Joined the Caravan of Love

We chatted about it for three years, then eventually it happened. It was bound to – I nagged.

We got ourselves a caravan in the early part of the year with the aim of getting away a bit more often and a bit more easily whilst the children are still young enough. Lily’s 12 this year and has four years of family holidays left in her, going on what seems to be the average of friends about us. It was time to act.

Our first trip was on Elsie’s Birthday – 24th May. Frank had just reached the age where he could go out and meet other dogs, so we were free to go. We hit Lytham, for some beach fun. A couple of weeks later we went to the Dales to stay in Howgill in Wharfedale. THey’re just break – mini, simple breaks, but we’re really enjoying the ability to do this. The proof is in the pudding: we have a large tent, we have the ability to book B&Bs, but did neither. This is already happening – it’s working!

Some photos of our first two trips here

Elsie’s 6th

We took the opportunity to have what may be the last chance for a big round-a-table tea party for Elsie’s 6th Birthday. They grow up quickly and the pass-the-parcel stuff doesn’t go on indefinitely. Elsie had a lovely time – as did we all. Parents dropped off, ten classmates went nuts for two hours, ate loads, played lots, then it all subsides so quickly. A really lovely load of compacted fun.

The party was hurriedly tidied away as we rushed off to make the most of the long weekend with our first ‘test’ family caravanning trip about 2 hours later… so birthday tea was a treat of Fish n Chips by the sea in Lytham, followed by a bit of a stay-up!

Photos here on Flickr

Ten Years a Blogger > Happy Birthday, Minnellium

28th April 2004, and Dave, perhaps a little distracted at work, decides to start a blog.

“Minnellium” is a word I’d started to use for a music project back in 1999, as I’d worked on a Millennium Commission-funded project and numerous times people had got tongue-twisted and it made me smile, for some reason.

Initially, this was on Google’s Blogger platform, but I got interested in WordPress (an interest that 3 years later would lead me to a career-change) and I wanted the ‘ownership’ of something on my domain, so moved it from its old “blogspot” address to in 2005.

I’m definitely an uncomfortable and inconsistent blogger. Not an avid writer, just someone who enjoys writing when the mood takes me. In recent years it has definitely become more a diary than a source of opinion or reportage. If anything, the ebbing and flowing of what is / was / will be is its constant.  If I was being grandiose about it, I could imply some tie-in with my ebbing and flowing life since April 2004. It’s been a busy ten years.

… but I think the ebbing and flowing of is not necessarily tied in with an ebbing and flowing life.. it’s just that sometimes I can be bothered to write, sometimes I can make the time to write, and other times, I just can’t.

It’s tempting to pick highlights. That’s going to be tough… and there are too many risks of missing some bits, so here’s a few random posts…. picked to show the diversity, I guess.  A few words as to why I picked them

  • The unlikely adrenaline hub of the world: Rossendale, Lancashire
    Life was changed. They built some amazing trails within a ride of my house, the weather was dry, and my interest in mountainbiking was dramatically rekindled
  • Elsie is Born
    The blog ‘missed’ the birth of my first daughter in 2002. It was lovely to have my own personal media-frenzy when our second daughter was born.
  • Fell Running Results
    A very simple post – just a list of the year’s results, but I do wish I’d kept a better diary of things like that – the blog has come and gone as a diary like that, I should have done better
  • Kitchen – Work in progress – house extension rebuild 
    Possibly the biggest moment of stress in the last ten years. We knew when we bought our home that the extension needed ripping down and radically rebuilding. It was always on the plan. But with a three year old girl, a cold winter, and a muppet as a builder, things got pretty hard. To get the kitchen installed – even in ‘bare bones’ mode, was just a massive relief.
  • A broken collarbone and 7 lug stitches
    A low, yet somehow I like looking back at that time. I had a mega crash – my first ambulance visit – a real knock to confidence – a real load of pain. But it made me stronger, definitely.
  • 2009 Three Peaks Cyclocross
    The race I love the most and I reached the top ten at long last – I was, and still am, made up.
  • CD: Metamusic
    The only CD I released in the life of this blog. I spent a load of time on creating 5 CDs worth of music in the late 90s and early noughties. I learnt a whole lot about music including the very important lesson that I do not have the time, talent or mental discipline to do it properly, but I do enjoy it whenever I get the chance to!

