Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ceredigion versus Gower

Ceredigion is very lovely and we had a great holiday but for sheer beauty Gower is hard to beat. That's probably why it was the first area in Britain to be declared An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). And Three Cliffs Bay regularly gets voted on to Most Beautiful Beach in the World charts.
Three Cliffs Bay
Three Cliffs Bay

Tor Bay and Oxwich
Ceredigion does have dolphins and seals though. And on a more regular basis than Gower.

Lunar affectation ... or not?

Moon in waning crescent
6% Waning Crescent
So these peculiar dreams are happening in the third quarter just before new moon. Last time they were between new moon and first quarter.

I do find the charts slightly confusing as the new moon is completely black which flummoxes me. But it appears from my vast research - all two incidents - that my dreams are tied in with a new moon. Which obviously means something deep and philosophical.

But doesn't explain why in my dream:
Daughter is leaving home for places unknown and she won't tell us if she has anywhere to sleep so I am very upset;
and our women's bible study group, which is normally attended by four or five, was attended by about 30, including men, and lots of them had brought cake but refused to help clear up afterwards.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hooray for Mr Benn

Mr Benn
In the last post I mentioned Mr Benn. For those who don't know who he is let me explain.

He was a cartoon character from the 70s. Created by David McKee who also created Elmer the elephant, Mr Benn was an ordinary man who each episode left his home and visited a costume shop with a shopkeeper who appeared 'as if by magic'. Mr Benn would try on a costume and then walking through the changing-room door would find himself in an adventure.

Only 13 episodes were ever made and they were repeated twice a year for twenty years. Mr Benn still is regularly voted one of the most beloved children’s programmes of all time.

There was a certain amount of repetition in every episode and it's that familiarity that David McKee says is now missing from children's television cartoons. 

A 50th anniversary exhibition featuring fifty original Mr Benn artworks has just finished and it was in an interview in The Telegraph that the author made that statement. Now 82, Mr McKee said, '... as any parent will know, children want the same story repeated. My theory is that it’s security, they know what’s coming next and they feel safe with it.' He also claimed that modern animation is too frenetic and desperate to offer something different in every episode.

I used to love Mr Benn when I watched it with my children. Gentle and safe he was just brave enough but not superhuman, and it's true that children do love repetition. Every time GrandSon1 comes to visit, out of the large selection of books on the shelf, he always opts for the same few: Albert Herbert Hawkins, A Bad Week for the Three Bears, and, especially, Burglar Bill. And each one in turn has its own level of repetition. 

Bring back Mr Benn!

What Mr Benn has in common with my holiday reading

The first three books I read on holiday were Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Size 14 isn't Fat Either and Notes to My Mother-in-Law.

The first two although very different had one thing in common: I began reading and quickly decided  I wasn't going to like them but ended up thoroughly enjoying them.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant (by Gail Honeyman) is a woman with a traumatic past that has led to her lacking social skills. The story relates how her life gradually changes and how she copes with it. It's both funny and tragic. ****

Mr Benn and the shopkeeper
I tried to find Size 14 Isn't Fat Either (Meg Cabot) on Amazon and ebay - for an image - but there's no sign of it anywhere, which is a little strange. I found it in a secondhand bookshop so maybe it was a magic shop a bit like the one Mr Benn used to visit.
Anyway I digress. While Eleanor Oliphant is sparsely written Size 14 bubbles over. It's a bit like me on this blog when I get distracted. The author is better-known for teenage and young adult books. The heroine is a part-time amateur sleuth - aren't they all? - and it's a jolly light-hearted story. Good holiday reading. *** and a half stars.

Phyllida Law, actress, wife of Eric Thompson, mother of Emma (and Sophie), wrote notes to her mother-in-law who lived with them when she began to go deaf. The book is in big print and hardly enough to fill a space on a shelf. It's fine as far as it goes. I read them expecting at least some of the notes to build up into some sort of story but they're all fairly unrelated and very ordinary. My conversations with George are more interesting. It does a glimpse into the ordinary lives of 'famous' people but that's about as far as it goes. And one can't help feeling that had she been anyone else the book would never have been published and certainly wouldn't have had the ecstatic recommendations from more 'famous' people on the cover. I'll still give it *** because it's ... no, I won't. I'll give it **.

