Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A moment of rashness

I am not really big on public speaking.  OK I sometimes stand up in front of a class and tell them stuff, and I have also done the odd presentation at Uni open days, but other than that I hang back.  Even in my band days, as the bass player, I got to hang back and just play.

However, as we talked about my dad's funeral I rashly said that I would say a few words.

I let the idea settle for a few days before starting to consciously think about what I would say, but then started to realise what a tough job this was going to be.  His life had been very difficult and at one time or another he had managed to fall out with just about everyone that he knew - especially family.  I did not want to paint one of those horribly rosey pictures that leaves people wondering if they are at the wrong funeral, but at the same time I did not want to dwell on the many problems that haunted his life.

A tough one!

Then I hit on the solution.

I would treat it as a blog post.  In my years of blogging I have learnt to do exactly what I needed to do here!  So my "few words" have taken shape:

A short metaphor for what life was like for my dad and those close to him - a way of telling it like it was without the risk of upsetting anyone.  Then a series of enduring memories of time with my dad, memories that at least some of those present will share.  Things from when I was a child, things he did and said, things to bring a smile, like the time he built a rabbit hutch in the kitchen only to find that it was too big to fit through the door to the garden.  Not a biography, just a series of impressions.  I think it will work.

Monday, 25 February 2013

The Weekend

Having Mrs RC reading my blog has had some interesting side effects.  For example, by the time I got home on Friday she knew that I was desperate for a weekend of doing as little as possible, and was all for it.

Saturday was very cold with constant flurries of frozen snow falling, but not settling.  Mrs RC left me to have a lay in, so it was mid morning before I emerged, wearing pjs and fluffy dressing gown, to face the day.

And it was a day where I did very little apart from make pizza and make the short walk to the local shop to buy lemonade and Pepsi!

In the evening we snuggled on the sofa and started to watch our boxed set of True Blood DVDs.  Mrs RC has read the books and then managed to pick up the whole set of DVDs at a real bargain price.  We had not been sure about the TV series when it was originally shown, but it is actually pretty good.  I guess the main gripe is the gratuitous sex scenes that seem to be compulsory these days.  If they really want to make porn, why don't they just make it so those who want it can have it and the rest of us can just get on with the story?

Sunday saw another lay in, time on the guitars, time building something to go with my wargames, watching a couple of dreadful disaster movies and a short snooze on the sofa.  By evening I was starting to feel recharged and volunteered to do the evening dog walk, which was dreadfully cold but still enjoyable.  I was happy to get home and see that Mrs RC had been working on her blog and reading a few others, sometimes commenting but mainly lurking at the moment.  I think she is getting hooked - thanks for the encouragement that you have all given her!

This is going to be another busy week - I will do my best to keep up to date.

Have a great week!  See you soon!

Frou Frou joining in the "do very little" weekend.

Friday, 22 February 2013


Yeah, made it!

I don't know about Mrs RC, but I am hoping for a REALLY REALLY REALLY lazy weekend...

Just a few dog walks, maybe a short trip to the shops.

Other than that? 

Very little.

Some cooking is in order - I haven't made pizza in too long.  Maybe I can persuade Mrs RC to do some cookies...

And I want to slob on the comfy sofa, hide from the snow that keeps trying to fall, watch DVDs and work on my toy soldiers...

And play a bit of guitar too...

Yeah, that would be good, we have got so many lost weekends to catch up on...

Oh, one more thing to do - work on a profile picture for Mrs RC to use on her blog...

Hm, is that starting to sound like a busy weekend to you?  No, me neither.  Anyone tries to make our weekend busy will get a unanimous "NAAAAAAAAAAHHH!"  :-)

Maybe.  We are trying!

Have a great weekend, whatever you end up doing!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Friday on my mind....

