Thursday, 31 January 2013

Snug as a Bug

We had been complaining about our old mattress for over a year.  It had become lumpy, bumpy, saggy, even spiky in places.  It needed to go, but we just never found the time to get out, look at what was out there and actually buy one.

But last Saturday it happened.  Maybe it was to reward ourselves after my Graduation, but while in town we ambled into a shop and literally bought the first one we saw.  It was just sitting there, waiting for us.

I like a bed to be nice and squishy, so I can snuggle down in it.

Mrs RC likes it to be nice and firm, even hard.  For her the best bed we ever had was a thin mattress put straight on the floor.

This one manages to be perfect for us both - squishy on top with very firm springs underneath.

And it was a great price too!

We looked, prodded, etc.

Then we looked half heartedly at the rest, before going back to the first one and buying it.

We like to think we are good customers.  We see what we want and we buy it, no faffing, no trying for a deal, etc.  Times are hard for shops right now, they don't need their profits pinched even further, especially small locally owned shops like this one.

It arrived yesterday while I was at work, so after getting out of my wet cycling gear, I flopped on the bed.  Ooooh Yeah!  That is a great mattress.

I called down to Mrs RC, asking if I could have dinner in bed, but she refused, but I did end up in bed earlier than usual, relishing the wonderful snugness while reading Herodotus....

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


OK, I am back in action.

My absence was due to my father passing away on Monday night.  At nearly 76 years old, he had seen his share of illness, beating cancer twice for example.  He went suddenly, apparently in the act of reaching for his cigarettes.  Not a bad way to go, given the other options.

I won't go on at length here, but will make a small tribute by linking back to a couple of old posts that most of you will have missed first time around.  Like many elderly people, he liked to find things for us to do (presumably he thought that 3 kids were not enough to give us a busy life) - building sheds for him was one of them:

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


Sorry for not being around - had a crappy couple of days.  Back soon.

Saturday, 26 January 2013


Had my graduation ceremony yesterday.  It was great to meet up with the old gang again.

Mrs RC had a great time, being seated in the VIP area and getting the best view in the house.  An honorary doctorate was given to Moira Stuart, Britain's first black female news reader who has worked for around 40 years.  She was sitting 2 seats from Mrs RC.

The weather was utterly freezing, so our group photos outside are hilarious, with us huddling like penguins half the time!  But, hey, at least it wasn't windy or raining...

Finally, if you think the tie looks out of place on me, you are right  This is the first time I have warn a tie in 30 years.  The next one will probably be the one they bury me in  :-)

Thursday, 24 January 2013


I love ya


Sorry about that - not sure what came over me!

Anyway, tomorrow is my Graduation!

Yes, I officially get my BSc!

Yep, better late than never, I guess.

It has been a long journey.  I was 40 when I started and it was supposed to take the normal 3 years, including studying through the summers so I could continue to work full time.

I had completed a preparatory course and the first year when the bottom fell out of my world, with the loss of our older daughter.  As we tried to hold things together, one of my first actions was to put the studies on hold, and they remained like that for a few years.  Eventually I felt that I was ready to get back to it, but decided to study part time.  This meant that I did not have to study in the summers, but meant that the remaining part of my degree would take 4 years instead of 2.  I prefered it this way, to be honest, as I could take my time more and just enjoy what I was doing.

I finished last summer, getting a 1st (just in case you had forgotten or missed that bit).  I was happy with that, not bothered about doing the Graduation thing, but Mrs RC had other ideas - she wants a pic of me in the cap and gown and refused to let me off the hook.

So, watch out!  If you are good you might just see some Graduation pics of me right here in the next day or so.

Now we just have to hope that the cold and snow doesn't ruin things!

PS.  I forgot to mention that the ceremony takes place here - Canterbury Cathedral...

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


The snow is starting to melt away now - the main roads are good for cycling, although the side roads remain icy, forcing me to walk the start and end of my journey to work.
The sunrise today was rather splendid, as you can see above, which made the morning even nicer as my mom was able to get out to feed Humphrey today.  I did stop to make sure she was OK (didn't want her to fall into a snow drift and get stuck or anything) and she was pottering around having a great time after being stuck indoors for the last few days.  She is a real outdoor person and gets stir-crazy pretty quickly...
Have a great day.  Why do I feel like it should be Friday already?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Call me Chicken...

Yes, I chickened out today and took the bus to work.

The roads were far too icy for cycling, so I got up early, sorted out Humphrey's food and then hiked up to his field.  He was pleased to see me, as usual, so I fed him, made sure his stable had a good amount of straw on the floor, topped up is water and hay, fed the birds and the feral cat that also lives up there and finally headed for the bus.

