Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year's Eve

Well it is 5:11pm. Just got soaked walking the dogs, so now I am in my PJs and snuggling down for a quiet evening in.

Don't worry, I have a grear bottle of wine to keep me company while I paint some toy soldiers that Santa brought me.

Have a great new year, however you decide to spend it!

See you soon!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day

This has been the best Christmas for years.  Plenty of great food, happy family etc.  The only down side has been the rain which was meant wet dog walks.  Maybe I will rewrite White Chridtmas as Wet Christmas for next year?

I am off to play wargames tomorrow. Should be fun as it is with a bunch I have only met once before but they seem to be nice guys.  The game will be Vlad the Impaler's army against the Turks. Watch out for photos of the game soon.

Watched a great film last night - Cockneys vs Zombies.  Imagine Eastenders with Zombies.  Very funny, for example there is a scene where an old man with a walking frame is trying to run away from the slow, shambling zombies. Brilliant. It should be a classic. Just watch out for the truly authentic Eastend bad language...

Right, contemplating an early night now as I have an early start tomorrow.

Have a great day!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

I suspect that this will be my last post for a few days, so have a fantastic time.  Next year promises to be a grand year, including my graduation, 50th birthday and my Grand Tour!  I hope you will all hang around and share it with me!

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a totally spiffing 2013

Rock Chef

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Friday, 21 December 2012

Still Here!

Well today is nearly over and the world is still here - I guess we get Christmas afterall! Stupid Mayans, what did they know anyway?
So, while Mrs RC and Number One Son discuss their views on the practicalities of gun control in the USA, I will grab the laptop and do a longer post than my last one.
The town Christmas Tree has got some more decorations.  A bit messy, but at least people are showing that they care. 
Very Charlie Brown, IMO!  Apparently we have been promised a REALLY REAL good tree next year...
And today was not just the day that the world was supposed to end, it was also Custard's 7th birthday!

Look at that handsome chap!  I snapped this as he waited for his birthday chews.  Bryn and Frou Frou were also treated, of course and seemed to enjoy the day too.
We are all ready for Christmas now - I am relaxing on the sofa, typing this and sipping a glass of wine.  Oooh Yeah.  I have been waiting for this! [slurp]
Oh, before I go, here are some photos of a wargame I played last night - Egyptians against Hittites, using a friend's brand new, professionally painted armies.  I was Hittites and scraped a victory, after luckily killing the Pharoah.
The Hitites storming past a pyramid.

The armies close.

Having ripped through the centre of my army, these Egyptian Chariots pick on my poor foot sloggers.  At this point I thought I had lost the game, but a lucky hit killed the Pharoah soon after this was taken and the Egyptians lost heart. Of course, in true Egyptian style they would soon be pretending that this defeat was actually a glorious victory (the Anciet Egyptians seeming to have invented "spin"...)
Have a great Christmas if I am not back for a few days!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Shop til you drop

Then get up and carry on!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas can begin!

My local train station - a typical small station, dating to the mid 1800s.  Not much has changed here over the years - the main change that I have seen is the closure of the coal siding which would have been behind me when I took this pic.

The good old "moving staircases" that to to the London Underground system.  These were always one of the highlights of a trip to London when I was a child.

Waiting for the train.

Here it is!

Euston - much newer and bigger than my local station....

Trying to work out which of the 16 platforms I need to be at...


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Big Day!

Off to meet Number One Son in London,  on his way home from Uni for Christmas. Hopefully we will then be able to focus on getting prepared! 

Wte tried to finish things off yesterday but our hearts just weren't in it, although I did finally find a copy of the classic Stephen King movie Maximum Overdrive.

Going to try again on wednesday, as tuesday is my last day at work.

Friday, 14 December 2012

A long week

But nothing a glass or 2 of wine can't fix.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Nerd Time

On and off over the last few months I have been building up a new army of toy soldiers - Ottoman Turks (around 1450AD). 
Christmas will see the arrival of the final draft of reinforcements - some cannon and some poor quality infantry whose main role was to trip up the horses of charging knights or get impaled on lances, making the enemy easier meat for the better troops behind them.
Even more nerdy, another thing I have asked Santa for is a new Star Wars space ship game!  The basic game contains an X-Wing fighter and 2 Empire TIE fighters.  More ships are available for bigger games.  Will be a great game to play with friends and beer. Could even become a drinking game!
"Argh, I'm hit!" [Glug]
Will post pics and stories over the holiday...

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Hot and Cold

The Quiz was a great success, with lots of happy students, lots of prizes given out and lots of beer sold at the bar.  Everyone was a winner, to coin a phrase!
The journey home was cold, but not as cold as the journey in this morning...

No snow, but a serious frost - there was a lot if ice on the roads - at one point I got off the bike and pushed it!  Not a popular move with the cars behind, but hey I may be a cyclist but that just makes me slightly mad, not suicidal!  I do not want to spend Christmas dead or in plaster, thank you very much!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ooooh Yeah!

This is the last week of term - masses of assignments are due in, which makes for a really busy week for me!  Making sure that the students all get their work completed and printed, signing it all in, sending receipts and making sure it all gets to the right person for marking...

But it is not ALL work....

