Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my other half!

This is the twelth birthday she has celebrated since I met her; soon I'll have known her for half of her life (isn't getting older fun?), and every year just keeps getting better! Thanks SWMBO for everything, and have a great day!

Birthday present pictured :) Happy bouncing!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Auld Lamas Fair and Barrys

With the bank holiday we decided to make a day of it, and so we got packed up and headed over to Ballycastle where the Auld Lamas Fair was in progress. We attempted to park in the harbour car park, but this year it seems to have been taken over by "travellers" and a huge ferris wheel.

Anyhow, we walked round the stalls, avoiding the showers, picking up a couple of little things for the kids, and in all had a nice time.

Afterwards we went home for some lunch, and then set sail for Barrys in Portrush, the traditional amusements of the triangle area. Again it was fun, the kids had a great time, they noticed the "ghost train" for the first time, and felt suitably scared after an unaccompanied ride through.

In the evening the wind was wild, so we got the kite and headed to the beach where SWMBO had a go for the first time. After several excuses she gave up, although I have to say the wind was strong, and it was pretty tough.

A Grand Day Out.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Announcing : Sunday

Sunday morning is normally busy for us - getting up, getting the kids ready and heading out to church, getting to church and the normal little tasks I do there (winding the clock, unlocking the doors etc)

Today was special, however, because I had managed to get another task. Last week the minister had joked about getting me to do the announcements, but when he discovered the person he was going to ask was working he reverted to me! The last time I had the focus in church I was about 15-16, I felt so nervous, and read so badly (in my opinion) I had point blankly refused to do anything like that since. This time I decided to give it a go.

The minister arrived at my house on Friday evening with the announcement sheet, which I had a quick skim over, and then left to the side until this morning.

I practiced it about a brazillion times before we left for church.

In the end it all went OK, or so I am informed. I started out well, welcoming the visiting minister, pausing to look over and everything, although as time passed I could feel my heart getting faster. By the end I was looking for words or sentences or paragraphs to leave out, but I struggled, and got there, with my quivering voice - or so I thought.

I was assured afterwards by people who I trust to tell me the absolute truth that my nervous state was undetectable from my voice! Unbelievable!

Later that afternoon we headed to Benevenagh, where we went for a walk to the cliff edge, so perhaps it was just as well it all went well beforehand :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday Fun

After the customary lie in (actually it was lie in++ today :) we eventually ventured downstairs and got brekkie. Afterwards the girls went to the trampoline, and the boys got the kite. I think it's fair to say we all had equal fun, with both boys having a good turn on the kite.

When we decided the wind had gone away the four of us got on to the trampoline and exercised until we could exercise no longer. In the afternoon we popped out to Mum and Dads to see what was new there. Much to SWMBOs trepidation we decided to go for a canoe on the River Bann in the evening, but first we had to visit SWMBOs parents for our "tea" (read tea = enough food to feed a horse for a week)

After all that food it was time to take to the water and so off we set. We met Dad at Camus picnic area, all piled into the van and left our car there. We had decided to launch at the Agivey Bridge, on the road to Ballymoney and so we parked in the car park there. To the amusement of the gathered fishermen we got the boats ready, and down the banks into the river where we managed a perfect dry launch. I was a little worried about the whole thing, especially the wake of water-skiers, but in the end I had nothing to worry about. The 3.85 miles (according to google earth) took us about 1 hour 10 minutes. Definitely a good first experience on the river, although I think I would prefer slightly faster flowing water - the Bann was like a lake.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday!

So for SWMBOs birthday we decided that a 12' Trampoline would be in order. So we ordered it and after much watching the road for a delivery van it finally arrived, and we got it set up tonight. Everyone had great fun, and quoting one of the participants with this kind of exercise it wouldn't be unusual to lose up to "5 stone"

Girl Escapes After Being Held in Cellar - For 8 Years

Unbelievable story about an Austrian girl held prisoner in a cellar for 8 years.

read more digg story

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

MOT: Pass!

Today my work offered a medical checkup testing for Cholesterol, blood sugar levels and blood pressure and I am glad to say that my readings were all normal.

I can continue my decadent lifestyle with my mind at ease.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Fun : Lego House

This afternoon we set about building a lego house, and about an hour later it was completed. Now you too can wonder at our creation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Surround speakers finally installed

Anyone who has visited us within about the last year will be aware of our surround speakers sitting on the floor, or precariously balanced on the ends of the sofas. Well we are no longer makeshift - I popped over to Argos and bought a set of wall mounts, so the speakers are now exactly where they belong.

