31 December, 2009

Happy New Year!

Woah...! It's been ages since my last post, but we have millions of pics, vids and stories to come!

Thomas has grown up soooo much, he's got soo many new powers, we've had an amazing Christmas and New Year (thus far), and I promise (if nothing else) to blog much more in the new year!! ;)

We couldn't let the year end pass without just noting a few of the most important events of the year -

January - found out Flyingpops was pregnant - Hello Thomas/MJ! (and she turned 30!)
February - Had our first scan and "saw" MJ on the scanner screen
March - *Finally* able to announce pregnancy to friends and family and celebrated our first wedding anniversary!!
April - Hard work begins on the nursery (and the rest of the house) second scan takes place...
May - Work continues on the nursery and Fink learns how to plaster (hrm), we kiss goodbye to Colin the Camper... :(
June - Holiday in the Witterings, new bathroom installed, Tim & Gayle announce their pregnancy (baby due in Jan 2010, yay!)
July - Lucy and James get married(!!!), shop excitedly for the baby and MJ almost arrives with Net having a short stay in St.Thomas's hospital (phew)...!
August - Thomas arrives...albeit 5 weeks early throwing us into total chaos!
September - Our first family holiday to the Witterings...
October - Poor Thomas has his jabs and sleeps through every party in the period
November - Our second family holiday to the Cotswolds and Thomas starts his swimming lessons! Baby Harry is Born (congratulations!)...
December - Our first family Christmas!

23 December, 2009


Another year has passed and Mr.Finkangel is a year older... please all join me in singing Happy Birthday... (cough, clear throat and doh, ray, me, far, so, la, te, doh)

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Fink,
Happy Birthday to you..

And a special message from Thomas...

Daddy, you are one in a million, Mummy has been frantically trying to teach me the song, but all I can do is smile and giggle at her terrible singing!

So, when she walked away, I had to make my own version.
Agoo Agoo Aaaa go,
Agoo Agoo Aaaa go,
Agoo Agoo Aaaa go AAYeee,
Agoo Agoo Aaaa go.

Happy Birthday Fink... from all of us.


22 December, 2009

17 December, 2009

8 days to go...

...and our household is getting very, very excited about Christmas...Thomas loves the Christmas tree, Mummy has discovered "Christmas 24" that shows back to back Christmas movies, and Daddy is (periodically) enjoying port and stilton (in preparation) and consuming numerous cooking shows...We managed to get to the Christingle service in Oxted, then sang our socks off in the Belfry Carol concert and have even opened the Quality Street (despite being a little poorly)...yum!

So, 8 days to go...Santa has almost finished wrapping pressies, but I think some elves may still need to do their shopping!! ;o)

16 December, 2009


So day 2 of the holiday to the Cotswolds we decided to take a trip to see Bourton-on-the-Water, recommended to us by the locals in the Red Lion (and I quote - "Come rain or shine that place is always full of visitors" - meaning there had to be *something* worth seeing there)...it was only a short drive (maybe fifteen minutes) from where we were staying too, leaving us little in the way of excuses... ;)

We parked the car in the enormous out of town car park (obviously designed to accommodate huge numbers of summer visitors) and walked the short way into
town (after wasting about five 20p pieces struggling (eventually successfully) to pump up a slightly deflated pram wheel at the petrol station) -
- and actually it was lovely, the whole high street was dissected by a fast flowing, but very shallow river, criss-crossed by many tiny bridges -
- the lazy ducks, who had to swim extremely fast in order to just stay in one place -
Bourton-on-the-Water - Ducks
- were observed to actually climb out of the water and waddle (rather than struggle against the current) when they wanted to get back up-stream...
Bourton-on-the-Water - Motoring Museum
There were a couple of things (other than the numerous gift shops) worth a look at in town - the motoring museum (home of "Brum", apparently) -
Bourton-on-the-Water - Model Village
- and the model village (neither of which we fancied tackling with the pram, so we'll catch them next time we visit)...
Bourton-on-the-Water - Christmas Corner
We did poke around the Christmas shop (bought a couple of nice baubles), and noted with amusement the recently discovered signs that were to have been put up around the country in the event of a successful German invasion circa World War II -
Keep Calm and Carry On
- and festive corruptions thereof -
Keep Calm and Carry On
We also popped into a little jewellers shop to buy Flyingpops a silver charm (a bit of a tradition for our breaks now) and somehow she ended up trying on a £20,000 diamond ring(!) -
£20,000 diamond ring
- not at all what we expected from our day when we got up that morning! At lunchtime we stopped in a little cafe where Flyingpops had a cream tea -
Bourton-on-the-Water - Cream Tea
- (because she could) and I had a BLT -
Bourton-on-the-Water - BLT
- with hot bacon (which surprised me for some reason)...so a lovely little village, but our next visit should probably be in the summer, so I can paddle in the river... ;)

11 December, 2009

Finks Links #83

Link time!

