Sunday, 25 December 2011

A Christmas Walk

What we saw on a our early Christmas morning walk to the beach...
A little donkey


...and friends.


Roses in bloom...


and bright fuschias.




What's down there?


The recent heavy rain has swollen the rivers and created a magnificent waterfall.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Freewheeling

Sometimes it’s good to just follow your nose and see where the trail takes you. I’ve had a bit of time to do just that, letting the thoughts come and go and trying not to force the direction or pace. So here’s some of the ground, the freewheeling has covered.

Away
Our nearest big supermarket is at Carmarthen, 45 mins away, but for a wider choice of large shops, we’ll go to Swansea, an hour and a half away. If you’re travelling that distance, you might as well make an occasion of it. Our first stop, for a really good cup of coffee, excellent cakes and jolly staff, is the café in the unlikely setting of… Dunelm Mill, the home furnishing store! What my younger self would make of this, I dread to think, but during the whole nightmare of house renovations, it’s been enormously satisfying to eye up the curtain fabric from the mezzanine floor over a cappuccino and a bun. Not very rock and roll, but there we are.

Swansea market is always worth visiting for the food and the characters. There’s always something good to buy from The Market Plaice, but for eating in try Punjabi Tiffin; exquisite cooking and the best cup of Chai I’ve tasted. Lunch for two for about £7.

Last weekend, on Tom’s birthday we went to St David’s for a look round the cathedral, lunch in the refectory and a trip to a very chilly Whitesands Bay. It was our second visit to church that week, so for a couple of atheists we were doing very well. With some time to play tourists, we’d finally got round to visiting our historic local church, Llanifhangel-ar-y-Bryn – St Michael’s Church on the Hill. Apparently its circular churchyard means there are no hiding places for the Devil. I was also interested to see that romantic novelist Allen Raine is buried there. I have no wish to join her, but I wouldn’t mind catching up with her sales of more than 2 million books!

Home
Jeez! The relief of – more or less - reaching the end of the renovations! We’ve also got round to putting up some of Tom’s paintings and suddenly that unfamiliar, raw freshness of new décor is transformed into something that feels personal. After a hectic year it feels good to sit back and enjoy the place at last. 

Before...

During...

Finally!
I’ve been catching up with reading, again, following wherever my thoughts lead me. I’ve made a Roman blind for my study – which anyone who read my outpourings on Facebook will know nearly berludy killed me. And I also learned how to switch on the new oven and reminded myself how to bake.
Mince pies and Nigel Slater's chocolate flapjack


 As I write this, it’s still pouring with rain, but I’ve got two new poetry books to dip into, Gillian Clarke’s Collected Poems and Owen Sheers’s Skirrid Hill. 

Thank you for taking the time to visit Home Thoughts Weekly. May your Christmas be merry.

Painting is Christmas Morning, High Preseli, by Tom Tomos

Monday, 19 December 2011

Choc Lit Christmas Special Day One

I know it's a frantic time of year, but do find time, if you can, to pop over to Choc Lit's Author's Corner .  For the next twelve days we'll be sharing our thoughts on the festive season, beginning today with a discussion on when Christmas really starts for each of us.


And, since it's Christmas, there are presents!  Every second day, you'll have a chance to win something from the Choc Lit selection by simply joining in the discussion.  The best comment left over the next two days will win you a copy of my book, Turning the Tide.  I look forwards to reading your thoughts at Author's Corner.  Merry Christmas and good luck!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A High and Eyes



Well, I did it! When I finally sent my revised manuscript on its way on Monday, it was with some relief and a certain amount of satisfaction. It’s been a challenging year. This time, last year, Ma was lying in the grimmest of hospital wards waiting for an operation. Her progress might have better if that same arm hadn’t been injured again in August when she was struck by a dustcart riding the pavement. Then, you may remember, at the beginning of November she broke her big toe. Ma’s fine, as feisty as ever, but I do hope for her sake that she’s a lot less accident-prone next year.

Moving and then renovating the entire house has been a massive upheaval too, but we’re nearly there. In fact, if B&Q would only send us the hinges that failed to arrive with our loo seat, we’d almost be sitting comfortably.

On the bright side, we’re very happy in our new home; waking up and seeing the sea beyond the bedroom window takes some beating, believe me. And there’s been plenty of good news from our children too.

What’s made this year especially tough though, is that I haven’t been able to burn off all the negative emotion with a good run. In March, just after we moved in, I woke up to a strange-shaped floater, like a folded elastic band, in my left eye, and some disturbing flashing lights. I’m very short-sighted, with a big chunky prescription that makes even hardened consultants suck in their breath (usually with a pleased expression, I have to add, and comments such as, ‘my word, you are myopic, aren’t you?’) so my immediate fear was that my retina had come to grief.

Fortunately, it’s a far less serious problem, a posterior vitreous detachment, a normal part of ageing although in my case probably caused by my prescription and lifting too much during the move. It’ll be fine so long as I avoid high-impact exercise until it’s completely settled down. What’s especially frustrating is that it really seems to be taking its time, but I have to be patient.
Running or seeing – I don’t think there’s a contest, is there?

The photo was taken from my bedroom window today. And can I just say, I hate new Blogger, I just don't have time to fiddle with wretched formatting!