Friday, 31 October 2008


I know the UK has jumped on the band wagon and slavishly copied the American trick or treat.

I really think that this American corruption of a festival that has roots in the pagan circle of the year has very little to commend it.

Old people are often terrorised by unruly children and the whole thing has turned nasty in many places.

I had thought of taking precautions, rigging up one of the fire engines with a couple of ground monitors covering the front of the house.

So the little angels could hammer on the door and pelt the house with flour and eggs.

Then I would spark up the fire engine and let fly.

See if they still thought it was funny.

Mind you the only source of bulk liquid here is the septic tank, or sewage pit to our colonial friends.

I would take a house covered in eggs and flour in good heart, I wonder if the parents would laugh as their beloved walked into the house dripping....


Thursday, 30 October 2008

Give us this day our daily bread.

Now, with the aga properly back on stream the management has felt more inclined in the culinary direction.

Today has turned her expert hand to the production of bread, she made some wonderful buns that filled the house with their unforgettable aroma.

Lovely, and with a traditional crustiness, a bit more crusty than the ones from Tesco, well quite a lot more crusty in fact. Still, it could be worse, if we didn't have a green goddess with it's specialist kit for opening up brick hearths, we would not have been able to split them and they were absolutly full of flavour, as you chewed and chewed and chewed and.... isn't NHS dentistry wonderful.

Even the cats have given up, still I bet they will be ideal for soaking up the lovely juices of our tea which is a curry that has been fermenting er cooking all day.

She is a great cook really, I would not dare think otherwise. I am sure the curry will be a another unique culinary experience. The pizza for lunch was pretty good too.

Childhood adventures

One of the things as children mature is watching their independence grow.

Today the girls have gone off on a shopping expedition. On the train on their own, well taking big D with them to see his parents and collecting young P in the process.

The girls were excited, their mother beside herself with anxiety.

Mum gave the lecture, watch you Ipods, phones, cash. This is not round here, dancing in the street to the tune on your ipod will not be considered normal, well it's not normal here wither but Pembrokeshire has more eccentrics than the big city...

It's quite strange really, I remember Bethans first steps when she walked and now she has gone off, as a young adult, in charge of herself and with her sidekick Branwen aka Sir Bruce.

Could be a tough day with management.


Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Half term

It's funny, for a foster carer life is sort of backwards. When everyone else is gearing up for a good time we are bracing ourselves for hard work.

Christmas is a happy family time, for us it's a max work time.

Summer means nice balmy days off work, for us it's 6 weeks unrelenting grind.

Term times are our best times.

This time of year can be particularly hard since the weather means the kids are indoors and getting on each others nerves.

Today, thank goodness is not too bad.

The temperature outside is about 7c so as things go it's not so bad. Mainly because the wind has dropped. Cold is OK but the wind here is a big problem. This is a very exposed place on a hilltop.

The nature of old houses is different to modern though.

Having been warmed yesterday the house was 3 degrees colder this morning than it was last night. Wheras a modern house would warm up quickly, the degrees are crawling on here but there's the big challenge. Get it warm and it stays warm for a long time. Allow it to get cold and you have a veritable mountain to climb.

Something very nice about log stoves as well.


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Bi polar weather - nope just polar.

There is something nice about winter.

The crisp chill and sun.

Of course up here the enemy is wind chill.

Today the wind is howling, sucking the smoke up the chimneys both fires are going full out. Still not really making an impression.

This morning, rolling round under a fire engine opening the drains for the winter, no that wasn't fun either...

Still there are good things. Our V the big V phoned for the first time in a while to say she has got a job. That's great, she is a good kid who was lured away from here by leaving care then pretty much dumped.

No wonder so many of these looked after children come unstuck. She is climbing back up, hope she will be OK this time.


Monday, 27 October 2008

Test of green credentials

So we sit in amazement at this weather.

Today the weather man said the S word.

Snow, for goodness sakes!!

We have had snow maybe six times in 15 years and been properly snowed in maybe twice.

Well when I say snowed in I mean can't take the car out snowed in.

If the weather ever delivered anything beyond the Bedford the whole area would be at a standstill.

