Saturday, 25 December 2010

I'll not be here so much right now, gotta stop and wonder why. I turn to look at me and only see a person I despise

Sorry i hear all the time, for left and right always. But sorry won't erase the pain of oh so many days

So i'll shut myself away for now, you don't need this I'm sure. But don't think for one second that my love for you won't endure

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Distance

Don't know what I said
That made it go so wrong
Thought we sang the words
To our favourite song

Don't know what I did
So that anger filled you up
Though all I ever wanted
Was to be your winners cup

Now it's late, feel your hate
Or something close it seems
And so the night won't be alright
Torn at the very seams

For once I am quite stuck
No words spring to mind
That could ever make this better
Wonder what I'll find

When morning's here, will there be tears
No joy, only sorrow
Will you be here, i doubt I fear
There will be no 'morrow

Monday, 13 December 2010

Morning glow

On the road early
Journey to do
Darkness surrounds me
Beginning something new

Lights lead the way
As the cars rush on by
Drivers focused forward
Stars twinkling high

Roll in to the fog, lights ahead glow
Making it hard to keep up the flow
Blanketed, smothered, hard to see
Slip my foot off the gas, take it easy

And in the distance
An unearthly haze
From the horizon
Grabbing my gaze

As sun tries to peek
From out of the mist
Bright orange fireball
I couldn't have wished

For a prettier view, lighting the sky
Blinding my vision, squints from my eye
Sunburnt orange hue, filling my glare
Couldn't help but stare and stare

And I'm warmed up
By the light
Drawing me in
Eclipsing the night

And I'll drive on
Light in my heart
Beautiful vision
Day's gorgeous start

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Wondering place

I feel a distance
We're far apart
I sense a gap
Between our hearts

I sit, I wonder
Tell me, what did I do
That so very greatly
Offended you

Say it now
And say it quick
Before another
Second hand doth tick

Before the chasm
Opens beyond repair
And I find you
No longer care

Don't leave me in
This wondering place
Thinking I might
Never see your face

Or have your eyes
Stare in to me
Without that
I simply cannot be

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Genius

Blogging from the Apple store
Typing on a MacBook Pro
My iPhone needs a little fix
And then I'm good to go

Hope they hurry, shops to see
And certain things to buy
Never explored here before
Ah, here comes my guy

Phone is trashed he says
Better have one brand new
Warranty's gone but don't worry
He says 'I think you're due'

New device in hand I say goodbye
With gratitude in my heart
Couldn't imagine me and iPhone
Ever being apart


With thanks to the guys at Apple, Touchwood

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Right turn

How did we reach this stop
I don't recall our route
It seems a great big mystery
One I can't uproot

And were is this we find ourselves?
What do they call this place?
Feels like a no-man's land
But where I see a friendly face

A twist, a turn, a thought, a yearn
Not before spoken aloud
A left, a right, and with all my might
Break away from the noisy crowd

I halt my motion, catch my breath
Survey what lies around
And wonder if we will proceed
Along this common ground

But I can't see where the path lies
Or where it leads us to
But know we can't stay always here
Stay here, just me and you

We're here, it's now, don't ask me how
It wasn't what I planned
Keep faith, hold tight, it'll be alright
Just come and take my hand

Sunday, 28 November 2010

R.T.W.

The day seems so long
When you know there's a wrong
That will take more to address
Than with words or a song

I'd swear the clock hands are stuck
Guess karma won't look
On me with sympathy
So it shouldn't after the liberties I took

So take aim, take fire
Shoot with all your desire
As I walk the good line
Pity I went first through the mire

So wrap up the words where they belong
Hush now man, don't sing that song
And hope above hopes
You get to right that wrong

Changeling

You be my woman
I'll be your man
But if that doesn't fit
The mood, the day, the plan

Then I'll be your friend
Someone to share
Every moment, each breath
All your woes, and every care

Someone to talk to
Help lighten the load
Won't let you spend time
On a dark lonely road

And my arms will waiting
For you, open wide
When I can hold you, love you
Show you the best place to hide

Is with me, in me
Surrounded by love
You're the only one I want
It's you I always think of

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Autumn Glow

You may recall this verse from the #vlomo10 or click here and I'll read it for you


Sitting waiting
For his appointment to end
The knee damage to which
The physio will attend
I sit and I ponder
And then contemplate
As cars race past
On this short narrow straight
I wonder if they notice
How pretty it's here
With trees dropping leaves
Like they're shedding a tear
The colours surround me
So many to see
I have memories of this place
They make me happy
My phone's gonna ring now
I'd better go
But remember this picture
The pretty autumn glow

Sunday, 31 October 2010

NaNoWrimo

Some fool I know decided
To pen a word or two
Fifty-thousand to be accurate
Till November's done and through

A story, book, or novel will
Flow from these fingers here
In only 30 days though
No doubt with cursing and a tear

Quantity not quality is what
Really counts this time
But can I sacrifice my love
Of words written out in rhyme?

I won't be able to review
The text I put on the page
Will have to leave it well alone
Mistakes may be all the rage

So if I'm a tad quiet here
Or tweeting less and less
I'll be writing out my story
And under great duress

So wish me some plain sailing
For luck is all I've got
So I'd better her leave here now
And go dream up the plot


If you feel the urge, join in at NaNoWriMo

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Where everybody knows your name.....

When I started tweeting
I hid myself away
Said little about the person
Simply called bj

My profile gave you nothing
On which to make a call
Seemed like I'd built a barrier
An impenetrable wall

Slowly, slowly over time
I let loose a burst or rant
Giving out some little details
Proving I was not so nonchalant

And people asked their questions
On who I was and why
Trying to get under my skin
Find out more about this guy

And apart from some relatives
(A brother and a wife)
None here knew me at all
From a previous life

But recently I found a few
That know me from before
I logged in to twitter.com
And we still have rapport

I thought this would be weird
Uncomfortable or strange
I always wondered if I could
Adapt to this kind of change

But I'm reminded of a programme
I used to quite enjoy
The antics of a barkeep
And those he did employ

And words from that theme tune
Fit nicely in this frame
You know, it feels quite good
That they know my name

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Selfish

Selfish is as selfish does
Selfish leads the way
Filling up thy very self
From dawn till end of day

Turn away that selfish soul
Lead not to hearth or home
Point the direction I must go
Where my selfish heart can roam

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Signal lost

Gonna write a little verse
As i have no words to say
Silence has taken hold of me
It's grip is strong today

Feel like I'm........
Tumbling, mumbling
Jumbling, fumbling
It's caught me on the hop
Stumbling, grumbling
Bumbling, not a thing
I can do to make it stop

Feel so.......
Shattered, battered
Not that it matters
Pummelled to the ground
Ripped up in tatters
Can't explain how it matters
To look up and find you around

I thought when I'd finished this
I'd feel a big release
But from the silence here today
I can find no peace

Friday, 15 October 2010

Remnants

It's rare I remember a dream
Or a nightmare too
But I woke up this morning
Feeling strangely subdued

Had something hanging over me
Can't explain just why
Something unseen that wouldn't leave
And I had no right of reply

Can't shake the remnants left inside
No where that I can turn and hide
Don't want to be
Left alone with me
Knocked off my usually confidant stride

Wonder why the remnants remain
What unpleasantness do they contain
Wish they would
Be gone for good
Not bind me with their chain

I'll write my words now
In the hope that I'll forget
Or switch the polarity
On my internal magnet

Make me turn from negative
In to a positive force
Pray that these remnants
Have truly run their course

Sunday, 10 October 2010

History of me

Born in ninteen sixty eight
Number 5 in line
6 weeks early, there's a first
Won't get that all the time

School was uneventful
Or just may be I've forgotten
Some of the things I didn't like
The subjects all so rotten

Being rapped across the knuckles
For using my left hand
Thank you, lovely church school
Like how you understand

By my teens, I had my calling
The theatre was in my sight
Lights and set but mainly sound
Not entering stage right

And obnoxious was a term
My family applied to me
And there was me thinking I was ok
Just being happy-go-lucky

Studies done, employment called
Managing pubs in London town
Wandering the streets in Blackfriars
Sitting by the Thames so brown

Then back to old Birmingham
An office job, no less
Something I said I'd never do
Even under great duress

Eventually I settled
Working nine to five each day
And carved a niche for myself
And still found time to play

Then my first significant
Came wandering on the scene
Baby boy cuddled in her arms
Instant family, this was no dream

But it was obvious for several years
This wasn't meant to be
So back I went to London Town
To escape and just be me

But here entered the most significant
We met at my leaving do
Now 2 daugters born, 10 years on
We're held with that family glue

And that is me, is all I am
No different to twenty years ago
Still wonder so many things
Don't think I'll ever know
What I am or what I want
I just tumble through the day
Taking those I love with me
Don't know any other way

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Darkness diary

Long, cold night
Only hardness beneath
Testing my bones
My resolve and belief

Chills fill the night air
And all that's inside
Find nooks and find crannies
Where memories hide

And slumbering simply
Evades every stretch, every yawn
Knowing quite possibly
That everything's torn

The minutes grind slowly
There's no shred of doubt
The dark and the coldness
Will be really dragged out

What will dawn bring here
Other than wet of the dew
With no warmth from your heart
Darkness continues




For Reg.


