Tuesday, 31 December 2013

31st December 2013 - The end of the year

A right blustery and rainy start to the day, and a refusal by Delft to consider going out from the kitchen, left me with a mop in hand to start the day - at least she avoided the carpet this time !!! Must get more nappies when I go out today !

But as the year draws to an end, still with no interest from anyone in the house, still with a leak in the roof somewhere and a wet wall in the bathroom, and still with only half the radiators proving efficient..  Yet strangely yesterday afternoon the house felt so warm that we managed to switch the heating off for a few hours!!!

To commemorate the last day of the year - my trip out to Tesco's on Sunday ( coke down to 3 for £3 again, Grouse and Gordons at £15 a litre!!) left me once again in awe of the parking abilities of some drivers...

And today I just could not resist doing the parking thing.. and going to do my shopping. In fairness I did park drivers side to driver's side so I had to climb out of the passenger door. I could have been really mean and reversed in so as to allow easy egress.... But I was legitimately parked in the space provided. I half expected some form of altercation on my return but no, by the time I returned the car had gone - with only the photograph as proof . Duly posted upon the Book of Faces and caused the usual reactions from various normally calm and placid people.....

So this time last year, we were proud owners of a Tavern that had been our life for the last several years. Over Christmas it was mainly packaged in our basement and garage, ready for transport, with the hope that new buyers could be found and prove successful. A twelvemonth on, and nearly completing stage two of the transfer and sale, it is fair to accept that the Crimson Moon has passed on to the new owners - to whom we wish every success for the future. A fair amount of the expected sale price has already been realised, and with a good season I have no doubts that the remainder will be forthcoming.

And so as we come to New Year's Eve, with the prospect of a quiet celebration with Susie and my Mother, the following image seems appropriate to mark the occasion...

Not burning bridges - but moving on from the old to the new...

Now - about that sale of house and the smallholding....

Monday, 30 December 2013

30th December 2013 - Last day of visit

The house is now suddenly quite quiet. We have a had a couple of days of joy and bouncing children all of whom it must be said have been on best behaviour during their entire visit, and it has been a pleasure to see them. That does not mean that they have not been running their parents ragged - but I have spent a nice day watching Peter and the Wolf and Alice in Wonderland, doing a few photograph galleries and generally enjoying the company of Grandchildren. You can always give them back !!

But now the house is a little quieter. The sun is going down on a horizon somewhere and as the light fades I am waiting a short while before putting the Chickens away. Two have taken aversion to going to bed lately. I am not sure if it is the plastic sheeting that drapes the coup, which in fairness does rattle and shake a lot, and makes a fair amount of noise, or whether they just do not want to go to bed.... One has always been a little reticent, being slightly bullied by the remaining three, but now it is a case of getting two put away and then chasing around the garden while trying to ensure that the first two do not escape again!!  At first, a shake of the corn pot and a sprinkle of grain on the ground was enough to get them all in - but they are getting wise to our ways!!

But final photos have been processed and are on their way to Flickr and Facebook.

some fancy shots with the sun over the water and Freja

Stuart and Torren

Susie, Torren and the dogs..

Erin and Rusty examine the ground


and what could be better than the occasional rainbow..
Link to all the pictures here.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

29th December 2013 - A trip to the beach ...

A bright sunny day for a change - a little breezy, but a good excuse to break out form the Christmas vegetating and put on the warm clothes and head off to the beach....

And though the rain decided to come in sporadically - it was quite clear that the day was for walking on the beach and for enjoying ...

Most pictures are on facebook but here are a few

it was a glorious sunny day ...
the views were excellent

and so it is - that the day is complete ... I should add that we went back to Agnes's restaurant and had a thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat and then sat .. Nancy to bed early, Stu painting some creatures.. Susie, chasing some quiz on line guessing where she was , and me - well being the only responsible adult - processing the photos and only imbibing in a responsible amount of red wine and a glass of Grouse for night cap ...

[tesco running £15  for gordons and grouse a litre - and 5p off petrol.. yum !! ]

Saturday, 28 December 2013

28th December 2013 - 3 days to the end of the year Gramatically

So we are in the weekend between Christmas and New Year, a time a bit like the lull in the storm or the eye of the hurricane, except we are awaiting the arrival of the Grandkids and family ....   and luckily the weather has been mild enough to get the temperature of the house to something reasonable..

Whatever you do - be yourself...
(unless you can be a pirate - in which case always be a pirate!!)

So Christmas is now behind us - though our tree will stay up for the statutory 12 days..  and the house is a little more noisy, and there is stuff abandoned throughout the house with random abandon. 

So little time to add to the blog today - maybe tomorrow - but I did see this little gem of grammar...]

Reminds me of the old statement that used to hang on the wall of my office back in the Police Headquarters..
"I know you think you understand what you believe I said
But I am not sure that you realise that what you heard
was not what I meant..."

Which used to sum up communication in that organisation rather well 


Friday, 27 December 2013

27th December 2103 - Friday - Last of the Year....

