Monday, April 12, 2021

Queueing for the shops and other things

A few years ago having seen hellebores on another blogger's site I decided to plant some and, unusually for anything I plant, they flourished. But they're very shy, keeping their heads down as if afraid to meet your eye.

So, again inspired by the same blogger, Rosalie, but on Facebook, I picked some and displayed them thus, in a shallow bowl of water.
Don't they look pretty? I am very pleased with them. Flower arranging is not my forte but something as simple as plonking flower heads in a bowl even I can do.

* * * * * *

Last time I did our online grocery order I grumbled afterwards. 'I'm so fed up of this! Thinking, choosing the same stuff, planning (of sorts), buying, cooking, just bored, bored, bored.'
So Husband said he'd do it next time. 

That time is now. He placed the order yesterday, food arrived today, and he is cooking all meals this week. Including, 'Something you've never had before,' he said.

I am so excited.

* * * * * *

A few posts ago I wrote about the difficulties I was encountering learning Welsh. Now I see a Beginners' course run by the university is being advertised on FaceBook.

It's an intensive week-long course with online tutor-led sessions as well as one-to-ones and homework. I am considering it.

It is ridiculously cheap - £15 but with 40% off for pensioners. It's a time commitment but I could easily work my one weekly must-do (picking up food for Zac's) in to it. But could I cope with the stress?

Doing an online course at my own pace with no-one watching or checking up on me is fine but, as I wrote, I am struggling a bit. An intensive course might be more successful at getting things stuck in my brain. But would I be putting myself under unnecessary pressure? Do I need that really?

I'm think I'm coming down on the 'No' side.

* * * * * * 

It wasn't too windy so we walked George on the beach this morning, and what joy! Far less crowded than it's been for a while.

Children have gone back to school today and non-essential shops are open for the first time since lockdown began in December I think, so more people are back in work I guess.

Apparently there were queues outside M&S and other shops in town, waiting for them to open this morning.

It is beyond me: what is it you need so desperately that you're queueing that early in the morning? One woman interviewed said, 'I can't wait to go shopping!'

I love bookshops but still I won't be visiting any for some time yet. On the rare occasions I've had to go to shops over the last weeks I've run in and out like a frightened rabbit, avoiding people, and scowling at those who aren't leaving what I consider to be enough space. And I can't say I've missed anything. 

* * * * * *

I have my second vaccination tomorrow. As Husband was unwell with flu-like symptoms after his, and I've heard of a number of people who've reacted the same way to the second, I am preparing to be poorly i.e. I have my reading and watching planned. 

That said, Husband had the Pfizer one and I had the Oxford/AstraZeneca, so who knows?

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Adventures late in life

Last week Husband was puzzling over the location of a bag of compost. He'd bought two but could only find one and couldn't remember finishing the other. 

This morning he said, 'I found the bag of compost. It was in the spare bedroom.'

Meanwhile yesterday morning I opened the wardrobe, glanced down, and thought, 'What on earth is that shiny metal thing?'

It was a frying pan.

In a few years' time - or sooner - daily life is just going to be one huge adventure for us.


Had my first scoot of the year yesterday when we went to Riverside Country Park in Pontardawe to meet younger Son and family. Just as well I did too as there was no other way I'd have kept up with GrandSon4's peddling. As it was I confess to using my turbo-thrust a few times so he didn't get too far into the distance.

Someone had left these embroidered mottoes along the trail.

The thing about Wales is that it is very hilly. YS and family live at the top of a BIG hill; the riverside is at the bottom. As is GrandSon4's school. So each day Nuora cycles there with the two children in the trailer. And cycles back obviously. She has an electric bike so that helps a little but I am still full of admiration for her.

I am deliberately not thinking about when the time comes for them to move to Italy. I can cope with it if I don't think.

And here's GrandSon4 eating his hot dog at the picnic lunch yesterday.

Friday, April 09, 2021

5 stars all the way

You know when you finish a book and you realise you have a big smile on your face?

I was like that last night with Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior

Veronica McCreedy is 86, rich, alone, and doesn't like anyone. She wasn't always like that but life took its toll, and we find out gradually how she became a not particularly likeable narrator. We see her discover a grandson she didn't know she had and doesn't like, but mostly we journey with her to Antarctica and, like her, fall in love with Adelie penguins.

A joyous 5* read.

It's the second consecutive 5* book I've read. I only award five stars if the book is brilliant and has something special about it. I love and have read all of Katie Fforde's romcoms but I'd give those 4* because there is a predictability about them. Which is fine. I'm all for a bit of happy ending and nice heroines and heroes. But for 5* it has to be a bit more.

The Book of Longings

By Sue Monk Kidd

If you are not uncomfortable imagining a married Jesus this book will give you a wonderful insight into life for women in Israel at that time. It's narrated by Ana, sister of Judas, wife of Jesus. It's fiction by the way, but as well as the lot of women it's gives an alternative viewpoint on the motives of Judas. 

Highly recommended 5*

Thursday, April 08, 2021


I think that's the phrase I want. 