Friday, 1 October 2010

Transitional Man

He's your guy you know
Gets you from A to B
Takes you where ever you need
No drama, or calamity

He'll soak up every single drop
Of what you can dish out
Won't put him off his stride
Even if you scream and shout

He knows who he is
And who you are too
He's walking the line
You don't expect him to
He knows who you are
And just what you need
You'll turn to find him
Carrying out his creed

Man in transition
Stands before you now
Travelling your journey
Whatever furrow you plough
Holding your hand
You won't see his plan
But he'll forever be
Your transitional man

And when your journey's over
The man you no longer need
Will slink in to the background
Was he ever there, indeed?

Now your path is clearer
And can see for miles ahead
Your hand won't need holding
Won't need kicking out of bed

He knew who you were
And who you ought to be
He walked the long line
So that you too would see
Who you are now
And you're just what you need
And with your sojurn ended
You won't notice him recede
His job complete, done what he can
Turned the tide
The Transitional Man

But who really travels the journey
One or both of them must
May be he's the one in transition
Won't be still or gather some dust

Man in transition
Stands before you now
Travelling his journey
Whatever furrow you plough
Hold his hand
May be he has no plan
But he'll forever be
The transitional man

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Pensive

Do you sometimes feel all cloudy
In the furthest reaches of your mind
Like you're wearing tiny blinkers
That leave you completely blind

Your head seems occupied, obscure
Like a thick mist has rolled on in
And no stiff breeze or even more
Can remove it from within

And the reason for this occupiedness
Remains locked inside there too
So not even the topic of consideration
Is available to you

You're just a paying passenger
Ticket in your hand
Knowing not the outbound destination
Or what your mind has planned

And that's where I find myself today
En route to some unknown place
Hope when I arrive and look at myself
I still recognise my face

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Closer

People are the strangest thing
Bring so much to the day
I like people just like you
Can talk to in my own way

I don’t let many get too close
Very few that get so near
Don’t know why, just can’t explain
Not like some kind of fear

Some slip in quite easily
And we hit it off from the word go
And others take some nuturing
For our friendship to warm and grow

And it’s the growers that make me smile
And really fill my heart
The ones, like you, that somehow change
From how it first did start

And you can’t pin it down, can you
The moment it all changed
Not like there was careful planning
Not like it was all arranged

But I’m grateful that it has occurred
And we are just you and I
Closer, nearer, every day
I’ll not stop to question why

Monday, 20 September 2010

Eyes Right

I see you all gathered there
As my gaze shifts to the right
You're ever present I know
Never far from my sight

But why are you here, yes why
What is it you're looking for?
Do you hope to gain an understanding
Or move closer to my door?

I narrow my focus, see just ones
That stand out from the whole group
Find the strange ones mixed up
In this merry troupe

I thought you'd left long ago dear
Forgot you came to call?
Hope you're not here to remind me
That from your grace I sure did fall?

And you sir, you've lingered for while
Do you see how the land lies?
Though we've said so few words
I see through your disguise

And you there, stop for a while
Stay for a moment, light in blue
Do you know that you're my favourite
Though I would never tell you

And all you so kind others
Are you just passing me by?
Will I wake one morning to find
You were just a glint in my eye

And even if you're not really here
I'll be glad, I'd like you to know
That you took the time one day
To stop by and say hello

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Waiting Room

Collected in one small place
Reasons the same
Breakages and fractures
And all in some pain

Tango lady laughs away
At no one I see
Daughter tidying mom's hair
Pretty as can be

Tattoo man grumbles
The wait is so long
Headmaster spouts rules
He's not changed his song

Dennis Haysbert, Nigel Slater
Grace us with their selves
Ageing receptionist
Lifts files from shelves

Waiting times keep creeping up
And sighs abound
The dusty old wall fan
Spins endlessly round

Carol Jackson glances over
And gives me a stare
I wonder how she managed
To escape from the square

Nurses struggle
With some unpronounceable names
Young man keeps busy
With Angry Bird games

Polite sign on the wall
Which nobody reads
Kind assistant takes orders
To meet everyone's needs

And we wait, wait, wait
Then wait a lot more
Feel sorry for my brother
His knee's really sore

Then the waiting is over
They give him his call
He struggles to his feet
Trying hard not to fall

And we're free of the boredom
Released from our cage
Leaving lots behind us
Still filled with outrage

For their waiting room drama
Carries on, they're unhappy
As crutches and plaster
Are handed out endlessly



The Waiting Room: Part II

My feet are restless
I'm unsure of myself
Don't know if I'll be
Returned to my shelf

My words leave an echo
Something's not right
The ripples, the disturbance
Run on through the night

And I'm waiting, just waiting
Not a thing i can do
To speed up the process
Bring me closer to you

No words I can usefully
Add to those said before
Gestures feel empty
Nothing on which I can draw

To end all the waiting
Get a conclusion in place
Erase the confusion
That's ingrained on your face

That my words brought to you
My thoughts made it more
And brought us the waiting
That we both must endure

And I pray for release soon
Restlessness comes to it's end
Hope to look up and find that
You still are my friend

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Unwelcome echoes

Hollow, empty, words resonate
Would be easier if they were
Sounds of dislike or hate

Unfulfilled, unadored, I don't know
Not for want of trying
And learning with you how to grow

But now a wall's here, right before me
So grand and tall
Of my own making, clearly

And the words will return forever
A continual stream
Challenging us, our together

And I'm blank, just so very undone
So vacant, unwanted
Don't know where i can run

And all that I hear are echoes of me
A time, a place
Someone I thought I could be

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Summer's End

For nearly six longs weeks
We've shared every day
The little ones with me in tow
In work, in fun, in play

Fortune gave me this one chance
To stay through their summer break
At their side, and theirs at mine
From the moment that we wake

We rode the rides, slid the slides
Spinned around and round
Played tig and tag, zig and zag
Hid till we were found

But now our time is ending
And other things will come to call
Homework, violin, projects too
As summer turns to fall

I've loved every single minute of
This chance to be so near
Getting to know them so much more
Hope we don't lose this, is my fear

For the morning will be chaos
Tantrums, shouts, and screams
I'll try not to lose my patience so
I don't shatter any dreams

We'll walk through the gate together
Tomorrow at eight fifty
And the bell will ring out summer's end
Hope they don't cry as much as me

Monday, 30 August 2010

Stars in reasonably priced cars














And they were, and despite what seemed to be a battle close to being declared a war between a French couple, the cars were reasonably priced.


We headed north once breakfast in our strange overnight stop was complete, and wasn't long before we stopped where France had turned to a small part of England as a multitude of Brits collected at a services at Le Valley Sur Somme. The land looked like France, felt like France, but sounded distinctly South-East England. Pity. I do so enjoy France.

Our meander to Calais took us through Harelot Plage where we found wintry conditions, the wind blowing so hard that even adults had difficulty opening the car doors as the gusts raged in from the sea. We took a short stroll on the soft-sand beach, the kids amazed at the strength of the breeze. To call it a breeze is unfair in hindsight, a gale would be better.  We laughed, ran, and were amazed that others were out on the sand in this shuttered-down town. Mad dogs and Englishmen calls again.

Cite D'Europe proved our stomping ground for the few hours until our train was due to dive under the sea and here is where we found the cars you see pictured.












We tracked happily round the stores, food outlets, everywhere really, and all was well until Guzzler had the kind of sickening fall and bumped head that puts parents off their food, and leaves that feeling in the pit of their stomach that just doesn't leave. Cars collected though, and things improved until it was time to pack back in to the car for the incredibly short hop to the tunnel terminal. Time for more cars it seemed.

 If you've never been to the tunnel terminal at Coquelles near Calais, it's a mixture of disorganised chaos that forms when you add travellers in one place with departure times close to each other. It did make me smile.  Also making me smile were the collection of nice wheels that littered the queues and parking bays (DB9's, racing Jensen, E-type and the list grows). Pity at least one of the owners didn't seem keen to talk about his steed when asked.

After the smooth roads I'd gotten used to over the last few days, the M20's kangaroo up-and-down nature was a bit much at some time after 10pm on a long, long day. But midnight, B38 and familiar beds arrived to bring an end to another jaunt.

