Tuesday, 31 March 2015

31st March 2015 - There goes another month

Thought for the day: "I work in Hours and Minutes - I am no Second Hand Dealer!"

Off on the road again - this time, this time to get down to the South Coast.. and we hit our British Metz - BATH!!

Now Metz may not mean much to many people - it is a town in France. My knowledge of geography means that that about sums up my knowledge - but a few years ago we decided that we would drive across France and Germany to revisit the Tyrol in general, and the Pension Geisler near Innsbruck in particular.

It was a fairly special trip, ostensibly our 25th Wedding Anniversary back to the little hotel who never really believed that we were married when we went there on our honeymoon. Not surprising really as we weren't but being a good catholic country they probably would have put us in separate rooms had we confessed to holidaying in sin!!

No, we were returning to prove a point, and have a good holiday, oh... and I took my mother with us as she had visited the pension taking me as a child even more years before...

They remembered us and even put us in the original rooms - but that is a story for another time..

Meanwhile - back to Metz - and that was the problem - we could not get out of Metz.. It did not matter what road we took we found ourselves driving back into Metz... Susie was driving. We had no Sat Nav's in those days - not that Susie allows the use of another woman in her car under normal circumstances - but we had an AA devised route made for us to get us across the countries without going onto any autobahns - that was our decision. We would make the journey part of the holiday...

This worked well until we arrived in the town that must not be mentioned in our family...  Because though they say "All Roads lead to Rome" in actual fact they lead to Metz.... Or rather you cannot leave the town ... We tried - oh we tried!

We would leave on one road and follow the signs and then find that we were once more re-entering the environs....  Turn around and go back out and find that we were approaching fromt he South...  Not once, not twice - but several times - we managed to get several miles out only to find that we were once more in the streets of Metz...

We did get out...  obviously or I would not be able to write this treatise - but it took a long time and much frustration...  As I recall - we stopped looking for signs and local villages and towns - instead we picked the biggest town we could see that was a long way away - Strasbourg as I recall - only because we knew it was a long way away - and headed away from the source of all our problems ...

It was like achieving escape velocity - but finally we got onto roads that were not Metz - and not leading to Metz....

But Bath was almost the same. Having crossed the Bathampton tol bridge - who I may say did not advertise that you could not get south along the A36 - as it would rob them of their income... we moved up tothe Road Closed Sign..  It is a sign of the times that all the large notices now read "Turn off your SAT NAV" and follow Diversion Signs"  - so we did..  And they petered out . I think part of the problem was that they had closed some other roads as well so there were multiple road closures with different diversions for each - which did not help when you were just following the next sign...

Suffice it to say that we ended up in the wrong direction heading for Bristol in the opposite direction to that which we wanted. An hour later we had found another diversion sign and found our way into the centre of Bath again - just like a Metz!...

An hour and a half later we found some more signs and followed them and finally got onto our road....    but I do not like Bath any more - just saying !!

Monday, 30 March 2015

30th March 2015 - Preparations and Procrastination

Thought for the day:" "Did you sleep well?" "No, I made a couple of mistakes." "

Up and out early this morning and a trip to Bookers to see if my card still worked. It did. Last September I called int o find out that as I had not used the card for over 3 months they had taken my account off line. I pointed out that I was a "seasonal" trader and they grudgingly put me back on ...

So it was witha  high level of doubt and uncretainty that I went to the counter today and flashed my card at the scanner machine - only to hear a bright "Ting" which signified that they were willing to take my money ... Did not really know what I wanted but managed to spend over £300 on various items .... You can't make money unless you spend it I suppose!!!

All sorted now - I think!! and ready for the off on Thursday - Off to the South Coast tomorrow and back on Wednesday - so it will be a very busy week.

Have to check whether there are any benches and tables available for hire at the site ..  Should have done it this morning but too busy running around in circles..  Note to self !!!
Also have to pay for the extra Lyme Bay stock bought today - they seem to be out of Traditional Mead as well as Tournament - not a good sign - but probably beacue they are putting the prices up after today....

So - not much more to say - watching University Challenge and drinking the last bottle of Chateau 41  - but we will be away for a couple of days and then I shall be away for Easter...   Busy Busy Busy  
Saw this observation posted today :
Human blood is almost twice as fattening per ml as beer." if this is true why are vampires portrayed in the arts as skinny?

So there !!!

Cheers !

Sunday, 29 March 2015

29th March 2015 - Parliament is Disolved - no-one noticed..

Thought for the day: "The scarecrow got promoted because he was outstanding in his field"

Clocks changed today - lost an hour sleep. I know - it happens every year and we whodul be able to get usd to it. The Computers sort it all out automatically. The dog seems to have sorted out that she can get her dinner an hour early and that seems to meet her rules of stomach.

I had a trip to Neath for a rehearsal - Appendant Orders of the Red Cross of Constantine - taking the part of Prelate Second Point. Means little to most but it is a lovely piece to learn and recite and will be a pleasure to perform it in April.. a month that is quickly descending upon us.

