About Me

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

Friday, April 30, 2010


I am off out to a friend's daughter's 21st party tonight.

I think she is also getting a party with her friends as well as the older generation.

I have lost a filling, which is annoying as I only had the tooth next to it filled a month ago.

However it is a bank holiday weekend.

I am getting my hair cut tomorrow.

The weather is now much colder and wetter.

Ho hum

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sunny afternoon

I didn't get any indexing done last night because someone came to look at the piano we are selling, and then B and I went for a brisk walk (me) and run (him).

Today I decided to finish work at lunchtime because it was warm and sunny and I was feeling cheesed off with work and have lots of flex time in hand. It was great. I went for a potter round M&S though I didn't buy anything, then I went down to Llantwit beach. I sat on the cliff in the sun and watched the tide coming in.

The seagulls were having a bath in one of the pools created by the outgoing tide, kids were digging in the sand, people were walking dogs, other people were like me and just sitting watching, enjoying the sun.

It is very spring like. I saw a male (Ithink) stonechat mating (or trying to) with a lady bird who flew away rather quickly so I don't think he won her over, he flew off after her, but came back and sat on a branch nearby so I suspect he was rejected.

Lots of birds were singing away, swallows were swooping and chattering, the bees were working hard at the nectar gathering. It was glorious.

Then I came home and sat in the garden and read my book while having a cup of tea.

It sure beats working!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


To reply to Oreneta, indexing is creating - in most cases - the index in the back of a book. It involves going through the text and making decisions about which terms need to appear in an index, which term to use in the index if more than one is available, do you use cross references or duplicate entries? You have to structure the index depending on the subject, whether there are illustrations or maps etc.

There are other sorts of indexes as well There are journals, conferences, and other serial publications which get indexed. There are thesauri to build, there are online e-indexes using html and a whole pile of other things I currently know nothing at all about.

There is specialist software available these days to do this which makes life soooo much easier. I did a bit of this 25 or so years ago when it was all 5x3 cards, hand sorted into order, which is really slow and the possibility for getting the order slightly wrong is great.

So I shall get back to it now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Indexing to do

I am doing an online tutorial fortnight starting today. As part of the Indexing course I have to do 3 of these. This one sends a text out which I have to index, then send off to the leader, and then I and the others on the course discuss it next week. I shall be busy this week I think.

The house (downstairs) is now very clean and tidy - courtesy of B's party, we had lots of food, people enjoyed it and it all went well I thought.

Tiring though!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gardening begins!

Its that time of year.

The sun has come out, and you suddenly realise how really messy the garden has become over the winter.

We have taken 2 car fulls of stuff to the tip - a falling apart cupboard, an ancient bike, bits of old carpet, bits of old hardboard, ivy, etc etc.

We have weeded and brushed the front drive, tidied up the gravel to uncover the stepping stones. Brian cut the grass, strimmed the edges, and put up my Christmas present bird feeder.

We are now really tired!!!

Sadly it looks like the blackbirds have abandoned the nest we uncovered in the ivy as there is no sign of anyone sitting there. Shame.

Doctor Who is coming on tv now, and it is another episode with Weeping Angels, so I am off for tonight.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New lifestyle coming

B's retirement is now looming. Although he finally retires at the end of August, he is quitting the house provided by College at the end of May, and he finishes teaching at the end of May, so we are looking at that as the real retirement. His house is in Pembrokeshire, and I am in the Vale of Glamorgan, residences 2 hours drive away from each other.

We haven't quite worked out how we are going to deal with this. During the week I am at work all day of course, so there is no point in B being here, because all his stuff and his work (ie computer, study, music composition things) are in Pembs, and my house has Ad and Nic living here so B doesn't have the peace and quite he needs to work.

So do we commute back and fore every weekend? I suppose that is what we will end up doing, which may get a bit tiresome after a while I think, as well as expensive. Sometimes B will come up here in the week if there is something we want to do , a concert or something, but mostly I suppose we will be separate during the week.

