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Christmas window

49/52 for the group 2019 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: W is for Window

The weekly theme for the alphabet challenge was "window", so as I walked into town late this afternoon, I was on the lookout for interesting windows. This was my favourite. It's just a phone shot, but on a dark and wet night, I wasn't going to faff around with a proper camera.

Christmas window

It was the town's late night opening and there were carols and mulled wine, but I just feel mentally exhausted after having all the upheaval of the new boiler, so I hurried straight through the the Co-op to buy pizzas for tonight and some easy to cook food for tomorrow. I will work on getting everything back into its proper place over the weekend.
African flower crochet motif

We have heat!

Not only do we have a warm house, we have hot running water. The lack of hot water from the taps was actually more annoying than the lack of heat. Our house is small, G has a gas fire in his study and I have an electric heater in my little room upstairs. The electric convector heater could very quickly get the kitchen nice and warm, but washing hands under cold water is no fun in winter, neither is having to boil endless kettles of water in order to wash up.

But the new boiler is installed and working, times have been set in the timer, so I should be able to get up to a warm house from now on, and once I've investigated the Hive app, I should be able to control things even when away from home, so if we've been out for the day and want a heat boost so the house is warm to return to, I should be able to make that happen.

Oh, I also have a new camera, but more about that when I try it out over the weekend.
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Still living in limbo

So the new boiler didn't arrive last night, so when the enthusiastic and efficient young man returned to install the boiler, there was no boiler to install.

He got on the phone and chased up the boiler, which was promised by lunchtime. This meant he spent the morning in his van catching up on emails, but unable to progress our new heating system.

The new boiler did finally arrive shortly before 12 noon, just as I was setting off to the college where the Welsh conversation group were having Christmas lunch in the college's training restaurant.

The meal was delicious, and (according to B our tutor) far better then the Christmas dinner she'd eaten the night before in a supposedly good local restaurant. So well done the college students who prepare, cook and serve the meals in the college's restaurant.

I didn't linger after the meal and came home to find that the boiler was now on the wall and the electrician had finished connecting the electrical stuff. Sadly it's still not ready to use because they ran out of time and someone will come tomorrow to connect the flue that leads to outside.

Also, in the midst of this chaos, a young man and his father arrived to discuss an academic paper with G. The young man (son of a local farmer) has an interview for a place at Cambridge and was sent a paper to read beforehand. It's one of those annoying academic papers that are written in pretentious jargon, but if you can penetrate that, they do actually have interesting things to say. Why they can't use plain English beats me. Though if they did use plain English, it would sound half so clever. Anyway, G had agreed to discuss the paper with the young man to be sure he understood it and generally help him prepare for the interview.
autumn fern

Round Cardiff Bay

Here are the remaining photos from our trip to south Wales last weekend.

On the Saturday we caught the train from Merthyr down to Cardiff Bay and set off to walk across the barrage and right round, back to where we started. The circular walk is around 5.5 miles.

From the start of the barrage, looking across Cardiff Bay to the distant hotel.

Across the bay

The barrage closed off the mouth of the Bay and now forms a popular walking and cycling route to and from Penarth.

Cyclists on the barrage

We did add a little more to the distance because we walked up to the viewpoint on the headland at Penarth, but the sun was in the wrong direction to take photos of Flatholm and Steepholm, the two islands in the Bristol Channel.

We had a gift voucher for a three course meal which we intended to use at the Zizzi in Mermaid Quay after our walk, but we arrived back a little early, so wandered round to the Pierhead. G hadn't been inside, so we popped in and watched a slide show of the history of Cardiff docks. Built in 1897 when the docks were very busy, it was originally the offices for the Cardiff Railway Company.


I've been to the Bay more often than G has because I used to meet our daughter there while he was in meetings. I've often seen the little pleasure boat Daffodil and it even features in the video I made in Cardiff Bay. It was about to leave while we were standing watching the boats and the boat owner called to ask if we wanted to do the trip around the bay. Somewhat to my surprise, G said yes, so we hurried on board.


This photo is taken from Daffodil and shows the structures known as "dolphins". No one seems to know why they were called "dolphins", but back when the Bay was still tidal and boats would come in with cargo, they used to berth alongside the dolphins to stop them falling over when the tide went out because in those days the bay was just an area of mud at low tide. Since the barrage was built, the water stays in the Bay all the time, though now it's freshwater and not salt water. There is a lock to allow boats to leave the marina and go out to sea.