Estate Agent is due back sometime after the weekend - would be before but the Easter Wekend gets in the way. Top bedroom stripped back of the wallpaper. I would claim the credit but I firmly believe that any reader of this missive would now know me better than to think that I had managed this work while swanning around with my rehearsals. No, Susie has done her ususal and pulled the beds back and started the work. I managed to cram a trestle table into the back of my mother's car this evening so we have a pasting table. Tomorrow is a decorating day as well as a day for me to load up the Bothy ready for the weekend.

Off to the South Coast on Tuesday. Will be back on Wednesday and then off on Thursday for a weekend with the Unicorns - LARP with Lorien Trust

Photos from the Provincial Meeting in Shrewsbury are in - and here is yours truly among the full Provincial Team 

Provincial Officers - 2015 Magonstaeton Province

W Bro Iain W Sewell
Prov Dep Marshall
Magonstaeton Province

Today Parliament was disolved - didn't notice much difference to be honest - will swtch the TV off for the next month I think  - I have already reached a boredom threshold from the campaigns that have been running from January. I know that I should exercie my democratic rights - however I feel that I am being manipulated and will exercise my alternative rights to live my life in the past...

And with that I shall lift a glass of Chateau 41..


Saturday, 28 March 2015

28th March 2015 - Travels and tipples

Thought for the day: "Why do we refer to Hair when it is all of it and Hairs when it is a few?"

A long and busy day - the Meeting of  Magonsaetan Provincial Grand Lodge in the Order of Athelstan held at Shrewsbury - and that is almost 4 hours drive each way!!   I had considered taking the Bothy and sleeping over, but I am away next weekend over the Easter period with the Unicorns Live Role Play event for Lorien Trust, and decided not to spend more time away today...

But still a clear route each way and appointed as the Provincial Deputy Grand Marshal - which allows me to tell people what to do a bit ..... Seems to be in my line !!

Photographs were taken but are not available yet. I shall post when they are sent to me....

In the meantime  a little about the Order:

 The Masonic Order of Athelstan formed in 2005, growing out of the shared interests that a number of like-minded individuals had in the origins of Masonry. Their research culminated in a few members of that group focusing specifically on the Saxon Chronicles.  In essence, their informal meetings became more and more regular and the rich and invigorating debates offered each member considerable encouragement and support to continue with their personal endeavours.  They had become a dedicated Masonic and historical discussion group.

As the group progressed its subsequent interface with other like-minded Masons encouraged them to progress the idea of a new Order even to the writing of a ritual to support it.  This ritual was based on the research of many old historic documents and the discovery of old Craft and other Masonic ritual.  Eventually a draft of the ritual was produced based upon the life and symbolism of King Athelstan, the grandson of King Alfred, and the first King of England to be referred to as “The King of All the English”.  The Grand Court of the Masonic Order of Athelstan was conceived if not yet born.
As the group explored the idea of setting up the Order it caught the imagination of more and more Freemasons both senior and junior.  Eventually there was a following which quickly grew as “word of mouth” spread and has now become a vehicle for many well-read and like-minded Masons to come together and discuss their individual learning.
The Order has become many different things to many different people.  For many it is historic and educational, for others it is rich in symbolism and a vehicle to keep a great deal of old ritual alive, for others it is where good friends meet to share knowledge, thinking, friendship and good company.
On the practical side it is what we like to call a ‘functional’ degree, in other words it is aimed at accommodating people's modern lifestyles with low costs.  Midweek meetings generally commence at around 6:30 pm and conclude after a 3 course (maximum) meal at around 9:30pm, in order to give brethren time to be together at the bar and to encourage discussion, or to proceed home if preferred.  There are no ‘wine takings’ and the few formal toasts do not have any fire attached to them.  Some Courts meet on a Saturday morning and meetings, followed by a lunch, are concluded by 2:30-3pm.
It is Masonic, and therefore candidates must be subscribing Craft Freemasons as well as subscribing Companions of a Royal Arch Chapter in full amity with the United Grand Lodge of England (these are the requisite qualifications).  If a potential candidate holds these requisite qualifications they can be invited to our Festive Board and will be warmly welcomed by all.  The intention is to enable brethren to attend the dinner, after the meeting, as a way of introducing them to the Order without disclosing the ritual and workings of the Order.
Normally a maximum of three meetings a year are encouraged, two working and a third the Installation.  At this meeting the ceremonial is about 40 minutes in total and allows for a 20 minute talk or lecture.  This is encouraged by way of an annual Provincial Certificate and a Grand Court Presentation to the best of the best.  A number of other incentives have and will be introduced, by way of keeping brethren interested.
Like other Masonic ceremonies that use legend and allegory to tell a story and portray good ethical conduct and behaviour.  In the Order we use the legend of Athelstan's York Assembly of 926 as the framework and conduit for ours.  We aim to bring to life the 926 Court that was held in York to educate and raise the quality of masonry in 10th Century England and in so doing to explore the development of the Craft over the centuries in order to prompt further study and research.  As such our meetings are held in a Court and our candidates are ‘Instructed’ into the Order.
The Masonic Order of Athelstan portrays the story of a Master Mason called to York in 926 to receive the Ancient Charges.  It goes on through a series of delightful rituals to explain a lot of the Symbolism we still see in some Lodges today and culminates with an Historical oration taking us through the development of the various Grand Lodges and ends at 1813 with the formation of the UGLE.
The Inner Workings of an Eminent Prior deal with the earliest passing of the veils ceremony and the Kabbalistic explanation of the four banners of the Royal Arch.  The Inner Working of a Worshipful Master or Grand Master of Speculative Masons is based on the betrayal of Athelstan by Prince Edwin and the 20° A & AR .
The Order of the Scarlet Mantle is appendant to the Masonic Order of Athelstan and has its own Statutes.  It was created from the outset as the separate reward-based Order for meritorious service by members within the Order of Athelstan.
Knights are installed or promoted in a ceremony commemorative of the Knighting of Athelstan by King Alfred the Great in and around the year 898 (the first recorded making of a Knight in England).  It is stated that Athelstan, upon being knighted was given a 'Scarlet Mantle and a Sword with a golden hilt and a scarlet mantle bedecked with jewels'.  Members bear the initials of Knight of the Scarlet Mantle (KSM), Knight Commander of the Scarlet Mantle (KCSM) or Grand Cross of the Scarlet Mantle (GCSM) after their name and naturally can only use this in the context of the Masonic Order of Athelstan.
The Order is administered by a Grand High Chancellor following his appointment by the Most Worshipful Grand Master.  A small number of Grand Chancellors are also appointed to assist the Grand High Chancellor.  Knighting normally take place on the day of, and preceding, the Annual Assembly of the Masonic Order of Athelstan in October/November.
The Order, in England and Wales, is structured so that its Provinces, wherever possible, reflect and represent the original Kingdoms and Gilds (original spelling of Guilds) as they were set up by King Athelstan during his reign as "The First King of all the English".