This is going to be a bit odd. I am used to him not being here till quite late in the evening because the job frequently kept him busy till 9pm, but we still saw each other most days. Are we going to be lonely? Will the telephone be enough of a contact?

Now it is almost upon us, and beginning to feel real, I do have some qualms. Not that I can do anything about it because that is just the way things are,but it will be odd.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bach is best

We went to see Bach's Mass in B minor at St David's Hall on Friday.

It was wonderful.

I've never heard it all the way through and certainly never seen it live, and it was well worth it.

Performers were the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with a brilliant line up of soloists, all of whom were exactly what I would chose - not a warble to be heard thank god.

The chorus was equally impressive. It is astonishing when you listen to all these choral things the BBC do to realise that all the large choirs are amateurs. The only professional choir the BBC employs is the BBC Singers, all others are doing it for the love, and they did it fantastically.

The Mass is extraordinary in many ways, not least being the oddity of a Lutheran protestant writing a complete mass. It is remarkable how the music really captures the mood and meaning of the words, so that even in a concert setting there is a strong feeling of the litugical power of the mass. It lasts nearly 2 hours, so that if anyone ever wanted to use it as a mass it would be a very long service!

We weren't sitting in the best place because B got given free tickets for the students (minibus full of them were with him, I drove in), so the sound from the choir got a bit muddy when they were really letting rip at full volume, and we also got a bit more double bass than was ideal, but it was still wonderful

There is something about Bach that is simultaneously serene, because Baroque music follows strict patterns and there is an expectation built into how the piece will progress, and startling emotional. It is also remarkably original and even sounds original now. One passage has the bass singing the words, but the interesting line is a solo horn, with only continuo organ going on underneath. The piece moves from full orchestra and choir all going like the clappers, to one voice and 2 or 3 instruments only. Stunning.

He is still my desert island composer. The trouble would be which piece to take. I must get a cd of the mass as I don't have one. It is sublime. In all senses.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Better arms

My arms are feeling better now. Still a bit sore, but much better. I got some rub in ibuprofen yesterday which has really worked well. The only side effect is that the commercial stuff is called Ibuleve, and I have been humming 'I believe' by the Bachelors ever since. Oh dear. However it is worth it.

I am glad, heartily glad, that I am not flying anywhere with the dust cloud from Iceland.

Poor people sitting in airports.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Still got sore arms

I still have sore arms and am relying a bit on ibuprofen during working hours, and driving is a real challenge.


Hopefully it will ease off by next week.

The political parties are all producing their manifestos this week, though I haven't been listening to them in detail because you know they bear as much relationship to what will actually happen as Alice in Wonderland does. Promises, but even listening to some of them you do wonder what they think is going to actually happen. On the one hand they are promising job cuts, pay freezes and cuts in public spending, on the other they are promising things like increased paternity leave, withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, .... oh dear.

No one has yet knocked on my door, and I have only had 1 bit of publicity through the letterbox. Not inspiring.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Symonds Yat

B and I have had a nice day out today. We went off to Symonds Yat which overlooks the Wye valley about and hour and a half drive from here It is one of those places I have meant to go to for years, so today we went.

I packed a picnic lunch and we set off.

We got there and had a problem with the fact that we had no change for the pay and display machine. Iwent off to the cafe and bought some fruit pastilles (cheapest thing they had) to get change so we could feed it to the cash machine. We went off to the viewing place and the views are stunning. You can see five counties from up there and it is tremendous. The view point is on a cliff and the river winds through the valley below you, with mountains in the distance.

There were lots of birdwatchers and we saw peregrines soaring up in the sky. I only know they were peregrines because the birdwatchers - who had powerful telescope things - told us that they were. The peregrines were very rare but have come back and are breeding very successfully there.

Then we went for a nice walk though the woods, not long, just about an hour, but very pleasant, before going back to the car parking area and grabbing a park bench to eat our picnic on

We had brought the camping gas stove and the kettle etc to make a cup of tea, but I had taken the matches out of the box and forgotten to put them back in which did make things a bit more complicated - in fact impossible - on the tea front. B went off to the cafe to buy some matches. They didn't have any for sale, but they gave him one. It was essential to get that one match right, so B did it because if I had you can bet your bottom dollar that I would have broken it and we would still not have had tea.

