Friday, 30 March 2012

One for the cat lovers...

We ended one day at a hill top bar with a fantastic view.

This cat seemed to like it too.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Back Home, with a few tales to tell

Yes, my trip is over, and it is back to normal stuff.

It is  Number One Son's 18th Birthday today!  Amazing how the time passes.  Not long and he will be off to Uni and then who knows where and what?

While I was away, Mrs RC rebuilt the rabbit runs so that the babies are now away from their mom (much to mom's relief it would seem!) in a run that can be split down the middle when we "know" who are boys and who are girls.  Hoping for more reliable sexing this time around...

I will finish this post with a few more photos from Malta.

Meet Daisy.  Definitely not a Maltese Terrier, but probably a contender for the fattest Pug in the world!  She was beautiful and I had a great chat with her owners too, both about dogs and life in Malta.

Statue of St Nicholas in a village square.  This is an outlying town with a centre consisting of old buildings and then a ring of newer, more modern housing around it.  Like a lot of places with this sort of contrast, the village is essentially 2 communities which have very little to do with each other.

An ass that bit me in the foot!  He looke so cute too - look at that cross on his back!  I am sure that he gets used in lots of Easter parades.  I just hope he doesn't bit everyone who strokes him!  Maybe he was expecting some food from me, but I didn't have any and his food container was well stocked anyway.

This dog was a total cutie.  He really looks like one that my mom owned many years ago.  He was cautious at first but I squatted down and held out the back of my hand for him to sniff and he was soon rolling over for a tummy rub.

Lunch is calling!  More photos and a tale of lost geographers soon...

Saturday, 24 March 2012

More Photos from Malta

One of the touristy coastal towns.

A colleague working his way along the river bed.  Heavy rain this winter has caused havoc...

This dog wanted to follow us. Probably does not count as a Maltese Terrier!

You might remember the Robin Williams move Popeye?

Narrow streets in Valletta, the capital city.

Lunch in Valletta - Snickers cake.

Continuing my quest to find a Maltese Terrier - this dog seems to be a regular at this bar.

Fort St Angelo - part of the old fortifications of the island.  Wonderful history here!

Well this is a terrier and it lives in Malta - as close as I have been able to get to a Maltese Terrier.  Beginning to think that they don't exist in the country they are named after!

Finally, a shocking discovery - Maltese Guiness is lager!  Maybe the black version does not work in this climate?  Tasted great, very refreshing, but it was not the same!

Friday, 23 March 2012


Off to Valletta, the capital city today.  This is a great place and always provides some great photos.  They started building it after the Great Seige in 1565, but it was heavily bombed in the Second World War, so there is a mix of very old and post war building with modern shops thrown in.  You will see what I mean when I post photos later.

OK, breakfast calls!

More later.

Day 2

Just had a great day walking along a river valley - well what passes for a river in Malta anyway!  Photos later.

There was hazy cloud cover, but we were good in shorts and t-shirts.  Too hot on a day like this is not so good, so we were thankful.  The students were great and really enjoyed the trip, even the bits were a wrong foot could have seen them getting a dunking!

OK, off to the nearest town now to top up the Coke supplies...

More soon.


Had a beer and pizza in town, then back to the hotel for the main meal.  Yum.

Then got in a couple of hours on the dissertation - some nice number crunching that should result in a great little map.

OK the fire alarm just had a short blast - heading out just in case.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A couple more pics...

A very sensible warning...

But is this really a sensible place to put it?

Some Photos from the Malta Trip so far

Evidence that the British used to own the place.

My first Cisk (pronounced Chisk) - I was happy to see that they sold it on the plane.  This is a Maltese beer, rather like a light beer - very refreshing after a day of fieldwork!

Flying over the alps.

Maltese farming is on a very small scale - these are the large plots!

Malta loves its churches.  A population of devout Catholics, the keep them immaculate.  This is just a small parish church.  I get to the big ones on Saturday...

The view from my room (using the panorama setting on my camera).

One of my favourite views on the island (again using the panorana thingy).  The tower on the right was built by the Knights of St John as part of a chain of look out towers.  If Pirates or Turks were spotted a warning becon was lit on top.  Think of the scene in The Lord of the Rings and you will get the idea.

More soon!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Leaving, on a jet plane....

Yes, I am off to Malta in the morning!  That really came up fast!  Not surprising really, as I have spent the last couple of weeks working insanely...

Sorry if I have neglected reading blogs recently - I will catch up as soon as I can.

While in Malta I will take lots of photos and a few videos.  When I post them will depend on whether I can get a connection in Malta or not. I am taking my laptop with me, so will post of I can.  If not I will do a big post when I get back.

See you soon!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Another strange dream

I know I have some odd dreams, but the one I had last night was amazing.  Given a stupid amount of money to play with I would happily build the place I saw.

I was walking along a clifftop with my family.  A wall ran along the edge, blocking part of the view, but we could see an island with a house.  There was a causeway and a viaduct leading from the land out to the island.

