Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Life begins at 40!

Ok, so the inevitable has happened at last. Today's the day. I'm 40!
As for "Life beginning at 40" I guess I shall have to wait that one out and see, however today has been a pretty normal day workwise, actually I've been so busy at work I've barely had the chance to reflect on this special day. Managed to get out on time and then home to meet Barnaby and Carl and then off out for a treat to a local restaurant in Bloomsbury.
Had a lovely meal of muscels in pernod butter, and a wondeful beef bourgignon followed by a very rich chocolate mousse.
Now I'm officially middle aged, I guess it's about time I ........... (Bugger that thought, I'm only as old as I feel, and I still feel like a teenager!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Oh no! Not the slippers!

Wizard of Oz ruby slippers stolen

A pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz have been stolen from a museum in Minnesota.

The pair, insured for $1m (£560,000), is one of four sets used in the film.

The slippers were taken at the weekend when a thief entered the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids through a window and broke into a display case.

As Dorothy in the 1939 movie, Garland wore the slippers as she clicked her heels and thought to herself: "There's no place like home."

Police Chief Leigh Serfling said: "There's not a whole lot of evidence. We're hoping that someone in the community has seen something."

'Major attraction'

The Judy Garland Museum had the slippers on loan from their owner, a Los Angeles man, for several weeks.

The museum is part of the Children's Discovery Museum in Grand Rapids, where Garland was born in 1922.

Museum director John Kelsch said the slippers were a "major attraction".

"It is our hope that the slippers can be recovered immediately," he said.

Another pair of ruby slippers was sold at auction for $666,000 (£412,000) in 2000.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Another addiction!

Wow, if you thought Flickr was an addictive website, then I reckon this one I have discovered today will complement it, especially for vlogging. YouTube does for video what Flickr did for photos. And it makes it so much easier to put the vid in your blog. Now that I have found something a little easier to use, then I will no doubt get out with my digicam on a more regular basis. At last I have managed to get a rough edit from the recent camping holiday and uploaded some footage retrospectively. Keep watching this space, this blog is about to become more exciting!

Bank Holiday weekend - Let's have some fun!

Friday, August 26, 2005


At last, an evening with no rain. So on our third attempt this week, Barnaby and I made it to Dreamspace. Helen came along as well and we paid up and went in. This is one huge bouncy castle type thing that you can walk around inside the inflated area.
Lots of interlinking pods, coloured PVC making an amazing light filled space. Totally magical. Only on until Monday 29th August, at Potters Field, the park area adjacent to City Hall, by Tower Bridge, so get your skates on and get down there before the bank holiday weekend is out. As usual, click the pic above for a link to the other 45 photos inside this amazing and totally transfixing thing.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Summer Garden Party

A very pleasant afternoon spent with the neighbours in the communal garden. The garden has been here now for nearly 3 years and is maturing nicely. Good to catch up with the neighbours over a glass of wine, some idle chit chat and banter with people I've not really had a good chat with for ages.
What makes it all the more pleasant is that since it used to be a tarmacced area, the new planting and structures (including the stained glass window I made for the garden hut) have all matured nicely, making this a wonderful spacious but private area, right in the middle of Covent Garden, overlooked but a few flats, but not so overlooked that you'd feel you were being watched.
In fact, now that it's matured to the point of not looking so spartan and new, (and the fact that my wifi is accessable down there) I have promised myself that I really will take the opportunity to get down there more often and make the most of it. Pity now that the end of summer is in site, but I really will be down there, at least once a week for some nice 'me' time with the plants and the fresh air.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Home again.

Our final morning and the sun was streaming in from the start of the day. As hoped, we would not be having to pack up in the rain, there's nothing worse than trying to pack up a wet tent, especially as I have nowhere at home where I can possibly open it up to dry out.
A final breakfast of bacon rolls and then we started the packing. It didn't take half as long as it did setting up and we were on our way by 10:30.
A quick run down the motorway with one brief stop for a pee then back into Covent Garden. I remembered for once to set my trip meter before we left and found the journey to be exactly 160 miles. Barnaby gave me a hand to unload, which was very helpful seeing as how the scaffolders blocked any local parking. I'm sure I'll be seeing more of scaffolders and builders between now and Christmas as they do the cyclical works on the building.
Dropped Barnaby back home then came back and started on a mountain of laundry and cleaning. At last, there is a pic as promised. As usual you may click on it for a full set of the camping pics.
I'm knackered now, so off to bed soon.

