About Me

Llantwit Major, Wales, United Kingdom
I am mother, librarian, avid reader, sf fan, writer (unpubished), singer(amateur), animal lover, needlewoman.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Garage tidying

TodayI have been tidying the garage. This is an annual event but not one that is high up the list of things you look forward to. It gets to the point where you can't walk across the garage or find anything and then it all needs sorting out. It would be sensible to keep it tidy but we aren't really very good at that, and with Nicky being the messiest of us and the one who has the most stuff. There is no tack room where she keeps her horse so a lot of horse stuff ends up there as well.

This time I am being really radical and I am going to throw out stuff that has been kept "just in case" including old tins of paint etc. I've done half of it, then went off shopping with Nic for bridesmaid dress, which was successful. Then we went to the supermarket. Now I am watching 'The Muppets take Manhatten'.

Friday, August 28, 2009

End of summer

So, summer is over and we are heading into Autumn. The last month has been more like autumn than summer anyway, with rain, wind and occasional bits of sun.

I can't believe what I am hearing. The Rugby Union in Wales are going to be importing 14 Canadians to help along the North Wales rugby teams. What?? Aren't there enough players in Wales already? This country is obsessed by rugby so why the need to import Canadians?

On a brighter note the new racecourse in Carmarthen, Ffos Las, officially opened today, with capacity crowds, and certainly Nicky's boss sent 6 horses to the races, so I must find out if he won anything.

My diet is going well and I am losing weight which is encouraging. I'm not allowed wine but I am having a G&T instead.

Hooray for Bank Holiday weekends!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Strictly back!

I am so excited that Strictly come dancing is back soon. September is looking really good as we have Strictly back so there is something to watch on Saturdays, and the new John Lewis shop is opening in Cardiff as well.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Complicated heaters

Brian and I had a fun weekend. He has ordered new, more efficient, storage heaters for the cottage so that when he retires he can be warm and it not cost a fortune. They came in nice boxes with the bricks outside - 6 bricks per heater. There were instructions with the heaters and instructions with the separate controller and receivers (so you can programme time and temperature etc). As usual the instructions were less than completely clear. It took both of us reading, and rereading, looking at the places we had to wire the cables to, and arguing about what we were meant to be doing most of the morning to figure it out.

The controller and receiver came without back boxes so we trooped off to Wickes to buy some and guess what - they aren't a standard size, so we couldn't do anything about attaching them to the wall. Why? Why send something out like that? The supplier is now contacting Dimplex to find out where we can get the boxes. But I think they should have come with boxes. You can't use them without so what is the point of sending them in their nice little cardboard boxes if you can't actually do anything with them until you buy a little metal back box?

Brian spent most of the weekend wiring the heaters up. They have a main cable going into the off peak electricity box. They have another main cable which plugs into a normal power point and runs the fan and the booster. Then they have another cable which attaches to the receiver which attaches to an isolater unit which then has to be wired into the mains. All these cables have to wired into a tiny area with stupid fiddly little screws. Why make it so difficult? We've been using electricity for a while now, can't we make it easier to wire things up?

So this weekend Brian gets to do the rest of it.

I am going wedding shopping with Kate instead and leaving him to it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

E reader

I had a look at the Sony e- reader in a shop at the weekend. It was actually quite impressive. It was the size of a large paperback but very skinny, 50mm probably, with control buttons on the bottom. It has the ability to bookmark your pages, select any of the books kept on it, vary the font size and the page looks like a paperback book, the page is off white with very clear black print. It comes with 100 classic novels and if you get a memory chip you can keep up to 1600 books on it. That is the good bit.

I read all the reviews on Amazon out of curiosity because - as a librarian - I wondered if we would be asked for download books in the not too distant future. Everyone loved the Sony reader. They all thought it worked really well and was extremely well designed, robust, readable etc etc.

There was universal condemnation of Waterstones who are Sony's partners in the UK. Their website is awful apparently, the prices of the e books is generally higher than their paper versions which, as there are no production or transportation costs, is pissing everyone off. The selection of e books is still poor with lots of books that people want not available in this country.

The digital rights management software which comes with the reader is apparently very clunky and not user friendly so lots of people are recommending alternatives, which are much easier and also work with Macs (Sony never make anything that works with Macs). One person who has not managed to come to terms with it has been reading the 100 classics and did say that he can see why they are classics as they are very good books.

It seems that the technology has outstripped the ability of the publishing and bookselling worlds to keep up (again). Publishers have still not managed to really come to grips with electronic delivery of serial items and the copyright laws are even further behind. But the main problem in the UK seems to be the lack of suitable books and suppliers. The USA is much better served in this area apparently, but because of copyright can't sell in the UK.

