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Diary of an opsimath
31/52 for the group 2015 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's topic was: D is for Diamond

I've been looking for a subject all week, but diamonds on signs or diamond shaped things were not to be found. OK, I could have done playing cards, but I like to post my photo here as well as on Flickr, and what could I say about playing cards when I never play cardgames?

So this is a desperation shot of my emerald and diamond engagement ring, titivated up with a bit of lens flare because the diamonds are so tiny, they just weren't showing in the photo.

Emerald and diamond engagement ring

As we've been married for 41 years, my engagement ring is a bit battered now. It's also been repaired several times. The first time was when the central emerald fell out. There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth as we crawled around the kitchen floor looking for it, but it was found, then dropped again in the excitement of finding it (!) and then found a second time and put away safely. A local jeweller repaired the setting and put the emerald back in place.

The next thing to go was one of the tiny diamonds from around the edge. It wasn't very noticeable, so I kept on wearing the ring anyway, but when we were in Amsterdam sightseeing, and happened to go to one of the diamond factories, I had the bright idea of seeing if I could buy a replacement diamond. I could, so I did, and they even fitted it for me.

The most recent problem was that the ring became too small. Not only have I put on weight since I became engaged at the age of 23, but my knuckles have become more gnarly and fearing that I'd have to have the ring cut off, I'd stopped wearing it. Anyway, earlier this year I finally got around to taking it into a jewellers and getting it enlarged. The band was wearing very thin by now too, so that was replaced as part of the enlarging process.
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The trip to London got this leg of the journey off to a good start. I'm hoping to keep up the pace now I'm actually heading for Mordor. Of course there are still more journeys to explore and I can follow the characters all the way home, but right now, the journey is heading for the climax as Frodo struggles towards Mount Doom. See the bottom of the post for mileage details, but here's where I really went...

We live at the southern end of the Snowdonia National Park and there are so many beautiful locations around here that there is no shortage of places to walk. Then time slips by and, before you notice, it's nearly three years since you visited a favourite place and you decide it's time to go back.

Currently, the weather is alternating Summery with Definitely Not Summery, so we grabbed the chance last Thursday to escape to the forest for a walk. It was a lovely day sandwiched between two days of heavy rain.

I've already posted the B&W arty photo I took that day, the coiled wire and broken window of one of the old mine buildings, so here is a general view of the old mine site.

Old mine buildings

Gwynfynydd mine has a long history, but was last worked seriously in the 1990s. They tried supplementing the income from gold by having part of the mine open to tourists, but for various reasons it closed in 1999 and nothing has been done with the site since.

Photo showing the entrance to the old workings can be found behind here...Collapse )

I love the comment on this website:

"Still privately owned, explorers are most unwelcome. The river turns orange when people enter the mine, giving the game away!"

So don't even think of trespassing. :) Actually, G has been through the mine several times and I climbed all the way up it once. You used to be able to enter the mine through this tunnel, climb up the old ladders up the mineshafts and walk along the old tunnels until you finally come out on the top of the hill above. But that was in about 1982 during a period when the mine was disused and before it re-opened in 1993. It was unsafe enough then, I don't think nearly 25 more years of decay would have done much for the state of the ladders that were already crumbling and rotting back then.

But it's not all ruins. The old industrial site is set in the most beautiful forest. Here, not far from the mine is the spectacular waterfall Pistyll Cain.

Pistyll Cain in the Coed y Brenin

Mileage details are here...Collapse )

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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30/52 for the group 2015 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: C is for Changes

Last time we visited the Gwynfynydd gold mine site just over 2 years ago, this window still had glass in it. There have been a few changes since then and the site continues to deteriorate.

Old wire

Current Mood: busy busy

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My planned productive morning went to pot because I was too engrossed in all the rabbity goings on in our garden. First there was a pair of adult rabbits scampering around, then I realised that one of them was digging a burrow! In our garden! I could see it from my study window, and even though the binoculars I have are small and low-powered, I could see them clearly.

After a while, the rabbit seemed happy with the burrow and then she kept running up to the top of the garden where I strimmed the grass on Saturday. There she gathered up clumps of grass in her mouth and ran back to the burrow before emerging to get some more. It was like having a nature documentary going on outside. Of course then I had to Google about baby rabbits and discovered that (unlike what I had previously thought) the mother doesn't stay with the babies, but just covers them up and leaves them for most of the day, only returning once or at most twice, usually in the small hours of the morning, to feed them. That's actually a relief because I didn't want to scare her away from the babies, but neither did I want to have to avoid going out into the garden, not when there will soon be blackberries to pick.

