Sunday, 30 August 2009

Posting from Greenbelt - well, I am not telling the truth already. Am in the Esporta Gloucestershire which is only a 15 min drive away, and we have thoroughly used the facilities included in our membership, this is a delightful club which has a swimmnig pool just how I like them - new, clean and big. No veruccae to be spotted bobbing about in the shallows. The girls are on a bouncy castle, thoughtfully provided as there were lots of children around. The Hampshire could learn a thing or two.

Greenbelt has been good so far, in that there has been no daytime rain, so immediately it is a good festival. We have skived off the morning service, which for many is the highlight of the festival. Don't know where they spend the rest of it - cleaning the loos? Anyhow, its long and boring and you have to sit on the grass and smile at nutters in jumpers with teddy bears on them, or wearing a hat only Robin Hood should go out in. Last night I saw 2 men walking around dressed as knights. Would they go out like that at home, I asked? Well, would have done, but they had sharp looking bits on their belts.

Anyhow, the reason for my urgent posting is to tell you the register of the kids in my team, as of course, it is a busmans holiday and I am doing kids work. It reads like a march through the saints and prophets. Joshua, Josiah, Joseph - ok so far, Wilfred, Columba ( boy) and 2 Ronans show a bit of a Celtic twist. Miriam, 2 Ionas (girls) like that name - but great for jokes as in I own a modelled in the Family Twist by the funny Paul Cookson. Then there's a boy goes by the name of Amos, and a girl called Clementine. She was born at Christmas, luckily, or she would have been called Satsuma.

the Family twist is brilliant comedy. Basically its a couple of performers who play impromptu accordian and tell poems, and then kids put their names down to do acts, tell jokes. So we found ourselves singing 'give me oil in my lamp' to the cornet, watching a 6 year old breakdancing to accordian music, and listened to many awful jokes, and a few good ones. They got the accordian guy to play a medley of the A team, Hallelujah chorus and Dr Who. Awesome musician to pull that off.

All you people who I keep telling to come, COME NEXT YEAR! Your kids will love it! If you have a slight tint of the hippie in you, you will love it! Even R loves it and he's not remotely hippie! H and A are sporting tattoos which is just one of those things you have to do at a festival. I haven't seen a drunk person, only seen one person smoking a cigarette, its so polite and friendly and full of the fringes of Christianity. All the speakers ( with exception of Rob Bell) are people you would never of heard of, who are doing the stuff, and there is room here for every shade of christian, except perhaps the fundamentalist, who would be spitting blood and coughing at the fact that Roman Catholics, gay priests and random people dressed as knights are all managing to coexist peacefully with a few MPs, some Swedish death metal group and a couple of little girls with tattoos on their faces. Bless them all!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Another sailing report, mainly for ME who likes hearing how his favourite Swallows or Amazons are getting on. Well, yesterday was a beach day, we went on a trip to Lepe, a lovely setting but not often frequented by us as it is a long way for almost the same as you get at RVCP. Now, I went on the coach, arranged by the Thornhill Community Association, at £2.50 a bum. The other 3 of my family went by boat, and it took them an age to get there due to winds in the wrong direction. The girls were cold but happy on arrival, and we 3 had a great day on the beach. R, meanwhile, had to get back to take a boat to Shaftesbury, so we were perplexed when his distinctive sail bobbed off towards the Isle of Wight. Hours later, he was still flapping around and I was getting worried that he was concussed, but it turned out that there was no wind going the right way, and the Isle of Wight was obstructing the right wind, or indeed any wind, so it took a while to get any in the sails. He should have been singing 'Jesus, be the centre'. He got back to the club at 3, drove to and from Shaftesbury towing a boat, got back at 6.45 in time to race at 7pm, finally returning home at 9.30pm after approx 7 hours on the water. And frankly, he wasn't beaming enough for my liking, but that was the exhaustion, dehydration and other complications.

