Sunday, 30 June 2013

30th June 2013 - Another Month Down

So, the weathermen tell us that this is the hottest day in UK - for the South East !!! that is

Nope - over here in good old sunny Wales we are cold and chilly and hints of rain ..
Managed to clear a lot of the in-laws flat to try to make more room for them as Arnold comes out of hospital this week with a broke hip...
Means that I managed to add another four boxes to my pile - whoopee..
Sadly ran out of boxes - so will need to take another couple tomorrow morning..
My life appears to be made out of boxes.....
"little boxes .. little boxes !!!   "  ♪♫   "No!!!!!"
"There was a Green One !!"

Better take some more tomorrow !!!  anyway !!!

So - Arrangements now made for access to Mythodea in Germany - so ready to buy tickets now .
At the end of the month -
Boxes are accumulating...
Bertha is almost complete
Buffy is developing well and running beautifully
And Susie has got her Plotment across the road....  

best get a glass of scotch ....
[and watching Stella - lovely Welsh Humour !!!]


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

26th June 2013 - Bertha, Bread, Bracken and Biding our Time

Our days are rather governed by the visits to loved ones, hospitals and home visits, and trying to fit other matters into the spare time. Having managed to try the tent out over at the car park, we now have the challenge of seeing how best to fit the straps to tension the top, and how to sew in the velcro to keep the sides from flapping  and add the dutch lacing to connect the sides.

Sadly - the only way to test this is to try to put the top over the poles which are 8ft high - making life a little difficult. A small construction at 45 degree angle which is reachable from the ground for a normally sized individual now takes up a prominent place in the living room as the canvass is spread over the floor... but once again Susie's expertise is proving itself....

So much of Bertha...  Bread relates to a lovely fresh loaf of bread for breakfast this morning with some of the girl's fresh eggs - never seen such wonderful yellow yolks...  really tasty .... though they are getting a little noisy in the mornings, I had to get up and let them out this morning, but we had forgotten to put out the rubbish - so covered a dual purpose...

After all the travelling, we got out into the Deaf Centre back garden - Susie's new Allotment  - and started to attack the Bracken, Brambles, and knotweed. A wasp nest , in an old boot !! of all things, has slowed up the progress as we have to clear the wasps before starting on the next phase of clearance... My task, bringing up 4 pallets to be used in making a compost pit, after that I was discharged - allowing Susie to clear another whole section .. may be therapeutic....  I often have to remove myself when she is sewing to be out of earshot of any profane language, I get the impression that the physical labour is serving a similar purpose...

So, biding our time as we clear the deaf centre and I look at the pile of empty boxes in the living room and think that I should be filling them really ..

But 7.30pm, and I took a Gin and Tonic across to the Deaf Centre and we sipped while we let the bonfire burn down, before returning for a nice salad and glass of home made red...

And so, as they say in the diaries...  to bed...

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

25th June 2013 - More Bertha

A sunny morning and the opportunity to get out into the car park to check the new tentage. The tent now requires straps to be put in place to tension the lid and make sure that the top covers properly. The walls are attached by bungie cords to the frame and they had to be checked to see how much overlap was available for the dutch lacing...

A slightly windy day meant that the canvass blew in the wind - showing that some velcro would help the anchoring of the sides....

 The frame was put up in just under 20 minutes which show s that we are getting better at it and have the technique about right....

Though the sides are blowing in the wind, it is clear that the lid fits - though it may need to be stretched a little, but the frame is properly covered and it remains a tent that will fit into most living history set-ups.
 Inside, we turn the clock back ten years to the Wolves Kitchen, a Norse living area, covered in Wolf Motifs, and medieval tapestries....  Covering the full 8 ft of the walls along the central partition, separating the living quarters form the "in Character" front area, which will have the firepit and sitting areas....

Curtain door leads from the front area into the Living quarters behind... Floor to ceiling cover will be enhanced by the addition of the boxes and seating areas, and weapons racks are likely to be an addition as well. Need to look to see how instrument racks will work, or whether floor standing guitar stands will suffice..  
Hamper and  covered stools give an idea of some of the furnishings to be added to the tent, Bardenheim to the initiated, or Bertha to the Familiar.  Tapestries cover the sides of the character area, and also the front section where the walls are - leaving up to a ten foot entrance at the front..

 The Hand painted tapestries that have graced the Crimson Moon for the past 10 years are now in the Bardenheim.
 The central partition form the other angle shows the doorway curtain and the hangings that separate the living quarters from the public area...
The right hand side - showing the entrance ....
 the entrance itself ...