Although I had seen buses around, I was sure that I was in for a long wait (the service can be unreliable even at the best of times) but to my amazement one appeared bang on time, only a couple of minutes after I got the the stop!

Getting on the bus, I had to sit next to a woman who, I noticed, shuffled away from me slightly.  Hm, I looked down at myself and realised why!  My boots, trousers and coat had a liberal sprinkling of snow, straw hay and mud, with my boots also showing evidence of recent encounters with ponypoop...

There are many reasons why people don't like taking the bus, and I guess that this morning I was one of them!

Ah well, I can't be the hero all of the time, can I?

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Well the forecast was right - snow falling ALL DAY!

The first thing I did this morning was to get the slow cooker going with chicken stew and dumplings - wonderful winter food and something that more or less does itself, which is great on a day like this.

Then it was time to go and feed Humphrey, but the walk up to his field was not without incident as I met a woman who had slipped on the snow and dislocated her wrist.  She was very shaken so I helped her to the house of a friend who made her comfortable and called for an ambulance.  Her friend was funny, telling that she was OK really and just wanted a cuddle...

My Good Samaritan job done, I continued to Humphrey - the roads were very slippery and treacherous - so glad I left the bike at home.

The wind was very strong at this point, with the snow going horizontal - somewhere to the west there must be the mother of all snow drifts...

Humphrey was very glad to see me...

Don't worry about him getting cold, he has a very warm stable that he can go into when he wants to.

Gratuitous snow photo, as promised!

Just before having the stew, we took the dogs out for a walk.

The wind had dropped, making it a wonderful walk.  That is Mrs RC out in front with Custard and Frou Frou, while I follow with Bryn (my uncle's dog) and Spot (my dad's dog).

Custard loves the snow, and has taken to making snow angels!  Makes me feel cold just looking at this!

Not going to cycle to work tomorrow - going to feed Humphrey early and then see if the buses are running.  Might be and adventure!  Will let you know how it works out...

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A busy weekend...

Supposed to snow ALL DAY tomorrow!  Watch out for some predictable snow pics if they are right!

Hope your weekend is fun!

Friday, 18 January 2013

For ShadowRun300

Cupcakes as an oil painting...


Sitting here warming up after the rather cold ride in - one of those mornings where the cold really hits the nasal bone and makes you feel like the front of your skull is contracting slightly...

Warming up nicely now, though, with help from some soup in my Life is Good mug.

Not sure how long work will last today, as there is another bank of snow on its way over (up to 4" today apparently which is mroe than enough to cause total wipe out in England. - if it starts coming down heavily I will be off before the roads get blocked.

I will, of course, pause to take photos as I go...

Have a great weekend - I am really looking forward to mine, I must say!

Thursday, 17 January 2013


In a moment of downtime I played with Photoshop to make one of my photos look like an oil painting. 
I love Photoshop...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Another Dusting of Snow

I didn't know it had snowed until we got up.  On the way to work I had to name a detour to feed my mom's pony, Humphrey, which is always a nice change of pace.
It also presented me with some new views to take pictures of...

Monday, 14 January 2013

A dusting of snow...

Sunrise - probably the last we will see of the sun today...

The road to work.

Hm, so tempting to just go for a stroll in the woods...

I guess this is the best sort of snow - very pretty without causing any problems for those who need to travel.

Saturday, 12 January 2013


I had a mess around with my Star Wars game last night and took a few photos so that you can see how it works.

You get 2 TIE Fighters and an X-Wing Fighter, flown by Luke Skywalker of course!

The initial set up, with the ships facing each other.

At the start of each turn, you use your dial control panel to select what move your fighter will make.  Speed varies from 1 to 4 or 5 and you can go straight, bank left or right 45 degrees, turn left or right 90 degrees or do a sort of hand-break turn where you end up facing the opposite direction.  Some combinations of speed and turn are not allowed to all fighters, giving each one different handling characteristics.  Very clever.

Each move has a card template that you use to measure the fighters move on the table.

When you have an enemy fighter within your arc of fire (marked on the fighter's stand) you can shoot at it.  The measuring stick tells you if you are in range and whether it is long, medium or short range.  The shooting fighter rolls red attack dice, the target rolls green defense dice, and the results tell you if any damage has been caused.  Each fighter can take a certain amount of damage before being destroyed, but some hits are called Critical Hits which have special effects, e.g. temporarily blinding the pilot!

The game quickly becomes a swirling dogfight...

In the end, despite causing damage to both TIE Fighters, Luke's X-Wing takes too much damage and is wrecked.

