Sunday, September 24, 2017

Today my plan is ...

to take it easy.

I think I may have been premature in saying that I was fully recovered from my shingles. Although the rash has dried up and is no longer contagious I might have been overdoing it as my midriff was quite sore and achy yesterday afternoon and evening.

Apparently the pain can continue long after the rash has gone - but that's not going to be the case for me! I will not let it. And so today I will take it easy.

I will try and take it easy.

I am not very good at taking it easy. Not when I'm at home. I'll maybe take George out for a gentle stroll this morning and then settle down with Grey's Anatomy this afternoon. We'll see how that goes, shall we?

* * * * * * * * *
You know some days you cook dinner and it's okay but not good? Last night I made cawl (traditional Welsh stew, with lamb, root vegetables and leeks) and dumplings and it was delicious. And I followed it with baked pears and they were yummy too. It was a good food day. And there's enough cawl for dinner tonight too so that's easy.

P.S. I was looking for an image to go with this post and I thought of using a shingles picture - but really they are too horrible! So have a picture of cawl instead.
Cawl welsh lamb and leek stew
Not this weekend's cawl as it lacks dumplings.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


On holiday I discovered that I can skim stones!!

But only in Aberporth.

I put it down to the perfect stones for skimming.

* * * * * * *
Pay attention now please for a serious achievement. 

Chilli competition
From the Gower Cook-out in July
Elder Son was a competitor in the UK Chilli Cooking Competition today. He qualified after coming third in the Gower competition. (Usually it's 1st and 2nd that are eligible but the man who was first already had qualified.) So today he set up his stand and cooked up his chilli.

And he came fourth!! In the UK he makes the 4th best chilli!

Very proud of him.

We should have been there as Husband is an integral part of the team relied upon for putting up gazebos, transporting barbecues, chopping onions etc, but because Husband has been poorly all week we didn't manage to get there. Disappointing for us and extra work for Elder Son although his father-in-law stepped in. So even more proud of the boy.

More than conkerors

I met another old lady on the walk today. She also had a retriever, two in fact, and she too had a bag of conkers.
'I don't know what to do with them,' she said, 'but you've got collect them, haven't you?'
'Oh yes, yes!'

I don't know what's the matter with the children of today. I have found absolutely loads of conkers and it used to be that you had to get to the tree straight after a strong wind if you wanted to find any left. Now it seems that nobody wants them.

Except old ladies who don't know what to do with them.

I wonder if there are any good ideas on Pinterest ...

My brilliant invention

And why it turned out that it wasn't needed anyway.

I was in Sainsburys when I had my brilliant idea and I perfected it while I was walking George. All you need is a bit of cork and a wire.

You take the bit of cork and shape it so that it fits in your ear. You then stick the wire into/onto it. It has to be a long enough piece so that the other end will reach inside you jumper. And tra la ... there you have it: the perfect device for a talker-to-yourself. 

No longer will you look weird when you're out and you suddenly realise you're talking aloud to yourself - as has happened to me twice recently, hence my mind thinking along these lines. Everyone will think you're talking on your phone but without the hassle of a) having to take your phone with you; and b) actually having to talk to someone.

So that is my wonderful invention. A boon to Mankind. I was in the process of writing my Nobel Invention Prize acceptance speech - in my head of course - when it struck me: why is it considered odd to talk to one's self? And it undoubtedly is. The number of times I've had complete strangers say to me, 'It's the first sign of madness you know, talking to yourself.' Yes, and the second sign is answering, which I also do - because I've asked myself a question so it needs an answer.

But surely it's just thinking aloud. we all think and ask ourselves questions (or is it just me?) and sometimes it just helps to hear the answer aloud. For instance if I'm in Sainsburys (really I should get commission the number of times they get mentioned) and I'm trying to remember what I need it helps if I ask, 'Do I need baked beans?'
Then I visualise the shelf in the pantry and can answer myself. I can't be the only person who does this, so why is considered odd?

I mean sometimes I have to pretend I'm speaking to George. (Obviously I do talk to George but on occasion I have used him as an excuse as well.)

Actually it should be celebrated as a sign of an active, thoughtful, questioning, deliberating brain. A positive to be shown off proudly, especially when you get to my age.

