Yesterday was a lovely way of spending a Monday – we went waterfall-hunting in the Brecon Beacons, and we even found some! Though clambering up and down the rocks was a bit scary, not helped by my a. empty stomach and b. full bladder. Pizza Hut on the way to the airport eventually sorted out a., and a particularly brambly bit of shrubbery sorted out b. – thankfully I only managed to get scratches on my legs and arms, and nowhere more delicate (phew).
Now I’m back though, and I’m all confused. Usually when I’ve been down at HD’s I’m back early on Monday morning and am in work by midday. Today though is the first day back, and it’s really thrown me that I’ve spent the day doing my Tuesday tutorials. Anyone would think it was Tuesday!
Isn’t the weather lovely? HD and I went for a walk this afternoon, from his place to Caerleon which is a pretty, pleasant village with various Roman bits and bobs knocking around the place. I didn’t take any photos, but I did have some Guinness, which was just lovely!
I’m here tomorrow as well, as when I booked flights the early morning one I usually take didn’t appear. I’m not sure if that was because it was all sold out already or if the airline has discontinued it. Anyway, I’m not complaining, as not only does it mean we don’t have to get up at 4.30am to get to the airport on time, but I get to spend another precious few hours here (HD has very wonderfully got tomorrow off from work). I got a bit emotional earlier on today – I think it’s starting to hit me that in 3 weeks’ time I’m going to be out of the country and a. won’t see him for ages, and b. I have a bazillion things to do before I go (I said to maddie a couple of days ago that it feels like the soundtrack to my life at the moment is the theme music to the Benny Hill Show. Certainly I’m only going to be able to get everything done if absolutely everything speeds up comedically).
Here are some photos from the last few weeks.
Firstly, the shipmeet at Cardiff (which includes a picture of HD and I which I rather like) (well except for the fact that I look plastered, must’ve been the mineral water): here.
Here’s a couple of photos of the National Coal Museum of Wales, which I think give a bit of an idea of the atmosphere of the place:
Right is a picture of the newest footbridge in the town where HD lives. It’s about a year old, I took lots of arty shots of it as it rather lends itself to that sort of thing. It’s certainly very very distinctive!
And here are my photos of the day I spent in Swansea and Gower. The one on the left is benjamin at Caswell Bay, shortly before he leapt into the sea fully clothed, and the second is of alice at Rhossili, showing the lovely golden sands and perfect beach (it was a bit cold though!).
Finally a picture of the assorted wibgathering – my picture hasn’t come out that brilliantly, I think it was a bit bright.
[How’s this for speedy service, just 7 mins after Miss Lisa’s comment: l-r ee, alice, me, nessa, lemly, benjamin]
I’m back in Wales, and heading off home to Scotland tomorrow (looking forward to going home, but wanting to bring HD with me, I’ve got far too used to having him knocking around the place). We’re just back from The Other Place where we’re getting married, we’ve found a reception venue and I’m feeling much calmer about things. Some of the places we saw were SO expensive (although you really were paying for the venue, which were historic old buildings in the middle of a historic old city, and which were lovely) but I’m happy we’ve found somewhere that will do what we want for a reasonable price, and we ate there yesterday before coming back here and the food was fabulous, so I’m particularly happy about that (not to mention still full!).
It does mean that we’ll be getting married a week later than we originally wanted to, but it’s such a weight off my mind to have actually found somewhere. We got to look at the church too (it’s the first time I’ve seen inside the church, as they’ve been having a new roof so we’ve not been allowed to go inside before now) – it’s still a bit of a building site, and people will be a bit cosy and squashed in as it’s quite small, but that’s a good thing because it’ll be winter, so cosy will mean warm! 🙂 I was beginning to worry we’d never find anywhere – we’ll be getting married in December so nearly all the places we asked at were booked up already with Christmas bashes. The place we’ve found is also only a very short walk from the church, so that’s a relief too – trying to get to an out of town venue from a city centre church with no parking would have added another layer of complication.
Now I’m just stressing about going away. It’s just over a month, and I need to book flights and stuff this week. HD and I put our diaries together yesterday and I got very stressed – I wonder if the country would agree to adding a few more weeks into April, as I suspect that might be the only way everything gets done. Actually, what it means in practice is that everything will get done except the intended flat tidying spree. Oh well.
And I’m going to buy a laptop next week. Am very excited 🙂
Today it was over to Swansea to see the lovely Alice (plus benjamin obviously). We had a lovely day – first of all to the seaside (at Caswell, where benjamin demonstrated his rather good jumping fully clothed into the sea technique), where we had lunch (b didn’t have too much of his, but he made up for that by scarfing food from both me and Alice! Especially the olives, what good taste that boy has. I didn’t get into olives till I was in my 30s). Then while b was reclining and sleeping off lunch, Alice and I had a quick walk along the cliff path at Rhossili (which I’m *sure* I’ve been to before, I’ll have to dig out my old photo albums and hope there’s not too many hideous pictures of me in leggings in amongst the mid-90s pictures where Rhossili, if I was indeed there, will be found). Then we had a quick scenic drive round Gower and a detour to take a peek at her wedding reception place, and then we went to nessa’s and Ian’s and heathcliff’s for tea, where we were joined by lemly and another friend of theirs who obligingly took photos for us. My pictures of all these various adventures will appear next week sometime when I’m back to my own computer. It was lovely to meet everyone, I really enjoyed myself.
