Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Babies

The RC garden has been very productive this year.  In addition to the masses of baby birds (mainly Sparrows and Starlings, but also Dunnocks, a Magpie and various others) that seem to live entirely off of our bird tables, we have the doves that have nested in Mrs RC's home made nest.


This is the second pair of babies that this pair have produced.  We just hope that they are more intelligent than their parents...


We also have a mass of baby goldfish.  These have been separated from the big fish.  Some are in a pond outside, while a small group has been moved indoors for closer monitoring.


|You can see the reflections on the surface of the water.


We are trying to keep both lots safe from predators and things that might compete with them for food, but otherwise we are letting nature take its course.  No chemicals, no culling of those that do not meet certain criteria for shape, colour, etc.  This is Mrs RC's project, but it is fascinating, and we often find that, while watching TV in the evenings we keep looking at the tank to see what our little friends are up to.  The other evening we had a lot of interruptions when mosquito larvae were spotted and had to be removed - Mrs RC is getting good at catching them with long tweezers, snatching them out of the water before they know what is happening.

She is now getting ideas about breeding other things - notably Custard, our Labrador who is now approaching 10 years of age...


Do you think the world needs more Custard?


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Summer Part 3

So my 2 weeks off work draws to an end.  It has been a great time, although generally busier than I had expected.  Plenty of family time, a bit of game time playing with my latest Star Wars space ships (this lot being bounty hunters and mercenaries) and also a bit more work on the Flying V bass guitar that I have been fiddling with for the last couple of years, on and off.

Here are a few of the highlights of the last couple of weeks.

My birthday!  Had a really nice day, with some great presents, including a case of Maltese beer that my daughter had ordered for me.

Camping. 


The weather was rubbish, starting as drizzle and building to a huge thunder storm on our last day.


Custard thought it was the best holiday ever, though, as he had been feeling the heat of the previous week or so.  For him, sitting and laying on the damp grass in the drizzle was heaven.  Frou Frou did not enjoy it, though, being much more of a town mouse. She spent a lot of time in bed or being cuddled.

Despite the weather, we all had a great time, often drinking cider and playing card and board games.  Lots of fun and laughter to be had.

The Air Show.

video

In contrast to many things that our town fails at, this year's air show was amazing.  I was filming blind most of the time, just pointing the camera and hoping to catch something.  I hope it conveys some of the excitement.  Here are a few photos that I took:

The Red Arrows



A seal that came to see what the fuss was about.  These are a rare site here.


Some geek enjoying a beer during a break.


Replica World War 1 planes.



A display team using home made planes.


The woman in this plane made lots of hearts stop...


The last Vulcan bomber.


Eurojet Fighter.  This was incredibly loud.  When the afterburners kicked in it felt like someone was thumping you in the chest.


(Just saw on the news that there has been a fatal crash at another air show, with a jet crashing onto a busy road, killing several people.  The second that I know of this year in England.  As you will probably have worked out, I got a great view of this show, on a long jetty that runs into the sea, where the planes were performing.  At the time, I joked with another spectator that although we had a great view, if anything went wrong we would be toast.  It seemed like a joke at the time, but is a bit too close to the truth now.)



Our younger daughter is learning to drive.  Mrs RC and I do not drive, so we were expecting our kids to have trouble learning to drive, but she is doing great and loving it.  As some have said, she has not watched us driving badly so is starting from a clean sheet, probably making it easier for her to learn to do it properly.

Finally, our younger son has just got the results of his exams (he is 16).  I had to be restrained on FB, but here I will totally brag that he got the best results in the entire school.  Proud?  You bet!  He drove some of his teachers a bit nuts because he does not stress about his work and does not seem to try very hard either.  He just knows what works for him.  And he is, of course, very very clever!

We had a meal out today to celebrate and he is now spending the afternoon at the beach with this friends.  A great kid.

PS a load of the fish eggs hatched. We now have several hundred babies, some in a tank indoors, some in a small pond in the garden, so the big fish will not eat them.  They are growing, but still tiny, have not managed to get any good pics yet.  More on these as they develop.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Summer Part 2

So, the rest of the summer hols kick in tonight. 


Off for 2 weeks! 


Woo hoo!


We will be taking in the usual spot of camping at our usual place.   We are nothing if not predictable, but we really love going back to the same site and village each year, it is like having a holiday home on the cheap.


The rest of the time will be around our home town, a few days out, a few lunch dates for Mrs RC and myself, a few dog walks together etc.  Oh, my birthday also falls in this break (totally planned, working on my birthday is gains my religion).


Oh, before I go, more animal related news.  You might remember our fish, Lonesome George, Toffee Penny and Nemo?  Well Nemo and Toffee Penny have started to lay eggs and it looks like George is actually a male and is doing what comes naturally is such a situation.  Mrs RC has collected some of the eggs to see if they hatch.  Any that hatch in the pond are likely to get eaten, so we might end up with a second pond for a while....


I will be dropping in here from time to time, hopefully posting a few photos.  In the mean time, have a great summer!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Animals

A while back, Mrs RC made a nest box for a pair of doves that were extremely bad at nest building.
The box worked, the doves moved in and here are the babies they had!


The adults have now rebuilt the nest and seem intent on having more babies before the summer ends...


When we found this in the garden I thought it was some sort of snake at first.  Turns out to be the caterpillar of a Giant Hawk Moth.



Having looked it up we decided that my mum has the ideal plants in her garden both for the caterpillar and the moth when it hatches.  We wish him well!


Bees and butterflies also seem to like our garden.





 On my ride to work this morning I passed this.  The road is supposed to be closed for repairs, but at least one vehicle came this way last night.


There are a lot of people who just will not get rid of their junk properly and just dump it.  Some call them animals, but I don't think that this term is at all appropriate, do you?


Monday, 3 August 2015

Summer Part 1

Back to things after a week's break, mainly at home.


Not a very restful week, but still great fun, including going to a niece's wedding in the village that Mrs RC grew up in.  We had a family stroll through the village while being regaled with childhood memories, including admiring the tight bend on the road where Mrs RC's mum once fell out of the car and had to run along the road to catch up.


On Friday, Mrs RC and I also snuck out for a meal together, just the two of us.  A problem with the rabbits (two of them have started fighting each other, so have had to be separated) meant that we could not go far, so we headed to the sea front, wandered along hand in hand until we found the place that we wanted and then grabbed a table.


We had a drink each and a plate of ribs and stuff each and just sat and chatted about whatever subject came to us.  It was really nice.  We love having our kids around, and family meals are a big thing for us, but just sneaking in the odd few hours with just the two of us is very relaxing and good for us.  I guess that, as the kids grow older we will be getting more time like this, so why not get in some practice  :-)


Oh, one more thing before I go.  The council have given me an early birthday present.  Most of the road between home and work is closed for pot hole repairs.  I continue to use it, of course, so this week is going to be great for cycling.  After that I am on holiday for another 2 weeks, including a spot of camping and my birthday.  In addition the good weather seems to have returned, so everything is looking rosy right now!


Back soon with photos of the latest creepy-crawly to appear in our garden...



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...