Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Fish for supper!

Jimmy and I arrived at Elinor Trout lake at 7.15 yesterday morning. It was a mild morning and still dark when we arrived. There was no wind and not a single ripple on the water.

As before I watched in awe as Jimmy seemed to cast his fly with absolute ease. We could see the fish through the water for most of the day and several times the fish showed themselves at the surface in front of us as if to say 'catch me if you can!' Each time a fish showed itself Jimmy was able to cast with great accuracy right to the spot where he saw the fish, something I hope I will soon be able to do with more casting practice!

I had a 'frustrating' day trying every fly in the box before finally catching a rather nice rainbow trout at around half past 2 in the afternoon! Jimmy caught 2 and a few other people managed to catch a few but there were a lot of people who blanked. We all agreed that it was a very difficult day fishing and for some, a disappointing end to their season. I was secretly pleased that although Jimmy caught 2 while I only caught 1, mine was bigger than his!
Jimmy let me keep all three again (isn't it great having a fishing buddy who can't eat fish!!?) and I filleted them as soon as I got home. My filleting skills are improving lots with all the practice and these are the best fillets I've done!
Amelia, my 4 year old daughter, was this time keen to help me to gut the fish. Happy that she has a better understanding of where her food comes from and how it ends up on her plate I gently encouraged her when she realised what was involved! She was a great help and today helped me to prepare 3 of the fillets for dinner. She dipped them in egg and then rolled them in fresh bread crumbs with lemon pepper and we left them in the fridge for a couple of hours. We then had them very simply with chips and peas after baking them for 10 minutes in the oven. Yum yum!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Blog from a phone.

I have been unable to add anything to number 9 over the last few days as my laptop has broken and my mac is unable to connect to my network. So, here I am making my first blog entry from my mobile phone. So far so good... I'm not going to write a lot as the small keys on the phone are doing my head in! We had a lovely Christmas and as planned went to see my grandparents on boxing day. It was nice to see them along with my aunt and father who were already there. Tomorrow I am going back to Elinor trout lake with Jimmy for my 2nd time fishing, I can't wait and hope to catch a few! I will let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

I haven't had much time to post much in the last few days but just wanted to quickly come on and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! We are celebrating at home this year and going to Elissa's parents house in the afternoon. We are then travelling to Norfolk on Boxing day to visit my Grandparents and to see my dad and auntie who will also be there. Wherever you are, and what ever you are doing, I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Keith goes home

My good friend Keith went home earlier today after staying for a couple of nights at number 9! It was good to see him as always. We've been friends since we were teenagers and have as good a laugh now as we did all those years ago!

Elissa took several photos of us so that I can choose one suitable to use for one of my stencil paintings.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Amelia's day out with Grandad.

A short while ago my dad promised Amelia that he would take her to see Santa. Yesterday that day arrived! Dad picked her up around midday and we put her booster seat into his car. Off they went to Kettering. First stop was the supermarket to buy the ingredients for their dinner! Then after dropping the shopping off at home they went to Wickstead park.

Grandad took Amelia on the Train first before queuing for an hour to see Santa! When they finally got to the front of the queue Amelia announced that she didn't want to see Santa! A bit of gentle persuasion from the elf and her Grandad and Amelia nervously went in! Grandad had to sit next to Santa (I bet he loved that) to show Amelia that it was ok! She was eventually brave enough to go close enough for a photo but she doesn't look comfortable!

Amelia got a present from Santa which she has brought home to open on Christmas day, and she also spotted her favorite - CANDY FLOSS!!!! Grandad bought her a big bag of the stuff which made her day!!

After their trip to Wickstead Park they went home to cook dinner - Spaghetti Bolognese, one of Amelia's favourites! Amelia helped grandad to cook using the ingrediants they bought earlier and while it was simmering she went off to the living room for a Guitar lesson with Grandads friend, Pete.

Friday, 19 December 2008

A quiet day

Today was a relatively quiet day here at number 9. I nipped round to see the Neighbour, Jimmy, to help him solve a problem playing a video clip from our fishing trip on his computer. I ended up going to Eyebrook reservior with him to see where he works as he needed to buy some more materials for tying his flies. Now I've been to see the reservior I can't wait to go and fish on it when it re-opens in March! It looks beautiful.

Amelia had her last day at nursery and has now finished for the Christmas holiday!

Oh, and it finally happened today, Hermione pulled the Christmas tree down on top of herself! It was going to happen at some point and I hope she has learnt her lesson! We don't want to be decorating it again for a third time!!!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Freezer full of fish!

Well, ok not actually full of fish, but there's enough to keep us going for a while!

At 0645 this morning there was a knock at the door. 'Are you ready?' Just as well I was, Jimmy was 15 minutes early! I quickly put on my boots by the door being careful not to get mud on the carpet as they hadn't been cleaned and then off I went. Walking up the drive Jimmy said to me, 'where's your rod and reel?'

