Ode To Teenage Daughters

I can always tell when my girls are there
Doors are slammed and radios blare
The house is filled with all sorts of noise
Chatter and gossip about all their boys
Sound from the tv’s  ipods and laptop
All through the day seemingly non stop
When they go out and the house is all quiet
I wait for the call they’re causing a riot
Then my wife’s phone beeps it’s a text
My heart sinks as I wonder what’s coming next
Can you pick us up from far away
Because the boyfriends upset them today

We have to accept it no doubting that
For what we did to our parents this is payback

By Doug Titchmarsh


Our Visit to the Natural History Museum at Tring

Today we had planned a visit to the seaside with our daughter, but the weather had different ideas. With rain here, and heavy rain and thunder and lightning storms forecast for the seaside area we were to visit we decided to find an indoor activity to do. Having seen signs for the Natural History Museum at Tring that was to be our outing.

We found many good reasons for this visit to the Museum too, it’s not too far away from us in Milton Keynes and also it’s free to get in. So with an idea of where it was and the three of us (wife me and Phoebe) we set off, and were there in just over half an hour. We walked into a fantastic array of glass cases full of stuffed animals from all around the world, the first section we visited held all the primates and a lot of birds etc.

picture from Tring Natural History Museum

Tring Museum Monkey

A chimp in the Tring Natural History Museum

Display Cabinet at Tring Museum

Display Cabinet at Tring Museum

Tiger at Tring NH Museum

Tiger at Tring Natural History Museum

Tigers Head

Tigers Head

Skeleton of gorilla

Skeleton of gorilla at The Tring Natural History Museum


Rhinoceros head at the museum

A trip upstairs brought us to even more stuffed and mounted animals, who knew there were so many different species of Zebra, because they had a few to choose from..

Zebra from the first floor

Zebra from the first floor of the museum

Another Zebra of a different sub species ?

Another Zebra of a different sub species ?

Around the corner and into a balcony section, there were animals in the centre

Giraffe, Camel and Rhino's on the centre display

Giraffe, Camel and Rhino's on the centre display

At each end of the balcony were wooden display cases which could be opened to reveal creepy crawlies like this butterfly below, which was inside a case full of various specimens.

Butterfly in display case

Butterfly in display case

Each case held different types of insects

Centipedes and Milipedes display case

Centipedes and Milipedes display


Butterflies, but I may be wrong

Arachnids, spiders

My wifes favourites the spiders, some big beasties here


Big Spider, scary things

More of the centre display seen from the balcony


Rhino in the middle of the balcony area


Elephant and tusk as seen from balcony


Fish in a display case

The next area had a history of the domestic dogs, from wolves and dingos up to the present day.

history of the domestic dog

history of the domestic dog

History of domestication of canines

History of domestication of canines

Also there was the natural wildlife like rats and mice etc.


Black Tailed JackRabbit



And then there were some more marine animals

Sea cow

Sea cow was one of many marine mammals on display

At the end of the displays there was another animal which needed including in the photographs


My daughter Phoebe stands in front of display

We all had a great day, it was free to get in and very well maintained with plenty of information. The pictures here are just a small selection of what we took, and that was a small selection of the huge amount on display. Tring Natural History Museum is more than worth the time taken to visit, and we may have to return in the future.


Book Review: The Papal Decree

While out with my family a few weeks back we stopped at a WHSmiths in a service station and I saw some books which took my fancy. As I had a voucher I picked them up to buy. One of the books was “The Papal Decree” by Luis Miguel Rocha.

The book appears to be one of a series of books following the same characters, although it worked well enough as a stand alone story. One of the first things which I found off-putting in the book was the introduction of characters though. It seemed the first quarter of the book was spent introducing everybody and his dog. One character was introduced over a few pages and killed off in a few sentences. Seemed pretty pointless except to show the ruthlessness of the bad guys I suppose.

The story moved along nicely once it got going though, with the plot following an attempted usurping of the power of the Roman Catholic church.  The central characters stacked up on each side of the story with our heroes obviously on the side of good. There was also a little pseudo history in their of the Roman Catholic religion and the genesis of some of its rituals, being a fictional story though they may not all be true, just used to enhance the tale.

A little mystery, a little history and a lot of characters and places to keep track of seemed to slow down parts of the story for this reader though. It was easy to lose track of who was who too, especially as some characters were referenced by different names as they went along, sometimes first names, then last names, and one with a couple of Pseudonyms was often confused as to who he was and what he was doing.

Another point to consider is that the book is a translation, and in places it seems as though something may have lost out in that process of changing language. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time you wouldn’t know it was a translation as it has been done well, but Just a nuance here or a phrase which doesn’t have an equivalent can change the feel of a page I would guess, but whatever it was some paragraphs seemed a little lacklustre compared to the better parts which grabbed my interest.

As the book was on a buy one get one half price deal I think it came out worth it in the end as the half price deal, and it can be picked up at a reasonably low cost in Penguin Paperback from Amazon online.

Sitting at home

Not doing much but testing my renewed website at
douglastitchmarsh.com. I have removed all the stuff which I left to go
stale over the last 2 years and hope to keep it a little more current
this time.

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Here’s to a New Start

Having left this site languishing for the past few years with a load of outdated and frankly rubbish posts on it I finally decided to revamp it today. Instead of going through and picking some of the crap to put back up, I just deleted the whole lot and did a clean install of the latest WordPress. And then picked a few themes to try, so don’t be surprised if the look changes frequently until I settle on one I like.

Hopefully with the ties to Twitter (see the left side bar) I will be able to keep things updated and make some interesting posts for people to come back and see. It will also link to articles on other blogs I run.

So here’s to a new start and maybe a little more entertainment.