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Boxing Day – The Family Visit

Today is Boxing Day here in the UK.

Its similar to America’s Black Friday in that the sales start.  I have heard a few reasons why it got its name; one that workers kept a box, and any tips got put into it and on the day after Christmas they would break open the box and spend the money.  The other is that it was the day servants would get they Christmas box present and sent home to have the day off with their family.

Here in the brown household we have about a dozen family members paying a visit and will have three dogs and a snake in the house today.  It will be great to see then all again and its the last day of our holiday; we are back to work tomorrow for the remainder of the week.

Merry Christmas 2017

Leica Summicron 35mm

Merry Christmas everyone.  Its likely to be a light blog week this week, we are at home for today and tomorrow with guests visiting both days but for the rest of the week we are working.

The Night Before Christmas

On the Biking Blog “Ride it like you stole it!” which is sadly no more by Dave Dragon, there was a poem “The Biker’s Night Before Christmas”.

I have posted this before but as this is my last post before Christmas I thought it was worth posting again.


Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the pad,

There was nada happenin’, now that’s pretty bad.

The woodstove was hung up in that stocking routine,

In hopes that the Fat Boy would soon make the scene.

With our stomachs packed with tacos and beer,

My girl and I crashed on the couch for some cheer.

When out in the yard there arose such a racket,

I ran for the door and pulled on my jacket.

I saw a large bro’ on a ’56 Pan

Wearin’ black leathers, a cap, and boots (cool biker, man).

He hauled up the bars on that bikeful of sacks,

And that Pan hit the roof like it was running on tracks.

I couldn’t help gawking, the old guy had class.

But I had to go in — I was freezing my ass.

Down through the stovepipe he fell with a crash,

And out of the stove he came dragging his stash.

With a smile and some glee he passed out the loot,

A new jacket for her and some parts for my scoot.

He patted her fanny and shook my right hand,

Spun on his heel and up the stovepipe he ran.

From up on the roof came a great deal of thunder,

As that massive V-twin ripped the silence asunder.

With beard in the wind, he roared off in the night,

Shouting, “Have a cool Yule, and to all a good ride!”

Enjoy the Christmas Holiday, we have a little more shopping to do and family and friends coming round over the following days so no more photography until the new year, but I need to find a few spare hours as I have some final post processing to do from my last studio session.

What ever your religion or even none, enjoy the holiday.


Bodhi Day

December 8th – On Bodhi day some Buddhists celebrate Gautama’s attainment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, India.


December 9th – Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights and marks the restoration of the temple by the Maccabees in 164 BCE. Hanukkah is celebrated at roughly the same time as Christmas, but there is no connection at all between the festivals.


December 21st – Yule is the time of the winter solstice, when the sun child is reborn, an image of the return of all new life born through the love of the Gods. Within the Northern Tradition Yule is regarded as the New Year.


December 25th – The day when Western Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.


January 1st – Shinto New Year, one of the most popular occasions for shrine visits.

Guru Gobind Singh

January 5th – Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) was the tenth and last of the Sikh Gurus. He instituted the Five Ks and established the Order of the Khalsa.

Orthodox Christmas

January 7th – Most Orthodox churches use the Julian rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar. As a result, they celebrate Christmas 13 days later than other Christian churches.

Makar Sankranti

January 14th – Makar Sankranti is one of the most important festivals of the Hindu calendar and celebrates the sun’s journey into the northern hemisphere.

The Holidays are Coming! Gardening and DIY

The Christmas holidays are fast approaching; were working the Christmas week so this week is our holiday. The main jobs are tidying the garden, cutting down some of the more overgrown shrubs and starting the clear the bottom corner where we are planning on having our bees.

In the house we have decorated for Christmas and also done a little DIY. The house is flood wired for phone, but we do not use it as we have wireless phones at home. The wiring is old and causes interference, so I have been doing a little rewiring, so only the alarm system is still connected and the rest of the phone sockets can now all be removed when we decorate the house finally.

A new Vivarium for Oz the Snake

We took a trip out to a local garden centre in the south of the county as we knew as well as garden supplies and plants, they also specialised in pounds and had a pet centre.  As well as the usual hamsters and rabbits they had a good selection of vivariums.

Oz our old corn snake has needed a new vivarium, the lighting was starting to fail and I was worried that the heating module would also start to fail soon.   Also corn snakes appreciate a bit of height to climb, so a larger viv and bigger wooden branches so he could climb more would make a nice improvement for him.

We found a lovely nice viv, on display with more height and a little wider and deeper so we bought one.  It came flat packed but was easy to put together, with a new lighting and heating system we were ready to go.

Another loss – Annabel the Hen

The other week we lost another hen, Annabel.

Our first batch of hens, the A-Girls (because we called all of them names beginning with A), have faithfully given us eggs of the last few years and in turn have been give the range of the garden at weekends and their enclosed run when we are not around to keep an eye on foxes.

We now have just two, but have taken the opportunity to refurbish the coop and run.  We now have a concrete base to stop the rats tunnelling in and have covered it in a thick covering of hard wood Chipping’s, which they love digging in.

Our next big task is to get hold of a new vivarium for our pet snake Oz and redecorate for him.

In the spring we will get another batch of girls; the B-Girls to keep up are egg supply and to keep us entertained in the garden.

Good bye – Andromeda

Over the last few years we have had the joy of the A Girls.  Four lovely chickens that have enjoyed the company of and they have enjoyed the our garden.  A little too much enjoyment of our veg plot!

Today we had our first death, Andromeda.  All of our chickens have names beginning with A.

Fair well Andromeda and thanks for all the eggs and the company and friendship you have show.

A Quite Day Off

After the excitement of the last few days we had yesterday off and paid a visit to the local teashop, today I had to go into the office for some meetings and to plan for a big system migration that night while Caroline worked from home.

The teashop in North Scarle is always worth a visit.  We had a hotpot and baguette while Caroline had a pot of tea and I had a hot chocolate.  We finished with cake.

This time we did not take Timmy the greyhound which disappointed the teashop owner as she always likes to see Timmy.  I am just glad that a Wednesday is not a diet day!

iPhone X

My current phone is an iPhone X as my Personal Device and I currently have a Nokia Windows phone for work.  While I prefer iOS, I quite like the difference of the Microsoft phone system, its been a brave and different operating system for Microsoft.  While I cannot see myself leaving iOS, I can well see why companies go for the Microsoft Ecosystem.  Its such ashamed that Microsoft now seem to be ditching it.

I had the first iPhone and while it did less then my previous phone I liked the way it worked and have stayed with Apple ever since.

My current iPhone 6 is working well and I have no reason to upgrade, but having the first iPhone I devices I would also buy the iPhone X.

Its too expensive and I definitely do not need one but I placed my order last Friday for the top model, and look forward to receiving it in a couple of weeks.