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heleninwales
4/52 for the group 2017 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: D is for Drop

The prices had dropped significantly in the January sales in Cardiff. A montage of photos taken on last week's visit.

Prices drop in the January sales

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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heleninwales
The Welsh comic strip is now finished. It was one of those tasks that I'd could do a lot more quickly if I had to do another one. Lessons learned during the process: MS Paint is far better for drawing stick figures than PhotoShop Elements.
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heleninwales
I am currently creating a comic strip to help me and my fellow students in the Welsh class remember and understand all the different ways of saying, "this", "that", "these" and "those" in Welsh. It is MUCH more complicated than in English.

For some reason, it has felt like Saturday. I have no idea why it feels Saturdayish, but it does, even though it's actually Tuesday.

And in Brexit news, at least Theresa May's dictatorial approach has been finally challenged and triggering Article 50 will have to be decided by Parliament and not just by her. Well done those Law Lords!
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heleninwales
3/52 for the group 2017 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: C is for Camouflaged

This is a real last minute desperation shot. I don't possess any camouflage clothing and didn't have time to go out hunting for camouflaged wildlife -- not that I'm any good at wildlife photography!

And then, on Saturday evening, I had a sudden inspiration. I don't wear much make-up, but I have started wearing tinted moisturiser most days to even up my skin tone. Occasionally, I do wear a little more camouflage, but not often.

Camouflage

Current Mood: blah blah

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heleninwales
I try to avoid listening to Any Questions on Radio 4 because it usually involves too much shouting at the radio when idiots start channelling the Daily Mail and spouting their right wing ideology. However, because G had been for a long walk and wanted lunch later than usual, I did catch part of it today. One chap was holding forth about how after Brexit we could buy our food from the US instead of Europe. [*]

"Who is that posh git?" I asked. G didn't know. But on checking Twitter just now I found this tweet from Plaid Cymru MP Dafydd Wigley:

"Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg MP advocates bargain deal for US beef exports to UK (AQ Radio 4). So another blow to Wales beef sector."

So that's who the posh git was...


[*] There are so many things wrong with that idea that I won't even start to list them.

Current Mood: angry angry

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heleninwales
G set off around 8:30 am for his day of meetings and I toddled out into the city centre shortly after in search of breakfast in the form of a sausage bap from Greggs bakers.

After this I found all the places that had proved elusive yesterday. Basically, I'd just failed to see them, despite walking past them at least once and possible twice. Yr Hen Lyfrgell (The Old Library) Welsh centre was a bit disappointing. There seemed to be plenty going on there in the form of classes and other activities, just nothing for random strangers to drop in on. The biggest disappointment was that the two women behind the counter in the gift shop were speaking English to one another! There is a cafe and I presume I could have gone and ordered food and drink in Welsh, but I had been instructed not to eat much because our daughter was going to treat us to a special afternoon tea in one of the posh hotels in Cardiff.

However, my shopping trip was successful. I found the Whittards tea shop and replenished my supply of Russian Caravan tea. I also found Fat Face and bought two new pairs of jeggings to replace the jeans that are now too large after my success with the No S Diet. Finally I found Waterstones and spent my Christmas gift voucher on a book about baking bread. I know I have basic bread recipes in my ancient copy of Mrs Beeton, but there were some more interesting recipes and good pictures showing how to do the kneading etc.

Waiting for our daughter to arrive. It was rather cold and bleak.

Cardiff Castle

I made a quick trip back to the hotel to leave my bags and then met our daughter at the entrance to the castle and thence to eat a delicious afternoon tea and have a lovely catch up chat.

Tea for two!

Afternoon Tea

After than I just returned to our hotel to read the internet and wait for G to return. We did go out to dinner that night, but I just had a starter (a very tasty soup and chunk of bread) while G had a huge pizza.
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heleninwales
I felt more organised for this trip for some reason and had all the clothes ironed and packed by the afternoon before. We drove to Machynlleth and paid to park at the storage centre. The journey was good with no sign of all the snow that had been threatened. We didn't have long to wait in Shrewsbury for our connection, but did just have time to buy a sandwich from the cafe on the platform. I'm still not entirely pleased that Starbucks have taken over from the Pumpkin cafe because they seem to focus on toasties and things that need heating. This is fine if you have plenty of time to wait for your train, but not so good if you want to grab something and go. So basically with regard to sandwiches, it was BLT or nothing, but at least we had something for lunch.

On arriving in Cardiff, the hotel was only a short walk from the station, so we were soon checked in and eager to explore. The hotel is almost opposite Cardiff Castle and the start of the Taff Trail, so we decided to walk along the river. It was a lovely bright afternoon, though very cold. Having investigated the route that G would take to his meeting the following day, we returned via a slightly different route through Bute Park.

Our first thought was to get the train to the Cardiff Bay Area where there are lots of places to eat. Unfortunately, when we reached Queen Street station, the next two trains to the Bay were cancelled. We therefore gave up the idea, concerned that even if we waited for nearly an hour for a possible next train, we might get there but have problems getting back. (Note to self: Before next visit, investigate bus routes.) So instead we just found an Italian restaurant in the St David's shopping centre.

