Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year

A quick post to round out 2013 before I hit the wine some more.

2013 was a mixed year - lots of good stuff with some really bad stuff mixed in.  I guess that is what they call Life?  I think that one of the big problems in the world is that everyone expects life to be a bed of roses, forgetting the thorns that are bound to stab you where it hurts from time to time!

And for a change, I have a couple of New Years Resolutions!  Not something that I normally do, but here goes!

First, I will finish my Zombie novel!  Having my nice new laptop will make this much easier - I will be able to get a bit done in the winter evenings, maybe even working on it in bed! 

Secondly, I intend to get a band going this year - I have got a couple of options at the moment, so I should be making some serious noise in the near future...

That should be enough for one year!

How about you - any resolutions you want to share?

Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas, 2013

This has been a very windy Christmas - and I am not just talking about flatulence!

Buildings have been damaged...

 More fences have been destroyed, although we managed to keep ours intact this time, but only by being out in the wind and rain at 3am!

Some things have just appeared in the streets, such as this trampoline...


Lots of trees have been blown down, causing chaos on the roads and railways.

This one is around the corner from our house, and has  been given the Christmas treatment by the locals...

We all had a great Christmas Day, with the dogs being right in there for presents, greats and stray slices of meat...

We did a lot of home cooking this year, including my now traditional 3 milk cake.  This year's was the best yet...

By the afternoon, it was all too much for some...

 My collection of Star Wars ships increased too...

...and my Scots got some Viking friends too, but I won't post pics of those until they are painted.

I hope you all had a great time, I will be calling on blogs later today to find out!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The holiday is here!

Oh the weather outside is frightful (wind and rain)
But the new laptop is so delightful (thanks to Number One Son)
Got plenty of places to go (last few presents, etc)
Don't let it snow
Don't let it snow
Don't let it snow
(at least until we are all back home again!)

Have a great weekend - and an amazing Christmas, if I don't see you before!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Dog Coats

Frou Frou in her new knitted coat.  Not impressed.

Custard liked it more.

Bryn didn't mind either!

Let's try again.  Still not impressed, she refuses to move when we dress her up - she just stands there sulking!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Dungeons and Dragons

I have been playing a modern variation of Dungeons and Dragons for a few months now.

This week we tried another variation, which leads you into having some very interesting characters.  My character was a Nobleman's wayward daughter.  She is an only child called Francis, and wants to be a warrior, something that Daddy does not approve of.  Strangely, all 3 players in this game were guys playing female characters.  Still, it is Panto season, so why not!

Here is a summary of the evening's game, which was great fun...

Francis’s version of events

Another evening at the inn, sipping ale with my 2 best friends, Kiera and Celes.  Daddy, of course, was under the impression that I was in bed in his castle with a headache after another day struggling with embroidery.  My hands were still sore from repeatedly stabbing myself with the needle, but the ale was taking away the pain.

We had been discussing the recent events in the village, the disappearance of one of the farmer families – blood in the house, but no bodies or anything.  Strange business that the man folk of the watch had failed to find rhyme or reason for.  Clearly this called for the superior abilities of us girls!

We headed out to the farm by a circuitous route to avoid The Watch House, where Celes’s father worked.  If he was us out after dark he would be bound to spoil our fun and have me sent back to the castle, so it was worth the extra walking.  The only person who saw us was the mad shepherd woman that Kiera talked to sometimes, but no one cared what she saw.

Arriving at the farmhouse we entered with me leading the way, ready for action, my beautiful great sword at the ready, as my blind mentor had taught me.  The place was deserted, but we soon found the trapdoor to the cellar – something that The Watch had clearly missed.

We opened the trapdoor and I lead the way down, leaping the last few feet, landing cat-like, ready for action.  If anyone tells you that I fell over at this point, they are a lying witch!

In the cellar, we found the bodies of most of the family, only the youngest was missing.  As we checked the bodies, we found that the mother was still alive!  Kiera ran to get help, while Celes and I bandaged her up using strips torn from the dress that I carry in my pouch.  Celes seemed to panic at first, and got herself very bloody, but when the mad shepherd woman arrived she did some sort of hedge magic which made the injuries seem less threatening. While this was going on I ran to fetch The Watch.

