Aerial view of the riverThe Ditton Corner plot from the airFen Ditton - an aerial view

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Group Photo 2001

Hooray it’s stopped raining! The group photo recreated the 1910 party.

Hats Off to the Winners

A day of racing, rain and revelry at ‘Boaters and Bonnets’ - the Coburn & Mulligan Bumps & Carnage Party 2001. Fine hats were worn. The marquee saved us all from drowning.

The 2001 Bumps & Carnage party at Ditton Corner witnessed some great rowing, a lot of torrential rain and a load of fabulous hats. The sepia photo of the Ditton Corner bumps party from 1910 showed toffs and tarts in Edwardian headgear: nearly a century later the riverside once again played host to bowlers, top hats, hombergs, boaters and magnificent floral millinery.


The sun finally shone to illuminate the top divisions for us all to witness Caius College surrendering the Head of the River to Emmanuel College in an exciting chase.




Next year's Bumps & Carnage Party will be on Saturday 15 June 2002. 


Put it in your diary now...



Alice’s birthday is at the same time as the bumps so the childrens birthday party was held on the front lawn, and indoors.

Cheeky Monkey

Thanks to the bouncy castle people and of course, to Cheeky Monkey and André, the entertainers (Uncle Nick and Uncle Pete are taking bookings). The croquet lawn may recover one day.

There was almost no winner of the Ditton Corner Sweepstake, until one of the adjudicators made her own enterprisingly late entry. Thanks to everyone for making a great effort.

The full report and more pictures are on our Bumps Party page...

Boater and Bonnet on a young man and his belle in 1910      Adam & Isobel in their boater and bonnet in 2001

1910                                               2001

Boaters and bonnets then and now

Men's First Division - three boats fighting for a bump but Robinson gets there first

Crowds watch the crews on the day


The Crawfords and the Banks get comfortable to watch the racing.

Grandstands for the rowing devotees.




Animal X-Files
The Truth is Out There...

Since we moved into Ditton Corner last year, we’ve been aware of eyes glinting and strange noises in the shrubbery. Now, more evidence.

Owl makes itself at home in the box

An owl recovers from a magpie mugging

First we discovered a fair-sized fish on the lawn: The front lawn, that is... 100 yards from the river.

Yep.  It's a fish all right.

A fish that mysteriously landed on the front lawn

Then a traumatised tawny owl required a check-up from the vet after being mobbed by magpies (successfully re-released, he now thinks the episode was a hoot).

Squirrel Drops In

Then something dropped a squirrel right in the middle of the river with a great splash. The squirrel survived, to tell the tale to his 300 grandchildren. Not that we have any sympathy for the squirrels - their attacks on our computer cables continued with a chomp through Andrew’s printer.

Pwooor - it stinks!

Dismembered pike on the riverbank

And finally, we discovered the grisly remains of a two-foot pike on the riverbank. The work of mink? Otter? The Dragon of Ditton?

More pictures and a detailed report are on our Beastly Tales page...

Henry in tug of war

Henry (7) is in the transition year at St. John’s College School. Pokemon cards gave way to playing cards, as he improves his German Whist.


Alice Riding

Alice (10) marked her decade. She enjoys cooking and continues to be an avid reader. Year’s highlight: the preview of the Harry Potter movie.


Ivory Trading Still Practiced in Parts of East Anglia

Henry bares his fangs

The tooth fairy has been in regular contact with Henry conducting a barbaric trade in human body parts.


A Big Welcome to Misi

Misi in the kitchen

A big welcome to Misi Kiss - our Au Pair this year. Mishi is from Hungary and is definitely the practical one around here. Just what Helen always wanted, a man about the house.

Ditton Corner shrinks!
Floods and pestilence wreak havoc along the Cam

Global warming they say. Catastrophe modeller’s revenge more likely. After a career modelling windstorm, earthquakes and floods, last year we had windstorm damage, this year we had floods. Earthquakes in 2002?

Floods along the Cam

The garden was flooded twice this year. The lower terrace of the garden can be affected by floods when the River Cam is unusually high.  Swift flowing waters also eat away at the outside of the bend - our garden.

Floods on 22 Oct 2001 at Ditton Corner

The flood waters receded, taking with them a chunk of Ditton Corner. A couple of feet of riverbank was scoured away by the water.

Flood reports...

Fin and Mouth

Another calamity saw the river closed and the Lent Bump races cancelled due to the Foot and Mouth quarantines. On a river???

Breeding Shows

Unfazed, the swans ignored it all to hatch eight cygnets just up the river from us on a waterlogged nest site.

Hitching a ride on Mum

Eight cygnets hatched, braving the floods

Swan with two grown up cygnets

My, how they've growed.  3 made it to adulthood.

The swan reports through the year are on Alice's Swan Diary page...



C.A.R. Dealings
New Deputy Chair in Hot Seat

Projects near and far continue to engage Cambridge Architectural Research, of which Helen is now Deputy Chair. At the Royal Institution in October, Helen kicked off a series of twelve one-day workshops on the subject of Sustainability in Housing Refurbishment, organised by the Building Research Establishment.


