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Brexit is beginning to bite

I feel tired. Yesterday morning G and I went for a walk. (I'll do a separate post about that.) Then in the afternoon, I decided to post the photos of the items I wanted to offer to the Freecycle group. The old electronic keyboard and small tent that had been sitting taking up space in the the big cupboard were requested within minutes of being posted and were collected a few hours later. Result!

So I now have 3 ways of getting rid of stuff as I continue with the never-ending decluttering project: council recycling centre, charity shop and Facebook Freecycle group. This means that any stuff we no longer want can be disposed of responsibly or rehomed to someone who can use it.

And yes, I know that just communicating with a couple of strangers via Messenger and waiting for someone to turn up to collect the things shouldn't be tiring, but I do find it mildly stressful because I haven't done it for years since the original Freecycle shut down when Yahoo discontinued its groups.

Then this morning was the Big Weekly Shop. People have been posting photos of empty shelves on social media. This is nothing to do with the "pingdemic" and everything to do with Brexit. Brexiteers are denying any shortages of fresh produce, but the perfect storm of Brexit problems plus the start of the school holidays and the influx of tourists has ravaged our local Co-op. I did manage to get everything I needed, but not quite everything I wanted. There were absolutely no crisps and I got the last bag of rather sad looking mixed salad leaves. There was fruit and tomatoes and meat as long as you didn't want burgers. But there were lots of gaps and I had to virtually crawl on the floor to reach one of the last 4 pint bottles of semi-skimmed milk which were tucked away right at the back of the bottom shelf of the rack.

However, we won't starve, though I'm starting to shop in what a friend calls "Soviet Mode". She worked in Russia back in the Soviet era and she explained that you just go shopping to see what's there, then work out what you can make with it afterwards.

Anyway, I've not done much today, other than the shopping. I have put the makings of a loaf into the bread machine, but I should stop reading Twitter and find something useful but not too difficult to do.

These photos were actually taken last Thursday, but it was far worse today.

Empty shelves Empty freezer
View from study (sunny)

Much cooler today


It's been too hot all week to venture out to take photos or to be setting up still lifes indoors. So this week's photo is off-topic. A cheerful frog, part of a wonderful display of flowers outside a cottage I pass on the way into town. (The theme was supposed to be "C is for Candlemaker".)

Cheerful frog

Today the weather is much more bearable and I've already been into town to pick up my tablets, done a bit of sorting out in the garage and put on a load of washing and also processed the photos I took of the flowers.

This afternoon I will poke gently at the story I'm planning. I have a ring binder for any notes and a book and some photo copies of articles that I need to read.
View from study (sunny)


I also got my exam result this week for the Welsh for Adults Advanced and I passed, with a Distinction. I was confident I would pass because, to be honest, I should have taken the exam a long time ago. I'm way past the number of years study most people would have done before trying it, but I have a complicated relationship with tests and exams and as it's not something I need for a job or to go on to further study, I waited until I was totally confident. The deadline did help my motivation to do extra reading and the free tutorials were great for extra speaking practice with people I don't normally chat with, so it was worth doing.

I'm still progressing slowly with the Spanish. I'm repeating Level 1 of Say Something in Spanish and it is much easier this time! Heaven knows when or even if I'll ever get to Spain. Right now the UK is Covid Plague Island and other countries are, very sensibly, restricting access to UK citizens. But I haven't totally given up hope of spending a short winter break in Spain sometime in the future.
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Bored now

Really hot weather is a novelty for a couple of days, but I've had enough of it now. I actually envy the people working in the Co-op because it was cool in there this morning. They must have air conditioning. At least as a retired person I'm able to lie or sit around doing not very much during the hottest part of the day, but it's too hot to do most of the jobs on my To-Do list.

The phone pinged a few minutes ago with a thunderstorm warning. Looking at the Real Time Lightning Map site, there's a bit of thunder and lightning to the east of us. However, the SE of England looks to have some quite intense storms right now.

Anyway, I've just put the computer back on as the worst of the heat is now past. Time to do a few tasks before making dinner which will be a quick stir fry to avoid using the oven.

It will be too hot all week

According to the forecast, it will be ridiculously hot until the weekend. This morning I spent three-quarters of an hour pulling up weeks from the back lawn grass and then spent the rest of the morning trying to cool down. I will go a little earlier than usual tomorrow for the weekly shop. The schools seem to have broken up for the summer, so the Co-op won't be full of school kids buying snacks.

In other news, I have made good progress with planning the novella that I intend to write in Welsh. I have occasionally contemplated writing fiction again, but it seemed a bit pointless, despite me telling myself that writing just for myself, for the intellectual challenge, is fine. I've tried writing in Welsh before and it was too hard. However, after more than a year of writing scripts for my YouTube videos, plus another 18 months of speaking and reading Welsh, I think this time I could do it.

