Monday, 20 July 2015

Another Proud Parent Moment...

On Sunday, we took our youngest (Arnie the power lifter) to his second competition.

He was not sure how he would get on, as the last couple of weeks had seen his sleep, exercise and diet regimes all somewhat out of whack.

On the train there he was red-eyed and dozing.

On arrival he was greeted enthusiastically, given a quick tour, some forms to fill in and weighed.  He came in a good few pounds under his category boundary, which made him happy.

Then Mrs RC and I found seats to watch while Arnie went to get warmed up.

They did two events. 

Bench-press, where you lie on your back, lower the weight bar to your chest and then push it back up again.  He managed 102.5kg (225.5 pounds).  This was the same as he did at his last competition back in Feb.

Then it was the Deadlift, where you grab the weight bar and then stand up straight.  Last time he lifted 202.5kg (445.5 pounds).  This time I thought he would try 205kg, but Mrs RC said he was hoping to lift 210kg (462 pounds).  Instead he went for 212.5kg (467.5 pounds, 2.5 times his own weight), the most he has ever lifted.  He has not even done that it training! 

And he did it - just!  I am sure that the cheering, screaming girls at the back had a lot to do with it...

He beat everyone close to his own age, and a lot of the older lifters too!  (The best lift by anyone all day was 270kg (594 pounds) by a guy in his mid 20s.)

So he now has his sights set on a regional competition in November.  He is aiming high for this one, looking to Deadlift 227.5kg (500.5 pounds).  500 pounds is a very symbolic number, I think.

Are we proud?

Is The Pope Catholic?

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Random Photos

While out walking the dogs the other day, I stopped to take a pic of some of the grasses that have turned to some wonderful colours, only to find the even more wonderful spider getting into the shot!  A spider with camo is new to me!

This gull is now a fairly regular visitor to our front garden.  He is a tight fit onto this feeding table, but he seems to think it is worth the effort.

Another friend I made while walking the dogs.

Mrs RC has been hard at work in the garden.  This is a sheltered seating area for two that my mum has adopted for her and Spot.  In this pic she is sharing some sausages between the dogs.

Frou Frou on the bridge over our pond.

A vapourer moth caterpillar that has made its home in one of our plants.  An amazing looking thing, I am sure you will agree!  I was a bit worried by it but a friend of mine on Facebook told me what it is.

Finally, an example of the silliness that we get around here when it comes to cycle routes.  This insane arrangement saves the cyclist about 100 yards, but sends them into the face of oncoming traffic, with cars cutting across at 2 points in this short stretch. (It all looks quiet in the photo, but when it gets busy it can be very unpleasant.)

And, of course, this is just a tiny,isolated bit of cycle track, the orange bit is all there is.  I guess it is enough for the council to tick a box somewhere.  Needless to say, I will not be using this, I will go the extra 100 yards and stay safe...

Friday, 3 July 2015

More sharks..

Our town's shark problem just got worse...

Thursday, 2 July 2015

My Town is Famous Again!

Following up its previous claim to fame for having the worst Christmas Tree in the country, my little town is in the national news again.

JAWS: ‘Great white shark’ spotted off Herne Bay coast causes exodus of terrified swimmers from sea

Could have been a horrific incident, you would have thought that this news would have spread like wildfire.

But, um, no.

My son spent the entire day at the beach and was totally unaware of this incident until I told him what I had seen on Facebook.

In reality, I suspect that it is either a large dog fish or a small basking shark, both of which are pretty harmless...

But it got us in the news again, and not because everyone is laughing at us!


Monday, 29 June 2015


Where did the time go?  I just feel like life has been a bit too busy lately!

But I am still here!

One thing has been that I have just felt a bit washed out recently, but I have found the reason for this.  My bike has acquired a wobbly back wheel recently, and I finally got it fixed yesterday.  I had not realised how much extra energy I was using just to move the bike along the road!  This morning I flew along with ease...

We now have a pair of nesting doves loving on our house.  For 3 months they have been trying to nest in the most ridiculous place...

Every time the hen moved, everything just fell down.  So, having the chance to borrow a ladder,  Mrs RC quickly put together something that might attract their attention.

They are not using it quite how we expected them to use it, but it is a success anyway.  Here they are in the process of moving they hay from the intended next area onto the roof, where they have decided to nest.

I have still found time to play more Star Wars.  On Saturday I went to a local tournament, at the last moment deciding to use this squad, which everyone thought was a joke, having what are generally thought of as the least dangerous ships in the entire game.

After my first easy victory everyone started to change their minds about how nasty the old Y-Wing was.  In my second game I beat a guy who totally trashed me last time - it was hilarious to see his star pilot drifting along, smashing into asteroids after being shot up by my guys.  I ended up winning all 3 of my games, coming 2nd overall (out of 10 players).  It was a great day for the underdog!  :-)

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Catching up!


What can I say?  Been pretty busy around here, getting involved in stuff at work that I normally stay clear of.  But it is all positive.  There is a bit of reorganisation going on here, and it is looking like I am going to come out of it smelling of roses, as they say.  Subtle changes to my job, losing some of the dull stuff, doing more of the interesting stuff.  Looking good!

