About Me

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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fracking in the Vale

There are applications to begin drilling for shale gas in Llandow - just up the road from here.  The company say it's quite safe, gets energy and lots of jobs.

However the fracking drilling has been stopped near Blackpool because of earthquakes, it is banned in lots of other countries, and there is water contamination in the USA.  The planning application has been deferred pending a site visit according to the news.

Good thing too.

Nic is doing a test run to see if the donkey will go easily into the horse box.  It is one thing to manhandle her into the horsebox while at the farm, but not something that you can do with lots of small children watching.  If she doesn't box easily, she may not get to join the library.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Libraries Fortnight

There is a national promotion in Wales for libraries during the first 2 weeks on November which has very boringly been called Libraries Fortnight.  The theme is supposed to be sport related to tie into the cultural Olympiad which is always a bit tricky, so we have been stretching the 'sport' to being any active sort of pastime.

We had a planning meeting about it this afternoon, and we are getting an Indian Dance company as the main event - which if we can find any new borrowers with an Indian ethnic background will tick an Equalities box as well.  There are going to be guided walks from some of the libraries ending back at the library for refreshments which will give us time to try to get people to join.

We have joined the geocaching website and will have geocaches hidden in each library.

We are hoping to invite local fencing and/or rhythmic gymnastics, tai chi groups to demonstrate in a library.

Llantwit is having a pony and a donkey visiting to join the library, courtesy of Nic whose friend Chloe is providing both animals.  The people who come can go into a draw to win a free riding lesson at the local riding school.

We do get involved in some odd things.  We then have to try to get people interested in joining the library by putting out books, advertising on line resources etc while we have people actually in the buildings.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bit of a black eye

I have a bit of a black eye today, though not very visible, and was covered up with make up fairly easily.

This is good as I had a meeting today and really didn't want to go with a shiner.

Hopefully it will go away by Wednesday when I have my next meeting.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


We have been replacing the rotten wood facing on the porch this afternoon.  The 'we' is me doing a lot of finding tools in the garage, holding wood and ladders, and passing things.  Brian does all the rest of the sawing, measuring and hammering.  Fair division of labour generally I think.

However this afternoon the hammering included dropping said hammer and hitting me on the way down.  I spend the next half hour with an ice pack held to my swelling eyebrow, then daubing it with Nic's arnica and taking some of her arnica pills.  As she is very experienced in the matter of bruising I bow to her knowledge and hope the arnica works.  Luckily my fringe is long at the moment and will cover the bruise.

However - back to the fair division of labour - as I made a pair of curtains for the cottage this morning I think we are quits really.

The person who did a lot of the diy before we bought the house was a real bodger.  Brian spent a lot of time tutting about the crap workmanship of the porch roof, and other things he did even I could do a better job, and I am  not one of the world's carpenters.  For instance they converted the garage into a room, which is now our tv room, which is fine, but they didn't take the window out to the front of the house which is what all the other people who have converted the garage have done.  Instead it is set about 3 feet back,  so there is all that wasted space.  Weird.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Techno updating

Brian is thinking about getting an iPad, so he can browse etc when downstairs - as his computer is a big beasty upstairs.  Simple enough you would think.

But - the old computer he has upstairs doesn't run an operating system compatible with an iPad.  Actually it doesn't work with a few updates for other things either.  So we had a long talk with a helpful young man in the Apple shop and come away with all sorts of alternatives.

Do nothing.

Buy an iPad and don't try to sync it to the computer.

If you want to sync it to a computer it could sync to my laptop and load photos etc from there

Buy a more recent (but still old) version of the Mac operating system which would enable many of the updates to be loaded, but that costs over £80 so seems a bit daft.

Buy a new main computer so that everything talks to everything else and he can load the updated version of the composition software he uses.

Too many choices, all involving lots of money.  So we went away having bought nothing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Viva Espana

Woe are watching a concert from Madrid by the Berlin Philharmonic performing Rodrigo's Concerto de Aranjez (sp?)  (Chris???) with a flamenco guitarist playing the solo.  The best meets the best really.  I wish I was hearing it live instead of via the inadequate speakers on the tv.

I really feel the need for some sun.  We haven't had much sun since April.  We have had occasional days, even maybe a couple of days together, but the overall impression since May has been wet, grey and windy - also cool.  Now we are officially in autumn, the prospect is more wet, more wind, and cooler.  They keep saying that we are in for a bad winter because there are lots of berries on the trees, which is a depressing thought as well.

We did look at having a little holiday, but various other factors make it either impractical (too much on) or other financial commitments mean it isn't feasible at the moment.  Sigh.

