Wednesday, 30 September 2015

30th September 2015 - What is GRE ?? Is it an age thing?

Thought for the day: "The sun always brightens up my day"

Did on of those silly on line quizzes today - Can we guess you age by your vocabulary ?
Thought I would share in this occasion  - they were a little out ...

Your age is 68

"You’ve studied many languages, providing you with plenty of ways to express yourself. You are storyteller and people love to listen to you. Your voice is full of wisdom and your vocabulary is old-fashioned and immaculate."

Couldn't really fault the sentiment and, as most memes work, they pander to the ego like a good horoscope...  good for everyone...  but I enjoyed..

But the thing that confused me was the section that asked me for my GRE Word..
I cannot be sure about the results as I had not idea what a GRE Word meant ..
But what is GRE ?? and what is your GRE Word ?? 
I chose "eclectic"..  it seemed the most likely one to apply to me,  but I have no idea what GRE is ..

It seems that this is a word that is in current usage - and may have a whole world of people who understand it - but placing it in a quiz to work out how old you are as though you will know the meaning shows that whoever set the quiz had no concept of how language has changed ..... and how people of my age will not know what they are talking about ...

So a closer examination of the world of Google shows that if you delve far enough - you get the acronym that means "Graduate Record Examination" - Susie found it - I gave up after three pages of Google - but I am that sort of person -

I knew in principle.. but the lists shown on google suggest lists of american vocabulary that you require to pass into graduation...  Still.... wasted a few minutes of my life  - So I thought I would give you the heads up so you do not have to follow my losses..

No - I am not 68 - just thought I would confirm ...

Meanwhile - local freelance reporter pops in late to interview me for the local rag... Seems we are near the deadline and he was short of a subject - so I gave him my life story.. the other ten minutes we spent drinking wine .. Not Chateau 41, sadly  but there you go 


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

29th September 2015 - Confused Flour Beetles

Thought for the day:" My poor knowledge of Greek mythology has always been my Achilles' elbow."

Susie came home with some special "stuff" to fumigate the chickens. There are little mites all over the place and though they do not seem to bother me - the chickens are not comfortable and Susie has a number of bites ..  However, as she came through the door she asked me to search for "Confused Beetles" ... So I did .. The label on the packet said that it was good for getting rid of Confused Beetles and we just wondered what could confuse a Beetle??? So I looked it up..
I thought I would share my new found knowledge with you ..   Seems they are space travellers and likely to outlive the cockroach !

a Confused Beetle
The confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum), a type of darkling beetle known as a flour beetle, is a common pest insect known for attacking and infesting stored flour and grain. They are one of the most common and most destructive insect pests for grain and other food products stored in silos, warehouses, grocery stores, and homes

The confused flour beetle is very similar in appearance and habit to the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum and the destructive flour beetle, Tribolium destructor. Both the confused flour beetle and red flour beetle are small, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length, and reddish-brown in colour. The primary distinguishing physical difference is the shape of their antennae: the confused flour beetle's antennae increase gradually in size and have four clubs, while the red flour beetle's antennae have only three. Additionally, red flour beetles have been known to fly short distances, while confused flour beetles do not. Tribolium destructor is much darker than either and less common.

The "confused" in the beetle's name is due to being confused with the red flour beetle, and not because of its walking pattern.   Ahh !! that explains a lot!!
While confused (and red) flour beetles cannot feed on whole, undamaged grain, they are often found in large numbers in infested grains, feeding on broken grain, grain dust, and other household food items such as flour, rice, dried fruit, nuts, and beans. Both types of beetles are often found not only in infested grains, but in crevices in pantries and cabinet, as well. Damage to food is caused somewhat by the beetles' feeding, but also by their dead bodies, fecal pellets, and foul-smelling secretions. In addition to creating a foul odour, the beetles' presence encourages the growth of mold.

Confused flour beetles are a common model organism in science. Several confused flour beetles were experimental subjects on the Bion 1 spacecraft, launched in 1973.

In an episode of Mythbusters, the flour beetle, as well as cockroaches and fruit flies, were tested to determine their resistance to radiation in the event of a nuclear holocaust. In the end, the flour beetle was the only species tested to live 30 days past exposure to 100,000 rads (100 times the lethal dose to human beings, according to promotions of the episode).

So ... a bit of education for a Tuesday ...    Enjoy !

(Still out of Chateau 41 - must try harder! )

So for the chemists ...


