Category Archives: Family, friends and portraits

Is it ok to remove the tour kitty from a corpse….?

So, here’s last week’s skiing dilemma: all 8 lads have just put €50 in the kitty. 400 smackers – clearly enough for quite a few beers. And then kitty carrier goes arse over tit and because he’s only got one plank welded to his leg, shatters his shin bone and has to be blood wagoned down the slope. Of course, the 7 still standing are intensely sorry for our Kumpel, but hells bells, what do we do about the kitty!?!?


plane view


Morning view


Having said that, a boys trip is actually an object lesson in reconnecting with humanity. This may surprise our wives…., but we are able to discuss the finer aspects of life. Of course, not wishing to stretch credulity, obviously we do all the usual boy things – lots of farting, burping, gross humour, discussion of the merits of tits vs arse etc etc. But these are not the only topics of discussion. For example, in one evening we covered all the following topics: How long has your longest friend been you friend? The meaning of religion. Why do we pay tax? The respective merits of tea vs booze. How should we all contribute to society? The benefits of 3 in a bed. Politics – in general. How best to stack a dishwasher (good debate on that one!) How much we love our kids. James Bond (was The Living Daylights R Moore or T Dalton?) How long should you boil an egg at altitude to get a perfect softy? (Answer 6.5 mins in Sölden…) What exactly are parental responsibilities? How safe is the cut? And how long does it take to clean out the tubes before the risk of impregnation has passed? ALL ON ONE EVENING!


bridge view


hyt view


Attachment-1 2


I hesitate to enumerate the list of other topics discussed on other evenings. Frankly Rousseau and Voltaire would have been hard pressed to keep up. And I haven’t even mentioned the skiing, yet.





Even our cooking wasn’t bad, although heaven knows what happened to this spaghetti…, swiftly followed by an argument over dishwasher stacking (f.f’s sake!)



Dish washer



dishwasher 2


Boys do not do things by halves. If we go to the supermarket then we damn well shop – and need at least 2 trolleys to get the beer back home (thank God the team had learnt to avoid Alkohol-frei this time!)




Oooops, not quite sure how the last evening’s entertainment crept in there… passing swiftly on (!) we come back to the initial dilemma. What to do about that €400? The cash needs to be weighed up against the seriousness of the injury. Take a look at the poor chap’s shin bone:


Broken leg


leg in pins


Well, being the decent chaps we are of course we chased after the blood wagon! So that’s another boys trip over for another year. Can’t wait for the next one.


Solden view


(Now boys – if you haven’t seen the video, then let me know and I’ll wetransfer it to you. It’s fun. And ask yourselves this: What does Granny really want?) Tschüß, bis zum nächsten Jahr!








An hour or two at Westfield

Shopping isn’t really my thing (Mrs P and Ms P make up for my lack of enthusiasm). But occasionally I get press-ganged and I end up in that consumerist mecca like Westfield. How best to kill a couple of hours?



Take some photos of course! I decided to check out the Westfield sales staff and do some portrait image-making. Pretty much all of them were lovely and welcoming. Take this lady for example. She offered me a water massage (for a tenner)… And the gent below had the most delicious tea I’ve ever tasted. It was also the most expensive tea I’ve ever tasted…


Tea boy_small

Sky TV checked out the football score for me & showed me all the new tech. He couldn’t sell me anything even if he had tried – I spend a lot with Sky already… No wonder he is beaming.

Sky man_small


But most fun was had at the Tesla showroom. First, I loved the car (I want one!). Second, the staff were full of cheeky beans, and it shows…





Maybe shopping at Westfield isn’t that bad after all…


Ojai Valley Inn, an oasis within an oasis…

Mrs P is quite adamant, and Ms P is in full support: A holiday needs some luxury, or else it’s not a real holiday. And luxury means spa treatments, shopping and cocktails (although we try to hold Ms P back from the latter, as she’s only 14…)

And there’s no better place for all these indulgences than a real American country club retreat. So we went to one. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, in California. Rather nice, too.



