Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Watch out for that as....

Had great fun on Saturday.  I went to a local game store and had a day playing X-Wing, the Star Wars game that I play.

Each player brought his own squadron of 3 to 5 ships (there is a point system that allows a range of ships to be used while keeping the game reasonably fair - Han Solo flying the Millennium Falcon costs the same as about 4 of the cheapest TIE Fighters), meaning that there was a nice variety of stuff on show.  I was Imperial and used a shuttle and a pair of very deadly TIE fighter variants.  Other players were Rebels or Scum (mercenaries and bounty hunters).

I won one of my three games, one was a draw.  The two I lost were very close and could have gone either way.  One ended when my opponent had a sudden rush of good dice just as time was called, while in the other one I managed to ram my last surviving ship into an asteroid.  But surely that is a classic way for a TIE fighter to die?

Here is a photo of one of the games, with everyone getting up close and personal:

Good fun had by all!

Meanwhile, the wildlife in our garden is doing well, and I managed to snap this pic the other day.  I can't resist a flower with a bug on it, for some reason, so much better than just having the flower, don't you think?  This flower is on one of our pond plants.  Those are lily pads in the background.

Our bird table continues to thrive too, with daily visits from sparrows, starlings, black birds, dunnocks, wood pigeons, doves and a blue tit.  Babies are starting to join the parents too, which all adds to the fun!

Which brings me to a comment about doves, the bird of peace.  From what I have seen, doves can be very nasty to each other.  They are happy in pairs and multiples of pairs, but if you get a single one trying to join the gang he is soon bullied and driven away.  But when it comes to other birds, doves are right at the bottom of the scale, even being chased off by the smallest of sparrows.  I guess the only thing a dove can beat up is another dove...

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Old Bones 2

As a further prompt to ShadowRun:

You might also remember seeing the life sized model of a Blue Whale (with a real skeleton hanging above it)? 

It used to have a lot more space around it, but it is now rather hemmed in, making it harder to get a good photo.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Old Bones

The weekend was hectic, with Saturday taken up with shopping and general rushing around, while Sunday was my younger daughter's birthday.

She was 19.

As she is now vegan, and has been for the better part of a year now, the party dinner was entirely vegan.  OK, I did do a bit of pork, but in the end this was totally unnecessary, most of it being fed to the dogs.  Mrs RC pulled out all the stops and made us a wonderful buffet of mainly Indian and Chinese style food.  It was amazing!  Even my mum, a certified carnivore, got stuck in and was full of compliments.

I took Monday off work, so that Mrs RC, our daughter and I could have a day out.  Our daughter wanted to have a day at the Natural History Museum, to feed her rediscovered interest in dinosaurs.  The trip started off badly - our first train was late, the second broke down,

and the third one stopped at every single stop along the way, but once we got to London it was all plain sailing.

The ride on the underground/subway was fun.  The girls had never been on them before, and I could see that Mrs RC was expecting it to be like the scene in Deathwish where the gang of knife-wielding thugs goes through the train robbing people.  I suspect she was a little disappointed by the lack of threatening people there, but she still did not enjoy the ride.

The museum was great fun, and we spent hours admiring the various skeletons and animatronic dinosaurs around the place.  I had not been there since I was a child, and had a strange mix of recognising the place but feeling that things had moved around a lot too.  Of course, the familiar dinosaur skeleton right inside the entrance was still there (though it is going to move soon, I hear) which probably did a lot to jog my memory.

At some point we hit the gift shop and bought a cuddly dinosaur and mammoth.  Had to be done.  She may be 19, but she is still our little girl and said that on that day she actually felt about 4 years old.  We like to see kids grow up at their own speed, there is too much pressure on them to become adults before they have finished being children.  And who am I to tell people to grow up, anyway!

Our daughter had the foresight to book Tuesday off work too, unlike me.  I try to ignore the sings that I am gradually getting older, but it was really hard that day.  Maybe they can make space for me as an exhibit at the museum?

Friday, 15 May 2015


(I don't normally pass on second hand stuff but I thought this was rather good.  I hope you agree.)