Tomorrow I’m hopefully finishing off the marking – hooray! So normal moaning service will resume then no doubt.
Here’s a couple of Count Your Blessings to be going on with, copied from the long list further down the page:
Monday 26th March 2007
Every month more than 2,000 people are killed or maimed by landmine explosions. Most are civilians who are killed or injured long after hostilities have ended.
Give 20p every time you return to your home safely today.
Tuesday 27th March 2007
In Bangladesh, it is estimated that a million people are forced out of their homes each year by river erosion. Many can never return.
Give 20p for every insurance policy you have.
What’s this in aid of? Count Your Blessings is a daily Lent plan to help raise funds for the work of Christian Aid.
[PS My Hero: HD has just ejected a spider from the living room. It wasn’t as big as Smudgie was, but it was very scuttly, in that 8-legged way they have, so I was a bit pathetic and made him catch it and evict it. I wish spiders were cuter – I like the idea of them, and I know they’re good and eat bad bugs and whatnot, but they’re still scary.]
So yesterday was nice and leisurely, marked a few more essays, and then in the evening we set off to Cardiff for a shipmeet. It was good to meet a few familiar and a few new people (including wiblogger Chorister), and a good time (and a heck of a lot of food) was had by all.
Today we said “yah boo sucks” to Daylight Savings Time by having a lie in (sorry no church) and this afternoon we went to an ace museum – the National Coal Museum, based at the Big Pit at Blaenavon (part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site) – which was a really fascinating look at the industry which until the 80s was such a huge part of the Welsh (and English) economy. It included a tour underground in the mine itself, led by a former miner who’s now employed to do tours, and interestingly enough one of the other guys in our party was a former Derbyshire miner, so they were swapping tales of the 84/85 miners’ strike and the various differences and similarities between the pits. There’s also a really interesting exhibition set out in what was the Miners’ Bath House, and I was particularly stunned at the exit to see an enormous list of pits and collieries which I assumed were UK-wide, and then I looked closer and they were just the Welsh ones. The whole place was so atmospheric, you had a real sense of the community at the pit, but at the same time were really aware of how a great industry is now in such decline, with an area of rusting bits of machinery outside which I thought was very poignant. I’d definitely recommend it though – a fascinating place.
This evening we’ve just watched a really funny film – Black Cat White Cat – great music, silly scenario, very funny, we laughed a lot, well worth a look. HD is definitely a good catch on the movie front – we’ve watched some brilliant foreign language films of his that I’d never have heard of otherwise. Of course he’s a good catch anyway, but you know what I mean.
Yesterday I had a day off marking (well, I had today off as well) and went into Cardiff to meet up with wiblogger Chalky. It was great to see her and catch up (as she was so busy at Greenbelt last year so it had been even longer than usual since last seeing her) and share PhD stories (she’s a year ahead of me) and general what’s-happening-in-life sort of thing. We started off in the coffee shop at the Museum in Cardiff (Museum of Wales?), had a quick potter round a bit of the museum, then had lunch at a cute coffee/salad place and then went to another coffee shop for more drink and chat. It was really lovely. PhDs should be like this more often 🙂
Yesterday evening HD and I went off to Englandshire to stay with his sister, bro-in-law and nieces for the night. And their very very very very big dog. Lovely to see them again. Spent this morning watching Angelina Ballerina with I (youngest niece, 3), I have to say I didn’t like Angelina Ballerina very much, she seemed very spoilt and selfish and it was always all about her. But I didn’t say that very loudly. Now we’re back in Walesland, so back to normal now. And I’ll have to do more marking tomorrow.
Another lovely weekend at HD’s – it even didn’t rain the whole weekend, so we got out and about a bit, visiting Hay-on-Wye (town of books) on Saturday, and Fourteen Locks on Sunday. Though the best thing was seeing him of course 🙂 (yes, I’ll pass the bucket, form an orderly queue).
Anyway, here’s yet another reason why this relationship is so great:
half a butternut squash
couple of carrots
chillies (finely chopped)
tin of kidney beans
coriander (finely chopped)
bit of oil
Boil the squash, sweet potato and carrots till soft, then mash them and mix with coriander. In the meantime shallow fry the leek, kidney beans and chillies, add the mash and mix around, then squeeze the juice and pulp of the lime into the mix. Serve with warm pitta bread.
See, that’s the kind of thing that would never occur to me to cook. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a lime in my life (cocktails don’t count!) let alone cooked a grown-up meal with one. But it was delicious, and *so* simple. I think I may have to resort to liposuction before very long.
In other totally unrelated news, here’s a picture I took up in town last week which I think is rather cool:
At the back of my mind all weekend was the fact that I have supervision this week, and how unprepared (again) I feel. I bit the bullet today and emailed my supervisors to ask them if I could postpone it a week, all apologetic and grovelly and expecting a stern “not again!” email back. Only to find that one of my supervisors needs to have some builders round and my supervision day is the only day they can come, so she had been intending to ask me if I would postpone and was really pleased that I’d asked. Phew! I’m sure I’ll stop being so jammy one day, but I live to fight another day.
In other news, I had a lovely lovely weekend down south with HD, though am starting to feel today’s 5am (groan) start in order to get home at a reasonably respectable time. Amongst other things I met his sister and her family, they were all lovely and really friendly, which was a relief 🙂 We also went to Tintern Abbey which I really liked – it was too late and dark for me to take any photos, but this link has some great pictures.