Archives for 2008



Icicles by night. They're growing.

Boxing day walk

Discovery Park Walk

Discovery Park Walk

Boxing day at Discovery park. Brisk.

White Christmas



No teather ball today


The snow is still with us, so we had a proper white Christmas,


Snow burying

complete with some fun in the snow.

Beer Cooler

The beer cooler was superb.


ginger bread house

Something of a tradition here at this time of year.
This one is Finn’s.

Ice & Snow


(sign of a poorly insulated roof I think)

snowy hoop

(it's hard to bounce the ball in 12'' of snow)


snow ball

The boys made some small snowballs in the garden yesterday...

tea service was hard work, but mum appeared just in time with some refreshments.

Snowy Work

snowy work

More big snow

snow monster

the post-selding trek to starbucks

A post-sledging trek through the snow to a long starbucks line (we should have gone over the road to the organic coffee shack :-( )

snowy street

This was our street before the deep stuff came!

Big Snow

Project snow gauge

After the small snow came the big snow


and the big cold.

Whizzing down

Whizzing down

Hauling up

which was much more fun than rolling in the mud .

Snow person

Even Luke thought so.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Finn at Five

Finn at Five

Finn is now officially five, having been "nearly five" since about June.

Finn at Five

I think he knows something I don't...

Christmas Tree Team

Tree decorating team

Tree from Noel's at Cottage Lake, decorated by the gang in the picture
(including the shy one hiding in the reflection)
I had nothing to do with it, except dragging 8ft of fir from car to garage to family room

Tree jumping

This year we also appear to have started a new Christmas tradition (can it be a tradition if this is the start?): yup, tree jumping. I can see that this one may end in tears.

Snow melt

no snow

What to do when the snow melts? Why, let's just go and roll around in the mud. Luvly.

Small Snow

Crawling along Woodinville-Duvall Road

Freestyle sleding at St Edwards


Snow sliding

We got back to a certain amount of snow. Fun fun fun.
Apparently, this is what's known as 'trace'.

Big Trip: Wrap Up

The Firm

The Firm

End of the Big Trip. "The Firm" reconvened at Heathrow T5 for a final farewell, fortunately news reports of an ensuing chaos were significantly exaggerated, and T5 continued to function normally.

Custom headphones

Finn's return trip was also enhanced by the custom headphone adapter, cunningly crafted from BA socks. Nice.

Big Side Trip: food

Genève food

Genève food

Genève food

Genève food

Genève food Genève food

Genève food

One benefit of the side trip was the food.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Big Side Trip: Genève

Crossing the Rhône River

A little side trip from the big trip to Genève for some work-stuff.

Genève by night

Decent view from the hotel...


...including some kind of student party. Something to do with history, the French and large pots of chocolate, apparently.

Entrance to the Rhône River

Genève is at the end of Lake Geneva , where the lake flows into the Rhône River ...

Bell tree

...and all the trees have bells on.

Sunrise over the Alps

Unfortunately, I didn't get up into the Alps , although the view from 5,000 feet on the early morning flight out was pretty impressive.

Big Trip: A Wallingford walk with granny

Thames footpath

Wallingford Castle

An early morning walk along the Thames and around Wallingford Castle

Wallingford Castle

Wallingford Castle

With Granny in Wallingford

with Granny and the boys.

Nice boots Finn.

Apparently dogs are okay, it's the walkers that Wallingford have a problem with

Wallingford council don't like dog walkers, but apparently dogs on their own are perfectly fine.

Big Trip: Hainault Forest

Woodland trail

A winter walk in Hainault Forest

Grandparents & Trees

Admiring the view

with granddad, nana and the boys

Evening sky over London

and views across London as the evening drew in.

washing up

A quick clean up

Cheers Granddad

and then drinks and

Taking a break, English pub style

a relax at the Camelot.

I do miss English pubs.

Big Trip: Night out in London Towne

Fay and bankside

Big night out. Train into town, wonder down past St Pauls and across the wobbly bridge to the Tate Modern in the old Bankside power station.

Thames sunset

Great views of the city as the sun went down, with even a peek of the London Eye.

Tate modern

The Tate even had an old friend (do you recognize this ?) although it was far inferior to the Seattle version (it was made of ply, complete with fake rivets, although maybe that was the point). Food at level 7 was a pass, so we ended up and a nice place in the OXO building before heading along to the National Theatre for a spot of culture.

11 years. Awesome. Thanks Beautiful.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Big Trip: Frinton-on-Sea

Breakfast on platform 3

Early start (at least early if you're all jet lagged and used to sleeping in until 12) with breakfast on platform 3 at Romford station

On the train

to catch the 0924 to Frinton-on-Sea (changing at Thorpe-le-Soken).



Arriving at Frinton for a quick walk to great grannies house for coffee and biscuits!

Frinton Sunset at the Rec

We even managed a quick jaunt over to the rec,

Playground groupshot (balanced on a seesaw)

Frinton Sunset

and the sunset wasn't too bad either.

I didn't get a good pic of gran (far too stern!) so instead, check out this much better one from last April's visit.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Big trip: wii

WII Playing 1

Uncle Paul was the hero with wii games...

WII Playing 2

...concentration was key...

WII Watching

...and the crowd were riveted. Literally.

No damage to report, although Dad had a near miss with the chandelier. Opps.