Austrian Field trip

Venturi-effects assist rooftop ventilation

Take me to your lieder

Strange apparitions on the roof of a secondary college, somewhere near Vienna... Helen and colleagues inspect a prototype installation for the innovative NAVAIR ventilation system.


Wine tasting in Vienne

French project revives Helen’s interest in caves


Demulog is a European project on ‘Logement pour les démunis’. Collaboration with Finnish, French and Belgian teams to design low-cost, low-energy houses fortunately includes socio-cultural research. Here, investigation of local drinking habits in the Côte-Rotie area, France.


Ph.D. Supervisor

Welcome to Lin Hao. Helen is supervising his PhD thesis on sustainable office buildings for Beijing.

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Internet business follows many others into history

Andrew’s brave new internet venture finally had the plug pulled at the start of the year.

RiskCentric is dead... was intended to provide online catastrophe information, news and market analysis, together with a data exchange for reinsurance transactions.

...long live

All however was not lost. Risk Management Solutions launched a much less ambitious website offering documentation and catastrophe event response, which has been popular with clients. And may one day provide a platform for some pretty neat e-commerce ideas...


Most Wanted

While working on a project for a client analysing terrorism risk, Andrew left his laptop at the security check-in at an airport in New York. The content - terrorist scenarios - was so suspicious that the FBI interviewed him for 40 minutes before impounding the laptop and requiring RMS to sign an affidavit before release.


Options Open
New Generation Whole Life Costing

C.A.R.’s work continues under the Partners in Innovation programme (government funding from the DTI).

Financial Modelling

Now we are tackling the application of financial modelling techniques such as options theory to decision making in the buildings business. Interested parties include the National Trust, developer AMEC, Bennetts Architects.and Stonebridge Housing Action Trust. Rumours are unfounded that we are seeking help from garden designers to add a hedge fund analysis module.

Palace under surveyAndrew surveys damage to a Maharajah’s palace damaged in the Gujurat Earthquake

Earthquake in India
RMS Field Survey

A massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake ripped through Gujurat State on 26 January, causing 18,000 deaths and destroying a prosperous region. Factories were hit by intensity X shaking. A field survey derived the lessons from the event.


WTC Ground Zero 31 October 2001

Ground zero at World Trade Center on 31 Oct: 6 weeks after the disaster, the ruins still smoulder.

World Trade Center Disaster
Human and economic tragedy rewrites the risk rule book

The disaster of 11 September will never be forgotten by anyone who lived through it. RMS clients were based in the building so the tragedy had a personal dimension.

Rapid Analysis

It soon became apparent that this was also a financial loss exceeding any other type of catastrophe. RMS produced an analysis and a first estimate of the loss in ten days. Andrew visited the site and carried out a damage survey six weeks later.

Risk Management

The way insurance companies manage terrorism risk and other threats has been changed by this event. Finding ways to assess and understand the risk will be a new challenge for the insurance industry.



Magnolia in the bay

All aboard the good ship Magnolia, on our sailing holiday in Turkey

In the footsteps of Odysseus

A great holiday sailing round the Aegean brought lots of
swimming, snorkeling and sunshine.

Bare Naked Ladies
on the Internet

Bare Naked Ladies live in Cambridge

(But only the pop group.)


London Eye Saw

Alicia & Alice on the London Eye

Alice’s friend Alicia took her on the London Eye. A great view of the city.


British Grand Prix

The Grand Pricks and some of the supporters

The only Grand Prix that Michael Schumaker didn’t win this year was at Silverstone. Andrew got to watch his hero come 2nd. Many thanks to Smart421 Ltd. for inviting him.


Robot Wars Live

Robot Wars venue: Henry Nick & Alice in the T-Shirts

Sir Killalot, Matilda, Chaos II were all there, and so were the fans. Metal mayhem ensued... 3-2-1 Activate!!!

The sun set lazily over Bodrum Castle. Media mogul Andrew Coburn adjusted his Rayban shades, took a swig of the pink gin an attentive steward had placed at his elbow and surveyed the bronzed flesh of his young companions as they frolicked around him on the deck. “Henry! Ali! Stop feeding the sharks!” he shouted.

Turkish Delight

We have many tall tales to tell of our odyssey along the Aegean coast of Turkey with our friends the Demirels:
How Henry was the first to spot the dolphins off the starboard bow...
How Sakin the cook would seize his flippers and harpoon, dive overboard and reappear several hours later with some exceedingly rare (and delicious) variety of deep water fish...

Disco Rage

How Selim Demirel, enraged by teenage revellers on the shore, started up the dinghy at 3am to remonstrate with them - to ensure that everyone could get a good night’s sleep...

How Basak taught us to identify the wild carob tree, to collect its sweet-tasting pods...

Aphrodisias - Family by the South Gate

Token bit of culture: Aphrodisias ruins

How Alice found tortoises in a deserted cottage, and cadged a ride on a villager’s horse.


How the ruins of Ephesus and Aphrodisias showed us the ways of the ancients... And the tale of Helen, the face that launched at least one ship, the beautiful (and very yellow) Magnolia.

For more pictures see our Turkey Holiday page...

Family underwater

Family underwater - in another watery holiday in France earlier in the year

Full report and pictures are on our France Holiday page...

Cheshire Cat Productions 2001