Thursday, 31 March 2011

Weather the weather

A  couple of days ago i announced the arrival of spring in West Wales. Silly mistake.

The mist has come down the fire is roaring and we are into the last of last years wood but of course being at the furthest end of the shed it is the oldest and therefore the dryest.

The student is back being a student and reading books about social work theory.

Ready for the last big push to do 3 essays and her practice placement. 


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The student has D.I.C after her name.

Finally it is over, quivering like a leaf and after lots and lots of trials and tribulation off went the student intending only to do a diagnostic for her last module. When she got there, having done one diagnostic and on a tidal wave of confidence She went for the actual test and got a creditable 86%. 76% would have done but she PASSED.

That's all that matters., she tells me she has forgotten it all already, she NEVER wants to see databases or spreadsheets ever again.

To add to the general air of positiveness the builder is ready to crack on with fitting the bathroom. If you think that fitting a bath, toilet, wash basin and hot water tank into an 806 might be a bit of a squeeze you would have been exactly right.

Branwen found it highly amusing when, half way home i had to slam on the brakes, and got hit in the back of the head by a bath panel.

But the highlight of the day is the DIC, the student has done her ECDL!!

She is visibly happier, sitting on the bed, with a glass of white in her hand. She looks happy and relaxed for the first time in weeks.

She is the student D.I.C. Rodney...


Monday, 28 March 2011

A day on the tiles....

Now the management is still locked in conflict with her diploma in computing or EC Bloody L as she now calls it. She is doing data bases, or rather they are doing her head in.

So anyway it was left to me to go, bright and early this morning and sort out a whole load of radiators, bath cylinder and so on for the house next door. Of course the young lady who works there loves to come round periodically with her husband and check what we have brought back from France on our latest foray.

This means that I get rather good prices on the sorts of goods

Today though this was all against a backdrop of swearing as the student really struggled with her DIC.

Eventually she had to throw in the towel or throw the computer across the room so she did the former.

Actually the later might have been cheaper as she decided we needed to go and get tiles.

In the end it proved less expensive than it might have done to buy  3 packs of great big tiles for the bathroom and 11 packs of smaller ones for the walls with some big tubs of grout to complete the order.

Now I must tell you I could not have loaded that lot on to the trolley without her helpful encouragement.

Driving the 806 with that lot piled against the tail gate was quite an amusing experience in an "oh my god we're all going to die" way. It's probably the most effective anti handling kits I've come across.

Soon we came home and again we had the able encouragement of the student who went and made tea, we unloaded the vast number of tiles and grout from the car.

She has been on the ECDL since tea time,  she can take no more, she has switched to I Player and a glass of  very good white.


Sunday, 27 March 2011

The private sector does things so much better.

The mantra says that the private sector is always far better at getting things done than bureaucracy bound government provision.

My daughter Bethan has been signed off the dole and into training for work delivered by a private provider. The bits i am gleaning are nothing to crow about. People who do not engage with the project are tolerated while they sit there getting paid to do nothing as of course the agency is getting paid for every bottom on seat, even if the bottom is not actually there at the time.

There have been gems like the people who were offered job placements, turned up, were asked to work, so they walked out.

Now this behaviour needs to have been challenged a long time back, but of course we are in pure Cameron country  so the private sector would have been performance focused and sorted them out, or did they continue to  take the money and let them go and sit in the corner and play cards?

The alternative being throwing them off the programme and  the profit going with them.

So I wonder if the private sector really is the answer.

Bethan has an interview next week with a care home, this is a home that cannot keep its staff and will pay very little to have her there, she is basically a subsidised member of staff in a place that pays people so little they walk as soon as they can.

Hmmm, they need staff anyway, so she could probably have got a proper job there without the weeks of training. They will probably take her on when she finishes as a trainee, unless of course they can have another freebie.

This would of course put Bethan back on the dole but there might have been some wasted money, well actually if this was the council wasting money we would be up in arms.

