Category: Family

BLISS – for babies born too soon, too small, too sick

Just a quick post to highlight a worthwhile cause and to ask you to help in
anyway you can.
A friend of mine had reason to make use of BLISS some time ago, and I was recently
reminded of the charity by a tweet by Tess
Tess and her husband (Lee
) will both be running 10miles in the Great
South Run, and sponsoring them both is a great way to help the charity.
Even if you can’t afford a few pennies at the moment, please donate 5mins of
your time and forward this event on to your friends, family and work colleagues.

From the JustGiving page
set up by Tess

Our little girl Eden Summer was born at 29 wks, 11 wks, early by emergency
caesarean at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital, miles away from our local
hospital which didn’t have the facillities to look after a baby so small
. Eden’s incubator was donated to the hospital by Bliss and the intensive
care unit was also referred to as Bliss. I eventually held Eden for the first
time after 4 days and quickly started kangaroo care which Bliss says helps
pre-term babies and parents,it did,after 3 wks Eden was transferred to our
local hospital where she stayed another 3 wks after which we were allowed
to bring her home. It was the scariest time of our lives but the staff at
both hospitals and Bliss were fantastic .The work Bliss does is amazing and
my husband and me are trying to raise as much money as possible for them
to continue their work. So thats why we will be running 10 miles in The Great
South Run so please help us help babies like Eden.


For more information on BLISS, you visit their website at

Bliss, the special care baby charity, provides vital support and care to
premature and sick babies across the UK. Founded 30 years ago this year,
we offer guidance and information at a critical time in families’ lives. We
also fund ground-breaking research and campaign for babies to receive the
best possible level of care regardless of when and where they are born

Remember, these babies are too small to be able to help themselves. Help BLISS
give them the best start in life. As I say above, even if you can’t afford
to give a few pennies, then forward this post to everyone you know, or send
them the link to the JustGiving page.

Where was everybody ? Abroad or in front of the Xbox?

{{fr|Schéma annoté d'un mors simple à anneaux.

Image via Wikipedia

It must have been the third week of the summer school holidays in most places around the UK.  My wife was still working and wasn’t due her vacation for a few more days, so I had to keep the kids entertained until we could all do something together.
As is always the case this time of the year, the subject of "what to do and where to go" was all over the national and local news.

But I am confused?

Two adults, two children, 9-10 hours of watching top class motor racing at one of Europe’s best racing courses (and I really do mean one of the top circuits in Europe!). Total cost? £24 (£20 if you had booked your tickets online). 

But the most confusing part, was that the place was virtually empty, and I mean really empty.  There were more family members of the drivers than actual visitors. I would even go as far as saying there were probably more circuit marshals than their were spectators.

Admittedly, the weather forecast for the day wasn’t too good, but it wasn’t that bad either. Yet again, perhaps people know just how crap the weather forecasts are in the UK because actually, the weather was horrendous. It was cold, windy and the rain came down like stair rods which played havoc with my back, but made for better racing rather than having just the one or two cars speeding off into the distance (as happens in F1).
We got to see drivers driving which sounds quite daft until you think about it.
There was also the small matter of the Olympics starting today, but I can’t believe for one minute that people would have preferred to have watch that on television in preference to a day out.

So where was this all happening?

Continue reading

Bramley (Nature Reserve)

We are about 30-40mins west of Wimbledon, so when it rains here, with the direction of the wind and clouds, you can bet that the covers will be going on pretty soon.

P1010205One such time, it began raining really heavy outside, so I went out the back yard for a quick check of the sky to see this fairly young stag about 30ft away at the end of my garden.

He walked off into the maize that the local farmer is growing this year and stood and watched me for ages. 

P1010211If it had not be absolutely throwing it down with rain at the time, (and if I had recharged the batteries in my camera), I would have taken more photo’s.

He comes round quite often of late. I guess he’s been kicked out of the woods by the older stags so he’s off trying to find his own new patch.

It wasn’t until a few months back that I realised just how many deer there are in Bramley Woods.  I was walking my two dogs and as I turned into one of the fields, there must have been hundreds of dear just ambling around in the middle of the field enjoying the sun and eating the new grass.  They didn’t mind the two dogs until we got within a few 100yards of them , when they just bounced off back into the woods.

Earlier on in the day, I had already seen a Green Woodpecker on a tree in the neighbours garden.  I could hear a tapping on the tree and there this was.  Usually they are quite timid and have only got hear the slightest noise and they are off.  But this one I think had a few youngsters waiting for it in the field.

