Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RSF Revisited

I came out again today to Rancho Santa Fe

It is a really beautiful place and the first thing we did after picking up the kids from school was go to visit the horses.  Graham is still not feeling in top form so he did not ride but Evelyn and PK did.

Steph and I will do a trail ride tomorrow.

Someone asked what we would do for dinner and I suggested the club because I like the Wednesday presentation they have .  They go nuts with hamburgers and that's what we did. With the time change it is dark in California by 5.30 pm.  We were all tired and ready for bed.  I did get a pic of Evie and a video too.

These pics don't show how big her eyes are..too bad.  She's already telling time, counting in hundreds and doing simple add and subtract maths.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Osha Trail Once More....

We tried to bring Anna and Colin back to do the Osha Trail while they were here but every time we started out to hike the afternoon rains would nix the project.

Beverly and I did it yesterday and we took little Patch. It was a fine day and we decided we would do the course counter-clockwise to change the routine up a bit. It took 1.5 hrs and Patch walked most of it unaided.

Here are some pics and vids.

Bev finalizing some business deal....
 This is a shot of the old tressle from 1900 that was part of the train track from Alamogordo to Cloudcroft
 Patch and me on top of the mountain....
 Pretty Bev grinning all the way...
 Tired old fart taking a break......and his old dog

My sister said she was looking fwd to see more trail hike vids...

And Beverly took a couple for Norma too...

This is a revealing video because I got stung at the end of it.   Second time in two months that I've been stung.  It ain't easy being attractive.

This is the result of that sting......ouch!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Duck Work?

In El Paso yesterday I saw this truck that had the owners company name painted on it as well as what tasks he handled.  Included was refrigeration, installation and DUCK work.  It tickled me so that I recorded it.  Not a great vid but at the end when all the jiggling stops you will see the word in question.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More from New Mexico

I got such a great response from the 8.5 hours of work for my last post ( Thanks to Emily, Norma and Bev ) that I will post more of the Martin kids visit to Cloudcroft.  We really enjoyed White Sands and here are some vids of that activity:

A swallow's nest..( No, this is not a porno pic )

Driving in.... and several sled rides...

Hope you enjoy these posts of the Martins in New Mexico.  We enjoyed having them and look forward to next year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kids and Posting

Colin and Anna went home yesterday as did Emily.  I have so much material because we were pretty busy while all the company was here.  Tennis, movies, hiking, White Sands (terrific day!) shopping in the village, Peter Piper, drawing, cracking stones and, on the last full day here, horse riding in Ruidoso.

Unfortunately I am not on line in Cloudcroft at the cabin.  I must come down to the Chamber of Commerce building where there is free WiFi. I do that almost every day and try to upload vids while here.  It takes 38 minutes for a 1.5 minute vid to download and I have 29 vids ready to upload so you can see the difficulty.

However I do have some stills to share.....

This one needs no explaining.

Colin playing in gypsum..

Anna in Ruidoso...

This is the bear Anna was sitting on and Colin climbed on it instead of sitting for a snap..

These bears are $100 each...

Lots of trinkets and collectible junk...

The more junk the better ...

Emily and Anna through the window..

So pretty..

Colin looking for trouble, again..

Here is a video from the first day they were here...

Colin at the net...

Here the kids are pulling weeds...

YouTube is not cooperating....I have spent too much time trying to embed some more vids that are already uploaded.  Can't seem to figure out how to get the embed code when I play the vids from my YouTube account. Oh well.  maybe Emily will clue me in.....Next Day.....She did!
So here are some more:

And finally, the end of weed/grass pulling.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jay and Chipmunk and Thunder

We've seen two or three Jays in the trees by the dog run so I made a feeder from an ashtray and bought some seed.  The first eater we lured however was a chipmunk who is easily scared off but is patient and persistent.
Next was a jay. We ID'd it as a Steller's Jay. And it is very wary and flies at any noise or sighting of people.
The chipmunk is quite nervy around the bird and sneaks up only to be pecked or threatened away.

Here's a couple of vids.....

After I went back to the cabin and had lunch of smoked chicken and broccoli salad it clouded over and a thunderstorm hit the area.
Since a few people remarked about the earlier post on the, have at this one.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mountain Greenery and Thunderstorms

We could see the results of the drought in the area and noticed a difference in the amount of green from last year.   There are fewer green fields and hillsides.  There are lots of trees that have died and many have fallen.  The camp grounds were closed until recently and while they have now opened up, campfires are not permitted.

Thus it was good to see a substantial thunderstorm last night with ample rain.  I was pleased to see comments on my post from yesterday so I took the time to download these two vids that I took last night.  They took 23 and 29 mins each while I am sitting on the hard bench on the front porch at the Cloudcroft C of C.

The Chamber doesn't open till 10 am and I got here at 0930.  About 5 mins later two ladies came across the parking area and I told them the office was closed and wouldn't be open till 10.