The entrance from the outside, with a hint of the interior tapestries...

The tent from outside.. though this is without the proper fixings to tension the canvas, but only held in place by clips...

But all in all - a successful day - with the canvass all marked for the addition of straps and velcro, and also loops to tie the sides down to the ground -
Not to self - need to get some tent pegs !!!     maybe from the Crimson Moon who now have far more than they will ever need !!!!

So .. a good day ...
Glass of scotch methinks and then bed....

Monday, 24 June 2013

24th June 2013 - More Bothy

A bit of a frustrating day waiting for hsopitals to get their act together  and organise ambulances to get people home..   It is difficult to understand why it is so difficult to get someone out of hospital when they are ready to go, and free up a bed that is probably well needed by someone else... I am well satisfied with the care being taken, but the logistics department seems to be badly lacking...

But the new rotavator is here, and ready to plough the fields and scatter. Four pallets available to make a compost bin for all the waste across the road, and plenty of research on how to get rid of Japanese Knotweed.

And a moment to finally get around to naming the Bothy ....  Got the plastic for the lettering a while ago, but did not get around to the lettering until this morning, couldn't go out as waiting for phone calls.

But the Bothy front is now finished...

Have to consider the back now ...
Still thinking "Bothy the Van Byre Sleeper"  and "and a green one" for wach door - we will see.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

23rd June 2013 - The Best is Over - heading for winter

I don't say that I am at all pessimistic, but it seems strangely correct for this year that we have got through the  Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and I have the strongest temptation to put the central heating on...

The Solstice came in with a strong wind, almost enough to close the old Severn Bridge crossing and certainly enough to push the Bothy unrelentingly as I drove down to Wiltshire for a wedding. I should have been there on Thursday night - ready to help set up on Friday, but split hospital journeys to Llanelli and Carmarthen Hospitals put that idea on to the back burner.

So another event crept up where I had promised to help in the set up. This time the novel part was that it was a double tent set up, but the structure went up with no apparent problems and once again looked good.
Friday was a write off. But it allowed me to attend the Provincial Meeting in the morning and play the organ and do a hospital visit in the afternoon before heading down into England.

Many years since I have driven through the amazing village of Avebury, surrounded by Sarsen stones in apparent random splattering through the village and surrounding area.
But as I drove across Wiltshire on Saturday afternoon - there were mile upon mile of yellow no parking cones and lists of lay-byes closed to the public. It was only after driving through the village that I realised that had I tried to drive that way the day before I would have been caught up in the Solstice gatherings across the area. Might still have been waiting for local druids to shift their cars and greet the morning sun... which I think was probably hidden by the clouds...

But my journey was clear and the Bothy trundled happily down to village of Charlton, where Crimson Moon signs started to greet me at every corner, leading unerringly to the wedding venue...

As I got there - it seemed very quiet, no sign of anyone. It was 7.30pm but from the outside looked like a beached version of the Marie Celeste.  A small child appeared to kick a football, but as I parked up the Bothy and entered the rear to change into Vollsanger ready for the fray, there appeared to be little sign of life...

 It was only the outward appearance however. With headband and chainmail gorget and guitar slung over the shoulder I approached the main entrance....

And found that the place was buzzing, packed and the bar was busy which is always a a good sign.  Also just in time for the Groom's Speech., an excellent and amusing treatise from Shakespear to the Matrix....

The set up prior to the guests arriving... sent by the good graces of John,  a gem of a set up man, the first person I have found with the same energy that we always put into the 'Moon'. Never stops!!!

So, having been unable to attend the last events, the disco played for the first part of the evening and then at about 11pm, we moved onto the acoustic sessions...  and sang a medley of old and new with old friends the Wolfshead Bowmen and new friends as well.

So a great wedding for Diane and David - and another successful weekend for the Crimson Moon - makes the move feel so much more confident ...
So every success and happiness to Diane and David...  And I lift a glass to the forthcoming winter months !!!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

21st June 2013 - Solstice Celebrations

It is the longest day - that is true ....   The date makes it so ..
Also, with a Mother in Law in Prince Philip Hospital, thankfully recovering well from pneumonia and heart failure, and a father in law some 30 miles distant in Glangwili Hospital with a broken pelvis, and a car that decides to have an exhaust that falls out and costs £310 to repair, and spending much of the day travelling in different directions to visit, collect medicines and clothes, and a dog with tummy troubles who is making keeping the back yard clear a continuing challenge, the day seems to have been very long in deed.

