Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

Goodbye 2010, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

A bit of a rude end to the year but not because 2010 was a bad year or anything just that this image suggests the leaving of something behind.

It is always nice to have some peace and quiet around these days to reflect on the year just passed and to think about what the year ahead may have in store for us.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter of '69

Winter of '69, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Playing around with the collage function of picasa, we have some instamatic pics from my grnadparents' place near Bramley in Surrey, from the winter of '69. First my Dad, then me with my Mum, then my Mum with my two sisters.

I have brought back a lot of old photos from my Mum's so will be putting the scanner to good work in the coming weeks, I suppose!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Worcester in the mist

Worcester in the mist, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

We had never been to Worcester before. We were trying to meet up with my sister in Sheffield and trying to find a place midway. told me that Worcester was equidistant at 120 miles from Crewkerne and Sheffield, so we chose Worcester. My brother would come from London and a cousin from Shrewsbury and we all met up at various times in the city, us having arrived there earliest, due to a good run up the M5. Despite it being clear around Stroud and Cheltenham, the weather became murkier the nearer we came to Worcester, so we ended up having to see the city in the mist, alebit lighted up by Christmas decorations.

Despite the mirky conditions, we liked Worcester and felt it has a lot to offer. I definitely have it marked as a place to return to, preferably on a warm summer's day, with a race meet at the racecourse (which is right next to the old city and the river (Severn). I would also like to visit The Commandery, which celebrates the last battle of the English Civil War in 1651.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas door decorations in Somerton

In some towns, people put up lots of coloured lights or Christmas trees, in Somerton they put these decorations - Christmas wreaths on the doors.

We took the car out today, after a couple of quiet days...

Monday, December 27, 2010


Goudvink - Goldfinch., originally uploaded by Jandorus..

I have to thank my flickr friend 'jandorus' for this beautiful photo of this handsome bird.

I had been telling him that I had never seen one of these birds in Holland, remembering seeing them in our hedge in the garden in Beaconsfield.

Well, it was both a thrill and a coincidence to see one when going for a walk with Fred up on Bincombe Hill here in Crewkerne on Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We gave our felt Christmas Tree and Father Christmas, both made in Turkmenistan and bought in Istanbul last Christmas, a day out in the snow and sunshine earlier in the week and they are here to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

When snow hits Europe and all of a sudden you are stuck in Milan!

The Facebook thread...

Charles Roffey
Predictably, given the thin covering of snow here in Milan, Easyjet are cancelling the flight!
Yesterday at 14:58 via Mobile Web · · Like · Comment · Share

Charles Roffey No Marc Almond at Wilton's tonight - the curse continues. Now to find maybe a train back to Amsterdam. Milan seems to be blocked off to air traffic.
Yesterday at 15:09 via Facebook Mobile · Like

Charles Roffey Maybe Eurostar to Paris and then Thalys to Amsterdam, if no night train to (near) Amsterdam.
Yesterday at 15:15 via Facebook Mobile · Like

Richard Roffey sorry to hear that you cannot make it charles... it is actually blue skies here in london now
Yesterday at 15:27 · Like

Richard Roffey try again with easy jet.. i am sure that it is not as bad as they make things out to be
Yesterday at 15:28 · Like

Joy Roffey This morning Nick went to get the bus into Yeovil only to find that all the local buses were cancelled. It stopped snowing shortly afterwards!!
Yesterday at 15:31 · Like

Richard Roffey not as bad as they make it out to be....
Yesterday at 15:32 · Like

Charles Roffey Thanks, London might be fine but Milan isn't. Seems like I have a long long journey home and I need to be beack before the Strictly Come Dancing final!
Yesterday at 15:44 via Facebook Mobile · Like

Rogerio Lira Make that thin covering a gin covering - and voilà!
Yesterday at 16:12 · Like

Charles Roffey Are you still in Amsterdam, Rogerio? If not, when will you leave. I am due back at about 3 pm tomorrow after a night train to Paris and a very expensive Thalys up from there.
23 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Rogerio Lira Ouch, it can't be fun to be stranded in a train right now... stay calm and see if you can see the humorous side of the situation...
As to me, I'll fly Monday morning, weather permitting. My weekend involves frantic packing, a few deadlines and a birthday party. I also planned to attend a design symposium but I think it was too too ambitious a plan :-)

I'll see you in the spring!
23 hours ago · Like

Joy Roffey Where are you off Rogerio? Wherever it is, have a great time. xxxJ
23 hours ago · Like

Rogerio Lira Hi Joy - Canada for three weeks, then Brazil for three months.
There will be some contrast, that's for sure.
23 hours ago · Like

Charles Roffey That sounds like a great plan, Rogerio. A pity we let November pass without seeing each other but that was hectic too.

I am enjoying a delicious Milanese meal now before starting the epic train journey over/through the Alps to Paris, then up to snow-bound Ansterdam.

Buon viaggio!
18 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Richard Roffey dear charles.... dont complain... as long as you make it here next week
18 hours ago · Like

Charles Roffey I am not complaining at all. For sure, the main thing is that we make iit and you make it next week!
18 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Charles Roffey May I complain now, Richard? The train to Paris id delayed by two hours, it is minus 5 and there is nowhere warm to wait,,,
17 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Rogerio Lira Ouch! Is Fred there with you?
16 hours ago · Like

Charles Roffey No, he is home alone in our nice warm house. He had his school's Christmas party today, took him four hours to get back home. Still, it seems to be quite beautiful in Amsterdam at the moment.

