Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas comes but twice a year...

When you stay away from home and have to leave gifts at home it happens twice a year... This morning we've just opened the "rest" of Christmas... hmm I could have a reputation that I am unaware of... 4 bottles of red wine, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bottle of Glenfiddich... a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!

Wonderful gifts from South Africa - thank you James, Michelle, Josie and Sophie... the picture panel is fantastic, as I type Elspeth is making and doing with the plethora of items that fell from her parcel - ah peace... well almost... :-)
Gifts from the non-Cox branch of the family [no criticism], and friends - they are all wonderful- thanks, Jemima will not be separated from her spotty tea set.

One of the best things has to be Jemima's huge bag which houses all of her gifts - when she delves in with both hands it is almost as if it's swallowing her...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

More visiting relatives on Boxing Day... my cousin Joy her husband and children John, Tara and Ryan were over from Amsterdam and had rented a cottage with Auntie Pam and Uncle Brian near to Poole Quay... a short walk [despite E's sickness] to shell hunt on the "beach"...

We must visit Amsterdam...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

A first for the family... Christmas away from "home".. for the 25th "home" was the cottage, we'd left some presents at home as we'd brought those for the Cox side of the family with us to exchange at the wedding. We'd also left the stockings at home and so some emergency Father Christmas duties saw Sarah dash into Asda on Christmas Eve to brave the thonging masses to pick up a few items... just a few - enough to stuff into her thick socks to put by the fire...

Jemima and Elspeth both got wonderful hats from Stuart and Anna [made by Mary, Anna's sister-in-law].

Christmas Day was cut short for the two girls at about mid day, both girls flaking out on the sofa and sleeping soundly... unfortunately they both subsequently were quite ill over the following days...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

A wonderful Christmas Eve meal courtesy of the kindness and generosity of Anna's parents Chris and Cinny at Poole Yacht Club. Anna's brother David and his wife [the talented seamstress, Mary -see Christmas Day hats] Anna's Aunt Pat, Louisa and Louis, and Mum were all present with the two girls and of course the happy couple [they were to set off to some boring 2 week holiday in Tanzania and Zanzibar on the 27th]...

Fantastic company, fantastic views over the bay and decent food... Thanks to Chris and Cinny for their generosity.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Wedding of the Year?

Stu (uncle Pid) and Anna got married on the 22nd December 2007, Elspeth was a flower girl - for weeks before we had the "I don't want to be a flower girl" outbursts, which were, to be fair, spaced between an equal number of "I want to be a flower girl" statements...

The day was fantastic, as the wedding was in Poole it necessitated a trip down on the 21st and a night in a Travelodge - pages could be written on this experience - perhaps for some cathartic psychological review in the future- then a week in a cottage in what felt like the back end of nowhere...

[Not entirely sure why the pic of the flower girl is sideways....]

The wedding was fantastic, the bride and groom looked so relaxed, and the venue was fantastic... from the lit grotto into the Romanesque gardens with statues and reflecting pool to the Jazz duo welcoming guests [oh and the mulled wine and almond cake]... and the food - superb.... then dancing the night away... retiring at midnight with Jemima sleeping...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nearly there...

The kitchen progresses like a slug navigating a pavement spread with salt... to do: tiling the splash backs, [re]painting the walls [to remedy Jemimas "modifications" to the original], painting the woodwork...

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's been a while

It's been ages.... what has happened? Well... Elspeth has started school, although not without a few tears...

What has happened???

Elspeth has started school, the extension is finished [well almost - some painting and tiling to finish off] James came for a flying visit this weekend, which was actually a very lazy weekend with some PS3 and watching Star Wars Episode III on Saturday night. Saturday saw me pull on a pair of football boots and play 11 a side for the first time in a while... ouch... and a 5-0 trouncing from a team of 18-20 year olds from Liverpool, youth won out... the mind was willing, the legs don't go as fast as they used to...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Catch Up

Various pictures... South Africa and others... these are from the bookshop "A is for Apple" which does table cloths to draw on in the coffee shop....