But as it draws to a close, Eileen is very positive, thought she really wanted to be home for the weekend, Arnold is bouncing back as always and has already been sitting in his chair and itching to get walking, the car .. is .. well it is a car - they are always expensive !!  though I think I will go to Kwik Fit next time as they give you a price for the fitting - whereas the local garage - however appreciative I have to be that they completed it the same day despite complications - did see fit to charge me three hours labour !!!  which in these days translates as £150 when you add VAT ....

So as things get busy and complicated, it is a joy to know that we have managed to negotiate with the deaf centre building over the road - that we can use the back garden as a smallholding and plant with what we want. So we now have to clear a huge area of bramble, and worse - Japanese Knotweed   and planbt next years' spuds!!!

It would be sad to think that we would take a step back with all that we have on at the moment - but no - we will prevail and add another plantation to the current ...

So plans for tomorrow.. Up early - need to think about what is happening..
Up to Carmarthen for 10 am - Play the Organ for the Provincial Secret Monitor Meeting.... Skip lunch - had too many Masonic meals this week - I have put on at least a stone !!  and go to hospital for afternoon visit ..
Then off in the Bothy to Wiltshire for the evening with the wedding to add a few bawdy songs to the evening - after all - I promised Dianne and David that I would be at the wedding ....

Of course I have the easy part - Susie has to finish the tent - do the garden and do all the rest of the visiting...

As Usual, I have taken the easy way out ...

But - today was the longest day - from here it can only improve ....

I raise a glass of scotch ...   Cheers !!!
and Happy Solstice

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

11th June - Bertha Update...

Still waiting on cotton and more hessian tape for the main tent, but managed to put up the frame around the Bothy yesterday in the back garden, around the garden refuse, the Terrano and the trailer, to see whether the tapestries would cover the external area.

As the walls are 8ft tall, it meant that some areas required additional tapestries to ensure that the walls were properly covered. The side walls are less important as they will have canvas behind, but the stretch alongside the Bothy has to cover the wheels and the body of the van.

This includes the door curtain half way down the line.

The main tapestries will get an airing again

And of course the curtain moves aside to show the Bothy behind...

Sunday, 9 June 2013

9th June 2013 - Birthdays and Butterflies

A glorious day of sunshine, which was a nice way to celebrate 86 years for my mother, and the delight of a cordon bleu lunch care of Frankie and Benny. Okay - it is not the grandest place, but it was place of choice and we do know that the food will always be of a standard. Must be a sign of the times that the menu prices seem to have risen dramatically, but we don't go out very often and rarely dine these days, so it was nice to splash out with a bottle of Merlot and a bacon burger.

So the birthday girl ploughed her way through her own weight in scampi, a great feat for a lady who normally claims to have little appetite.(For any American browsers - yes that is the correct spelling of the farming implement - live with it !).

And on the balcony at Plas y Mor, a set of solar butterflies awaits the falling of darkness, which should light up the railings and bring a little additional glimmer to Burry Port.

Of course, our planning to ensure that the surprise present from the USA that my sister had left hidden in the flat did not work quite as expected. A walk on the beach - well a drive on the beach in the 4 x 4 and a stroll around in a circle so as not to over extend, seemed a good plan to get the birthday girl out of the house, while Susie snuck in to find the hidden present... which wasn't where it was meant to be!!!  Worse than that, it turned out that not only was it not where it should be, but it was where the birthday girl knew where it was. Worse than that, it was one of two presents left behind, the first which had been identified for her at Mother's day with instructions not to open the second because she had forgotten that it was a birthday present!!!

So Raffles searches the flat and fails to find the items, but all is well in the end, as she knew where they were.  Thank you Sister!!   All 's well that ends well!!!

So, a pint of carling ( £3.85 for goodness sake !! This is Llanelli not the South East!!!) and a bottle of wine for lunch means that a snooze in the sun and a nap is the order of the day ......

Oops - Internet dropping out again - how annoying......

Maybe a Jug of Pimms will help ......   worth a try !!!!)