It was a place that we had seen on TV (in my dream, that is, not on a real TV show) and we wanted to visit.  Searching along the wall we found a door that looked like it would lead to the viaduct and causeway, so we went through.  Once through we were faced with 2 more doors, so we picked one and headed into a long building that sloped downwards.  It was full of carved and polished wooden sculptures that had been made from drift wood.

Leaving the building at beach level we found ourselves walking on grass and surrounded by mist.  We later realised that a section of land between the causeway and a jetty had been reclaimed from the sea and grassed over.  Walking through the mist we tried to head for the island.

Then, suddenly, the sun burst through the mist revealing the grassy meadow, the cliff and buildings behind us and the island ahead.  In the meadow were animals but we could not settle on what they were - they might have been pigs, sheep or chickens!

Whatever the creatures were, this sight was so amazingly moving that we all burst into tears.  The feeling that this left in me was so strong that when I later told Mrs RC about it I actually started to cry again when I reached this point!

The mist cleared more and we headed to the house on the island.  There we found the 3 slightly crazy guys who lived there and the presenter of the TV show that we had seen this house on.

The show (only in my dream, remember) had told the story about how these guys had tried to extend their island and build a new house for their Irish Wolfhounds.  Sadly, the extra land was now slowly sliding into the sea and at high tide the house was knee deep in sea water.  The 3 crazy guys were resigned to letting the sea have its way, you can't fight it, but the TV guy was urging them to rebuild!

"You can't give up - this house is still amazing, especially at low tide!" 

This was hilarious as this guy is normally one to point out when people are trying daft things.  Mrs RC said I was laughing at one point so I guess this was it.

Then it was time to leave, so we returned across the grassy meadow with its pigsheepchickens and entered the "exit" part of the building that was attached to the cliff.  Inside we found an amazing collection of statues.  Made from polished black stone, these statues were wonderful, appearing as different things according the the angle that they were viewed from. One was an elephant from one angle but an eagle from another.  A second statue was a beautiful woman and also a hideous gargoyle.  Has this been done?  I am sure it has.  If not I should get to work!

Then we left the way we came in.

It was a wonderful place. I want to build it, live there, and allow others to visit it.

Friday, 16 March 2012

The End is Near!

One way or the other, the end is coming.

Off to Malta on Wednesday, so away from the insanity that currently surrounds me.

5 weeks to finish my dissertation.  It is going to go to the wire, totally against my original plans, but as they say "No plan ever survives contact with the enemy"!  I am taking my laptop to Malta and intend to break the back of things there, working when the students are working and maybe pulling a couple of hours late each evening too.  Wish me luck!

Nearly St Patrick's Day!  I have a half written song about Irish things that would make me a million if I ever finished it - I plan to have it ready for next year.

Argh.  I am using someone else's PC right now and it has a curved keyboard - it is driving me nuts!  I go to hit backspace because I mistyped something and hit Return instead!

OK, lunchtime now!  Yay!

More soon!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What a day!

Took my daughter to college interview - she is in so long as she gets the grades which is no problem.  Animal Care amd Management. Might end up as a vetinary nurse or something! 

Work is insane at the moment, I have stuff running in 3 different rooms and have been helping students with projects at the same time.  I spent the day living on doughnuts, chocolate and Pepsi.  Not ideal, but I made it. Tomorrow will be similar, Friday will be much better...  

I am now digesting the biggest dinner...

The baby rabbits are all growing and eating well.  They are really funny too.  Tonight I found 5 of them piled into a stone flowerpot that is in the run.  It is a wonder that the bottom ones weren't squashed, but I guess they were just warm.

The new amp just gets better and better the more I use it.  Something that is really intersting is the 1970s synth setting.  Mrs RC says that most of the sounds are like someone breaking wind, but there are some great sounds there too - they just take some finding.  All very Prog-Rock!  Will post another video when I have something good to show you.

Hope you are having a good week!

Still here...

Just run off my feet.

More soon, I hope!

Monday, 12 March 2012

If you want blood...

Had a blood test this morning - checking to see if I am a good match for someone in Holland who needs some bone marrow.

I had the same test a couple of years back - that time I just hopped on the train to London, gave them some blood, did some shopping, had dinner with an aunt and headed home.

This time I had to go to the local hospital, get them to take the blood and then take the blood home with me for collection by a courier!  No where near as much fun, but hey I shouldn't really complain.

If I match I will have to go to Holland to make the donation, which could be fun (apart from the bit where they drill a hole in my hip to get at the marrow, but I am not thinking about that part right now).  Actually I am not REALLY thinking about getting a free trip - just hoping that I am a good match for this person, and if not hoping that someone IS!  Funny how you can have such empathy for someone what you know nothing about - except that they are ill and need help.

Please wish this person luck - and maybe offer a little prayer if you are that way inclined.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The new amp


Here is a quick blast. The guitar is The Baby - made specially for me when I was 18, it is now over 30 years old but is still one of the nicest basses I have ever played.

