Bank Holiday in Peckham

Visited Omar and Peter in their smart new house in Peckham. Omar cooked a Thai lunch at very short notice (we only arranged last night that we would pop down).

We wandered out to the Herne Tavern for an afternoon drink: I liked the Golden Pippin guest Ale from the Copper Dragon Brewery. The pub has a nice family atmosphere—in fact there were loads of children running around the garden in the sun.

Omar and Peter


We were very pleased to discover that there was a No 63 bus that runs along Peckham Rye and direct to King’s Cross Station. So it was an easy journey home, which was particularly appreciated after the beery afternoon.

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Better day at the Riverbank Club

Instead of heading River Cam at the Riverbank Clubover tot he Riverbank Club at 11, we waited until after lunch, which meant that the full day in the sun wasn’t so overwhelming. There were intermittent clouds, which cooled things down a little, and the river was a bit warmer, so the swimming was more enjoyable. Lots and lots of punts today, particularly about 5 o’clock when people were heading up to Grantchester—one punt had a charcoal BBQ standing proudly at the front, towering above the people lying in the punt.

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A rare sunny day

Newnham Riverbank ClubSpent a lovely afternoon at Newnham Riverbank Club, only about the third since April, which is a shame. The weather was great and I got a bit too much sun. However the water still hasn’t heated up: it was about 15°C. Managed a couple of long swims, which were great (once I was in!). After all the rain the river was running strong and I was able to swim on the spot against the current, which as good fun. We managed out first BBQ of the year in the evening. Hoping for more of this tomorrow!

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Family visit to Cambridge

Chris, Emma, Natasha, Eve and Finn arrived on Saturday afternoon to spend a few days in Cambridge. Michael and I bought a big shoulder of lamb to casserole, “Two Fat Ladies” style and this had to be split in half to get it into our largest pot. Seven for Sunday lunch worked out well and we had a great feast of lamb.

We all wandered down to Midummer Common for a walk along the river, Chris showing Emma some of his old rowing haunts. Finn had a play in a puddle and Natasha had two uncles to pull her along in her rolling boots. We made it back in time for a cup of tea and big bubbles in the garden before the rain set in about 5.30. The children stayed entertained with CBeebies on the TV and the web and Natasha stayed behind when Eve and Finn went back to Warkworth House for the night and did some Blue Peter things on the internet.

The house was very quiet at 9pm when Chris and Natasha left!

Exhausted Pony

MIchael cooked bangers and mash for dinner which was a big hit with the children: Natasha ate as much as I did! Lots of fruit consumed for pudding: Eve polished off the greengages. A little bit of dancing before the children headed back to the hotel was potentially a bad idea, because it got them a bit excited before I was spending a night baby-sitting them. I think the touring round Cambridge must have tired them out becasue they were all asleep really quickly. Natasha was helpful in settling down the Even and Finn and gave me pointers! Chris, Emma and Michael headed out to the Elm Tree and Free Press.

Finn in a puddle

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Worm Bin

The worm bin Dendrobena worms and cocoonthat I set up in April has been a success so far, despite the less-than perfect design. I started off with too few worms (about 20) from a fishing tackle shop in Arbury and ended up ordering £10 worth of extra Dendrobena worms from eBay. They arrived in a plastic tub at my work and seemed happy enough under my desk until they they made it into my bin. Even then I still had too few worms, but they breed quite fast and I don’t see the need to go from nothing to 100% vermicomposting production overnight.

So, five months on I have lots of worms and cocoons (see small orange ball in the bottom right of the photo to the right!), quite a bit of compost and I’m not quite sure what to do next. There are two ways to run the bin: stop feeding the kitchen waste to the worms and let the compost become wonderful and ready to use with no fuss, but also let most of the worms die, or to separate the compost into piles manually and remove the big bits of newspaper and food, and then put all the non-composted material and worms back into the bin and start over. I don’t like the thought of the non-sustainable system for recycling, and I’m too lazy to separate it all manually. So, I have thought of a third way—to put a round washing up bowl into the bin, with holes drilled in the bottom and make my own stacking tray system that will allow two layers to develop.

The bin is a medium-sized cheap plastic bin (too high and not wide enough but it’s bought now).

