African flower crochet motif

A quiet day

42/52 for the group 2021 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: P is for Painter

The kitchen needs redecorating. I've made a start by buying a pot of paint!

New paint

I was a bit behind in processing the weekly alphabet photo. I took this last Saturday but have only just got around to adding it to Flickr. I'm a bit stuck on this week's theme which is "Q is for Quilter". I suspect I will end up counting an off-topic shot for my own weekly challenge, but won't post it to the Flickr group, of course.

In other news today, I did the Welsh Skype chat this morning (6 others plus me) and then this afternoon I wrote to my local Senedd (Welsh parliament) member. In Welsh! This is in regard to the campaign to save Fairbourne from being deliberately destroyed because of flooding that G's research shows will not happen. G has also been in contact with our local MP. We hope that some politicians with a bit of influence might get involved.

Now the weather is cooler, I seem to be cooking more. I made random veg soup for lunch and I actually baked some sponge puddings the other day.

Final random item of non-news, I'm going to try writing a story in Welsh for NaNoWriMo. As I write veeeeery slowly in Welsh, my target will be a tenth of a proper NaNo target, namely 5000 words. I have a story planned all ready to start in a few day's time.
African flower crochet motif

A few random things

The meeting went well on Wednesday though we did have to fall back on Plan B and use the desktop computer instead of the laptop. At first it looked as though all would be well and the display from the laptop was showing on the giant TV in the village hall, but it then stuck at the screen before the log in screen, so there was some stressful rushing out to the car to get the back up computer and connect that instead. However, the meeting was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and the introductions had been done and G was on his feet beginning to speak by 7.10, so it turned out not too bad.

Annoyingly, I noticed that about 1/4 of the way through G's talk that the laptop was properly on and had opened the Adobe reader, but it's obviously no longer reliable. And of course when I tried it this morning, it came on quite promptly. But we've decided it's time for a new one, so I'll choose one over the weekend and get it ordered.

I hadn't been in an indoor meeting since the pandemic started. We'd been told "there won't be many there" but it turned out there were around 12 at the meeting and the room was not all that large or well-ventilated! Eeek! We are in a low risk area and I wore a mask most of the time, but as I wanted to visit my elderly friend today and there is a face-to-face Quaker meeting on Sunday (there will just be four of us, but two are elderly), I did my first lateral flow test this morning. It was satisfyingly negative, as I expected, but I'll do another before meeting on Sunday to be on the safe side.

I'd never done a covid test before and didn't even know how you got hold of them, but after looking on the website I discovered that they're free and you just pick them up from the library. I collected two packs (14 tests) yesterday and I now have them available for whenever I feel one is needed.

Also yesterday I finally got the 3 large bags of stuff to the Red Cross charity shop. I'd cleared out some boxes of drinking glasses from a cupboard. They're nice but we just don't use them. Also some easy short Welsh novels for adult learners, a winter coat that I find is far too warm for our mild winters and a few other clothes. The bags had been sitting in my study for ages, so it's good to have them gone.

After a busy week, I have no plans to do anything tomorrow, other than perhaps go for a short walk if there is a dry interval.

While we were waiting for someone to open the village hall, we walk to the prom and I couldn't resist snapping this with my phone. Driving toward the coast the sky was a really dramatic red, but it had faded by the time we arrived.

Sunset at Fairbourne
African flower crochet motif

I used to take this sort of thing in my stride

Yesterday was emotionally very up and down. (Nothing serious, just minor stresses brought on by a poorly computer.)

I woke to heavy rain, but decided I wasn't going to change my routine so I set off at the normal time of around 9.15 a.m. to do the big weekly shop. Actually as I'd done an extra large shop last week to take advantage of the "£8 off if you spend over £80" offer, I didn't need so much this week.

I also planned to walk through from the Co-op car park to the centre of town to pick up a tin of paint to refresh the kitchen decor and two more of the rubber tea towel holders to replace the ones that no longer grip the towel properly because they are so old. I had also decided to treat myself to a new teapot because the stainless steel one I've been using for many years doesn't pour well because, on investigation, most of the holes in the little grid that covers the spout (in order to catch tea leaves) have become blocked by corrosion.

There are parking spaces around the town square, but it's almost impossible to get one. There was a space on the way round the one way system, but not significantly nearer to the hardware shop than the Co-op car park, so I ignored it. I did, however, after ignoring the turn to the Co-op and going right round the one-way system, find a parking space by the Methodist Chapel which is very handy for the shop.

