Saturday, October 24, 2009

i know my Frankie, it seems......

hey everyone

well, here's a story that i have wished to tell for a few weeks now, but i thought it best to wait until something arrived. and, may i say or write with an enormous smile on my face, it has arrived!!

a few weeks ago, on the most excellent Frankie Goes To Hollywood forum, former Frankie guitarist Brian "Nasher" Nash ran a competition. he said there may or may not be a prize, but he wanted to see if anyone would recognize this lovely lady.....

i looked at the picture, and took a partly educated but mostly wild guess that it was perhaps the model that posed for the much celebrated, somewhat infamous cover for Frankie's first single, Relax....

....and i was right!!!!!!!!! the lady is indeed Caroline Dent, made famous forever by this cover. someone on the Frankie forum very kindly put up this set of pics, taken from an article in Q magazine about the best record covers of all time. Dad and Barrie, you may want to watch the blood pressure before you look at the next picture!

and, in his wisdom, Nasher decided that my efforts were indeed worthy of a prize. i was given two options. if i mentioned the one i turned down i suspect some of my chums on the forum would be bewildered, so i won't! instead then, behold what i received!

both of Nasher's solo albums (Ripe and Le Grande Fromage) and the limited edition Top Of The Pops Again single. all signed!!!

am i happy about this? well, let's have a look at the picture James very kindly took!!

a very big thanks indeed to Nasher for an exceptionally generous gift!

now, i do have one very ace Brian "Nasher" Nash story. many, many years ago, when the old gang was over in England for our dear friend Rohan Smith's wedding, we went out for a pint the night before the wedding. this gradually turned into easily more than a dozen pints. we ended up going to one of Felixstowe's finest night clubs (well, possibly only, and the tale of how we got there is impressive and, at this time, unpublishable). although the bouncers on the door were keen to let us in anyway, the legendary John O'Boyle decided that it would be far better to try and "blag" our way in, and thus introduced me as being "the son of Brian Nash out of Frankie Goes To Hollywood.". i have no idea if the people of Felixstowe were impressed by this, we were far too trashed to tell. but i certainly hope they were!

in the mean time, it perhaps goes without saying that i strongly recommend that you head over to Nasher's website and have a listen to his music. i would suggest that you buy it, but as you will be impressed with what you hear from the samples you will go and purchase it without any further encouragement.

right, that means i have stuff signed by Nasher and Holly! not sure where or when in the world Ped or Mark O'Toole are, but i believe Paul Rutherford currently resides in New Zealand. Gillian, why have you not found him and got him to sign something for me yet?

should he be reading this, many thanks again Nasher!!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

James has a day off (sort of......)

hey everyone

much to his joy, James took Friday off school this week. no, it's not because he doesn't like it (quite the opposite, in fact Friday would be his top day as that's when they get baking!), but rather because he got to spend the day with Grandma and Grandad.

whereas Grandad would not doubt have just loved to have spent the day lazing on the couch, watching various Star Wars movies, James had distinctly different ideas. i might be at fault on this one - on Thursday i mentioned to James that he would have to be a good boy and help Grandad in the garden, which meant that when he woke up on Friday he was keen and raring to go with the wheelbarrow and shovels!

in addition to wheelbarrows and shovels, though, he did make a demand for his gloves, which Grandma promptly found for him.

did he want his gloves because he didn't want his hands to get dirty? partly, but mostly, as he tells it, he wished to have them on because (and i more or less quote him here) "Grandad has crocodiles [??] in his fish pond, and as they are reptiles they will bite my fingers.". apparently i was full of such information at a similar age; hope Mum & Dad are enjoying the deja vu then!

James did get to mess about with the wheelbarrow that he loves pushing around, which meant that Grandad got all the help he could want putting some new plants in!

whilst Grandad loves having James to come over and help, Michele and i suspect that Grandad is also not entirely against the idea of a return to Victorian values in respect of children in the workplace. we wouldn't wish to insinuate anything malicious, but all the same we are very glad indeed that Grandad doesn't have a chimney or coal fire. whoops, now that i have said that, watch this space for the next building project. best i get Mary Poppins and The Water Babies on for James so he knows what he might be doing next visit!

now then, James came home and told us that he got "quite cross" with Grandad. when we asked him why, it was because James had tidied up a great many leaves (and to James that could be three, it could be three thousand) and then Grandad had either left some up on the path or made a mess with some more. either way, James' displeasure at this saw, sure enough, Grandad being sent off to tidy up!

