About Me

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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Busy week

The past week has been fairly busy.

There was work - takes up the days and doesn't leave a lot of time over.

Tuesday night was B's leaver's dinner. AC have a dinner for the second year students and staff who are leaving which was in the dining hall. The food however was pretty dull, but the speeches were mostly duller. The best two was one of B's students who gave a good 'for he's a jolly good teacher and all round person' speech about B which was very nice. The other member of staff who has been there for decades gave much the best speech of the evening, but even so we were pleased to escape at the end.

Wednesday we moved furniture and things from B's house into my garage to store for a bit.

Thursday I was singing in a concert in Ewenny Priory with St Donat's Chamber Choir. We have been tackling Bruckner's motets this year which are a challenge for a small, amateur choir. We did the concert two weeks previously in a church in Monmouth and it had gone very well. However second concerts are notoriously difficult so we were a bit worried about it. Though it went well. A few mistakes, but nothing serious. We had trombones and organ playing which was fun.

Friday we came to Pembs, and got stuck in bank holiday traffic for over an hour!!!!!!!!

This weekend we are unpacking B's stuff as he has now completely left the College house and is resident in Pembs. It is going to be odd with him there and me at home.

However today the sun has shone, we have been to walk round lovely gardens and I am drinking vintage cava so life is generally pretty rosy

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Walk on the beach

We went for a walk along the beach in glorious sunshine and heat today. The coast along this part of Wales has very stratified rock structures. This is part of the cliff face and you can see how it is layered. That does make it very unstable and it is dangerous to walk too close to it as it may come down on top of you.
There are lots of fossils in the stones and here is one of them, just taken as we walked along. We saw lots, but this is one of the best.
This is the beach. The rock looks like big uneven stone tiles in a way. The big blocks are harder rock which hasn't eroded at the same rate as the rest, and have been left like a lot of tables standing on the beach.
Here is a rock pool full of limpets. There are lots of cockles too. It was a beautiful walk on a beautiful day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

All sorted

we have got rid of out old piano now, and I have moved the hi-fi and tv etc round so that the sitting room is now fully sorted.


We had a very nice meal out with friends who are ex-Atlantic College staff (now retired) and there was much praise for the retired life. After next week I will be the only one of the 6 of us working. This is going to be a real pain, but needing the money means working. Ho hum.

Nic got a call out to a friend of hers at 10pm last night because her mare was having fits and Chloe needed someone to stay in the house with the kids when the vet came. Sadly the mare had to be put down as there was nothing the vet could do for her. She had only had a foal two days before, so there is a risk to the foal now. They drove over to the Hunt stables and got some multimilk suitable for foals, but the teat on the bottle was too big because the foal is tiny, her mother being a very small pony. They got a lamb bottle (Chloe is a farmer's wife) and the foal took a little bit of milk. They wrapped her in a blanket because she was cold and moved her into the barn. This morning she took a pint of milk which is a good sign Chloe has another mare with a foal born about a month ago so they were going to try to see if they could get her to accept the orphan foal as well. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Piano moving

We moved pianos last night.

The guy who is buying our piano didn't turn up so we have put our piano into the garage until wednesday when he is supposed to collect it.

We then went to B's house at College to move the boudoir grand This is a very small grand piano which is a bit contradictory as a definition, but still. It is about 4ft square. Moving a grand piano is much more complicated than an upright. The upright - if you have a piano trolley - is fairly straightforward because you tilt up one end, shove the piano trolley under it and move it around on the trolley. The piano trolley is a steel trolley about 1 meter long by 33cm wide on 4 very strong and bouncy wheels, designed to move pianos it cost over £400. The grand involves taking off the lid, taking off the music rest, taking off the pedals, then you have to take one leg off. We propped it up on a stool, and then on two metal boxes so it was tilted towards the floor. The you have to put it onto the trolley on its side, making sure you don't put too much strain on the other legs because you don't want to break them.

That done, we wheeled it out of the house, using makeshift ramps on the step, and then loaded it into Nic's horsebox. It was surprisingly easy. There were 4 of us doing it, but only 3 doing most of it as Nic was bringing the box. Adam, Brian and I were doing most of it. We tied it up to the inside of the box and Brian went with it - getting the horse experience of being in the box.

When we got home we got it off the van and into the house, then had to put the legs back on!

After that we had the -where are we going to put it - game. We tried one place, then another, then moved the sofas to see what they looked like there, then moved it again, moved the sofas, and so on until we finally decided on the best location. The piano does have castors but they aren't much use on carpet so Brian, Adam and I were taking a chunk of the weight every time we moved it so the legs didn't fall off.

We have now put the sofas and piano in place, but need to relocate the tv and the hi-fi. Both of which involve playing with wires.