Monday, 28 September 2015

28th September 2015 - Of Super Moons

Thought for the day: "If I had a pound for ever girl that found me unattractive, they would eventually find me attractive"

So, it seems that there was an eclipse in the middle of the night - an eclipse of the moon that will not happen again until 2033, and to be fair for the first time the skies were bright and the moon was clear - and when the eclipse came it was very clear...   I did not take a picture myself but understand that this is what it looked like - note the peculiar reddish tinge ...

I decided to celebrate a little - as it was called the Super Moon and that seemed like a marketing opportunity - so the facebook pages changed in accordance with the occasion...

and then I found this by :
Mike Mezeul II

"After spending 5 hours on a rooftop with an incredible view of Dallas, I was able to create this composite image showing the moon transition from full moon, to full lunar eclipse, and back. Each moon image was shot approximately 10 minutes apart to capture the entire transition. I hope you all enjoy! Feel free to share!"

Life is still a bit hectic - with the daily trip up to Carmarthen to see my mother in hospital with her dislocated hip - but she seems to be recovering well again - though very weak ...
Today was early morning shop to ASDA to get ink cartridges so I can clear some paperwork that keeps on building up - managed to re-arranged the piles of paper into new piles yesterday - and then ran out of ink to print - so I have some neat piles which need to be addressed today....
Of course - this will be disturbed by my daily swim in the local pool - which is becoming a good habit - may even get a little healthy sometime - probably not ..

Need to get some Wine - all out of Chateau 41 and the canned white seems to take a lot longer to ferment - we are spoiled with our super fast Lidl grape juice I think ....  But Whisky was on offer in ASDA - £15 for 1 litre of Bells and Gordons - need to stock up I think ..


Sunday, 27 September 2015

27th September 2015 - Lodging a Complaint

Thought for the day: "I once was diagnosed with memory loss ..."

So - last Thursday was the installation for St Teilo Lodge..

WM and Wardens St Teilo Lodge 4755

Room before the hoards came in

 Friday was Royal Ark Mariner's Installation Lliedi RAM 820 - also in Llanelli..
Tables laid out in a triangle to suit the degree - and flower displays care of Susie...

Saturday was Deheubarth Conclave of Installed Supreme Rulers in Carmarthen -

Sunday - a bit of a rest - a swim and visit to the Hospital ...  

But   the compalint I have .......  I AM OUT OF CHATEAU 41 !!!   Disaster !!!

Will have to drink scotch !!   Tough Life.



Saturday, 26 September 2015

26th September 2015 - Just a thought

Thought for the day:"Arable Farming is no Bull" 

Rush Rush Rush 

best have a glass of Chateau 41...

Friday, 25 September 2015

25th September 2015 - Just a thought

Thought for the day : "Tea is for mugs."

busy busy busy 
don't be surprised if this blog expands over time 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

24th September 2015 - Not much happening - really !

Thought for the day: "There's something really strange about my new, frictionless car, but just can't put my finger on it. "

busy today ..
Lodge meetings
will catch up again 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

23rd September 2015 - Festival of Mabon Autumn Equinox

Thought for the day:"I wanted to build the world's tallest building, but then I found out someone already did it"

Seems today is the Autumn Equinox -

The Celtic festival of Mabon - The autumnal equinox

The autumnal equinox is the time when the day and night are of equal length. This was a solar festival of great importance to the Celts who used the sky as both clock and calendar, as it was seen as a turning point in the year and as such, a time to get prepared for the colder months to follow.

Traditionally, this would have been the second harvest festival, celebrated with a feast and offerings to give thanks for the fruits of the earth and also acknowledge the harsh times ahead. The "Harvest Moon" is associated with the autumnal equinox, as being the closest full moon to it. It occurs when the moon rises approximately 30 minutes later from one night to the next. Thus, there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise for several days following the actual date of the full moon.

The Celts did not seem to have a specific name for this time of year, but it has become widely known recently as Mabon, named after the character from the mabinogian, Mabon ap Modron.

Mabon Ap Modron (son of Modron) is stolen from his mother Modron when he is only 3 days old. While Modron grieves for her loss, Mabon, the bright child of promise, is hidden or locked away (depending on the version ) in a castle for many years. His rescue becomes a quest for one of Arthur’s knights. Cei, Arthur’s adopted brother, and Gwrhyr, the translator of animal languages.

In their journey they must seek out many ancient animals, each older and wiser than the one before. They visit a Blackbird, a Stag, an Owl and an Eagle, until they are finally led to the salmon of Llyn Llyw, the oldest animal of them all.

The enormous salmon carries them downstream to Mabon's prison in Gloucester, where they hear him through the walls, singing a lamentation for his fate.

The rest of Arthur's men launch an assault on the front of the prison, while Cei and Bedwyr sneak in the back and rescue Mabon.