And the stars? The two youngsters: after running close to sixteen or seventeen hours ensconced in their car seats as we trecked across France and home to Birmingham, they were superb. Better than some Jensen owners I must say. Although if you added up all the shopping they had, not sure who was the most expensive

French jam

After all the wind and rain, we were disappointed to be greeted by beautiful blue skies and sun on Saturday morning as we packed and prepared to leave Brittany for the trek across towards North Paris.  Our plans were to arrive, unpack what we needed for just one night and head in for the lights of Paris.  The end of the French holiday period had other ideas.

What was a 4 hour drive turned in to a trip of over eight as cruise changed to crawl, and crawl to stop. Oh well, not the kind of jam I was expecting.

It did, however, did give me more time to notice the landscape and the views, not something I often have time for as we race across the land. It is falt, flatter than I've ever appreciated before, the view stretching out for miles and miles before you. I'd love to have stopped and clicked snap after snap of the views.  One thing really stood out for me.

The pylons there are almost human in shape, nothing like the dull, tall triangular shape we have here.  Some were even painted in the colours of the French flag, giving a certain flair to proceedings.

The kids decided to make their own fun, which consisted of eating the insides from a french baton, leaving me with the outside, resembling a telescope or kitchen roll holder. I was glad it tasted somewhat better than it's cardboard counterpart.

North Paris arrived and we knew it was too late to make a day of it. We settled at our rather odd accommodation for the night, a strange atruim-dominated 3 storey block, similar in concept to what you might find in most cities here, but again with a lot more flair. It was quite odd really, I couldn't put my finger on it. The kids couldn't wait to explore the floors, balconies and spinning chairs that filled most of the open spaces.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Reflections

Mad dogs and englishmen go out in the midday sun. And to wind-strewn, spray-splattered beaches, or so it seems. Only one other family occupied La Plage Des Vallees today, and they were english too. But I'm getting ahead of myself, rewind a few hours.

The literature we read told us Friday was market day in Val Andre and the parking restriction signs in the main square told us where it would be. Destination: shopping.

Whilst rain may deter a beach trip, shopping is not so easily swayed, and we braved the wind and rain to walk the stall and more around the central parking place in Val Andre. It felt much more local and friendly than Saint Brieuc, and with a wider selection of good and things to browse. We were glad

I turned to see a vendor giving Staple Gun Girl all his patter. I smiled as she simply nodded and he continued, her unable to say she didn't know what he was talking about. By the time I'd walked back to 'rescue' her, they were happily engaging in English, for he hailed from Devon but had been here for many years. We stopped and chatted a while, taking food and drink and business cards from his stall (as he has rental properties here) before I moved on, called away by the scent of olives from a nearby stand.

The favoured clothes stores were once again called upon to provide things for all to view, before heading home for lunch and a change as beach time awaited.

The weather has grown increasingly unfair as the week has progressed, turning from warm sunny sun to heavy, moody clouds, rain and gathering winds. Today was probably the worst, so we did what any sensible English family would do and donned our swim gear and hopped to La Plage Des Vallees.

From the sheer emptiness, you could swear the beach had been closed. The tide was further out than we'd ever seen it, leaving a long, damp stretch of sand to wander. The bright yellow buoys lay forlornly on the sand, no longer dancing with the waves, feeling sorry for themselves.

As we meandered down to the water's edge, the magic of the beach really began to show itself. A slither of water on the beach did not melt away in to the sand, but rested on the surface, leaving a film, a thin mirror to reflect the cliffs and sky. Standing in the waves and looking back up and across the beach gave a magnificent view. Just stunning. The picture below does not carry the splendour at all, I'm almost embarrassed to add it here, but add I must.

The cold theme continued as the four of us took an evening stroll round the town, the girls in their evening wear and heels. Very pretty indeed. Very cold moreso. The short wander, hiding in shops and doorways to last as long as possible was a lovely way to finish our week. We will bring better weather next time.

No man's land

A decidedly autumnal morning greeted us. As I was collecting stuff from the car, the English guy from the yellow house, with French stick in hand, had the cheek to enquire if I'd brought the weather here from Blighty.

A shopping day called, and little did I know just now much shopping it did involve. A promised trip to the beach at Val Andre at dusk was also on the cards so we could play, watch the tide chase in, and join the locals for a dip. Nice.

Despite having been here in Pleneuf Val Andre for 5 days, it took me until now to notice. We are, in fact, not in Pleneuf Val Andre. We're not in Pleneuf or Val Andre. I don't know where we are. Let me get a drink and I'll tell you more.

Pleneuf and Val Andre are two small towns that snuggle together on the coast of Brittany. VA has the pleasure of dallying with the sea, whilst P gets to rest slightly inland and away from the sea breezes. On the walk in to town we pass the sign that denotes the start of VA, and today I turned to check how the short ones scootering was progressing, and I spotted the sign for P, some 50 yards or so from the VA one. So where are we then? Where is the no man's land that nestles between them? I'm calling it Glue, if it's ok with you. Glue*

Given the prices we'd seen so far, I was planning on a bank job to fund the shopping expedition. Bank job, as in robbing one. Fortunately, the ladies found a couple of small stores with pretty clothes, lovely trinkets, and object d'art to keep the four of them happy. And prices to keep me sane. In the first where we lingered a long while, the proprietor spoke smooth English, a result of an English/French parental combination I was to learn. Everyone found something to interest them enough to purchase. The leisurely stroll continued, all content, all happy.

Gathering ourselves at the accommodation, we were depressed to see the rain falling, falling hard. Our play on the beach would be curtailed if it did not cease. It did not. So again strolling, shopping and buying occupied the evening, and a most pleasant way to spend an evening it was. By the time we arrived back in no man's land, we were tired and thoroughly shopped out.

*Glue: Pleneuf (P) and Val Andre (VA) is PVA. Gettit?

Crab Cemetery

Wednesday is market day in the larger town of Saint Brieuc so that was our first stop on a rainy and blustery morning.

We weren't impressed really. The fruit & veg vendors had fine displays with plump, ripe goods, but anything relating to clothes was rather slap-dash and massive in price. We were stunned at the prices actually, sometimes even 5 times as much as we'd expect to pay at home. We didn't linger long in the market, but strolled through the shops back to the car to head for Val Andre for the main purchase of the day for Candy Girl - a skimboard.

Board purchased, we headed to the beach to road test both the board and her abilities. While she and I tried and tried again, Guzzler dipped herself in any pool she could find and her little voice carried on the breeze as she sang away as she played.  Staple Gun Girl caught us mid-sandball fight and gave us a disapproving look.

We decidedly love La Plage Des Vallees, others though, seem less fortunate.

There is a large outcrop of rocks in the part of the beach where we like to play, and I noticed endless amounts of perished crabs, either whole or in pieces, their shells or their bodies, scattered along the water's edge. May be the remains of fishermens catch but I suspect the tide pummelling them against the rocks brings them to an unexpected end. Sad to see, nature and her way is sometimes.

We trolled or scootered back to the front at Val Andre later to find the tide up against the sea wall, locals walking down to the walkways and steps in dressing gowns ready for an evening swim. The green sea filling the bay, no sand visable. I knew now why the sea wall is so high, if this is the tide normally, a high visit would flood the town without such a defence. Tide-in gave the front a completely different look and feel. And sound. The sound was much louder, waves slapping at the wall, overtaking the sound of the wind whistling in from the sea. I like places that change how they look and feel, always makes me want to go back to see how they will be the next time.  Val Andre needs visiting more.

Oh, did I mention the tree? Our walk to VA takes us past a 10-story apartment block, which resides immediately by a tree, a very tall, very thin, tree. How these two came to be cuddling up to each other is beyond me. Such very strange bedfellows. Here, see for yourself.

La Plage

Is there a better way to spend a day of your holiday than at the beach? We don't think so. In fact, we thought it so good we did it twice. Let me explain.

Tuesday always looked like beach day from the fairly accurate weather forecasts, so from when we rose the packing exercise, sandwich-making and gathering began. We strolled off in the warm sun to see what we could sea. Gettit?

Along the line where water greets the land with a wave, we each find the perfect something to spend happy hours doing: 'Stop' draws pictures of the view or hunts for creastures in the pool; 'Staple Gun Girl' trawls the pools for any form of life; 'Guzzler' plays in water, any water she can find, sit in and let her fingers wiggle in the wet sand; 'Candy Girl' shouts and screams with delight at the sight of any creatures; Me? I just drink in the view, the sounds, everything. The beach is a very special place for me.