So Christmas is winding down - Three French Hens being the third day of Christmas. Storms building up overnight and floods across the country..

But as Christmas drifts into oblivion - spotted on the web was a Darth Vadar Christmas Tree. Not quite right - not really sure what was wrong... oh yes - not Green enough.. So a little bit of adjustment and .....

Was just what I wanted at this time of the year ....

And as we leave Christmas - we also leave the last Doctor - Matt Smith, generally accepted as being not the best programme so we will see what the next one brings...  in the meantime  here is a tapestry showing the first 50 years......

needs blowing up to see
Here's to the next 50 years....

Thursday, 26 December 2013

26th December 2013 - Boxing day - Survived another year....

On the subject of Mead....

What do you mean we weren't talking about mead !!   Mead is a subject for every conversation but I thought this was interesting as I only remember Mead and Metheglin and the others are useful as a reference.....

A nice quiet Christmas this year - weather a little milder than before, and no inclination to go out and clear up the mess after the Storms.  

Time for a new image ???  Bad Santa ??

Of course Boxing day is a good time to review the excesses of Christmas Day... In this case, too much food, an ample sufficiency of drink ( including a rather nice glass of Port with cheese late at night) and good company. A double Skype - once from Crete and the other from America, allowing us to catch up with those far away on the big screen as well as with words..

Not the best of pictures of Mum - though it is clear that her attention is on the Goose and spread in front of us - which to be fair was slightly more than 3 people were going to be able to manage - though we did have a  really good go at the Goose!

The Goose !! - and not a Duck or Turkey as it was continually referred to
 (and yes !!!  There be dragons and puzzles from the Crackers!!)

And the Pick of Destiny 
From my cracker, an especially chosen pick - that from the Tenacious D song "Tribute" - and it is a Green one  - 

So as the day starts it is cold and bright.  What will the rest of the day bring??

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

25th December 2013 - Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and Happy Festive Season to all those who have other things to celebrate ...
Twinkle Version...
Another gift from Google is the Christmas tree duly decorated yesterday....
Now glistens in a mysterious way..

A slightly different way to celebrate Christmas - which may be white ....
Christmas Eve was white - though through hail rather than snow...

Goose I believe is the order of the day.... yum !!Which brings me to the subject of Christmas... and some little known facts...

  1. No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.
  2.  Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding etc.

    This means that Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest manmade vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at 27.4 miles per second. A conventional reindeer can run up to 15 miles per hour.
  3. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (2lb), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300lb. Even granting that “flying reindeer” (see point 1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload – not even counting the weight of the sleigh – to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison – this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner.
  4. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second, 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy, centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity, 4,315,015 pounds if force. Normal Santas and normal reindeer would be vaporised instantly. But I will let the Christmas spirit continue, we all know how strong Santa and his reindeer are. Of course we still believe in Father Christmas.
  5. The world's most expensive bauble was £82,000.
  6. We will buy eight million real Christmas trees this year.
  7. We will eat 19,000 tons of Turkey.
  8. We will eat 120,000 tons of potatoes, 1,200 tons of parsnips, and 7.5 million carrots.
  9. We will consume 40,000 tons of clementines and satsumas.
  10. 16 million packets of stuffing will be purchased.
  11. We will get through 175 million mince pies, this would stretch 3,262 miles high, equivalent to 600 times the height of Everest.
  12. And last but not least we will be subjected to 15 million tons of brussels sprouts, you will be delighted to know that equates to approximately 15 per person.
Have a good Yule ( and ignore the Sprouts - No-one Likes Sprouts they just pretend to !!)

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

24th December 2013 - Darwin and Eve (that's Christmas Eve not Adam and )

The 2013 Darwin Awards Are Out!

The Darwins Are Out!!!!
Yes, it’s that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us.
Here Is The Glorious Winner:
1. When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

And Now, The Honorable Mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef’s claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6.. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer… $15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?]

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he’d just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’s the lady I stole the purse from.”

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast… The frustrated gunman walked away. [*A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER]

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street by sucking on a hose, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline, but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had and the perp had been punished enough!

In the interest of bettering mankind, please share these with friends and family…. unless of course one of these individuals by chance is a distant relative or long lost friend. In that case, be glad they are distant and hope they remain lost.
They walk among us, they can reproduce.

And with those thoughts it is now Christmas Eve. I know that as it is sundown and the Christmas Tree is up...

So must be Christmas - better open a bottle of wine .....
Had amazing Hail storms today - but not had the opportunity to process the film - maybe tomorrow - not sure if anything is happening tomorrow ??  Oh Yes Bethan has a birthday !!!  Should be quiet except for that ....
Cheers !!!

Monday, 23 December 2013

23rd December 2013 - Is it over yet ????

Gather I am not in a Christmas spirit???  Not that I am against it, just cannot seem to get any enthusiasm for it.. Christmas eve tomorrow - so I had better go out and do the Christmas shopping that I have to do  - not much I grant you. Susie went out this morning and beat the rush at Tesco. I waited in for our friend to look at the roof, and go (intake of breath) "ooh - that could be costly !!"  which he didn't, but he may have been thinking it . Coming back tomorrow with the ladders to get a good look ...