The idea of one of these really appeals to me because I would love to carry one slip item when I go on holiday instead of a bag full of books, but I would like to be able to buy the books I want to read, and I don't want to be ripped off on the price either. So I don't think I will be investing my £200 anytime soon, but when they get cheaper (as they will) and the number and cost of books improves I really think I would like one.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A little visual amusement

The guy is part of a drainpipe on a building in Oxford. I'm not sure whether the builder had a real thing about Alice in Wonderland, or perhaps Tenniel saw this and used it as inspiration, but he does look uncannily like some of the illustrations,
This is how not to open an umbrella. On a wet day I managed to open it with vim and vigour and pushed the slider past the clip, so it turned inside out. Here we have B trying to fix it, which sadly he failed to do so we abandoned the now broken umbrella to its fate and got wetter.
This chap is on a post by the dock at St Justinian's in Pembrokeshire. I have no idea why he is there or what he is supposed to mean, but he made us laugh, which is sufficient reason to have him there.

Today we are having a Barbeque for Kate's 30 birthday and the day has dawned grey and dismal. I hope that
a) it cheers up and the sun comes out later
b) it doesn't actually rain!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More about food

The diet has gone well in week 1 and I lost 5lbs. After the first few days I got less starvingly hungry and settled into it. Onward and downward!

However it has made me realise how many ads on tv are concerned with food!! So many with so much delectable nosh, making the saliva drool. It does heighten the awareness of how much we are tempted by food, and tempted by things we don't particularly need - cakes, sweets, boozeetc. It is a bit tantalising to me because of the diet, and for anyone on a diet - especially those with an unhealthy relationship with food - it is waving temptation under your eyes, but thankfully, not under your nose. Imagine how awful it would be if we had smellivision! Imagine watching those ads for roast and smelling a roast dinner, or chips, or bacon - it would be horrible and so very difficult to resist.

The other people who must find it hard are people who can't afford the food on the screen. Though that problem goes wider than food, and children's tv showing expensive toys has always posed problems to people with limited resources.

It is - if you will pardon the phrase - food for thought.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I have started a diet. This is another diet as I have done many over the years, and none of them have really worked. However as I am going to be mother of the bride in November I do have a serious motive. Lots of pictures which I cannot avoid being in are a strong incentive.

I am trying the diet regime which my daughter has used which is the Cambridge diet and it works on a very low calorie meal replacement, at varying levels of calorie intake as you progress. So I began yesterday and today I am hungry. I use the packets of prepared porridge/soup/shake for 2/3 meals and get to eat food in the evening, but the food available is fairly limited. I am a bit worried that I won't keep it up because I can't say I am very thrilled by the food so far. Months of cup a soups isn't terribly enticing, however as I get used to it and figure out how to make the food taste better I suppose.

Diets are strange things in themselves really. There is nothing like being told you can't have something to make you want it, and many people with a need to diet have a bad relationship with food, so in a way by going on a diet they set up additional stresses in their relationship with food. It does seem to be a Western problem that people eat too much and get fat, or use it as a weapon in a complex personal battle of bulemia or anorexia. Why is food such complicated thing ?

It can be a sign of love, of hate, of self loathing, of greed, of pleasure, of comfort, of need, to mention just a few. Some people have little interest in food and just eat to survive. Some enjoy food but find it easy to stop after a small amount. Others have a problem finding that stopping point and overeat, sometimes to extremes.

I watched part of a programme about a disorder where people never feel full and they will just keep on eating and eating, and will eventually eat themselves to death unless they are stopped. It was dreadful for them and for their families, but there are also people who do that to themselves without having a medical disorder and you see them on tv and just think 'Why?' What makes them so screwed up that they do that to themselves? But it doesn't happen overnight and things creep up on people without them being really aware of it, so they find themselves with a problem and sometimes find it very difficult to deal with, and you can see that the sense of whatever it was that made them overeat in the first place makes them less able to deal with the consequences of it and a vicious circle is created which they often can't break.

So I better stick to the diet and lose some weight.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pembrokeshire holiday

We had a lovely 2 weeks in Pembrokeshire, very relaxing, very unorganised. The first week the weather was awful, the second week we got some walks in though, between the rain showers, though the rain was more like fire hose than shower. We saw a seal having his dinner, and here he is swimming off St David's Head.
We also saw some choughs. These are a picture of some of them. They are very rare members of the crow family with red feet and beaks, but there are quite a lot of them along the South Pembs coast, and we saw these while we were walking near Marloes. They are very social birds and very chatty.

This is just a fancy picture which I took at Marloes castle, through the hole in a wall.

We had a really lazy time and really did not want to go back to work. However ....

Statistic from the weather man yesterday - this July has been the wettest in Britain since 1888!!!!!!

I believe it.