Now I have snow chains for the Bedford given an unladen weight over 5 tons with chains on once that fire engine is moving it's going to take something pretty big to stop it!!


Saturday, 25 October 2008

Close encounter with the grim reaper....

It caused certain questions in the garage when I turned up with the square wheeled xantia that she had driven over a curb. Greasy the garagistes curiosity was aroused when he noted that the damaged wheel was on the offside and in this country convention says we drive on the left.

Never one to be held back by such matters the MD had managed to bend the right hand wheel...

Some delicate surgery using tools sourced from a green goddess (beating the crap out of it with a 10 lb sledge hammer) and soon we were back on the road.

Well when I say "on the road" I mean somewhere near the road anyway.

This morning having received the call from the perfect one my step son off we went into town to offer him his usual free taxi service. Management was as always at the helm and in control.

Round the bend towards us came two bikers who were in a big hurry, whoosh they were gone in a flash of colour and a roar of engine.

Clearly the management decided evasive action was needed and she indulged in a series of violent swerves to miss the bikers who were now a mere 500 metres past us and disappearing fast.

The windscreen was filled with views of hedge and a series of other solid looking objects any one of which might well be about to contact the car at any second. There is only one thing to do when it's like that, close your eyes and brace.

Seconds passed and the sensation of rocking ceased, tentatively I opened one eye, then the other. The car was the right way up, roughly on the road and roughly the same shape as it had been when we left the house.

Management seemed not to have noticed my discomfiture and she continued to chat away as we drove into town. I was eventually able to talk again and we picked up the perfect one.

Life with the mistress of all we owe money on is lots of things but it's never boring.

She has gone off shopping with the girls, I did get an invite, but fortunately I had a few other things I needed to do instead; like my laundry.....

The weather is bi polar.

It is now blowing like a blowing thing and here comes the rain.

Yes the weather is bi polar.


Friday, 24 October 2008

Is the weather bi polar or what??

I mean yesterday we were near blasted off the face of the planet by a huge hurricane.

Today it's flat calm and sunny, I cannot reconcile this at all.

Today was also a good day to chainsaw, and an excellent day to axe.

We should have wood enough to last virtually till March.

Need to cut just a bit more.


Oh God,

The pain the pain.....


Thursday, 23 October 2008

stormy weather...

The weather has changed overnight.

Gone the crisp sunshine.

We have blustering gale and sheets of water.

Water rushes across fields.

Pours across roads.

Pauses in pools.

Rivers leave their beds and explore the roads and fields.

All in all it's pretty bloody wet.

So today with the weather so clement she decided to drive over a kerb at about 40 mph.

Citroen suspension seemed unphased but the rim was not that impressed.

Over 50 MPH it feels like you are driving on square wheels.

Really I need to jack the car up, remove the wheel and see what has happened.

I am remarkably unkeen though to do that in a howling gale lying in a pool of cold water. I know, I know, another life experience refused, except it wasn't.

I have previously freed off the clutch pedal of a Bedford RS whilst lying in a stream; it was not fun, just in case you were wondering.

So we head into half term, minus the car.

Given that choice, I think I might find some deep puddle, park the car and set to work.....


Families going nuclear.....

I am sort of insulated from that alleged cornerstone of society the family.

I was born an only child but have sort of seen from the outside the wilder excesses of family life.

Now things are really warming up for the management or rather her familly.

I wonder sometimes why they call it "nuclear family" or is that just a reference to the kind of explosions they generate.


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

When the going gets tough....

That's some old saying, there is an implicit implication that somehow in all situations and all occasions there is an element of control, when in actuality things often spiral right out of your ability to exert any influence on them at all.

We knew it wasn't looking good but last night got the confirmation that our buyer for this house has officially pulled out.

Well he hasn't he and his family love the place really want to be here and really are trying to find ways around things.

But there are times when you are in the grip of circumstances and this might be one of them.

So today a lovely sunshine day we did really decisive things.

First of all we put the house back for sale to all those people who cannot buy a house and at a reduced price which is all academic. Someone who has bugger all will not suddenly have money if you wipe 50 k off the asking price. Instead of attracting buyers who don't have 500K you attract buyers who don't have 450...

