Monday, 27 May 2013

Time for a cuppa - come on in!

Well Hi! how lovely to see you again. hasn't the time flown since you were last here.

As a special treat I thought we could have a nice cuppa - tea or coffee - and what is known in this neck of the woods  as a custard slice. Not to be confused with an iced slice which has confectioners cream in the middle and is made with puff pastry and not shortcrust pastry.

Good grief! it seems that old caterers don't even fade away!!

So how are you this month? keeping well? we are muddling along. I am still trying to persuade Mr M that he needs to go to the doctor and tell him just how painful his knees are getting when he walks. He just gives me that look and says "He'll only tell me to do something about my weight." I have tried to explain that even if he were to lose all the excess weight he would still have hurting knees because the damage has been done but at the moment he is in the martyrdom zone and can't really hear me properly.
My knees are fine. The eczema is 'orrible at the moment, and I am pretty sure that this is weight related too.
I look longingly at the custard slice and decide to save mine for my stick thin ex daughter-in-law. She can eat anything and her enjoyment will far outweigh mine - AND she will still be a size ten after eating it.
Oh! do you have to go? I do love your visits, no matter how brief they are. Please pop in again soon. I'll make some sugar free cookies or perhaps some chocolate and cranberry muffins. and I will have a wider selection of teas for next time too. No alcohol though as I am allergic.
Have a hug to see you safely on your way.

This little interlude was invented by Abi so why not pop over there and take a cuppa with all the other players in this little meme

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Slimbridge Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust

Because my favourite son-in-law is working a night shift over the bank holiday it was decided that we would leave him to sleep and take Miss Em and Mummy out for the day.
First we did some shopping - Have I said before that I HATE shopping? Well, I do I would sooner do housework, and I never do housework. Mummy had to nip into town to see her friend Thomas Cooke about something that's happening next year so we took Miss Em and went to Morrisons. I suppose if I have to shop then this is the place and having Miss Em with us meant we could park in the parent and child slot. For the Win!

In case I get over excited
Then we came home scanned the shopping ( I am a panel member for shopandscan and get points to spend for scanning my shopping and downloading it to them. I spend them on books for my kindle) and put it away. Then we put some bottles of water and some olive bread into the cold box and as soon as Mummy came through the door we were off for a ride.

We had decided to take them to Slimbridge. It's only just across the old Severn Bridge and even though it opened in 1946 I have never been there before. On the way we saw yellow signs on the side of the road telling us about the Downy Ducklings days May25 - June 2. Mummy kept telling us that she wanted a downy duckling please and getting jolly excited about it too. Please keep in mind that Mummy didn't know where we were going.
quite right

Because we were travelling at speed we didn't get to read all the sign at once so it wasn't until just before the turning for Slimbridge that we saw the bottom of the sign that said Slimbridge WWT.

"Oh I want to see the downy ducklings!" she yelled.

"They are at Slimbridge" I said

"Can we go there! please!" she cried (bear in mind that she is 47 and ought to know better)
welly boot land

"We are going there," I replied

 Loud sounds of woot!WOOT! from both Mummy and Miss Em and then Mummy said

"It's a good job you didn't tell me earlier I might have got over excited!"

And we laughed all the way to the canal bridge.. The rest of the day was marvellous but could not hope to be better than that five minutes in the car. In fact I was sitting here going through the photographs from today and I thought "Over Excited" and had to chuckle. Mr M who was sitting at his computer raised his eyebrow so I said "over excited" and he chuckled too. With that my phone whistled at me and it was Mummy telling me that she had just made herself laugh thinking about Over excited.....

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Problem is.... The Problem

You know the one I am talking about. How to persuade a brand new state of the art, all singing, all dancing A3 printer to print an A4 booklet at A4 size onto one A3 sheet.
I mean how hard can it be? a four page booklet should print so that you have pages 1 and 4 on the one side of the paper and 2 and 3 on the other, yes? Yes! and eventually it did just that... except. Well there's always that exception isn't there?
It printed pages 4 and 1 on the one side. Then it muttered for a moment and took the paper back into its mysterious innards. Then it muttered a bit more and then it printed pages 2 and 3. Hurrah! I thought at last I have cracked it!

Then I looked at the result

As you can see Page one of the template printed out perfectly.

I turned to the other side and my brain did one of those funny little "what-the-heck!?" wobbles.

I took a look at page 1 again. Yes, I am holding the paper the right way up the title and all the boxes are all there. then I turned it as I would turn the page of a newsletter or booklet and page 2 is definitely


"Oh for goodness sake!" I said quietly (actually I lied just then, I used the same number of words but one of them was replaced with the F word)

Mr M had been helping me - expanding the paper tray and swapping the A4 and A3 papers - He raised one eyebrow at my potty-mouth but then agreed when he saw what the stupid printer had done. We spent a while trying to work out how it had done it. Then we put the stupid paper in the stupid bin and turned our backs on the stupid printer and went to FB where we crushed some candy for a while just to get rid of the pent up aggression (our excuse ok?)