I found a cute little bright red pottery tea pot, bought the last two rubber towel holders and also found a pale blue paint that looks like a reasonable match to the colour the kitchen was painted previously. I then drove on to the Co-op and got more or less everything that I had on my list. So far so good... Collapse )
lawn mower

Gardening and reading

I didn't sleep well last night. I woke up at 1.30 a.m. feeling very shivery (a reaction to the flu jab I had yesterday). I then slept for a bit but woke again at 2.30 a.m. feeling thirsty, so I had to get up to get the bottle of water from my study. I then slept until 4.30 when I needed to visit the bathroom, and then was finally woken by the alarm at 7 a.m.

Other than being tired due to the broken night's sleep, I felt fine this morning so I decided to seize the opportunity of the last dry day for some time and did a final cut on the front grass. I put the blades at the highest setting, but the mower has just tidied everything to the same length which will keep it neat until the spring. I need to do a lot of tidying round the edges, especially at the back, but that can be done whenever there's a dry interval over the winter.

After putting everything away in the garage and having lunch, I felt very tired, so I had a lie down and read for a while. I'm reading the Welsh novel Blasu which is more literary and not so much of a page turner as the Myfanwy Alexander books, but I'm getting more into it now. It helped when I realised that the first three chapters are from 3 different first person viewpoints. Also the old woman in the first chapter is not the old women in Chapter 2, she is the 6 year-old girl. This is what comes of ignoring the heading on the page at the start of each chapter and just reading the recipe. Blasu means to taste or relish and there is a different recipe at the start of every chapter. I am rather tempted to try making the ginger cake which is the recipe at the start of Chapter 2, but not so much the barley porridge that introduces Chapter 3.
View from study (sunny)

Flu jab has been achieved

G and I had our flu jabs this morning. They were using the same system as for the covid shots, that is they take over the leisure centre and have about 6 people doing the vaccinations in screened booths set up in the middle of the gym. In previous years, the flu jabs were done at the surgery but this is so much more efficient. The speed they were getting through everyone was amazing. We saw half a dozen people we knew either coming or going and my elderly friend is going this afternoon.

I think popped into the Co-op for the end of week top-up shop, then G and I walked home. As there was no time to walk all the way to see M (elderly friend) I drove up. She is still very sad because her friend and carer's husband was killed a few days ago. He was felling a tree and was crushed. It is so sad and of course there will be an inquest and investigation into what exactly happened.

Busy morning

G wanted to have lunch out at the cafe in Fairbourne. We'd planned to do this a few weeks ago, but the surveying didn't take as long as we thought it would and G realised he didn't need any more photos, so we'd finished what we needed to do by 11 a.m. and the cafe doesn't open until 12 noon. Anyway, after last week's lunch at the George III, we came up with a plan.

Tuesday is my Big Food Shop day, so G set off to walk the 9.5 miles to Fairbourne via the Mawddach Trail and I drove to the Co-op. Shopping done, I didn't put everything away, I just put the chilled and frozen foods into the fridge and freezer (as appropriate) and left everything else on the table to deal with later. I didn't, however, drive straight to Fairbourne. I passed the turnoff and then parked a little way further along the main road because I wanted to walk up to the slate quarry above Friog to shoot some video of Fairbourne and the estuary.

Lacking a drone, the only way to get an aerial view is to climb a hill!

The lane is passable by vehicles, but there's nowhere to park before reaching the dead end at Pont Einion Hall. It was a steep, uphill plod. To my surprise I met someone coming down who I hadn't seen for some years. She was walking her dog and we stopped for a brief chat before I plodded onwards and upwards.

You then leave the tarmac road and turn right through a gate. The track is now even steeper and soon you reach a slate bridge that probably carried a tramway. I thought this one had something of an Aztec/Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom feel to it.

Slate bridge

Whereas the second bridge was more Hobbity/Lord of the Rings...

Slate bridge

More climbing up the steep track finally led to a kind of plateau which gave me the view I wanted. Here's a still from the video.

Fairbourne from the disused quarry

Going down was much faster and easier than going up, apart from the tricky bit of the track which was more a stream than a path.

Once back at the car, I drank the tea I'd brought in a flask and then drove to meet G at the cafe. The lunch was good. We both had the special burger, which was nicely hot and spicy with chilli. We'll definitely eat here again because they have outdoor seating under a verandah, so even if it rains a little, you're OK.
View from study (sunny)

Odds and ends

I thought it was time to buy a new diary because before too long people will be talking about things happening next year. The newsagents/stationers that we frequented for years closed some time ago when the owner died. The shop is still empty, sadly.

I first looked in the gift shop because I knew they sell calendars. They have just reopened after being closed for a few weeks due to a burst water pipe, but they had no diaries. Next port of call was the surviving newsagent and, after establishing that a diary in Welsh was OK, they revealed they had small diaries (A6?) and large diaries (A5). The ones I've been using for some years are in between and have one week per double-page spread. The new small diary has one week to a (smaller) page. It will be fine. I will just have to use smaller writing and write more tidily.