Of course, Luke cannot die and will just drift in his crippled ship until someone picks him up...

I hope you enjoyed this - if you know anyone who likes Star Wars, I really recommend this as a surprise gift...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Another day in London

Yesterday I went to London, seeing Number One Son off on the first stage of his trip back to Uni.
The weather at home was dull in the extreme, but when we reached London the sky was a wonderfully clear blue. 
The building above is what used to be called The Post Office Tower (probably called something else now).  It was opened in 1966, when I was 3 which shocked me because I can clearly remember it happening.  It had a revolving restaurant at the top and was considered a marvel of engineering.  I guess it captured that space-station look that caught the spirit of the times!  Now it just looks very dated, IMO, but I still like it.

Another building that I love is this hotel.  To me it looks like it would be more at home in Bavaria, but hey, we are British and see it as our right to steal stuff and ideas form everyone else, OK?
After setting my son on the next part of his journey (after arriving at the other end he only had a short bus trip to get him to the campus where he stays) I headed for home, pausing to take the above photos, of course.
As the train took me home the sky became more murky again, but at least it was not the solid grey that we left behind...

There is talk of snow in the next few days, which would have been unthinkable a few days ago but the temperature had definitely dropped, so maybe...

Monday, 7 January 2013

Christmas Photos

Found a way of uploading my photos again, so here are some of my Christmas pics.
A couple of days after Christmas I went to a friend's house for a couple of 4 player wargames.
This was the first one, Turks vs Vlad the Impaler's army.  The Turks won this matchup but it was good fun even for those on the losing side.
These are some of my Christmas toy soldiers on the painting board.  The ones at the back are finished, the ones at the front still under way.  These will be added to my Turkish army.  Once these are done I will see what I need to put together a Hungarian army to fight them.

Another thing that Santa brought me was X-Wing, a boxed game that gives you Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing Fighter and a pair of Imperial TIE Fighters for him to take on.  It is a great little game.  Given a little encouragement I could do a blog post showing how this game works.

The rain continued over Christmas, making last year the 2nd wettest year on record in the UK.  Given that just about all of the rain fell in 8 months I am sure that these added up to being the 8 wettest months on record.  As can be seen above, some of the local farmers are thinking of trying their luck with rice this year  :-)
The Great Stour is also running high again.  This is, of course, the river that runs through Canterbury, our local answer to the Mississippi...

All those clouds did add up to some wonderful sunrises, though!
Hope you had a great weekend!  I spent Saturday night having stomach cramps and throwing up, but after a good sleep I was fine again, although I did feel cheated that like always this shortened my weekend rather than taking place in work time  :-(

Friday, 4 January 2013


Well the holiday is over - this is my first day back, and it was a great break.

I tried to keep track of my usual blogs on my phone, but commenting seemed to be problematic at times - sometimes it sent and sometimes not.  Please do not be offended if I did not make visible comments on your blog while doing so on others!

I had hoped to post a few photos from the holiday but that does not seem to be working on my PC right now.  Hmph.  I will close this and return to see if it fixes the problem....

[Clickity click click click]

Nope, still nothing.  Ah well, I will try again later...

Our Christmas was wonderful and relaxing - a couple of family visits but nothing stressful, just walking dogs, cooking and chilling out.  We had all had a busy autumn and it was just what we all needed to really recharge and get ready for the new year.

OK, time to go - back again soon - hopefully I will be able to upload my photos!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

3 Milk Cake

I heard about this from an old blog friend, and it is both wonderfully simple and delicious.
Make a normal plain sponge, but keep it in the tin once cooked and allow it to cool.
Mix together a tin of condensed milk, a tin of evaporated milk and a carton of single cream.  Prick holes in the cake and pour the milk over the top.  You will need to do this in 2 or 3 lots, allowing the milk to soak in.  Put it in the fridge over night to let things really get absorbed.
The result is wonderful, and not as sweet and sloppy as you would expect.  I guess you could do a similar thing to revive cake that has.gone a bit too dry too.
Give it a try, but not if you are trying o diet!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Years Day

I got up this morning, intent on doing as little as possible.  This plan failed immediately as we found 2 stray dogs while walking our own.  Thanks to their lack of tags it took 3 hours and a lot of walking to get them back to their owners.  Being the day it is, no one was interested in lost dogs.

Still, they are home now and not lost or run over so it was worth it.

I will tru doing very little again tomorrow, when my sloth will also be fed by the 3 milk cake that is currently baking in the oven.

Oh, before I go here is a sign that i saw in a fish and chip shop while trying to find a vet that was open to scan the dogs microchips.  I know that potatoes are getting expensive but....