New Bed

The entire day today has been spent getting and constructing Aidan’s new bed. Mrs H had been wanting to get him one with the bed on the top bunk and a sofa and desk underneath. The going price is about £800, which is just a little out of our budget range.

That’s why eBay is such a great thing. We got one several years old, but in perfect condition, for 10% of the cost of a new one. We did have to hire a moving van to get it up here, but that’s why grandfathers are such a good thing.

Before we even drove down to pick it up in just outside Grampy’s town, the children were buzzing with excitement. Once we got it home it was impossible keeping them out of the room while we put it together. As soon as it was finished they were all over it. They wouldn’t even eat their dinner because it was too exciting. It wasn’t even ordinary dinner – they abandoned pizza and garlic bread and pop.

If you thought there was any chance the Abby wouldn’t be staying in Aidan’s room, you’d be wrong. Even if we tried to make her stay in her bed, she would stay up as long as it took to successful sneak in there, impervious to hell, high water, and any sort of punishment. There are some battles not worth fighting.

We freecycled Aidan’s old bed and it has ended up with the same family who took Bubby off of our hands.  We got a thorough report on how she is doing. She is much happier than she was having to stay in the hutch. She has the run of a small fully enclosed garden.

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Historical History

As we left the local library and museum today, we stopped at the new Oxfam bookshop. Until recently, Oxfam had a few used books for sale in their main shop. The selected is now expanded, but still quite limited.

Nonetheless, I have a hard time passing up a used bookstore, especially if I haven’t visited it before. I saw several things that interested me. One I couldn’t pass up. For £3.99 I picked up a copy of The Life and Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. It is 632 pages, in almost perfect condition and was published in 1885. It’s not a reprint. It came off the press when William Gladstone was Prime Minister and Queen Victoria still had 16 years left on the throne.

I don’t know when I shall read it cover-to-cover, but it is nonetheless a jewel on the bookshelf and no doubt a useful Church history resource.

Family History

It’s not the summer holidays yet, but Mrs H got a hold of information about all the things in the local area to do with kids for free. Today is archaeology day at the museum.

The kids got to dig through a sandbox looking for artefacts. They found bones and pottery shards and even a Roman coin. Abby then smoothed all the sand level and even, which had less to do with archaeology and more with the tidying up gene she didn’t inherent from me.

After the dig, we all made Roman wax tablets using Roman handwriting. They didn’t have wax, so we used plasticine instead.

Aidan wrote his name:

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I wrote in Latin. Can you read it?

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There were displays there about archaeological sites around the Shire. I noticed that they didn’t have anything up about the Rotherwas Ribbon. I suppose it’s best not to let the kids know about that. Don’t want to get their hopes up that they will ever see it, of course.

Likewise, I suppose they wouldn’t understand a display that said, “Here’s the dig at a site that was around 2,000 years before the Romans. Now, here’s what it will look like when it is covered over by a road.”

Uncomfortable Home Truths

I know I made some members of my extended family unhappy when I unearthed the truth that my great-great-grandfather had not been shot off his horse while fording the Caney Fork River carrying a bag of gold. In fact, despite the fact that this family legend is completely preposterous, some still cling to it and don’t want to here anything I have to say on the matter.

How much worse it must be for Katrin Himmler, whose great-uncle Heinrich was the head of the Nazi SS and engineered the Holocaust, but whose grandfather and other great-uncle had always disclaimed any allegiance to the Reich or participation in its evil. When she did a little family research she found out the truth. The Sunday Times has a piece on her today, in preparation for her book being available in the UK next week.

Summer Saturday

It was starting to look a lot like there would be no summer in Britain this year. The last time I was out on a bright and sunny Saturday, I was watching parachutists jump onto the fields outside Sainte-Mère-Église at the beginning of June.

I enjoy going to the city centre on sunny summer Saturdays. We used to always eat sandwiches out in front of Marks and Spencer until Subway arrived and then that became a tradition for awhile. Today we ate at Subway again.

In WH Smith I found the sequel to the book I’m reading. I almost bought it since I haven’t been able to find it at Tesco, but I decided to look on Amazon. I can get the hardcover for £5.15 (including postage) or the paperback for £5.14. That’s nearly £2 cheaper than in the store and I don’t have to go back into town to get it.

After we got back from visiting friends in a nearby village, and the kids had their dinner, bath, and were off to bed, I sat outside in the waning sunlight to read more of my book. I looked up from time to time to see over the river to the cathedral, where the scaffolding has finally been removed. The newly cleaned spires on the four corners of the tower glowed in the evening light. Groups of teenagers sat on the playing fields and a dad was kicking the ball around with a couple of boys who would be too old for that sort of thing too soon.

There are worse places in the world.

I tried not to look at the chain linked fencing that cuts across the ancient meadow, blocking off a large portion occupied on the weekdays by workmen as they prepare to destroy the beauty with unnecessary flood defences. But Asda gave them money build concrete walls and huge earthen mounds to push the water downstream into the houses that have never flooded before and that’s what they are going to do. This is probably the last summer I’ll have the view that came with my mortgage.

Summer or not, being Britain after sunset, the chill in the air got me before the light faded. I found my bookmark and put Northern Virginia in the summer of 1862 on hold. Now that I’ve made a cheesecake (from a box, of course) and I’m waiting for that to set, I’ll get back to the story.

I’ll pick up from the line: “I’ll stay sober, sir, I promise,” for he had a whore to bury and general to see.

One day I’ll write stuff like that.

More Monkey Sex

I mentioned a few days ago that I hadn’t actually seen the Sea-Monkeys® engaged in reproductive behaviour. Things have changed.

They are going at it night and day. It’s almost embarrassing looking into the tank. I was thinking that the monkeys had grown phenomenally over just a couple of days. In fact, I was looking two monkeys.

I’m still not convinced that these are lasting family relationships as advertised:

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Sea-Monkey® Update

They are no longer nearly microscopic. The Artemia nyos in the little tank on the kitchen windowsill can be seen from across the room. Some of them may be as long as the nail on my little finger. They are hard to measure accurately, as they aren’t particularly keen to tread water.

The monkeys are no doubt thriving due the care and attention of Mrs H. She has supplied prescribed amounts of Mating Power, Growth Food, and Plasma III.

I have stopped to watch them for long enough to see if they engage in any sort of social or family activities.  I still haven’t seen any baseball games or picnics. The Mating Powder and the emergence of significant numbers of additional tiny monkeys would seem to indicate that the primary social and/or family activity is monkey sex, though I can’t claim to have actually observed this myself.  Admittedly it isn’t something I’ve been trying to observe, so perhaps it is happening right in front of me and I am unaware. But then there are long period of time when the room is dark and no one is watching.