After returning home and relaxing with a cup of tea, the phone rang and the chap on the other end asked if I would I answer a survey about facilities in -- and I didn't quite catch the name, but it was Borough of Somewhere.

I'm sorry, I said, what area did you say?

Charnwood, he replied.

I don't live in Charnwood, I said. I don't even know where it is. I live in Gwynedd. He then apologised for the confusion and ended the call. I know people keep using my email address to sign up for things, but I don't know how a Welsh phone number could have got linked to Charnwood.

The tree in the church yard is heavy with berries.

St Mary's church, Dolgellau
African flower crochet motif

Language learning progress

Spanish -- still plodding slowly through the Say Something in Spanish lessons. As Spanish is just for interest and I have no deadline, this rate of progress is fine.

Reading: I finished "Y Plygain Olaf" and I very much enjoyed it. I've started "Blasu" but I suspect this may not be so much of a page turner, so I will have to make the effort to read each day.

Writing: I worked on the script a little and did some writing for Welsh class, but I could do much better for this challenge. Must try harder next week.

In other news...

This morning I actually went up to my elderly friend's house for a chat and to do the crossword together. Covid rates are much higher than they could be, but G and I have decided we need to be a little braver. M (aged 98) will be having her third covid jab in a couple of weeks, so they've started giving the extra booster and so we'll get ours in due course.

On the way I popped into the Eurospar for the end of week top-up shop. I have been trying to buy the ingredients for Christmas puddings this week. I couldn't find any dried fruit at all in the Co-op on Tuesday. If it was there, it was well hidden and not in its usual place with the other baking stuff. I did get the dried fruit in Eurospar on Wednesday, but they had no chopped candied peel. However, they had re-stocked the shelf and I got some today, so tomorrow will be Christmas pudding day.

I believe that it's traditional to make Christmas puddings on Stir Up Sunday, at least Jill Archer (character on the long-running BBC Radio 4 soap opera "The Archers") always makes her puddings on Stir Up Sunday, but I think that the longer a pudding has to mature, the nicer it is.

Stir-up Sunday is an informal term in Anglican churches for the last Sunday before the season of Advent. It gets its name from the beginning of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer which begins with the words, "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people".
African flower crochet motif

Quick update

I didn't mention it here previously but our 14 year-old granddaughter tested positive for covid on Monday. She is doing OK and Loki the dog is keeping her company while she rests quietly at home.

Today I texted our daughter to see how E was and she texted back to say that now she and our son-in-law have it. It's all very well saying that schools must be kept open at all costs, but there are now three people at home ill because of that policy.

Both our daughter and son-in-law are double-jabbed, so they should only be mild cases and less chance of long-covid, but it's not helping to curb the spread. And of course you have to wait to the very end of the BBC news to get a very brief mention of number of cases and how many have died. Otherwise they're pretending we're back to normal.

I'm also annoyed that after a sudden and spectacular drop in the number of cases in our county, the level has shot up again. I suspect it's students going back to college and university so not actually local to me, but still frustrating.

In other news, we ventured out to have lunch at a local pub. We haven't had a meal cooked by anyone other than myself since 1 January 2020. The pub has tables outside. so I only had to go inside to place the order and people were keeping their distance and wearing masks, as is still required in Wales. The food was merely ok, though G's baked potato with spicy chill beans and salad was possibly nicer than my fish and chips, but it was a lovely change to be eating out and the view from the outdoor tables is beautiful.

Photo taken some years ago. It wasn't as sunny or as busy today, but it shows the pub and the location.

George III hotel, Penmaenpool

We did drive to the pub, but once I got home I walked to the supermarket on the other side of town to get ingredients to make Christmas puddings tomorrow. Sadly, as I passed the garage I saw that they had no diesel, so we won't be going anywhere further afield until the supplies are more reliable.

I need to do more exercise

For quite a few years I've been monitoring my exercise using a spreadsheet and the Eowyn challenge in which you can walk from Bagend to Mordor and back again.

Well, I did that and also quite a few of the side journeys, but I realised at the weekend that it wasn't working any more to inspire me to get out and walk or cycle. So, I have a new spreadsheet and a new simple goal. The weather is very changeable at the moment, but there are dry intervals and I did a short walk yesterday and again this afternoon. I've got a 1.5 mile circuit that doesn't take too long. Because the weather is changeable, there are rainbows!

Afternoon rainbow

Also this one which I snapped from my study window this morning.

Rainbow from my window