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In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
heleninwales
So, having reached the end of my 2017-2018 SMART goal for learning Welsh, it's time for me to set a new goal for 2018-2019. It's going to be similar. The idea of logging hours spent working on language study and practise still works best as it's measurable, unlike a vague goal like "become fluent". However, the first change I'm going to make is that I'm not going to consider myself a Welsh learner any more. I am now a Welsh speaker. I speak Welsh, reasonably fluently. I could pretty much live my life through the medium of Welsh if it were possible. (It isn't because Welsh is a minority language spoken by 20% of the population, hence the country is officially bilingual.) However, I can still improve so here is my new goal.

By mid-July 2019 I will have:

1. spent 275 hours improving, practising and using Welsh.
2. made & posted 7 videos in Welsh.
3. attended the final year of the Meistroli course
4. read 4 novels
5. gone to as many café chats as possible
6. attended all the Merched y Wawr meetings
7. attended the Easter School and Summer School

I will try and remember to do monthly updates because LJ, unlike FB etc makes it easy to look back on previous posts to check on progress.

I will also be saying more about the videos in due course. The first one is in the editing stage and they will be subtitled, so you don't need to understand Welsh to watch them.

Current Mood: determined determined

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heleninwales
We're off to Cardiff again tomorrow and I haven't finished writing up the last trip. So, very quickly...

On the final day G was in meetings all day so our daughter picked me up from near the hotel and drove us to the Bay. We had a cup of tea and a nice catch up chat before she had to go off to do some work. Thankfully she was working from home (it's a long commute to her work), but the work still had to be done. I stayed at the bay and decided to have another go at the walk G and I had done on a previous visit in which we must have gone two or three miles further then necessary due to losing the route that ran nearer to the Bay itself.

So as to not risk falling into the same trap, I decided to do the walk anti-clockwise rather than clockwise. At first it was easy.

Cardiff Bay

I did manage to follow a path to a dead end in the wetland area, but quickly retraced my steps and then found the path that lead to the main road and the bridge across the River Taff.

More walk details and more photos here...Collapse )

Nearly back now. I'm not really a fan of Roald Dahl, but he was born in Cardiff so considered a local writer and this very long crocodile is rather cute. I have another photo of it from a previous visit, but this one is better because there's now a funfair in the background.

Very long crocodile

And so back to the area of the bay where there are places to visit and to eat. Preparations for the National Eisteddfod were in full swing. The former Doctor Who experience will be the Maes B for the duration. (The Maes B is where the young people hang out and there are bands playing modern Welsh music.)

Maes B
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heleninwales
I was listening to You & Yours on Radio 4 at lunchtime, as we usually do, just because it's on and today they had an item about people having problems with buying horses that weren't delivered as promised or turned out to be older than advertised. But who on earth buys a horse unseen??? I kept horses for over 20 years and would never have dreamed of buying one without taking a more expert friend with me, seeing it in the flesh, seeing it handled and ridden and trying it for myself. I would never have just relied on a video on the web (assuming such things had existed back then).

Some people do ask for trouble.
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heleninwales
Our second day of exploring new places in South Wales took us to Barry. We caught the local train and found ourselves in a small, pleasant seeming town, which became a little weirder as we walked down the main street to find several nightclubs, closed at this time in the morning, of course.

Our walk then took us through a huge development of new houses with many more under construction. This was probably old railway land from when Barry docks was a huge exporter of coal. Now, of course, the collieries are closed and the dirty industry is gone. (More about this in my next post.)

We soon reached Barry Island or "Barrybados" as it is sometimes known, mostly jokingly. It wasn't anything like as big as I expected. From what I'd heard, I'd thought it was somewhere like Rhyl but in fact it was quite small with a lovely beach.

Here's the funfair, with a new rollercoaster being built.

Fun fair

I thought this roundabout for small children was rather jolly!

Roundabout

Here's a view of the beach from the headland.