So - Happy Equinox !!  I'll drink to that !!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

22nd September 2015 - Maddie Groves in the Crimson Moon

Thought for the day :"Binary - it's as easy as 01, 10, 11"

So, as I wait for another courier  (should be arriving betwen 11am and 12 mid-day - to Llanelli no less!!) I thought I would share another video.. This time the Erin Navy and Golden Apple play in the Crimson Moon a favourite of the Navy - "Maddie Groves" with assistance from the CM staff of course and a poorly Vollsanger in the background..


Monday, 21 September 2015

21st September 2015 - Just a Minute in the Crimson Moon

Thought for the day: "I switched to a much tighter neckbrace and will never look back"

Yesterday was a day for fiddling with some video and posting. My friend Pete ( Scott took some video at the Curious Pastimes event over the August Bank Holiday - and this was the first opportunity I had to d a little work on them ...

The first one was a "time-lapse" compilation taken in the Tavern - so had no soundtrack to go with it. Of course - I am unable to do much with the music at the moment - the left arm not being flexible enough, so I went back to the old faithful Blackmore's Night, and one of my favourite songs "Under a Violet Moon" which just happens to fit quite nicely with "Down at the Crimson Moon".

 So - a bit of a voice-over on the laptop microphone ...   not too shabby..

Will do another today ...   better think about a glass of Chateau 41 for inspiration .

And just a little aside - for any who read my rant on Saturday about delivery firms and waiting for a credit card machine to be delivered - I though I had it all sorted - I have been waiting in all afternoon for my delivery between 2.30pm and 3.30pm this afternoon - just been notified that they could not delivery as there was no-one there!!   As I started to go apoplectic - I thought I would check - Yes - they have tried to delivery back to the Vale !!!! Seems the delivery to Llanelli is tomorrow - so I will have to stay in all day again tomorrow !!

Pleased to announce that the mead and wine arrived safely up North !!  there had to be an exception to the rule !



Sunday, 20 September 2015

20th September 2015 - Branching out into Celtic Lore

Thought for the day: "I saw a sign that said 'Falling Rocks' . It lied !! Trust me - I've tried it !!"

I saw a post today which intrigued me - not only because there was no May 13th, but also because some periods are attributed to more than one tree..

And since I have the option to have a blog - it seems like a good place to store for future reference.

But that just leads to a few more searches.. and Wiki shows some information ...

Almost all kinds of tree found in the Celtic countries have been thought to have special powers or to serve as the abode of the fairies, especially the magical trio of oak, ash, and thorn. Next in rank are the fruit-bearing trees apple and hazel, followed by the alder, elder, holly, and willow. The esteem given different trees varies in different parts of the Celtic world; on the Isle of Man, the phrase ‘fairy tree’ denotes the tramman elder. The medieval Welsh poem Cad Goddeu (The Battle of the Trees) has been interpreted as a remnant of Druidic lore, possibly relating to the Celtic tree alphabet ogham found across northwestern Europe.

The Druid Grove 1845

 and some of the trees are here..


  The mighty deciduous hardwood of the oak has played a prominent role in the Celtic imagination from ancient to modern times. The English word ‘druid’ (from the Latin plural druidae) derives in part from the root dru- ‘oak;’ Celtic words for oak, e.g. Old Irish and Modern Irish. dair, Welsh derwen, share the same root. The ancient geographer Strabo (1st century AD) reported that the important sacred grove and meeting-place of the Galatian Celts of Asia Minor, Drunemeton, was filled with oaks. In an often-cited passage from Historia Naturalis (1st century AD), Pliny the Elder describes a festival on the sixth day of the moon where the druids climbed an oak tree, cut a bough of mistletoe, and sacrificed two white bulls as part of a fertility rite.

Elsewhere druids made their wands from only three woods: yew, oak, and apple. In Mediterranean culture the oak was sacred to both Zeus and Jupiter, some aspects of which were no doubt transferred to the worship of Gaulish Jupiter. Britons under Roman occupation worshipped a goddess of the oak tree, Daron, whose name is commemorated in a rivulet in Gwynedd.

According to the pseudo-history Lebor Gabála ‘Book of Invasions,’ the sacred oak of early Ireland was that of Mugna, probably located at or near Dunmanogoe, south Co. Kildare.

Sacred associations of oaks survived Christianization, so that St Brigit's monastic foundation was at Cill Dara, ‘church of (the) oak,’ i.e. Kildare, and St Colum Cille favoured Doire Calgaich ‘Calgach's oak grove,’ i.e. Derry; see also Durrow, darú, from dair magh, ‘oak plain.’