Our Provinces do not therefore correlate directly with the County divisions; our Provinces amalgamate and include areas from existing counties to provide Provinces large enough to support and sustain the required Ten Courts.
The Province that Operates the Order in Wales and the Border Counties (Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire) is known as The Province of Magonsætan. This was the kingdom which held the areas in the Saxon Period.  It included all the towns and villages West of the River Severn and bordered the Provinces of Mercia and Hwicce to the East the Province of Wessex in the South and Northumbria in the North.  The Provinces cover many Craft Provinces and members meet new friends by visiting Masonic Temples, that they would not usually attend and strong bonds are held together between Courts who visit each other regularly.  Many brethren even make a weekend and take their wives to a Court some distance away from their home, simply because they want to!
The Provinces have a maximum of 10 Courts based throughout the Province and have a structure of Officers similar to a Lodge.
Worshipful Master        -    Athelstan
Senior Warden                -   Royal Duke
Junior Warden                -   Duke
Eminent Prior
Deputy Marshal
Senior Deacon                 -   Earl
Junior Deacon                 -   Viscount
Captain of the Guards   -   Baron

So that is a little about the Order...

So, a long day and I shall now relax with a nice glass of Chateau 41.... 

Oh - maybe need a bottle opener!

Friday, 27 March 2015

27th March 2015 - End of a week ...

Thought for the day:" I quit my job in the helium balloon factory yesterday! I refused to be spoken to in that tone of voice... "

Sold the old car this morning. It was on Ebay and there was some interest but a sale is a sale. Of course I missed the message at 8am saying that they were on the way up from Cardiff - but luckily I was drinking my tea as they arrived at 9am. Still an ungodly hour - but at least I had a cuppa in me ....

Sadly the car did not start - which was not a good selling trait. The brakes had deteriorated - which they saw straight away - as there was a big leak there. I knew there was a heating problem - we had stated that it overheated - but thought it woudl at least start ...

Offers went back and forth - but int he end I got the minimum that I would accept. Wish I had checked Ebay as the bids were begining to creep up and there was still a few days to go ... But the garage had been good to us for the last few weeks looking after the car and it was only fair to them to finalise the matter ...

So the car is gone and one less problem to worry about..  

Had a good night last night in St Teilo, with a guest from "up North"... Sadly I may have broken him . Not much sign of him stirring until after 11am...  Oh dear !!

So lots of paperwork today...
Lyme Bay tell me that they will be increasing the prices on Tuesday so put in an order for the Unicorns today - to make sure that we have stock for the event.  All money out at the moment - will change later in the year...

Off to Shrewsbury in the monring early for the Provincial Meeting of the Order of Athelstan - where I shall be invested as Provincial Deputy Marshall and start my duties to support the Deputy Provincial Grand Master throughout this year...    A busy year ahead I think without even considering my business commitments...  and the two chairs that I am in at the moment and the Chair of St Teilo that I shall take in September (if elected)...  Well - If I did not have a sense of humour I would never have joined !!!

Glass of 41 is required - but will have to stop early so I can be on the road at 6am tomorrow ..
Night !!!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

26th March 2015 - Scams and Spams

Thought for the day: "I had amnesia once or twice….I don't remember!"

Today, my mother recievd a couple of calls from the "Computer Repair Man". As a lady late in her 80's, though she will not accept it or act it, she is more than able to use her email and occasional search ont he internet - indeed, her email is a lifeline which she uses several times a day. Her morning starts with switching on her computer, putting on the kettle, and checking the email form overnight and answering / initiating a message. The rest of the day follows a similar pattern - quick check on the email in passing...