Early part of the day was horrendous wind and rain - luckily blowing from the back of the house - so did not have too much sound of water pouring into the ceiling cavity above me ...  Maybe it will be alright !! Am thinking that I will have to do the roof over the bathroom as well - the wall there is getting quite wet in this weather...

So - still playing around with the videos from the Folk Club Christmas Party. Not me this time - but all add to the fun and games..

also playing with facebook cover pictures...

the original - keeping an eye out ...

a Christmasy Poinsettia leads a Stairway to heaven
The main Christmas Cover (Note the Tapestry on the wall)

And one ready for New Year - The Viking Ship....

So Christmas Eve tomorrow - and then Christmas Day and Doctor Who ...  Funny, it used to be a pagan festival - then a Christian kidnap, and now it is all about TV shows....  

Sunday, 22 December 2013

22nd December 2013 - Sunday Morning Coming Down

The day started very bleak, with more rain storms scheduled for the next few days, and a nasty drop upstairs from what looks like a lost slate on the roof, and a leak down the internal wall upstairs... Another job to be done. Another procrastination to consider and put off - though I have contacted a friend who is good on roofs.... Hoping he may come and looka t it tomorrow...

But as I listen to Kris Kristofferson singing his famous Sunday song - it is actually rather bright outside and I should get off my backside and go and get a silage bag from the allotment and drag it back so we can clear the Chickens out. They are suffering from the weather and their straw is too wet to be healthy.

The plastic sheeting over the roof of the Coop seems to be holding despite the wind. Pity I can't do the same for the main roof.

Second day of Yule and I found a little rhyme about the Yule Log....

" And the Yule-log cracked in the chimney,
And the Abbot bowed is head,
And the flamelets flapped and flickered,
But the Abbot was stark and dead."

What ??? No he's Not !!! The Good Abbott Costello is alive and well !! And I have the photos to prove it!!!

A cast back to our earlier days when we were with the Pirates of Scurvy Scum, and we found that the only way to properly destroy the giant crustaceans was to hit them with the Holy Mandolin of Antioch...
Well at least that was my story.....

Oh well - better put some shoes on and go and drag a bag over the road......

Back to Kris Kristofferson then.....

Saturday, 21 December 2013

21st December - Yule be Happy

Yule: Winter Solstice - Dec 21st/22nd

The origin of the word Yule, has several suggested origins from the Old English word, geõla, the Old Norse word jõl, a pagan festival celebrated at the winter solstice, or the Anglo-Saxon word for the festival of the Winter Solstice, 'Iul' meaning 'wheel'.

In old almanacs Yule was represented by the symbol of a wheel, conveying the idea of the year turning like a wheel, The Great Wheel of the Zodiac, The Wheel of Life. The spokes of the wheel, were the old festivals of the year, the solstices and equinoxes.

The winter solstice, the rebirth of the Sun, is an important turning point, as it marks the shortest day, when the hours of daylight are at their least. It also the start of the increase in the hours of daylight, until the Summer Solstice, when darkness becomes ascendant once more.

But unbeknownst to me, the Wassail was a real drink and I have found the recipe. Or at least a local recipe from the gower.

Yule Wassail
Wassail, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon wes hál, meaning 'be whole', or 'be of good health', or Old Norse ves heill, and was a salutation use at Yule, when the wassail bowl was passed around with toasts and singing. Wassail carols would be sung as people would travel from house to house in the village bringing good wishes in return for a small gratuity. The Apple Tree Wassail, sung in hopes of a good crop of cider the following year, other such as the Gower Wassail carol still survive today.

Recipe for Yule Wassail3 red apples
3 oz brown sugar
2 pints brown ale, apple cider, or hard cider
1/2 pint dry sherry or dry white wine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger strips or lemon peel

Core and heat apples with brown sugar and some of the ale or cider in an oven for 30 minutes. Put in large pan and add rest of spices and lemon peel, simmer on stove top of 5 minutes. Add most of the alcohol at the last minute so it heats up but does not evaporate. Burgundy and brandy can be substituted to the ale and sherry. White sugar and halved oranges may also be added to taste. Makes enough for eight. Wassail!

Hmm - may have to try that sometime ...

In the meantime the wheel of life continues... Which is more than can be said of the wheel inside the washing machine!!. Having broken numerous paddles inside - costing about £9 each, and having just had the last couple replaced, the morning wash ended up with water pouring through the base into the electrics, fusing the house and plunging us into darkness - with tonight's party clothes inside, wet, dirty and unwashed....

A quick calculation shows that I cannot remember when we bought the washer. I seem to remember us having two for washing all the cloths for the Crimson Moon, but cannot remember what we did with the old one. But either way we have had it for a while and had very good use out of it..  Repair?? or replace??

