Friday, 31 August 2012

The RC Alter-Ego

To follow from my last post, here is a re-post from nearly 5 years ago, describing another possible, although highly unlikely, form that my life could have taken.  I suspect that only one of my current readers has read this before.  Yes, Terri, this was 5 years ago!

As I settle in to regular cycling again, following a relatively lazy summer, my mind has started to wander again, as it tends to do during a good ride. Inspired by a few other blogs and comments, I have put more thought into who and what Rock Chef could be...

By day, he is a celebrity chef, hosting a regular TV show called, amazingly, The Rock Chef. Each show features a guest from the world of rock music, and consists of a mix of great food, fun, and rock music. Episodes include:

  • Blaze of Glory, featuring Jon Bon Jovi and how to barbeque.
  • Trampled Underfoot, featuring Led Zeppelin and traditional wine making methods.
  • Let there be Wok, featuring AC/DC and oriental stir-frying.
  • Jump, featuring David Lee Roth and the food of love (or whatever).
In true TV fashion, the climax of the show is putting together the finished meal for the guests to eat, with a ticking clock and a chorus of The Final Countdown...
Note that special care is taken to keep those who have lived the rock and roll lifestyle to the full, e.g. Ozzy Osbourne, away from naked flames and sharp knives.
Naturally, the Chef's rugged good looks, charming personality and awesome musicianship combine to make the show compulsory viewing for millions around the world.
By night, Rock Chef is a crime fighting superhero, chasing villains on his customised Domino's Pizza delivery bike, and overpowering them with his special form of martial arts, using sharpened spatulas. The Rock Chef denies any connection with a recent spate of drug dealers who have choked to death on Domino's Pizza. This is just a fortunate coincidence

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Alternative Lives

Abby posted about what career she might have ended up following and I thought I would do a similar post.

I am not an ambitious sort of guy - all I really hope for is a bit of happiness for myself and those I love.  I let others chase careers, fighting their way up the ladder or building their own business.  I have drifted with life to see where it has taken me - and it took me to a great job.  Not massively paid, but we get by, and the pleasure of working in a university more than makes up for it.

But had the trousers of time taken me in a different direction, where might I have ended up?  I see two main options.

The Toy Soldier Sculpter

On and off over the years I have messed around with scuplting toy soldiers.  Some good, some dreadful.  For a time I was training with a view to making it my work.  I was getting better and better, producing some that I thought were really rather good.  I might have chased that idea, had it not been for one fateful evening.  I was working away, having trouble getting a face to look right.  Mrs RC asked if she could have a go at making a figure, so I gave her one of the frames that I was using as the basis of my figures and away she went.  Within half an hour she had a masterpiece, far beyond what I was doing even with months of practice.  My career ended there.

The Guitar Shop Guy

This is still something that I would love to do, given the chance.  I would own the best guitar shop on the county.  I would be friendly and helpful and would not sell anything that I would not be happy to own myself.  And I would run a band club like a friend of mine takes part in where he lives in Canada, where people are brought together as temporary bands to rehearse a few songs and then perform them on stage a couple of months later.  Bands without the problems that longterm bands often have - music for the fun of it.  Yeah, my guitar shop would be the best...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Back to Normal

So, holidays are over....

Sorry that my posting last week left something to be desired, but things were very busy.  Starting to get Number One Son organised for Uni, my daughter getting her exam results (extremely good!), celebrating....

But today I was back to work, and another day dealing playing catch up while starting to get the department back in place after the refurb.  Still finding stuff that I think is junk, so I have set aside a shelf and called it Death Row.  Stuff that I put there needs saving otherwise...

With summer winding down, there is one big bonus - the evening dog walk runs into sunset.  Took the photo above on this evening's walk.  We get some good sunsets here...

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Local Air Display

I caught the main attraction of a local air display today:  A Spitfire and a Mustang, two of the best planes produced during WW2. Arguably the Spitfire won the air war over Britain in 1940 and the Mustang won the air war over Europe in 1944.

As you can see I got a really good view and some lucky photos, using my highly technical "point and click" method.

This video clip might highlight exactly HOW lucky those shots were...

You will also see how beautiful the sky was - with today being the hottest day so far this year, apparently going to over 30C (about 90F).  Same again tomorrow, apparently!  WOO HOO!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Reasons to be cheerful

Number One Son has officially got his place at Uni to study Theoretical Physics.  Yeah.

We are in for a stonker of a weekend, with a predicted temp of 30C by Sunday.  That is hot for us.  BBQ here I come!

I am off work again next week and can make the most of the sun.

I have started looking at the details of my trip to Canada and the USA next year.  Currently looks like being in 2 main stages - Edmonton (visiting a wargamer friend) via Winnipeg (hoping to meet up with old blog friend Ali) to Minneapolis, probably by train (to visit another blog friend - no prizes for guessing who!), then a flight to Tulsa (to see yet another old blog friend - anyone remember Logziella?) followed by an overland trip that passes through Nashville, over the mountains and into Virginia (probably by Greyhound) where I can visit a few Civil War battlefields.  Gettysburg is the must-see, of course... 

If anyone has any suggestions for stops and/or detours along the way, please let me know!  I am going to try to work out timings during next week....