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Men and Aerobics and Men and Walking Poles

Seriously, have you ever tried walking with poles [N.B. not Poles], well if you've ever seen men at aerobics, the result is pretty much the same... who'd have thought co-ordination of right arm left leg and vice versa was so problematic....

Men and Aerobics and Men and Walking Poles

Seriously, have you ever tried walking with poles [N.B. not Poles], well if you've ever seen men at aerobics, the result is pretty much the same... who'd have thought co-ordination of right arm left leg and vice versa was so problematic....

Three Peaks

Foolishly [?] I volunteered to do the three peaks, a six month training schedule duly arrived, 5 weeks ago, in the full knowledge that the event takes place on 7-9 September 2007!!! Sore and wet I have arrived back after a mini expedition of 16km in the Hope Valley... the result is that I need:
a) insoles for my boots
b) to take at least 3l of water with me on each climb
c) two pairs of socks worn on each climb
d) Compeed plasters to be bought....

sponsor me???

there might be photos posted..

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


We've been to Alnwick and Dundee, fab time had by all pics will be downloaded when I get a chance...

Extension Hell

welcome to my idea of hell... waiting at home for Ikea to deliver the parts of the kitchen in stock... other pieces are out of stock and will need to be collected on another occasion!!! The delivery service is oh so helpful, as long as you can think of nothing better to do between the hours of 10 am and 10pm... what's worse is that we are mid extension, AND when they affixed the flashing to the new roof I think they took an angle grinder to cut the groove for the flashin in the existing wall and bisected the TV aerial... might have to watch Heros online tonight.. assuming the the kitchen doesn't arrive half way through!!!! Anyway I attach photos... dust not included! you'll have to image the permanent feeling of a veneer of fine dust particles on everything and that skin that forms on your cuppa... oh yes until the plumber arrives there's no water downstairs either......
and that's not mentioning the fact I had to empty the contents of the old kitchen cabinets on Monday evening and just shove them in the dining room, leaving space for the new kitchen cabinets...
would I rather be at work???? guess....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Oops it's been a while...

Confession: It has been a while since my last blog... I have sought to back date some posts to the relevant dates... old bloggers don't die they just fade away...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

London bound 7th June

The day in London for Elspeth's birthday started with the old railway hazard, a delayed train. Still it enabled us to sample the delights of "Pumpkin" the exhorbitantly priced and thoroughly naff on platform cafe... better going to the Costa stand.

The journey down was quick and efficient, there's a story behind the tickets on GNER... the travel experience has changed since the days of one rail provider and before the likes of Easy Jet or Ryan Air came on the scene in terms of air travel. Since when has single tickets been cheaper than returns?? Firstly trying to check train times on the GNER web site is a pain as you have to register to get the information.

Trying to book tickets on the GNER website the returns were £42.30 each "advance apex" booking, that's the other thing there are about 12 different kinds of ticket depending on how far in advance you book, whether you want a transferrable ticket, an open return... so many conplications, I JUST WANT A TRAIN TICKET TO LONDON...

Rant over.... return [well 6 single tickets] to London came in at just over £62.

Kings Cross is a great hub, straight onto the Picadilly line to South Kensington and walking down the tunnel to the Science Museum. Both Sarah and I hadn't been for at least 20 years... it'd be a shame if it was still the same, fortunately we were not disappointed, the interactive displays were excellent, we wandered around the ground floor and Elspeth was taken by the rockets and the astronauts - "we must email Nasa again daddy" [i.e. You must get NASA and shake them until they answer my email...]

But Bob the Builder was the main attraction, an interactive experience for the children, Bob, Wendy and Spud all present to engage the children in building a numbered path, recycling a fallen tree into stepping stones, rebuilding a wall and mending some guttering, rather than paying the child labour the labour had to pay £6 each for the event, as did their accompanying parent...