I put on an extra jumper from my baggage, but am still freezing
16 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Charles Roffey Every time you look at the board, the train is delayed even more. Looks like a night woth the doan_and-outs at Milano Centrale.
16 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Charles Roffey Mmmm! Found some warmth, near the toilets. Train delayed for two-and-a-half hours, only 20 minutes to go but somehow I think we'll be seeing a longer delay posted soon.

The train from Grosseto is delated seven hours!
15 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Charles Roffey Oh! That didn't last long. We have been shoo-ed away from warm place. No sign of train.
15 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Charles Roffey Now there is (a train) and I am in it. Doesn't show any inclination to leave just yet BUT it IS nice and warm!
14 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Charles Roffey We're off, in my jim jams, top bunk. Buona notte, a domani a Parigi!
14 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Richard Roffey hope you make it safely to paris and amsterdam... London's airports are closed this morning
7 hours ago · Like

Charles Roffey Thanks, Richard. The train has just left Dijon with a four hour delay. Got a couchette to myself, which is nice. Enjoy your snow!
7 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Richard Roffey at least you are off and heading in the right direction!!!
7 hours ago · Like

Charles Roffey Yep! And now I am in Paris, hoping that mt train to Amsterdam is delated by two hours!
4 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like

Richard Roffey just as well that you didnt get to london since the airports are closed and there is heavy snow
4 hours ago · Like

Eddie Clarke wow! sounds like an epic journey - hope you make it home ok
about an hour ago · Like

Charles Roffey Yes, I realise that, Richard, Amsterdam is still blocked as well. I will probably cancel my rip to Madrid next week, the main thing is to get to Exeter next Friday!
about an hour ago · Like

Charles Roffey Thanks, Eddie, yes indeed, a more memorable experience thabn an easyjet flight! I hope you are keeping warm!
about an hour ago · Like

Eddie Clarke I am super cosy at home! Don't have to go out so won't! A good few inches of snow in CLpaham today
about an hour ago · Like

Charles Roffey That is the best thing. I am in northern France at the moment, going at 230km/hr instead oif the normal 300 km/hr (which I still think is very impressive). The countryside looks quite a picture. Will you be watching Strictly this evening?
about an hour ago · Like

Eddie Clarke Sounds wonderful (but you had an awful time waiting in the cold in Milan). I probably will watch the Strictly finale. The beed is promoting it like crazy!
about an hour ago · Like

Eddie Clarke That would be beeb! I'm busy finishing off my nephew's Chrismtas present-I'm knitting him a beanie hat with skulls
about an hour ago · Like

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Shy, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

One of the lovely images from our Christmas holidays in Syria last year. Dmascus is under snow cover as well, making us realise how lucky we were to have that lovely winter sunshine which we had!

This was in the countryside in the Orontes River valley, a young chap selling brooms.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Back almost 40 years to Australia

Charles in the Snowy Mountains, wearing a nice thick dark brown jumper knitted for him by his mother.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas decorations outside the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus

We dressed the Christmas tree and installed the poinsettias at home today to get ourselves in the Christmas spirit. Here a couple of pics of the Christmas spirit in Damascus last year.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Antidote: colour!

Antidote: colour!, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Here is Harry taking advantage of the height offered by the dike to take some pictures of the tulip fields of Noord-Holland last spring.

There is a heavy snowstorm goingh on outside and the countryside has been white for about a week now. Time for a blast of colour from last Springtime.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Setting up the screens for the evening's football

In Somalia itself, it is reported that some hot-heads punish and kill people for watching football on TV. This is ironic because their hard-line attitude has been exported from Saudi Arabia in the form of Wahabi-ism. Yet here we are in Saudi Arabia and Somalis here can watch football on TV without any trouble from the muttawas.

In the meantime, we have the curious situation of one corrupt organisation giving a great prize to another. FIFA has been in the publicity for widespread corruption, with members selling their votes ot the highest bidder. It has also attracted a lot of negative publicity in Holland for forcing the host country to change its laws to FIFA's own commercial benefit and so on - to the extent that most people here did nto erally want teh World Cup.

In the meantime, Wikileaks publishes papers showing how Russia is generally viewed by the western powers, namely no longer a democracy, where the government uses organised crime syndicates to do its dirty work and so on. Nothing new, just interesting to read. No doubt Putin's friendship with Berlusconi has sometghing to do with how they both relate to similar organisations in each others country.

Corrupt FIFA gives the Cup to corupt Russia. A marriage made in hell. High excitement, of course, rubbish football and lots of money for everyone with their nose in the troughs.

A pity England didn't get it, good that Holland and Belgium didn't. And I am trying to work out how footballers will cope with Qatar's heat in June and July of 2022. Hmmm....

I wonder if these screens will still be in use then!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fred and Charles, 100 years old together today!

Fred is 50 years plus six months plus 17 days old today.

Charles is 50 years less six months less 17 days old today.

Adding the two together gets us to be jointly 100 years old!

We made these photos on Sunday afternoon in Park Frankendael before it got really cold and the snow came.
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