S**t! So back I go into the house to get them. Lets face it, I won't catch many fish without them!!! We stopped off at the petrol station for fuel, sandwiches, and in Jimmy's case Cigarettes then off we went. (Later in the day I was greeted by my wife on the mobile phone to tell me what a twit I am - I had been so careful not to wear my muddy boots in the house but then went back in for the rod without thinking and left a trail of mud for her to clear up! Whoops!)

We were the first to arrive at Elinor Trout lake near Thrapston in Northamptonshire which meant we could pick the best spot! A quick word in the right ear from Jimmy and I was allowed to fish on his ticket as it was my first time. Once we had the ticket we grabbed our rods and headed off to 'the Dam'. The wind was blowing straight into our faces and I don't mind admitting there was no chance I was going to be able to cast a fly against that wind!! So we carried on round to 'Pensioners point'. Jimmy showed me how to attach a fly (which went straight over my head, sorry Jimmy but you may have to show me that again next time!) So, we were set.. Lets fish!

Jimmy wasted no time in getting into the water up to his waist and showed how casting should be done! Meanwhile, I stood on the bank waving my rod around in the air and putting the fly on everything except for the water! I spent a lot of the first hour taking the hook out of my jacket and unwrapping the line from around my head. Frustrated much?!!! Eventually I started to relax and as I got into the swing of it was able to manage some ok-ish casts! (It really isn't as easy as it looks!)

It was neither I nor Jimmy that caught the first fish, but an old gentleman next to us. It wasn't long after that though when Jimmy had his first (of many) fish.

The old man that caught the first fish, who's name I unfortunately didn't get, was telling me that if I waded out I would get my fly an extra 10 feet or so away from the bank. It was then that he noticed I wasn't wearing waders, so, very kindly, he left his tackle on the bank and walked across the field back to his car and returned with his spare pair of waders for me to borrow. I was very grateful and was soon in the lake in between where Jimmy and the old man were catching fish - if they were catching fish either side of me then I must be able to catch something in the middle of them both!?

It wasn't long before Jimmy caught another fish and soon after I had my first on the line. A bit too exited and not doing as I had been taught the fish managed to get off the hook and swam away. What a horrible feeling! I was gutted! But I kept trying and eventually caught my first fish!! What an amazing feeling! That's it, I'm hooked so to speak! It wasn't as big as those that Jimmy was catching but it was my first fish and I was very proud!

A little later I hooked another but it managed to get away when it straightened the hook out!! Jimmy also lost a few. But by the end of the day I had caught one more and was happy with 2 fish on my first trip! I gave the waders back to the old man (and realised they had leaked and I now had a wet leg!) and thanked him for his kindness. He caught 7 fish in all but had released 2 so said he would try for one more before he went home. Sure enough he caught another in his last 10 minutes and I was amazed when, just before we went home, Jimmy had a last try and managed to catch 4 more in quick succession giving him a total of 12 caught and 4 that got away!

Out of the fish we caught we were allowed to keep 8 on the shared ticket and with Jimmy not eating fish, I had the pleasure of taking all 8 home and gutting them all!!!

So that's the story about how my freezer came to be full of fish!!

Jimmy if you read this, thank you very much indeed for 1, giving me a rod. 2, teaching me to cast. 3, taking me fishing today. and 4, letting me keep all the fish!!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Visit from Bedford

Today my mum, nan and Grandad came to visit us from Bedford. It was nice to see them and the girls enjoyed seeing their grandma and great grandparents. They brought with them lots of presents from the family in Bedford which are now under the tree waiting for Christmas morning, very kind of everyone - who ever said it was better to give than to receive?!! I disagree, I love receiving! Ho ho!!! I set up the camera on the timer, a feature I don't often use, and we have these pictures of their visit!

While they were here visiting my next door neighbour came to the door so after they left I went round to see him. Guess what - He's taking me fishing for trout tomorrow morning!! I can't wait! I hope I catch one! If not I'll just treat it as casting practice! I'll take the camera just incase and will hopefully have pictures of fish caught ready to blog! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


True to his word, my neighbour knocked on my door today with a handful of rods. The field infront of my house is perfect for practicing casting and he spend a while out in the cold showing me how it is done before watching me make a mess of it all! We managed to snap one of his rods (thankfully when he was casting not when I was!) but I soon started to get the hang of it. At least I have a few months to practise in time for next years fishing season! If I am half as good at it by then as he is then I should catch some fish! He makes it look so easy!
Once I had tried the rods out I went back to the one I got on with best and had a bit of practice, then as we packed up to go back in for a coffee my neighbour gave me the rod and said I can keep it to start me off!!! What a very kind man! I am so grateful and can't wait to get out and use it properly!

