About Me

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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Drafty dog flap

The dog has broken her dog flap, and with the temperatures minus something we have a serious draft coming into the kitchen. I think I will have to lock it for now and she will have to just ask to go out for tonight.

Tomorrow I will have a trip to Pets at home to buy another one.

Life just doesn't get much more exciting does it?

Actually it does, but this week is very peaceful with not much happening, so I should be able to catch up with some chores.

That's the theory.

First Dagger in the Library book is Two for Sorrow by Nicola Upton.
The central character is the novelist Josephine Tey, who wrote plays and a series of crime novels during the 20s and 30s. She is probably best remembered for a book called 'The Daughter of Time' which was one of the early promoters of the innocence of Richard III. Her detective hero is laid up in hospital and starts doing an investigation into Richard III while there.

There are a few problems with using a real person as a fictitious character is that the fiction can clash with the facts. Josephine Tey was a pen name for instance.

I am enjoying the novel, but the coincidences are starting to pile up in an alarming way, however I will refrain from judgement till I finish.

Sadly I found out today that the winner of the Dagger for last year, Ariana Franklin, has died. It was a pen name for Diana Norman, and she had written 4 novels in the series which were very different and I really liked them. I am sorry she has died, only in her 70s. The rest of the judges and I are all glad that we gave her the award last year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oh dear - internet shopping

Last night I sat down to order 2 batteries for the dog's flashing collar because I couldn't get them locally. Fine. I did that.

Wrote my blog, did Scrabble, read blogs.

The went onto the Oxfam online shop and spend ages and ordered 4 coats. I hasten to say that I won't keep them all, but shopping online is very seductive. You can waste so much time so easily!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Busy week in summary

Book club on Tuesday - excellent.

King's Speech in the cinema on Wednesday - excellent.

Night in front of the tv on Thursday - much appreciated as work was also busy last week

Concert on Friday - very good, better than expected. It was the Welsh National Opera orchestra doing Bartok Piano Concerto no 3, Bach Brandenburg no 3, Beethoven Symphony no 7 and a piece by Kurtag (can't remember the name). The problem with the WNO orchestra is that they are used to playing second fiddle (pardon the pun) to the singers, and not taking centre stage so the quality can be variable. However their new conductor is good, and it was an interesting programme which was generally well done. The Kurtag had the piano and the timps centre stage, and all the rest of the orchestra spread round the hall, which was interesting, though we weren't sitting in the best place. Marred by someone's mobile phone going off during the pause between two movements - very quiet bit. The conductor waited until it had been turned off before he set off again!

Saturday - nice coffee in Cowbridge followed by chilly watching of Nic having a jumping lesson, we were filming so she could watch Five's jumping afterwards. Kate came later and we all went off to watch Black Swan in the cinema. I was very disappointed with it, I was bored and kept wanting the suspense to get going. I thought it was poorly plotted, poorly acted and found Natalie Portman's character completely unconvincing - no ballerina who could dance the Swan Queen could possibly be such a wet wimpy object. However after Kate, Brian and I sat round and had a really nice chat. Lovely.

Sunday was more restful, and today was back to work.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

King's speech

We went to see the King's Speech yesterday.

It is a really good film. I was gripped right from the beginning, and you were so fully behind George VI with the stammer and the agony of having to make speeches, or try to.

The story is a really human one, and it is surprising that it wasn't better known beforee.

I recommend it unreservedly.

It is part of manic week.

At work we have the self issue machines going live on Monday and there is lots to do for that, we are trying to put together a semi tender for ebooks in 6 weeks instead of 6 months, plus the rest of the day job.

At home I had bookclub on Tuesday, we went to the cinema last night, tonight (thankfully) I am at home, though B is out with the family for a meal, tomorrow we go to a concert and Saturday we are going to see Black Swan!!! Why all in one week?

Monday, January 17, 2011

E Books

I have been to a meeting in Swansea having presentations from E book suppliers today. We had 3 from different companies, all offering something a bit different, all geared to libraries, but.....

One is a library book supplier who has decided to go down the ebook route as well, so they know the library scene in the UK extremely well, and are owned by a wholesaler so have a great deal of access to stock, but they are new on the scene.