Oh, said one.  Are we headed in the right direction for The Lodge? We've been for a long walk and we don't really know the way back.  Is this it?
Yes I said but it's almost 2 miles and half of it uphill.   They both looked buggered and so I gallantly asked if they would like a ride.......on my bike.

Yes please they both, one by one I transported two ladies to The Lodge and they thanked me lots.  They took pictures and I'm sure it will be a tale told to many people.

Here's the vids of the storm....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Residence 2011

After being spoiled by Steph and Al with daily treats and enjoying the kids and the Southern California weather we went back to Houston for 5 days.  It was enough!

We decided to make the 11 hr trip up to Cloudcroft in one shot.  Although we were shattered by the time we arrived, it was worth it ....765 miles in 11 hours.
Here's Patchie's reaction to the long journey.  She wanted he bed and bottle....

The cabin is quite nice and the weather is unbelievable.  We get up around 6.30 and it's 50F (10C) and at the heat of the day it gets only to 75F (22)

We have internet connectivity through Bev's I-Pad .....but for me to get online I go down the street to the Chamber of Commerce building - where I am now - and they have 24 hr WiFi free and a little bench with an electric outlet.  How bad is that?

The owner of this cabin that we rented must have a thing for barbecue.....he has 2 grills and 2 smokers.

I cleaned up the gas grill and we've already used that.  I also cleaned the top part of the electric smoker and I've read up on what woods to use for smoking various meats and fish.  So we'll be trying that in the near future.

Colin and Anna will be visiting in early August and we are really looking forward to that.  They bring new spirit to Cloudcroft and we adults are ready for bed every night they are here.  Between tennis, hikes, horseback riding and visiting the local attractions they wear you out.

Here are two videos of the place.....

The front porch view at 0700

and the rest of the house with the side porch and all the grills......

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Neiman Marcus

What a day.

We went for breakfast to Claire's on Cedros.....downtown Solana Beach.  Fantastic.

Then we boarded the Amtrak to Irvine Calif. and got a cab to Neiman Marcos in Newport Beach.  The train ride was wonderful.  We shopped until I dropped and then had lunch at Mariposa in Neiman's .

Oh my! Crab cakes and halibut, salmon. turkey melts...and those big turnovers........

Steph and the children are staying overnight with friends and the two of us took a cab back to the station in   Irvine and rode the train back to Solana Beach.

For dinner we just had sliced salmon and a nice chardonnay.......The dogs are happy and we are too!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Evie wins Blue Ribbon

Evie was in a horse show today at Del Mar.  She was one of 4 four year olds.  She got a Blue Ribbon.

Here's a pic of the pre show activity and then a video of the walk around.

And finally is the winner!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pool Day

Bev was gone all afternoon for a meeting so I took the kids to the pool.  We got there at 1400 and I thought we'd be there about an hour.
Finally at 1630 they'd had enough.  They were in the water for 2+ hours without a break!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

For Jenn and Anth

We are having so much fun.  The kids are very good and listen well.

Here we are at dinner and Nana and kids on vid.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Honestly! The people you meet on the canal.......

First things first, we were in First Class both ways to and from Heathrow on United/Continental.  Man they have some good wines up there. Grand Cru Bordeaux was my choice.
We arrived on the day of the Royal Wedding and got to our hotel in time to see  'the kiss' on the balcony.

A very enjoyable aspect of our trip was meeting Keith and Josie Tudor, Geoff and Helen Bailey, Dave and Cheryl Barnard and Ray and Joan Barnard and having some time with them on the boat.

We had arranged to meet the Tuds in Atherstone at 1220.  The trains run on time and you know to the minute when you will arrive.  However when the train was pulling into the station we grabbed our heavy bags and waited for the doors to open.  They didn't.  Seems like you have to press a button for the door to open and despite my panicked screaming for help, by the time someone said 'press the button' ( which was behind my back) it was too late!

Off we went to the next station 10 miles further down the track.  Luckily a nice young man allowed me to use his mobile phone to call Tud and alert him.  Tud came to Tamworth and rescued us.

 Beverly and Josie...

 Me and my schoolchum Tud...

After we sailed for three days with Keith and Josie we had a great lunch provided by Cousin Geoff and wife Helen and switched out guests.  The Tuds went home and the Baileys came on board.

 With Geoff and Helen we met up with Nephew Dave and Cheryl at Hinckley in a pub with great food called The Lime Kilns.  ???

 We had a good meal and lots of lovely wine.  In fact, we drank all the cabernet that was on hand and had to settle for merlot for our final bottle. I was wishing I had some Cam Hughes wine stashed in my luggage by this time. Cheryl was the designated driver so she behaved herself and had only one glass.

With Geoff and Helen we decided to go all the way to the end of the Ashby Canal to Snarestone where the canal ends after going through a long tunnel.  Here's a couple of videos of a nice break from driving for me when Geoff was in command of the boat....

The tunnel really was a thrill and quite psychedelic for me as I lost my sense of equilibrium and really felt like we were moving sideways or even backward while in the middle of the tunnel. I imagine that's what dropping LSD feels like, but I don't know. It unnerved me for about 20 seconds however once I could see the entire circle of the opening at the end I was OK again.
And I was the one driving the boat at the time.