So there we all were, doing our do. Candy Girl did amazingly well at finding and capturing creatures in her bucket for closer inspection. She caught any number of the tiny, tinniest hermet crabs you could imagine.

I was intruiged on Sunday, during our walk across the small cliffs, by the rocks and potential caves that occupied the far left of the beach before the cliff forms a point and brings the beach to a close. I took off to explore, leaving the others to find, capture and play.

The rocks both on the beach and on the hills were amazing. All colours strewn out across the beach from tiny pebbles to rocks the size of volkswagons. The cliffs, hewn by the water that lapped at my feet, were sharp, rugged and increasignly gold and copper in colour. Breathtaking. As I ventured inwards and upwards, the path before me was covered, litterally carpeted with black grass. Mussells, mussells everywhere. Tens of thousands of them blanketing the route before me. The caves turned out to be nothing more than the work of the sea at a particularly soft spot in the rock, but the explore was more than worth it. Very special. I shall remember it for a long, long time.

The second beah trip later that day was to the front at Val Andre, a wide arc of beach, soft shell-strewn sand, a perfect place to walk in the evening sun.  And walk we did, though shell collection was the main pastime for everyone but me and it wasn't long before bags were full to bursting point. The beach was occupied by many, but far from crowded like an english beach would be on a pleasant sunny summer's evening. The sun streamed down, dazzling off sections of the calm sea like a giant spotlight, the clouds being it's filter. Picturesque, pretty, perfect.

The shower points along the wide promenade provided the next source of entertainment. Guzzler, desperate to wash the sand from her feet and crocs (she does so hate sand in her shoes) decided to press the button for the shower rather than the footwash. She'd done so well keeping dry and warm as well.

As kids scootered off along the prom, we walked lazily, turning to admire the view at every chance.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Dragon Lady and the red shoes

There comes a point in a man's life when, knowing he lives with 4 women, he must accept the fact that it takes several hours to manage to get out of the house and off on any journey. I've yet to come to terms with that. I may one day. But not today.

As we always self-cater (due to 5yo allergies), a big shopping trip is always on the cards for any holiday, and is always an adventure in a different country, exploring their goods, prices, oft madening way the stores are laid out, and having fun. The kids armed with mini-trolleys certainly did. And being our holiday, a few special treats managed to somehow find their way in to the trolley. Nice.

Our trip commenced with the short drive to Erquy which presented us a magnificient view of the land and sea as we cruised along. A beautifully cultured look-out-point gave us the idea place to stop, lose our breath, catch our breath and snap away. The literature I read before said that Erquy had 10 fabulous beaches - I couldn't believe that number, but standing on the point I could see why. The sea had carved out little crescents along the shorline and delievered soft-looking sand to boot. They looked simply amazing.

The drive through the harbour area gave us more views before we settled in what seemed to be the shopping area. I say seemed as there was very little there. All pleasant, charming and very new looking in general, we wandered in a square pattern round the town before returning to the road for more places to view.














Super U arrived soon (no idea what the U is for, super may be), as did tiny trolleys and the fun. For something so dull and mundane, we do have fun in the supermarket.

With the weather set fair, we returned to La Plage where we were to meet the heroine of today's piece.

After our rock climbing expedition and shift to a more open part of the beach were complete, the kids happily played in the water while I wrote messages in the sand. Then re-wrote them as the tide didn't like my spelling and promtply washed them away. Being called in to battle the sea, I kicked off my red beach shoes and headed in.

It. Was. Cold. I was amazed that 5yo lasted as long as she had, and 8yo was still game. We bounced the waves, jumped them, got slapped in the back of the heasd by them, before a shivering 8yo and me strolled back to the top of the beach to towels and warmth.

Just before I was about to do my annual 'dig a hole on the beach' Mrs d4t enquired as to the whereabout of my shoes. Turns out it was a classic case of 'I thought you were looking after them'. Given the spot of sand I'd left them was about 3 foot under, I doubted I'd ever see them again. In steps angry French lady.

I'd spotted her earlier, medium length wiry brown hair, longish olive-coloured top, hurling what sounded like abuse at someone I couldn't see. Standing at water's edge trying to spot my floating shoes, I turned to see them collected together with other items at her feet. I galloped over to collect them, and as I picked them up she turned and asked if they were mine. Her mood softened, she smiled and said something else I didn't understand. I thanked her and walked away, thinking of her spotting them and moving them up the beach with all her own stuff. How very nice of her. By the time I got back to our spot her anger had returned and she was carting stuff up the beach and hurling harsh words. She was hot though. Hot when she was angry. Recently a friend described someone as being hot when they were really mad. I had no idea what that meant, having never seen it. But I kind of know what they meant now, so I'll be cheeky and borrow their term for her, Dragon Lady.

Thank you, Dragon Lady, for saving my shoes.

Our after-dinner stroll/scooter was as pleasant as ever and Mrs d4t even managed to trick the kids she'd got stuck in a springy ride at the small playground on our route to the beach. She wasn't stuck. Honest.

The Incredibles

Having slept close to water, travelled under water, slept near water again, I was disappointed that it took until day 5 of the holiday to do one of my very favourite things; stand on the beach. I love to just stand there, listen to the sound of the crashing waves, smell the salty air, drink in all the atmosphere. I was not to be disappointed today.

Despite the preference of the lady that showed us round our accommodation, we went for the closer and more rugged Plage Des Vallees. It is just our kind of beach.

Pink sandstone boulders flank the walk down to the sand, with cliffs rising away on either side giving a dramatic view we were later to discover. Rocks to climb and pools to explore lie to the left, and the narrowish strip of sand slides gently down to the welcoming sea. Just perfect. Just one thing was wrong; failure to comply,

I'd given the short ones three lines before leaving the house to ensure all would be well on our short walk to the beach and round to the small town of Val Andre. 1. We will not have any spare clothes. 2. We will not have any towels. 3. This is a shopping trip, if you get wet you go shopping wet.  Want to hazard a guess at how long it took 5yo to be soaked?  Roughly about 20 seconds from first entering the water. Oh well. Glad my words are heeded.

Once fresh clothing had been retreived, we set off up the hillside towards the town. We followed a thin, rough track for a good 30 minutes which led to to our picturesque destination. Adults sauntering along the front taking in the views, kids racing along on their scooters, all was well. It certainly was a pleasant way to explore and spend a morning.

Sitting down for lunch together (a rare treat in our family) the conversation drifted as it always does to various amusing incidents either Mrs Drop4three or myself have been part of, and one in particular which led to us adopting superhero names, as per the family in The Incredibles. Gran was "Stop" (with pointed finger), "Guzzler" was not me thank you, but the 5yo. "Candy Girl" was awarded to 8yo and "Beer Boy" was mine. But the best was saved till last as Mrs d4t collected "Staple Gun Girl" (relating to an amusing garment ripping episode).

We journeyed back to the beach later that afternoon for a more thorough investigation of it's talents. On the way back we met the English couple that "live" here for 6 months of the year in the sole yellow house on this complex. Lucky them.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The longest day

As you can tell from the title, I wasn't expecting Saturday to be easy. The usual early breakfast and trip round the park was added to by packing up and a 5 hour drive to our seaside destination.

Were we late? Did we overbuy and fill all that lovely space I mentioned before? Did I have to rush? Yes. Yes thrice. Boy was it thrice.

But I think it is vital here to mention the most important thing: I won the Buzz Lightyear competition. Ha. Losers.














Moving on, we rode the rides as planned, shopped as we hadn't, and dashed across northern France like there was no tomorrow. Pleneuf Val Andre eventually arrived and we unloaded a full car, tired bodies and enquiring minds. But those minds, including mine, would have to wait till morning. Dinner needing cooking, beds needed making, and i needed my first beer of the holiday. Cheers.

Fail to plan, plan to fai.........

Well we didn't, and we didn't. Either of them. Or all three of them if you wish. In a recognised, celebrated, day of amazement, Fabulous Friday went exactly as planned. I'm still so shocked I'm speechless. Good job I can type.

Early breakfast planned: made. Trip to the park before all the normal punters can get it: made. Ride the rides: made. Stunning. Even the tiredness of 5yo or aches from the 8yo (from falling out of bed in the night) could deter.

The icing? Well with the Fantasy Parade kicking off late and the fireworks bringing it all to a close around 11pm, the short ones needed a nap to ensure they lasted. Back in the hotel, dressed for bed, they only went and fell fast asleep before the 20 minute deadline was up and the drive to the supermarket threatened.

I'm not gonna say a word about kicking butt on the Buzz Lightyear ride, the swimming races or even the weird carrot, potato and pea 'meal' that was my dinner. Fail to plan? Never. Plans to fail? Not today boy.