The final push was a friend setting up a Facebook group to do NaNoWriMo. As it won't be an official group, we aren't bound by the rules so I can set a much lower word count. I'm hoping to start actually writing some words before November, but as it's much more of an effort to write in Welsh than in English, I am outlining this story rather than my usual method of doing what often amounts to a giant freewrite, but then involves throwing lots of words away. The end/resolution came to me this morning and I have notes on the beginning, so I just need some middle.
View from study (sunny)

It is too hot

I don't know what the actual temperature is out there, but the weather forecast said 28 deg C (82.5 F).

Yes, I know, it's not really that hot compared to US or other hot countries, but we have no aircon and our houses are designed to keep us warm in the winter. There was a bit of a breeze earlier and things were bearable because I can create a cross draught by opening the windows on the landing and in my study, but the breeze has died away. However, the sun is not as high and the kitchen stays cooler because it has no external walls or windows, so I should be able to cook the burgers for dinner.

The neighbours on one side have been sitting out in the garden most of the day. I don't know how they can bear it. I don't do heat well. Because of this and because, after the warning lights were playing up, I don't want the first long journey in the car to be on the hottest day of the summer, we have cancelled the planned meeting with our son and family which we had planned for Monday. This is frustrating as I had been looking forward to seeing them again. However, they will be staying in Mid-Wales in early August and I'm sure the heat wave will be over by then, so it won't be too long before we can meet.
View from study (sunny)

Decluttering continues

Over on Habitica, I run a number of challenges and for the long-term project challenge this month I am focusing on decluttering the house.

This is progressing reasonably well and there was a big leap forwards yesterday when I pulled all the bags out of the top shelf in the big upstairs cupboard and removed the old music keyboard and tent. I cleaned the shelf, threw away a couple of old bags and put everything back tidily.

I tested the keyboard and it still works, despite being ancient (purchased in 1991 according to the receipt which was still in the box), so I will put both it and the tent on the Freecycle group next week. I also checked the new routine for donating stuff to the Red Cross charity shop in town so I should be able to get rid of the bag of clothes that I've pulled out of the wardrobe. Mostly things that don't fit any more and a couple of "What on earth was I thinking when I bought that?".

Things are always in the last place you look...

Yay! I have finally found the notes I made on how I might expand a story I wrote during the OU Creative Writing degree. I searched the computer, I searched the laptop. The file I did find suggested that I may have been making notes last April when I had to buy a new computer. I worried that the notes were lost. I wondered if my memory of making notes was just a figment of my imagination.

After a fruitless 2 days searching hard drives and backups, I found the *hand written* notes in a notebook.
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It's Tuesday, it's the day for the weekly shop

So, to the Co-op for the big food shop of the week. The car was fine, no warning lights and the steering felt perfectly normal.

The Co-op was quiet and I got everything I wanted. Afterwards, I drove the long way round via the bypass to pop into the Eurospar for their nice eggs, G's favourite cereal, gammon and the ham that I forget to get in the Co-op. Or rather I didn't forget, I just decided I fancied some long after I'd passed the chilled meats fridge and couldn't be bothered to go back round the one-way system.

We will hear tomorrow whether and by how much the Welsh government are going to relax covid rules such as social distancing and compulsory mask wearing. I'm hoping they won't. From what has emerged so far, they are certainly not going to just absolve themselves from all responsibility, which is the line Johnson and the Tory government are taking.
African flower crochet motif

The car is poorly

There were some things I needed to buy, which I planned to get from the Co-op and there were some things I wanted to buy, which I usually get from the Eurospar which is a bit further away. As the weather was supposed to be fine, I decided to drive rather than walk so I could quickly visit both and be back in time to do the crossword over the phone with my elderly friend M. I would still have sufficient energy to mow the front grass in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, when I switched on the ignition there was a warning "Ping!" and an amber warning light on the dashboard. Consulting the handbook told me that the warning light indicated a problem with the power assisted steering.

So, a quick change of plan. Walk to the Co-op to get the necessities, which takes me right past the garage. I left the key with the garage proprietor and did my shopping. They collected the car some time this morning. I don't need it urgently because we're not really going anywhere at the moment and if a problem had to develop, now was as good a time as any.

As to the mowing, it rained! Not much, but the drizzle was heavy enough that I thought mowing grass with an electric mower was Not A Good Idea. It's supposed to be dry tomorrow, so the grass cutting has been postponed until then.

Update: The car is now back. It seems that it wasn't a fault on the steering but a fault on the warning system which the garage has now cleared.