Category Archives: Family


New Year Yomp

New Year’s Day, and after a frankly horrible couple of weeks, we decided what we really needed was a good old fashioned yomp through some muddy woods, so we set off for Blean Wood.  We’ve been there once before, and got suitably muddy and rosy cheeked, so it seemed like a good bet.

This time, we didn’t bother with anything so simple (or sensible) as a glance at the route map before setting off – we just kind of picked a direction and went.  And went.  And kept going.  And then it started to get dark. And then smallest boy started to complain of sore feet (he’d filled his wellies with water within about 2 minutes of setting off, and his cold, wet socks were starting to irritate).  And then I realised that the thing on the map I’d been aiming at was not, in actual fact, the car park, but was a mobile phone mast.  (They look surprisingly similar).

And then we took a common sense pill, made for the nearest proper path, got to the road, and walked straight back to the car.

It was, surprisingly, exactly what we all needed.

Flares, maps, strobe lights and compasses all very welcome, and expected :-)

Tree Top Drop

Just in case anyone has managed to avoid seeing this all over Facebook, here’s a little video clip of Mary throwing herself off the vertical drop slide thingie at Wildwood, our local wildlife park.

The slide is good fun, though you wouldn’t know it listening to the shriek of fear in this clip…

The video is from my HTC Desire HD, which does a half decent job when I stop waving it around like an idiot.

Insane ISO

My photography took a bit of a hit last summer when my well worn and well used Canon EOS 300D finally went to the big Photoshop in the sky.  It seems sea and sand don’t mix well with D-SLRs… who would’ve thought?

Well, all that came to an end last week when my darling wife came into a small amount of money and decided that our walks are much more fun when I’m pre-occupied with taking rather geeky pictures, or something like that.  I’m now the proud owner of a Canon EOS 550D, and I think it’s rather good.  The recent batch of pictures here and on my Flickr photostream are all taken with the new beast, and it appears to be a few steps up from the 300D.

One of the things that caught my eye on the spec sheet was its max ISO rating of 12800. Twelve thousand!?  Surely you’re not going to be able to get any useful pictures with that?

Well, here’s a sample, straight out of the camera (apart from the border… gotta have some kind of house style…)

And here’s a 100% crop:

OK, it’s not gallery quality by any means, but it did mean I could get a shutter speed of 1/1000s at F/9 in rather dingy light, which I suppose could mean the difference between getting a usable shot and not.

Baby News II

Things James has now:

  • Hair.  Enough to go curly when it gets long, and to look worryingly ‘Hawaiian Sunset’ in the right light.  Or should that be the wrong light?
  • Teeth.  3 at the last count, with more coming.  He’s had 2 for what seems like an age, but the telltale signs of proper teething started about a week ago and he’s now sporting a nice big upper incisor to go with his 2 lowers.  The scarcity of teeth hasn’t really stood in his way though, as he half-munches & half-gums more or less anything we give him, including apple, raw carrot, chips, banana.
  • Shoes.  He’s not walking yet, but he’s nearly there.  To help him on his way to full mobility, we’ve got him a pair of slipper-ish shoes to wear whilst he’s taking his tentative assisted footsteps.  With a steadying hand or two, he can walk, and there are moments when there’s no physical reason for the handholding.  Around and about the house, there are the odd moments, say when he’s standing, holding onto the sofa, when he forgets he can’t stand on his own, and lets go of the sofa; there follows a couple of seconds of standing before the brain kicks in saying “Oi, you can’t stand yet”, and down he goes.  It feels like one day he’s just going to ‘decide’ to walk, and he’ll be off.
  • A temper.  He’s turned into a proper little person, with good moods and bad moods, and times when he’s happy to sit playing with a cardboard box, and other times when he needs constant interaction.  When he’s in a bad mood, and he doesn’t get his own way, we get the full on “laying on back kicking the floor” screaming ab-dabs.  Our usual reaction is to smirk a little, wait for him to ‘get over it’, and then carry on.  It rarely lasts for long.  We keep telling him he’s a little early for those terrible twos we keep hearing about.  He doesn’t seem to care.
  • Words.  Just a few, but the available vocabulary seems to grow each week.  He has recognisable versions of ‘Hello’, ‘Bye bye’, ‘Mama’, ‘Dadda’, ‘Harry’ and ‘Brother’, as well as a  very expressive ‘Oooh’, which can mean a number of things, including “That’s new”, “I want that”, “I’m excited by that” and so on.  We also get nodding and shaking of the head, although not always in the right places.
  • Waves.  This is a real charmer, and he knows it.  If he’s being cheeky and wandering off somewhere where he probably shouldn’t be, he’ll try to buy some time by giving a little regal wave on the way out.  Strangers in the street get the same treatment (sometimes accompanied by his ‘hello’).

In general, he is a happy, inquisitive little soul.  He’s growing in personality all the time, and acquiring new skills at a blistering rate.  I’m well aware that just about every parent in the land would say something similar of their own offspring, but I make no apologies for that.  Our boy is special, because he’s ours, and we love him to bits.