So let's hear it for and from the talkers-to-themselves! Be proud! Speak out loudly! And feel sorry for those poor people who have to rely on phones and other people for conversation.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

On the walk II: four tassels please

Preparing for bible study today I had cause to glance at Deuternomy. Now I am no bible expert and I am unfamiliar with this book but it lists various laws and one in particular caught my eye. Apparently Moses wrote this book, I guess on direction from God. So, on my walk today, I imagined this sort of conversation.

It's been a long day. Moses' hand is aching from writing and he wants his dinner. And then God tells him to write this: make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear*.

Moses starts to write this down and then stops. 'Are you having a laugh, God? Seriously, tassels? I mean now come on. I put up with the 'thou shalt not wear clothes of wool and linen together'. I put that down as one of your little quirks. But put tassels on our cloaks?'
'I just want to see if people are paying attention,' God shrugged. 'You can cross it out if you want.'
'No, it's okay. I've written it down now; it would just make a mess to cross it out.'
'Okay, let's move on to marriage violations now, shall we?'

*Deuteronomy 22:12

On the walk III: an alternative to flight or fright

As I said it's usually quiet on tip but on the way back we were approached by a dog-less man. (I always view those with suspicion.) This one was perfectly respectable and we exchanged 'afternoon' smiles. He had just passed me when - well, I can only put this down to my sensors being on full alert after the George incident earlier - I suddenly had an image of him stopping behind me and grabbing me around the throat.

I would, I decided in those few seconds, punch him in the stomach with my elbow, bring my foot up backwards into his groin and hit him in the face with the metal hook end of George's lead. By the time I'd walked a bit further I was Mohammed Ali in all but reality. 'Bring it on, if you think you're 'ard enough!'

In reality I would probably just have wet myself. 

Which might have proved to be a greater deterrent. 'Urgh! You've peed on my shoe! Argh!'

In fact I think this will be my go-to emergency action: in case of attack cede control of bodily functions. I could do that.

On the walk I: George throws a wobbly

Okay, actually it was me who threw the wobbly. I'm not sure what George threw.

We were walking on the tip. It used to be the municipal tip but thirty years ago they stopped dumping and left it to nature to reclaim. And Nature has done a very good job. It's a very pleasant place to walk now and usually very quiet. 

Today I was approaching a bend in the path. I couldn't see around it and George was walking behind me. Suddenly he shot ahead, and ran around the corner, growling.

It scared me to death!

It's bad enough when he suddenly stops, his hackles rise and he looks around warily; this was taking it to another level altogether.

He must have got a scent, strong scent of something but I couldn't see anything and he came out of the bushes and continued to walk as if nothing had happened. 'Good grief, George,' I said. 'Please don't do that again. You'll give me a heart attack.'

He looked at me and shrugged. 'A dog's got to do what a dog's got to do.'

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ceredigion versus Gower

Ceredigion is very lovely and we had a great holiday but for sheer beauty Gower is hard to beat. That's probably why it was the first area in Britain to be declared An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). And Three Cliffs Bay regularly gets voted on to Most Beautiful Beach in the World charts.
Three Cliffs Bay
Three Cliffs Bay

Tor Bay and Oxwich
Ceredigion does have dolphins and seals though. And on a more regular basis than Gower.

Lunar affectation ... or not?

Moon in waning crescent
6% Waning Crescent
So these peculiar dreams are happening in the third quarter just before new moon. Last time they were between new moon and first quarter.

I do find the charts slightly confusing as the new moon is completely black which flummoxes me. But it appears from my vast research - all two incidents - that my dreams are tied in with a new moon. Which obviously means something deep and philosophical.

But doesn't explain why in my dream:
Daughter is leaving home for places unknown and she won't tell us if she has anywhere to sleep so I am very upset;
and our women's bible study group, which is normally attended by four or five, was attended by about 30, including men, and lots of them had brought cake but refused to help clear up afterwards.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hooray for Mr Benn

Mr Benn
In the last post I mentioned Mr Benn. For those who don't know who he is let me explain.

He was a cartoon character from the 70s. Created by David McKee who also created Elmer the elephant, Mr Benn was an ordinary man who each episode left his home and visited a costume shop with a shopkeeper who appeared 'as if by magic'. Mr Benn would try on a costume and then walking through the changing-room door would find himself in an adventure.

