Monday, 30 November 2009

A weekend adventure....

Now, there comes a point where you think towels really should be thrown in, resignation should rule, just accept it boy, mundane never happens to you.

Life has just overwhelmed me.

Lets' recap; for the last three weeks we have been trying to get out to Brittany to check on the house and make sure all is fine.

For two weeks the ferry weather has stopped us. 3 weeks ago, excitement mounted car seats removed, text message and ferry canceled. 2 weekends ago I looked at the weather and thought there was a real chance nothing would be happening on the Saturday night so I canceled before they did. Naturally, so it turns out, all sailings went through as per schedule.

This weekend just gone arrived at the end of a week of occasional phone, rare Internet and BT saying they would repair it but no indication as to when.

Our life was a procession of BT line vans up the drive, each engineer spending hours: opening connection boxes, up poles, replacing wires, reneweing joints, on average about 4 faults per call. Each call ending with a good line test, followed by a by a snap, crackle, pop on the line and a total lack of internet.

Some repairs lasted ohhhh hours, one broke down while the engineer was still driving away up the drive.

This went on against a background of social care, big D we discovered by accident no longer has a social worker. She stayed a month, decided she was not happy, gave in her notice then went home sick.

Contact has turned really complex, who was dealing with it for him we asked, the answer was no one.

Whoever this "no one" is they have been not dealing with it for a few weeks now.

Wednesday we decided we could wait no more for news of the revised contact arrangements for big D so we went and asked the complaints officer to organize them. No doubt that's another star for us in the popularity stakes..

This on top of our refusing the minutes of the last stat review which had been the subject of a good massage to make the garden look rosy.

Thursday it's own excitement with children everywhere, tintinabulated the phone: twas young D whose social worker was picking him up after school, only he hadn't.....

D would get in a car with an anyone, but had the good sense to phone home, this prompted wild alarms and a rush to get school to find him and get him safe before he walked under a car or some such like thing.

So anyway I roared off to pick him up and the head of the school was delighted in an incandescent sort of way.

Next morning, Friday, off went the management on auction bent, leaving me in charge of Plugeot preparation.

Seats all removed and a buzzing in the pocket, text message: Brittany Ferries regret that, due to bad weather......

Turns out that the Bretagne was in Roscoff unable to sail so they had pulled the plug on the Friday night sailing from Plymouth but, we could sail into Cherbourg, a mere 150 miles the wrong way. As these things go; an offer akin to being told you could not have the gourmet meal but you could have an enema...

Trip off then - again.

Of course now we were seriously out of coffee and it was crisis time.

A check of the diary and no way we could go again before Xmas.

Problems problems. As they say.

A quick check and it turned out, the St Malo ferry was an option.


ALL this meant was get to Portsmouth by 8 not Plymouth by 10.

Or put another way, completely rewrite the child care plan, re draught the afternoon and pack everything we had left to pack in the next 10 minutes.

Up the drive we exploded picked little D up from school and blew up the M4.

Daycastle and drop off at grans then back on to the tortured motorway system.

Still the GPS said we had plenty of time, only use it to estimate ETA these days.


Oh yes that was great, Noah level rain and wind and rain and wind.

Just to add to that, a trucker had a sleep moment, nothing like a 38 ton artic veering into the outside lane as we overtook him, to help you "concentrate".

This was a really unpleasant motorway trip.

But we got there, on to the good ship Pont Aven.

One of the good things about Brittany Ferries is the posh restaurant, best value ever.

A three course meal for under 18 pounds.

Unlimited first courses, a lovely hot meal and unlimited desert.

Sensibly, (????) we had prepared for this by skipping breakfast end everything thereafter, even then we struggled to do it justice.

Mind you, taking Branwen in there could bankrupt the ferry company!!

The crossing, oh my the crossing. The Pont Aven uses some form of jet drive and, in the rather choppy seas this would cavitate, that means suck in air not water.

You would know it was doing this when the whole ship would shake and there would be the most tremendous banging. It seemed to do this a lot.

Couple this with taking the seas at about a 40 degree angle and you had a vessel that corkscrewed across the channel making the most appalling din.

