Maisy Top Photos



She’s spent most of the afternoon sleeping under the stairs, but hey, she’s a cat.

We don’t know much about her history, as she was “discovered” and handed in to a vet, and was then passed on to TVAW. They estimate that she’s about 18 months old, and they think that she’s probably been spayed, but they can’t be certain. Bernard took an instant shine to her, and vice versa.




DIY Gaming Gardening IAMOWIM Music Gear Parenting

What have I been up to lately?

Not blogging, that’s for sure.


I’ve got a couple of new toys, a Squier Vintage Modified fretless Jazz Bass, and a Zoom H2, which is a nifty little recording device that contains 4 internal microphones and records WAV and MP3 files to SD cards in startlingly good quality. It’s loaded with bells and whistles and is just what I’ve been looking for all these years. I’ve also restrung my acoustic guitar and have purchased a set of strings for my Epiphone SG. This happens quite infrequently. I’ve also got my guitars up on wall hangers these days, which means that I have to spend less time picking them up off of the floor and retuning them.


I have a new Krups coffee machine, the XP4020 ((the Krups website is antler-scratchingly bad, so I refuse to link to it)). I’m getting superb espresso out of it but it’s still taking some time to get used to. The grounds are very wet after use (which is supposedly due to the grounds not being tamped down hard enough, but I’ve tried a range of forces between featherly and elephantine and it’s making no difference) and I can’t get a decent foam on my milk. It will come in time, I’m sure. I’m really appreciating how much more quickly I can make a good cup of coffee these days. With the old machine I’d spend a fair amount of time waiting, but now I can do the whole process with no wasted time.


Haven’t been doing much of this, though on a couple of occasions lately the three of us have cycled round to some nearby brambles and gathered up kilos of blackberries. That’s damn good fun.

Playing Tomb Raider 2

As mentioned recently. Ah, they don’t make them like they used to. I’m playing in little bursts, half an hour or so every other day, and I’m currently a short way into the 40 Fathoms level.

Watching CSI, 3rd Rock From The Sun and Sapphire and Steel

Thanks to Mr Hg for the latter. We’re currently half way through season 5 of CSI, and we’re working our way through them at a rate of approximately one season every month. I think that we’ve seen most of seasons 6 and 7 already but we’ll enjoy re-watching them, and we’re definitely looking forward to season 8 which we haven’t yet seen. And I’m watching 3rd Rock in order too – I’ve just started season 4 and I think that for the most part I haven’t seen any episodes in seasons 4 to 6.


I’ve actually been reading more recently, getting through about a book per week. It’s not the most readious period of my life to date, but it’s definitely well above average.


Wandering around parks and playgrounds, taking photos of things and sharing mischievous smiles with Bernard. His language development is currently at a stage which I would describe as “explosive” with new words being added to his vocabulary daily. I’ve also organised all my photos from the last few weeks, so there will be a photo-based post on this site every evening for the next week.

Gardening and DIY

A little of this, but not too much. The occasional carefully-chosen task, selected for optimal benefit:time ratio. That said, the garden and allotment are both in reasonable condition. So it must be a case of working smarter, not harder.

Contemplating felines

We’re pretty much decided on this one, actually. We’re intending to go round to the rescue shelter tomorrow to see who is around. All three of us are cat lovers, so we’re unanimous on this one.

Complaining about my wrist

10 days ago I woke up with a very sore wrist. I wore a support bandage quite a lot over the next few days. People would put on concerned faces and ask me what happened, and I had to sheepishly respond that actually I just slept on it a bit funny. Karen thought that it was RSI from all the Tomb Raider I’ve been playing. After 5 days, it was not getting better. As an experiment, I took the bandage off, and kept it off. It’s been getting better ever since. I’ve decided to attribute the persistence of the discomfort to muscle atrophy, and what the injury needed was not rest, but exercise.

Top Photos

Cotton Wool

cotton wool


Daily links for 2008-08-19

  • “If I would ask you in response to the same question how fast the American forces can leave Iraq, for example, the answer would be as soon as we have guarantees for peace and security there,” Kosachev said. “The same answer would be toward this situation.” – Heheheheh.

Dailies for 2008-08-13

  • “Sadly, one in three heart attack victims die before they reach hospital. Many people don’t recognise the signs and fail to take the steps that may have saved their life or the life of a loved one.”