So, when someone phones up to say that there may be a problem with her computer, it is a worrying moment for her. And so it must be for many people up and downt he country who are subjected to this form of scam!  I knos it seems easy for many of us to immediately recognise a ploy, trick or scam - but there are many for whom this is a more grey area.  I feel that those who prey on the elederly are the lowest of the low...

Meanwhile, on my own email I found the following purporting to be from the DVLA - regarding car tax refund..  It all semed farily legitimate until a more close look at the address in question which caontained gov.uk but not in the correct part of the address.  Again, someone is jumping on the band wagon with the new paperless systems - it woudl be easy to have clicked on the link without really thinking.

Dear customer,

We are currrently upgrading our database and we found that you are eligible to recieve a refund from your last payment made on our behalf.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. As example, for submitting invalid records or applying over the deadline.

To complete your refund application with us, you are required to fill out the form in the link below.

[link deleted - probably a scam or virus]

If you refuses to complete your application within two weeks of receiving this email will cause the lose the specified amount and you will take full responsabilty for that. We sincerely apologise for any inconviniences this might have caused you. Thank you for your co-operation. (c) Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency Swansea SA6 7JL

May need some work on the grammar there!!!

My free virus checker software is pinging away like an egg timer as it catches more obvious versions - but I still feel that it is the most vulnerable of us who are really being targetted.

It is a sad state of affaris that we have in the world ...

Meanwhile, in other news the Openreach man found nothing - as was expected. Suggests that it may be the Sky equipment at the exchange - no surprise there - always seems to be an element of buck passing when we come around to trying to sort out broadband and telephony.

Got the Estate Agent in today to look at pricing of the house and getting it back onto the market. Looks as though we will be putting it back on at £189,050 just to get it under the 190 figure, in the same wasy as we went for 195 last time to get under the 200.  Ho Hum - just hope that there is someone up in Luton selling a garden shed who will have spare cash to buy. Tasks for the week - re-decorate the top two rooms - splash of paint and get the photos taken and put ion for the Easter Break ...

Got someone calling tolook at the car this afternoon  after 1.30pm Suggested that we will take £350 - might go for higher but think we will just cut our losses.

Busy week - Scarlet Cord Provincial Team yesterday conducting a preparation, followed by Secret Monitor and playing the old harmonium in Pembroke Dock Lodge. A fascinating building - with the domed ceiling and painting and the marks where the machine gun fire hit the ceiling back in the war.
Some are surprised with the amount of music I can get out of the old harmonium - but it is a Woodstock Canada - the same model as the one in my front living room - so quite workable.

St Teilo tonight and Shrewsbury on Saturday for the Provincial Meeting for Athelston ...

Better get on and sort the emails - see if there is anything in the 93 emails that is not a spam or scam...

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

25th March 2015 - Back to normalcy

Thought for the day: "I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.
So I said, "Got any shoes you're not using?" 

A second sunny day in a row and waiting for the openreach man to arrive. Not that there is a current problem with the broadband - but because there is an intermittent problem with the broadband. this means that every 3 or 4 weeks I end up chatting with one of the nice call handlers at Sky and we go through the test procedures that I now know better than they, and they find that the line test is fine, that the filter test is fine, that there are no problems with the set up and then it drops out again so they escalate it and then nothign happens for a while - but the line clears and we get boradband for the nextfew weeks..

Well the last call ten days ago left us with the decision that the SKY engineer woudl come out and check the system. He came out and I had the test rig set up. A router into the test socket where the line comes into the house. I knwo that my own internal network setting is causing deterioration. That I can live with. I am not a gamer or heavy film user. So I remove my own connections and set it up as wifi int he kitchen. This is how I set it whenever I call Sky because it is failing - so that is how it will be when the engineer arrives.

Of course there was nothing wrong with the system yesterday when the SKY man arrived. And it is fine today as I sit here at the window waiting for the Openreach man to turn up "between 8am and 1pm".  But I will let him test the lines and see what he comes up with. Not much I feel as it is an intermittent problem...

But while I wait - I shall sort some paperwork which has been growing over the last three weeks... you may gusess as there has been no blog and all the birthdays have stacked up - might have to put a huge "sorry I missed your birthday" for about 300 people....

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

24th March 2015 - Back from Bosworth

Thought for the day ... "You don't realise just how much you are ageing until you sit in the barbers chair for 20 mins staring into the mirror at the reflection of your Dad"

Well, I am back from Bosworth and the new tent appears to do the job - with a few tweaks. We managed to get it down despite the caterers wanting to take all night over their pack down - I am not surprised - they were a huge set up for a single day's trading.

Next jobs are the paperwork and the photos ....   better get on with it then !!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

17th March 2015 - St Gertrude's Day

Thought for the day: "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder. "

It's an interesting Saint's day today - but not one that promotes a festival of Guinness. It's the feast of St Gertrude of Nivelles, a seventh century Franco-Belgian abbess and patroness of travellers, gardeners and cats, as well as protectoress against rats and mental illness.

However - as I am on the road for the week there is a likelihood that there will be no daily blog for a few days - apologies ...