It's the private sector taking money - so that must be good then...


Saving a fortune.....

The management has banned talk of social work ethics, morals, practice, human growth and development, she is having a weekend off. Well, not strictly true as i write she is locked in combat with the last element of her diploma in computing.

She tells me also that all the peas are in and the beans too.

This has been accomplished with the aid of several trips to get horse manure and a trip to the garden centre, money has flowed like water.

This is saving us a fortune she tells me - could have fooled me...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Half a million voices.

It was interesting to watch today the debate on our television channel. I say ours because it is exactly that, it's not funded by Rupert Murdoch or advertising it's the BBC that we all fund. For now....

There was an interesting debate, where an economist was trundled in to say these here cuts are everything we need to sort out the country.

He was a bit flumoxed by the chap who speculated that, if we were short of money, could we affoard to cut corporation tax?

There's a funny thing, if we are broke how come we have enough  to let companies keep a bigger part of their profits.

There is also the Robin Hood tax, that would help a lot and of course getting Vodaphone and Osbourne to pay the tax they should not what they would like to. 

Unless of course this government and it's big society is about looking  after big buisiness. 

The economist also trolled out the old one about Labour spending more than they could affoard even when you take into account the banks betting themselves bankrupt.

Now of course the government borrowed shed loads of money, they had no option, the banks were in free fall and that brought the whole deck of cards down. They either borrowed the money short term and hoped that the mess the bankers had made was repairable.

Now we are being asked to accept lots less and the corporations will pay even less than they do now.

It would be OK (well yes maybe not) if these people who blame Labour for this mess had been saying the bankers needed more regulation rathher than accusing the government of being too tight on the market.


A grand day out.....

The weather has finally turned. This morning the back garden got strimmed and a huge pile of firewood was processed.

The afternoon we went for a walk along the bottom of the valley to the errrr pub. There I discovered we had enough for a drink for everyone, with 10 p change. Then it was back the same way to the car a walk through, what I'm sure you will agree is lovely countryside.

The weather is nice but the evening are still in the realm of chill though. The fire is going well the living room is warm and by banning Taliesin we are in a house that's warm enough without actually melting anything. He is a bit of a reptile and left in charge, his record for temperature in the living room this WINTER was 38c! Which was pretty good as the temp outside that night was about -6.

Today he had a good day, he is 18 next week and as a treat his boss had booked him a flying lesson as a surprise. So off he went today thinking he was going to price up a job, 30 minutes later he was at 5000 feet flying over the house at 100 MPH!!!

For much of that time Taliesin was flying the plane himself. 

He is pretty chuffed and who would not be at 18?

We are changing his name to Biggles and i definately not mentioning that the government will shortly have a load of Harrier jump jets for sale.....


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Friday, 25 March 2011

Not my day,,,,,,,

So the day started with the garden as a priority, the small mower has stubbornly refused to start. Stripping it down prooved conclusively that no one who had ever held a spanner had been involved with designing this damn thing.

So on to the big hayter which seems to have eaten all it's oil and is now sat in the middle of the field with a siezed engine.

Then back to the house, the student has seen a sea change in her state. Pre degree she was a proper full on technophobe. Today, when she heard I had bought a CD  she asked why on earth did I buy one when I could just download it instead.

But of course we could not have a chillin day, the inspectors are in and the fostering team have to show they are there for a purpose and they have heard of things like fostering regulation.

So we had an afternoon of social work.

What is a real daft one is how their attitude has changed now that the student is not going to be one of us she is, so they think, going to be one of them.

Silly mistake - on their part.



Thursday, 24 March 2011

Spring is in the air.

Spring is in the air,  the daffodils are out and our trees are beginning to bud. For the first time in a while I wandered round outside in a t shirt and  wound the car windows down as I drove past fields of young lambs in the brilliant spring sunshine..

All is well with the world.