I don't talk because every time I tried that Custard barked at me!

I start off playing with a basic, clean, sound.  Then I adjust one of the controls to give different effects.

The first is an envelope filter which gives a wah-wah effect.

The second adds another note an octave below the one I play.

The final effect is a chorus,which gives a swirling sound that is used by a lot of bass players.

Hope it comes through OK!

Friday, 9 March 2012


Been a busy week, and things are only going to get worse.

On the final run to the end of my dissertation - all the hard stuff is done, I just need to tie it all up neatly.

The pub quiz was a storm!  We went expecting maybe 30-40 people to turn up.  We must have had 80, maybe more!  Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, and the bar must have done really well - we drank a lot of the pumps dry!  I am wondering if the eBingo games had an effect on the turn out.  They are certainly popular and I have already had students asking me if I am going to carry on doing them when the new year starts in September. 

I have had a last minute invitation to join the field trip to Malta!  We leave on the 21st!  Yikes!  Might be a good thing, though, as I can take my laptop with me and spend a chunk of each evening working on the dissertation without the distractions of bunnies, toy soldiers and new amps.  I have the feeling that someone is watching over me...

Have a great weekend, when it arrives!  I will probably be surfing and posting at some point over the weekend, especially now that I have finally upgraded to the unlimited usage internet package...

Oh, I almost forgot!

My chair arrived, and it matches the sofa!  Ordered in November - how is that for service?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

My new toy

How things change.

Below is a photo of my bass amps:

The one behind is my old one.  It is from the late '70s/early 80s, and puts out upto 65 watts when really cranked up.  Both parts weigh an absolute ton.

In front is the new one.  This one does 400 watts and also has loads of built in clever stuff.  It also weighs less that each part of the old amp.  And it is loud - even turned down low I could feel the floor vibrating - and our floor is made of concrete!

I will try to post a video to show off how wonderful it is very soon.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Fluffy Bunnies

My daughter borrowed my camera and got some great snaps of the bunnnies.  We think we have the names now too!

Houdini (Mom) and Possum.

The white ones like to huddle together a lot.  The white ones are called Smudge, Bun, Pebble and Snowball.  Each has distinctive markings (or a lack of in the case of Snowball who only has black ears).

This is Pebble.

And Possum

And Shadow and Possum together.  The darker ones are much bolder than the white ones, although having said that Mrs RC told me that when she was in the run today building a playground for them they were all around her, often trying to steal her tools!

So, all up to date now!  Donations for the rabbit food fund more than welcome  :-)

Maybe I need to relaunch Live Aid!

Feeeeeeeed theeeeee Buuuuu-nies
Let them know it's Easter time...

I can't wait...

I have been tracking my new amp as it makes its way to my house!  I have never done that before!  Last update it was around 20 miles away...

Also having other deliveries today - more houses for the rabbits!  This will allow seperate housing for each of the adults (might try the 2 females together to see if they still like each other) and also to split up the babies into boys and girls.  Just hope we can find someone who really knows the difference this time!

I am starting to believe that rabbits really can change sex...


My amp has arrived!  Woohoo!

Mrs RC has built an adventure playground for the baby bunnies...

Monday, 5 March 2012


Had a really busy weekend, but it was great fun anyway.

The baby bunnies are really getting active now - will post some photos later today if I get time.

I am helping to run a pub quiz later this week, and have been pulling pictures and questions together for that.  It has got to the stage where I have to think "would my kids know that?"  The age gap is widening...

For a long time I have restricted my online shopping because I just haven't really trusted it.  However, we have done more and more recently as my kids find great stuff out there that would cost an arm and a leg where else, even if you could find it!  So last night I took the plunge - I found a 400 watt bass guitar amplifier going for an amazing price.  It is one that I wanted to buy through local shops but they kept saying "well we are seeing the rep in 3 weeks..."   Anyway, there I was, surfing for guitars and amps and there it was - the amp I wanted for less than half the list price!  It should arrive on Tuesday.  Watch this space.

Friday, 2 March 2012


Spent yesterday taking Number One Son to an interview at a University.  It was about as far away as you can go and still be in England.  We set off at 5am, arriving just before 11am.

My brother was driving us, and the whole journey was taken up with tales about his passengers.  He should blog - it would be hilarious!

The interview went well and Number One Son will be going there unless something terrible happens with his exams.

We stopped off on the way for a break on the way, but I was put off eating there.  I went into the toilet area and it smelled terrible.  It was as though someone had filled those automatic air freshener gadgets with pee and left them going all day.  Nice.

The return journey confirmed my as a cycling non-driver.  The roads were fairly clear but this just seemed to encourage the idiots out there...

This morning I managed to get one of those much requested "fluffy bunny" photos:

Bambi and Thumber?

PS  Agg79 just raised an important question - names!  We have this black one, a brown one, 4 white ones with black ears and markings, including one with a black moustache and one with a large splodge of black  on his face.  Suggestions for names are welcome - preferably names which will work for both males and females...