OK, better go!  Have a great weekend, and see you soon!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Holiday Snaps - the last batch

Looking over the village from the plum orchard that backs on to the campsite.  This is a typical view in this area - rolling countryside, woods and hedgerows (a sort of very thick hedge made up of bushes, small trees, climbers, etc that all grows together as natural fencing and wind break.  Just like the Bocage in Normandy that the Allies had to battle through in 1944.  It is hard enough to get through at the best of times, without the added worry that there might be someone waiting to shoot you as you come out the other side!)

The wheat has just been harvested.  Note the discarded boot in the foreground.  Wonder what the story is behind that!

Sunset through a hedgerow.  I had to rush to catch this one, dragging myself through the hedgerow behind our tent, and getting many scratches and stings as I went.  I hope you all appreciate the pain I go through for your entertainment!  :-)

One of several cockerells on the farm, which crow more or less continuously from around 5am to 10pm.  Their house is right by the farmhouse, but luckily they were unaffected by the lightning strike.

Another butterfly - a Red Admiral, reputed to be very common in England but this is the first one I have seen for many years.

The local church.

At first I was puzzled by the way these trees were growing, but I then realised that they are this shape because anything that droops less than about 3 feet from the ground gets trimmed by the sheep!

And that about wraps up my holiday snap posts for this year!  But fear not, I think Mrs RC and I will be going on a bike ride or 2 next week (on leave again!), so you might be in for a few more shots of my local area, if you are good  :-)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

More Holiday Snaps

I am sure that at least one person wanted to see more...

My daughter took this one - the cow can't work out how to use this kissing gate...

Frou Frou was very proud of this ball that she found.  I use the term "ball" very loosely...

Evidence of the local low-tech approach to wheel-clamping - if it has had time to set you have been there too long!

Custard settling down with his cuddly rabbit.

Frou Frou keeping the chickens out of our commune.

A mini railway set up.  Seems to have origimally been linked to small coal mines but now used as a toy by local enthusuasts.

Strange and interesting-looking plants in the orchard. (Deadly Nightshade, I have now been told!)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

My trip to work

Merrily stealing a post idea from ShadowRun300, I now present My Trip to Work!

About a mile out, looking back towards home.  On the right is the station where the electricity from the local offshore wind farm is processed.

The big road that allows people to go past my town without even knowing it is there.

Looking onward...

A typical stretch of road - not quite wide enough for 2 cars and a cyclist to pass each other at once...

We like our roads to have bends in them.  Some drivers don't seem to get it, though, and a couple of cars a year end up in these bushes.

Passing through one of the many villages that dot the area.

The final uphill slog.

At the top of St Stephen's Hill, looking down towards the city.

Yay - the downhill run into Canterbury!

Good job I was careful - roadworks at the bottom of the hill!

Nearly there!

I work on the top floor.

A couple of flights of stairs for warming down after the ride.

The desk that I am borrowing while my work area is being rebuilt.  Yes, I am a messy worker.

Hope you enjoyed the trip!  Please feel free to steal ShadowRun's idea and share your trip to work with the rest of us!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Holiday Snaps

We had just pitched the tents when this arrived.

Mixed in with this was the lightning strike that hit the nearby farmhouse.  A good test for the new tent, at least!  And of course I get to say that our holiday started with a BANG!  Sorry about that...

The RC family commune.

The dog buggy for when the dogs got tired.  Really payed for itself, I must say!

A bit of English humour...
(Some houses have plaques like this stating things like "John Lennon was born here", "William Shakespear lived here", etc).

Wonderful wildlife...

We don't need no steenking roads!

The puppies having a nice snooze after a long walk. 

More to follow if anyone is interested!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Just settling in again after getting back from camping.

I will do a big post soon, but just for starters - we had just got our tents set up when a storm arrived - lightning hit the farmhouse around 200 yards from us.  Sort of glad we had retired to teepee with its huge metal central pole...

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Almost famous...

The local newspaper published one of my tornado photos!

Sadly it was on page 27and so small it is hard to see properly, but hey ho.

By the way, the 3 monitors thing is not cheap to do.  Apart from having the 3 monitors, you also need a graphics card that costs more than a basic PC! But it will be worth it when he goes to Uni - a screen for assignments, a screen for reading related stuff and another one for video chat with us and friends.  OK, the gaming possiblities are also amazing, but he assures us that he really needs it for his work  :-)

Thursday, 2 August 2012


As the start of the Olympics drew near we became intrigued by the opening ceremony - little hints of what might be involved had us tuning in to what turned out to be, for us at least, a rather spectacular event.

The next day it seemed only natural to check out the sports events themselves.  And we have been watching, on and off, since then!  For the Brits there has been a great mix of triumph, utter failure and disappointment (especially when the Japanese appealed against the scoring for one of their gymnasts which bumped us to Bronze from Silver!).  And there have been the inevitable drug cases and those badminton teams who were trying to lose, but overall I have been surprised at how interested I have been!

We are off camping soon - the weather is looking mixed, but it is still going to be fun.  Time away from computers and xBoxes, playing family games, going for walks etc - hard to beat.  Although Number One Son might miss his new PC...

Yes, 3 monitors...