Saturday, August 31, 2013

Family time

Elder Son, Daughter-in-law, GrandSon1, Daughter, Son-in-law, GrandDaughter and GrandSon2 were all here to welcome  Younger Son and Nuora home from their 3 months in SE Asia. The babies helped paint the banner to greet them and didn't they do well?

During the week we've been treated to an Italian feast by Elder Son, a plethora of pizza thanks to Daughter, and here we are sitting down to enjoy a SE Asian selection courtesy of Younger Son and Nuora. It includes some of the dishes they learned while cooking with Poo in Thailand and on a cookery course in Vietnam. And very delicious it all was. As were all the wonderful meals our children produced.

A kind gentleman saw Husband struggling to balance the camera on the pushchair and offered to take our photo for us on the beach at the pier. 

We rounded off the week with a trip to Verdi's (again). GrandSon1 really really enjoyed  his ice cream.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I was born for

My 30 Day Challenge posts and posts generally have been a bit erratic these last days because the children and grandchildren are staying and I am too busy being Granny to be Blogger - which is as it should be.

Daughter and Elder Son and their families have been with us since the weekend and tonight - or more accurately tomorrow morning at either 1 or 4 - Younger Son and Nuora arrive home from their SE Asian travels so everyone will be here for a day or so.

Making one very happy Granny.

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 30: Self portrait

Lots of people say my daughter looks like me; what do you think?

Friday, August 23, 2013

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 27: Celebration

By this time next week I'll have all the family home! Even if only briefly all together it warrants a celebration. Something like raspberry and chocolate cookies or date flapjacks.

The best bit

When I wrote about Zac's I got distracted with all that went wrong and forgot to tell you about the best bit.

Before the study began the wanderer was abusive and threatening to at least one of the regulars and I was fearful that if he continued I would have to ask him to leave (you know what a toughie I am). Fortunately once we started, although he continued to roam, he was quieter and less foul-mouthed and even offered to read the bible passage.

It wasn't a very long one but it took him some time but he made it to the end - and all the wonderful Zaccers gave him a clap and said, 'Well done, mate.'

They are so wonderful. 

* * * * * * * * * 
And yesterday I delivered the first of the Moses baskets to needy soon-to-be-mums. I was so excited you'd have thought I was delivering the baby.

Both young women were very grateful and made small donations to Zac's (the midwives had suggested that to them).

And I am so grateful to the mums who've donated the baskets and other equipment and the people who've generously given money for mattresses and an emergency fund.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 26: Close up

In an earlier post I wrote that I hope I hold possessions lightly. In response Jay from The Depp Effect commented that she had trouble parting with things of sentimental value. I had to admit then that I too hang on to things that have significance for me. Like my sheepskin jacket.

My mum bought it for me for Christmas 1970. We didn't have much money and she was thrilled that she'd managed to be able to afford this for me. I didn't have the heart to say that a sheepskin jacket came nowhere on my 'want' list. And if it had it would have been a pale trendy one like my fashionable better-off cousin's not a dark traditional one that made me look like a dumpling.

February 1971 my mum died following a brain hemorrhage.  

I was wearing my jacket when we went to visit her in hospital when she'd had a second bleed and didn't recognise me except as someone who looked like her cousin. I was wearing it when we had the car crash on the way home. I was told to claim off the driver's insurance to have my coat cleaned of the blood that was smattered over it.

My coat has been hanging in my wardrobe ever since; I probably haven't worn it for 35 years or more - but I can't get rid of it. 

Until now. Today, sitting in the car on the way to deliver 2 Moses baskets to destitute mums, I thought, 'Why am I hanging on to it? When it could keep someone warm on a cold winter's night? Because my mum gave it to me? Because I never wanted it?'

I'll take it to Zac's. I don't know if anyone will want it - they're a right fussy bunch - but if not it can join the 'clothes for cash' pile and be of some use instead of taking up room in my wardrobe.

I will. I will.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First take a bottle of vodka

Or several bottles of vodka/gin/rum.
Add raspberries or rhubarb, ginger and sugar or chillies.

Leave to mature for 6-8 weeks. (Yes, I can see that happening.)

