First new bike since 1978: with 70% off!

I got a new bike. The last time I had a new bike was when my parents bought me one in 1978. Normally I'd just pick up a second hand clunker on the cheap. But the UK Govt offer a scheme where your employer can buy a bike VAT free then hire it out to you through your gross salary until the principle is paid off then sell it to you for 'fair market value' which winds up being 5% of the original purchase price. Cool! So with the NI contributions, income tax and VAT taken off you get around 45% off the retail price.

But what happens when you buy it off a wholesaler? Heh! Another 30% off. So I got all wound up reading about the KHS XC604 and have been itching to get it for the last month. It came in the post today and we're expecting to head for the hills on Saturday to roll our wheels over rolling hills….

Here's a snapshot of the bike:

Brrm!

We'll be doing something like this again (sorry about the poor quality)….

Boys. Men. Cars. Brrrrmmm….

Freddie and I found a big box full of Scalectrix tracks, cars and accessories on the wall outside a house in Brixton last year. The dad leaning on the fence assured us it worked last time he had set it up two years ago.

So it's been sitting under the bed waiting for a rainy weekend ever since. Last month it poured down and Mary was in Ireland for the weekend. The timing was perfect to get the tracks out and get those cars smokin'… Continue reading “Boys. Men. Cars. Brrrrmmm….”

The International Caterpillar Caper

One fine day a few weeks ago Freddie's cousins in New Zealand, the Stillz Boyz Zach Jamie and Duncan, went to the Auckland Botanical Gardens. They had lots of fun seeing all the different trees, plants and flowers. But what they found especially interesting was the abundant insect life that appeared to be enjoying itself silly amongst the flora.

You can see them on the right as, despite those innocent looks, they scheme and plot all sorts of crazy insect gathering plans in the red circle. Continue reading “The International Caterpillar Caper”

It couldn’t have been wetter in the Lake District…

Over the recent Easter break Mary took the family for a drive to the Lake District and back via the Peak District for a couple of nights. Here's a map of where we wound up, and where we went whilst there – do navigate around it to get your bearings: Continue reading “It couldn’t have been wetter in the Lake District…”

Freddie’s Three!

Freddie turned three on the 30th of November but we didn't get around to a birthday party until last Saturday. And it's taken me this long to get the photos and videos from the four cameras together! We had a great day, loads of food and presents for the birthday boy.

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishing, cards, presents and effort for him; he really felt special. Here's a couple of photos and a video of the blowing-out-the-candles moment and bouncing-on-the-bed hijinks:

 

Tackling Nature: Freddie at the Museum

I took Fredde to the Natural History Museum today. He loved it, there’s loads of creepy crawleys, stuffed animals, all manner of rocks and a dark dinosaur wing. You could spend hours pootling about the place, and Freddie got hooked on loads of it. The ushers had to ask us to leave because it was closing. Anyhow, here are some great photos and a T.Rex video (don’t forget to click on the ‘full screen’ icon, bottom right):

Sevid, Vis & Split: An Oddysey in Illyria

Nona and Grandad rented an apartment in Croatia for a few months, and invited us over. It was well worth the trip, nearly three weeks in a suntrap surrounded by clear sea water; the place was seething with history to boot.

Straight to the pics, click the ‘expand’ button bottom right to see in vivid full screen technicolor…

We arrived via the cheapest flight we could muster in the most obscure hours available; thanks to Grandad for picking us up and taking us back to the apartment in Sevid. We pootled about there going for walks along the waterfront  via a tortoise family and enjoying the solitude. Mary and I spent a night in Trogir and a headed out to Vis, a remote Adriatic Island for a couple of nights and a cycle tour which was wonderful.

It didn’t rain once, and swimming in the sea was invigorating for us but too scary for Freddie. 

Lavro, our rambling Sevid landlord, doubled as the local vintner and provided us with some fine black ‘babich’ wine. Yum.

Croatians are big on meat, but cherries, artichokes, asparagus and cheese were in season so I got by just fine. 

Freddie’s favourite passtime was throwing stones in the water. Fortunately, the country had little but stones and water; he loved it. Here’s a clip of the man enjoying ‘frutti di mare’….

Walking Personality Bon-Vivant: Freddie Pope

I finally found some time to edit and upload some footage of our gregarious wee fellow running down the hall, switching off a light, and exhibiting a smile and an obscure chortle type noise. So here you are, press the ‘play’ button to view:

Freddie’s Personality

Freddie Walking

Freddie says ‘Zach’ while looking at a photo of his cousin…

Heh, Zac sent us a christmas card with a photo of Jamie and his good self at the beach. Freddie was instantly intrigued at these depictions of relations from afar and excitedly rattled off their names whilst dreaming of sandpits and castles. So here he is shortly before bed last week going over and over his christmas card from Auckland…

Isn’t that sweet?