About Me

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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring and Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden - entrance to carriage yardHalf timbered houses in Saffron Walden.
These are nice examples of pargetting. It is common in Essex where brick was rare, and the stone was flints. There are patterns make in the plaster to be decorative, and the plaster comes in different colours as well.
Snowdrops and crocuses - spring is coming at last thank the lord
More snowdrops. I love them. They are so delicate and so tough at the same time.

Saffron Walden is such a pretty town.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gas and electric maze

I have been trying to fathom the best supplier, with the best (ie cheapest) rates to provide my gas and electricity.

It is a minefield.

There are dozens of different schemes by dozens of different suppliers, and although I don't think I am dimmer than average, I find myself baffled. I looked at my current bills, but you get x amount of gas at rate 1 then the rest as rate 2. The same with the electricity. I pay monthly, but I was underpaying last year, so now I am overpaying to make up therefore my bills mean nothing to gauge an average from, and the rates need a computer of their own to calculate the real differences between suppliers.

I have looked at 4 comparison sites. E.on (who are my current supplier) came out top on 2 of them, various other on the other.


I think I shall phone Eon and tell them British gas have told me they are cheaper and see what they offer me to stay with them. You need to have a degree in maths to work your way through all of this.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

MOT..and opera

Ooops. I have found out that the mot on my car has expired this week. I have tried to get in somewhere today, but failed, so have to get it done tomorrow. Not my ideal way to spend Sunday, but I suppose I should have noticed earlier.

However I am going out tonight. I am meeting a friend to go and see Mozart's 'Escape from the Seraglio', about which I know nothing. However she had an extra ticket and asked if I would like to go, to which I said yes please, so am going off to Cardiff to see it tonight. However as I should not be driving my car at all I have swapped with Brian and am driving his instead. I have a diddy little Honda Jazz, and he has a great big Passat estate, which you cannot get into my drive in one turn when the antisocial neighbours have their trailer parked across from my house. I think he is a bit worried I will damage it, but he has nobly refrained from giving me any advice or such like. Quite heroic really.

The people across the road run a driving school, plus they have grown up sons, so they have lots of cars around, and they are terribly antisocial parkers. The trailer they use for the trailer test training lives on the corner of the road opposite our house and takes up an unfair amount of space really. I know we have a lot of cars as well, but I don't run a driving school and you would expect them to be better at parking and having due consideration for others. Not so.

Yesterday Nic had someone slide into the back of her banger of an Escort because he was following too closely through the lanes, on icy roads, so when she had to brake for an oncoming car, he slid into the back of her and has dented the door and the wingmirror. However as the car is probably going to be scrapped after it fails its mot in May, there is no point in claiming. She did however phone up the company to complain about his driving right up her backside along single track lanes in icy conditions. Stupid. He tried to say she was driving fast, but as she was in second gear and the people coming towards her said she wasn't that didn't hold water.
She is just glad it wasn't a decent car that got dented.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brain death is imminent

The pace is hotting up with the work for the new management system, and I am facing imminent brain death because my brain is getting so full I now need to write everything down. Oh dear.

On the bright side I have some clothes I ordered from Oxfam's second hand shop which arrived today, so I will go and try them on later. It is so nice getting stuff which is so cheap, and some of which is in excellent condition. It makes shopping almost a virtue.

Dick Francis died this week. he was 89 so it wasn't unexpected but I did feel a real pang of regret because he has given me huge amounts of enjoyment over the years. He didn't write great books, and he wasn't a great writer in terms of style, but he wrote cracking stories which you read with thrills and excitement. They are real page turners. He also wrote about the world he knew - horse racing - so when you read the stories you discover a lot about horse racing and the things and people around racing as well. In his later books he spread his subjects further out to glass blowing, shooting and other things. The last few books were written with his son, and you can tell that the son was writing them because they just aren't as good. They lack the pace and the ability to grip which Dick Francis's books have. Sad that there won't be any more.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wales win

What a surprise!

Scotland were in the lead of the match yesterday up to 10 minutes from the end, when they started fouling and had 2 men sent off. Wales suddenly galvanised into action, and scored 17 points in the last 10 minutes, including a score just seconds before the end pulling victory out of the hat.

Nic and I were jumping up and down on the couch yelling them on.

I didn't win the sweep, but Wales did win the match. I felt sorry for the Scots though, because they played better for most of the game.

It has been a beautiful spring day here and we went for a walk along the coast, along with lots of other people. Sadly the cafe was shut, so we had to come home for our tea, which was very welcome.

You cannot beat a cup of tea after a walk in the sun.

I saw my first spring lambs today as well.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wales Rugby team - really what are they doing?

I am not a sports fan. I like watching gymnastics and things with horses. However living in Wales does mean you end up taking an interest in rugby - at least the 6 Nations. Apart from anything else when you live near Cardiff you need to know when it is going to be heaving with fans. But it is something that everyone takes a bit of interest in, even me. I don't watch the games, but I sort of keep up with who is winning, that sort of thing.

We are doing a sweep on the matches at work (£1 per game) this year so I have to guess who will win and what the score will be.

Last week against England Wales lost lamentably, and even I could see they were playing badly. I have bet on Scotland to win today, even though they haven't won in Cardiff for years, and have just turned the tv on to see that after 35 minutes the score is 18-6 to Scotland. Oh dear. I might win the sweep though

Friday, February 12, 2010


This working 7 days a week is getting me now. I am really tired.

The problem I have is that when I get hyper I actually sleep poorly and am waking up at about 5am most days, which doesn't help.

Roll on 10 March!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Books have arrived

I have had three apologetic emails from Amazon, they have confirmed with HDN that they will deliver my books, and sent me £3, which I will spend on something small enough to go through the letter box.