Drink and enjoy! 

P.S. If not enjoyable, give as presents to people - Husband's answer when, standing in the queue in Sainsburys with a trolley-load of spirits, I asked if he thought it would taste nice.

Is it me?

I was leading Zac's last night. The two previous weeks Steve led and we had nice orderly discussions with lots of people participating; last night, well, it wasn't a disaster but it didn't feel particularly beneficial either.

For a start there were more people not there than there (a sentence that made perfect sense in my head). Then there was one man who's the scary combination of violent charmer, who occasionally joins in the discussion but not in a way anyone can understand; and the other, who almost continually wandered around the room, sometimes swearing, sometimes laughing. 

People always come and go during the study so that shouldn't have been a distraction but I found it hard to keep on track.

And that's before we get on to the topic, the parable of the rich fool. When I saw Martin earlier in the day he asked me what the topic was and when I told him replied, 'You're the only one that'll be relevant to.'

At the time I assumed he meant I was the only one who could be considered rich (relatively) but I suppose he might have meant I was the only fool ...

Anyway, last night I admitted I felt a little uncomfortable with the subject. I am well aware that my life is a lot cushier than that of anyone else who goes to Zac's and I can't really grasp the horror of some of the lives they've led. However I have lost or come close to losing people dear to me and because of that and acknowledging how important that person is and how much I needed God to get me through situations that I think - I hope - I hold on to possessions lightly.

But maybe it was that people felt the story wasn't for them especially because we didn't have a huge amount of discussion. I'd prepared questions and I don't think there was anything extra I could have done to loosen tongues and encourage more dialogue.

Or maybe it is me. Steve is a relaxed quick-witted leader; I nervously swivel my chair round and round while desperately trying to think of a response/conversation-continuer: sometimes I even forget what I'm trying to think of a response to!

Ah, well, Steve's leading next week and then Sean is back - alleluia!

Choo choo!

The grandchildren are visiting soon so Granny is stocking up ready for fun.

For the first time they'll be here together for a bank holiday when the little trains will be running. I LOVE the little trains and have waited forever to take the grandchildren on them.

The trains only run for visitors on bank holidays but the site, just behind our road, is used all year by steam engine enthusiasts.

I'm excited already!

I just hope I'm not faced with the question I overheard in the Ladies' at Sainsburys today.
Little girl standing in front of condom machine: What are those?
Granny: Um, sweets.

Which I can see leading to trouble next time they're in there and Little Girl demands sweets.

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 25: Strangers

In the coffee shop this morning I was struck by the perfectly neat way this stranger was sitting.
An instant before I took this photo she was even more upright, her tummy tucked in, her knees and feet placed neatly together, everything about her just right. I would guess this is a reflection of her life and her personality - but I could be wrong!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 24: animal

One from the archive: George at 2 months old when we brought him home for the first time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

30 day Photo Challenge Day 23: pattern

This picture hangs above my desk. 
It was given to me a few years ago by lovely Ros, when she made a short return visit to Swansea. She and her husband, Glenn, worked with Sean in Zac's for a number of years and we still miss them.

Aboriginal art uses icons, symbols, where each has a significance, to tell often ancient stories. There are a number of theories about how 'dot paintings' came into being, the most popular suggesting that it was a way for the indigenous artists to keep their stories secret, so they wouldn't be understood by outsiders.

For more information about Aboriginal art go here.

Three ages of women

Two parties in two weekends. That's more of a social life than I normally have in a year.

Anyway the two ladies in question were both celebrating big 0 birthdays so here are the three of us: three ages of women adding up to 150!

I should never have mentioned rhubarb liqueur

Today's top tips:
When blackberrying
1. Don't wear shorts;
2) take a tall companion or crooked stick.

Still we had a reasonable haul in a short time - about 3lbs fruit, not including the ones I ate (only the ones that were so ripe they fell apart in my hand, honest). 
Now Husband plans to makes blackberry liqueur. And rhubarb (we have a lot in the garden) liqueur. And sloe gin.

