About Me

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Lizard in Parc Guell
Plant like chimney
Tree like supports for the park paths

Gaudi was an extraordinary architect. His work was, and is, quite original.

Looking at his work you wonder why he became an architect. Someone with such a passion for the natural world might have become a gardener, a horticulturalist something like that instead of an architect. Someone who worked with natural things instead of with concrete and metal, who grew things instead of building them, a person who watched the natural process of growth instead of planning it in a building.

His buildings, whether you look at the huge church, the park, or the apartment buildings, are curves and look like something growing in a tropical jungle, riotous and seemingly random. Bit they aren't. The display in the Sagrada familia shows the influence of the natural world which you can see in the photos above - pillars that look like trees, chimneys that look like plant stamens, plus the flowers and animals that riot everywhere, the curves instead of straight lines. But it also shows the maths which he used to create it. When I was at school we did curve stitching - using straight lines which together made curves, and many of Gaudi's effects are done the same way. Many of his buildings could only be built using reinforced concrete with a designer who has a superb grasp of exploiting the possibilities of mathematical shapes.

You also have to think about the courage of the people who commissioned his work. Barcelona at the time seemed to have a group of people with the imagination to create truly original work, but they also had planners who let them build those buildings, and people with the money, the imagination and the faith to let those architects loose.

Would he be able to build those buildings now?

Probably not.

The combination of planning restrictions, commercial pressures, and perhaps a failure of imagination would probably mean that his works would exist only on paper.

What a loss that would be.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Off to Spain!

I'm going to Spain...........

see you next week

Monday, March 22, 2010


We turned into a gambling family last Friday. Nic knew that one of Evan's horses was in good form and might place in the Triumph hurdle at Cheltenham last week, so Kate, Nic and I all placed bets each way on him and he came second. We are not huge gamblers because I put £5, Kate £10 and Nic £15 each way but we all won which is very nice indeed. I also bet on the Gold Cup which is the big race of the event, and got the winner and second, and thought about betting on the horse that came third but didn't which is annoying, as I would have won more on him than all the other. Ho hum. Quite literally you can't win them all.

Brian and I began the process of sorting out the stuff he is moving from his College house into his cottage in Pembrokeshire at the weekend. We have done the sheets and towels. We have also moved chests of drawers around, and moved lots of paintings around too. Also a plant. It was a busy day.

We are going to Spain on Thursday. Goody goody.

My shoes leaked a lot today, which as they are the short of shoes you wear in wet weather means they are now not a lot of use. Annoying.

You can see what an exciting life I lead!

However the Crime reading is coming on now we have got the computer system running. I read Hell's Fire by Chris Simms, which was a bit disappointing as the central character was very unconvincing. I skipped through a few chapters of another this morning ( can't remember who) but she gave a huge plot point away in the beginning so I found myself skipping forward past the backfilling of the plot to find out what had happened which is bad plotting. So far I haven't anyone to make me sit up and say this is great. Which is sad.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day out in Somerset

This is not as exciting as it sounds as it was for work. There is a consortium in Somerset which runs the purchasing and cataloguing for 5 authorities in Somerset and Bristol, which is quite forward looking. It is something which is being mooted for Wales, well for the SE corner of it, so a group of us went to see how they did it. Nice change from management systems.

Yesterday the new system crashed about midday. A couple of hours later they got it back up and running, and the rest of the day the network (run by our IT dept) crashed 3 times. Even our phones fail to work when the computer network goes down. It was restful, but frustrating. We are completely dependent on the computers.

My laptop is sick.

I am very sad.

It isn't connecting to the internet properly and basically isn't working with the internet. I am writing this on Nic's so I suppose we are lucky that we have 3 laptops and a desktop in the house, but I want mine back. I much prefer my Mac to this pc. I have spent most of this evening backing things up, especially photos, onto the separate hard drive. This is just in case something happens when it goes to the computer doctor. I hope it isn't serious, and I really hope it isn't expensive.

Nic has just (8.30pm) headed off to Marks and Spencers to buy a new shirt as she is off racing tomorrow. This week is the Cheltenham race meeting which is one of the highlights of the steeplechase year, and the Gold Cup on Friday one of the main events of the year. She is working tomorrow, but has taken Friday off for the Gold Cup because last year she ended up in Fakenham in Norfolk instead of Cheltenham. Kate is also going to the Gold Cup, something that has become a fixture with her as well. I should go next year.

I have also been to M&S today. The dress I got for Mother's day was too tight, so I took it back, but they didn't have it in the size up so I had a look round at the sale (hooray) and got a dress, which fits very nicely, and 2 tops all for only £3 more than the first dress. Excellent.