Today R and I have been gardening, R has finished the bottle edged path, so no more bottles thankyou. I weeded and thinned and similar sundry garden tasks. Also picked some tomatoes! My brother came down last night and is turning into my dad, he brought plums, eggs, apples, redcurrant jelly and more sodding BEETROOT. Heather across the road thinks its Christmas although I insist she is doing me a favour by taking all the produce offf my hands. We have the lovely Angus staying for a few days, he is 3 and great, lots of fun and mostly smiley, apart from when we lose his precious blanket, and it comes to bed time.

Must go, its 11.15pm and R, H and A just in the door from watching Bournemouth go up in smoke. Or the beach fireworks there, a tradition in our family which I had to skip this year due to babysitting nephew duties. But for a good cause, as our new nephew arrived today! Hooray!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Had a read back through last June and niddler is right, I did say negotiate. Sailing report! We went on Tuesday and it was sunny and nice and I did ok, but was in the Topper which I just hate. Mum and dad came down, so H and A were spoilt with rides on the train with flags, and cake and ice creams while R tried to teach me something. Friday, R went out and did whatever he does. Sunday, all 3 of us girls had a go in perfect sunny conditions and I did some great tacks and a gybe which went ok. I steered the whole time we were out. Apart from the bit near the shore which Chris and sarah were watching, were R was trying out some new technique that didn't work. R took A down to the Hamble, and H made it out to the Solent! She was steering some of the time too - now, what kind of confidence does that give you - to be 8 and to be steering a 15ft boat through huge waves. She's not going to struggle with driving a car is she? (Won't be any cars by then). I love the confidence that sailing is giving us all. I am still a fearful wus and panic about the waves, the wash, other boats, the wind, but I am getting better.

We were a 4 boat family, briefly, over the weekend, but are now down to 2, as R sold our Ariel and another Mirror for a friend of his from work. The guy who bought Ariel said the graphics on the side sold it to his 4 year old daughter, who he is teaching to sail in it. So nice to pass it on to another girl who will love it, and we have hardly used it since getting the Cat. Just gutting that R spent hours in the cold in December epoxy resining in his friend's garage and the sale price was the same as we bought it, his hours of work just keeping it at the same level. So, just a Topper called ET and a unnamed cat. We are thinking about 'fat Cat' or 'Cat and Meringue' as names. One quite embarrasing thing was the other day I was looking at a list of race results and said OUT LOUD to R: oh look, their's another guy here who is a member called Rob Bowen, and he has a Sprint. R said - yeah that's me. Almost as bad as when I walked up to a mirror in Next thinking 'I recognise her' and waved at myself. So, a pun on Sprint might work for a name. R is dead keen to do some proper races, getting warmed up for 2012 in Weymouth. This might involve himdriving to other venues around the country and competing against the great and the good in the Sprint world.

Do you know what car I would really like? an Alfa Romeo. When I was little there was a garage down our road with a sticker on it that said Alfa Romeo, so I think it was one of the first words I read. Stuck with me that there sticker.
A has these wristbands which are supposed to stop travel sickness by focusing her ying and yang or ley lines or something, they don't work, nor do Kwells. Anyhow, what I observed is the features on the box. They are from Boots. There are bullet points like:
- quick to work
- do not cause drowsiness
and then this one
- multicoloured.

Multicoloured? What difference does that make? How can that possibly be construed as a benefit of the product. Like, oh, this conversation:

'I walked into Superdrug but theey only had drab grey ones, but in Boots they have MULTICOLOURED ones!'

The bit from Aunty June's to the M6, past Joddrell Bank gets A every time. We must remember not to go that way. Once it was Ribena. That made for a great sick clean up spectacle in a layby, with me hopping around and R cleaning her clothes in a gutter, while a near naked A stands shivering on a grass verge while we find dirty clothes out of the bag in the boot to clothe her for the rest of the journey. The journey home was really bad, but I won't dwell on the M6 when you want to know about my holidays!