P.S. Interesting to note that the more stars I award the less I write about the story.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

While I'm waiting for the chicken to cook

I've borrowed this from Treey who borrowed it from etc

1.What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
A cherry.

2. Where was your profile pic taken?
I can't remember what my profile picture is. Hang on, I'll try and find out. Oh, it's that little picture. Mumbles Post Office.

3. Worst pain you've ever experienced?
Every pain is the worst pain when I have it. 

4. Favourite place you've travelled?
Mwnt or Vietnam or New York.

5. How late did you stay up last night?
Not late.

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be?
The fairy tale house at the edge of Caswell bay.

8. Which of your Blogger friends lives closest to you.
Shirley in Bristol.

10. When was the last time you cried?
Too long ago to remember.

11. Who took your profile photo?
Husband.

12. Who was the last person you took a picture with?
My dog, George.

13. What's your favourite season?
Spring because everything's waking up and new and fresh.

14. If you could have any career, what would it be?
WRITER!!

15. Do you think relationships are ever worth it?
Of course.

16. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be?
No-body. I don't like talking.

17. Are you a good influence?
Hm, you'd have to ask others.

18. Does pineapple belong on pizza?
Sort of.

19. You have the remote, what channel? 
Netflix.

20. Whom do you think will play along?
Anyone not upset by the bad grammar in that question.

21. What happened to questions 7 and 9?
They were abducted by aliens and even now are being probed for the recipe for yorkshire pudding.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Please look back at old posts!

Just to mention I've added photos to all my holiday posts. Now I'm home and have access to technology and a proper keyboard and stuff I've been able to do it. 

And, incidentally, all week we've walked around gusty cliffs - being very grateful that the wind was blowing onshore - and it hasn't rained on us. Then today we get home and walk in Clyne and it thunders and hails. 

We're home all right!

No need to tame a shrew

We met a tiny - probably baby - shrew on one of our walks.baby shrew
* * * * * * * * 

There are some very old gravestones at the church of St. Michael and All Angel's in Penbryn. The church itself, said to be one the oldest in Wales, looks very like the one at Mwnt and indeed, they both have the same sort of roof/ceiling, the only two examples of its kind in south Wales and the reason for it being a listed building.

This gravestone caught my eye because it's unusual but it also has a wonderful tribute on it.
It's for a man and his wife, Margret who died April 1789 and  was 'distinguished for Meekness, piety and Charity, never known to turn a poor man from her Door Without relief and thus lived and died a ??? (stout maybe) Christian.'

What a fantastic way to be remembered.

In which George looks back on his holiday

Here I am keeping guard outside my holiday home. It was a cottage called Pencwnc near the village of Rhydlewis in Ceredigion. You didn't know I could speak Welsh, did you?
You can take the dog away from Gower but you can't stop him rescuing stones from the ocean. Where there is a stone to be rescued I am there!
Penbryn beach, ceredigion
They tried to get me to go further in this cave but I've read We're going on a bear hunt and I know what you find in deep dark caves.
If I'm looking a little weary here it's because they made me walk miles along a very windy coastal path to get to Llangrannog just so Lizzie could have an ice cream. And then we had to walk back!! I needed all the help I could get from St Caranog, that chap behind me with the staff.
Llangrannog, Ceredigion
'There's a church here somewhere,' Lizzie said, 'and it's supposed to be one of the oldest in Wales.' She had me scrambling through all sorts of bushes to find it.St Michael's church, Penbryn
I've saved my favourite photo till last. Here I am on the top of Mwnt, lord of all I survey. Bow me before me, minions!
Mwnt, Ceredigion
Okay, perhaps this is my favourite photo. Nothing like relaxing in front of a log fire after a long day out.







Thursday, September 14, 2017

Catastrophe!

So if you think it is catastrophic to discover you have shingles when you are on holiday imagine what it is like to have read three of your books and to find that you just can't get into the other two you have with you.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sculpture, seals and chips - updated


Imagine a beautiful garden with lots of sculptures and it's free and dogs are welcome. Sounds perfect? Now add free refreshments including a selection of delicious home made cakes. Could it get any better?

