Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Man and dog

This cartoon on Debra's blog reminded me of how I first became aware of the plight of the homeless. I think I'd always felt for them but then, about twenty-something years ago, a short article appeared in the local paper. It went something like this:

The body of a young homeless man was found yesterday on the beach behind County Hall. His only companion, his dog, is being looked after by local residents until a good home can be found for him.

As you know I love dogs but the irony of the article fanned into flames the ember that was already in me and which still burns today for the vulnerable and those who for whatever reason live on the edge of our society, and why I'm so passionate about Zac’s with our tagline is ‘a church for ragamuffins’.

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Leading Zac's again this evening because no-one else is available. I took myself off the rota for a while because I wasn't happy with my self-control. When I get irritable with someone it shows. I have been trying to improve in my manner towards people with whom I struggle so tonight will be a test. If I pass I will put myself back on the rota; if I fail I'll stay off it for longer (except in emergencies).

Last week was quite difficult with one of our on-off regulars putting up quite an argument, as I think I mentioned, so if she's there tonight it will be a real test as I'll be reiterating the messages from last week. We shall see.

* * * * *

At the weekend, when GrandDaughter2 was helping me prepare the party tea - or confusing me depending on how you look at it - she said, "You're never disappointed, Granny."
"What do you mean?"
"Mummy and I agree that you never look disappointed."

I'm happy with that.

Now how you would feel if you got these in your stocking from Santa? Festive slippers that allow you to dust and polish as you walk!

Speaking of dusting my cleaner came yesterday for the second time. She has a real thing about cobwebs. I don't like to tell her that I'm quite happy with them.

Monday, December 04, 2023

Things I forgot

At the start of our meal in the Beach House last week the waitress asked if we wanted water for the table and, as we said yes, asked if we wanted still or sparkling. I said still but after she'd left I thought I should have asked for tap.

Anyway she came back with a carafe of water so I assumed it was tap. However on the bill we were charged £4 for water! Very dubious.

* * * * *
According to Oxford University Press the Word of the Year 2023 is 'rizz'. 

In case you're not down with the kids here's the definition: "Rizz is defined as style, charm or attractiveness, or one’s ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner."

So there you are. Can't see it standing the test of time myself.

* * * * *

You know I write a regular column for the Bay magazine, well, the owners cum editor/designer are retiring and let us all know that the magazine was being taken over by Ben and Amy, who duly emailed me, and I assume everyone, to say hi.

Another email this time from Lesley, current editor/owner, tells us Ben and Amy have changed their minds so there will be no more Bay. I suppose Lesley and her husband will continue to try to sell the business but in case that doesn't happen my first thought is to find an alternative publication.

There's a local glossy magazine, fairly new on the scene that is currently all advertising features. It's owned by a syndicate that produces different lifestyle magazines for different areas - Valleys Life, Vale Life, City Life, and the one I'm interested in, Gower Life. I can't lose anything by asking, can I?

And as what I write about isn't specifically regional they could 'syndicate' me. Is that the right word? I mean they could use me in all their magazines. I could be BIG.

Christmas, death and other jollities

Just been writing Christmas cards. I'm cutting back this year partly because of the expense but mostly because "I never see you from one year to the next and a trite greeting in a card isn't much of a substitute for real interaction so let's not bother." 

In fact, there's not much point either in sending cards to people I will see before Christmas and will say it to. But I have. Maybe next year I won't. If I remember. And of course there are people I don't see from one year to the next but have a relationship with so they're exempt. And people I don't want to lose all contact with.

But that still leaves a few I've deleted from my list. I work through my address book and it's a sorry sight. A record of death. Hey ho, cheery thoughts.

Having been to the gym this morning (See how I always manage to mention that fact?) I started working on the study for Zac's tomorrow. It wasn't supposed to be me but no-one else is available. We're looking at the Advent theme and after the controversy last week I want to follow it up a bit with some more prophecies that could be read in different ways.

In other news Husband managed to fix the shower leak. At least we hope it's fixed: no-one's tried it yet as he wants to put extra sealant down as well. He is a very handy husband with a wide variety of skills. He can do plumbing but hates it because it always involves getting into awkward places at difficult angles to do anything. And a lot of swearing. 

I forgot again to take a photo before it was cut but here's what's left of Husband's birthday cake, a fruits of the forest topped cheesecake made by Elder Son.

And my card to him is one that keeps on giving: if you remember to plant it afterwards.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

A bit of a drip

The pantomime was great! And my grandsons were wonderful of course! 

The disadvantage of going in the afternoon is the number of children and associated talking and sweet-opening noises; the advantage is hearing them get so involved with the production and screaming at Peter Pan not to drink the poison.

I'm already looking forward to going to see it again on Friday evening.

