Tony got a new cycling challenge for Christmas - a Unicycle from Sue, a book on how to ride a Unicycle from Gemma and, ever the thoughtful one, a bag of protective knee, elbow and wrist pads from Kathy. Sue's sister Chris added a set of juggling balls for a touch of comedy.
Its reckoned to take 10-15 hours to learn to ride a unicycle. Tony started in the hall with a wall each side to hold onto and several large pedal dents in the wall and his legs later, hehas transfered to practicing outside. At the moment he is up to one good turn of the pedals. But even though one good turn deserves another, that's not within his grasp at the moment.
Keep watching this space for the first live picture of Tony upright without any visible means of support other than one wheel
If you too fancy a challenge, log on to the Unicycle shop
Mapi and Java passed away at the end of last year. The house wasn't the same without them and now two new guinea pigs, Blackcomb (left) and Whistler, are establishing themselves in our lives
This year we spent Christmas and New Year with Tony's sister, Lindy, and family in Switzerland. Alexandra had just arrived back from Costa Rica but Clare and Laura were both working in Bolivia and couldn't make it.
Good food, good company, a bit of skiing, a bit of shopping and a visit to our local hardware store to stock up on stuff for the house.
When we came to drive home on the 4th it seemed years ago that we had left home
What do you get your Dad for his birthday...... a pair of safe socks, a nice pair of comfy slippers for indoors, a book to read in comfort at home? No chance, so Dad had to take his life in his hands, literally and go clambering through an aerial assault cause that would humble even the Flying Wallendas. Forty foot in the air hanging on to a bit of string to balance on a wobbling set of swinging steps gives plenty of opportunities for any remaining vestiges of dignity to crash to ground in a crumpled heap.
Of course it requires a special type of masochist to design an aerial assault course and open it to the public in Thetford Forest - called Go Ape because you end up gibbering like a monkey if you get to the end
Meanwhile rumours abound about Kathy being invited to join the SAS after her legendary stirrup ropes crossing to a standing ovation from everyone.
With Kathy progressing up the grades our old piano was starting to show its limitations - the keyboard was an octave short, one or two of the keys were iffy despite the best attention from Stephen, our piano tuner and the whole piano had to be detuned half a tone to maintain its stuctural integrity - which made duetting with Gemma on the flute a bit difficult. The previous owner had built the lounge for a grand piano at one end and so the hunt was on for a nice grand piano.
Months of hunting the net and piano shops came to an abrupt end with an advert spotted by Sue in the Cambridge Evening News. A few phone calls, a visit to Linton and before we knew it we were the proud new owners of a beautiful 1927 Bluthner Grand Piano. Stephen and his friends collected, delivered and installed it as the finishing touch to the new lounge.
British Soldiers' Grave, North Bridge, Concord, Massachussetts
Site of "The shot heard 'round the world" - the opening skirmish
of the American War of Independence
April 19 1775
Sue's is working hard
on putting together the family tree. Triggered by a family photo album with
pictures of relatives going back to the 1870's plus postcards and news clippings
we decided we should capture the family history while people are still around
to remember it. How we could do with Great Aunt Ena still being around with
her tales of her Aunt Thurso and Uncle Joe.
Watch this space for the family tree coming soon to a computer near you.
After years of being too busy to do anything to it, the house is getting a makeover. The August project has been to refloor the lounge and hall (in oak and polished green slate respectively) and to replace the old loft ladder to the balcony with a spiral staircase. Next is sorting out the bathrooms having waited in vain for 20 years for Avocado to come back in to fashion. If you come to visit don't forget your overalls and paintbrushes.
Oh no, not another
Latest addition to Tony's stable of bikes is a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket.
The Pocket Rocket is a high performance road bike that folds quickly to a small packaged that can be thrown in car boot, taken on the train or packed into its own hard suitcase to take on the plane. Custom made to fit Tony's frame by Green Gear in Oregon, the bike has traveled the length of Britain and headed off to Boston with Tony in September.