i wonder if it was leaves and not toys all over our house would he be so eager to tidy them up then?

as Grandad likes to attract more birds into the garden than even Alfred Hitchcock would use in a particular film they require a good deal of food to eat. James also loves helping fill up the bird seed holders - nice to see Grandad has learned to hold the tube over the container full of it whilst James pours away!

i note that James hasn't got his gloves on in this one - presumably, then, birds are not reptiles! he hasn't quite decided if he likes this "birds evolved from dinosaurs" theory as of yet, but i dare say he will share his thoughts with us one day.

it wasn't only in the garden that James showed off his skills, or if you will was put to work. oh no. he decided to have a whirl at baking too! as far as i can work out, he went shopping with Grandma, spotted some Barney cupcake mix and off he went!

with his usual hands on approach, James more or less did everything himself, except of course put them in a (presumably) rather hot oven!

Margaret doesn't look as quite as excited as she could about James being let loose with milk and eggs, but that's understandable as she would be cleaning up whatever he did! James was rather proud to report that he didn't mess any eggs on the floor, which is the opposite of what happened one Sunday when i took him shopping....

....and ta-daaaaah! the finished cakes!

now whilst they taste lovely, i would have appreciated a look at the ingredients required on the box the mix came in. why? well, going on the taste, i would love to know if it actually said "mix in 1 (one) tonne (imperial or metric) of sugar", or if this was a little bit of "flair" James added.

i am not sure if Grandad knew the high sugar content as he got handed one, but here he is accepting some of James' hard work!

these cakes are, i suppose, his version of Keith Richards giving you an unspecified substance and saying "go on, try a little bit of this". the effects are rather impressive - James was up at about 6 this morning, had one of them after breakfast at 7 and was raving away until he felt very tired indeed at around 9am!

and, of course, the golden rule in our family is "where there is food there is Marmite"!

if Marmite had so much as one quarter of one half of one of those cakes, she will still be running mentally around the garden by the time of our next visit!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

welcome to the world of 3D

hey everyone

no, not the world of 3D movies, but that of 3D baby scans. well, they said that it's a 4D scan that we had - something to do with the capture of "moving images that are not movies", but tend to crash explorer on my PC. the 3D images, however, are trouble free for the world of operating systems, so here we go!

first up, here's the young man apparently sucking his thumb, or quite possibly fiddling with the umbilical cord (if that's the right term?)

and next up, it seems there's one thing that James will not need to teach his sibling, for in this pic it would appear that baby can pick his nose rather well all by himself!

i think this next one is Michele's favourite - probably mine too! here he is smiling away, and according to Michele showing off that he has my dimples!

and finally, one of him apparently showing off a Mick Jagger smile - in reality he is sticking his tongue out at us!

sorry if my descriptions have been a bit brief - i think the pics really do speak for themselves, and i must confess to remaining in some awe looking at them; a rare case of me being lost for words in a rather good way. the best way, perhaps.

anyway, for those of you still curious, puzzled or perhaps vexed at what name we have chosen (well, the name James chose that was not either Batman or Superman), i leave you with an out of context but in this context appropriate quote.....

And since you know you cannot see yourself,
so well as by reflection, I, your glass,
will modestly discover to yourself,
that of yourself which you yet know not of.

be very excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

more from family weekend visits.....

hey everyone

well, following on from the pics of James seeing Lyla last weekend, here's the ones of the day after, where we went to visit what is colloquially and indeed factually referred to as Michele's family.

now then, Natasha didn't get photographed, and nor did Brandon. Dylan was far too busy with the Jaws game on the PS thing to be doing pictures (nice one Richard, thanks) and as for my dear mother-in-law, Monica, well, i have taken one picture of her this year.

Jade and Skyla, however, simply love the idea of being photographed!

they are pictured here holding some sort of Spongebob Squarepants box which they were using as part of a most excellent "hide and seek treasure hunt" game. James tried to join in, but is of the firm view that a treasure hunt requires a treasure map, as seen in the fine film Muppets Treasure Island.

perhaps inspired by Jade and Skyla posing for the camera, though, James did do that thing that he infrequently does, which is stand and make a nice pose for a picture!!

and indeed he did go on a treasure hunt of sorts, for as you can see here he stands, puzzling as to when exactly his sibling will be coming out of Mummy's tummy!

speaking of which, here's a picture of Michele in full bloom, as it were. although not quite, as she seems to be getting bigger and bigger and has 7 or so weeks to go still. blimey, John Hurt never looked this big in Alien, but apparently that film is not considered a good guide for pregnancies. go figure.

