Friday, 28 November 2014

Black Friday and stuff

Well I hope you Yankies all had a great Thanksgiving!  We don' t do that over here, but we are now getting Black Fridays!

Thanks, guys!

The town was insanely busy today, and all I am hearing is about how great the bargains are on the web.

As I battled my way through the city I saw the most sureal thing.  There was a trio (a girl singing and playing guitar, a guy on sax and another doing I can't remember what!) busking at a street corner.  I don't know the song they were playing, but it was amazingly serene and peaceful.  It was like they were in a little bubble, protected from the insanity around them.

For my own Thanksgiving post, I will say that all of the kids are doing great - Number One Son thriving at Uni, daughter has her job with a promotion already (doesn't even start until after Christmas!), and younger son is doing great at school - he is one of a small group that is being steered towards Oxford Uni!  I am not sure that is where he actually wants to go, but it is great that the school thinks he is up to that sort of place!

And, as things settle for us we can now focus on Christmas, which is hurtling at us at high speed.  Most presents have already been bought or at least decided upon.  But having said that, we are reigning back on the spending this year.  For example, all afternoon presents must cost £1 or less, but must be carefully chosen for the person they are being given to.  So we can't just go and buy a pile of chocolate bars and call it done!  An interesting task, I must say!  Can't wait to see what everyone buys...

Have a great weekend!  I am ready to drop, this week has been a really busy one.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

An old photo

Back in the Second World War, men who were too young, too old, or unfit for some reason, for active service were enlisted into the Home Guard.  These were intended as a first line of defence against a German invasion.  Poorly equipped, poorly trained and only serving when not at work, they were more for morale purposes than for any real defence.  In the 1960s and 70s there was a TV series about them:
My grandad was one of the local Home Guard guys.  He is on the left:
I am pretty sure he would have done his bit if there had been an invasion, he was not one to give in easily.  Unless he was hungry and cold.  He did not like that.  In the winter of 1940, he had a habit of going home half way through patrols for a sandwich and cup of tea.  It was a really bad winter, and as far as he was concerned the Germans were not daft enough to invade in that sort of weather, Blighty was safe.  Of course, he did not share this view with his comrades, who continued to freeze on the beach, waiting for an enemy that would never come.  It was only at my grandfather's wake that I told one of them about this - the look on his face was a picture. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

The smell of the outdoors...

Spent a couple of mornings this week out on walks with students.
One day was at the seaside.
The tiny harbour at Whitstable...

and the beach at my home town...

Yes, a shingle beach - who ever thought that was a good idea?

Then we went inland, to be greeted by this lot...

and these...
who left a present for me to slip over into...

But did I mind?  Not on a day like this!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Proud Parent Time!

OK here I go again...

My daughter just had her first proper interview for her first proper job.

She had already passed the filter day, and this was it.

The job involves a lot of maths and statistics, so she revised everything, practiced answering questions to her video camera and just generally prepared for it.

She was really pleased with the interview, then it was test time.  There were a number of people there, but all of the others gradually left during the test.  She was the only one there at the end of the time allowed, which we took as a good sign.

Then she rushed home to await news.

They rang.

And offered her the job!

We are so pleased for her.  Her first real interview for a real job and she nailed it!

And the real bonus?  She will be working just around the corner from me!

Ooh yeah.  Life is good.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

An evening of creativity

Just had a wonderfully creative evening, sitting at the kitchen table with Mrs RC.  We were both working on our stories, occasionally fishing for suitable words. 

I can see this becoming a regular thing this summer.  Summer?  Damn, I am really getting absorbed by my story, thinking it is now summer and not on the edge of a horrible winter!

This is where my character is right now...

Alone, armed with a poleaxe, wearing a dented WW2 German helmet and with 2 fingers missing due to being shot at by someone who thought he was a zombie.

OK, time to take the dogs for their evening stroll.

More soon!

Monday, 10 November 2014

It rained and it rained...

Starting to feel like Winnie the Pooh over here.  Every day seems to feature at least a few hours of heavy rain - it takes great skill to time expeditions so they fall inbetween the down pours.
Last night's dog walk...
The ground was like a swamp, but we missed the rain. much to Frou Frou's delight.
This morning's ride to work...
I slowly woke up to the sound of torrential rain outside, but as I put my bike outside the clouds blew over, revealing blue skies.  I took this photo at about the half way mark as the next bank of clouds closed in on me, but somehow they missed me!
As a friend of mine said on Facebook - I am a "lucky boy!"
Oh, another piece of news - Mrs RC has started writing a zombie novel.  Hers is very different to mine, but I think it will be extremely good.  Knowing how fast she works once she sets her mind to something, you can expect to see hers published before mine!
Have a great week!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Monday, 3 November 2014

And finally...

the weather has returned to what it should be at this time of year.

Chilly, windy, raining.

Just in time for the week when we have two more walks in the countryside  [sigh].  We had splendid weather for the last one, but I don't think that these are going to be quite as nice.  Ah well, it IS November, what do we really expect?

The birds have been feasting especially hard on our bird tables too.  We don't get much variety of birds - starlings (which I love), sparrows, doves and wood pigeons are the main regulars, but in the last few weeks a robin has moved in too.

I am really pleased with this, considering I took it through the kitchen window - and he was gone half a second later.
But I can't help loving starlings...

There is something very sinister about them - they are certainly aggressive little buggers!  I fell in love with starlings when I was about 17.  I had my first proper job - at the Uni I now work at to be precise - and during my lunch break I would sit in the Cathedral grounds, eat my sandwiches and feed the birds.  Pigeons were there in vast numbers, but it was the starlings that caught my attention, darting in and out of the mass of pigeons to grab lunch before the bigger birds ate it all.
Sparrows do a similar thing to the starlings...

although we make sure the tables are well stocked (assorted seed, fat balls and meal worms) so there is not really any need for them to panic.
Well, it is games evening tonight, so I had better get moving! 
More soon!