Celes’s father eventually listened to what I was saying, stopped panicking that I was out of the castle and got his men ready to go to the farm, while I ran back.

After they had finished collecting the injured woman and the bodies of the rest of the family, I was sent back home.  Father was furious and ordered me to stay home the next day and finish my embroidery.

I tried, but it drove me mad, so I told the matron that I needed to visit the privy, fetched my equipment and sneaked out of the castle to find my friends at our meeting place behind the weavers.

We were soon back at the farmhouse, and on searching the barn we found the body of the missing child and a pentagram painted in blood.  We were about to send for The Watch again, when 8 masked and hooded men arrived, demanding Celes’s book!  These were clearly the men responsible for the massacre we had discovered, so I charged into them, swinging my sword.

My attack clearly panicked the leader, who threw himself to the ground at my feet.  One blow of my sword made sure he stayed there.

Meanwhile the girls had been working magic – grasses and roots wormed from the ground, grasping at our enemies feet and legs, while a wave of fire swept over them – and ME thinking about it!  Ah well!  Several of our enemies dropped to the ground, burning, while I laid about me with my sword, severing heads, and spilling intestines.  Soon there was only one of them left.  He tried to run, but I was on him, catching him with an upward swing that sliced him from hip to shoulder.

It was the greatest day of my life – proof that my years of training and practice had paid off.

Father scolded me, of course, but I am sure that there was a glint in his eye, a touch of pride….

Monday, 16 December 2013

Nearly there....

Last week was insane - mega busy at work, too tired to blog in the evenings...

And the weekend was just as busy!

Not that I am complaining about that - on Sunday I went to London to meet Number One Son on his way home for the holiday!

One thing did strike me at the train station as I was waiting for him to arrive.

The station is one of the most modern in London...

Yet in the middle of all this, there are these really hand-made looking signs...

Just me, perhaps?
Anyway, there I was, on the designated platform, when 3 minutes before the train was due to arrive (7), there was the announcement that the train was already at platform 13!

A bit of a run, and I was there, trying to get through the throng to find my son with his baggage. 

Found him in the end!

It was great to see him again, and on the way back we talked no stop about everything and nothing and ate biscuits and drank Pepsi to keep us going until we got home for the Mexican dinner that was waiting for us.

Great stuff.

Hope to post more often this week and play some serious catch up on everyone elses blogs too!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

More trees

Mrs RC has gone to town with the trees...
The main tree...
The one in the hall, beside the nativity...

The one for the dogs...

Monday, 9 December 2013

Decorating for Christmas...

The Pooh display has moved into the dining room this year...
Our daughter loved Coke, so it was nice to find a bottle with her name on it.

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree....

Well, here it is!  Certainly an improvement over last year, but not sure it was worth £8,000.  It certainly did not offer the services that Riot Kitty thought it should  (see her comment to my last post!) .  Well, I guess you could drape wet laundry over it to dry....

Maybe it was in partnership with the owner of this van?

My town has recently discovered links to Dr Who.  Seems that the person who wrote the first episodes lived here!

Mrs RC thought I should be the next baddie - Giant Rock Chef!

OK, better get on with things!  Have a great day!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Christmas is coming!

There is no denying it - Christmas is on its way!

Number One Son will be home from Uni next weekend!

We just had the Departmental Pub Quiz - a wonderful evening of staff and students chatting, drinking and thrashing their brains over our dumb questions.

Parcels have also been arriving:

Must be Italian! An Italian who can't spell?

The weather has been quite nasty too - this part of the country has been cold, but other parts have had storms and floods.  

Nice photos, though!

And the plants are still hanging in there too:


Tonight see's our town's Christmas Tree lights being switched on.  You might remember me talking about last year's tree, which was branded as the worst in the country....

We have been promised a good one this year - according to the news paper a building company has paid £8,000 for it.  Probably going down tonight to have a look...

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Falling off bikes

It has been a long time since I fell off a bike.  Last week was the first time since I returned to cycling in my late 20s!  Before that I rode a moped for a few years and came off that a couple of times, always when hitting ice.