It should also be factored in that the student returned triumphant from uni yesterday with her development essay in and her law degree returned with a totally acceptable mark, considering she had convinced herself she was going to fail. Even happier returning today with another module of her diploma in computing finished. She now has just the one to do which, bearing in mind 3 weeks ago she was convinced she would never get any of it done, is pretty good going.

So all in all she is happy, she has awarded herself a couple of days "off" apparently I will be relaxing too. A relaxing mow of couple of acres of field and I thought I heard the chainsaw get a mention too. 

I love life here....

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The day is done

Thank goodness the day has been survived.

The student tore off unfeasably early on intelectual growth bent.

Last night was a bit of a late ish one with her essay done eventually.

I followed on up the M4 to do some interviewing  of students, not the best batch ever, more fails than passes.

Lots of vegetable oil burnt to get there and get home

A text message from her suggesting that maybe the car was not quite right.

The pin sharp handling AX has indeed become a bit of a camel.

So it was dropped at the greasy garage tonight for sorting tomorrow which in turn means a complex morning of running round after young adults getting them where they need to be on time. 


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

It is done...

The student has finished her essay

Life will return to tough... 

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Greetings from a duck.....

Tonight, there will be people out there on the road off their heads on drugs, the police are out there, blue lights primed to chase them home from the pub and quite right too.

There will also be people out there really not at all fit to drive, but these will not be in any sort of trouble or at risk of a pull. These though will have been prescribed  their drugs from a person at a desk and got them from the Chemist.

There are a whole raft of things out there the doc can give you that will affect your driving at least as much as a couple of sherbets at the local.

Diazepan springs to mind as it has a mechanism of action very similar to alcohol.

Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory are another. The drugs you might get, for example, if you get gout.

I mention this solely as, this morning, I left here and drove along the bottom of the valley, most impressed by the shapes forming outside the window but not really in any state to be steering a ton of metal at 40 MPH. Having a reaction time measured in hours. It may have said "driving reactions may be impaired" on the box but it would have taken a good few glasses of wine to get me in that sort of state.

With the NSAI's it's more of a roulette than wine. Always they help with the gout, sometimes they make me feel sick, sometimes they come with the thruppenys and occasionally with not much by way of warning they make me think I might be a duck called Timothy.

I try to avoid taking them if I can.....


Saturday, 19 March 2011

Quit mowning about life

Another lump of lawn cut today still not got round to getting the little mower running.  In the way of these things I had to taxi /Bethan to town and taxi Branwen home. At the same time Serenity got taxied to get her car

The student has been in her lair all day and nearly 1000 words got written. A very classy white is chilling in the fridge, a bottle of which will be her reward for reaching her target for today.


Esay Essay Essay

The dreaded and dreadful Diploma in Computing has been pushed to one side and student is now locked into essay mode.

This is not necessarily good news.  4000 words in 4 days, could be a recipe for swearing.

Me, I have decided it's time I finished mowing the jungle and got the second lawn mower running.

There is safety in  being outside the house.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

A quiet week

With the the weekend shot out and away we got on with the week. A maelstrom of things for me and a Diploma in Computing week for her.

With bigger global events playing out the the background. You get a "not in front of the children" feel for both Japan and Libya.  The 7th fleet got the hell out of there but citizens are told not to be within 50 miles if they are from the UK and USA, 20 if they are Japanese, and what on earth is happening in Libya is any ones guess but we are going for a no flying zone which will kick in after the event and involve the UK. Of course we had the very tools needed to enforce the zone, Ark Royal and Harrier.

Oh sorry we scrapped them so now will be "contributing" the Typhoon and this will operate out of Cyprus which will involve mega flights and major air to air refuelling.  I hope the whole enterprise will be in the private sector as otherwise we could not possibly afford it because we are cutting back on everything, oh hang on Libya has an oil field we will be there tomorrow....


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Let's be neoliberal

There is a business opportunity ongoing in Japan.

Can we go out there and turn a penny?