If you are thinking this might not have made for a good nights sleep you would be almost psychic..

So, unrefreshed we reeled off the ship and made the trip down to the house.

St Malo is a lovely old town, the weather lightened and we set off for the South.

The road over to Pontivy is vastly improved and much updated, something we soon recognized as the GPS came to the conclusion I was driving across fields and started insisting I drove on roads it knew about.

Still, it took not a lot of time to get to our house and soon we had the door open and realized we had been burgled again. Must have been in the last month as all was secure back in September.

Break out a selection of GG tools and my cordless drill. I soon had the windows boarded up and everything tightly screwed closed. They will still get in if they want but this time they will have to struggle a bit.

Feeling a bit jaded it must be dinner time...

Up to les Trois Marchands. 4 courses €11.50, a simply fantastic meal that I struggled to pack in on top of the remains of the day before's feast, still I managed somehow..

Management, God bless her decided I had done quite enough driving, or was that too much wine, but anyway she placed me in the passenger seat.

I think this might have been an error, Lack of sleep, lack of familiarity with the plugeot, which in turns lacks the fleetness of foot of the xantia, combined with driving on the right made for an "interesting" trip.

In St Pol I absolutely insisted that I would drive......

Car loaded with the weeks shopping plus several months coffee and enough wine to ensure a festive yule and we parked up in the ferry terminal and went for even more food in town.

There are many restaurants and creperies in Roscoff, some of which are quite well known. Ty Sauzon in Roscoff is where the locals go for crepes, presided over by an elderly patriarch, always immaculately dressed, trousers boasting a razor crease shoes a mirror polish. Crepes there are simply to die for, though too many and you might too... Having spent an unfeasible amount of time on food over the weekend, we admitted defeated after the second.

Reluctantly we walked back to the ship through the chill night air with only the odd hint and wisp of rain to soak our spirits.

An hour in the dismal terminal soon passed and we mounted up the plugeot and set off for the ferry. Without a ticket.....

Management was confident it would turn out we were booked on to the ferry in St Malo, Cherbourg, or somewhere equally far away; but no, everything went well and on to the ship we went all was fine.....

Or not.....

"The captain regrets to inform you that due to bad weather........" our usual jinx had struck. Or had it, no, the crossing had been delayed so arrival would be delayed so, glory be, we could stay in bed an extra 2 hours next morning - this was the sort of thing we wanted!

Silly me....

The delayed crossing set off and with management and I ignoring the building plank wide berths in our cabin we spread a couple of duvets on the floor and went to sleep.

Midnight passed, lines were dropped and with a slight stir that barely broke the tiredness, the ship was at sea and we slumbered on, but not for long.

"Thud", my head hit the bed, "smack" my feet hit the door. As the vessel pitched into the substantial seas management and I slid hither and thither with various bits of body making contact with various bits of cabin.

Of course this was not consistent, occasionally things would calm, just long enough for us to drop into slumber then: "thud".

By morning however we had managed to snatch ohhhhh at least a few minutes sleep so it was off the ferry and away for home.

The trip back was quiet and uneventful, joyously boring even.

Home and discovery that the phone line that BT assured us was "working fine" had been out all weekend. So we had a houseful of young people who had been separated from Face book I player and you tube, which we all know are the essentials of life!

Still, I could always phone ~BT in the morning and they would be round to sort it straight away.

Well, as I write this, it's Friday, another Friday, another eventful week has passed and I think we might have the Internet back on again.

I had better hit send before that changes.....


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Back to electronic life....

Tenatatively I think we might be back on line.

You don't notice how much you use the net till it's gone.

At least we have it back for now.

Next storm tonight, who knows??

Management has decided to rest after a marauding cat on food stealing bent pushed a big saucepan over which fell off the table and landed on her foot. She thinks she has a broken toe, just the sort of start we want for a weekend away.


Monday, 23 November 2009

The communication revolution....

It's amazing the things we can do online, or in our case, can't.

The raging winds and driving rain have done for our phone again.

Yesterday afternoon I picked up the phone and thought I was listening to someone pouring milk over their rice crispies!!