Before I went to work this morning I mentioned that a friend was given rhubarb liqueur. He then spent a large part of the morning looking up recipes and is very excited at the prospect of something for nothing - except the cost of the vodka/gin/rum and sugar ...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Talk to the hand cos the face ain't listening

I'm making another Malteser cheesecake this weekend and I learned my lesson last week.

Now 1 large box gives you 360g and costs 10p less than 3 small boxes that also give you 360g. But 360g, as I discovered last week isn't quite enough; I need about 400g.

To my way of thinking I therefore need 2 large boxes because it is cheaper proportionally that way. 


* * * * * * * * *
It struck me the other morning - yesterday I do believe - that I need to be more like a trampoline.

When things - words - are thrown at me I need to boiiing them straight back and not absorb them like a sponge. 

Trouble is I never think of an answer until 2 o'clock the following morning. So I need a plan.

A cunning plan, as Baldrick was fond of saying.

Other trouble is that the people who are saying things don't actually listen. (Or maybe it's just me they don't listen to.) So perhaps the answer is just to say, 'Shut up.' But you and I both know I won't do that. We know that I will struggle to get a word in edgeways and if I do manage it will get my words mixed up and end up making as much sense as a half-witted turnip.

Oh fol di rol.

Wish for a ... ciggie?

I've just re-read this book and was charmed by its innocence but surprised by a couple of things. Though the edition I have is from 1970 it was first published in 1947 and times have certainly changed.

The main character, Tamzin, is the daughter of an impoverished vicar and his pretty-well-perfect wife. Tamzin has a little brother, a toddler called Diccon, who has a passion for salt. Yes, salt. And he's allowed it in little heaps. Tamzin discusses it with her mother.
"Funny how he likes salt so much, isn't it? Do you suppose it's very bad for him?"
"Not very I should think. Might do more harm to forbid it."

A bit later in the book an old friend of Tamzin's mother comes to visit and she asks if she may smoke in the house. Her smoking fascinates Diccon especially when she blows smoke rings for him. 'She was bullied and coaxed into smoking three cigarettes in succession, and then declared herself beaten.' 
At this point the vicar says to his wife, "Gwenda my dear I can see we shall have to adopt this habit ourselves."

It's still a delightful book and the grammar is excellent! Best of all there's not a vampire in sight.

Songs named after places

San Francisco. Chicago. New York. California. Abergavenny. Hang on a minute, Abergavenny? 

I heard this old song on the radio this morning and it suddenly struck me how unlikely it was. Even in 1969 Abergavenny wasn't the sort of place people went to deliberately. A very pleasant little town in the beautiful Welsh valleys but not really renowned as a centre for the hip happening people.

My favourite line is when Shannon, aka Marty Wilde, says, 'If you can't make it I promise I'll send you a photograph.'

Just what you've always wanted.

Take cover!

We appear to have a bullet hole in our upstairs window.
I know I've said some unpopular things recently but I didn't think it warranted that!

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 21: faceless self portrait

Friday, August 16, 2013

An expensive night out

When Husband said, 'Do you want to go out for a meal tonight?' I didn't hesitate. It's not that I don't like baked beans on toast - I love them very much - just that I'm not going to turn down an offer when I get one.

So we went to the Brasserie for simple food, well cooked. My fish soup was one of the best I've had and the chips are always divine - especially the crumbs: I love the crispy bits. For my main, as neither the hake nor the sea bass looked brilliant, I thought I'd give the turbot a try.

Well, it was huge but not especially tasty. Husband's argument that flat fish aren't doesn't hold water. I just felt it needed something extra that it was lacking although I'm not sure what. The brasserie is one of those places where you go to the counter to choose what you want and they weigh it for you there. I pointed to the fish and the lad weighed it for me. He said something; I couldn't hear him so I asked him to say it again. He repeated himself and I still didn't hear him so I just nodded. Big mistake.

My fish cost £36!!!!! And I didn't even enjoy it very much.

And we got back to the car to find we had a parking ticket ...

I don't think we'll be going out again for a while. And we'll be eating a lot of beans on toast.

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 20: in my bag

Quite a well-sorted bag today.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

30 day Photo Challenge Day 19: something you want

Strangely enough it isn't chocolate.

