Thursday, July 27, 2017

You're not stupid; you're Einstein

I apologised to Younger Son for not getting gluten-free bread for the beach barbecue. 'I'm so stupid,' I said.
Both Sons instantly said, 'You're not stupid!'
'You mustn't say that ... you're forgetful not stupid.'
'And,' Younger Son added, 'they say forgetfulness is a sign of intelligence.'
Elder Son looked at him doubtfully but didn't say anything.

I love my children.

P.S. Younger Son directed me to this link as proof. According to new research forgetting is a key part of learning. "It’s important that the brain forgets irrelevant details and instead focuses on the stuff that's going to help make decisions in the real world."

It puts me in the same grouping as Einstein.

P.P.S. But I don't know why this post is highlighted in white. But Einstein probably wouldn't know either.

My Fitbit isn't broken and I didn't fall out of a tree

My FitBit isn't broken. It's just that I can't read what it says. And I can only charge it if I hold it between my fingers for two hours. So I can't. Apart from that it's fine.

And I didn't fall out of a tree. I just misjudged the distance to the floor. My shoulder still hurts two months later but Husband says that's normal.
older woman climbing a tree

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How long does it take to choose a scrapbook?

That depends. I decided to make a scrapbook for GrandSons1 and 3 who've been to visit so they can look back on their holiday. And add to it with other photos and drawings or writing.

a) traditional paper, 32 pages, £1.99;
b) traditional paper, 96 pages, price unknown;
c) thicker paper, 32 pages, £3.99.

a) is the thicker paper double the quality?
b)  will they ever manage to fill - before they get bored - 96 pages?
c) can I be bothered to go to the counter and ask the price of the big one?

I bought the £1.99 one.

And will recount the Gower Chilli Festival Chilli Cook-out competition that Elder Son entered for the second year. Last year he came ninth; this year he was third! Only behind the 'professional' amateurs who compete all over the country. And he has qualified now for the UK competition. 
Gower Chilli Festival cook-out 2017
Husband was, as last year, tent-putter-upper and general dogsbody and the team name was Pork-Chop Express. No, I didn't recognise the significance either but apparently it's from Big Trouble in Little China, a 1986 film starring Kurt Russell. It was a slightly misleading team name though as Elder Son's chilli was made with short rib beef.

The scrapbook will also feature images from the afternoon at the beach where Younger Son tested out his brand-new fire pit and cooked us hot dogs for dinner.
Brothers relaxing.
And there'll be photos of them being very brave and going in our pool even though the temperature had dropped to a chilly 22 degrees. And following the clues to find the buried treasure!

It's a good job they knew enough about football to know that Gareth Bale plays it without knowing what club he plays for as it turns out that Granny doesn't know either. One of the clues was stuck on a Barcelona FC football and Gareth Bale plays for Real Madrid. They could have been looking for a long time.

Toby, our new grandpup, helped to dig up the treasure.

And this was my best attempt. Trying to get them both to stay still at vaguely the same time while facing in roughly the same direction for long enough for my automatic-focusing camera to focus was hard.
I only managed this because food was involved.

P.S. If anyone has lost a BFC football we have it. It appeared in our garden and no-one has claimed it.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

I will be a national hero

One of my very first blog posts from 0ctober, 2005. Sadly I never did start that campaign.

The trouble with Americans is: they can't spell. I suspect this is the root of all their irritating little habits, like eating too much and waging war in foreign lands. It gives them a deep sense of inferiority.

I shall start a campaign to bring good spelling to the US of A. It will change the path of world history and I will be declared a hero and have a day named after me. They will call it ... oh, perhaps they'll call it Spelling Day, and it will be on my birthday. Or maybe, as no doubt it will be a long process, on my deathday. 

There will be a national holiday and everyone will go to ice cream parlours and eat prettily-coloured cones with their neighbours.

Until then I must remember that the spellchecker is American and thus cannot spell.

The interesting thing about this topic is that I tried to post it once and it disappeared into the ether. It is probably residing in the CIA's database even now and I will be rounded up whenever there is a threat to American security. I have seen 24; I know what their computers can do in the blink of an eye. The question is: will I be allowed to post it this time?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Those were the days - cleaning day part 4

wooden floorWhen we first moved to this house some 29 years ago I loved the wooden floors in the hall and dining-room so much I would get down on my hands and knees and polish them regularly. (Well, a few times.) Today they're lucky if they get a brush over them. 

It's not that I love them any the less it's just that I've taken Shirley Conran's advice - life's too short to stuff a mushroom - to a new level.

This house was built in about 1952 for a doctor and his family; we bought it from them. Because of his profession they were able to have more wood - it was still restricted by rationing - than most people but only enough for the two areas. The rooms are also higher than in other houses of the same period again thanks to more generous rations allowed for those working in the field of medicine.

It may sound crazy but he did have his surgery in his home so it does make sense.

So we're only the second family to live in this house in the 64 years it's been built. We like it. I'll always remember a woman who called doing a survey. She commented that as she was walking up the steps she felt, 'This is a happy house.' It is.

