Monday, June 30, 2008

Ava's Diary

It’s been a big week for me. Friday was my first day in Crèche. I go to Little Inspirations in Rhydyfelin. I’m only going one day a week at the moment, but it’ll probably be three days a week by September.

Anyway, I had lots of fun playing with paint, and watching the other kids. I’m quite a sociable beast since my Mam and Dad drag me everywhere with them.

I’ll have to do a catch-up entry for my diary, but for now you’ll have to make do with some more pictures on Dad’s Flickr site (there’s a link in the right-hand column).

This week's sign of the apocalypse

There’s a shop in Ponty called Cash Generator. It calls itself a ‘buy, sell and loan store’, but it’s really no more than a glorified pawn shop. Anyway, walking through town last week I noticed a sign in the window offering euros and dollars. So you can now flog your kids’ toys to fund your sangria-fuelled holiday in Benidorm this summer.

Their PR machine seems somewhat out of touch with the kind of people who visit their stores. Their blurb says, and I’m not making this up, “So whether you are going for a weekend in Paris or a month in Dubai, Cash Generator stores can offer you the best currency rates on the high street.”

Squirrel Notes

They’re back.

After spending last summer somewhere sunny (so clearly not Pontypridd), the squirrels are back to trash the bird table. So the battle of wits is on: mild-mannered accountant vs. furry-tailed evil.

Thus far, the squirrels are winning, as you can see from the picture. He’s eaten through the plastic in order to scoff the seed as fast as possible. Later he pulled the feeder onto the floor, and was last seen holding his tum from over-indulging in birdseed.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rugby Notes II

The new season is approaching, and with it there's news of new signings and pre-season friendlies. Keep an eye on the Ebbw Vale RFC website (link on the right) for further news, but for now heres' the leatest:

Experienced back-row forward Gavin Lucas, ex-Cardiff and Pontypool captain, has signed from Cardiff. Highly thought of and much sought after centre Shaun Powell has transferred from Penallta RFC, while prop Gareth Jones has jumped a division from Caerphilly RFC. Number 7 Simon Pengelly (ex-Neath) has also put pen to paper for the Steelmen.

Further good news is that outside half Dai Langdon will appear in the red, green & white this season whilst remaining in the Academy. Other Academy players to be enrolled at Eugene Cross Park are wing Ieuan Coombes, prop Aaron Coundley, and back row forwards James Thomas and Rhys Jenkins.

The last mentioned five players have all played age-grade rugby for Wales (under 18) during the last season, the Steelmen carrying on with the policy of bringing the best young talent to Ebbw Vale in order to develop & play their rugby. In addition, two Dragons recruits and Wales 7’s squad members, twins James and Robert Lewis, have re-signed.

Ebbw are also delighted that last year’s recruits, dynamic centre Aaron Bramwell, second row forwards Will Jones and Will Thomas, back rower Rhys Williams, super props Anthony Lott and Marc Jones, plus hooker Richard Wilkes, have committed themselves to the club yet again.

As with all clubs, there is a core of players that are on the retained list and have remained loyal for many years. We will once again see Andrew MacLaughlan, Andrew Bevan, Kristian Owen, Mathew Williams, Matthew Griffin and John Bowd giving their all for the cause.

The club is currently in negotiation with a number of players to fill the remaining gaps in the squad, and we are looking forward to making further announcements in the near future.

The club has also finalised the pre-season friendly match programme, and this is as follows:

Sunday 17 August: Moseley RFC (A) kick off 2:30 pm
Saturday 23 August: Henley Hawks (A) kick off 2:30 pm
Sunday 31 August: Newbridge RFC (A) Kick off TBA

Rugby Notes

Ebbw Vale won the Premiership's Fair Play award the other week, for the second year running. Here's a picture of Dilwyn Snellgrove, club stalward and old school friend, collecting the trophy, courtesy of Huw Evans picture agency.

Not sure, but the event might have been sponsored by the Principality.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Concert Notes

Wow, what a show.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, last night was a wonderful experience for 50,000 or so lucky fans who were privileged to be in the presence of greatness.

Philly organised tickets for seats in his company’s hospitality box (no, not WAG related hospitality). So we settled in for the ride. There was no let up. For a guy in his late 50s, Bruce has a ridiculous amount of energy and he worked the crowd non-stop from 8 ‘til 11.

The timeless line-up on stage was (from left to right): the Big Man Clarence Clemons, Nils Lofgren, The Boss, Steve van Zandt (“whaddya gonna do?”) and Patti Scialfa. The E Street Band was on fine form, and Bruce paid tribute to Danny Federici who died earlier this year.

Here’s a site which has reports and photos from all of Bruce’s European tour. The full set list for the three-hour concert was:

From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)
Tenth Avenue Freeeze-Out
Radio Nowhere
No Surrender
Lonesome Day
The Promised Land
Blinded by the light
Atlantic City
The River
Gypsy Biker
Darlington County
Because the Night
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
Mary's Place
Working on the Highway
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
Thunder Road
Born to Run
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
American Land

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What a Great Day!

It was wonderful to have a day off work today for no good reason other than to be at home with Cath and Ava. No stressing about juggling work and home life. No long list of stuff to do. Just hanging out.

We went to visit Ava’s crèche. She’s likely to start one-day-a-week in a couple of weeks’ time and then move up to three-days-a-week by September.

Then it was lunch in Hoffi Coffi, still the best coffee shop in the world. All the staff there know Ava. Time for a quick bit of DIY and even out for a run this afternoon (for the first time in ages). Cath then went to an evening aerobics class whilst I tucked Ava into bed.

And then when she got back I went to the Muni in Pontypridd to see Lucy Kaplansky, a New York singer/songwriter and enjoy a pint of Guinness. They were both excellent.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TV Notes

Gladiators is back on TV, this time on Sky. The gladiators always have the most ridiculous names, so the Guardian's Charlie Brooker compiled a list of alternatives. These are some of my favourites:

First, the men. Columbine, Blister, Breezeblock, Pasquale, Thermostat, Spasm, Travesty, The Hesitator, Simpleton, Mondeo.

Now the ladies. Butch, Frown, Ringtone, Meringue, Windolene, Aneurysm, Angina, Chlamydia, Turpentine, Lactator.

Smart Alec Answers

It was mealtime during a flight on a British Airways plane:
'Would you like dinner?' the flight attendant asked the man seated in the front row.
'What are my choices?' the man asked.
'Yes or no,' she replied.

A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at a branch of Sainsburys but she couldn't find one big enough for her family.
She asked a passing assistant, 'Do these turkeys get any bigger?'
The assistant replied, 'I'm afraid not, they're dead.'

The policeman got out of his car and the boy racer he stopped for speeding, rolled down his window.
'I've been waiting for you all day,' the bobby said.
The kid replied, 'Yes, well I got here as fast as I could.'

Sunday, June 08, 2008

YouTube Notes

This is a classic clip from Saturday Night Live. It features Will Ferrell in great form with Blue Oyster Cult recording Don't Fear the Reaper. With lots of cowbell!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ava's Diary

My first experience of a Petit Filous fromage frais. Strawberry flavour. I enjoyed playing with it, but didn't manage to swallow much!