Sunday, March 03, 2024

First cousins twice removed?

Jabblog has done a post about family and birthdays, and has provided an excellent explanation of cousins, second or otherwise. So I did a very abbreviated family tree so I could identify the status of my various and numerous cousins.

I've always assumed my cousins were all second cousins but it seems lots are first cousins once removed. And here's the explanation from Jabblog:

Your second cousin is someone who shares a great-grandparent with you.

Your first cousin once removed is either the child of your first cousin, or your parent’s first cousin.

So now you know.

close to heaven

With it being St David's Day on Friday my Facebook page was filled with pictures of welshcakes people had made. 

Yesterday afternoon I could bear it no more. I weakened and made some. I thought I'd try a different recipe but I'm not impressed. I shall return to my old favourite, below.

A well-thumbed book as you can see, with all the pages falling out.

Makes 60 only if small.
The biggest problem I have making welshcakes is getting the right temperature on the griddle. My cakes inevitably have black bits - not the ones in the photo obviously - or are cooked so slowly they're a bit hard.

 Still, Husband and I managed to eat six of them last night.

As I was late making them it was too close to dinnertime to eat one warm from the griddle, but I tell you, a warm welshcake is the closest thing to heaven.

Saturday, March 02, 2024

I have a dream

Like Dr King although mine is rather more prosaic. No, not prosaic just simpler.

 A fence covered with rambling roses. What do you think?

I've already planned roses for the bit of wall that's been cleared but doing a bit of weeding out here this afternoon it struck me how much prettier this fencing would look covered in roses.

When the children were little we holidayed in the Isle of Wight and there I saw and fell in love with a red-brick walled rose garden. Since then I've longed for a red-brick walled rose garden. I thought it was in Osborne House, the holiday home of Queen Victoria, but looking at photos on google now I don't remember it being that grand so perhaps it was somewhere else. Anyway I can't have the wall but I can have the roses.

Trouble is I'm good at dreaming and thinking but less good at the actioning. And, of course, there's my plant-killing affliction.

Sitting here now looking at the fence I'm wondering what happens when the fence gets old and rots, if it's covered in roses. Aw, that'll probably be after our time so I won't worry too much about that.

And it just so happens my new rose catalogue arrived yesterday.

Missing St David

So, yesterday was St. David's Day and normally I'd post about that but yesterday was also quite busy with Zac's in the morning and Husband's hospital appointment in the afternoon.

The news wasn't quite as good as we'd hoped. His ear has healed well but the biopsy showed some remaining cancer cells so he has to have another chunk cut out. The doctor asked if he minded about how it would look as he'll probably be left with a wedge out of his ear. (The answer is he doesn't mind as long as they get all the cells. Me, I'm thinking how cool a big missing chunk would look. He could tell strangers he lost it wrestling with a shark.)

I'd planned for us to go out to eat to celebrate good news so, as it wasn't, we had a Chinese takeaway at home instead. The biggest takeaway we've ever had. It was the same quantity we've always ordered so maybe we're eating less (unlikely) or the portions were just exceptionally large. I had to leave some, and you won't hear me say that very often.

Today a thought occurred to me and I said to Husband, "You realise what this news means don't you? I'm going to have to keep on being nice and not nagging you to do things!"

"I'm sure you'll find a way," he said.

This lovely quilted wall-hanging was in the stairwell in the hospital.

* * * * *
I signed up recently for a newsletter called Letters of Note, from Shaun Usher. Yesterday this newsletter featured bits from letters all written on 1st March. This one from a letter from Boris Pasternak to his parents in 1930 sums up my relationship with important calendar dates perfectly.

"I should have remembered on the 22nd about your anniversary on February 27th. I did know and remember it, but there’s a big difference between an abstract awareness in one’s memory of a forthcoming date, and paying attention to the real days of our lives, which might pass without being numbered in any way, monotonously grim as they are, so many thousands of versts* from any kind of festivity. I had in my mind the last possible date for sending you a letter of congratulations to reach you by the 27th, and went on carrying the date with me and waiting, while the 27th itself had long come and gone."

*A verst is a unit of length of roughly one kilometre.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

How to learn Welsh

 o flaen = in front of (there's an f in front and flaen)

o dan = under (there's a d in under too, and if you say it in a deep voice that helps remember)

ar ben  = on top of (like Ben Nevis)

tu ôl i = behind (because, why wouldn't it be?)

Choosing your battles

"He's only little but he's feisty."

Feisty? He's just run halfway across the beach to attack Louie. I think he's a bit more than feisty.

That's what I thought. What I said was, "That's okay." Fortunately Louie gave as good as he got. I had a long stick and tried to separate them but Feisty wasn't having any of it. And, for Husband's benefit, I will stress that I kept my distance even when poking my stick in. I know better than to get between fighting dogs.

Seriously, how could anyone pick a fight with this cutie?

Is it about girth?

I saw the Leap Year thing on google and just for an instant - the very tiniest of instants - I thought, "Does everywhere in the world have Leap Year then?"

I blame the cupboard in Zac's. 

I leaned over to wipe the wall - my cooking gets everywhere - and banged my head on it when I stood up. To be more accurate I banged my glasses, which were on my head. And that's why I think they hurt my nose now. 

Meanwhile in Duolingo Welsh Owen and his parsnips seem to be falling out. First he argued with them and now he has destroyed them. I hope he gets his act sorted out soon. The Welsh rugby team eats his parsnips and we can't have the boys going hungry.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Losing it

Looking for a link to the podcast serialisation of my first novel I noticed that, according to the side column of my blog, I have produced two podcasts.

The other one is called Everyday Life and is a collection of short talks about 'family, topical news, and Jesus.'

I clicked on the link and began to listen to one. 