In Welsh tradition Gwydion and Math use the flower of oak with broom to fashion the beautiful Blodeuwedd. When Lleu Llaw Gyffes is about to be killed by Gronw Pebyr, his wife's lover, he escapes in eagle form onto a magic oak tree.

A sacred oak tree protects the Breton city of Ys until the feckless boy Kristof removes it, allowing Ys to be engulfed. The Arthurian figure Merlin is imprisoned in an oak tree in the Breton forest of Brocéliande by Viviane/Nimiane (the Lady of the Lake). In both British and Irish fairy lore, the oak is one of three magical woods, along with ash and thorn. Old Irish and Modern Irish is dair; Scots Gaelic, darach; Manx, daragh; Welsh, derwen, dâr; Cornish derowen; Breton, dervenn.


The ash tree was a tree regarded with awe in Celtic countries, especially Ireland. The mountain ash, rowan, or quicken tree, a smaller tree of the variety Sorbus aucuparia, is usually considered separately in the Celtic imagination.

There are several recorded instances in Irish history in which people refused to cut an ash, even when wood was scarce, for fear of having their own cabins consumed with flame. The ash tree itself might be used in May Day ( Beltaine) rites.

Under the Old Irish word nin, the ash also gives its name to the letter N in the ogham alphabet. Together with the oak and thorn, the ash is part of a magical trilogy in fairy lore. Ash seedpods may be used in divination, and the wood has the power to ward off fairies, especially on the Isle of Man.

In Gaelic Scotland children were given the astringent sap of the tree as a medicine and as a protection against witch-craft. Some famous ash trees were the Tree of Uisnech, the Bough of Dathí, and the Tree of Tortu.

The French poet who used Breton sources, Marie de France (late 12th century), wrote a lai about an ash tree. The Old Irish for ‘ash’ is nin; Irish, fuinseog; Scots Gaelic, fuinnseann; Manx, unjin; Welsh, onnen; Cornish, onnen; Breton, onnenn.


The pome fruit and tree of the apple is celebrated in numerous functions in Celtic mythology, legend, and folklore; it is an emblem of fruitfulness and sometimes a means to immortality. Wands of druids were made from wood either of the yew or of the apple.

The Brythonic Avalon in Arthurian tradition in certain medieval narratives, attributing Welsh origin, is translated as Insula Pomorum; ‘The Isle of Apples’. One gloss of the name for the magical Irish island Emain Ablach is ‘Emain of the Apples’. In the Ulster Cycle the soul of Cú Roí was confined in an apple that lay in the stomach of a salmon which appeared once every seven years. Cúchulainn once gained his escape by following the path of a rolled apple. An apple-tree grew from the grave of the tragic lover Ailinn. In the Irish tale Echtrae Conli (The Adventure of Connla), Connla the son of Conn is fed an apple by a fairy lover, which sustains him with food and drink for a month without diminishing; but it also makes him long for the woman and the beautiful country of women to which his lover is enticing him.

In the Irish story from the Mythological Cycle, Oidheadh Chlainne Tuireann, the first task given the Children of Tuireann is to retrieve the Apples of the Hesperides (or Hisbernia).

Afallennau (Welsh, ‘apple trees’) is a 12th-century Welsh narrative poem dealing with Myrddin Wyllt. The Breton pseudosaint Konorin was reborn by means of an apple.

The Old Irish word is uball, ubull; Modern Irish. ubhal, úll; Scots Gaelic ubhall; Manx, ooyl; Welsh, afal; Corn. aval; Bret. Aval.


Both the wood and the edible nuts of the hazel have played important roles in Irish and Welsh traditions. Hazel leaves and nuts are found in early British burial mounds and shaft-wells, especially at Ashill, Norfolk.

The place-name story for Fordruim, an early name for Tara, describes it as a pleasant hazel wood. In the ogham alphabet of early Ireland, the letter C was represented by hazel [OIr. coll]. According to Robert Graves, it also represented the ninth month on the Old Irish calendar, 6 August to 2 September.

Initiate members of the Fianna had to defend themselves armed only with a hazel stick and a shield; yet in the Fenian legends the hazel without leaves was thought evil, dripping poisonous milk, and the home of vultures. Thought a fairy tree in both Ireland and Wales, wood from the hazel was sacred to poets and was thus a taboo fuel on any hearth.

Heralds carried hazel wands as badges of office. Witches' wands are often made of hazel, as are divining rods, used to find underground water. In Cornwall the hazel was used in the millpreve, the magical adder stones. In Wales a twig of hazel would be given to a rejected lover.