Dolphins in the bay
African flower crochet motif

Prep work for the new boiler is done

I was awake at 6 a.m. and up promptly to finish emptying the bottom cupboards in the kitchen and clearing everything ready for the gas engineer to start work on installing the new combi boiler. The enthusiastic and efficient young man arrived some time later and set to work.

Interesting discovery: underneath the big built in kitchen cupboard, there is a large hole, with a sloping soil floor. Our house is built on a hill and thus has three levels. The level where you enter has just a small front hall and the bathroom, then you go up to the bedrooms or down to the kitchen and main living room. So the bathroom floor is suspended above this hole. Anyway, we now have plans for the hole when we have the kitchen re-done. It could be turned into a full height cupboard which would finally give me space to store the tall things like the sweeping brushes and vacuum cleaner.

By about 1.30 p.m. he had finished installing the new gas pipe from the meter to the corner of the kitchen and then had to leave for a dentist appointment. Not that he could have gone any further anyway because we are lacking an important item, namely the new boiler. It's supposed to arrive this afternoon. I have my fingers crossed it does arrive so the gas engineer can finish the job tomorrow. Otherwise we will be living in limbo with everything from the kitchen and bathroom in boxes and stashed around the rest of the house.
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Making progress

The dentist visit this morning was OK. He has prepared the broken tooth for the crown which will be fitted in 2 weeks time.

I have emptied and put away the suitcase from our trip to Merthyr Tydfil. Also I brought many boxes from the garage so I can empty the cupboards ready for the gas engineer who is starting work on fitting the new boiler tomorrow.

Thankfully the weather has turned much warmer because it was freezing cold when we returned from Cardiff yesterday, but having the electric heaters on has made things habitable again.

With luck, by Christmas I will have a new tooth and functioning central heating!
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Big Pit

30/30 for my photo-a-day in November challenge

I've visited the Big Pit several times since it opened. It's a disused coal mine, now open to the public. You can go underground and you have to wear a helmet and lamp and you get to go down in the cage.

There have been a few changes since our last visit with some interesting additions. Definitely well worth a visit -- and it's free!

Big Pit

The weather was very cold and bleak last Saturday, but it was good to spend time with our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law and I think everyone enjoyed it, despite the cold.

So that's 30 out of 30 photos taken and posted. Some were good, some were desperation shots but it's got me back into the habit of taking more than just one photo a week and, when I had time, a chance to experiment with some shots I wouldn't have taken if I hadn't committed to taking a daily photo.

There will be more photos, but this week will be rather hectic because our replacement combi-boiler is being installed, so there certainly won't be a photo every day.
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Blaenafon leaflet

29/30 for my photo-a-day in November challenge

We drove down to Merthyr Tudful on Friday to stay in the Travelodge for a few nights while we have a weekend break in South Wales. Here we are planning what to do tomorrow, a trip to Blaenafon and The Big Pit.

Blaenafon leaflet
View from study (sunny)

Round The Bay

Today we caught the train to Cardiff Bay. We've done the walk right round over the barrage and back several times before but there are lots of things to see and it makes a great round trip.

We had a gift voucher for a 3 course meal and had booked a table at the Zizzi restaurant at Mermaid Quay. We finished the walk too early to eat right away so we had a look in the Pierhead buikding and then, on the spur of the moment, took a trip around the Bay on the little boat Daffodil. After that it was time to eat and then we caught the train back to Merthyr Tydfil.

I have pictures but I'll post them when I get home tomorrow.
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The Big Pit

We drove down to Merthyr Tydfil yesterday. The journey was good and the new car went well. We stayed overnight in the Travelodge and then drove to Blaenavon, which is about 30 minutes drive away. I've been there a few times before, but never been to the new heritage centre which tells the story of the town and its important role in the industrial revolution.

The weather was really cold and rather grey, so I didn't take more than a couple of photos, but I'd like to come back next year and do a video here.

We then drove to The Big Pit where we were meeting our daughter, her husband and daughter. The Big Pit was a working coalmine until 1980 and very soon after was turned into a museum. We all did the underground tour and then had lunch in the cafe which was originally the miners' canteen. It was a good day and really good to see our daughter ter and family again.

Tomorrow we're getting the train into Cardiff.