Anyway, these bruises have reminded me of another time I fell off a bike.  I might have told this before, but I guess that now I have turned 50 I can turn into the old guy who tells the same stories over and over?

We were about 18-19 years old.  One of the gang was getting married, so we were having a stag night for him.

I cycled down to our starting point.  It was an old bike that one of my grandads had given me - probably dated to the 1950s!

Anyway, we started the evening drinking some ouzo that one of the guys who was in the paratroopers had brought back from his last posting.

Then we hit just about every pub in town - all except the Prince of Wales, where you were not allowed in if you did not remember The Depression.

We were totally blasted by the time we got back to our start point.

A few goodbyes and then it was time to go home.

My best friend "Charlie" (not his real name, but that is what we all called him) was with me, and told me to push the bike, but I was having none of it.

I climbed on, probably managed to turn the pedals twice before going down - BLAM!

We both roared with laughter, as I got back on and tried again.

BLAM on the other side!

This was repeated all the way home.

It was hilarious!

It didn't hurt at all!

Until next morning, anyway...

Monday, 2 December 2013


So there I was, cycling through the back streets of Canterbury, a car following slowly behind at a nice distance when I reached a nice little corner.

I wasn't going that fast, just fast enough...

But as I leant into the turn I had a bad feeling...

The road looked very shiny...

My front wheel agreed, and started to slide out from under me...

There was nothing I could do, so down I went in ssssssllllllooooowwwwwww mmmmmmooooootttttttiiiiioooooonnnnnnnnnnnnn....




I picked myself and my bike up.

The guy in the car behind stopped to ask if I was OK.

Yes thanks, but a bruised thigh and dented ego.

I now have a new front tyre, with super grippiness.

Mrs RC, who has been increasingly worried about me on my bike recently due to a spate of cycling deaths in London, took the opportunity to buy me a new fleece:

No, it won't stop my tyres skidding, but everyone for miles around will see me go...

Some people find Christmas a very depressing time of you, often with good reason.  If you find the sparkle has gone for you this year, maybe you should have a sweater that reflects your mood...


Aren't those the most depressed looking Christmas creatures you have ever seen?

Thursday, 28 November 2013


How much of the stuff you learned for exams do you remember?

My daugher thinks that exams are like this cleaning product:

BANG and the knowledge is gone...

I am currently doing something at work that is testing this theory - looks like she might be right.  More when I have more info to share....

Meanwhile, I just ordered the Viking friends for my Scots....

And we are finally getting around to planning Christmas....

And I want Sharknado for Christmas too!

Monday, 25 November 2013


This weekend was one of moderate slobbishness.
I spent some time finishing off (finally!) my Scottish spearmen for Macbeth's army:
They have been in the works for a while now.but I am pleased with the result. 
At our games meeting last week, one of the players merrily opened the packet of a new figure that he had bought, to find that the arms needed to be glued on.  Looking around, he asked (with a glance in my direction) if anyone was good with figures.
"I can do it.  Do you want me to paint him while I am at it?.
This is the finished figure.  The lighting is a bit too bright, but I think you can see him OK.  This figure is a lot bigger than the others, probably just over an inch tall.

I used to paint lots of fantasy style figures like this, but it has been a while now.  Hm, I still have that Elf army to finish off...

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

One foggy day...

This was yesterday morning.
When I arrive on the edge of Canterbury each morning, I am at the top of the ridge that forms the northern edge of the Stour river valley.  The views across the city can be great, especially when there is a bit of fog in the valley.
The weekend was really good, the family dinner was a wonderful get together and lots of rest was had at other times.  I even managed to finish painting my Scottish spearmen, just need to get them on their group bases now and add the grass and rocks and stuff to those.  Then I will be on to their Viking friends!
This week has been a lot easier than last week - the big problem was solved, largely by a newish member of staff.  I had thought that she was quite a timid character, but she dealt with our problem amazingly, taking no prisoners.  There is an old saying about having to watch the quiet ones - she certainly proves the truth behind that!
Hope you are having a great week!  More soon!

Friday, 15 November 2013


Staggering in to the weekend.  A tough few days!

BTW, the real crisis yesterday was only work related, we are all fine really, I have not been squished or had any family issues!