An Amelie Awing

An Amelie Swing

Big Trip: Parklife

tree climbing

Parks are great for tree climbing,

tree hugging

tree hugging,

Squirrel Hunting

and squirrel hunting.

Bottle Beach Walk

Bottle Beach

Exhibit A: A bottle

Amelie hiking the easy way


Boj & Brov on the Thames path

Victorian Trash

A fine example


Along the north bank of the Thames, downstream from Tilbury , is where London's rubbish ended up. Just past the power station is Bottle Beach, where the remains of a (Victorian?) dump are exposed by the river. Bottles, glass and china survives, but most of everything else has decomposed. Even the metal has rusted away.

Thames at East Tilbury

The 'water tower' was an early radar station, and according to to font of all knowledge was, until recently, still marked as a water tower on maps.

Proper walk - on glass

A proper walk, even if it was across crushed and broken glass :-)

Circular Motion









Big Trip: Linford


Game boy

Amelie preparing to leave

Little kids...

Big kids

...and big kids too

Big trip: getting there


Car to SeaTac (thank you Dawn!)


A spot of pre-boarding grub


Movies on the flight

Granddad @ Heathrow

and a morning coffee at Heathrow (thanks Les!).

Winter Games

F off target


Other F more on target

Can you guess what we’re doing?

Star wars throwing bean bag thingy game

Yup, that’s right, trying out Fay’s throw bean bags at Star Wars characters painted on a big box game. Preparation for little-F’s birthday extravaganza.

As usual, little-H won. Not that he’s competitive or anything…

The Star Wars Boys

Star Boys

Star Wars is becoming very serious stuff as
Clone Trooper & Anakin say "no" to an early night.

Apparently the rebel alliance only defeated the empire because the clone troopers did not have soles in their battle suits.
Although you know what they say about big feet, don't you Anakin...

Dogfood at home

Selfhost Paint 1

Selfhost Paint 2

Selfhost Print

F helped dad out with some dogfooding at the weekend.

Dogfood: to eat one's own dog food. Yum, it's tasty. Details on Wikipedia .



Although it's cold and wet, with flood warnings for the Tolt river, if you wrap up warm you can still hang out in the garden.


I'm a PC

I'm a PC

Dad got the wrong size so it's now a play shirt cape thingy...
...or maybe I should just weather proof it and use it as a poncho.

Wet River Walk




A wet river walk (because it was chucking down, not because the river was wet) along the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River.

Just to prove it was wet, here's a pic with a bit of the river...


Pumpkin Boy

pumpkin boy

This is how second graders carve pumpkins.

Autumn is here

Autumn Leaves

Autumn in the garden

The clocks went back and it's raining so everything is wet and dark, except when the sun glints through and then everything is golden.

Note to self: that's a whole lot of leaves to clear up.








A parade at school followed by trick or treat with friends and then back home to see what something had done to the front porch. Oh my.

Evening Walk

Evening walk along the Sammamish River

Boys out for the night at a sleep over so time for a coffee at Tulley's and an evening stroll along the Sammamish River valley before a spot of dinner at Purple.


Final match

final match

The saucers finished the season with 5 wins from 8 games , even the opposing spectators applauded! Fan-tastic team.

And, what better place for the after game party than Redmond's Flying Saucer Pizza .

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Please vote


Aunty H claimed that a previous pic of F looked like Aunty R
(evidence of the allegation is here ).

So, we ask, does this little pic of “F the Chef” also look like an Aunty?
Please vote in the comments:

a) Yes, like Aunty H
b) Yes, like Aunty R
c) Yes, like Aunty J
d) All of the above, but only on a does-my-nose-look-big-in-this day
e) No, he looks nothing like a national broadcasting corporation

Thank you


Sorry, this poll has now closed. Ed.

The saucers are flying

The Flying Saucers in action

Is the game not the result that matters.
But a good result is always a bonus...isn't it?
The "Flying Saucers", right now they're flying.

A be careful what you ask for moment

F as mad mouse man


Saturday night, halfway through dinner with friends (sorry James, sorry Victoria), Fay *demands* the replacement of a piccy on the wall.
Apparently it, a casual family scene, made us all look "odd".
So, I went and replaced all three, and these were what she got.


Someone really did get in a twist...

Luvly Cuppa

cuppa tea

Granddad & Co.

granddad with grandsons

Golden Evening

shark on the sand

Dinner at Ray’s and then a stroll along Golden Gardens to watch the sun go down behind the Olympics, and to avoid the occasional basking shark in the sand.

sunset fin interpretive sand dance

F spent some time engaging in his interpretive sand dance routine

with granddad on the beach

and posing for pics.



Yup, it hurt

Welcome home poster for mum

Welcome home poster

Delayed by Hurricane Ike, mum finally made it back from Nicaragua.
We’re glad she’s home :-)

Water dancing at Rattlesnake Lake

rattlesnake water dancing

A very hot day at Rattlesnake Lake quickly turned from sunny picnic to water splashing on the rocks.

Strange games with Granddad

boya and granddad

granddad horsey

Canoeing Lake Union Style

Paddling in Union Bay

H in Union Bay with SR520


Kim and F watching jumpers from the university taking a dip

Abstract Yokohama

hotel lift

Inside the fastest elevator/lift in the world

morning proper walk

A proper walk along Kaiko Promenade

Japanese roadside garden

Japanese road side


Sunrise over Yokohama

Yokohama sunrise

Yokohama at night

Yokohama at night

Mum's away

mums away so breakfast treats!