A bit of me..

I have just had a look through my youtube videos and thought this was a pretty good one that I did in February 2007. A lot has changed since then (we have another child!) so I think I will make a new one to include the new addition. But for now, I hope you like this one!

Monday, 15 December 2008

35mm Slide Converter

My Grandfather has a huge collection of old 35mm slides. When I say huge, I'm talking thousands of the things! All carefully stored in order. He knows exactly where they all are and can locate a particular slide out of his thousands with ease - quite remarkable! Anyway, he is concerned that when he passes, none of the family will want his huge collection of slides and so he started looking at ways to transfer them to a digital media so that each family member can have perhaps a disc with the pictures of their immediate family rather than a box full of slides. What he found was this clever little machine which is capable of scanning your 35mm slides and your 35mm negatives and converting them into a digital format (jpeg)

So anyway, a few months ago he gave the machine to me along with 100 slides of pictures of me and my siblings when we where young children. I was absolutely amazed at how clever this technology is! I don't normally get terribly excited about gadgets but this was something else! To actually see this tiny little slide be transformed into a big picture on my computer screen in an instant was impressive! I even went rummaging for some negatives to try and was just as impressed!

My grandad then spoke to his brother, my Great Uncle Peter and told him about this machine and the fact that I was transferring his slides for him. Immediately the cogs in Gt Uncle Peters head started turning and the next thing I know there was an email asking me if I could transfer his as well.

And that is what brings me to this seemingly random blog entry - I have just finished scanning his slides for him today and thought I'd come on here and recommend the machine to anyone who has a collection of slides that need converting. Its simple to use, quick (once you get the hang of loading the slide tray the right way round!) and the results are very impressive as you can see.

So, if you decide you want one of these handy little machines to convert your slides or negatives, I would definately recommend the veho VFS-001 5 mega pixel high resolution scanner!

Learning to fish..

I was talking to my next door Neighbour earlier and found out in conversation that he's a Warden at a reservoir near to where I live and is a keen fly fisherman.. I went to his house for a coffee and he showed me his tackle and fly tying bench. He has agreed to teach me to fish with my first lesson being a casting lesson tomorrow or Wednesday! I can't wait! I've wanted to learn for 2 years now and had no idea my neighbour was a fisherman! I'm so excited I just had to come on and blog it! Haha! So hopefully in the spring/summer I will be able to show pictures of me catching fish!!

Christmas tree oh Christmas tree.....

The Christmas tree is up at Number 9! My daughter Amelia loved decorating it with her mum, and my younger daughter Hermione enjoyed taking the decorations back off the tree as quickly as they could get them on!!

It took around an hour to decorate the tree including the lights, tinsel and all the baubles.. We even put on some Christmas music whilst we did it which the girls really enjoyed! It was a bit difficult to get a good photo with the bright light from outside shining straight into my camera lens and I'm too lazy to close the curtains so will take a picture of the girls next to the tree later this evening!

We also had the joy of watching Amelia in her first ever Nativity play at Nursery! It wasn't really a play, but the children were all dressed up while the teacher told the Nativity story and the children all sang various songs as the story went along. It was very enjoyable and all of the children had great big smiles on thier faces which was nice to see! None got stage fright and none of them cried for their parents!

Amelia gives the 'thumbs up' after the performance!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Back already....

Here I am, post number 2 already! I was amazed to receive a comment on my first post so soon so thank you to cityding for that comment! I still don't quite know what I'm doing with this and don't know how you found my blog, but I'm glad that you did! Is there some kind of blog directory that I am yet to find..?

The weather outside is miserable so I have just lit the open fire and am about to go and make myself a nice cup of tea. My peaceful living room will soon be turned upside down by my two young daughters when they arrive home from thier Grandmothers house in half an hour or so.. I better enjoy it while it lasts! Having not had time to put up our Christmas tree last night I think we are doing it together tonight so I shall upload a picture of it when its done!

Right, better put the kettle on!

First Entry!

Wow, my very own blog! Well, firstly I'd like to welcome you to Number 9! I haven't really decided what I'm going to post on here yet, I just decided that I want a blog so here it is. I stopped smoking in March and stopped drinking alcohol in October so am finding that I have more free time that I don't know what to do with! I need a hobby but thought I'd start with a blog. It will keep me busy for a while at least!

So now I've got Number 9 up and running what shall I use it for? I was thinking perhaps like some sort of online diary but then I don't suppose that would be very interesting! Maybe I'll start with taking a few pictures of where I live and post them up, again, probably not terribly interesting but I suppose there could be someone somewhere who would like to see some photos of a small Village in the smallest county in England! I'll see what I can come up with but in the meantime I am open to suggestions as to what sort of content people would like to see here at Number 9.