I was thinking about this yesterday and the first things that came into my head were family-related.

I want Younger Son and Nuora to return safely from their travels and to find jobs/careers that they love. And to have babies of course.
I want Daughter-in-law's pregnancy to go well with a resulting healthy baby.
I want Son-in-law's work dilemma resolved.
And all the normal health and happiness for all the children and grandchildren.

Oh, and, of course, for them all to come and live within a 10 mile radius of me. 

I thought maybe I could use a family photo to encompass all that but that wouldn't have said quite what I wanted. No, I needed something more easily visualised. The next thing that suggested itself was - no, still not chocolate - my desire to be a best-selling author. But how would I show that in a photo?

Finally I decided. This what I want novel 3 to be.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 18: your shoes

Summer, winter, my mainstays, as you can tell from the worn down look of them.
And now I have caught up! And we're on day 18 already. How odd that photo challenge days seem to mount up so quickly while exercise days plod along.

I see that tomorrow's challenge is 'Something you want'. That'll take some thinking about.

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 17: Technology

My mobile telephone. Closer to a museum piece than cutting edge technology. No internet, can't take photos, in fact all it does is allow me to phone and text. And I only use it when I have no choice. Oh and I have discovered I can find out the time from it - if I happen to be carrying it with me rather than having left it somewhere about the house.

It does have its uses though: have you tried to find a public phone box recently? They are few and far between.

But yesterday you would have laughed to see me and another similarly-aged woman trying to exchange numbers. The process involved finding phones, writing down numbers, me calling her, her writing down my number then giving it back to me. Then calling me to test it. Such fun!

Still on the technology theme, Google and the massed knowledge of the internet are wonderful things but you can't beat a book when it comes to checking a word definition. 

And, yes, I know I'm still running a day behind but I'm hoping to catch up today. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blog commenting and flying

I've noticed I'm not getting many comments on my blog posts. Is this because:

a) for the most part, my posts are too boring to comment on;
b) nobody's reading my blog because of a);
c) my posts are so insightful they leave nothing else to say (okay, unlikely, but I want to cover every eventuality);
d) none of the above.

On a different note, on weighing this morning, I discovered I'd put on 1lb. I'd like to think this is because my daily workout is turning my fat to muscle - and we all know muscle is denser and heavier - but I fear it's because I'm eating more - a lot more - because I think I deserve it for doing the workout. 

I moved on to level 2 yesterday. It doesn't have so many lunges so is better for my hip but it does include a, what I think she called, double jump rope. It seems to involve propelling yourself into the air and staying there for twice as long as you normally would were you doing a simple (huh!) jump rope.

I'm a sixty-year-old woman. I gave up believing I could fly at least 10 years ago. Although it doesn't stop me trying now and then.

A good read

Look what I found today!
How odd. I'm sure I've written about this book before but I can't find any mention of it on my blog. ah well.

This was one of my favourite books when I was a young girl. A few months ago I checked on ebay and found it but at quite a cost. Today I happened upon it in a charity shop on top of a pile of books. When I took it to the cash desk the woman exclaimed, 'Oh, there it is! I was going to take this home for my grand-daughter as we're not allowed to sell books that are brown around the edges.' (As this one is.)

When I explained my deep desire for this book she let me buy it - for 49 pence!

Exit Lizzie, one happy bunny.

* * * * * * * *
A friend recently recommended We Need to Talk about Kevin. It's a book several people have mentioned and I'd vaguely thought I should read so I borrowed it from the library. 

I've managed about one third of it and I'm giving up. The narrator annoys me too much and my life is too short to waste on reading because I should.

However I am also fed up of chick lit type books so I'm back in the Young Adult section where I found and enjoyed The Shell House. Telling two similarly-themed stories set in different times it considers developing spirituality and sexuality; it's different, doesn't fit in to any genre and there isn't a single vampire in it, which must be a bonus. My only grumble is that it finishes too soon. It also leaves the reader dangling I suppose, wanting to know what happens, but yet it doesn't matter either. The pleasure is in the creation rather than a result.