Mum's away, so treats for breakfast.

New friends: sonic and star wars

New friends have arrived too: meet sonic + starwars (hiding in the water plants)

Apple Garden

eating garden apples

Eating apples straight from the tree. Looks like the plums need a couple more weeks.

Yard Basketball

yard basketball

Talapus Lake


on the trail

With Mum in Nicaragua, what better way to spend the first day of Autumn than a little hike to Talapus Lake ?

alpine lakes wilderness

The lake is in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness ...

Alpine Lakes Wilderness Pass you need one of these.
Aside: We also needed to renew our NorthWest Forest Pass — turns out Talapus was the first hike that the ranger in North Bend did when he was a kid...

counting by the river

On the way up there are some good rest spots alongside Talapus creek.

H looking pleased about something

There's also muddy spots to avoid.
H is looking pleased with himself because he did a Matrix-style triple stumble around this particular patch, avoiding getting his knees, face and bum covered in the sticky stuff.

finn with skunk cabbage

Not forgetting the skunk cabbage to pose by.


H & F at Lake Talapus

We found a quiet spot at the edge of the lake for our lunch: but dad forgot the swimmers so we stayed dry (just as well really)

tasting the fresh air

On the way down F decided to do route finding by "taste" rather than by "sight"

dad's ears

wile H did impressions of Dad's ears.

mud = fun

Sign of a good walk? Muddy legs :-)

Fun around La Push

Hunting for blackberries

Hunting for blackberries

Wipe out

Wiping out in the Pacific surf

Super dad shows his strength (or not)

Clearing beach access

Face off with the Pacific

Beach olympics: shown here the javelin qualifying event

Beach walk at La Push

Beach walks

Hide and seek

Hide and seek

La Push

Wave watching


watching the world pass gently by on second beach

Road Trip


All buckled up for a trip to the Olympic Peninsula

Catching the breeze on walla walla

It was blowing hard as we crossed the sound on Walla Walla

ferry conflab

wiser heads spent the crossing inside.

heading to Sequim

Sequim , population 5,688, is supposedly in the rain shadow of the Olympics. It's been raining on all four occasions that I've passed through.


Traffic was a tad backed up, but luckily it looks like the accident wasn't nearly as bad as the rumors had suggested.

Storm King Ranger Station - well named

We stopped off at the aptly named Storm King Ranger Station. It was chucking it down.
This picture is especially noteworthy since taking it delayed our departure...

Lake Cresent

...putting us behind the extraordinary wide load (again!) and therefore is slow stop-start traffic around Lake Crescent .

Sunset at La Push

But the view from the cabins on the beach at La Push was worth it.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Cheese cake tasting

cheese cake tasting

...guess who ate the most!

Not a shaft passer

safety harness

Safety harness at the Hiram M. Chittenden locks with a clever mechanism to bypass the posts that secure the wire without disconnecting the harness.

Trip to the locks

boat in the lock

It's that time of year again , a trip to the locks to watch boats...

salmon ladder

finn and fish eggs

...and fish

boys on a bench


and to sit and watch the world pass by.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Lego Fest


The guys partaking in a spot of intensive Lego construction just before bedtime.

Creek Running

the boys enjoying a spot of creek running

Stan and Harvey demonstrating superior skills creek running on sourdough creek.

Superior than their dad's that is.

NCI in Mono

tree - deer creek trail

Deer creek trail

Deer creek bridge

Bridge over deer creek

stick in sourdough creek

Sourdough Creek

Paul contemplating in the deer shelter


Bat watching

Bat watching by flashlight

Bat watching on Diablo Dam by (winder powered) torch light

Green Power

Diablo dam

Diablo lake is formed by Diablo Dam, one of the many dams built to provide hydro-power to Seattle and around...

Hydro power means power lines in the mountains

...the power lines can be quite pretty...

Diablo dam can the lights that they power.

North Cascades Institute

Dry moss comes back to life with a little water

rest break

on the trail with ranger hollie

feeling nature

finn & the ranger striding ahead

Family getaway weekend (part II).

Last year was such a great experience that we headed back up Highway 9 to the North Cascades Institute with Team-Whitty-Waelend for some outdoor education and relaxation.


R&H did sterling work as TeamFred...


...and R wasn't too shabby with the group shot either!

[PS: Comments should be working again now] Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links [PPS: Comments have been removed. Because, comments]

Mountain Sun to Moon

sun going down above the clouds

Sun going down above the clouds...

the climbers moon reveal the moon smiling down.


South climb trail starts here

183 is the South Spur route (aka the dog route) from cold creek camp ground up Mount Adams.

spring flowers and mount adams

The spring flowers were out in abundance around 7,000ft...

martin and chris on the trail

...but the landscape soon dried out.

strike a pose...

The hike in gave us some time to practice poses for the summit photo...

how high?

...and to see how tall Martin is.

Chris taking a pause

Chris nearing the ridge line

The first snow field was a welcome change from rocks and gravel

Martin and Pikers Peak beyond (with the summit hiding to the lef

but it didn't half go on, and on, and on

after the sun went

snug as a bug in the tent

until eventually we reached the lunch counter @ just over 9,000ft and found a stone wall to pitch the tent behind (out of the wind so long as you kept below 2ft) and a sunset above the clouds...

taking sunset pictures in the cold

...which made for good piccy's :-)

getting there... 11,315 feet

Next day was a slow sicky slog up past piker's peak...