I came home to find water dripping from the light in the kitchen. I ran upstairs where Husband had just got out of the shower. It was too late to do anything then so currently he's upstairs trying to get at the pipes underneath the shower tray to see if he can repair it without having to call a plumber. (Oh for goodness sake! Grammarly questioned my use of 'got out of the shower' suggesting it should be 'gotten'.)

Now we have a birthday tea party for Husband this afternoon. And then my week of going out out or otherwise celebrating will be done. And I've survived. 

Saturday, December 02, 2023

Tasting tasty

So last night we had the 8-course tasting menu and Husband had the accompanying wine-tasting menu. Yes, eight glasses but "only small ones" he insists. Unlike Slice the Beach House doesn't describe the dishes on the menu other than saying the main ingredient. The waiter tells you when he serves it so, I have absolutely no idea what anything in the pictures is apart from the meat. I do recall him saying there was pickled onion jelly in something but what it was is beyond me. 

We had two amuse bouche, the first one in the image was sharp, a palate-cleanser maybe, and the little ball thing was cheese in a thin crust, and there was seaweed bread.

It was a very game-focussed menu as you can see. I'll see what I can remember. Top line on right, first course, Jerusalem artichoke soup with quail egg and something on the side.
Middle line, from left, sewin in a froth, then partridge, then hare meat and mousse wrapped in something with cauliflower, mushroom, and cavolo nero, deer or venison as I prefer to think of it.
Bottom line, lamb, parsnip and sprout leaf, white chocolate mousse with yuzu sorbet, bara brith souffle with English breakfast tea ice cream

I had to google yuzu to find it was an Asian citrus fruit. My favourite was the sewin, Husband's was the lamb, which was delicious I agree.

Once again appalled at what we paid for a meal for two when people are struggling but am thankful we can afford it thanks to Husband's years of hard work.

While we were dining out in style Peter Pan was happening on the other side of town. Apparently it went brilliantly. We, all the family, are going next Friday but I can't wait so I'm going with Elder Son, their dad, this afternoon too.

Friday, December 01, 2023

First night

It's Husband's 74th birthday today. Because he has a bad foot we didn't do much but did manage a walk on Mumbles Hill this afternoon.

Lovely in the sunshine but still a frost on the ground in the shade.

Tonight I'm taking him to the Beach House in Oxwich for a posh meal. Shall report back as always.

Also tonight sees the First Night of Swansea Little Theatre's production of Peter Pan, starring GrandSons1 and 3 in the roles of brothers, John and Michael. They've both been poorly but 'the show must go on' so taking part tonight. Because I've been disorganised I had to make them a good luck card.


Picture this. A church hall typical of its sort, in darkness save for a few candles and a flicker of street-lights. On the floor there are bodies  of all shapes and sizes, each wrapped in a blanket. They are mostly women and they have their eyes closed. 

In the centre of the room a woman stands. She speaks quietly and then begins. At first it's like a gentle rumbling but its intensity and rhythm pick up as the evening progresses. The alternating highs and lows of the three gongs lead us through our meditations, as we allow our thoughts to travel where they will. And then . . .

the woman next to me starts snoring. I open one eye and turn my head to peep at her. She is curled up and fast asleep. She doesn't stir as the gong gets louder or when another woman close by has a mild coughing fit.

At the end of the session my friend turns to me and, with a smile, says, "Did you fall asleep?"

"No! It was her!"

So my first gong bath. How was it for you? It was good. I did enjoy it. It wasn't totally relaxing but pleasantly so. When it began I thought, "This is going to be a long hour but when it finished I wanted it to go on some more."

It's amazing how much music can be made on gongs and how versatile they are. I suppose I'd gone along sort of expecting the Rank Man but it was as relaxing as it can be when you're lying on a blanket on a hard floor. I probably wouldn't go again; it wasn't that profound an experience, but I'm glad I went.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Clouds on the horizon

There were very dark clouds on the horizon when we walked this morning.

It was quite peculiar.

Much like the walrus I saw on the way home from Zac's last night. To be more specific, it was a car that had lights that made it look like a walrus. Bear in mind that my drawing doesn't do it justice.

It's 30th November today and that means NaNoWriMo is almost over. I have written (or copied and pasted from previous manuscript) 30,075 words. I wanted to get to 30,000 so I am happy with that. 

Now I'm going to have a little rest and read before dinner and my gong bath.

Naughty or nice?

Yesterday evening Zac's was transformed for our volunteers' Christmas social. Lots of chatting and even more eating.

Jayne decorated the table and tree with help from Ellie.

There was so much food.

Stu and Bryan in Ho Ho Ho mood.

Stu and Claire did the food and I realise I didn't get a photo of Claire but here's Stu. Which one suits him best do you think? Naughty or nice?

And here's my vegan mushroom and caramelised onion wreath.