30 day Photo Challenge Days 15 & 16: Silhouette and a good habit

As there are no rules I'm making my own. This is photoshopped (obviously) to create a silhouette effect.
My good habit is baking. I love baking but I only do it when I have an excuse - like bible study each Tuesday at Zac's -  otherwise Husband and I would eat cake all the time. As it is we just have to 'sample' the cake - and eat any leftovers.

Today we have chocolate chip muffins.

Monday, August 12, 2013

In which the photo challenge becomes a cat for which I blame Mr Schrodinger

There's nothing to say I can't make up my own rules for the 30 Day photo Challenge so I'm catching up (I think although I might still be a day behind) and putting 2 days together - silhouette and a good habit.

At least I would if only I could think of a photo in silhouette. Isn't that a strange word? When you really look at it? Yet it's easy to spell as it's just as it sounds. It's not a word I can ever remember using. I suppose I must have done at some point but it would have been referring to something in silhouette. I mean, it's not the sort of word that would be used in any other context. Am I making myself clear? No. Well, I know what I mean. Same as I know what I meant when I said, 'does it only leak when it rains?'

There is sense in there somewhere you may just have to search a bit.

At least I'm not Schrodinger. 

Have you googled today? If you have you'll have seen the Google logo celebrating Schrodinger's 126th birthday. I'm sure they could find less obscure anniversaries if they tried. However it did make me look up Schrodinger's cat. I'd heard the saying but had no idea what it meant. And having researched it, I still have no idea.

Apparently according to Mr Schrodinger his cat is in a box and it is both alive and dead. And that is quantum theory. 

And people win Nobel prizes and get paid to come up with ideas like this. I have been wasting my life. I could so easily have made a fortune and been a household name if my silly ideas had been taken as seriously as this man's.

I said to Husband, 'That's just a plain stupid idea.'
'I think it's a good idea,' he said.
'Ah well, you're a man.'
'No, I mean, I think putting cats in boxes is a good idea. I think we should put all the cats in the world in boxes and leave them there to see if they are dead or alive.'

You'll have to excuse Husband: he hates cats. He has good reason in that every time a cat walks past him, a flea leaps from cat to Husband and sucks him dry. This even happens with cats previously guaranteed as flea-proofed.

Whoops, I seem to have digressed. I'm supposed to be looking for a silhouette photo.

You'd think there was a God

A really good meeting in Linden yesterday morning. (I don't often say that!) It was straight and simple, a look at the 'Nazareth Manifesto', when Jesus declared himself to be the one who had come to set free the captives etc. His audience in the temple, fellow Nazarenes who would have seen him growing up, were skeptical. This wasn't what they expected of a Messiah. He wasn't supposed to be coming to look after the poor; he was coming to free them from the tyranny of Roman rule.

Yet Jesus's message remains as valid today as it did then. For me yesterday's talk was a reminder of the simplicity of it and a re-affirmation for my dreams.

The morning was made even better when a new-comer (who's actually an old-timer who moved away and has now returned) spoke to me afterwards about his involvement in a project with sex workers in Newport. He has a lot of experience and contacts and, what's more, enthusiasm for a similar project to begin in Swansea. Which ties in brilliantly with my thoughts. 

Isn't it amazing when 'coincidences' happen? Anyone might think there really was a God.

* * * * * * * * * *
There's an article on the Guardian website entitled The Gospel According to David Cameron.  In it David Cameron is quoted as saying, "what I think is so good about Jesus's teachings is there are lots of things that he said that you can still apply very directly to daily life".

Lots of Jesus's teachings? Not all of them then? Which ones shall we ignore? 

A Damascus Road moment involving a tin of corned beef

That moment when you realise that, if you're making corned beef pie for dinner, you need corned beef.

Now, maybe one of you wise people out there can tell me why they still put the tin openers on corned beef cans. They stopped doing it on sardines ages ago and, if it were such a good invention, why didn't they do it for anything else?

Not that I've ever had much success. The little key usually comes off in my hand leaving a dangerously-half-opened can and I have to resort to using a proper tin opener.