Hotel to bed

I'd decided on the title for this piece by the time we'd arrived at Disney, unloaded the car and headed off in to the park. It wasn't until right at the very end of the day this was amended to what you see now. I'll come to why later, right now I'd like to jump to earlier.

Lanes dominated the day: lanes to queue for the train through the channel tunnel; lanes on the autoroute from Calais some 200 miles to near Val D'Europe to where Disneyland resides; lanes to queue for the rides once there. The train and Disney queues were fairly orderly but what really stood out for me was how disciplined the drivers on the French motorways were.

At home, regardless of how much or little traffic there is, trucks will mostly be pinned to the inside lane with virtually every other vehicle nose to tail in the outside lane. The French, so it seemed, keep a right rein on their outside lane manoeuvres, only drifting out there to overtake before slipping back to the middle almost immediately. I named them 'lane disciples' as is my way of nick-naming most things.

If you've ever seen 'Dunston Checks In' and expect a hotel in the big apple to look like that, you won't be disappointed by the New York Hotel at Disney. Dead ringer, and the kids loved it. What more can I say?

The park itself was crowded though. Having accustomed ourselves over the summer to the relative quiet of Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, Disney was a bit of a shock. We battled on but the lack of sleep and soaring heat sent me back to our room with the little one as she needed sleep. It was not to be.

Once it was evident the sandman would not be visiting, the kids and me headed off for a swim, which was as fun as we could have wanted. Refreshed, we set off out to to the park.

With nine o'clock calling, we decided to call it a day, as our tired legs would carry us little further, and little one was growing increasingly heavy on my shoulders. As we walked through the arcade I said we should go home for bed. "No dad," she says. "Hotel for bed."

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Lesson 1: get to Folkestone; is compete

Ah, the summer holiday. Seaside, sand, candy-floss, and total bedlam getting packed and loaded. I love summer holidays.

I had the strangest moment prior to leaving the house, after hours of chaos, packing, double-checking, cursing and more. I locked the roof box and simply walked away. Yes, I didn't have to ram the lid down, force the key, re-open the lid and shuffle the shoe-horned-in contents, re-commence closing procedure till it relented and locked. I just closed it, turned the key fully and walked off.

Seems this time we're travelling light on our trip over the water to France (well, under it actually). May be my four female travelling companions have designs on returning with armfuls of treasure from Disneyland and Pleneuf Val Andre. I wonder.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

You know you're a Mum when..............

In a change to the usual programming, I thought I'd join in with a meme that Christine at Thinly Spread kicked off, all about the things that mark you out as being a Mum. Except I won't be a Mum, if that's OK with you.

1.  Being ignored is a way of life. Questions such as "What would you like for breakfast?" fall on minds that only have ears for 'The Suite Life of Zack and Cody'. Damn you Disney channel.

2.  You make excuses to buy sweets for the 'kids' at any opportunity. Sharing the love is what it's all about, after all, and I am rather partial to anything haribo related.

3. You walk round the supermarket singing that awful Bieber song, as that's the last thing you heard on the car stereo.  In fact, you no longer control the car stereo, and even when driving alone you find yourself singing along to Hannah Montana for several minutes before realising the error of your ways.  In case you're not familiar with Master Bieber........



4.  Sugar puffs are part of your accessory collection, such is the frequency with which you find them attached to various parts of your attire. In fact, the kids think it's funny to spill them on purpose to make sure your outfit is not lacking.

5.  You're feeling peckish, but have no food immediately to hand. That's OK, the kids don't mind a chicken nugget or meatball going astray whilst they are not looking. It's all about sharing the love, after all.  Never hurts to to cook a little extra you know, just in case they are extra ravenous.

6.  The moms at the birthday party at the soft play area look at you with "Why are you here? Oh, must be your weekend to have the children."  written all over their face. Nice. I've always enjoyed that look.

7.  You are forever walking on small Polly Pocket items that are strewn on the floor. Dad's never look properly after all, which is why we don't notice them before finding them painfully embedded in the soles of our feet.

8.  As we're talking about feet, the footmarks and foot prints desposited on shirts and t-shirts by the litle one during the compulsory shoulder ride on a trip out. Usually acquired after a little sojurn through a puddle or mud patch.  You become so used to the these marks you forget all about changing your shirt before heading to the supermarket, leading to strange stares from fellow shoppers standing in the checkout queue at Sainsbury's.

9.  You can do the most awful, outrageous dancing at the disco, and the kids laugh and join in with you. You then realise that you are, in fact, your father.

10.  You go to parents evening, and the teacher is barely aware of your existence. All comments, queries and detail of your little darlings school life are directed totally to your other half. This rather resembles point 1 above. I'm beginning to sense a theme......

So that's a dad's perspective on life at drop4three towers.  A test will follow shortly.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Miss T

I wonder what has brought you're here
Why are you standing at my door
Must we come face-to-face again
As we so often have before?

You know I'll never love you
No place for you in my heart
I rejoice the many hours and days
When we're so far apart

For all you bring is sadness
Bitterness and regret
No warmth you can bestow on me
You know I'll not forget

How you make me search my very soul
What am I that is so wrong
How you make me doubt the very place
I know that I belong

You taunt me, you tease me
Drive my energies underground 
And they just eat away at me
While you sleep safe and sound

I'll never love you, don't you hear
Won't you listen to my cry
Begone, Miss T, I beg of you
Leave, and say goodbye

But you'll be here when morning comes
Though I'll try with all my might
To cast you from my shadow though
You live there day and night 

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Visualise me

Ever close your eyes
To focus on an image in your mind?
Try to bring it in to sharp relief?

Ever stop to inhale a scent
Recall where it's from before
You lose it to disbelief?

I can do it all much better
When I close out the world around
Hide away from the distractions
And every single sight and sound

I can do it all much greater
See and smell them all anew
When I take a look deep in my heart
'Cause there I know are you

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Second Is First Of The Losers

"It matters not whether you win or lose, but how you played the game."

In my view of the world, that statement translates exactly to the title of the piece. If you don't win it doesn't mean anything. You might think I'm competitve talking like that? I am indeed, I am the most competitive person I have ever met. I can turn kids parties in to a competition between those attending. It's the one facet of my personality that runs free no matter how hard the reigns are pulled in. The 'matters not' comment is something said by those that know they'll never win but have to give some justification to their participation. I would never say that. I may have thought it. Recently.

In a solo sport, everything is down to you. The 7 iron to the 18th that you pull left: the split on the 10th frame that you knew was coming as your delivery was a little straight: the awful side you put on the cueball on that third red. The screw ups and the loss are yours - second really is first loser. You have no one to look at afterwards except yourself in the mirror.  It's an unenviable position to find yourself in though, looking inward knowing you screwed up.

Team sports, on the other hand, have a collective responsibility to them. It's the team that shines or fails, and all have their part but seldom can one individual be blamed for a loss or applauded for the success. But may be that's not entirely true. I've stood and lined up a last minute shot at the posts knowing that the points are needed to avoid losing. I have knocked them over and we've celebrated. I've missed them and the "everything is down to you" syndrome applies from solo sports as above. But as an individual within a team you can play amazing and lose, or bloody awful and win, there's no trade off as above where one generally equals the other. May be there's something I'm missing.

I recall walking off the pitch after a bad game which, with little help from me, we won. I was disappointed at my performance (I am usually pretty critical, after all I compete mostly against myself) but glad we won. And the reverse has also been true - annoyed if we have lost but happy with a good personal performance. And it's these thoughts that have made me stop and think, made me re-evaluate one of my core beliefs in myself.  May be I'm sliding towards the "it's how you played the game" philosphy.

I don't like this. Not one little bit. I'm competitive, I want to win, I hate losing. I really do hate losing. May be I hate playing badly more.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Sundried

Does it put up a barrier?
Do I drive you away?
Does the wall get ever higher
With every brick that I lay?

Will the exchanges soon halt?
Slowly dry up till there's none
As if emotion's been left out
In the hot summer sun

What was dazzling and bright
Just a few minutes ago
Turns dull very quickly
Have you forgotten me so?