Thursday, 12 March 2015

12th March 2015 - On the road again

Thought for the day: "The inventor of throat lozenges has died....There'll be no coffin at his funeral!"

 Just that ... LARP AID here we come 
(Unless there is wifi - then I may add something)



Wednesday, 11 March 2015

11th March 2015 - Ready for the Off

Thought for the day: "I spilled spot remover on my dog. Now he's gone."

So a full day today. Mother went in for her second cataract operation, while I cleared the garage and managed to sort most of the kit I need for the weekend.

Decided that I would travel to LARP AID tomorrow - being Thursday, giving me a good time to get up to Essex. The Bothy does not have good lights at the moment, the dipped beam being very erratic, so do not really want to travel in the dark.
Also would like to be on site early so I have all day on Friday to see what we have forgotten.
It is certain that I have forgotten stuff  - just don't know what at this stage !

So - long day and fairly tired ...
Probably leave about lunchtime tomorrow - time enough to load the rest of the Bothy and take my time ....


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

10th March 2015 - That'll be just a thought then !!

Thought for the day : "I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize."

Just a thought today - time running away with me as I get ready for LARP AID 


Monday, 9 March 2015

9th March 2015 - Best Take your Phone

Thought for the day: " My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted."

A lot of travelling today..  Seems that it was 447 miles !!
Of course it did not start off very well - a seven o'clock start to make sure that I missed the traffic, and the five envelopes that had to be posted today by the computer...  Did not switch the computer on!! That would be stupid - an un-necessary distraction - no.. a hasty slice of hiome made bread and (slightly) runny marmalade, keys, wallet, everythign needed...

Across the road to fetch the car and remember to take the chest with the tea set from the funeral back to the warehouse...  Keeps the living room clear!! Picked up the sausage rolls - a necessary journey accoutrement from my mother - she was worried as the "girls" at the flats were now buying from ASDA and not TESCO and she was concerned that her sausage rolls would fail to be to the normal quality - a needless worry - they were fine...

A check of the back of the car and a distincy lack of diet coke - so a fill up of a box from the kitchen...   Everything ready ?? Yup - I think so !!

A quick goodbye to a sleepy Susie - the dog had been fed so was ready for bed again ....

And off to the warehouse to disgorge a tea chest and load up the trailer..

To be fair - Roger had been generous to a fault  in letting me borrow his trailer from November when I found I had to change stores.. and it was now March !!  In fact - he had only bought the trailer because I told him that he really needed it - and after the weekend that he bought it I asked if I could borrow it - and kept it for two weeks on that occasion !
But March - and I though it only fair that he should have it back - so off we went to return to to his farm in Brecon ...

But first - I needed petrol - and if I was going to Tesco for fuel - then I ought to pop in and see if I could buy a new padlock - as he wanted me to cut a key for the old one - and it was easier to get a new one form the stores...   Through the shops and filled up and ready to go - and as we pass Pemberton I wonder about my phone - as I need to confirm the order with Lyme Bay and contact LTC  and...    and ...    no phone !!!

That is a bit of a blow !!!

So - my early start is all to nought as I return home to try to not disturb Susie who has obviously gone back to bed....    to Susie who is at the front door fully dressed.....  to Susie who has my phone in her hands .. and has apparently been to the warehouse and found that I have left ( she can see the wet tyre prints) been to Tesco ( but used the coast road and missed me ) thought of chasing down the motorway ( good thing she didn't ) and decided to go home - put her contact lenses in  - phone Roger and tell him to keep me there until she arrived and start to head off for Brecon...

and I turn up !!!

I think there was a hint of disappointment in that she would not be heading to Brecon to see the lambing - but as they do not start lambing for another week - it was just as well...

and so - with phone in hand I start my journey.. We are now backed up from the motorway  to Dafen - so not a good start...

Motorway slow from Gorseinon to Brittonferry - seems it would be a long day - particularly with a trailer behind....

But we get to Brecon. Make the phone calls to LTC and Lyme Bay to confirm the order for Friday.
And Trailerless head off to Heathrow - arriving at a quarter past one - the flight came in some ten minutes before....     

So off to Banbury to buy a trailer ..  And some other stuff...
Then back the long way - seems that there was a quicker way - but I went Sat Nav and ECO route and that took me along the M42 a little north and round - for a 3 hour 9 minute jounrey as opposed to a 20 mile shorter - over the M4 and pay the bridge route for 3 hours 6 minutes. Of course I had a trailer and was slower than expected so wither would have been slower...

But a little more worrying - as the fuel guage on the terrano (which is new to me) suddenly started saying that it was empty  - and Tesco was on the route - but not the junction I took which sent me off up the motorway with 9 miles to go and no garages in sight - and the 9 miles was a split on the motorway and not a junction off - so another 4.7 miles and we limp onto a side road..  I can now see the petrol station 1/2 mile and 40 seconds ahead - apart from the three sets of red lights and hill starts which are surely draining the fuel...   But we get there and fill up ...

So the rest of the journey is fairly clear - apart from the slightly dubious lights on the trailer -
and back to Llanelli and a nice Shepherd's Pie - and a glass of Chateau 41 .. I feel that was well needed today ..