Michele is rather taken with this Tinkerbell t-shirt. as Disney have spent years and years projecting the "ideal woman" in unrealistic terms with their cartoon caricatures, Michele is of a mind that she has some sort of revenge on them by giving 'Tinkers' some fat thighs in this pic!

and what better way to finish off a weekend seeing all and sundry than with a nice hair cut? James wasn't too impressed with the idea, as you can see, but it got done, and he got a few treats for being a good boy (for the most part) whilst Mummy trimmed away!!

right, i think a weekend with our feet up after all that, so don't expect all that many exciting pictures for a few days or weeks!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Days Of Socks

hey everyone

due to another miracle of the Post Office, we recently received a most excellent parcel from Great Grandma H! as well as a lovely cardigan for the due very soon baby (and if you haven't worked his name out by now, you are not paying attention to the clues) knitted by her good friend Milly, there was some sweets and some most excellent new socks for James and Lyla. both of them, interestingly enough, wanted to try them on as soon as they saw them!

James was very taken indeed with his excellent new Spider-Man socks, but owning to the wonders of modern technology, you don't just have to take my word for it.....

it was quite tricky, as i recall, to get them off him in the end!

as for Lyla, well, when we took her the pairs for her, she fell in love with them on the spot, and wanted no less that Grandma and James to help her put them on!!

there is, as this picture shows, only so much interest that James can show in girls socks, but Lyla was very chuffed indeed with them, and also didn't really want to take them off. ever.

many thanks indeed for the lovely, wonderful surprise presents, Gran!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yeah, you should listen to Rumours......

today, i am led to believe, is the 32nd anniversary of the album Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. now, it's not really usual for the 32nd anniversary of anything in particular to be celebrated with the fanfare of more decimal occasions, but what the heck, it's a great album so why not give its birthday a mention?

great album, i say? that's something of an understatement. it's one of the greatest albums of all time and, thinking off the top of my head, has few peers to equal or surpass it. with an estimated 40 million sales to date (that, mathematicians, is more than one million a year), it would seem that i am not in a minority view on this one.

with such a gigantic sales figure and astonishing history, there's nothing i can write here that hasn't been written thousands of times before. if you've never had the pleasure of hearing it, i suggest you get your hands on a copy and play as soon as you can.

oh go on then, for those not familiar with the joke......

My mother told me never to listen to Rumours. subsequently, my copy of Tango In The Night (or Tusk if you are "old school") is worn out.

you can, of course, go your own way, and sorry if this post has been second hand news.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ambury Farm Day

hey everyone

well, New Zealand seems to have gone on a bit of a photography binge of late! Gillian, Grant, Katie and Daniel sent these pics on a few days ago, and i must confess i just haven't gotten around to putting some up. until now, at least!

these pics are from, and i want us to be clear on this, Ambury Farm Day.the last time i posted NZ pics i could not recall the name of the venue and thus just took a wild guess at what it was. Gillian, it has to be said, was far from impressed with this approach.

first up, here's Katie and Daniel basking in the sun which bathed Ambury Farm on the day of Ambury Farm day...., if you don't mind me saying, that is a splendid number of public conveniences available to them there. not sure if Gillian wished to capture them in the picture, but it is nice to be reassured that should we ever be so fortunate to be present at a future Ambury Park Day and find ourselves caught short, we have no reason to fear nor to look for a discreet tree.

here we go again - Katie's found herself another vehicle powered by a conventional combustion engine, and thus she's going to have a jolly good crack at driving again.

as ever, Daniel would appear to be her passenger of choice as she gives it a whirl, and as would be usual Daniel seems far from comfortable with this driving business his beloved big sister seems so keen on!

the lack of comfort with the idea seems to have been enough to suggest to Daniel that taking a brisk walk might be the more prudent approach!

and here's Daniel and Katie looking on with awe and wonder as someone does something to, or perhaps with, a sheep......, dear reader, fear not. i would never ever put, or so much as suggest at, a picture of Grant [TEXT REMOVED ON LEGAL ADVICE], in particular as i have a request stemming from this perfectly innocent picture of a gent shearing (that's shearing) a sheep.....

now then, that shirt he has on, by someone called "Supershear", looks quite ace! Gillian, i have taken the liberty of researching the company, and have discovered that they do a 44" black jeans. yes please, i would like to wear a pair with pride! unless they are rather expensive designer ones; as i know nothing of fashions here i know an equal amount of such things on your side of the Ocean!

evidently it was a most excellent day, as Katie and Daniel were clearly worn out by the end of it!!

