Monday, 13 March 2017

Monday, Mail and me - family history

Mail? oh yes, I had really 'citing mail but first Mr M shows us the missing letters. We are asked " lease kee of the obbles" It just tickled us and I thought I would share. Now to the mail

Lakeland have Bagel Moulds (they always have something I desperately need) and I confess now that I am a gadget freak. I love trying new things. Sometimes I pass them on to darling granddaughters for their own kitchens. Sometimes I try something and instantly decide that I will never use THAT again and if said granddaughters don't want it either then it goes to the charity shop.
I used the bagel moulds that arrived on Sunday first thing this morning.
 They are silicone so you make the dough, prove it, then cut and shape into bagels and prove again. Then you dip each one into boiling water for about ten seconds before shoving them into the oven for twenty minutes.
These have to be the best bagels I have ever made and I have been trying for years. So easy These will not be leaving my kitchen. I have already found the oats and poppy seeds ready for post-dipping application and tomorrow morning the breadmaker will be working hard making the dough
We also had happy mail from a friend who said she "saw this and thought of you". I will photograph it later and show you soon. I have such lovely friends.
now I am just waiting for a message from Wicked Uncle Cliff (Miss Boo calls him that) telling me when he is coming to stay with us. He did serious damage to his leg last year when his thigh muscle parted company with his knee. This meant surgery followed by six months in a rigid cast and then really mind tearingly painful physio-therapy. The train strikes around Christmas made him decide that the convoluted route from the south coast to us was beyond his stamina so he was dearly missed over New Year. Now he is coming to stay and we are all buzzing with anticipation.

My thanks to Sian at FromHighInTheSky for inventing this meme and keeping me writing

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Year of Mistletoe

This year we have noticed that Herefordshire seems to be covered in Mistletoe. Actually we had noticed it last year, before Christmas and wondered if we could nip out with one of those really long pruners - did you ever see the ones that extended to about 12 feet long and had a rope thingy that you could pull to cut the very top branches of the fruit trees? Well one of those and a white van and we thought we could make our fortune at the markets. Then we thought about the cold and wet when gathering the stuff and then standing about in the cold selling the stuff and it suddenly lost all its allure.

 Since then we have taken to pointing out how much Mistletoe there seems to be, and not just on fruit trees although it does like those best. These three pictures are just what I managed to get today when we did a twelve-county tour*. Please keep in mind that this is 40mph photography at its best.
 The last picture is the line of trees by the River Wye at Glasbury
Your mission this year, should you care to accept it, is to photograph the Mistletoe growing on trees in your area. I would be interested to know if other places have such a heavy crop.

*The Twelve-County Tour Starting In the County Borough of Newport to Monmouthshire, then Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire,Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire (again), Powys, Monmouthshire, Torfaen and back to Newport.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Monday, Mail and Me - what? Nothing?

Well, not strictly nothing. I did get a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions telling me that my pension is to increase to the princely sum of £32 per week. That was all. Once again everyone else had parcels and letters except me. Mr M did offer me the junk mail if I was desperate. I sniffed and declined.

 We went to Franco's in Aberavon for lunch on Saturday ... actually we initially went in with the intention of having a cuppa so that Mr M could use the facilities but when we got in there it was so nice and so clean we decided to stay and eat lunch. Just look at those onion rings! They were gorgeous and that's the "Small portion Menu" Haddock and chips, more than enough. The servers were really good and so friendly and as I said it was so clean and tidy - oh and no loud music. It was also quite busy considering it is March and the seaside is usually closed.
This was our view from the window as we ate. looking across Swansea Bay. It would break your heart to have to look at that every day on your way to work eh?

Sunday was going to be quiet until a text arrived that said "Roast here?" I said yes and at the appointed time we went up the hill to dine with Lady B always a good meal and always a good time. We caught up on family news and then gossiped put the world to rights.

Altogether a quiet weekend but still really enjoyable

My thanks to Sian at FromHighInTheSky for inventing this meme and keeping me writing.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

In Search of the Dolgellau - A Remembrance

We're going on a bear hunt ... no, sorry, not a bear hunt we were seeking out the exotic spawn of the Dolgellau. You don't understand? I'll have to tell you the story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...

A long time ago (in the olden days, as Miss Boo would say) in 2002 we went to Portmeirion for a week with some wonderful friends all of whom enjoy playing with words and creating fantasy out of the mundane. There is a town in Wales called Dolgellau ( pronounced Doll- geth - lee). 
A previous holiday group had decided that this name looked like it ought to belong to a mythical beast. A legend was created. Our group contained enough of the originators of the myth that when I asked for details of the beast I was given special access to hitherto untold information and documents.