The the problem is still there. I know it is one of the settings on the printer and I suspect I know which one. If anyone out there has a Brother MFC-J59100W A3printer/scanner/copier/fax and knows how to make it print a four page A4 booklet onto one A3 page with all the pages the same way up I would be grateful for a step by step tutorial. In the meantime I think I'll go back to bed and let my marvellous brain cogitate on it for a while

Sunday, 19 May 2013

I have remembered!

As I was saying goodnight to Mr M last night - he was sitting at his computer - I remembered that the problem I have had in my mind for a wile is how to persuade the very new and-extremel-full-of-whistles-and- bells A3 printer to print a four page A4 booklet onto one A3 page.

We still have a couple of relatives who are not connected to the internet - or don't want anyone to know they are connected incase we send them something! This means that when I produce a new edition of the Gibbon Gazette, the family newsletter, I have to print out about five or six copies and post them. The old A3 printer would do it if I stood over it with a whip and a chair but this new one has got it into its default that I want A5 size pages on a sheet of A3 and nothing I have done has shifted this resolve.

That was what I was thinking about when I had my moment. Now I remember what it was I was thinking of trying next. All I have to do is test out my theory, but I don't want to in case I am wrong


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Simply A Moment - May

The time is 10.30pm Tuesday 14 May.

I am in bed. I have read a few pages of the life of John Adams, Second President of the USA, until my Kindle told me the battery was low. I turn off the Kindle, snuggle down and turn off the light, then turn it on again so I can remove my glasses and see where I am putting them. I check that my bottle of water is in the right place and turn off the light again.

As I relax I let the events of the day run through my mind and I remember a long standing problem that I have been trying to think my way through. As sleep begins to claim me I finally see the solution.
"I could go and do this now," I think, but the duvet and the pillow are exactly right. "I could write this down in my notebook," I think, but the pillow and the duvet are so perfectly positioned.
"I'll do it tomorrow," I think, and let myself float away in the arms of Morpheus.

Now it's tomorrow and because I had found a solution to the problem I seem to have completely wiped both from my brain. I have been trying desperately to remember whatever the problem was but to no avail.

I suppose it shows that it wasn't really a problem at all, just as well I wasn't really worrying about it.

This little meme was invented by Alexa over at Simply Alexa

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Porthcawl for lunch it is then...

We went to the Post Office this morning, Mr M and me. I needed to post a packet to Spain as part of the Great Big Swap of very small stuff See here for my reaction to receiving a package

So that is safely on its way to Alison.
Then as I climbed back into the car I wondered where we would go next. Mr M had that "Man With A Purpose" glint in his eye and sure enough we turned left out of the car park instead of the usual right turn for home. Then at the traffic lights we turned right.... curious. Over the George Street Bridge and along Cardiff Road and I couldn't keep quiet any longer.

"Are we heading anywhere in particular?" I asked

A miserable Porthcawl day
"I thought we'd go and see if Buyology was re-opened," he replied, "they said they were closing at the beginning of March and would re-open in April." He glanced sideways at me and grinned. "It's May now so I think we have given them long enough."

I agreed. I love Buyology, they always have loads of stuff I desperately need. Like 100% cotton knickers and a little easel thingy perfect for holding pages when you want to photograph them, and a square suet block holder for the birdies in the front garden and some lovely trainer socks that might actually stay on my feet and not keep rolling into a ball in my shoe like the really expensive ones do. Oh and the set of five dice with a shaker and a pack of cards just perfect for Miss M to have her own Yahtsee game and to practise shuffling for when we have card nights.
The Blue Dolphin Cafe

 With all the goodies stashed in the back of the car we headed towards the main road. Then a Sunday driver meandered into the road in front of us, caused several heart stopping moments and made us decide to go left to get away from him. The next thing I knew we were on the M4 heading west.

At first I suggested going to the Gower. I love the Gower but the wind was so blustery and we could see a car towing a caravan up ahead was having real problems so as the turning for Porthcawl was just ahead I suggested lunch there instead.

can you see why I had to take
this picture? it made me laugh
We went to the Blue Dolphin. It used to be a lovely beachside cafe with good food and a real seaside atmosphere. Now it just feels old and very tired. Yes they have decaff coffee. It's instant, spooned straight from a huge tin into a mug. "I make it with creamer, that's ok darl' yeah?" I nodded because I was too stunned not to. We had fish and chips and peas.... tinned peas - but you expect those in Porthcawl. We sat at while Mr M stared out at the grey sky and greyer water of the channel I watched as the waitress appeared from a doorway and carried a plate to the only other customer. After ten minutes she came out again carrying a plate towards us. My fish and chips. She disappeared and three minutes later - yes I did time her - she came out again with another plate for Mr M. The chips were good, the fish a bit over cooked and the peas, well it took a jolly good shaking of the bottle but I eventually got enough vinegar out not to care what the peas tasted like.
We have now crossed the blue Dolphin off our list of eateries, which is really sad because it used to be so good.

Then, as we climbed back into the car and sat for a moment I spotted the sign at the entrance to the funfair. It made me smile and I told Mr M not to drive off until I had managed to get a picture. He wanted to know why so I told him to "Read Every Word". He did and he laughed too. This will be added to the album of signs that made us chuckle.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

We went to Gang Show!