There’s more … there’s always more. Have a look

Family Fun meets Setback Saturday

We’d been planning a lovely family get together for a few months now – taking advantage of a trip north by my southerly-settled cousin Adrian and wife Dee, coinciding with both their 50th birthdays. Heading up there today to catch up with our joint expended families meant 17 of us in one place at the same time – a source of great mutual excitement.

Indeed it was – great to take our new puppy Frank up too, and we swelled with pride and excitement.

But it seems the odds are stacked against us. Last time Adrian, Phil and I were together, things were cut short by a nasty bike crash for Phil and a trip to Lancaster Royal Infirmary. One year ago almost to the day, I dislocated my shoulder for the second time – leading to a series of further dislocations and eventually a ‘that’ll hopefully sort it’ surgical procedure late Autumn.

So today, passing a rugby ball in a leisurely and unaggressive way to my nephew Matt, a loud click and immediate realisation of that had happened to my hapless left shoulder made me cold – almost numb with a nasty, dark grip of sadness.

Day ruined, agony, trip to Lancaster Royal Infirmary, and sIMG_7188ome inconvenience – mental and physical – that I really thought I had put behind me.

We managed to salvage some of the early evening and it was genuine lovely in every sense to catch up with Mum, Phil, Ann, Matt, Helen, Angus, Alice, Adrian, Dee, Sophie, Isobel, Tyler, Katie, Jenny and Shay. Rough taken with smooth. Somehow a happy day, but definitely a memorable one.

A load of piccies here on Flickr

Introducing Frank

After a few months of waiting, searching, and deliberation, we picked up our puppy, Frank, last Saturday. With the girls the ages they are (5 and 11) it’s such a precious moment and one perfectly timed with the Easter Holidays. I’d forgotten how having a puppy is like having a little baby about the place. Yes, they can stand on their own feet and generally are about 150 times more grown up (and more fun!) than a new born manchild, but there’s an awful lot of life adjustment that needs to go on. It’s all fun and special days, but we’ve already had to can a trip we were getting very excited about (in the new caravan – just to Phil & Anne’s overnight) and social plans for Easter are incredibly modest, but there will be no wishing the days away… not from me.

  • The camera has been out in almost unprecedented levels (saying a lot for me).
  • He has his own Facebook page (look – it’s just easier that way – rather than me cram my own timeline with him!)
  • I have captured everything apart from the lovely, lovely smell from the top of a puppy’s head. I wish I could bottle that. He’s gorgeous.

Some basics:

  1. Frank is a standard Labradoodle. That means a mix of Labrador and Standard (i.e. full sized) Poodle. His immediate lineage is more Poodle, and this accounts for his rather thick hair.
  2. He was born in Thornton Cleveleys, near Fleetwood to a litter of 8. Seven survived. He had two sisters – the rest were boys
  3. We picked him up aged 51 days – he was born on 21st February 2014 and this is the youngest I’ve ever owned a puppy… he’s been incredibly good natured, not particularly yappy, willing to relax when put in his bed, and a bundle of fun when called upon.
  4. He has clingon issues. I can see us having to trim there.
  5. He has been given a number of informal names already by us all… including, but not limited to:
    Frank Sinatra
    Frank Zappa
    Franco-Prussian War
    Frankie Goes to Hollywood
    Franco Pacini
    Frankie and Bennys
    … but none of these will stick. Hopefully.

Our now elderly Labrador, Elvis, has a little less enthusiasm for our new friend than the rest of us. He’s always been a bit grumpy with puppies and sometimes with other dogs per se. It’s only been five days though and each day the snarling and lip curling reduces a tiny bit. I’m a great believer in letting jobs do the pack thing by themselves, but the parental reflex to defend the defenceless is hard to overcome. We’ll get there… I do hope so quickly, for Elvis’ sake, because the tables will turn in a few months as the aggressor becomes the underdog, inevitably. That’s how they do it. They’re dogs… we’re humans. Anyway… here’s an ever-growing live list of my Flickr photos tagged ‘Frank’ and below is a video of his first few days, and some select pics… as well as a reminder what Elvis looked like when he was a few weeks older than this, but camera film was pricey!