One of those Documents I reproduce here for your edification and delight. 

Copied from the Original (held at the Library of Parapedial Research)
The Nature and Demeanour of the Dolgellau
A Study by G Hutchinson

The Dolgellau (pron. Doll- Gell - Oww) is a unique creature that claims the area of Britain to the North and West of Welshpool as its domain (and I for one am not intending to argue with it)
Descriptions of it vary from viewer to viewer but two things remain constant through all observations.

1.    It has one foot
2.   It is very, very scary

No specific details of it have ever been recorded - anyone who got to see more than its one footed nature has either perished at its hands or become one of its minions.

Detection of the creature has so far proved somewhat tricky - although its mournful lowing can be heard throughout the region; The strange and uninspiring nature of the sound makes any investigator too disinterested to follow it.
Many fine naturalists have been sent to find it and all have come back complaining of the weather and discussing the nice tea-shop that they had some lovely Welsh-cakes in.

What has been slightly more thoroughly investigated are its offspring. Although the Dolgellau is a unique creature it is known to immaculately spawn two different races of servitor creatures. These are the Strange and Enigmatic Slow Araf and the Enigmatic and Strange Araf Slow.

Both of these creatures have their own fiefs within the Dolgellau's domain and they are terribly territorial, marking their lands with strange white symbols as a warning to those of other species

The frightful Slow Araf is a mischevous beast about the size of a small man or a large bicycle with three legs and a large probing snout.
The despicable Araf Slow is slightly larger at the size of a Raleigh Chopper or Bernard Breslaw, with dry matted fur and five legs.
Although rarely seen one photograph does exist - although, sadly, the photographer did not survive long enough to tell us which type of creature it was whose face so fills the frame.

For many observers it is believed that the town that shares the name with the creature is the best vantage point for sightings. However, I firmly believe that this is but a front put on by followers of the one-footed one to put us off the scent. The clues are clearly there in two obvious distractions:
1.   The town pronounces the name wrongly by inserting a throat-clearing sound on the second syllable and then a totally inappropriate sound for the third.
2.   There are many very nice tea shops that all serve Welsh-cakes.

For many this has forced them to look slightly further afield and a more recent suggestion from the Welsh Institute of Monodexter Monster Hunting is that the creature rests its aching body in the un-naturally warm waters of Llyn Trawsfynydd.
Although this is appealing it also seems to beget another blind from an organisation whose association with the creature has been questioned for many years. Again why do they suggest somewhere so close to the usually suggested haunt - and again why does the large industrial complex on the lake do such a great line in glow-in-the-dark Welsh Cakes?

For this observer there can be only one possible resting place for the fabled creature - the enigmatic Welsh Answer to Tir-Na-Nog - the village of Llwybr Cyhoeddus

This mysterious village is as unseen as the creature itself. Totally unreachable by road it is apparently accessible by foot from almost anywhere in the creature's domain.

Across desolate moorland or even at the tops of mountains the signs to this mystical place can be made out. Unfortunately attempts to follow them fail for even the most devoted pursuer of the creature.
However, even this humble observer has noted that upon the paths to this place none of the normally ever-present territorial markings of the creatures off-spring are to be found.
Also there are no teashops.
Proof, if proof were needed, that this seemingly non-existent place is the creature's true home.

Portmeirion September 2002.

This document shows that
1. I have the most amazing friends
2. Google can translate most things
3. The spawn exist!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Mondays, Mail and me - What's this?

I didn't get much mail this past week. Everyone else did. You thought there were just the two of us and Youngest Son at home now? That's right, but mail for Darling Daughter, Favourite Son-in-Law and Miss Boo still comes here, especially parcels because I am always here and they are always at work and school. So FS-i-L had parcels, YS had a parcel. Mr M had a parcel. I had a credit card bill, which I promptly gave to Mr M. It was the subscription to so I can continue to research the family history.