Number One Son comes home on Sunday.  He is usually home earlier than this, but he had some stuff to do relating to his Masters Degree that he is taking next year, and one of his female Uni friends is getting married, so he is going on her Hen Night.  I was a bit concerned about this at first, imagining him being exposed to male strippers and the like, but no.  This friends is "a nice girl", and her party is taking place at a trampoline centre.  The worst we are imagining is him falling off and breaking something  :-)

Mrs RC has been moving things around in the garden recently.  We are letting the rabbits and hedgehog run together in a bigger enclosure to see how it works out.  Seems to be good so far, with the rabbits running around but seeming to get on OK.  Chuffington is still eating and pooping, so he must be coming out of his house at some point in the night.  He used to "talk" to the rabbits through the wire before, so they are not total strangers to him.  Hope it carries on peacefully!

I was recently bought a present:

It goes with my Star Wars collection, making a real centre piece for the games  (I have put a normal sized fighter next to it for comparison).  We tried it out on Monday.  It managed to give Darth Vader a rough ride before some Imperial bombers blew it to pieces with proton torpedoes.  Great fun for all!

Tomorrow is a big day - Mrs RC and I will have been together for 30 years!  I have taken the day off work and we are going to an local wildlife part for a picnic.  Should be a nice day!

More soon!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Snip from the new book

For lack of anything more interesting to report, here is a snippet from the new book.
This takes place on a prison planet.  Some of the guards have revolted, killing the others and abandoning the prisoners who are also trying to escape from the planet.
It is still in the early stages, but I think it gives an idea of what the book will be like.

I began my assent, heading for the sixth floor and ignoring the other floors that I passed through.  I could check them out later, if there was going to be a “later”.  I knew from previous visits to similar institutions that the sixth floor was the nerve centre of the whole colony.  When I was nearly at the top I was confronted by a sealed door, the glowing red edges indicating full lockdown.  This disappointed me a little, but at least what lay beyond would not have been destroyed by the prisoners.

There were probably only two ways I was going to get through this door.

The slow way involved dragging some cutting equipment over from one of the mines, which was not a thought I relished.

But the fast way relied on the incompetence and dysfunctionality of what remained of the Galactic Empire’s data system.  What the heck, there was no way I was carrying a cutter up from the mines if I didn’t have to!

I stepped up to the door.

“Welcome” said the computer’s formal, but slightly sexy, female voice.  Why did they insist on doing that?  Was it because the people that put these systems together never meet real women?  I guess I will never know, now.  “Prepare for Body-Scan-ID.”

I stood still to let the scanner do its work.

The glow around the door faded.

“Welcome, Galactic Emperor Zurdarg IV.”

The door slid open and I was able to climb the last flight of stairs, emerging in the middle of the hexagonal command centre.  The commanders of a Penal Colony had very little to do.  Weeks or months could pass between breaks in the automated routine and my surroundings reflected this.  Apart from a few control consoles and a large holo-screen with a countdown ticking away on it, the room was mainly fitted out for leisure.  Comfortable seating, assorted games, a small gym.  The domed Plexiglass roof gave impressive views in all directions of soaring mountains on three sides, which opened out to an endless plain on the fourth, which is where the starship landing area had been constructed.  There were two ships there.  The colony’s own transporter was just leaving the ground, while the huge freighter that brought in supplies and new prisoners, and took away the metal from the mines was surrounded by a seething mass of ex-prisoners.

I turned back to the holo-screen, which currently read 5.672.



“Yes, your Imperial Majesticness?”

It was a long time since I had last been called by that ridiculous title, and it had definitely triggered the computer’s flirty sub-routines.

“Computer, w-”

“Yes, your imp-”

“What is the countdown for?”

“The countdown, your Imperial Majesticness, is to the total and absolute destruction of this colony.”



“Is something wrong, your Imperial Majesticness?”  If the computer had a face it would be pouting by now, about to go into “talking to the cat” mode, saying what a bad tempered person I was.


“Yes, there is!” I shouted.  “I hate being called that! Stop calling me “Your Imperial Majesticness!”


“Of course, Your W-”

“Zurdarg!  Call me Zurdarg!”

“Of course, Zurdarg IV, Benef-”

“No!  None of those silly titles!”


“But His Imperial Mightiness Who is Lord and Master of the Entire Galaxy must be addressed using one of the titles from the approved list”, she protested in a voice that had been used by gazillions of people in the past while explaining the need for yet another pair of shoes with a matching bag.


“And you have a file that contains this list?”

“Of course, Your Mightiness, Commander-in-Chief of the All-Conquering Imperial Battlefleet.”  She was on to flattery now.


“Show it to me!”

“Yes, Your Majestic Tastefulness, Creator of the Most Wonderous Pizza Ever Encountered in All of the Known Galaxies.”

The list appeared on the holo-screen.


It was a massive list, accumulated by myself and my three ancestors whether we liked it or not, evidence of the obsequious flattery that people had tried to use to control us.


“Delete them all” I instructed.

The list shrank and vanished, lessening the tightness in my chest as it went.


“Now add Zurdarg.”

The name appeared.


“Yes, Zurdarg.”  Did I detect a sulky undertone?

I sighed with relief.


“Oh, and stop the bloody countdown!”

“Yes, Zurdarg.”  Definitely sulking…

The countdown stopped.