About Me

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tinker Tailor

We watched the new film of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy last night.  It has had lots of praise and I think Gary Oldman is up for an Oscar for playing George Smiley. 

It was nice to watch a film where the plot mattered more than the amount of blood and dashing around.  There was possibly rather more film of Smiley swimming in a lake than was necessary, and at times I thought they lost the tension a little bit by taking it too slowly.  It was a film you had to pay attention to otherwise you had no hope of keeping up with the plot.  However I wondered why Colin Firth was in it because he hardly had anything to say - there was one bit at the end where he actually had to act but the rest of the time he just had to be there. 

It is - I suppose - because of celebrity.  The more big names you get the  'better' the film. It isn't the case of course because sometimes a celebrity stuffed film is dreadful and a film where you have heard of no one is wonderful, but I do sometimes watch films because of the actor being in it.  Gary Oldman was very good, and conveyed a man who knew a lot while saying little very well.  I don't remember the Alec Guinness tv version but I am tempted to get it out of the library and watch it because I would be curious to see Guinness doing it. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Amazing women

I am feeling that I should start achieving things.

As my aunt had her 100th birthday recently and is off on her birthday cruise soon she is an inspiration.

At work this afternoon we were visited by a local author, a lady called Eileen Younghusband, who took her Open University degree at the age of 87, and at the age of 89 launched into a writing career.  Her first books was self published, but her second book was taken up by a publisher and the link is here.
She is great fun, and fascinating to talk to. She dropped an extra copy of her book round for us and stayed for a cup of tea - we had an hour long tea break this afternoon.

They are both examples of what can be done with some determination and effort.  I am looking to retirement now, in about 5 or 6 years, and am wondering what I should do as my next career.  B  is very happy writing music (though his computer is sick and being fixed so he is a bit bereft at the moment) so I need something to do too.  I think it needs to be more than just filling in time - I need to think of something I really want to do that will give me a sense of fulfillment.  I have a few years to think about it, but with women like that around it does give one a sense of inspiration.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wicked weekend

What a lovely weekend I have had.

Kate got tickets for the show of 'Wicked' in London for Nic and myself as our Xmas presents.  We went up to stay with Kate on Thursday, and then on the Friday got the train into London where we had a very pleasant lunch, followed by pottering round the shops and Covent Garden. 

I got a pair of boots reduced from £170 to £50 which are lovely!  Nic got a dress for the ball also reduced by £150 so we were very pleased with ourselves.

As we had some time to kill we went and looked at the Tudor portraits in the National Portrait gallery as Kate has a really strong interest in the Tudor period, and seeing the pictures in real life is much more moving than reproductions   in a book.  We also decided that we should go back for a longer visit sometime because the gallery is really very interesting.  It must be 40 years since I was in the Portrait gallery and it has changed a bit since then!

We met up with more of the family for dinner, finding Kieran and Alice at Embankment tube station which was an amazing coincidence as they had come up from Southampton.  The tube had delays so we started to walk but we weren't going to get to the restaurant in time that way so we caught a taxi (very impressed by Kate's ability at taxi hailing).

Dinner was in a Tapas bar and the food was very good, though it was absurdly noisy with the music much too loud so you could only talk to the people either side of you, so that was a bit disappointing as I didn't get to talk to everyone.

Then we went to see 'Wicked' which is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz.  It very cleverly combines the story we know with the story of the Witch and why she isn't actually wicked.  Glinda the good witch was brilliant - she was really funny and her timing was impecccable.  Both witches were good singers and sang really well.  The staging was great and the effects were good too.  The actual music is very mediocre which is a shame, with only a couple of vaguely memorable songs but it didn't spoil the show.  We also had excellent seats in the stalls, and fortunately didn't really need the loo in the interval because the queue was the longest I have ever seen in a a theatre!

Nic then headed off to spend the rest of the weekend with a friend and Kate and I went back to her house, getting in a bit after midnight. 

A really excellent day.

This morning was very lazy, and I headed home about lunch time, stopping at M&S to buy a couple of skirts and a pair of jeans to go with my new boots!!!

I love family get togethers as we always have such a good time!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


We set out on a mission today

1) to buy 2 watches as retirement presents for 2 colleagues who finished work on Friday
2) to buy a mattress for the spare bed for the cottage

We also thought we might look for curtain material to replace the curtains in the cottage.

Mission 1 was accomplished fairly quickly - there are a lot of jewellers close together in Cardiff, so having eliminated all the ones that were too expensive (most of them) we didn't take that long to chose the presents.

Then we looked at curtain materials in John Lewis (after a coffee) but didn't see much we like really.

Ikea came up trumps with a mattress in the bargain corner so that was simple and cheap as well. 

So - more curtain hunting.

There are lots of places selling ready made or made to measure curtains, but far fewer selling material, and although we went to another 2 shops we didn't find anything at all that we liked.

The windows are very narrow and deep set so the type of material is very restricted,  but we didn't see anything that came close to being as nice as the ones already there.  The trouble is the existing ones are stained from where the window sills got damp, so....

The internet brought up some possibles so we have sent off for samples. 

Who would have thought it would be so difficult?

