Been suffering with thick head, cold and aches for the past two days.  And that, coupled with my lack of voice, has meant that I’ve kept away from the office (firstly, people couldn’t hear me; secondly, if they could, they’d laugh; thirdly (and most importantly) nobody wants to risk catching another bug this close to Christmas).

Am feeling better today, but still tired.  I think tomorrow I’m going to need a serious coffee before I start to get my head back into gear.

mosaic4664811 Batch two from our trip to Lake Garda.  We took a trip into Verona one day – here’s the photos to prove it!


Have to confess I had been a little nervous about another Italian city having found Naples so horrible.  But Verona was clean, friendly and very easy to get around, and full of interesting places to visit.

Click on the picture to the left or here for the Flickr set.

I don’t normally post anything political here.  No, I don’t have sinister extremist views. I’m just not sure anyone’d be particularly interested in what I thought.   However, I am making an exception here for a political campaign that is party neutral:’s Free Our Bills campaign.  For those of you who’ve not come across before, they’re the main project of UK Citizens Online Democracy, a charity which exists to promote online democracy (surprisingly enough!).  They are behind some very well known projects including: the Number 10 petitions website, which helps you find out who your local elected representatives are, what they’ve said in Parliament, and which lets you communicate electronically with your MPs, councillors and others.

Their latest campaign is Free Our Bills which is asking Parliament to make draft legislation available in an open way, which will enable their site (and anyone else who wants to offer anything similar) a chance to e-mail interested people when a draft bill comes up that they have previously expressed an interest in (for example, you could ask to be informed of any law that mentions “inheritance tax” or “abortion”), show which MPs were involved in which bits of law and generally open up the law-making process for the 21st century.

If this sounds like something you’d support, please click on the link or picture above and mail your MP, asking them to support the campaign and Early Day Motion 2141.  I have, and received a letter today from her confirming she’ll sign up.  Please do support this – it’s only a few clicks and costs you nothing!

Sunday was our first wedding anniversary.   As we’re off to Bruges with Sarah’s brother and father in a fortnight’s time, have only recently returned from Italy and this weekend was the big St Albans fireworks display, we weren’t going away.   So, we had friends round for drinks, chilli jacket potatoes and a trip to the fireworks (though some of the wimped out, wisely, given how wet we got).

And then on Sunday, we went for lunch at Darcy’s restaurant here in St Albans.  Sarah had a delicious looking chicken and chorizo starter, followed by pumpkin and goats cheese salad, with me choosing the Italian three bean soup followed by pork with sage-roasted apple.  And then we both decided that as it was our anniversary I might be allowed to fall off the diet wagon for just one day and splurge on desert.  And what a desert – chocolate, caramel and peanut spring roll with chocolate ice cream.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Very good value too at £19.90/head!

Earlier in the day we exchanged gifts.   I have a wonderful new book about St Albans Abbey (paper is the first anniversary) together with his’n’hers sponsored donkeys at the wonderful Donkey Sanctuary near Sidmouth.  And Sarah has a picture of the Lady Chapel in the Abbey, which was where we were married, taken by me, printed professionally onto paper (of course), then given a canvas effect and wrapped onto a wooden frame.  I can heartily recommend One Vision Imaging!

Anniversary gift

I promised you I’d start getting through the backlog of pictures.   So here’s the set from our outing to Portsmouth when we were last down in Chichester.

We started by buying an ‘all in’ dockyard ticket which included a boat tour of the dockyard.  This was something I’d never done, despite having been to Portsmouth countless times in my youth.  And in our honour, HMS St Albans was in port.  We also did the Mary Rose, HMS Warrior and the dockyard museum, leaving HMS Victory for another trip down (the tickets are good value as you can go back and do the bits you missed out at any point in the next year).

After that, we made a quick trip to Gunwharf Quays to pick up a canteen, then up the Spinnaker Tower for a look at the view.  Finished somewhat late (it opened in 2005 – not bad for a millennium project, eh?) and the subject of a massive overspend (the District Auditor no less got involved), the view is impressive.  It was a little misty to see the far side of the Isle of Wight, but you get the idea.  And you can also see my attempt to cure my fear of heights by taking the ‘walk of faith’ – a glass floor 100m above the ground.

Click on the pictures to see more.

Hello, (another) sailor Engineering in motion
HMS St Albans
Trying to cure my fear of heights

Sarah with Mum and Dad's cat visitor


We don’t know his name, nor where he comes from.   All we know is that he seems fit and well cared for, very friendly and likes to spend a lot of time in Mum and Dad’s garden!  Click on the picture above or here to see more.