The Hole in the Wallet Gang have spent their
way non-stop across several States
How the West Was Won
The adventure continues with our first complete year in the U.S. We
survived eviction, the Arizona desert and American dentists. We pioneers are a tough
2003 in the United States saw the country go to
war, the electricy grid fall apart and California recall its Governor. Thats life on
See to Shining Sea
The Coburns are exploring the new continent extensively, from the
wagon trails across the Rockies to the pounding surf of the Pacific. The wildlife is
spectacular - eagles and hawks over Marin peak, whales and dolphins in the Monterey bay
and mass migrations of the Monarch butterfly.
Even the beefcake boys on Muscle Beach did not escape Helens
Touchdown on the Vegas landing strip -
wheres the stretch limo? .
Life in the San Francisco Bay Area has been made even more
enjoyable by membership of a swimming and tennis club just across the road.
And somehow they finally gave Andrew a California
School activities are still fun. Henry enjoyed dissecting squid and
Alice has been keeping those grades up. Were enjoying it but as our new Governor,
Mr. Schwarzenegger, says: Well be back!.
Flying through the Grand Canyon
US Airforce personnel in less usual attire
(Captain Menozzi in the hat with the bow)
The Usual Bumps Party Report
Except we were the visitors
Yes, were living in California. But there are times when we just have to get
ourselves back to our home river like spawning salmon. The May Bumps again! Kelly and J.J.
Menozzi, our pilot tenants at Ditton Corner, generously welcomed us back to the garden for
our annual party and joined in the fun with family and friends.
Coburn and Mulligan
Bumps & Carnage Party
Saturday 12 June 2004
Put it in your calendar now.
Grandma & Grandpops Coburn celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary
in September. Way to go, Grandfolks! (as they say).
Len and Syl clock up their half century
Back to Eden
Our summer UK visit took in a trip to the amazing Eden Project in
Cornwall. The giant bio-spheres are well worth a visit.
The U.S. orthodontal industry has rallied to cope with the influx of (ugh!) British
teeth. Gold, structural steel, ceramics and an array of chemicals have been bunged into
the gobs of the Coburn family at vast cost (mainly to the insurers). Sadly Andrew will
never rival Donny Osmond but another few years of intensive treatment may get us fit for
Come One, Come All
Huddled Masses in Our Guest Room
Thanks to everyone who came to visit us. We have had fun hosting a succession of
visitors and pretending to know more about California than they do. Thanks to the
Purkisses for introducing us to Spoons (dont ask), to the Grandjeans for
taking us to the Chinese New Year parade and the native American village on Pt. Reyes, to
Francis Fawcett for showing us the hip bookshops, Robin & Tamar for nooks and crannies
of Berkeley, Ian & Jane for scary scrambles up Mount Diablo, the Ruffles for taking us
on a fun break in wine country, Bill for singing White Rabbit (loudly), and
the usual influx of Coburn relatives, who showed us the way to whales. Thanks guys.
A tour of Post-Modern wineries with the Ruffle
family in April
Sculptures in the Michael Graves-designed Clos Pegasse winery add to the flavour
To the tune of duelling banjos our group set off on our canoe trip with
friends, unprepared for what was to follow. After abandoning one boat because it was
shipping water, the intrepid explorers then encountered the Black Rapids.
Canoeing in tree-infested waters
The rapids chewed up one boat under a trunk, devouring cellphones, shades and hat.
Thank goodness for the Wifeguards! Dennis & Eileens canoe went down to another
vicious tree, and (gasp!) lost all their cookies in the maelstrom. Only the strong
Peeping Henry gets a close up view of the
divine Rachel (surely Saturn? -Ed.)
Mars is Bright Tonight
We live close to the famous Chabot Space Center - an observatory that
takes you closer to outer space. We mourned the Columbia crew there and caught glimpses of
celestial neighbours through their great telescopes: Rachel (age: 89, vital statistics:
20) and newborn Nellie (36 reflector) gave great views of Mars on its closest
approach to Earth for years.
Energy Efficiency in
Helens work at Berkeley has continued with case-studies of low-energy Californian
buildings, from Santa Rosa in the north to San Diego in the south. The aim is to calculate
potential savings that could be traded in the form of carbon credits.
NB: her office on campus has moved to the main department of architecture building,
Wurster Hall - fans of 1960s Brutalism will be cheering to their callously exposed
Solar panels and recycled materials on
Stanford Universitys latest field station
RMS managers toast a vintage year
RMS Posts Record Results
Profits and sales reach an all-time high
The appetite of insurance companies for RMSs risk modeling
technology has increased sharply over the past two years. This year saw an ambitious
roll-out of new U.S. earthquake and hurricane models. Andrew built an internal online
knowledge base to support the rollout, and helped with the client explanation
Insurers are also buying models in new areas. Andrews new research
role, following work on terrorism, is on fire modeling and life insurance for a new
generation of risk models.
Andrew receives an award for his contribution
to terrorism research
Terrorism Risk Work Receives Recognition
The work by RMS on quantifying terrorism risk has been high profile. It helped RMS win
the prestigious Modeling Agency of the Year Award and led to a joint research
center with RAND. The Department of Homeland Security also hired RMS to analyze their
TopOff exercise on bio-terror response.
SPORT AND THE ARTS
Guess which movies we enjoyed (or otherwise) this year, from our micro-reviews.
1. Final fling for Frodo
2. Dig it, bad boy
3. Moll sings in joint
4. No eyepatch, just eyeliner
5. Armless fun in Crowe's-nest
6. Orchid spooks twin writers
7. Bill not killed
8. Down-underwater rescue quest
9. Barefaced cheek each month
10. Luvvies by the dozen
11. What's the time Mrs. Woolf?
12. Murder crosses mates paths
13. Holocaust Sonata in A Flat
14. Neo preens, meta Morpheus
15. Hapless Bean spoofs Bond
16. Triple girl power twaddle
The publishing event of the year had us trecking to a Potter #5 party in
Bristol for our copies on publication day. It was long awaited by the Coburn family. 766
pages later, the verdict: B+ (Henry), enchanting but confused
Answers to Movie Quiz
1. Lord of the Ring: Return of the King
4. Pirates of the Caribbean
5. Master and Commander
7. Kill Bill
8. Finding Nemo
9. Calendar Girls
10. Love Actually
11. The Hours
12. Mystic River
13. The Pianist
14. The Matrix 2 (3 was a bit better)
15. Johnny English
16. Charlies Angels 2 Full Throttle.
Dolphin Safari in San Diego
Thar She Blows
Ahab had a point...we havent seen a white whale yet, but its fun looking.
We went whale-watching from Monterrey with Len, Sylvia and Nick (Coburn), and from Dana
Point near San Diego. Total species count: Blue whales, humpback whales, sealions, grampus
and Pacific white-sided dolphins.
Humpback whales in Monterrey - Cetaceans
Little League Baseball
We all love baseball - Henry (9) plays, and we just try to figure out the
rules. Just rounders, really, played with gloves on - but taken far more seriously.
Soccers more familiar. Henry played The Beautiful Game with a junior
team, the Tornados.
Alice holds her piece exhibited alongside
works by African Artists
Alice (12) had a sculpture (Gazette passim)
selected for an exhibition by her art teacher. The opening party was in a high street
gallery in Berkeley.
Off to the ball
Cheshire Cat Productions 2003