Monday, 29 September 2014

Me on Monday

It was a breakfast-at-Jo's, birthday treat, Christmas shopping, hugging my new daughter-in-law, planting new lavender plants now the chickens have gone kind of weekend and it segued into a washing hanging, table tidying, thinking about sewing, can we do craft stuff Grandma cos it is Mummy's birthday tomorrow? Kind of a Monday.
It seems like I planned it wrong when I had my children. They were all born between the end of August and the end of September and as my birthday is in there too it makes for a busy time. Now I have grandkids too and they are also having birthdays around this time. Oh and great grandkids have birthdays in the autumn so it must be in the genes.

Just joining in with Sian again

Sunday, 28 September 2014

A Birthday Trip.

 "I think I would like Breakfast at Jo's as part of my birthday treat," I said to Mr M as I passed him on the way to the kitchen.
"OK," he said, "get your shoes on and we'll go."
I love that. It is the main reason I am so careful how I say things because he would move mountains to get me what I want. I certainly never say "I want" unless I really really do. Now where was I? oh yes, going to Jo's for breakfast. It is a roadside cafe about 40 minutes drive away on the route leading North, between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. Breakfast was delish thank-you for asking, and then we headed north past Ross and heading sort of to Worcester but not on motorways. "Switch your camera on" he said as he pulled over and reversed into a gateway then drove back down the road the way we had come. "OK," I said as he found another gateway and turned us around so we were again heading north. Then he pulled over and whispered. "Take their picture before they know it is me." I looked across the ploughed field and there were around 50 pheasants in that field, stuffing their faces with seeds and stuff. I clicked the camera just once and immediately they all ran like the wind down the slope and out of sight. One day we'll get the perfect pheasant portrait.
Soon we were in a place with two names. The village of Staunton and Corse. There is a delightful garden centre there. We have been there once already this summer because I took a picture of the garden gnome there for the scavenger hunt - one of the pictures that has completely disappeared from my computer. Anyway we had a very nice cuppa there, even if Mr M did try to pour his tea all over the tray.

Next we went to one of those places that you drive through several times and always say "We'll Stop here one day," but you never do. Upton-on-Severn. We found a parking space close to the river and after watching the ducks for a while we took a stroll along the street and did a little Christmas shopping. We were very pleased with our purchases and managed to get them home unseen. Now the family will need to wait until December to see who we bought for.

A little way outside the town I spotted a sign for "Clive's Fruit Farm" with the apostrophe in the right place. I commented and Mr M said "Do you want to take a look?" now six months ago I would have immediately said "NO, no, it's ok." and we would have driven past because the anxiety I felt would have prevented me from going to a place I didn't know. On Saturday I said "Oooh, yes please!" so we followed the signs and found a lovely farm shop with huge fruit boxes full of apples and pears as well as vegetables and with bantams running between your feet as you sat outside the cafe to drink another cuppa.
We then headed for Oakchurch Farm Shop, which is between Hereford and Hay on Wye only we got side-tracked. Mr M carries a map in his head. He looks at the book or the google map and it is in his head so he knew we had to turn left at some point... he was a bit previous.
This gave us an unexpected tour through a delightful village called Dilwyn and then several other places before we skirted around Hereford and found the right road again. We got to Oakchurch and did a little more Christmas shopping and put the Brita water filters into their recycling box - this is the only place we know of that still has it. Then we came home.
Mr M set the tripometer when we left in the morning so we knew that we had done 200 miles for my birthday treat. It's a good job he thinks of driving as his hobby, leaving me to record it all on my blog and my scrapbooks - well, that's my hobby.
MR M has reminded me that before we went to Oakchurch we had a late lunch at the OK Diner in Leominster. That's why we were in that area when we had our diversion. Everyone knows that the OK Diner is the birthday mealstop of choice.... don't they?

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Me on Monday - late!!!

It was a Dalek seeing, Darth Vader avoiding, Storm Trooper rebuking, K9 patting, Cardiff Jack Sparrow ogling, Minion hugging, T-shirt wearing, convention organising kind of a weekend. Dragondaze! We were so tired by Saturday night that I slept for 12 hours straight. We enjoyed it so much we are doing it again next year. We raised £1000 for Barnardo's Young Carers, a charity that supports children who care for sick or disabled parents. We had several local children there with us and they had a fabulous time playing board games and Role Playing games and we also had War games and loads of trade stands. I will show you my Organiser T-shirt another day. I managed to avoid being photographed because I spent most of the day taking money and giving out the badges that allowed the people to get into the games.
There is a man inside this Dalek. I saw him get in. It was great seeing the little kids screaming as he moved silently along the corridors and when they found the lifts the word they used was "Elevate". made me larf
This one is radio controlled. OH, oh see the round yellow bits? my cousin supplied those to the company that made them
Cardiff Jack Sparrow. He is amazing! he has the voice and the walk and all the mannerisms - and he is, so my daughter says, HOT. Who am I to disagree? very nice to rest ones eyes on I must say

The lovely man inside this minion is the man who was inside the Dalek. After he had entertained as the Minion he took off the costume... out of sight of the paying public of course and went to get his lunch from the cafeteria. He gave them his voucher, they gave him the bag with the food. He opened it and inside was a banana. I am told that Minions love bananas - would kill for one. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The End of an Era...

Just occasionally in your life you meet someone who becomes a profound influence without ever stepping into centre stage. You know you are a better person because you have known them; you know they will continue to influence you for the rest of your life.
All this knowledge rarely shows itself to you until that person has gone. This is how it has been for me with regard to Len Hough.

