I’m searching through old photos looking for one of Jonathan when his eczema was horrendous but there aren’t many on the computer from 2002! However while looking I came across these photos of the kids with some Dawsons. I was thinking how cute they looked. But then I remembered that Ruth is still going on about the trauma of me cutting her hair like this – too short. I wasn’t good at cutting hair so it was one of those times where it gradually got shorter and shorter to level it out.

Seriously she is still going on about it even now!


Yesterday evening our friend and slightly-crazy-inventor Dan Roberts came round to help me with some bits on the van. It turned out we didn’t have quite the right bits and I was feeling slightly bad that I’d dragged Dan over for no real purpose. “It’s ok” says Dan “I’ve got something we can do that might mean its not a wasted trip”. Assuming he needed a hand with something, possibly requiring use of a computer, I was happy to help out. It turns out that he actually wanted to show us his bubbluminator (as I have just named it). It had to be set up in the dark, ideally outside, so we cleared some space around the patio table and set it up.


It’s a fairly simple box with a light bulb inside and a plastic dish on top. You add bubble mix to the top and blow a bubble with the straw then sit and watch (ideally from below the height of the bubble).



The results were simply amazing. The bubble goes through a “lifecycle” the basic structure of which appears to be fairly typical, though each one is unique. I’ve posted some pictures below and more (and higher quality.) on Flickr, plus you can watch a 5 minute video of some of the clips I recorded strung together.

Not content to be mere spectators we also did some experimentation along the way and discussed what scientific principles might be involved along the way. We brought out a full-spectrum light box from the loft and tried that with a new bubble. It definitely made a difference, with more vivid colours. Jonathan also managed to make some amazing patterns by blowing bubbles inside the main bubble, while Rebekah used the opportunity to experiment with her photography.

It wasn’t the evening of apple bottling and laptop working we had planned, but being friends with Dan invariable means things take an unexpected direction with surprising frequency.


The two pictures above show the bubble just after being blown, with some interesting stripy effects. It then moves into brighter colour bands as shown below.

Towards the end it fades into a wispy black and white, looking a bit like a snowglobe. This stage happens just before it pops.

You can see more of the variation (there is lots!) on the video.


Well a tidy fireplace area anyway.


We had some lovely flowers for Burns night so they are making everything look brighter as is the home-made book with daffodils on the cover.






Question: If you take one home educating family of 3 children and 2 adults home many home educating children can you expect to pass through the house in the course of a busy Wednesday.

Answer: Lots

Here goes

5 – 1 =4 (we start with Ruth at a friends having had a sleepover)

4-1 = 3 (I go to my numeracy course – luckily it’s only equivalent fractions there not algebraic fractions)

3+3 =6 (three Ds arrive)

6-3=3 (2 Ds and a Gibson go to English workshop – 1 Gibson works at home 1 D and a Gibson play card games)

3+1-1 =3 (I arrive home from work and Martin leaves for a meeting passing the keys like a baton in a relay race)

3+3 = 6 (Ruth and a D and a H arrive here for felting – After Ruth has TIDIED HER ROOM!!!! Rebekah has gone to Ryde for a singing lesson and to deliver Beacons with another D)

I am now expecting the following to happen

6+1= 7 (Martin arrives home)

7+1=8 (a H Mum arrives to pick up the H)

8-2= 6 (Hs leave)

6-1 = 5 (a D leaves)

5+3= 8 (an O, B and Gibson arrive – it’s ECDL night)

8+1=9 (a D dad arrives)

9-2=7 (all Ds are now gone)

7-1=6 (this is the end point for the night – B has gone and we have gained one O for the night)


And people worry about socialisation!

Troll BoothWho’s that trip-trapping over my toll motorway? A people carrier? Yum, extra money from them.

The delightful people at Midland Expressway Limited have come up with an ingenious pricing system. I looked up their prices online and decided that while they were rather high at £4.70 for a car decided I would stomach the cost for the time saving. Imagine my surprise at being asked to pay £9.40 (the same as if I was driving an HGV) when I pulled up at the toll booth. I spluttered and burbled a bit, only to be told that vehicles over 1.3m high were charged differently. If I had not have been so flustered by this alarming news I might have pointed out that many “normal” cars are over 1.3m (the Ford Mondeo clocks in around 1.4 for example). However, I simply handed over my credit card (having run out of cash). On reaching my destination I checked out the website and found that in fact the height measurement is at the front axle. Now, I drive a Toyota Liteace people carrier, which is quite diminutive in length and width, but on the tall side at just under 2m. However, because those clever Japanese car makers have made use of all the available space, the front end is like a cliff, and the driver is sitting almost directly over the front wheels. So, height and front axle is about the same as maximum height. Now, if I had say, a Land Rover 130 I would be charged as any other car (my understanding is they meet the 1.3m at front axle). Said vehicle is 130mm taller than mine, 140mm wider, over a metre longer and weighs nearly twice as much.

Moral of this story? If you have a compact, lightweight, but van shaped people carrier, avoid using the M6 Toll, the Trolls will get you.

Image: (CC) Amanda Oliver, www.flickr.com/photos/the_amanda/

sellotapeWhat has happened to sellotape in recent years? It used to be that if you brought “own brand” sticky tape you took your chances, but sellotape could be trusted to do the job, albeit at a price. Now though the sellotape brand is a guarantee of complete sticktastic failure. I spent 20 minutes earlier wrestling with a roll of the stuff, and it’s just so flimsy it breaks if you look at the wrong way. Humph.

Image courtsey of wokka

I was at the beach the other day with my new camera (thank You Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Gibson!) and decided to do a Dad and take pictures of the beautiful scenery on the beach. So here are the pebbles on the beach!


Mum told me to make a list of reasons i’m a numpty, I think she was joking and I also DON’T think i’m a numpty but hey I did it anyway

1: Mum says so and she thinks she’s always right

2: I always seem to be being “stupid” at the wrong moments in time

3: I keep breaking things when people are already in bad moods

4: because I was talking and listening to Diana at the same time, but she didn’t seem to understand the fact I could listen to her and talk to someone else at the same time

5: I spilt a whole half cooked cake onto the floor whilst Dad was trying to make his dinner

6: because I didn’t take a towel with me when I was rinsing the conditioner out of my hair.

7: because I wear “stupid” shoes on walks (may I point out they were my old already muddy shoes)

8: because I can’t add 7 and nine together.

9: because I put 3 tablespoons instead of 3 teaspoons of salt into my bread dough (I’m sure it said tablespoons)