Just get a lower class of tyre kicker...

So the going being tough and us being tough we got going, we went down the pub for lunch.

Didn't help mind....

Baaaaah houses.

Management is pretty low, me I just have this feeling that something good is around the corner. Yeah I was never a realist....


Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The stupidity of saving money.

We have, over the last few months been regularly cutting wood and even more regularly sharpening the chainsaw.

I was aware that we hadn't changed the chain in a while but thought not a lot of it.

Yesterday I had enough, a brand spanking new chain went on the saw and, bloody hell.

What a stupid thing saving money is. The new chain cut more wood in 40 minutes than we had in weeks. The management and I fair reduced the wood pile to matches.

Of course it all still needs splitting with the axes.

But we are a good way towards having enough wood to last us all winter.

We have never been this organised, usually we are outside freezing in a howling gale in February....


Monday, 20 October 2008

A change of day......

We seem to be rolling along slowly.

Had a bit of a morning with the chainsaw but it seems to get blunt every 5 minutes.

So we went to see our local chainsawologist who looked at the chain and said it was past it's best.

By the time we had sorted that of course it was raining so all operations were on hold.

But and here's the but, the buyers solicitor has been giving everyone grief about things not moving quickly enough.

This is a bit of a strange one for me the guy is not in a position to move but his solicitor wants us to jump through hoops.

Maybe he knows something I don't.....

I hope so...


Sunday, 19 October 2008

End of weekends part the two.

Opening a decent red is like switching on a magnet.

Nano seconds passed and our mate Phil came down the drive.

We all agreed the Baron makes half decent paint stripper.

Phil of course being Phil knew how to use our sharpening kit.

The chain saw soon had an edge on it.

The fire is blazing, pouring heat into the world without warming the planet a huge amount.

I am feeling benign in the way only a glass of ridiculously dear red can make you feel.

Then again it would only be ridiculously dear if I bought it in the UK today, I bought it in Brittany a good few years back which makes it a lot cheaper.


The weekend ends.

OK so we have tried and failed.

The AGA is: Off.

The chainsaw is: blunt.

The fires are: out.

Only one thing to do;

management selected a bottle of 2001 berger baron rothschild

We are going to chill for the rest of the day

Mind you if I don't actually light the fire we will all chill, litterally..

Saturday, 18 October 2008

sharp as a chain saw.

Management is nothing if not inventive and, aware of our current high level chainsaw usage she has decided to move the chain sharpening operation in house.

This in turn eBayed our way a chain saw sharpening kit all of which has some exotic usage that I have not been able to fathom and a set of instruction which must surely make sense to someone but they sure as hell make no sense at all to me.

Checking online for guides to sharpening chains saws has succesfuly added to the air of confusion and as I speak management is filing with a determind look.

We will get the hang of this eventually and at least the saw is no blunter than it was.


Friday, 17 October 2008

At the auction - for gods sake don't wave!!!

I have one weakness, well oK maybe I have a few but anyway one of my weaknesses is an inability to pass a "to the auction" sign.

I have to go and look, so anyway with the kids safely at school off she went with me to the auctions.

Before I moved down here it was a bit of a standing joke as I would come home with truck laden with military surplus. It might have been a joke but all the neighbours made sure they came to have a look at whatever it was that I had bought this time.

I remember the time I arrived home laden with furniture, not MFI tat but ex military tables in solid African mahogany. I was trying to unload the truck but it was not making the house. Management was selling it, faster than I could unload it, and the punters were lined up around the block!!

Today was nothing as exciting, a general sale with a few gems hidden. This is managements territory and so she was charged with spotting the bargains and waving the card.

Meanwhiles I got on with the lesser tasks. Not a bad day, a wetsuit for a whole pound, an Ewenny jug that the dealers missed for 15, a new fire basket for Brittany and a 2 pound bargain bucket of tools.

That is my real weakness, when something goes for a few pounds I will often stick my hand up just for the hell of it.