People in town - cleaning day part 3

The trouble with cleaning is that, inevitably, at some point you have to stop actual cleaning in order to 'sort out stuff'. So it was while I was sorting out stuff that I came across a bundle of photos. I'd taken them in town one day many moons ago, I think, with the intention of using the characters as spurs for stories. Going through them today I could only find two that seemed even halfway interesting.
people in town

people in town
I particularly like the second photo of the miserable or maybe tired woman in front of the children's roundabout. If I had time/enthusiasm I could write a story about that. Pretend I'm still a writer as I was in 2001 when I got paid real money for it.
a cop for christ

The dish cloth episode - cleaning day part 2

Dish cloth
Husband called me, 'Where's the dish-cloth?'
'I don't know.'
'Are you washing them?'

tea towel versus dish cloth
Tea towel 

I gave up trying to clean the bathroom and went down to the kitchen.
'There it is,' I said, pointing to the sink where Husband had put the dish-cloth in a bowl of soapy water.
'No, not that! Those things,' Husband pointed to the towel rail where we keep the tea-towels.
'Tea-towels you mean?'
Husband paused only momentarily before replying, 'No. Dish cloths. They're cloths that we use to dry dishes. Dish cloths.'

Considering spatial awareness - cleaning day part 1

spatial awareness
I mean, why would you want to work this out?
Cleaning day today. Have I mentioned that I hate cleaning? So today will be a day of many blog and Facebook posts. (I need little rests.) With a bit of spatial awareness thrown in for the sake of those who find cleaning incredibly boring. Like me.

* * * * * * * 
Husband looked at the quilt and at the suitcase. 'It's not going to fit in there,' he said.
'Yes it is,' I said.
He laughed.
'I took a double quilt out of it so another double must fit into it.'

What I wasn't taking into account was the fact that the quilt I'd removed from the suitcase is about three times thinner than the one we're trying to put in.

We gave up.

I should know better than to argue with Husband about such things; he has much better spatial awareness.

Apparently it's a man thing. Whoops, that's probably sexist. But that's the way it is in our house. I suppose I am quite behind the times in feminist thinking in that I do most of the cleaning, shopping and cooking, and all of the washing while Husband does gardening, decorating, and fixing things. But that's the way we both like it and it works for us. 

And I should add that today he's cleaning the kitchen!

A quick google confirmed that research has shown that men do tend to do better at spatial awareness tests than women, however, there was a suggestion that education can change that. A bit late for me I think. I shall continue to call Husband and say things like, 'Will I get everything in this saucepan in that jug?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I thought I was going to need a man

There was a little bush just where I didn't want a little bush. I had mentioned it to Husband and suggested he remove it but advancement was slow. As in not happening. So I set to and attacked it myself.
Digging up a bush
Having stuck my fork in and worked my way around it several times without any obvious progress I began to think that I might need a man for the job. However I was forgetting I have WonderWoman capabilities.
I don't have a photo of me sitting on my bottom when it finally gave and I fell backwards. (That's George's back end you can just see: he likes to watch and encourage.)

I said to Husband, 'We could have a little arch and grow roses over it!' (I've been inspired by my visits to gardens recently.)
'Nah, it would spoil the view.'
'We'll get some of those nice big daisies then.'
'No, they're too big.'

I would argue some more but Husband is the grower in our family. I am the clearer/destroyer. But for the moment it can stay empty. Elder Son and family are down this coming weekend and I'm planning a treasure hunt with real buried treasure!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Today before lunch and bible study in Zac's we did some gardening in the house across the road. It's been empty for years and gets very over-grown - and many of our friends use it as a rubbish bin for their cans and bottles so it seems appropriate that we should do something to clear up.
The workers.
The cuttings and rubbish.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I had a panic attack

panic attack
Probably not what would be medically defined as a panic attack but it was by my standards.

I went cold and faint, my tummy dropped to my feet and my brain filled with storm clouds. The worst symptoms eased off gradually but the storm raged all day. 

What was worse is that it's the first one I've had for ages, years even. My pills keep my anxiety under control most of the time so I'd almost forgotten what it was like. Even now writing about it - and it happened two days ago - I begin to feel fretful. I can't go back there. I won't go back there.

P.S. Having googled panic attack I see that my attack was fairly typical, which is sort of a relief: it makes me feel less of a fraud.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Warrior princess Gwenllian and me

family tree, Rhodri Mawr, Princess Gwenllian
I mentioned that I have some illustrious ancestors. Husband spent a long time working on my family history and stumbled across a link to a tree created by an academic in Welsh history. From this link he was able to draw up my tree to show the link between me and numerous famous people including Welsh princes and princesses.

As I say, the original appeared to be a fairly well-researched and academic investigation and is probably quite reliable back until the twelfth century. Following William the Conqueror's invasion more birth/death records were kept, certainly of the nobility, and lines can be traced through time. Before that family history is more about possibility and guesswork than fact so my links to Joseph of Arimathea and indeed Julius Caesar are slightly more suspect. 

One wall of our spare bedroom is covered with one branch of my tree consisting of a few hundred people; in the whole tree there are thousands.

The arrows pointing to the yellow boxes at the top left indicate the presence of Rhodri Mawr or Rhodri the Great. Rhodri gained the epithet Great  both because his kingdom stretched from the north, Anglesey, to the south, Gower, and because he was a fierce warrior.

Leap forward a few centuries and you find Gruffudd ap Rhys, prince of Deheubarth, who was married to Gwenllian, daughter of the king of Gwynedd.

At the time the Normans, who had built Kidwelly castle as a defence against the Welsh, were in possession of it and Gruffudd set off for North Wales to plead for help from his father-in-law to defeat the them. While he was away Norman reinforcements landed and marched to the castle. 

Gwenllian seized the opportunity to prevent the extra troops arriving and gathered a small army to go and do battle, a battle in which she was defeated and her son killed. She was immediately ordered to be beheaded. Although she was unsuccessful it is her spirit and bravery that have ensured her a place in the annals of Welsh history. And I am ashamed to admit I knew nothing of her until our visit to Kidwelly castle on Friday
Later ancestors actually lived in the castle but it all gets a bit confusing so I'll just sit back and relish a warrior Welsh princess as my 22nd great grandmother.