Saturday, 21 May 2022

Andra Day - Rise Up

I love this song, obviously inspired by Maya Angelou.
An anthem for keeping

It’s Saturday night and I’ve just had a delightfully hot long shower after work. 
Covered in dogs I’m now watching the 1971 The French Connection and I’ve forgotten just how good it is .but I need to go to bed soon as I’m up in the morning 
I can’t wait to go part time. Only a month or so to go.
It’s almost dusk and a man is shooting rabbits in the field with a powerful air rifle 
I can’t find Albert in the cottage so I’ve just called over for him to be careful as Albert too is hunting rabbits.
The man didn’t look pleased
I didn’t care.
For Albert limped up out of the grass when he heard my voice .
Mrs Trellis left a phone message worried about the war memorial inside the Church 
My elder sister messaged asking what I wanted for my birthday
I asked for a super king sized lightweight duvet 

Another two friends have messaged me but I’m tired so I promised myself to answer them tomorrow night ….I ate some cold sushi rice with chicken then  drank a gin and tonic on the patio before returning to Gene Hackman 
It’s almost dark 
And the pipistrelle bats are roaring up and down the lane like a Top Gun video with Mary watching them as though she’s sat at Wimbledon 

'Still I Rise' by Maya Angelou

The poem is new to me 
It slaps you hard when heard for the first time does it not ?
The words AND the performance 

It’s Nu’s birthday today, she’s in Turkey 
Off to work

Friday, 20 May 2022

First Kiss

Kitchen table
The bantam cockerel is noisy next door which is strange as it’s 10.30.
I’m planning my cooking for the weekend as I’m working both days
Katsu curry, sushi and mushroom noodles.
Tonight I’m out to dinner for a colleagues leaving do .
The 1970s Italian in Conwy, Alfredo’s 

More coffee, me thinks, then I need to post some birthday cards.
Amongst others it’s Nu’s birthday tomorrow.

My nephew texted me yesterday
The message was simple and to the point.
Julie and I had our first kiss today” 
I was touched he had shared the milestone with me and managed a exuberant reply of “ OMG !”
“ Yep “ came the economical and proud response.
I told him to keep on practicing if he liked it 
And he sent me lots of laughing emojis 

Now my first kiss with a girl was a somewhat overblown and unpleasant affair, Her name was Eirian  and the kiss was wet and sloppy and passionless. She had a bosom that acted as though it had a brain of its own and I felt somewhat hemmed in by it and Eirian’s lips as I lay prostrate on her parents couch.
I was sixteen and disappointed 

I was 18 when I was kissed by a man. 
It felt like a one off as it was by the brother of my then girlfriend and although it felt right in so many ways, it totally felt wrong in others. 

It was six years later when I was more grown up when I had my second , proper snog with a man.

Now this too was a strange affair which happened after midnight in the back entrance doorway of Bootham Park Hospital’s psychiatric wing.
He was a policeman with a thick black beard who had stopped for a cuppa at our mother and baby unit
I was showing him out when he unexpectedly pushed me against the door and kissed me.
If there was more to the moment, like the build up of flirting or any furtive blushing , I can’t recall it. 
I always remember him as being tall and cheerful, and full of manly smiles.
I wonder now if he was just a security guard. 

But his kiss was a million miles away from the ones I had experienced before.
And one or two since.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Downton ( Spoilers)


 I felt like a Sunday afternoon film today.
Nothing too taxing.
Just something to wash over me .
It had to be Downton Abbey a new Era .
Now watching Downton is a bit like attending a works reunion or a night out with old school mates. 
You are visiting with people that you like but you haven’t really got enough time to talk to.
24 main characters within a two hour storyline? 
Therefore everything plot line is hurried and save for a couple of scenes, most of the pathos and drama is lost.
It must be slightly annoying for some to watch their favourite characters, for instance  Anna, Mr Bates and Danka who just stand around muttering the odd word and I had to smile at Imelda Staunton who popped up in three scenes only to say something like I need a cup of coffee and I’m off to a sleep before exiting stage left.

But it’s very silly and lovely to look at , what with Downton being used as the  backdrop for a cinema shoot as most of the toffs relocate to the south of France to take possession of a villa left to Dowager some seventy years previously.
And in good fairy tale style all the romantic loose ends are tied up with Baxter, Mosely, Mrs Padmore and 
Barrow finding happier endings.