Whitmore Bay beach

I'd expected much more of a dump, but it was perfectly pleasant, so it seems the main reason people are rude about Barry is because it's a big favourite with all the working class families who live in the Welsh valleys. I suspect it can get rather rough at night when the families have gone home and the younger people have been drinkng, but it looks as though efforts are being made to improve the resort's image and I hope it works because it's a nice example of a traditional British seaside.
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heleninwales
I have been on many trips away from home this year. Somehow I never got round to writing most of them up, but I am becoming jaded with the fast moving yet often superficial contact on Facebook and Twitter, so I plan to spend more time on LJ again and that means input as well as reading.

Boring detail about the journey and day 1 here...Collapse )

On the Sunday G didn't have a meeting so we went on a day out together. First we went by train to Taffs Well and then walked to Castell Coch along the footpath and cycle way that ran alongside the busy main road for a while. We soon reached the village of Tongwynlais and climbed and sweated up the steep hill to the castle.

Castell Coch

Unfortunately the castle was closed for renovations. I will have to return another time to see the interior which, according to the website, it worth seeing.

"The ‘eccentric genius’ William Burges was given free rein by his paymaster, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd marquess of Bute, to create a rural retreat to complement the opulence of his main residence, Cardiff Castle. He didn’t hold back. Dazzling ceilings, over-the-top furnishings and furniture were liberally applied."

Castell Coch is a "fake" castle in that it was only built in the 19th-century during the Gothic Revival. There were some Norman ruins on the site but I think what you see is entirely a result of the Victorian imagination. As we couldn't go inside, we briefly explored the lovely shady woods before heading back to Taffs Well or Ffynnon Taf as it is called in Welsh.

Woods at Castell Coch

As we were now hungry, we explored Ffynnon Taf in search of a shop selling sandwiches. We also wanted to find the well that gave the town its name. We soon found a Co-op and then found the park with a bench in the shade of a tree where we could sit and eat. Not much further on we found the hot spring.

Now the hot spring was a complete surprise and we hadn't been aware of its existence until we stepped off the train and saw a sign on the station platform. I'm glad the sign was there because otherwise we would have missed seeing Wales's only hot spring. Britain doesn't have many hot springs and Wales only has only the one. Here it is, in a specially built building.

Ffynnon Taf / Taff's Well

Apparently the water bubbling up in the warm pool in the dark interior has spent 5000 years filtering its way down through the mountain before eventually re-emerging.
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heleninwales
30/52 for the group 2018 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: D is for Dusk

Because the sun sets so late at this time of year, I didn't have the opportunity to go anywhere more interesting than the front garden.

You will note the completely cloudy sky. It's typical that after weeks of hot weather, drought and clear skies, the weather decides to change on the very evening that there's an interesting astronomical phenomenon, namely a lunar eclipse.

Dusk
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heleninwales
A friend has recently posted about using a parasol, which inspired me to order one. Well, it's also an umbrella but it claims to protect against UV. It's light coloured and much prettier than my utilitarian black umbrella.

Of course just a minute ago it started raining and by the time it arrives, we'll probably be back to normal Welsh weather, but... it's an umbrella too! :)

Anyway, if these hot summers are the new normal, I'll have it in good time for next year.
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heleninwales
25/52 for the group 2018 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: Y is for Yield

People who support Brexit keep telling us "remoaners" to "get over it", but I refuse to yield to them. No sane government would make such a drastic change to a country's future on the basis of a 1.9% majority.

I sewed yellow stars onto a plain blue t-shirt for the big protest march. The stickers were acquired during the march.

Protest t-shirt
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heleninwales
24/52 for the group 2018 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: X is for eXtra

I visited Cardiff and whilst there went to the Mountain View Ranch. It was great for the kids with tree houses and rope swings and interesting things to discover amongst the trees.

Here's a dragon's nest!

20180616_154557 eXtra large eggs copy
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heleninwales
23/52 for the group 2018 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: W is for Wilderness

Strangely it doesn't seem like a wilderness to me because I know that a couple of small towns are nearby. For real wilderness -- or as near to wilderness as the UK ever gets -- you need to go to Mid-Wales, south of Machynlleth and inland from Aberystwyth. But I didn't have time to go there, so this is the most wild scenery I can manage.

Mawddach Estuary
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