Although I didn't have my books delivered to the next town (!) like poor Oreneta, I am still sufficiently peeved that I will not be ordering much from them in the future.

I am loving my iPod. I am putting music on it as I type this. I have listened to two episodes of the Newsquiz, and the gizmo that should enable me to listen to it in the car has also arrived.

So I shall go and play with my iPod now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bad Amazon

I am seriously ticked off with Amazon.

I ordered books for my bookclub 10 days ago. Up till last year they would have been on my doorstep from Amazon within days. Not now!

I should have remembered from Christmas because I ordered Ad's new car radio from Amazon and had problems with the delivery then, but I forgot.

They are using Home Network Delivery now and they are useless. Lat Thursday or Friday I got home to find the 'tried to deliver but you were out' card.

Phoned up.

At 10p per minute (!) I sat through the automated replies till I got to a person and then spent a ridiculously long time arranging for the delivery to come today and be put into the garage, which I would leave open. Collecting them is out of the question because the depot is an hour's drive away. Having them sent to work is out of the question because they want you available 7-7 and anyway they won't deliver to my office because it is a different depot, so getting them redelivered is the only possibility.

Bookclub is tonight.

I get home tonight but not to a parcel of book, I get another 'tried to deliver but you were out' card.

Incensed I phone them again (10p per minute) and got someone who told me that they hadn't had a confirmation of the rearrangement! They will try again tomorrow.

I had emailed Amazon after the first time and told them the system was crap, and got a woolly sorry but.... email in reply.

I have sent them another email saying how p*ssed I am and that I won't be buying from them again.

They used to be really good, and they are now rubbish. It is slow (if they ever get here) and they are costing me money in phone calls, wasting my time, and getting my blood pressure raised.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I have bought myself an iPod, it is a second hand square one (3rd generation apparently) but it arrived today and I am charging it up now as I type this. I have also ordered an FM gadget which will mean that I can listen to it in the car, which I am looking forward to. There are a variety of radio programmes which I like but which are on while I am working, so I am downloading the podcasts and will listen to them while I drive to and from work.

It is quite exciting.

It is a bit sad that it is exciting, because I ought to think more important things are exciting. I do think other things are exciting too, but at the moment I have a new toy, and do find it exciting.

Having spent all day in a meeting talking about the new computer system for the libraries with two of the company guys, I think getting excited about an iPod is OK really.

I am also pretty excited about my dinner (which is steak).

It doesn't actually take a lot to get me excited.

The question is whether or not this means I am superficial or whether it means I have a great zest for life is a good one, and one to which I have no answer.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Climate change doubters

A poll on the news tonight indicates that fewer than 1 in 4 people in the UK believe that climate change is real.

The question that springs to mind is what are those people using for brains?

Brian has a theory that most people are stupid, and things like this just confirm that belief. People seem to look at the snow we have had, say 'It's colder not warmer, they must be wrong.' There are a lot of things wrong with taking this view.

One is that the UK may very well get a lot colder with global warming because we may lose the benefit of the Gulf Stream and therefore we will end up with winters much more like Scandinavia with feet of snow every year.

Another is that climate and weather are not synonymous. Our weather is not the same as the climate for the whole world. The Americans have produced figures to say that January this year was the hottest for years globally.

Have they not noticed that our weather is up the creek anyway?

People do make you despair sometimes

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I did a calendar for Christmas presents for some people last year, which I really enjoyed. The new slideshow has got some of the pictures which did get into the calendar, and some of the ones that didn't.

I am watching an item in the news about Donald McCullum who is reknowned as a war photographer, but now takes scenic photos because he said he was getting too addicted to war and what he did made no difference.

He is one of those photographers whose pictures do burn into your brain. Not just because of the subject.

I like taking photos. I really enjoy having a nice camera and being able to take lots of different pictures which I wasn't able to with a more basic camera. I tried to sign up for a photography class this year, but the class was cancelled. Annoying, so I suppose I will just have to continue to muddle through without it.

Fun though.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Reading - some more thoughts

Following the previous post, and Oreneta's comment, it is interesting to ponder why one chooses the next book to read.

There are sometimes limitations about what is available. On holiday and at airports you pick up and read books you would never normally associate with. Occasionally they are gems, but mostly they are just passing the time. I have an obvious advantage because I work in a public library, and I buy the books, so if there is something I want to read I will usually be able to get it from stock, or buy it for the library and read it first.

Sometimes you select a book because it has come recommended, though you need to have a good idea about what other people like to read because reading tastes are so individual. You may know that a book could be a good book, but it isn't a book which will particularly appeal to you.

I am going to start reading books for the Dagger in the Library award from the Crime Writers Association soon, so I will be reading crime books suggested by lots of other people. Some of them I will enjoy and some I will hate, and some will be just dull.

Sometimes though you find a new author and it is like being given a prize. Here is a person who writes books that you absolutely love, and he/she has written lots of others that you have yet to read. It solves the reading dilemma for weeks if not months. How lovely!

Or you develop an interest in a subject and start reading round that topic - for me recently it has been the Russian Revolution, and there are lots of good books on that topic.

I used to review science fiction books for sf magazines which was interesting because you never knew what would come through the door. Some were good and some were awful, but because I was writing a review I had to finish it and analyse why I liked/disliked it, what was good/bad about it, whether it did/didn't achieve its objectives. If I am reading a book for pleasure then if I don't like it, or am not enjoying it, I won't finish it. Why waste time on a book I am not enjoying when there are so many out there that I would enjoy?

I don't know what I would do without books. I always have at least 1 on the go, and never travel without them. I love their generosity, the way they give me so much, open so many doors, give me information, tell me stories, make me laugh or cry, make me think or change my mood.

I think I am a bit of a bibliophile.