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heleninwales
I don't feel as though I've been at all productive today, even though I walked into town this morning and did some bits of shopping. But most of the day has been spent logging in to numerous online accounts and changing my email address.

I've had a Demon email account for 20 years, but the company was taken over and sold on a couple of times and now the current owner has decided to discontinue the email that came with the broadband. Creating a new Gmail account only took a moment, but it's going to be a long a tedious job updating all my accounts. :(
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heleninwales
30/52 for the group 2016 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: D is for Delicate

Today we went to look at the vegetation on the sand dunes at Harlech. We haven't identified what we found yet, but I photographed many little plants so we could look them up. This one is particularly pretty. You can see from the comparison with the blades of grass how tiny it is.

Delicate pink flower

Here is the beach. It's five years since I've visited, according to the photos on Flickr. It's amazing how time passes.

Harlech beach

And here are some more tiny flowers, in this case clover and, er, some other things.

Dune vegetation

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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heleninwales
The year was: 1969 I left school at 17 with dismal A-level results so spent a year at Bury Technical College re-sitting them. These answers refer to my school, however.

1. Did you know your spouse? No. I met G at university.

2. Did you car pool to school? Very few families had cars and I don't think any of the girls at my school were dropped off by their parents. Most came on school buses. I walked to school.

3. What kind of car did you have? See above. Not only did I not have a car but my family didn't own one.

4. What kind of car do you have now? 13-year old Daihatsu Fourtrak.

5. It's Friday night...where were you? That's a good question... Probably at home reading or playing my guitar. Just possibly I may have been out at a party, but only a few times a year.

6. What kind of job did you have in high school? I didn't have a job while I was in school. Being in an express stream and taking O-levels and A-levels a year early meant that we had to work harder than usual at our studies. I did have a holiday job in the summer between lower and upper sixth. I went to work in the Methodist Guild Guest house in Colwyn Bay for six weeks. Work involved: serving meals and helping to wash up, cleaning the lounges and dining room and setting up rooms for any evening activities, such as dances.

7. What kind of job do you have now? I retired a few weeks ago. Until this year I was a college lecturer, mostly teaching short and/or part-time courses to adults.

8. Were you a party animal? Heavens no!

9. Were you a cheerleader? I would have known what a cheerleader was, due to watching American TV and films but the whole idea appalled me and it just wasn't done in the UK at the time.

10. Were you considered a jock? This was not a word that a Brit would have recognised in 1969. I was actually reasonably sporty, but was also in the top stream and a total bookworm, so probably considered by many as a swot.

11. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? I was in the choir, the recorder group and the guitar group. The music was one of the best things about school.

13. Did you get suspended or expelled? Never, I just kept my head down at school so I wouldn't be noticed.

14. Can you sing the fight song? ?? I don't know what this is even now and we definitely didn't have one. We did have a school motto that was embroidered on the badge on our blazers "Quaecumque sunt vera" (Whatsoever things are true) that comes from the Bible. We also had a school hymn: Dear Lord and Father of mankind.

15. Who was/were your favorite high school teacher? The music teacher (even though I was taking science subjects). But she trained and conducted the choir. I also like the English teacher I had up to O-level (though again, I didn't take A-level English). Of the teachers who were actually teaching me at that time, I think I liked the Chemistry teacher best. She was an enthusiastic woman who had worked in industry for a while before training to teach. She was also involved in the Guide movement so she was the only teacher I had contact with outside school.

16. Where did you sit for lunch? That's a good question. I'd had school dinners all through school, but now I come to think about it, I vaguely remember that we were allowed to take sandwiches in the sixth form so I probably ate in the form room.

17. What was your school's full name? North Manchester High School for Girls.

18. What was your school mascot? Such things would have been considered frivolous. We didn't have one.

19. If you could go back and do it again, would you? Absolutely not. I hated almost every minute of school, apart from the extra-curricula music. I might prefer being at school now, but on balance, the way things are taught at school just doesn't suit the way I learn best.

20. Did you have fun at Prom? Proms were an alien concept. I may have seen them referred to in American TV shows. I don't think we even had a school disco, due to being an all girls school, though we did have regular youth club discos that I enjoyed.

21. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with? Not applicable. Anyway, I haven't seen or spoken to anyone I was at school with since the day I left.

22. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? There was an Old Girls' Association when I left, but I wanted nothing to do with it. There were no school reunions as such.

23. Are you still in contact with people from school? No.

24. What are/were your school's colors? For most of the time I was at the school, we had to wear an Oxford blue pleated skirt with a gold and white striped blouse and a blue cardigan or sweater. In the sixth form, we could actually wear normal clothes, but not trousers or jeans.

Current Mood: lazy procrastinating

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heleninwales
Just heard another loud bang from the direction of the playing fields.

"WTF!?" I thought on hearing the first one this morning, then I remembered that it's the Hwyl yr Haf (Summer Fun) day and I realised it was just cannon fire. At least I assume that's what it is. They had a re-enactment group last year with a horse drawn cannon, so, not having heard any sirens or sounds of alarm, I assume they're here again.