At a ministry sale I once bought ten vacuum cleaners for seven pounds. Turned out they were big nilfisk industrial things, that absolutely filled my cavalier and sent her into eyes rolled back despair. Things got worse when I gifted management one to use in our then B&B. What we didn't realise was that these were hundreds of pounds worth and soon the local B&B's were lining up to buy them for 50 pounds each.

Of course life has not been one continuous triumph. There was the time I bought an ex army land rover trailer because it was silly cheap money. One of my mates asked if I had actually looked at it first. I noted the gleam in his eye and felt a moment of concern. When he offered to take me too it I sensed there must be a problem. Sure enough this was not any trailer, this was a special trailer this one had fallen out of a Hercules at 5000 feet and landed in the path of a challenger tank. At least that's what it looked like.

When I borrowed a trailer to bring it home the news spread quickly and kind friends were soon calling to offer sympathy, and lean against the wall in helpless hysteria.

There are still people who remember that, mind you many of them are sitting at mahogany dining tables when they tell the tale.

But anyway, I digress, everything was going well, the lots were clicking away. Each auction is different and you have to respond on the day. Today there were some bargains to be had some modern stuff went for absolutely mad money.

Then up came this wonderful dresser, 1800's maybe a really nice item that would sit wonderfully in our new house if we ever get there. Started at 500 pounds then worked it's way briskly to 1000 pounds. The bidding was lively I turned to say to her, then noticed who was bidding briskly. I suspect I went a little bit white, certainly I needed to sit down soon. So I did, it went eventually for a very cheap 1500 pounds but goodness was I relieved when I discovered it wasn't our 1500 pounds....


Thursday, 16 October 2008

The joys of motoring.

I have on occasions mentioned the delights of being a passenger in the car with the management.

Occasionally though I get the chance to return the favour. Sometimes too we are in a bit of a hurry. Now, many years ago I did some suplemental driving training with a chap who had done a driver training course in Hendon.

Hendon for the uninitiated is where they teach Police driving instructors and he was a qualified police instructor.

It's a shame they do not offer this type of training to the public as it's a type of driving that is not only quick but very very safe.

It also means you cannot half get from A to B in a little time.

So running late I deployed the "system of car control" and away we went to take Tigger to rugby. The Xantia is not what you would call a quick car, but it's no slug either. The suspension is a bit soft and gets caught out occasionally. The engine is a real gem and within it's rev band it is eager and lively.

So of course off we jolly well set. Nice open B roads, good visibility and decent surfaces. Then over the top of the mountain, down the other side, still nice sweeping bends then into narrower sections, short straights tight bends and junctions. Lots of jinking to get the right position. Accelerate hard, brake hard.

Point of Maximum vision.

Course Mirror Signal Brake Gear Accelerate..

The managerial chat seemed to be fading. She was quiet, introverted even.

Unusual for her.

The pitch of her voice was going up.

Round the corner and wipe it all off. A bus going the same way as us. Was that a sigh of relief from the passenger seat?

For some reason she was keen to go to the pub after we dropped Tigger off. She would normally have beer, today for some reason it was whisky, was that a slight tremor in her hand.....


Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The high ground of morality

Well today I have the high ground.

She went off with her axe and saw in pursuit of mayhem and trees, I spent the day with the vacuum and dishwasher, stacking fresh wood and keeping the fire in for two very appreciative cats.

Of course when I said vacuum I was careful to steer the diplomatic middle ground, not such a bad job as to trigger rioting or such a good job as to engender managerial feelings of inadequacy or worst of all an announcement that I was so good at it that I had the job in perpetuity.

Now i must rush off to school to collect Gwion


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

AGA and out

OK I give up.

I am calling the AGAologist in the morning, the house reeks of parafin.

Will have to run the fire full bore for an hour or two to ventilate the building.

Why didn't we get an electric cooker like anyone sensible would have done.


Oh dear....

Now occasionally, just occasionally something really gets to the management.

Currently she is railing about the training package offered by daycastle, she is wandering from room to room spraying flies and ranting.

Should I tell her she has picked up a tin of polish and not the fly spray?

Hmmm perhaps not.

Still the house does smell nice.


AGA out.......

Fingers and other items crossed lets see if it goes.

Rebuilt again cleaned again.

