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Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
Not a bad week. I attended my usual Monday morning class and Wednesday morning conversation group. I also watched a TV programme in Welsh.

The most fun thing was on Monday it was "Shwmae su'mae" day. That's a special day that's been running now for 6 years. The idea is to get people to greet one another in Welsh (shwmae or su'mae is the Welsh equivalent of "How're things?").

This year one of the people who run Say Something in Welsh set himself the challenge of running a "shwmaeathon" and being online in a Google hangout for 24 hours to chat with whoever dropped in. I spent about an hour in the hangout altogether, done in 3 sessions. There were people joining in from all over the world. Who knew that people in America, Australia, Germany, Finland and many other countries can speak Welsh!
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I am tired now. We'd booked a visit from the gas engineer to service our boiler and gas fire. As the house was in a bit of an untidy and grubby state, I've spent the last two days and an hour or so this morning doing what you might call a "spring clean". We always find it stressful having people doing stuff in the house, but everything has been checked over and we might need a new boiler soon because it's old and getting to the point where if anything goes wrong, they won't be able to get parts, but with luck we'll be OK for another year.
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It's an ill wind that blows nobody no good. In this case, a literal wind. We've got gale force winds here and a few hours ago a big branch blew down from a tree that grows in the wet woodland beyond the bottom of our garden. A few minutes ago I went down into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and I commented to G that I could now see the top of the hill with the TV mast again and that if the rest of the tree fell, I'd get all of my old view back. At that moment, right on cue, with a great cracking sound, the rest of the tree split and collapsed!

Fallen tree on the "swamp"

I'm really glad I did my shopping this morning during a lull in the wind and rain, and we haven't lost our power, so I'm just hiding indoors and waiting for everything to calm down.
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Who knew that if you leave the headphones from a Sony Walkman in a drawer for 15 years or more, the foam over the earpieces turns into sticky black goo? Well, it does, as I discovered this morning while decluttering a drawer that my husband has been dumping papers in for many years. I had to use the Sticky Stuff remover to get rid of it.

However, on the upside, I discovered a new cheque book for our joint account (not that I use cheques much these days) and a nice little case containing a ballpoint pen and a small fountain pen. These are now mine! :)

Current Mood: busy busy

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So, already today I have backed up the rest of my photos onto the external hard drive. That was a job that I'd been meaning to do for ages, but never got around to actually doing it. I've also cleared some more old papers from the chest of drawers in the kitchen that is currently just full of stuff my husband has put in there and then abandoned.

In the process I found a small patchwork project that I have no memories of starting. I hadn't got very far with it, so I've thrown the pieces away and will use the fabric for something entirely different.

In other news, it seems that Google are closing down Google+. I'd actually drifted away because though in many ways I preferred it, my friends never used it and all went to Facebook, which I hate, but if I don't check it each day, I'd lose touch with so many people.

Also changing is our local rail operator. Arriva Trains Wales have (as the name suggests) run the trains in Wales for years, but there is now to be a new franchise operating Welsh trains. I therefore need to download the new ticket app when it becomes available and will have to wait until after mid-October to buy a train ticket to spend the day in Chester at Fantasycon. Or I could buy the ticket from The Trainline. I'll have to check prices.
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37/52 for the group 2018 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: M is for Miles Away

A quick shot from our walk yesterday. I'm not likely to get anything better this week, so this shot of a distant mountain peak just about visible above the hills will have to do.

I've missed posting a few. I have been taking at least a couple of photos each week, but haven't been able to stick to the topics. If I can tear myself away from FB and Twitter, I'll sort out the missing weeks tomorrow morning.

Mountain peak miles away

I don't know why events have to bunch themselves together, but after being away last weekend for the protest march, I have a family funeral tomorrow and then we're away for the week in Mid-Wales, doing more exploration and taking of photos for G's geology book.

The funeral is for my cousin, who is only 4 years older than me. She had been ill with cancer for a while, so I had been warned that the end was expected. My cousin never married and we lost touch years ago, apart from the annual Christmas card, so I feel quite detached from her death, though obviously it's sad and brings back memories of when I did see her more often.

It will be a very small gathering, just four cousins and a couple of friends. I'll find out tomorrow what is being done about clearing her bungalow, though I believe the solicitor is handling all that.
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I really have to stop obsessing about Brexit. I'm wasting too much time reading political anti-Brexit pages and posts on Facebook and reading discussions on Twitter. Brexit is like watching a slow motion train crash, one which is likely to seriously damage the country's future, so it's hard to look away. I do have a feeling that things are coming to a head. There's probably nothing one insignificant player like myself can do now, we'll just have to wait and see how things play out, but we did go to the march and protest outside the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

There were three big demos planned for the autumn, Labour and Tory Party conferences in Liverpool and Birmingham respectively, and the really big march planned for 20th October in London. We've already done one big London demo this year and because we live in the back of beyond, it costs in hotel bills and train fares to attend. In the end, we decided that two extra bodies in Liverpool was our best contribution, especially as the Labour Party could be the way of stopping the insanity.

So we went and stayed the night in Chester on the Saturday. We had a nice walk around the city walls before eating dinner in the hotel. Next morning, we caught the train to Liverpool and joined in the protest. Some pictures...

A People's Vote, For the many

More behind here, including a rare selfie.Collapse )

Welsh and EU flags

Current Mood: determined determined

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Small steps. I have learned how to answer a call on my new phone which is not how it worked on my old one.

Just now I failed to answer an incoming call because I was pressing the green phone icon instead of sweeping the circle to the right to encircle the green phone icon. The horrible noise the phone made when it rang prompted me to go through the ring tones and choose a better one and I also imported my contacts. I don't think the incoming call was from anyone I know because it didn't look like a British phone number, but if it was family, I'm sure they'll phone again.
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I have a new phone! I've had my old one (Samsung S4) for at least 4 years and it has a cracked screen. However, it's not actually the screen that's the problem, it works fine, it's just that it hasn't got enough memory and apps want to update and they tell me there isn't enough room. I also want to start making videos and I need lots of storage space for that. After a couple of Samsungs, I've gone for a Huawei this time.

I got it partly set up yesterday. When I switched it on it gleefully found the wifi and took me through setting up a new account and downloading updates. Only after all that did I realise I had no phone signal!

So today I went online and did the SIM swap thing (SIMs are getting tinier and tinier. This phone has the nano size) and now it's fully functioning.

Of course there's still a lot of setting up to do. I have to download all my favourite apps, copy over my contacts and work out how to stop it making so much noise when it wants to notify me of something, but I'll tackle that over the weekend.
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I run a couple of language learning challenges in the Habitica Language Hackers guild. I find that the weekly and monthly updates I post to the guild keep me focused and help to make me aware of when I'm making good progress and when I've been neglecting my studies.

It's not quite the end of the month yet, but I did my report for August today so I'm re-posting a lightly edited version here too for reference.

After a summer disrupted by trips away from home, I'm getting the language study underway again. Trying to start Spanish while maintaining the Welsh is proving challenging, but at the moment I've stopped doing the Spanish challenges and I'm trying the Goldlist method to give me some familiarity with the language before working through the challenges in earnest in the autumn when the Welsh classes and Welsh conversation group will have started again. That will ensure that the Welsh doesn't get neglected and I can focus on making some progress with the Spanish.

Well, that's the plan! I'll let you know how it goes in future reports.
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