One is the main supplier in Europe and the USA and Canada - Overdrive. The didn't send someone to do a proper presentation, but sent someone who was supposed to facilitate an online presentationn. However as Swansea were having connectivity problems (which in itself is entertaining and ironic as we are discussing things to download from the internet) we got a slide show which wasn't even customised for the UK and 3 of the 36 slides were showing us some big van only available in the USA. Plus they gave no costings at all. We were very underwhelmed by them and think they assume we will use them because they are the main provider at the moment. Hmm.

The third was Ebsco who are very well known for serials, non fiction and reference ebooks, but not for popular fiction and non fiction. Although they sent 2 people, and they are keen enough to have paid for lunch (always a good sign) they just don't have the stock coverage at the moment so are really out of the running.

Unfortunately this was delayed from December because of snow and we are now a month behind, and need to get it all sorted before the end of February.

This means we need to find out how many of the 22 Welsh local authorities want to join a Consortium purchase of ebooks. We need to put a formal questionnaire out to the 2 suppliers, get the answers and costs back, make a decision and go for it, all in 6 weeks.


As though I didn't have enough to do, as I am Chair of the Consortium for book purchases I have ended up leading on this now, although I thought I was just chairing the meeting.

Double eek.

Plus we go live with our first self service kiosks next Monday and we don't have all the information to get them working properly yet

Triple eek.

I know sound like a mouse so will finish there and run and find a hole in the skirting board to hide in.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stravinsky and Shostakovich

We went to a fantastic concert last night in St Davids Hall in Cardiff. It was the Philharmonia with Esa-Pekka Salonenn conducting, and they did Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin, Shostakovich's 2nd Piano concerto, and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

Both the Bartok and the Stravinsky created riots in the audiences on their first performances. Both take huge orchestras, and the Stravinsky uses 2 sets of timpani, 9 french horns, etc etc - the orchestra is enormous! Going to see an orchestra is a very different experience to listening to the cd. The sound is very different live to recorded - sometimes it is better recorded because the balance is adjusted by the engineers to be near perfect, whereas in the concert hall it is often dependent on where you sit, and the skill of the conductor in balancing the orchestra so that the audience hears clearly. I have been to concerts where you know that the recorded version on the radio will sound very different from what you experience in the hall, and actually better than what you are hearing.

Last night however was flawless. Esa-Pekka deserves his reputation as a conductor. There is a trend towards speed in music these days, and there are lots of recordings which must be minutes shorter than earlier versions of the same pieces. I listened to a bit of Tchaikovsky ballet music the other day and turned off in sheer annoyed frustration - no dancer in the world could dance at the speed they were playing! You get this so often now and it destroys the music.

Music needs to be allowed space to say what it has to say - the spaces between the notes are as essential as the notes themselves. The second movement of the Shostakovich is slow and they gave it all the space it needed so that it was relaxed but not at any time losing tension and sagging. Brian was very impressed by his conducting - and as B has conducted the Shostakovich he knows it extremely well because Esa-Pekka was always there when he needed to be, in charge at all times, but also left the musicians to themselves when they were doing solos and so on.

It was magic.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Filming and flooding

B's son Richard has been making a film this week. He has been working as a film script editor now for a few years, and decided to make a short film from a script which he has written, and it was being filmed this week.

B was helping - driving actors around, sorting out vans and things, and also taking some pictures of the filming. It is all very professional - the film camera alone is worth £50,000, and the lighting engineer had a whole van full of equipment. The script needed a train and an airport for locations, and as it happened both are available round here, so the actors and crew came down from London and elsewhere to wet and rainy Wales for the filming.

Even at a few removes it was quite exciting.

There are flood alerts around, and the river near our office was way up the measuring stick. We don't have a serious flood alert on the property at the moment, but we have taken some precautions this weekend. The two mobile library vans have been parked off site, and we have made sure that electric cables etc are off the floor. Things at ground level that we can move to a safer place we have, but there is too much book stock to move, so it is is in the lap of the weather gods if they survive or not.

It is about 2 years since we last got flooded and had to decamp for months. We are feeling a tad jittery about it all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More wiii

I am a dwindling fire on most things on the wii. However my downhill slalom improved to 2 stars today which, condsidering I went through all the flags first time, is a real improvement.