This tomb shall remain unraided

Today I had the urge to replay Tomb Raider 2. So this evening, after Karen had gone to bed, I dug it out and plugged it in.

It’s a PlayStation game, and I now have a PlayStation 2. This is relevant information.

I got to the main menu and got an error message saying “there’s no memory card in”. Fine, I murmured, you don’t like PS2 memory cards. I can cope with that.

So I dug out my old PlayStation memory cards and went through them (switch off, change memory card, switch on again, load up the browser) until I found one with a bit of space on it. Soon, we’re up and running. Memory card is recognised – it’s all good.

I got near to the rolling-ball sequence ((a few minutes into the first level)) and decided that now was probably a good time to save my game. I brought up the menu, selected the save option, and the game now told me “there’s no memory card in”.

I growled a bit. I played on for a few minutes, but when I was eventually crushed in the room with the spiked walls that close in on you, I turned the thing off in disgust. Too much like hard work.

And the controls were even worse than I remembered.

(UPDATE: the solution, on this occasion, is to get hold of a copy of Tomb Raider 2 for the PC, which even my computer, with its absence of 3D graphics card, can handle. Lara is slightly more enjoyable to control with the keyboard, and the graphics look a bit better).



Last night was my turn to put Bernard to bed. After reading him his stories, I tucked him up in bed and sat down to read mine.

This is a process that takes at least an hour. Initially. he’ll spend a few minutes doing some dances in bed. Then he’ll lie there for a while. Then he’ll request mama’s presence. Then he’ll ask for some water. Then he’ll throw his duvet out of bed. Then he’ll twist and squirm for a while. And eventually he’ll get out of bed, come over, and lie down on top of me.

There was a moment last night when he was lying on his back on my chest, the side of his face pressed against mine, counting occurrences of the letter C on the page that I was reading. For those few minutes, I had a sensation of unreality, like I’d been transported into someone else’s world. If life is a rollercoaster ((just gotta ride it (all night long) )), then the carriage had briefly lost contact with the tracks. It struck me with a great force that this is my son, his face pressed against mine. That he has grown so much already, and will continue to grow so much more. That he adores and admires me, and that I adore and admire him.

Yesterday we flew a kite. Bernard wanted to hold the handle, and I wanted him to as well. Yeah, he let go of it and the kite went soaring across the field and into the allotments from where it had to be rescued by Karen. Doesn’t matter. Sure, next time I’ll be a bit smarter and I’ll have some secondary anchoring system as a fallback. But for those few seconds he was feeling the pull of the kite up in the sky for the first time, and there was no way that I was going to deny him that.

(The strong winds meant that my hands took a couple of minor injuries whilst being battered about by the chunky handle. The thumb on my left hand is still a little sore, and still bears a small scab. Occasionally Bernard will ask to see “daddy bump kite” and has a look at my scab)

Meander Useful Information

Systematic use of a diary

At the end of May I received my new Moleskine diary. It runs from July 2008 to the end of December 2009. Here’s an image that I used back then:

Moleskine Unboxing 07

Look at those red fingers. Either I had sunburn, or I’m crap with photo editing software.

As you can see, the left hand page is divided horizontally into seven sections. The top one is basically unallocated, the next five are Monday to Friday, and the last one is divided vertically for Saturday and Sunday. The right hand page is narrowly ruled.

I’ve adopted the following system.

I use the top section of the left hand page for all-week reminders. For instance, if I’m on holiday that week, then I write it in there.

I then use the other sections on that page for appointments and tasks that need to be done on a certain day. I also use it to keep records of things like important letters sent or major purchases made on that day.

On the right hand page, I keep a todo list for non-urgent tasks. I start from the bottom of the page and work my way up. To the left of each item is a space for a tick (when the task is completed), cross (if the task is no longer necessary) or an arrow (if the task remains unfinished at the end of the week and needs carrying forward to the next week).

The space at the top of the right-hand page is then free for general notes and ideas.

This system is working out really well for me. Maybe you can use it as the basis for your own system! Oh, the pleasure!


Daily links for 2008-08-06

  • “His shoulders slumped, all his bravado and swagger draining onto the kerb by his feet. The weapon on the floor in front of him, his opponent sliding forwards to check it out, sniffing over it, securing it under his toe. He looks up at the lad and growls, stares him down.”
  • Crikey.