Given that we are the Saturday before Christmas, and the Party clothes lying in a pool - and the house in darkness - well okay - I unplugged the washing machine and put the lights back on at the meter, rather than wander around with a candle like a demented Bob Cratchett... So, with the clothes lying in water, and since we possess a fine little trailer with a tarpaulin, it seemed more appropriate to pop up to Pemberton and have a look in Curry's to see what they had....

Now, I am no expert on washing machines.... That was Susie's area of expertise, but I did notice the £120 off, which was also a Hotpoint ( apparently the make of choice) and an enquiry to check that it was in stock for immediate delivery.....

So, an hour later we were installing the new (and Grey !!!  ) washing machine in its place. The old one is out in the rain waiting for the paddles to be removed - seems we may try to sell on EBay. Still have not got around to trying yet - though we buy large amounts off the 'net.

Seems to have worked...  Clothing suitably washed for partying at St Teilo Christmas Party, luckily only over the road as we were both windswept and rain blown by the time we got across. But a pleasant evening -. Why do Disco and Dance people insist on playing music too loud to speak ?? It seems that if you are having a pleasant conversation then the only solution  is to raise the volume which will miraculously fill the dance floor?? I do not think so!!  Not for my generation anyway !!! Maybe I am getting too old - but I seem to have been saying this for over 30 years so it may not be an age thing. I seem to feel a Victor Meldrew coming on  "I Don't Believe It !!!!"

Proud winners of the Quiz, only dropped one question - couldn't remember that Mud sang a Christmas No 1 and not Shaking Stevens. Two bottles of wine as a prize?? Thank you very much - that saved £18 at the bar....

Home relatively early - well all that music!!  No duties. Don't need to stay. Much nicer to pop home and have a nice glass before bed...

Night.. Slainte!!!

Friday, 20 December 2013

20th December 2013 - Last Friday before Christmas

Traditionally, today is the British "Black Friday" - the last working Friday before Christmas, the last opportunity to have a works party without a day of work the next day - a busy day in my former career and a busy night for all police and ambulance.

But looking out of the window on a fairly mild and bright morning, it all seems very quiet out there.
I would not normally be here at this time of course, but Express Estate Agents, I think that they were probably the ones who we first approached who wanted to set the low price and invite offers above, decided to call on the phone this morning at a quarter to nine!!

Now, if you are going off to work in the morning or taking the kids to school or something similar, it may make sense to call your clients at a quarter to nine in the morning, but in our case...   this was not a good selling point for their business.  Sadly, once awakened, the dogs want to go out, a cup of tea is the order of the day and the Girls need to be let out of the Chicken Coop. Had a bit of a problem with the coop. The Waterproof roofing has torn a little and peeled back, allowing the water to start sinking into the chip board roof. A piece of plastic sheeting is currently over the roof, clipped down with Bertha Clips, and seems to be working, but only as a temporary fix. It will need some Gaffa Tape I think ...

They say the Gaffa Tape is like the Force... It has a light side and a dark side, and it binds the universe together...  I also saw a comment the other day that "if you could not fix it with Gaffa Tape - then you did not use enough!!"

One of the chickens is still laying an egg a day. No-one has told it that it should stop now - so I will remain thankful..

But in the meantime, I can sit at my window, and process some video footage from the Llanelli Folk Club. I am doing my own first as that seems to make sense. I have footage of others to put on as I process them.

 Today though I am looking at two songs form Mythodea - my own compositions and seeing how they went down at the Folk Club. After all I am talking about a mythical land which no-one knows, and a game system that no-one understands, and people that no-one knows - still - the Green one has been popular elsewhere !!!

Mona Mour...

And so the first public rendition of the Jolly Rouge!! Added a little Reverb and small echo which covers a multitude of sins - and it seems to be going quite well. See if we get any hits with it ..

Though today I found some video of Mona dancing.. Something she was unable to do when I saw her due to her injured foot. Shared the song with her on her facebook page for a Christmas Present - I always was the generous one !!!

Summer Dance

Last of my own videos, was another Mythodea inspired song - this time my favourite creatures - the Viinshar...

The Viinshar

Trip to the hospital this afternoon with Arnold. Not able to take him yesterday as I had to go out too early.
Other than that - aim to get home early before the Black Friday Revelries get too noisy ...

Thursday, 19 December 2013

19th December 2013 - Sky, Blood and Logos

Thursday. Sky man came to move the dish - and did a nice job - upgraded the dish and receiver and everything appears to be working fairly well. Of course - last night the broad band went down again - so I spent the morning working through the usual procedures to check all the circuits and the line and found as usual that there was nothing wrong with any of them - and lo and behold the broadband starts working again at the end. I am beginning to suspect that the line test actually clears the problem each time - just by pushing  a test signal down the line and back.  

However, these days I am quite happy to have a chat on the phone with various call-center people. This time I discovered that it was snowing in Northern Ireland - ( I thought she was Scottish but what do I know!!!).

