About Me

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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Shopping and things

I have started Christmas shopping in earnest. I went out and got some of the things for the stocking fillers today, which doesn't sound like much but they add up - even the socks etc I love Christmas, even now that the children are grown up we still have stockings etc.

I also love the way ever family has a different way of doing Christmas, and of course every way is the only proper way to do it. We usually have baked ham and mashed potato for Christmas eve. The girls usually go out after dinner on Christmas eve because lots of their school friends who have moved away come back for the holiday, and they go out to the pub in the evening so they catch up with each other. Brian and I laze around the house instead, nibbling cheese and drinking wine. I used to go to midnight mass so I would stay up and go out at 11.00 to go to church, but it is much harder work now I am older, so I have given up that one.

Instead we head off to bed and I put the kids stockings outside their bedroom doors despite the fact that they are all still up after I go to bed. They do however ignore their stockings until the morning. In the morning I open my stocking and look at all the nice things the kids have given me. Brian and I have tea or coffee, then I will put the turkey into the oven and leave it to get on with cooking I will go to mass at 9.00 and Brian will head off to his house to get the presents for his own kids, which he will then take over to them at their mother's house.

The kids will be up when I get back from church. Well, the girls are, Adam isn't. Nic usually has been and done her horse, though last year she was working till about 11.30 (horses don't take Xmas off). Then we will have coffee and get the veg and stuff going. When we are all ready we open the Prosecco, get the smoked salmon, the thin brown bread and start the real Christmas stuff. Kate hands out the presents one at a time, and we all watch as everyone opens their own presents. We drink Prosecco, eat smoked salmon, cook veg, probably eat chocolates until dinner is ready, and then we eat it.

The we loaf, maybe walk the dog, maybe play a game, maybe watch tv.

I love it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Emperor's new clothes

We have just been to a bloody boring concert. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales are doing a series of 3 composer portraits of contemporary composers, and the first was Simon Holt tonight. It was crap.

We go to a lot of contemporary concerts because Brian is a contemporary classical composer. A lot of them are crap.

A lot of them are dull, repetitive and unimaginative.

There seems to have been little progress since the 1960s in some ways. While not saying that the very squeeky gate and aleatoric stuff produced then was long lasting, any more than the aleatoric writing of william Burroughs may be long lasting, it was (then) original, and provocative.

However now - in most art forms - we seem to be stuck into a state where repetition is acceptable, and regarded as creative. Rachel Whitemead continues to make concrete casts of buildings - perhaps once has an artistic statement, but to keep repeating it makes it no longer art, it makes it craft, like throwing pottery mugs on a larger scale.

All 4 pieces of Simon Holt's tonight were very similar. He either has frenetic string playing, or oompa brass playing, or both together. There was no actual music, nothing memorable, nothing narrative, nothing subtle, nothing original. We went for a drink to drown our sorrows.

Richard,Brian's middle son, is a film writer. He has written a script which various people have said is excellent, but it isn't a script which people want to make into a film because it doesn't fit into a niche which the accountants know will make money. At a party last week he met two girls who want to study fine art. They want to paint. The art colleges, while admitting that they have talent, tell them they cannot study painting, they have to create installations instead. Painting isn't art anymore.

The London Olympic bit had a significant arts strand and part of that strand was 'legacy'. They announced the first 12 successful bids last week and all of them are temporary, installation type pieces and apparently fill the 'legacy'commitment by saying that the people who took part will remember them.

More CRAP.

And expensive crap.

I know I sound like an old fart, but surely imagination, and skill, and talent should have a part to play in art. It shouldn't be like Damien Hurst selling empty nothings to people with more money than sense.

Sometimes I despair.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beautiful shoes

I have bought some beautiful shoes to wear to the wedding. They have snazzy silver heels and lovely sparkly stars - which sounds a bit naff, but they are lovely. So here is a picture of them.

I didn't get much else, though I did pick up a nice jacket for work from the charity shop (again).

It is getting wintery now, with wind and rain. The clocks go back tonight so we get an extra hour of sleep, but I bet I will just wake up an hour earlier. Ho hum.

Friday, October 23, 2009

2 stone down


I have now lost 2 stone.

I am now a size 14 (not quite round the bust but nearly - certainly am round the bottom half)

I am really delighted.

I have treated myself to a steak and 2 glasses of wine tonight, and tomorrow I will go and look for some new clothes.

I still have 1 stone to go, though I don't think I will reach that by Kate's wedding, I hope I may reach it by Christmas. The I will be at my target weight of 10 stone 8 lbs which is reasonable at my age and after 3 kids. That works out at half a stone per child above my lowest good weight.

Pretty impressive eh?????

I am happy bunny.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wedding outfit shopping

I took yesterday off work to go looking for wedding garments. The diet has worked (and is still working) very well, but I have lost more off the bottom half than the top half so far. I am hoping that this will even out, but at the moment I am not a 14 on the top. This made trying on dresses a very depressing experience.

I tried on LOTS of dresses. Part of the problem is that empire line and high waists are back in which if you have a big bum and small bust is flattering. The other way round - no. Not a good look. Plus the fact that in the run up to Xmas the shops thing everything needs to be black or red. Or very highly patterned. Or 60s smock type things which, if you have done maternity clothes, is not a look you want to go back to.

I also walked 5 miles. Out of curiosity I used the pedometer, and it was just under 5 miles by the time I finished, so who says shopping isn't exercise?