Many thanks indeed for the fine pictures, and an extra special thanks in hopeful advance for the ace shearing jeans!

oh, and by the way Gillian, apparently the tape deck is "almost" fixed - who knows, soon you may have new quality vibes to play in the car!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

moments lost in time - five films that you cannot (really) see (legally).....

hey everyone

well, for no apparent reason, my thoughts have been drawn to the infamous "workprint" version of Apocalypse Now. such thoughts led me to consider what other films are out there, either in different versions or just never released. to this end, i found a few interesting titles, including at least one version of a classic that sadly just does not exist anymore.

to list all the films that either no longer or exist or are impossible / tricky to get would be rather banal, so i have listed five. that said, before we start, here are some films that didn't make the cut :

Electric Dreams, Turk 182, Hannibal Brooks and The Hot Rock : four great films, but not exactly impossible to see. the last three have surfaced on DVD at various stages, and all four are available on video if you look hard enough.

Blade Runner (workprint) : available on the five disc version of the film, although annoyingly Ridley Scott decided to "touch it up" and clean it for the DVD release, which somewhat defeats the whole point of seeing it!

Star Wars (workprint) : the initial release of this film exluded the "Episode IV" title. this version has since been issued on DVD.

otherwise, things like Napoleon and The Aryan Papers from the late, great Stanley Kubrick had to be excluded simply because they haven't been made. onwards, then, to five films which were made, but for various (mostly legal) reasons you can't really see.

this probably goes without saying, but this article bears a big *** SPOILER WARNING ***, so read at your own risk....

C********r Blues

the film (ahem) 'CS Blues' follows The Rolling Stones on their tour of America in 1972. as the name of the film suggests, however, this is far from a standard concert film. you get to see more of the Stones than you could ever possibly have wished, expected or wanted to.

other than some exceptional concert footage, CS Blues shows off exactly what happens on a tour. well, i supposed what used to happen - most bands are so dull these days they'd be horrified by what they saw here. groupies, drugs and, in the case of Mick, "self pleasure" are there for all to see.

the band, contrary to popular belief, were not entirely against the way the realities of their lives were shown. Mick Jagger, though, was of the view that if the film was seen in general, there was every chance that the band, either together or as individuals, would be prohibited from entering America ever again.

to this day it has never had an official release, but this is the only film on this list that, oddly, you can see legally in a cinema. under certain circumstances.....

how to see it legally : in the terms of a quite frankly bizarre court ruling, it is legal to screen this film once a year as long as the director, Robert Frank, is present at the screening. as he lives the life of a recluse, it's rare that this happens. if you can catch a screening, lucky you. otherwise, perhaps one day the Stones will either relent and allow it to be released (for years they did try and suppress Gimmie Shelter ), or simply die (unlikely in the case of Mr K Richards) which in theory would open the door for a release.

how to see it not exactly legally : easily. there are many bootlegs of this one, including i believe a "stream" of it somewhere on the interwebnet. as with all bootlegs, however, there's a "varying quality" thing - most copies suffer from bad sound and/or picture.

The Day The Clown Cried

Please Note : the text in-between the next two pictures could very well be disturbing and distressing for some. the sensitive who have read this far would be advised to skip.

in short, The Day The Clown Cried is about a circus clown who is imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II and is expected to lead the children into the gas chambers of the concentration camps like some sort of macabre, fascist-supporting variant of the Pied Piper.