It seems the wire has let go internally on top of the mountain and with the weather being a touch breezy the engineers are going all shy on climbing up a pole and replacing it.

No arguments with me on that one - stuff that for a game of skittles.

Funny though you don't realise how much you like having instant news, immediate weather forecast, the ability to type just about anything no matter how anoracky into a search engine and finding out about it at one click.

I player, management is lost without Iplayer.

Should get decent service back soon, at the moment everything works, but that could change with the next gust of wind.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Singing in the........

Been playing games this morning, managed to get 1 1/2 cuts of wood done, between blustery rain squalls.

The wind is a help, strong wind can whip the horrid sawdust away from you, so long as you put your cutting table in the right place.

Good wood too, we are into seriously dry stuff now, stuff we bought last year and put to one side because it was too wet.

Think I am getting the hang of this chain saw sharpening lark, the chain is well sharp.

Things looking up, between torrential showers....


Friday, 20 November 2009

Children in need......

Oh boy, here we go again.

Lets all wear our underpants outside our trousers for a day and all will be well with children in the world.

Listen everyone, if there is a problem that we agree needs adressing and things need to be done.

Thats great we all agree on it, that's why we are a democracy and we have government.

Sorting social problems is why we have that government and why we have social workers.

Agencies need to be fit for purpose, staffed by the properly trained and professionaly competant.

They do not need to be based on how much you got in your bucket they need to be based on taxation.

Trouble is going that route would require equitable contribution from everyone, maybe the rich might not be quite as rich. Maybe they might have to settle for the Jag not the Aston, maybe the tax scam might need to be targetted over the benefit fraud. There is shed loads more money in that anyway.

If you care about children in need, shoot pudsey, demand progressive taxation and properly funded public services.

I am sure tonight is great TV, lots of celebrities feeling good about themselves, count me out.

I am touched that so many people are concerned over the plight of children, all that is needed now is to focus that concern properly.


Lovely day, errrrr.....

So this morning dawned bright and clear, time to sharpen the chainsaw, get it fueled up and cutting.

Except as soon as I started to cut there was a ping and the chain snapped, having a chain fly off a chain saw is exactly as alarming as it sounds. Management dived for cover and I played statues, stood there rooted to the spot.

On the scale of things this is exactly what you could start the day without.

Anyway off to the chaisawologist who put in a new link, arguing that the chain is nearly new. Me, I just eyed him doubtfully.

Back home and spark up the saw, not at all impressed with my sharpening skils, this was still too blunt, Not our day then.

Still, a bit of wood got cut and a lot more got chopped up.

We are warm and it is not raining, first time in days for not much wind and no rain.


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Hello White van man......

They are a bit of a legend: the man and it usually is a man in the white van.

Jaguar? Aston Martin? Forget it - if you want to see a vehicle moving quickly look for a Mercedes Sprinter or a Transit in white.

The people who drive these delivery vans are a special breed, almost always on piece work so the more they deliver the more they get paid and the quicker they do their run the sooner they are at home in front of the telly watching footie on sky, reading about the world in the current bun and drinking Carling Black Label.

So anyway today off I went through the vile tempest, taking young D to see the paediatrician. Management had gone off on her own mission to secure a university admission form and had arranged to meet us there.

So there I was in the Pugwat cruising a local narrow local lane when I met him coming the other way.

Forgoing the passing place, white van man just planted the loud pedal and came powering on full pelt. Off the road into the verge I went, into the wet mud went the wheel, the pugwat ground to a halt.

That was me in the technical condition we used to call bolluxed when I was into 4x4. Much water, plentifull mud, no traction.

White van man noted the situation in his mirror then drove on anyway.

I thought some very uncharitable thoughts, contemplated being there next week with a Green Goddess and taking revenge....

Then got out and checked the situation, yup, seriously stuck, was us.

Now of course there are a variety of approaches to being stuck, one very popular one is sit on the loud pedal and sit there with a wheel spinning furiously and uselessly. Generally this is a very good way to make a bad situation tragic.

