Friday, January 30, 2009

Rugby Notes

Congratulations to Ebbw Vale’s James Thomas, who has just been named as captain for Wales U-20 game in Scotland next weekend.

Ebbw's Dai Langdon has also been selected at outside half. The full team details are here.

Bad Joke of the Week

Heard this on BBC Radio 2 yesterday.

I bought a book called 1001 Uses for Binary...

When I opened it I found out there were only nine.

Ava's diary

Now I’m starting to get about. I finally mastered the art of crawling in a straight line.

Gone are the days when mam and dad can put me on the floor in the middle of the living room go to the kitchen and expect me to still be in the same place when they come back.

In crèche this week we’ve been celebrating Chinese New Year. Monday was the beginning of the year of the Ox, but I’m still writing Rat on my cheques.

Anyway, you could tell it was a Chinese themed week because of the sweet and sour sauce and noodles down the front of the T-shirt.

Birthday Notes

A slightly ahead of schedule birthday greeting to cousion (and goddaughter) Helen James, whose birthday is on Monday. Have a great day!

Its a very complicated family, what with the James family on one side of the tree and the Janes family on the other.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rugby Notes

I’m falling way behind with my reviews. The last game I saw was the 19-19 draw with Bridgend a couple of weeks ago when Ebbw battled back from a shocking first half display to snatch a draw playing into a howling gale in the second half. My man of the match that day was centre Shaun Powell who crossed the gain line every time ha had the ball.

Last week Ebbw Vale beat Ynysybwl 47-13 in the Cup, but I couldn’t make it to the game.

Match reports can be found on the Ebbw Vale RFC website and Eye Jay’s blog The Steel Daffodil, and there are some top photos on Whitcombe’s Flickr site, from where this picture of Andrew Bevan in action last weekend was borrowed.

Ebbw’s reward for their win over ‘Bwl is a home tie with Swansea on 21 February.

Before that Ebbw have trips to Newport this Saturday (won’t be going for all the reasons that Eye Jay sets out in his blog) and Llanelli the following Tuesday (won’t be going, the league fixture setters really are a bunch of numpties aren’t they – the longest trip on a workday evening).

Mouse Notes

Cath was away in London last Friday night and Ava was tucked up in bed. So I was sitting alone in the living room when a small house mouse went scurrying across the carpet. There was a fleeting moment when we looked at each other before he scampered off behind a bookcase. I don’t know which one of us looked more surprised.

We have had visits from mice in the past. Being an old stone cottage there must be lots of ways that they can find their way inside. The last time was a couple of years ago when a mouse chewed through the dishwasher drain pipe before we got him with pest control poison. I know it’s not humane, but frankly it’s the only way to get rid of them.

Anyway, poison has been put down and duly scoffed. There hasn’t been any activity for a couple of days, so the problem may have been sorted. On the other hand this could become the same kind of long-running saga as Squirrel Notes.

NFL Notes

It’s the climax of the NFL season this Sunday night with Superbowl 43. The Arizona Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, live on Sky Sports and the BBC (who will probably pull a hamstring jumping on the bandwagon).

The Cards weren’t fancied coming into the playoffs but in Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald (pictured) they have probably the best QB/WR pair in the league right now.

As for the Steelers, well most of the time it isn’t pretty, with big-hitting defence (or defense as the yanks say) being their strong suit.

The Steelers are favourites, but as long as the Cards stay close for the first half there could be an upset. On the Cards.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the halftime show is Bruce Springsteen.

Donor Notes

Been giving blood again. The Welsh Blood Service visit our offices in Cathays Park twice a year, so there’s no excuse for not donating. It also gives me the chance to trot out the usual Tony Hancock jokes. “A pint – that’s nearly an armful”.

Anyway, that’s 23 donations. Another couple and I get a silver badge.

Tax Notes

The final deadline for filing tax returns is looming (31 January) so I had the pleasure of sorting out Janesey’s accounts for 2007-08 last night.

After years of getting it horribly wrong, HMRC’s online filing works a treat. If only the same could be said for the paper filing around our house.

TV Notes

Watched a repeat of Grumpy Old Men on BBC the other night. That’s me. To a T.

There’s nothing like a good rant. My favourite of late is about people abusing the “parent and baby” spaces in supermarket car parks. I’ve had a good few arguments over the shopping trolley on that one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blogging Notes

This blog is turned three years old this week, but shows no signs of growing up.

In the last few weeks alone, the site has had “hits” (stop me if I get too technical) from China, the Ukraine, Mexico, Argentina, Korea, with the largest number coming from across all parts of the USA and the UK.