My hands grained with very fine black soot.

Real b&&&&& of a job as I cannot get my hands in to lift the central bell out with proper fire gloves on and I do not trust the grip of latex surgical gloves, the bell is a serious weight and if my grip slipped or the damn thing rolled off the top of the aga, serious injury would be inevitable.

It's looking better.

I wrote in my blog a while back I would never need to strip it again, how wrong I was.


Monday, 13 October 2008

Aga louts ongoing.....

Did that do the trick?

Nope, complete strip down again....

Ahh well it is supposed to be raining tomorrow so I will be in the dry.

This is growing into another epic.


AGA lout the second

Of course this is us and our best laid plans...

Somewhere in putting the bell back in I managed to give the burner a whack and it is not flat.

So it was poping and flaring on one side and not burning at all on t'other.

Fortunately management went off to school to get Gwion and I was able to get further kit from the fire engine and make a slight adjustment. Doing this while the fire is lit is the sort of thing you need her out of the way before you do.

With possible alternative outcomes including things like flames and fires.

Fortunately she came home and I was not there with the fire engine damping down.

And I have ordered a special kit to sharpen the chain saw which will save our trips out which are now a weekly event.

Fortunately the weather is looking grim so I will not need to be outside waving the saw for a day or two.


AGA lout

Now, you either love or loathe an aga.

Ours is absolutely ancient, possibly 50 years old. Yes you pay a fortune for one but you only buy one per lifetime!

Of course it's not like a normal cooker, ours was originally a coal / wood aga and converted to oil at some stage.

An aga works by having a small fire, hefty insulation and storing the heat in iron castings. Thats the theory.

Of course ours has stoped working, there is not a lot to go wrong. I feel that trying to run it on the contents of an empty oil tank was not one of my brighter ideas.

So this morning it was lift out a lot of hefty casting and clean everthing out before rebuilding it all.

Naturally I managed to whack one of the pipe joints which has been leaking oil but more importantlly sucking air and causing the aga to run all wrong.

Maybe the empty tank was not the problem at all.

But I digress, having first completly stripped the aga and cleaned it it has all gone back togehter and when it didn't work properly eagle eyed management spotted a dripping joint.

Now I have had a quick lie on the floor with tools from the fire engine renewing a joint so (hopefully) it won't leak and I can light it again without having to strip it all down again to clear away the soot.

It all seems to be working so far, and a stroke of luck. I arrived to light it in the nick of time. To light an aga you turn on the fuel and wait for it to prime before you light it.

Now if you try and light it too soon the oil is not there and you end up stuffing matches into the primer hole and possibly burning your fingers.

If you leave it too long, paraffin will have overflowed the burner. This in turn creates a pool on the chamber floor. Introduce a match and, well, it's great if don't want the bother of plucking your eyebrows and allways fancied your hair short and frizzled.......


Sunday, 12 October 2008

Someone split on me....

I tried my best, I said it was raining, she said it wasn't. I considered organising some rain but reckoned she might smell a rat when she heard the fire engine pump. Add to that, the only immediate source of bulk liquid was the septic tank and she might smell a bit more than rat, which might have triggered a complex situation that even my significant diplomatic skills might not have managed....

I tried telling her the sun was just a particularly bright ball but she was having none of it.

So today; the chainsaw whirred, the axes swung and the wheelbarrow wheeled.

A huge quantity of wood got processed.

Management says if tomorrow is good then we will be doing even more.

As I said before:

Oh goodie.

But at least as the temperature drops outside it is warm in here.

Keeping an old house warm is a matter of not letting it get cold. The fires are just ticking over. We are using about a barrow full of wood a day to heat a 9 bedroom house.

And our footprint in Carbon is tiny.

That said the price of heating oil has dropped right back.

It is "only" 5 times what it was ten years ago.


Flash gordon!!!

How things change.

A few brief weeks ago everyone was baying for blood and Gordon Brown was seen as a liability.

Now we have Gordon displaying the skill that saw him described as one of the great post was chancellors and seemingly about to pull the banks irons out of a rather warm fire...