After Bob we popped on the tube to see Big Ben, Elspeth appreciates that Big Ben is the bell in the Tower at the Houses of Parliament, but I think that is all she really wanted to do on Thursday, see Big Ben. We wandered over Westminster Bridge and walked with the throngs of people on the South Bank to have tea at Wagamama. After Wagamama one of the best walks in London, to the Tate Modern, over the Millenium Bridge around past St Pauls to Blackfriars, tube to Kings Cross Thames Link and a short walk to Kings Cross for the return journey.

Both girls were wide awake on the journey back and gave much entertainment to a friendly couple from Newark, Jemima in excellent form bouldering over things as if they were mere steps, clambering over the table was a favourite, standing on the table looking out of the window another.... as a consequence they were both wide awake on arrival back in Doncaster at around 9.20pm so we went for a drive out to the A1, down to the M18 and off at junction 4 to go home... both in bed and asleep by 10.15.. parents in bed much later as the preparations for the Peter Pan and Tinkerbell party on Saturday were not yet completed.... knackered.. good simple journey though.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Do blogs ever die?

I suppose this one has come close a few times, yet again I am resurrecting posting after a delay. Apologies to all thos awaiting South Africa pictures, it's been 8 weeks since our return and I haven't even printed any yet, it will happen although I cannot guarantee when.

Since the last post

1) the behemoth that was blocking our hallway has gone, ebayed, although despite 6 people watching the anticipated last 10 minute bidding war never materialised and the runner was bought by a seasoned ebay trader for the princely bargain of just £350, considering it retails at £850 I was a little disappointed, still we now have our hallway back.

2) Chris completed the London Marathon in just over 4 1/2 hours- congratulations

3) I walked on hot coals for charity, whilst it may sound a great event, the torture of 26 miles plus would be far greater

4) My Dad got married on Saturday 12 May some pics above

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Alas, we are the pox household too

Poor Jemima and Elspeth are spotty muldoons, waking this morning with the pox.. still better to get it out of the way now before they both start school and bring home some really nasty germs...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Thanks to James and Michelle, Josie and Sophie for a fantastic poetry book for my birthday. Poetry at school was always formulaic and frankly boring, whilst the unflappable Mr Wex tried to enthuse us, it just wasn't going to happen... Anyway the book, if you can get your hands on a copy, is Selected Poems of Don Maclennan.

The imagery is fantastic, it's amazing how so few words can say so much. I hadn't before truly appreciated the catharsis of [or in?] poetry, this is a great new experience, re-awakening, reinvigorating an eye opener.
Get it and read it...
thought provoking...
Letter in a bottle
When death takes me
I'll be in no mood to recount
the way I saw things
or work out my account
All I've ever wanted to make -
a few clean statements
on love and death,
things you cannot fake

Sunday, March 18, 2007

From here to there and back again

Well here is where I'll [eventually] blog and upload our South African photos and experiences... some notes for me to go on with... pics above, just to prove we were there... penguin at Boulders Beach and Table Mountain

We were welcomed akin to returning family members by our Southern Hemisphere returnees James and Michelle Adlard and their daughters Josie [nearly 4] and Sophie [almost 2]. Their new house is L shaped and boasts large family rooms and a pool. James has designs on some revamping and renovation which will make the home even more comfortable.

Driving and speed cameras...
South African speed cameras are cunningly placed in shade, underneath motorway bridges or behind bushes, and they're painted green, so best to keep to the speed limits [or follow the locals speed as a guide]. Lane discipline, speed restrictions and the majority of drivers in South Africa appear to be strangers... All those hours spent on the x-box or playstation on driving games may come in handy for longer term trips to SA.

M&S exists in South Africa as Woolworths, at least the food is packaged and presented identically save for the name change on all of the packs. In restuarants the food is very reasonable and generally very good [if not the service]. The portions are American-esque and delicious, recommendations - for sea food and sushi "Ocean Basket" for wine [see separate entry] and steak nothing has bettered the delicious steaks that James and I enjoyed at Fairview Estates [].