Mount Adams summit piccy - 12,276ft the top

abandoned miners hut on the top of Mt Adams

where a miners hut remains,

Mount Hood

and then a more rapid decent, pausing for views of St Helens and Mount Hood in the distance.

For the interested, the picture that started it , and more on flickr .

Enormous thanks to Chris and Martin for getting us all up and down safe and sound.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Kids on holiday

Boys assulting the lookout tower

Assaulting the lookout

surf dancing

New forms of interpretative surf dancing.

mail man

Checking the neighbours mail.

Kite flying

Kite flying.


Fluid replenishment.

Fred, gets some help

Taking the 'technical route'.

Stan and surf

Driftwood & Surf.

Finn: wacked

Sand hugging.

Herb rock pushing

Rock pushing.

Look! Birds n' Surf

And a bit of bird watching for big kids too.

Oregon Seascapes


Long way home

Horse riding along the edge of the Pacific

South along long beach


Cannon Beach

Beach I

Canon Beach

shoes at the seaside

Fun at Fort Stevens State Park

Looking out from Fort Lewis

Defending the Columbia - WWII style

Fort Stevens State Park had all sorts of fun stuff for the boys to climb on and in, stuff that was built to defend the Columbia River over the last 100 years or so.

Harvey taking Stan the easy way home, about that shirt

team picture (you'd be lucky!)

Getting a piccy of all of them was, well, difficult.


Four boys in a Jeep

We do love to be beside the seaside

famous five on the beach

famous five on the beach



surf jumping


Camp Beach

Kung Fu Panda went to someones head

Camp Beach


Riding the sammamish trail

Riding the trail...

H at Tully's thirsty work.

New tricks

Squirrel learning new tricks

Camp Muir

Rainier from Paradise

Mount Adams was closed (a case of forest fire) so we decided to try a little day hike from Paradise (5,400ft) to Camp Muir (10,188ft)

that's a long way to go

Paradise meadows was still partly under snow

spring on the mountain = wild flowers

but spring flowers were making a show wherever they could.

Chris and Aiddy

Chris and Martin

Panorama point made a good spot for piccy's of the crew...

St Helens

Adams in the distance

...and of Mount St Helens (or what's left of it) and Mount Adams to the distant south.

climbing up the the Muir Snowfield

Martin and Chris on the Muir Snowfield

Next was the climb up to the Muir Snowfield...

increasing cloud...

Looking down the Nisqually glacier

...with views up to the summit of Rainier and across to the scared valley left by the retreating Nisqually Glacier.

Looking up to Camp Muir in the cloud

After a long slog up the snowfield: Camp Muir appeared through the misty cloud!

Destination: Camp Muir

Camping at Camp Muir

Where we pitched the tent and cooked up some lunch
(a different tent from the picture 'cause I forgot to snap Chris')

Looking down the Muir Snowfield

not quite a white out

Going down, the clear weather changed to foggy as the predicted 12,000ft cloud base came in at about 5,000ft.

Martin and Chris starting a glacade

Going down was quicker thanks to a spot of glacading.
Martin, aka chief shoot spotter, and Chris, aka Mr. Speedy, led the way with Aiddy, aka I feel a bit tom-and-dick and need to check the GPS every 10mins so we don't slide off a cliff or into a crevasse, followed some distance behind.

snow, stream and wild flowers

fog on the way down

Back to Paradise just before 7pm in the gathering gloom.
I conveniently didn't get a piccy of Chris beating me in a run back to the car (Martin correctly observing "it's all a bit matcho").

Good day out. Can't wait till the boys can give it a go :-)

Big thanks to Fay & the Boys for the day pass.

Rattlesnake Ledge

H on the trail

We planned a quiet hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge , but didn't bargain on the thousands of people for 'Trail Fest' .

Looking down on trail fest

Surprisingly, the trail wasn't as busy as the road full of parked cars suggested
(although it was busy at the top).
Maybe Rattlesnake Ledge was too tame for the people attending trail fest...

Rock pixie

...or maybe the strange creatures lurking in the woods put them off!

View from the lunch spot at the top

Lunch at the top was pukka.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

end of a long week



Just what was needed at the end of a loooooong week. A flat.

Summer Studies



The boys getting down to some summer studying.

Plan C

cottage lake

Plan A was to watch the fireworks
on Lake Union from Gas Works Park.
Plan B was to watch the fireworks
on Lake Washington from Marina Park.
Plan C was to watch the sunset
on Cottage Lake from Cottage Lark Park

cottage lake

cottage lake

Our nice walk was interrupted by a loud 'bang!'

cottage lake fireworks

Yes, you guessed it, fireworks :-)

cottage lake fireworks

cottage lake fireworks

So we sat on the dock and watched the impromptu display.
Our thanks to the cottage lake neighbourhood.

night boating on cottage lake

We were quite comfy on the dock, but some others decided that a close-up view required some paddling.

Duck Racing

Juanita bay duck race

This crowd descended on the beach just before 4pm, and, by the by, managed to get in the way of some serious sand castle building.