I’ve had over 7,000 visits to the site overall; that’s far too many people with an unhealthy interest in Ebbw Vale rugby and life in the south Wales valleys. I suspect its Ava’s fan club.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ava's diary

Spent last weekend at nanna and grandpa’s in Swansea, so I didn’t have the chance to blog.

Passing the one-year-old milestone has meant no more bottle sterilising for mam and dad, and I’ve started on cow’s milk too. I’m pretty much eating anything that I’m given, even baby versions of dad’s spag bol and chilli.

My teeth are coming through thick and fast. I now have 6 at the top and 2 at the bottom, and some more starting to show through.

I’ve started to crawl forwards as well as backwards, but not in a co-ordinated fashion. So I can travel around the room but certainly not in a straight line!

I think it would be easier to walk. So I’ve started to try to stand up, usually by grabbing the furniture or one of my toys. But once I let go or the toy gives way then I fall down. But I can usually stay propped up for a while, even long enough for dad to get this photo.

Mam was away in London on Friday night, so dad had to look after me on his own. On Saturday we had rice crispies and toast together for breakfast. Then I went with dad to visit nanna Ena and take her to a hospital appointment in Newport. I’m very well travelled.

Today I went with mam and dad to the Rhondda Heritage Park for lunch, followed a snooze and then a ride on my trike. Phew, what a busy weekend.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ava's diary

Just a quick update to let you know that not only am I typing, I’m talking.

I’ve been babbling the usual ma-ma-ma and da-da-da stuff at mam and dad (and everything else too) for a while now. But on Monday night I said my first proper words.

I was sitting in the bathtub playing with my Winnie the Pooh toy, as you do. Dad passed me Piglet and I said “thank you”. To prove it wasn’t a fluke I did it again when mam gave me Tigger.

Now, of course, it’s a game: everyone hold out their hands and when I hand the toy, brick, spoon over they say “thank you”, then they give it back to me and expect me to do the same. Well, sometimes I do just to humour them but, frankly, I’m not a performing seal.

Oh, and in other news I slept last night on all fours with my bum sticking up in the air.

The photo is me with grandpa Frank and nanna Irene from Saturday’s birthday trip to Peterstone Court.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ava's diary

This week has been my first full week in crèche since the Christmas break, but it was like never having been away. I gave Charlene a big smile and hardly a look back at dad as he leaves after dropping me off.

On Friday I helped make a birthday card that all the staff at the crèche signed for me, and everyone sang happy birthday when I ate my chocolate chip cookie. I enjoyed it, even if it was a day early.

On Saturday I was one year old. Everyone tells me that I’m getting on now and its all downhill from here. I don’t believe a word of it; I’m having a ball every day.

I opened a few pressies while sitting on mam and dad’s bed, and enjoyed playing with the zoo toy that auntie Heather and uncle T sent me. Then it was getting ready for my birthday trip to Peterstone Court, which is where mam and dad got married a couple of years ago. I had to wear my best party dress which nanna Ena gave me for Christmas.

We picked up nanna Ena and met grandpa Frank and nanna Irene there. Gramps was very proud of navigating by sat nav. The day was lunch followed by birthday cake and a very chilled out afternoon. I had the chance to open the rest of my pressies. Thus far I’ve taken a shine to a wooden jigsaw from auntie Stella and uncle Gwyn and stickle bricks from cousins Robert and Emma. I had so much fun that I snoozed all the way home.

Bath time was fun, as I had a new Winnie the Pooh toy from cousin Helen to play with. I was in the bath for half an hour. Mam was jealous; she says she never gets time to laze in the bath.

Today auntie Bev and uncle Philly came to visit me. Bev played on the floor with me and it took everyone to help her up afterwards! Usually its dad who can’t get up; something to do with old age…

Thanks to everyone who gave me cash, which dad is investing for me. My first year has been a harsh reality in economics though. Whilst the government gave me some cash to open a trust fund, its now worth less then it was a year ago. Sheesh. But I’m told that investments can go up as well as down so things may improve by the time I’m 18 and can get my hands on the cash.

Rugby Notes

Ebbw Vale’s game at Pontypridd was called off die to a frozen pitch. Not a great surprise, and quite welcome for me as there was the small matter of Ava’s birthday.

Next Saturday Ebbw entertain Bridgend, weather permitting.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Birthday Notes

cousins Robert and Emma
Birthday greetings to my nephew Robert who is 12 today. Have a top b'day dude! The pic is from when he and Emma visited us last summer.

Also birthdaying today is Jon the Vet. He's considerably older than Robert. And rounding out the birthday greetings, it was Philly's birthday earlier in the week. He's considerably older again!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ava's Diary

My first Christmas! Well, this year, it’s been my first everything. And this Saturday will be my first birthday.