Even more esteemed than the hazel's wood were its nuts, often described as the ‘nuts of wisdom’, e.g. esoteric or occult knowledge. Hazels of wisdom grew at the heads of the seven chief rivers of Ireland, and nine grew over both Connla's Well and the Well of Segais, the legendary common source of the Boyne and the Shannon. The nuts would fall into the water, causing bubbles of mystic inspiration to form, or were eaten by salmon. The number of spots on a salmon's back were thought to indicate the number of nuts it had consumed. The salmon of wisdom caught by Fionn mac Cumhaill had eaten hazel nuts. Very similar tales related by Taliessin are retained in the Brythonic tradition. Traces of hazelnuts have been found in a 'Celtic' style three-chained suspension bowl discovered in a post-Roman burial dated to 650 CE in London.

The name of the Irish hero Mac Cuill means ‘son of the hazel’. W. B. Yeats thought the hazel was the common Irish form of the tree of life. Old Irish and Modern Irish is coll; Scots Gaelic, calltunn, calltuinn; Manx, coull; Welsh, collen; Cornish, collwedhen; Breton, kraoñklevezenn.


The alder, a shrub or tree of the birch family has special implications in Celtic tradition. The alder usually grows in wet ground, with small, pendulous catkins. Alders are especially associated with Bran; at Cad Goddeu, ‘The Battle of the Trees’, Gwydion guessed Bran's name from the alder twigs in his hand. The answer to an old Taliesin riddle ‘Why is the alder purple?’ is ‘Because Bran wore purple’. Bran's alder may be a symbol of resurrection. The name for the boy Gwern, son of Matholwch and Branwen, means ‘alder’. The place-name Fernmag (ang. Farney) means ‘plain of the alder’

In Ireland the alder was regarded with awe apparently because when cut the wood turns from white to red. At one time the felling of an alder was punishable, and it is still avoided. The alder was thought to have power of divination, especially in the diagnosing of diseases. Alder or yew might be used in the fé, a rod for measuring corpses and graves in pre-Christian Ireland. The letter F, third consonant in the ogham alphabet, was named after the alder. The Old Irish is fern;. Modern Irish is fearnóg; Scots Gaelic, feàrna; Manx, farney; Welsh, gwernen; Cornish, gwernen; Breton, gwernenn.


The elder, having clusters of white flowers and red or blackish berry-like fruit, has many associations with the fairy world in oral traditions of recent centuries in Celtic countries. On the Isle of Man, where elder grows abundantly and is called tramman, it is commonly thought of as the ‘ fairy tree’. In Ireland many individual elder trees were thought haunted by fairies or demons. Old Irish is tromm; Modern Irish is trom; Scots Gaelic, troman, droman; Welsh, ysgawen; Cornish, scawen; Breton, skavenn.


The evergreen yew with dark green, needle-like leaves and red berries has commonly symbolized immortality in the Indo-European imagination as it is the longest-lived entity, often lasting more than 1,000 years, to be found in the European environment. It is still commonly planted in Christian churchyards and cemeteries. The druids preferred yew for wand-making over their other favourite woods, apple and oak.

The name of the Eburones, a Gaulish people residing between the Main and Rhine, means ‘people of the yew’, while several Irish and Scottish place-names allude to the yew, notably Youghall [Eochaill, yew wood] in County Cork. The Irish personal name Eógan means ‘born of the yew’, so that the great Munster dynasty could be glossed as ‘people of the yew’.

According to the foundation story of Cashel, the Eóganacht capital, Corc mac Luigthig has a vision of a yew bush, with angels dancing over it, before settling on the site. One of Conchobar mac Nessa's residences at Emain Macha, Cráebruad, has nine rooms lined with red yew. Suibne Geilt in Buile Shuibhne (The Frenzy of Suibne) rests on yew trees during his flight. When Eógan and Lugaid mac Con are disputing they hear the magical music of the yew tree over a waterfall; the musician is revealed to be Fer Í (man of yew), the son of Eogabal.

Wielders of the spear Gáe Assail are sure to kill their victims if they utter the word “ibar” (yew) as they cast. The agnomen of Cáer, the swan maiden, is Ibormeith [yew berry]. In oral variants of the Deirdre story, King Conchobar mac Nessa drives yew stakes through the hearts of the dead lovers, which later grow and intertwine near a church.