Gently I reversed the car as far as it would go, then drove forwards. Switching from second where the car applies the torque less savagely to reverse. By gentle rocking I created a bit of a run untill about 20 minutes later by a combination of luck and errrr luck. I had a long enough run to build up enough speed to crash out of the ditch and bounce back on to the road. Leaving the side of the car even more smeared with mud than normal.

Of course I should not really pick on white van man, if you want true insanity look for the milk lorry, these are the drivers the van companies sacked for being too reckless, I reckon they have a contract to turn as much milk into cheese as humanly possible en route to the dairy. These guys drive like they are imortal and have reaction times that would make Jensen Button look as if he was sedated...

Back on track and into hospital, which was good news all round as the pead was very pleased with young D his condition has not deteriorated as she would have expected it to.

Good result then.

Back home and the weather is delivering yet another biblical cloudburst riding on a typhoon tempest.

Thank goodness for lovely log burners.....



Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Cats are great

Today it has been a combination of torrential rain and howling wind.

Management is not the wellest she has ever been, took to her bed this afternoon.

I was left to keep the furnace lit.

So there I was in the living room alone sat on one setee.

Watching in distant slumber Deimund, Da man, Adam and Seren.

4 pictures of leisiure, as rain thrashed the window, it's a cats life aye.


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

When I was young....

When I was young there was this new series from the BBC called "doctor who".

I can still remember watching the first ever episode of Doctor Who.

This was a real time voyage to terror and nights of no sleep.

Daleks viewed from behind the settee.

Sadly the brand seemed to lose it's direction and the plug got pulled till a few years ago when they brought it back.

Without lots of blood everywhere and grisly scenes, it was just as scary as ever.

Then last weekend a special, Gwion could not look away or bear to look either.

Bit like me at 10, management and I have had company in bed ever since.

Some things stand the test of time.


Letter from the prime minister.

Lord bless us all!!

As some of you know I had a bit of a explode in the general direction of the sun the other day and backed it up with a letter to Gordon Brown.

I got a reply today:

I wanted to thank you for your recent e-mail about the private letters I send to bereaved forces families. I was very touched that you got in contact. I appreciate how many things everyone has to fit into a day, so the kindness you’ve shown in finding time to be in touch is very much appreciated.

Anybody who has ever lost someone knows that each individual is irreplaceable. Every single death robs the world of a unique set of talents and leaves a grieving family with a space at the table that nobody else will ever be able to fill. My thoughts and prayers today, as every day, are with those wrestling with the deep sorrow of loss, and with those who are serving Britain far from home.

All of us who love this country, however much we disagree on other questions, can stand united in honouring the courage and the sacrifice of the men and women of the British military. In writing to the families of the fallen, I wanted to convey my sympathy to them and share the enormous pride the country feels in those who risk their lives on foreign streets so that we might be safer on Britain’s streets. Their service has not been in vain, and we shall remember them.

Best wishes

Gordon Brown

Not for a minute do I think it was from the man himself but it's nice that someone replied.


Monday, 16 November 2009

Normal Service.....

So the weekend kicked in with more rain and wind and rain and a leaking central heating pipe and an leaking oil pipe and normal things for the house here.

Having rebooked our weekend away we then noticed that we had something on that weekend and so re booked again which cost 25 pounds because the first time had been the ferry company fault the second ours.

Then this morning into the local collage to ask a few pertinent questions on behalf of Taliesin, apparently the person who took over responsibility for his "special needs" gave them such a priority that they had not enquired if he needed any support on his course even though the tutor had asked for help for a number of students who were struggling with written content. Soooo years of hard work keeping him in school and on track has become, he is a failure and about to quit the course this was the first she claimed to have heard.

What could be described as a fairly robust opinion from his parents was followed with a promise of some immediate action.

I would be there to see how they got on, tomorrow evening I said, I was going to discuss doing a post grad teaching qualification.

Oh yes, said one of them, she was the admissions tutor for that course, Oh boy, don't think I will be offered a place there any time soon then.....

Then home, and there was more, need to sort out parental contact for one of the guys here. Fostering had been none to happy with our comments about the new contact service. Organising contact around what they were prepared to do meaning that a disabled parent had to make 6 bus trips to get there and ended up losing 30 minutes of 2 hours of contact. A contact that started and ended in tears, not quite optimal.

