Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Just a Quickie


Have lost the use of my laptop at home - Mrs RC has taken up exploring our family history online, digging into the murky depths of our family histories.  In only a few days she has discovered some interesting stuff, and destroyed a couple of family myths...

I have been trying to keep track of the storm that is hitting the eastern US and Canada.  Nasty stuff.  My prayers to out to those who are there or have loved ones there.

Frou Frou trying a new look.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Munchkin Pumpkin

A quick extra post.

Look at this wonderful little pumpkin!

How cute is that?

And as you can see, the cold weather is returning so I am now using my Life is Good mug for hot chocolate again!

The Pack and the Weather

Prompted by Terri's post about her dogs and how they react to the rain, I thought I would do an update on my hounds.
Meet Custard.
Custard is the perfect family dog, he loves everyone but is also a great guard dog.  Yes, he actually sounds very ferocious when someone is at the door, once he has put down his toy rabbit.  He does not seem to notice the weather - rain, snow, wind, it is all the same to him.  The only thing that gets to him is heat which is now in short supply.
Meet Frou Frou.
See the Birthday badge on her harness?
She is the baby, just turned 2, and has just started to notice that the weather is changing for the worse - she like sleeping in the sun on hot days.  Each day the dogs get 5 walks.  2 of these are long ones over the fields, the other 3 are quick ones around the block for pees, the rabbits having taken over the garden.  Frou has decided that the short ones are good, but sees the longer ones as purely optional - if the weather is nasty she hides in our daughter's room until we have left with the others.
Meet Bryn.

She is my uncle's dog, and is now living with us for various reasons that I won't go into.  She used to be a tough nut who, like Custard, did not seem to notice the weather.  However, she seems to be learning from Frou Frou, and is becoming very reluctant to go out in bad weather, but stops short of hiding or refusing to go - at the moment, anyway...
The new pecking order has now been established.  A few days ago, Bryn decided that she had to put Frou Frou in her place - minimum force was exerted, but finding Bryn's mouth around her neck seemed to be enough for Frou.  Last night they were playing together like old buddies, which was great to see - Bryn was starting to seem very old a while back (she is 9), but seems much better now.  There is one down side to this, though - she has rediscovered the joys of fox poop...
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

No offense, but....

Does that line ever gets used outside the UK,or is it just one of those things that is purely British?

It has reached the point of being a joke in our house.

If you haven't met it yet, this is how it works.

The person starts off by saying

"No offense"

meaning that they do not expect you to be insulted by what they are about to say.

They then proceed to say something REALLY offensive, such as

"you are looking really fat these days"


"your house is really crappy compared with mine"


"your kids are damn ugly"

but because they have started off by saying "No offense", that is all OK.  You are not supposed to be rude back/slam their face into a wall/burn down their superior house/point out that their kids are actually evil little shits, regardless of how angelic they might look.

So, watch out for it if it has not already arrived in your neighbourhoood!  Hey, maybe you can be the first one to use it!  Maybe not a good idea if you live in a place that allows fire arms?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

My best photo so far?

This little beauty was lurking at the bottom of a wall, unseen by the hundreds who walk past each day.  Sometimes you have to look hard to find true beauty, but when you find it...

Monday, 22 October 2012

Hi Again!

Hm, working Saturdays really messes with the bogging routine!

Anyway, here I am again....

I spent Saturday helping out at a conference were people discussed the long term effects of the Great Storm of '87 on woodland.

The Great storm saw Hurricane-force winds ripping across my part of England, damaging houses and blowing down trees.  A number of people were killed, and actually Mrs RC and I both had a near miss.

Our older daughter was only a few months old and was in bed and we could hear the wind blowing outside.  Worried about our ferret who was in the garden, I popped out to check on him while Mrs RC watched out of the window that was above our back door.

Just after I got back inside, a garden shed from a house across the street was lifted into the air and hit the roof above the window where Mrs RC was standing, the debris falling onto the path outside the door below.  A little lower and it would have it the window and Mrs RC.  I little earlier and it would have landed on me!

The ferret was fine, by the way.

One sad thing about the storm was that afterwards there was a massive clean up and lots of fallen trees were cut up and burnt.  I guess that at the time few realised that a fallen tree does not always die.  It only needs a small proportion of its roots to remain intact to carry on growing, like this one that was left.

OK, time for a bath, I think!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Frou Frou is 2 Today!

The day we got her.

A few days ago, sulking after having a bath.
Sorry for being such a slacker again - I hit a bit of a rut for a couple of days, but I am out of it now.
Life has been must as usual - worked the Uni open day on Saturday (capacity crowd, which was great to see), then a normal Sunday with the Monday off too.
Yesterday it was my time to give blood again.  They have got some new equipment at the blood place - instead of laying on a bed to give your blood you sit in a big reclinable chair.  I felt like I was in a big child's car seat, it was very strange, but it did make it easier to read while they bled me.
Today we did one of our walks in the country, which was nice except for the blast of rain that hit us in the most exposed position imaginable.
The view of this typically Kentish countryside was still good, though.

Hope you are having a great week!