Chilly morning, and had to take a coat to watch the Sky Man in the back garden.
Then off to give blood. Seems I have official record for 25 donations. I reckon it should be nearer 40, since I have been giving since I was 17 - and only a few years missed. Many years it has been twice a year... Still they cannot get my records from England - and they may have missed some of them. But I got a nice 25 Silver Badge that I can put in the Bothy.

Missed a couple this year as well. Last time must have been February, as I recall they were short staffed as they were all undergoing re-training at the time. Was a bit of a surprise to find that there was no need for a ticket and wait your turn. New forms and more brochures to read. Half a pint of water to drink before you start. Little new nodding donkey machines by the beds and fairytale lights to state when you have given enough. Also - the five minute nap afterwards has all gone as well. But it was Christmas so the cup of tea was still there and a mince pie on this occasion. We are back to gripping a bandage, was a stick before as I recall before they gave up with the squeeze. Everything goes around in circles...

Susie not too well today - appears that the Savaloy may have had wheat additions in it - 36 hours after eating and she is suffering with her Diverticulitis and is resting in bed. So a good opportunity to see if I can make some bread. No - I am not going into the bakery business with all that dough needing ( though I could always do with some more dough )  but filling up the bread machine to see if I can get the ingredients right. Dropped a little on one side, but it often does that - smells good though.....

Got the new logo sorted out for Vollsanger - will think about branding more in the new year .. Decided to play on the flying pig and stick with the here all week.
Will look towards polo shirts and stuff after Christmas I think ....

Bus load going to Lampeter this evening - could be a bit messy I think and might be a late one....

Still - managed to upload the Old Dun Cow..

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

18th December 2013 - On Procrastination...

Another lazy day... All days seem lazy at the moment. Tend to be geared around hospital visits for Susie, and looking at the housework and thinking that it should be done sometime. I did fold up the wall hangings and put them in a pile. A pile on the coffee table it must be admitted, rather than a pile put neatly away in the hamper/box that they live in, which is also sitting in the living room so quite handy to complete the job...  Saw that I had left another hanging on the stairs - so retrieved that as well..

That does not mean that we have folded up  the main canvass - which still festoons the house like a victorian sail loft. The smell of damp canvass is dissipating, which means that it is drying rather than rotting and going mouldy which is a bonus. Maybe tomorrow, and the dog hair is piling up as well. I mean that in a literal sense, as the amount of dog hair on the carpet is actually substituting for the pile if the carpet. It will probably be a case of getting the rubber soled shoes on and doing moon dances across the carpet to get it up - there is probably too much for the hoover - even a dyson hoover...  (Which terminology must be very annoying to people like Dyson - who still get named after a competitor vaccuum company - even after all these years!!)

But, one week away from Christmas and the goose has been bought and the reindeer for Boxing Day. Good old Lidl !!  Very little shopping needed now, not that I actually do much int he way of shopping in any case. But I think that this year will be a quiet one. Maybe we can put it off until next year !!

Why procrastinate today what you can procrastinate tomorrow ????

Might pop on down to the Llanelli Folk Club tonight and see what is happening.....

The Black Company

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

17th December 2013 - browsing in Barton on Sea..

Seems Google plus is updating my pictures as we go along. Found a gallery of the pictures form teh blog which was a bit of a surprise...

But spending a quiet day down in Barton on Sea with Vic and Jean. Managed to update the blog a little and finish updating the galleries...

Also managed another video from the Llanelli Folk Club Christmas Party..

So, another quiet day ...   Might treat myself to a nap later ...

yup - nap was good - now having some fish and chips, and susie has a savaloy.... yum...

New picture of the latest Black Company Member..

Nice glass of wine - don't mention that it may be French ( shhhhh !! )  
Glass of scotch to finish the day ....

Monday, 16 December 2013

16th December 2013 - On the road again....

Well, we just about managed to touch base. And we are off again - down to the South Coast and Barton on Sea this time.

The dogs are totally flumoxed!! Nothing all year and then three on the trot. Of course they deal with it in a different manner. Rusty is rushing around chasing his tail and desperate to jump in the back of the Terrano - while Delft is hiding in the kitchen and doing a final check on the chickens every two minutes...

The roof on the Chicken house seems to have peeled back and the chip board beneath is getting soaked - and damp is getting into the coop so that will have to be fixed on our return. No-one has told the chickens that they should not be laying at this time of year and at least one of them is still managing the daily delivery - another has started laying under the tree again - so we miss the clutch every few days.....

Still scrambled egg for breakfast will set us up for the 4 hour journey down to Hampshire....

Meanwhile, Devilstick Peat, the Jester and entertainer from the weekend has posted a private message giving his account of the weekend. It ill no doubt be edited before appearing on the book of Faces, but I felt it funny enough to be re-produced here - in all its initial glory.......

From Devilstick to the Black Company... 

To whom it may concern, Now that the shakes associated with the D.T.s have retreated enough for me to once again be able to use a keyboard, I feel compelled to write to you regarding your weekend’s escapades.

