Monday, 20 April 2015

Me on Monday - knuckling down

It's been a weekend of avoiding something I used to love doing, of waiting for Miss Boo to come home from her holidays, of deciding that it was definitely Green Day and spring has sprung, of Tin Man Stew and a panini and a late lunch 50 miles from that. It's been beautiful weather and good company and now it's knuckling down to the task I have avoided all weekend

I used to love being Editor of the local family history society Journal, I looked forward to the deadline day so that I could sit happily at my computer and compile the Journal four times a year. Now I just can't wait for it to be over. Time to stop methinks.
Miss Boo has been to Cornwall for a week with her Mummy and Daddy. She sent me a postcard and has written a holiday Journal which she will use to make her scrapbook. She had a wonderful time getting to swim in the pool at the caravan park. She won't swim in the sea because it tastes awful. The Eden Project and Trerice were just two of the places she visited.

On Saturday while they were travelling home we popped into The Range to see if they had some card labels that said "left blank for your message". They didn't, but they did have several other things that I suddenly desperately needed. We moved onward and meandered through the countryside and suddenly we were nearing Neath and in need of a cuppa. We went to Aberdulais Falls, a National Trust property which was a tin plate works and is now a really fascinating place to wander about and see how the working poor lived and worked a century and more ago. Mr M had Tin Man Stew for his brunch and I had the most delicious ham and cheddar cheese panini - oh yum. I bought three books in the second hand book shop there and we were delighted to learn that the electricity required to run the place is now provided by a turbine in the falls - fantastic.
We then headed northish and took a road we have never been on because, well exactly because we had never been on it before - and because there was a screwdriver in front of us and he headed down the road Mr M had intended to use.
Eventually we arrived in Brecon so we called in to Morrisons and had a ... not really sure what to call it because it wasn't dinner and we had already had lunch ... anyway we had jacket potatoes and Morrisons had an off day. First the coffee machine I prefer wasn't working so I had to use the one that doesn't have decaff. I chose a latte, made a pot of tea for Mr M and ordered the food. I sat at a table and looked at my latte. I took it back to the counter and asked the nice young man where they had hidden the milk in my latte. He made me a decaff one in the other machine that was sort of working. There was, it turned out, no milk in either of the machines so he had to go and get some from the storeroom. In the mean time I sit at our table and out jacket potatoes arrive. Mr M has chilli on his and I have cheese and colesl...... I have just cheese. I go back to the counter and the lovely young girl blushes to the tips of her toes and puts my forgotten coleslaw onto my potato.
It was delicious
We came home, pausing in Aldi at the end of our street to get stuff like" bread and something for dinner tomorrow" and then were entertained for an hour by Miss Boo telling us all about her holiday.

OH OH, when she came in she saw the hall stand, which was delivered while she was away "Oh I like what you've done to the place!" she said, immediately reducing both of us to stifled giggles. That has gone into the little book for sure

Friday, 17 April 2015

River Dancing? Me? read on ...

Last night this mild mannered, quiet man made me laugh so much I couldn't breathe. Let me explain ...
I had gone to bed and was snuggled down reading my kindle when Mr M came to bed. He was soon snuggled under the duvet and I could tell by his breathing that he was nearly alseep.
Just thinking this made me realise that I was forcing my eyes to stay open to read one more page.

Now I don't know - and I don't want to know - what you wear in bed but I wear pyjamas. I do this because skin touching skin means itching and itching means scratching and that way lies another trip to hospital so I wear PJs. The problem is the trousers slide up above my knees and skin on skin... you get the picture.
When you are happily and comfortably snuggled you don't really want to get out of bed and jiggle to make them fall down again do you? NO, neither do I so I do this little wriggly thing where I slide up the bed a bit and this puts the bottoms just below the knee then, because I am lying on my left side I hook the hem with my right toes and slide it all the way down to my ankle.

So you have the picture, yes? Mr M snuggled and nearly asleep me putting down the kindle and taking of the spectacles turning off the light and then doing the little wriggly thing with the legs of my PJs. As I settled Mr M asked
"Have you finished now?"
"Finished what?" I retorted using my best innocent voice
"River Dancing in bed" he replied.

It took five minutes before I could say anything. He scored a point for that

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


 I meant to photograph it before I put the sticks and hats on it but ...

It has a little glove box too so this will mean that Mr M's favourite gloves will not disappear into the abyss behind the stick stand ever again.

The smaller stick stand is the one that Mr M's cousin had cluttering their garage. It belonged to their grandfather, although neither of them remember seeing it and after discussion they decided that Nan must have kept it under the stairs.

Anyhooo, Cousin G gave it to us. His son said that he remembered being scared by the stick with the "doll head" in the stand when he was a tiny child. This prompted Mr M to take a picture of just that stick in the little stand just for him.

We used a torch with LED bulbs to illuminate said "doll head" and the result is really spooky. I soon filled up the stand with some of the stick collection and the head has now receded into the background, losing most of its spookiness.

We still have the old stick stand that my uncle made, perhaps one of my children will want it as an heirloom.

Big thank you to Admiral and Lady Bluefunnel for taking us on an unexpected day out because that's when I found the hall stand.

Oh, oh Just noticed that you can just see my eldest grandchild's picture. he is holding his DoE (Duke of Edinburgh's Award) gold certificate. He is now at John Moore's University coming to the end of his second year doing outdoor activities and something else, which entails climbing mountains and skiing and kayaking and all sorts of other stuff

Monday, 13 April 2015

Me on Monday - overcooked

It was a day out with Dad, day out together, three loads of washing, knitting my way through a DVD sort of a weekend. Having been trapped at home by the car while Mr M was on a week's holiday. Long story about renewing a wheel-bearing that became replacing the wishbone and fitting two new tyres. Such a good job we have used the garage for years and trust them.

