About Me

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

Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekend hurray

It is Friday - Hurray.

I am back on the diet to get rid of the extra holiday weight. Poop.

However roast chicken is in the diet so tonight is roast chicken, courgettes and brocolli. Very nice.

Tomorrow I am getting my hair cut, thank the lord. I always find it odd that your hair is fine, fine, fine and then suddenly it is much too long, the fringe is in your eyes, it looks like crap and it all seems to happen overnight. It is very strange.

We are redoing Brian's website and making it more complete and more up to date. The web host we have already unfortunately only works with Internet Explorer and our computers are Macs so we can't do the upgrade using their own system. As we want Brian to be able to keep it up to date we decided against rewriting it in Kompozer because I think we would find it difficult to do what we want, and for Brian to use it easily. So we have opted for iWeb which is an Apple thing and is quite easy to use.

We found a brilliant website called iWeb for Musicians which tells us loads of useful stuff and what he says works really well, so we are doing well on the design and structure of it.

I am having problems getting the pages loaded - well, no, I can load them using Cyberduck. They are appearing in the list of pages, but they aren't displaying properly or else they have a really long url which is no use. I spent a couple of hours this week fiddling with it all, but haven't got it right yet, so I think I will have a concentrated attack on it tomorrow when I have the time and I'm not tired at the end of the day.

Fingers crossed.

Then once I get that sorted I need to work out how to load pdfs so he can put some sample pages of scores onto the site.

I think I will be keeping pretty busy for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday and a very nice day it has been.

B & I went out for a lovely meal on Saturday because he is in Pembs and I am in Llantwit.

Today I got tea and a toasted muffin in bed from Nic. I had 2 presents to open in bed.

I had card and cake and a nice chatty phone call with a friend at work.

I had a sung happy birthday from Kate and a long chat later in the day.

I had lots of cards when I got home.

I had presents from Adam and Nic, Chinese take away and wine and cake for dinner.

I had a nice Skype chat with B.

I am now very mellow

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Art Gallery

The sun has done a bunk round here today and it is grey and drizzling, so no beach.

Instead we went to a really good art gallery where over the last few years B has bought something most years. The Arts Council do an easy payment scheme which means you pay over 10 months and pay no interest, which makes it much easier. Quite a few people may be able to find£50 per month who can't find £500 just like that.

As he is retiring next month we were just supposed to be looking.


The new picture is called Preseli and we have spent the hour or so moving things around to decide where best to put it, and it is now on the wall. B is looking at is so it is behind my head which is a shame.

There were some lovely things there. I would love to buy some of the bronzes they have, there was a beautiful one of a wren standing on a twig - come on lottery win! (more than £10 anyway - one year we should at least get back what we spend on the lottery in work)

We are going out for my birthday dinner tonight, to The Shed in Porthgain, which we haven't been to before for a meal, but has lots of prizes. We had coffee and tea cake there the other day and the tea cake was home made which is very unusual.

Then home tomorrow and work on Monday!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sunny walk in Pembs

We went for a walk around Dinas Head today. We left home and half way there had a wonderful view of the Preseli hills covered in mist, just the direction we were aiming. We dithered a bit but went on anyway.

As it happened the hills did stay covered in mist, but the coast turned lovely by mid morning.

We had taken our camping stove, kettle etc and brewed up a coffee before setting off. It is a nice walk. About 3-4 mile I suppose and took us about 2.5 hours. We are not get-there-quick walkers. We are standing-admiring-the view, look-at-that-bird, what-a-view etc walkers so we tend to take a while to get places, but we have a nice time while doing so.

The beach we started from is one where we had a number of holidays when the children were small and has very happy memories too. In your imagination you can people the beach with the adults as they were when small, gappy teeth and all. Nice sentimental moment.

There was an ice cream van at the other side of the headland so we had a lovely ice cream then finished the walk back to the car.

Then we cooked our lunch in the open on the camping stove, with sausages, bacon and eggs and tea. It was great.

By this time the sun was shining so I spent the rest of the afternoon in the garden with a book.

Last day of actual holiday today, but what a lovely end

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I came across these signs on the post as we were walking along the cliff path the other day.

It is of course meant to say 'go right to follow the path' and 'beware of the cliff subsiding and falling into the sea'

But it looks like it is just giving you a choice of 'go right if you want to walk and live' or 'go left if you want to dive off the cliff and kill yourself, or at any rate get cold and wet'.

It amused me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rain and more rain

It is raining and looks like winter outside, even though it is July. However here are some pictures that I took on our walk in the sunshine on Saturday. This is a little bug of some kind that has really pretty red spots on its wings. I have no idea what it is though.

This is a peregrine which was sitting very happily on the cliff and let us take pictures of it, quite unconcerned. The camera does have a long zoom and I have also zoomed into the photos, so we weren't as close as the picture makes out.

This is a natural arch in the cliff made by the sea. If you look at the left part of the cliff it looks like a face with nose and a black eye patch, then the mouth underneath

Nice picture of the choppy seas

Porthgain harbour looking picturesque. we stopped there for coffee and are going there on Saturday for my birthday dinner. The restaurant is called 'The Shed' but is supposed to be very good, it has won various awards, so fingers crossed.

If we get out of the house for some more walks I may get to take some more pictures, but it won't be this afternoon.

Thank the lord we are not in a tent. I do feel very sorry for the campers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Service with a smile

HereI am in Pembs.

I have had half a glass of wine and olives and sun dried tomatoes and (by mistake - red, thought it a tomato) a chili. Lovely

Brian is cooking dinner and the smell of cooking bacon, chicken and who know what else is tantalising my taste buds nicely.