Well there is wine aplenty, for those not overseas as a comparison Arniston Bay, which retails at around £4.59 in your local supermarket costs around £1.70 in the local spa. One of the most enjoyable days was spent at Fairview Estates, their wine and cheese were excellent, I was all for driving back for another taster of the wine and food [especially aforementioned steak] but somehow it didn't fit the schedule... still this'll be a place we most definitely head for the next time we visit these shores.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


South Africa, frankly I cannot ever recall being so excited about a holiday ever!! It's a mad rush to cram the work in and get the files off my desk before 5 pm on Wednesday!! I rarely take 2 weeks, in fact the last time was between jobs so there was not a thought of my desk collapsing due to the work piled on it.... still I guess that thought'll be expelled until about 17th March....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hot foot

Well I have finally tipped the scale between insanity and sanity [I think]... maybe it was the impending thought of turning 34... Last week I volunteered for a "hazardous" challenge... a fire walk. All in a good cause.... Sheffield Burns Unit... no the charity is a worthwhile one . Who have an objective of raising funds for three 3D brain scanners for Sheffield Hospitals.
Before the present fundraising co-ordinator took over the charity raised about £25,000 per year, these scanners cost £150,000 each!! You can see the mountain ahead...
The firewalk is being organised by who only do this kind of thing, looking at the website I see a glass walk and other things.
The only worrying element is that I MUST attend the seminar beforehand... oh, yes the seminar title... "Learn or Burn"....
sponsor me please..... contact me to pledge

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

When I grow up

The other day Elspeth restated her desire to be an astronaut, she wants to go to space and do experiments [?] We have emailed NASA to see what they require of their astronauts [without response as yet]. On her way back to earth from space, Elspeth wants to go diving and climbing and parachute jumping... perhaps another adrenaline junkie... Space flight must be the ultimate adrenaline kick.... Elspeth can tell me when she's older and driving me around in her red sports car.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Testing times

Jemima and Elspeth are testing their parents as only infants and babies can. Elspeth's new word appears to be "No" and it appears that she is attempting to break the world record for the most recitations in a small time span... annoying - I should say so!
Jemima is a crawling scaling machine, anything and everything within 15 inches of ground level is fair game, we never needed cupboard guards or stair gates with Elspeth, although I'm sure that she thought she could scale stairs, root around in cupboards and base jump of beds and tables she never tried once she was told once in a stern but friendly tone "No". Elspeth was content to sit or shuffle around on her bottom chatting to herself or playing with her toys.... ummm maybe "No" is coming back to haunt me.
Jemima, seeming to have not a care for her own personal safety, keeps trying - personally I thing she's an adrenaline junkie. When told by either myself or Sarah "No", she simply turns and smiles at us and then shakes her head... occasionally supplementing the head shake blowing a raspberry.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Jemima scales the heights

It's official Jemima can climb the stairs. Following Elspeth catapulting down the stair we removed the stair gates, looks like we'll be looking for alternatives... perhaps bungee cord... the travel cot as means of incarceration

Open plan back garden

Following the tremendous winds of the last few weeks we now have an "open plan" back garden. It must be quite distressing for the [obviously] keen gardeners who live back to back with us as our unkempt dishevelled lawn is now exposed for them to see.

FORTUNATELY we had already discussed with the neighbour replacing the rather dilapidated fence, we had thought we'd do it in the Spring when we get the deck sorted out for the back, looks like we'll be going it in the next few weeks.

[photo to follow]

Why is it when you think you've got everything sorted then something comes along to scupper your plans?

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's been a while

It's been a while since blogging, so much has happened.... New Year's Eve at Grandad and Heather's new house in Cookley, very pleasant little spot and a great house. Elspeth enjoyed the novelty of a bed with no legs [as ever when you move things go astray... "I've put them somewhere safe..."] although the novelty of the bed was not so great that sleep was preferable to seeing the New Year in with games and food with the adults.

Jemima was restless and so she joined us on the bed, when Elspeth decided she wanted to come in too I resorted to camping... Elspeth and I got the sleeping bags and camped on the floor whilst Sarah snatched whatever sleep she could with Jemima.