Although the event started well enough, in that I was escorted onto site by an officer (as befits an artist of my standing). My hope of a civilized weekend soon proved to be somewhat "unfounded".

Never before have I met a more revolting retarded retinue of rebellious reprobates, roughions, robbers, renegades and rugger muffins, who’s bawdy innuendo’s, double-omtonblers, drunkenness, and perverted sexual boasts and practises (some of which were quite possibly illegal, if not physically impossible) soon made me realize that they were doomed to fail in any half-hearted attempt to raise themselves up to the level of the lowest gutter (of which I might add, they smelt).But enough about the children. It wasn't their fault, after all, just look at their role models, the so called “adults” (a word I use loosely). To begin with most if not all of them were dressed up to look like what can only be described as (and I’m sorry, but in the name of honestly I have to use this word) GOTHS!!!

Charged with guarding the encampment these blaggards and chancers seemed hell bent on drinking, boasting about those they have ruthlessly murdered and, when one tried to perform and bring some culture to the poor lost souls, LAUGHING AT ME! And nobody laughs at me (if you don't believe me, check out my reviews).

As for the so called banquet, this was so basic that there wasn't even knives and forks (although in hindsight, after hearing boasts about which object they wished to insert into who’s orifice, and the willing compliance of the “ladies” (another lose term, as indeed were the ladies) I feel this was probably for the better.

After the banquet my polite attempts to engage folk in pleasant conversations were rudely and repeatedly interrupted by the contents of various containers of alcoholic beverages being poured down my throat. All this despite my frequent and repeated protests! Resulting in my poor humble and pure body ending up so inebriated it could only be compared with the drunken state of a certain tall, blonde lady on Saturday night (fear not young maiden, I won’t name and shame you)

and while we’re on the subject of Angie, Your companies only saving grace was a TRUE gentlemen called “the not so dead, Dredd”, who, in a valiant attempt to save both her innocence and chastity, felt compelled to not only barricade her bedroom door, but also stay in there with her, protecting this poor mothers virginity. Oh how I felt her.

And Saturday was.......... Sorry, that should read "oh, how I felt FOR her.

And Saturday was no better. To start with I was awakened by a dawn chorus not, as one might of expected in such a rustic and rural environment, the sound of robins happily chirping on snow covered trees, but rather the sound of what, to all appearances, seemed more in tune with a heard of water-buffalo with the type of flatulence one normally only encounters the day after a particularly hot vindaloo. And it took me several minutes before I gained realization of the fact that it was in fact, a barbershop quartet of drunken debauchers sleepily snoring. I arose and looked down upon their faces; faces relaxed and lost in the sweet innocence of sleep, and again had a vision of water-buffalo.

I then went for a brisk stroll to a shop to purchase some cigars. It was a pleasant stroll of about 4 miles downhill into a steep valley, and would had been even more worthwhile if the shop actually sold nicotine. I mean how’s a man who’s wheezing like darth Vader meant to stop half way up and have a smoke whilst filling his lungs with fresh air before once again scaling such a cliff type road, if he has no cigars!

Upon returning to the castle I soon realized that the day was fated to follow the same downward spiral as before, and I feared that there was so much alcohol in the place, as well as in the bodies, that should someone belch onto or near a lighter, then the ensuing explosion would surely result in st beviels castle becoming Chepstow’s answer to the space shuttle. 

This drunkenness was only interrupted when the castle was attacked by zombies. I must say that, considering that most of you had spent more than the national debt of Ethiopia on drinking the alcoholic equivalent of the Adriatic sea, I was very impressed not only with the speedy manner In which your ruthlessness and total disregard for life kicked in, but also by the professional way that it was the children who were sent out, into the cold wet darkness, to fight these terrible monsters. (Well let’s face it, now that the bloody EU has banned them from going up chimneys, there's little else the buggers are good for).

According to your captain one of these zombies resembled “my type”! I asked if he meant it was tall, handsome and well hung, he said no, it looked like a clown, and I felt compelled to remove this ignorance from his mind, telling him the 2 differences between clowns and jesters, which are, as I’m sure you know, as followsA: we're funny B: they don't bugger hamsters 

I'm pleased to say that he stood there for several seconds, unspeaking as his mind filed away this useful insight into the cultured world of performance, Grateful for my sharing of knowledge. I can see him now, standing in the officer’s mess, using it to start a conversation with the brigadiers’ niece. And she, impressed by his knowledge of theatrical ways, thinking "oh, maybe I miss heard him last night, he must of said "come to my room and look at the pile of “thespian” magazines I keep under my bed".

Well after you'd killed the zombies, with little if any regard for the lives of these rare and nearly extinct animals, came the buffet, and I must say I was again disappointed, after all, I was the only one to truly enter into the spirit of things and attend the buffet in the “buff”, although it must be said that come the ball, you all entered into the spirit, for there were men balling women all over the place.