I tried on a couple of skirts which were ok, and then tried on a trouser/halter neck dress combo/catsuit thing (hard to describe but do not think Avengers here) which was really flattering, very comfy and I bought it. Black and silver. Not very mother of the bride, but as traditional mother of the bride was not a look I wanted anyway that is ok. Why do MOTBs wear suits they would never normally contemplate? They are all very similar and require the big hat to finish them off - I did look in one shop at MOTB stuff and fled quickly. Not me at all.

I also got 2 skirts (v unusual for me) , 1 pair of trousers and a top for everyday from the charity shops, which I am really pleased with, and which give me more choice for day to day now that so many of my clothes don't fit.

Very successful day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Phone problems

My mobile phone - which I got in January - ceased to work. And by that I mean that the speaker had gone so I couldn't hear anyone at all, which was not helpful. So I sent it back to Motorola via an Orange shop in Barry and eventually (after chasing them) they sent it back and the speakers worked. Hooray. But....

the charger no longer fits. How bizarre is that? The shop and another shop were baffled, and a new charger was £14.99, whereas I could buy a new phone for £14, so I gave up with the jinxed phone and got the £14 one which is very nice actually. Weird.

We had a pleasant surprise Saturday night over the weekend. I do not mean that Saturday night was in itself a surprise as we had expected that, however we had no ideas about going out and socialising which was what we did. We went to Pembrokeshire to B's cottage for the weekend and Saturday morning we went to St Davids for a walk. There were signs for a concert of Rachmaninov's Vespers that night in the Cathedral, so we went. As we got there and found two friends there also, who don't live locally, so we went out for a drink with them afterwards as well. really lovely.

I must go as the ironing is waiting

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Management system

We are getting a new library management system and I am project managing the migration. Increasingly over the next few months I will be getting down into the nitty gritty detail of the new system as we decide how to use it and how we want it to work, what it will do and what it won't do.

At the moment we are getting really into the set up and mapping all the details of our system so that we can put all the data on the existing system into the right pigeon holes in the new system. Basically it is like packing up a house and you have to say exactly where you want everything put in the new house, including which drawers to put the socks in and how to fold the jumpers. It goes a bit beyond the "make sure you know where the kettle is". I have a horrible feeling that once we go past the wedding - people are interested in that and I can chat to anyone about it, that I am going to get very boring as I get more absorbed in computer stuff.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Puppy sitting

We have been puppy sitting this weekend. Nicky volunteered to dogsit for a friend who was going to a wedding, which was all fine and good. Except that she ended up working both Saturday and Sunday so Mum and Brother get to do the dog sitting.

The dog is a 13 week old Siberian Husky puppy who is as pretty as a picture, with beautiful markings and lovely blue eyes. She is very affectionate and friendly, with lovely soft fur, and all in all was a poppet except......

Although we were told she was house trained she is still so young that when she gets excited she piddles automatically. She did ask to go out, but she also peed on the hall, tv room and Adam's bedroom floor. Fortunately only one was carpted, however we decided to keep her to the kitchen and tv room after that and away from the carpets.

She loved the back garden and raced round and round and round and dug some things up, so as it was a beautiful day we left the back door open so all was fine.
Until bedtime.

At home she sleeps in the bedroom. I don't allow my dogs upstairs and the animals certainly do NOT sleep in the bedrooms, so Jess stayed downstairs. Adam went to bed about 3 and she started crying , then howling. By 4.30 in an effort to let Adam get some sleep as his room is over the tv room we gave in and Nicky had her in her room.

Nic then went to work at 7.30 and Jess started howling again, so Brian took her out to the garage (away from Adam's room) tied her to the lawnmower and let her howl until we got up at about 9. She is one very spoilt little puppy. The trouble is that she is going to grow into a fairly big strong dog, and she is getting away with being a lap dog now, but she is going to be too big when she is grown. Plus the separation anxiety thing kept me in the tv room all Sunday morning till 1.00 (by which time I thought it reasonable for Adam to be woken by the howling) so I did the ironing, and as the weather was awful today I couldn't leave the back door open.

I don't have a lot of patience with owners who spoil their animals like that because it isn't doing the dog any favours, nor the owners who won't be able to leave her with anyone, who can't take her anywhere unless she can sleep in their room - daft. Talk about making life difficult for yourself.

She's a lovely little dog, and very bright, she can already sit to command, and was hilarious when we walked her this morning. She only has a short lead so I borrowed a long lunge line from Nicky (used for lunging horses and about 10m long) to go out for a walk this morning and it turned out a bit like skipping with a long rope for Brian and I as she ran back and round and we had to keep jumping over the rope. It was very funny though.

Thankfully they picked her up at lunchtime, so I could escape to do some things in the rest of the house. She's a lovely dog, but we won't have her back unless she is taught to sleep alone at night.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Diet progress

Well I have now lost one and a half stone - which sounds a lot more than 21 lbs and am halfway to my goal. It is getting a bit harder in a way because I am losing less each week than earlier - which is inevitable - and the desire to eat other things is getting greater. However I am mostly still managing to stick to it, though I may start to cluck soon as I am eating so much chicken. I was at a work thing today which did provide lunch, though as I could eat absolutely none of it I decided to depart and go back to the office.

I am down to size 14 in trousers, and down a bra size, though I need to work on the bust and tummy which are the areas where I still need to lose weight, so am starting to do a few sit ups etc.

I am still painting sticks, silver and white and sprayed a lot of teazle silver last Sunday which looks lovely actually. I have only a few more sticks to paint and then I will focus on cupcake recipes. It is all fun though.