We got the car back on Thursday afternoon so we were able to keep our date with Father-in-Law. We went to Wyndcliff Court Sculpture Garden, which is up above St Arvans, just outside Chepstow. I saw several sculptures that I would be happy to have in my garden when I can afford them. Fabulous life-size and extremely real looking Foxglove that I would love to own.
The Teepee pole made me smile and if I had a big enough garden I would have that too.

The two Mr M's took their time and paused for a rest in the summer house. From there you can see most of the garden and out across the Wye Valley to England.

We had a cuppa in their cafe and I had a bread roll because I forgot to eat breakfast. The coffee was so weak it came out of the cafetiere waving a white flag of surrender. I am told the tea was lovely.

We then headed up the A48, pausing at Jo's cafe for lunch and then on to Kilpeck Church to show  Mr M senior the grotesques - if ever you get the chance to be in that part of Herefordshire then you must visit. I mean we live in Newport and yet it is one place we try to take all our visitors at some point.

On Saturday we intended to go to Farm Foods to restock the freezer. I don't know about you but that sort of shopping exhausts me and we tend to put it off until we are reduced to a few loose peas rolling around the bottom of the freezer and just the odd sausage looking forlorn in the meat basket. We haven't quite reached that point yet but it is close.

Anyway we went to the Pumping Station, an antiques and collectibles place on Penarth Road in Cardiff and bought the hall stand I fell in love with last week. I had decided that if it was still there it was meant to be mine so I used some of my Christmas money of F-i-L to buy it. We carried on along the road and went to Barry - not the Island this time, we stopped in Morrisons for a loo stop and to buy some credit for Mr M's phone as he realised he had 16p left on it from the £20 he put on there when I was in hospital last June - last of the big spenders eh?
Then we headed along the coast road and decided to go to St Donats Art Centre.
Don't waste your time bothering with it. We didn't realise it was part of the Atlantic College complex and, therefore, part of the University of Wales. You have to park quite a walk away from it and the only place that shows the opening times is a small notice right by the door 10am-4pm Monday to Friday. I mean, why do they have a big brown sign on the main road and yet you have to get there and park and walk right up to the darned door to find it shut. We won't be going again.
We then looked at the time and it was nearly lunch time so we stopped at the Horseshoe Inn in Marcross and had a really delicious lunch. I had plaice and chips and Mr M had faggots and peas and mash. He said the mash was perfect because it was thick enough to be able to mix in his gravy and not get dinner medals down his chest. They also served a delicious cup of coffee.

We headed north after lunch and came home via lots of welsh places, avoiding the Rhondda - not because we don't like it but because we wanted to head slightly more easterly. We called in at Mr Ms cousin's house. Just to give a little moral support as they are coping with a parent with dementia. then into Morrisons in Risca for some essentials and home. I put the beef into the slow cooker and left it to cook for Sunday
We sleazed on Sunday. Mr M alternated between the TV and the computer and I did three loads of washing. Having youngest son back home means I get to wash uniforms again, isn't that exciting? Actually it is kind of nice. I like having him around even though his shifts are dead wierd as he leaves the house anytime between 11pm and 1am to go and drive his big articulated truck full of frozen foods. He does his own ironing and cleans his room and keeps the bathroom tidy, what more can a mother ask.

My Hall stand has just been delivered so I am off to photograph it and I will show you the pictures tomorrow

Sunday, 5 April 2015

An unexpected day out

 Recognise these people? Yup, The Lord Admiral and Lady Bluefunnel. We had planned to go up to their eirie on the hill for dinner on Saturday and during a phone discussion about curry I said that we would get there around 6pm because I intended us to go out somewhere on Saturday even though I didn't know exactly where - yet.
"If you can be here by 8.30am on Saturday you can come with us" said Lady B and it was so.

We drove to Cardiff and had breakfast in Ramon's - excellent! We were too busy eating for me to take a picture of the food but trust me, it was really good.

From there we went to Llandaff Cathedral. The first visit for all of us. We spent a while in the David Chapel, which is dedicated to the Welch Regiment - and to all the variations of that name up to its present incarnation as (The slightly boringly named) The Royal Welsh.

I saw one of those signs that make you smile so that will be added to the album of signs very soon

The cathedral was nearly destroyed by a landmine falling in the churchyard in 1941 and during the restoration in the 1950s the architect decided that a huge concrete parabolic arch was needed to separate the choir and nave - my own personal jury is still out on this one - Jacob Epstein then made "The Majesticas" and this was put on the front of what was then the organ thingy. In 2010 a whole new organ was built, the first wholly British built organ in any cathedral for 50 years the organ thingy now holds gilded statues of Old Testament people - excellent time was had
Then we went to World of Boats. We saw this on the way. There is this huge building called The Doctor Who Experience. We nipped in so that some people could use the ... facilities and the TARDIS was outside, perched on a bit of stick and perilously dangling over the bay.

Then the battery died on the camera so no pictures of the Elena Marie Barbara or the venetian gondola or even Poco the friendly pooch in the cafe. That was also a really good visit and we will be watching the progress of the restoration of the Elena on her website.
It was nearly lunch time and we were nearly going to the Pumping House antiques centre but a diversion to Penarth was called for. A brisk walk along the refurbished pier and then a brief step into the Old Sweet Shop to buy a stick of rock so that Mr M can teach a colleague how to do the "back-off-holiday" thing in work and then fish and chips eaten in the car for lunch. Delicious.
The Pumping house was excellent and I found a hall-stand that I liked but by that time my feet didn't want to walk anymore so we went back to the eirie and talked through a lovely dinner then came home and fell into bed around 10pm