We saw the first of the crocuses in Newnham on our way to go shopping. This means that the daffodils should be blooming in a week or two. You can just see their heads turning over. If ever you want to see the most glorious herald of spring display then Newnham is the place to go. Good luck with trying to park but a slowish drive up and down the street is just as good

 We went out for shopping on Sunday because Saturday was wet and we stayed in and kept warm. We decided that we would go "for a little ride" first and as a result we stopped for lunch in Morrisons - in Leominster and then did the shopping. While I was waiting for Mr M to come out of the loo I saw this and I wondered. "Why would you wear shorts on a damp cold February day" I wondered, "and more to the point if you are wearing shorts on such a day to show how tough you are then why the bobble hat?"
Then I realised! Someone has told him that you lose 90% of your body heat through the top of your head. He is wearing it to keep his feet warm!
 Sunday was a dull cold day too. Not when it started but as it got going the wind picked up and the cold swept in. We discussed it briefly as we came home the pretty way - through the Wye Valley. Not the picturesque bit between Monmouth and Chepstow that I wouldn't give tuppence for but the best bit up in Breconshire where it is wide open and the river sweeps down through all deep and flast flowing and looking kind of dangerous.
When we got home we found out that another storm had visited us and caused the wind and rain and the mists swirling around the tops of the Black Mountains.
So not much mail but a lot of interesting stuff and some "Quality Time" while trying to do 40mph photography

My Thanks to Sian at FromHighInTheSky for inventing this meme and keeping me writing

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Mondays, Mail and Me: Parcel from 'Merica

Did we do any thing new? Yes we did, we signed a couple of slates. The Jewel in the crown of my home town is Tredegar House. It was built by the Morgan family - parts of it are mediaeval but the front of it is much later, 17th and 18th century. It used by the American Army as billets for officers during WW2 and was sold after the last Lord Tredegar died without an heir and was a Catholic school through my childhood. The Convent is was linked to had a new, state of the art school built alongside it in the 1960s and the old house was threatened with demolition. The Town Council bought it - despite much opposition - and began the laborious process of restoration. My father was a wrought iron worker and he won the contract to restore the railings and side gates. He was so proud of this and made sure that his grandchildren knew just how important it was for him. 
In the early years of this century the National Trust took a 50 year lease on the house. The council had reached the bottom of the money pit and were getting pretty desperate. This action has done several things for the house. The number of visitors has increased dramatically because it is listed in the NT guidebook. The NT has begun a long programme of restoration and conservation and people locally are more involved than ever before. 
This year the NT have wrapped the whole house in scaffolding and covered that in plastic sheeting because the roof is to be stripped and replaced. They have put in place a scheme where people can pay a fee - £20 - and they can sign a slate before it goes up onto the roof. I mentioned it to Mr M and so on Saturday we went down there and performed the deed. We had two slates. We dedicated one to our parents and I added a note telling about my Dad and his restoration of the railings. The other we dedicated to us, the children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

 Did I have any mail worth talking about oooooooooh yes!!! A parcel came from 'Merica. I have a cousin ... actually I have over 30 cousins but I have one cousin who lives in Hollywood. Yes the real movie capital. He lives within sight of the Hollywood sign, just around the corner from where the Oscars are held and he is an actor, writer, artist and teacher but mostly he is my cousin. Recently he took a nostalgic trip to New Orleans and as he knows I just love to receive postcards from anywhere he sent me a parcel. It contained strings of beads and postcards. He explained that the strings of beads are called throws by the inhabitants of New Orleans, the strings are thrown from balconies and from the floats in the carnival and - those of a nervouse dispositon should stop reading now and start again after the picture - if you catch a "throw" you are supposed to expose parts of your anatomy. Females should bare their breasts and males their ... junk I think is the latest euphemism. I was excused this task because I am not in New Orleans - and the weather is too cold.
I was so thrilled to receive my parcel. I have told everyone about it and I am pretty darned sure that the beads will be very useful when Miss Boo gets involved in the next show with the Pantomime Society.
One thing that kind of shocked me was the fact that the value of the beads etc was put on the customs form as $6 but the postage cost $22.50. I think that showed me just how much my beloved cousin cares for me...... and even though we have never met face to face he really knows me quite well

my thanks to Sian at FromHighInTheSky for inventing this meme and keeping me coming back for more

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Quilt nicker and the Enabler

Have I said recently that I dearly love this man? no? well I do and I have done for nearly 37 years. Even after all that time he can still make me guffaw with laughter in the most inappropriate places and my tummy still does that funny little contraction when I see him come through the door.

Soooooo, when I woke up cold and a bit shivery because somehow the duvet no longer covered me, I got up to go to the bathroom and as I walked past the end of the bed he moved so I said

"You're a quilt nicker, look it's touching the floor on your side of the bed"
"You made me do it," he replied, "you piled it up in the middle of the bed and forced me to take it" There was a slight pause as he adjusted his pillows

"You enabled me to do it," he said with a degree of satisfaction in his voice,"you're an enabler!"

It was a close run thing but I managed to get to the bathroom before there was an "accident". I was still chuckling about it an hour later and I know that every time I drag the duvet back onto the bed I will think about it and smile.