Moral of the day - best take you phone  - the whole day goes smoother!!


Sunday, 8 March 2015

8th March 2015 - Sorting and Settling...

Thought for the day: "A fool and his money are soon partying."

Sunday  - playing catch up
Managed to clear a bit more in the warehouse...   Sort my sister's room out in Burry Port for her visit over here...   Ordered the mead and wines for next weekend. Aranged to buy a trailer and some other stuff. Ready for trip to Hetharow tomorrow - may need to go early and drop the old trailer off on the way...
That would allow me the space and one less journey down to Brecon.
Fingers crossed that the electrics work on the tow bar - have not had a chance to check it properly.

Meanwhile - in another life, was made Supreme Ruler of Dewi Sant Conclave at Swansea yesterday - the past Supreme Ruler's Conclave for Monmouth and South Wales. Lovely ceremony and dinner and a lift home as well - can't fault it.

Getting ready for the first event of the season - and sadly not heard anything from the solicitors. looks as though we will have to go to court to get things sorted.

Maybe an early night tonight - long drives tomorrow ..

So - just a half a glass of 41 - Cheers !


Saturday, 7 March 2015

7th March 2015 - Just a thought...

Thought for the day : "If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.."

Been a busy day - I lift a glass and say goodnight !


Friday, 6 March 2015

6th March 2015 - Eileen Mary Barker - 23rd February 2015

Today we said goodbye to Eileen ....

The day was glorious, warm and sunny, with a real hint of Spring in the air. A good day ...
I was really pleased to see people from Plas y Mor - where she had lived for over ten years, and Ty Mair Nursing Home, where she had been looked after for the last year. Also to support the family, we had many Masons and members of the Choir and the Inner Wheel.

Eileen went to rest in a beautiful wicker casket, of which I think she would have approved. It was decorated with greenery around the sides and a glorious treble Clef made of red roses was the main flower arrangement...

As I said in my introduction, we were there to remember and celebrate the life of Eileen, and to remember her at her greatest. Music was the theme of her life, and would be the theme of the service.

Eileen Mary Barker – 31st July 1925 to 23rd February 2015

I would firstly like to thank everyone who has come here this afternoon to support Sue and the family, to help celebrate the life of Eileen. For it is a time of celebration all be it tinged with sadness, rather than one of mourning as for the most part Eileen was a happy and sunny lady, and we wish to give thanks for life spanning nearly 90 years.

Eileen’s lifetime love was for music, something she inherited from her father. She started singing and performing when she was very young and won many awards and competitions in Dorset and Hampshire where she grew up. She was also a very good pianist and continued to play until her arthritis made it impossible for her to sit at the keyboard. During the war years she joined ENSA when she was just 15 (and she assured us that it did not mean “Every night something awful”) and sung at the theatre at Hurst Castle to entertain the troops. It was there that she met the founder of ENSA, Leslie Henson, who she was to meet again in the future. To get to Hurst castle they had to take the little ferry from Keyhaven across the harbour and Eileen was not a very good sailor but she said she never missed a performance.

After the war she went to train at the London Guildhall school of Music and Drama, on the Gwen Catley Scholarship, which she held for 3 years. She also went to live with Gwen Catley and travelled with the family to many places. After graduating she went on to perform in the West End and met up with Leslie Henson again when they were both in the Vivian Ellis’s musical play about Pepys’ Diaries , “and so to Bed”. She also performed regularly on the radio in shows such as Band Call. It was also while in this production that she was to be painted in her costume by the famous artist Sir Russell Flint, and we recently found out that this picture was for years kept in the home of Vivian Ellis.

Eileen also loved to dance and it was at a dance that Eileen met Sue’s father Vic, she always said he was an excellent dancer, and they were married in 1951. She continued to perform until Sue was born in 1953, and although she did sing a few more times on the radio this was the end of her time in shows.

But in 1955 she became an assistant to the Magician Robert Harbin and went on to appear in many of his stage shows and TV appearances. Sue has many happy memories of sitting watching them practice the magic tricks in Harbin’s house, but still won’t tell me how they were done.
Eileen was married to Sue’s father for 20yrs but sadly it did not last and they were divorced in 1972.

She remarried in 1974 to Arnold Barker, who she also met at a dance, and had a very long and happy second marriage which only came to an end last January when Arnold sadly passed away. They enjoyed travelling and visited many of the places that Arnold had been during the war. Eileen’s other great hobby was gardening and while living with Arnold in Rochdale they had a wonderful garden filled with vegetables and over 90 rose bushes. They were always Eileen’s favourite flower. As they gradually downsized their properties flowers were always a part of their lives until she was growing them in containers, but they were always there.

When Arnold retired they moved to the Llanelli area to be close to the family and I know that it was Eileen’s great delight to be close to her daughter and Grand daughters as they were growing up, and latterly to be visited by her great grand children. As her health worsened she got out less and less but she did get to Caerphilly Castle to see Nancy’s wedding and was thrilled at the spectacle of a full medieval show. I think it appealed to her sense of the theatrical. This was one of her last big excursions, and in her last few weeks at Ty Mair she loved to look at the photos of the wedding that were on the wall of her room.

