Monday, 28 October 2013

Making Candles And Stormy Weather

We are in the midst of a massive storm; tropical storm St Jude has made its way across The Pond and hit us here in the UK yesterday and today. Lots of storm damage and localised flooding have been reported across the South- West of Britain, and travel by public transport has been quite severely disrupted.

Power outages were expected but we have been very lucky and our overhead power cables have survived the storm :-)

A friend on Facebook thoughtfully posted  a link to this site  which shows how to make 50 hour emergency candles from soy wax; I'm thinking these would be great for use in an icon corner too!  I hope to get some supplies and make some candles for emergency and  religious purposes...

There are also instructions for making pure beeswax candles.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Loving Every Moment

... of this sublime piece of Bach:

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Just Keep Swimming.... they said in the the film "Finding Nemo".

I've now finished the swimming challenge which I have been doing since the start of the summer holidays; I have been swimming the equivalent distance of the English Channel, all within the confines of a nice, warm, indoor heated pool :-) Over the space of 51 days, I have swum 22 miles / 35,406 metres. I would possibly only have managed to get in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest ever time taken to swim the Channel, as  it has taken me 1 day, 21 hours and 5 minutes!

My new challenge is to swim the equivalent distance of the River Taff, from the Llwyn-on Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons down to the sea at Cardiff Bay - 40 miles in distance.As the pool I use will be closed from Christmas to February, it will be well be after Pascha before I complete it, as I average half a mile each swim, and I may only swim for five days a week. I started to swim for health reasons, and although my shape has changed dramatically, with muscle replacing quite a bit of my fat, my weight has stayed totally static but I am an awful lot fitter, stronger and healthier - a win/win situation overall.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Especially For Babushka Margaret.....

      Basil, in a pensive mood after waking from his afternoon nap......his Roger Moore- type, very mobile eyebrows never cease to amaze me!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Recently Read

I've managed to find time for some reading purely for leisure :-)

This was a delight from beginning to end, outlining the amazing work done to preserve fragile mediaeval wall-paintings, remove them from the walls of St Teilo's Church and then the slow, painstaking process of dismantling this church stone by stone, relocating it to the National Museum of Wales at St Fagan's and then reconstructing the entire church as it was in pre-reformation times.

This link shows a brief video I took when visiting the beautifully restored church.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Visiting The Big Smoke

Well, our capital city is The Big Smoke compared to our small town!

DD3 has compulsory work experience next week as part of her Year 11 education and has been fortunate to get permission to go back to her beloved Primary School for the week. All well and good, but the dress code is smart casual, excluding jeans, hoodies, sweatshirts and trainers, which are staple items in every teenager's wardrobe.... so we psyched ourselves up to go to the Big City for a shopping expedition.

DD4 reacted with absolute "vampire confronted by a stake, crucifix and holy water" type horror at the thought of clothes shopping and opted to stay home with Dad, so DD3 and I went by train - always an adventure in our eyes- and were in the City by 10 am.

We had such an interesting journey in; the train was very crowded but we were lucky to spot a lady sitting with her teenage daughter at a table seat, and when we asked if we could sit at the two vacant seats, they were very willing. They had travelled up from the farthest reaches of West Wales to go the the City as the daughter was taking part in the auditions for Britain's Got Talent TV show. They were a lovely family, also Dr Who fans, so the journey passed very quickly and we assured the young lady we would be watching out for her when the show is broadcast and wished her good luck. They were not sure of the quickest route to the venue and  I was able to give the directions which would get them there safely and easily; there are some parts of the City I personally would not want to be crossing unless there was a martial arts ninja accompanying me :-)

Our Inner Women were clamouring to be nourished so we stopped off at a lovely small chain coffee shop whose products are all Fair Trade *and* delicious, which is not always the case. We were tempted by the peanut flavoured Hot Chocolate and it really was fabulous; DD3 opted for carrot cake topped with frosting and pumpkin seeds and I simply had to have a miniature Tarte Au Citron.... the advantage of this was that we could swap desserts half-way through!

After we had schlepped through several large shops, we were getting a little discouraged at finding very little that she either liked or was suitable, but then we went to the new branch of one large chain and went on a spending spree; two pairs of smart black trousers, two neutral tops, three coloured tops, one dress and coloured tights later, and she was kitted out in smart, comfortable and stylish clothes which will be practical for many purposes and events. We laughed at the antics of a small boy who was obviously fed up with clothes shopping and decided to while away his time by crawling into the space between the clothes hanging on the racks and the floor underneath; we watched him cross a large part of the store in this manner and wondered if he had a future career as James Bond or Bear Grylls.

Success at this shop of course now left us free to roam the shops, ooh-ing and aah-ing at things we never see in our sleepy little home town. Especially bookshops, of course. We went into two bookshops, partly to escape from the truly torrential monsoon rain which came from nowhere and with no warning, and partly because we were in desperate need of sitting down after carting heavy bags of shopping around. This may not have been our best move ever as we ended up buying positive mountains of heavy stuff   a few more items which will be put away for Christmas presents. We staggered back to the train station and managed to get seats, which was a blessing and then transferred to the local bus to get back at 6 pm, foot-sore and weary after being away from home for nine hours.

It was fun, but I hope I don't have to do it all again too soon!

Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside!

These are just random shots of the seafront as seen from the main town, all taken within about five minutes on Thursday last week.

It was The Munchkin's 12th birthday, so we had been out to get ice-creams; on the way back the girls simply had to climb into the viewing tower and  pose... as one does!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Family News

Well, DD4 turned 12 yesterday.......

I know it is a truism, but where do the years go? When I started my blog, she was a toddler and we had just moved to this house. Now she is very much a young lady, is settling in well at Comprehensive School, and I am looking out of my beloved "Garden Window" and wondering if we will still be living here this time next year.

Since The Hubster was made redundant last year, nether he nor I have had any luck at finding a job due to the employment situation in our part of the country and our savings are fast running out. We inherited my mother's house but before it can be sold, it has needed to be completely redecorated, the bathroom has needed to be replaced and quite a few things have needed to be fixed.
 All of this has kept The Hubster occupied and working hard, as he rather enjoys DIY tasks. I can't do them to his exacting standards, so for the last few weeks I have been relegated to tackling the enclosed wilderness I mean garden; so far I have chopped up enough brambles and weeds to fill no fewer than  18 large black refuse sacks :-) It is now resembling a garden again and we very much hope and pray that we will be able to list the house with an estate agent within the next month or so and get it sold.

If we can sell our own house too, that will give us enough money to be able to purchase a detached house or bungalow, from which,  I have assured The Hubster, I have no intention of moving. Ever. The thought of packing and unpacking all our books is making me feel bilious already! One of the joys of doing my book reviewing has been having **loads** of digital books to read without Dear Husband getting stressed about even more bulky books making their way into the house and finding a permanent home........

Back To Blogging!

After a lengthy period of solid book reviewing, I've decided that I really do need to get back to blogging again.

The Garden Window has become quite well-established as a book blog now, much to my surprise and delight, so I will keep my formal book reviews on that blog and am setting up this new personal blog entitled "Beyond The Garden Window"............

Blog On!