Again it was absolutely throwing it down with rain and was standing against a fence under a tree in my back garden.  P1010201I took these on min the way aximum digital zoom and low resolution.

And a few days before, one of the Red Kite’s was flying over.

We have about 4 of them living around here and every now and then they will soar on the thermals above the fields (assuming that there is any sun, which for the last few weeks we haven’t seen much of).red_kite_JUN_2007 In fact I really should upload a picture of the damn thing so I can remind myself what it looks like. I’m sure the last time I saw it in anger was in France a few weeks back.

Again, this photo was taken at the maximum range of my zoom, but you can still make out the profile.

They look absolutely amazing close up and I often spend an hour or so watching them soaring.IMG_1711 Clicking on the last image of a Red Kite will take you the the UK’s best Red Kite web site. (Note: If you couldn’t tell by the standard of the last picture, I didn’t take it and I ‘borrowed’ it from their web site) Tags: ,

Omaha Beach

Looking down at Omaha BeachIt was my first time to Omaha beach and to say it was a very humbling experience is an understatement.

We had arrived towards the end of the years D-Day Remembrance ‘celebrations’ so there were quite a few visitors to the American D-Day Museum and Cemetery.

You’ve seen the films, read the book, watched the series on UK History, but nothing prepares you for the sheer scale of the place.

Standing at the top of the hill where 1000’s if not more soldiers from both sides died leaves you with a rather dry lump in your throat.  Arriving at the top of the hill, you can only imagine the look of the awaiting German forces as they witnessed the mass of boats coming towards them.

P1010052When you are standing on the beach looking back up the hill, you can’t even appreciate the nerves it must have taken to even get off the landing craft and attempt to attack the hill.

I believe the beach is 6.9miles long. The day we were there, there must have been less than 20 people visible along the whole beach.  It was so quiet, peaceful and there is absolutely no evidence of the action that took place some 63 years previous.

P1010060 My two boys who are very interested in that era as most young boys are were visibly moved by what they saw.  It was no longer an Xbox game where they could hit ‘restart’ and the game would begin again when they “died”.  This was reality for them.
In the museum at the top of the hill, you could sit and watch footage taken at the time of the landings.  They sat for ages listening to the real soldiers tell their own stories.  There was no glorification, no Hollywood spin applied.  It wasn’t gory, nor horrific, but they left with tears forming in their eyes as did I.

P1010064I think every world leader, politician or in fact every man, woman and child should visit Omaha Beach, (or any of the Normandy Beaches or just any battlefield). 

They should be allowed to walk the cemeteries alone and consider what those who went before us gave up so that we may live in the name of peace. 
Yet when we look at events that are going on in the world today, do we really live in peace?
Is there any need for war and the death, destruction and misery it causes. 

I left Omaha Beach with more questions than answers. It taught me humility when I wasn’t really expecting it.  Those who control, start or fuel wars are never the ones at the front line. I think if they were to see what really goes on, you’d would at least hope they would think twice about starting something that causes so much death and destruction.

I’ve served in the Royal Navy and am very proud of doing so.  If you were to ask me to do so again now, I probably wouldn’t.  Yet, I would do anything to defend my family and my way of living, so I contradict myself.  It is those responsible for the wars and violence who need to see and understand the consequences and perhaps one day there would be no need for all the suffering that it causes.

Parles Vous Francais

Seeing as my son starts secondary school in 5 weeks time and one of his subjects will be French, I’ve been looking at various software.

One of the better ones appears to be:

Linkword French Levels 1 to 4 software language courses.
Level 1 teaches an extensive vocabulary and basic grammar in just 10-12 hours, about 3 times faster than normal learning methods. At the end of level 1 you would be able to say, for example ‘Where is the waiter?’ What is the time?’ or ‘Help, I want an ambulance’ or ‘He wants the Bill’ etc. The level 2 course takes slightly longer to go through but after completing level 2 your vocabulary and grammar will be virtually doubled, and the increased number of verbs will allow you greater flexibility in speaking. The levels 3 and 4 courses involve an increased intensity of grammar so that at the end of the course you will be able to write letters, use verbs in the past, present and future, deal with complex prepositions, and much, much more.

C’a été un long temps (24 ans) puisque le bout de I a fait des leçons françaises. Je ne peux pas dire que mon professeur français et moi avons poursuivi très bien.