Juanita bay duck race

Why? To watch duck racing, Kirkland style. The fastest ducks, as blown against the wind by men (yes, they were all men) with leaf blowers, won some serious prizes.

ducks, lots of

Juanita bay duck race

The trampled sand castles were quickly forgotten when the boys realised that there were 1,000's of ducks to help catch.

Happy Birthday USA

F in lake washington

We did July 4th United States style. The parade in Kirkland, lunch (ducks and a swim) on the beach at Juanita Bay, a barbecue at home and then fireworks at cottage lake.

Day trip to Rainier


Thanks to Dawn for transport, we had a great day trip to Mount Rainier, stopping off for donuts and a view of the Alder Dam on the way.

Kruz creek


Kautz Creek was a trickle compared with last time we were here . In the November 2006 storm the creek decided it preferred a different route down the mountain



There was still snow at Paradise, but the road was open thank's to the snow blower and snow plough.

Rainier from Paradise


From Paradise we hiked the relatively short, but fun in snow, Nisqually Vista trail...

Nisqually Vista overlook

...which leads to an overlook of the end of the Nisqually glacier.

downhill on a bin bag


On the way back we stopped for a spot of downhill bin-bag sledging.

mountian man

mountain and boy


Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Twin Falls

rock hopping

We took Nana and Faith to Twin Falls on the South Fork Snoqualmie River

the finster

On the hike we were surprised to see a rare finster that lives in the woods, we managed to get this rare photograph just before the finster disappeared into his burrow!


Aunty Faith made a big mess by pushing down all the trees

Lower twin fall

The best view is of the lower fall!

Oh deer

Deer in the garden, again...

A couple of deer stopped by to check out the apple trees

Nana's Roast Lamb

Roast dinner

With Nana staying we were treated to 'Nana's roast lamb'.

Yum Yum Lovely.



The boys get geared up for a peaceful day out on the range

Two for a cruise

faith, jessica and a lake cruise

Nana and Aunty Faith about to sail off into the great unknown


Golden Gardens stone throwing

Boats and the Olympics from Golden Gardens

Stone throwing competitions and boat counting on the beach at Golden Gardens

Happy Birthday Number One


birthday silly

Amelie is a big 'one' :-)

Happy birthday Amelie, with added 'cha cha cha'.

Summer Hike

gear up

The family thought I was crazy (well, more crazy then usual) when I geared up for a little hike on Mount Pilchuck (yes, that Mount Pilchuck )

off we go

But the conditions didn't disappoint: low cloud, rain and snow, and this is June, I mean this is meant to be summer.

Pilchuck trial head

No GPS, bad viz and fresh snow at the trail head (plus no other idiots on the trail leaving tracks to follow) meant navigation by map and compass.

snow, sky and ice trees

frozen world

Soon we'd climbed into a world of frozen trees, ice and dodgy snow

lunch with a view

Where lunch came with a spectacular view of uniform gray and a most welcome brew (thank you MSR, the stove worked below zero)

Where snow meets sky

We think we made it to the top,
but when everything is a shade of white you never can tell. 

Are you standing on fluffy snow or fluffy cloud?
Just don't look down

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Hide and Seek

hide and seek

Not the most obvious place in the house to hide, but close.

Kitchen Window Visitors

kitchen window visitors

Watching the game


I could get used to this, it's almost like cricket but yet nothing like it.


f discovers new ways to carry sticks

F found a new way to carry sticks


Robot by F

F had fun building a robot at school

Three days of proper walks

foot and a beach view

feet and stones

foot and sky

Camping + no driving = one, two, three days of proper walks .

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Wot, no cars?

no cars

Memorial day weekend at Deception Pass State Park and look, no cars in the car park/parking lot.

Maybe the early hour had something to do with it.

Camping Deception


A long weekend camping at Deception Pass State Park was a chance to really get to know the place after last years day trip .

H on west beach

Boys building stuff

Drift wood made for excellent den building

Cranberry Lake

Floating on Cranberry Lake

and Cranberry Lake was a great place to float around and cool off on.

Eagle watching

Some eagle spotting...

Cloud over Fidalgo Island

...and cloud gazing on North Beach,

sunset cloud over Lopez Island

Sunset from west beach

Sunset over Lopez

with just-in-time sunsets from West beach.

artists at work

A chance to wind down with some coloring...


...and stone sculpture.



Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Cheeky Chap

cheeky chap

Look what we found on the window sill!

May in the Garden

May in the garden

As is becoming tradition , May in the garden.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

More biking



lost and found

Martin's cap lost on the way up, found by someone and placed on this tree so we'd see it on the way down.
Whoever you were: thank you.

Mail box

snow field

half way up

An early start on Saturday for a hike up Mail Box Peak


Pretty spectacular views of Mt. Rainier to the SE, but the haze meant downtown Seattle was only _just_ visible.

Post man

me on mail box peak

It's called Mail Box Peak because there's a mail box on the top! Martin had a good riffle through the contents, but there was no ice cold beer to be found.