Jerry Lewis was at first horrified by the suggestion of the film but, after reading the script, became obsessed by it. he threw his own money into the completion of the filming but, as producer Nat Wachsberger did not pay for the rights to the script and story in the first place, it has never legally been screened.

whilst certain films have "borrowed" from the premise of this film (notably Jakob The Liar and Life Is Beautiful), none has ever dared tread where this one went. "when fear rules,", the saying goes, "the very worst sound is that of laughter.". taking Jerry Lewis' bumbling, slapstick routine characteristics and making it confront the darkest area humanity has ever been to could have created one of the most horrific, brutal and affecting anti-war, anti-persecution and anti-prejudice statements of all time. reviews and comments from the 8 (eight) confirmed people who have actually seen it suggest that it doesn't get it quite right.

for more information on this film, i heartily recommend you visit the excellent Subteranean Cinema site - it features all known variants of the script, as well as actual footage from the film.

how to see it legally : you cannot. the only known copy of it sits in a briefcase, which is in a vault on a property owned by Jerry Lewis. your one shot at seeing this film, as things stand, is being invited by Mr Lewis to come and watch it. as he has declined to even mention the film after his autobiography some 30 years ago, however, i wouldn't expect an invitation.

how to see it not exactly legally : you cannot. if someone has somehow managed to get their hands on a bootleg copy, or even the reels of film shot for use or discarded outtakes, they have been astonishingly quiet about it. owing to the legendary, near mythical status of this film, someone would have said something if there were even fragments of it in circulation. basically, if Jerry Lewis destroys the tape, or if it gets chewed up in a machine, it's game over for this film.

Apocalypse Now (330 minute 'workprint' version)

with The Day The Clown Cried well and truly out of circulation, the 'workprint' of Apocalypse Now has taken on the status of the holy grail of rare versions of films.

as long as the released version of the film was, it was well known that even more footage existed. this particular version of it was reviewed in the magazine Film Threat in the mid-90s (who bypassed any legal questions by just stating that they "found the tape of it on a chair in their office"), and the magnificent documentary film Hearts Of Darkness even showcased some of the scenes.

with knowledge of yet more footage of this masterpiece available, excitement greeted news of the release of Apocalypse Now Redux in the early 2000s, but still we knew there was footage that didn't make it here.

so what's the big deal with this 'workprint' version? mostly curiosity, it has to be said. it features nothing whatsoever that enhances or improves the original release of the film; indeed all Redux did was illustrate what a great job Coppola did editing it down in the first place.

the 5+ hours of this version contains entirely superfluous moments, but moments that are fascinating for those of us mesmerized by this film. via the magic of really bad bootlegs, the origins of which are still mysteriously unknown, fans can see extra footage of the "tiger incident" (including the tiger tamely walking by Martin Sheen), the infamous helicopter attack from entirely different angles, the presence of Scott Glenn, the demise of Dennis Hopper and, most unnervingly, Martin Sheen spearing a small child en route to slaying Kurtz.

add to that a "guiding" soundtrack made up exclusively of music by The Doors and you do indeed have something film buffs would be all to eager to see.

how to see it legally : Francis Ford Coppola has in the past shown that he's not exactly against the idea of re-releasing "new" versions of his films to generate income, so you never know. in fact, despite denials that any more footage exists, some of this workprint version (about 10 - 15 minutes) featured in the Steelbook Edition of the DVD. beyond that, try getting a job with Mr Coppola; if you earn his trust he might let you see it.

how to see it not exactly legally : with incredible ease. presumably Francis Ford Coppola's approach of issuing denials of any of the footage you can see in the workprint has hampered any legal approach he could take to stopping the proliferation of bootlegs. the motivated can find it online with ease; those in a hurry can buy bootleg tapes or DVDs of it for no more than $US30. be warned, though, the quality is very poor indeed - don't bother with this unless you have at least two of the four official versions issued on disc.

The Wicker Man

hang on, if there's already the standard "official" 88 minute version of this, as well as the 100 (+ / -) "director's cut" of this film out, then why does it feature on this list? because, as film buffs will known, there was indeed even more footage of this film that hasn't made it out, and most likely never will.

the length of the missing (presumed destroyed) footage of The Wicker Man depends on who you ask. some say a few moments, many will tell you in the region of 30 minutes of film has been lost. two key sequences apparently gone forever, and i again warn you of spoilers, feature Christopher Lee taking Edward Woodward around the sparse apple trees of Summerisle, and another features a long close-up of Christopher Lee's shoes, something of relevance to the procession later. both were cut presumably because they might well have given the game of the surprise ending away a bit too soon, but it would have been nice to see. there was also much more conversation between Lee and Woodward, as well as some more "detective" work by Woodward's character.