We sailed all the way back to Atherstone to have lunch with Nephew Ray Barnard and his wife Joan.  Ray was generous and thoughtful enough to bring pastries and meat pies from the famous Devonshire Cafe in Beautiful downtown Runcorn.

After we got sailing Ray and I enjoyed a Spitfire beer....unbelievably good stuff.

We needed some groceries so we hiked a mile into Hinckley Warwickshire and visited the Aldi store....

After the Barnards left Beverly and I had some good quieter times together.  She drives the boat well....

One thing we never tired of was looking at the swan families along the canal....

Sunday, May 15, 2011


The wildlife here on the canal is interesting to us, as is the domesticated farm animals and horses etc that we see all the time.

I have limited ability to download vids to YouTube but I did get this one done while we were outside a pub this morning.  The wifi was free but slow.  Took like 20 mins to download this.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Coventry and Ashby Canal Trip

Here's a quick post.  We got here a week ago yesterday and while we have internet connection via a Dongle, we are conserving MBs because I only have 1 GB.

We like our boat although the length at 60' is bigger than what we've had on prior trips and it is a bit harder to manage.  The canals are low level because of lack of rain and we are usually bottomed out 4 or 5 times a day.  Not fun.

Overall we've had a great time with the Tuds from Saturday last till Monday.  Geoff and Helen Bailley from Monday to Thursday ( Dave and Cheryl Barnard joined us for dinner on Wednesday in Hinckley ) and then The Barnards, Ray and Joan from Thursday till today, Saturday.
We have been on the canal for 8 days and the only day of rain was today.  But it was only for the morning.

We are in Atherstone at the moment enjoying a lunch at The Old Red Lion and we will be looking for a laundromat this afternoon.

Here are a few pics.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Riding and Reading

I'm back at the resort (still under construction) in Rancho Santa Fe.  Last time I came out on a private jet, this time I had to settle for FC on Continental Airlines.
Life is tough when you're retired.

When I arrived Steph picked me up and we went to the stables where Al had taken the kids for their weekly lessons ......
Videos are downloading to YouTube and when they are completed I will post them.  In the meantime Evelyn would like to say something to you.....Here is Evie:

i  want to watch Cinderella......(she typed it)
Me now......Oh, OK , Cinderella it is then.

More later....You Tube is taking ages to upload...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Air Filter Change. Easy, right?

Two weeks ago I went to get the oil changed in my Honda.  We are religious about oil changes; a good friend who owned VDS Racing in Midland told us how important it is.
I took it to a shop I have trusted for 4 years in Houston.  Mechanics are tuff to trust and it's nice to feel you have a good trustworthy shop.

About an hour after I dropped it off, I got a call from them saying I needed this and that along with the oil change.  Trusting them I was OK with it until the guy said, " and your tires are showing some wear and need to be rotated"

I blew!  I have brand new tires not two weeks old........they obviously don't need rotating yet.

I told him to forget the air filter, forget the passenger cabin filter and forget the tires and just put new oil and oil filter in.

I told the manager how disappointed I was and he apologized but had no rationale as to why that happened.

So after I dropped off the cruisers today I stopped at O'Reilly's Car Parts and bought an air filter.
Well, what used to be a simple wing nut project is far different today.  There were four screws that I needed to back out holding the air filter cover in place.  That done I tried to remove the cover.......
No way.  Despite mucho force´ bruta I couldn't move it enough to slide out the old filter.  I had to release
two spring clips and a large screw clip before I could pull up the cover off.
Anyway it took a while and I saved 10 whole dollars.

On another subject I took the cruisers to Galveston and while I wanted a still picture, my camera was in movie mode so this is what you get.

As I said, I thought I was doing stills but this 'prolonged' snapshot is good too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Two Day Concert

I had taken a few vids of Col and Anna outside on the patio.  Later I thought I'd inadvertently erased them in error.  I lost 'em somehow and was ticked off about my ineptness and Colin said, " Never mind G'Dad we can do them again tomorrow"

Well we did take them again the next day and when I eventually got round to downloading them this morning I 'found' the 'lost' ones!  So here are both versions of the songs.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lego Madness....and swimming

Anna and Colin Oliver are visiting us.  We enjoy our time with them and they are so appreciative of our meals.

They were brave enough to go swimming in March!

And Col got a Lego today

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

90 Years but who's Counting?

We went to a Waco Italian restaurant for lunch.  The food was terrific.
Dulce enjoyed her hours in the spotlight.
Jill, Tom, Beverly, Eric, Cinda and Joe were there.  Dulce said she would remember who was present when sending gifts next Christmas.
Here's a video of us all having fun.

The highlight perhaps was when Dulce Maria opened her cards after the meal and learned she was going on a cruise.

Leslie Stahl from 60 Minutes made an appearance ....

And Rita Hayworth guarded the door with her sexy pose....

And a video of the candle blowout and Happy Birthday song