Football in the garden



I cut the lawn this afternoon, which meant football could resume. It had got a bit ridiculous having to wade through the grass, and the lawn service - aka Les - has been otherwise engaged in strategic bedroom floor leveling activities...

post match team photo

The winning team: 10 goals to 8!
The proper training sessions begin Monday, we need more practice before Fantastic Fred arrives.


stripes and cammo

Stripes and cammo

School Auction

about as smart as I get

An excuse to get dressed up, the 2008 school auction fund raiser (and yes, I do hate wearing a suit).

bird house II

The bird house did good, loads a $$$$$$s!


coffee mug near accident

I nearly lost my coffee this morning, luckily I spied it before it spilled. Could have been nasty.

my friend, mr starbuck

my friend, mr starbuck

Almost exactly what you need when you're up a tad early for a multi-continent conference call.
I'm thinking of relocating into the kitchen.


Steve is 40 :-)

Yeah baby, Steve hits 40. I'm guessing we'll be missing a massive party or two. Congrats mate.

Bird House


The first grade school auction project is done!
The class painted the birds.


birthday boy


Amazing: 'H' is now 7
I feel a little bit old

not so little anymore


Snow & Cloud

snow tracks


Pilchuk: Take 2




The previous attempt was a bit of a slog. This time we made it past the start (trail head)

chris and green mountain from the trail head

The view across to Green Mountain

lunch at the trail head

Lunch spot: the snow was approx. 12 feet deep here

following the tracks

Going up was tough...

martin, taking the fast way down

...coming down was fun

high point photo

Eventually the "High Point" which observant readers will note is not the "summit". Yup, Pilchuck wins again

what happens when the snow runs out

What happens when the snow runs out?

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links



Now that the rickrolling meme is dying down, F has started his own version...

Beautiful Amelie


Fresh Frinton air is enough to send anyone to snooze-land.

Odd Hotels

Malmaison, Oxford

On previous occasions I've stayed in some odd hotels, like here and here . But this ex-prison as a hotel has been the only one to upset the kids.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-22 to fix broken links

Watch Out Spring

tractor man

At a top secret camp far away from Newham, granddad underwent a rigorous training regime in preparation for starting up a competitive gardening service with the motto: "measure once, cut twice".
Paul & Dave are said to be in a state of minor shock at the thought of the competition.

...and it was "this" big


The massive fish escaped


my gran

Gran: The shrinking head of a growing family

Spring Break: Big Tree


Big and old (~500 years), but not as big or old as the one we saw last summer .

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links

Spring Break: La Push One


Day one at La Push on the Olympic Peninsula Pacific coast.

driftwood II

driftwood I

Lots of drift wood, although it's hard to imagine some of this stuff 'drifting'.

Spring Break: Getting Lost

mossy trees

If you're lost, you can tell which way is North because moss grows on that side of trees (assuming you're not so lost that you're no longer in the northern hemisphere).
Except when it doesn't, in places like the Hoh Rain Forest .

The boys now appreciate why it's called a rain forest, and not, for example, a drizzle wood.

Spring Break: Sol Duc Hot Springs

foggy sol duc

We hit Sol Duc for a dip in the hot springs......with a variety of interesting characters. Unfortunately it was too steamy to capture on film (or CCD, or CMOS).

sol duc ranger station

After a quick stop at the ranger station to assess conditions

road closed

We hiked up the closed road towards Sol Duc falls




Unfortunately snow obscured the trail making route finding impossible so,

looking for a snow hole

after a quick stop to find the sweets that F had hidden in the snow,


dejectedly, we headed back to the cabin.

Spring Break: Wildlife

The odd bit of wildlife was spotted during our break

inquisitive sealion

Sealions came and said hello

loud seagull

Seagulls told us where to go

fat squirrel

Fat squirrels ate

bear tracks?

And small bear's ran away

Spring Break: Hurricane Ridge

trees on the ridge

First stop on the spring break adventure: Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park.

Nearly a view

Good news was that the road was open, not so good news was that we didn't break out of the cloud so we had to play in the snow rather than admire the views
(I don't think anyone else minded though).

h in a snow hole

f in a snow hole


The boys discovered some snow holes to play in while a nervous dad stood ready with an avalanche shovel ...

watch that spade!

...yes, really!
F later put it to better use by turning the tables on his big brother.

one, two, three...push

where did we leave the sled?

We also managed a bit of sledding without a sledge.


and I even got to wear my new specs...


...which embarrassed F so much that he buried his head in the snow.

Misty Morning

Misty morning

A misty morning down at Cottage Lake today.
This pic is the end of a week long series looking at the weather (the others are here ) and resulted from some inspiration supplied by this anonymous comment .

You see, you, dear reader, really are in control .
Feel the power.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links


something missing in the office

The consequences of
(what I must admit was a particularly successful)
April fool early today yesterday.

Yes, most of the contents of my office disappeared J
Full details of the gag here and reactions here .

Rounding out the weekend weather

plane cloud

The end of an extreme weather weekend: sun, rain, hail, snow, warm, cold, clear, cloudy, rain, drizzle, fog, mist but no high winds.
This was from the front yard this afternoon as another system moved down from the North.

Professor Snow Sentry

professor snowman

professor snowman (rear view)

Another day, more snow and another snow-person. This one couldn't decided whether to be professor snowman or snowman sentry.
The trauma of the indecision must have been too much, 'cause he's gone now L

Snow Gear

snow gear

F all togged up for a spot of outdoor fun in the snow.

Either that or some boxing.

Earth Hour



Earth Hour

More Weather

Lonely Cloud

After the snow the skies cleared...

Hail stones

Hail stones II time for a short, sharp, hail storm.

We now have low stratus and drizzle.