This is another credit point for my house of conduit - I was able to pull the cables from the back of the TV, up an unused conduit, and using the tiny access door from one of the bedrooms pull it across the ceiling and drill it down through. I love it when a plan comes together (eventually)

Google Adding Face Recognition Technology to Picasa

This will be useful for organising photos when it eventually comes along:

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday: Time to leave

7:30 on Friday morning saw us off for another morning walk, or climb as it turned out. We went to a spectacular viewpoint near Birnham, and it should be noted that the "walk" was steeper and longer than I care to remember. But due to the tight time constraints imposed by the Missises we made it up and down in record time. Its good that we both survived.

After much packing and goodbyeing we set off for home. After a 1 hour boat delay, finding a set of keys we forgot to return and multiple games of "Guess Who?" we were returned safely home. It is always nice to get back home after any holiday, but I have to say I could definitely have had another week this time......

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thursday: Parks, kites, and parks!

In the morning we had a few messages to do in town, after that we went to the park. We got the kite out, and it seemed to kill the wind instantly. The picture (left) is on one of the rare occasions where the wind was strong enough to lift the kite.

In the afternoon we packed the kids up and headed to another park, which was great fun for all concerned (I think the adults had more fun than the kids ;) )

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wednesday: More Hovercraft and Deep Sea World

This morning we took the hovercraft, and the kids to the park again. We went to a diffenent area, this one had a small paddling pool, which was only filled with about 2" of water - ideal for our hovercraft.

It went a lot better on this, and the kids got great enjoyment, however a strong wind hampered the fun by making the craft difficult to control.

They all had good fun at the park, and we visited the stoney beach on the way back, which is always a treat.

The other parents arrived back, and of course the kids behavior deterioriated instantly, but that would be expected. We decided to go to Edinbourgh, to Deep Sea World for the afternoon, and we had a fine time there.
Mind the sharks!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tuesday: Farm Park and Hovercraft

I got up early this morning and headed back to The hermitage where I enjoyed a pleasant morning stroll.

After breakfast we packed the kids up and went to a farm which had created a children's play park with attractions including go-karts, a wooden castle and trampolines. I think the pedal go-karts were the winner, with the kids getting the most fun from them, and spending loads of time (and energy).

Unfortunately the weather was quite unsettled, and we got a little wet a couple of times, but I don't think that bothered the kids.

In the afternoon I took a legion of the children (not the entire army) to a park where we tried out Boris' remote controlled hovercraft. It was quite good fun, but unfortunately it didn't like the rough terrain too much, and the battery didn't last too long. It kept the kids occupied for the afternoon nevertheless.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday: Shopping and walking

Today we took a trip into Perth and had loads of fun (sarcasm) doing a little shopping. It actually wasn't as bad as it sounds - I managed to spend a good portion of it sitting - either on the ground in the street, or at the side of an M&S isle.

After lunch the other parents departed, and we took charge of all 5 kids. Let the fun begin.

We took the kids for a walk to The Hermitage, which is one of the many scenic attractions in that part of Scotland.

At teatime, in an attempt to apply some discipline to the hoard of children we devised a system where each time one had to be spoken to they received a point, and the winner was the one with the least points. This seemed to work at treat, with the final scores being 0, 0, 1 and 9 (Doris didn't get scored as she is too little). The day passed off peacefully, and we went to bed to prepare to face another...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Holiday : Phase 2

Today we set out in convoy to drive to Perth, Scotland. We had arranged to stay with SWMBOs sister and family for 5 days in their home - the only condition was that we minded the kids when they went off for a couple of nights for their tenth wedding anniversary.

The boat was fine, the drive was fine and we arrived at a sensible time and got nicely settled in. Hopefully it will be a nice week.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wanted : Glasses!

I meant to fall out!
Today we took the kayaks out again, this time there was more sun overhead (periodically)

The waves were relatively small, and so my Brother-in-law decided to have a go - a great day for a beginner. As time rolled on the waves got bigger, but still manageable.

You may recall previous issues with kayaking and glasses - well it happened again. He lost his glasses, and it wasn't like last time where there was a possibility of finding them, instead the swirl from the waves was too great, and we couldn't see the bottom at all. (thats not him in the picture btw, but you get the idea. Read more here)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Kayaking in the rain

We will not be beaten by the weather. It was cloudy overhead, but we were still determined to get the kids to the beach during our holiday. So off we set to get the kayaks from Dad, and we borrowed a wetsuit too so that our guests could have a go in the kayaks.

Although it was showery overhead, it was warm, and with wetsuits on there was no feeling of cold at all. We had great fun in the boats and also pushing the kids in with the waves, although Boris fell out on the first wave due to bad parenting ;)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Another wedding...

Anyone who knows us will know that we have had an unusually high number of weddings to attend this year. Today marked the end of the marathon for us with SWMBOs cousin getting married. It was a fine day altogether, and we both enjoyed seeing family and friends, and also meeting new folks.

No more weddings this year. Phew.