The failings are mine
That's the stance that I'll take
Call it blind, say it's stupid
I've no reputation at stake

See, the balance evades me
I'm never sure when it's right
The friendships disappear
In the dead of the night

But then we're too late to rescue
The chasm's grown so wide
I won't call you again though
I still have my pride

Perdió mi voz

My voice has dried up
That’s not very me
I can chat forever
When I’m with good company

But these days, mostly
I seem to be on my own
In my private little world
Whilst sitting at home

I don’t know what brought me here
Nary a thought or clue
Feels most unusual
Don’t quite know what to do

I miss all the discussions
But I’ve got so little to say
So closed off from everyone
Like I’ve been locked away

Wonder what I can do
To turn this all around
Bring me back to me
Return to safe ground

Feels like my purpose is gone
Motivation boxed up tight
As I read through the timeline
In the middle of the night

And I wonder where
This is all leading me
When I dislike the person
I’m turning out to be

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Great Scott

For four long weeks she kept her peace
Held the news close to her chest
Wanting to make sure all was well
As only a mom knows best

With scan complete and heartbeat seen
Kirsty told us all today
Congratulations bounced around
As they should this special day

February seems so far away
The days will fly so fast
Hope it's not long before you say
The sickness has finally passed

But so much to do in seven months
Move of home, whatever needs be
South and West the three will head
To shore up by the sea

And twitter pals are busy planning
On celebrating too
Being #TwUncles and #TwAunts you know
The normal terms would never do

And then there is the baby shower
Before they leave for the south coast
We can meet, and chat, and celebrate
And raise a non-alcoholic toast

But there's a long way to go yet
And we'll be with you all the way
Kirsty, Child, and baby too
Call on us any time of day


For @cooda xx

Friday, 9 July 2010

Restless Rhyme

Things to do at 3am
When the little one's not well
Ways to occupy your mind
So on tiredness you don't dwell

Cover the sofa with sleeping bags
A place to play and rest
It's better than being cramped in bed
My patience that does test

Fetch a bowl of ice-cream
And sugared strawberries too
Decide against a coffee though
A buzz right now won't do

Put 'Little Bear' on tv again
Those stories are so sweet
They never fail to make her smile
Even on the third repeat

Think I'll skip the tidy up
Though the kitchen needs a hand
Don't want to disturb those upstairs
From their dream-filled land

Watch the moon begin to fade
And the stars attempt to hide
As dawn brings light and colour
But no warmth I feel inside

I see that Little Bear's been found
We're approaching half past four
All's quiet from the sofa now
Except the occasional snore

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Daddy

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Canal

Head out on two wheels
Take myself for a spin
Away from the traffic
The fumes and the din

Travel on the flat paths
Save for odd bridge or lock
Leave all thoughts behind you
Ignore ticking clock

Stop still to watch
As a barge takes a turn
Nod a 'good morning'
To Captain free of concern

Read arty graffiti
As a train rumbles ovehead
Suck in some breath
My legs feel like lead

Follow shiny tracks now
But just for a while
Kids throw bread to the ducks
As they laugh, and they smile

Watch for the dogs
That jump out in your path
I'm not here
To be taking an early bath

Discarded bottles float
Untroubled by wave
Beautiful reflections
Give camera something to save

I turn for home
As I know needs must
But I'll be back soon, canal
In your calmness I trust




Monday, 5 July 2010

Palabras

Words are amazing and fascinate me
From connecting conjunctions to a simple 'be'
There's something so grand in the way they say
So much to so many in their own little way
But are they just letters, a simple sum of their parts?
Or are they much more when they pull at our hearts?
Certain words can evoke a reaction inside
Be it joy, extreme sadness, or a swelling of pride
I wonder just how they do that, what is their power?
That people will toil over them, long hour after hour
Why do writers struggle with these little things so?
In wanting to send out a message, so we know
Their point, their knowledge, or even their view
Things they want us to learn, to say, even do
And as I type out this strange verse for you to read
Let me be clear with you now, I have only one need
That you understand words, know that all words are good
And thank you for reading, I knew that you would

SOFTVFT

Never been here before
Can't say I thought I would
See this day before me
Feels strange, not something good

Failure, is that the right word?
I need some more background
To document the path here
Make my conclusions safe and sound

But I'd much rather cancel once again
Think up yet one reason more
To avoid completing act one of many
Stay locked behind my front door

But this is a means to an end
I have to convince myself
Not like I've been a big loser
I have love, comfort, my health

Still, the chains do rankle
And the noise is pretty loud
Not something easily ignored
Won't make me stand tall and proud

The deed must be done though
So what if I'll feel hollow
Time to SOFTVFT
My pride I'll have to swallow

Friday, 2 July 2010

The Address

An afternoon of nothing
House sitting, could be worse
Grateful it's given me the chance
To post this little verse

While I might give off a little shrug
Truth be told I'm not that fussed
Feeling a little strange today
I'm all a bit non-plussed

The surrounding are not helping
Been years since I was here alone
Feel odd, distant, like I intrude
In a place I once called home

It looks just as it always did
But there's a mystery to the air
I'm a stranger in a familiar place
To say 'I don't belong' seems fair

Even the cupboards seem to think so
As I rummage for a snack
The best food hides itself from me
Re-appearing when I turn my back

But time for me to leave now
My house sitting is complete
Wonder if those around
Will notice how quickly I retreat


Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Hasta Luego

Clocking in for the very last time
But really I clocked out long ago
Dreaming of better places now
Not bound by their chains, you know

So I hope to visit sunnier climes
To smell and taste coffee
That's the thought that makes me tick
It's the only thing I can see

When stuck in a hot, hot room
With those that just don't understand
What the world could really look like
How it could be so very grand

Can't bear to hear their blinkered view
Won't step outside the box
The super highway that I'd build
Is filled with their road blocks

Some places here I know I'll miss
And some people too, indeed
But I know how and where to find them
When I feel the need

So I'll clock out from lovely Bolton
Laters, good night, god bless
Goodbye substantial, adios deficient
Hasta luego to the stress


Good luck Sir B

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Walk

So we took a late stroll by the pool and you told me you were sad. It was never my intention to make you feel so bad. I looked across the water in the fading light, and realised, once again, you were so right. I wanted always to make you laugh, make you smile, though I knew it wouldn't happen all the while.  I never ever wanted to hurt you babe, or see you cry, yet there you were with a tear running from your eye.

I took your hand and we wandered on, and I wondered where sometimes our love had gone.  For there and then a mountain stood between our hearts, but before I'd always been able to read the charts. Navigate my way back in to your arms and love, as if guided by a helping hand from above.  But this time it seemed the gulf was huge, so deep and wide, or was it my blinkered view or stupid pride?  I struggled for the touch to give, the words to say, and that's not me, not on any normal day.  But your hand in mine felt precious and warm, like it would protect me from any rain or storm.  I held fast not wanting to ever let go, for you're the one for me, you're my one, you know. 

As we walked and talked the feelings left me some, as we watched the clouds being coloured by the setting sun.  The distance between us shrank though there was still some space, I could see the miles as I looked in to your face.  But time we have and time is here, and I just have to keep you close, hold you near.  And as the minutes turn to hours and days, I pray we'll return to us, you and me, our special ways.

Wondering

So I’m not everything that I could be
Every morning in the mirror it’s still me
Wondering and wishing for something more
That little extra that niggles from my core
A world, a town, a better place
Smoother skin on shaven face
Things that seem so very small
But would make me feel so very tall
And bring a smile to those close at heart
Those from whom I never want to part
I just don’t see what makes them grin
Stuck with grumpy me and all my din
Want them to smile from their very soul
I know that it would make me whole
How do I lift my game, you know
To let them know I love them so
How do I stop from being, well, me
It’s not who I really want to be

Monday, 28 June 2010

The Question

Ever asked yourself a question
And no one replied at all
The silence left you cold
Ever been left wondering
And knew deep down inside
That you'd never be so bold

To ask what wrong turn you made
What words had done the harm
To stop your insides churning away
Please reinstate the calm

I can't really concentrate
I'm thrown from my usual stride
Confidence is missing
Lacking all my pride

I'm waiting with my question
But there's no one here to ask
Not one can put me right
I'll stay here contemplating
Just like always so it seems
Through the long and lonely night

Can I put that turn behind me?
Stop looking at the past
Focus always on the forwards
It's approaching really fast

There's a whole world right beside me
I don't want to miss the fun
So I'll draw the line here and now
That's it, enough, I'm done

Friday, 25 June 2010

The Inquisition

In a change to usual programming, I've been tagged by Kailexness to complete The Inquisition, a series of questions designed to tell you more about me, and may be, tell me more about me.  These are all questions that she chose as part of the tag. We will see who learns the most.

1. Which (in)famous person (alive or dead) would you like to take out to dinner, where would you go and what would you like to talk about? 
Wow, this is not an easy one to narrow down - I always wonder if meeting someone like David Niven, Marilyn Munroe, Dean Martin or Humphrey Bogart would ruin the image I hold of them, but that's the risk you take. I'll go for Munroe and with her sitting opposite me the food would be irrelevant. I'd let her do all the talking, I'd be too captivated to untie my tongue.

2. What is the best gift someone could give you (tangible please)
I've always wanted to drive an F1 car and these days for several thousand pounds you can.  That or a sky-dive, I'd love to free-fall for several thousand feet just for fun. Either would do a treat. My birthday is in 4 months, you should start saving now......