Of course it is Maggie Smith’s swan song as the wisecracking Lady Dowager and rather movingly her final scene with the glorious Penelope Wilton ( her nemesis for all of the tv series ) is sweet and unhurried and incredibly poignant 
Take your tissues

It was sunny in Chester when I left the cinema and it was nice to sit in the sun on Northgate street and listen to a busker playing a Spanish guitar

I fell asleep 

Wednesday, 18 May 2022



Gawd it was a busy shift, somewhat fraught and rather stressful 

I’m now drinking a huge gin with a wonderful long slice of cucumber 

Watching Sewing Bee

I’d love to meet the three presenters over dinner

Bucket Of Coffee

 Bucket of coffee.
It’s a bright morning.
Bracing in the lane.
The wind turbine over the valley at Marian Mawr is working again and there is enough breeze to have it turning, albeit slowly. 
The woodpecker is busy.
And early too, as it’s just past six.
I am pink, 
Pink after a hot shower 
And I feel as clean as you only used to feel the Sunday night before school.
Dorothy is sulking,
And has adopted a strange position in the kitchen reading chair
She knows I’m off to work

Tuesday, 17 May 2022


Post Covid choir lockdown has seen a sudden burst in new male choristers . One younger man with a higher range has been nabbed by the female tenors, all of whom looked suitably chuffed. The other guy sat next to me .
Jamie , still bursting from his yearly obsession with Eurovision , announced loudly that we were going to learn this year’s Icelandic entry IN Icelandic and I heard the new man mutter “ oh bollocks “ under his breath. It was a euphemism for what have I got myself into ?
I think he enjoyed the session.

Anyhow I think we sounded better than the original to be fair . 

I’ve talked before about the power of singing in a choir and  tonight I was reminded of the special camaraderie shared voices generate . 
The good humour and the kindness especially .
The younger man sang rather well, and it was lovely to see many of the choristers going up to him at the end of the class to tell him so.

The face to face kindness and good humour I mentioned have reminded me that some of the negative and indeed nasty blog comments received recently have really been inappropriate and unfortunate………and bad habits of internet life.

And I’m tired of them and it..toxic and sad as the whole experience has become

My Laburnum


I’ve spent most of the day cleaning away the dust and mess from ten days of workman. 
Four loads of washing hang drying on the garden walls, my gates and the field gate and the carpets have been shampooed with hot water and hints of lemon juice.
I had smoked salmon for lunch, eaten with long green beans cooked in garlic. 
And had a break in the Churchyard where the blue Alkanet frames the yellow Welsh poppies in an Ukrainian flag display .
Exactly a year yesterday I planted the baby laburnum and when  I visited it today I was happy to see it had flowered well and looked straight and tall and healthy.

Choir Later

Monday, 16 May 2022


The new bathroom is finished,
A few minor tweaks need to be done, what with a new shower head and the like but it’s finally done and dusted and finished.
I know it’s just a tiny bathroom, in a tiny cottage, but having the final room in my home changed  remains a sort of landmark for me. It’s me, finally putting, my stamp on my home, in my way.
The final ghosts of it being a former marital home, chased away a little more.

It also underlines my a certain balance in my financial independence - and just to think only a few years ago, that independence was in question as the cottage was on the market.

And so here it is, all six foot square of it. 
I’ve seen posher
I’ve pooed in posher
But this is all mine

And it’s made me very happy.

Will it, won’t it?

 It’s like the end of Eurovision,
There’s a tension in the air 
Will the bathroom be finished in time? 
Time will only tell.
We’ve had a problem with one of the glass panels,
And I’ve just had to help with the positioning before sealing.
Mrs Trellis popped her head over the kitchen wall to see if things had progressed.
I’ve dropped CBM a curved ball by presenting him with more shelving
It’s humid and we are expecting storms.
Upstairs looks like London during the Blitz

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Dusk Sky


While I was at work my sister had replanted the back garden with flowering shrubs and plants and flowers. It’s an early and very welcomed birthday gift .
She left instructions for me to water them all in when I got home and so with due diligence I soaked the dry flower beds as the girls ate their dinners and a dog fox barked loudly from down the Felin.
Jo ,a blog reader from Coventry sent me some gifts for the new bathroom which was kind and fun and my nephew Leo sent me a selfie of himself and his new girlfriend grinning wide at the camera…..and feeling suddenly good humoured I found a bottle of Peroni in the fridge and took the girls over to the field to lie down on the damp grass.
Mary and I looked up at the sky
As Dorothy and Albert just mooched about 
I chugged the beer 
And as the fox continued to call 

