8 June 2014

The Brandenburg GatePenelope and I are just back from a great few days in Berlin with our good friends Sue & Stuart Kelly-Brown and Dave & Sue Walton. It’s a trip which was a long time in the planning but wonderfully executed and we had a grand time. I really enjoyed Berlin. Regrettably though, our flight home was delayed and we finally staggered into bed at about 3.30 on Friday night/Saturday morning so there has been insufficient time to put together a coherent account – you’ll have to wait for a bit more detail until next time but I will “throw up” a few of the least bad photos which you can find here for your amusement and/or disappointment. In the meantime . . .

I didn’t have time last week to write about our baby-sitting duties with Annabelle a week ago last Friday night. Nick and Lucy were off to a wedding reception in some remote and distant venue and Annabelle was to “sleep-over” at Grandma’s.

Naturally, it was a lot of fun for both Annabelle and Grandma and Grandpa. We played games, we read stories, we played hide & seek and she was good as gold. I think Grandma, though, was somewhat overwhelmed by the responsibility.

Nick and Lucy have a very sophisticated baby monitor – as well as providing an audio alert in case of squawks or squeals, it also broadcasts a video image of the (hopefully) slumbering child in question. When we put Annabelle to bed we had the monitor close to hand while we watched a bit of television and then, when we retired we brought it up to the bedroom and placed it next to Penny’s side of the bed. That was our mistake.

This monitor, not surprisingly, is very acute and transmits the slightest murmur from the “baby’s” room to ours. This meant that Ms Playchute was up and down like a yo-yo through the night – every time Annabelle rolled over or made the slightest squeak she shot up, bolt upright to peer at the monitor. Of course, she couldn’t make out any of the detail without her glasses so there was much thrashing about as she fumbled for her spectacles. At one point, about four in the morning, she announced “She’s awake!” to which my reply was unprintable in a family publication such as this. I don’t know if it was wishful thinking on Grandma’s part that Annabelle was awake and ready to continue our playtime at four in the morning or whether she was simply hallucinating from the disturbed and disrupted sleep but this child was definitely not awake and certainly didn’t need any encouragement from Grandma!

Of course, it was all my fault – I should have done the sensible thing and switched the video and/or the audio off – she was only in the bedroom next door!

D-Day Landings Then and NowI ran across some striking images of the D-Day Landings now and then in the Huffington Post, photographs of the D-Day Landings superimposed on images of the same view today. Exceedingly poignant.

I also ran across an article in the Guardian a week or so ago which I found intriguing. From hence forth money estimated to have derived from the drug trade and prostitution is to be included in calculating Britain’s GNP. I’m not sure whether this is a government initiative to support their narrative of the economy recovering from their self-inflicted austerity program but surely they ought to take the next, logical step – legalise both and levy taxes on the transactions. It would solve our continuing financial crisis in a heartbeat.

And finally, a very happy birthday to the ever-young and ever-beautiful Hope Stragnell, one of our very favourite people. Many, many happy returns!

Love to you all,

Greg