We went to Gang Show on Friday night. I was going to tell you about this before but I got sidetracked by a family get together.
Now some of you might not know what a Gang Show is so here's a brief explanation.

In 1931, Ralph Reader, then a Rover Scout who was trying to make his mark in theatre in the USA and London, was asked to write a Scout based amateur variety show to help raise money for a swimming pool at Downe Scout Camp (now a Scout Association National Activity Centre). Rehearsals commenced under Reader's direction on 25 May 1932 (his 29th birthday).[1]
Initially the show did not have a title, but during a rehearsal break, Reader recalled later, he asked a cast member if everyone was ready to which the response was "Aye, aye Skip, the gang's all here". The first production, under the title The Gang's All Here ran between 30 October and 1 November 1932 at the Scala Theatre in central London.[1]    

I looked on Wikipedia

Miss Em has been going to rehearsals for the last eight months on every other Sunday afternoon. She was told to keep it a secret from Mummy and Daddy so she refused to rehearse when they were around, always being a very literal child.

We had no idea what to expect but we were bowled over by the performances by the children. They had worked so hard and their efforts meant we had a wonderful evening.

If I then go on to say that the stage direction was loose and sloppy and the choreography was so dire I just cannot describe it BUT through all that the children were wonderful and while there were differing degrees of ability the sense of team work and their genuine enjoyment of the performance made it all just one of the best evenings I have spent in a long while.

I longed to stand up and clap my hands to the music and make them at least get on the beat. Instead I interlaced my fingers together and held them in my lap while I silently mouthed the words of the songs.

Miss Em says she wants to be in the next one too, so perhaps they will have a better director by then. Roll on 2015 for the next one eh?

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Story Telling Sunday Three - May

It's the first Sunday of the month and so there is only one thing to do. I must write my story. This event is brought to you courtesy of Sian at From High in the Sky Why not click over there when you have read this and take a look at all the other excellent stories.

This month my precious is my collection of badges from the time I was a Guide Leader. I can't show you a photograph because blogger is being difficult and will not allow me to upload from my computer or from another website.

I was never fortunate enough to be a Girl Guide or a Brownie when I was young so, when I grew up and had my own daughter we lived in a village about 8 miles from the town of Monmouth and this village had a Brownie pack and a Guide Company. My daughter was desperate to join Brownies with all her friends so as soon as she was seven along we went to see Brown Owl. She told us that unless she could find some people to help she could not take any more than 12 girls and there would have to be a waiting like. My dear friend Bev volunteered and so did I - well we had to didn't we there were at least six more girls desperate to be Brownies. We received our hand books and after a week or two obtained our uniform blouses and little strips of ribbon stitched to an elastic thing to go around our necks. When we were warranted we would be able to wear our badge on this.  In time we did just that and I made my Promise as a Guide and Guider for the first time in the Parish Room, surrounded by Brownies and with my daughter, who had made her Promise several weeks before. Proud? oh you bet!

Guiding in Wales has a house. It is called Broneirion and it is in Mid Wales. It was Given to them by the wife of the man that built Barry Docks and training events are held there. I was lucky to be able to go on our County weekend. It was fantastic. I arrived home on Sunday evening full of all the things we had done and eager to get to Brownies on Monday to start. Half an hour after getting home the phone rang and it was the District Commissioner. "Are you sitting down?" she asked. "Yes" I said although I was actually standing at the bottom of the stairs. "H has resigned as Guide Leader so we need a new Guider. How do you feel about running Guides?"
"I, er, um, Guides?" I managed before she continued, "Well, let me put it this way. If you say no then Guides will close."
There's nothing like a bit of honest blackmail is there? What choice did I have? I said yes, I went to Brownies on Monday really worried that I was letting them down and when I arrived at the door one of the mothers asked me if we needed any help because she had been a Tawny Owl in the place they used to live so she had a warrant!
I took her to Brown Owl and then explained the situation about Guides and the following evening I went to the Scout Hut to meet the girls There were eight girls, including my daughter who had just moved up (the one big reason I had to do this thing) She had a face like a smacked bottom because I was deliberately following her. The girl who had resigned was there as promised. She was going to stay a week or two and show me what to do. We had great fun and so it began. I did all the necessary stuff and got my Guide Leader's warrant. My friend Viv came along to help and she agreed to stay as Assistant Guider on the understanding that she NEVER wanted to be in charge. We discovered that the company didn't have camping gear, had never been to a camp and so we changed all that. Girls from the surrounding area heard about us and our Saturday camps - I lived in an old water mill with 6 acres of land so it was easy - and they wanted to join. By 1979 we had two Guide companies with 18 girls in each. Two Brownie Packs with 18 girls in each. We joined up with two other Guide companies and took 56 Guides to a summer camp just outside Monmouth, where we were joined by an infestation of nits!!! but that's a whole other story.
So when I look at my badges - Brownie promise, Guide Promise, Camper's Badge, QM badge, Silver Jubilee and all the rest I can let my mind float back to those wonderful days.

Sorry there are no pictures but this has been written with confidence and pride, just like I learned on that training weekend so long ago.