We had said the next one needs to be properly planned and since then had heard nothing from the fostering service.

Bull by the horns time, on the phone to the district team. His SW had gone out said the receptionist then the line went dead. Phone back, next receptionist, this time she had "gone sick". Asked to speak to duty SW and it turned out she was sick, so when was she expected back, errrh she wasn't.

She had it seems handed in her notice and then immediately gone sick, of course no one thought to tell us, or the child.

So where does this leave him when it comes to seeing his parents?

You tell me.

Now, things happen, but if something like that happens once it should not be allowed to happen again. Rather, this is a re run of something that has happened several times before.

People talk a good talk about professional respect, service user involvement and inclusion. Too often the reality is different.

So off we went to phone the fostering team where no one was available to talk to their co professionals.


Friday, 13 November 2009


Just had a text saying the ferry is staying in Roscoff all day today and will not therfore be sailing from Plymouth tonight.

Can't for the life of me work out why........

Could have thrashed my way down to Portsmouth but that ferry sails 2 hours earlier (and might yet be pulled anyway) which would have been barrel of laughs with the weather forecast to be pretty horrid all day.

That said the torrential rain forecast for 10 am is showing no signs of arriving here...


Cosmic Del Boy...

We are off on one of our adventures.

Hmmm, just look at the weather for West Wales and the marine forecast for the Western Channel.

This could all be a bit "character building".


Wednesday, 11 November 2009


It is all turning a bit lively.

We had a nice day, a lot of paper type admin and phone calls, to sort the sort of things we are not very good at sorting.

Now we have a hot house, both fires on go out mode.

My mother said don't come to live here, far too cold, she was incidentally, born about where little D's bedroom is now.

This is a house that can be a bit cool for those who live in towns.

Tonight our living room is 26 degrees and the end bedrooms, usually quite cold are at about the 20 C mark.

Basking in heat, thats us.

But of course, as a plus, our carbon footprint is not huge.


Bad night sleep

The management is not amused, she had a bad nights sleep.

The temperature in our bedroom soared to 23 C, then she opened the door to let some cool air in and, the radiator outside was piping hot.

Terrible to be so warm in November.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Baaad taste

I don't normally comment on broader politics, yeah right as if....

This week I have been appalled at the Current Bun or Sun an alleged newspaper published in Britain.

Those in the UK will probably know what is coming next.

Now, no one can say that to lose ones son in war is not a terrible thing. One that would leave you distraught.

When I heard that our prime minister writes personally in his own handwriting to every one who loses a son in Afghanistan I was surprised.

IF he was being a "look at me aren't I good" politician, making something for himself out of it I would have known.

But no, the man writes himself and tells no one, a human gesture.

Unfortunately, Gordon Brown has only one eye that works and that is not fully functional it means his writing is not tidy, his writing is even worse than mine if that is possible. Or put another way he has a disability.

The poor lady was driven to distraction and in her grief she mistook his disability for a lack of concern and care for detail. She would not have known, but the journalists at the sun would have done.

So they went on the rampage and made cheap publicity out of his disability; I find that very distasteful.

He then went on to phone the lady, stopped his day and got on the blower, when she went off like a balloon saying her son was dead because there were not enough helicopters, he didn't try and defend himself he let her talk, then again did he know the current bun were taping the phone call?

Despicable, despicable people.

Poor poor lady.

What she might not have known is that the chinook that she wanted to fly in and scoop her son to safety simply could not have. All these people who carp about helicopters don't realise what people on the ground say.

Yes they need more of them BUT the chinook in in flight is incredibly vulnerable to rocket propelled grenades, and bringing a chinook down with 30 or so sons and daughters on board would be regarded as a bit of a coup by the Taliban. So for every chinook you need another two helicopters to protect it.

Whether we should be there, in a country that had less to do with Al Quaida than one of it's neighbours that's a serious question, whether there is a deliverable military solution to the immediate problem in Afghanistan, those are serious questions.

Why this country has had a bunch of Chinooks parked in a shed unable to fly for years while Boeing took the money and ran. That's a serious one too.