Such a place does exist and it's called Sculpture Heaven.

It was a fascinating place with lots of nooks and crannies, tiny doors to open, and even an opportunity to try water divining - I don't have the knack.







Now if you saw an exhibit that said that you'd have to turn over the stone, wouldn't you?

Donations were suggested for the tea and cakes and all profits went to the Halo Trust that clears landmines in poor countries to enable people to return to their homes.



Ginger and almond macroons, lemon drizzle, chocolate brownies, cherry flapjacks - all yummy!



After this relaxing morning we continued on our way to Cwmtydu and just when you think the day can't get any better it did. There on the beach were several baby seals and their mamas. Excited? Muchos!

These seal pups were between 3 and 12 days old. They're born on the beach where they stay until they're about 21 days old when mama encourages them into the sea - where they have to fend for themselves! Up till then the mother will leave them to go and feed in the sea returning to allow them to feed from her.

The volunteers who do Seal Watch can identify the mothers who return to Cwmtydu regularly to have their babies. And the males who keep hanging around! The mum in the photo above they said was a good mother who last year had continued to feed her baby - whom they nicknamed Fatty - for longer than usual before she could at last persuade him to go and do it himself

By the way, there are a lot of hills in this part of the world and it seems to me that more go up than come down.

Our planned excursion to Newquay for fish and chips didn't go quite as planned. We intended to eat our dinner sitting on the quay trying to spot dolphins but heavy rain put paid to that idea. Instead we sat in the car just like old people. All we needed was a thermos of tea.

Last time we stayed in the area we had fish and chips and Husband declared them to be the best he'd ever tasted so our holiday this time was based around a return visit. We had to choose a holiday cottage that was close enough to Newquay to make it practical. Then when it came to it Husband decided to pay heed to the Tripadvisor reports that named another chip shop as serving the best so we had 'posh' fish and chips from the Lime Crab instead. I say 'posh' because they came in a box with a slice of lemon, tartare sauce and even a sprinkling of something green. (Verdict: the fish could have been crisper.)

And would you believe it? My camera battery died on me at the start of the day. Thank goodness for phones and tablets.

Speaking of which I am taking my five a day. Tablets that is. They are supposed to prevent or at least lessen the potential pain that sometimes follows shingles. So far it's manageable. I don't have to start on the paracetamol until late afternoon. It's mostly just sore and uncomfortable.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Climbing a Mwnt-ain

Mwnt, CeredigionIn the car this morning during a heavy shower Husband was glum. 'It's colder than yesterday too,' he said.
'It's going to be fine,' I said. 'You are just a pessimist.'
'Not pessimist,' he said. 'Realist.'

By the time we reached our destination, Mwnt, the sun was shining. I smiled smugly.
'That's the good thing about being a realist,' Husband said. 'When things turn out better than I expect I am happy.'

On top of Mwnt
I shrugged. 'If it rains I will just laugh.'
'That's because you're a twit.'

Apparently, according to a report in the New Scientist, pessimists live longer than optimists. Or maybe it just seems longer.

Me chickening out and refusing to take the seaward side path down from the top. You can just see the path - the bit of grass in front of Husband in the photo.
* * * *

'Was that a red kite?' Husband asked.
'Oh, I saw a red bird. I thought it was strange for a sea gull ... Are red kites red?'

I am very good ornithologically speaking as you can tell.

* * *
Lovely walk. Not as far as yesterday. I stopped when the coastal path became a little too coastal ie too close to the edge. I was worried for George you understand. I've marked it in red on the photo. The nice encouraging sign on the post helped too.


* * *
Husband is such a man.

There is a book of walks in the cottage. My suggestion that we follow one was pooh-poohed. 'We don't need to follow a book.'

Firelighters are provided in the cottage. After the fire had gone out for the second time I suggested he use one.
'Nah, I've got paper,' he said.

I have shingles

It's just what you want when you're on holiday. To find out the rash and the 'broken rib' are actually symptoms of shingles.

Well done to Sharon and Luna for working it out!