More or less crawled out of bed this morning.  It has been a busy week and I was not keen to face the freezing cold on my bike - I knew that the trip would be a struggle today, so I  took the bus.  Luckily I have a big parcel at work which I can't get home on the bike, so I did have a good excuse really - not just being a lazy ass...
Anyway, the bus was freezing cold, so I actually ended up colder than I would if I had cycled in - ah well, such is life.
One bonus of taking the bus was that I could enter the city through the old gates:
These have recently been closed to traffic, but there is a strong group who want them reopened, despite the fact that trucks and buses often scrape the stonework on the way through.
Inside the gate you can still see the Murder Holes, which would have been used to drop and pour stuff on attackers who got this far.

A brisk walk up the high street warmed me up as I contemplated breakfast - nothing appealed, so I had the standard fry up at the Uni refectory.  Always sets you up for the day....
I am going to start work on a wargames army for a tournament later in the year.  I already have the models for it (not after yet more stuff, Mrs RC!) but I do need to do some work on them.  It is a Roman army from one of their many civil wars.  A small number of actual Roman soldiers backed up by a surging mass of barbarian infantry and an elephant!  Going to be such fun!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Misty Mornings

I love misty mornings...

The roads are less fun, of course, but hey - I do get to stop at intervals to take pictures!

I have rethought my whole trip idea.  It started off as a simple exercise in geekiness, spending a week exploring the battlefield at Gettysburg and the surrounding area.  Subsequent changes, which seemed like a great idea at the time turned it into a monster that got increasingly complicated, hard to plan and stressful.  I have therefore decided to revert to my original plan - a week in and around Gettysburg being a total geek.  I am sorry that I will not now be meeting up with some of my blog friends on this trip but I will be blogging about the trip at great length so I hope this makes up for it.

More soon - and don't forget to check out Mrs RC's blog!

New Blogger...

Mrs RC has now done her first tentative post.  Click on Metamorphosis over there on the right.

Go on!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Saturday - Valentines Day II

Saturday was a wonderfully Springlike day, with blue sky, puffy clouds and a nice bit of warmth in the sun.

After the morning dog walk, Mrs RC and I were off out for the day.  Not wanting to push our luck too much we had decided on a day out in Canterbury, a bit of shopping and a spot of lunch somewhere.

The shopping was fun, with a fair bit of browsing and a sensible level of spending on stuff that we didn't totally NEED but decided that we just wanted.  Except for the new set of guitar strings - they were TOTALLY needed!

Then it was time to eat, so I took us to a nice little pub that I had eaten at once before with some colleagues.  The building dates to around 1400, all oak beams, and not a right-angle in the place.  We ordered drinks and then grabbed a table, Mrs RC taking a seat that looked like a small throne.  The staff treated us like royalty, the drinks were good (the beer was excellent) and the choice of food surprisingly good for a pub.  We decided to go for things that we could share - a chinese duck platter, buffalo wings and onion rings.  It was wonderful.  We just sat there, eating, drinking and chatting.  Even the music was good - a real mix including Foo Fighters (unplugged album) and Lou Reed's Perfect Day, one of "our songs" for many years.

It was, indeed, a perfect day and we are already plotting another one...

Friday, 15 February 2013

Rolling into the weekend...

So, how was Valentine's Day for you?
Mine started with a ride to work in howling wind and pouring rain.  On arrival I found that I had not packed fresh trousers, so it was back out into the elements to buy some  :-(
Work "happened", I guess.
The journey home was better, less wind and no rain, just the spray from the road to get me nice and wet again.
For dinner, we had steak.  Mrs RC had bought me the biggest steak she could find, and it was wonderful, going down a treat with potatoes, mushrooms and my favourite ale.  The remainder of the evening was spent watching a rerun of Peggy Sue Got Married.  A great movie, IMO - one that we saw several times in the early days.  A nice bit of nostalgia and good to see that the movie was still good.
This morning we actually had some blue sky!
The clouds were leaving and the clear sky arriving.  The sunshine, actually feeling a little warm even early in the morning, made the ride to work a joy - at one point I actually felt pitty for the poor suckers in their cars, they don't know what they are missing.
Mrs RC and I are continuing Valentine's Day into Saturday, having a day out, maybe a meal - some nice time together to recharge after a taxing couple of weeks.  To coin a phrase "We're worth it!" [flicks hair].
So, have a great weekend, everyone!  More next week!  Oh, and if you make a comment, please say Hi to Mrs RC who has started reading the drivel that I write here.  She is even hinting that she might start a blog of her own (once she can find a name that does not pull up links to dodgey sites when typed into Google) so feel free to add a word or 2 of encouragement too.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Oh wow!