Though having said that it took me months to find the material for the curtains in my sitting room.

The penalties of being particular perhaps (very alliterative anyway)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Unfortunately my son has been victim of a computer scam today.  It surprised me because he is usually so cautious, and he said his first instinct was to hang up the phone but ....

It is called the ammy scam and there is lots on Google about it - someone phones up and says there are problems on your computer and they can fix it.  The remote in to the computer and then install some software, and want money from you etc etc.

So we have turned his laptop off, cancelled his credit card with the bank, and luckily he doesn't use that machine to do any purchasing so there isn't that  much information on it.  We need to reload the operating system and then the computer will be ok again.  Ho  hum.

Monday, January 9, 2012

More outings

We have booked even MORE outings.

2012 is the year of outings.

On 14 June we are now booked up to see the stage version of War Horse in the afternoon and then a new opera by Glanert called Caligula in the evening.  We are seeing a large variety of things that day.

We have also - finally - found a date where lots of the widespread family can congregate at Hampton Court to a) see it and b) see each other.  Last year it was Highgate Cemetery, and this year Hampton Court.  We will have to find another site beginning with H next year to meet at.

We are also going to masses of concerts this year - having had  little we wanted to see the last couple of years we have loads this year.  Expensive though.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Water tight garage?

Brian and I spent most of yesterday working on making the garage waterproof.  Most of this was B on the roof, recementing, putting down some more lead flashing, adding bitumen etc.  However I emptied lots of the garage and we discovered there were no leaks from the washing machine or associated pipes.  The soakaway seems to soakaway when the hose is running into it.  Our assumption is that it is coming in under the garage door, so we have put bricks in the way and are thinking of putting a different door - a waterproof one - on.

The ultrasonic rat repeller - powered by battery  - arrived on Friday so it is now in the attic, and I hope it will repel the furry little pests.

Ratatouille is on the tv as I write this - rats, hmm, the idea of a hero rat is not high up my list of favourite things at the moment.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Guide dog fosterer

I have been interviewed today to see if I am suitable to be a foster carer for guide dogs.  There are two local trainers for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and when they get new dogs to do the advanced training the dogs live with a foster carer and get taken out every day to be trained.

I have a colleague who does this, and as I miss having Saffy around it seemed like a good idea.  The trainer collects the dog in the morning and brings it back late afternoon, so I would have the dog evenings and weekends.  Plus they pay all the costs.  You do only get them for a short period of time and you  may only have a dog once or twice a year, but you are also doing a good job and helping in the training of a guide dog as well.

So I get to have a dog (part time) at no cost, and can pat myself on the back for helping others too!

Saffy gave me a good character reference, I'm glad to say.

It is quite exciting I think.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back at work

First day back at work was fairly quiet except for a couple of long phone calls. 

Those who know about the flooding problems we have had at work in the past will know that our office has flooded twice in the  last 15 years, the last time had us out of the building for 6 months.    So we are looking with some anxiety at the rising water level in the river by the building and the fields behind.  It is on a flood plain and - surprise surprise - is prone to flooding!  At the moment we only have water leaking in from the roof, and not much of it thankfully.

So I have a leaking garage, a leaking ceiling in work, worries about flooding and - are you getting the theme here?  Maybe I should live somewhere drier, like Essex.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bye bye Christmas tree

I have taken down the tree and put all the decorations back into the attic.

Aaah.  I always feel sad after that.  I love the looking forward to Christmas, and getting together and all the presents, and so on, so I always feel a bit flat in the new year.

The picture is the fen at Newgale, flooded by the rain. 

As we have been having lots of hail today it seemed topical.  I was thinking of going out to take some photos of the opening meet of the Hunt, especially as Nic was taking a friend's little boys on their ponies, using a lead rein on them, and it would have been very picturesque, but....

the weather is yuck so I didn't.

I have taken off the list of books which I failed to keep up to date last year, so will try again this year.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


2012 is here.

The economic crisis is worsening and the government is rubbish but I can' do anything about that so mostly intend to maintain an ostrich attitude to most of it, as far as I can, and hope it doesn't intrude too much on me and mine.  Selfish but achievable.

On a more mundane level the blooming garage roof is leaking again, so Brian will be looking at that next weekend in an effort to get it waterproof.  The people who built it added it to the side of the house and did a really bad job of the join, so the water comes in through the join to the house.  As we have the washing machine in there, plus lots of gardening stuff, the lawnmower and lots of horse stuff, we really do need to get it waterproof.

Task one for the new year I think. 

As Nic got given a saddle rack and a blanket rack by Brian for Xmas we also need to get the walls dry enough to put them up and not damage the tack.  The other thing I want to do is create a sort of boot room with drying facility in the garage so that we can remove the smelly, muddy, horsy, wet waterproofs and boots from the kitchen radiator to somewhere further from food preparation, and also have them cause less of an obstacle course by the back door.

Task 2 for the  new year.

Then there are the usual ones of lose weight, sort out finances, be tidier etc etc.......

Maybe or maybe not!

Whatever your tasks, resolutions or wishes for the New Year I hope 2012 is kind to you and yours