", said Bubbles, "and you're not a girl either!"

"Oh yes", said Blossom in surprise.  "What do we do now?"

So they did what comes naturally, and 30 days later Bubbles gave birth to some beautiful babies - much to the shock, amazement and amusement of everyone else who still thought she was a boy who had had "the snip"!

So now Bubbles and Buttercup, are back to acting like a true "couple" (a gay couple?), but with the added responsibility of a bunch of babies, thanks to the sperm donor next door.

The End?

Hardly!!!!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

Just had a call from Mrs RC.

We have baby rabbits!

Hm, maybe I should expand that.

Our pet rabbits have had babies!  How the heck did that happen?  We were told the male had been done!

Random English Weather...

Well the weekend was not quite as expected - the rain arrived on Saturday evening and only really went away yesterday - so the barbeque ended up being done indoors on the griddle instead.  Ah well, the rain really was needed, so I shouldn't complain too much.  Getting completely soaked on the way to work yesterday was a bit of a shocker though - I was totally used to cycling in nice dry weather...

But the sun is back today - YAY!  The ride in was beautiful, even the van and car drivers seemed to be in good moods and gave me an extra half an inch of road!

Now this time of year gets me thinking about one thing - CAMPING!


Well, hopefully not WET camping...  This photo was taken during our first trip when we had 2 weeks worth of rain on one night and 60mph winds the next!  But it was FUN!  And this year we will have Frou Frou, our little bundle of fun, with us!  What will she make of chickens, goats, bullocks and hordes of rabbits?  One thing is for sure - the butcher will be even more appalled when we buy extra sausages etc for her!  He already thinks we are mad - but Custard has to have nice things for dinner too!



Look at him...

Oh, and just to proove that there is life after blogging, I get a message from someone who left us long ago - anyone remember the Texaconsin Diva?  She seems to be doing well, which is good.  She was great, if a little nutty, but then who am I to point fingers when it comes to nutty?

Friday, 3 June 2011

That Friday Feeling!

Yes, it is Friday again - another week has flown past!

My computer is creaking a lot right now, as it pulls together data from 9 files (each with around 65,000 rows) into one master Excel sheet that extends to cell ALI 3142.  This is the raw data for me dissertation, which will be about the shifting locations of industry in the USA.  I have plenty of data, as you can see, so this should be one mega project!

The weekend looks like being fun. 

For a start Number One Son and I will be getting in a few practice wargames in preparation for the tournament the following weekend.  The army I have chosen is not one I have used before and is a real mish-mash - Knights on horses, peasants with pointed sticks, crossbowmen, poleaxes, spearmen.  It will be fun to see if I can make it work, but somehow I have the feeling that I am in for a few good kickings - I have no faith in my peasants who make up almost half of the army!  But hey, I chose the army for the fun and challenge of it not for the guarantee of winning!

We WILL be having a barbeque too - Mrs RC and the kids have demanded one - so who am I to object?  Gettin' the coals going now...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Free Ice Creams

At lunchtime I wanted an ice cream.  It is a hot day...

Now I could have gone into a shop and bought one for £1.25, but I decided not to and went into a place that sells them in boxes of 4 for £1.  OK, they are not quite as nice as the £1.25 each ones, but hey!

So, there I was, eating an ice cream, knowing I could eat a second but not a third or fourth.  What to do with the ones that were left.

I saw a guy with a young girl walking towards me.

Here goes! 

"Excuse me, I hope you don't think this is too weird, but I bought would you like an ice cream?  I can't eat them all."

They were slightly bewildered, but the girl happily took one, and the guy thanked me.

I continued.

100 yards further on there were a few guys clearing stuff out of a house into a big skip/dumpster. As I passed a hot, dust-covered worker looked at my ice cream with obvious envy.

"Do you want one?"

I whipped the last spare one out of the box and handed it to him.

"You, sir, are a true gentleman!"  he declared to the world at large.

I smiled and continued on my way.

Amazing how such simple things can brighten someone's day.  Wish I had bought another box now!

Poor Custard...

Much as he has worn our patience very thin, we can't help feeling sorry for him.

I mentioned a while back that we were about to get Frou Frou "done" when she suddenly came into season.

The first week or so was OK - she left a little trail of blood behind her from time to time, but Custard didn't take any notice.

Then he started to notice her, and became a sex-starved maniac.  He followed her everywhere, whining, dribbling and panting trying to win her affections - not that it is physically possible for her to give him what he wants... 

Remember the size difference between these two - labrador, small terrier...

We try to keep him calm and reasonably seperate from her but when we have tried total segregation SHE has wanted to be with HIM!  So we were back to him chasing her around until he passed out with exhaustion.

So we have had around a week of this now, and it is finally fading, thank God.

But it is not all bad - he had gained a bit of weight over the winter, but he lost it chasing Frou Frou.  I guess it just proves that there is nothing like chasing a woman to keep you slim.