Look what Mrs RC got me.  The book that inspired my favourite Christmas movie, A Christmas Story.  How cool is that? 
Sorry the photo is sideways. Damn phone...

Hah, fixed it now (using a PC, not the phone...)

Hello, Buddies!

Despite the ongoing cold weather, including snow on Sunday, it looks as though Spring is actually on its way.  I hope it isn't long as our heating system has broken down - supposed to be fixed today, but who can tell?
I can't believe it is Wednesday already - the week is passing in a bit of a daze, as we totally burned our weekend moving Spot (my dad's dog) to his new home at my mum's.  Saturday saw me pretending to be Thor, using a huge hammer to bash stakes into the garden to fence off his area while Mrs RC set about fixing hand rails and wire mesh to the stakes.  It was hard work, but the result is really good, especially considering what a jungle my mum's garden is....
On Sunday we put in a flap so that Spot could go in and out.  He seemed to work it out when there were slices of chicken as a reward for going through, but seems to have been a bit dumb since then.  Maybe he is holding out for more chicken?
Not sure if I will have time for a post tomorrow, so I will wish you a great Valentine's Day for  tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A bit of family history...

While clearing my dad's house, this appeared, hidden in a metal trunk.
The base has a musical chime (some sort of waltz) and the helmet contains a cigarette lighter.
It was the shield that interested me most.

A map of Germany showing the post World War 2 occupation zones, but also showing the 1939 border with Poland.  I have seen this sort of thing before, an obvious indication that for a time there was still hope that the old borders would be restored.
Then we found out the story behind it.
My dad bought it in Germany while doing his National Service in the mid 1950s.  He brought it back and gave it to his mum, who hid it fearing that her husband, (my grandad) would sell it for beer money.  Yes, sadly my grandad was the sort of guy who felt that beer was more important than anything else in life.  Hiding the ornament was also a big risk as, if my grandad found it he would probably have given her (yet another) thorough beating.  I never really liked that grandfather, even without knowing this sort of thing.  Guess I just got a feeling about him.
I found it strange that, many years after both of these grand parents died, the ornament was still being hidden.  Maybe it brought back too many memories of what home life had been like.

Monday, 4 February 2013


That was a weekend and a half - we are all exhausted, but my dad's house is pretty much clear.
We had decided to have a bonfire on Saturday evening and ordered some pizza for anyone who wanted to join us.  We had a fair gang of us in the end, which made for a nice break from everything.
We had a bit of trouble getting it going at first - even the paper refused to burn!  After about 15 minutes of this I went back home to look for some BBQ lighters.  Just after I got home I recieved a text from Mrs RC.  "I have got a couple of flames going."
As I turned the corner a minute later, I could see the glow of the fire and the tops of the flames above intervening hedges and fences.  By the time I was back in the garden we had 10-15 foot flames, fanned by a gusty wind.
This pic was taken once things had calmed down a bit...
Next morning, as I cleared the remains of the fire I found evidence of how hot it had been.
We have a lot of clay in our soil, and the clay under the fire had been fired into pottery!

That is probably the worst if things over with now, hopefully this week will be easier so we are rested for the funeral and wake.
Hope you had a great weekend - I will do my best to catch up with your news...