Details of my shopping expedition, probably boring...Collapse )

I had jokingly said to G that I would try following the instructions in the Welsh Linguaphone course (now 40 years old) which includes a lesson on visiting the Cardiff art gallery in which you ask the way to picture of The Blue Lady and are given directions. You are told to, "Go up the stairs, turn to the right and then the Blue Lady is straight on."

Did it work? Well, it sort of worked. You actually go up the stairs, turn right, carry straight on through a couple of long galleries, turn left and the wander through another room or two and there she is. It's possible that she has been moved since the course was made, but it's just as likely that that was a simplified version. Anyway, it did work and here she is...

Ladi Las (Blue Lady)

Y Ladi Las / The Blue Lady

The proper title of this picture is "La Parisienne" and it's by Renoir. However, the popular name is Y Ladi Las (The Blue Lady) and it's easy to see why!

After wandering round an art gallery, I needed a cup of tea and a little something to keep up my strength so I had a pastry and cuppa in museum cafe.

Cup of tea and a pastry

After the art gallery, I completely failed to find Welsh centre or Waterstones and as the weather was wet and cold, I headed back to the hotel where I had a text chat with our daughter to arrange meeting tomorrow. G returned from his meeting around 4.30 pm and we went out and ate dinner in same restaurant in the St David's centre.

Current Mood: blah blah

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heleninwales
I've just done a two day Welsh course at the outdoor pursuits centre near Bala. Normally the courses are held in the local college in town, a mere 10 minutes walk away, but the January one is always held in Glan Llyn and this is the first time I've been able to go because the college starts back the first normal working day after the New Year, so I've always been teaching.

It was a really good course and I think I am slowly improving. I have finally graduated to the top class and we spent the entire two days speaking nothing but Welsh. We even kept the conversation entirely in Welsh when we left the classroom for our morning tea break and the lunch break.

I've got out of the habit of early morning drives and the first day was bitterly cold overnight. I had taken the precaution of putting the covers on the car, so there wasn't all that much scraping to do to free the windows from ice. It was clear but cold at home, but I ran into thick mist near the lake and at morning tea break on the first day, the trees were white frost skeletons and you couldn't see across the lake at all. It was like something out of a fantasy film. But by lunch time, the sun had burned off the mist and this is what the lake looked like.

Deceptively sunny, it was actually pretty cold.

Glan Llyn, Bala

And another view showing more of the lake.

Glan Llyn, Bala

Of course the sun only lasted one day and it clouded over on Thursday night so that Friday was much warmer, but miserable and wet.
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heleninwales
This morning I noticed that the phantom slug has been wandering around the conservatory again. Every so often, I awake to find a meandering slug trail on the carpet tiled floor. I have tried, several times, to track it to see either where it came from or where it went, but it just seems to materialise out of thin air, wander about for a bit and then de-materialise. Or I suppose it could be a phantom snail. As I've not seen it, I'm just guessing as to species...

And in other news, I must go and buy diesel because I have an early start tomorrow as I'm driving up to Llandudno to meet one of the people who live in my computer.

Current Mood: pensive puzzled

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heleninwales
G wanted to explore another potential location for the geology book, so on Monday we set off to walk up the Trawsfynydd side of the Roman Steps.

The Roman Steps are not Roman and mostly are not steps, but that's the name of the footpath that leads from Trawsfynydd to the coast. There are places where there are rocky steps, but they're not Roman and the trail is reputed to have originally been part of the Medieval pack horse route from Harlech to Chester. I'm sure, however, that people have been crossing these mountains at this point since well before the Romans came, but there are Roman remains near the Trawfynydd side of the trail and in earlier times, anything ancient was given the label "Roman".

The day was very bright and clear, which meant there had been a sharp frost overnight. The single track lane leading up into the forest was very icy in places, but we made it safely to the car park. To our astonishment, there were several cars already there and the car that had been behind me on the main road had also followed me down the track. We hadn't realised the place would be so popular on a cold winter's day.

Rhinog Fawr (Big Rhinog): View near the start of the walk not long after leaving the car park.

Rhinog Fawr

More photos behind here...Collapse )

It was a gorgeous bright January day, but very frosty on the higher ground.

Roman Steps, looking back

It was also very difficult to take photos because of the contrast between the shaded foreground and the bright mountains in the distance.

Here's the point where we turned back. It's the top of the pass and gives a lovely view of Llyn Morwynion. It was so still, the lake was like a mirror.

Llyn Morwynion

Llyn Morwynion means "Lake of the Maidens". According to the Mabinogion, Blodeuedd's maid servants fled in terror when she was turned into an owl for her infidelity, but the girls lost their way and drowned in a nearby lake. However, I don't know whether they were supposed to have drowned in this lake or the one on the other side of Maentwrog which is also called Llyn Morwynion. Until this week, I'd always assumed it was the other one, but if they had decided to flee over the mountains to the coast, it would have been this one. I suspect it will have to remain a mystery.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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