Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Baseball Notes

So the baseball regular season is over, and now the small matter of the playoffs and the World Series is all that’s left.

I finished second in my fantasy baseball league. No small feat when you consider what a dearth of talent I managed to have to swing their bats for me this season.

The offence has been carried on the shoulders of Milwaukee’s 3B Ryan Braun (37 HRs and 100 RBIs) and Philadelphia’s SS Jimmy Rollins (43 steals) kept me in the hunt.

Pitching was led by standout Giant Tim Lincecum who got me 18 wins and Cincinnati’s Edinson Volquez who got me 13. My decision to trade-up for the Cubs’ Kerry Woods was paid back handsomely with 34 saves.

Back in the real world, there’s a one-off game tonight to decide the final place in the playoffs, between the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins. The winner goes on to play the Tampa Bay Rays. The other AL series is the now familiar Boston Red Sox vs. the Los Angeles Angels.

As for the NL, the match-ups are all set. It’s the Milwaukee Brewers vs. the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the Chicago Cubs. It all starts on Wednesday, and its on NASN and five.

My prediction, for what its worth is for the Rays, Red Sox, Brewers and Cubs to win through.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Travel Notes

Apologies for the patchier than usual service on this blog this week; Cath and I and Ava have been sunning ourselves in Tresaith. Had a week off and managed to pick a great one, weather-wise. Wall to wall sunshine in west Wales is something of a surprise, especially in September.

Photos and general blogging to follow when I have a chance to get a bit more organised.

In other travel news, hope that the family down in Midsomer Norton enjoy their trip to Kenya (I guess sunshine is pretty much guaranteed there).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blog Notes

The Roberts family have another blogger. Not content with the ramblings of Robo’s blog – or perhaps because of it – Neil’s brother Dai has started his own. Good luck with Thoughts of an Introvert. And good luck with your run in today’s Swansea 10k – it looks like being a warm one.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ava’s diary

Had a fab weekend staying with Nanna and Grandpa.

We played lots of games, Nanna sung Perry Como songs to me, and Gramps wanted to cwtch me all day. We went down to the lake to feed the ducks, or so I’m told – I slept the whole time.

I am learning to stand up. I need to hold on the sofa and I’m a bit wobbly, but I’m getting there. I can sit up on my own now, but haven’t really found any need for crawling: I just shout and somebody fetches me whatever I want!

I’m loving the crèche. I’m everyone favourite, probably because I’m the smallest and cutest! I’m into eating lots of different things. Pretty much anything that isn’t nailed down will go in my mouth.

Foods? Well, weetabix and toast for breakfast, and fish fingers and beans for lunch are my favourites, but I get to try lots of new flavours every day. Mam and dad say I eat better than they do.

There are lots of pics of me on my dad’s Flickr site.

Caravan Notes

Cath and I ventured down to Tresaith for a long weekend at the caravan. We dropped Ava off with the grandparents in Swansea en route (oi, no French) on the way.

The weather on Saturday was wild – howling gales and horizontal rain. The caravan is very snug though, and its great to watch the white-capped waves crashing in whilst tucked in the warm.

Sunday and Monday were huge improvements though, we even had sunshine. Spent most on Sunday at the Ship Inn in Tresaith with the Sunday lunch and the Sunday papers. Peaceful. Wonderful.

It was great to have a quiet weekend away, but it was great to pick up little Ava this afternoon though.

TV Notes

After the deluge of the Olympics comes the new rugby and NFL seasons. Together with the looming baseball playoffs, there’s little time for any other TV.

Family Guy is a terrific half-hour though, a grown-up improvement on The Simpsons. And its fun to spot the similarities between Ava and Family Guy’s Stewie Griffin.

Re-runs of The West Wing and Armstrong & Miller are pretty much the ony other things worth watching.

Rugby Notes

Ebbw Vale opened the season with a 6-6 draw with Bedwas. As I wasn’t there I’ll leave the report up to RS on the Ebbw Vale RFC website.

There are video clips on YouTube, courtesy of EyeJay.

There were a few new faces on show. To the best of my knowledge, there were three debutants in the XV: full back Andrew Williams, and centres Peter Smith and Shaun Powell.

Scorers: One penalty apiece for Dai Langdon and Andrew Williams.

