About Me

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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Back on line


My laptop is now talking to the router and my wireless is back. Maybe it just needed a rest. I am very relieved because otherwise I would have had to go to the computer doctor on Saturday.

I have planted my front tubs tonight with some pretty begonias, and have put some bizzie lizzies in the hanging baskets so the front of the house now looks nice, and will attack the back garden this weekend.

I now have an exciting evening paying bills and doing the ironing. Sometimes life is just so full of thrills.

Monday, June 28, 2010


The wireless part of our internet connection seems to have given up the ghost. it wasn't working last night, and it isn't working tonight. I spent about an hour talking to the man at the help desk and he said he would phone me back in 15 minutes. That was an hour an a half ago. I am now on hold.

He tried telling me the airport part of my laptop wasn't working, so I got Adam's laptop on and - surprise - that doesn't connect either!!! There is nothing wrong with the laptops, it does seem to my technical ignorance that there is something wrong with the router. This is working on the ethernet cable at the moment, so the internet is working, but the wireless isn't.

I am driving to Aberystwyth tomorrow so wanted to go to bed early. I have not done any of my post holiday ironing mountain (boy is it big!) because of talking to computer man and waiting for him to phone back, so I am cheesed off in a big way at the moment.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gardening in the sunshine

B and I spent an industrious afternoon attacking the garden in Pembs yesterday. The grass in the flowerbeds was so long in places that the rose was growing ever upwards in an attempt to find the sun. We pulled out masses and masses of grass and put in some bedding plants so there will be pretty flowers there instead. We also did tubs with trailing begonias and bizzy lizzies which will be lovely as well in a week or so when they settle in.

We were both filthy when we were finished.

Friday, June 25, 2010

No to buying a gite

We have been doing sums on the subject of the gite hunt.

The area we like (and could afford) is Western Brittany. That means sailing to St Malo or Roscoff with Brittany Ferries who are the most expensive. That means each trip would be £300-£500 depending on how far in advanced you booked etc. Doing that 3-5 times a year starts getting very expensive. Plus we would have to drive from Cardiff to either Portsmouth or Plymouth (both 3.5 hours) with all that petrol/diesel which is also expensive.

Apart from anything else the travelling costs are a major hurdle, and as this was supposed to make a certain amount of money by doing the gite up, it would seem that to use it would spend all the profit before you make it. Maybe that is why so many French properties are going cheap.

We saw one near Domfront which the owner is apparently desperate to sell, and we could probably have bought a 2/3 bed house, 1/2 bed gite next door, barn (falling down) garage and acre of land for between £40-50,000. They needed work and we did a rough estimate of about £15k needed to bring the house and the gite up to a reasonable standard, but what would it then be worth? If someone can't sell it at that price.....

The seller selects the price in France which leads to some bizarre prices. For instance in Finistere you can buy a 3 bed cottage with all furniture, nicely done up, ready to move into, for the same price as a barn with no roof, no plumbing, no electricity. Where is the sense in that?

Reason has prevailed over the -somewhat romantic - idea of a cottage in France. We had a lovely picture of family and friends joining us there, using the place for their own holidays etc while at the same time making the money B has saved work harder and earn more than it can do sitting in savings in the UK. But the cold economic facts of getting there and back are making it too expensive to undertake, which is a shame in a way, but you do have to listen to cold reason most of the time.

Unless we have won the lottery tonight of course, in which case.........

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back from France

We have been in France looking at old houses, and here are some of the ones we looked at. We didn't find anything to buy, but we were really looking at areas, and liked Brittany better than Normandy - Normandy is too far inland for us, we like the sea.

There are a lot of old houses that are up for sale, though the prices are set by the vendor so they ranges are a bit bizarre, and you can get a small house/cottage with is fairly habitable for the same sort of price as something with no roof. We are better informed, which was the aim of the holiday, and had a good time as well (which was the other half of the aim of the holiday).

For some reason Blogger has put these in a bizarre order and placement. Here is a beautiful roof beam in an old cottage in normandy

Cottage which could be really nice, but someone has put an awful dormer window onto it, and made a really bad job of the external pointing

Huge renovation project which would get you a 4 bed house, but needs a lot doing - the stairs are free floating at the bottom there

Weird modern bungalow thing on a nice plot but the "bedroom" is up the ladder and you have to a) climb over a roof truss to get to the bed and b) can only stand up if 4ft tall or less.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Getting ready for holidays

We have decided - rather last minute = to go to France on holiday next week, so I am again very busy getting everything ready. Not so exciting things like getting the car serviced, the insurance sorted for abroad etc, all need to be done.

However I had a very pleasant day out on Saturday.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales had a singing day for local choirs doing a scratch Mozart Requiem, which was great fun. It must be about 13 years since I sang it so bits of it were 'oh, have I ever sung this before?' but other bits were very familiar. You did need to either know it or to be a very good sight reader to enjoy the day, because you didn't get to learn it, there wasn't time. It was a matter of polishing and improving.

we had soloists from the BBC Singers who are some of the best singers in the UK, and the part rehearsal was taken by one of the BBC Singers. She was very good, it was great fun.

Unfortunately the conductor took it a bit fast when we did the 'performance' but still, it was good.

Tonight I am off out to Bookclub, which has sort of morphed into a dining club with added books. The good thing is that I did the meal last time, so tonight I only have to bring wine. It is also just across the road, so I don't have to drive and can have more than 1 glass of wine.

I am also trying to pack all the work I need to do in the office before Friday - proving a problem

Friday, June 4, 2010

Busy week 2

Another busy week.

We unpacked B's house last weekend. More or less got everything in, so that was good.

I came home on Tuesday.

Wednesday afternoon I had to take the car to the garage to get a main wiper switch fixed (!)

Thursday I had to go to Birmingham to a meeting about the acquisitions module of the library management system which was well worth while. I got a lot of information and made good contacts. However it was a 3 hour drive each way.

Today I had a meeting in mid Wales which was a 2-3 hour drive each way. Going this morning was lovely. The route I took goes over the top of the Brecon Beacons. There were hardly any other cars, but there was lots of sunshine, sheep and lambs, mares and foals and the view was fantastic!

That is a twisty road so I took the main route home because I was tired, which is also lovely as it goes through the Wye valley and over the Beacons. The route across Wales was so beautiful especially compared to the motorway journeys to Birmingham.

Tomorrow is going to be great. The BBC are having a singing day for amateur choirs to do the Mozart Requiem for a day with a scratch performance in the afternoon.

It has been years since I sang the Mozart Requiem but hopefully I will remember enough of it to get by.