I have absolutely NO recollection of recording these. This is slightly worrying. Not a single bell is ringing. I can't even remember where the talks came from . . .   no, wait, there's a tiny tinkle, it's coming back to me now. They're the radio talks I did. 

Oh phew, that's a relief. I'm not as doolally twp as I feared.

And here's the talk I did after we'd lost George.

Where tupperware goes to die

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my photo. (Of course I posted it to get compliments!) And it's good to know lots of us feel the same. Good but also sad. 

Now tell me, is there a land where tupperware escapes to to live a merry life away from the everyday drudge of carrying food? Or do aliens not have it on their planet so they come here in the night and steal ours? But if that's the case they must have different uses for it - as art maybe to decorate their walls or for baby aliens to use as sledges - because they never take matching sets.

A few of Zac's boxes

The only box big enough for the lentils didn't have a lid. And that's another thing: why don't they have standard sizes for tupperware boxes so, whatever the brand, lids fit? Every one of those boxes you can see is a slightly different size. Literally millimetres difference, but just enough to need its own special lid.

Rant over. Here are some flowers from our walk in Clyne Gardens yesterday.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Do you need a wee?

When I am about to go out I ask myself, "Do you need a wee?" The answer is, "No," but the damage is done. I can no more go out without visiting the toilet than I can leave five Maltesers in a box.

* * * * *

Planning a blog tour for my next book I need an author photo. I feel it's cheating a bit to use one of my old ones. (Very old ones.) So I ask Husband to come and take a photo of me with freshly-washed hair, posing. 

He takes several. I look at them and hate them all. My nose looks big. (It is but I don't want that to show.) My eyelids are wrinkled, and my fringe is too long. I do the one thing I can: I cut my fringe. 

We take Toby for a walk and I get Husband to take more photos of me in the hope that natural light is kinder. It is. I still have wrinkles and a big nose but they're not so obvious. I tell myself it's the quality of my writing I want to be and should be judged on. Then I panic about that.

Why am I so prone to self-doubt and low self-esteem? I am convinced it is more of a woman thing although I know many women who are happy in their skins, and comfortable acknowledging their abilities. (Okay, I know two, or maybe three.)

Perhaps when I am grown-up it will be different.

* * * * *

Just realised it's a Leap Year so we get an extra day! Think we should do something special to celebrate. How are you going to use your extra day?

Monday, February 26, 2024

You could make this place beautiful

Please! Don't ever do this! 

I find it really hard to work backwards to find out how old a person should be or even if they were born at that time. I'm currently trying to slot in a woman who should be older than one character but not so old as to be alive at the same time as another, and how old her grand-daughter might be. It sounds simple but it's not, trust me.

Saw this on Twitter too.

Is the world at least 50% terrible? I don't think so. I hang on to my faith that most people are good. In recent years that faith has taken a bit of a beating so maybe it's the last lines I should be concentrating on.

"You could make this place beautiful."

The only angry zen in south Wales

Preparing dinner in the kitchen I could hear the boys fighting in the lounge. I went in to suggest they watch television instead only to find Husband was the instigator and main combatant. I left them to it.

Elder Son had a good weekend away hiking up Cader Idris. I've borrowed some of his photos to show you.

At the top, Elder Son on right with best friend.

* * * * *

It seems the only angry Zen yoga teacher in the world is teaching classes in Mumbles.

My Monday exercise class happens in a small community centre. Two halls with an entrance foyer and kitchen etc. We are in the larger hall, and Elaine, the teacher, has rented it for years and years. After Christmas a new yoga class began in the other hall.

The problems began when we opened the main door so we could get some air into our class. The yoga teacher came out of her hall - door to that closed by the way - and shut the main door saying her pupils were getting cold.

Okay, fair enough, a bit of give and take is fine. But she didn't leave it at that. Since then she's had a go at the two women who are sort of on the door outside our hall for the class, as well as shouting at Elaine. And the man who caretakes. Not just once but several times, being really nasty.

Thankfully now she has moved her class to a different location but during our class today she appeared in the foyer and began taking photos of us. We are all going to be scanning social media for anything derogatory. 

I just checked her Facebook page - nothing about our class - and she is all zen and peace-loving on it, giving no impression of the viciousness of which she is capable.

* * * * *
My cleaner is here now so I'm going to go and tidy the kitchen before she gets there! Then I have the workshop on writing a bid to apply for funding. 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Five boys

Been a busy weekend. Elder Son has been away so I've been helping Daughter-in-law with the boys who lead busy lives.

Yesterday morning I had GrandSon1 so I had the bright idea of inviting GrandSon2 along as well. I had to go to Mumbles so took them with me, gave them money and left them in a rather nice cafe to order waffles. I said I'd meet them later. 

Worried the whole time I was in the library and then shopping but, of course, they were fine, although possibly over-sugared, having used the left-over money to buy sweets - and charity daffodils.

This morning it was Grandson1's turn to be away, at a hockey tournament in Cardiff, so I had GrandSon3 this time, and again invited GrandSon2. We played games and had a walk in the rain followed by lunch at Five Guys, not Five Boys as I kept calling it. Very good chips.

In between having children around we watched rugby. Two games, two losses. First Wales lost to Ireland (expected but not quite the thrashing I'd anticipated), then England lost to Scotland. So not a good day for this household but probably slightly better for me than Husband. 

Ireland is the best team in Europe currently while Wales is rebuilding, with a young team, who battled well, and showed promise. So there's hope for the future.

Now this coming week, unusually for me, I have a lot of appointments. An online workshop on fund-raising, a meeting with Social Services about the child I've been involved with since birth (his not mine), a visit to same child, and a hospital appointment for Husband to get results of his ear biopsy.

I shall need lots of tea to get through all that. (I was going to say chocolate but I'm trying to cut down. That said I may be driven to it.)