Christmas was spent with mam and dad down in Swansea with nanna Irene and grandpa Frank. We were there from Christmas Eve until the following Sunday. On Christmas Eve nanna pushed the boat out, and cooked a proper Christmas dinner for us – turkey, roastie spuds, pigs in blankets, all the trimmings. I think she even surprised herself. I thoroughly enjoyed tucking in to my own plate of Christmas scoff.

Christmas Day itself was great fun. Lots of new toys and pressies to play with, but best of all, brightly-coloured wrapping paper to tear and eat. I shook with tambourine and sleigh bells and banged my drum, I played with Upsy Daisy and the lots of books I had. It took all day to open my pressies what with all the eating, drinking and snoozing – and that was just mam and dad.

Boxing Day was the first chance for me to try out my new trike. We all went out around the lake and I got pushed on my new pink and purple trike; I came home with very pink cheeks to match. Dad says that when I’m bigger I’ll be able to peddle and steer on my own.

Saturday I went for another ride down on the seafront, while dad went to the rugby. Nanna has had me practicing ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ on the sleigh bells, I shake my bells and laugh furiously!

Dad told me that I had won a prize in the Christmas raffle at Tredegar House, so we went to collect a toy dog that’s bigger than me and better behaved than grandpa’s evil Alfie.

There were lots of fireworks nearby on New Year’s Eve, but I slept through the lot.

So it was back to crèche last Friday. Except that the heating packed up and so I had to go home early.

When we visited nanna Ena on Sunday it snowed. It was the first snow I’d seen since the day mam and dad first brought me home from hospital, and to tell the truth, I wasn’t paying much attention back then. I’m looking forward to playing in the snow and building snowmen when I’m older.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Music Notes

A posting by Eye Jay on his Steel Daffodil blog on top gigs of 2008 mentioned that Magnum played at Caldicot Castle this past summer. Bugger, I didn't know anything about it. But it got me looking for future Magnum concerts - always a good eveing out.

Well, guess what?

Bob Catley is doing a gig in Pontypridd in April. I’ll be there.

New Year Notes

Wow, what a year 2008 was. The birth of Ava changed so much stuff in my life. I always wondered where the time went, but now it’s a whole new level of crazy. To quote my friend Lynne’s blog “It feels like someone has hit the fast forward button on my life and it won’t slow down.”

Trying to fit everything in has been just about impossible. Trying to balance wanting to spend far more time at home with work pressures (being without a boss for most of the year has piled on extra work), responsibilities with South Wales Probation Trust and volunteering with Groundwork Caerphilly. On top of that, late last year my tenants at Canterbury Road stopped paying their rent and the turfing them out and finding new tenants took ages.

The usual thing is to make New Year resolutions and then let them fall by the wayside after a few weeks. So, I’m not going to be overly ambitious with my resolutions. Here goes:

  • To continue to enjoy being with my family and watching Ava grow up before my eyes.
  • To be more realistic with my time management, which probably means saying ‘no’ a bit more often.
  • To get back to doing some running.
  • To be happy.
  • And to keep this blog more up to date!

Rugby Notes

Last Saturday’s home game against Cross keys was, like all games in Wales, postponed because of a frozen pitch. No doubt it’ll be rearranged for a weekend when we’re out of the cup.

The Saturday before Ebbw had a local derby game at Pontypool. In front of a good-natured bank holiday crowd the two teams put on a pretty dismal show. Ebbw deserved to win out 23-17, being the better of two poor teams.

A full report can be found on the Ebbw Vale RFC website and in the South Wales Andrex, and there’s a brief report and some photos on The Steel Daffodil blog and a pile of photos on Whitcombe’s flickr site, from where this pic was nicked.

Team: Ebbw Vale: A. Bramwell; K. Owen (c), J. Lewis (I.Coombes 76), S. Powell, A. Bevan; D. Langdon, I. Evans (R. Lewis 58); A. Lott (C. Fillier 80), R. Wilkes, M. Jones (G. Jones 40), M. Griffin (A. Hall 62), J. Griffiths, R. Jenkins (N. Eaves 80), S. Pengelly (M. Allen 67), R. Williams.

Scorers: Tries for Rhys Williams and Rob Lewis, and two conversions and three penalties for Aaron Bramwell.

My man of the match: Rhys Williams (pictured) who is, as the South Wales Andrex agrees, the club’s talisman.

Ebbw’s next game is at Pontypridd, a gentle stroll from the house for me. I won’t be there though, as it clashes with our bash to celebrate little Ava’s first birthday.