Only 13 episodes were ever made and they were repeated twice a year for twenty years. Mr Benn still is regularly voted one of the most beloved children’s programmes of all time.

There was a certain amount of repetition in every episode and it's that familiarity that David McKee says is now missing from children's television cartoons. 

A 50th anniversary exhibition featuring fifty original Mr Benn artworks has just finished and it was in an interview in The Telegraph that the author made that statement. Now 82, Mr McKee said, '... as any parent will know, children want the same story repeated. My theory is that it’s security, they know what’s coming next and they feel safe with it.' He also claimed that modern animation is too frenetic and desperate to offer something different in every episode.

I used to love Mr Benn when I watched it with my children. Gentle and safe he was just brave enough but not superhuman, and it's true that children do love repetition. Every time GrandSon1 comes to visit, out of the large selection of books on the shelf, he always opts for the same few: Albert Herbert Hawkins, A Bad Week for the Three Bears, and, especially, Burglar Bill. And each one in turn has its own level of repetition. 

Bring back Mr Benn!

What Mr Benn has in common with my holiday reading

The first three books I read on holiday were Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Size 14 isn't Fat Either and Notes to My Mother-in-Law.

The first two although very different had one thing in common: I began reading and quickly decided  I wasn't going to like them but ended up thoroughly enjoying them.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant (by Gail Honeyman) is a woman with a traumatic past that has led to her lacking social skills. The story relates how her life gradually changes and how she copes with it. It's both funny and tragic. ****

Mr Benn and the shopkeeper
I tried to find Size 14 Isn't Fat Either (Meg Cabot) on Amazon and ebay - for an image - but there's no sign of it anywhere, which is a little strange. I found it in a secondhand bookshop so maybe it was a magic shop a bit like the one Mr Benn used to visit.
Anyway I digress. While Eleanor Oliphant is sparsely written Size 14 bubbles over. It's a bit like me on this blog when I get distracted. The author is better-known for teenage and young adult books. The heroine is a part-time amateur sleuth - aren't they all? - and it's a jolly light-hearted story. Good holiday reading. *** and a half stars.

Phyllida Law, actress, wife of Eric Thompson, mother of Emma (and Sophie), wrote notes to her mother-in-law who lived with them when she began to go deaf. The book is in big print and hardly enough to fill a space on a shelf. It's fine as far as it goes. I read them expecting at least some of the notes to build up into some sort of story but they're all fairly unrelated and very ordinary. My conversations with George are more interesting. It does a glimpse into the ordinary lives of 'famous' people but that's about as far as it goes. And one can't help feeling that had she been anyone else the book would never have been published and certainly wouldn't have had the ecstatic recommendations from more 'famous' people on the cover. I'll still give it *** because it's ... no, I won't. I'll give it **.

P.S. Interesting to note that the more stars I award the less I write about the story.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

While I'm waiting for the chicken to cook

I've borrowed this from Treey who borrowed it from etc

1.What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
A cherry.

2. Where was your profile pic taken?
I can't remember what my profile picture is. Hang on, I'll try and find out. Oh, it's that little picture. Mumbles Post Office.

3. Worst pain you've ever experienced?
Every pain is the worst pain when I have it. 

4. Favourite place you've travelled?
Mwnt or Vietnam or New York.

5. How late did you stay up last night?
Not late.

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be?
The fairy tale house at the edge of Caswell bay.

8. Which of your Blogger friends lives closest to you.
Shirley in Bristol.

10. When was the last time you cried?
Too long ago to remember.

11. Who took your profile photo?

12. Who was the last person you took a picture with?
My dog, George.

13. What's your favourite season?
Spring because everything's waking up and new and fresh.

14. If you could have any career, what would it be?

15. Do you think relationships are ever worth it?
Of course.

16. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be?
No-body. I don't like talking.

17. Are you a good influence?
Hm, you'd have to ask others.

18. Does pineapple belong on pizza?
Sort of.

19. You have the remote, what channel? 

20. Whom do you think will play along?
Anyone not upset by the bad grammar in that question.

21. What happened to questions 7 and 9?
They were abducted by aliens and even now are being probed for the recipe for yorkshire pudding.