Saturday, 8 June 2013

8th June 2013 - Llamedos and Llareggub

Dylan Thomas always had a way with words, and living close to the Boathouse, well within driving distance of Laugharne, we can look at his fictional village of Llareggub, and see it as the non-palindromic masterpiece that it is...
Dylan Thomas's Boat House - Laugharne
Of course, for years in our family, my father also had his own fictional town and expression. It held the same values as Llareggub, and I had not heard any reference outside the family until yesterday..
And then, on the book of faces, I saw a picture posted of a house somewhere in North Wales, and I saw that there were like minded people in the world.
I may think of this for a house name in the future.. Our last house was called Old Surveyors, as it was built out of a set of old builders cottages, but it boasted the title "Beware of the Aardvark" on the front gate. OUr current house has the title "Ty Aardvark" upon the same supposition - Ty being Welsh for "Home of" or "House", thus being Aardvark House. this house does not proclaim "Beware of low flying Possums" as did our previous house.

This had its origin when some friends came to visit - bringing their dog which unfortunately chased cats. At that time we had Roosta and Towel, two cats which were named from the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (look up the reference if you wish - series two). Using good canine psychology, we of course explained to the dog that we had no cats - but that there were possums in the house and dogs do not chase possums. Sure enough - the dog ignored the cats on this occasion. So when the cats sat on the back gate looking down at visitors, they were obviously "Low Flying Possums"   (Welcome to my world!)

So - plans for the day - well I think nearer to Llamedos than Llareggub.. too much to do ..   and the sun is shining. Scrambled eggs first though - after all the girls are producing the eggs - it is only right that we eat them...

Friday, 7 June 2013

7th June 2013 - Blogs Boxes and Basements

Yesterday I found the basement.
Okay, I knew it was there - indeed have taken a photograph of its location and reflected upon the task of trying to convert it into boxes, and build a Jenga tower in the garage. But yesterday I found it. I saw the walls. they slowly revealed themselves like an apparition through the mists of assorted costumery and blanket.  The shelves that stood for years, and now are buckled under the weight of gravity and dust have been removed and the walls stand grubby and grey.... but clear!!!

Some of the sections may have to be replaced. The panelling was only hardboard so it has not survived the hibernation totally intact - but a coat of paint will address most of it. The Shelving that has been dispersed around the house will start migrating into the space and cheese and wine will fill them.

The carpet will need a good soaking to get rid of the stains of many a year and probable spores from being enclosed, but a couple of throw carpets on tops and a chair will return it to its former glory.

The basement once boasted a large television, speakers and cinema style chairs. It will not return to that glory, but will remain a useful storage area, the costumes and material are all boxed now, and still need somewhere to stay, but at least a prospective buyer can see the room now and realise its potential.

Of course - it is only half the full basement!!!
Much has been moved into the Bar and Garden room area - which will of course be the next task.

For that I will need some more boxes.......
But first a cup of tea...

Thursday, 6 June 2013

6th June 2013 - Normandy Landings and White Canons

On the anniversary of the Normandy Landings (1944), I discovered that it is also the anniversary of the death of St Norbert (1134). It turns out that St Norbert was a saint and founder of the Norbertine or Premonstratensian order.  Ring a bell??  No not really ! Further study shows that the order was better know n as the White Canons from the colour of the robes they wore. Interestingly for the times they also had orders of Nuns known better as the Norbertine Sisters or the White Canonesses...

So Norbert Dentressangle has a lot to answer for with his Red Lorries running across the country - not to mention dragons in Harry Potter......

So the morning starts with some random thoughts, but that sounds about normal for the "boxes" avoidance...   the sun ins shining and I think the basement will have to get the treatment today ....
Boxes are ready so it only needs the incentive to get down and start - oh - and buy some more Diet Coke... seem to be out this morning which is not a good start. Investigation shows that today ASDA have the best offers for 2 litre bottles, 3 for £3, which is a little cheeky - making you buy three to get the value.. but then I buy by the dozen so it only means that I have to take the car out, not carrying that lot home through town.

Fine trip to Hartlepool. Was a lot further than I thought, being over 6 and a half hours in the van - but the Bothy was once again a joy to drive. Weather fine and the scenery through Wales and over the Pennines was wonderful. Didn't see any hanging monkeys, but had a fine time with old friends.

Updated the main website at Pigsmayfly, still with a Flying Pig motif, but now a Vollsanger Link page, rather than the expired Community Pages that I used to run.

Restarted the Page Counter from 45,000 which seemed a little excessive and it is down to 8 so that is a good starter. Though the You Tube is up at 30,900 which is quite respectable....

Maybe a cup of teas before I start ...

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

4th June 2013 - Jaunts in the Bothy....