Team: Andrew Williams, Andrew Bevan, Peter Smith, Shaun Powell, James Lewis, David Langdon, Llyr Lane (captain); Aaron Coundley, Richard Wilkes, Anthony Lott, Will Jones, Will Thomas, James Thomas, Rhys Williams, Rhys Jenkins.

Next Saturday Ebbw Vale play at Bridgend, 2:30 kick off.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Weather Notes

Its been raining again today. Makes a change. Good for the gardens. Etc, etc.

The rain in Pontypridd ends up mostly in the Taff. Which is rising rapidly and looks almost certain to break its banks in Trefforest. The roads all look like rivers and driving causes a bow wave.

The 10 mile trip back from Blackwood to Ponty took over an hour this afternoon, with the A470 down to one lane and several roads closed due either to flooding or retaining walls being washed away.

Houses nearby, tucked underneath the Common in Pontypridd, have water going in the back door and coming out of the front.

Here’s the latest from the BBC. The forecast is for more of the same. From now until doomsday.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Groundwork Notes

In my spare time I’m a trustee (board member) of Groundwork Caerphilly.

Groundwork uses the labels People, Places and Prosperity to structure their work:

  • People is about creating opportunities for more people to learn about and become committed to taking action for the environment whilst, at the same time, realising their personal potential and building strong local neighbourhoods.
  • Places is about creating better, safer, healthier and more environmentally sustainable neighbourhoods for people to live and work in.
  • Prosperity is about training for work, stimulating local social enterprise, and working with the local business community to integrate business competitiveness and environmental responsibility.

And yesterday evening was the chance to visit some of the work that Groundwork Caerphilly is currently doing. We visited:

We also held launched a horticultural volunteering programme on a site on top of the mountain above Cwmfelinfach. In the rain. Still, the views across the valley were amazing, and we will all go back in 12 months time to see the progress. Good luck to Matt and everyone involved.

Weather Notes

OK, since it looks like it’ll keep on raining forever, these instructions may come in handy…

Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

A cubit is roughly 18 inches, so you're looking at a ship about 450 feet long by 75 feet wide, and about 45 feet high.

And, no, I don't know what "gopher wood" is.

Rugby Notes

It’s the start of the season on Saturday, and its Ebbw Vale at home to Bedwas. I’ve gone and bought my season ticket (VP, natch), but I won’t be there. It’s the last chance for a long weekend at the caravan down in Tresaith.

As always, team news, previews and reviews and the peerless REL can all be found on the Ebbw Vale RFC website.

Good luck for Saturday to Kristian and the boys. In my absence I hope someone on the bank will pick up the traditional call to be made at the first blow of the whistle of the first game of the year: “All the time, ref!”

This week's sign of the apocalypse

You woudn't have thought it would be too difficult to get a guy from npower to come and service our boiler. After all, its what they do.

Yet today marked the second time they they have failed to do so. The first time the guy failed to find the house. So I wasn't full of hope today.

The engineer rang to confirm this morning. I gave him instructions on how to find the house, and he said he'd be here between 1 and 3. So I set off to work whilst Janesey is poised to meet the guy at the appointed hour.

3 o'clock rolls around & no sign. So I ring npower. They'll look into it and ring back. They don't. At 3.40 I ring again. The call centre guy gets in touch with the engineer and reports back "he's been outside your house for 30 minutes".

Whilst I am trying to persuade the call centre guy that its unlikey, even by npower standards, that the engineer would have stood outside the door for 30 minutes without thinking to knock the door (the traditional method of announcing yourself), the engineer rings my mobile phone to tell me that he's arrived!

npower rumbled. By this time I have to break the news thats all too late since Cath has to go and pick up Ava from creche. And so we have to start again another day. My heart sinks.

Why does it have to be this difficult?

Travel Notes

I've had a parking space at work for the summer, but now I'm back on the train every day. Frankly, the parking space isn't the issue; its the traffic. The A470 and Cardiff city centre are back to the post-summer-hols chaos. And its only going to get worse on the run up to Crimbo.

(As an aside, my mate Robbo has got a Cristmas countdown clock on his blog. OMG.)

So I'm back on the trains. Its been interesting working out a new plan in the mornings now that I drop Ava at the creche in Rhydyfelin in the mornings. At the moment I use Trefforest station, but when the students come back they'll nick all the parking spaces.

£4.10 return is pretty reasonable for the train when compared to £3 (at least) to park in Cardiff plus the petrol and aggro involved in getting there.