By the way, has anyone seen spring? We still only have a few daffs up round here, so they are a full month later than usual.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Party and Mother's day

Last night we had a little gathering. Louise moved back to Scotland last year, and is down here for a visit, so we had a gathering of about 10 of us from work to see her and catch up last night.

It was great, and we had a good natter.

Brian started off being sociable with us, but, to be fair, we were talking shop so he gave up and went to watch Lost with Nicky. It says how boring our conversation was to an outsider that Lost was an improvement as it isn't a programme that he watches so he could have no idea what was going on. Seeing that people who have watched it from the beginning have no idea what is going on either that isn't surprising. I don't watch it, but I did watch ther Reduced Shakespeare Company 15 minute version of all series so feel I have as much information as I need to have.

Today is being a lovely non productive day. It is Mother's day. Nic is off racing, Kate is painting the house and Ad was in bed but I came down to a lovely surprise of a dress, a dvd and some chocs, plus cards. All very nice indeed!! Sadly the dress is a bit tight, so I will need to change it, but maybe a size up will fit. Although I have lost a lot of weight not much has gone off the bust area so I am bigger there than round the bottom, which, as someone who has been pear shaped since puberty is odd. I have put a few pounds back on in the last month or so because I have hit the chocolate de-stress plus wine a few times (computer system).

I have tried to load 4 pictures of our walk along the beach onto Blogger but although I have made tea, drunk it, had a hot cross bun and listened to Beethoven, the pictures have still not loaded so I have given up and you aren't getting any pictures after all.

Brian and I then attacked the ivy on the back wall of the garden. A flame thrower would have helped. God it is tough stuff!!. We did a couple of feet in the corner and will come back and do some more another day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Live at last!

Yesterday we went live with the new management system. We had problems, but not major ones, we have bugs, but not major ones.

Phil, the Infor project manager, and I went round 5 of the branches during the day. It was pretty intensive, and by the time I went home at 5 I was really tired, and just sat in front of the tv all night.

Today has been remarkably quiet. I have had phone calls and emails with queries and problems, but have not been inundated. So we tried to catalogue a book today, which took 3 of us to work out how to do, but we are getting there. Or at any rate we have a map and know which direction we are going in, though we can't see the destination at the moment.

All the rest of the work which has been ignored for the last month is starting to rear its head now, so I shall have to buckle down and get on with it before I head off for the long weekend to Barcelona.

I am hoping that the snow will have gone by the time we get there - I would like some sun.

My friend Louise, who moved back to Scotland last year, is down here visiting her daughter and we are having a get together with friends from work and choir on Saturday night, which I am really looking forward to. It will be great.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nearly but not quite live.....

Today started off well. All staff were in all branch libraries, everyone was testing that the data conversion had worked, that things were as they should.

We found 3 problems which they have fixed.

we found some oddities which are to do with the way the data has transferred from the old system to the new one, which are minor and can be gradually altered.

We found a bigger problem with borrower set up but it can be fixed in reasonable time.

Where the problem lies is that the system is running slowly, and screens are freezing so you have to log off and start again. I have been sitting in the middle getting phone calls and emails from all over the county as people found problems etc. Twice today we had to phone round all the branches and ask them to log everything off, then phone them back and tell them they could go back on - we sounded like a call centre!

Eventually the boss has agreed with Infor that the conversion is satisfactory and she will sign that off. However they have said that there is a problem with the speed and stability which they have a piece of software which they want to install, partly at least because they don't meet their own quality control standards. They gave us the choice of staying offline or going online to see what happens, so we have decided to go live and see what happens.

The testing we have done today was with the libraries shut, and it isn't a real test because all the public access pcs weren't in use, and we don't have live transactions happening.

So - we shall see what happens tomorrow....

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tomorrow is go live day for the Library system

It is all go for tomorrow and hopefully it will all go well.

I have been up to my ears with work and cars (again - but we will come back to that another day) so haven't been blogging much.

Roll on next week when most of the first batch of work has been done

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Car hunting yet again!

The insurance company have written off Nic's Escort - no surprise there as she only paid £500 for it. So we are going car hunting on Sunday. Fun, fun, fun.

Insurance companies are scum though. She got a letter from the police today saying she may be charged with driving without due care and attention. Someone else drove into the back of her car!! It must be the company insurance trying to get out of paying out and saying she was to blame. Luckily she has independent witnesses who came forwards to the police and gave a statement, so I don't think anything will come of it, but that isn't the point.

So another weekend bites the dust. I shall cherish last weekend even more now.