Still scrubbing in vain

I've been doing my exercise dvd  for 5 days and I still have a flabby tummy. But now I also have a bad hip. I think I will leap on to level 2 in the hope it doesn't have so many lunges. Or I could just do them on the right side. But then I may end up lopsided.

But right now I have just cleaned the kitchen floor. Have I mentioned the kitchen floor to you before? Big mistake getting pale tiles. Husband wanted black (as he never stops reminding me) but I thought that would make the kitchen too dark. 

The trouble is they're unsealed stone tiles. That means the dirt gets ground in and the tiles really need a good old-fashioned scrubbing brush taken to them. Which i would have done today had I been able to find my scrubbing brush.

So I had to make do with mopping furiously. I think I may try doing it every day for a few days to see if that helps. (What? You mean I'm supposed to clean the floor every day anyway and not once in a blue moon?)

On the plus side you can't beat a bit of Tina for floor-mopping especially as you have in your hand a ready-made microphone. "Simplyyyyy the Bestttt!"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 14: Eyes

An old photo and taken by Elder Son not me but look at those eyes. Getting a bit misted by then but still the gentle loving eyes of our beautiful dog, Harvey

Not fair!

For a 40th birthday party I made a Malteser cheesecake. The recipe said I needed 350g Maltesers plus some for decoration. Now boxes contain 120g so I bought 3 figuring that would give me enough. Let me tell you: 10g Maltesers aren't enough to decorate a cupcake. 

So I ate them. And bought another box.

Took it to the party, left it on the cake table, came back after some lovely barbecue food to get a slice and had all gone! Had to resort to licking up the crumbs left on the plate.

But all is not lost.

I've been invited to a 'Last Day of the 40s' party next weekend and it was suggested I could make another Malteser cheesecake for that. And this time the host has promised that we can sit in a corner together and share it.

The party house was on the North Gower coast and when I left the tide was in and the water lapping through the reeds, and the sun was setting rather beautifully.

Friday, August 09, 2013

30 day Photo Challenge Day 13: cannot live without

Fighting memory loss

Yesterday morning Husband read an article saying that cocoa, because of its flavanol, helps blood flow to the brain and thus possibly improves memory and fights dementia. 'I'll start drinking a cup at night,' he said as he got the tin out of the pantry to remind him.

He forgot. 

A bit catch-22-ish.

And, speaking of memory, I can't remember what else I was going to write. I'd thought of 2 unrelated topics to include in one post. No good, can't remember, but tell me, have you ever managed to cook crispy beef?

I bought a pack, a combined powder and sauce set, and gave it a go tonight. I don't know, I think I imagined that the powder contained some secret ingredient that would actually make the beef crispy. It didn't. I think the answer is deep very very very hot fat. Which would scare me silly.

Oh, yes, I remember! The problem with doing my exercise dvd every day is that I think it entitles me to eat a whole bag of Crunchie Bites. 
Whoops! I mean Crunchie Rocks. Currently on special offer in a well-known supermarket for £1.

Which brings me back nicely to cocoa. Apparently the benefits of eating chocolate for its flavanol are outnumbered by all the reasons why (too much) chocolate is not good for you. Sadly.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

HMS Petticoat

The smoke alarm started beeping in the middle of the night because its battery was low. Husband got up, took it down and tried to remove the battery. When he failed he wrapped it in a towel and put it in the oven.

And he thinks I'm weird.

P.S. And I slept through all of this.

P.P.S. Dreamt I was eating dinner with the Queen Mother. She was talking to people on my right and on my left but not to me. I was feeling slighted until I realised that not only was I wearing my wedding dress I had a tight petticoat on over it. No wonder she didn't talk to me; she probably thought I was strange.

P.P.P.S. Do they still sell petticoats?


Daughter has been following a dvd exercise course called the 30 Day Shred. I joined her in exercising while we were in Devon at the weekend and, as it's been effective for her in tightening muscles and losing inches, I thought I'd give it a go. Circuit training stops for August and each year I say I'll find another class to attend temporarily, but in reality I never do. 

The dvd arrived today and I've just completed my first day at level 1. Each session is 20 minutes solid work-out and I think I could be on level 1 for some time - maybe to the end of 30 days ...