The eagle eyed may spot a sign to the ‘Fragrance Courtyard’, an oasis within an oasis, where ladies can create perfumes, bottle them and bring them home, for a small fee.







Whilst the girls were being girls, the boys stuck to being boys. So leaving the ladies to their olfactory creativity, Grandad, Peck Jnr and I smacked a few balls round a fantastic golf course (I won – and that may be the only time I’m able to write that so I’m taking the honours whilst I can). All topped off with exquisite meals in exquisite restaurants.


45 ft putt, and GD gets it in!

45 ft putt, and GD sunk it!


Whilst others slept into the morning I rose early to make the most of the delightful swimming pool. Swim a mile in the morning means there’s no harm in indulging in a mojito or 6 in the evening.






Refreshment by the pool was frozen grapes, cold and sweet. Heaven in the high nineties.




It was difficult, almost painful, to tear ourselves away from this Eden. The golf, the perfume, the restaurants, the pool, the mojitos, the frozen grapes – they are all calling us to return and one day we shall. Like the ex-Governor of C, I’ll be back….




Oh yes America! We are all Stars!!!

Oi, Kim! Hands off my boy! He’s too young for you! Well what can you say. Three exclamation marks may well be too much for a first line, but I mean, the cheek of the girl,…..! (4)


She's stalking my boy!

She’s stalking my boy!

And then there’s Grandad… He’s a bad boy. Cuddling up to the big stars. He’s got that LA look about him…!

He's a rapper...

He’s a rapper…

But in this family it’s the girls that really strut their stuff. I mean look at Granny. She’s showing leggy RuPaul how to do it. Too many nights at Madame JoJo’s if you ask me (Granny that is, not RP)

What legs!

What legs!

This sort of behaviour has clearly been passed down through the generations. Here’s the next one down. Cleavage or what!

Mmmm, impressive.

Mmmm, impressive.

Not to be outdone (frankly, Immy is never going to be outdone) comes the current generation. All technophile and selfie obsessed. Narcissus-like.

Ur-selfie? Selfie squared?

Ur-selfie? Selfie squared? Who’s looking at whom?

I’m not getting left out! Yes, I want my own 15 seconds (I don’t get minutes) of fame. Yes, Justin, it’s you and me! Stuff the Beliebers, where are the Peckerettes?!?!?!?!

Cool dude, definitely!

Cool dude, definitely!

(19 exclamation marks in one short blog. Surely that’s a record?)    ! (20)

Bear Grylls – Don’t feed the animals!

I keep telling my family that actually I’m Bear Grylls – I even have a t-shirt that proclaims such – but to no avail. Much chortling and ironic laughter comes my way, and I am roundly ridiculed. This is the inevitable lot of the pater familias, and I treat the sarcasm with much forbearance…

Brown bear, Yosemite

Brown bear, Yosemite

Nevertheless, I do try to prove my point, and on our recent Californian holiday I pointed out to the sceptics in the family the abundance of wildlife around them. Yosemite was all about the bears. I saw 6. The family saw none – too lazy, looking the wrong way, too loud. Scared them all off. I ask you!

Pooh, off for a stroll

Pooh, off for a stroll


(We have lots of deer in Epping Forest too, but no mountains)

(We have lots of deer in Epping Forest too, but no mountains)

Better luck was had in Monterey. The whales took pity on the rest of my non-Bear Grylls family and came up close so the family couldn’t miss them. This was about 100 yards off the beach!

Humpback whale, humping its back

Humpback whale, humping its back


Dolphins riding the bow wave

Dolphins riding the bow wave


Fulmar, so fat with fish it can't take off

Fulmar, so fat with fish it can’t take off

HEY! did you see the BBC show from Monterey Bay just recently? The Big Blue. That’s where we were. The BBC’s been following us! OK, so they got pics of Gt Whites and Blue Whales which I didn’t. But they shamefully skipped over the Elephant Seals, which I forced the sceptical family to admire…

Blimey, they stink and they snore!