Lets start with a Japanese jigsaw puzzle that enables you to make a reasonable picture of *anything*...! :0

Meet a guy that builds his own automatic crossbows... [pics]

Have a good look at Saturn's Hexagon... [pic]

Take a trip inside Yukka mountain... [pics]

Say hello to the Spectral Tarsier (the tiniest carniverous primate on the planet)... [video]

"The most profound image in human history" (apparently)... [pic and video]

Time magazines "2009 in pictures"...

...and finally a rather unhelpful translation fail and an amusing Pepsi vending machine fail... ;)

More (hopefully) next week...! :)

10 December, 2009

One Million account views on Flickr

1 million account views
Well, quite a landmark! One million people have come and had a look at my account on Flickr (or about 17,200 a month, or 570-odd a day)...that seems like quite a lot to me! ;)

Gosh, have I really been Flickring for 5 years? <:0

09 December, 2009

Arty pictures of Christmas at Canary Wharf

Christmas Tree - One Canada Square
Canary Wharf Decorations
Canary Wharf Christmas Market
Sorry, feeling a bit abstract at the moment...it's sort of liberating not to worry too much about focus (and things) for a while... ;)

08 December, 2009

The Red Lion, Northleach

...(and back to the holiday), so, starving, as we had somehow managed to completely miss breakfast, we wandered the streets of Northleach, searching for somewhere to urgently find something to eat -
Red Lion Pub
- and the Red Lion pub beckoned, if only because we were able to ask the lady busying herself outside cleaning the windows if they would be able to serve us something hot...the answer was yes, as long as we were going to order something worth opening the kitchen for (i.e. not a bowl of chips), but that certainly wasn't going to be a problem, so we descended towards the front door and were greeted by a friendly dog -
Red Lion Pub Dog
- who then (sensibly) went and seated himself firmly between the electric fire and the burning log one -
Red Lion Log Fire
- and we scanned the extensive menu (chalked onto wooden boards above the bar) and despite being rather tempted by the "rack of ribs" I quickly opted for the Irish Stew, Flyingpops the fish and chips...the bread and butter that were intended to accompany my stew arrived first, but were apparently destined to be promptly consumed by Flyingpops, so when the rest of the food came out we were forced to request more (which wasn't a problem), and my *goodness* was the food good...nothing of the chain in evidence, just superb home cooked food, the stew was incredibly rich in flavour with meltingly tender meat, Flyingpops Fish was a complete delight, impossibly crunchy batter and creamy delicate, moist fish within alongside crunchy hand cut chips...both plates went back to the kitchen wiped completely clean...

Try as we might, throughout all of the rest of the break we were drawn back over and over again to the Red Lion, even if it were just for a couple of pints of cask ale, sat by the roaring fire to read the paper in the evening...and I must have ordered the stew three times, each time being as impressed and satisfied as the last...as we settled in to our "local" so we began to notice and start chatting to other regulars, and note with a glow, that the place really was being used as hostelries must have been for hundreds of years, a place to break your journey, get out of the cold and rain, take the weight off your feet, enjoy a comforting drink, exchange a few words with familiar faces and warm your hands before setting back off into the dark...
Welsh Dragon gift
On our last night, two of the locals, Aiden and Deb (who has been quite taken with baby Thomas) appeared with a Welsh dragon fluffy toy for him, a touching parting gift from a fantastic group of warm and welcoming (largely Welsh, as you can probably guess from the present) folk who we can't thank enough for taking us in during our short trip, hopefully we'll be back, although we might need to stay in a slightly larger cottage... ;)

07 December, 2009

04 December, 2009

Finks Links #82

It's Friday once again, so let's check out just a couple of the cool things from the past week on the interwebs!

Let's start with the Pentagon invites you to play it's red balloon game... ;)

Come on a visit to a steampunked home...

Find out what it's like to live on the ISS...

Find out what you have to put up with to enjoy a cigarette in Thailand... (not pleasant)

An awesome exploding clockwork picture frame...! [video]

...and finally a picture entitled "Gamers mentality"...

More (hopefully) next week...! :)

03 December, 2009

02 December, 2009

Northleach, Cotswolds

West End Northleach
So what was the village like? Absolutely charming in fact...on our first walk we met a couple of the local residents -
Northleach cats
- who were very pleased to see us (and made Thomas quite excited)... ;) The area, although being largely sheep free on our visit, made an absolute fortune during the 15th Century from the Wool trade and (apart from some semi-sympathetic new housing on the outskirts) most of the buildings date back to that time (and are largely unspoiled) -
- including the "Cathedral of the Cotswolds" the Church of St Peter and Paul -
Northleach Church
- which seems disproportionately impressive considering the town it serves (for the reason of enthusiastic funding from wealthy donors) and other buildings obviously built in Tudor times -
- stone on the ground floor with a timber upper storey...