A past head of the IMF was on the radio today describing him in terms most glowing whilst saying that Dubaia is not so much a lame duck as a dead duck...

Will the press agree?

Who can tell...


Saturday, 11 October 2008

Saturday morning.

Oh great, what went wrong with the weather forecast?

It is not raining.

Off I go - cue music:

I can saw clearly now the rain has gone......

Ha ha


Friday, 10 October 2008

In praise of British weather.

There are days when the weather is sooo good.

This morning bright and early the management and I went forth to Tesco.

A booker Aldi Tesco morning and it was time to go home through our glorious weather.

Yes, it's lovely here, the drizzle drops from the sky as we sit in the clouds.

Lovely, of course it means I have to leave the chain saw safe in the house, the axe secure in the porch, the firewood uncut.



Thursday, 9 October 2008

Time bandits...

Where did this week go?

About 2 seconds ago it was Monday and we were waving the children on their way to school.

Management and I were greeting a nice week in prospect a quiet child free time.

But it's just been a blur and here is the weekend.

No rain either so the chainsaw will probably work, she will probably decide I want to spend all weekend chopping wood.

My shoulders hurt.


Another lovely outdoors day.

"Lets go shopping" said the management brightly.

Frankly there are myriad things I would rather do than Tesc, so I pointed out that the weather tomorrow is set to be foul, today was set fair.

Why not go and do something nice I sugested, enjoy the time before the misery of winter hit.

So we ended up taking the chainsaw to be sharpened. Then with the weather so nice and all, a couple of hours chain sawing and axing was in store, it was my idea, she told me so. Then barrowing, then stacking.

And, yesterday, we started a new stack of fire wood. Management was impressed, very very impressed, why had we buried the stop cock with a pile of firewood she asked.

Now, of course I knew there was another stop cock in the middle of the car park and it was all part of my clever plan to use that one if water needed to be turned off.

Management does not seem to believe me.

Still at least the weather forecast for tomorrow is rain and I get to rest. After all thinking about it Tescos is not that bad, at least, it does not make your shoulders hurt.....

Management has just shouted down the stairs the weather forecast has changed, sunny tomorrow so we can have another outdoors day.

Oh goody I can't wait.....


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

A day at a time....

So anyway this morning off we fondly waved the management to play in the woods.

We, as in me and the childer settled down to the day.

We had a plan, a firewood plan. So off went, Tallie and I with the chainsaw.

Which refused to start. So into town to refuel the van and open a bank account for Taliesin, out to greasy garage; strip the chainsaw give everything a blast with the airline and presto hey away we went.

Back home at last and time for an outbreak of serious saw. Then axe then barrow.

A goodly saw blunting amount of wood, reduced to slivers by elwell steel.

Then barowed away.

The scheduled MOT on the new Transit was put on hold by it's refusal to start, the brand new battery being flat.

This called for some serious charging and then the trip was on. The new tranist is suddenly less attractive. It was cheap to the point of being a gift, the tyres and engine being worth a lot more than it owes us but serious welding required.

Will we go for it?

Or, will we break it?

Watch this space....

Then on and out tonight both of us on a mad dash to the chippie to get the kids fed then off to rugby with Tallie.

For some reason I am a bit tired.

Her, well all she did was sit round all day, and fell 3 trees of course.

Bed sounds a really attractive option.


Monday, 6 October 2008

Monday monday

Today was really bizarre.

I was late out of bed, nothing particularly unusual there. Calculating an average using the four clocks which being electronic all show different times, backed up by accuracy courtesy of the BBC we were running well late.

Meaning it was an easy 5 minutes after time that we left the house for our daily commute for the bus.

Commuting in the country is different to the city, you notice who you meet and where.

The school teacher off to the school 10 miles away, the farmer off to see to his cows in the morning, the chap in a huge hurry, coming the other way and heading for town, the milk lorry, are those people chosen for their lunatic driving?

These are our regular morning companions each of whom gives and gets a wave.

And here's the strange thing. Every single one of them was late this morning, we all met each other roughly where we usually do and sped past looking late and flustered.

Only the bus was on time and grumpy Gary the driver scowled at us for holding him up. And scowled at the other parents and at the school minibus.

