Tove’s 4th birthday party – it’s a jungle!

Tove chose a jungle theme for her 4th birthday party and, not surprisingly, was dressed as a cat. Lucy and Nanny Diane were there and friends and family (Thom was at an All Tonorrow’s Parties gig).


Louisa and Julian put on a tremendous performance as hosts and entertainers. The magic lantern show can be seen on my You Tube.



Tove dancing with Rocco and Esme

More photos can be seen on Flickr.

Thom and I didn’t go to see West Ham comprehensively beat Chelsea 3-1. They are now 22 points and Arsenal 21. Shame to have to tell Graham this news!


And now a baby with a name – Evelyn Dumaria Leaman

EvelynDumaria Leaman


Evelyn Dumaria Leaman was born on the 30 November at 8.18 am in Kuala Lumpur and weighed 6lbs 4oz. Hello, Evelyn!!

The Baby with No Name

I meet Graham in Belgique for coffee. The Zumba girls are already there – Sheila, Elaine and Linda Fields. Later Sue Davies passes by. The talk is of Lucy’s baby born on 27th November, weighing 7 pounds and 12 ounces after 3 days of labour.


The baby hasn’t yet been named. It’s birthday, though, is the same as Giles Fraser, my hero! BTW, Giles is also Jewish.

Rocco’s 5th Birthday Party

Rocco has his 5th. Birthday party at the scout hut behind the South Woodford library and all of his class are invited. Mr. Ballooney, the entertainer, has to amuse and occupy 35 children and most of their parents. And he does it well for an hour and a half after which there is a party with cakes and sandwiches prepared by Danae.

all the kids sit eagerly…….

….enraptured by Mr. Ballooney’s show…..

…..featuring a rabbit, ballons and Rocco.

Louisa and family and Thom, without Tara who is unwell, are also there and we all go to Danae and Nathan’s house afterwards for dinner – a hippy bean stew. Rocco behaves impeccably as the birthday boy although the odd balloon bursting does startle him.

Rocco make a wish.




joss in his newly renovated villa in Bali

School days


It is coming up to Rocco’s 5th birthday and he is settling into his first term at Snaresbrook School. He is a favourite of Esme’s friends, in particular Ella, and seems well looked after during lunchtimes. Anyway, he looks happy here with elder sister, Esme.

Raise a laugh

We go to Nicolas and Susan’s house, The Gables, near Godalming for lunch – to reprise our trip to Lille and Cologne and, more importantly, to celebrate Ray’s 62nd birthday.

Ray about to make a wish

lunch was a delicious lamb tajine

We drove along the M25 to get to Godalming, talking the western route to get there and the eastern to return: a total of 140 miles and just over 3 hours driving time. This is the second we have circumnavigated the London Orbital just to socialise with our Surrey chums.

St. Ives or Porthia

outside the Pedn Olva with Kizzy and Polly

We are down in St. Ives again, or Porthia as I discover it can also be called. It is half-term and this will be the third year in a row that we are here at this time of year. On this occasion Sheila and I spend a few days together then we are joined by Ray and Di for a few more days.

We spend our time in the usual haunts: Onshore and the Hub for coffee, free wi-fi and cocktails in the evening; the Pedn Olva window box for evening drinks and the view; the Digey for superbly cooked lunch; and the Firehouse, Blas and the new fish and chip shop, the Harbour, for dinner.

sheila on the stage of the Minack theatre

During the day we take trips out to Porthcurnow, where we climb over the cliffs, past Logan’s Rock to the Minack Theatre, and Gurnard’s Head where we eat in the hotel/pub.

looking down over Gurnard’s Head

sheila and Ray climbing back from Gurnard’s Head

The Castle, in Fore Street, has it’s Quiz night which Julian, Sheila and I won twice running. We can’t get in this year as there are no seats available.

running across the Harbour beach

My highlight was running, early morning when the tide was right out, along the beaches around the town: Porthminster, the Harbour, Porthwidden and Porth Meor. There is something wonderful to be on an empty beach and to see your footprints across the wet sand. See iType2 for more.

the coast guard’s lookout

But another highlight has to be being invited into the Coast Guard‘s lookout on top of the Island and listening to the two guards talk of their work.

me and Ray

More photos are with Flickr.

the last straw….

Jack Straw was a name I was familiar with from my teens when I went to Bristol University. The late 60’s were a time of lively student activities and Jack Straw seemed to be a firebrand at the fore of the action (just like the rebel Jack Straw of the 16th century Peasant’s Revolt after whom the castle in Hampstead Heath is named). So it was exciting after moving to Loughton to discover that the same Jack Straw of my student days was a local.

Not only that but his elder sister Susie worked with Sheila and Jack went to Staples Road School where Danae, Louisa and Thom went (later, Danae and Louisa also went to Leeds University which was Jack’s alma mater too). Then I found out that Jack’s mother, Joan Ormstron, was a head teacher in Newham and I got to know her quite well. I even met Jack at a social function to celebrate the centenary (?) of Staples Road.

It was a bit of a disappointment therefore to discover that the straw man had feet of clay and instead of becoming the heroic prime minister of Britain he became the lickspittle of Tony Blair. Sad. But then who does live up to promise?

Nevertheless, because of all the connections, I have bought his auto-biography and when out cycling I passed 101, Pyrles Lane where he was brought up. No blue plaque, though!

Life drawing

Francesca, I think her name is, was the model that Ron Clarke used some while ago. Teresa liked this 10 minute sketch of mine.