Summer seems to be here at last,.
The first deadline for trying to get Bertha together has arrived - which is more than the cotton to finish her has done. We are still on stop while we wait for the reels to come through the door.
Most items arrive next day these days so it really becomes noticeable when something takes a more traditional week to be sent.

But the coffee morning for the Inner Wheel will be held in blazing sunshine - so no need for the tent, abnd therefore there is no harm in the short delay..

Meanwhile, I have an appointment in Hartlepool where I will be playing the Organ this evening. A place I have not been to before - but am reliably informed involves hanging a monkey.... Seems only right that I take the Bothy for a run...

The Monkey Hanging Story

The monkey-hanging legend is the most famous story connected with Hartlepool. During the Napoleonic Wars a French ship was wrecked off the Hartlepool coast.
During the Napoleonic Wars there was a fear of a French invasion of Britain and much public concern about the possibility of French infiltrators and spies.
The fishermen of Hartlepool fearing an invasion kept a close watch on the French vessel as it struggled against the storm but when the vessel was severely battered and sunk they turned their attention to the wreckage washed ashore. Among the wreckage lay one wet and sorrowful looking survivor, the ship’s pet monkey dressed to amuse in a military style uniform.
The fishermen apparently questioned the monkey and held a beach-based trial. Unfamiliar with what a Frenchman looked like they came to the conclusion that this monkey was a French spy and should be sentenced to death. The unfortunate creature was to die by hanging, with the mast of a fishing boat (a coble) providing a convenient gallows.

The Monkey Song

In former times, when war and strife
The French invasion threaten’d life
An’ all was armed to the knife
The Fisherman hung the monkey O !
The Fishermen with courage high,
Siezed on the monkey for a French spy;
“Hang him !” says one; “he’s to die”
They did and they hung the monkey Oh!
They tried every means to make him speak
And tortured the monkey till loud he did speak;
Says yen “thats french” says another “its Greek”

For the fishermen had got druncky oh!

Hammer his ribs, the thunnerin thief
Pummel his pyet wi yor neef!
He’s landed here for nobbut grief
He’s aud Napoleon’s uncky O!
Thus to the Monkey all hands behaved
“Cut off his whiskers!” yen chap raved
Another bawled out “He’s never been shaved”,
So commenced to scrape the Monkey, O!
They put him on a gridiron hot,
The Monkey then quite lively got,
He rowl’d his eyes tiv a’ the lot,
For the Monkey agyen turned funky O!.
Then a Fisherman up te Monkey goes,
Saying “Hang him at yence, an’ end his woes,”
But the Monkey flew at him and bit off his nose,
An’ that raised the poor man’s Monkey O!
In former times, mid war an’ strife,
The French invasion threatened life,

An’ all was armed to the knife,
The Fishermen hung the Monkey O!
The Fishermen wi’ courage high,
Seized on the Monkey for a spy,
“Hang him” says yen, says another,”He’ll die!”
They did, and they hung the Monkey O!. They tortor’d the Monkey till loud he did
Says yen, “That’s French,” says another “it’s Greek”
For the Fishermen had got drunky, O!
“He’s all ower hair!” sum chap did cry,
E’en up te summic cute an’ sly
Wiv a cod’s head then they closed an eye,
Afore they hung the Monkey O!.

well here's hoping they don't hang Welshmen .....

Monday, 3 June 2013

3rd June 2013 - Summer at last

I don't want to talk too loudly, but we have had a few wonderful days to start June off.
Locally, the Pontardawe Medieval Fayre went very well. Not too far to travel for me, so the setting up of the Crimson Moon and the arrangement for the stock was the main task.

As with all new events, the organisers had little idea whether they would have a hundred or a thousand through the gates. Certainly from the feel of it, it was nearer the latter.

 It was pleasant to have a day event, but when we arrived it became clear that the organisers had failed to mention that they were having a party for all the volunteers in the evening, and a band, in fact two bands to play. So, a quick thought regarding stock and another two casks and three Black Rat were put onto the list - on the basis that they could be taken onto Wigan in two weeks!!!

But they all went on and half a Black Rat can be taken onto the next event.
The Knights of Arkley jousting group were there in fine splendour, keeping the crowds happy.

The evening looked atmospheric as well, the new LED lighting working very well in the candle environment.

Full slide show available on Flickr as usual..

One video up and running from a Band called Bear Bones, a duo with four members - it works in Folk!!!
Racked my brain all day trying to work out where I had seen John, the singer, and finally realised that I had played Loughour Folk Club Open Mike with him a year ago...
One more of him and also the Mardi Jug Band to go....