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:


1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').


2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ''like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.'


3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.


4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.


5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.


6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.


7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.


8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.


9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.


10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.


11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).


12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.


13.. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.


14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).


15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Mr Chuffington Update

You might remember me talking about Mr Chuffington.

He is the young hedgehog that we adopted in the Autumn and have fed religiously over the Winter.

He is all grown up (and out!) now, the biggest hedgehog I have ever seen at first hand.  Still no good photos of him, he is pretty shy, but hopefully that will change soon.

Yesterday, Mrs RC carried out her plan for his run.  During the Winter, he had a rabbit house and a small area of mud that he could poop in and dig around in.  He how has the run of about a quarter of our (rather small) garden.  Mrs RC made an opening in his old run and put a wooden fence around the new, larger area.  Last night, as it got dark, he came out to investigate.  He slowly explored the perimeter, working his way around, sniffing, prodding, nosing around.  Every so often he retreated back into his house (for a snack perhaps) and then returned to his exploration.

We are hoping that we will be able to get some good photos and video when he becomes bolder...

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A Close Encounter...

So there I was, strolling along the narrow footpath, chatting to Mrs RC on my mobile phone.

I was on my way to the supermarket to re-stock my Pepsi supply at work, and had paused to look at a poster in a local small venue, advertising gigs by local bands.

Then I heard a whirring sound, getting rapidly louder.

Turning to look, I was amazed by what I saw, but before I could laugh I had to step out into the road to save myself a couple of smashed ankles.

Hurtling along the path was an old man in a mobility scooter - like a golf cart for one.  As he passed, I was about to swear at him but instead burst out laughing.

Can you guess why?  Bet you can't.

He was steering with one hand, while the other was waving a white stick.

A white stick indicates that you have at least a severe visual impairment.  So we have an at least half blind guy hacking along the path in his scooter, seemingly unaware or uncaring of the mayhem he was causing!  I cursed myself for leaving my camera at work, the video would have gone viral.  Maybe I will see if he is around tomorrow?

Hm, thinking further, perhaps there was a camera crew somewhere and they were filming the next "Fast and Furious" movie?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Spring has sprung

We have finally seen a consistent change in the weather.

It is warm, even the rain of the last couple of days felt like April Showers instead of nasty cold winter rain.

Today we have a nasty, gusting wind that almost doubled my journey time today - it was a real battle getting along some stretches of road!  Hopefully it will drop for my trip home...

This was a long weekend for us Brits - the old May Day holiday, although there has been a general attempt to play down the socialist origins of the holiday in recent years.  But I still call it May Day - lets celebrate the worker, eh?

Talking of work, I put in a good few hours typing up the start of me next book.  I am really enjoying writing this one, it is purely for my own pleasure, and looks like being a lot longer than the zombie book.  I am probably about 10,000 words in and the real story is only just starting to take shape!  (For comparison the zombie book was 38,000 words, which is on the short side for a novel).  I am starting to become attached to one of the characters, and think that he will have to become a major player in the story.  He is a ball of acidic jelly and eyeballs, who leaves a trail of acid behind him as he goes (necessitating the constant attentions of a pair of janitors who shadow him at a respectful distance).  He cannot speak, so uses some of his eyeballs to spell out the words that he wants to say, which can cause misunderstandings as easily happen when texting/tweeting, etc.  Apart from the main character and a few very minor characters, he is probably the only really nice "person" in the book.  But being a ball of acidic jelly and eyeballs can really stop people seeing the real you  :-(

Had a nice day yesterday - it was my mum's birthday, so I bought her some plants for her new pond. She was visiting us in the afternoon, but as the plant shop was closer to her house than mine, I took them straight to her.  It wasn't long before I was getting them settled into the pond, trying to find the ideal place to plant them, not too shallow, not too deep, etc.  They looked great when I finished, and by the time my mum came over to our place for the afternoon, a couple of her frogs were already checking out the new scenery...

More soon - possibly a snippet of the new book?