And kisses from George mid bicycle crunch is something I don't get in circuit training it has to be said.

I suppose I should measure myself so I can assess progress. Hm, where's that tape measure?

It was a lovely funeral

I've been to a funeral today. It was nobody I knew so there was none of the possible emotion and I could enjoy the good bits. (Lest you think I'm a serial funeral stalker let me assure you I'm not.) And, fair play, as they say in Wales, it was a lovely do.

The lady in question had been a member of the her local Methodist chapel for many years and had a strong faith. From what was said it sounds as if she were a lovely lady and the chapel was packed to say goodbye to her. Now the good thing about old Welsh chapels is that they're attended by old Welsh people who love to sing about their faith. And it was a beautiful sing-song. A bit like this.

It was quite a solemn service though. Afterwards I said to Husband, 'I don't want a funeral procession; I want a funeral gallop.'
He looked at me and sighed in the 'well, that's a silly idea' way that he frequently uses with me.
'Okay,' I said, 'well, at least I want people to laugh at my funeral.'
'Have you thought that people may not feel like laughing at your funeral?'
'Rubbish! When you start thinking about all the stupid things I've done you won't be able to stop laughing.'

In fact everyone will probably be laughing so much they'll forget to push the button to burn me and I'll be left lying there until the cleaning lady comes in the evening and gets a fright.

30 day Photo Challenge Day 11: something blue

I'm embarrassed to say I only discovered Ella comparatively late in life but isn't she just superb?

30 day Photo Challenge Day 10: childhood memory

I grew up living with my mother, grandparents and great-gran (in photo). The house was called Albert House and there were slate steps to the front door. The steps, which warmed in the sun (although I think I might be sitting on a cushion in this one), feature in many of my photos from growing up.

I think my great-gran must have been about 80 in this photo. Her only surviving daughter, Joan, now lives next door to Albert House and at 94 shows no signs of going anywhere. She saw the doctor the other week because 'I get out of breath when I walk up the hill carrying my shopping.'
'You're 94! You shouldn't be walking up the hill carrying your shopping!'

When she tells us what the doctor said she adds, 'So I have to sneak out when no-one's here.'

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Our little outing

A collage of some of the more exotic blooms that we saw at the National Botanic Garden last week.

A honeybee collecting nectar.

A tortoiseshell butterfly.

A bumble bee in the kitchen garden.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is home to the world's largest single span glasshouse.

You've got to love the Welsh! It's the law that all signs have to be bi-lingual. I guess they tried.
As well as the gardens proper there was a walk through an ancient woodland. According to the maps the walk took you past a waterfall. Now I'm rather fond of waterfalls so I insisted we went that way. Estimated time for the walk said 60 minutes. We looked at the map and pooh-poohed that. 'It won't take us that long. That's probably for old people who like to stop and rest. (Or admire the view as I call it.)'

So off we set. 

Some time later we were wondering when we were going to reach this waterfall. It didn't appear on the map we had with us but from what we could remember on the large noticeboard we must surely have reached it by now.

Then we saw this:

'Is that it?' To say it was two feet high was being generous. We sighed, took photos and walked on. 

Another sign in the woods described the work done by the land-owner and garden designer to create what had once been an area of bridges, waterfalls and shady brooks. 'Now most has disappeared but you can still see the stunning waterfall  if you follow the path ahead.'

Yippee, that titchy little thing hadn't been the waterfall we were looking for. We marched on, new determination in our hearts. Only to see this:

Now I know July was unseasonably dry but to have dried up so completely?
More sighs and resignation that we'd chosen the wrong time of year to look for a waterfall.

And then ... then ... we heard it!

Okay, not the biggest or most impressive waterfall we'd ever seen but as Husband said, they'd managed our expectations well as anything higher than us and not dry was going to look good at this point.

It took us a good hour to complete the walk. I blame it on my flip-flops. Not ideal hiking boots.

The latter part of the walk took us through meadows from which you could see the Teletubbies dome of the glasshouse.
 And brought us into a close encounter with some rather scary-looking sheep. (Not scary you say? look into the eyes of the one at the back and tell me that!)