But then that gutter element again ruined the evening when a man newly promoted to the strange sounding rank of "stand and bare her" produced a pack of cards. Not just any cards, but a vile set of pornographic cards. These cards were so depraved that I was disgusted every single time I looked through them.

In an attempt to save my very soul from corruption I sought the sanctuary of the officers’ mess, and what a mess it was! I would say that never have I seen a greater mess, however, to enter it I had to step over the collapsed and incoherent body of the afore mentioned Angie, so sadly can’t.

Once in the mess, I entered into conversation with a young, nameless lady (the one dressed mainly in black) and she told me of the distress and pain she was feeling as a result of a split lip. I inspected it and saw that she did indeed have a tight little red crack; however, my offer to kiss it better was politely refused, so instead I staggered off to bed.

That night I dreamt a strange dream. I was in a boat; she was a little red wooden rowing boat, afloat on a sea of mead. The hot sun dried the wood of the boat resulting in a small crack appearing in her, a crack that looked the same as the one on that poor girls lip. I had no water with me so, in an attempt to moisten her crack before it opened any wider, I dived onto my knees, licking madly at it. I’m pleased to say that the red cracks sides swelled with moisture, ensuring me a safe, smooth ride. It must have been a hot night as the next morning I awoke all sticky.

I dressed and went down stairs and found myself having to wade through a mass of semi-conscious bodies and half empty bottles. I knew the YHA staff would not be happy with this and so, in a noble attempt to save the company’s reputation, started to empty as many bottles as I could find, swallowing down not only the various liquids, but also the cigarette butts swimming within, in the hope that they would provide me with some much needed substance as I bravely and selflessly took on this heroic deed.

Then my lift was by my side, offering me a ride, the only ride I’d been offered all weekend. A fact that I put down to my reputation for having a humungous manhood (yes, I know it’s only 7 inches, but most women don’t like it that wide). Eager to escape this den of debauchery I jumped at the chance, proud of the fact that, as tempting as it was, I had resisted the chance to lower my morals and ravish young intoxicated maidens with big, heaving bosoms (after all, when all’s said and done, I am a fool), preferring instead to set a good example to be followed by you and your fellow men (of both sexes).  

I am sending this letter to several people and it is my sincere hope that one of you will post this letter on your companies’ Facebook page so that your men, shamed by my insights into their actions, will in future strive harder to be the sort of fellows you’d expect to meet in Black company. Yours Rocking back and forth-wardly

Mr D. S. Peat

Just about sums it up I think....

Ahh!! A nice bottle of Grouse.....

Sunday, 15 December 2013

15th December 2013 - Walk into the Light Carol Anne

Sunday Evening, and a fine weekend chasing ghosts and drinking and debauchery...

Well, we got ourselves toffed up nicely as befits an "associate" of the Black Company and his "lady friend" the Widow...  and a lovely time was had by all ..

A little singing - well - I was "there all week" which surprised Susie, as the black Company always repeat the words in the verse "Here all Week"  rather than the more normal "Oh No!!!"

And a high point was when I was made a fully badged member of the Company which as they say ...

"Most importantly though, was that 'Volsanger' was awarded a BC badge and declared an official honorary member entitled to all the rights and privileges of a 'badged' BC member. Therefore any attack on his person is now in essence an attack on the Company and all Company members are bound to offer assistance and succor to our new brother. Though as the position is honorary, he will not be able to give orders or be awarded rank."

And the Widow looked good in her Greens as well as her banquet frock...

And there was plenty of food for all ...

And so - from St Briavels and the Black Company .......Good night

PS - we saw no ghosts - but there were plenty of spirits around.....

Saturday, 14 December 2013

14th December 2013 - No Blogs today - the Ghosts took them away..

Hidden in a haunted Castle... no Internet Access...  No Blog....
Probably just as well - this is getting quite a heavy session !!!

Friday, 13 December 2013

13th December 2013 - Off to the haunted castle....

Up early and getting ready for a weekend away....   Bothy all set up and dogs getting excited !!!

"Off Again Boss ??" All year without any road trips and then two in two weeks??

Of course, I am a little worried by the extra hisses in the engine compartment. We know that the Head Gasket is on the way out - and we are losing water a little - not a lot - but enough to notice and need topping up. Booking the van into the garage is not really a problem - other than it being a very expensive month for cars so far - but I now find out that we may need it to go to Aylesbury for New Year - and that is a longer journey than Wye Valley...

So - with fingers crossed and an extra bottle of water, ans 5 litres of the brightest anti-freeze I have ever seen - bright almost fluorescent  orange !! we are ready to go ...

With all the costs of Christmas - the following seemed apt....

Cut Backs for Christmas...