I love eating food other people have cooked.

I think one of the things about being a parent is that when you go somewhere else - not restaurants because it is expected there - but to someone else's house, and meals arrive like magic, it is just wonderful.

One of the dull chores about parenting is thinking of something to cook for other people every day, week in week out, often in a short time frame. You get home from work and the turn round time to cook, eat and take someone to something is an hour. This taxes stamina and imagination.

I like cooking. I really enjoy cooking when doing something different or entertaining because it becomes a special event, and often a social event too, but do find the day to day turns into a chore.

This may be because I am not a great cook, or it may be that day to day cooking is not that high up my list of priorities.

Be that as it may I love being cooked for.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Holiday again!

I have another week off next week.

I like this.

I had 2 weeks last month.

I have 1 week next week.

I have 10 days in September.

Nothing then till Christmas admittedly, but spacing my hols like this has been lovely. It was because I had no time off other than Easter from Christmas till June, but partly that was because I didn't have time.

Anyway the result is lovely.

I am not doing anything very exciting, going to Pembrokeshire and pottering around. If the weather stays as wet as it is now I may be in wellies instead of sandals but as we had lovely weather for most of the time in France I don't feel I can complain.

Work is busy, so I will be glad to have a week away from it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Race horse to riding horse

Nic owns what one chap I spoke to charmingly described as a 'recycled racehorse'. He was too slow to win races so is being retrained to be a riding horse, learning to trot, canter in a sedate way, and generally do things other than run very fast in pretty straight lines getting over any jumps in the way.

The horse world is keen on this and they have set up a competition which has classes for just that - ex racehorses. However she has been to 2 events in the last week - called 'Search for a Star' and winning the competitions got you a place at the final in the Horse of the Year show. The prize money at the Horse of the year show is about £2000.

This is where the reality sadly parts from the ideal.

The first competition she went into was won by a horse which had once gone half way round a very easy course. It has been produced by a professional show yard so it is like a top winner for Crufts in the horse world. The rider was amateur but the yard is not. In the competition were Nic's horse - Five-a-Side, and another horse which was owned as a racehorse for over 10 years, he ran and won £100,000 during his racing career, and when he retired the owner decided to keep him to ride for herself. Both are ideal candidates but neither were placed. The second one was yesterday and although there were fewer professionally produced horses nevertheless one of the 2 horses that went through was professionally produced and despite being very naughty and not letting the ride judge get on at first was still selected.

Showing depends on the preferences of the person judging because racehorses come in a lot of different shapes and sizes and comparing a small sleek flat racing horse to something 8inches taller and much heavier and they seem to be judging as if the 'show horse' is the shape which is wanted and ignoring almost the racehorse element.

The first class Nic took him into had some jumps to go over, and if you knocked one down you were out, so 14 people were out in the first round. Fair enough.

One person Nic spoke to the first week was absolutely furious at the - as he saw it - bias in the judging.

A good idea which has been taken over a bit and misdirected perhaps.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Busy weekend

I have been away for weeks and busy doing other things for most of this summer, so this weekend I really attacked the garden. I did the tubs, planted bedding plants, did some (but not all) the weeding, tidied up the paths, did the hanging baskets and it is now looking much nicer. I also did some housework, piles of washing, and had another battle with the wireless reception for the computer.

Although it is working at the moment, it is random as to whether it works or not. Last night Nic needed a map printed out and I had to put the pc onto the ethernet cable to get an internet signal. This morning I tried my Macbook and Nic's Vista pc and neither of them worked. I went upstairs to phone the ISP again and the Mac got a signal but the pc didn't. I phoned them up (again) and they asked what operating system I was using. On being told we had a Mac, Vista, Windows 7 and a PS3 in the house I think they gave up the idea that it was an operating system which was creating the problem. He asked to go onto the router set up system but I said I had spent an hour and a half with one of his colleagues resetting that last week, so he came to the same conclusion I had come to which is that the router is kaput. It is really annoying because I've only had it for a couple of years, however needs must, so they are sending me another one.

Oh - I also cleaned the downstairs windows outside. This is an extremely rare event.

I am pooped.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Place of greater safety - Hilary Mantel

I started reading 'A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel while on holiday and was really enjoying it. I absolutely loved 'Wolf Hall' which won the Booker this year so although my sister had said it wasn't as good, and it is a lot earlier, I had fairly high hopes.

The first half was great. The book traces the French Revolution mainly through the characters of Danton, Desmoulins and Robespierre, starting from their childhoods and moving on through their youth to the revolution. It is distanced from the violence of the revolution and there is little real feeling of the horror and savagery of mobs in the streets, and the feeling of social disruption which must have been there. She has a wonderful technique of commenting on the action or the character of the people in her stories, and the tone is always contemporary - she makes no attempt to talk with historical accuracy, which is a relief because all the people at the time were talking in modern idioms to them. Whenever she does this it works brilliantly, and acts as a real comment on the progress of the narrative.

However once the revolution gets going the book stalls.

It has got very dull and I find I have little interest in the characters at this point because they have all got stuck into a rut. It is strange because the political situation at that time was extremely dynamic but she hasn't managed to convey that. I feel that the characters are more interested in their love lives than in the politics which were ruling their lives at that time. Her narrow focus also loses its effect because - apart from Marat - none of the other significant characters in the Revolution get much of a look in, and don't become individuals, only names.

I am over three quarters of the way through the book, and have no real urge to complete it, which is disappointing.

I have, instead, picked up the new Michael Morpurgo book - 'An Elephant in the Garden' which I read this morning in bed and loved. He is such a gifted writer.