Spring Snow

snow child

Excitement with some early spring snow overnight, led to small snow-person building in the garden.

"An inch? That's nothing" said Gran "we had two last weekend!"

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links

Clearing Evening Storm


Snow forecast and hail storms for Fay to dodge while out walking this evening.
It just cleared as the sun was going down.

Day out


otter feet

F took Fay out for the day to Woodland Park Zoo .

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links

Office View

mountains from redmond

The view from my office today...
actually, you need to turn left out of my office
and climb two flights of stairs to get this view ;-)

That's, I think, Mount Index or there-abouts. Approx. 27 miles and two valleys away.

Cake hunting




Word spread like wildfire about the cake, soon the squirrels were combing the garden for the leftovers.
I'm trying to train them to find hidden eggs...

Egg Hunting at Easter


egg hunting

A small egg hunt in the garden yesterday. Matt and I lost count of the number of eggs hidden, I suspect we'll be finding them for months to come.

With ~20 kids running around, I was surprised to realize that nearly all the mums had vanished...

cake - mu style

...they had succumbed to the temptations of cake.
Cake, they like cake.
Fay assures me that people left with cake, lots of cake; but I still think it was all eaten.

Thanks to everyone for bringing such lovely cake, puddings, deserts, pastries, more cake etc.
More next time?

Mart's Bike


Way cool. Circa. 1940 Harley .

Foot warming

feet warming

When I was a lad we used to wear socks.
Now feet are kept warm on chilly mornings by standing on the heating vent.

Last of the Sycamore seeds

last of the sycamores

There's a big American Sycamore tree in the garden.
In the summer it shades the sand pit and soccer pitch.
In the autumn it dumps huge leaves all over the garden.
In the winter it lets the sunsets sneak into the family room.
In the spring, actually I can't remember what it does in the spring.

Getting Technical

Lego in progress

H is still a tad young for Lego Technic , but Dad needs to get him moving up to some Mindstorm stuff ASAP so we have an excuse to play with the robotics SDK in time to challenge KZ and Anish at work :-)



Tonight's moon through a gap in the cloud.
(Handheld shot, with breath held :-)


look, no feet

puddle surfing

H, in trouble again

Time (again) to burn off some energy, so the usual plan down at Cottage Lake Park:
cycle the circuit; play in the playground; beat dad at basket ball

fay on a mission

Fay caught us up in time to get a quick basket or two .

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links

Sports Captain

fay not dunking

Fay demonstrates what a
former school house (More) sports captain can still do...





When we moved H could find his way around by the number of cranes. "Lots" was Seattle; "a few" meant we were in Bellevue; and "one" was probably Redmond. There's a few more in Redmond at the moment, the office is expanding again and this is what you see from the 545 bus stop.

Idyl in Idylwood

Redmond from Idylwood

Swings at idylwood

Eagle at Idylwood

The boys had a sleep-over
so we burnt off some energy at Idylwood park.
H spotted one of the Eagles while swinging.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to remove broken links


hat and poles

Hat and poles.

foot with all terrain drive attached

Gaiters and boots, with all terrain drive attached.

(A proper walk)

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links


unhill struggle

A plan to summit Mount Pilchuck turned into a workout slog up forest service road 2124.


chris' thermos worked

snow covered forest service road

What would have been a nice 2 hr hike to the starting point at the trail head with snow shoes... wasn't.

Lessons learnt:
1. In winter, check trail head accessibility as well as planned route.
2. Long hikes to trail heads are easier with snow shoes and/or x-country ski's (when there's snow around that is).
3. Snow cover on the ground is very dependent on tree coverage.
4. When a nice alternative like Heather Lake presents itself, go for it.

West Point Lighthouse, Seattle.

West Point Lighthouse, Seattle.

West Point Lighthouse , Seattle by Canon SD 1000 .

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links

Family Pic

discovery park

Proper Walk


View other proper walk posts.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links

Rock Wood

west point lookout

H as the look out at West Point ...

drift wood

...while F played in the drift wood.

Discovery Park & the Beach

kayaker on puget sound

When we got down to the beach there
was lots of big sky to gaze at...

puget sound sky

...rock pools to investigate...

drift wood den

...and drift wood to play beneath...

balancing act

...and balance on.

drift tree

Oh, and various combinations of the above.

west point lighthouse

As we walked slowly down to West Point
and West Point lighthouse .

Discovery Park



The boys demonstrated the quickest way down a flight of steps with various jumping styles. But, I wasn't quick enough with the camera to capture the double back flip with 720 twist.


Spring is here (it remembered the date) with buds opening all over the forest.

discovery park

H snapped us with the green bee on the bridge. You won't remember the bridge because I didn't post that pic ;-)

Two up

double reading in ruby's

What to do when friends can't agree on which star wars story to read while waiting for Mac N' Cheese to arrive?

Mart demonstrates the solution: reading two books at once.

Hide and Seek


Can you find them?

Proper Walk Returns

proper walk shot

Return of the proper walk shot.
Note that this one is also an example of a proper job :-)

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links

Fourth time

hiking the trail

On the fourth attempt we did the twin falls hike!

Attempt 1: rain stopped play so we hunted yeti instead
Attempt 2: made it, only backwards
Attempt 3: snow stopped play

dappled forest walk

mini time out

flying down the trail

going back we just flew down the trail

basking rock

H opted to bask in the sun mid-stream...

high water mark

…luckily the water was lower than it was when these logs got jammed.