Yet not all stories of the yew imply power or vitality. A rod named fé, made of yew or alder, was used to measure corpses and graves. And Fergus, the hapless brother of Niall Noígiallach (of the Nine Hostages) in Echtra Mac nEchach Muigmedóin (The Adventure of the Sons of Eochaid Mugmedón), signals his sterility when he rescues from a burning forge only the ‘withered wood’ of yew, which will not burn. Old Irish is ibar; Modern Irish, iúr; Scots Gaelic, iubhar; Manx, euar; Welsh, ywen; Cornish, ewen; Breton, ivinenn.

So there we have it !!   Getting to the roots of the matter...   Cheers!!



Saturday, 19 September 2015

19th September 2015 - Recalling Re-enactments...they start with ARR

Thought for the day: "I am thinking of selling my excessively noisy budgie. Going cheep."

Seems to day is "Talk like a Pirate" day... I have looked at various days in the past and wondered about the Pirates Days - why they should be called that .. but realised now that they just ARRRR!

And so a Saturday morning, and I travel up to Carmarthen for a meeting of the Dewi Sant Conclave of Past Supreme Rulers in the Order of David and Jonathon or the Order of the Secret Monitor.

And in this case, as a Past Ruler meeting there would be no ceremony but rather a "talk" by myself .. and what subject should I choose ???

In this case, I decided to give an account of how I got to receive my injuries in Germany - and a short account of the differences between reenactment and Live Roleplay to a group of people who it seems were well entertained but had no idea of what I spoke !!

But I told them of the Nine Dragons and the Dragon Fest - and the challenge on the Green Gate and how I received my injuries - and they tried to lift a full set of chain mail, and examined the differences between my "blunt" axe and my Role Play axe...  and not once did I talk like a pirate...

But a nice meal in the Ivy Bush among friends and my role as Very Worthy Brother Iain went without too many hiccoughs and the next meeting for that conclave is the installation of my successor in March ...  Time to think about my own installation in St Teilo in the craft on Thursday...     
And so - the remainder of the day is quiet - a time to watch TV and sit back
More paperwork tomorrow I think ..



Friday, 18 September 2015

18th September 2015 - Of Doom & Damnation to Deliveries

Thought for the day: "I have some milk bottle glasses. I think they are pasteurized."

Another day with a splash in the pool, some exercise and a fair amount of pain. Partly due to Delivery firms. Especially delivery firms that are so automated that they will give you the hour that they will attend, and a contact you via a text message to say what they are doing - but who do not accept a different mobile phone number for contact!!

So - let us say - just for example, you wanted to get an urgent delivery of, say, a credit card machine for an event that you are running, and you specify an address where you know that someone is able to take charge of it - because they need it this weekend, but you know that there may be a great big gate in the way because some sites like to keep the place "secure" ... then you will make sure that the company sending said item will know that there are not only one - but two mobile phone numbers on the site that can be contacted  - I always used to call it "Belts and Braces". If the Belt fails then the braces will hold the trousers up.

So - we know that it will be between 3pm and 4pm - and DPD is a well established delivery company, and Worldpay are (not the cheapest)  but a well established card company who have confirmed the address and the mobile phone details not once - but twice...   What could possibly go wrong?

Well ...
3 minutes past 3pm a text message appears on Susie's phone. I let her know ten minutes later as she comes into the room - not connecting in my mind that her phone number may be associated with the old business - which currently requires a credit card machine... "we are sorry to tell you that there was no-one available to sign for your package and it is being returned to the depot.."

Meanwhile - an email comes in showing ... well - let me show you !!!

Okay - this is quite efficient - it will tell me why they have not delivered..
We were not able to deliver as no-one was there to sign...  Yes !! that was why we gave two mobile numbers to call to get someone down to the big locked gate  - and you have left a calling card ??  Where ???
Anyone who has been to the Vale or any event at Huntley Wood will know the big locked gates. All the locals are used to them - if you get a pizza delivered it gets to the BIG LOCKED GATES and then you phone your contact details ....

Oh - the email gives the option of going onto the website to get more details.. The more details are that there is a better picture of a BIG LOCKED GATE

and here it is !!!

But if you hunt hard enough you can find a contact link - so - only being 15 minutes form the drop - which was scheduled between 3pm and 4pm - and having 3/4 hour before the "window" closed, I managed to find a contact number for DPD. Sadly not a free number. In fact an 0845 which Sky Free Phone options charges extra to use  - but no time to use this time.. I get hold of the courier....

And - half an hour later we establish that the driver has finished his run and is returning to depot - regardless of where he may be, and will not return to the site. Apparently - according to DPD they have no extra phone numbers to call - tried one on the gate ( allegedly) and returned.

Oh - they will try again on Monday !!
Since we are only there over the weekend this is a little worrying !! And useless...