Len was President of the local family history society. We first met when my mother volunteered me to be Minutes Secretary for the Executive Committee, that is a whole story on its own, and that was in 1994. Len was Treasurer for the Society and was justifiably wary of this new woman who had appeared out of nowhere. I spotted him as the one to go to for help - and asking him for help as the way to reassure him. I would draft the minutes on my computer, print them off and post them to Len. He checked and corrected and posted them back the same day. He never spoke of this to the committee so I didn't either.
Pretty soon after this the Editor of the Society Journal resigned and the Exec decided to have a Journal Committee while they searched for a new Editor. I expressed an interest and was given the chance to work more closely with Len in compiling the Journal. At that time it was still done with a typewriter, craft knife and glue. Cutting and pasting meant just that! Len watched carefully because he was not going to allow anything to sully the reputation of the society.
Eventually I became Editor and introduced the Journal to the wonders of the computing age - this was 1995 and there were still those who thought computers would never catch on except in the workplace.
Len was never afraid to talk to me about things, both good and bad. I discovered that he had been a primary school headmaster in his working life and I just knew that every child that went through his school would have been encouraged and praised. He taught me to step back and evaluate, to assess quietly and NEVER to assume that things were as they seemed. He showed me that there was always a way to get good behaviour from the most boorish of people and I never, in twenty years of knowing him, heard him raise his voice. He had a way of damning with faint praise that I envied and tried to learn. He never said a nasty thing about anyone and yet I was in no doubt of his opinion of certain people.
He gave me the confidence to serve on the Committee and to take on the post of Chairman for three years. He supported me when I fought to change the way the Journal was delivered to members and he supported the changes that were made to the society website while not liking them one little bit.
He was never a close friend, because that was not his way. We shared an interest and he and his lovely wife Isla always seemed delighted to see me whenever we met. I will miss his physical presence at meetings and open days but he will be with me always. Rest in Peace Len.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Shiny red apples?

I saw a picture of some lovely shiny red apples on someone's blog and it immediately brought a story to mind.
The location: A supermarket fruit and veg section on a Sunday.
The Players: a mother with a small son aged around five years old.
The script:

Mother: Shall we buy some apples? They would be nice in your lunch bag for school.

Child: Ooh, can we buy some of those juicy, red, poison apples?

Mother: (hiding her grin by turning her head away from him) Of course we can!

Now Mr M and I cannot go through the fruit and veg section without one of us asking "Shall we buy some juicy, red, poison apples?" and secretly watching the expressions on the faces around us.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Me on Monday? Let's give it a go...

It was a Saturday sleazing, kindle reading, legs elevating, hanging washing, Oops, we need food, shoes on and a visit to Farm Foods, last day of the holidays out for a ride, seaside cuppa, wild-life photographing, bomb disposal, old car spotting, chicken herding kind of a weekend.
Mr M pointing to a hole in his shirt, caused by a
bit of tobacco dropping from his cigarette when he used to smoke.
He gave up in June. I made a mental note to throw it out!
 Saturday was the sleaze around day doing not very much and doing it slowly. I looked at the thicket of brambles in the front garden and made a mental note to remind my Son-in-law that he has said he would "deal with" them. Mental notes are no good, not when your mental bit forgets to write them down!
A Dragon fly on a bench at Llantwit Major. I know it is a dragonfly
 because its wings are not folded.
Sunday started out slow and then Mr M reminded me that we would be having to eat the cardboard from the cereal packets if we didn't go out and do some blankety blank shopping. We went to Farm foods and spend loads - and got a £7.50 discount because we had coupons. We then gave the left over coupons to the people in the queue behind us so we did a Good Thing while shopping. Back home decanted the bags into the freezer and made a cuppa. I said. It's the last day of the holidays and I really feel as though summer has come to an end"
"put your shoes on" he said. So I did and we went out for a little ride. Stopped for a cuppa in Llantwit Major because we had discussed the fact that now my tablets are changed I should be able to go through the little narrow streets without sobbing. This has proved correct. I not only went through without sobbing I maintained my end of the conversation without hesitation.

Naval Bomb Disposal trucks. They did a controlled explosion
down on the beach because some very old phosphorus grenades
had washed up and were too deteriorated to be moved. 
Saw this car as we were leaving the area and did my best to get
a picture. It is very difficult at 30 MPH
We saw the Bomb Squad vehicles as we arrived and we wondered if this was something to do with the increased security because of the NATO summit next weekend. We got ourselves a cuppa. Mr M says that if you like stewed tea that is stronger than paint stripper then the beach cafe at Llantwit Major is the place for you. he poured his into the grass and I got him a diet coke. As we were drinking it there was a loud bang. a very loud ground shaking bang. We looked at each other and sat very still. Everyone around us stood up and rushed towards the beach. Now perhaps we are odd but why would anyone rush towards an explosion? The RNLI lifeguards stopped everyone from going onto the beach so they couldn't see anything. Mr M asked one of them what was happening and got all the details. We continued westwards, taking to the M4 around Port Talbot - or as it is known in our family Port tablet - and then headed north-east-ish towards Merthyr. We left that road and threaded our way along the heads of the Valleys Road and then came down through Blackwood, Abercarn and paused in Cwmcarn to drop in for a cuppa at our cousin's house. It is always good to see them and catch up on the doings of Mr M's family. Then full of gossip and tea (coffee for me) we came home and cooked a healthy dinner. I had salmon fillet with vegetables and actifry chips and Mr M had barbecue ribs, vegetables and actifry chips. 
And that was me on Monday