Note: This post was updated on 2020-11-28 to fix broken links

Comfort Zone

comfort zone

I spent four (long) days last week
outside my comfort zone but having fun.
This pic above was me at about 1.30 am at the end of long day #3.

I learnt a lot, including that learnings isn't a word.

Proper Sitting

My feet in the sun

A slightly variation in the proper walking foot shot .

This time I'm sitting.

It's good to leave your comfort zone...occasionally.

fresh air

H on the beach

F on the beach

H & I have been bit sick :-(
so we jumped at the opportunity to get out in the fresh air today with a walk and some frisbee at Golden Gardens

puget sound dance

some went a bit further with open air tai chi
(at least I think that's what it is)

winter dip at golden gardens

while others were just ridiculous.
I mean, we're 47°N and it's February :-)

Tub time

finn in the tub

Waiting for buses

waiting for the bus in the rain

The timetable for my bus changed at the weekend, as too did the route, which made for a slightly confusing trip to work today (made worse by a substandard edition of TWiT ).

The sunset in the pouring rain this evening while waiting
for the bus home made up for it.
Oh, and I got home to the news that Sammy the Salmon
has, most probably, saved the school.

Monopoly on a Sunday afternoon

monopoly madness

A blur of frantic activity as H strives once again to dominate
the family monopoly championships.

Math homework was never this fun when I was six;
but then I didn't get math homework when I was six.

Not what it is

not cup holder

Smile of the day.
Warning sticker on a car door cup holder
indicating that contents in open cups may spill.

IMHO depends very much on the driving style of the driver...


PG Tips Tin

The PG Tips tin is empty.

For never was there a story of more woe than this.

Team Zune

Team Zune

Music, news and opinions on the go. Cool.
Wireless sync when I'm suffering from a cold and banished to the spare room. Cooler.
Being part of the social? Haven't figured that one out yet.

Also means I'm not nicking Fay's iPod when I get the bus to work!

Super bowl!

fin in a box

The Super bowl is, for some reason, rather big here. Big enough that you'd want to take advantage of the lack of crowds and head for the slopes
(assuming you could avoid the dynamite being dropped from choppers ).

F celebrated in traditional style, with a case of Bud.
King of beers indeed.

fun at the park

big tree

boy eating tree


H had a party so we headed off to the park for some excitement with the ' big tree ', ' boy eating tree ' and ' spiral staircase of doom '...

good cake

...followed by a pit-stop at the coffee shop for chocolate cake. Result.

bike man

cycle man

F is getting pretty speedy, the trick is going to be getting the training wheels off without him noticing...

cottage lake - frozen (just)

ice on cottage lake

Or at least frozen enough to have fun with the boys skimming stones and chunks of ice across the surface.
I *love* the sound of skating ice in the mornings.


burried drift wood


snow man vader

snow for us means a bit of fun in the garden/yard with mr. vader
but snow also means I90 closed due to stuff like this and this

small walk in the snow

clearing clouds

chris and martin

above the cloud

Admiring the views from above the cloud base, well, some of it.


The snow man was purely an exercise in keeping warm.
Sitting on cold snow while scoffing some lunch was probably a mistake.


Local advice told us that the most important decision when going into the mountains is the correct selection of foot ware.

feet protection

Some foot ware however is rather fussy about the selection of hiker.

50 years of Lego

lego corner

walker (at-st)

imperial landing craft

x wing fighter

For the boys every day is a Lego day, so the fact that Sunday was the 50 year anniversary didn't have the impact it appears to have had on some .

From the top: Lego corner; AT-ST (aka walker) ; Imperial Landing Craft ; X-Wing Fighter .



bizarre is vegas

Seatac departures

Domestic departures at SEATAC has this great picture view window, the sky is always amazing to look at from here, even when it's 18% grey .

las veags airport slot machine heaven

By contrast, McCarran International in Vegas has slot machines. Nuff said.

hotel room view

vegas looking north

I stayed at the Venetian — the worlds largest hotel — and the view's weren't too shabby either.

venetian canal in vegas

Oh, and the hotel has it's own version of the Grand Canal , complete with singing gondoliers .

Thankfully traveling for work is less frequent than it used to be (! :-)

Yard work helper

helping with the yared work

A couple of jobs needed doing. F helped, so they took a while longer than expected :-)


deer in the garden

Spotted in the garden yesterday: deer!

Fun at the museum

vets at the children's museum

children at the children's museum

Fay and the boys took a trip to the children's museum .

Fun much you have.

Fun with puddles

posing for a piccy

murky clouds over cottage lake

The boys were left to play today so we knocked down a couple of levels on Lego Star Wars and then headed down to Cottage Lake during a break between showers.

F admires some style

racing style

I can do it too

After a circuit round the park and a spot of 'Star Wars Tag' in the deserted play area, we followed Finn's lead and went amphibious with the bikes.
Much fun.

More on flickr .


Planning for Adams

Plans for 2008 include bagging at least one of the Cascade Volcanoes .
Mount Adams , at 12,276 ft, is likely to be our first target but the real fun will be the training hikes.

[Pssst: If Fay asks, Rainier and Baker are not on the agenda ;-)]

Balancing Act

balancing act

Balancing bikes at the end of a new years day ride.