People in need of basics of life, is there profit in that?

Those reactors on fire, is there an earner in that?

How can we turn a yen?

Does this form a moral ethical basis for life?

You tell me.


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Saw much to mow about.

It has been a bit of a long weekend, yesterday was easier. The student chasing round doing her Diploma in Computing with an essay to do as well. I am finding out how out of touch with developmental psychology I am, and she is reading all this new stuff.

Last night, with yesterday  being her birthday, and how better to celebrate than reading psychology texts, we went out. We had a seriously dear night out in a fantastic restaurant.

This morning it was worksville, we still have the fire to burn and we are actually getting low on chopped wood.

So it was hi ho for the woodpile and chainsaws are us. We processed a huge amount of slab wood in not much time. With that done and chopped and bunged in the cottage I was out the field with the mower.

The student had a family visitor and was therefore on leisure bent, some serious gossiping.

This left me free to go charging round the field with the big mower. This is of course after the chainsaw morning, and  yes mowing was a bit tiring especially as the grass was so long it could only be mowed slowly and the mower kept getting seriously stuck in holes it would have breezed through at speed. I can confess to being a bit tired.

Good weekend though.



Thursday, 10 March 2011

the computer expert.....

As part of her diploma in computing the student has been doing more and more modules of the ECDL. This has meant a deal of swearing perplexed looks and a computer in mortal danger of leaving the house via the upstairs window.

The week started with Word, lots of words in fact and most of them not very polite. But a diagnostic was done, confidence was upped and she past with a comfortable 82 percent.

On a roll she piled into power point  did the diagnostic and failed by one mark. Lots of points were made very powerfully when she got home and another go was in order. This being her second full attempt at the power point module. So anyway off she went this morning with much trepidation to have another go.

As we all sat at home there was considerable concern, would the cats all have to be locked out to keep them safe. Would children need to take to their beds early to avoid the wrath of Tarne.....

No, she came home in beaming benevolence with a score of 91 percent, beyond a comfortable pass. She is in a good mood, and of course it's her birthday this weekend. Still no idea what to get her, she did hint she might like to be taken for a meal. So i suppose I will have to check if the local pub has her favourite flavour crisps, as I've said before I never skimp when it comes to the student and I am a true romantic at heart.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Mow mow mow your lawn....

So anyway i threw in the towel yesterday, being tired with  a vengance.

This was Taliesin' cue, he who managed to get the mower running when Iwas a sweaty profane mess after lunch, off he went. I am not sure what he did but he managed to snap the drive belts for the cutting deck.

To be fair to him the belts were right on the end of their adjustment making me wonder if the guy wot sold us the mower last year was telling the truth when he said he had changed the belts.  Since there are three in total and we have now changed all of them.

But anyway, 

This was my excuse to run off and get new belts, then change them which is turning into a job of technical complexity that makes building a nuclear reactor as easy as, well, easy anyway...

The student meanwhile has nearly done another module of her ECDL.

Could even be a pass tomorrow.



Sunday, 6 March 2011

Big acres....

We don't have masses of land, 6 acres, thats more than a lot of parks in town mind.

Of course we are having another annual bash sometime in July when it will be Branwen and Taliesin's "official" 18th party.

Bethans last year was a simply fantastic do, lots of people who hardly knew each other, of course that is either a recipe for success or pugilism. It was really good as it turned out, the weather could not have been better. The company was great, all in all one of the best parties ever.

I am thinking we need to find an excuse to hold one every year.

Of course it had to happen somewhere and in the house would not have been a good idea.

So we made room in our bottom field, the one that looks out over cardigan bay, where about 8 years ago we planted a semi circle of shrubs and dug a fire pit in the middle.

Ran power down, borrowed a small PA system, set up the barbie and had the fantastic party.

It started about 4 pm Saturday and sort of wound down about 10 pm Sunday. 

Of course it meant having room for people to run about  and for people to camp.