We watched the clouds until dusk

Back To Work

 With all of the Eurovision hype I had the urge to have some sort of online friend meet up last night.
I wanted to laugh a bit.
It didn’t work out, which I was sort of thankful for as I’m working today and although Eurovision probably didn’t finish until midnight I did dip in briefly 
I watched the stupendously dreadful disaster movie Moonfall instead. 
That was two hours I would never get back .
It left me feeling fed up 
It’s been that sort of covid positive then negative shitty week.
I’ve revisited lockdown with all of those horrid isolated connotations 

I’m sat at the kitchen table with my bucket of coffee.
It’s 5.45 am 
My GP rang me on Friday and asked me to stop my long term antibiotics 
I refused as I’m still waiting review by my urologist but he insisted that he at least change them to a different type. Which he did
Subsequently I have the start of a urine infection this morning 

Saturday, 14 May 2022



I popped in briefly 
Spain was very good ….very Jay lo, with legs like Cyd Charisse
Ukraine got a massive cheer and will probably win 
Azerbaijan was cute a button with his beard (above)
I loved Greece’s gentle covid ballad had me in tears,
Iceland’s sister act was sweet too.
Sweden was rated but I was bored a bit
Australia was a camp feast
I stayed until Sam Ryder with his big smile came on ….he’s was sooo sweet.

Sam Ryder

Then I went to bed 
Feeling like a wallflower at a Jane Austen ball

Flower Moon

 The present routine continues for another day
Up at 7.45 am walk the dogs briefly then put them in the car with the windows wide open.
Make CBM a coffee and have it ready for him as he walks through the door at 8.20 am
Take dogs for a long walk.

Park in the shade at Sainsbury’s and have breakfast with a large bucket of coffee.
Read the Daily Post from cover to cover 
Drive home and drop the girls off at Trendy Carol’s 
Mull over what to do.

With the bathroom and covid I’ve not planned for much and I’m feeling a bit lost today. 
It’s a glorious day and there’s a food festival in nearby Rhuddlan and a bee festival in pretty Llanasa but I can’t quite get going enough to go. 
I haven’t had a shower since Saturday so I think that has something to do with it.

And so I’ve clambered  over the workman’s tools and have holed up in the office surrounded by towels and toiletries and bathroom shite. 
Here I will catch up with paperwork, emails , banking and bills. 

I’m feeling on edge and unsettled . 
As if I’m waiting for something big to happen.
My online thought for the day tells me I’m upset because of the Flower Moon which is expected tomorrow evening. 
Flower Moon’s,  according to the Algonquin people, bring with them change and a fork in the road for many.
A change for the better…..

Friday, 13 May 2022

Americans In The Village

 The American was the descendent of Thomas Parry, the builder who rebuilt my cottage in the 1860s and the man responsible for the refurbishment of the old Church into its present state. Him and his wife had already photographed the Church and my cottage door over which is a inscription detailing the deed.

Islwyn had already met them in the graveyard and had pointed them in my direction, being the “ unofficial historian of Trelawnyd”
I suddenly remembered that I had a key to the Church.
Now I know that the Church officially closed a while ago, but I thought I’d see if the locks had been changed .
Surprisingly they hadn’t and I showed the American into the Church his ancestor built so long ago

It was much more moving a moment that I expected 

Unfortunately moments later, and out of nowhere the vicar turned up like Batman and gave us a brief lecture on health and safety and insurance and the like. He also told me the locks would be changed shortly.

Of course I apologised , and so did the Americans

And Of course I was in the wrong, 

But I was secretly happy that the great great great grandson of Thomas Parry had stood inside the Church he had built when Trelawnyd was known as Newmarket and when the village population was double its present size.