Following a tip on one of the web pages, I have laid a couple of small twigs across the top of the burrow in a distinctive pattern. If mother rabbit returns to feed the babies, she will disturb the twigs and I will know that there genuinely is a little rabbit family living in our garden.

Current Mood: thoughtful fascinated

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29/52 for the group 2015 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: B is for Bokeh

For the non-photographers reading this, "bokeh" is just Japanese for "blurred", but it's been adopted as a photographic term for the deliberately out of focus bits of photos. There are even different kinds of bokeh: smooth bokeh and the prettiest kind, which is when you get out of focus points of light. This photo is an example of the smooth kind.

Tiny green blackberries

I am keeping my eye on the blackberries at the bottom of the garden. If all goes well, it should be a good crop this year.

It won't be for another few weeks though. The tiny berries are only just developing from the flowers, but I foresee more jam in my future.

Current Mood: sleepy sleepy

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I didn't get as much done today as I'd hoped -- so what's new? But I have made some progress with proofreading and testing the Java programming book G is writing to use with his students next year. I also made 2 pots of jam. There weren't as many jostaberries as last year (possibly I messed up the pruning?), but 2 pots is good because they make delicious jam. It tasted good -- I licked the spoons! -- and afterwards I ventured as far as the Co-op for a top up shop. It was sunny, so that was good.

I've now almost finished for the day, just doing a last check round to make sure I haven't missed doing anything vital, then I'll close down the computer for the night. Tomorrow there is a music festival in town so I plan to work hard in the morning then wander out after lunch to see what's happening in the town square.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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I am feeling fretful because I am stuck in the house unable to leave because I am waiting for the new monitor to be delivered. While I've been waiting, the sky has clouded over, but, according to the text message, it shouldn't be long now.

I think my first job when I am finally free to venture out will be to pick the jostaberries. I noticed that the bush was full of birds this morning! They seem to have discovered my fruit!

Noooooo! I'll have to think about some protective netting for next year.

Current Mood: frustrated frustrated

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I have spent the morning crawling round under my desk and my husband's desk, battling dust bunnies and connecting and reconnecting computer monitors.

My monitor, which had been slightly stripy in the top left corner for a couple of days, died this morning. First I tried to use the one from G's second computer, but after untangling the cables from his set-up and hauling it upstairs, it turned out the connectors were different. I am therefore currently borrowing the monitor off his main computer while he's out enjoying the sunshine having a long walk. I have ordered a new monitor, but now all my plans to work in the garden have to be put on hold while I push on with as much important work as possible before he wants his monitor back later. I'm hoping Ye Ancient Laptop will cope with social online stuff, but if I'm quieter than usual, you know why.
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I didn't do all that much today, though I did do a load of laundry to wash all the clothes we'd taken away to London. I also completely unpacked the suitcase, put all the bits and pieces away and even put the case away in its designated place in the garage.

Later this afternoon I ventured out into the garden to clear more of the long weeds down at the bottom. I cleared a sizeable patch, completely filling the wheelie bin with weeks, brambles and dead sticks.

I have now cleared as far as my blackberry patch and I'm pleased to say that there are masses of flowers on the brambles. If they successfully turn into berries, I will have a good crop and LOTS OF JAM! :) After I'd done 30 minutes of clearing, I sat outside for a while, drinking a cup of tea and reading my ebook. One of next week's tasks is to buy a patio table and chairs because at the moment I am lifting an old dining chair in and out. I need something that can cope with a rain shower and stay outside throughout the summer.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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This morning it was time to pack up and set off on the long journey home. Before leaving, the light was perfect for one last shot out of our hotel window.

London"s skyscrapers

From left to right, the tallest buildings which have nicknames are: Walkie Talkie, Cheese-grater, and The Gherkin. I think the shapes are pretty explanatory.

The journey was made somewhat harder by the Tube strike that started yesterday evening and which is due to end tonight. The London streets were even more chaotic than usual because all the people (including us!) who would normally have been down below on the Tube were struggling to work on packed buses, or fighting the frequently jammed up traffic in cars or on bikes. Yet despite the chaos (which to be fair probably wasn't helped by having road closures and diversions because of the Great City Race) and despite having had a 1 hour 40 minute walk this morning through crowded streets with our luggage, I am totally on the side of the Tube workers. I don't think the night Tube idea has been thought through properly and it certainly shouldn't be launched on 12 September, which is just a matter of weeks away.

Anyway, once at Euston the rest of the journey was fine and there was just enough time at Shrewsbury where we changed trains to grab a hot drink and a sandwich. I'm now home busily catching up online and tomorrow I must do a load of laundry and attack the garden before it gets out of control again.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

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