So, hoping for a fun, relaxing weekend - my little brother (body builder with shaved head, pierced tongue and tattoos - yes we are identical) turns 40, so we are having a bit of a family party.  Should be fun!

More soon!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 14 November 2013


Today is worse.....

Can't find anything funny about it either....

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

DOH 2 - the ordeal continues!

The day really did have to get better, didn't it?

The remainder of the morning was not that bad, but then lunchtime arrived - time to go and get the new inner tubes for the spare bike's flat tyre.

The shop had them, so with a spring in my step I went to a bakery to grab something to eat.  Hm, that pie looked good, I'll have that.

Heading back to work, I bit into the pie.






It tasted like someone had thrown up in it.


Back to work, the afternoon progressed towards a planned early finish, which I managed but had to almost fight my way clear.  Then off to catch the bus.

All was good - I sat there reading my Kindle, earphones in, ignoring everyone.

Even the drunk who decided to sit right in front of me.

Even through my earphones I could hear him declaring that he was Elvis, and was worried that all the girls would want to kiss his toothless mouth.

He went on.

And on.

And on.

Part way home, one of our ex-students got on the bus, so she sat with me and we chatted.  I put away the Kindle and earphones and we caught up on things.  She is doing well, I was pleased to hear.

The drunk tried to get in on the conversation, but we carefully avoided letting him get involved, I was getting an increasingly bad feeling about him, seeming less and less harmless as we continued the trip and he drank more and more of whatever was in his bottle.

Then it happened - the bus took a sharp turn, sending the drunk flying.

He laid there, moaning about how badly hurt he was. A young lad offered to help him but got a mouthful of abuse.  So he stayed on the floor, saying the driver had done it deliberately, and he needed compensation for his injuries.

Then the trip was made longer because a cyclist had been squished while riding around a mess of roundabouts on the edge of town.  Not nice to see him being strapped into a body brace....

He finally got up and after mouthing off at the driver for a while he got off at the bus station, going to tell the management about his ordeal.  A couple of us wrote our contact details on some paper and gave them to the driver - we would back him up if things got nasty with this guy's complaint.

Finally we reached my stop.  Sheesh!

A quick sandwich and change of clothes and it was off to the school for prize-giving - younger son had won the Maths prize!  Woo hoo!  Let's hope that things are all good from here!


So there I was, merrily peddling home, singing along to some song.

I was just hitting the second hill of the ride home, changing gear when CLUNK.

Yep, I knew straight away.

The cable had snapped.

The rest of the journey was done in the lowest set of gears, legs whizzing around while I crawled along.  Luckily a fair bit of the trip is on a downward slope, so I could freewheel some of it.

Too dark to repair it when I got home, but should have enough time in the morning....

Morning came.

I looked at the situation.

Poop.  Clearly not repairable without a new cable.  Time for Plan B - Number One Son's bike!

As soon as I set off it did not feel right.

I hit a bump and felt the rear wheel rim hit the road.

A FLAT!!!!!!!

Well gosh darn it!!!!!!

OK, those are not my exact words.  Feel free to imagine the words I used and then make them much worse....

Back at home, stripping off my rucksack and cycling jacket - time for the last resort - the BUS!!!!

Quickly re-equipped, I headed to the bus stop.

Now the road by the stop is an utter mess, a thin road repeatedly smashed by the buses and poorly repaired by the council.  Guess what?

They were repairing it again, meaning the buses were being rerouted.

I found the new route after a short walk and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Eventually it arrived, so I hopped on.

The bus crawled along.

A young mother got on with a total brat of a kid, who proceeded to have a massive tantrum for the next 45 minutes.


I took out my notebook and, trying to blot out the sound of screaming child, wrote another scene for my zombie book.  Somehow I did not include young mothers and brats in the scene - aren't I good?

Tried to phone work to let them know I was going to be late, but the network was up the creak and I did not get through until I was already half an hour late.  Ho hum.

Playing catch up after a crappy journey - my favourite way to spend a morning.

Nearly there - doing this while the copier does my work for me!

Have a better morning than me!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

If you've got it, flaunt it!

To prove that size DOES matter, my Big Boned, Under Tall babe shows what she's got...
Full frontal...
And the close ups...