Nancy is here with us today, but her other Grand daughter Bethan couldn’t be here as she lives in Crete and has a young family to look after, but we know that she wishes she could be here and the regret of us all is that Eileen never got the chance to meet her last great grand child, but she had many pictures of her.

The family would like to thank all the people who have helped care for Eileen in the last years of her life, the staff at Plas y mor where we know she spent 10 happy years and the staff at Ty Mair where she has been for the last year.

Eileen was a very strong personality, bubbly and as Arnold would have said “a real dizzy Blond”, and as we say goodbye, we will miss you, and as you take your final curtain call we will listen to you sing your favourite song and one that will always remind us of you.

This is Eileen Lush, singing "Summertime". 1952. BBC Radio "Band Call" With the Orchestra conducted by Mantovani...


Thursday, 5 March 2015

5th March 2015 - Happy St Pirran Day - Gool Peran Lowen!

Thought for the day: "A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good."

A happy St Piran’s Day to all my friends in Cornwall. You don't know about St Pirran??  Let me tell you a little ..

St Piran, the Patron Saint of Tinners and Cornwall was born in Ireland.

In the 5th century, after spending time in Rome to study the scriptures he returned to Ireland and was made a Bishop.

There it was believed that he performed many miracles, such as raising soldiers slain in battle back to life. But the Kings of Ireland were not happy.

The heathen Irish decided to be shot of him, so they tied a millstone around his neck and flung him into the sea. This was no great problem for the good saint, because he climbed onto the millstone and miraculously floated across the water to Perran Beach in Perranporth.

There, he built a small chapel.

St Piran then built his oratory amongst the sand dunes, and people would come from miles around to hear him preach.

The Romans had brought tin smelting, but the skill had been lost and it was St Piran who rediscovered the method, but quite by accident. A black stone on St Pran’s fire leaked a white liquid. And there it was, tin.

The Cornish Flag, the Flag Of St Piran (white cross on a black background) represents white tin flowing from the black rock, or good overcoming evil.

St Piran is believed to have lived for 200 years. Unlike David in Wales he was fond of a drink and met his end falling down a well. No date of his death was recorded.

I am sure that he would have enjoyed a glass of Chateau 41 ...   I raise my glass to St Pirran..


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

4th March 2015 - Getting a Dressing Down!!

Thought for the day: "Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?"

An embarrasment today.
Managed to rush around so much today that seemed to get a step behind - finally got all my admin sorted and ran out of ink on the printer... 

Headed up to Aberaeron for a meeting in my nice dark suit, but rather than spoil the jacket, I always fold it up and wear a warm fleece for the journey instead. That is fine if you remember to pick up the jacket on the way out!!

Sadly - an hour and a half into the journey and I start to doubt myself - but being a little short of time - no opportunity to check the back seat...

It is interesting to attend a formal Chapter Meeting - with the Deputy Grand Superintendent, and Past Grand Superintendent in attendance, and many of the "great and good", in my Royal Arch Regalia - and a borrowed jacket from the 1st Principal who was able to wear a gown and thus did not need his jacket...   To be fair, Iwan is many times my size. It would be fair to say that the jacket was several sizes too large. But with the regalia over it - and I was only sitting at the Organ as the Organist for the evening and did not really need to stand...  it was not too noticeable..

Which was fine until I got to the festive Board.
Then the Most Excellent needed his jacket back....

Thus, the festive board was a little more daunting...   I had my black body warmer.. It is sleeveless unfortunately and quite clearly showed that I did not have a proper jacket...  It is also emblazoned with the badges of my business - the Crimson Moon  in several formats ...   and not a masonic emblem in sight...   The room was not one where one could hide - there being some 25 members and guests in attendance...  of .. and did I mention that this is a festive board where the caterers provide the food, but the stewards provide the waiter service. I know !! I am not a steward !!  I am the organist, but the general practise in this friendly meeting is that if you are not on the top table you take a turn in clearing the tables or getting the next course out...   Actually - some of the top table at Aberaeron are not too full of self importance to get up and help...

So as I get up and clear the table - and fetch some gravy for the top table - it is impossible to hide the fact that I am improperly dressed...  

Now - this may phase a lesser man !!   And to be honest it should phase me!  Why you may ask? Well, as Director of Ceremonies in my Craft Lodge for many years I have always proclaimed the importance of Masonic Decorum at the festive Board. I hold firmly that the "jacket does not come off" at a festive Board. Ties are not loosened. And even after the formal proceedings are finished, I feel that it is somehow wrong to see the breakdown of formal wear....   I am only 61 - so being an "old Fogie" is a matter of choice and decorum rather than decrepitude - but there are some younger brethren in my Craft meetings with whom I have a friendly banter on this matter !!!  Had they seen me in my 'dishabillement' - they would have been laughing indeed!!!

Indeed on the evening - I was heard to mutter "I have apologised to the Deputy Grand Superintendent, and the the Past Grand Superintendent, Also to the Most Excellent and the DC - I am not apologising to you as well!!! " though in fact I probably did..