All 5 minutes late....


Sunday, 5 October 2008

Sunday sunday.....

Wow, what a change of a day.

Gone the relentless thrashing rain that ensured yesterdays ten minute foray to fit a new battery on the transit so it can go for MOT into an ordeal similar to being hosed down by a GG. It meant a complete change of clothing.

Today crisp sunshine on sodden earth. Rugby, for the first time this season Tallie had a game and Taliesin played the game of his life making an impressive contribution into what turned into a very narrow defeat.

The route there and back is one of those little B back roads that used to be the trunk road network 30 years ago. A familiar friend, every corner's best line known every ripple and kink already anticipated. The Xantias sure footed relaxed speed to be explored within the constant reminder that there needs to be a plan for what will happen if someone is coming the other way. Not so much stop in the distance you can see to be clear as have room to get out the way if some clown is coming the other way at a speed approaching mach 1.

The general problem some people seem to have with cars was brilliantly displayed in the ancient medieval town of Tenby. A random maze of narrow streets not terribly suited for cars at all. Add an ambulance on a shout stabilising a patient and likely to be there for 45 minutes. 3/4 of a mile of road with no passing or turning places and you have a recipe for Sunday silliness. Some fool in a BWM deciding he wasn't waiting and trying to pass everyone by driving along the pavement. Various people recoiling in horror at having to engage R. You have a recipe for hours of entertainment.

Tallie and I managed to extricate ourselves by reversing up a drive leaving enough room for the two transits to follow, then pulling out into the tooting melee and making good our escape. They might still be there for all I know.

Still it was a nice appetiser for the roller coaster B road home. The smell of hot brakes dissipated eventually as well.....


Saturday, 4 October 2008

Saturday morning.

Saturday, the skies weep, the wind hurls rain against my bedroom velux which makes getting out of bed all the less attractive.

The children are breakfast brawling so I suppose I should make a move.

It's love;y though to sit and listen to nature so raw.

I suspect the new house, should we ever get there, will be far more sheltered.

Which will be nice also.

Time for more coffee and crisp bacon between bread lightly toasted by having rested on the aga.

Feed the fire in our little log burner, that I repaired yesterday, saves lighting the big Franco Belge till later.

I don't have a bad life really.


Thursday, 2 October 2008

Down but not out....

Having a bit of a down day today..

Visit the inastate agent all, trying to talk up a situation where gloom meets despair.

Then off for a riveting trip to Bookers Lidls and Tesco.

The xantia decided to go from XDi to GTi - the silencer has snapped off, so thats over at the garage being welded before my ears give out.

But the day started badly as it was.

Young D who has somehow avoided death for 13 years has made teenager.

His mum phoned to wish him a happy birthday and say that she will not be coming to see him saturday "because it will rain".


Still she has at least said she is sending him a birthday parcel, she's posting it today on his birthday.....

I suppose I should be positive and say that at least she has got him a presant this year rather than promising a plethora of bikes and play stations then simply not delivering...

Ahh well, it takes all sorts.


Wednesday, 1 October 2008


This is a between time.

Buyer wants to buy but he can't.

Stuck in a chain.

Inastate agent wants 120 quid so our house can have an energy badge like a deep freeze. This is not a good badge either, about as energy efficient as a 5 bar open electric heater. According to a system designed for modern houses.

For goodness sakes, this is an 1800's house and it falls a wee bit short of modern standards. Unless of course you run it like an 1800's house and run the fire virtually continuously, keeping these houses warm is not the hard bit, it's getting them warm that uses energy.

Then again we have huge log stoves that protect the house against damp by shifting vast quantities of air as it heats and in actuality does not cost anything like what it might if we used oil as our main source of heat. We did for a while but could not afford it now.

In fact we probably use as much on heating as it costs to run a modern town house just the system is different.

You can even count in the exercise with the chainsaw and axe as a healthy lifestyle positive.

Much smaller footprint in Carbon than burning Russian gas too.

Went out today to try and get a battery for my new transit minibus and spent all day driving round for nothing.

But we did find a great new pub for lunch.

And somehow we had to divert to what might be our new home on the way back.