(Hm, wonder what my hit rate will be today!  :-)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Apparently, I have a fat frame

Not something I have ever been told before.

No matter how hard they tried, they have not been able to get hold of the size I need, nothing quite stretches far enough.

I will have to make do until they can find the extra large size that I need to fit around my fat frame...

Even so, it will be good to have my old, solid, no-rear-suspension bike back - even if the front mech has seen better days!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


Been a bit wet here.

I was up early this morning, taking the dogs for a nice, bracing morning walk.

In a monsoon.

OK, not that bad, but we all got pretty wet.

Frou Frou and Bryn were not pleased with me, but Custard did not care, he led the way, squelching around the fields, soaking up the mud and rain.

One odd thing about Custard is that he doesn't shake.  Every other dog I have known will give itself a good shake when it gets wet.  Not Custard. He just becomes waterlogged and waits for a good rub down when we get home. It took 2 towels to get he even remotely dry this morning...

Once dry, It was time for some breakfast - a nice warm drink and a couple of Struffins.  These were made by Mrs RC, and are a wonderful cross between a muffind and apple strudel.  She invented them, I came up with the name.

Then it was time to head to work - after feeding the rabbits, of course.  I was just saddling up when a text arrived, asking me to stop off at Humphrey's field on the way to sort out a new delivery of hay.

At least the rain had stopped...

Then the journey to work, amid spray from the road that made me at least as wet as the rain.  Argh...

Oh, and just to make life a little harder, I was not riding my own bike which is in the workshop having new gears, chain, front mech and bottom bracket fitted.  I was riding Number One Son's bike, which is nice but has a smaller frame than I am used to.  And it has rear suspension, which I am not used to - I keep thinking the back tyre is going down...

And it is raining again out side...


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Still here!

Despite the efforts of the 90mph winds to do away with me, I am still here!  Sadly there were others who did not make it - falling trees caused 4 deaths in southern England and a teenager was swept into the sea while dodging waves.

Yesterday started early, when we realised that we were losing our back fence and garden gate.

By 6.30 we were slaughtering the Honey Suckle that grew along one of our other fences - the wind was using it to uproot the fence, so it had to go.

Once things seemed to be more under control, I visited Humphrey, my mum's pony, but he was OK.  Just needed a plank on his stable bashed back into place.  Good job I took a hammer and nails with me!

The rest of the day was spent making repairs to our remaining fences - the back one will have to be totally replaced, but we have to wait for someone to come and do that - and rigging up a temporary back gate.

All is calm today - a sunny day, with blue sky etc.

I have got a few photos of yesterday - will try to post some later.

And here they are:

Clearing up debris - some of the fence and Honey Suckle  :-(

Frou Frou wanted to help, but had to make do with watching us out of the window.

The view out to sea from Humphrey's field.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

I had forgotten about that....

Yes, it is Autumn - cooler days, beautiful trees, rain....

and WIND!

Yes, they cyclist's bane!

How could I have forgotten about that!

This morning was a classic.

The wind was howling straight in my face all the way to work.  It even conspired to blow down the road through the woods, which is normally sheltered!

But I am a veteran of many years of this sort of thing, so I slogged along regardless.

I only had 2 stops.

The first was when my chain came off, a reminder to get the bike into the shop for a new chain and stuff - the gears are reaching that stage where they look fore like rotary saw blades than gears.  Poor things.

The second stop was more pleasant - I took the time to stop and take a photo or 2.

From here it is all down hill to work, and the can of Pepsi that was waiting for me.

Have a great day - hope that you don't have to battle any head winds, real or metaphorical!

Friday, 18 October 2013


And here she is with her Birthday "Cake"...
Phew, and I thought LAST week was busy!
Not over yet, either - working Sunday at the Uni Open Day.  These are always busy but great fun, meeting prospective students.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Happy Birthday to Frou

Three today!


Yes, we have had our little bundle of mischief for nearly 3 years!
I am working late today, but I hear that Mrs RC and our daughter are planning a little party for her.  Hm, given that our daughter is currently working in a large pet shop, I am wondering what, exactly, she will be getting!  There has been talk of dresses and bows....