I emailed the vicar apologising again for entering the church without permission and voiced my concerns that several artefacts inside the church are of historic value and interest to the village and should be kept there. He’s kindly forwarded me onto someone else in the diocese who may be able to help.
I know for a fact  a few interested people in the village will join me as will my contact at the Daily Post 

Hey ho

Finishing Touches

 It’s still very dry here.
Too dry for the garden flowers which have had a much needed water in order to keep their blooms .
The alliums and aquilegia have filled the borders as usual and I’ve tried to use every container I have to showcase little bursts of colour about the cottage. An old cast iron piece of guttering is now a hanging basket or sorts with little yellow eschscholzia growing in it. 
The sea pinks (armeria martima) in an old French egg basket have bloomed again and the sweet peas have filled an old galvanised bucket by the garden arch ready to climb alongside the wisteria which had returned more robustly than it did last year.
Even the Rosemary I squeezed into a burnt 1930s saucepan last autumn has held its own

I’ve no real news today.
My second covid swab was clear so I will be covering a sick colleagues’ shift on Sunday.
The CBM is here today and tomorrow 
The finishing touches are taking an age! 

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Siân Owen’s clock


There is one historic painting that is synonymous with Wales and the Welsh culture and that is the Edwardian watercolour Salem painted, strange as it may seem, by an Englishman Sydney Curnow Vosper. 
I first saw a copy of the painting when I was around 18 , where it was proudly displayed in the house of an old girlfriend of mine. Her father was a Welsh Minister and the subject matter, the arrival (late) of a welsh woman Siân Owen to chapel is iconic for it is a depiction of  Welsh religious piety as well as a beautiful rendition of Welsh traditional dress. 
It’s also more famous for it’s suggested depiction of the devil’s face, hidden in the folds of Siân’s rather luxurious shawl. This “ hidden” message was only one of three or so said to present in the painting . 
The clock on the wall hints that Siân’s entry to her family pew is  late and and it’s is said that her beautifully adorned entrance is a comment about pride and ostentatious dress.
If you look closely there is also a ghostly face at the chapel window too. 

I have seen the painting at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight a few years ago so I understood the reference to the artist and to Siân Owen when villager elder Gwyneth Jones once stood in my front room waiting for me to wrap her some duck eggs into a brown paper bag and I remember well that she pointed to my grandfather clock and said in her thin welsh voice
“ It’s the clock in the painting “ she explained “ The sister painting to Salem” 
The painting she was referring to is “ A Market Day in Old Wales” which shows Siân Owen unpacking eggs and provisions in her welsh country kitchen and in the corner is my Grandfather clock complete with scrolls and pillars 

The Clock’s  scrolls are hidden by the beams 

My cottage ceiling is somewhat higher but still shows the beams 



A quiet day today, as CBM is off taking his missus to the airport.
No more Whitney Houston no more Pet Shop Boys belting out in a Geordie accent.
The sun is out but there is a cool breeze and the cottage windows are wide front and back making the honeysuckle curtains in the front room sway energetically.

I left the ignition on in Bluebell  yesterday so had a flat battery this morning. 
As usual Islwyn came to the  rescue and jump started her for me. 
I gave Bluebell a good run, and recharged nicely dropped in to the garden centre for a final smooch for bathroom accessories like any middle aged gay man worth his salt would do.
To add to the black and white theme, I bought  some houseplants and planters there, a penguin designed toothbrush and some “bespoke” soap were delivered from Amazon today
It’s all a bit much I know, but I don’t care, I’m having fun.

My elder sister popped around yesterday with sweet pea plants, hostas and tomato plants which I will put into the garden this afternoon. She also bought me A White Company scented candle for the new bathroom. 
Quite a few people are getting vicarious pleasures from this makeover…

Hey ho. 

Ps it’s my fifth day post positive swab today ….it’s negative I have to test again tomorrow 

Wednesday, 11 May 2022


This is my very favourite moment in the entire Dinnerladies series


What’s Schnell in Welsh ?

I’m isolating at home and isolating from the CBM
I’m a social pariah all told. 
With his lovely tendency of wanting to chat, even though I’m in the next room, I’ve taken myself off for a long walk on Colwyn Bay prom , where I can utilise the WiFi and drink coffee safely alone , my face freshened in the wind. 
And he can finish the tiling 

At the next table there is a group of ten who are having a conversation in German .
It’s sort of learn German by chatting group , but because of the off shore wind everyone seems to be shouting and the whole thing feels like a German war film  which has given me a fit of the giggles 
I’m waiting for “ Raus !!! Schnell !!!”

I missed choir last night. Jamie ( RAF moustache etc) sent us all a link which features the choir on a Welsh  mental health radio programme.
We don’t sound half bad…..and our piece is featured around 8 minutes in 

Schnell in welsh is Cyflym btw