So looking at Madrid before the concert started made me really want to go there.  I have been fleetingly to Madrid, but it was in March, with a student choir in tow, and we had almost no free time.   We did fit in a really good paella in the evening though.  Ho hum - another day.

It is fascinating watching a flamenco guitarist play the Rodrigo with Brian, because he is classically trained and has played the piece so every so often gives a sort of grunt as the guitarist does something which a classical guitarist wouldn't do with a scored piece - bending the notes round much more.  Also the cadenza he just played was all him - really different.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thoughts about work

The job as Librarian in Barry library was advertised a couple of weeks ago.  That is the biggest library in our authority, and the advert is internal only at this stage.  At the moment the post is on the salary scale above mine, so it is more money, and would give me a bigger pension.

So do I apply for it?

It is complicated by the fact that we are undergoing something called Job Evaluation.  The theory behind Job Evaluation is to even out the pay scales across local government, however as all authorities seem to have come to completely different conclusions while using the same system it is very questionable as to how well it  is going to do what it is meant to do.  It has cost umpteen millions across the UK - done at the instructions of Central Government - but our counter staff have been graded at at least £2-4,000 less per annum than those in two of our neighbouring local authorities.    Fairness is a debatable point.  We had the results of our Job Evaluation exercise a few months ago, but it was rejected by the Trade Union vote (largely because the lowest paid have had their pay cut - everyone assumed that they would benefit from this). 

Under those results the post in Barry has gone up more, and I have gone up a little bit in my present job.  However we have no idea what changes may come about as a result of the revised job evaluation process.  So you are applying for a job when you have no idea what the salary is, which is very odd.

I have pondered at length about it, and eventually, as my motives to apply were solely financial, I have decided that it not for me.  The library is currently very badly managed, and has a lot of potentially difficult staff, which is one challenge.  It is also a town with some very stroppy borrowers, and a fair amount of difficulty with misbehaving kids. 

So, after much internal debate I have decided that the extra money is not worth the amount  of stress that I would find doing that particular job.  It may suit someone else but not me. 

I feel better for making the decision.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Foiled !

I found an interesting looking adult education evening class to do this year, called Digital Creator.  It is designed by the British Computing Society (something I didn't realise till tonight) and is the making of films, animations, putting soundtracks and voice overs  and so on.  As I said, it sounds really interesting.

However when I went down to the sign on evening tonight I found out that I was the second person to enquire (they usually need 10-12 to run a course), and - even more critical - the person running the course has had to pull out.  However there is a possibility that he could run it for the two terms after Xmas, so she has taken my name.  I will keep my fingers crossed.

There is another one I am interested in, which is writing for payment, but not as interested, so I will have a think about that one.

I am feeling thwarted. 

Saffy - who is visiting at the moment - is lying on the sofa sound asleep and quite indifferent to my dilemma.  Heartless dog!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Busy week, which explains the lack of blogging.

The weekend was in Pembs where we had a very sociable weekend with dinner out with some friends on the Saturday night.  Sunday I  was back home and choir started again.  We are singing at a wedding in a couple of weeks so we were practising some madrigals which were pretty good despite the fact that we were very unbalanced with only one bass and five sopranos.  Hopefully we will sound good at the wedding too.

This week has been the Vale of Glamorgan Festival and we went to see the Latvian Radio Choir on Tuesday.  They are a stunningly good choir.  I have heard lots of  choirs over the years and they are in the top few with everything absolutely perfect.  The tone, the voices, the timing, the emotion, everything was wonderful.  The Vale Festival concentrated on contemporary music and the Latvian choir concentrate on Latvian and Eastern European music.  All the pieces were interesting, though a couple were not perhaps as interesting as they might have been - the Arvo Part wasn't up to much really.  Though even that sounded good with that choir singing it.

Thursday we went to see the BBC Nat. Orch of Wales in a very mixed programme.  The featured composer of the orchestra at the moment is a chap called Mark Bowden and he had written what was basically a cello concerto, but sadly it was a bit of a mess so rather disappointing.  You couldn't hear the cello half the time because the orchestration was so dense - you could see that he was playing something really complicated but you couldn't hear any of it.  Sadly it had no real focus and although he had written that there were three strands which were put together, they didn't sound like three strands, they sounded like noise.  The rest of the first half I enjoyed although nothing was spectacular.  The second half was 24 minutes of Steve Reich who I don't  like, so we went for a drink instead. 

The thing about going to contemporary music concerts is that you never know what you are going to get.  Sometimes - like with the choir - it is really enjoyable.  Other times good in parts, and occasionally you get a complete turkey.  A couple of years ago we went to a new music theatre piece in Cardiff and hated it so much we left that half way through.  The next one the same company did was really good though. 

It is a voyage of discovery.