If we want to pay extra - then we can redirect for a further delivery tomorrow - Saturday - but I know that the gates will be locked again - so I ask if we can confirm that he will call the mobile phone number to get access.. But - it seems that DPD drivers are not issued with Mobile phones so there is no guarantee that they will call anyone. So - As I get this right.. I can pay a premium to get a delivery on a Saturday to a locked gate where the driver will not contact anyone to open the gate  and therefore take it back to the depot - otherwise - they will try to deliver it on Monday - to a locked Gate, and Tuesday - to a locked gate - and then return the item to the sender .....

So - as an alternative - I say, can we forget this weekend - but there will be no-one there on Monday - so can we deliver to another address where there will be someone available to receive and sign for the package - that will be to a domestic address up north.... No !
For security reasons - only the sender can divert a package. While part of me understands that this is actually good practise.... the rest of me is getting frustrated as Friday is drifting away..
So, they will not cancel the delivery and return to Worldpay - will not divert - and can let me collect on Monday or re-deliver to the same address on Monday ....

I try the online - since I have the tracking information and the pass codes - I wonder if I can re-direct that way ...  Nope - I can ask for a deliver to the same address on Monday or Tuesday ...

Seems the only option is to contact Worldpay as they are the sender - and therefore accordingly to DPD they are the only ones who can cancel the delivery or change the address...

I do not think I will get that hour of my life back ....

Worldpay - 6 options on the phone and delays on all off them - 23 minutes later listening to some Musak - I wish I had a speaker phone - hurting my broken arm as I hold the phone to an ear... and get through to a "Customer Advisor" - explain my problem ... It seems that I need Technical support even though it is not technical - and they pass me through and lose the connection. I try again and after a shorter wait - I pressed 4 for technical support this time, I explain my problem ..

To me it is simple:
You cannot deliver to the given address - therefore please contact DPD
I need the machine - so can you redirect delivery to a new address - they will only take this from you.
If you cannot do this - please cancel delivery so that you can send to a new address
Either way - I have given up with delivery for this weekend - which will cost me money - but need it desperately for next weekend for a Market event which will require credit card transactions..

I hit the brick wall :
"if it was not delivered today - do not worry - they will try twice more before returning"
"but they will not deliver on a Saturday"
"Yes they deliver on a Saturday - and then will try Monday"
"I have been on the website and talked to DPD - they will not send on a Saturday unless I pay a premium charge by credit or debit card (!!) and if they do they will not use a mobile phone to contact the receiver to get through the BIG LOCKED GATE ...  Can you just cancel"
"No - we cannot cancel - we have to wait until they have tried three times and then they will return it"
"But then I will not get a card machine before I am trading next weekend - so will lose two weeks trading"
"We cannot do anything about that - Anyway - we cannot send to an address that is not on the account"
"But you just have!"
"No - it is not possible - w only send to the address on the account - in your case (home address)"
"Then how do you account for my query about them trying to get through the BIG LOCKED GATE!
you have it in transit already to another address - and I was happy with that until you failed to give the contact details that you agreed to send with the dispatch"
"well we have the two phone numbers on our records - but we do not deal with dispatch so cannot tell if the numbers were included on the delivery details..."
"Okay !!!   Can you send me a new machine out so I can have it before the weekend ?"
"No - we cannot do anything until the other machine is returned to us"
"then why can you not cancel the delivery so it comes back on Monday and you can send to me on Tuesday "
"DPD will try to deliver three times before they return the item"
"But there is a BIG LOCKED GATE  - and we will not be there on Monday and Tuesday - then the weekend will have gone before you can get me a machine"...

20 minutes later ...
"Can you give me the number of whomever I need to speak to to cancel my contract - I need a credit card machine by Friday and I will have to cancel with you ..."

"hello - my name is Amanda - I work in Customer Loyalty department - is there a problem ..."

" !!!!!! "

2 hours of my life I will not get back again ..

It seems - that to maintain my custom - they will send out a new terminal but only to my home address - the one on the account - as they NEVER EVER send to anywhere else. !!! Remeber the BIG LOCKED GATE ?? I do !
I will then have to send via Royal Mail to the address where it is required...
They will immediately cancel the current delivery (I though they said that they could not do this - but ho hum)  which is a bit of a relief as I could just see some innocent bystander signing for the package on Wednesday leading to me being responsible for returning it ....  ( Ithough myu problem earlier was that they could not do this - so this is a bonus - I think!!)