Which in turn meant short grass.

We have a big ride on mower for all the use that is, they are fine on flat lawns but stick them in a proper field and what you get is lots of noise chipped blades and snapped drive belts.

So last year we got a Hayter Condor with 11 hp honda power and Hydrostatic drive. Basically is scythes it's way through long grass with you tripping over clumps of mow behind it, then lunches it's way through short stuff with you hanging on for dear life.

After lunch today we got it out and got it going, then I set to and mowed an acre in about an hour and  half.

If you think thats a lot you are barking up the right tree.

The student came along behind with a rake collecting the grass into piles for composting. The field being a mix of grass mowed last year and 18 inch high stuff that has not been mowed for 10. Several one ton sand bags are completly full.

Which will be great for the garden next year, but the mowing has left my shoulders on fire and she has had to go in the bath and apply medicinal whisky to ease the pain. Me, I opened a botle of Lambig, that should do it.  


Children can save your life....

One of the children just reminded me it's the students birthday this week.

Something I had completly forgotten. It's amazing how children can save your life, she would not have mentioned it but there would have been silent hell to pay.

I must get myself organised to get her a romantic present, but what, she allready has a big mower, a rotivator, a strimmer and lots of wheelbarrows.

Maybe a scythe would be the right thing to get her.


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Boing spring is nearly here

The fire was out most of the day, how good is that??

Gardening got done, the student is fed up, she needs to do the huge essay but the garden is calling.

I need to get the lawn mowers back on the run, sort the flatbed, bring Gloria back to issue state.

Firewood needs to be chainsawed so we can start next winters stock.

The house next door is really starting to come together.

Could be done in a week or three.

That would be a real result.   

Getting that place sorted with a tennant in residence would be a good part of our finincial plan,

Well of course that implies we have a financial plan......

Other than muddle.

Muddle has worked for us.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Ie dros Gymru

Well we got through the big day yesterday, went down quite late to vote and cause a bit of a sensation. Turn out had been low so three people arriving together counted as a "surge" as far as the electoral officer was concerned.

I am rewriting this post as it struck me, after I posted that half the world might not have the blindest idea what  I  was on about.  For a very long time people have been campaigning for greater autonomy in the "principality" of Wales. This dates back to the 50's but key dates have been referendums in 1979 which voted no and one in 1997 which voted yes but by a whisker.

I have always been part of the campaign for greater power to Wales and it was odd to think that I had been campaigning at her age for what Bethan was voting on yesterday.

The clever bit of the campaign has been the no vote, people "real Wales" it was clear at the beginning they were unlikely to win it so they did not register a campaign which meant that the government sponsored TV ads and posters and broadcasts the yes campaign should have been able to screen were not allowed to go ahead.

I think they rightly worked out that a full on campaign would have increased turnout and they would have got an ever bigger drubbing than the one they collected. Lets remind ourselves voters voted nearly 2 - 1 for increased powers.

Now of course you have the likes of UKIP saying that the 70 percent who did not vote were all no voters. Really? It had been on the news all along that there was likely to be a comfortable majority voting yes. So people really were that keen they would have made a point of getting out to vote no.

If anything the low turnout might be indicative of people thickening it's in the bag anyway.

But anyway, we are at the stage where we have won, Wales gets to make it's own law in  many areas.

The white paper on social care is a completely different animal to the English plans and the NHS will not be recognisable to English people in a couple of years.

I think we must give thanks to  Cameron  and Clegg too, people are so fed up of the coalition there was an element not so much as sticking 2 fingers up to Westminster as dropping their jeans and mooning at them too....



Apparently the new tourism minister is looking to boost tourism. Nothing wrong in that, The tools will be some wedding and a jubilee of some sort.

Yup that will definitely boost tourism, give me the dates, I am off to Brittany....


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Being Welsh

Gobeitho fod gan fy nghenedl yr hyder i bleidleisio dros ei hynan heddi.