More soon, I promise!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

House Guest

I guess it has been on the cards for some time, now, but the RC family has a new member.
Well, not totally new.
Meet Bryn (again).  She is the one on the right.
You might remember that she is my uncle's dog and has been part of the gang for walks for, hm, a couple of years now. She is 9 years old - look at her white face - but is strong and healthy - so strong that I sometimes worry about my shoulder if she sees a cat...
Well last night, she moved in with us.  She has settled in great, but Frou Frou (the little one in the photo) is a bit put out as Bryn does not recognise her as top dog and refuses to give up toys and chews to her.  Custard (the golden lab in the photo) got a bit excited but then went to bed - he adapts quickly.
Not sure how long we will have her for - originally it was just for a few days, maybe a couple of weeks but now everyone is acting as though it is a permanent move.  Don't think Bryn would mind that.  Frou Frou will have to get used to it  :-)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


TIme is flying past - sorry to slack again!

Saturday was my younger son's 14th birthday.


How did that happen?

Number One Son is settled at Uni and has started classes now, and is handing in his first peice of work today.  No messing around there, by the look of it!

I still seem to be playing catchup on sleep, although I must confess to devoting an hour each evening to reorganising some of my toy soldiers for a game soon.  I am taking over the dining table for a day and having a couple of friends over for a recreation of the Battle of Stoke in 1487 - Henry VII and his Royal army fighting off a mixed bunch of Rebel English, Irish and European mercenaries.  Should be a blast, watch out for photos!

That is about it for the moment - have a great Wednesday!

PS  A question for those in the know - I am about to look at hotels to stay in during my trip next year.  I don't want anything too fancy,but I do want something that I can be fairly sure that there won't be a drug deal going down in the next room.  Are there any chains that I can be confident in using?  Want to keep things as easy as possible.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Dog walks in the dark

It is getting dark earlier now.
This means that by the time I do the late dog walk it is more or less completely dark and I run the risk of losing the dogs or falling into a ditch.
Not to worry - I have the technology.
I have a light that straps onto my head, like a miner's lamp.
It works great.
But I must look like a complete idiot.
Not to worry, though.
Nobody sees me.
I took a detour the other day, and went through the part of town where I grew up.  At the end of my road was "The Square":

I remember when some of these trees were planted!
Yep, this is where Little Rock Chef played when he was young.  Countless hours spent playing soccer (badly), or pretending to be John Wayne fighting Indians/Japanese/Germans/Outlaws.  It looks sadly deserted now - the residents seem to have succeeded in their eternal quest to have the place turned into a private, residents only area.  In my day there could be up to 50 kids here at one time.  Hm, no wonder they wanted to make it private! 
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

College and University

Terri wanted to know what the difference is between a college and a University in the UK.

Here goes...

Universities are for over 18s, and are where you go to study for a degree - your Batchelor's Degree, your Masters, your Doctorate.  They are often the focus of a lot of academic research too.


Colleges are much more mixed.

Most of our colleges are for over 16s.  They can be a stepping stone between school and Uni, but they also teach more vocational skills - electronics, various building trades, etc.  This is the type of college that my daughter goes to.

However, some schools for under 16s also call themselves colleges - we have a boarding school near here that is called Kent College (costs more than I earn) while another less reputable school is called a "Community College".

In addition, some Universities are sub-divided into Colleges.  My son's Uni is one of these, having about 8 different Colleges.  Each college has a different ethos - similar to fraternities in the US?  One is very sporting, one is nerdy, one is for party animals, etc.  Helps new students to place themselves with people with similar interests, or at least away from those with opposite interests!

So may daughter goes to College, while my son is a member of a College at a University...

Hm, was that the dullest blog post ever?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Internet...

...is an amazing thing.

Number One Son is now over 300 miles away, but last night we had a great chat via Skype.

After that, he hooked up with our younger son and his best friend for an online computer game.

300 miles?  So what?  They can still shoot things together just the same as they did when they shared a bedroom!

Monday, 1 October 2012

And then there were 2...

Number One Son is now settling in at Uni.

We made the journey up there in good time to be welcomed my other members of his college (the nerdy one) who were eager to help him collect his key and find his room.

Then we unloaded his stuff and he set up his PC while I made his bed and unpacked some of the basics.  He has got a great room with ensuite shower room and toilet.  He shares his kitchen with 3 others which should be no real problem.  If he decides not to cook there are plenty of places on campus where he can grab something to eat - they seem to have the whole range of take away food covered, including a place that he found selling 14" pizzas for around half the price Dominoes etc.  I am guessing that is what he ate last night.

His freshers week seems to be very full-on - loads of events planned to get everyone settled in.  Hoping that this prevents him feeling too homesick or lonely - but I am sure he will be fine really, he is happy with his own company and can find socialising very tiring!

He now has internet in his room and Mrs RC has had a Skype chat with him already - I think she feels better about things herself, now.  He is, after all, still her baby.

The journey back was not as smooth as the journey there - congestion and heavy rain made parts of the 320 mile trip very sluggish.  The road signs were rather optimistic too...

No faster than 50?  Really?  At this point we could have walked faster!

But we were back home by 9pm, including a stop for leg stretching, coffee and hot chocolate, so it could have been worse.

So now there are 2 kids at home - until Christmas, anyway, which will be here before we really know it I am sure!

Won't it?????