But, this weekend, for all those at the VALE - behind the BIG LOCKED GATE...  the reason that we are not taking tabs and credit cards is because of DPD and Worldpay and the niceties of what can and cannot be done - and the lesson is - DPD - let your drivers use a mobile phone to contact the receiver...- Worldpay - send the contact details .... Everyone - lets try for a solution - not every situation is standard..

It does not impress me that you can tell me that you cannot deliver in five different ways - send me a picture of a BIG LOCKED GATE  and text me - if you are unwilling to try to sort the problem out..

Rant over - unless you want me to start talking about MEAD deliveries - speak to my mate from Lancashire  Mead - or my friends in Cornish Meads... that is another story !

[Reaches for a bottle of Chateua 41  - and breathe ]

Thursday, 17 September 2015

17th September 2015 - Swimming and St Teilo

Thought for the day : "The yogurt aisle is so confusing now. It's all Greek to me."

Today I found that Llanelli have a fine swimming pool that is free for over 60's. Further, I discovered that the water was pretty warm - and not a great problem to get into, that the free period between 12.30pm and 1.30pm is ideal - and there were only 7 people in the pool - which was good for someone who is trying to do physio exercises in the water rather than actually swimming.

And so I spend my evening with an ache in the arm but the satisfaction of knowing that I have managed a fair amount of physio in the bad arm. I have no idea how long it will take - but I am out of the sling now and hopeful.

Meanwhile, plans continue towards the installation in St Teilo next Thursday. Everything is moving in the right direction and plans are continuing. It will be 15 years since I was last in the Chair of the Craft, and I am looking forward to getting there again.

Hmm - even this one is from 2005 - so need to trawl back to find earlier pictures.

But a little earlier...

Ladies Night - St Teilo Lodge No 4755 - March  1992 .. 

Will be interesting to look at the events this year ...

And so - a glass of Chateau 41 comes to mind - Cheers..


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

16th September 2015 - On the subject of Fighting Pain and Physio

Thought for the day: "There is a species of antelope that is capable of jumping higher than the average house!! This is partly due to the antelope's powerful hind legs, but mainly due to the fact that the average house cannot jump"

Been away for a while : starting to try and get the shoulder back into shape - so mainly for my own reference I have decide to add my exercise regime so I can review progress.
About the injury 
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. Most of the shoulder movement occurs where the ball at the top of your arm bone (‘humerus’) fits into the socket (‘glenoid’), which is part of the shoulder blade (‘scapula’). The arm is normally held in the socket by the soft tissue which fits over the joint liked a sock. This is
stabilised by fibrous tissue in the capsule, and by the muscles and
tendons that rotate the arm.
Dislocation occurs when the ball is wrenched out of its socket. The force required to do this can also tear or partially tear the muscles, ligaments and/or shoulder capsule surrounding the joint.

Phase 1
This phase starts after the shoulder has been put back into its socket. The
polysling will help to keep your shoulder comfortable. It should be worn for a maximum of two weeks, unless you have also broken your shoulder, when you
have to wear it for up to six weeks.

Pain can be a problem particularly in the first 2-3 weeks. Your doctor may give you a prescription to help with pain relief, or you can control the pain with basic painkillers, such as paracetamol.
Also, you may benefit from putting an ice pack (e.g. a bag of frozen peas in a damp towel) on the sore area for 10-15 minutes.
Your physiotherapist will give you some gentle movements for the arm, out of the sling, to help reduce stiffness and relieve some of the pain.

Phase 2

The main focus of this phase is to increase your range of movement further, increase your muscle strength, especially your rotator cuff, and to re-establish the muscle balance in your shoulder. Your progress will depend on the nature and severity of your injury.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that rotate the arm, and form a cuff or sleeve around the  shoulder joint and capsule. These must work together to keep the shoulder still whilst moving the arm. The physiotherapist will identify any weakness in these muscles and give you exercises from this booklet to strengthen them.

The scapula is supported by two important muscles, the trapezius muscle and the serratus anterior muscle. These muscles must be strong to control the shoulder blade as the shoulder joint moves. The physiotherapist will assess the muscle control of the scapula and give you an appropriate exercise programme as necessary.

Phase 3

The aim of this phase is to make progress towards functional and sporting activities, by helping you to regain the neuromuscular control of your shoulder. This is achieved by exercising the unstable shoulder in positions that challenge the shoulder muscles fully.
This also re-trains your proprioception, which is your body’s awareness of where a limb is in space. This works by messages relating to joint position awareness being sent to the brain via receptors in the shoulder.
When these receptors detect a situation of potential tissue damage, the muscles are caused to contract by the brain. This then causes the joint to move, so decreasing the mechanical stress on the surrounding areas.

So - the exercises:

and so we have it ...