some people have claimed to see the footage mentioned above, along with one or two other scenes. as no recorded screening of any of it has ever been declared by the makers, it seems most likely that they think they saw things they read in articles on the missing footage, or perhaps read in the novelization of the film.

how to see it legally : none whatsoever, it seems. as far as anyone can tell, all the original negatives have long been destroyed or buried. all possible sources were exhausted to compile the "director's cut", if someone is sat on even more footage then they are keeping it to themselves.

how to see it not exactly legally : pretty much the same way you would make an interesting deposit in the Queen's handbag whilst having a chat with someone who actually liked the horrid 2006 remake of this film. you will need a pick axe, a pneumatic drill and details of all major road works conducted in England from 1973 - 1976, as the negatives were buried as part of landfill for these road works. if it helps, start around the M3. and, of course, hope that somehow the negatives are still in one piece.

The Breakfast Club

not an obvious choice, this, but do bear with me......

everyone fondly remembers this one, a wonderful tale of five rather different students thrust together for a Saturday detention. the dialogue and bonding which occurs as time passes and the characters interact and develop is storytelling at its best.

the standard 90 or so minute version available is brilliant. what's interesting, though, is the (sadly late) director John Hughes claims to have assembled a staggering 150 minute version of the film.

what's different in the longer version? no idea, really. Hughes only alluded to it, to the extent of boasting about it really, in one interview. you can only imagine it contains more exchanges, possibly flashbacks to how it is that each of the five ended up in detention, who knows?

as John Hughes famously fell out with Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald during the making of this film the intended sequel never happened - just what was he planning to do with this longer version?

how to see it legally : who knows? if a longer version was really put together it's entirely possible that some sort of "anniversary" or special edition was planned for the film. as all versions released on DVD thus far have featured next to no extras, it's about time this film got a proper release.

how to see it not exactly legally : none at all. no one is really sure if this version even existed outside of John Hughes' head. with no unfamiliar publicity stills or even "out-takes" in circulation nothing is known of any possible extra footage.

well, there you have it. all comments and corrections welcome, although i would like to say that i appreciate that there's other, rarer films "missing" out there somewhere. these five represent the films or versions i'd most like to see.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

James and Lyla

hi there

well, yesterday saw the world at large having the pleasure of Richard, Erika and Lyla popping in to town for a bit. Richard and Erika busied themselves with a vast array of butchers and friends, but that's OK, because it left James and Lyla to go ahead and play nicely for a bit!

first up of course was giving Lyla the new editions of the Strawberry Shortcake collection that i'm busy getting for her!

to be honest, i suspect Richard takes the Strawberry Shortcake back pack, tea set and cutlery off with him to work, but i am sure Lyla doesn't mind sharing!

Lyla certainly enjoys receiving these new toys for her collection, and of course said thank you to James!

now, the above does look a bit like the rather unusual stories Grant told us on his views on relations between cousins. as enthusiastic as Grant was for such curious tales, i do not believe we shall be repeating them on this side, thanks!

next up is time for some rather excellent chocolate chip cookies! they look yummy, but don't take my word for it - have a look at the rather optimistic Marmite by James, hoping to get one too!

now, as the summer season is finally upon us, and it managed not to rain this Saturday, it was time to go and do some swimming! James and Lyla aren't quite there yet with being able to swim, but as you can see they are rather happy to just sit in the pool and chill!

and just what is it that they are looking so impressed with? that would be me who, as you can see in this next one, was called upon to provide some entertainment with some handstands. again and again. for about two hours...

i don't think i have broken or pulled anything with this unusual display of acrobatics, but my nose on a couple of occasions came close to being shaved off by the psychotic, possibly possessed pool cleaner my Dad has going around in the pool!

as for this next pic, well, it's just a really cool picture of James!!

i didn't have to do handstands all the time. sometimes i was allowed to fetch the ball for them to play with! this distressed Marmite somewhat, as she was rather enjoying playing with it too!

James and Lyla also love watching movies on Grandad's massive television set when they visit. i think they were watching Dinosaur or possibly The Lion King; either way they certainly seem impressed and enthralled!

i suspect that Lyla may have been even more impressed if Grandma hadn't left the remote control in the care of James. he tends to "condense" films when he has it, making even the most epic of films last no more than a few minutes thanks to that most excellent "next chapter" button.

well, the two of them certainly had a wonderful time, as did we watching them having fun!!

hope you've all had an excellent weekend too!!!!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!