In other news, I have spent a couple of hours in the garden today and removed a whole wheelie bin full of weeds. Now I'm trying to muster up the energy to go shopping for food.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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heleninwales
I passed the Welsh exam. :) I actually got a distinction. That's not quite as good as it sounds because I have been learning Welsh for much longer than most of the people taking that exam, but I've lacked the confidence to do an exam previously due to focusing for so long on speaking and listening rather than reading or writing.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

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heleninwales
I drove up to visit my elderly friends this morning, but when I tried to drive from there to the Co-op, I found that town was completely gridlocked due to an articulated lorry getting wedged by the court house. I do wish drivers would read and take note of the signs. There are a couple of routes that make it just about possible for large vehicles to make it through our little town. Turning right here is not one of them!

Stuck!

This huge lorry was trying to turn sharp right down this narrow street.

Stuck!
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heleninwales
After breakfast in the apartment, we walked into the centre of Exeter and found Exeter central station where we caught the train to Paignton. From Paignton we walked along the coastal path to Broadsands Road car park before turning inland to Galmpton.

I was somewhat disappointed by the Devon coast, to be honest. It is so built up and the cliffs are of the soft crumbly rock that is so soft that if you try to take a sample home, you end up with just a bag of sand. However, though not as scenic as I had imagined Devon to be, we had a very pleasant walk. These donkeys greeted us as we left the town centre and headed for the coastal path. I have no idea why one of them is in quarantine. They both look as though they have been freshly painted, but that doesn't explain why one has been corralled behind orange tape while the other is looking on, apparently slightly puzzled.

Seaside donkeys

Just past the donkeys, there were lots of beach huts.

Beach huts

More behind here. May be boring if you don"t like Labradors or steam trains...Collapse )

The engine taking on water at the Dartmouth Steam Railway and Riverboat Company station in Paignton.

Steam engine

Back in Paignton, we crossed to the mainline railways station only to find a train to Newton Abbot about to leave. We caught that and then in Newton Abbot simply crossed from Platform 1 to Platform 3 where an Edinburgh train was waiting. That took us swiftly to Exter St Davids where another quick platform change took us to a waiting London train, first stop Exeter Central. So that took us back to our starting point.

I have never before done a train journey involving 4 trains and simply stepped from one train to the next with no waiting!

From there, having located the historic underground passages (our plan for Sunday, though in the end we didn't end up seeing them) and also tracking down the maths department when the conference was taking place the following day, we walked back to the apartment, stopping off for some Waitrose ready meals en route.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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heleninwales
I'm back! We had a lovely break in Exeter and there will be photos and a full account to follow. It was a long way though. Yesterday was entirely taken up with travel. We left the apartment in Exeter at 9 am and arrived back home at 5.30 pm.

However, today I have I have attacked my To-Do list with renewed vigour. I have:

* removed a wheelie-binful of triffids from the back garden
* picked the last of the jostaberries
* done a load of laundry
* hung laundry out to dry
* downloaded the photos I took on our trip
* processed the photos for the weekly alphabet challenge.

I can now allow myself 30 minutes of relaxing before starting work on proofreading the next chapter of G's book. Still to do later, a trip to the Co-op for food.

Here's the photo for the weekly alphabet challenge.

28/52

This week's theme was: Before & After

Not very inspired, I'm afraid, but as I was away, it wasn't possible to set up anything more original.

After a lot of wandering around the city centre sightseeing, I made my way down to the Quay and had a nice cup of tea at the Riverside Cafe, which, as it's name suggests, was right by the river. They had some tables outside where you could watch people walking by or stopping to feed the swans.

Before & after
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heleninwales
We've had some wet weather and I was out both Saturday and Sunday over the weekend, but when I finally looked in the back garden yesterday I realised that the jostaberries were ripe. The birds were starting to take an interest in the bushes, but fruit is mine! Mine, I say! You shall not have it, you thieving birds, you!

So that meant I had to put aside what I'd planned to do and pick and prepare the fruit. As we're going away for a long weekend on Thursday, I didn't want to get bogged down in jam making, so I froze the berries and I'll make jam when I return. There may be a few more berries to add as well by the time we come back -- unless the birds have thieved them, that is!

Today I managed to do a task that I've been putting off for over 2 months. It's the almost final bit of sorting out my late Dad's affairs. Anyway, another form has been completed and sent off for my brother's signature and, assuming they don't make us jump through any more hoops, we can, finally, close a couple of bank accounts that don't even have much money in them but which need to be dealt with.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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heleninwales
27/52 for the group 2016 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: A is for Athletic

Our daughter and granddaughter are both pretty athletic and don't mind getting a bit muddy!

Athletic

I thought I was going to have to use an off-topic photo for my weekly photo-challenge, but yesterday we drove down to the reservoirs in the Elan Valley to meet our daughter and granddaughter. The weather was awful as we set off, but by some miracle the rain lessoned and the cloud lifted and it more or less stayed dry all day, with just a bit of occasional light drizzle.

The Elan Valley was dammed and flooded 100 years ago to provide much needed clean drinking water for Birmingham.

Drowned valley

As well as providing drinking water, the area around has some lovely walking, cycling and riding trails. We were passed by some cyclists at one point.

Cyclists

One of the dams on the Elan Valley reservoirs.

Overflowing dam

To quote from the Elan Valley website:

"The dams, reservoirs and 73 mile aqueduct of the Elan Valley were built a hundred years ago to supply desperately needed clean water to Birmingham. It was an epic feat of civil engineering set within an area of outstanding scenic beauty.

Today, the dams and reservoirs provide a lasting amenity in their own right for visitors to enjoy as well as safeguarding the natural habitats of numerous species of flora and fauna."

It's also now an official Dark Sky park.
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