Although nothing much is made of it (oddly, as it would be a fantastic tourist draw) there are also supposed to be a great number of stone vaulted tunnels beneath the town (including, as I mentioned in my last post, the "Guggle" - purportedly some sort of underground chapel - which lent it's name to the lane where we stayed), although no-one seems to know why or when these passages were dug (disappointingly)...

On the edge of town is another point of interest, the old prison -
The Old Prison Northleach
- apparently you used to be able to tour it, seeing how prisoners were treated when the building was in use -
The Old Prison Northleach
- unfortunately it's now just a coffee shop (albeit in an unusually shaped building)...

Oh and we couldn't help but be amused by the post office (looking a little more like a farm yard than anything else)...
Northleach post office
...the rest of town consists of little alleyways -
- a small convenience store, a dolls house shop, a bakery, some sort of wine bar, a Chinese/fish and chip shop (you know the sort of thing), a very expensive to visit private collection of musical boxes (we didn't do the tour as it was going to cost us almost £20, but the gift shop gave us a decent idea of what to expect)...oh and three pubs (including one that was rather special), but more on that in my next post... ;)

01 December, 2009

The Bolt Hole, Northleach review

Northleach West End
Okay, here we go, sorry for the complete lack of attention lately, there was practically no signal on the mobiles, and very little in the way of internet access during the break, plus I've been a bit lazy going through the photos... ;)
Northleach town square
Anyway, lets get back to the break! Set wayback machines to last Monday, clambering into an absolutely packed Poppy the Beetle and driving the two hours to the Cotswolds, specifically the tiny medieval town of Northleach (there is something intensely satisfying at reaching your turning and finding that the place you are going to be staying is signposted by one of those brown road signs indicating a place of interest)...
The place we were staying was called "The Bolt Hole" in Guggle Lane (apparently the "Guggle" being referred to is some kind of underground chapel, but we didn't locate it)...it was a very compact place -
The Bolt Hole
- they referred to it as a "flat", but it's actually more of a bungalow (as you can see) -
The Bolt Hole
- outside there is a tiny courtyard, with the main door into the kitchen/living room and these double doors which lead straight into the bedroom, but the weather wasn't going to give us an opportunity to make use of them (charming as I imagine it would be during the summer months)-
The Bolt Hole
- inside, even though diminutive, the place is absolutely immaculate, the kitchen even boasting a dishwasher alongside the full size fridge, double oven and triple sink...there is a very small sofa and a tiny TV opposite (with some sort of satellite system getting most free channels), in the hall is the boiler and a slimline washing machine (very strange device that you load through the top of the drum), a very well appointed bathroom (with shower) -
The Bolt Hole
- and a good sized bedroom (which we modified by putting up the travel cot and turning the chest of drawers into a changing station) -
The Bolt Hole
One of the most incredible things about the place was the fact that every time we wished for anything (even sellotape) we found it just by poking through a few doors and cupboards, meaning the carefully packed washing up liquid etc. that we had brought from home didn't get used...

The size of the place wasn't really an issue either, it felt plenty large enough, even with Thomas to worry about (although this time his routine got a bit mucked up by being away from home, just because whenever he did wake up he spent ages just looking around wondering where he was)...

I'll talk a bit more about the village tomorrow... ;)

25 November, 2009

Sorry for lack of updates...

Sorry for lack of updates...
Originally uploaded by finkangel.

...having a lovely time, out at the Cotswolds wildlife park today! More later :)

19 November, 2009

Yay! Holiday!

Really looking forward to next week now, got the whole thing booked off as holiday and Flyingpops has managed to bag us a bargain cottage in the lovely little village of Northleach in the Cotswolds (apparently the town centre is largely unchanged since the 1500s)...!

Anyone been to the Cotswolds and can suggest anything good we can go and do near Cirencester?

18 November, 2009

Lego House Demolished

James May Lego House Demolition 5
Originally uploaded by

Lego House Demolition 4
Originally uploaded by

Just found these pictures on Flickr and thought it only fair to share...so there we go, full circle...it's funny to think it was only there for such a tiny amount of time and now gone forever!

Anyway, if you want to see some of my pictures and read about it being built (and our other adventures around Denbies), head in this direction...

17 November, 2009

Christmas at Canary Wharf

Canada Square Ice Rink
Oh it's definitely getting close now, the Ice rink is back (which Flyingpops is starting to make noises about wishing to come up and skate on), they had their gala opening during a torrential downpour late last week -
Cabot Square Shopping at Christmas
- Cabot square mall is all decked out in it's Christmas finery -
Canary Wharf Christmas Tree
- yes, the same stuff as the last few years (some of it even having been dusted down), complete with the (oh so festive) signage that shocked me so much when I first started working around here...just waiting for the maintainence guys to fix the little white lights on the trees around Carluccios and the picture will be complete...!

