About Me

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holidays are good

I am off work this week and having a lovely idle time. Sadly B now has the cold, as does Kate, which as tomorrow is B's 60th birthday is very unfortunate.

We went out for a meal with all B's kids last night to celebrate his birthday, and he got his presents from them last night. They bought a set of 3 paintings by a Pembrokeshire artist which you can see here, so it worked out at one picture each. He was absolutely thrilled with them. His actual birthday is 31 December, so I will give him his present from me then, but it isn't as exciting, though I think he will like it anyway. It is great that his kids put so much thought and effort into his present, and I like it that his best present is from them anyway.

we had a really good meal too.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


This is Llantwit Major beach taken on Boxing day, after the snow had gone, while we were still having a lovely day. It started raining about half an hour later, but we had finished the walk and were back in the car before it poured.
These oystercatchers were all on the campsite at Newgale. As you can see from the photos below the flooding in the field would have meant that any camping was out of the question. It usually floods in the winter in the middle but this year it is almost completely under.
The building in the middle is the pub, and the field to the left is the campsite, the van is marooned up to its axles in water in the car park
Another view of the campsite under water.

The weather is extraordinary this year. Floods in the autumn, snow and ice before the end of December. How can anyone not believe in global warming?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Added Christmas highlights

Highlights of Christmas day included:

smoked salmon and prosecco

playing Cranium which included Brian trying to spell 'fluorescent' by starting it 'ph' (too much wine perhaps)

Doctor Who on tv

nice walk with the dog to shake down the turkey

people being here

the cold skipping over the sore throat part

Lazy Day

Yesterday was a lovely Christmas day.

All my kids - including the new son-in-law - were here. We had stockings in the morning and presents before lunch. I got new Ugg boots for my present from the children which are lovely and warm and like wearing slippers outside. Extremely good for the cold weather we have been having. We had the whole traditional turkey dinner and lots of nice cheese and generally had a very indulgent day. It was great.

Today the kids are going to their dad's, though 2 of them are at work, so don't go till after work. Brian has his kids over to his house and cooks for them, so I have a completely lazy day when I don't have to do anything. There are plenty of leftovers to eat so I don't have to cook particularly. Another self indulgent day. However you don't get very many completely self indulgent days in the year, so I intend to make the most of it.

Nic works as an exercise rider for a race horse trainer, so we know a bit more about racing than we used to, and I have put a bet on one of the horses she rides in a big race today. (£5 each way so we aren't talking megabucks here).

I have changed my picture at the top. Stepping out into the future perhaps.

Monday, December 21, 2009

100th Post

This is my 100th post. My new year resolution to keep a blog for the year has lasted well I think.

We had snow last night. I woke up and saw the white garden with some surprise as I thought it had been raining.

We found a train for Adam to take to work, which got him to work only about 10 minutes late, so he will use that again in bad weather I think. He starts work so early (7am) that the roads are dangerous. However as he seems to have a tummy bug this evening i don't think he will be going to work at all anyway.

I hate this sort of weather. We aren't equipped for it as a country and it makes me really worry about everyone because of the dangers of driving. fret, fret.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Swindon not Essex

We went to Swindon, which did not have snow. And it was a good thing we didn't go to Essex because they had lots more snow.

We had a lovely time. We ate well, watched Strictly Come Dancing final, drank champers, and enjoyed ourselves.

On the plus side as well was the fact that I got home in time to go and sing in the carol concert.

Every year we (the choir I am in) sing as part of a service of lessons and carols in Ewenny Priory church on the Sunday before Christmas. Because of the family get together I was going to miss it this year, however this was the silver lining as I went along to sing. It was nice because lots of people said how glad they were that I was there, which is very nice.


This is the church we sing in, which is a medieval stone church, and despite 2 jumpers and a coat, was more than a bit chilly!. However we had a good sing and it is a real start to Christmas as well.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bloody weather

It is threatening more snow according to the weather forecast, so although we could get to Essex, we run the risk of possibly not getting back, so are playing safe and not going.

I am really disappointed.

we are going to Kate's tonight, which is nearer and not snowy, so we will cheer ourselves up there. In the meantime the Martins have enough food for 15 people and not that many to eat it. They may have to invite the neighbours in.

So instead of partying I have sorted out the house insurance, paid some bill and washed the kitchen floor.

Hmm. Not the most fun ever.

I shall go and have coffee now instead.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family weekend

We are going to Essex tomorrow.

Tonight it is going to snow there. Heavy snow.

So the question is - will it be too snowy to travel tomorrow?

The next question is why didn't it wait till after this weekend?

Drat. I hate winter.

I want to have a nice big family pre-Christmas party. I also want to have a Strictly come dancing final party after that. I need to be in Essex to do both those things, so fingers crossed we don't have much snow.

I realise that for other countries we hardly ever get any snow worth talking about, but the inch or two we get seems to create total chaos as we are never equiped to handle it. Ho hum.

On an even less cheerful note it seems that all the high and mighty at the Copenhagen summit are much more concerned with their self images and politics than in the fate of the planet, and are so busy squabbling about little things that the big things haven't even got a mention yet.

We need to devise a system which doesn't need politicians to run it.

Other than a dictatorship.

Ho hum again.

I must go and pack, working on the theory that the weather isn't going to stop the party.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I am on my second Japanese car. Both of them have terrible polite horns. They give a polite, fairly high pitched, meep sort of noise. It is as though the cars, like the Japanese, are brought up to be very polite and self effacing. They don't say get out of my way, they say, excuse me please, may I trouble you to let me past? The various Renault cars have a hearty, loud, and very French parp noise, as if to say - gangway, I am coming through!.

I would need to do some research into this but I am beginning to think that there is a profound sociological study in the waiting here. Car horns as indicators of national character.