Late addition @ August 28th. At last I have managed to get online for your enjoyment a rough edit of the video we took.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Day Two.

Our second and final day (It's a very short holiday) started off with a hot sun streaming into the tent, a big difference to how yesterday started off. Breakfast, ablutions etc. done and off we set to visit Puzzle Wood.
We arrived 40 minutes too early so we set off for a little drive to pass the time until it opened. Our drive took us nowhere in particular except through a small village named 'Sling' which conjured up some odd images of a place that elderly hirsute men with taches and leather caps go to retire!
Back to Puzzle Wood and after a 5 minute wait too elderly ladies arrived to open up. Despite being told where to park, where not to park, where we could not have a picnic and which way round to park our car on the grass, passing all manner of negative signage telling us what not to do, we eventually made it into the woods. This is an area of open cast iron ore mining from years gone by, where fires where made to crack open the limestone and release the ore. This has left a maze of little pathways, towers of rock and little hideaway points which has since grown over with moss and lichens, making it a most magical place. Almost expected little pixies and fairies to pop out at any moment. We passed the same points several times, got muddy, got hot and sweaty and eventually after an hour or so we found our way out again. Stopped for a coffee and cake in the tearooms then on to our next place where we had planned on visiting Ross on Wye.
On the way I decided we would have plenty of time to visit Raglan Castle, although Barnaby had said that he wasn't a great fan of castles we had time to go. It turns out that Barnaby thought it to be one of the highlights of our trip. Raglan is one of those places that has enough mix of ruins and complete buildings to make it a very intereting place indeed. Climbing to the top of one of the towers we could see for miles and get some great photos of the surrounding area.
Having done Raglan, it was time to hit the A40 and continue north, dropping into Weston's Cider at Much Marcle for a quick visit, however the earlier tour had obviously just finished and the shop was so full of people sampling that we left without buying anything unfortunatly.
On next to Ross on Wye. Nothing much here, although it was a very picturesque place. We decided that as the weather was still very good we would have another BBQ this evening rather than get some pub grub as planned. We found a nice little friendly butchers and a fabulous delicatessen then headed back to the campsite for the last time.
A relaxed evening, red sky at night means we won't be having to pack up a wet tent in the morning hopefully and as a nice treat to end our holiday a Virgin sponsored hot air balloon floated silently over the campsite.
Soon time for bed then up and away in the morning.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The first full day.

As I woke this morning, the first thing I could see and hear was the rain, forming little shadows on the outside of the outer flysheet. However it soon stopped and we decided over breakfast that today we would do the canoeing we had come to do.
We checked down with Chris at the Symonds Yat Canoe Centre and arranged to go for the afternoon trip.
We had a couple of hours to spare so headed off to Coleford to visit Clearview Caves, an ancient underground iron mine. Quite an atmosphere down there. No guide us such, just sort of amble through at your own leisure and read the rather tatty notecards!
The caves took all of 45 mins to do and we were soon outside again. A quick trip into Monmouth for some provisions then back to Doward Park to drop things off in the coolbox before heading off for our canoe run.
We got ourselves togged up in life jackets and onto a mini bus with several other groups and were taken to Kerne Bridge about a 10 minute drive away. We then set off on an 8 mile steady row back to the canoe centre. We had a few wobbly moments when we hit a bank and Barnaby almost had his head severed by various overhanging branches. We stopped part way down and I promptly half fell out the boat and got sopping wet. Good job the weather had turned round and I dried out soon enough. It was great to get to some of the calmer points of the river, such as below Yat Rock where we had been looking down from yesterday. Barnaby has promised to blog about the fimily singing troupe that sailed past us. We were soon back and finished, and totally knackered. Another BBQ, a few Jack Daniels and then it will soon be time for bed. I have decided after last nights problems of trying to attach a pic to the blog that it's not worth the touble so I shall link to them all when I am back home again.
Tomorrow we plan on doing Puzzle Wood and possibly go and have a look around Ross on Wye.