Can't help but feel though that the whole texture of Christmas is going to go through a very rapid alteration over the next couple of years, now that little Thomas is with us! Making me feel very excited indeed at the prospect...! ;)

16 November, 2009

Three month old baby - nappy habits

Playing on Chick Mat
Disclaimer - If you are grossed out by the very thought of dealing with dirty nappies, then please look away now, this is a frank account of my experiences so far...

What I always imagined was going to be a fairly simple and unexciting maintenance aspect of enjoying time with the "cute" portion of my beloved Thomas (i.e. the end that smiles and makes "Ah goo" noises, the end that over the weekend uttered an adorable chuckle in generous exchange for a simple gesture of mine, quite unworthy of such praise, in my opinion)...Yes - the nappy, and contents thereof - has actually turned out to be an unexpected source of some considerably unpleasant shock and dismay...

In the first few days, just after Thomas had been born, even though his little tummy was the size of a walnut and he was only drinking a handful of millimeters a sitting, his tiny nappies were pretty regularly filled with a substance that resembled overcooked broccoli, albeit broccoli that had been all mashed up with a good French grain mustard - it was a bit nasty and rather sticky (roughly the consistency of bovril) requiring a good clean with warm water and cotton wool balls...I suppose this lasted about two weeks, a little bit worrying to be cleaning something literally green from around your babies bottom, but as the nurses didn't seem to be grabbing him out of our arms and running towards a doctor, we just sort of went with it...

Weeks three to five things suddenly got very dangerous indeed, I can remember draping muslins down my front (in the fashion of a diner tucking in his napkin before a fine meal), and with a look of grim determination preparing 5 baby wipes, setting a white flannel within easy grasp, pre-opening both the new nappy (ready to rush into position) and the E45 pot, taking a deep breath and then (as fast as possible) - undoing the old nappy, folding the front down out of the way, grabbing Thomas' feet in an attempt to stop them going into the poo (and failing), grasping for the white flannel to stop him peeing in his face, my fingers finding empty air as he knocks it onto the floor with a flailing arm, starting to cry as the wee gets in his eyes...fumbling for a baby wipe to try and do the job instead as poo then squirts out in a two meter long arc from Thomas' squirming bottom missing the muslin and going all over my trouser leg, socks and the carpet...wishing I had two more pairs of hands and finally yelling out in panic for Flyingpops to come and rescue me (as Thomas is sick all over his baby grow)...

Thankfully, this stage didn't last terribly long...the new "normal" is for him to save up all the poo for an entire week (every nappy is just wet and heavy), until suddenly he scares the absolute hell out of us by crying like he is about to expire in burning agony and then refusing to breathe for two minutes while we contemplate how quickly we can get to the hospital if we choose not to bother wasting time putting shoes on, just hauling open the front door with half a coat dragging on the floor, when suddenly there is an almighty blast of flatulence and his nappy line explosively expands by about 3 inches...followed by a happy "Ah Goo" and Mum and Dad exchanging looks containing equal amounts of relief and reluctant resignation...

Fink sends a pleading glance towards heaven...

Fade to black...

13 November, 2009

Finks Links #81

It's Friday! It's Link time -

So let's start with an English church, rebuilt in Japan (at the top of a skyscraper)... [pics]

Meet PETMAN, BigDog's two-legged brother [video]

Well I could have told them that!

The great vodka tragedy of 2009 (or more forklift fun) - although you probably already saw this in the news [video]

Improved arm mounted flame thrower...

Colour footage of London from 1927 -or- Fancy seeing London without all the skyscrapers! [video]

How Mr Q manufactured emotion...

Miscatonic Valley Fine Art...

...and finally a great safety fail...

More (with luck) next Friday...! :)

11 November, 2009

Baby Thomas playing with his mobile

Hehe...not *hugely* acurate (yet), but obviously having soooooo much fun even just trying to interact...!

I could watch him do that for hours... ;)

Although it's not *all* such hard work -
Thomas and Tigger napping

10 November, 2009

Bonfire Party

Getting the fires lit
So on Saturday night we headed over to Flyingpops folks to join in celebrating Bonfire night, to be enjoyed with an evening of watching all the neighbours firework displays (too many little ones to fancy risking actually setting any off in their garden), starting with the lighting of the Chimenia-
Fire well under way
- which, while just spewing out a load of smoke to start with, became a little like a blast furnace once it got going(!)
Bonfire Party
Once everyone had wrapped up warm enough to venture outside a colossal number of sparklers materialised -
Twin Sparklers
- making for some very interesting light painting camera opportunities, then we finished off proceedings with spicy chilli beef, tomato soup, sausages in rolls with onion and a very fine bonfire cake -
Bonfire Cake
- which was even marbled in the middle with red giving the impression of swirling flame!