But of course that would be for a serious newspaper.


Isn't the weather lovely.....

Looking out of my window and the grey sky weeps grey drizzle on to the Welsh landscape.

A day of damp and cold.

A day where the chain saw must rest in the shed and the firewood must lie untouched.

The fire sparks and cracks and the house is warm.

Think I might go back to bed with Iplayer.

Lovely weather...


Monday, 9 November 2009

I wood actually......

Another two tanks of wood cut, but not at all the same league.

Great big blocks of oak and beech, hugely heavy to lug on to the table, a real strain for both chainsaw and operator. Heavy blocks to lift into the wheelbarrow and stack.

Probably only about 8 barrows in total.

But incredibly good firewood for the times of the year you need the fire to burn hot and slow.

Arose this morning and it was 21 C in my living room, cannot remember it being this winter warm in the house, ever. Fire out but lit with very little complication. Need to find a source of newspaper and keep an eye on the kindling store though.

Only one fire going and that on slow.

Management in the bath, me sitting here in a t shirt, wondering if my shoulders will recover - ever.

Thats before I get an axe out, though I did have a little go just to see how hard the wood will be to split. Answer: 1950's Elwell firefighters axe one, hardwood nil.

I do like splitting with the axe, I think I might go off it before the winter is out though...

2 hours of freedom and then the kids come back, ohh god.


Sunday, 8 November 2009

wood you believe it

With a few weeks leisure putting in the new fire over, the small matter of finding something to feed it raised it's head, again.

We tend to categorize our cuts by the number of times I refill the chainsaw. About 45 minutes of running is enough to take it from full to empty. The makita Tears it's way through about about 6 wheel barrow loads of wood doing that.

Put another was that's about 5 days fuel for the big fire, depending on how madly we want it to be burning.

Normally we try and do 2 cuts a day which by the time it is all carted away is enough for anyone.

With most of the kids home we had a bit of a go today; 4 cuts done carted away and stacked. That's quite a lot of wood, almost filled the bedroom in the cottage.

Plus one we did yesterday but yesterdays is a diferent batch of wood, lots more hardwood in it.

"All" we need to do now is to split the wood ready to burn.

Just now I think my everywhere aches. Management says we can stop now, but we go again in the morning.

Tallie spent all day in work and now he is out the back digging a hole in the dying daylight.

I cannot for the life of me work out how he does it.

My living room is like a laundry, the wind so high nothing can go on the line so we are drying everything round the log stove.

Of course the interesting thing about the log stove is that the heat dries the clothes but the air movement from the fire drawing lots of air makes sure the room does not feel damp. In fact the stove really has made a huge difference to the house, not just by adding heat but by moving huge amounts of air.


Thursday, 5 November 2009


In a generation we have seen the virtual consignment to history of an national event.

In my youth Guy Fawkes night was a big social event. Young children made "guys" which were strategically placed outside shops and on street corners, adults were systematically relieved of money by the call "penny for the guy". This money would then be wisely invested in fireworks some of which would be retained for the event of the evening, others would blow the lot on bangers which would be the source of many juvenile pranks and attempts to blow things up.

Communities would organize themselves and plots of waste land would be secured for the bonfire which would contain things like old setees tyres doors and other general waste. Often these would be placed a bit daft and the fire service might end preventing the bonfire turning into conflagration.

Pranks also abounded, so if your neighboring street was having a party you might try and secrete a little something in their bonfire to liven things up. This was a generation that included a lot of people who had been in the services so someone could usually run up an improvised explosive device in the garden shed from common ingredients, meaning every so often a cheery bonfire party might be interrupted by a tremendous explosion!

I am sure people got hurt in these events.

If I am sure people got hurt that way it's matter of public record that lots of people got hurt every year letting off fireworks that even young kids could just walk in and buy.

The mindset was different though. If someone dropped a banger behind you and you got deafened and scared half out of your wits you did not look round for someone to sue. You got your own back.

If you lit a firework in a dangerous way and it went all wrong you didn't sue the manufacturer you told yourself you were a prat.

It started with the at home fireworks, they went, you could not sit there and watch dad try to blow himself up, (something he usually failed to do), then we had the public jamborees, how these were safer is not entirely clear to me.