Profound, eh?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


That was supposed to say Cars yet again!

Care yet again

We spent most of last week looking cars up on the internet, to sort out possible cars for Ad as his will be written off. Not knowing how much the insurance company will pay out is a bit limiting but we found some possibles and went off to look at them on Saturday morning. Some places we couldn't actually find, but we did find a good car in the third port of call in Cardiff. We got a 2001 little Nissan Micra which only has 31k miles on it, and has clearly been used for local pottering only, which is all to the good. Ad liked it a lot, and we have bought it, the money being put up by Ad's father until the insurance company pays out. It was also a very reasonable price which is good. It is a curious light blue green colour, a sort of very pale kingfisher, but is down on the documents as grey. I don't know what sort of glasses they give people who write the log books.

Nic has been getting lifts for two weeks with a friend but as she works in the middle of nowhere, and keeps her horse near there she has been stretching the bonds of friendship especially as she has to do her horse before starting work at 7.30 am. Her car is still in the garage while the insurance company decide whether it is repairable after having been in a flood area. So we had instructions to buy her something mobile for less than £500 which we nearly did. She is now the proud possessor of a shed of and Escort with 6 months mot. However it drives nicely, and although the suspension isn't great it will be worse when she has driven it round where she works for a couple of months.

On another topic I have (no idea why) done my top 5 desert island book and music choices. Once you get past 5 there is too much choice, but many of these have been constant for years now

Handel - Messiah - lots of memories of Dad cooking Sunday morning breakfast, and I can sing it all without needing a score

Bach - St Matthew Passion - just sublime

Rachmaninov - Vespers - the first time I heard it I cried all the way through and it is sublime

Shostakovich - Both piano concertos

John Williams playing Spanish guitar music - we love this cd and play it a lot. Brian used to actually play a lot of the pieces on the cd when he was performing

and as a bonus
Vaughn Williams cd with Lark ascending, Variations on a theme of Thomas Tallis, Dives and Lazarus, and 5 Tudor Portraits (and if possible the Sea Symhphony)


Austen - Pride and Prejudice

Dickens - Bleak House

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - Good Omens (love it)

T S Eliot collected works

Big fat poetry anthology, though not sure which. I love the Rattle Bag and Other Men's Flowers but an Oxford one might have more in it.

After these the vary a lot

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cars again

Both cars are now in the same garage in Bridgend waiting for the insurance companies to make decisions. When Nic spoke to them yesterday they said 'I think we have your brother's car here too' It doesn't look like we have a very good record of looking after cars does it?

If they both get written off then I will be spending most of next weekend looking at cars instead of doing Xmas things as planned

Ho Hum.

Still come what may I will be putting up our tree and the decorations next weekend.

Tonight I need to write Xmas cards which I am late doing. Oh dear.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bad car day

Last week didn't improve a lot on Friday. I got a phone call from Ad at 7am to say he had crashed his car on the way to work. However, fortunately, he is absolutely fine, though the car is probably a write off. He skidded on a main road on black ice, and the car is a sad looking thing now. We should hear tomorrow whether they are going to write it off, and then we have to go get another one as he needs it to get to work. For this week he is staying with his dad in Cardiff, though Mike will have to get up early as there are no buses early enough.

Nicky took her car through a deep puddle (small pond) and it has since died. The garage suggested that she claim for it because the engine could be very expensive to mend, so she has done that and both cars are in the same garage in Bridgend waiting for different insurance companies to assess tthem.


However no people were damaged so that is the important thing

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bad news days

Yesterday was not a good day.

It is the anniversary of my brother's death, and it was only a year since he died, and part of me still does not really believe it.

Yesterday we got the news that a (not very close) friend who we have known for years died. She has had cancer for some time and had been in hospital but her death was unexpected. Although she was in her 70s that isn't old these days, especially not from the vantage point of someone heading to 60.

We also had news of another friend. This is a closer friend, and she is only in her early 40s. Her youngest children are still in primary school, her husband works away quite a lot. She had breast cancer a couple of years ago, but seemed to have recovered well and was back to usual. When I saw her a few weeks ago she had a very bad, sore and painful neck, and was scheduled for an MRI. I found out yesterday that there is cancer in the top two vertebrae in her neck and it is also in other areas. She is in hospital, getting radiotherapy and chemo, but it isn't something you can ever cure. She is feeling that this is the beginning of the end, which I sincerely hope it isn't. I hope that the treatment will bring it under control and give here more years of enjoying life, but who can tell? She is one of a group of 6 of us who started as a book club and have extended ourselves into a dinner club with books. we were due to go out for a Christmas meal in a couple of weeks, which we have cancelled because none of us feel like going with J in hospital.

It is truly awful.

There is another friend who thought her breast cancer was under control and has had more tumours appear, and is now getting chemo. She is being very positive, but who knows?

There seems to be so much cancer about. I don't remember my parents having so many people with cancer. Is it because we aren't having as many heart attacks that we are surviving and getting cancer later?

All I know is that it is awful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No progress yet

Still no progress on the computer front. The spate of emails between the IT department and Infor (th company who make the system) which were going back and forewards yesterday have ceased today Yesterday the emails were of the sort where many of the individual words made sense eg tunnel, firewall, etc the actual sentences didn't as they were totally in tech speak. After one email this morning talking about pcs nothing - an ominous silence.

Oh dear.

The weather is getting wintery. Ugh. I hate the wet, the dark and the cold.

My heating keeps not turning itself on for some reason and I keep having to trip it manually which is irritating. And now Adam is working full time I don't have my handy person at home to let the gas man in at any time, which means I would need to take time off to get them here.

However Christmas is coming and I love Christmas, so that is something to look forward to.