3. Where in the world would you most like to live?
We were lucky to travel round the world in 2009 as part of winning a trip to New Zealand.  Whilst I loved Sydney and Hawaii, Nelson in the north of New Zealand's South Island was a beautiful place, relaxed, and I imagine what England was like 40 years ago. Nelson would be perfect for me. It also nicely meets my life-time ambition of living by the sea. Sorry Kailua, you were beautiful though, as you can see.











4. What do you most enjoy cooking?
You know, I don't think I have a favourite dish. I love cooking and am the resident chef at 'Dropped Towers'. I love experimenting, making something out of nothing, and learning as I go. Sorry if this seems a cop-out, but it's true.


5. What is your favourite Novel?
 I'm a fiction fan and whilst Ludlum, Herbert and Clancy spring to mind, I'll go slightly left-field and say John Barth's 'The Tidewater Tales'. It's a strange mix of story-telling and poetry writing that's as difficult to get in to as it is to put down. I've not sold this to you, have I?


6. You have your own personal Tardis, where do you go first?
The end of the dinosaurs please. For all the horror of a meteor slamming itself in to the planet and killing virtually all life, it's something that must be seen to be believed. 

7. How old is the inner you?
Young, very. I think sometimes the kids act older than me - I am definitely the youngest in the house so about 5, may be slightly less.


8. Theatre or Cinema?
Theatre. My college days were totally occupied by theatre studies, and I did both acting and technical side. I love seeing actors in their natural environment, mistakes and all. They are only human, after all.

9. Would you be famous, with all that means?
I'm always amazed when people say "I want to be famous" I firmly believe you have to be famous for doing something like acting, music or sports - you cannot be famous because you go to all the best parties and the press throws your name about. I'd love to be a professional sportsman or in a band, and if that meant I was famous then so be it. I'd love to do something I love for a living. Guess I'd have to learn to live with what came with it. Hopefully.

10. You are able to learn anything at all, a skill, a language, whatever, what would it be and why?
I was always terrible at languages, but taught myself Spanish by audio not too long ago. So now it would have to be kite-surfing. In Hawaii I watched with open mouth as the guys flashed past with kite towing them on their smal boards, zooming over the waves.


So that's my ten, and my inquisition complete, I hope. Many thanks to Kailexness for the tag. It was fun and really made me think harder than I thought it would be.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Friday, 18 June 2010

And all that stares back at me
Is the darkness of the room
Before the dawn wipes away
The early-hours gloom

Soft breathing gently fills the air
So I know I’m not alone
A mummer here, a shuffle there
In the place I call my home

Why do you call to me so little?
Ask me to rest my weary head
Wrest me away from all my thoughts
Call me to slumber in my bed

What reason did you choose me
Above all others that I know?
I rage against your everything
You drag me down so very low

Sometimes it’s good to feel this way
But more than often not
The daylight is approaching fast
I know I’ll have soon forgot

How you made me feel lying here
How I despise your very soul
Please let me be, leave me be
Send sleep to make me whole

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Diary of a Stay-At-Home Dad

Don't know if i've told you
Or you've heard the latest news
My work at work is done now
And I've slightly got the blues

You see I've been working all my life
Virtually every single day
So it seems a little weird now
That I get to stay at home and play

I'm looking forward to summer
Spending the holidays with the kids
And getting away from spreadsheets
Or some other type of grids

But when they are at school
And I've dropped them off to stay
I feel just so useless
Like there's no reason to my day

I have a list of things to do
And believe me it is long
But my get up and go has got up and left
Is that so very wrong?

I just don't seem to have a purpose
In the hours they are away
I'm just so used to deadlines and meetings
I don't understand another way

Please don't think poorly of me
Hope you don't think that I'm bad
I knows so many of you would love
To be a stay-at-home dad

Monday, 14 June 2010

In the darkness, the eye inverts, looking, watching, searching. It does not understand, it never will.

Flanked not by sunshine, the shackles of the day, or trappings of the evening, honesty may fall around the feet, holding all to account. There is no escape. The realisation stings, burns, but for how long? When daylight returns has the night-walker hidden itself too far away?

For when day breaks, so does it’s heart. As the heavy clouds swirl the memories fade away, the character falls down, not to be caught or collected again - or so it seems. The eye is lost, the vision blurrs and the spirit lies tarnished and forgotten on the wet, cold floor.


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

iPod frame of mind

Turn on the iPod
Which title grabs my eye
What tunes are calling me
Click on shuffle, don't know why

You know I can't decide
If I dictate the mood I'm in
Or it's what the machine picks
As the hard drive starts to spin

Does it read my mind
I think it really can
Knowing just what to choose
To make me a better man

Calm me when I'm pacing
Speed me up when I'm too slow
Steady my course when it's askew
Getting me in to the flow

And it's never ever failed me
Not once have I hit skip
If finds the very sounds I need
Without a single blip

And when I'm off and mooding
Or need some time to think
Plug myself in to the headphones
To get me back in sync

Friday Returns

Packing up to go home is always a fraught, sole-destroying experience.  The clock is ticking knowing we have to leave by a certain time, and the internal clock is counting down the dreaded minutes till we get home to Birmingham.  It's not that we don't like Brum, we would love to be somewhere else, and this somewhere else with it's remoteness, picturesqueness, and easy access to lots of places was a sad place to be leaving.  But pack we did.

It was, fortunately, easier and faster than normal as without the usual roof-box we take with us we were limited to the amount of, erm, stuff that we could take with us.  Packed and off, we left a pretty and sunny Ham Island behind us.

Our wont is to always stop somewhere on our trips home, to break up the journey and squeeze a little extra in to our break.  We decided on Oxford as it's on the route home and is a nice place to stop and explore (me) and shop (the others).  Parked up, we wandered through Westgate and out in to the sunshine of this pretty city.

Little one, gradually declining, decided that by the time we had reached Boots that enough was enough and brought up her lunch which also brought an end to our stay.  We knew that home and bed was calling for her so off we went.  May be.

The traffic on the ring-road decided that our journey would not be prompt, and despite our efforts to avoid the blockages easily, we were not to succeed.  This is when the strangest bit of the holiday occurred.

In programming the sat nav to avoid the ring road, it asked if we wanted to avoid the toll road.  Toll road? There's no toll roads round here, we thought to ourselves.

Swinford Toll Bridge near Eynesham is, apparently, it's own little tax haven and the owner does not have to pay any tax on the revenue from motorists crossing the Thames via it's Grade II listed stone structure.  We were amazed as we approached the bridge, not believing that a toll bridge could be here.  We were flabbergasted at the price they wanted to charge us for passage.  I simply could not believe the man in the booth would have the cheek to stand there and hold out his hand for the princely sum of five pence from each passing car.  Yes, 5p.  We were amazed and laughed as we rummaged through our wallet and purses to find the right change.  How very, very strange.

Once found, the clear motorway ensured the passage home was swift and we trudged up the steps to the house and in we went.  Another breakcomplete.

We'd have no hesitation returning to Ham Island, a simply lovely place in the right location.  We didn't even touch the surface of London and have plenty more to see there, to show the kids there, and to explore ourselves.  We will, I hope, be back there soon.  I do love London so.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Turn Around Thursday

In the choice between Legoland or Thorpe Park for our Thursday adventures, the little ones selected Legoland without hesitation.  Little did we know we would be visiting both, and only briefly.

Loaded and away early, the stream of traffic grew gradually the closer we got to Legoland.  The queue forming in the opposite direction was formidable, and that was before any crossed the roundabout to enter the park.  Roundabout navigated, we joined a queue. A very long queue.  A very long queue that wasn't moving.  See for yourself.

We quickly decided that this would be a very bad idea and I turned the car round as we watched others begin to do the same, obviously realising it would be a nightmare in there this day.

Knowing Thorpe Park was close, I re-programmed the sat nav and we eased back passed the lines of cars both inside Legolands borders and the long line yet to find what awaited them.

The crowds at Thorpe seemed lively but not quite as packed as our first choice of the day.  We skipped those waiting to buy their tickets and wandered over the bridge and in to the park.

Knowing this place from a previous visit, we headed immediately for a small section that had about 6 rides just for the litle ones.  They love the rides here, and whilst they enjoy their spins and rides, I went off to cool down in a rather forceful way.

Tidal Wave is a short flume that throws up the most enormous splash when it hits the bottom of it's only dive.  Knowing that there are fools like me about, they've built a 'viewing' platform so that onlookers can enjoy the ride too.  I did, and came off rather wetter and cooler than I'd started the day.  It was lovely.  While I had the chance, I also sampled 'Saw - The Maze', a live-action horror ride where as you wander round on foot, people would jump out at you in an attempt to scare you.  Quite a few of the train I walked round with screamed, a lot.  I laughed, a lot.  Despite all the hype, it was pants.