Something usually went wrong. I remember the rocket that did a low altitude flypast of the crowd before hitting the ambulance roof and exploding in my first aid post when I was doing first aid at one particular display.

It started with an assault on the individual and their alcoholic attempts at self incineration in the garden.

Then the communal fire display became subject to attention. Now you need a licence and a health and safety certificate to hold one. Are we all so daft that we need to be taught to light the blue touch paper and run like hell or that lighting fireworks in the firework box is perhaps not wise?

OK, so maybe there was a case to be made.

I remember some spectacular events, when I was a teenager, at the golf club fire display. Golf clubs were excuses for grown up men to be away from their wives getting very drunk. Oh and driving home was no problem as the chair of the local bench was usually in the bar having after hours drinkies with his mate the chief inspector.

That is an observation, and should not be taken to condone drinking and driving.

So the golf club fireworks bash was a bit beyond what a modern health and safety type would have enough paper to write the dangers of.

Sure enough, things did get beyond silly.

One year, they had mortars, that's a big tube in the ground 3 foot or so deep.

So they dropped one in and it didn't go off.

A minute later someone dropped another one on top and it did.

So did the whole damn lot.

Big style.

The crater, viewed the day after was about 6 foot deep.

At the time we ran like hell then laughed like drains.

More recently, we had a firework display in the valley where after ending the display all the duds and stumps went on the bonfire, it was awesome, watching what happened next I could not believe that someone over 60 could run that fast. Then again there was a mini Hiroshima going on behind him.

It was also brilliant, it was a connection with being alive, it was life and living it.

Firework parties come and go but we remember the ones where something went spectacularly wrong. Sometimes people get terribly hurt, but most often they don't.

Could the increase in mental health problems in society be linked to the limitations we seem to have placed on risk taking behaviour and preventing ourselves from doing things that make us feel alive?

Is the obsession with being safe and avoiding risk dangerous in itself.....


Sunday, 1 November 2009

Genesis, Noah....... Make pumps one.

Last week I must have tempted fate.

I mentioned floods, I might have said something about Noah.

Bad move, Clearly that put me in big G's sights and he decided to show me a proper flood.

Last night it rained and it rained and rained

And then it rained some more.

As the household slumbered water poured over the fields.

It massed at the front of the house and still we slumbered.

It broke through the kitchen floor and still we slumbered.

It ran across the room, and still we slumbered.

It spread, and still we slumbered on.

Morning arrived and the first child rose to a house under water. A 1-2 inch lake covered much of our kitchen and living room.

Action stations!!!!

Management and big D set up a containment zone using towels and the carpet cleaner was rushed into action. Sucking up water by the bucket.

Outside Tallie and I set to with the digger, shovels and picks creating a diversion course and drain to carry water away.

Of course the rain storm continued and we struggled to get the water moving the right way.

Then we pulled a joint apart on the house' water system, if such a things was possible there was now even more water....

Except of course this pipe was spewing water underground so we had to dig down to find it, as it leaked.

Eventually the situation was just grim and management was able to set off, oh yes there was more. Young D was seeing his mum today, so he needed to be at the M4.

We counted without the roads, management phoned to say she had covered a whole 4 miles and so far 14 streams and culverts had overrun the road.

She didn't get to the end of the B road before she was confronted with something a bit more serious, a sea of water. Testing it on foot she got to the point where the water was up to the top of her wellies and decided that discretion is......

She turned round.

This afternoon young P needs to catch a train and Bruce has to be collected. I think I might get that job.

Wonder if she would let me take a Green Goddess.

We have given up on the living room carpet.

I just chopped it into manageable bits which were carried out the front door and dumped.

Even more expense.

The new stove has been running flat out to dry everywhere out and, I must say it has not done too bad a job so far.

Management is wandering the house with a fixed shocked stare, verging on catatonia, I am not entirely sure this is her idea of fun...

Apparently she found a piece of slate on the beach the other day, it had a hole in it, she was told such a thing would bring us good luck. Thank goodness for that, just imagine what it would be like if we had bad luck....