It is interesting because I did get hot and sweaty tonight, doing about 20 mins of various exercises on the machine. Hotter than I expected to. Even bearing in mind my lack of fitness, I was still impressed at the effort it does take.

The diet had a slight wobble when the Cowbridge staff left us some really posh chocolates, and I did have a few of them. However the main meals are all being good and I have lost 2 lbs this week which is exactly on target for week one.

I am fairly pleased so far. However it is early days yet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I have started using the wii fit today, and am enjoying it so far.

I am wobbly doing the balance stuff, and useless at skiing and heading.

I am better at yoga (which I have done before)

I am still coughing.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year resolutions

I am not doing very well with these.

Although it is only 8 Jan, and I only have 2, I have yet to start them both.

One is to lose weight. However as I have had a mild fluish thing and now have a real cold, I don't see any point in starting the diet till I feel better because I know I will lapse.

I am closer to resolution 2 which is to get a bit fitter. We are not talking substantial marathon things here, but a bit fitter. I have bought the Wii fit plus, and this afternoon have attached the Wii to the tv in the sitting room, so come Monday (when hopefully I can do energetic things and not cough) I will start using it daily.

Actually today I did walk the dog, so that is something.

When it is light at night I will also do my walk up and down the cliff at the beach which is only about 20 mins, but is aerobic.

Over New Year we started talking about Hadrians Wall which Boo and Trev want to walk from end to end. B & I thought it sounded like a good idea, and so we are looking to do that in 2012. I am not fit enough to do it in 2011. Although I can happily do a 5 mile walk, doing 10 8 mile walks one after the other needs a bit more fitness than I have at the moment (desk jobs!!!!)


I am really excited by the thought of it. Also we will be doing it just before my 59th birthday so it would be a good thing to do before hitting 60 as well.

We looked at other long walks as well. Some are very long (100s of miles) but some are more achievable, and could be fitted in after Hadrian. I think B & I will start with bite sized chunks of the Pembrokeshire path this summer - bits we haven't done before. The long term goal will be to do it all, but do it in bite size chunks. (It is one of the long ones.

B said I sounded aggressive when I just told him this, but I informed him I was being decisive!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It all happens at once

Cowbridge branch library is being refurbished. It has had the builders in since October, and they were due to finish after Christmas. However because of the cold they couldn't lay concrete so they are running late.

The library furniture fitters were booked to be in this week - all by themselves to put in the shelving etc. They are there, but so are the builders.

And the painters.

And the decorators.

And the RFID self service people.

And some of our staff.

I am going there tomorrow too.

It is bedlam apparently.

Without heating. I shall wear my furry boots.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bit of a rubbish start to 2011

New year was lovely, and it was all great till the afternoon of 2nd Jan, then I felt achy and cold and developed a mild flu sort of thing. So spent the afternoon watching tv, went to bed at 7 and spent the next day either in bed or watching tv. Ho hum

I should be back at work today, but stayed in bed till 10 snoozing, and since then have done a little bit, then sat down for a rest, etc.

However my new iPod touch has come into its own because I found Radio 7 on it and was in bed listening to the dramatisation of the Hound of the Baskervilles earlier, which is something I find really relaxing. It is not Sherlock Holmes specifically, but to lie in bed being read to or talked to is a really lovely indulgence I find.

Luckily I have remembered I have a dentist appointment this afternoon - it is written into the diary at work - and I will be back in work tomorrow.

I hope everyone is having a good start to 2011, preferably minus the coughs, colds and flu that seem so prevalent.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year begins

Today is 2 Jan 2011. Another new year begins.

It is odd how significant the change of year is, because it doesn't really make any change, or any difference, except for remembering to write the new year. However we mostly feel that it does make a difference.

We have had a lovely Christmas and New Year. All the children were home for Christmas, except for my son in law who was in Afghanistan. Both girls had dreadful coughs so we had a lazy, easy Christmas. My sister and husband came for New Year, which is also B's birthday, and again we had a lovely time.

I am now really tired for some reason, so am lazing watching the tv.

'A Matter of Life and Death' is on, with very young actors eg Richard Attenborough. I haven't seen this film for years, and it is even more surreal than I remembered it.