However I won't be doing that tonight because we are going out for dinner. Very nice indeed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

London Day out and horse show

This is Nic on her horse Five-A-Side at his first show. He won the best turned out class at the local riding club show, and behaved very well. I was commissioned to come and take pictures of her and him, and other horses as well, which was fine. I took my tripod which I got given but have not used until today and it was brilliant! However in the glorious spring we are having, today was cold and wet so I only stayed out for an hour for the first class. he is looking good though.
We went to London yesterday to see a concert version of a new opera my Dutch composer Michel van der Aa. However we had lots of time to spare so we went for a wander. The concert was in the Barbican, so we were in the City. This is a stray leftover Tudor building in the midst of the monstrous 60s tower cubes near St Bartholomew's Abbey.
However you can see that architectural vandelism is not confined to the present day. The Tudor builders had no qualms about plonking their building on top of the gothic gate to St Barts Abbey, chopping the top of the arch off completely
This is the Abbey church taken from the little park beside it, with absolutely lovely wisteria on the fence nearby. We didn't get in because someone came and shut the door just as we approached.

We then thought we would go to St Pauls as B has never been in it, but they closed that as we got there too. So we went to the City of London Museum which was open. The history of London finishes at 1666 until June because they are redoing some of the galleries, but we only got to the end of the middle ages before we had to go.

We had gone up to hear the opera which was being done in a semi staged production. It is interesting because he has used film and opera, fact and fiction, live and taped music all together. He was inspired by the Japanese film 'Afterlife' which poses the question 'if you had to select one memory from all your life, to be the only memory for the afterlife, which would you chose?'

He had fiction with the singers on the stage who were in a limbo where they had time to select their memory, which was then filmed and which they took with them when they moved on. He had real people filmed talking about their real choices. I really enjoyed it, and thought the concept was intriguing, but not fully successful as an opera. The spoken factual memories were so strong they were the single most powerful element in the whole production, and those will be the memories which I will take away with me. The vocal lines from the singers were sometimes lovely, but were not particularly operatic, and the music from the orchestra was supportive but had no real life of its own, so it seemed to be more theatre music than opera.

Sadly none of the relatives we were hoping to stay with were there, so we had to drive all the way back home after the performance which was tiring. So today we have had a lazy day!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bits and pieces

Doctor Who was fun with lots of bits of the castle in there - the dining room and some other places. The trailer showed my home town in next week's episode so that will be fun too!

It is so cold! It is May and the weather is still frosty. The heating is on. I would like some sunshine please.

Having tidied the garage on Saturday we had a concerted effort at doing something about Nic's pigsty (aka bedroom) and had a trip to Ikea to get a new chest of drawers. Hopefully that will help.

The political drama is continuing to unfold - the happiest people in the world must be all the political commentators, as it is like all their Christmas and birthdays at once.

I hope the LibDems do have a coalition with the Conservatives because they would hopefully curtail the worst of the public service cuts which the Tories would otherwise inflict on us, and perhaps with Vince Cable having a real say in what happens to the economy, which is the thing that I really would like, we might claw our way out of the financial trough better that way.

I had a bookclub meeting last night which was, as always, very pleasant. Nice food, drink and conversation.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Garage tidy day

B and I attacked the garage today and did a major tidy up. The main reason we had to do it today is that we are busy the next 2 weekends and we need it cleared by the end of the month when B has to empty the Lodge at College. We then need to store furniture for his daughter till she moves into her new house in June - hence the need to clear the garage. It is now a joy to behold (within the 'clean garage' meaning of those words.)

Doctor Who has St Donats Castle in tonight so we can do more than the usual amount of location spotting Instead of just -'southerndown beach' we can get really specific. It does add another dimension to watching the programme

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Election day

Today is election day (in case anyone in the UK hadn't noticed) and it is really the most interesting election even for someone like me who is not very political. The result is so open, so unknown that it has been a fairly constant discussion topic at work.

Two members of our staff are poll clerks so we have had fewer people at work today as well. Andy will be staying up all night at the count so she wont be in tomorrow either. We also had new ballot boxes in the polling station - very snazzy compared to the old tin ones we used to have.

I am watching the news at the moment and they are so agog - they are dying to get on with the election broadcasting which of course they can't do until the polls close at 10pm. Bless.

This time tomorrow we may know who the new PM is, but we may have to wait till Monday if it is close and they end up haggling.

Interesting times indeed.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dagger lunch

Today was the judging lunch for the Dagger in the Library award.

It started badly.

I had my train ticket booked from her all the way to London I went to the station to get my train, and there were very few people there which I thought was odd, until I saw the sign saying the train was cancelled.


Hasty walk back home and get into the car. Hurtle into Cardiff and luckily there was very little traffic so I actually made it in good time and did get my train. Everything else went very smoothly.

We had a really good lunch ( goat cheese salad, then fish dish with scallops and prawns, then chocolate) and really good discussions on the longlisted authors. Last year, which was my first year, there was a really strong front runner - we all really loved Colin Cotterill and the vote for winner was really easy. This year was less obvious and there was a lot of discussion before we agreed on the shortlist and the winner.

The announcement will be made later in the year.

It is really pleasant to sit with like minded people, eating good food and discuss books and authors. I love it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Where is the sun?

Wednesday was so lovely, and now we seem to have gone back to winter. It is cold, it is a bit wet. The heating is still on. It is May. It is supposed to be spring - where is the warmth? I think I will go back into my Uggs for choir practice tonight because I suspect the church we rehearse in is going to be cold.

I have done my index and emailed it off This is a workshop with 7 other people so it will be interesting to see what other people have done, what terms they have chosen to list and why.

Other than that I have had a lazy day - well, a bit of housework, but not much.

Weekends are good.