When dropping off the food at Zac's today I quickly popped into the nearby Tesco Express with the sole purpose of looking for reduced Easter goodies! 

They were hidden on a top shelf but not well enough hidden to stop me.

I deliberately didn't take too much money with me. Just enough for two hazelnut Lindt bunnies and four Malteser bunnies. I've never seen the hazelnut ones before so I'm looking forward to trying them.

Diet? What diet?

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

It's my Duoversary!

Apparently I started learning Welsh with Duolingo one year ago today.

I originally started because GrandSon4 goes to a Welsh medium school and I wanted to be able to read stories to him in Welsh. Now he's moving to Italy.

Years ago when Younger Son got engaged to Nuora, Husband and I started learning Italian to be able to converse with the in-laws. Husband did better and persevered longer than I did, but both of us have floundered somewhat with our good intentions. Out walking with Husband the other day I said, 'I'm not going to start Italian again; you will have to translate everything for me. I am struggling enough with Welsh.'

Though my initial reasons were for the benefit of the grandchildren I am now determined to carry on with Welsh for its own sake. And for my sake. I want to be able to speak my language, but I confess I have stalled a bit. I'm finding as I progress I forget what I learned previously. Not entirely but enough to make me sigh and shout at myself.

Have I mentioned mutations? The way the first letter of a word may or may not change depending on something or other? And that when it changes it may be one of a number of options? Or that there are different ways to say yes? Ie, do, cei, oes. And of course that depends on what was asked. 

You'd have thought that after a year of learning Welsh, and mostly doing a lesson or practising each day, I'd be verging on fluent. I am so far removed from fluent. 

I've just started writing my latest article for The Bay magazine, which will be out in May, which is when Pentecost falls this year. I'm talking about learning a language and the supernatural gift given to Peter and the other disciples on the day of Pentecost that enabled them to speak/be understood by all manner of foreigners. I could really do with a bit of that gifting.

Past my Best Before date

Our bathroom sink leaks every now and again and as the leaky problem is in the cupboard things get wet. I was sorting it out today and came across our old First Aid kit.

I decided I could get rid of the box and just keep anything inside that was useful. In the event that proved to be a pair of scissors.

Athlete's foot cream - use by 2000.
Dettol antiseptic cream - use by 1992.

And those were just the ointments that hadn't leaked and gunged. 

Then there's the eye bath and triangular calico bandage. As far as I can recall we've not used the eye bath in all our married years - but if I throw it out what are the chances Husband will need it tomorrow? As for the bandage, I wouldn't know what to do with it if need arose. No, first, I would forget that I had it and create an ad hoc bandage out of torn-up shirts. It works in the movies. Again, no, actually, if there was blood I would just faint thus removing the need for me to think about bandaging anybody.

One of the most embarrassing incidents in my life was when Younger Son cut his hand badly and I had to take him to Casualty. To my credit I got him there before I had to lie down before I fell down.

A friend who was a doctor walked past, saw me on the bed, and said, 'What's happened to you?'

I pointed weakly at Younger Son who was being tended to. 'He's cut his hand.'

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Spring in Wales

Last week I was on the beach in shorts and t-shirt feeling hot. Today I was in the woods in jeans, several jumpers, and a gilet, and I was hailed upon. That was a few hours ago and I still haven't warmed up properly.

This is Spring in Wales.

Monday, April 05, 2021

I did it!!!!

Yay! I've done it! Completed the eight-week program of running once a week! 

As there is a cold wind - blowing down from the Arctic I'm told and, indeed, Elder Son in Surrey had a snow flurry today - I avoided the beach and ran over the tip. 

A couple of months ago notices went up saying the council was about to start work changing the path  from a well-worn and muddy narrow track into a wide paved path for cyclists and walkers. 

Ooh, we were up in arms. Cyclists and dogs do not go together especially some of the grumpy and downright unpleasant cyclists we have around here. Like many others I wrote to my councillor, and signed a petition: it was middle class protest at its most vehement. But to no avail. 

Work has started and most of the main path has been widened, flattened and stoned - I think they plan to put tarmac or something else on top - but it comes to an abrupt end about three-quarters of the way along. So at that point I headed off onto a familiar path, as seen above, and through a patch of woodland where I spotted a few lonely bluebells.
In a week or so the place will be awash with blue.

Anyway, back to my run. It was mostly flat but I kept to a steady pace. I told a young doctor friend that my heart rate was always way above the red bit and she wasn't impressed, so I thought I'd better take care, especially as I was on my own and the path was quite quiet at that time of day. Particularly the off-piste bit of the path.

Even so according to the app I improved my sprint speed - which must be a very generous understanding of the word 'sprint'.

It's amazing to think that when we first moved here in 1988 the tip, where the town's rubbish had been dumped for years, hadn't long been closed and was almost bare except for the odd boot or bottle protruding from the earth. Now it's covered with trees and bushes, and wildlife flourishes. Which of course has made it more and more popular for walking, which for us anti-social types is a bad thing. 

But I did it! I ran once a week for eight weeks! And I still hate it and am giving it up. Sorry, Pipetobacco.