Blimey, they stink and they snore!


Dust bath

Dust bath

And being very Bear, I loved the hummingbirds as an antidote to all the hugeness everywhere else in California.

Breakfast with hummingbirds

Breakfast with hummingbirds


So, having suffered much abuse, mockery and derision, I think it very Bear of me still to feed the rest of the family. Careful of course! Feeing the animals is dangerous, especially as they can bite.


Scofferette… what an animal!



Mary Berry, eat your tart out!

Although I do most of the cooking in the Peck residence, I have never tried baking. Until now. But because we are all addicted to The Great British Bake Off, plus the blackberries are fruiting all over the place right now, I decided to give it a go. So I filled a bowl with lovely big black bbs, and checked out my cookery books…

My first ever tart ...

My first ever tart …

When I announced to Mrs P this morning that I was going to bake a tart she laughed and laughed and laughed – she was shaking, I jest not. Asked me if I knew what blind baking was (for heaven’s sake!). I retorted that not only was I baking blind, but that I making my own creme patissiere. That made her laugh even more…

What a lovely tart!

What a lovely tart!

So this is my version of a French style blackberry and cream tart. Delicious it was, to the very last mouthful. Even Mrs P had to admit, I had a way with a tasty French tart, and ain’t that the truth…

Delicious, and gone.

Delicious, and gone.

Embarrassing your kids is character building – for them.

Here’s a truism – your parents are embarrassing. But why? I guess the last thing you want as a teen working at your first summer job (looking after the pedalos on the Serpentine) is your Dad turning up waving an iPhone camera in your face… Not that my son’s acute embarrassment was going to stop me…

Oh God, it's Dad...!

Oh God, it’s Dad…!


Even worse than that I went to pick up my daughter from one of the many parties she seems to be going to at the moment and made the fatal mistake of actually walking into the party to find her! Such was her distress at my presence she sent me out & I had to wait in the car.

too cool to be seen with Dad

too cool to be seen with Dad

14 going on 24...

14 going on 24…


I’m sure I didn’t treat my parents this way. Mind you, they didn’t taxi me around all over the place. I had to get on my bike…, which did mean they never could keep tabs on me.

So as long as I remain chauffeur, my kids will have to continue to suffer me. It’ll do them good, I’m sure. Character building…

The sceptical look...

The sceptical look…

Gorgeous Youth and a Grumpy Old Man

Ah, the confidence of Youth! Only 13, but for all the world, acting like proper young ladies. Two best buddy cousins, in a studio for a couple of hours. Whack up the soft box, snap on the beauty dish, and hey presto, some photos to warm the heart of a grumpy old man (as in the last photo – that’s me)…


She can wear any hat...

She can wear any hat…

Leather jackets are always cool...

Leather jackets are always cool…

Cousins forever

Cousins forever

More leather jackets

More leather jackets

Face this way!

Face this way!

She likes dancing

She likes dancing

Grumpy old Dad

Grumpy old Dad

How quickly they grow up…

I know, I know, pictures of other people’s kids are really boring. I mean, who cares! It’s just another snapshot amongst the zillions of others… But I can’t help it. The pictures want to get out into the world. But I shall keep a tight rein – only one of each of the kids in the family. Promise… (until a later post, anyway).


A quiet moment

A quiet moment


What a smile...

What a smile…


He's just made 16. Growing up fast...

He’s just made 16. Growing up fast…


Grandad & Grandaughter

Grandad & Grandaughter


Backwards glancing…

When we look backwards what do we see? Times gone past. Childhood. Memories bubble up. Rocking back and forth. Here and now, then and gone. We wind our way, on, on. Seize the day! Make it pay! Squeeze the essence and live every moment. So our mind’s eye can see and not forget…


Memories of childhood

A long glance backwards


The winding path

The winding path


Making memories

Making memories