Category Archives: Home

A break in the weather

You may have heard in the news that we’re suffering from some bad weather and flooding here in the UK. Pretty much the worst on record. Much of England has been hit, but we’ve been really fortunate that, although we live within spitting distance of the Thames, it still hasn’t broken the banks where we are.

We are on a high state of alert, though, and we’ve taken the precautions that make sense. We’ve moved a lot of things upstairs, wrapped the leg of the piano in plastic, sent the cat to visit “grandma”.

Naturally we’ve been following the weather closely. It’s really highlighted how little this is a science. Here, for example is what the 5 day forecast for London on the BBC looked like yesterday afternoon:


And what it looked like this morning:


It changes hourly, basically. When I looked at it last night the sudden change in forecast was actually far more dramatic. The image above was almost entirely little pictures of the sun for the rest of the week (we have sunshine right now in the UK). Then a few hours later, the cloud was back with that one drop of rain on Thursday.

Anyway, you can’t trust the forecast. But that doesn’t stop it from making you feel better.

London Bikeathon 2007

We’ve signed up for the London Bikeathon on the 15th of July. This is a fun jaunt through the City of London, starting out in Chelsea. Maddie’s been great on the various rides we’ve taken along the towpath so we think she’ll enjoy it, and we have the flexibility of picking the 13 or 26 mile route on the day, which is great.

If you’re interested in sponsoring us, then feel free. No pressure, though. We’re mostly doing it for the fun.


Blue Tit at home

Blue Tit at home by rbanks.

After a good degree of jelousy over Shannon’s cousin Andrea’s nesting (American) robins I’m pleased to say that we have some ‘pet birds’ of our own.

We’ve seen a grey shape flitting in and out of the sparrow box that I set up in the porch for a number of weeks. We can see this box really clearly through our kitchen window. The birds finally slowed down enough to tell that they are Blue Tits. Tiny little birds. Why Blue Tits would move into a sparrow condominium block I don’t know. Possibly the sparrows don’t like the location, but the Blue Tits are happy with how close they now are to our hanging feeders. Who knows what goes on in the minds of birds?

Gas meter intsallation

So, we’ve just received a letter from British Gas saying they need to change our gas meter. They need us to be home between 8am and 8pm on the scheduled day. Does a requirement of someone being home for 12 hours seem reasonable to you? Particularly when the later half of this cuts straight through dinner time? It doesn’t seem reasonable to me. Surely they can say morning or afternoon?

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs by rbanks.

I guess we’re only a day late, if Sunday is the tradional day for making, hiding and finding eggs. Anyway, we made these today. I decided to blow my three. It took me an hour to blow one, during which I nearly passed out. The other two of mine are therefore hard boiled. All of Shannon’s are hard boiled. She managed to make dinner, have a long conversation with one of her sisters and still do her eggs while I was blowing.

This afternoon we’ll hide them in the garden and subtly point them out to Maddie so she can “find” them.

Finally cycling

Finally cycling by rbanks.

After the biggest pain getting hold of a bike seat that would fit a 16 month old, we finally hit the towpath today, cycling from home up to Penton Hook Lock and back again. A decent amount of distance for a first try, Maddie was totally into it (especially with all the dogs around) and Shannon coped well despite still feeling under the weather. The sun is shining, we had ice cream sitting on a patch of grass, the boats are out and the coots are building their nests. It’s great here.

The changing Thames

Here’s a couple of shots I took at the same point on the edge of the Thames. This is downriver in Staines at the edge of Ashby Lammas park. You can see what a difference a month makes. Fortunately, the river never even came close to breaching the towpath up near our house.