Stylish Worm Bin

This is 1/3rd filled with newspaper as bedding and bits of food buried in it. There is a perforated plastic washing up bowl in the bottom with a screen over the top of it to support the compost and let it drain into a large ‘airy’ space underneath. There are holes in the bin around the outside to let air in too. I fitted a water butt tap myself into the bin. The bin produces lovely “worm tea” after it rains as the top isn’t 100% waterproof. I’m getting good use out of this tea for my garden plants. I haven’t tried indoor plants yet.

Paper bedding and vegetable scrapsWorm 'Tea"

And the end result is lots of happy worms (I hope) and good looking compost, with bits of uncomposted paper in it and lots of worms to separate. The worms love melon rind, which disappears within days except for the outermost skin which is left as a paper-thin layer. It’s all fascinating!

Dendrobena worms from my worm bin

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Bricked-up chimney

Bricked-up chimneyMichael stayed in today while the plaster came of the chimney breast, to sort out the damp: this is what’s underneath. Two chimneys? Apparently lots of soot came out too.

The guy who took the plaster off used a screen to keep the dust out of the rest of the house and it seems to have been very good indeed. There’s hardly any dust at all. The next stage is to get the chimney swept (tomorrow), that might be a bit messier!

Bricked-up chimney” by GrahamMcCannCAM

Pink Punting

Met up with the Pink Punting boys at 9.30 at Scudamores punt yard in Cambridge. We managed to fill six punts, even with the rather unenthusiastic weather forecast. This proved to be somewhat wrong as the weather was great all day, excepting a chill wind around lunchtime when the sun disappeared behind some black clouds.

Michael punting

Michael Punting

Michael, Tony and I were joined by two Martins for our punt out to Grantchester. We steamed along with me, then Michael punting there, against the current and with a head wind! We arrived in Grantchester at 11.30, which was good going and we were the first punt there, overtaking two along the way. Michael had made a lovely packed lunch, with potato salad and chilled vichyssoise soup.

Martin and MartinPunts parked at Granchester MeadowsPink Punting Picnic

A few brave souls went into the water for a swim. When we were at the Riverbank Club on Friday night the water was only 17°C, and it won’t have heated up much since then. Tony was brave enought to have a dip. He and Richard swam up and down for about 15 minutes, really enjoying the water. But it took him the same time and a couple of brisk walks around the meadows in Michael’s jumper to warm up again.

Tony & Richard swimming (chilly)

Granchester Meadows

A few spots of rain persuaded us all to head off at around 2.30. Martin, Martin and Tony punted us back again, while I hid under a blanket from the chill wind (not really necessary but very cosy).

Martin Punting

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Tony visiting

Tony visited last night and and Michael cooked a great Thai meal, with home made Tom Yum soup with King Prawns. Very spicy and tasty. We went round to the Fleurs dr Lys pub, which was quiet and my beer wasn’t very nice. Despite being quiet the pub was still very noisy and we escaped at 10.45 and had a very nice pint and chat at the Free Press until midnight.

Go Ape

Cycled out to meet Carol and John at their house in Minerva Way to get a lift to Go Ape at Thetford Forest, arranged by the RSC Sports & Social Club. Met Sarah Harrison there, the organiser and 10 other people all at ready to Go Ape. We had a 10am slot and good training on how to use our three attachment points, two karabiner and one zip (flying fox) arrangement. The training was pretty quick but thorough and before long we were practising on a very low-level course.

Sarah (2 Apes)Sarah on the tarzan swingMichael swings by

The pictures speak for themselves: the day was lovely, and the sun was shining and we were in the woods. We started off low and worked our way up to higher and higher courses. Five in all. The fourth course had a high tarzan rope swing that quite a few people found scary because of the big drop from the platform, then a good, long swing into a spider net, followed by a scramble to the next platform. I found the trapeze-style swings more tricky because I had to look down all the time. Some of the rope ladders were long and went rather high, and some of the platform were rather narrow! We finished at 1, exactly on schedule. I was the last through the course, and by then the 13 of us had spread out over a 15 minute period. We had a sandwich and chat before heading back to Cambridge. It was great morning and I’d do it again! (Soon please!)

More photos in a Flickr PhotoSet

Graham swings free Group Photo at Go Ape


Frank and Margaret The weather was fantastic today. I measured over 30°C in the back garden, in the shade. It was too hot to do much at all, so we sat and read the papers in the garden, and had some wine. We had a wander down Mill Road with my mum and dad to go to some Chinese supermarkets and stocked up on lots of noodles and pickles.