Tonight we are having our Christmas Pub Quiz.  I am co-quiz master and have sorted out a couple of rounds of fun questions.  Rather than trying to enforce a "no looking up the answers on your phones" rule, we have tried to make the questions Google-proof.  One round has 2 sheets of photos and the students have to pair up the pictures.  The other has been done on the lines of "I asked 20 people this question - what was the most common answer?"  Some of the answers are great, eg someone thought that the biggest threat to the future of mankind is Zombies...

Should be a fun evening.


Most of the Christmas decorations are up.

As usual I have done the Pooh Grotto in the front porch, in memory of our daughter who was a great Pooh fan, and also a great fan of Christmas!

Setting this up always gets me in the mood for a good celebration, spending time with friends and relations. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christmas is coming!

Just watched "A Christmas Story", my favourite Christmas movie. Now we are going to put up some decorations, which is going to be entertaining. This is our first time with the new sofa and it is so big it takes up the usual tree space!

Wish us luck!

Friday, 7 December 2012

My home town

I grew up in, and have returned to, a smallish (population around 35,000) town on the north coast of Kent, more or less directly north of Canterbury.
It is called Herne Bay, or to many of the locals "Hernia Bay" in honour of its large retired population.  I find it funny that many people who have moved here recently take offence at this name while those who were born and bred here use it with a certain amount of affection!
When I was a child there was a roaring tourist industry.  People flocked from London to swim in the  (cold) sea, eat ice cream and walk along our famous pier.  Even at Easter, when the weather is notorously cold, wet and windy, bus loads of elderly tourists would arrive and battle along the prom to catch the "fresh sea air". I used to wonder what the attraction was, but they seemed to thrive on the challenge of getting to the next tea shop without being swept into the sea by a huge wave.  I guess this was the wartime generation who, having survived The Blitz and D-Day, just took a bit of rough English weather in their stride.
The pier was the second longest one in Britain, and if you were too lazy to walk it you could take a small train instead.  In earlier years there had been paddle steamer trips from the end of the pier which went across the Thames Estuary to Southend, where they had the pier that was longer than ours (curse them!).  I remember the train, but not the steamers.
Since then, things have taken a down turn.  Tourists no longer pour into our town, they fly to Spain instead.  Storms and fires have battered the pier.  Currently there is no pavilion and the pier head is marooned out at sea, as the long stretch out to it having been demolished years ago.  Over the years there have been several grand plans to rebuild the pier - the latest involves the creation of a huge marina around the pier head, which would cost millions. 
Very nice, but who would really come here for that?  As indicated by our sorry Christmas Tree, the town is rundown, most shops have closed and/or moved to Canterbury and we don't even have a single hotel so even if people wanted to take a holiday here it would be impossible.  IMO, we should just accept that the Glory Days are over and Herne Bay is now no more than a fairly pleasant retirement and commuter town.  Sure I complain about the place, but every time I go somewhere else I get the feeling that , hey, maybe the old town ain't so bad after all.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

We got SNOW!

I woke to the guy on the radio telling us that snow was on the way.  I got up and checked the forecast on the web, but there was no indication of snow.  We had a bit of rain at that time, but no snow.
So I wrapped up well and set off for work.  By the time I reached the half way mark, the snow was falling.
By the time I got to work we had big flakes falling and it was settling just about everywhere.
Couldn't resist taking a shot of berries with snow on them...

It has stopped falling now - not sure if it will hang around or melt or even if we might get some more.  Will keep an eye on how it is going - might have to bail early today to avoid getting snowed in!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Bubble, our oldest rabbit, died yesterday.  She was, at our best guess, 9 years old which is pretty good for a rabbit.  We had a feeling that she was nearing the end, but she was active and happily eating on Sunday.  She leaves behind 2 children and 2 grandchildren.  We think we gave her a good life.
I like to cook - I think I have made that clear over the years.  I happily turn my hand to traditional English food, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, barbeque, etc and everyone seems to enjoy.
But one thing defies me.
Making porridge in the microwave....

I suspect that the problem is caused by, um, BUBBLES?

Monday, 3 December 2012


This weekend was good fun.
As I said in my last couple of posts (sort of) I have now joined the 21st century and bought an Android phone.
Not the very latest model, but it does all sorts of wonderful stuff (including letting me blog and look at Google Maps) and does not cost me more to run than my old phone.  The handset was free too!  One spooky thing is that, having linked it to my blog it now gives me access to every photo I have ever posted to my blogs!  Flicking through them was a strange experience, I can tell you!
After setting the new phone to charge, I popped into town to see how thetown Christmas Tree was.  Following the criticism of the first tree, it has now been replaced with this one.

The tree is certainly nicer than the old one, but the lights?  I have more lights in my hallway than this!  And what happened to the stuff that people had added to the old tree?  Looks like some people have made a start again, but I think it was rude of them not to transfer the other stuff from the old tree too.
We are now on the countdown to Christmas - decorations are going up next weekend, and presents are now being bought.  Number One Son will be home for Christmas too, so it will be nice to have the family back together again, and our daughter has been working really hard at college and is looking forward to a break too - just hoping they don't give her a pile of stuff to do over the holidays!
It is with a touch of sadness that we realise that, due to the kids' ages, the days of huge piles of presents are over - each of the kids only wants a single, relatively snall, yet expensive present.  Maybe we should make the pile bigger with stuff for the dogs? We had a couple of presents for each of them last year, of course, but this year they might need more.   I think we have a plan...

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Seems to work! Yippee!

Testing 123

Seeing if i can blog from my new phone.

Fingers crossed!

Papa Rock Chef