The kids had headed for the shade but wanted most to head for the man-made beach and large paddling pool there.  Though the water was rather cold, the warm sun made for ideal paddling.  Little one, though, was begining to suffer the effects of the temperature she had battled against for the last couple of days.  Enjoying the water as she was, she wanted to go home so we headed back to the car for the short hop home.

We'd driven past the Windsor Farm Shop several times during the week, but never stopped in.  With the little one asleep and lunchtime barely over, we pulled in to same their wares with things to both eat and drink.  Back at the accommodation much earlier than expected, we settled down to do our own thing, which involved more sleeping, drawing, and for me a walk along the river to explore places not yet seen.

A strange day, curtailed by both illness and crowds. We hoped Friday, our head-home day would be better.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Windsor Wednesday

After the exertions of museum day, our party were a little tired, so the morning began relaxing around the accommodation.  Each occupied themselves in their own way which kept us all happy.  It wasn't until early afternoon we ventured out and headed for Winsdor for a mooch around the shops and a look at the sights.

We immediately fell in love with the place. The old railway station converted to easy shops, the pedestrian spaces to wander freely around, all helped by the beautiful sunshine and a light, cooling breeze.  We ambled along, the women stopping off at regular places, the kids especially intent on buying the odd thing or two. Turns out about 5 more like.  I stopped at a shop selling speciality oils, vinegars and most importantly, whiskey.  It was presented in little casks, and I was very tempted by the owner's offer of sampling a dram or two.  Unfortuntaely, my Windsor-Women came and dragged me away before the process could begin. I said to the owner I would return, but the chance did not present itself.  I keep this picture close at hand to remind me.
We continued on through the traffic-free paths, the girls scouring the souvenir shops for momentos of their trip here, and especially to London.  They finally settled on 'I Love London' hats and small hangbags, and their smiles showed how very happy they were with them. 

I was happy enjoying the views of the castle, or small village as I took to calling it - it really covers a huge piece of ground.  Although the castle was closed, I stood for ages watching the cars and people leaving, smiling on faces of those walking away.  It's an enchanting place, just for being itself, as I know very little of the history of the place, but it's size and very picturesque appearence just captured me.

As 5pm was approaching and the expiration of our parking ticket, we strolled towards the car park, but not without visiting an antiques shop mrs drop4three had spied on our way in.  The ladies stopped at a display whilst the girls and me wandered further in.  I halted at the payment desk, some shiny rings attracting me, with the girls continuing on to stop at a different display.  When the owner came off the phone he spoke to me.
"Are they your children?"
I replied with a simple. "Yes"
"Can you keep them with you," he continued. "It's not a toy shop."

It was his tone more than anything that annoyed me, simply no need for it at all. The girls were behaving themselves.  I called to them saying we were leaving as I would not be spoken to that way.  As we collected the others and I told them we were leaving, the man had the cheek to call down the shop "They were running around the place" We left. I didn't give him any more of my time. Little did he know that mrs d4t collects silver trinkets, especially those made by the company her great (x5) grandfather worked at then owned. His shop's loss, but I will neither think of or speak of him further.

Returned to our lodgings with kids fed and tucked up in bed, we went for a little walk up the river again, watching as the boats passed underneath us as we stood on the bridge to Ham.  The planes continued over our heads towards Heathrow, landing lights blazing making them just lights in the sky until the noise carried towards us.

The sun setting with hints of red and orange in the sky made for a perfect finish to a lovely day full of exploration, relaxation and beautiful surroundings.












The view from the bridge to Ham Island

Science - neither weird nor otherwise

We promised ourselves and the kids a museum day when the weather dictated time indoors. We lined up the Natural History, Science and the Victoria & Albert for one day.

The weather people were not to let us down with their prediction for the 1st of June. Thick grey coulds blanketed the sky and rain began in earnest from about 6am. We made the short hop to Slough to grab the rather expensive train in to Paddington.

Some of our group are not the best of travellers and things occasionally get a touch tense. This trip proved no difference and our rather relaxed air gets trashed. But once arrived in London proper and 5-stop tube run to South Kensington completed, we took the long but thankfully dry subway to the Museums as the contented air returned. The Science Museum would prove to be our only stop that day.

Usual arrival visits completed, we headed for the top of the building to work our way down.

The little ones were not overly enamoured with the floors covering medicine, and we raced a litle round there. It was when we reached the third floor with Launchpad that they got to interact and explore. The were lots of things to see, touch, test, but the rather big crowds made it slightly difficult. It wasn't long before the tannoy announced a show called "Crash, Bang, Wallop" was about to start so we headed off to see and hear some explosions.


The show startted with smallish explosions and built up all the way to firing Barbie out of a cannon, much to the sheer delight of all the young boys in the room, and to quite a few of the dads. I did cheer. The kids enjoyed this show, and once the 20 minutes or so was done, we headed back out to play some more before heading for the big-boys toys. Aeroplanes and engines.

The vast array and sheer size of the engines and planes on display brought an enormous grin to my face. Little un quickly grabbed the camera and snapped her way round the room. My mind boggled at the different layout of cylinders on show. Wow.

 I'm always amazed by the size of planes and the sheer effort the engines must go through to lift them to the heavens.  We wandered for quite a while looking, musing, climbing in to cockpits to see what the pilots from yesteryear faced. 

We wandered the other floors, conscious that the day was rapidly coming to an end, and we'd still not made it to the other museums. There was, in truth, far too much to see and do in one day, highlighted by the The Secret Life of the Home exhibition that we found our way to in the basement. The kids really loved testing and playing with things of yesteryear, and the adults laughed at how we used some of them as children.

With time creeping on, we made our way back to the stations to head back to Slough for the 4-wheeled transport to whisk us back to Ham Island.

A lovely day, not spoilt at all by the weather. And the Science Museum is somewhere we will have to return to.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

World Adventures of Monday

As Christmas rolled by and New Year celebrations receded, Mrs d4t in her usual hunt for bargains and offers, saw a post for vastly reduced Merlin annual passes. These get you in to Alton Towers, Thorpe and many other theme parks and attractions across the country. As part of our #ThatLondon trip, we'd planned to visit three parks and the London Eye, all weather permitting.

Monday dawned in a rather dull fashion and with such low cloud that we couldn't even see the planes overhead as they screeched out of Heathrow. This place is directly on the flightpath, not that I mind that though. I'm always amazed at how slowly they climb up in to the sky, and I always wonder where they are headed. Always. As we waited for the weather to show it's hand, the kids explored the house further, especially the spinning chair in the conservatory – it's in for some serious usage this week.

Bank holiday or not, food shopping was needed after our emergency dash to the local Co-Op on Sunday evening. Tesco Slough, despite warnings of the loveliness of Slough, was programmed in to the satnav for the short trip.

At this point a nod to the naysayers is required, as they did warn me. Slough is not the most delightful place to visit first thing on a Bank Holiday. The experience, I hope, will not be repeated.

Shopping purchased and returned to SL4, we starting the ever-lengthy packing process for the trip to Chessington World of Adventures, our destination for the day. Short car-hop completed, we trundled across the grassy field that was the car park, strolled past the lines of folk waiting to buy their tickets and went in.

Of all the parks that we've visited, this was by far the most disappointing, or so we thought. The rides seemed rather tame, few and far between, and the oft rude clientèle did little to warm our hearts. We passed several hours meandering between the various themed sections, the kids enjoying the odd ride, us getting wet on a flume (whilst the little one completely covered herself in a protective mac – cheek) and more, but still the park did not set us alight.

The short wait for the sky-ride, which would take us round the park with an elevated view, changed our opinion of Chessington in a few minutes.

We knew there was a zoo but the ride showed us the animals as we motored past, with all of us straining to see more and already planning where we would go once the ride had finished. The post-ride highlight had to be the gorilla enclosure. A baby sat in the far corner of the pound pulling at and chewing on a branch, much to the delight of the crowd that had gathered. As lovely as it was to watch, I can never fail to feel sorry for them stuck in an enclosure far smaller than anything they would wish for.

After seeing the lions, sea-lions, leopards, birds, and lots of others, we seemed more content with the park, more relaxed. Even the rather unpleasant 'lady' who seemed intent on abusing us and her child with unrepeatable words whilst queuing for a ride couldn't put a damper on the day.

We returned to the car as the park began to empty for the short drive back to Ham Island, passing the picturesque Runnymede on the way. A walk there might be a pleasant way to spend a few hours. We will see.

We'd said half-way round that we'd never return to Chessington, but may be we would now.