11 December 2013 at 14:30
The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree, which never produced
the cash crop forecasted, will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant,
providing considerable savings in maintenance;

Two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost
effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be
condoned. The positions are, therefore, eliminated;

The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the

The four calling birds will be replaced by an automated voice mail
system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who
the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked;

The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors.
Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative
implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other
precious metals, as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks,
appear to be in order;

The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be
afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per
goose per day was an example of the general decline in productivity. Three
geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by
personnel will assure management that, from now on, every goose it gets will
be a good one;

The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times.
The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The
current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes, thereby enhancing
their outplacement;

As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy
scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being
sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward
mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending,
a-mentoring or a-mulching;

Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be
phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps;

Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords, plus the
expense of international air travel, prompted the Compensation Committee to
suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping
ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant as we expect
an oversupply of unemployed congressmen this year;

Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of
the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on
new music, and no uniforms, will produce savings which will drop right to
the bottom line;

Overall we can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl,
animals and related expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that
stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship
in one day, service levels will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion
to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing"), a decision is

Deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to remain competitive. Should
that happen, the Board will request management to scrutinize the Snow White
Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.

Bah Humbugg !!!    

Thursday, 12 December 2013

12th December 2013 - Of the Black Company Banquet

Last day before we set off for the Black Company Banquet to be held in what is described as the most haunted castle in the Country.. St Briavels in the Wye Valley - now a Youth hostel...  In the run up to arriving I noted the following posted upon the Group Boards - as the preparations started.......  

St Briavels...

"One day left to prepare. Quartermaster Vet started to panic again at the thought. Lists of provisions and dignitaries that had their “special requirements” whirled around his head. And cleaning the barracks. Cleaning! If you ever want to hear the rougher side of language just hand Stink, Locks, Tapeworm and Eunech some scrubbing brushes and tell them to start at the bottom of the castle and work up. Hmm although to be fair, the fines were especially fruitful that day, every cloud a silver lining eh…

All the idea of the Captain’s of course. Great ideas he has, as a rule, of course suicidal charges do sometimes stretch one’s definition of “great” somewhat. Still every unit needs a strategy, even if that strategy frequently involves dismemberment. 

This has been so long in the preparation. Looking back, it was just after the last campaign with the Al’gaia that Captain Marshall called Vet in, “I have an idea Vet. A rather good idea as it happens”. Trepidation, that feeling in the gut that clenches one’s intestine and gives it a good hard tug. “An Idea Sir? Does it involve overwhelming odds Sir? The men enjoy the motivation of overwhelming odds…”

“Not this time, Vet, excellent spirit though, top notch. No, this is an altogether different affair. We have change coming Vet, change that may see our fate follow a different path. We need to celebrate that new beginning and strengthen our bonds with our associates, our allies, those who we may need in the dark days ahead. Do you see, Vet?”

“Um”. Not sure if that qualified as an affirmative, but equally unsure if this was headed in an all together comfortable direction…

“Our employment is currently under debate Vet, d’ya see? So I want you to organize a weekend of banquets and refined dances, so that the ranks may take a well deserved moment of levity and we may strengthen bonds with our allies. I want a feast of epic proportions, the best musicians the local populace can muster, and…maybe a jester. Yes, definitely a jester. Didn't we have one before? What was his name?”

Vet had turned pale. A feast of epic proportions? The cost. The supplies. The carts wearing down the antique cobbles of the ancient castle courtyard. “Devilstick I believe sir. Yes, that was his name, roguish fellow. Seemed to fit in. Liked his mead”.

“Ah yes, that’s the chap. Capital. Well done. I’ll leave it to you to make the arrangements.” Vet recognized the signs that it was time to make an exit, clicking his heels sharply together. “SIR!” A swift turn and he marched to the doorway.

“Oh Vet, one more thing. The company funds. It’s going to be an expensive campaign ahead. There will be allies to …er…persuade, and we may be out of contract for a while. So by Christmas I expect the company war chest to be overflowing. I’m sure you’re the fellow to see to it. That will be all.”

Vet left the room before the news could get any worse. So a party. An expensive party. Feasting and musicians. From the local populace. Vet wasn't too sure if the Captain had met any of the local population but he was relatively convinced that one thing they weren't likely to furnish to the garrison was a refined musical experience. Not unless you counted the coordinated sounds of bar stools breaking across someone's back in the latest tavern brawl. And the company funds. Provision the ball while increasing company funds? 

Safely back in the NCOs mess Vet poured a large tankard of mead. A thin smile appearing as his mind ran through the possibilities. Well meat is sorted, the rat population in the castle is well out of hand anyway. Excellent. It would take a little watering down of the wine and mead stores to furnish the necessary victuals, but hey, the last thing the captain wants is a keep full of comatose privates. Practically doing everyone a favour really. The music will be tricky, but you don’t get to be a Quartermaster without people owing you favours. So that just leaves the company funds. The smile broke into a grin. It’s been an awful long time since we held a Company Tonk championship. So long most of the victims…er participants…had either forgotten or joined the honoured roll of the dead. And pay day is just round the corner too. 

Mayhap things were looking up after all. Now it just remained to resolve the ongoing issue of wear and tear to those cobbles…."

Well - just a day to wait - a Banquet on Friday evening and a Ball on Saturday - no doubt a little fighting and drinking on the way ....

Better ready the Bothy !!!