But the way I look at it - I could have turned around in embarrassment after travelling there - rather than face the problem of being in the wrong attire...  I could have!!  I could have decided to slink away after the meeting and scurry home in disgrace.. I could have!!  But then I would have missed a great evening among the fellowship of like minded people  - so I didn't...

But I shall double check next time that I have a jacket!!!

Back home safe now - Glass of 41!!  Cheers !!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

3rd March 2015 - Another day ... another step nearer

Thought for the day:"Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy!"

Busy day! Managed to find that I can hire the benches and tables for LARP AID at a reasonable price - which means that I do not have to hire them from a distance or get them carried to the site. Also means that we can have a couple extra for the back bar and front bar - which is good.
It is difficult to sell when you do not have a bar to sell from!!!

A bit of work in the warehouse and some more boxes sorted.

Managed to find the old china tea set - bone china - belonged to a grandmother somewhere and never been used. Seems a good time to get it out for the funeral on Friday. Not sure how many will come back for tea afterwards - but it seems to be the custom here so best to offer.  Susie has written a lovely Eulogy for Eileen, and I look forwad to reading it on Friday. We made the decision not to have a vicar or minister - there is nothing worse in our view than someone trying to learn about someone who has passed and then speak at the funeral. I can understand why people do it - not everyone wants to stand at the front and run the meeting - but for us it seems a far better way to do it - so I shall be celebrant and lead the service through from start to finish.

Sitting listening to Vintage TV tonight, and Merle Haggard and Willie Neslon are singing "Pancho and Leftie" - Somehow - "Bothvar - Tasty Don't you Know" sounds a damn good song !!! It is like the meme that comes up every so often "Don't you hate it when you hear your favourite song and the original singer has got the words wrong!".  Rather pleased - though I will admit it would be nice to get the full backing band effect.

Also got approached by a LARP Blogger who would like to have some original LARP style songs to put with the blog. Pointed them to the Youtube Site and tld them I could re-record anything they liked  - they seemed pleased with the idea...

Hit 67,000 hits on Youtube and still uploading Nostalgia Vids that I compiled for the LARP Awards. They are on my personal FB Pages and also a few days behind on the Crimson Moon pages - to see if I can get maximum footage. This one ios Caldicot first event  :)

Disappointed with Bosworth / Glastonbury "joined up working" plans. Seems Bosworth is going ahead as a hire of the tents - but cannot get a response regarding whether we are included in the Easter Festivities. Would have preferred to negotiate the whole package as a whole - so do not know what is happening over Easter at the moment - we may still be hunting for an event. Hoping for a response in the next few days or it will be too late to get one under our belt.

All the licensing for the events booked for this year are now in place.  10 days to first event - LARP AID in Brentwood Essex.

Still looking at spreadsheets and sums and likely profit margins and pricing policy. This is the tricky bit - getting the prices at a level that is favourable to the customer and sufficient to get a return. The business was built before on the basis of building a steadily increasing customer base rather than a quick hit return  - but events have to break even as well.

So...   surrounded by paper and computer sums  - I shall call it a day ... I lift a glass of 41 and say cheers!!

Monday, 2 March 2015

2nd March 2015 - Elevators...

Thought for the day: "Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?"

 Always hard to hear of a friend who has hit hard times
I received this today ..

"I was brutally attacked by a woman.
I was in the lift when she got in.
I was casually staring at her boobs when she said,
"Would you please press 1"
So I did...and I don't remember much afterwards.
I may be out of the hospital in a few days."

Poor chap !!!



Sunday, 1 March 2015

1st March 2015 - White Rabbits

Thought for the day: "Boycott shampoo! Demand the REAL poo!"

As it is the first of the month - I decided to add this lovely photo of some White Rabbits in the snow!!  Enjoy !

Spent a morning in the warehouse today. Managed to clear a path to the bathroom where I have now stored the material and boxes that need ready access. Looks a lot clearer. Now almost through the boxes of damp books and cleared and cleaned and re-boxed. Will soon be in a position to start re-arranging the furniture and getting a few pictures of the store.

Meanwhile, some thoughts on the Vale events through the summer. The organiser  offered the use of tents so we only had to bring the bars in - however - there is a charge of about £300 per tent plus VAT which makes the calculations fall apart.  Until we know better and have done an event there, I have to estimate that the profit margin will be in the region of £650 - £750  after paying 10% of the takings for site fees. That would wipe any profit out entirely.

It makes it a harder set up - but I cannot see another way other than to take our own tents for the first events. Still mulling this over.

Meanwhile - Morrisons have an offer on Vodka at £15 a litre which is good, and Farm Foods are still doing their buy 2 x 3ltr for £3 which brings coke and diet coke down to 50p a litre.

Need to find if Farm Foods are near Brentwood...   hmmm Chelmsford seems the best
Best keep that for posterity ..

Meanwhile, also purchased a small wooden barrel planter that will do well to hold snacks like crisps and peanuts in packets on the bar. Also a couple of wagon Wheel so I can build the wine seller's barrow..   All ideas in mind at the moment ...

Starting to get the spereadsheets together for the stock and pricing structures..
All keeping busy .. Meanwhile I saw this - and thought "what a good idea!" Seems the customers do the pedalling ... 

Oh well... enough for a Sunday
White Rabbits !