Ray Mears it wasn't but we did get tea, and a nice picnic too.

Yesterday I slipped and fell over in the kitchen, which has a very hard floor, walloping my right knee and shoulder, which are a bit sore today, but ok. However my left arm is really sore with the muscles aching and really hurting when I try to do thing. Whether or not I pulled the muscles when I fell over I don't know. Very odd though. I hope it goes away tomorrow.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dagger reading

The reading list for the Dagger in the Library award just shot up into nearly 50 people! Even allowing for the 6 ineligible ones, that is a lot of reading.

There are a lot of authors new to me this year, though none of the ones I have read so far had filled me with campaigning fervour like Colin Cotterill did last year. There are lots of capable writers, who are writing variations of crime genre fiction in ways which are competent, but few of them have an original voice. Considering how many people want to write and get their work published it is surprising in a way that there isn't more excitement in the list (so far, I'm only half way through). Bear in mind also that all these books have been nominated by library users and reading groups, so some people really love all the writers on the list. It is scary because some of the writers last year were dreadful!!

I am going to have to start skip reading more this weekend to get a feel for the ones worth more time and attention.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Politics and elections

I am not looking forward to the next month as we will be battered by politicians telling us why we should vote for them.

I am absolutely convinced that everyone should vote. People worked hard to get the vote for us and we have a responsibility to use that vote.

Sadly we have to vote for politicians. The mental age of most politicians seems to default to about 7 year old and they bicker and squabble like little kids, and unfortunately I don't have the ability to take their toys away and send them to their rooms until they are ready to behave in a civilised manner and be polite to each other.

I think most politicians are egotistical and immature. They become politicians because they like to feel they are important, and they like other people to see them as important. This is not universal, there are some who go into politics because they want to make a difference to the world and to make things better for other people. Sadly most of the people who feel that way go and work for charities or so something similar rather than going into politics. I can't blame people who feel they want to do something good for mankind for not going into politics, because if they did become politicians they would have to work with, and associate with, politicians. Not nice.

I work for Local government and I have very little patience with local politicians, and the national ones are the same in a bigger fishpond.

So who do I vote for?

I have in the past voted Green, or Plaid Cymru (Welsh nationalist) but as I am in a marginal constituency it is important that I give it a serious amount of though because my vote could make a difference here. A few years ago the margin was 13 votes. They did 2 recounts.

Does that mean I have to listen to politicians blowing their own trumpets?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ivy - lots of ivy

We have been attacking the ivy in the back garden. It is all along the wall and the fence, so we have spent all afternoon hacking it down and we have ended up with 4 huge piles of ivy! We have done one trip to the tip and got rid of about half of it!

We disturbed a bird nest which has eggs in it, so we put that one back and didn't cut the ivy around there, so I hope that the birds will come back to the nest.

It is astonishing how much ivy there is over a not very long bit of wall. We cut some of it down weeks ago, and you would think it would have wilted a bit - but no, it is as healthy and bouncy looking as when we first chopped it down. I also cut the roots off some other areas of wall and the ivy on that bit of wall, and the lampost where Brian cut it off are still as healthy and green as they were weeks ago. Shouldn't they be dying off by now???????

Does ivy live off fresh air?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter viisitors

We have had visitors over the Easter weekend which has been lovely.

The Barcelona relatives (all but one) came over. Chris and Natalia went off to see Atlantic College with a view to deciding whether or not to apply for a place in a year or so, and had a good look round as well as a chat to a couple of current students, and it seems to be on a list of possibles. Danielle and Chris later went off with me to meet Nic at the stables where she keeps her horse Danielle wanted to meet Five-a-side and have a little ride, which she duly did. She loved it.

Mike and Linda came as well, thought they and the Barcelona crowd left this mornng. Kate and Carl are home for the weekend too, which is lovely.

We had nice food and very nice conversations, we have a birthday dinner for Adam tonight.

I love having the family together