Friday 20 March 2015


Now for the obligatory eclipse post. Of course, I spend most of my time looking at an eclipse, but usually it's this one:

(that's a development tool for Java programming - ho ho ho)

Enough of that! I ordered up some solar viewing glasses a few weeks ago in the forlorn hope that there would be no clouds. As it happens, the weather was perfect for the first time in weeks this morning, so we got quite a good show!

The eclipse had just started  when I left the house with Naomi. She has a bit of an idea about this - children's TV have been showing quite a lot of things recently which explained what it was all about. She could see the piece bitten out of the sun, and was quite excited about it all - we even stopped on the way to nursery for another look. The cycle to work was fun - lots of people staring at the sky (but no slapstick tree/lamppost encounters...)

Once I got to work it seems like most of the university had taken an hour off, and we got a gap in the clouds at just the perfect time - about ten minutes either side of the maximal eclipse. There were a couple of patches where there was enough cloud to see a crescent. All jolly good.

On to some pictures taking with my humble phone camera. Click on them to enlarge...

Taken through the solar viewer, this was the view over our back garden before the eclipse started.

Just getting going...

Unfiltered shot through the clouds, outside the university. Sorry for the low resolution on this one.

A final shot with a few academics thrown too.

I suppose I ought to get back to work now.

Sunday 15 March 2015


The past couple of weeks have seen a lot of celebrations and party-like activities, so here's a bit of a roundup. First though, an all-important catchup on my various travels again. Another trip to COW in London...

I was going to caption this just as "SWEET!", but it's not quite clear enough for that. It's the Tate and Lyle factory near London City Airport - a happy sight to see on arrival in London! Here it is taken by someone else's much better camera in daylight...

I'm getting too familiar with this hotel. This time I was very near the lifts (just left of the top-right corner on the plan), but usually I'm the lucky chap on the far bottom left, with what feels like an hours' walk to breakfast in the morning.

Only downside of being near the lifts is that it's very much within earshot of the PA system at Euston Station. Of course, an upside is that this means that I got a splendid view of Euston station from my window. Even if it is that horrible 60s rebuild.

Obligatory cow picture.

The oh-so legible receipt from my takeaway meal. I eventually made this an "unreceipted claim" (acceptable as long as you don't do it very often).

A trip to London meant a visit to my sister Heather. And some more clothes for Naomi from her cousin!

Now, on to the celebrations. Naomi's best friend Ello had a birthday party last Saturday. I got to take an excited 4 year old and an excited 4 year old to a soft play place with sugar and HUNDREDS of excited 2-5 year olds. Yes, it was fun.

Then on to birthday 2. Jay's birthday was on Sunday...
Naomi and Miriam helped me to make a lovely cake

Happy birthday Mummy!
Now for a diversion into some bathtime fun. Miriam was making a brilliant face because apparently an elephant was on the stairs. Of course, upon taking her picture, she did this...

And this

...and there it is. Yikes, there's an elephant outside.
The party opportunity on Friday was Red Nose Day at the nursery. "Dress up as an animal" (by the way, the place was priceless when I dropped off Naomi in the morning...)
Naomi was a butterfly. Here's her wings.

Miriam painted a butterfly too of course.

Where's Naomi? All I can see is Heliconius charitonia

Lydia is learning to sit up. (well, sitting is a kind of celebration...)

Mmmmmm, Jay got a truffle making kit for her birthday. Yes, they ARE that good.

Finally, on to Mothers' Day...
Both girls made cards for their Mummy, and Naomi helped me to make a load of butterfly/fairy/angel cakes

Yes, they are also THAT GOOD.


More Lydia developmental fun. Who'd like to see her laughing?

Monday 2 March 2015

A new era

Miriam has started nursery! She'll only be going twice a week but it will give me a chance to breathe, spend time with Lydia and catch up on all the things I haven't managed to do for 4 months now!

Today she went for a shorter session but she loved it and is very happy to be going back on Thursday

Ready to go and even with new trainers for the occasion!

Happy to get to go play