Yesterday I was cleaning the car. I do it regularly, once a year, and did a bad job yesterday as I don't have a chamois. Can't bring myself to, as a vegetarian, find them a bit dry. Anyway, thing is, these 3 ladies came past me 'ouse ( thats my northern accent) riding ponies. One of them shouted out ' Can you do mine' refering, I assume, to cleaning her car, and not her horse. I shouted back: Where do you think you are? This isn't Buckinghamshire, you know, this is Thornhill! Take your horses back where they belong!' The only ponies we have ever had walking past before have been pit ponies. No, they have been galloping ones with their nostrils flared in a fashionable 1970s way. No, seriously now, they have been pulling little carts along with one man with tatoos sat on a little shelf in the middle, looked a bit like Prince Philip actually. The man, not the tatoo.

Where was I? Cleaning the car - so today I went to Beloved Bitterne and bought a pack of cloths for car cleaning. I also bought an atlas for £1 as we got very badly lost in Leeds trying to find a gym. It was worth finding, as virtually empty and a lovely pool and view for a picnic. bought myself a new swim cap as mine was a stop gap one and is plastic and squeaky and hurts. My new one is made of some clever fabric and is comfy. Also bought H some new swimming goggles, as despite our goggltastic Christmas, she had none to be found. Bought those items in Tescos, actually, along with a new camping blow up bed for me. Back in Bitterne, I bought some presents for a couple of children and wrapped and posted them ( did the wrapping at home and the posting in Hedge End, where I also went to the dry cleaners cos I forgot to go to the one near home earlier, so excited by being in Bitterne). Other things I bought were: a can of diet coke and a newspaper. A pack a mac for H. Earlier I had been to Towsure, one of the most depressing shopping experiences ever, and bought a collapsible water carrier. Before that I had been in Debenhams - again, a bit dated and jaded, and bought R a pair of swimming shorts - not Speedos I hasten to add. Oh, in Sainsburys in Bitterne I bought myself and R a new sports bag each, as we had got to carring our tennis kit in carrier bags. My tennis balls are in my Holy trinity Claygate cloth bag, which I was given free at the Claygate flower show. We played Tennis the other night, think it was last night, with a couple from my tennis course, and luckily I was on R's team, as he is very good. I did 2 great shots, both at the end of the game, and although my serve is puny I am pleased that I mostly get it in the right place. We played outside, lovely evening to be enjoying the air. I mostly stood near the net and kept out of the way of R.

The last few nights R's cousin Kate has been staying, as her boyfriend is in the General and she lives in Weymouth, so easier for her to hang out with us and see him than travel for 2 hours to see him. She is so easy going, the girls really like her and we secretly hope her boyfriend remains in hospital for weeks so we get to see her every weekend.

Bit of a cousin thing going on, as on Saturday we were at the wedding of one of R's other cousins, from the posher side of his family, although the Bowens think they are, the Chalmers have blue blood. This was cousin Louise, who is stunningly beautiful and clever and it was a very elegant wedding at Wadham College, Oxford,where her dad, R's uncle, is the Warden, which is a kind of full time retirement job in academia for someone who is a Sir. The setting was awesome, I constantly kicking myself that I didn't know such places existed. I could have applied and had a hope of getting in to Oxford when I did my A levels! I could have swished around in a gown shaking hands with C S Lewis. I honestly did not even think of it, no one at my 6th form suggested it for me, althought some others in my year did apply and I know of one who went to Cambridge. One of my favourite books is set in Oxford colleges, its called a Severe Mercy and is an autobiography by Sheldon Vanaulten or similar. At one point I had 3 copies, loved it so much. Its up there with Keith Green's 'No compromise'. So now I am working on becoming an academic so I can go to Oxford and float around the quad and eat breakfast in a vaulted hall and so on.

More pressing is Sunday's triathlon, and the complicated childcare needed to achieve competing. Seem to have thrown off the long lurking illness and am match fit, have done lots of running and swimming and a bit of cycling, sometimes 2 out of 3 on one day. On holiday I did 3 runs, 1 swim and 2 cycles, but the mileage for the bike is going to challenge me. I am up for a 7.50am start so think of me over your bagels or lavender flavoured porridge. My next challenge is a 10k run in October, and I have started training with Vicky for that, she lives in Netley which is very flat and we have done 2 good runs, pushing ourselves on distance.

Will tell you more about holiday next time.